THE 2021 SANFL Under 18s season continued over the weekend, with the latest round of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 17 and 19 representative squad members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.
CENTRAL DISTRICT 12.6 (78) def. SOUTH ADELAIDE 11.11 (77)
By: Michael Alvaro
#11 Trent Tattoli
The 16-year-old did some impressive things in his side’s narrow win, booting two goals from a team-high 26 touches. Tattoli’s gut running from arc to arc lead to a terrific opening goal for Centrals, as he helped chain a passage from half-back and kept running to eventually get on the end of a handball and finish inside 50. He made good decisions on the ball and took a couple of strong contested marks, leaping to protect the drop against oncoming opponents with great courage. Tattoli capped his game with another major in term four, marking a successful return.
#17 Tahjin Krieg
A constant driver of the ball through midfield, Krieg again got his legs pumping for the Bulldogs and looked lively around the ball. He often got first hands to the ball at the back of centre bounces and used his turn of speed to wheel away from congestion, before sending a left-foot kick forward. Krieg also found some uncontested ball around the ground and looked to snatch metres through the corridor, while booting a couple of handy goals from forward 50 stoppages. He finished with 21 disposals and seven clearances to go with those two majors.
#37 Cody Gilchrist
Playing as a true swingman for the Bulldogs, Gilchrist rotated to either end of the ground and impacted with his marking in both roles. He took some time to build into the game but had a purple patch during term three, taking back-to-back intercept marks in defence before rolling forward for a shot on goal. He was also prominent in the final quarter, using his reach as a marking target at half-forward and helping to link Centrals inside 50. Gilchrist claimed a game-high nine marks, including four contested among his 18 touches.
#38 Brodie Tuck
Tuck was again terrific as a forward focal point and ruck rotation, registering 23 disposals, nine marks (three contested) and 2.2 in a productive outing. The 193cm bottom-ager looked comfortable with ball in hand, taking time to make the right decisions and executing his skills relatively well. He got involved in general play and proved a viable marking target, while also proving dangerous one-out inside 50 where he snared those two majors. Tuck was one who stood up in the final term, helping steer Centrals to victory.
Luigi Mondello (21 disposals, eight clearances, one goal) and Jayden Matz (14 disposals, 11 tackles, one goal) added some speed and size to midfield, while the likes of Thomas Clements and Jake Grubb found plenty while rebounding from defence. Henry Ratcliff proved busy as usual, as Nash Haynes showcased his marking prowess and Saxon Evans snared a couple of goals to go with 22 hit-outs.
#4 Jack Delean
Delean was dangerous as ever inside attacking 50, booting 4.3 from 14 disposals and eight marks. The 16-year-old small forward threw himself at aerial contests with a sizeable leap, while also getting busy at ground level and showing his smarts around goal. Almost everything South sent inside 50 went through Delean, who defied his 179cm frame to clunk three contested marks. His ability to draw free kicks also presented opportunities, but Delean could not quite take full toll from his array of scoring attempts. Still, he set a good tone early and popped up with two important goals in the final quarter when the game was up for grabs.
#39 Will Verrall
The bottom-age bigman was in ominous form on Saturday, racking up massive numbers of 26 disposals, seven clearances, and 29 hit-outs as the Panthers fell agonisingly short of victory. At 200cm and 92kg, Verrall’s pure size proved difficult to combat in contested situations as he prized the ball free and either dished out to midfielders, or bombed a clearing kick away. He also looked to hit to zones with his taps, making for more fluent clearance play. He won a couple of his own clearances at important times in the final term, stamping his presence on the play in a big outing.
The Panthers were served well by some Under 16 prospects who showed promising glimpses. Ryan Pearsons snared three goals, while Sid Draper showed a bit of athleticism up forward and Blake Rodrigues laid a team-high seven tackles in midfield. The likes of Cooper Rogers (27 disposals, seven clearances) and Luke Mitton (21 and eight) were again important around the ball, while Hugo Hoeck rotated forward off the wing to goo effect with three goals from 18 touches and seven marks.
NORWOOD 9.15 (69) def. NORTH ADELAIDE 8.12 (60)
By: Tom Wyman
#11 Connor Kent
Connor Kent had the ball on a string for the Redlegs. Although he missed a gettable shot on goal early in the game, he put the miss behind him and continued to run amok through the midfield. Kent used the ball reasonably well, hitting up Matthew Dnistriansky on the lead with a beautiful kick, but turning it over with a short in-board kick later on. Although he wasn’t dominate in the clinches, Kent did his damage in general play with his overlap run and carry proving important. Kent’s long-range kick to the top of the goal square avoided all hands and trickled through for a miraculous surprise major at the tenth-minute mark of the third quarter. He finished with 35 disposals, six marks, seven inside-50s and four rebounds.
#17 Peter Minervini
Peter Minervini was handed the number one ruck role for Norwood and stood tall. Although he was soundly beaten in terms of pure hit-out numbers to North’s Oliver Moors, Minervini was terrific when the ball hit the deck, cracking in hard and winning a game-high nine clearances. He worked really hard around the ground to provide an option in the air, taking a couple of strong grabs. Minervini tackled hard and used the ball well by both hand and foot, finishing with 27 disposals, seven tackles, seven hit-outs and five inside-50s in a great, team-first performance.
#26 Jett Boxer
With no obvious tall target in attack, it was left to medium-tall Jett Boxer to carry the forward line. This season, the powerfully-built unit has shown he knows where the goals are, managing three hauls of three goals prior to his four-goal effort on Saturday morning. He presented well up the ground and marked just about everything in his path, proving a real handful for the North Adelaide backline. Operating out of the goal square, he appeared unbeatable at-times as the Redlegs made a conscious effort to look for him one-out. He gathered 19 disposals, five marks and six inside-50s to go with his match-winning bag of four.
Riley Verrall read the play well from his half-back role and generally hit his targets by foot. He gathered a season-high 31 touches, six marks and 11 rebounds, combining well with Taj Rahui, who added dash and speed down back. Matthew Dnistriansky played a slightly different role for the Redlegs. Usually stationed across half-back, he was thrown forward and tasked with being that extra lead-up medium-forward, finishing with 17 disposals, eight marks, four tackles and a couple of behinds. Midfielders Grant Catalano (26 disposals and a goal) and Corey Jones-Bobridge (21 disposals, five marks and five tackles) also performed well for the victorious Redlegs.
#4 Isaac Keeler
Exciting bottom-aged key forward Isaac Keeler had a hot start to the game, getting on the end of some slick ball movement. He timed his leads well then backed his speed to gain separation from his direct opponent. When given a burst in the ruck in relief of Oliver Moors, Keeler showed off his elite athleticism and terrific skills in general play. It was encouraging to see Keeler get involved up the ground and have an impact through the ruck, however he will rue missing a couple of gettable set-shots, particularly given the tight margin. Nevertheless, Keeler finished with 13 disposals, two goals, eight marks and eight hit-outs.
#15 Harvey Harrison
Consistent midfielder Harvey Harrison was the clear best-on-ground for the visitors in their narrow defeat to the Redlegs at Coopers Stadium. Harrison won his fair share of the contested ball and was terrific at stoppages, however it was his important run and carry, injection of speed and silky ball-use which elevated his game. His overlap running ensured he received a number of one-twos, and his delivery by foot even at top-speed was a treat to watch. He was composed in traffic, quick and efficient by hand and relentless in his work rate all over the ground. The North Adelaide forwards were queuing up to get on the end of some of Harrison’s textbook right-foot entries into the attacking-50. Harrison finished the game with 30 disposals, eight marks, eight clearances and six inside-50s.
#22 Blayne O’Loughlin
It was a typically clean and composed performance from Adelaide Next Generation Academy member Blayne O’Loughlin. Deployed across half-back, O’Loughlin was seemingly always there to mop up but, importantly, worked exceptionally hard to involve himself in the offence. He used the ball beautifully often under duress, displaying composure and vision and great decision-making capabilities. His run and carry proved pivotal in turning defence into attack, as the nephew of Sydney Swans great Michael O’Loughlin looks set to play a big role down back for South Australia at the upcoming National Championships. He finished with 28 disposals, four tackles and ten rebounds in the tight loss.
Hugh Jackson wasn’t at his prolific best but toiled hard despite a slow start. As the game wore on, he won more of the ball in general play and was able to utilise his precise left-foot kick. He accumulated 18 disposals, laid five tackles, won five clearances and sent the ball inside-50 on five occasions. Oliver Moors had a significant height advantage over Norwood’s stand-in ruckman Peter Minervini and dominated the hit-outs as expected. He gathered 14 disposals to go with three marks, four clearances and 32 taps.
The diminutive Kelsey Rypstra booted an important fourth term goal for the Roosters to go with his 15 touches and seven marks. Speedster Zyton Santillo laid a couple of massive tackles to completely halt the progress of a couple of Norwood opponents. He won 17 disposals, five marks and seven tackles. Key forward Adam Heath worked well with Isaac Keeler in attack, booting two goals from 13 disposals and five marks.
WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 22.11 (143) def. STURT 2.9 (21)
By: Tom Wyman
#5 Sam Nicholls
Small midfielder Sam Nicholls was excellent through the midfield for the victorious Eagles. Early on, he pounced on a loose ball deep in the Eagles forward-line and slotted his first goal of the game. Although smaller in stature, Nicholls was hard at the contest and used his core strength to bounce out of a couple of tackles. A powerful player, he showed some nice skills and smarts at stoppages and added a second goal in the final term. He finished with 25 disposals, seven marks, three tackles and six inside-50s.
#6 Dustin Launer
On a day in which the Eagles had so many excellent contributors, Dustin Launer stood out as the best on ground. He was allowed to roam the backline but also pushed up onto the wing, where he won an abundance of uncontested possessions. His ball-use all day long was sublime, providing the Eagles forwards with pin-point delivery over a variety of distances with his sweet left foot. Launer was calm and composed and thought was way through situations with great poise. He worked hard and ran into intelligent positions to gather a game-high 37 disposals, eight marks, three tackles, three clearances and four rebounds in a stellar display.
#9 Brayden Calvett
Half-forward Brayden Calvett played one of his best games of the season in the Eagles emphatic 122-point victory. He slotted the first of Woodville-West Torrens’ 22 goals with a long range effort after taking a nice intercept mark. Calvett applied plenty of pressure in his role across the forward line, laying six tackles. He ran hard between the arcs to provide an outlet along the flanks, then delivered the ball inside-50 nicely. Calvett’s skills were a standout as he managed 23 disposals, six marks and nine inside-50s.
#16 Will Pearce
With full-forward Jordan Lukac spending more time in the ruck, Will Pearce quickly became the focal point in attack. And he played the role to perfection, presenting up at the footy brilliantly and clunking just about everything in his airspace. He kicked his first goal from a tricky set-shot after earning a free kick and his second major was a left-foot snap which just trickled through. Pearce would go on to add another goal in the third term to cap off a terrific day, which also saw him gather 18 touches, nine marks (three contested) and five inside-50s.
#17 Mattaes Phillipou
The son-of-a-gun bottom-ager had a quiet start to the game but worked into the contest beautifully. He booted his first of three goals from a snap out of a forward-50 stoppage, then converted a second-quarter set-shot to extend the Eagles lead. Phillipou’s aerial ability complemented the likes of Pearce and Lukac in attack, with the trio all looking dangerous throughout the contest. However Phillipou’s midfield craft was perhaps his most promising sign, with the SA Under-17 squad member winning a game-high eight clearances. He also managed 22 disposals and four marks.
#21 Adam D’Aloia
The SA Under-17 skipper stood out with his terrific work by hand and excellent contested ball winning ability. D’Aloia demonstrated great football smarts, vision and spacial awareness around the stoppages to execute a number of slick handballs in-tight. The on-baller was also good by foot with his clearances often gaining good distance. His delivery in general play was also sound, particularly going inside-50. Concluding the game with 34 touches, six marks, six clearances, ten inside-50s and a goal, expect D’Aloia to play a strong role for the Eagles as the under-18 finals series approaches.
With lead ruckman Zac Phillips forced off early in the game with an apparent injury, Jordan Lukac shouldered the load and performed very well. He showed fantastic athleticism to win 18 hit-outs, but was also a genuine threat when he pushed back into the forward line. Lukac finished with four goals from 11 disposals and three marks. Charlie Blair was another forward who benefitted from the Eagles midfield dominance, finishing with 15 disposals, six marks (three contested) and two goals.
Utility Jay Watson booted three goals and won 22 disposals, along with eight marks and five tackles, while Will Neumann gathered 28 disposals, nine marks, seven tackles and five inside-50s. The efforts of Brock Thomson down back are also deserved of a mention. He read the ball well and attacked each contest hard, winning 28 disposals, six marks and three rebounds.
#5 Jordan Hein
With the ball breaching the Double Blues’ defensive-50 no-less than 63 times, utility Jordan Hein was never far from the action. Often under pressure, Hein was one of few Sturt players to show some composure and skill with ball in-hand. Although slim, he wasn’t afraid to put his body on the line and apply some defensive pressure, finishing with eight tackles. He pushed up onto the ball at various stages and proved effective, winning a team-high seven clearances. Clearly Sturt’s best player on what was another difficult day for the club’s under-18 side, Hein finished with an admirable 30 disposals, six marks, four inside-50s and three rebounds.
#10 Jake Aish
The Sturt midfield struggled to get their hands on the ball, but Jake Aish had some good moments, including a nice piece of run and carry which led to the Double Blues first goal at the eight minute-mark of the second quarter. Aish was prepared to put the hard yards in and run both ways, showing good work rate and aerobic capacity. He finished with 21 disposals, six marks, three tackles, five clearances and three inside-50s.
Midfielder Jamie Taylor was one of few Double Blues to get his hands on the ball on a consistent basis throughout the game. He showed some nice signs, including some penetrating kicking and handy work at stoppages, finishing with 25 disposals, four marks and four clearances. Lachie Thomas was solid under immense pressure down back, gathering 20 disposals and seven marks. In attack, Kade Harvey had just six disposals but kicked both of the visitors two goals.
GLENELG 14.13 (97) def. WEST ADELAIDE 5.12 (42)
By: Eli Duxson
#5 Hugh Stagg
The Glenelg captain led from the front with a brilliant four goal display from seven scoring shots, a fantastic day was almost perfect following his 36-disposal effort last week. Did his work in the engine room early showing his power and strength in tight and through tackles, before spending much of the rest of the game in the forward line. Three of his goals came in the second term where he gave his side a clear enough buffer looking good on the lead and in contested situations. His first goal saw him mark on the lead and drill it from 40 metres, while his next two came from nothing bursting out of a pack and kicking a check side and a left foot snap showing an enviable goal sense. He scrapped hard and managed another goal from a mark and set shot but showed his versatility with his best scoring effort since his last matchup with the Bloods. He finished with 4.3, 19 disposals, four marks (two contested), and seven tackles.
#17 Corey Brougham
The big forward started the game on fire holding front position in marking contests to kick a pair of goals in the first term, but then faded out until the final quarter. He looked ominous whenever he was leading at the ball finding space on leads and utilising a good pair of hands. Starting deeper in the forward 50 to start he was the beneficiary of some good ball moving inside 50, but when that delivery deteriorated, he pushed further up the ground as a link player. His athleticism and tidy foot skills made him quite effective. Brougham ended with 3.1, 15 disposals, five marks (two contested), and five inside 50s.
#36 Darcy Porter
Backing up last week’s two-goals and 29 disposals, Porter looked just as impressive in the top-of-the-table clash finding the ball in each third of the ground displaying a high work rate. With a sweeping kick and clever hands, he showed a good mix between inside and outside leading his side’s disposal count. He looked composed with ball in hand looking 360 degrees and lowering his eyes to find the teammate in the best decision and mostly executing. His speed was impressive, but his manoeuvrability in tight was just as good. He kicked a goal in the first quarter from 40 metres off a step, rounding a good day. Porter finished with the goal, 26 disposals, five marks, four clearances, and four inside 50s.
Returning from some time in the Reserves, Lewis Rayson showed his class, poise, and precise left boot collecting 24 disposals and seeming as though he had so much more time with ball in hand than everyone. 16-year-old Benjamin Ridgway showed his turn of speed as he managed 23 disposals and a goal, while Darcy Gluyas looked solid again around the ball and with ball in hand.
#16 Dylan White
Continued his impressive season with 28 disposals, eight tackles, and four clearances making West Adelaide’s midfield much more competitive with his work inside. Like many of his teammates he struggled to get into space out of stoppages with ball in hand due to Glenelg’s pressure, but his spread without ball in hand allowed him to take eight marks as the Bloods were often forced to work it up with short kicks. Due to this, his disposals were not super damaging but his work rate and nous to find the footy certainly shone bright for his side on a tough day.
#33 Jesse Thackeray
Another West Adelaide accumulator who just could not quite find space as often as he would have liked coming off 37 disposals last week, but a solid game, nonetheless. Another hard-worker who had a few long sprint efforts to find the ball as he did at either end, but he also did plenty of work in the guts being active at stoppages to often get first hands on the footy. His ground ball gathers at pace were excellent, a particularly good one was a half-volley gather in the second quarter where he was able to send it inside 50. He finished with 29 disposals, five clearances, three inside 50s, and four rebound 50s.
Westies skipper Cade Kennedy struggled a little bit at times but started to come good late after an almost day, but he still managed 21 disposals. Small defender Charlie Pridham was exemplary with his ball use out of the backline, the designated kickout taker had 21 kicks, most of which would have been effective. Ruckman Oscar Steene was also very good in the ruck with 31 hit outs, while also showing a propensity to gather below his knees and use his 14 disposals well.
Image Credit: Glenelg FC