Essendon has welcomed highly touted inside midfielder Ben Hobbs in the 2021 NAB AFL Draft.
The Greater Western Victoria Rebels product, who hails from Horsham, arrives at the Bombers via pick No.13 – the club’s first selection.
A natural ball-winner, Hobbs is a competitive beast who tackles with intent and drifts forward to kick goals.
He has been earmarked as a future leader in the AFL, having captained Vic Country this year.
An ankle injury in April threatened to derail Hobbs’ 2021 NAB League season, but after surgery and a nine-week layoff, Hobbs returned with 34 disposals, two goals and nine tackles against the Murray Bushrangers in a nod to his grit and professionalism.
He finished the season in rampant fashion to emerge as one of the best prospects in this year’s draft crop, averaging 28.5 disposals, 5.8 clearances and 5.5 tackles from his four full NAB League games.
General manager of list and recruiting Adrian Dodoro said Hobbs was the perfect fit for the Bombers.
"We had Ben in the top seven and didn't expect him to be available at our pick, so we're very surprised but delighted," Dodoro said.
"He fits the type of player [senior coach] Ben Rutten wants - hardworking, committed, and has a big tank. He's a ready-made player."
The Bombers will take another five selections into the remaining rounds of the draft, which will be held on Thursday night.
BEN HOBBS AT A GLANCE
Position: Inside midfielder
Team: Greater Western Victoria Rebels/Vic Country
DOB: September 16, 2003
Key strengths: Ball-winning ability, power, competitiveness
Key stat: Recorded 37 disposals and two goals in Vic Metro’s opening trial game in June
"In a draft full of players dividing opinion among club recruiters, the majority are sold when it comes to Hobbs. A growing list of them rate the brave accumulator as the best pure inside midfielder in the pool." – Callum Twomey, AFL.com.au