AFL Draft: Stephen Michael, Luke Jackson among ruck heroes for Collie giant Jackson Broadbent

Headshot of Jackson Barrett
Jackson BarrettSouth Western Times
Peel's Jackson Broadbent competes against East Perth's Sokaa Soka in the colts.
Camera IconPeel's Jackson Broadbent competes against East Perth's Sokaa Soka in the colts. Credit: Aaron Kirby/Coastal Times

Giant Collie ruckman Jackson Broadbent knows what he wants to be, who he wants to be like and how he is going to do it.

As he firms as one of the best ruck talents in next year’s AFL Draft, Broadbent has become a student of some of the game’s great ruckmen, including one of the best WAFL players of all-time - a legend from his home town.

The 203cm beanpole became just the third player to make his league debut for Peel Thunder at the tender age of 16 during a breakout season in 2021, which has also seen him selected in both the AFL Academy program and the State under-18s summer squad.

Broadbent, now 17, was compared to West Coast Eagles legend Dean Cox last week by WAFC State talent manager Adam Jones. However it is another pair of West Aussies the teenager pays close attention to.

Collie draft prospect Jackson Broadbent
Camera IconCollie draft prospect Jackson Broadbent. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

One of them is South Fremantle hero and now Collie resident Stephen Michael, who played the last of his 243 games for the Bulldogs nearly two decades before Broadbent was born.

“I generally try to model my game off Stephen Michael,” Broadbent said.

“I watch all the videos that are there to watch.”

Legends of the Bush. Former WA Football legend Stephen Michael at the gates of the Collie Recreation Ground in Collie. Picture Jackson Flindell The West Australian
Camera IconStephen Michael Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

As the role of the modern ruckman changes, Broadbent said he was open to spending time forward but wanted to grow into being a number one ruck.

It is a similar journey to the one taken by Melbourne ruck-forward and East Fremantle product Luke Jackson on the way to premiership success.

“There is a few, Brodie Grundy, Max Gawn and Nic Naitanui are obviously the main three I look at but also Luke Jackson,” Broadbent said.

“He is someone I have a good look at because he plays that forward role as a young player so it is good to watch him.

“It would be awesome to play that Luke Jackson role at a young age, but when I develop a bit I see myself becoming more of a ruck than a forward.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 01: Luke Jackson of the Demons celebrates a goal during the round 20 AFL match between Gold Coast Suns and Melbourne Demons at Marvel Stadium on August 01, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images via AFL Photos)
Camera Icon Luke Jackson Credit: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos

Jones told The West Australian last week that Broadbent as a “great country kid” who is a “real larrikin”.

“Jackson is a terrific ruck prospect, a really hard worker, gets around the ground, racks up the possessions and uses the ball really well, a bit like Dean Cox,” he said.

His first assignment with the State under-18s is a pre-season training camp this week, as officials remain hopeful of a return to a full national carnival in 2022.

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