by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
The week following the Grand Final saw over 100 draft hopefuls attend the AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne. The participants underwent a multitude of skills tests. Among those attending were two Americans, Jason Holmes and Mark Cisco. Holmes is originally from Chicago but had been attending Moreland State University in Kentucky. The 23 year old stands 203cm (6'6") and weighs 104kg (229 lbs). He has a background in American Football, soccer, baseball, golf and college basketball. This is not his first visit to Australia as he also trained at the Sydney Swans Academy under Paul Roos after testing well at the combine in Los Angeles. While he did not finish in the top ten in the recent combine, his results were impressive enough for the Saints to sign him as an international rookie.
Saint Kilda views the athletic and competitive Holmes as a key position player, possibly in the ruck. He tested well in both the standing and running vertical jumps - 78cm (30") and 91cm (3") respectively.
The other American is Mark Cisco from Columbia University. He has a background in basketball and football. Cisco - at 207cm (6'7") and 115kg (290lbs) - is an imposing athlete who was impressive with his leaps at the combine - 70cm (2.27") standing vertical jump and 85cm (2.75") running vertical jump. He also has degrees in political science and psychology. There is no word as yet on whether he will be selected as an international rookie.
Port Adelaide has also jumped on the international bandwagon for the first time with the signing of Irishman Daniel Flynn. Flynn, 20, comes from County Kildare and spent some time at the club ahead of attending the Draft Combine. Flynn - who will be mentored by former Swan Tadhg Kennelly - was an elite junior Gaelic footballer. Port views him as a potential small to medium defender. Flynn had offers from other AFL clubs but said he enjoyed the atmosphere at Port.
Another to impress at the Draft Combine, 17 year old Jake Barrett, will join the Giants as a NSW zone selection at the upcoming National Draft. Barrett, a tough and hardworking midfielder, played rugby up until two years ago when he switched codes. He is a cousin of Hawk premiership player Luke Breust. Barrett had a fine season in 2013. He not only played for the Giants NEAFL team but also played well for the NSW/ACT Rams in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships. To cap it off, he finished in the top ten in the 20 meter (22 yards) at the Combine.
Source: Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release; triplem.com.au; Matthew Agius, Port Adelaide Media Release; Leigh Meyrick, GWS Media Release; abc.net.au, afl.com.au
Article last changed on Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 7:44 PM EDT