2021 SANFL Under 16s season wrap: Panthers and Double Blues finish top two despite final round losses

A HECTIC conclusion to the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 16s competition saw the top two sides lose only their second game for the season in the final round, as Rounds 6 and 7 of the action wrapped up on Saturday and Wednesday in the past five days respectively.

South Adelaide finished on top by the barest of margins, with a higher percentage of 0.11 compared to Sturt, though both teams suffered shock losses to non-finalists in Round 7. The Panthers went down to sixth placed Woodville-West Torrens and the Double Blues suffered defeat to the fifth placed West Adelaide. In other results, Glenelg held Central District winless for the season as they got up in a nail-biter by two points to finish third, and North Adelaide booked its spot in the finals by accounting for seventh placed Norwood in a tight eight-point result.

Four days earlier, the top three teams all secured wins, and ultimately helped themselves to the prime positions on the ladder, with South Adelaide getting up over fourth placed North Adelaide by 17 points, Sturt defeating Norwood by a whopping 70 points, and Glenelg accounting for Eagles by 44 points. West Adelaide’s gallant end to the season had started with a comfortable 31-point victory over the Bulldogs.

In terms of the season top performers, Kane McAuliffe was head and shoulders above the rest for disposals, averaging a mind-bogging 31.9 disposals per game. The Roosters midfielder started off his season with a comparably low 23 touches, before going nuts with two 28-disposal games, and the rest with 33 or more, including a 43-disposal effort against the Eagles in Round 3. He also averaged a whopping 10 marks, 5.9 tackles, five clearances, 7.3 inside 50s and 4.6 rebound 50s to be the top performing player across the competition.

His partner-in-crime Angus Tully was not far behind with the Roosters talent averaging the flat 31 disposals per game from six matches, picking up more than 30 touches in three of his matches, including 41 disposals against West Adelaide in Round 4. Tully also averaged 4.2 marks, 4.3 tackles. 6.8 clearances, 5.5 inside 50s and 2.2 rebound 50s.

The highest disposal average was Central District’s Trent Tattoli who gave the wooden spooners something to celebrate about, averaging 34.6 disposals per game in five matches since debuting in Round 3. He only dipped below 35 disposals once in his time showing remarkable consistency, and finished the 2021 season also accumulating 8.2 marks, 4.0 tackles, 4.8 clearances, 4.8 inside 50s and 3.6 rebound 50s.

West Adelaide’s Lukas Zvaigzne (26.1 disposals, 5.7 marks, 4.0 tackles, 3.0 clearances, 3.4 inside 50s and 2.6 rebound 50s) and Eagles’ Jed Thomson (22.1 disposals, 4.0 marks, 2.3 clearances, 2.3 inside 50s and 2.6 rebound 50s) rounded out the top five ball-winners this season.

Meanwhile there was a three-way tie for the leading goalkicker award, with Sturt’s Chad Reschke, South Adelaide’s Jack Delean and Norwood’s William Rowlands all booting 16 goals. Reschke was the most impressive, achieving the feat from just five games, with multiple goals in every game, including hauls of four against South Adelaide and Glenelg, and hauls of three against North Adelaide and Eagles, to finish with 16.14 for the season. He also averaged the 10.2 disposals and 4.6 marks this year.

Delean played the six matches, and booted 16 goals despite going goalless in two games. He slotted a huge six goals against North Adelaide in his final match in Round 6, whilst having a haul of four against Glenelg, and three goals against both Central District and Norwood. Delean also averaged the 5.2 marks, 3.7 inside 50s and 2.8 tackles from 14.2 disposals. Meanwhile Rowland slotted five goals against Glenelg and four against North Adelaide in his best of a seven-game effort, averaging the 14.1 disposals, 3.1 marks, 3.0 inside 50s and 2.8 tackles.

While Reschke also averaged more than two contested marks per game, and McAuliffe and Delean were also up there in the stakes, Glenelg’s Ashton Moir was the clear standout with 18 contested marks in six games at an average of three per match. The Bays talent also averaged the 16.2 disposals and 6.5 marks slotting the four goals for the season, and 12 of his 18 contested marks coming against Norwood (seven) and West Adelaide (five).

When it came to big men, it was Jayden Matz who topped the league for hitouts. The Central District amassed 172 hitouts – 49 more than any other player in the league – at an average of 24.6 per game – to go with 16.6 disposals, 3.3 marks, 5.4 tackles, 3.6 clearances and 3.0 inside 50s. South Adelaide’s Tom Schirmer (24.6 hitouts per game from four games) was influential across his five matches, while West Adelaide’s Jack Wilson (15.6 hitouts from seven) and North Adelaide’s Darcy Kelly (18.2 from six) both totalled 109 hitouts for the season.

Tully and McAuliffe both featured in the top five for clearances in 2021, ranked first and fourth in total hitouts, whilst Norwood’s Connor Butcher averaged the 5.2 clearances per match from seven games, as well as 21.1 disposals, 4.3 tackles and 3.6 inside 50s. South Adelaide’s Tom Wheaton finished with the highest average from just five games, recording a whopping 7.2 clearances, as well as 25.6 disposals, 5.3 marks, 7.4 tackles and 5.8 inside 50s. Sturt’s Kobe McEntee averaged the 22.0 disposals, 4.8 clearances, 4.7 marks, 5.8 tackles and 5.2 inside 50s.

Finally looking at the defenders, the top rebounders in season 2021 were led by Rooster Toby Turner, who played all seven games for an average of 7.4 rebound 50s per game to accompany 16.0 disposals and 4.3 marks. West Adelaide’s Oscar Talbot (19.3 disposals, 7.3 rebound 50s), McAuliffe, Sturt’s Brodie Maloney (17.0 disposals, 5.2 rebound 50s) and Norwood’s Harvey George (15.8 disposals, 5.2 rebound 50s) were the others rounding out the top five with 30-plus rebound 50s for the season.

Of all those talents, McAuliffe finished on top in terms of Dream Team points, becoming the only player to hit 1000 in total and exactly 1000, at an averaged of 142.9 per game. Zvaigzne was next with 713 (101.9 per game), followed by Tully (687 at 114.5 per game), Matz (686 at 98) and Tattoli 677 at 135.4). The next best were West Adelaide’s Max Downs (628 at 89.7) and Eagles’ Pat Toole (609 at 87) to round out the 600-plus total points getters.

 

ROUND 6 RESULTS:

Norwood 5.9 (39) defeated by Sturt 17.7 (109)
Central District 9.7 (61) defeated by West Adelaide 14.8 (92)
WWT Eagles 11.4 (70) defeated by Glenelg 17.12 (114)
South Adelaide 14.9 (93) defeated North Adelaide 11.10 (76)

ROUND 7 RESULTS;

South Adelaide 11.8 (74) defeated by WWT Eagles 12.3 (75)
Sturt 9.8 (62) defeated by West Adelaide 13.11 (89)
Glenelg 12.9 (81) defeated Central District 12.7 (79)
Norwood 12.8 (80) defeated by North Adelaide 13.10 (88)

Picture: Cory Sutton/SANFL

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