Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 9

ROUND 9 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.

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.

North Adelaide vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#5 Leo Coates

Coates produced a strong showing at Coopers Stadium. He started up forward and rolled home the Roosters’ second goal of the game from a tricky angle in the first term. He was eventually shifted into the midfield where he was able to use his bigger frame to advantage, particularly in the third term when the heavens opened up. Also trialled in the ruck on various occasions – a testament to his versatility – Coates worked hard around the ground and always provided an option when up forward. He was also one of North’s most valuable players in the final term when the game was on the line. His side’s leading ball-winner, Coates finished with 31 disposals, one goal and two behinds, 10 marks, five tackles and nine inside 50s.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

One of several Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospects in action for the Roosters, Newchurch struggled at times to make an impact. He kicked the opening goal of the game within the first minute but was barely sighted for much of the first term. He laid a strong tackle to win himself a holding-the-ball free kick and used the ball cleanly in general play. In an attempt to assert himself on the match in the second quarter, Newchurch regularly pushed up the ground and won some uncontested ball. Unfortunately for Newchurch, he missed a snap he would normally have kicked and also sprayed a straightforward shot for goal on the run. The skillset, class and goal nous are clearly there for Newchurch, but he will need to more consistently lift his output in the back half of the season. Newchurch finished the game with 12 disposals, two marks, three tackles and four inside 50s.

#22 Lam Simon

Simon had some nice moments in his customary backline role. He was a touch fumbly early but improved as the game wore on, with his eye-catching athleticism and overhead strength particularly impressive. His obvious highlight of the match was a spectacular hanger on the half-back flank to intercept a likely Norwood forward 50 entry. For such a raw talent, Simon’s kicking technique appears quite natural and fluent and he hit most of his targets. With his intercept marking ability and athleticism, the top-aged Simon is another Crows Academy prospect to keep an eye on. He concluded the match with 19 disposals and seven marks (three contested).

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin continued his strong season with another fine showing against the ladder-leading Redlegs. He took a little while to get involved, but it soon became apparent why O’Loughlin is charged with the kick-in duties for the Roosters. His kicking, over both short and long distances, was excellent. He remained composed in the backline and trusted himself to hit up several targets through the corridor. Along with his sound execution, O’Loughlin displayed excellent vision and provided plenty of rebound for the red and whites. Although smaller in stature, he appears quite well-built and was solid in one-on-one contests. O’Loughlin was the pick of the Crows Academy prospects at Coopers Stadium, finishing with 25 disposals, four marks, four tackles, four inside 50s and seven rebound 50s.

#28 Matthew Borg

The prolific midfielder was again amongst the leading disposal getters on the field. Despite the Roosters being soundly beaten in the ruck contest, Borg’s work at the coalface was a major reason why his side finished plus-four for clearances. Borg looks to have a nice turn of pace, but his kicking, particularly with his opposite foot, could do with some refinement. Nevertheless, his goal in the third quarter ensured the Roosters went into the final change with the momentum. And his final term goal proved vital in North Adelaide securing an important victory away from home against the competition’s best side to-date. Along with his two important goals, Borg finished with 25 disposals, two marks, seven tackles, six clearances and seven inside 50s in a well-rounded performance.

#36 Kyle Brazell

The wiry Brazell started the game well and remained one of his side’s best throughout the match, spending time on the wing and up forward. Brazell was clean at ground level, accumulated plenty of the ball, and used it very well for the the most part. Although his kicking action is slightly unconventional, the left-footer boasts a measured and precise action and hit most of his targets. He gathered 27 disposals, ten marks, three tackles and six inside 50s.

Others:

Defender Kane Flanagan was impressive in defence, particularly early on. A no-frills type, he provided some meaningful run-and-carry and finished with 14 disposals, three marks and three rebound 50s. Like a number of his teammates, James Willis took a little while to get going but was heavily involved in the third term. He became an important cog through the midfield as the game wore on, with his ball use particularly impressive. He finished with 20 disposals, nine tackles and five clearances. Jayden Davison laid a game-high eleven tackles and also won six clearances. He, like Borg and Willis, was terrific in the contest despite the dominance of Norwood’s ruck department. Samuel McTaggart (20 disposals, four marks and four tackles) and Harvey Harrison (13 disposals, seven tackles and four clearances) were others to impress for North Adelaide.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

One of several exciting bottom-aged South Australian prospects making a strong impact at Under 18s level, Murley was typically classy despite his side’s loss. Although he wasn’t as efficient in front of goal as he would have liked, missing a couple of shots he would normally nail, it was Murley’s stoppage nous which really stood out. He boasts a flashy skillset and is very quick, but his stoppage work would have really impressed the Norwood coaching staff.

One of the things which is really noticeable with Murley is that he is always on the move at stoppages, looking to use his lighting quick acceleration to burst through a pack. Murley rarely finds himself flat-footed and won most of his clearances through thoughtful positioning and pure smarts, rather than brute strength. He was clean at ground level despite the slippery conditions and his intercept mark in the third term was followed up by a perfectly placed long kick to Henry Nelligan on the outer wing. Despite his light frame, Murley continues to shine at Under 18s level and finished another impressive day at the office with 26 disposals, three marks, five tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s.

#5 Henry Nelligan

The industrious Nelligan was the most prolific player on the field, seemingly finding the ball at will. His running patterns are excellent and he always puts his head over the ball. Nelligan has also been able to impact the scoreboard since returning to Under 18s level after stints in Norwood’s League and Reserves sides. His running goal from 40 metres out in the second term helped cut North’s lead back before half time. Small but strongly built, Nelligan’s kicking was iffy at-times but his contested ball winning was terrific. Clearly one of South Australia’s most productive young midfielders, Nelligan concluded the outing with 33 disposals, five marks, five tackles, six clearances, eight inside 50s and four rebound 50s.

#27 Nathan Hearing

His side ultimately fell short, but Hearing was arguably best on ground. He started well, winning the opening clearance and kept going from then on. Ruckman aren’t typically known for their precise kicking inside 50, but Hearing was able to pin-point three targets amongst his five inside 50s. He comfortably won the ruck duel and consistently provided the Redlegs midfielders with first use at stoppages, but also showed a willingness to get involved around the ground. Hearing’s overhead marking was another outstanding component of his game. He clunked three contested grabs (seven marks in total) and provided a target down the line in a match where the tall forwards were quiet for both sides. His connection with Nelligan and Murley was terrific and the big man finished with 19 disposals, five tackles, 29 hit-outs and six clearances.

Others:

Connor Kent found plenty of the ball in the first half and finished with 20 disposals and six marks. Defenders Bailey Gal (25 disposals, six marks and five rebound-50s) and Billy Haebich (25 disposals, three marks, three tackles and three rebound-50s) were also amongst Norwood’s best, generating plenty of rebound from the back half.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

Glenelg vs. South Adelaide

By: Tom Cheesman

Glenelg:

#8 Hagan Wright

Wright was a standout for the Bays, finding plenty of the ball and frequently using his pace to break the game open. He worked hard on the inside and the outside, demonstrated a willingness to run both ways, and regularly provided an option for teammates coming out of defence. He laid some nice tackles, showed the ability to break tackles, and was good at delivering the ball inside 50 to the advantage of his forwards. At stoppages, he always held his positioning well and did not get sucked into the contest, thus enabling him to be an option for quick hands on the outside so that his team could move the ball quickly. Wright finished with 30 disposals, nine marks, four tackles, three clearances, four inside 50s and four rebound 50s.

#9 Kye Dean

Dean had a strong impact in the midfield for the Tigers. He applied plenty of pressure on the inside, showed composure with ball in hand and worked hard around the ground to take some nice marks. Dean was very clean with one-touch gathers at stoppages and ran back to help his teammates in defence when they were under pressure. He finished with 27 disposals, six tackles and six clearances.

#19 Jayden Davis

Bottom-ager Davis continues to be a major asset for Glenelg in multiple areas of the ground. He worked incredibly hard to get to the right positions and find the ball when in the midfield, but his greatest impact on Saturday came when he was up forward. Davis kicked three of his side’s seven goals, showing how much more productive they are with him inside 50. All three of his goals came within a five-minute patch in the third term and included a couple of clever left-foot snaps. He is a player that can change a game in the blink of an eye, and he should become even more dominant with added experience at Under 18 level. Davis finished with 24 disposals, eight marks, five tackles and three goals.

#27 Luke Parks (League)

It was a tough day to be a Bays defender, but Parks stood up under insurmountable pressure. The former Sydney Swans Academy member worked very hard defensively right from the opening bounce. He earned a free kick for too high early on because he was willing to put his head over the footy despite heavy pressure from South Adelaide forwards. He showed that he can play on all sizes, often switching to different opponents whenever necessary to stop the Panthers from creating scoring opportunities.

Parks’ best skill is his intercept marking, which was very prominent throughout the game. He often floated in from the side to rise above the pack to take strong contested marks. However, to use this attribute effectively he does play off his opponents a little bit to help himself cover ground more quickly, as all great intercept markers do. This can leave Parks out of position and susceptible to a fast rushed, chaotic kick inside 50, as evidenced in the first term when Panthers forward Sam Overall was able to take a fortunate mark in front position. I can honestly say this is nit-picking though, as it was the only ‘mistake’ Parks made defensively in the entire game.

Parks is very strong in one-on-one contests, highlighted when he took a brilliant mark one out in the goal square in the third term when his side was under the pump. In congestion he applied great body pressure on the opposition, never letting them get an easy possession and creating space for teammates. With ball in hand he was reasonably reliable by foot and eager to get it moving quickly whenever possible. Parks finished the game with 11 disposals, six marks and five rebound 50s.

Others:

Under 18s Frazer Bradley (16 disposals, six contested marks) and Connor Drum (19 disposals, nine marks) were fantastic in the air throughout the contest for Glenelg, despite going down by 23 points.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

South Adelaide:

#4 Max Clifton

Clifton was the best player afield in the Under 18 match. He is a brilliant user with a booming left-foot kick and frequently broke the game open by biting off difficult kicks both through the corridor and going inside 50. At stoppages he was outstanding at playing the sweeper role, as he never let anything past him and amassed many inside 50s straight from the middle of the ground. He quite simply went lower and harder than his opponents at the footy all day, earning multiple free kicks for his efforts. He applied strong pressure too, including an aggressive run down tackle in the final term to earn a holding the ball free kick. Clifton collected 28 disposals, nine inside 50s and five clearances for the day.

#10 Brayden Cook

Cook is a fast-rising draft prospect and showed once again that he is a class above Under 18 level, finishing with 23 disposals, ten marks and a goal. Intercept marking was one of his standout attributes early in the season, and it was great to see this on show at times on Saturday. He worked hard around the ground to collect plenty of possessions and link up with Panthers teammates to transition the ball forward efficiently. He showed that he has great strength too when he took a strong contested one-on-one mark inside 50 in the second term. In the last quarter, he got on the end of a lovely weighted kick from teammate Dylan Brown to kick a major, making up for the more difficult set shot he missed earlier in the game. Cook has proven that he can play a range of positions and it will be very interesting to see where he is placed when playing higher levels of competition.

#33 Jason Horne (League)

Bottom-ager Horne is one of the top prospects for the 2021 AFL Draft and showed why that is the case on Saturday. He started the game off brilliantly and was a key reason why the Panthers kicked the first four goals. An early highlight was when he collected a mark on the left half-forward flank and then delivered a beautifully weighted kick across his body to the advantage of his teammate. This was a smart kick because putting it into the space (when the rest of the 50 was congested) allowed his forward to protect the drop zone and take what essentially ended up being an uncontested mark.

While Horne spent most of his time up forward, he got to roll through the midfield at times. When he was in there, he showed glimpses of how great a stoppage player he will be in the years to come. He never fumbles, has quick hands, magnificent ball control, and has an ability to spin at the right time so that he can get a clean handball out to teammates when tackled. He also worked up the ground to help the defence whenever they were under pressure. Although he missed a snap at goal in the first term, it was from about 40 metres about and easily made the distance, showing how much range he already has kicking around his body. The one-handed pluck before it was another sign of his incredible ball control.

Horne used his opposite foot a lot throughout the game, often wheeling onto that side of his body by choice when opponents tried to pressure him towards the boundary. He is also a fantastic pressure player, as exhibited when he laid strong tackles on Glenelg’s Billy Stretch and Callum Park in the second term. Under pressure he was such a calming influence for his side, always maintaining composure and keeping a level head. This was demonstrated when he started a forward thrust in the second term by winning the clearance at half-back, weaving his way through traffic and linking up with a teammate out the front of the stoppage. At this stage, Glenelg was right in the contest and many other players on both sides were panicking when they got the footy in congestion.

Unlike many young midfielders when they push up to League level, Horne is confident competing in the air. He launched at the footy multiple times when playing up forward, trying to mark whenever possible but responsibly spoiling when he was caught behind. Horne has some decent pace too when he wants to use it, highlighted when he ran down Glenelg defender Michael Virgin in the last term. Horne finished with 10 disposals, five tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s for the day.

#45 Daly Andrews (League)

Williamstown recruit Andrews played his first SANFL match for the Panthers on Saturday, and it’s fair to say he was very impressive. He spent most of his time on the wing and ran hard both ways throughout the entire game, finding plenty of the footy on the inside and outside. His attack on the ball was fantastic, and he was always willing to take the tackle and dish it out to create space for teammates to work into. At stoppages, he positioned himself well at the back, often receiving a quick handball and then moving the ball forward.

Andrews has a good size which helps him in one-on-one contests, as he is a solid mark overhead and always at least brought the ball to ground. He showed great agility by frequently running around oncoming tacklers and using handballs to link up with teammates and transition the ball out of defence. He never got sucked into the contest when he didn’t need to be there. Holding his positioning and width outside the stoppage allowed him to help out defensively and spread wide with ease.

In the third term, he kicked a very important goal by working hard from half-back to receive a handball from teammate Beau McCreery at half-forward, then straightening with a few steps and kicking truly from about 50 metres out. It was clear that Andrews will be a major asset for the Panthers for the rest of the season. He finished with 18 disposals, six inside 50s, four clearances, four marks and three tackles to go with his goal.

Others:

Arlo Draper (26 disposals, ten clearances, seven tackles) was one of the Panthers’ best in the Under 18s, running hard through the midfield and weaving past opponents at stoppages with ease. Dylan Brown (15 disposals, two goals) was fantastic up forward, while Phoenix Spicer (15 disposals, one goal) was lively and had a lot of score involvements.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

WWT Eagles vs. Sturt

By: Eli Duxson

WWT:

#7 Caleb Poulter

Poulter was prolific again for the Eagles, racking up 31 disposals to go with nine clearances, seven tackles, and five marks. He spent most of the day in the midfield and was on the move at stoppages all day. After a bit of a quiet first term for him, he did not miss a beat for the rest of the game, going in hard and aggressively at the contest. He intercepted a handball at a stoppage and cleared it down the line, only to follow up, receive a handball back, and find a leading target inside forward 50. It was indicative of his willingness to put in repeat efforts no matter where he was.

Poulter’s second half was dominant. He was faultless below the knees even in the muddy conditions and a sound decision maker under pressure. He seems to have a good tank but also manages to just get to very good spots, at one point it seemed that he was everywhere. He moved forward in the final quarter and though he managed just three behinds, he looked threatening. He has a good aerial ability and when it comes to ground, he goes back into midfield mode.

Poulter’s ball use was fantastic and when you get it 31 times, they will be important touches. His clearance work was top class and his ability to work in tight was impressive. If he could have hit the scoreboard a bit more accurately, it could have become an even bigger day for him.

#9 Max Litster

Litster had a complete day and would be competing for the votes with his 26 disposals and three goals. The solid-bodied midfielder was aggressive, showed good acceleration, and was more often that not one of the more active players at stoppages. He did seem to be flat-footed at times, but he covered so much ground working both ways exceptionally. He looked to move smoothly and when he drifted forward in the first quarter, he managed a tidy snap across the body to goal. On several occasions he worked his way deep defensively and in the second quarter, he took a strong overhead mark from a high clearance. His ball use was a little scratchy at times and he will want to improve on that.

His third quarter was busy as he made himself a marking option for the Eagles’ defensive 50 exits to display his strong hands and work rate again. He had three shots on goal and missed a 50-metre set shot despite making the distance with the heavy ball. He drilled another set shot after finding space from sloppy Sturt defence, and received hands to slot it from 40 metres out. Litster moved back on a couple of occasions and seemed to position himself quite well.

#19 Zac Phillips

Phillips controlled the ruck all game and won the hit-out battle comfortably, recording 30 to go with his 11 disposals. He seemed to be aiming his taps which was a positive sign, but ball-ups around the ground seemed to be his weakness. He often stayed too upright and was able to be pushed off balance on multiple occasions. He seemed to just be trying to use his athleticism to win the taps and though it did work, you would like to see some more body engagement.

His third quarter was terrific and was a key factor in the Eagles’ domination as he found the hit zones more regularly. Phillips has great raw ability with his mobility and tap work, but there are some things to work on. His ball use was not consistent, and he gave away two free kicks which led to back to back Sturt goals. With that being said, he has tremendous upside and with some work in those areas, he could be a damaging ruckman for the future.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Burgoyne had another day out, collecting 33 disposals and amassing seven clearances. He moved between the wing, half back, and midfield and was able to find the ball in all positions. He seemed the most comfortable on the wing and in the midfield, as when he played down back, he only looked to attack and never really looked accountable. When he was on the wing, he was able to drift down back and become the spare player to use the ball exiting the defensive 50, also taking the kick-ins.

With his slight frame, he went to ground unnecessarily at times but still showed a strong ability to win his own ball in tight and dispose of it cleanly. He seemed to drift at times but in a good way. He gracefully moved around the field and just popped up and used his acceleration, surprising Sturt. This was on display when in the last quarter, he lined up on the half back-flank at the centre bounce and charged at the contest, taking possession and running right through the lane that opened up for him up the guts, sending it deep inside forward 50.

Though he will be looking to get a little bit stronger, his pace and outside ability compliments his efficient kicking. His teammates looked for him to use the ball and he was effective in doing so.

#30 Zane Williams (League)

The debutant started the game well with a tumbling gather before he stayed composed, assessed his options, and straightened up to find a target inside forward 50 who goaled. His pace was electric and looked dangerous front and centre. He laid a strong tackle later in the first quarter to receive a holding the ball free kick, a reward for his relentless aggression early. His second quarter displayed his roving ability, timing his run well, and taking clean possession at good pace. His ball use did not always match his good work, but he was not far off.

His second half saw his play phase out a little bit, but his effort remained. He was around it on several occasions, but he just could not get his hands on it as often as he would have liked. He showed an ability to be a leading target and with his pace, he looks to be a tough matchup when he gets going. Just the nine disposals for Williams but a solid first outing, nonetheless.

#34 Lachlan Jones (League)

The absolute brute of a teenager also did not find a lot of it, but in his defensive post for the Eagles in a comfortable win, it is probably a good indicator of a good team performance. His mobility and balance for his size was impressive and it was on display with a hard contest on the loose ball, as he ran through and was able to find possession sweeping out the back. He also gathered the contested ball late in the first term but was squeezed for space on the boundary. The stat that does not show up on the stat sheet is spoiling, but that is something that Jones managed a bit of with thumping, clearing spoils off good leaps a highlight. The highlight of the game would have been a hanger for Jones, but it bounced out at the wrong time. A good indication of his confidence though.

He moved forward in the last quarter and looked very comfortable. He led up well and found space easily with good acceleration and was generating good force coming through. You would not want to stand in his way. After making some big contests, he took a nice, contested mark 25 metres out and slotted his first league goal on the set shot. He has a another shot on goal later in the term but leant back on the kick to get a minor score. Usually playing in the back half, it was a good display of versatility for Jones.

#51 Lachlan McNeil

One of the better performers for the Eagles as the 18-year-old found 23 disposals to go with six clearances. He spent time on the ball and on the wing and showed a good balance between contested inside work, and slick outside ball use. His work in tight was a thing of marvel as he managed to find teammates with quick hands and being strong enough to be able to run on and impact again. His outside use linked a lot of defence to offence with three rebound 50’s and three inside 50’s. His ball use was clean and had a good balance between kick and handballs.

McNeil hunts the ball and was active at stoppages. His repeat efforts in the contest were impressive and his hip strength was also good for not being a big-bodied midfielder. He moves like Zac Bailey and worked hard to create an option in the back half of the ground. A highlight came in the fourth term with a clean spinning gather on a strong attack. He continues to go from strength to strength and playing good midfield minutes is an indication of the confidence he has, and the confidence the Eagles have in him.

Others:

The Eagles boasted performers all over the park, Harrison Dawkins was impressive again with 25 disposals and six clearances, while Jack Wheare looked dangerous in their forward line kicking one goal and four behinds. Some work on his set shot would have seen him kick a bag.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

Sturt:

#11 Will Spain

Spain had to step up in the absence of Tom Powell, and with 31 disposals, a monstrous 15 tackles, and a goal, he certainly did so. His poise when he had possession, combined with relentless pressure and hustle when he did not, was impressive. He used the ball well when he had space as well as in-close, which seemed to be most of the game as he spent a lot of it in and under the contest. His ground ball gathers at pace were good in the conditions, and he showed good pace and strength with a big fend-off almost leading to a goal. He had a little blunder in the second quarter with a poor kick almost turning it over in his defensive half, but he scrapped and earned a free kick at the next contest.

As the Eagles took over in the third quarter, his output was not the same. He was still hustling and working hard but his opposition was just too strong. His work in tight did not change and he was eventually rewarded with a goal from 40 metres out, a nice finish. Spain’s work rate to continue getting to stoppages was impressive and he showed a good ability to win and use his own ball well when he was there.

#17 Mani Liddy

The well-built Sturt midfielder also put in a complete performance as he done all season with 29 disposals, two goals, nine tackles, and five clearances. If you had to describe Liddy in a word, it would be strong. He was strong over the ball, with the ball, and without the ball. He was able to stand up in tackles and release, take solid overhead marks, and bustle through contests. His ball use was a little scratchy in the conditions, but his contested work and ability to be a strong option when he rested forward was good.

He worked hard for his first goal, putting in a 60-metre sprint to keep the play moving forward, before kicking it off the ground on the goal line. Liddy moved well in the fourth quarter to cover the exit and was rewarded with a misguided Phillips kick which he promptly gathered and goaled. He worked hard all day and stuck to his guns. Would love to see him spending more time down forward as he looks like a tough matchup both in the air and on the ground, but his contested work in the midfield is important for Sturt.

#34 Casey Voss (League)

Voss assumed his role down back and ended up with 20 disposals and six marks. He was serviceable defensively, but his strength seemed to be how he created offence out of the back half. He provided run on several occasions and was very tidy with his disposal with either handballing or kicking. His handballing complimented his ability to collect at pace and under pressure, and his kicking was pinpoint at important times.

He has all the assets you could want out of a midfielder, poise, tidy ball use, strength, and an ability to win his own ball. He certainly has the pedigree and at 182cm and 80kg, you can expect him to develop into a genuine midfielder in the future after spending bursts in there so far this season.

Others:

Ned Grieve had a quieter performance for Sturt but is certainly capable of more and showed glimpses of his best, while Jake Aish was important with 20 disposals and six clearances – both in the Under 18s.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

Central District vs. West Adelaide

By: Ed Pascoe

Central District:

#12 Brodie Lake

Lake keeps going from strength to strength since coming down from NT, becoming a factor for Central District through the midfield. Lake started the game well, winning some stoppages and kicking long and accurately. His best bit of play came winning a holding the ball free kick at the defensive arc, then quickly playing on with a bounce, getting the one-two, and taking another bounce to finally kick long inside 50 to a teammate. That particular passage showcased his point of difference compared to many other midfielders in this year’s draft. Lake really impressed around the ground, not just at stoppages, taking plenty of marks with a few contested as well. Lake finished the game with 30 disposals, 12 marks and five clearances in a complete midfield display, showing his mix of dash and toughness. He looks another good prospect for Gold Coast as part of their Darwin zone.

#13 Austin McDonald

McDonald just keeps impressing every week. The talented youngster who isn’t even draft eligible until 2022 just continues to rack up the football through the midfield despite being lighter and shorter than most he comes up against. What really impressed was his tenacity in giving multiple efforts at the coal face and these efforts I would hope become a theme of his game in the coming years. McDonald finished the game with 28 disposals and five clearances and seems to have a knack of finding the pill consistently, which bodes well for his future at the level.

#23 Jonty Patrick

Joining Lake from the NT, Patrick was a livewire in the forwardline, showing plenty of skill and proving very clean in everything he did. His best quarter was in the second where he had some good bits of play with one instance when he gathered cleanly and waxed with Lake, which I expect to happen more often in the coming weeks. He would go on to kick a nice goal, going for a run and slotting the goal nicely to show his class. It wasn’t a huge game with only 11 disposals, but he worked hard off the ball with seven tackles and will only improve from here on out.

>> MORE CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

West Adelaide:

#4 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy was one of West Adelaide’s talented bottom-agers who impressed in their first win of the season, playing off half-back and through the wing. He offered plenty of run and drive from the back half and favoured kicking, rarely missing a target with some nice low passes. His work-rate was on show when he ran hard to give an option coming out of defence, and while he wasn’t used, he just kept running until finally he would gather a loose ball and quickly kick long. It was good to see his hard running get rewarded with a possession. Kennedy finished the game with 20 disposals and four tackles.

#20 Luke Young

Watching Young play, you wouldn’t think he still has another year in the 18s system as the strong-bodied forward already looks to have the size and strength to compete. Compete he did, with a strong display playing as a shorter centre half-forward with his ability to lead up at the ball carrier and use the ball well in transition. Young had plenty of opportunities to hit the scoreboard and could have really had a big day if he was more accurate. He kicked the one that counted though, taking a mark at the top of the square in the last quarter to secure the Bloods’ first win of the year with a cool set shot. Young finished the game with 27 disposals, nine marks and kicked 2.3 in what was perhaps a best on ground performance.

#24 Jye Sinderberry

It was good to get Sinderberry back and he had a major say in West Adelaide finally getting a win, with his work in defence just outstanding. Sinderberry was an intercept marking machine, always finding himself in the way of Central’s forward entires. His ball use coming from defence was also superb, using the ball neatly by hand and foot. He lifted even more in the last quarter, taking some timely marks and finished the game with 23 disposals and six marks as the young centre half-back looks to finish the year strongly.

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

Featured Image: Hannah Howard/SANFL

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