Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 8

ROUND 8 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in. Some sides remained slightly depleted over the weekend with school football making its return.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

WWT Eagles vs. South Adelaide

By: Tom Wyman

WWT:

#7 Caleb Poulter

It was another strong outing from the first round candidate, who accumulated plenty of the ball around the ground. Poulter won the opening two centre clearances of the game and spent considerable time up forward in the latter stages of the first term. Although a couple of his early handballs missed their intended targets, Poulter moved well in congestion and was typically damaging by foot. For example, a searching kick deep inside-50 to Zac Phillips was expertly placed. He then helped extend the Eagles’ lead with a nice snap on his trusty left boot.

Although some of his kicking on his non-preferred side was inaccurate, it was encouraging to see him back himself in with his right boot. Poulter showed off his aerial prowess with a strong contested grab later in the game and was clean at ground level all day. He was most damaging as an outside midfielder where he was able to weigh up his options and execute cleanly. He finished a well-rounded day with 28 disposals, three marks, four tackles, five clearances, seven inside-50s and four rebound-50s.

#9 Max Litster

The midfielder found a heap of the ball around the ground and was particularly damaging at the coalface. Litster’s work around the stoppages proved vital to his sides early dominance and his work rate around the ground was noticeable. He finished the match with 30 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and eight clearances.

#19 Zac Phillips

Phillips was clearly the best ruckman on the ground and his connection with his fellow midfielders was a cut above the rest. He rotated through the forward line when Jonte Hunter-Price was given a run through the ruck, and managed to convert a regulation set-shot after marking a beautifully placed kick from Poulter. Phillips was willing to get himself involved at ground level, laying a couple of nice tackles and winning three clearances for himself. The bigman concluded the outing with 16 disposals, one goal, five marks, three tackles and 26 hit-outs.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Ball magnet, Burgoyne has been one of the competition’s most prolific midfielders so far this season, and he again accumulated a heap of the ball against South Adelaide. A smooth mover who appears to glide across the turf, Burgoyne was largely effective by foot and took the game on whenever the right option presented itself. He boasts a very natural and fluent kicking action and took almost all of the kick-ins for the Eagles, which will have admittedly inflated his stats.

Burgoyne generated plenty of rebound from the defence but also showed off his abilities at the contest by winning five clearances. He backed himself in by foot and clearly wanted the ball in his hands. Like many juniors, he is still quite lightly built but possesses a nice frame which will excite AFL clubs. A bottom-ager who is eligible for the 2021 draft, Burgoyne moved well through traffic and showed a couple of flashy skills, including a terrific side-step. He finished the encounter with 32 disposals, five marks, five clearances and nine rebound 50s.

Others: 

Midfielder Harrison Dawkins was heavily involved at the stoppages early on, using his strong body to burst his way through several packs. He nailed a nice crumbing goal in the first term and was one of the Eagles’ best at the contest, winning six clearances to go with 16 disposals and five inside 50s. Tall forward Henry Smith‘s contested marking stood out. He spent minimal time time in the ruck and was the go-to target in attack for Woodville-West Torrens. He didn’t find much of it but was still effective, with his reach and overhead marking proving a challenge to defend. Smith finished with eight disposals and four marks (three contested).

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

South Adelaide:

#4 Max Clifton

Clifton had a highly influential day through the midfield. His long left foot was a once again a standout of his game and his toughness around the ball will have really pleased the South Adelaide coaching staff. Clifton possesses a very distinct kicking style which allows him to get plenty of distance and penetration. He was also very smart with ball in hand, often kicking into open space and allowing his teammates to run onto it and surge forward. Whenever he found himself in some space, Clifton looked to accelerate away and maximise his damage.

Although his ball use was terrific, his stoppage nous and toughness didn’t go unnoticed. He laid an excellent shepherd at a stoppage to block an Eagles opponent and allow teammate Will Verrall to gain possession. Whilst he won’t get a stat for the play, it was instrumental in his side heading inside 50. A strongly-built midfielder, Clifton added a real physical presence to the Panthers’ midfield and played with a healthy aggression. He looked to take the game on whenever possible and was also very clean by hand. A real on-field leader, Clifton finished the day with 20 disposals, six marks, seven tackles, six clearances and seven inside-50s.

#10 Brayden Cook

Cook has rocketed up draft boards in recent weeks and the hype will only continue to increase after he won South Adelaide the game off his own boot. Cook started the match on the wing and showed a glimpse of his terrific leap to almost take a great pack mark early on. He sent a laser-like ball inside 50 to the leading Verrall and showed elite acceleration to speed away from his opponent and run into goal, but his kick missed to the near side. Along with his speed, Cook’s penetrating delivery inside-50 was exceptional. He set-up several goals by hand and foot and missed a couple of attempts himself, but late in the third term, Cook booted the first of his five majors. He simply judged the flight of the ball better than everyone else, remained composed and converted the checkside.

Crucially, Cook knows when to have a crack at goal and when to pass it off, but in the fourth quarter it was all about him. He took a terrific one-on-one mark deep inside-50 and goaled to give the Panthers the perfect start to the final term. His third, a freakish soccer goal from the boundary line, was one for the highlight reel and added to South’s late momentum. Just moments after, it appeared he was going to do the same from an identical spot, but as the ball bounced away he tapped it back in and ran back to gather and keep the play alive. Cook’s expert use of the body in marking contests, combined with his vice-like hands and damaging leap proved too much for the Eagles defenders to handle. A potential first round contender, Cook gathered 22 disposals, eight marks (four contested), three tackles and five inside 50s in a breathtaking display up forward.

#17 Harry Spacie

Spacie was one of the Panthers’ best in the thrilling come-from-behind victory. He set the tone early with a terrific pack mark on the wing, juggling it but making it stick on the way down. Down back, Spacie was composed under pressure and positioned himself well to cut off several attacks. He played with genuine courage, always fully committing himself at ground level and wasn’t afraid to stand under the packs. However, when the Panthers needed a spark in the midfield, Spacie moved on-ball and played a vital role in turning the tide. He used his big frame to bullock his way through would-be tacklers and fought brilliantly at ground level. He was also involved in a couple of important scoring plays late in the final term for South Adelaide. His terrific kick found teammate Luke Mitton inside 50, who nailed the final goal of the game, and his clean handball to a teammate in space helped set up Jack Flett for the match-winning shot at goal. Spacie finished with 22 disposals, seven marks, six tackles and three inside 50s in a highly respectable showing.

#33 Arlo Draper

One of several talented bottom-agers in the Panthers side, Draper worked his way into the game nicely. An ill-directed handball resulted in an Eagles goal early in the second term, however he made up for it shortly after by launching a bomb from long range which eclipsed all sets of hands and landed across the goal line. His ability to bounce back after making a mistake was also apparent in the final term, when he caught Poulter holding-the-ball after he was pinged for the same offence moments earlier. Draper was clean at ground level and showed some individual brilliance when he won a tricky one-on-two near the boundary, then using great vision to nail a teammate with the subsequent handball. He showed some nice speed and acceleration and was very effective at the stoppages in the final term. Draper finished with 19 disposals, three tackles, seven clearances and three inside 50s.

Others:

Defender Jayden Little took a couple of strong contested grabs down back for the victors. He accumulated 16 disposals, six marks (two contested) and three rebound 50s. Hugo Hoeck had some exciting moments in attack and created plenty of scoring chances. He gathered 10 disposals, one goal and three behinds, two marks and two tackles. Dylan Brown played taller than his height would suggest, hauling in a couple of handy grabs. He finished with one goal and four inside 50s from 11 disposals. Phoenix Spicer was typically exciting, producing another trademark run down the wing in the last term before capping it off with a neat centering ball to the man of the hour, Cook, who goalled. Spicer’s highlight reel keeps expanding with every game and he finished with 13 disposals, five tackles and seven inside 50s.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Central District vs. Sturt

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#12 Brodie Lake

A reasonably new addition to the Centrals Under 18 squad, Lake has made the move South to pursue a greater weight of opportunities in the SANFL. He is tied to the Gold Coast SUNS by way of their access to the Darwin zone, and is benefitting from simply being able to get out on the park. After a steady debut outing, Lake made it two wins from two games with a much-improved performance. He was a constant through the midfield, able to win his own ball in-close, while also utilising his strong running capacity to accumulate on the spread. Lake was a touch fumbly early and had to make a few adjustments to find his range by foot, but had no trouble in front of goal with a major in the third term. That particular play was made by Lake’s vertical leap, which proved to be a handy string to his bow along with solid tackling pressure.

#13 Austin McDonald

When the Bulldogs needed a lift in the final term to see the game out, 16-year-old McDonald was one to stand tall. He put together a string of efforts late in the piece which would have undoubtedly lifted Centrals; strongly containing a bursting Mani Liddy to catch him holding-the-ball at a stoppage, pinging another opponent inside defensive 50, and capping off his hot five minutes with a smother on the same arc. He was impactful throughout the earlier stages too, winning a bunch of ball in the clinches as an ever-present through midfield. McDonald’s kick penetration and tendency to rush his disposal at times can be sharpened, but will inevitably iron out as he gets up to speed with his more seasoned opponents. He won team-highs in disposals (28) and clearances (nine), which is incredible considering his age.

#27 Leek Alleer

Alleer has played himself into a consistent vein of form in the Under 18s, and looks to have really found a home on the wing. In an solid outing, he was able to impact the centre bounce breaks off his line, while also breaking hard both ways to find the ball among either arc. Alleer again added goals to his game this time out, starting in the opening term with a big pack mark in the goalsquare. He benefitted from a 25-metre penalty to convert his second in the following period, and could have finished with a bag if not for inaccuracy. With terrific athleticism and size, Alleer is an interesting prospect who can thrive both in the air and at ground level, while providing efficient use with ball in hand.

Others:

Matthew Borlace put in a terrific shift from defence, providing great aerial presence and drive on the rebound to finish with 27 disposals, eight marks, and eight rebound 50s. Wyatt Ryan was a reliable target once thrown forward, taking eight marks among his 18 disposals, while Cody Gilchrist proved the key man inside 50 as he booted four goals in a commanding display. Christopher Tidswell and Kobe Wilson were others to show promising glimpses with their driving run for the Bulldogs.

>> MORE CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

Sturt:

#17 Mani Liddy

It perhaps wasn’t Liddy’s finest day out on the field, but he still managed to have an impact with 26 disposals, nine tackles, seven clearances, and a goal. The hard-nosed inside midfielder spread well early to find the ball away from his usual home at the coalface, and it was lucky he did so as he was caught on numerous occasions throughout the game when looking to burst clear of congestion – trying to take on a bit too much with each possession. Undeterred, it only seemed to ignite Liddy as he looked to impose his physicality on the game. He upped his tackling aggression and didn’t mind a bit of niggle, as he willed his side on in the hard-fought contest. A third term snap goal capped off his trying day.

#18 Tom Powell

After a quieter outing last round, Powell was back to his prolific best with 39 disposals, nine marks, six clearances, and a goal. While he has proven near-unbeatable at getting to the ball around stoppages, Powell has been expanding his game to win more uncontested possessions around the ground, while also attempting to utilise a touch more run-and-carry. That sharp disposal in-tight remained though, as the Double Blues midfielder was simply cleaner and more aware than any other ball winner on the field. His ability to work to either end of the ground and contribute effective short kicks was also evident, but most of his highlights came via lightning-fast releasing handballs out of congestion. His form, as always, is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore in terms of first round calculations.

Others:

Charles Fryer and Ned Grieve were both kept busy behind the ball, with the former delivering 11 rebound 50s, and the latter chiming in with 21 disposals. Blake Higgins was again influential off the wing with 17 touches and five inside 50s, while Will Spain produced some nice running plays on the outer to go with his prominent inside ability. Jordan Hein was also a busy mover at ground level for the Double Blues.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

North Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

By: Tom Cheesman (Under 18s) & Eli Duxson (League)

North Adelaide:

#13 Elliott McNamara

McNamara was fantastic for the Roosters. He is a lively forward who applied plenty of pressure throughout the contest to create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. His willingness to work up the ground and provide an option on the lead stood out, and he always looked to move the ball quickly once he got it in his hands. McNamara finished with six majors for the day but could have kicked eight or nine if he took all of his half-chances. He also had 22 disposals, four marks and four tackles in the brilliant display.

#20 Jayden Davison

Davison had a strong day running through the midfield. He found plenty of the ball and worked very hard to get to contests around the ground. His ability to hold his body position in contested situations was evident throughout the game, and he continually showed the composure to use the ball cleverly by hand rather than just blindly bomb it forward. Davison finished with 26 disposals, six clearances, five tackles and a goal.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin played at half-back for the Roosters and was definitely one of the players that stood out. He is quick, evasive and attacks the footy with ferocity when it is anywhere in his area. Early in the game he found plenty of it and provided run-and-carry through the centre of the ground. O’Loughlin loves coming off the back of the square from centre bounces, running in a straight line and impacting the contest. He also has a nice spearing left-foot kick that he used to break the game open on multiple occasions. O’Loughlin collected 22 disposals, six marks (three contested) and four rebound 50s.

#28 Matthew Borg

Looking at the stats after the game, it was no surprise that Borg was the leading disposal winner on the ground. The midfielder worked incredibly hard at stoppages and on the spread, regularly connecting well with teammates to transition the ball forward effectively. He provided an option coming out of defence whenever necessary, rarely fumbled, and showed that he has great hands under pressure. Borg was dominant in the last quarter after West reduced the deficit to four points, willing his side to a compelling 54-point victory. He finished with a complete stat-line of 36 disposals, ten inside 50s, eight tackles, seven marks, six clearances and two goals.

#27 Harrison Magor (League)

Magor did not have the output that he would have liked this game, but he showed that he could play a role, and was given some responsibility with solid midfield minutes. He started at some centre bounces in the first quarter and though he did not have his hands on the footy too much early, he applied enough defensive pressure to allow his senior players to clear easier.

He did show a high work rate, working back to mark in defensive 50 and use it well. His second quarter showed a little bit more as he managed to handball strongly with opponents clung onto him on multiple occasions. This may have been partly due to him being static at most stoppages, if he got on the move, he may have been able to find the ball in space a little more. In saying that, if his role was to play more defensively, he did it well.

His third quarter was quiet, but he was important at times in the tense final quarter. It looked like a set play for him to set up in front of the ruckmen at boundary throw ins, then move to block a teammate’s opponent to allow them to get into the hit zone. He did this for Andrew Moore on multiple occasions which resulted in clearances. Later in the quarter he pushed forward and held his space out of a loose ball contest and as his direct opponent went into the contest, he stayed out and received hands to find a short target which led to a goal.

Magor ended up with nine disposals, but his five tackles highlighted his defensive ability in the midfield. You can expect him to find the footy more as he continues to develop as he was continually around it.

#38 Dyson Hilder (League)

It was an up and down game for the former State 18s representative, who showed glimpses of great defensive nous, but like most defenders, got caught out at times. His first impact on the game showed some of the former as he charged off his opponent to smother a potential inside 50, instead creating a boundary throw-in. His closing speed was impressive early, as was his spoiling ability to kill the ball, an increasingly important aspect with the craft that the smaller players are showing in recent times.

His third quarter provided a moment he would rather forget, with a genuine mis-kick deep in his back pocket going straight to a West Adelaide forward who promptly goaled. He set-up well defensively to not get dragged up the ground into congestion and found the ball out the back. He read the ball well all game and managed to get the first fist on quite a few high balls, but he looked to get a little bit lost once the ball come to ground. It did not cost the Roosters, but it is an easy fix. There were a few occasions where he could have used his strong frame to stay over the loose ball in defence, as he got knocked off a little bit too easily at times.

Hilder ended with eight disposals but showed he can be a reliable key position defender. His ball use was good except for the one clanger and his speed and ability to read the play were all indicative off his potential.

Others:

Harvey Harrison (29 disposals, six clearances) and James White (29 disposals, five tackles) both played well for the Roosters’ Under 18s, as did Shaun Bennier (17 disposals, three goals). Lam Simon (15 disposals, four marks) was very solid in defence.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

West Adelaide:

#7 Cooper Gilbert

I highlighted Gilbert as a player to watch a few weeks ago after his performance at half-back against South, and he showed some more promise in this contest. He played predominately through the midfield in this one and showed his ability to win contested footy. His kicking was a major asset for the Bloods once again, as he frequently found a target when delivering the ball inside 50, including an outstanding weighted kick to find Izach Zinndorf on the lead in the second term. However, a couple of times he gave handballs when he perhaps should have kept backing himself in to kick the ball forward. Gilbert finished with 19 disposals, six tackles and five clearances.

#18 Bailey Boughen

Boughen played at half-forward for the Bloods and was one of their best on the day. He got them off to a hot start with the first goal of the game, and then drifted in and out of the contest as it wore on. Boughen is a fantastic tackler and applied plenty of pressure on his opponents, winning a couple of holding the ball decisions because he proved so difficult to fend off. He is a good user of the footy when composed and held his position well up forward. Boughen finished with 13 disposals, six tackles, six inside 50s and two goals.

#21 Nicholas Couroupis

Couroupis was one of the Bloods’ best midfielders with 19 disposals, seven clearances and four tackles in this match. He collected plenty of contested possessions at stoppages and used his explosiveness to break away from the contests. His lateral vision is outstanding for a young player, as he found targets that many would not see and used lengthy handballs to clear congestion and give his teammates space to work into.

#18 Riley Thilthorpe (League)

One half of the teenage twin towers for West Adelaide, Thilthorpe played most of the game in the forwardline but proved to be a solid ruck rotation as he has done so far this season. A standout trait for his game was his ability to gather below his knees cleanly and find a target with a handball, an impressive ability for someone who is around 200cm. This was on display early as he managed a quick snap at goal under pressure, but it narrowly missed.

An evenly poised game meant there were momentum swings and Thilthorpe showed a great ability to cover the ground and provide an option for West Adelaide’s rebounds out of defence. His speed on the lead was a highlight as he took a strong contested mark in front of his opponent, before finding a target with a well weighted kick to advantage. Proving he was more than just a tall option up forward, his ground ball abilities were paired with a willingness to go after his own ball in-tight, not needing to leave it for his smaller teammates – he could do it himself. The second quarter showed all of the same traits with his clean disposal and athletic forward option, but he also showed he was not afraid to throw his weight around as he helped his teammates out when there was a little bit of push and shove.

The second half displayed a defensive aspect that his mobility can bring. You do not expect him to turn on a dime, but his agility for his size was sharp when the ball hit the deck and he tried to stop his opponents. He laid a crunching tackle which prompted a free kick for a throw and was unlucky to not get the 25-metre penalty and a shot on goal. After taking a somehow uncontested pack mark, he had a shot on goal from 45 metres but just missed. His run-up and kicking action was fluent though and he made the distance comfortably. A spinning contested gather also highlighted his cleanliness over the footy as he found a teammate on the wing who set up a goal.

A solid contribution from the big man as he ended with 16 disposals and two behinds. He had the most contested marks on the ground and was mostly efficient with his disposal. There were times where he found space in dangerous positions but was often disadvantaged with the kick or just could not complete the mark, so if he can start to finish off those plays, you can expect him to contribute more on the scoreboard.

#59 Hamish Ellem (League)

The other half of West Adelaide’s teenage twin towers celebrated his 19th birthday on game day and despite the loss, Ellem enjoyed a serviceable outing. One of the Bloods’ early forward entries of the game grubbed its way towards the Sydney Swans Academy product, who almost took the low mark. Still holding front position, his 195cm and 103kg frame sprung to its feet and managed a quick snap across the body which missed.

He played forward all game and pushed up the ground to provide a target. His impressive 3.01 second 20-metre sprint was on show with a strong mark out in front on a hard lead. He slotted the set shot from 50 metres to give his team the early lead. He followed that up with a tidy mop up from a kick to his disadvantage as his handball assisted a teammate’s goal. His second quarter was a story of him getting to good spots, but not having enough space to operate with opponents draped on him. If he can start to find that space, he could really be a threat up forward.

Ellem brilliantly halved a two versus one inside his forward 50, laying two big tackles before his teammates arrived. He later took a mark on centre wing and did well to read the situation of the game and not move it quickly. He instead stayed composed and found a short target. He also liked to throw his body around in aerial contests, but found himself landing hard later in the fourth quarter.

The bigman made some small errors throughout the game like going to ground to mark when he did not really need to and kicking into the man on the mark, but for a young player in a senior environment, his output was impressive. He finished with a goal and nine disposals and if he can start to use his size and speed to get more space on the leads, you can expect those numbers to increase.

Others:

When the Under 18s game was tight early in the last quarter, defender Eduard van den Berg (21 disposals, four marks, four rebound 50s) was one of the few Bloods that stood up. Benjamin Burbridge (14 disposals, five tackles) was clean with ball in hand and Thomas Faulkner (10 disposals, three marks, one goal) was effective up forward.

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

Glenelg vs. Norwood

By: Michael Alvaro

Glenelg:

#9 Kye Dean

While others may have won a touch more ball, Dean was one of the more impactful midfielders across the day for either side. His presence around at the contest and strength to burst away complemented his ability to gets first hands to the ball well, making him difficult to stop. He worked back into the defensive 50 hole early and accumulated some ball in the back half, while later looking lively as he rested up forward. Dean was clean in possession with one-touch gathers and efficient disposal by foot, bringing a sense of calm to the fast-moving game. He was often the provider from stoppages with his extraction, but could have shown more of a killer instinct with better utilisation of his penetrating kick, and opting to go for goal as he broke inside forward 50 during the third term. Still, Dean was arguably the most valuable Bays midfielder out there with 27 disposals and six clearances.

#19 Jayden Davis

Davis returned another reliable shift for the Bays, proving an asset in all areas of the ground. When starting in midfield, the bottom-ager was able to provide a contest in the clinches, while also working back well to provide some assistance to his defence. He also had a say while rotating through the forwardline, able to utilise his solid marking overhead to become an option inside 50. Davis somehow manages to constantly find space when freed from the engine room, and his sure disposal ensured Glenelg could chain up some quality plays. His kicking did waver a touch late on, but Davis overall found himself in all the right places and was solid at the contest. He finished with 22 disposals and seven marks.

Others:

William Watts was Glenelg’s most prolific ball winner with 27 disposals and nine marks around the ground, while Riley Drum (18 disposals, one goal) was another to get in on the midfield action. Bailey Durant closed out the game well to finish with 21 disposals from defence, while Hunter Widow was lively up the other end, and Ty Murphy showed good toe on the outside. Riley Davis was impressive up forward too, booting an equal game-high three majors while also moving through midfield.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

The bottom-ager just looks so comfortable out there against bigger bodies, dominating with his speed, skill, and smarts. The feature of Murley’s game on Saturday was undoubtedly his repeat running, adding a dual threat to his initial bursts away from the middle with the ability to gain separation from his opponent and re-enter the possession chain. There were countless times where Murley would break forward, then be seen receiving the kick right after his own inside forward 50. When given an inch, Murley can take a mile and really damage the opposition with his decision making. The execution was not always there, but he proved a slippery customer and would have been an enormous headache for the Glenelg midfielders and coaching staff alike. 30 disposals, eight marks, 11 clearances and a goal is a day out by anyone’s standards.

#5 Henry Nelligan

Another sub-180cm Redlegs midfielder, Nelligan is building into some really nice form upon his return to the Under 18s grade. He may be small, but boasts deceptive strength to pry the ball off his opponents, while also utilising all the speed, agility, and smarts any player of his size should. Nelligan was one of the cleaner players on the field, and showed terrific awareness on multiple occasions to pull off some eye-catching plays. Most of them were completed going forward, where Nelligan summed up the situation, and was not afraid to go slightly backwards to find a target. He somewhat lacked a finishing touch when searching for goals of his own, but Nelligan was productive in all parts as he arced away from opponents both through midfield and up forward. He is a natural footballer, but will have to sacrifice some of his ball winning ways in order to find a spot at the next level – more-so as a small forward.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

One of three Redlegs to crack the 30-disposal mark, Cavallaro was a real asset going forward for his side. The small wingman works well going both ways on the outer, able to drop into defensive 50 or hit targets with spearing balls up forward. He is a crafty player around the ball, with deft little touches and steps to rid himself of any contact allowing him to be more productive in open space. Cavallaro was one of many Norwood players to join in with the chain effect of possessions, often either starting or finishing them with clean disposal. He also seems to be dual-footed, which is invaluable when carving out opportunities in transition.

#9 Riley Verrall

The 16-year-old is the latest member of his age group to make a splash upon entering the Under 18 scene, and looked lively in the early stages. Stationed at half-back, Verrall ran hard off the line at centre bounces to initiate some run-and-carry when either gifted a handball receive, or at the base of a spillage. He looked particularly lively in the early stages with some neat accumulation in the back half, only daring to break the lines when required in open play. He’ll be better for the experience, and adjust to the speed of the game in time.

Others:

There were a good bunch of standouts for the Redlegs across the ground, with their even spread a major reason as to why they currently sit atop the table. The run-and-carry of Connor Kent and Lachlan Falco was impressive, with Marcus Roberts, Jackson Murphy (both two goals), and Alexander Scali (three) among the most lively forwards. Nathan Maunder proved a key link going forward, while Samuel Duke was able to make his mark up either end of the ground.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

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