Sport

Versatility one of greatest strengths of future star

By Patrick Tansey

For a family with football in its blood, Harry Beasley could turn out to be the best of the lot.

His father Peter is the games record-holder at Cobram Football Club, older brother Sam was a Murray Bushranger.

Despite all which has gone on before him, Harry, 16, is forging his own identity and doing it in style.

Last year, he was selected in the under-15 All-Australian side after a stellar run of performances for Vic Country in the National Championships and was named in the All-Australian team as a defender.

This year, he is representing Vic Country in the Under-16 National Championships as a midfielder.

In the modern game of AFL, versatility is an asset revered by coaches and it is one of Beasley’s greatest strengths.

Rather than feel uncomfortable about stepping outside his comfort zone, Beasley is relishing the switch in position.

‘‘I’ve mostly played down back for the majority of my footy career, but the coaches have decided to put me in the midfield and that went all right in the first game of the championships, I think,’’ Beasley said.

‘‘It’s a good challenge and something to work at.’’

He worked well in the role on the weekend, finding the footy with regularity in a narrow eight-point loss to Vic Metro at Ikon Park.

He noticed a stark difference between the mindset needed to be a defender and the traits needed to play well in the midfield.

‘‘Probably the physicality and the quickness were the two big ones. There is also a bit more pressure in trying to win your own ball,’’ he said.

It remains to be seen where Beasley’s best position lies, he stands about 188cm, but at 16, there is every chance he will grow.

Despite his size, he is extremely nimble, highlighted by a 2.9-second 20m sprint at Vic Country testing.

Medium-sized defenders with closing speed are worth their weight in gold, while tall midfielders are in vogue at the moment in the mould of Patrick Cripps and Marcus Bontempelli.

Like any footballer, Beasley is not without his flaws. He admitted he needed to work on his cleanness below his knees, which would allow him to move the ball quicker.

Next on the agenda for the young gun is a trip to the Gold Coast for rounds two and three of the championships when his side takes on South Australia and Western Australia.

The he return to Cobram, where he will look to build on his one senior game.