Queenslander Joel Wilkinson set the NAB AFL Draft Combine at the AIS in Canberra alight today with a record-breaking 20m sprint.

Wednesday, 29 September, 2010

Queenslander Joel Wilkinson set the NAB AFL Draft Combine at the AIS in Canberra alight today with a record-breaking 20m sprint.

Wilkinson broke the previous mark set by Port Adelaide’s Danyle Pearce in 2004 not once but twice on a day when the old mark was bettered by two players inside 30 minutes after standing for six years.

To complete a phenomenal day, Wilkinson also won the repeat 20m sprint, which was tested for the first time and involved six runs over the distance, with a 10-second recovery.

And that came after he had recorded the fourth best leap in the vertical jump on Tuesday.

Day two of the Combine, previously known as the Draft Camp, started with a bang when Eastern Ranges’ half-back flanker Brad Harvey went under Pearce’s time of 2.79 seconds. He clocked 2.78 seconds.

Then Wilkinson, in the first of three runs, ran a blistering 2.784 seconds, rounded down to 2.78 seconds.

And then, with his third and final run, he stocked the clock at 2.763 seconds, which became the official mark of 2.76 seconds.

To put this into perspective, track & field experts advise that Usain Bolt, the world’s quickest man, runs about 2.50 for the first 20m of his 100m sprint so Wilkinson’s time is certainly in elite company.

Wilkinson, captain of the Australia Post Queensland U18 Scorpions this year, has only been playing competitive football for two years, but there was never any doubt about his athletic prowess.

The 185cm Broadbeach defender/midfielder comes from a track & field background, with his Nigerian-born father having once qualified for the 100m final at the Australian titles.

Wilkinson told the AFL website: ““[It did feel quick] but that’s just through confidence. When people are confident you run and you think ‘that felt quick’ but I never knew I was running that quick.

“It was a bit of a buzz having everyone here [watching]. I’m a bit shocked really.

“I had a big emphasis on today, especially the repeat sprints, but I honestly wasn’t expecting too much from the 20m sprint so it gives me a lot of confidence.

“But the pressure is definitely not any [greater] on me because my expectations [of myself] definitely exceed anyone else’s.

“I put a lot more pressure on me than the coaches do.”

The top five recorded 20m times in all-time AFL draft camp history heading into this year’s camp belonged to Pearce (2004), West Coast’s Ashley Smith (2.80 in 2008), Melbourne’s Jack Watts (2.82 in 2008), Fremantle’s Stephen Hill (2.83 in 208) and Brisbane’s Jared Brennan (2.83 in 2002).

The repeat sprint was tested for the first time today, with each player timed over the distance six times, leaving every 20 seconds.

His sectional times were 3.74sec, 3.79sec, 3.90sec, 3.99sec, 3.99sec and 4.00sec as he beat Harvey (again) by a total of 0.06sec. His total time was 23.46sec, which becomes the camp record.

GWS coach Kevin Sheedy was on hand to witness the achievements and was glowing in his praise for the two players and the combine which is now in its 17th year.
“It keeps improving every year which I think is important and I think the calibre of the players coming through [is too],” Sheedy said.

“Getting the [the young players to understand] the idea of what you’ve got to prepare to actually do one day in the big league.

“It really starts with having an attitude to get along here and test yourself against the best.”

Our Supporters