Angus Brayshaw (born 9 January 1996) is a professional Australian rules footballer playing for the Melbourne Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). A midfielder, 1.87 metres (6 ft 2 in) tall and weighing 90 kilograms (200 lb), Brayshaw is capable of contributing as both an inside and outside midfielder. He has strong family connections in Australian sport whereby his father, Mark Brayshaw, is a former North Melbourne player and the current AFL Coaches' Association Chief Executive Officer, his uncle, James Brayshaw, is a former state cricketer, former North Melbourne chairman and a sport media personality, and his grandfather, Ian Brayshaw, is a former state cricketer and footballer with the Claremont Football Club.
Brayshaw played top-level football early when he played in the TAC Cup for the Sandringham Dragons as a bottom-aged player, in addition to representing Victoria at under 16 level, and continued to represent the state which culminated in selection for Vic Metro in the 2014 AFL Under 18 Championships. His achievements at junior level included the most valuable player award at state level, the best on ground academy player, and selection in the All-Australian team and TAC Cup team of the year. He was recruited by Melbourne with the third overall selection in the 2014 AFL draft and he made his debut during the 2015 season, resulting in a fifth-place finish in the AFL Rising Star award.
Brayshaw was born to Mark and Debra Brayshaw in Western Australia. He was born into a sporting family with his grandfather, Ian, representing Western Australia in cricket and is a premiership player with Western Australian Football League club, Claremont. His uncle James played first-class cricket for Western Australia and South Australia and his father played 32 matches for the North Melbourne Football Club.
Brayshaw attended Haileybury College and played his junior football with the Hampton Rovers Football Club. He was recognised as an elite talent at a young age after receiving a scholarship through the AIS-AFL Academy as part of their level one squad in the 2012 intake. In the same year he was selected to play with Vic Metro in the under 16 championships and he was awarded the most valuable player for Vic Metro.
He played five matches as a bottom-aged player in the TAC Cup for the Sandringham Dragons in 2013 and after being ineligible for the 2013 AFL draft by missing the age cut-off date by nine days, Brayshaw spent 2014 competing in junior competitions and studying a double degree in commerce and engineering at Monash University. He was selected as part of the level two squad in the 2013 intake for the AIS-AFL Academy and travelled to Europe for two weeks in April 2014 with a 31-man squad. At the start of the tour, Brayshaw was awarded the MCC Chairman's Medal as the best Academy player after competing in a match against Collingwood's Victorian Football League (VFL) side at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Playing for the Sandringham Dragons in the TAC Cup in 2014, Brayshaw was regarded as one of the top draft prospects for the 2014 AFL draft and he was appointed captain of Sandringham. He earned mid-year state honours by being selected for Vic Metro in the Under 18 Championships and he was rewarded with All-Australian selection as a half-back flanker. In addition, his efforts in the TAC Cup saw him secure a spot in the team of the year as a ruck-rover.
Brayshaw was highly rated among recruiters in his final junior year and he was likened to Geelong captain, Joel Selwood for his "fearless attack on the ball", he was also rated as a potential number one draft pick by AFL national talent manager, Kevin Sheehan. He was appraised as the player who would have the biggest impact in their first season due to his body size and natural leadership.
Brayshaw was linked to the Melbourne Football Club in the weeks leading to the draft and he was ultimately recruited by the club with their second selection and third overall in the 2014 national draft. He was predicted to make a round one debut after strong performances with Melbourne's affiliate team, the Casey Scorpions, in Victorian Football League (VFL) practice matches, despite not featuring for Melbourne in the NAB Challenge. He debuted in the twenty-six point win against Gold Coast at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in round one and laid a match-high nine tackles before being substituted off in the fourth quarter. After a string of consistent performances, he was awarded the round ten nomination for the Rising Star for his efforts in the annual Queen's Birthday Clash against Collingwood, where he recorded eighteen disposals, six tackles, seven inside-50s, four goal assists, and a goal. His performance was praised by former Melbourne captain, Garry Lyon, and he noted that Brayshaw would be a "200-gamer and leader of the Demons." He missed only one match during his debut season due to being rested against Fremantle at Domain Stadium in round 22. His season was acclaimed within the AFL industry, particularly his mid-season form, where his tenacity and desperation around the ball was highlighted with comparisons to Joel Selwood, in addition to former Brisbane Lions captain, Jonathan Brown commending his toughness. He was noted as an equal favourite for the Rising Star alongside Carlton midfielder, Patrick Cripps, by Herald Sun chief football writer, Mark Robinson, after his performance against Geelong in round 12. He ultimately finished fifth in the award after a drop in form in the second-half of the season. He was recognised among his peers by finishing second in the AFL Players Association best first year player award, behind Sydney midfielder, Isaac Heeney, furthermore, he finished eleventh in Melbourne's best and fairest count.
Brayshaw was highly rated by the AFL players heading into the 2016 season whereby he was named the second best player in the league recruited from the 2014 and 2015 drafts. In the opening match of the 2016 NAB Challenge against Port Adelaide, he injured his knee five seconds into the match after a tackle from Port Adelaide midfielder, Hamish Hartlett and the injury forced him to miss the remainder of the pre-season competition. In a bid to be play in the round one match against Greater Western Sydney, he played for Casey in a VFL practice match where he recorded seventeen disposals and a goal. He ultimately missed the round one win against Greater Western Sydney, and he played his first AFL match for the season in round two in the thirteen point loss against Essendon at the Melbourne Cricket Ground where he recorded nine disposals. He was omitted the next week for the match against North Melbourne at Blundstone Arena due to looking "tired". He returned the next week and he played in the round four and five wins against Collingwood and Richmond, in which he garnered fifteen and nine disposals respectively before being dropped again for the round six match against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium. The same weekend in the VFL match against Essendon, he sustained a concussion after a football kicked by teammate, Alex Neal-Bullen, hit him in the back of the head. Two weeks later, he suffered a second concussion when he had a head clash in the VFL match against Sandringham and he was placed on the sidelines for an "extended period of time". He played his first match in four weeks when he played for Casey against North Ballarat, where he accumulated twenty-nine disposals and kicked two goals. He returned to the senior side in the thirty-six point loss against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium in round 17 where he recorded twenty-three disposals and seven clearances. He played the remainder of the season and finished with ten matches in total for the season, which saw him fall to twenty-third in Melbourne's best and fairest count.Statistics are correct to the end of the 2017 season