THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s continued through over the weekend with Round 10, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.
West Adelaide 13.12 (90) drew with Woodville-West Torrens 14.6 (90)
By: Tom Wyman
#10 Cade Kennedy
West Adelaide captain Kennedy has been one of the Under 18 competition’s most reliable performers throughout the season to-date. His 49-disposal, 15-mark and nine-clearance effort against the Eagles in Round 7 showcased his serious ball-winning capabilities. Although Kennedy did not amass as much of the ball in West’s second encounter with Woodville-West Torrens, he used the ball well by foot and worked hard. He ran into good positions, often ensuring he was open as an option in the corridor. At the coalface he was typically strong, winning seven clearances to go with 21 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s.
#16 Dylan White
Bloods midfielder/forward White produced a strong showing in the clubs thrilling draw under Friday night lights at Hisense Stadium. Splitting his time between attack and an on-ball roll, White’s aerial work was a highlight, along with his two goals within two minutes in the final term. White’s run-down tackle and goal put the Bloods back on top in the last quarter. Although he will be frustrated to have missed a gettable shot in the dying stages of the match, White was clearly one of West’s best contributors on the night, finishing with 23 disposals, seven marks, eight tackles and three clearances.
#33 Jesse Thackeray
Thackeray was the most dominant on-baller on the field when it came to in-and-under work. His contested ball winning ability and stoppage nous shone through, accumulating a game-high 11 clearances. Also strong overhead, he was the Bloods leading possession winner, finishing with 27 touches and five marks. Thackeray had several shots on goal in the last quarter, all of which could have changed the outcome of the game, however he wasn’t able to split the big-sticks.
Others: Playing his first Under 18s game since round four, wingman Jed Obst provided the Bloods with some polish on the outside. He calmly slotted the tying goal with a minute left in the final term to cap off a strong game, which featured 21 touches, seven marks and four inside-50s. Half-back Charlie Pridham didn’t accumulate the high numbers we’ve become accustomed to seeing, however he was typically calm and poised when mopping up under pressure. In the ruck, Oscar Steene continued to show some positive signs in his duel with Eagle Zac Phillips. He broke-even with Phillips in pure hit-out numbers, and was serviceable around the ground, laying five tackles and gathering 13 disposals. Luke Young played well in his centre-half-forward role. He presented well throughout the night and was strong overhead, hauling in six marks, three of which were contested. He accumulated 19 disposals and booted two goals in what was a valuable contribution. Fellow forwards Lachlan Tredwell and Mitch Hahn also played their roles well, booting three and two goals respectively. Although they didn’t win an abundance of the ball, the pair looked threatening close to goal.
#6 Dustin Launer
Launer was easily the most productive player on the field in the clash with West Adelaide. He moved exceptionally well through traffic, showing poise and calmness with ball in-hand and rarely wasting a disposal. Launer was careful and precise with his distribution by hand, pinpoint by foot and displayed great vision throughout the game. He won four clearances, but away from the contest, Launer provided some meaningful run and carry. His snap goal off one-step in the third quarter was another feature of his promising game. A smart utility who reads the play well, Launer concluded the match with 33 disposals, eight marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds.
#10 Sam Nicholls
Diminutive midfielder Sam Nicholls played an important role for Woodville-West Torrens. Despite being on the smaller side, Nicholls played a combative, in-and-under role in the middle, however his ball-use was clean despite often being under imminent pressure. His important goal late in the second term extended the Eagles lead ahead of the half-time break. Nicholls tackled hard and was the Eagles leading clearance-winner. The hard-working inside midfielder finished with 19 touches, five tackles, six clearances and four inside 50s.
#24 Zac Phillips
The 19-year-old ruckman Phillips wasted no time in asserting himself on the contest, accumulating a couple of early touches. Up against West Adelaide tall Oscar Steene for much of the game, Phillips narrowly got the better of his opponent at stoppages around the ground. He worked hard away from the contest to get involved in general play, amassing 19 disposals. Although he was sometimes caught out for speed, Phillips was largely clean by hand and foot. His running goal in the second term highlighted his solid skillset. Phillips finished the game with 21 hitouts, three clearances and four inside 50s.
Others: Charlie Blair kicked the first goal of the game for the visitors and also slotted majors early in the second and fourth terms. Rotating through the midfield and forward line, Blair applied good defensive pressure and displayed some good stoppage smarts. He gathered 19 touches, five marks, four tackles and three clearances. Charlie Adams had some nice moments throughout the game, finishing with 18 disposals, four marks, four tackles, three clearances and a goal. Brock Thomson (20 disposals and six rebounds) was effective down back, while tall-forward Jordan Lukac proved too tall at-times, booting three goals.
NORTH ADELAIDE 11.5 (71) DEF BY GLENELG 14.9 (93)
By: Eli Duxson
#12 Hugh Jackson
The prolific ball-winner continued his impressive form with another consistent display. Taking up his usual spot in the middle, he was lively early showing good activity around stoppages, while positioning himself well to be an easy outlet should his team win it at the bottom of the pack. He often got to the back of the pack to utilise his silky ball use to propel his side forward. Jackson showed a willingness to use both sides of his body as well as reaching both ends of the field, not just trying to find the ball around the middle of the ground. He often found himself in defence trying to use those skills again to rebound efficiently, doing so on five occasions. He picks good options with ball in hand and always opts for a teammate in a better position, not just going for the glory-hunting goal or stat. He hit the scoreboard in the third quarter pushing in off his defensive zone to kick from just inside 50 off a couple of steps, a nice finish. Jackson ended the game with 27 disposals, the one goal, five clearances, and six inside 50’s.
#18 James Willis
A reliable inside midfielder who compliments Jackson’s ability to go in and out well, often extracting from packs or opening up the game with a burst of acceleration. Willis led his opponent to the ball at most stoppages often reading it better in flight or just hunting it more. He showed good temperament in the stoppages and like Jackson, did not just blaze away and looked for a sound option whether it was through hands or foot. His disposal was inconsistent at times but was generally good as he almost goaled to end the first quarter but managed to find the goals in the third quarter off an intercept mark. Willis had 25 disposals, one goal, and four clearances in another solid outing.
#22 Blayne O’Loughlin
O’Loughlin put up another typically sound performance assuming his natural defensive rebounding role but was also thrust into the midfield at times to try and help get his side back in the game. He has become a reliable defender riding his opponent closely, competing well both in the air and on the ground, and tackling hard and well. His ability to use the ball well is common knowledge but it was on display again as his trusty left boot found targets all over the ground. He has a good feel for the game doing the basics right from stopping opposition runners from advancing to putting on solid blocks for teammates when he could have easily hung out and demanded the ball. He looked comfortable in the midfield as his direct opponent tended to drag him away from the contest to nullify his impact as he managed three clearances. O’Loughlin finished with 26 disposals.
Others: Glenelg maintained control for much of the day, but Harvey Harrison managed another serviceable contribution with 15 disposals and a goal, but his greatest impact came without ball in hand as tackled hard and tackled well eight times. William Dowling found himself across the midfield and in the forward line as he snuck through for three goals. His set shot was on point as he never looked like missing, but it was most impressive how he chose the times to go forward well. He also had 14 disposals and four clearances.
#12 Brodie Edwards
The potential father-son selection was damaging early with some steady ball use, especially in the first quarter. His kicking was reliable but his hands in tight were elite, managing to pick up and dish off above his head quickly and efficiently under duress. He drifted into defence at times as well and was often found to rebound, doing so five times. While he often looked balanced and steady with ball in hand, one mishap in the third quarter resulted in a goal directly from a poor kick inside defensive 50. Edwards finished with 23 disposals.
#16 Harry McInnes
One half of the Glenelg twin towers proved to be a difficult matchup for North Adelaide as he booted five goals from just 10 disposals. He did not venture out of forward 50 too much but he did not need to with the Glenelg defence and midfield feeding it to him more than enough times. While he worked up early and managed to set a teammate up inside 50 for a goal, his best work was done deep slotting his first major in the second quarter, but three from the third. These four goals came on the lead as his hands were like glue in contested situations, while he also used his strength to create space for himself either to mark or get out on a lead. His final goal came from a free kick but he certainly looked hard to stop all day.
#21 Cooper Beecken
The 190cm wingman was disciplined in his role as he held his position, while also worked back defensively when required. He came through his first contest hard, with his next being a good mark with heat coming the other way. He was clean in his gathers and mostly good with his left boot, but seemed a little rushed at times. One particular kick was smothered by the man on the mark resulting in a North Adelaide goal. His height made him a tough matchup for the Roosters as his height provided an intercept option for the long kicks down the line. Beecken finished with 23 disposals, seven marks, and four inside 50’s.
#24 Jack Harding
The other half of the Bays’ twin towers in Harding had a fortunate day, but was damaging, nonetheless. Four first-half goals were the difference in the score line in what was an otherwise even first half. He got up the ground frequently to provide a marking option and proved to be a difficult matchup. His first two goals came from spills and feeds to him and kicked them both from the goal line. He competed hard and his next two came from a little bit more work with strong body created space for himself a couple of times as he goaled from similar positions in front of goal. Harding managed 4.1 from 17 disposals to go with seven marks.
Others: Glenelg controlled much of the day and had contributors aplenty. Darcy Gluyas was another one of the left footers in the side to find plenty of it with 26 disposals. He was clumsy at times going to ground unnecessarily but was busy in working to space to find the ball, doing so quite effectively. Jacob Owens led all comers with 33 disposals but was not as damaging with ball in hand. Lewis Rayson was prolific in the first half with 18 disposals on his way to 28, using his raking left boot to often kick long and strong with seven inside 50’s and four rebound 50’s.
Norwood 10.10 (70) def by South Adelaide 11.13 (79)
By: Tom Wyman
#1 Cooper Murley
Featuring in his first Under 18s game of the season after spending much of the season with Norwood’s Reserves, classy outside midfielder Murley was typically prolific. He had a quiet start to the contest, lining up in the forward line for the first half of the opening term. However he was soon moved into the midfield role where he was so dominant as a bottom-ager last season. Murley found the ball at ease on both the inside and the outside of the contest, however his skills and cleanliness were inconsistent throughout the day. Whilst his kicking was precise and his pickups one-touch at times, Murley also uncharacteristically fumbled and missed some targets as the game wore on. His class was very evident however, particularly when he calmly slotted a goal on the run. He worked hard between the arcs and showed some breakaway speed. Going head-to-head with South’s Isaac Birt at various stages, Murley was clearly one of Norwood’s best performers, however expect his skills and cleanliness to improve. He finished the contest with 33 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, eight rebound 50s and two goals.
#11 Connor Kent
Tough midfielder Kent battled hard all day for the Redlegs. He won more than his fair share of contested ball and amassed four clearances, however it was the intense tackling pressure he applied which proved most valuable to Norwood’s performance. He booted a fantastic snap goal on his left-foot in the final minute of the first quarter, but wasn’t as clean by foot in general play as he would’ve liked. Regardless, Kent was Norwood’s best inside midfielder, finishing the game with 28 disposals, five marks, 14 tackles and four inside 50s.
#19 Charles Kemp
Kemp was Norwood’s most damaging player in their narrow loss to the Panthers. He spent much of the day as the go-to guy in attack, despite not being of true key position height. He booted the first goal of the match for the ‘legs and presented well up the ground. His intelligent leading patterns were well rewarded throughout the day, with his teammates often looking for him down the line and leaving Kemp to do the rest in the air. He consistently used his body well one-on-one, nudging his direct opponent under the ball and taking a couple of uncontested grabs. As he dominance in the air continued, Kemp was moved into the ruck in the later stages of the game and held his own despite giving away plenty of height to the South big men. He finished the game with two goals to go with 19 disposals, ten marks (three contested), eight hitouts and five clearances in a terrific display.
Others: Will Charlton had some good moments down back, accumulating 15 disposals and four rebounds. Utility Jack Ianniello looked promising up forward and on the wing, with his aerial strength standing out. He finished with 12 disposals, six marks (four contested), four tackles and two goals. The performance of ruckman Phoenix Foster would have thoroughly impressed the Redlegs coaching staff. Playing just his second game of the season, the ruckman showed great mobility around the ground and used the ball well by foot. Although he is raw, Foster showed some very promising signs, finishing the game with 18 disposals, five clearances, 18 hitouts and a goal.
#5 Angus Bradley
Bradley returned to the Panthers Under 18s set-up for the first time since round four and made an immediate impact. Bradley relished the role as the number one midfielder in South’s engine room and appeared to be in everything from the get-go, launching himself at ground balls with ferocity and putting his body on the line time after time. Whilst his inside game was strong, importantly, Bradley used the football well by foot – his clever snap kick in traffic to find an open player being a prime example of his efficient ball-use. The ball-magnet ran tirelessly from contest-to-contest, racking up nine marks. He finished with a game-high 36 disposals, ten tackles, eight clearances, three inside-50s and three rebound 50s in a well-rounded showing from the teenager.
#10 Isaac Birt
Birt continues to go from strength-to-strength after producing yet another best-on-ground performance at Coopers Stadium. The Panthers vice-captain dominated his wing from start to finish, running up and down the ground and racking up the metres gained. His consistently precise ball use, over both short and long ranges, proved invaluable. His penetrating kicking sliced through Norwood’s defensive structures and provided the Panthers forwards with great opportunities. His strength overhead was also a highlight and continues to be an underrated component of his game. However the most impressive component of his game was the way he lifted in the fourth term when the game was on the line. He seemed to have the ball on a string and used it well, especially going inside 50. The skilful outside midfielder finished with 31 disposals, 11 marks (three contested), five tackles and eight inside 50s.
#13 Lachlan Hayes
Hayes was typically productive in his role as the primary rebounder. Providing plenty of energy in the back half with his adventurous run and carry and long kicking, Hayes also did all the defensive things well – his desperate tackle to prevent a certain goal being a prime example. He read the play well and used the ball reliably by foot, concluding with 20 disposals, five marks, three tackles and eight rebounds.
Others: Like a number of his teammates, South Adelaide captain Dylan Brown lifted when it mattered in the final quarter. Despite having a quieter game up until the last term, Brown lead from the front, hauling in two big pack marks. He finished with 19 disposals, five marks, seven tackles and seven inside-50s. Tom Barrett provided constant pressure in attack and, despite missing a couple of chances, finished with two goals for his efforts.
STURT 15.13 (103) DEF CENTRAL DISTRICT 9.12 (66)
By: Eli Duxson
#10 Jake Aish
Another classy game from Aish who was the equal-leading disposal getter amassing 27. A great blend of inside and outside game was made possible with his hard running all over the ground. Over the ball he is stable with that hip and core strength exemplified in an aerial contest where he was pushed in the air but landed on his feet and kept running. He positions himself well around stoppages to release with his good ball use, while also working both ways just as hard. He set up multiple goals with pinpoint passes but could not manage any of his own missing two shots he probably would have liked to convert.
#13 Brad Jefferies
Jefferies provided plenty of grunt on the inside for Sturt using his larger frame to extract the footy. Once the ball was out he spread well and was able to find space, often working across the ground laterally to provide a linking option between the arcs for the double blues. He was willing to kick on either side of his body and did so effectively, while also opting to use hands in tight often looking to get the ball moving forward. Jefferies’ strength in tackles allowed him to be that effective as he was able to free an arm or himself completely multiple times. He snuck forward in the last quarter where Aish hit him up and he converted truly to round out his day. He managed 22 disposals, one goal and four clearances.
#32 Morgan Ferres
To say Ferres had a day out would be an understatement. Eleven scoring shots for 7.4, to go with 18 disposals and nine marks, four of which were contested. His first came early in the game with a brilliant rove and snap on his left foot. Although he spilled a simple uncontested mark in the goal square soon after, it did not affect his game with four of his next six goals coming from marks on the lead or using his body to create space to mark. He caused headaches for the Central District defence as he managed to find space comfortably, while also forcing his opponent into leaking a couple of free kicks to kick another two. In what was a massive game for Ferres could have been even bigger, but the focal point of the Sturt offence was the difference in the end.
Others: Sturt maintained their pressure for much of the game and Jamie Taylor and his eight tackles played a role in that. He was physical all game and managed 20 disposals and a goal for his effort. Charlie Fryer was a rock down back in the first half, while Jacob Lochowiak (16 disposals, two goals) was serviceable as well.
#3 Isaiah Dudley
The livewire gave the crowd plenty to be excited about with his dash and cleanliness with the ball, but it was a huge hanger late in the third quarter that really got people up and about. Although his 45-metre set shot hit the post, a goal would have made it a one-point game at the time meaning he showed up at an important moment. He did manage two goals from pretty much the same spot on the ground being just inside 50 on a 45-degree angle, although one was a set shot, and one was on the move. As a forward he pushed up the ground to be an option and rove contests maximising his speediness, while also proving dangerous with his cleanliness around goal. Pushing up in the midfield saw him make quick and effective decisions while working back defensively as well. Dudley finished with 22 disposals and five inside 50’s to go with his two goals.
Others: Tomas Hahn played a similar role to Dudley switching between forward and the midfield but mostly played in the latter where he used his speed to get on the outside quite often and launch forward balls. He had 24 disposals (21 kicks), 10 inside 50’s, six tackles, and five clearances. Defender Ruben Carreno found the ball just as many times as Sturt’s Aish albeit he was the designated kickout taker, while ruckman Saxon Evans did well as a mostly lone hand having 16 disposals of his own to go with his 31 hit outs.
Picture credit: On the Ball Media