Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 10

ROUND 10 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.

WWT Eagles vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

WWT:

#3 Taj Schofield

The Port Adelaide father-son prospect pieced together another polished performance across the wing for the victorious Eagles. His precise kicking was a standout, along with his vision, smarts, and ability to take his time with ball in hand and assess the situation before making a decision. Schofield also showed a couple of nice tricks, including a well rehearsed ‘dummy’ and swift side-step. Although he missed a couple of scoring opportunities, he kicked a classy goal from 35 metres out on a slight angle to somewhat rectify his previous blemishes. The midfielder finished with 22 disposals, eight marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s in a strong outing.

#6 Zeke Scott

Scott’s contested marking was the highlight of his game on Saturday. A dynamic forward, he is one of several Eagles to possess a strong body, which he was able to use to his advantage in the air. At ground level, Scott tackled hard and wasn’t afraid to use his strength to attack the contest. He finished with 21 disposals, six marks (two contested), five tackles and five inside 50s for Woodville-West Torrens.

#9 Max Litster

The ever-consistent Litster produced another strong performance through the midfield. His toughness around the ball was particularly noticeable, attacking each contest at full speed and backing it up with several repeat efforts if he didn’t win the ball himself. Although his best work was done in close quarters, he worked hard both ways to provide an outlet option away from the contest as well. A strong contested ball winner, Litster showed why he is amongst the SANFL Under 18 competition’s most prolific on-ballers, finishing the game with 26 disposals, four marks, five clearances and six inside 50s.

#18 Harrison Dawkins

The big-bodied Dawkins provided a real presence around the contest for the Eagles. Dawkins was able to use his size to advantage when opposed to some of Norwood’s smaller midfielders in Cooper Murley and Henry Nelligan. He was terrific at stoppages, knowing which spaces to run into, then doing his utmost to win the ball at the coalface. His strength overhead was also terrific and is one of his best assets as a strongly-build on-baller. A crucial component of a strong Woodville-West Torrens lineup, Dawkins finished the outing with 25 disposals, seven marks, seven tackles, ten clearances, six inside 50s and three rebound 50s in another strong showing.

#25 Henry Smith

The AFL Academy member produced arguably his best performance of the season to-date, dominating the airways up forward and providing a presence in the ruck in relief of teammate Zac Phillips. As usual, Smith was the Eagles’ number one target in attack. They looked to centre the ball for him inside 50, allowing him to run and jump at the ball and use his contested marking strength to advantage. A prime example of this came in the just minutes into the clash, when Smith took a strong grab then converted the resultant set-shot from close range.

However, aside from his strong aerial presence, Smith’s cleanliness at ground level, quick and effective distribution by hand, and willingness to crack in and tackle hard was impressive. He spent more time in the ruck against the Redlegs than in previous weeks and fought well against Nathan Hearing, combining particularly well with teammate Harrison Dawkins at stoppages. The key forward finished with 15 disposals, two goals, five marks (two contested), nine tackles, ten hit-outs and four inside 50s.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

The smooth-moving Burgoyne again proved why he is amongst South Australia’s most promising teenagers. Eligible to join Port Adelaide via the father-son rule in 2021, Burgoyne’s class was evident from the get-go in the first match of a Saturday double-header at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. Burgoyne was once again trusted with the kick-in duties this week and used the ball well throughout the contest, aside from a couple of rare skill errors in the third term. He was very composed with ball in hand and made good decisions by foot. Although kicking is his natural game, Burgoyne also produced some really creative and clean handballs to his teammates’ advantage. In all, it was another encouraging performance from the silky bottom-ager, who concluded the game with 26 disposals, four marks, four tackles and two rebound 50s.

Others:

Brayden Calvett provided some eye-catching moments on the outside of the contest. He moved well and showed some nice tricks with ball in hand. Calvett provided plenty of run and finished with 21 disposals, four marks and four clearances. Ruckman and AFL Academy Hub member Zac Phillips had a good battle with Norwood’s Nathan Hearing. He was particularly productive early on in the contest and, although not as prolific around the ground, was vital in giving his side an advantage (plus-11) in the hit-outs.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

Talented bottom-ager, Murley was one of his side’s best in the frustrating loss. Starting in the middle, Murley was then shifted to the forwardline later in the opening term. He took an excellent lead-up mark in front of the likes of Henry Smith and showed he isn’t exclusively a ground-level player. Murley’s speed was obvious and his high endurance and relentless work-rate allowed him to get on the end of several handball chains across the ground. He was particularly prolific in the second term and showed excellent clean hands at ground level. Murley did shank an inside 50 with his opposite left-foot when he should have hit teammate Henry Nelligan on the lead, but he was once again heavily involved for Norwood. Despite his smaller frame, his natural talent ensured he was still a threat at stoppages and around the ball. Not afraid to dish out a solid bump, Murley collected 24 disposals, one final term goal, a game-high nine marks, four tackles, four clearances and six inside 50s.

#5 Henry Nelligan

Nelligan showed why he has spent time at League and Reserves level already in season 2020. A natural ball-winner, Nelligan spent most of the day through the midfield but also spent time as a pressure forward. His kicking and decision making was perhaps a little inconsistent throughout the contest; hitting up teammate Cooper Murley with a terrific pass early in the game, but then turning the ball over when going forward later on. Nelligan’s low centre of gravity and strength through the hips made him quite difficult to tackle on the move in congestion, and his work-rate around the ground was terrific. He was typically clean by hand and tackled strongly as always. He was involved in a heavy mid-air collision in the final term but bounced back and soldiered on – a testament to his courage and toughness. Arguably his side’s best player on the day, Nelligan finished the game with 24 disposals, three marks, five tackles, five clearances, six inside 50s and four rebound 50s.

#27 Nathan Hearing

The Norwood big-man fought hard against Henry Smith, Zac Phillips and Jonte Hunter-Price, who also chopped out in the ruck for the Eagles. Hearing ran his opponents around the ground using his strong endurance, and took a couple of handy intercept marks when dropping back in defence. His kicking was also sound, despite his technique appearing awkward at times. Once again, his willingness to throw his weight around at ground level was impressive for player of Hearing’s physique. Although the Eagles won the hit-outs, Hearing’s tap work was the best of all the ruckman as Norwood finished plus-eight in the clearances. Hearing finished with 12 disposals, four tackles, and 16 hit-outs.

Others: 

Although not draft-eligible until 2022, Riley Verrall again looked comfortable at Under 18 level for Norwood. He was deployed off half-back where he was able to use his penetrating right-foot kick to good effect. He provided plenty of run and rebound from defence, finishing with 19 disposals, seven marks and seven rebound 50s. He combined well with Lachlan Falco in the defensive 50, who caught the eye with some terrific run-and-carry of his own. He was one who really looked to break the lines and would have finished with high metres gained. Falco finished the game with 23 disposals and three marks. James Warton (25 disposals, five tackles, eight clearances and five inside 50s) was good through the midfield and the clean-kicking Sam Duke (26 disposals, eight marks, four tackles, seven rebound 50s) was Norwood’s leading possession winner across half-back.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

Central District vs. South Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#12 Brodie Lake

The Northern Territory recruit continued his terrific start to life in the SANFL, again proving one of Centrals’ most prolific ball winners with 22 disposals, eight clearances, and six inside 50s. While a lot of his work on the spread and contributions around the ground have been key features to his previous outings, Lake seemed to take a more inside focus to his game this time out. His extraction work was on point, not only winning the ball in close, but also streaming away for some eye-catching centre clearances. The top-ager was a touch fumbly below his knees at full pace and inconsistent in his delivery by foot, but looked stylish in everything he did. The flash is there, but so is the hard stuff, with Lake applying some punishing defensive pressure and proving strong at the contest. He also boasts a sizeable leap and can take marks at full stretch, adding another string to his bow.

#13 Austin McDonald

McDonald’s uncanny knack of finding bucketloads of the ball carried on into yet another impressive Under 18s appearance, as he collected a game-high 29 disposals and five clearances. While he sometimes lacks the strength and speed to burst away from congestion, the 16-year-old has no trouble getting his hands on the ball in the first place, and looks tidy when disposing under less pressure. The next step in his development will be refining his disposal from the clinches, as well as gaining a touch more penetration on his kicks. He has the inside game, but was also clever on the outer with some nice drawing handballs and accumulation around the ground. Another pleasing part of McDonald’s game was his tackling, which has come to the fore in recent weeks. He laid five throughout this game and was aggressive in his defensive duties, ultimately rewarded for his efforts in taking opponents down.

Others:

Versatile bigman Wyatt Ryan was again productive for the Bulldogs, drifting back while taking on rucks duties, and also presenting well as a forward to finish with 17 disposals, five marks, and 31 hitouts. Finn Reed fared well through the middle to notch 19 disposals and a classy goal in the first term, while Luigi Mondello showed a zippy step en route to bagging two majors. Christopher Tidswell was another to pop up with some promising moments, particularly in the first half as he took on the highly-touted Brayden Cook.

>> MORE CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

South Adelaide:

#10 Brayden Cook

This year’s first round bolter is building some serious momentum, and while he did not quite have the desired scoreboard impact in this game, Cook showed some promising signs. Starting on the wing, many of Cook’s highlights came through his aerial ability, rising above his opponents to stick some terrific overhead marks. Even when he couldn’t hold onto his marks, the top-ager followed up with handy work at ground level where he proved smooth and evasive on the ball. After being held relatively well in the first term, Cook spent a touch more time forward immediately after the main break and turned provider with a couple of goal assists to Hugo Hoeck. He would only manage three behinds of his own though, as the radar proved a little off. Still, Cook is the kind of player his teammates often looked for when transitioning into attack, and his positioning a kick behind the ball allowed the Panthers to better dictate possession.

#33 Arlo Draper

The bottom-ager has travelled somewhat under the radar of late, but seems to be thriving upon a more permanent move into the midfield. While still a touch light-on, Draper is a good size at 185cm and looks comfortable in contested battles. He was quiet in the early stages, but came into the game with some deft touches in congestion, while also showcasing his terrific agility and awareness to weave through traffic and come away with the ball in style. A couple of centre clearances attested to that, though his strength when caught was also evident. Draper’s work to accumulate at either end of the ground helped him have a more sustained impact, as he glided his way to 19 disposals and six clearances, while also laying six tackles.

Others:

As usual, there was a bunch of reliable performers who again stood up for South Adelaide. The likes of Liam Hamilton (19 disposals, eight marks, one goal) and Max Clifton (16 disposals, six marks) were busy through the midfield rotation, while Jayden Little provided a cool head across half-back with his 20 touches. Jack Flett was another to impact down back with his run-and-carry, as Liam Nye and Jamison Snelling both found the goals up the other end. Bottom-age smalls Dylan Brown and Luke Mitton were also lively through midfield and up forward, with Hugo Hoeck (four goals) the leading goalkicker.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Glenelg vs North Adelaide

By: Eli Duxson

Glenelg:

#8 Hagan Wright

Wright looked the most dangerous for Glenelg all day, providing run both in the midfield and off half-back. He was active at most stoppages and contests, timing his runs well to get on the end of hit-outs and handball receives. The Bays were keen to get it in his hands as he moved smoothly on the inside and outside, generally using the ball well. Moving out of defence, where the ball so often was for Glenelg, looked simple for Wright as he so calmly weaved through traffic and displayed good evasive skills.

His physicality remained as the Roosters pushed further away in the second half and his balance over the footy was impressive. He seemed to be in good positions to receive the ball on many occasions and worked hard to get to stoppages. He ended up with 21 disposals, four tackles, and five clearances in a well-rounded performance on an ordinary day for his side.

#9 Kye Dean

The well-built midfielder spent most of his time on ball, but often drifted forward to try and impact the scoreboard. His composure was solid early as he opted to find shorter options instead of wheeling and blazing away, and he used it well by hand in-tight. He was hard to knock over the ball and used his strength to bustle his way through the contests. His ball use was not always reliable, but the blustery conditions certainly were not doing anyone any favours.

He finished the second half with a goal after getting on the end of a link and floating it in from a tight angle, while having a further two shots on goal for the game. He missed an open shot 30 metres out on the run, but made up for it with a tidy set shot in the fourth quarter. A big fend-off in the third term displayed his strength as he ended with 24 disposals, two goals, and five clearances.

#23 Callum Park (League)

The former Australian Under 18 baseball representative probably had his best game of the season with 18 disposals, seven marks, and seven rebound 50s. His ability to run-and-carry and use the ball well on his left-foot are probably his key strengths, and he did both well. He was taking the kick-outs for much of the game and provided plenty of run off half-back. He moved smoothly and was dangerous on the outside. He opted to kick more than he handballed, but his lone two handballs of the game were in critical areas deep in defence with clean ground ball gathers. Swapping between wing and half-back, he was accountable when he needed to be but was often utilised as a loose defender when playing on the wing and the Roosters were near their attacking 50.

Park set up well behind the ball to mark, but he also worked hard in attack. On one instance he kicked out, and then continued to work up and eventually received a handball centre wing. A pivotal smother in the tense final quarter capped off a solid outing for him as he looked comfortable with his role.

#27 Luke Parks (League)

The Sydney Swans Academy product was given the tough role on Lewis Hender and despite Hender’s three goals, Parks enjoyed a good game in the tight win. His aerial ability was on show early, taking a hanger at edge of the centre square. Like he has done for much of the season, it showed his confidence to mark in contests instead of going the for defensive spoil. There were some occasions where opting to spoil would have been more appropriate though. He reads the flight of the ball well and often parked himself under the high ball to mark courageously.

Hender managed to create separation but Parks was hot on his tail with good speed and agility. He also showed confidence to run off Hender and find his own ball or impact the contest, but when you do, you must impact. Parks was caught out on a couple of occasions and Hender just snuck away. His cleanliness and composure with the footy was good, but his physicality and aggression was also a highlight as he was not afraid to hit the ball hard or back up teammates in the push and shove.

Bays coach Mark Stone backed his aerial prowess in the last quarter and left him loose in crucial times and Parks did not let him down. Parks finished with 15 disposals and six marks and is definitely one to keep and eye on.

Others:

Glenelg did not have the best of days, but the play of Riley Davis was promising who had 17 disposals and six tackles, but three behinds could have made it a very solid outing. Tom Moyle-Read was also serviceable with 15 disposals and a goal and looked comfortable with ball in hand.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

North Adelaide:

#21 Tariek Newchurch

Newchurch made the most of a dominant day for the Roosters, slotting three goals to go with his 16 disposals. He also made the most of a solid breeze to kick his first early in the contest off a couple of steps from 50 metres after winning a free kick. With patches in the midfield he showed he was capable of so much more and could play as a midfielder with his speed and cleanliness, but it was not on show for as much of the day as you would have liked. He looked to work back hard defensively, but it was his attacking run that was most exciting after roving well and running with ball the best part of 60 metres to goal from almost on the goal line.

His acceleration and pace again excited in patches as he displayed strength in-tight as well. He did burn teammates on a few occasions, kicking blindly toward goal, but after fluffing one kick he made up for it with a goal soon after. Newchurch is an exciting prospect with his pace, relative strength, ball use, and ability to hit the scoreboard, but there is certainly a higher potential to develop his game like Shai Bolton has in the AFL.

#28 Matthew Borg

Borg was prolific again and enjoyed a brilliant game with 26 disposals, three goals, and seven clearances. The midfielder worked hard both ways, taking intercept marks in defensive 50, but also getting dangerous up the other end. His pace and intent on the ball looked tough to defend and he kicked his first goal in the first quarter after creating space in a one-on-one in the pocket, before dribbling it through brilliantly. He even gave a bit to the crowd. Borg’s ability to get the ball from the ground to a target through hands in very little time was on show a few times, but he did appear reluctant to use his left hand to handball.

In a dominant day for his side, he found himself in space a lot, but he made his way to good positions instead of just floating and waiting for the ball to come. He found the ball and made things happen. One several occasions he broke away from the stoppage but was called back due to free kicks. He played out of full forward at one point and after a nice lead up and mark, he drilled the set shot from nearly 50 metres.

#37 Karl Finlay (League)

The up and down nature of the wind-affected game kept Finlay busy at full back, but he showed he was up to the task. After a wayward contest early, he began to read the flight of the ball well, providing some thumping spoils to clear the space. He also showed a willingness to get his own ball and use it which is indicative of his confidence, but a poor decision under pressure deep in defence was almost costly.

The former Prince Alfred College captain showed good discipline when the ball hit the ground to locate his opponent instead of being drawn to the ball. His hands looked solid with an intercept mark and with his mobility and 192cm and 88kg frame, he certainly showed potential to be a key position player for the future.

Others:

North Adelaide boasted many good performers in their 78-point win, but the leading disposal getters were Jayden Davison and Blayne O’Loughlin, who each had 28 disposals. Davison also recorded 10 clearances although his ball use did not always adjust well with the conditions. O’Loughlin found a lot of ball out the back and with the kickouts and could have been a lot more damaging, but he typically just opted for longer targets. Kyle Brazell kicked three lovely set shot goals to go with 23 disposals and showed versatility playing all over the ground. Harvey Harrison kicked four majors for the Roosters and was constructive whenever he had ball in hand.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Sturt vs. West Adelaide

By: Peter Williams

Sturt:

#11 Will Spain

Showed some promising signs and nice dash throughout the match, and continued to attack the contest hard. His speed at running through stoppages to try and win the ball and burst out was admirable, with great defensive pressure and tackling to go with it. At times his possession was a little rushed, and his determination to move the ball quickly often saw him step off his line such as marking at half-forward going to run trying to stop, then having to handball backwards. Overall his tackling pressure was superb, and he was not afraid to bring down bigger opponents, so it was no surprise to read he had an equal game-high seven tackles.

#17 Mani Liddy

Liddy might have been overshadowed in the stat-line by game’s end by partner-in-crime Tom Powell, but make no mistake, Liddy was just as influential, if not more so at times. His strength at the stoppages to win the ball, stand tall and get his arms free was a feature of his game, but he also has that touch of class about it too. He does the hard stuff then can add the touch of class, having a number of shots on goal out of forward stoppages. In the first term he snapped for goal twice, the first time missing but the second sailing through in the 25th minute of the game for Sturt’s fifth. He has the smarts to weigh his kicks and put it to his teammates’ advantage and it was his work at half-back under pressure to get it to Powell that ended in a goal to Oliver Britten-Jones at the other end. His hands are electric in close, also showing clean kicking, then working hard to get free into space. Not afraid to cop contact, Liddy was absolutely sensational, and his stoppage and contested work a real treat.

#18 Tom Powell

By the time you are reading this you will have seen the stat-line – 47 disposals, 10 clearances, nine marks, three tackles and 2.2 – so there is little need to tell you he had a huge game. The reason Powell is able to rack up these numbers is because he simply runs hard around the ground, gets to contest after contest, and then gets into ball-winning positions to quickly move the ball on. He is too strong for opponents inside the contest, and then just plays simple footy when needed to kick long to dangerous areas for the opposition to try and defend. Twice in the first term Powell hit up targets pretty much in the goalsquare with long bombs inside 50 to their advantage. It did not need to be pretty, just give his forwards a chance and he placed it well. His sheer work rate to win the ball in all thirds was admirable, and his stoppage craft is very clever. In the second term he set up a third goal with a nice run inside 50 then opted to pass to a leading Kai Tucker rather than go for goal.

His vision by hand is good, to sense teammates running in space, with his decision making and execution by foot an area of improvement from the game. A number of times he would bomb the ball long which, as it showed in the first time can pay off, but also turned it over on a number of times, such as when he was coming out of defence on a few occasions. Nonetheless, Powell’s offensive game really drove a dagger into Westies’ heart and he kicked his first goal from a set shot free kick four and a half minutes into the third term. His second came late in the quarter to lead out and take an uncontested mark at the top of the goalsquare thanks to some shepherding from teammates. A third shot on goal moments later saw Powell kick across the face of goal but hit the opposite behind post for out on the full. His second efforts when making a mistake were also solid, because he missed a handball trying to put it into the path of a teammate at half-forward, but then mopped up and gave it to his teammate running inside 50 for a scoring opportunity. Had some fun in the last term, racking up the stats with his teammates, but finished as a throughly deserved best on ground with a stat-line reflective of a high work rate and scoreboard impact. Not only did he boot two goals, but he directly had a hand in three others in Sturt’s big win.

#2 Tom Lewis (League)

Had some promising moments playing in the forward half of the ground with a particularly impressive third term. He first entered the foray with an important kick inside 50 at the nine-minute mark, then won the ball in midfield through good positioning and kicked long again leading to an Aidyn Johnson goal three minutes later. He had a quieter second term though still won touches, but came alive in the third, willing his side back into the contest. He had a quick snap off the left that went wide and bounced out of bounds, but was continually rushing the chaos ball inside 50. His kick to a dangerous area set up Mihail Lochowiak who goaled, and then put pressure on the West defence with another long kick to the goalsquare in the dying minutes before it was rushed through. He himself almost kicked an impossible goal from the behind post but went across the face to the other side of the ground. He finished with a strong 21 touches, five marks, four tackles, five clearances, and crucially, seven inside 50s.

#17 Jed McEntee (League)

Just a really hard-working effort by the over-ager who plied his typical fierce tackling game to good effect. He would use the ball quickly down the wing early in the game, got a second kick at half-forward, and then cleaned up in the pocket after trying to assist for another touch. He would win the ball in close and get ball to boot quickly, and then hit the scoreboard himself on the end of an end-to-end play by the Double Blues, marking uncontested in the goalsquare and kicking a major from 20 metres out straight in front in the 19th minute of the third term. In the last quarter with the game on the line, McEntee worked back into defence to provide some support and settle the team down.

#29 James Borlase (League)

Making his debut at League level, the Adelaide Next-Generation Academy prospect was one of the more impressive players, particularly early in the game. While many debutants might look and hope for an easy first few touches, Borlase held up with a handball under pressure then took a contested intercept mark. He used the ball well and was good in his positioning throughout the game, and while he did not always take every mark he went for, he still racked up quite a few – six in total – and also applied plenty of pressure both through tackling and implied pressure that would have impressed the coaches. In the final term in particular with the game in the balance, Borlase laid a massive tackle, but what was the most impressive fact was he grabbed him once, his opponent almost got free, but Borlase went again and brought him down in a 360-degree tackle. To finish with 14 touches, six marks, three tackles and five rebounds on debut, that was a big tick and Adelaide would have been pleased with his development.

Others:

Aside from the top two Sturt stars, Liam Swiderski racked up 28 touches and 12 marks rebounding off out of defence and mopping up from West’s poor inside 50 entries. He was one of a number of Double Blues who also used the time late in the game to practice closing out close games by chipping it around, with Jordan Hein (24 touches, five marks and seven rebounds) also busy in defence. Ethan Field was strong up forward with 23 touches, five marks and two goals, while Ned Grieve and Jamie Taylor both racked up 22 touches by game’s end. For West, Eduard Van den berg tried hard in the back 50 alongside Sinderberry, notching up nine rebounds to go with his 23 touches and eight marks.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

West Adelaide:

#3 Hugh Desira

The bottom-ager looked lively throughout the game and showed a number of impressive traits in what was ultimately a tough day at the office for West. Desira laid a good tackle on Mani Liddy in the opening term to win a free, and then would work back to save his side a number of times deep in defence. He had great vision to hit up a target on the opposite side of the ground and get the ball moving, then did it in the forward half through congestion to spot a free player at the top of the attacking 50. He was a part of the midfield rotation for the Westies, but it was his spread and run out of defence that stood out, doing well with the ball under pressure.

#4 Cade Kennedy

Won a fair bit of the ball through the middle, rotating between inside and outside roles, and working hard as a free man to get clear on a wing and create space. His work rate was exemplified by being involved with at least three handballs down the wing before being knocked over through a heavy bump. Midway through the second term he was collected high and won a free kick, and was able to keep the ball moving quickly. He handed off an unselfish goal assist to Izach Zinndorf whose snap to the line was called a goal despite Sturt appealing it was marked. He has a dual-sided ability, because when caught on his left side he kicked off his left, and when caught on his right he kicked off his right. Later in the game he dug deep to help out the defence, and then had a shot on goal from 40 metres following a free kick 10 minutes into the final term, but his set shot went way left.

#24 Jye Sinderberry

Really stood out for mine in terms of West players and produced the performance he is capable of at half-back. Not only did he do his job one-on-one, but he provided drive, held a high line and even went into the ruck for a few stoppages. His pressure and one-percenters would have been high, even if he did not officially lay a tackle. He worked hard on a number of occasions to get to the front position and read the ball in flight well. He took a number of intercept grabs, including one at speed late in the second term, and after an earlier miss by foot, was able to generally use it solidly. In one instance he went into the ruck and used his leap to win it out of the ruck, charge forward and kick inside 50, but was intercepted by a Sturt defender. The third term saw Sinderberry cover so much ground up and down, and he even had a set shot from just inside 50 after a double penalty for late contact and then infringing the mark, but his set shot missed to the left. Overall a really strong game as that rebounding, yet accountable defender.

#49 Lachlan Squire (League)

In his second League game, Squire acquitted himself around the stoppages well, using his big frame to match it with more experienced opponents. Often opposed to Abe Davis at the stoppages, he was not afraid to throw his weight around and then go in hard to win the contested ball and shovel it out to teammates. His positioning around the stoppages was good and he had clean hands under pressure, but sometimes did a little too much, like when he tried to fend off a player nine minutes into the second term and got done for incorrect disposal. He had a crack throughout four quarters and had a quick shot on goal in the 17th minute of the third term but was brought down in the tackle. Had more of an influence than nine disposals might suggest, and his three clearances attest to that, always being in tough situations.

#59 Hamish Ellem (League)

The former Sydney Swans Academy member seems to have improved his mobility a touch over the off-season after missing out on being drafted last year. Playing out of full-forward, he has always been able to be quick at ground level and snap around his body, but with less time in the SANFL compared to Under 18s, Ellem showed he could stand up and show off the same party tricks there. After a quiet first term where he contributed just the one kick, he slotted his first goal 42 seconds into the second term. The first clearing kick out of the middle went straight down his throat and he went back to kick from 50 metres and sail it home. He kicked his second early in the third as well, just two minutes in kicking a quick snap around his body from 40 metres. In the fourth term he spent some time in the ruck and had a remarkable pickup snap off the deck that only just missed in the last few minutes, and that would have put West within two points.

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

Featured image: Hannah Howard/SANFL

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