Draft Watch: Dandenong’s Josh Battle

Josh Battle showed he’s one of the TAC Cup’s best mobile tall forward prospects with influential performances in front of goal for the Dandenong Stingrays and Vic Country this year.

The 192cm Doveton product flew the flag with four goals in Country’s losses to both Western Australia and the Allies in the NAB AFL U18 Championships and did so again with six majors for the Stingrays in their TAC Cup qualifying-final loss to Murray, demonstrating his ability to deliver even against the tide.

Battle earned selection in the forward lines of the TAC Cup Team of the Year – after kicking 24 goals in eight games for Dandenong – and the U18 All Australian team, having booted 11 goals in four matches for Country.

taccup.com.au talked to Battle at the recent NAB AFL Draft Combine, where he finished in the top 10 of the kicking test.

How have you been selling yourself as a footballer to AFL clubs in interviews at the Combine?

“You’ve got to stay humble, but (it’s about) just telling them what you did, how hard you’ve worked and all the sacrifices you’ve made to be where you are today.”

What is the strangest question you’ve been asked by an AFL club?

“‘How do you spell ‘gatorade’ backwards?’ which was pretty strange. I also had: ‘217 divided by three’.”

What parts of your game do you know you’d need to work on if you were drafted?

“My agility and my explosiveness is something I’m trying to work on, and trying to get a little cleaner below my knees.”

Which AFL players do you particularly like to watch and model your game on?

“I love watching Jack Gunston, being a Hawthorn supporter. When I go to games, I normally just watch him and try to take out some things that he does really well and try to implement them into my game.”

How do you think your year turned out relative to your pre-season expectations?

“I think my year was OK. I would have liked it to have been a little more consistent, but I was pretty happy with how my year went. With all the expectations that are put upon yourself and from external and internal people, it’s hard, but I guess you just take it in your stride and you’ve still got to enjoy it.”

What do you think was your best performance of the year individually?

“Probably (for Dandenong) against NSW/ACT when we played them in Round 4 at Frankston. I kicked a few that day (four goals from 14 disposals and eight marks in a win).”

Talk about why you think your teammates at the Combine are so highly rated.

- Mitch McCarthy: “We haven’t seen much of Mitch this year because he broke his foot, which was pretty shattering. Hopefully he gets an opportunity and he’ll take that opportunity with both hands. He’s just so athletic and, coming from a basketball background, hasn’t experienced much of the game. You can just tell that he’ll be a pretty good player.”
- Bailey Morrish: “Probably not many people know much about Bailey. He’s sort of slid under the radar but he’s a superstar. He’s got great kicking ability and his speed, power and agility is just phenomenal. He’ll be pretty good to watch.”
- Myles Poholke: “He probably didn’t start the year off as well as he would have liked, but finished the year really well. He’s really strong above his head and he’s really worked hard on his aerobic capacity. He’s going to be a very good player in the coming years.”

Who’s your tip for the no.1 NAB AFL Draft pick?

“I think (North Ballarat’s) Hugh McCluggage will go no.1. He’s a freak and I loved playing alongside him (for Vic Country) and against him. He’s just a great bloke too.”


Other Draft Watch profiles:

Joseph Atley - Bendigo Pioneers

Josh Begley - Eastern Ranges

Daniel Venables - Western Jets

Alex Witherden - Geelong Falcons

Patrick Kerr - Oakleigh Chargers

Ben Ainsworth - Gippsland Power

Andrew McGrath - Sandringham Dragons

Todd Marshall - Murray Bushrangers 

Patrick Lipinski - Northern Knights 

Hugh McCluggage - North Ballarat Rebels 

Jack Maibaum - Eastern Ranges 

Kobe Mutch - Bendigo Pioneers 

Judah Dundon - Western Jets

Mitch McCarthy - Dandenong Stingrays 

Jordan Ridley - Oakleigh Chargers

Sean Darcy - Geelong Falcons


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