2016 Division One championships preview

The AFL Academy against Werribee. Friday 1st April Photo Credit: AFL Photos (Scott Barbour)
The AFL Academy against Werribee. Friday 1st April Photo Credit: AFL Photos (Scott Barbour)

The Division One Under 18 Championships kick off tomorrow in Western Australia. In a different format to the previous editions, there is one less round whilst the ‘Allies’ will join the competition in the pursuit of the converted title. You can find out more about the Allies here. Vic Country are once again strong and are favourites to take out the title, but a strong Allies combined team will likely give them a shake setting up a big final clash down at Simonds Stadium, with the winner likely to take out the title. Vic Metro too are stronger than last year and will be looking for an improved effort. Western Australia’s 2015 pool was poor filled with many bottom age talents, who will be on show this year in an attempt to be drafted, whilst South Australia will likely be down on their output from previous seasons.

South Australia kick things off against the Allies on Saturday, before Vic Country take on Western Australia in Perth. Vic Metro begin the carnival with the bye before taking on Vic Country in the ‘local derby’ on Queens Birthday.

The fixture for all the games can be found here.

AFL Draft Central division one prediction:

  1. Allies (4-0)
  2. Vic Country (3-1)
  3. Vic Metro (2-2)
  4. Western Australia (1-3)
  5. South Australia (0-4)

Tips & Larke Medalist
Matt Balmer- Allies & Todd Marshall

Peter Williams- Vic Country & Will Brodie

Allies –

For the ALLIES it looks likely that their final match of the Division One championships down at Simonds Stadium will decide the winner. Vic Country meet the Allies and if all goes as expected both sides will be undefeated going into the game.

The Allies have a very strong squad and could nearly have half of the top 20 on draft night.

Jack Bowes tops the list of prospects, a smooth moving midfielder who averaged 25 disposals and won Queensland’s MVP in the Division Two championships.

Come November, Bowes may be one of the first names called out and is linked to the Gold Coast Suns as an academy selection.

NSW/ACT midfielders Will Setterfield, Kobe Mutch and Harry Perryman all showed good signs throughout the Division Two championships and will be important figures in the Allies side.

Inside 50, the NSW/ACT forwards Todd Marshall, Zach Sproule and Ben Davis are key to the Allies putting a score on the board to defeat their opposition.

At the opposite end- Declan Watson, Elliot Himmelberg and Harrison Macreadie will have the crucial role to shut down on their opponents. All three rebound the ball well out of defence complementing the side well.

Allies Round 1 teams
Allies Round 1 team

Vic Country –

VIC COUNTRY will be gunning to go back-to-back after an undefeated championship in 2015.

Midfielders Will Brodie and Hugh McCluggage have been touted as Top 10 picks and both members are apart of the AFL Academy. Brodie was the best academy player against VFL opposition earlier in the year, whilst McCluggage is averaging 27 disposals in the TAC Cup.

Vic Country have a strong forward line up, with three of the top four TAC Cup goal kickers.

Tall Forwards Josh Battle (12 goals in three games) and Brett Blair (27 goals in eight games) will be the tall targets inside 50.

169cm small forward Sam “Rat” Fowler will be at their feet and expect him to hit the scoreboard.

Young defender Oscar Clavarino will have a tough job on the best opposition forward. Clavarino has played solid football for his school and is apart of the Level One academy making him not eligible until the 2017 draft.

Vic Country Round One team
Vic Country Round One team

Vic Metro –

VIC METRO appear to have a stronger line-up than last year and will be one of the best chances at pulling off an upset against either Vic Country or the Allies.

Jack Scrimshaw is a name to keep an eye on throughout the carnival. The 193cm tall has the ability to play both tall and small whilst has run through the midfield at school football level for Haileybury. Scrimshaw has missed a lot of football over the past year and a half, with a strong run of form in the championships possibly throwing his name up as the first Vic Metro player picked.

Midfielders Daniel Venables and Tim Taranto are two who will play an important part in their pursuit at an improved year on their 2015 haul. Both have pushed forward and hit the scoreboard at school and TAC Cup level.

Running Half Back Andrew McGrath is another who will provide plenty of dash with the ball in hand. McGrath has been one of the best performers in the TAC Cup, averaging 32.5 disposals. McGrath’s best game included 44 disposals, 14 clearances and 19 tackles against Gippsland Power in May.

Collingwood fans will be keeping their eye on the championships, with Callum Brown (son of Gavin) and Josh Daicos (son of Peter) both making the squad.

Brown is averaging 24 disposals in the TAC Cup, whilst Daicos has showed plenty of speed and dash on the outside for Oakleigh Chargers. Both will also spend time inside 50 and know where the goals are with Brown booting three in the TAC Cup Preliminary Final and Daicos kicked three goals against Bendigo Pioneers a month ago.

Western Australia

WESTERN AUSTRALIA will be looking for a much improved 2015 carnival where they won just the sole game in Round One against South Australia.

Their 2015 squad had plenty of younger players who are now eligible for the draft.

Hyphenated midfielders Sam Petrevski-Seton and Sam Powell-Pepper are two to watch throughout the next month.

Petrevski-Seton kicks well on both of his feet and was an All-Australian in 2015. Petrevski-Seton has had a few injuries in recent times and will miss at least the first game of the carnival.

Powell-Pepper is a hard nosed midfielder that is a strong contested ball winner. Powell-Pepper is averaging just a touch under 24 disposals in the WAFL Colts this season.

Ruckman Tim English is another who has jumped out of the blocks. The over-ager concentrated on his schooling in 2015 and wasn’t apart of their championships last year. According to those who have seen him, English is a strong ruckman (averaging 23 disposals) around the stoppages with the smarts to tap it to different directions as well as having a good kick on him.

Defender Josh Rotham was also promising for the AFL Academy with his pace and athleticism in defence. At 192cm, Rotham probably doesn’t play as a true tall defender and looms as a likely rebounding defender off half back throughout the Division One championships.

Western Australia Round One team
Western Australia Round One team

South Australia –

SOUTH AUSTRALIA will likely have one of their weaker squads in a few seasons.

Jonty Scharenberg has been named Vice-Captain of the squad and will be a crucial player in their midfielder. Scharenberg is averaging just under 20 disposals in the SANFL reserves working hard at the stoppages. Scharenberg is the younger brother of injured Collingwood defender Matt Scharenberg. Expect Scharenberg to bash his way around the centre throughout the carnival.

North Adelaide midfielder Jack Graham has been made captain of the squad and too will find a place in the think of the contest.

Both members of the leadership group will be looking to get first hands on the ball from the Ruckmen. Both Peter Ladhams and Jordan Sweet were apart of the AFL Academy and tower over 200cm.

Ladhams had the second best hitout rate in the 2015 championships and will once again be looking to dominate while Sweet is averaging 23 hitouts in the SANFL Reserves competition. It will be interesting to see whether South Australia will fit both into their squad or whether they can find a role for either of them forward.

Ben Jarman, the son of three time premiership player Darren will represent SA in the carnival and is eligible for both Hawthorn and Adelaide as a Father/Son selection at the end of the season.

Kym Lebois will also provide plenty of spark in the forward line, as one of the quicker players in the draft pool.

South Australia Round One team
South Australia Round One team

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