SANFL U18s Player Focus: Adam D’Aloia (Woodville-West Torrens)
WOODVILLE-WEST Torrens midfielder Adam D’Aloia put his name in lights on Saturday afternoon, taking home the Alan Stewart Medal as best afield in the Eagles’ Under 18 grand final triumph. Eligible for next year’s draft, the inside ball winner skippered his state at Under 17s level this year and also has some Reserves experience under his belt. He was in fine form this past weekend, notching game-high numbers to set his side on the front foot from midfield with centre bounce dominance and typically clean work in congestion. We put D’Aloia’s grand final performance under the Player Focus microscope this week, breaking down his game quarter-by-quarter.
Adam D’Aloia Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia
DOB: 9/04/2004 Height/Weight: 184cm/84kg Position: Inside Midfielder
Strengths: Contested ball, clean hands, clearances
Under 18s: 10 games | 25.3 disposals | 3.4 marks | 5.2 tackles | 5.9 clearances | 5.2 inside 50s | 1.6 rebound 50s | 0.5 goals (5 total) Reserves: 3 games | 16.7 disposals | 1.0 marks | 5.7 tackles | 2.7 clearances | 2.3 inside 50s | 0.3 rebound 50s | 0 goals
2021 SANFL U18s Grand Final | Glenelg 10.9 (69) def. by Woodville-West Torrens 13.8 (86)
#21 Adam D’Aloia (Woodville-West Torrens)
Taking up a starting spot in midfield, D’Aloia got to work right away with a hand in the game’s first centre clearance. As the ball bobbled, he snapped it up and dished off quickly to Mattaes Phillipou, who sent a long kick forward. D’Aloia would continue to get first hands to the footy, attending five of the game’s first seven centre bounces and winning one of his own centre clearances among them. He proved clean under physical pressure and while he found himself wrapped up on a few occasions, also managed to dish out effective handballs to move play to the outside. Adding to the finals intensity, D’Aloia laid a desperate tackle in the corridor as Glenelg looked to break forward, and generally paid his defensive dues with continued harassment on the ball carrier. It was overall a really solid start from the bottom-ager, who fell just shy of double-digit disposals in the opening 26 minutes and proved a class above with his slick handling of a hot football.
D’Aloia’s forte continued to come at the contest with two more centre clearances from five centre bounce attendances in term two, one of which came directly after his lone goal of the game. While the midfielder’s handling continued to be evidently clean, his kicking was a touched rushed and while penetrative enough to breach attacking 50, tended to be wobbling bombs out of congestion. It mattered little on one such clearance, which hit the deck deep inside 50 and led directly to an Eagles foal. D’Aloia also proved his technique with a set shot conversion, which came after clunking a strong contested mark right on the 50m arc. He then benefitted from a 25m penalty and slotted the goal. At 84kg, the bottom-ager is quite strong for his size and showed as much with his bodywork to win the ball. His half ended up producing 17 disposals, six clearances, five inside 50s and a goal.
With only three goals kicked in a tense third quarter, D’Aloia had less opportunities to showcase his clearance craft but still managed to send the ball deep into dangerous areas. His reading of the play at stoppages was again excellent, sharking the ball with one grab and looking to utilise his handballs to either hit runners or designated kickers out the back. He registered three inside 50s when going by foot and even chimed in with another couple of marks around the ground. D’Aloia added six disposals to his tally in term three and while he proved quieter over a couple of rotations, maintained a level of class and dominance in contested situations.
It was understandable that D’Aloia could be seen cramping up late on after the body of work he continued to produce, rounding out a best afield performance with seven more disposals in term four. As he had done frequently, the contested ball winner prized the ball at the opening centre bounce and would later produce a more flashy clearance as he burst through a couple of players before kicking forward. His handling became a little less assured as the game wore on, but D’Aloia showed few signs of mental fatigue with a couple of good decisions in possession. One was an improvised left-foot kick on the move, which hit a teammate cleanly in transition from the wing. Attending six of the final seven centre bounces and plenty more stoppages, D’Aloia ended up with a game-high 30 disposals, eight clearances and nine inside 50s as the best player afield in his side’s grand final salute. Closing thoughts… With another season left to develop before being draft eligible, D’Aloia has already proven his value at the Under 18s level and will likely feature more prominently in the Reserves and League sides as a top-ager. His mature frame and natural ball winning acumen will make that transition easier, but there are still areas the 17-year-old will look to develop. His isn’t as quick or explosive as others and while able to accumulate possessions, may look to add more outside strings to his bow as well as sure up his kicking from congestion. D’Aloia has certainly proven a big game player though, having earned best afield honours in Saturday’s decider and for his state as Under 17 captain.
Image Credit: On The Ball Media