With a matter of days until this year’s AFL Grand Final, the time of year when we see the decisive match-winning, big-time performances is coming to its peak.
There’s always players throughout the year who step up in a time of need to produce an incredible performance to will their team over the line, and throughout the finals, the need grows exponentially.
However, all AFL clubs bar two are looking forward towards next year and beyond.
And, after his season in the TAC Cup, Jackson Macrae will be on the radars of many clubs as someone who can step up and win games off his own boot. Which, it must be noted, he did in the TAC Cup Grand Final.
He recorded 28 disposals and a goal to win the TAC Medal, and while there’s no doubt that while his overall game was fantastic, it was his match-winning score to secure the win for his side, the Oakleigh Chargers, that was most influential.
With the scores level after a goal to Tim Macmillan, the brother of the Kangaroos’ Jamie, Macrae pushed forward and found himself in plenty of space near half-forward.
After receiving the footy, he composed himself whilst running towards goal and slotted through what was the most important behind of his career to date.
Considering that the siren was due to go, but could not due to the ruling that surrounds drawn Grand Finals, it was the last play in the game and the one that secured the victory over the Gippsland Power.
The play, and his Grand Final overall, defines Macrae as a player.
He has bolted up the potential draft rankings over the past month as the Chargers have progressed through the finals, lifting his game every week.
Making his name as a player with a skill set and a game instinct at the top of his draft class, he has arguably been the lead figure in the Chargers’ rise from sixth spot on the ladder to their subsequent Grand Final victory.
That skill set boasts a rare and deadly combination of a long and accurate kick and fantastic vision as an outside midfielder.
And that is what has seen him continue to improve throughout the year to the point where he may be snapped up as high as within the top five of the National Draft next month.
With an outside game that appears to cover all bases and with the enormity of his rise in output from the start of the season to now, he appears to be a fantastic prospect and one of those players of the next generation who does turn games with his ability.
Let’s hope he can, as he makes the transition to AFL.