THE 2021 AFL Under 19 National Championships got underway on Saturday as Western Australia hosted South Australia at Lathlain Park, with some of the nation’s most promising prospects producing big performances. With Draft Central’s September Power Rankings edition just around the corner, we take a sneak peak at a handful of players who could be climbing their way up the draft order after the latest carnival clash.
Rhett Bazzo | Swan Districts/WA
17/10/2003 | 195cm/81kg
An Under 16 All Australian who started out the year in our top 25, Bazzo served a reminder of his talent on Saturday. An early forward foray in 2021 proved Bazzo’s versatility, but he looks most at home in defence and that’s exactly where he dominated in this outing. With the likes of Jacob van Rooyen (see below) and Jack Avery offering some dynamic support, Bazzo was released and allowed to showcase his most effective trait – intercept marking – in arguably a best afield performance. The 195cm tall looked stylish in everything he did, reading the play better than most and rising to cleanly clunk marks across the backline. He used the ball effectively and proved assured in possession, playing his role perfectly. The third-up tall role would suit Bazzo well at the next level, though he has shown he is not limited in any sense. WAFL Colts finals are just around the corner, and could prove a big opportunity for the Swan Districts man to continue his rise back into top 30 contention.
Jacob van Rooyen | Claremont/WA
16/04/2003 | 193cm/91kg
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been treated to the kind of form expected of van Rooyen coming into 2021. The strong-bodied swingman has been moved to defence in the state setup out of necessity, but proved on Saturday that he may well be a viable option there. Clunking eight marks, van Rooyen’s aerial ability and physicality were tough to combat for the South Australian forwards, as he worked beautifully in tandem with Bazzo to cut off many an opposition attack. Like his aforementioned state squad teammate, van Rooyen was initially among our top 25 prospects in the early part of the year and will be knocking on the door once more with his current form. He also kicked 11 goals in his last two WAFL Colts outings, and should have an impact come finals with Claremont featuring near the pointy end in all three grades.
Jye Amiss | East Perth/WA
31/07/2003 | 195cm/85kg
Amiss’ rise has been substantial this season, bolting into top 15 contention having not previously been a significant feature of state level squads. Much has already been made of the key forward’s conversion rate, boasting a league leading tally of 49.12 across his dozen WAFL Colts games in 2021. Those kinds of numbers made him undeniable for state Under 19 selection and Amiss took the opportunity with both hands during trials, stamping himself as the Black Ducks’ spearhead by continuing his streak of bagging multiple goals per outing. On Saturday, the East Perth product burned his opponent on the lead time and time again, marking cleanly out in front and snaring two impressive majors. He also gave plenty of opportunities off and if not for some atypical inaccuracy, could have finished with four or five goals. Having snuck into the Draft Central top 20 in August, he looks destined climb up a few spots and hit a new landmark come September.
Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera | Glenelg/SA
22/02/2003 | 188cm/70kg
Arguably South Australia’s most impressive player on the weekend, Wanganeen-Milera continues to prove his class against high levels of competition. A raw wingman at 188cm and 70kg, the 18-year-old has an eye-catching bag of tricks which can really carve up the opposition. His kicking is a real weapon, with Wanganeen-Milera consistently showcasing poise in possession to manufacture space with his agility before hitting a target cleanly. Even in poor conditions or under the heat of SANFL League and state Under 19 pressure, the Glenelg prospect is never flustered and just makes things happen with ball in hand. He was unlucky not to crack our top 25 come the end of July, but will certainly be amongst it come Monday’s September Power Rankings edition. It looks like he’s jumped many a talent throughout the last month or so in particular, turning his flashes of class into consistently damaging performances. He comes from great pedigree too, as the nephew of Gavin Wanganeen and son of Terry Milera.
Jase Burgoyne | Woodville-West Torrens/SA
15/07/2003 | 186cm/65kg
One of South Australia’s most well known talents throughout the pathway, Burgoyne is a Port Adelaide father-son candidate (son of Peter) and AFL Academy member. His form at Under 18s level has been exceptional over the last two years from a pure numbers perspective, with Burgoyne consistently able to find the ball whether stationed in midfield, off half-back, or rotating forward. He enjoyed a three-game League stint with Port’s reserves this season but remains quite a raw and lean prospect with plenty of filling out to do. The fundamental skills and footballing nous are there though, and Burgoyne was able to show that on Saturday. Utilised off half-back, he looked to rebound with a touch of class and again, had little trouble finding the ball on a tough day for his side. He may still be a touch off the top 30 in our rankings, but is a player Port fans can look forward to seeing.
Featured Image: WA skipper Finn Gorringe addresses his side | Credit: WAFL via Twitter