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No. 19: Meet new small forward Ben Kennedy

Ben Kennedy Highlights Ben Kennedy's highlights and interview prior to the draft
Ben Kennedy - Selection No. 19
DOB: 03/03/1994
Height: 174cm
Weight: 74kg
Club: Glenelg/South Australia

Watch Kennedy's highlights reel on CTV in the video above.

Bio: Left-footed small forward/midfielder with explosive pace and rare agility. Prolific ball winner who excels at stoppages and is extremely dangerous around goals with set shots or snaps. In 2011 won All-Australian Under 18 honours as a bottom-aged player and debuted at senior level. Backed it up this year with All-Australian honours following the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships, averaging 26.2 disposals. AIS-AFL Academy graduate.

Upside: Kennedy is exceptional overhead and very powerful for a player of his size. He's moved into the midfield more this season and has shown himself to be an adept clearance winner as seen at the national carnival where managed 23 in five games. His value further away from goals was also illustrated by his championship-high 28 inside 50s. His big weapon is his kicking, he achieves excellent penetration of his left boot, and puts it a teammates advantage more often than not.

"He can be a game breaker - with three or four really good possessions he can hurt the opposition pretty quickly. He's got a pretty good engine and if given the opportunity in the midfield he can get high numbers. I think he'll be a very good small forward at AFL level with the ability to go into the midfield. With the penetration he gets on his kicks he'll give his forwards the best chance." - Glenelg football manager Ken Applegarth.

Plays like: Kennedy is a bit like Bulldogs' livewire Luke Dahlhaus in that he adds some zip to the mix and has a nose for goal with some also likening him to another diminutive Glenelg left footer in Tony McGuiness.

In his own words: "I'm a quick player who can play as an inside and outside midfielder. I feel like I've developed a lot as a player this year. I've worked a lot on my inside game and positioning at stoppages so I can push up into the midfield more, which has always been an ambition of mine. You can get pigeon-holed as a forward, but I think this year was good for me to get more experience on the ball."

NAB AFL Combine Results: Didn’t test due to groin injury. However has previously tested with the AIS-AFL Academy.
20m Sprint - 3.00 secs
Agility - 7.89 secs

X-factor: “Instinctive player around the stoppages and goals with rare agility to compliment” - Kevin Sheehan.

Hine says: "Genuine forward-of-the-ball player who can play inside 50. Important for us with Andrew Krakouer probably coming towards the end of his career."

They say:
Inside Football magazine
"Ben's had a couple of good years at the Under 18 state level despite a couple of niggling injuries. I rate him as a really high class player with a lot of potential playing small forward but we've pushed him into the midfield a bit when he's come back to us from state footy. He's got powerful strength in his legs, good speed, a good left boot and he's quick at the contest. Will need to work on his endurance, which will come, but he's a high quality player" - Brenton Hole, Glenelg Talent Manager (compiled by Brett Anderson and Ben Casanelia).

Emma Quayle (The Age's draft expert)
"Kennedy was pegged as a small forward before this year, but he played in the middle for South Australia at the under-18s and was able to do the same things he does playing forward: get the ball, take off with it and kick it well to others. He's still working on his tackling and pressure skills, but is a pacy, confident, busy, self assured player who can also take a good mark." - The Age, Sunday 18 November 2012.

Jay Clark and Sam Landsberger (Herald Sun journalists)
"Small forward has developed the tank to push into the midfield. Hits contests with speed and excels kicking inside-50m. Tenacious tackling enhances appeal." - Herald Sun, Thursday 22 November 2012.

Snoop Dog (respected draft watcher on BigFooty.com)
"Another prospect who has been incredibly well performed over the last two years at both National Champs and for Glenelg where he has simply made senior SANFL look easy. Typically plays either midfield or forward and has shown himself to be adept inside the contest with his sure hands and clean ball use or on the spread where his pace and agility are highlights. Also has the capability to hurt sides on the scoreboard. Only issue with this kid will be height but he is ready to play now and has shown that shouldn’t be an issue for a club wanting to spend a high pick on him. I rate Kennedy pretty high and love to see him in the Black and White."