Hawthorn premiership player Xavier Ellis says Hawk Denver Grainger-Barras best young AFL talent

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Josh GarleppThe West Australian
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Denver Grainger-Barras (left) and Shaun Burgoyne of the Hawks celebrate during the 2021 AFL Round 15 match between the GWS Giants and the Hawthorn Hawks.
Camera IconDenver Grainger-Barras (left) and Shaun Burgoyne of the Hawks celebrate during the 2021 AFL Round 15 match between the GWS Giants and the Hawthorn Hawks. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

Former Hawthorn premiership player Xavier Ellis believes Hawks youngster and Swan Districts product Denver Grainger-Barras is the number one young AFL talent to build a club around.

The 19-year-old tall defender has played four games since debuting in round 15 this year, most notably with a six-mark performance in the side’s round 18 draw against Melbourne.

While discussing which young players would be the best to build a list around, co-host Dylan Buckley offered Carlton trio Harry McKay, Sam Walsh and Jacob Weitering but Ellis believed his former club’s number six pick in the 2020 draft has shown plenty in his brief AFL career.

“Denver Grainger-Barras is going to be a star,” Ellis said on The Hard Ball Gets AFL Show.

“I’m a little bit biased obviously with Hawthorn, but watching him play the last couple weeks - he’s got it. He reads it so well and he’s got to put on a bit of size he’s still skinny but Denver is my number one man I want to get my hands on.”

Ellis was traded to West Coast in 2013 and witnessed a young Grainger-Barras dominating at the junior level with the Swans long before he caught the eye of AFL recruiters from around the country.

“I remember watching Denver when he was 14 out at Swan Districts one night and he stood a foot taller than everyone else,” Ellis said.

“You know when you see kids at a young age that are tall and they are just uncoordinated, this bloke would almost kicking it to himself.

“Kick it, mark it, kick it, mark it, he was so coordinated. I remember thinking geez this kid got some talent but maybe he’s just bigger than everyone else.

Listen to the full discussion on the Hard Ball Gets AFL Show here as well as weekly round wraps and interviews with footy legends.

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