It’s been as good a year as any for small forward Jackson McLachlan. 

‘Jacko’ has been a staple of Geelong’s VFL side for many years and has only gotten better with time.

The Bankers VFL coaching staff have been happy with his pressure and ability to impact the contest throughout the season so far.

“It’s definitely a focus of mine to keep working on my pressure and for our smalls, especially up forward, just keep locking the ball in there and keep the pressure up,” McLachlan said.

“I’ve always focussed more offensively but this year it’s been more defensive.”

“Whether it’s focussing on laying tackles and applying pressure, it gets you in the game earlier and it’s the role that’s required for our smalls up forward.”

VFL R5 Josh Jenkins and Jackson McLachlan in action against Casey. Credit Arj Giese

McLachlan had 21 disposals, six marks and 11 score involvements against Coburg last round, earning his spot in the coaches best-on list.

With the mid-season draft fast approaching, it’s unsurprising that he’s put his hand up for the chance to play senior footy with numbers like that.

“The name’s in the hat but I’m not too worried about it really, just focussing on building with the boys at the moment really,” he said.

“If your name’s there, you’ve got your name in the hat but I love playing here and that’s the main thing at the moment.”

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As has been a theme for the boys so far this year, it all comes down to the synergy of the group which ‘Jacko’ says is certainly building well.

“It’s only early days still but I think we’ve got a good core group, the boys are playing to the structures and we’re building nicely.

“We just really stuck to our structures and fundamentals, using the first give a lot which was good and we had good one on ones deep.”

“In the midfield we just got it out of there and kept it simple getting it straight down to our big fellas.”

VFL Practice match Jackson McLachlan in action against North Melbourne. Credit Arj Giese

It wouldn’t be too bad picking off the crumbs courtesy of a Charlie Constable clearance and Josh Jenkins impacting the marking contest.

Geelong’s small forwards have played a massive role in the big wins and keeping matches close, with ‘Jacko’ leading the way.

“Me and Smithy (Luke Smith) work well up there, we’ve been playing together for a few years now,” he said.

“Then the AFL lads, obviously you’ve got guys like Francis (Evans) who came back on the weekend which was good.”

“All the other boys who come up forward are very accommodating, so I can’t really complain about playing with any of them.”

The 2021 NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft will take place on Wednesday 2 June at 7pm.