AFL mid-season draft: Spotswood coach on Jordan Boyd’s rapid rise
Jordan Boyd is the latest Spotswood player to graduate to the elite level and has been tipped to thrive, but what is the 22-year-old’s best position?
Jordan Boyd was one of several great stories to emerge from Wednesday’s AFL mid-season rookie draft.
The Spotswood product and Footscray VFL player was snapped up by Carlton at pick No.20 despite not progressing through the traditional NAB League pathway as a teenager.
The Blues’ press release described the 22-year-old as a “medium forward” capable of playing as a defender.
But Spotswood coach and JJ Liston Trophy winner Anthony Eames said Boyd’s best position could be elsewhere.
“There’s a bit of a narrative around that he’s a forward,” Eames said.
“I don’t believe he’s a small forward, I believe he’s a wingman and half-back flanker, and he can kick goals from outside 50.”
Boyd has displayed his ability to hurt opposition sides in attack, booting 32 goals from 27 games for the Woodsmen across the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
He contributed three majors for the Dogs in his state league debut two years ago and had played all five matches for the undefeated side this season, averaging 16 possessions and four marks in a defensive role.
But while his ideal position may have created some conjecture, there are no question marks over Boyd’s elite kicking skills.
“He sees targets down the ground and has an ability to be able to pick them out and kick the ball 60m,” Eames said.
“He’s a magnificent kick on the run and he plays the wing position particularly well. He positions himself well, is always there for a switch (kick) out of defence and he carries the ball.
“Potentially at different times, he’s an 80-100m player, where he can carry the ball and kick it 60m.
“He’s certainly got better kicking skills than a lot of blokes I’ve seen. He’s created an opportunity for himself, which is fantastic, and had terrific support from Footscray VFL as well.”
Boyd has joined the likes of Callan Ward, Bachar Houli, Lachlan Fogarty and Connor Menadue in graduating from Spotswood to the AFL ranks.
Carlton list manager Nick Austin, who previously worked at the Western Bulldogs, said Boyd was “someone who has fought for everything that’s come his way” and was “the kind of player who can thrive in an AFL environment”.
He also represented the Western Region Football League at interleague level and Vic Metro in 2019.
“It’s awesome for him personally,” Eames said.
“It’s again a great one for our club and Tony Walshe, our under-18s coach.
He’s a ripping kid … works hard on his craft, particularly the last three years. Before that, he wasn’t overly committed to footy, as far as he played a lot of cricket.
“He only did his first pre-season three years ago realistically.
“To make it at the elite level, you’ve got to have that point of difference, and a lot of the time it comes back to what you’re committed to, how hard you are prepared to work, your mental capacity.
“He’s now on a path for himself and he needs to make the most of it because you only get one crack.”
Asked if he was surprised by how quickly Boyd’s stocks had risen given he had only a handful of VFL appearances to his name, Eames said: “Anybody that goes and watches him distribute the footy in general play the way that he does … I would have thought at worst he’s going to be a very, very good VFL footballer.
“If someone’s prepared to, which they have, believe in him, he’s the type of kid that can make the gap up.
“He’s got a lot of improvement in him and I think full-time footy will make him, I really do.”
Eames said there were plenty of hidden gems in local football.
“It comes back to just having someone that believes in them and gives them a go. That’s certainly the case with Jordy, he’s worked hard for it,” he said.