Restricting the talents of others is a talent that has Oakleigh Chargers defender Isaac Quaynor in line to be an early 2018 NAB AFL Draft selection.
The 18-year-old Bulleen Templestowe and Beverley Hills (Yarra Junior FL) product is tied to Collingwood’s Next Generation Academy due to his father’s Ghanaian heritage but looks likely to attract early bids from other AFL clubs at the November 22-23 draft following a decorated season.
182cm Quaynor earned U18 All Australian selection after three stellar performances for Vic Metro at the AFL U18 Championships and was named in the TAC Cup Team of the Year having averaged 16 disposals and four marks per game across 13 matches for grand finalist Oakleigh.
His ability to lock down on one of the opposition’s most dangerous small or medium forwards has come naturally to him since first playing football later than most of his contemporaries in 2010.
“I’ve always been a defender in team games, whether it was soccer or basketball or footy,” Quaynor said at the recent AFL Draft Combine, where he recorded the best score in the goalkicking test and finished in the top 10 of several other tests.
“I think that’s one thing that comes naturally to me – being able to shut down an opponent and sacrifice my game a little bit for the good of the team.
“I like to pride myself on making sure I’m defending my man and taking him out of the game, regardless of whether I have 10 touches or 20 touches myself. That’s my role in the team.”
Quaynor’s reading of the play and intercept marking has also stood out across 30 games in two years for the Chargers, while he had chances to move into the midfield in the back half of this TAC Cup season – including later in the Grand Final when Oakleigh charged home only to fall six points short of the Dandenong Stingrays.
He sees a shift from defence as something “to work towards in the future”, with his love of the game only fully realised relatively recently in his football journey.
“I always wanted to be a professional athlete, but I just didn’t really know which path it was going to be,” Quaynor said.
“I was playing footy a lot more socially than seriously (early in my junior career) and it was between footy and basketball as to what I wanted to put all my time into. When I initially got invited to Oakleigh’s under-16 squad, that was a pretty big moment for me.
“That got the ball rolling and ignited the passion I have for footy now. Since then I’ve basically been all about footy and I stopped playing basketball last year. Footy is definitely my love at the moment.”
THE AFL DRAFT WATCH ‘FAST FIVE’ with Isaac Quaynor
Why should an AFL club draft you?
“I have put in a lot of work over the last few years to help me achieve the goal of being an AFL footballer. I am a hard-working person, pretty passionate and I like to think I am pretty outgoing – I like to get around a lot of the boys.”
What is the funniest or weirdest question you’ve been asked by an AFL club?
“Collingwood asked me: You have to speak as if you were Steve Smith or Cam Bancroft in the cricket ball-tampering saga, so that put me on the spot a little bit. I was edgy at the start but got through it at the end.”
Who is your football idol?
“‘Buddy’ Franklin (Sydney). I have enjoyed watching him over the years. He kicks plenty of goals and is exciting to watch, and just a freak. The way he goes about it off the field is pretty impressive as well.”
Who will be selected with pick no.1 in the 2018 AFL Draft?
“Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons) – just how consistent his year has been. He is a ripper bloke off the field as well and just has it all. He is the real deal.”
Which of your 2018 teammates should also be in draft consideration?
“I think Matt Day is a player that could get picked up. He had an interrupted year this year but he had a great year last year and a couple of good games this year. Kyle Dunkley had some pretty good form this year as well, Jack Ross won our best-and-fairest and there are plenty of others I could list that had a great year.”