Author: Damon Mattiazzo

South Australia take out the U18 AFL National Championships title

A devastating first quarter from top-five draft prospect Izak Rankine saw South Australia storm towards the Under-18 AFL National Championship title. The Croweaters had to hold off a fast finishing Victoria Metro side whose deplorable start to the match severely wrecked their chances. But South Australia’s mesmerising first half start blew Vic Metro away with a nine goal to two half.

This start was the game changer as Rankine took the match away from Vic Metro contributing three goals and put on an incredible show for the patrons at Etihad Stadium. South Australia’s start of the match was potentially the best start of the championships as SA attacked at will from their early clearances, as Vic Metro’s onball brigade were given an armchair ride. Star forward/midfielder Rankine opened his account by kicking a wonderful volley goal in the middle of a forward 50m stoppage to give SA the first of the game.

SA’s attack was relentless after Oscar Chapman hunted down a Vic Metro defender attempting to rebound from his defensive 50 and quickly got it onto the boot to Hugo Munn who took a fantastic park mark. Munn converted his first and was given another terrific delivery into the forward line which saw him out mark Vic Metro defender James Blanck with ease and strength. With only Munn and Blanck in the goal square, Rankine stormed past to receive the handball and kick his second of game.

Vic Metro started to get some forward entries but butchered their kicks as the SA defenders were intercepting with ease. Rhylee West was starting to get some critical clearances for his side. But Vic Metro couldn’t stop the bleeding, Rankine then kicked a stunning snap goal from the boundary line to bring up his third goal of the day as Metro could not stop his influence. Rankine was single-handily taking control of the match as he then took a screamer up forward. Rankine had two more set-shots for the quarter but couldn’t convert both as he had the chance to end the quarter with five goals to his name, SA led by 26 points and kept Metro goalless.

The South Australia juggernaut had no signs of stopping any time soon, as Connor Rozee kicked a great soccer goal to start the second quarter. Vic Metro finally got on the board as a long kick from Ben Silvagni found Ben King who converted for his side’s first of the game. SA then made the most of the forward 50m entries, as Jack Lukosius kicked a great goal of ground level as Kade Chandler and Ben Jarvis continued the rout. Vic Metro tried their best to cut the margin but kept missing gettable chances Riley Collier-Dawkins took a great mark inside 50 but couldn’t convert, South Australia led by seven goals at the main break.

But South Australia’s comfortable 43-point margin at half-time was incredibly in danger as Vic Metro booted the next five goals of the match to close to within 11 points halfway through the third quarter. King led the charge up front, as Curtis Taylor and under-age forward Jack Mahony kicked crucial goals for Metro. Underage midfielder Matt Rowell started finding tons of space and his pin-point kicking was finding targets in the forward 50, James Rendell was sent forward and was causing the SA defence problems as he kicked a goal. South Australia needed a response as Vic Metro were looking unstoppable and had plenty of time to catch up and get the in front of the game.

Angus Hanrahan had the opportunity for Vic Metro to get within a goal after a brilliant rundown tackle on Mihail Lochowiak in the forward pocket but failed to score the goal. Lochowiak keen to make up for his error marked just inside 50 from Munn’s kick and intercept mark on the wing, Lochowiak kicked the long bomb and SA steadied the ship somewhat. Then it all started to fall apart for Metro as they breached the anti-density rule and SA captain Luke Valente kindly obliged from 25m directly in front to give South Australia that nerve settler.

South Australia coach Tony Bamford granted the wishes of the recruiters as he moved star forward Lukosius into defence to stop King’s dominance. Rankine quiet and barely seen in the third quarter nursing an ankle injury, came out firing in the final stanza as he kicked a great snap goal to get his fourth of the game. Rankine then followed up with his fifth as he burnt off the Metro defence to take his tally to five for the day.

Chapman started to dominate in the forward line with Lukosius down back as he kicked a nice snap goal and followed it up with a great mark and goal moments later to get his second for the quarter. The match sealer came from honest midfielder Tom Lewis who profited from a superb run down tackle from Chandler, as Lewis then shrugged an opponent to kick a wonderful snap goal.

South Australia ran out 55-point winners as the Croweaters produced their best performance for decider, the same couldn’t be said about Victoria Metro who were admirable across the championships but couldn’t match it with SA.

Rankine arguably only played two effective quarters and ended his day with best on ground honours with five goals from 17 disposals and a highlight reel for the ages. Midfielders Jackson Hately (24 disposals) and Jacob Kennerley (22 disposals) were effective across the day and were vital to South Australia’s ball movement and stoppage dominance, Kennerley impressive off the wing. Possible number one draft pick Lukosius was serviceable for his side in a relatively quiet outing for the star forward, as he shifted to play on King in latter stages of the match. South Australia MVP Valente (18 disposals) was at his solid best as on-ball partner Lewis (18 disposals) both carried most of the heavy grunt work across the midfield. Martin Frederick was superb off half-back with 16 disposals, as Frederick produced his best performance of the carnival in a time that mattered most.

For the disappointed Vic Metro, King’s performance was the main reason that it wasn’t an embarrassing score line for his side. King dominated in the contests against Riley Grundy as the way King flew for the ball made it almost impossible for the SA defenders to stop him, he kicked four goals for the day. Joseph Ayton-Delaney was a steady possession getter for his side when they were struggling to find it, as his 25 disposals for the day was a game high. Rowell was integral to Metro’s comeback in the third term and picked up 20 touches for the game. Bailey Smith was quiet in the opening stanza but slowly influenced as the game grew older he finished with 22 disposals and six tackles.

VIC METRO 0.1 2.3 8.5 9.7 (61)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 4.3 9.4 12.7 17.14 (116)

Vic Metro: King 4, Taylor 2, Mahony, Rendell, O’Hallora.
South Australia: Rankine 5, Jarvis 2, Chapman 2, Munn, Rozee, Lukosius, Chandler, Lochowiak, Siviour, Valente, Lewis.

Vic Metro: King, Ayton-Delaney, Smith, Rowell, O’Halloran, Mahony
South Australia: Rankine, Kennerley, Hately, Lewis, Frederick, Chapman

South Australia set up title decider date with Vic Metro after strong win

SOUTH Australia will face fellow unbeaten side Vic Metro for the National AFL Under 18 Championships at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, after the Croweaters secured a 24-point victory against a gallant Allies side. Izak Rankine continued his dominant ways with his best performance for the carnival so far. He gave his top five draft chances no harm with a match-winning performance for South Australia. Rankine booted three goals which included a great kick from outside the 50m arc in the third quarter which gave the Croweaters the ascendency in the premiership quarter.

South Australia started the match better getting out of the blocks early, as Connor Rozee had no trouble kicking the first goal of the game. Star key forward Jack Lukosius was deployed on the wing in the first quarter and was racking up possessions and displaying his incredible field kicking across the ground. The Allies struggled to get on the board early, as underage defender Will Gould barricaded the Allies goal but Jesse Quint kicked their first from a sharp rebound out of defence. Oscar Chapman replied for his side with a beautiful set shot from a tight angle as Hugo Munn kicked a long bomb from outside 50m to give South Australia a promising lead. The Croweaters great quarter got better, with a U18 carnival first that saw Munn awarded a free kick in front of goal due to an Allies zone infringement. Munn’s kick hit the post as both teams then engaged in a scuffle heading into the quarter time break.

It was a completely different Allies side after the quarter-time break as they were fired up after not being able to match it to the Croweaters in the first stanza. Nick Blakey was back for his side and got his first goal of the day after Kieren Briggs marked on a tight angle and handed the ball to Blakey who snapped truly. The South Australian defenders were sleeping at that moment, as Blakey standing right next to Briggs, screamed for the ball and was given all the space in the world to snap a great goal and gave the Allies the fire starter they needed. That goal would be a sign of things to come for South Australia as Blakey kicked his second goal in a manner of minutes. Rankine kicked a superb goal to answer the Allies dominance, but that was SA’s only significant action for the quarter as the Allies dominated every area in the game. Gold Coast Suns Academy player Bailey Scott took the reins of the match as he kicked two crucial goals that saw his side lead by 13 points at the main break. Blakey, Scott and Brisbane Lions Academy player Connor McFayden were proving difficult to contain. South Australia knew they were lucky to only be down by two goals at half-time as the Allies had 10 more inside 50 entries than their opponents.

The Croweaters responded very well in the third quarter after a probable stern message from coach Tony Bamford. Boyd Woodcock playing his first game of the carnival, got SA’s comeback on track with a long bomb which bounced through from outside 50m. Rankine kicked his second and then followed with a third from a tight angle, as Martin Frederick completed a great running goal from the outer flank as he teased Allies players with his run and dash. Hayden Sampson was front and centre to kick an opportunist snap goal from a stoppage as the ball fell towards the forward. With South Australia kicking six goals straight for the quarter, Mitchell O’Neill’s goal received from a great Blakey mark was the only play of note for the Allies that saw themselves down by 20 points at the final break.

The game was far from over as South Australia were kicking towards the non-scoring end of the ground in the final quarter, as that end had strangely only seen two goals kicked for the day so far. SA proved that was not to be a worry with a superb team goal starting from Lukosius switching out of defence to a running Frederick who fed Tom Sparrow and hit up Ben Jarvis inside 50m as he kicked the goal. Underage Suns academy player Connor Budarick not only ensured that he would be the third Connor to kick a goal in the game, but also ensure he kept his side in with a sniff. That was wiped away with a brilliant set shot by Lukosius, his first of the game and a second Jarvis goal. South Australia kept up its admirable tackling pressure that saw them strangle the Allies out of the game, SA finished with 24 more tackles for the game.

Blakey continued to offer his side an avenue to goal, as Tasmanian Rhyan Mansell kicked a late consolation for his side. Best for South Australia was their on-ball brigade, as their consistent performances throughout the carnival have been a joy to behold. Luke Valente did no harm to his draft chances no problems with a game-high 28 disposals and six clearances, he was joined by on-ball partner Jackson Hately who had 21 disposals and eight tackles. Lukosius started and played the majority of the match on the wing as he moved across the ground accumulating 18 disposals and seven marks. Rankine produced his best game in the championships so far with 20 disposals, four clearances, five marks, and three goals. Jacob Kennerely (17 disposals and seven marks) and Finn Bettermann (16 disposals and 10 tackles) provided great assistance to Valente and Hately in the middle. Underage Glenelg defender Gould was huge for side across defence taking seven marks for the day, as Frederick was superb with his run and carry.

Sydney Swans Academy prospect Blakey was at his courageous best for the Allies in his return game in the championships. He was difficult to contain for the South Australian defence across the whole game, shown by quick back-to-back goals early in the second quarter to give the Allies the run. His remarkable courage in contests throughout the match was also admirable as was his ability to bring his teammates into play. Gold Coast Academy player Scott showed his promise with a team-high 22 disposals, as Geelong and North Melbourne will also be keeping a close eye on the father-son prospect as the draft approaches. Chayce Jones and McFayden were also heavily involved with 21 disposals each for the Allies, while O’Neill and Briggs also continued to impress in the championships. South Australia will now prepare itself to face the undefeated Vic Metro at Etihad Stadium to decide who will be crowned the 2018 National Under 18 Championship winners. The Allies finish their campaign against Western Australia in the curtain raiser to the decider on Wednesday, July 4.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 1.1 4.6 10.10 13.12 (90)
ALLIES 3.6 6.7 7.8 9.12 (66)

South Australia: Rankine 3, Jarvis 2, Rozee, Chapman, Munn, Woodcock, Betterman, Frederick, Sampson, Lukosius.
Allies: Blakey 2, Scott 2, Quint, McFayden, O’Neill, Budarick, Mansell.

South Australia: Valente, Hately, Betterman, Rankine, Gould.
Allies: Blakey, McFayden, Scott, Jones, O’Neill, Briggs.

Scouting Notes: National U18 Championships – Round 2

IT was the second round of the National AFL Under 18 Championships and we watched the Allies go down to Vic Metro and South Australia claim a home win over Vic Country. We noted down some of the players that caught our eye on the day.

Allies vs. Vic Metro

By: Ed Pascoe


#10 Chayce Jones

Jones was one of the Allies standout players in the first half showing his trademark skill and toughness around the contest. Jones had one good play in the first quarter where he intercepted a handball, he then gathered although the first handball was poor he showed good tenacity to win the ball back and then made no mistake with the second handball. A lot of Jones’s kicks where damaging with plenty of intelligent kicks to the hotspot. Jones had a quieter second half but still showed his clean hands and tackling pressure around the ground.

#19 Bailey Scott

Scott played a good game winning the ball at the contest and also on transition taking plenty of marks and moving the ball quickly by hand and foot. Scott had a nice play in the third quarter with a clean pickup on the run and quickly turned on his opposite foot showing his dual sidedness. Scott was a consistent four quarter player with his work on the inside and outside important for the Allies.

#20 Fraser Turner

Turner ran all day on the wing often giving a good outlet for defenders and he used his kicking ability well to hit targets. His disposal early in the game was not grea,t but it got much better as the game progressed. He won plenty of the ball in the last quarter showing his impressive running capacity, he was willing to keep running to be an option after winning the ball. A lot of his running late in the game set up plenty of scoring opportunities with some good kicks inside 50.

#37 Jacob Koschitzke

Koschitzke had the tough task on Ben King and he more than held his own with King’s only goal coming very late in the game. Koschitzke tailed King wherever he went and made him earn every possession he could get. One such occasion on the wing in the last quarter he played in front of King getting a hand to the ball although King would take possession Koschitzke would quickly tackle him earning a free kick in the process. Despite to winning a lot of the ball he barely made a mistake when in possession.

#46 Tarryn Thomas

Thomas has been exciting to watch all year and he started the first quarter trying to outdo himself with a big attempted speccy, he didn’t pull down the mark but it was just another reminder of his impressive talent. Thomas had a solid game where he had a consistent four quarter game. Thomas had several kicks inside 50 often causing damage just outside 50, Thomas did some nice one percenters during the game with several smothers and he was willing to tackle and crack in especially late in the game.

#49 Nick Blakey

It was a quiet game for key forwards and it was no different for the highly talented Blakey. He kicked his only goal in the first quarter where he quickly reacted after an advantage play on where he received the ball cleanly on the run and then would snap truly for goal. He would get another chance at goal in the last quarter after an impressive contested mark although he would miss the set shot. Blakey showed great movement for his size and he often played on quickly when getting position. He also used his long accurate left boot to hit targets going inside 50.


Vic Metro:

#4 Rhylee West

West was his usual self, playing the in and under role to perfection while he also worked hard on the outside which lead to him winning the disposals count for his team with 28 disposals (14 contested). West several times was able to win the contested ball and while on his knees or back still fire out a handball. As good as his in and under stuff was, what also impressed was his movement in traffic. West’s disposal was poor at times with one such instance in the second quarter kicking to three Allies players inside forward 50. He would, however, make up for the few kicking errors showing some good vision on several occasions in the second half. Overall a very solid performance from the father-son prospect.

#8 James Rowbottom

Rowbottom hunted the ball all day and was one of Metro’s most consistent midfielders over the four quarters. Rowbottom despite some sloppy handballs early used the ball fairly well especially, by hand with his quick handballs often releasing his teammates. He really impressed with his attack on the ball with one instance late in the first quarter where he attacked the ball on the wing, shrugged off a tackle and kicked long down the line to King in one of the plays of the day. He followed this up early in the second quarter attacking the contest in the forward half picking the ball up at speed with one hand and with the other gave a don’t argue to his opponent. Rowbottom did well to win the ball on the outside a bit more in the second half and his tackling was solid throughout the game. 

#14 Isaac Quaynor

Quaynor worked tirelessly across half-back proving a constant threat for the Allies with his long kick and clean hands. Quaynor was often given kick out duties and he used his long accurate kicking to his advantage, their was rarely a short kick from Quaynor who consistently moved the ball out of defence quickly. Quaynor worked hard to get the ball up the ground as well with one such occasion in the last quarter he kicked out long and then received the ball at half forward running past to kick long inside 50. Quaynor’s movement and composure under pressure also impressed aswell as his defensive efforts laying a massive tackle on Tarryn Thomas in the first quarter.

#15 Bailey Smith

Smith was fantastic for Metro through the midfield playing well on the inside and outside and he was pivotal to Metro’s win with his performance in the last quarter. Plenty will be said about Ben King kicking the winning goal, but it was because of Smith’s classy work on the boundary inside forward 50 that lead to the goal. Smith tucked on the boundary had an opposition player in front of him and another coming from the side, he would run backwards to escape the player in front and then turn the other player around and execute perfect handball to Xavier O’Halloran who would end up kicking the ball to Ben King. Smith showed a good mix of class and grunt winning plenty of his own ball while also working hard on the outside to link up with handballs and also find targets by foot often in dangerous positions.

#23 Buku Khamis

Khamis had an excellent game taking many intercept marks while also using the ball well coming out of defence. Khamis was clean throughout the day rarely fumbling and hardly missing a target by hand or foot. He did not get to use his left foot for the longer kicks he is known for but his short kicking was often flawless. Khamis was still able to do the defensive things well with some smothers and spoils, in the third quarter he laid a good spoil and then followed up his spoil and would then win a free kick for holding. Along with Quaynor, he was pivotal in defence for Metro showing his good mix of defensive efforts and skill with ball in hand.

#36 Ben King

King was well held by Allies defender Jacob Koschitzke all day who was not going to give King an inch. King’s only goal came in the last quarter which would end up being the winning goal, he did have a chance in the first quarter with a set shot straight in front but he missed poorly. King was kept quiet but that wasn’t through lack of effort, often King would offer a good lead and if he did not mark it he would at least bring it to ground, in the last quarter he would crash the pack on one occasion which would have certainly pleased his coaches. King was very clean with his hands at ground level often taking the ball cleanly at speed and giving off a good handball, he was also not afraid to block for his teammates which is something some big players will ignore and despite only kicking the one goal he still contributed well in other areas for his team.


South Australia vs. Vic Country

By: Damon Mattiazzo

South Australia:

#14 Izak Rankine

Rankine was just sublime once more, he doesn’t accumulate fantastic numbers in terms of possessions but when he has the ball he makes magic happen. At any time Rankine is keen to take on his opponents with two goals running into the goal square with the Vic Country defenders right behind him on both occasions. Also kicked a great goal in the final minutes in the second quarter from a very tight angle to give SA the lead heading into the main break.

#27 Jez McLennan

Similarly to Will Gould, McLennan was instrumental to his side’s rebounding game out of defence. McLennan took two superb marks when it mattered most in the final quarter surge by Vic Country. As McLennan finished with 17 touches and five marks, he’s been a stand out for South Australia so far in the carnival.

#29 Kai Pudney

In this first game of the carnival, the Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy member was a hard worker along the ground, working hard in transition with six inside 50s and two rebounds. Another player who is building for something big, and showed some good signs in the match.

#32 Luke Valente

Another top captain’s performance by Valente, as his skill and clean ball use was on display once more. His great leadership was also evident throughout the game, as he finished with 16 disposals and a game-high 14 tackles. He was also crucial in the midfield with six clearances.

#42 Jack Lukosius

Lukosius continued his dominant start to the Championships kicking 3.2 as his partnership with fellow key forward Hugo Munn has been unstoppable so far. Lukosius only took five marks for the day-a poultry figure compared to his 14 against Western Australia in the previous match, but was still too hard to stop for Kyle Reid and Connor Idun. Lukosius’ second efforts and ground level work was also faultless throughout the game as he set up a running Izak Rankine on multiple occasions.

#43 Will Gould

Gould was a rock in defence for South Australia and held off the Vic Country forwards with ease as the match grew on. In the second quarter as Vic Country booted three goals in a row to start the quarter and open up a 16-point lead, Gould did not panic and stopped the bleeding in defence for his side. Gould finished with 16 possessions and six rebounds.


Victoria Country:

#2 Sam Walsh

Walsh produced another great captain’s performance for his side, in a tough contest possession game he had no trouble finding the pill as always. He led the disposal count with 25 and had 10 tackles and three clearances for his side.

#5 Xavier Duursma

The son of former Sydney and Melbourne player Dean Duursma, showed plenty of pace out of defence for Vic Country. Was one of the key positives for a defence that was under siege by SA’s top attacking talents. Duursma provided four rebounds and also accumulated 16 disposals for the day. A performance to build on.

#8 Ned McHenry

McHenry could not replicate his top performance away to the Allies in the previous fixture, and did not stamp his authority as he has in the past. A positive was that his commitment in the middle never wavered as he still posted 10 tackles and applied that pressure around the ball of the South Australian midfield.

#12 Caleb Serong

Caleb Serong caught attention, with his impressive forward line pressure and his ability to make things happen in the Vic Country forward line. He impacted on the scoreboard with two goals and 15 possessions.

#29 Bailey Williams

Williams was influential across the whole ground in this match up accumulating 12 possessions in tandem with Riley Bowman. His physical presence put him at huge advantage against his South Australian ruck opponents, but Vic Country unfortunately could not profit for his dominance. Took a fine mark in the third quarter gained a 50-metre penalty, but missed from less than 10 metres out directly in front.

#38 Riley Bowman

Showed off his terrific athleticism and vertical leap to take control with Bailey Williams in the ruck. He had a massive 38 hitouts – 15 more than the South Australian rucks combined, and just looked in total control around the stoppages. Also won a few clearances as well, backing up with good second efforts.

South Australia secure hard fought victory against gutsy Vic Country

SOUTH Australia has continued its great start to the 2018 AFL Under-18 Championships with a solid victory over Victoria Country in round two’s match-up. Once more Jack Lukosius was at his brilliant match winning best, as the potential number one draft pick kicked three goals and dominated his opponent across the ground in the 27 point win for the Croweaters.

Vic Country started brighter throughout the contest in the earlier exchanges, but it was Croweater Job Colwell who kicked the first goal, converting from straight in front. Caleb Serong replied quickly for the visitors with a great crumbing goal as both teams hit the scoreboard early. The first term saw three 50-metre penalties awarded as the umpires were pedantic on the players encroaching over the mark, Izak Rankine was the victim of two 50-metre penalties and he also gave away a game high four free kicks. Rankine proved his quality at the other end though, taking a great mark in front of two Vic Country defenders and then jetting off past them without a care to kick the goal from the goal square.

South Australia looked to be in a commanding position at the first break, but Vic Country stormed out of the blocks off the back of some superb clearance work by Bailey Williams and Sam Walsh. The ruck duo of Riley Bowman and Williams easily dominated South Australia’s ruckman James Braidwood and pinch hitting ruckman Nathan Jarvis. Braidwood went off in the second half with a bad knock to the sternum, which required Hugo Munn to help in the centre. The South Australians were immensely challenged as the visitors kicked the first three goals of the second quarter to open up a 16-point lead. Hudson Garoni booted two goals as Sam Flanders also kicked a running goal as the South Australian defence struggled with the quick forward entries.

Vic Country should have profited more from the inside 50 dominance, but key defender Will Gould held strong taking some crucial intercept marks. With Vic Country’s lead growing, South Australia responded and was particularly by led by Lukosius who kicked two great dribble goals, while Rankine’s difficult set shot from the boundary line sailed through as their team headed to the into the main break back in front by three points. The third quarter is where South Australia took the ascendency, off the back of star Lukosius and Munn. Lukosius took a wonderful intercept mark as Vic Country tried to clear their defensive 50 and he kicked truly. Throughout the third term South Australia’s forward pressure was key factor to taking control of the game.

For Vic Country, Williams took an outstanding mark just outside his attacking 50 and was awarded a 50-metre penalty, unfortunately for his side he could not convert from less than 10 metres out. Rankine was brilliant as he took another great mark inside 50 and jetted off to towards goal, smartly handballing over the top of Kyle Reid to Munn waiting in the goalsquare kicked his third for the quarter. With Vic Country trailing by 25 points at three quarter time, South Australia looked to be set to have a comfortable final quarter.

Opportunist goals by Zane Barzen and Serong narrowed the margin to 14 points, but South Australia rallied and arrested the momentum off Vic Country. Lukosius’ superb ground work was on show as he gained a loose ball get and handballed to Rankine running straight into goal. Jacob Kennerley kicked the sealing goal with a long bomb from outside 50, and two terrific marks by Jez McLennan in defence stopped Vic Country’s last efforts for the game. For South Australia it was hard to look past Lukosius for best on ground honours for the second match running.

South Australia’s forward line was the major difference between the two sides as stars Lukosius, Rankine and Munn all kicked three goals. Rankine was more productive in this match, as he caused Vic Country havoc across the forward line with any given opportunity. Defenders Gould and McLennan were outstanding with their work in defence, Gould used his large presence to South Australia’s advantage and McLennan showcased his marking and rebounding skills out of defensive 50 with 17 possessions and five marks. South Australia captain Luke Valente followed up his top performance in the first game with another serviceable outing. Valente finished with 16 disposals and a game-high 14 tackles. Eagles wingman and Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy player Kai Pudney was great as SA’s highest disposal getter with 21 as his kicking was dangerously penetrative inside forward 50.

For Vic Country, co-captain Sam Walsh followed up his top game against the Allies. Walsh was at this accumulative best with 25 possessions, 10 tackles and three clearances. Serong was very impressive with his forward line pressure and impacted on the scoreboard with two goals from 15 possessions. In the defensive end, Xavier Duursma showed his quality with four rebounds and 16 disposals for the game. Despite Williams and Riley Bowman’s dominance in the ruck, Vic Country could not capitalise at ground level despite winning the clearances by four. South Australia move to a 2-0 win-loss record and now travel to Victoria to play the Allies in Geelong and Victoria Metro at Etihad Stadium. For the winless Vic Country, they will play Metro in a curtain raiser to Collingwood vs. Carlton at the MCG on June 24.


SOUTH AUSTRALIA             2.1      5.2      9.4      11.7 (73)
VIC COUNTRY        1.3      4.5      4.9      6.10 (46) 

South Australia: Lukosius, Rankine, Munn 3, Kennerley, Colwell
Vic Country: Serong, Garoni 2, Barzen, Flanders 

South Australia: Gould, McLennan, Valente, Lukosius, Jarvis, Kennerley
Vic Country: Duursma, Walsh, Stephens, Reid, Serong, Berry

Allies secure first victory with impressive last quarter surge

THE Allies and Victoria Country kicked off their 2018 National Under 18 Championships at Blacktown Oval on Saturday, with both sides exposing elite talents and midfield depth. The match up was very hotly contested with the midfield and ruck battle producing high disposal and tackle counts in the rough conditions.

Vic Country kicked the first goal of the game from a boundary stoppage as Geelong Grammar’s Jye Caldwell received a handball from Hudson Garoni as he steadied from 40 metres out to roll through the first off the day. Starting well with six disposals in the first quarter that goal was co-captain Jye Caldwell’s last meaningful contribution of the game as he succumbed to a hamstring injury and was followed by Dandenong Stingrays’ midfielder Mitch Riordan. Vic Country dominated the early contests and acclimatised themselves to the slippery conditions with superior skills coming from onballers Sam Walsh and Sam Fletcher. Hudson Garoni was Vic Country’s barometer up forward as he marked superbly and was able to have multiple shots at goal in the first quarter. 

Down at quarter time, the Allies responded after a tough first quarter where they were beaten in most areas. The Allies midfield significantly stepped up in clearances as they started to gain some ascendency in the match. James Peatling kicked a super roving goal to kick the Allies back into match, as the boundary throw in evaded both Jacob Koschitzke and Bailey Williams, Peatling pounced and kicked a superb snap while being swung around in the tackle by Sam Walsh. Tasmanian midfielder Chayce Jones was integral to the fight back winning many clearances and crucially intercepting a poor kick in by Connor Idun and converting with a goal. The final play of the half was an attack by Vic Country as ruckman Bailey Williams got a kick away just in time to kick goal just before the half time siren.

The third quarter commenced with Chayce Jones kicking a booming goal on the run from 50 metres as his influence was growing stronger on the game. The low scoring continued throughout the quarter, as the heavily-contested footy saw many stoppages and sparse opportunities. Sam Flanders did brilliantly to pounce on an errant kick in Allies defensive 50 and snapped truly, this was possible from the forward line pressure by Oscar Brownless. But Allies hit back once more as Tarryn Thomas expertly found Thomas Green 30 metres out on a slight angle, Green made no mistake from the set shot as the match up was set for a tight finish.

With Allies key forward father-son pick Nick Blakey missing through illness an opportunity arose for another big man forward to fill his void. With Victoria Country leading by two points at the final break the Allies yearned a match winning performance and that came in the way of ruck/forward Kieren Briggs. The Greater Western Sydney academy player stamped his authority early in the final quarter by taking a huge pack mark over three Country defenders and converting, as Briggs then added two more goals that saw the Allies pick up their first win of the championships.

A key to Allies victory was Chayce Jones as he was comfortably the best player on the ground, his performance featured 28 possessions, five clearances, six tackles and two goals. Bottom age stars Tom Green (24 disposals) and Mitch O’Neill (26 disposals) were also very serviceable, Green’s team high six clearances stood out as the conditions required cleaner skills and disposal.

Allies and Tasmania’s great draft hope Tarryn Thomas was barely sighted in the first half as Vic Country dominated through the middle. Thomas’ second half was much more productive as he finished with 17 touches and six tackles with his contributions key to the Allies last quarter.

Swingman Matt McGuiness was very valuable for his side in multiple roles, as Jacob Koschitzke – who played against many of his Murray Bushrangers teammates – was also great with his positional changing role.

For Vic Country, potential top draft pick Sam Walsh was at his dominant best, accumulating a game high 31 possessions which included five tackles and six clearances.

With Jye Caldwell and Mitch Riordan off early, Geelong father-son prospect Oscar Brownless – the son of Geelong star Bill Brownless – was productive with 18 touches and seven tackles, as Sam Fletcher provided a game high 14 tackles and gained 19 possessions.

Defenders Kyle Reid and Connor Idun held the defensive fort throughout the day but couldn’t stop the Allies goal rush in the last quarter.

In the next championship fixtures Vic Country travel to Adelaide Oval to face South Australia on Sunday June 17, as the Allies will face Victoria Metro at Southport Oval on Saturday June 16.

Allies 10.11 (71) defeated Victoria Country 6.12 (48)

Allies: Briggs 3, Jones 2, Scott 2, Green, Peatling, Turner
Vic Country: Flanders 2, Garoni 2, Caldwell, Williams

Allies: Jones, Briggs, Green, Tomkinson, McGuiness
Vic Country: Walsh, Fletcher, Reid, Brownless

South Australian talent shines with West Australian smashing

SOUTH Australia has kicked off its 2018 National AFL Under 18 Championships in superb style with a comprehensive 89-point victory against Western Australia. Lead by star-bound talent Jack Lukosius, the Croweaters were dominant across all areas, as South Australia’s top-end talent was formidable throughout the match.

South Australian captain Luke Valente heavily justified his selection as state captain with an extremely tidy performance. As he lead from the front in the midfield by kicking the first goal of the match from just outside the 50 metre arc. The result was almost sewn up by quarter time as South Australia kicked away to a five goals to one lead at quarter time, as Lukosius kicked two goals and Izak Rankine saw plenty of it across the midfield and half-forward.

South Australia easily brushed aside Western Australia’s best run of play from the start of the second quarter, as midfielders Jackson Hately and Tom Lewis continued to dominate in the centre square as Western Australia struggled to get many significant clearances all game.

Western Australia rallied somewhat in the third quarter as they aimed to make the incoming loss as respectable as possible on the scoreboard. Distinguished by his light blue helmet, Luke English was relentless for his side as his effort throughout the game may impress recruiters with his team high 25 disposals and seven inside 50s underlining his influence.

Despite Western Australia pulling the margin back to 32 points late in the third quarter. South Australia displayed its ruthless nature by booting five more majors in the final quarter to Western Australia’s solitary point and extend the margin out to 89 points.

For South Australia there was no shortage of star performers, as the most impressive aspect of their crushing win was the even contributions across the board as all the top end talent performed exceptionally. This was also conveyed through the raft of goal kickers as South Australia boasted 10 individual goal scorers.

If there was one player to pick out for best on ground honours for South Australia Lukosius would be the pick of the bunch. Booting four goals and taking a game high 14 marks, the key forward moved across the ground effortlessly as Western Australia didn’t have an answer for the star forward all game. On multiple occasions South Australia’s forward line pressure resulted in many Western Australia turnovers inside the Croweaters forward line, as on more than one occasion Jason Carter miskicked straight to an intercepting Lukosius.

Lukosius was not the only dominant forward for South Australia as his key forward partner Hugo Munn was also impressive bagging four goals. The twin towers combination of Lukosius and Munn will be destructive throughout the championships. Athletic tall forward and pinch-hit ruckmen Ben Jarvis was also damaging up forward by kicking three goals for the match as he primarily was used as back up ruckman for James Braidwood. Rankine may have only accumulated 14 disposals but with every touch he impacted the game, his highlight of the day was evading two defenders and kicking across his body to find Lukosius alone in the forward line.

Midfielders Hately (28 disposals), Valente (26 disposals) and Lewis (18 disposals) controlled the centre square clearances with ease, despite the South Australian ruckmen giving away a lot of height to Luke Jackson. Hately superbly read the play of both ruckmen as he lead with 10 clearances. Hately also finished with a team-high 28 disposals, six tackles, five inside 50’s and a goal in the final term. Wingman Jacob Kennerley was also prolific with 22 disposals and nine marks culminating in five inside 50s as he provided the link from defence to attack.

South Australia’s defenders were crucial in their slingshot attack from poor Western Australia forward entries. Central Districts rebounding defender Jez McLennan was integral with his run from half-back, as Robert Irra also had four rebound 50’s to join Martin Frederick and Mihail Lochowiak on taking the game on from half-back. Glenelg’s Will Gould was also was fundamental to stopping a potent Western Australia forward line.

For the disappointing Black Swans, ruckman Jackson was best for his side as his follow up work was admirable outlined by five clearances. Unfortunately most of his good work in ruck was profited by the South Australian onballers as Jackson finished with 29 hit-outs and 15 disposals.

English (25 disposals) and Damon Greaves (23 disposals) were the busiest for their side as English continually found the ball across most contests all game. Regan Spooner was lively for his side across half-back, as Ian Hill had glimpses of brilliance that included an unbelievable one handed mark in the second quarter.

In the next championship match ups South Australia prepare to host Victoria Country at Adelaide Oval on Sunday June 17, as Western Australia will host Victoria Metro at Optus Stadium on Sunday June 10.

South Australia 19.10 (124) defeated Western Australia 5.5 (35)


South Australia: Lukosius 4, Munn 4, Jarvis 3, Chapman 2, Tarca, Hately, Valente, Nietschke, Rankine, Sampson.
Western Australia: Moore 2, English, Clark, Hill.


South Australia: Lukosius, Valente, Jarvis, Hately, Rankine
Western Australia: English, Jackson, Greaves, Spooner