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Champion Data sees rookie as a draft bargain

Tom Fee  November 28, 2017 5:49 PM

Stefan Giro speaks to media less than 24 hours after being drafted.

Based on Champion Data’s assessment, Freo may have emerged from the rookie draft with a bargain in Stefan Giro.

The AFL’s official number crunchers see the game differently to recruiters, coaches and fans, rating players purely by their statistics on the field and not by any other external factors.

Champion Data highlighted that the Norwood prospect averaged more than 99 SuperCoach points in the SANFL under-18s, the SANFL reserves in 2016 and 2017 and at the 2017 U18 National Championships for South Australia.

As a result, Champion Data rated Giro as the 25th best prospect in the draft.

Giro also impressed outside of the raw numbers that Champion Data would have used to rate their prospects. 

At the SA draft combine, the 18-year-old rated first in the endurance-based yo-yo test (level 22.3) and in the top five in the 20m sprint (2.93 seconds), standing vertical jump (73cm), running vertical jump – right hand (85cm) and agility test (8.21 seconds).

While Giro was not invited to the National Combine, which rates the country’s best prospects, his state combine results would have been enough to place him second in the yo-yo behind fellow Freo recruit Andrew Brayshaw, fifth in the agility test, sixth in the 20m sprint and 10th in the standing vertical jump. 

So if Giro has proven himself with his speed, endurance and agility, why did he slide in the draft?

One reason could be his height. Standing at 175cm, Giro is shorter than most midfielders who were taken earlier in the draft, including Brayshaw (184cm) and fellow top-5 pick Adam Cerra (186cm).

Speaking to media on Tuesday, Giro said he was aware of his height limitations from a young age and had since done everything in his power to find an advantage elsewhere. 

“As a small, you need to have a fair few athletic traits,” Giro said.

“I knew that from when I was a younger kid, so I just really wanted to build my tank as my major goal was playing AFL football, so that’s what I aspired to.

“Since I was age of 13, I’ve really worked on my tank and that’s something that I’ve carried through to now and it’s probably my major strength at the moment.”

Despite his height, Giro players for Norwood reserves as an underage player, averaging 26 disposals, six tackles and six clearances during 11 games.

“It gives me confidence knowing that I can go against bigger bodies, and especially when I was training with the Norwood senior players and ex-AFL players like (former Adelaide Crow) Mitch Grigg - it definitely helped me.

“I’ve still got some building to do, I’ll get in the gym and all of that type of stuff but I think my running capabilities will, hopefully, set me apart.”