YOUNG talent continues to turn heads at state league level around the nation, and it has been no different across all three WAFL grades upon the competition’s resumption in 2020. As we roll into Round 6, Draft Central continues its new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game. In our second edition, another Perth young gun looks set to be unleashed in the League side, while a couple of AFL Academy members prepare for their Colts returns.
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Nathan O’Driscoll is poised to join fellow AFL Academy member and 2020 draft hopeful Logan McDonald in Perth’s League side, after being named on the Demons’ extended bench. It took just one Reserves outing for the talented midfielder/defender to make the ultimate step up, and his debut is sure to attract plenty of eyes as he firms as a first round lock come draft time.
Fellow 2019 State Under 18s teammate Regan Clarke is another youngster who has earned a League berth of late, and looks like remaining in the side after his Round 5 return. Tyron Smallwood is a lively small who will hope to remain in Claremont’s top flight team, as the likes of Jack Buller, Jye Clark, and Cameron Anderson stake their own claims in the Reserves. Potentially adding to the squeeze is Joel Western, who returns from injury via the Colts for his first outing since Round 2.
The Hickmott brothers again headline Subiaco’s young representation in the senior grades, with Liam looking to join younger sibling Wil in the League lineup. 19-year-old forward Nicholas Martin retains his League spot for the Lions, named at full forward. One of the unluckiest players to miss out in last year’s draft, Jai Jackson will be out to impress for his new club, thrust back into the Reserves fold after another week back at Colts level.
Subiaco’s opponents, East Perth have benefitted from the inclusions of a couple of Victorians, with Corey Watts now looking to motor on with an extended run in defence, while former Carlton utility Angus Schumacher has been in threatening form further afield. In the Reserves, the likes of ex-Claremont midfielder Jack Cooley and State Under 16s gun Rhai-Arn Cox will continue their climbs.
It seems as if West Perth fans and draft watchers alike will have to wait at least another week to see Heath Chapman make his League debut, after he missed selection once again. The mobile marking defender has been in ripping form at Colts level, pushing his case as a first round draft candidate.
Greater Western Victoria product Matty Lloyd faces stiff competition to retain his place in the League side, named on an extended Falcons bench alongside potential debutant Tristan Hobley. 18-year-old accumulator Callum Johnson could make the step up to Reserves level having carved up the Colts competition, with Tyron Hindmarsh an over-ager currently cutting his teeth in the same grade.
The Falcons take on East Fremantle this week, and the Sharks have teased senior berths to some of their top-end talents. Among them, it seems Fremantle Next Generation Academy gun Brandon Walker and Finn Gorringe will have to wait a little longer, while Jack Carroll could make his way into the Reserves. Former Sydney rookie Durak Tucker is well placed to continue in the top flight, with Reuben McGuire named on the extended bench.
Winless teams Swan Districts and Peel Thunder do battle to see out the weekend’s action, and there is plenty of young talent set to grace the field across the board. Denver Grainger-Barras has become a mainstay for the Swans down back, with former VFL forward Deven Costigan hoping to cement a similarly safe spot alongside Sam Fisher and Frank Anderson, who have been in terrific form through midfield.
Peel has been no stranger to welcoming youth into its League setup, with the likes of Zach Rankin, Tyrone Thorne, and Ben Middleton all given an extended run thus far. Ryan Bennell could slot in for his first game since Round 1, while promising AFL Academy member Isiah Winder looks to break back into the team. Tyler Nesbitt is not far away either, but will have to prove his worth for a touch longer at Colts level.
This week, Draft Central will have eyes on the Claremont vs. Perth Colts fixture. Keep an eye out for our scouting notes and weekly wraps early next week.
Subiaco vs. East Perth | Saturday August 22, 2:30pm @ Leederville Oval
Swan Districts vs. Peel Thunder | Saturday August 22, 2:30pm @ Steel Blue Oval
Claremont vs. Perth | Saturday August 22, 2:30pm @ Revo Fitness Stadium
West Perth vs. East Fremantle | Saturday August 22, 3:05pm @ Provident Financial Oval
Subiaco vs. East Perth | Saturday August 22, 12:00pm @ Leederville Oval
Claremont vs. Perth | Saturday August 22, 12:00pm @ Revo Fitness Stadium
West Perth vs. East Fremantle | Saturday August 22, 12:35pm @ Provident Financial Oval
Swan Districts vs. Peel Thunder | Saturday August 22, 8:50am @ Steel Blue Oval
Subiaco vs. East Perth | Saturday August 22, 9:30am @ Leederville Oval
Claremont vs. Perth | Saturday August 22, 9:30am @ Revo Fitness Stadium
West Perth vs. East Fremantle | Saturday August 22, 10:05am @ Provident Financial Oval
— WAFL (@WAFLOfficial) August 21, 2020
Featured Image: (Retrieved from) Perth Football Club via Facebook