Brayden Ham exceeded many expectations in 2019 to make his first season at The Hangar a memorable one.
Selected with pick No. 72 in last year’s NAB AFL Draft, Ham immediately impressed the club to earn a senior debut in the Kick for the Kids game on Good Friday against North Melbourne.
He settled snugly into the top level and went on to take the field in five AFL games including the side’s elimination final loss to West Coast, earning invaluable experience and displaying his exciting talent.
A versatile player, Ham’s ability to be thrown into a variety of positions and roles proved important at both senior and VFL levels throughout the year.
Average disposals: 10
Average score involvements: 3.4
Average tackles: 2.4
Average inside 50s: 2.2
Ham didn’t miss a beat in his return to the senior side in round 22 against Fremantle, entering the team with some confidence after a strong run of form in the VFL.
He impressed throughout the important match, utilising his athleticism and work rate to repeatedly find space and drive the ball forward.
Ham was comfortable under pressure, racking up 16 disposals, 382 metres gained, six marks, four score involvements, four inside 50s and a rebound 50.
Ham showed no signs of nerves on the big stage on debut and topped off a terrific day in the perfect way late in the final term.
Capitalising on a penetrating kick inside 50 from eventual Crichton Medal winner Zach Merrett, Ham showed great craft in the air to out-mark Kangaroo Shaun Atley before coolly slotting the set shot and soaking in the moment.
Ham will only improve next year after earning great experience at the top level this season and another pre-season in the gym should see him gain even more opportunities in his second year.
He looks set to be an important part of the club’s future and fans have plenty to look forward to as he continues to develop.