Author: Michael Alvaro

National Championships: U16 All Australian team announced

WITH the Under 16 Division 1 and 2 championships run and done after three exciting rounds, the representative All Australian team has been announced. We take a look at the squad members in a state-by-state breakdown, with Division 1 winners Vic Metro boasting the most representatives (seven), followed by Vic Country’s five and Western Australia and South Australia’s three apiece.

South Australia [3]:

Isaiah Dudley (Forward Pocket)

The exciting small forward also doubles as a midfielder, and enjoyed a carnival full of highlights. Put his incredible goal sense, manic pressure, and knack for snaring the ball all together in SA’s Round 1 win, booting four goals from 27 disposals.

Jason Horne (Half-Forward)

The SA skipper and MVP, Horne is as tough as they come and led from the front for the Croweaters. Does it all at the coalface and keeps busy when forward, with his standout game coming against Vic Country in Round 2 as he collected 18 disposals and booted two goals.

Cooper Murley (Interchange)

Murley provided a nice point of difference through the hard-nosed SA midfield, often seen breaking quickly from congestion and delivering forward. Like many of his midfield mates, Murley showed good versatility to also make an impact when tried in the attacking set-up.

Vic Country [5]:

Campbell Chesser (Half-Back)

The Country co-skipper has line-breaking speed to go with a penetrating boot, making him a meterage machine on the outside. Started on the wing and moved to the back six, with his best game coming against Vic Metro in Round 1.

Toby Conway (Ruck)

A very raw tall prospect who nailed down the ruck spot for Country to allow some of his side’s other big-men to roam forward. Made some impressive taps with soft hands and used the ball well when following up at ground level, building as the carnival wore on.

Cooper Hamilton (Interchange)

Not to be mistaken for twin brother, Hugh, Hamilton is a tough defender who hits the ball hard and gets pumping quickly to advance forward. Thrived in tough conditions in Round 2 against Western Australia and gets stuck in.

Ben Hobbs (Centre)

A contested ball magnet, Hobbs was one of the most consistent midfielders throughout the carnival. Was terrific across all three games, winning high numbers and gradually building to find the ball around the ground with spearing kicks and deceptive speed.

Josh Rachele (Follower)

The standout player of the carnival, Rachele stood up when it mattered for Vic Country – shown best with his 32-disposal outing in a losing effort against WA. Won the Kevin Sheehan Medal as Division 1 MVP to go with his Country MVP award, and will make his NAB League debut this weekend.

Vic Metro [7]:

Braden Andrews (Interchange)

One who was utilised on each line for Metro, using his composure, clean hands and ball use to good effect wherever he was required. Had a great game against Country in Round 1 where he helped his side over the line with a move to defence.

Lachlan Brooks (Interchange)

Had a standout game in the wet against SA in Round 2, collecting 23 disposals, six clearances, and two goals. Provides hard attack on the ball and is clean on the breakaway, while also being able to clutch it up when forward.

Youseph Dib (Wing)

Is aligned to Collingwood as an NGA member, and has a haircut to rival the Magpies’ 2018 NGA draftee, Isaac Quaynor. Is small, but strong in the contest and stayed relevant going both ways with big tackles and zippy bursts forward.

Blake Howes (Half-Forward)

The clinical medium forward did not need many chances to make an impact, and found the goals when it mattered. Is quite slim but stands up well overhead, and showed off his array of skills against SA with two crucial goals to break the game open in Metro’s win.

Alex Lukic (Full Forward)

Lead the Division 1 goal kicking with nine goals on the back of two big bags. Did a lot of his work inside 50 and close to goal, finishing beautifully to boot 5.2 against SA in Round 3, and four goals against Vic Country to open his campaign.

Josh Sinn (Half-Back, Captain)

A damaging mover, Sinn showcased his balance of inside and outside traits as he moved from a lock at half-back to a midfield role. Skippered the title-winning Metro side well, and will surely form a dangerous partnership with Campbell Chesser for Sandringham as rebounding defenders.

Tyler Sonsie (Follower)

The Metro MVP is just so classy and broke away from stoppages with ease. He used the ball cleverly under pressure, while also proving he can double as a forward with his 19 disposals and 4.3 against WA in Round 3. Will be another to make his NAB League debut straight off the bat.

Western Australia [3]:

Rhett Bazzo (Centre Half-Back)

One of the WA defenders who plays slightly above his height, Bazzo was fantastic in the air and used the ball well by foot when required. Has a good mix of tall and small traits, with his athleticism boding well for form in both positions.

Judd McVee (Interchange)

Was outstanding in the first half of WA’s Round 3 loss to Vic Metro, finishing with 16 disposals, seven clearances and two goals. Caught the eye with his incredible burst from the centre bounces, and loves a goal from range.

Blake Morris (Full Back)

Gave up height and weight against key position opponents on several occasions throughout the carnival, but fully made up for it with some fantastic work in the air and desperation at ground level. Reads the ball better than most and intercepted just about everything as WA’s MVP.

Northern Territory [1]:

Brodie Lake (Wing)

The sole NT representative in the squad, Lake was solid in a variety of roles. He proved a handy link on the outside, consistent ball-winner on the inside and effective forward, with the Thunder MVP collecting 26 disposals, eight clearances and two goals against NSW/ACT.

NSW/ACT [1]:

Sam Stening (Centre Half-Forward)

Was so influential in the final quarter against NT and backed it up with three goals against Tasmania, with his overhead marking a feature. Stening leads up effectively and is constantly involved in scores for his side, with his reach making him hard to stop.

Queensland [2]:

Austin Harris (Back Pocket)

Was a busy forward mover from defence and through midfield for Queensland, winning the Maroons’ MVP award. Breaks the lines with good speed and is a neat user on his left foot, while also having the capacity to hit targets at long-range too.

Noah McFadyen (Forward Pocket)

The brother of 2018 Brisbane draftee, Connor, McFadyen is a similar type and booted 14 goals as the standout forward in Division 2. Saved his best game for last against NT, booting 8.2 with shrewd positioning, strong marking and cool finishing helping him along the way.

Tasmania [1]:

Sam Banks (Back Pocket)

One who has already impressed enough to feature in Tasmania’s U18 NAB League side, Banks was most effective across half-back and an interceptor and damaging rebounder. Makes some great passes through the corridor, and can also run through midfield. Took out the Division 2 MVP.

NAB League Boys Round 14 preview: U16 talent hits the big time

AFTER a week off for all but two of the NAB League Boys sides, the competition recommences full-time action with a double-header at Box Hill City Oval in Saturday’s lone fixtures. A top-four clash between Eastern and Oakleigh firms as the game of the round, with the Geelong and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) clash set to have an impact down the other end of the ladder. Watch for the debuts of some of the nation’s best Under 16s too, fresh off their National Championship campaigns.

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. TASMANIA DEVILS
Saturday July 20, 11:45am
Box Hill City Oval

A near full-strength Gippsland Power unit will look to pile the pain on Tasmania when they do battle at Box Hill City Oval to kick off Round 14. Both sides are coming off losses, but the Devils have faced a few more challenges over the last four weeks in a string of losses. Results aside, their usual competitiveness has risen in the last fortnight, but Gippsland’s ins make the Power a tough proposition for even a side in the best of form. A massive seven Country representatives return to the side, with the likes of Brock Smith, Sam Flanders, Charlie Comben, and Josh Smith re-forming that strong spine. On the other hand, Tasmania will be without both Mitch O’Neill and competition leading goal kicker Jackson Callow in a big blow to their chances. O’Neill’s class through the midfield will likely be covered by the likes of Under-16 Division 2 MVP Sam Banks and bottom-aged Allies representatives Oliver Davis and Sam Collins, meaning Callow’s goals could prove the most difficult void to fill. The game will be the Devils’ last in Victoria for the regular season, with their remaining two fixtures set to be played at home, while Gippsland will finish off with a couple of country fixtures.

EASTERN RANGES vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Saturday July 20, 2:15pm
Box Hill City Oval

In what looms as the game of the round, Oakleigh will look to derail Eastern’s charge atop the NAB League ladder when the sides meet to round out Saturday’s action. The Ranges are on a tear, simply finding a way to win in each of their six-consecutive victories dating back to Round 7. Having twice gotten the better of fellow top-four hopefuls Sandringham in that run, they should come into this fixture against a rampant Oakleigh outfit with the confidence to stand tall despite the Chargers’ form. Oakleigh’s attempt to make it seven wins from their last eight outings will be dented slightly by the loss of promising bottom-agers Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Sam Tucker, and Reef McInnes, but gain some midfield depth as Jeromy Lucas and Fraser Elliot make the 23. Eastern’s key position strength will be tested as skipper James Ross joins Jamieson Rossiter and Joel Nathan as outs, but we should be treated to a glimpse into the future as Metro U16 stars Tyler Sonsie and Tyreece Leiu have been named to make their debuts. Both could feature through midfield, with Metro MVP Sonsie also able to move forward well. It adds another layer to what already shapes as an interesting battle, with the Ranges hoping to maintain their two-game buffer in first place.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS vs. DANDENONG STINGRAYS
Sunday July 21, 9:30am
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

A chance to snap losing streaks is up for grabs for Sandringham and Dandenong at Trevor Barker Beach Oval, with both sides sliding out of the top four in recent weeks. The Dragons have been on a three-game slide while Dandenong has lost its last four, and Sandringham could well jump back into the top four should results go their way. The Stingrays’ six changes seems significant, but it pales in comparison to Sandringham’s 13 with a raft of top-end talent going both ways in either starting 23. Dandenong’s ins read well, with All Australians Hayden Young and Sam De Koning slotting back in alongside Country teammates Ned Cahill, Blake Kuipers, and Bigoa Nyuon. On the other hand, the home side regains Fischer McAsey and Miles Bergman alongside over-agers Riley Bowman and Angus Hanrahan, but lose stars on each line in the form of Finn Maginness, Hugo Ralphsmith, Josh Worrell, Louis Butler, and Charlie Dean. The Dragons’ strength of depth has shone through thus far, and should carry them through well in this bout despite Dandenong’s sizeable inclusions. If the Eastern and Oakleigh game is the best of the round, this looks to be a close second with clear finals ramifications in play.

BENDIGO PIONEERS vs. CALDER CANNONS
Sunday July 21, 1:00pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval

The Calder Cannons could shoot into the top four with a win and favourable results elsewhere, but Bendigo Pioneers stand in their way in a meeting set for Queen Elizabeth Oval. The Cannons have enjoyed a good stretch of form, winning in four of their last five outings, with some key talent in the form of Daniel Mott, Harrison Jones, and Brodie Newman set to add a bit of class to the side which is sailing along smoothly. Bendigo has fared a touch differently, but the Pioneers found form well in the last three rounds with two wins and a 10-point loss added to their record. The competition in this game is a little stiffer, but the inclusions of Brady Rowles and Logan Fitzgerald should bode well for their chances of a fifth win. Big man Josh Treacy also returns, named up forward alongside usual full back Will Wallace as the Pioneers shuffle their key position magnets – and they could well be tested in that area given Calder’s ins. Bendigo should make a game of it on home turf, with both sides refreshed after a week off and keen to gain as much ladder position as possible with just three regular season rounds remaining.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS vs. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Sunday July 21, 1:00pm
Deakin Reserve

The battle for top eight spots heats up as ninth place Murray hosts eighth place Northern with just four points separating the two sides. Both have enjoyed good bursts of form of late, with Northern on a three-game winning run and Murray’s own streak of three only just broken last round by ladder-leaders, Eastern. Either sides’ true credentials will be revealed as they go close to hitting full strength, while also welcoming some Under 16 talent to their respective line-ups. Kevin Sheehan medallist Josh Rachele is one of those talented 16-year-olds named to play, while Northern boast Darcy Wilmot and Jack Rossimel. In the top-age stakes, Murray look to have replenished well with co-skipper Lachlan Ash returning alongside Cam Wild, while fellow Country representative Elijah Hollands also slots in. For Northern, key midfield cog Adam Carafa goes out alongside Metro teammate Nikolas Cox in a blow to their depth, but the versatility of the side should see the Knights cover their losses. With the top eight make-up truly taking shape in the closing three rounds, this game will prove to be a key one in deciding Wildcard Round fixtures.

GEELONG FALCONS vs. GWV REBELS
Sunday July 21, 1:30pm
GMHBA Stadium

Bottom two sides Geelong and GWV clash at GMHBA Stadium to see out Round 14, with just four wins between the teams heading into the final few fixtures. If history is anything to go by, this is set to be a close one, as the Rebels managed to snatch a one-point win over the Falcons all the way back in Round 2 in a thriller. The stakes are arguably higher in this clash with pride on the line and some notable under-age talent breaking into either starting 23. GWV welcomes Country Under 16 representatives Ben Hobbs and Josh Rentsch, with top-age stars Jay Rantall, Mitch Martin, Toby Mahony also set to really bolster the line-up. Meanwhile, the Falcons are finally set to again field one of their two original co-captains with Jesse Clarke back into the defensive unit, with the likes of over-agers Lochlan Hocking and Sam Christensen getting another crack in the starting team. With limited opportunities to bolster up their win tallies, both sides should give this game a red hot crack on the hallowed Kardinia Park turf.

Remember the Names: Top performers from the U16 National Championships

WITH the 2019 Under 16 National Championships run and done, we cast an eye over some of the names you may well see much more of over the next few seasons leading into their draft year in 2021. Our list includes the Most Valuable Player (MVP) from each side across Division 1 and 2, and is broken up into each squad.

South Australia:

Isaiah Dudley (Central District)
166cm | 66kg | 30/04/2003
Small Forward/Midfielder 

Is an absolute excitement machine with his pace and bottomless bag of tricks, often starting inside forward 50 and then getting involved further afield in general play. Having impressed in last year’s championships as an under-ager with his nous around goal, Dudley enjoyed some added midfield minutes and is a tackling machine. His standout game came in SA’s carnival opener against WA, where he collected 27 disposals and booted four goals with some truly special plays. Given his height, Dudley will probably continue on as a small forward as he heads to senior level, but is arguably as talented as anyone in the crop.

Jason Horne (South Adelaide)
184cm | 75kg | 21/06/2003
Balanced Midfielder

The fearless leader took out SA’s MVP award on the back of three very consistent performances, displaying a great balance of mettle and class on either side of the midfield contest. He proved to be one of the more effective extractors throughout, but also sparked a heap of his side’s attacks as he got on his bike away from congestion and lowered his eyes well to hit targets. Also showed he can cause headaches when resting forward, finding the goals in each game and using his strong hands to compete under high balls. 

Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide)
183cm | 77kg | 5/07/2003
Inside Midfielder

Was one of the most effective inside ball-winners, following on from his form in the 2018 Under 16 carnival where attended centre bounces and attracted the ball at will. Roberts will surely form a formidable midfield partnership with South Adelaide teammate Horne for years to come, with both uncompromising ball-winners who have that added class. One of the more pleasing parts of Roberts’ game is his ability to also accumulate inside forward 50, as shown in his final two games of the carnival. Had a blinder in SA’s loss to Vic Metro with 31 disposals, five marks, four clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal in the wet.

Vic Country:

Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons)
185cm | 78kg | 27/04/2003
Outside Midfielder/Half-Back 

Started the championships with a classy performance on the wing against Vic Metro before later moving to defence to provide that rebounding quality from half-back. The Country co-captain is a damaging user by foot and likes to take the game on to gain significant meterage, weaving his way around the outside and delivering spearing balls forward. Is originally from Lavington but boards at Melbourne Grammar, meaning he will align with the strong Sandringham Dragons program in NAB League, so look out for his set-ups by foot and clean hands in the near future.

Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)
181cm | 75kg | 16/09/2003
Inside Midfielder

Hobbs is an absolute bull through the midfield with unrivaled tenacity and aggression at the stoppages. He wins almost all of his ball himself and thrusts it forward with long kicks, but also grew into the carnival with accumulation around the ground and neat spearing kicks to find shorter targets. Was arguably Country’s second-best player behind Rachele, constantly having 25-plus disposals, double digits in tackles and booting a few goals along the way. 

Josh Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)
179cm | 73kg | 11/04/2003
Midfielder/Forward

Class with a capital ‘C’, the Country co-captain took out the Kevin Sheehan Medal (Division 1 MVP) and his side’s own MVP award with three sensational performances throughout the carnival. His talent can be summed up with one play in Country’s last game against SA, where he instinctively tapped the ball on over his shoulder to Ben Hobbs at full flight who finished the play off with a goal. Does some freakish things and constantly looks a threat around the ball with his agility and ability to break away from congestion, using both to good effect at forward stoppages. Has obvious leadership quality too and really lifted in trying to drag Country over the line in their loss to WA, having 32 disposals, six marks, four breaches of each arc and 0.3. A star in the making.

Vic Metro:

Braden Andrews (Oakleigh Chargers)
187cm | 76kg | 21/02/2003
Midfielder/Utility

Able to play through the midfield and just about anywhere else he is needed, Andrews’ best qualities are his clean hands and cool head. While he was quieter against SA, Andrews proved his class in his other two outings and in particular with his role against Vic Country – where he started forward and found the goals, went on to spark the engine room, and later provided some solidity in defence to help Metro hold on for victory. Is one who has potential to be further unlocked, but has some really nice traits already.

Alex Lukic (Oakleigh Chargers)
194cm | 80kg | 7/01/2003
Key Forward

Started with a bag of four goals against Country and came back from a quiet game in the wet against SA to claim five against WA and round out a promising carnival. Did a lot of his work close to goal and proved efficient when given chances, finishing well with set shots and snaps as he opened up the angles. Also chimed in with a bit of ruckwork, and it will be interesting to see whether Lukic can rip games apart with marking on the lead and in more contested situations as he develops. 

Josh Sinn (Sandringham Dragons)
186cm | 72kg | 28/01/03
Midfielder/Half-Back

Was originally employed off half-back in the first three quarters against Vic Country, but became a permanent midfielder after being thrust into the centre bounces and willing Metro over the line in that game. He skippered his side well over the carnival, adjusting his usually outside game to work in the engine room while still providing his trademark run and damage by foot. May see him ease into NAB League level in the back six, but has proven his midfield quality.

Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges)
181cm | 71kg | 27/01/2003
Balanced Midfielder

The Metro MVP was terrific across all three games, claiming best afield honours in two of them and showing off his versatility in the last with 19 disposals, four clearances, four inside 50s and 4.3 against WA. Is a clean extractor from midfield and oozes class in the way he wheels away from traffic, with the added bonus of being clinical around goal from all angles. Will certainly form a damaging midfield trio for Eastern with Tyreece Leiu and Jake Soligo over the next couple of years.

Western Australia:

Max Chipper (Swan Districts)
180cm | 63kg | 9/09/2003
Wing/Outside Midfielder

Better known as ‘Chip’ out on the field, the Swan Districts product is clean and cool in possession, using the ball neatly on the outside to hit targets at will. Unlike a lot of wingmen, Chipper arguably has a better short-range game and joins in at stoppages once the centre bounces play out. Had a really good start to his carnival against SA and finds the ball in all areas.

Judd McVee (East Fremantle)
179cm | 64kg | 7/08/2003
Midfielder

Judd by name and Judd by nature, McVee has that classic burst from the stoppage and showed he is able to hit the scoreboard across three promising games. Was arguably best afield in the first half against Vic Metro before being clamped, standing up in the absence of Lochlan Paton to finish with 16 disposals, seven clearances, four inside 50s and two goals in a promising showing. Is still quite light-on but is not afraid to get stuck in, giving him that valuable balance in midfield.

Blake Morris (Subiaco)
187cm | 68kg | 11/09/2003
Medium-Tall Defender

The WA MVP was an absolute rock in defence for the Black Ducks, proving an intercept machine in the air and as desperate as anyone at ground level. While he often gives up significant size – as seen when matched up on Country’s 196cm/91kg Josh Rentsch – Morris makes up for it with superior reading of the play, a sizeable leap, and the ability to mop up at the fall of the ball. Will be interesting to see whether he continues to play in the key back role or is freed up on the flanks, with a good knack for rebounding also in his locker.

Northern Territory:

Jason Baird (Palmerston)
185cm | 70kg | 29/12/2003
Midfielder/Defender

Played a key role in the Thunder’s resurgence against NSW/ACT with his accumulation across the ground and ability to push forward. He did not quite have the same impact against Queensland as he was forced to double as a key defender at times given the Maroon’s strength in that area, but battled hard and has some handy versatility.

Brodie Lake (Peel Thunder/Southern Districts)
186cm | 63kg | 16/05/2002
Midfielder/Forward

Collected the NT MVP award for his standout carnival, spending time between midfield and the forward line. Lake played his role well in either position, finding both a good amount of ball and the big sticks – most notably in his game against Division 2 title-winner NSW/ACT where he had 26 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, eight clearances, four inside 50s and two goals. Is a tall and lean midfielder with good hands overhead, so should continue to rotate between roles.

Mark White (Wanderers)
175cm | 65kg | 29/01/2003
General Forward

The tricky forward is a big exponent of taking on the man on the mark, doing it on many an occasion across the carnival to cut distances and get a better look on goal. White is also aggressive around the ball, applying strong pressure albeit while pushing the boundaries. He conveyed a bit of showmanship as he shooshed the Queensland crowd in his final outing and certainly adds a bit of spark when involved in the play.

NSW/ACT:

Joshua Fahey (GWS Giants/Queanbeyan Tigers)
186cm | 77kg | 11/11/2003
General Defender/Midfielder

Fahey is another big character who backs it up with his skill on-field, possessing a cool head and booming left foot which he used to send NSW/ACT forward out of defensive 50 and from midfield. Fahey’s work rate to get on the end of balls and penetrate the attacking 50 was also valuable, and he showed as much with his 24 disposals, six inside 50s and 10 rebound 50s against Tasmania to round out a solid carnival.

Matthew McKenzie (Sydney Swans/St Ives)
182cm | 79kg | 10/10/2003
Midfielder/Forward

Has a deceptively quick first few steps which he used to good effect when running though the midfield, while also providing a strong body at the stoppages. McKenzie racked up a good amount of ball and stayed busy when rotating through the forward 50, showing he can find the goals too. Enjoyed two solid and well-rounded performances in Queensland as one of a few promising St Ives boys.

Sam Stening (GWS Giants/Wagga Swans)
190cm | 72kg | 17/02/2003
Medium-Tall Forward

Stening came to life in an incredible final quarter against NT, while also picking up from where he left off in his next game to fix up some issues in front of goal to slot three majors from 14 disposals and six marks. Is not quite key position height but plays like one, marking well above his head with sticky hands and looking strong at full stretch. Could be a dangerous proposition once he fills out and finds his spot up forward.

Kai Watts (GWS Giants/Inner West Magpies)
178cm | 80kg | 1/02/2003
Forward/Midfielder

The NSW/ACT MVP was a dangerous asset for the Rams, starting forward and moving into the midfield as each game wore on. Watts was not a massive disposal-getter, having between 13-16 in his final two games, but has important touches and makes them count with some good delivery by foot. He gets in good positions close to goal and finds them, as shown in his 16-disposal, two-goal effort against the NT.

Queensland:

Austin Harris (Gold Coast Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin Lions)
175cm | 65kg | 30/04/2003
Defender/Outside Midfielder

Harris’ run and carry was fantastic for Queensland, making him a key contributor on his way to claiming his state’s MVP award. Harris just always found a way to the ball, getting into good areas with a high work rate and pushing forward at every chance. He often finished his runs off with neat kicks and provided a touch of class when in possession.

Daniel Lanthois (Brisbane Lions/Maroochydore)
173cm | 64kg | 12/02/2003
Midfielder

The diminutive and tough ball-winner does just about everything in the engine room, zipping away from stoppages and tackling hard on the rare occasions he doesn’t get his hands on the ball. Lanthois makes up for his lack of size with heart and really digs in around the contest, with one of his better performances coming against Tasmania as he had 18 disposals, 11 tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s.

Noah McFadyen (Brisbane Lions/Wilston Grange)
186cm | 89kg | 18/03/2003
Medium-Tall Forward

Kicked 14 goals in his three games as the leading tall forward in Division 2, with his sheer strength and positioning deep inside attacking 50 granting him most of his goals. McFadyen took full advantage of the much smaller match-ups he faced against NT to boot 8.2 in one of the performances of the carnival, and could well be the next McFadyen for Brisbane fans to keep an eye on after Connor was drafted in 2018. Will be interesting to keep tabs on his growth and whether he hits true key position size, with his set shot routine looking pretty efficient at this stage.

Tasmania:

Samuel Banks (Southern Academy/Clarence)
184cm | 70kg | 2/04/2003
Midfielder/Half-Back

The Alan McLean medallist (Division 2 MVP) has already impressed enough in Tasmanian circles to feature in the state’s Under 18 NAB League side, and showed his class throughout the carnival. Able to play through midfield or more offensively off half-back, Banks has a penetrating kick which he uses to hit targets others wouldn’t dare try to through the corridor. Is also an apt interceptor in the back half, and was terrific in that role against NSW/ACT as he collected 25 disposals, 10 marks, and five rebound 50s.

Baynen Lowe (North-West Academy/Devonport)
176cm | 65kg | 29/07/2003
Midfielder

Another of the raft of diminutive ball-winners, Lowe is a tireless worker who is mostly sighted quickly booting the ball forward from stoppages. The Devonport product wins most of his disposals himself, showing great speed through traffic while also finding his fair share around the ground. Was fantastic for Tasmania alongside Banks as Tasmania’s highest disposal getters.

George McLeod (Southern Academy/North Hobart)
175cm | 61kg | 11/01/2003
Midfielder/Forward

McLeod mixes his time between the midfield and forward half and works hard, pitching in with little bursts of run and important balls into the forward half. Was just behind Banks and Lowe in terms of output but made his own impact across each game, with one of his standout outings coming against NSW/ACT (23 disposals, 11 marks, seven inside 50s, 2.1)

Under 16 National Championships: Division 2 wrap

NEW South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) replicated Vic Metro’s Division 1 run, going through undefeated over three rounds to claim the Division 2 title. Queensland picked up two wins on home turf to slot into second place, with one of those coming over third-place Tasmania, while Northern Territory was the only side to go through without a win despite showing promise. We recap how each side fared and shed light on some of the better performers throughout the competition.

Northern Territory (0-3)

Results:
Rd 1 – Tasmania 16.13 (109) def. Northern Territory 8.8 (56)
Rd 2 – NSW/ACT 12.10 (82) def. Northern Territory 10.5 (65)
Rd 3 – Queensland 14.9 (93) def. Northern Territory 6.5 (41)

MVP: Brodie Lake (Peel Thunder/Southern Districts)
Most Goals: Mark White (Wanderers), 7

Despite not picking up a win over their three games, there were plenty of highlights and standouts for NT in this year’s carnival. A 53-point loss against Tasmania kicked off the Thunder’s campaign, with leading goal kicker Mark White enjoying his best game for the carnival to boot an equal game-high four goals. He was the Thunder’s only multiple goal kicker on the day, with Antonio James amongst the best in an under-siege defence and eventual MVP Brodie Lake enjoying a solid start. The NT responded in fine fashion against title-holders NSW/ACT in Round 2, pushing the Rams all the way but going down by 17 points. Two goalless terms told the tale of the see-sawing contest, and it was Lake again who impressed with his 26 disposals, seven marks, eight clearances and two goals. Tyrell Lui was also influential from midfield with 18 disposals, nine clearances and a goal, while undersized ruck Ned Stevens battled hard to have 12 disposals, 25 hitouts and a goal. It was a much improved performance from the Thunder, with a tough game against the hosts to come. It proved just that as they went down by 52 points in Aspley, struggling to match up on the Maroon’s array of tall forward options. At ground level, James again accumulated from defence and Ariki Lowe was busy in midfield with 15 disposals, six clearances and seven inside 50s. On the outside, Preyben Tipiloura showed some flash with his two goals, while Jason Baird stood up in a shift to defence with 12 disposals and five rebounds. It was a tough initiation onto the national stage for these NT youngsters, but there is certainly some talent to burn amongst the group.

NSW/ACT (3-0)

Results:
Rd 1 – NSW/ACT 10.10 (70) def. Queensland 9.5 (59)
Rd 2 – NSW/ACT 12.10 (82) def. Northern Territory 10.5 (65)
Rd 3 – Tasmania 4.10 (34) def. by NSW/ACT 11.9 (75)

MVP: Kai Watts (GWS Giants Academy/Inner West Magpies)
Most Goals: Euriah Hollard (Lavington/Geelong Grammar), 6

Division 2 title winners NSW/ACT responded beautifully to every question raised by their three opponents, holding firm in their first two games and enjoying a more comfortable win in the last. Round 1 saw them matched up against traditional rivals Queensland, overcoming deficits at quarter and three-quarter time to run over the top of the Maroons with a wind advantage. Austin Ball and Euriah Hollard each kicked two goals with Ball named best for the Rams, while the tall duo of Will Edwards and Patrick Voss also impressed. NT provided a good test for the Rams in Round 2, NSW/ACT’s ability to keep the Thunder goalless in two of the four quarters proved the difference. Voss booted four goals, while zippy ball winner Will Sexton was instrumental with 19 disposals, six marks, five tackles and a goal. His disposal effort was matched by rebounding defender Felix Rogers (eight rebounds) and tall forward Sam Stening (five marks, seven inside 50s, 1.5) as the Rams sailed home strongly. After being tested for three quarters against NT, the Rams stormed out of the blocks against Tasmania in Round 3 with an eight-goal to nil first half. The scoring slowed after the main break and Tasmania managed to put together 14 scoring shots, but the Rams were simply too efficient from forward 50 stoppages and resolute in defence. Joshua Fahey led the disposal count with 24 and 10 rebounds with Matthew McKenzie the only other to break the 20-mark (23 disposals, six marks, nine inside 50s). MVP Kai Watts started well up forward with 13 touches and 1.3, while Stening straightened up for 3.0 from 14 disposals and Toby Alker was again solid in midfield. The strength, versatility, and penetration of NSW/ACT’s midfield movers saw them home in each game, with a team balance also making them the clear-best in Division 2.

Queensland (2-1)

Results:
Rd 1 – NSW/ACT 10.10 (70) def. Queensland 9.5 (59)
Rd 2 – Queensland 9.3 (57) def. Tasmania 4.13 (37)
Rd 3 – Queensland 14.9 (93) def. Northern Territory 6.5 (41)

MVP: Austin Harris (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Palm Beach Currumbin)
Most Goals: Noah McFadyen (Brisbane Lions Academy/Wilston Grange), 14

Round 2 and 3 hosts Queensland went unbeaten at home to finish the carnival with a positive record and in second place. Their only loss came in Round 1 to champions NSW/ACT, going down by 11 points despite holding leads at two of the four intervals. Competition leading goal kicker Noah McFadyen was the only Maroon to find multiple majors with four, while ball-winners Bodhi Uwland, MVP Austin Harris and Finn Brown were also all influential. The Maroons bounced back in Round 2 in a game they hardly looked like losing against Tasmania at Metricon Stadium, getting up by 20 points in the end. Harris was again terrific with 19 disposals, seven marks and three clearances, while diminutive and tough midfielder Daniel Lanthois worked hard for 18 touches, 11 tackles and seven clearances. The tall trio of Will Bella (three goals) Jye Lockett (two), and McFadyen (two) all found multiples and caused headaches in the air, with that factor inevitably becoming a theme. The three went on to have a big say in Queensland’s closing win over the NT, with McFadyen’s strength close to goal overwhelming the NT defence as he helped himself to 8.2 from 14 disposals and seven marks. Lockett also parked inside attacking 50 to boot another two goals, while Lochlan Harrop also claimed two majors from 20 disposals. In a familiar tale, Harris and Lanthois again led the disposal count with 23 and 20 respectively to round out outstanding individual carnivals. A good combination of speed and ball winning ability further afield made the straightforward game-plan of feeding the talls up forward very effective, and it made them hard to stop in front of their vocal home fans.

Tasmania (1-2)

Results:
Rd 1 – Tasmania 16.13 (109) def. Northern Territory 8.8 (56)
Rd 2 – Queensland 9.3 (57) def. Tasmania 4.13 (37)
Rd 3 – Tasmania 4.10 (34) def. by NSW/ACT 11.9 (75)

MVP: Baynen Lowe (North-West Academy/Devonport)
Alan McLean Medal: Sam Banks (Southern Academy/Clarence)
Most Goals: Jonty McIvor (North-West Academy/Wynyard), 5

A big opening round win over Northern Territory ended up being Tasmania’s only victory for the carnival, unable to get that same scoring flow going in scores of 37 and 34 across the next two games. Their start unearthed plenty of promise though, with nine individual goal kickers contributing to the 53-point win. Jonty McIvor led the way with four, followed by Darcy Gardner‘s three and two each from Sam Banks and Zac Morris rounding out the multiple goal kickers. Zippy ball-winner and state MVP Baynen Lowe also made a good start, and was just as good in Tasmania’s Round 2 outing against Queensland. The Devils went down by 20 points in a slog, with Lowe’s 20 disposals, nine marks, eight clearances and one goal second only to Banks’ 21 touches and eight inside 50s. George McLeod also had a good game with 18 disposals and 1.2, with Dominic White (14 disposals, four marks) solid in the back half and Gardner (14 disposals, nine tackles, five clearances) also busy. A big first half from NSW/ACT saw Tasmania go goalless to the main break in Round 3, but it was not for a want of trying as the Devils were punished each time they failed to capitalise of gaining territory. They improved to finish with 4.10, as Lowe (27 disposals, seven tackles, seven clearances), McLeod (23 disposals, 11 marks, 2.1), and Jake Dixon (20 disposals, six marks) again worked tirelessly. But it was Alan McLean medallist Banks who was most influential, thriving in a move to half back to have 25 disposals, 10 marks and a combined nine breaches of each arc. With some undeniable class at the top and hard workers throughout, Tassie just fell short of putting together the pieces across the three matches. Banks is certainly one to watch, and has already broken into the Tasmanian NAB League squad like 2018 draftee, Tarryn Thomas.

Scouting notes/wrap: NAB League Boys – Tasmania vs. Eastern

IN the weekend’s sole fixture, Tasmania and Eastern finally brought Round 12 of the NAB League Boys competition to an end, jerking the curtain at UTAS Stadium for the Hawthorn-Fremantle AFL clash. Given it was a standalone game, we combined the match report and scouting notes into one for your convenience.

TASMANIA DEVILS 5.1 | 6.3 | 7.6 | 8.7 (55)
EASTERN RANGES 4.0 | 6.4 | 7.9 | 11.11 (77)

GOALS:
Tasmania: J. Callow 4, J. Menzie, W. Harper, W. Peppin, R. Mansell.
Eastern: J. Rossiter 2, B. Hickleton 2, C. Downie, T. Edwards, T. Weir, B. McCormack, Z. Pretty, H. Keeling, M. Mellis.

BEST:
Tasmania: R. Mansell, J. Callow, M. McGuinness, O. Davis, I. Chugg, J. Lane
Eastern: M. Mellis, W. Parker, B. McCormack, J. Nathan, C. Black, J. Duffy

The Eastern Ranges extended their lead atop the NAB League standings to eight points, becoming the first side in 2019 to hit 10 wins with a 22-point victory over Tasmania on the Apple Isle.

It did not come easy though, with the hosts enjoying a great start on the back of a dominant three-goal opening term from bottom-age forward Jackson Callow. The Devils’ attacking approach saw them get the better of their more fancied opponents to the first break, opening a seven-point gap on the back of a free-flowing period of play. As expected, the Ranges hit back in the second term to edge in front at half time by a single point, but it proved a costly quarter for both sides as Tasmania lost Mitch O’Neill to an innocuous knee injury, while Eastern skipper James Ross was helped from the ground after copping the full force of a late bump. The game continued to tighten up in the third term as the sides shared a goal each to set up a tense finish, with Eastern’s tactical shift in the back half ensuring Callow was kept much quieter. Taking some good momentum into the final term, Eastern would go on to run away with the win with four goals to one, very much proving to be the team to beat.

The instinctual combination between Eastern’s midfield trio of Mitch Mellis, Lachlan Stapleton, and Zak Pretty proved telling, especially after Tasmania lost O’Neill with Mellis named best afield. Joel Nathan‘s role on Callow in the second half with Ross out of the game was crucial, despite the Tasmanian finishing with four goals and edging in front of Eastern’s Ben Hickleton to lead the NAB League goal kicking charts. For Tasmania, Matt McGuinness continued his good form across half back, taking on a greater role with Sam Collins shifting further afield at times. Oliver Davis was again instrumental through midfield, with Will Peppin busy around the ground and Rhyan Mansell dangerous up forward.

Both teams are set to line up in Round 14’s double-header at Box Hill City Oval, with Tasmania opening proceedings against Gippsland and Eastern readying for a top four clash with Oakleigh.

SCOUTING NOTES

Tasmania:

#1 Mitchell O’Neill

Unfortunately had his return game for the Devils cut short by what looked like a pretty innocuous knee injury in the second term. He had started the same term off the ground after limping off earlier, getting stuck straight back into the action. Can hopefully get a better run at it toward the back-end of the year, and looked a positive addition to Tasmania’s midfield in the early stages.

#3 Oliver Davis

The bottom-ager continues to excel in the engine room, putting in a typical shift with inside ball winning and hard tackling. He won the first clearance of the first and second terms to mark his intent and enjoyed a good battle against Eastern’s Lachie Stapleton, catching him holding the ball on two occasions with great technique. While Davis sometimes blazes away in possession, his presence in midfield is invaluable and he plays his role well.

#4 Will Peppin

The National Academy member looks to have regained some good form and was busy throughout this outing. Peppin loves to take off with ball in hand, doing so with agile moves through traffic in the first term to send his side forward. The zippy mover added tackling pressure to his game as it went on, while also running hard off the line at centre bounces and impacting the play further afield in general play. Peppin earned at front-on contact free kick in the first quarter to kick his sole goal for the game, with a later shot from 50 falling short.

#7 Matt McGuinness

Another who contributed a game now expected of him, McGuinness has been an important cog in the Tasmanian back six. He positioned well in the hole to intercept overhead on many an occasion, but was mostly sighted bringing the ball out of defensive 50 by foot on the move. While his range was a little off at times, McGuinness got some handy distance on his kicks and is finding solid consistency.

#13 Sam Collins

Was by no means a huge game from Collins, but he looked strong around the ball as he enjoyed some time in the midfield. When starting on the outside, he pushed hard off the line to impact stoppages and get involved in the play. The bottom-ager also got his usual kicking game going well, delivering a pin-point ball into the corridor in the first term and backing it up with an even better pass from half-back into the middle in the final quarter. Had a bit of a rough patch to open the third term as he gave away a couple of free kicks, but was otherwise effective when in possession.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow looked like having a huge game after he booted three goals within the first half-hour, but was clamped well after the main break with Eastern ensuring he would compete against two or three markers in the air. He started off by winning a ground ball against his direct opponent deep inside 50 before snapping the first goal of the game, following up with a huge pack mark and set shot goal to highlight a scintillating opening. He also created Will Peppin’s goal after booting his third, marking deep in the pocket and kicking well inboard. His physicality ensured that direct opponents were more occupied with holding him that getting to the ball, and Callow’s work off the deck was scarily good for a player of his size. He would go on to show as much by turning his opponent twice in the third term but missing the shot, eventually being restricted well.

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

The natural ball winner did a lot of unheralded work around the contest, handing out well and combining almost telepathically with his Eastern midfield mates to buzz forward from congestion. His low centre of gravity and reading of taps ensured he often got to the ball first before dishing off quickly. Stapleton had a good moment in the final term where he ran forward hard from the stoppage to receive a handball of the attacking side, before delivering beautifully on the run inside 50 to honour Ben Hickleton’s lead.

#11 Mitch Mellis

Arguably the best afield, Mellis was aggressive in both his forward running and defensive efforts. His gut-busting runs after disposing of the ball to get on the end of a second handball broke the play open, with Mellis using his speed to burst away from trouble. He worked fantastically well in the small Eastern midfield to chain possessions together at stoppages rather than blazing away, and did as much around the ground as he got busy from the get-go. Mellis was alight early, booting a goal after finding space to get the hand-off inside 50 and snapping truly, going on to accumulate around the ground in an influential display.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

Rossiter makes his possessions count, getting in dangerous areas within the forward half and impacting the scoreboard. He worked well up to half forward in the first half, throwing his weight around and taking a strong mark from behind on the attacking arc. He found space in the third term to get a shot on goal but fell short, before thumping home a goal from nothing as he threw the ball onto his boot 60 metres from home and saw it bounce through over the back. Rossiter added another in the final term, mopping up an errand handball to snap truly on his left boot.

#20 Connor Downie

The bottom-aged Metro representative was again influential on the outside, finding the ball on the flanks at both ends and using his damaging left boot to good effect. Downie had an early score involvement as he roosted long towards goal to find Harrison Keeling in the square, before getting another hand-off at the arc in the second term and slamming the ball home himself. He finds space well and always looks for the shorter option inboard, kicking long down the line when in doubt to ensure his plays are high-percentage.

#21 James Ross

Was unfortunately the other big injury casualty to come out of the game, being taken off the field by trainers in the second term after receiving a heavy late bump shortly after disposing of the ball. He did not return to the game, but had started solidly in his key back post and got up the ground well. Hopefully he gets another chance to prove his worth this year.

#23 Zak Pretty

Was in the thick of it early on with some linking handballs at the centre bounces and a nice goal on the run from the pocket to get Eastern on the board. He combined his usual inside work with some good movement forward, putting in another solid shift and finding his usual numbers around the contest.

Under 16 National Championships: Division 1 wrap

VIC Metro claimed its first Under-16 National Championships Division 1 title in 10 years, going through the three rounds undefeated as the clear best side. Each other team broke through for a win each in what was an even carnival played in a variety of conditions. We recap how each side fared and shed light on some of the better performers throughout the competition.

South Australia (1-2)

Results:
Rd 1 – South Australia 13.10 (88) def. Western Australia 9.5 (59)
Rd 2 – Vic Metro 5.15 (45) def. South Australia 3.6 (24)
Rd 3 – South Australia 10.3 (63) def. by Vic Country 11.13 (79)

MVP: Jason Thorne (South Adelaide)
Most Goals: Isaiah Dudley (Central District) & Morgan Ferres (Sturt), 5

The defending champions would have come in with high hopes of replicating last year’s run, with that feeling compounded by an impressive 29-point win over Western Australia to open their carnival. One of three members of the 2018 title-winning squad, Isaiah Dudley was the star of that game, picking up 27 disposals and booting four goals, with key forward Morgan Ferres matching the goal feat and skipper Jason Horne a presence through midfield. In similarly wet conditions up in Queensland for Round 2, the Croweaters simply fell short in firepower against eventual champions Vic Metro, going down by 21 points. Matthew Roberts was the star in that game with his 31 disposals, seven inside 50s and one goal, with Thorne putting in a brave captain’s effort despite being in the wars late-on and midfielder Cooper Murley another to impress. The tri-colours would go on to lose again to a Victorian side in Round 3, this time by 16 points in a plucky effort at the Gabba. Thorne rounded out a magnificent championships with 18 disposals, four clearances and two goals, while Harry Tunkin enjoyed some added midfield minutes to match his skipper’s disposal haul to go with eight tackles and four clearances. Lachlan Thomas and Lewis Rayson were others to round out their carnivals on a high note with run and intercepts from defence. One to watch for next year could be Tyson Coe, who ran through the midfield as an under-ager – much like Dudley, Thorne, and Roberts did last year. Overall, it was not quite the championships that the team would have wanted, but they should plenty of promise and will again provide some exciting top-end talent over the next few years.

Vic Country (1-2)

Results:
Rd 1 – Vic Metro 10.7 (67) def. Vic Country 7.7 (49)
Rd 2 – Vic Country 5.12 (42) def. by Western Australia 6.8 (44)
Rd 3 – South Australia 10.3 (63) def. by Vic Country 11.13 (79)

MVP: Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)
Kevin Sheehan Medal: Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)
Most Goals: Judson Clarke (Dandenong Stingrays) & Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels), 3

As we have come to expect, it was a very competitive carnival from the Country side which found itself in winning positions in each of the three games. They fell away in a three-goal loss to their Metro counterparts in Round 1 after leading by no more than two points at each break, with co-captain Campbell Chesser terrific on the outside to compliment the game of inside bull, Ben Hobbs. Judson Clarke also booted three goals in the loss, but it was not enough to see Country over the line. If the final-quarter fade out against Metro hurt, then a two-point loss at the death against WA could have really been a dagger. Despite again leading at the final break and having a wealth of possession in the fourth quarter, a WA goal in the final 30 seconds ensured they snatched the win in muddy conditions at Southport. Co-captain and eventual MVP Joshua Rachele was almost the one to drag his side over the line with his 32 disposals, six marks and 0.3, while Hobbs was just about the muddiest player afield at the final siren after digging in for 29 disposals, 10 tackles and four rebounds. Benjamin Green was another to enjoy the conditions, and Lincoln White very nearly broke the game open with his two third quarter goals. The narrow loss proved not to break the Vics’ spirits though as they bounced back for an impressive 16-point win against SA in Round 3. Rachele again showed his class and provided the highlight of the carnival in his 26-disposal effort, with Hobbs again doing his thing and Tom Brown influential with three goals from half-forward. Charlie Molan, Hugh Hamilton, and Mitchell Moschetti also rounded out strong carnivals, with Country a side that will count itself unlucky not to have come out with greater results. There are a lot of reliable performers in the squad, and they could rise sharply come their Under 18 year given their competitiveness.

Vic Metro (3-0)

Results:
Rd 1 – Vic Metro 10.7 (67) def. Vic Country 7.7 (49)
Rd 2 – Vic Metro 5.15 (45) def. South Australia 3.6 (24)
Rd 3 – Western Australia 8.7 (55) def. by Vic Metro 18.14 (122)

MVP: Tyler Sonsie
Most Goals: Alex Lukic (Oakleigh Chargers), 9 – most overall

The champions and clear-best side over the carnival enjoyed an undefeated campaign, but were made to earn a couple of their wins. Metro’s first Under 16 title win in 10 years started with a three-goal win over Victorian counterparts, Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium. After trailing at each break and by just one point at the last, Metro ran away with four goals to one in the fourth quarter for a strong win. Key forward Alex Lukic positioned well inside 50 to boot his first bag for the carnival (four goals), while skipper Josh Sinn and Braden Andrews proved a match-winners with their position swaps to finish the game, and Tyler Sonsie was another to provide cleanliness through the engine room. The class of Metro was always going to be tested in their next game against SA, especially given the horrendous conditions. Their top-end talent still managed to shine through in the end, enjoying a solid middle period of the game to run out 21-point winners. Lachlan Brooks was best afield with 23 disposals, six clearances and two goals from midfield, crucially combining with Sandringham teammate Blake Howes to boot four of Metro’s five goals. Tyreece Leiu led the disposal count with 24, while Josh Ward‘s clean hands were eye-catching in the wet. The title decider in Round 3 was a tight one up until the final break, with Metro cruising to victory on the back of 12 second-half goals – including seven to nil in the final term. Lukic again kicked a bag with five goals, while Sonsie ripped it up through the midfield and up forward to have 19 disposals, four clearances and 4.3. Youseph Dib again provided a physical presence to have 20 touches, four clearances and a goal, with Zac Taylor electric forward of centre and Josh Goater again popping up with some nice aerial efforts. The talent across the board extends on each line to the likes of Lachlan Rankin, Jake Soligo, Jed Rule, and Jack Rossimel, with the evenness of the team and top-end talent set to rival Metro’s Under 18 squad of 2019 in years to come.

Western Australia (1-2)

Results:
Rd 1 – South Australia 13.10 (88) def. Western Australia 9.5 (59)
Rd 2 – Vic Country 5.12 (42) def. by Western Australia 6.8 (44)
Rd 3 – Western Australia 8.7 (55) def. by Vic Metro 18.14 (122)

MVP: Blake Morris (Subiaco)
Most Goals: Saverio Marafioti (West Perth) & Ethan Regan (East Perth), 3

Results aside, WA was one of the more evenly spread squads over this year’s carnival, with plenty of contributors standing up at different times over the three games. It all seemed to come together in Round 2 as the Black Ducks pulled off a miraculous win over Vic Country with a Luke Polson goal in the dying seconds, getting the better of the Big V by two points on a Southport mud pit. Judd McVee was a standout from midfield, leading the disposal count with 23 to go with seven tackles and a combined seven breaches of each arc, while Mitchell Brown thrived in the conditions for his 17 disposals and six clearances alongside Kade Dittmar (22 touches, nine tackles, and four clearances). Multiple goals from Ethan Regan and Saverio Marafioti boosted their tallies and proved vital in the win, while match-winner Polson had an important 16 disposals and 14 hitouts. Earlier in Round 1, WA had less fruitful outing against SA on home turf in similarly wet conditions, going down by 29 points despite managing their carnival-high total (59). MVP Blake Morris was sensational in that outing with his intercept marking, while Max Chipper was composed on the outside and Zach Fleiner was positive on the rebound. Matthew Johnson and Luke Taylor booted the multiple goals this time out, with Richard Bartlett another effective mover in the forward half. A late-game fade-out put a dampener on what was a really competitive effort against eventual champions, Vic Metro in Round 3 – conceding seven unanswered goals in the final term to go down by 67 points. Earlier, it was again McVee who stood up with his burst from congestion and some busy work going forward, finishing with 16 disposals, seven clearances and two goals. Chipper and Bartlett again impressed to have 23 disposals each, with Jake Littleton and Rhett Bazzo also serviceable. It was a slightly down end to an otherwise solid carnival for WA, and they should again have some eye-catchers capture out attention. One who also warrants a mention is Lochlan Paton, who was sensational through midfield before injuring his hand in Round 2, keep an eye out for his progress.

Scouting Notes: U16 Division 2 – Round 3

NEW South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) and Queensland had strong wins to see out the Under 16 Division 2 National Championships, with plenty of eye-catching individual performances. We cast an eye over both game to provide opinion-based notes on the outstanding players across the final two fixtures.

NSW/ACT vs. Tasmania
By: Michael Alvaro

NSW/ACT:

#5 Euriah Hollard (Lavington/Geelong Grammar)

Is interestingly the only Rams player in the squad not tied to a Sydney-based academy, but Hollard showed he has plenty of talent. The Geelong Grammarian was busy from the get-go, earning a couple of free kicks inside 50 and dishing off to give teammates goal scoring opportunities. Made good from a very tough chance on goal of his own in the first term, gathering under heavy pressure in the pocket and snapping a miraculous goal, prompting a choice “you’re taking the…” comment from his teammate. He would go on to add another goal in a strong third term, marking from behind in a one-on-one duel and kicking truly. Hollard’s smarts and deceptive strength were key features, and he was one of NSW/ACT’s more dangerous small forwards.

#9 Ed Ogilvy (Sydney Swans Academy/St Ives)

While Ogilvy did not win a heap of the ball (10 disposals), he was impressive with each touch in the back half and provided a cool head on the last line when the ball hit the deck. He delivered a couple of really composed kicks out of defensive 50 and into the corridor during an influential second term, making good decisions on the ball and hardly putting a put wrong close to his own goal. A solid day, and one who is very neat by foot.

#14 Toby Alker (Sydney Swans Academy/Maroubra Saints)

Part of a pretty strong Rams midfield core, much of Alker’s work had to be watched closely as he impacted the contest at stoppages. He finished with 17 disposals, six tackles and three clearances, looking strong in tackles to get kicks away and flick out handballs from congestion. Alker also had a nice moment on the outside in the third term as he stopped, propped, and delivered a risky kick into the corridor to spark the chain for Euriah Hollands’ second goal.

#22 Joshua Fahey (GWS Giants Academy/Queanbeyan Tigers)

Was the Rams’ leading disposal getter with 24 from defence and through midfield, providing an enormous amount of run and meterage by foot. Was clearly the designated kicker out of defence given his booming left boot, taking the kick-ins and pumping it out long in general play for a massive 10 rebounds. He also managed to breach the attacking 50 too, running hard up the ground and getting in position to let fly on goal, but missing the two opportunities he set sail for. Fahey showed a good combination of remaining calm but also providing urgency, and was vocal throughout – most noticeably when he asked his opponent if he “had a left foot” before he snapped home a left footed goal. Is a character, but can play.

#23 Matthew McKenzie (Sydney Swans Academy/St Ives)

Was influential around the ground as one who rotated between midfield and the forward line, racking up 23 disposals (17 kicks), six marks, four clearances, and nine inside 50s. His clearance on the bounce in the first term led to an early Kai Watts goal, and McKenzie’s five-step burst from congestion proved damaging. He often finished his runs with a long kick when going through the midfield, but showed good ability to lower his eyes further afield. His errand set shot fell short in the final term to provide another goal assist, and McKenzie was busy in his added forward minutes over the second half, adding a goal to his stat line in the third term from a loose ball close to goal.

#24 Kai Watts (GWS Giants Academy/Inner West Magpies)

Named NSW/ACT’s MVP and put in another solid shift to return an impactful 13 disposals, three inside 50s and 1.3. Watts was another who rotated between the midfield and forward half, starting inside attacking 50 and often joining in on the stoppages during general play. He was the benefactor of a searing Matthew McKenzie clearance early on as he marked and goaled in the first term, going on to miss another shot shortly after and a snap in the second quarter. Is a little smaller than some of his midfield mates but is strong, and uses his frame to position best at the fall of the ball.

#25 Sam Stening (GWS Giants Academy/Wagga Swans)

Stening put to bed some of the issues he had in front of goal in NSW/ACT’s previous game, slotting 3.0 from 14 disposals and and equal team-high six marks. The lightly built forward rotated between being the deepest Rams player and positioning at centre half-forward, making good plays in both roles. When closer to home, Stening popped through two of his three goals in open play and stood up in contests from high balls in. When pushing further afield, the Wagga product got good separation from his direct opponent and showed off his sticky hands at full stretch to pull in some nice overhead marks. Is a raw kind of prospect but has a good base to build on and certainly impacts games.

#29 Will Edwards (Sydney Swans Academy/Manly Bombers)

The Rams tall played his role in the ruck well, but it was his follow-up work that was most impressive. Edwards managed to win the ball around the ground by providing a target in the air and collected 14 disposals to go with his 17 hitouts. Also kicked a nice goal on the run in the final term to cap off a decent game.

Tasmania:

#2 Baynen Lowe (Devonport)

Another busy performance from the Tasmanian trier, with his game-high 27 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s helping him earn his side’s MVP award. Lowe was a constant through midfield, gaining meterage for his side from stoppages as he zipped around them and threw the ball onto his boot in quick time. He worked as hard as anyone to will his way to the ball, providing grit and zip in the same package against slightly bigger NSW/ACT opponents. While he does sometimes have the tendency to blaze away, Lowe’s work rate was immense and he fully deserved the plaudits he received.

#3 Darcy Gardner (Clarence)

Similar to Baynen Lowe, Gardner was a slick mover around the contest and worked hard to break free from congestion to send Tasmania forward. He looked particularly dangerous in the forward half after the main break, starting with a strong overhead mark just beyond the arc and kicking well to find Noah Holmes further afield. He would also go inside 50 on two occasions in the same term and provided an option to link during Tasmanian attacks. Gardner finished with 14 disposals, five marks, six tackles and two inside 50s.

#5 George McLeod (North Hobart)

McLeod was one who had a good balance between inside and outside work, collecting 23 disposals, 11 marks, seven inside 50s and 2.1 in a tireless display. He is a strong accumulator, but also had some high-impact touches – setting up teammates twice for goal opportunities through the middle part of the game and snaring two of his own. The first was a clever snap after getting on the end of a handball in the third term, and the second came on the end of a neat passage of kicking play with a set shot conversion. Had a few errand kicks but was otherwise very solid all-round.

#9 Sam Sherriff (Launceston)

By no means had a massive game (13 disposals, four inside 50s) but was influential in the final term with some good work forward of centre. Sherriff got involved in possession and through his tackling around the arc, with one kick across the 50 as he wheeled around particularly good. He got amongst a couple more kicking chains and proved a key member of the forward set-up late on.

#10 Samuel Banks (Clarence)

The 2019 Alan McLean medallist (Division 2 MVP) again showed his class to cap off a high quality carnival, collecting 25 disposals, 10 marks, four inside 50s and five rebounds through midfield and later off half-back. His best attribute is undoubtedly his booming right foot, and Banks used it well when placed behind the ball to set up Tasmanian forward forays. He attempted and made a wealth of attacking kicks into the corridor to put his side into dangerous positions, finding both distance and a direct target. Banks did purely go for distance on perhaps too many occasions though coming out of defence, compensating for accuracy with one kick and letting out an “oh no”. Like some of the better half-backs in this year’s draft crop, Banks showed his ability to read the play and intercept aerially with a couple of nice marks floating in from the side. Has obvious class and should build on having already being selected to play in the U18 NAB League squad, something 2018 draftee Tarryn Thomas also did as a 15-year-old.

#16 Dominic White (North Hobart)

It was another solid game from White in the back half, going about his business unassumingly to have 19 disposals, six marks and a couple of clearances. It was a relatively no frills kind of performance, providing a cool head off half back with neat short kicks and competing in the air. Hardly put a foot wrong and also found a bit of ball up the ground to get involved in the contest further.

#29 Noah Holmes (Clarence)

Holmes was again the primary target for Tasmania inside 50 and had a good game without entirely ripping it apart. He started with a couple of strong plays in one-on-one contests and showed good combativeness to win a holding the ball free kick before missing a rushed shot on goal. Holmes continued in the same vain with his tackling in the second term, while providing a good lead up target with strong hands overhead. Missed another set shot in the third quarter after marking well, but finally got on the board in the following term after another nice mark – this time over his shoulder in the face of an oncoming opponent deep in the 50.

Queensland vs. Northern Territory
By: Peter Williams

Queensland:

#3 Daniel Lanthois

The pocket rocket caused some excitement throughout the game running through the midfield and able to hit targets by hand or foot. He booted a terrific goal from the pocket in the second term which was Queensland’s seventh goal for the game, and then the next term got cleaned up after kicking out of defence but bounced back bravely. He was prominent around the stoppages and able to move the ball quickly going forward in transition.

#5 Glen Saniong

An exciting talent who zipped around the field, Saniong was particularly prominent in the opening half with clean hands in the air or at ground level, and some exciting athletic traits that caught the eye. He took a huge mark on the wing early on, and then had a full speed pick-up off the ground and burst away, leaping up whenever he could. He was favouring his dominant right side, kicking on the outside of his boot when going forward to avoid using his non-preferred, but still made it effective by hitting up Noah McFadyen late in quarter two for his fifth goal. He was quieter in the second half but still had a number of exciting moments and looked dangerous whenever he went near it.

#6 Austin Harris

Harris was busy around the stoppages and always working hard, getting to the pill at both ends. Early in the game he saved a goal by punching the ball across the line under pressure in defence, then ran in and kicked a goal before being knocked over. He used it well off his left coming off half-back and was able to dish off cleanly to teammates.

#12 James Packer

Had a few settling moments in defence, taking a goal-saving mark on the last line early in the second germ, and winning a fair bit of the ball in the back half. He charges out of defence taking the game on, and was neat with his disposal, creating plays up the field.

#13 Lochlan Harrop

Aside from McFayden’s eight-goal haul, Harrop’s efforts across the ground were up there with the best moments. He kicked an early goal by soccering it home from the goalsquare, and then kicked a goal playing out of full-forward in the final term, leading out and marking 30m out and slotting the goal on a 45-degree angle. He had another couple of changes, but passed the ball when he should have backed himself to have the shot, then the next time he rushed the shot and missed when he should have gone back and slotted it. Overall though he showed some good defensive traits and was neat with his disposal.

#28 Jye Lockett

Was one of the damaging three strong trio in the Queensland forward line and booted a couple of goals either end of the game. His first came in the goalsquare where he positioned himself well, took the mark and turned around to kick the goal from a metre out. The hands looked to be in the back of his opponent, but his body positioning was good and he had a number of other chances after that. He took a strong pack mark out 30m on an angle not long after his first goal but it drifted to the left for a behind, and then pushed up the ground at times to win some touches at half-forward. At one stage he applied a fend-off in midfield and got clear to kick forward, before then going deeper later on to mark the ball going back with the flight and put it through the middle of the big sticks midway through the last term.

#32 Noah McFadyen

The goal-scoring machine finished with eight goals from 10 chances in what was a massive day out for him. He was simply too big and too strong for any opponent that came his way, particularly given most gave him up to 10cm and 10-15kg for the 186cm, 89kg forward. He had five goals in the first half and another three by the end of the game, with most coming from one-on-one isolated contests deep in the forward 50. Every one of his eight goals came from marks (or in one case a free kick from a marking contest), and his set shot accuracy was on point. He did miss one which was a rushed snap and then he eyed off a big tally after the fast start and tried to kick an impossible goal off the ground near the behind post when he probably should have handballed it back to a teammate. Overall though he provided a great target up forward and worked his opponent over both on the lead and in arm-wrestles which he was always going to win once he planted the feet and used his body to hold off his defender.

#37 Will Bella

Bella might not have kicked a goal on the day, but the big forward provided a presence and also worked up the ground to win some ball on the wing and at half-forward. Like Lockett and McFadyen he was too strong for his opponent and had a long kick that helped his teammates get on the end of a few. He kept presenting throughout and when in the ruck easily won clean taps to his midfielders nearby.

Northern Territory:

#5 Ariki Lowe

The talented midfielder showed some nice traits with a clean turn and spin out of the middle and able to use the ball by hand or foot going forward. He added a nice touch to the midfield and had some speed from which he used to try and break the lines. Did get caught once trying to take an opponent on, but had a few solid runs during the game.

#11 Mark White

Caused a bit of a ruckus in the final term when he bumped an opponent late and a mini melee ensued. He kicked a great goal after that, and across the four quarters was one of Northern Territory’s best. He constantly looked to take an opponent on, and more often than not when going for goal looked to run in, then sidestep one way, sell candy and go the other way. He won a free kick late in the game for a great technical tackle by locking the arms, but then when he tried to sidestep the man on the mark and go for goal with the outside of his boot it went out on the full. He used the ball well when in field and was solid across the game.

#15 Preyben Tipiloura

Northern Territory’s best on the day, Tipiloura has some serious talent and X-factor. Every time he went near the ball you knew something was going to happen, with electrifying pace and clean hands, he seems to have the skill to break games open if given time and space. He is raw, but talented and had a shot for goal in the second term that wobbled in but was marked by Tom King who kicked the goal. Tipiloura also went to tap the ball in front of himself and run around an opponent tight on the line but the ball bounced out, but got busy as the game went on kicking two great goals on the run in the second half. For his first he received the ball just inside 50, burst away and kicked the goal at full speed, then for the second he burst away with a bounce, headed inboard and moved onto his preferred side to put it straight through the middle.

#24 Jason Baird

Had a strong game particularly in the first half, where he had a quick snap off the boot to get it forward, and then used precise kicking skills in the defence to move the ball across the ground well. He provided some run and carry and was willing to be daring with his passing, and one of a number of players who stood up when the heat was on.

#28 Brodie Lake

Played at both ends and kicked a goal in the third term after marking 50m out, passing to a teammate deep in the pocket, then receiving it 20m closer to goal. He put it straight through the middle and was involved a fair bit after that, winning a number of touches in quick succession across the ground. He almost had a goal in the second term with a clean pick-up but his shot on goal 20m running in on an angle hit the post.

#48 Tom King

The forward presented well and laid a great tackle close to goal applying defensive pressure to the opposition defence. He booted Northern Territory’s first goal of the game, standing in the front position and marking a wobbly ball into goal, booting it from a few metres out. He had another shot early in the fourth term, but it fell short, and a third attempt was cut off when he tried to pass in-board. He continued to work hard throughout the four quarters.

Scouting notes: U16 Division 1 – Round 3

VIC Metro claimed the Under 16 Division 1 title on the final day of competition having gone through undefeated, with Vic Country’s win over South Australia making it a Victorian double for the day. With the Most Valuable Players (MVP) named for each side and plenty of prospects stepping up, here are our Round 3 scouting notes.

Western Australia vs. Vic Metro
By: Peter Williams

Western Australia:

#4 Richard Farmer

Looked dangerous inside 50 for the West Australian side and used the ball well by foot when in possession. He was able to capitalise on the easiest of goals in the goal square thanks to a handball over the top from Saverio Marafioti. Throughout the match Farmer hunted the ball and the ball carrier with vigour.

#6 Lawson Humphries

Had a great third term where he became a crucial playmaker with quick hands and using clean touches going forward. He set up a number of attacking plays and was able to hit a target in the pocket on his non-preferred under pressure.

#7 Judd McVee

The star of the first half and continued on with a solid third term before being clamped more in the last term, McVee was a clear standout for the West Australian side on the day. He kicked a great goal from an intuitive snap around his body in the first term and has that burst out of stoppages that is eye-catching. He has quick hands and also showed great defensive traits by stopping an attacking play inside 50 with a big tackle. McVee is clean by hand or foot and composed in the midfield, able to dance around his opponents.

#9 Max Chipper

Won a heap of the ball on the day and showed nice vision with ball in hand. Set up their first goal with a nice kick into Rhett Bazo who slotted the goal after a 50m penalty. Had a turnover in the final term, which luckily did not cost his side. As a whole though he worked hard and kept buying in, battling along and won possessions in each third of the ground.

#10 Mitchell Brown

Behind McVee was the other standout in the first half, showing nice work at the stoppages and a long kick that created plays up the field. He was quieter in the second half, but his presence around the clearances early in the match was what kept Western Australia in the game. Brown’s best play came when he sold some candy under pressure dancing one way and then another and managed to get ball to his left foot and find a target down the wing.

#12 Jake Littleton

Worked hard in the forward half to win plenty of quick touches and get it inside 50. Early on he had a scrubber kick but it worked out to gift Saverio Marafioti with a goal. He finished off for himself with a nice kick which bounced through early in the third term, and had a second shot not long after deep in the pocket but it hit the post.

#15 Antonio Dadaliaris

Picked up from where he left off in the last quarter against Country. Had a couple of eye-catching moments, with a brilliant piece of acceleration in the second term where he was able to burst away from opponents in the back pocket, run across the goal face and hit a target on the other side. He also showed quick hands close to the line on a number of occasions, with his athletic traits the most noticeable.

#18 Saverio Marafioti

Was prominent early and fought through to the third term with important moments inside 50. He first showed great vision at half-forward to hit up a target wide across the other side of the ground off a couple of steps, then capitalised with a goal off a quick few steps inside 50. His hard running earned his teammate Richard Farmer a goal in the third term to reduce the deficit to a point and give his side hope of a victory.

#22 Richard Bartlett

Worked well at stoppages and was one of Western Australia’s best across four quarters. He uses his shoulders and hips well to evade tackles and get out of trouble in tight spaces. He looks dangerous whenever he is near the ball and he had a textbook forward stoppage goal, finding a clear path and reading the tap perfectly 30 metres out to snap around his body and add a much needed West Australian goal in the third term.

#30 Rhett Bazzo

Was one of the few West Australian players who stood up in the last term and found himself up forward with a goal in the opening term, then spent the rest of the time in defence. He took some crucial intercept marks and moved well through traffic for a taller player. He was neat with his skills and remained consistent throughout the match.

#42 Blake Morris

The West Australian Most Valuable Player (MVP) stood tall in defence with some nice highlights. He flew high a number of times and once it cost him with his opponent staying down, winning the footy and handballing it off for an easy Vic Metro goal. He did save a goal earlier in the game to cancel out that moment though, getting a hand to it in the goal square to put it over the line. Not as prominent as past games but still a rock in defence and a highly talented medium-tall.

Vic Metro:

#1 Youseph Dib

Whilst he was a bit rushed with his disposal at times, he also had some really classy touches throughout the midfield to win the most disposals of anyone on his side. His ability to get boot to ball, or by hand to his teammates is as quick as anyone going around and he was able to set up a number of goals or scoring plays by kicking inside 50. He always has a crack and tends to kick the ball across his body which usually means he has time and can be more damaging that way.

#2 Zac Taylor

A slippery customer who I described in my notes as “untackleable” because of his ability to slip out of opponents’ grasps. He shrugs the shoulders and swings the hips to evade being brought down, and also has high footy IQ, quick hands and plenty of class with the ball-in-hand. He is clean by hand or foot and sets up attacking players, kicking a goal in the final term to be rewarded for his hard work setting up a goal to Alex Lukic early in the game.

#3 Henry Brown

Showed some nice movement on the outside early to turn away from an opponent and kick inside 50, but also showed a fierce attack on the football to win a crucial one-on-one moments later. He is able to dispose of the ball when under pressure and can stand up in a tackle, also breaking the lines midway through the third term with a nice run down the middle, though his kick inside 50 was intercepted. He then returned the favour the next term, intercepting a kick-out 40m out straight in front and then sent it back over the goal umpire’s hat.

#5 Jake Soligo

Was a prominent player on the wing for Vic Metro, not too dissimilar to Trent Bianco‘s role for the Under 18s side and wearing the same number – it was uncanny. He moves the ball quickly down the wing and has nice touch by hand or foot. He kicked a goal after intercepting a kick-in 45 metres out straight in front and was a big ball winner on the outside.

#8 Lachlan Brooks

Reminded me a bit of Richmond draftee Jack Ross in the way he goes about it. Brooks is strong one-on-one, is hard to bring down with great core strength, and has that power-speed combination that makes him look damaging. He is balanced with ball-in-hand and uses it pretty well. He had a snap in the final term on goal but missed, though he set up a goal for Blake Howes with a nice kick to him in the forward hole in the last term.

#11 Tyler Sonsie

Absolute star. Sonsie looked classy throughout the four quarters and was deserving of the Vic Metro MVP award for his 2019 carnival. He finished the game with four majors, including two when the heat of the game was on and two in the final term stampede. He often pounced on the opportunity for goal with snaps around his body, with three of his four majors coming this way and his fourth after hard running resulted in him booting the ball off the ground in the goal square. He almost had a fifth goal and three in two minutes but his snap pulled to the right. Takes the game on and breaks the lines, and while he made the odd error in doing so, generally was great in his decision making and execution.

#16 Jack Newitt

Showed a piercing, penetrating kick off half-back and down the wing, moving well across the ground to get forward and give off a quick handball during an attacking play. He used the ball well by foot out of defence and showed good composure when needing to get the ball out of the danger zone.

#18 Braden Andrews

Has a set of quick hands in close and was able to extract the ball and get it out to runners, but then had an ability to get to the outside himself. Showed a clean set of heels to an opponent to burn him off and kick, albeit scrappily, to a teammate. Had a snap on goal but was touched on the line.

#19 Blake Howes

Was a strong player inside 50, playing a nice role in tandem with Alex Lukic and Jack Rossimel. Took a number of contested marks and on the lead under pressure, kicking a couple of goals either end of the contest, and missing another which he probably should have kicked. Overall provided good presence inside 50.

#22 Jack Rossimel

Slotted an important goal inside 50 from a tight angle which was impressive, and then flew high on the wing in the second term but could not quite bring it down. Rossimel had a chance for goal in the last quarter with a quick boot to ball but missed to the right, as he did with intercepting a kick 30m out straight in front. Still was important inside 50, and finishing off those couple of misses could have had a big game.

#28 Alex Lukic

Was the dominant forward on the day slotting five majors, and could have had seven with a couple of gettable shots in the last term. He was causing all sorts of headaches for the opposition with his height and size, reaching over the top of his opponents and pinching the ball. He won a couple of free kicks for being infringed, and also set up a goal for Tyler Sonsie in the final term whilst being tackled. Overall an impressive game from the big man.

South Australia vs. Vic Country
By: Michael Alvaro

South Australia:

#5 Isaiah Dudley (Central District)

The excitement machine was down on his usual disposal output (seven), but still managed to find a way to influence the game in his own way. Starting forward and spending most of his time there, Dudley played his usual game of pushing high up the field to impact stoppages between the arcs, but was first thrown into the midfield in the second term. His pressure around the ball was immense, laying a game-high 12 tackles and going hard at each one of them, while also continuing his knack of keeping the ball in dispute. Dudley hit the scoreboard in the final term after some more midfield time, winning a free kick at an inside 50 stoppage and converting the shot well. His agility and composure in his few touches shone through too, and it was a good overall carnival from the Centrals pocket rocket.

#6 Lachlan Thomas (Sturt)

The small defender continued to do what he does best, providing driving rebound from defensive 50 (eight rebounds) and going for pure distance with most of his use by foot. While meterage is usually his game, Thomas also managed to hit a nice target in the second term after intercepting at half-back, pin-pointing the kick towards his defensive corridor. Thomas also won a bit of ball up on the wing as he paced around the defensive half, but won most of his 16 disposals down back and was pretty safe in possession.

#7 Lewis Rayson (Glenelg)

One who stood up well in defence, Rayson caught the eye early on with a couple of solid overhead marks to intercept in the back half. He also made sure to impact aerial contests when marking was not an option, while also following up the spills to move the ball on quickly or lock it in. Rayson’s holding the ball tackle in the third term showed his smarts as his opponent went to take off after marking, and he enjoyed a consistent game across the board with 16 disposals, five marks, five tackles, and five rebound 50s.

#8 Cooper Murley (Norwood)

An important figure in the midfield-forward rotation for SA, Murley made a good start while resting in attack when he found space inside 50, marked, and slotted the set shot from about 40 metres out for his side’s opening goal. He would go on to continue his good form forward of the ball early in the second term as he snapped another goal, almost adding another in the same period of play. He was momentarily moved out onto the wing in the third quarter and dropped an uncontested mark with his first sight of the ball, but recovered really well to clear any danger. Murley would go on to show his well-roundedness, tackling well and providing good bursts from congestion with clearances on the move to push SA inside 50. Ended with 14 disposals, four marks, three clearances, and two goals.

#11 Harry Tunkin (Glenelg)

Tunkin was superb throughout and really seemed to enjoy his minutes in the midfield, getting stuck in to win a good amount of contested ball. He won a hat-trick of centre bounce clearances in the second term with fantastic tenacity, and showed a bit of finesse with a move through traffic to find Cooper Murley forward of the ball and provide a chance at goal. Tunkin continued his form in the third term around the stoppages and did the one-percenters around the ground, applying a particularly good smother on Tyler Sonsie inside defensive 50 to prove as much. His ability to hunt at ground level and win the ball under pressure accounted for many of his 18 disposals, with Tunkin also laying eight tackles in a big shift and spending a bit of time up forward late on.

#17 Matthew Dnistrianksy (Norwood)

Another of the SA defenders who had a solid day out, Dnistriansky was unfazed by a lot of the pressure that came his way. He accumulated across defensive 50 in his usual fashion, providing neat disposals and a solid defensive post on his direct opponent when required. He gave up about 10cm in height when matched up against Josh Rentsch deep inside defensive 50, but took it in his stride and competed well. The Redlegs prospect also fared well with a move up forward in the final term, finding space to mark and converting the shot well. He looked a little frustrated when giving away a free kick to Joshua Rachele late on as he threw the Country co-captain to the ground, but had a solid day with 12 disposals, a couple of rebound 50s and a goal.

#18 Tyson Coe (West Adelaide)

Played a pretty impressive role given he has not even turned 15 yet, unbothered by Country’s physicality in the engine room during his time through the midfield. He popped up early with a nice holding the ball tackle at a defensive 50 stoppage and later scooped up a slick ground ball at speed before bombing inside 50 to find Luke Young, who slotted SA’s third goal. Has some nice traits and should be a key figure next year given he has already been trusted in lining up at the centre bounces.

#19 Jason Thorne (South Adelaide)

The skipper and South Australian MVP was terrific throughout, earning an equal team-high 18 disposals to go with six tackles, four clearances, three inside 50s, three rebounds, and two goals in a dominant display of stoppage work. A good mix of grit and class, Thorne set the tone early with a smother on the defensive arc before contributing another show of strength with a strong mark overhead on the wing. His class shone through in the same term with a clean pick up and kick in one motion to hit an up-field target, with Thorne’s ability to lower his eyes proving damaging. He continued to use the ball well by foot around the ground, and his burst away from congestion sparked many attacks for SA. Thorne’s ability to sum up the situation quickly also translated with his work inside 50, snapping a nice goal in the second quarter and booting another in the following term after pushing hard to find space inside 50 and get the ball back from a teammate he had originally passed to. It was no surprise to see him named MVP in his second Under 16 carnival, as Thorne possesses a well-rounded midfield game.

#20 Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide)

Did not have his usual high-numbers on the back of some added forward time, but still made an impact to finish with 15 disposals, four clearances, and two goals. Was gifted his first goal in the opening stanza after being awarded a 50-metre penalty and added another in the third term with a clinical set shot on the wrong side for a left footer from about 40 metres out. Roberts thought he had another goal in the second quarter after streaming away from a forward 50 stoppage, only to turn around and see the goal umpire signalling a poster as he wheeled around to celebrate. Was still dangerous in his forward stints and attracted the ball, ending a fantastic carnival as arguably SA’s second most valuable player behind South Adelaide teammate, Jason Thorne.

Vic Country:

#2 Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons)

The Melbourne Grammarian from Wodonga-way was a touch quieter than usual with just the nine disposals, but made them count and caught the eye with a couple of exciting plays. His prowess on the outside suited both the conditions and a move to half-back, but it took Chesser a bit of time to build into the game. He showed good composure with ball in hand in his early touches, and started to get going after half time. He looked pretty sore after a brave marking attempt early in the third term, but came back in the following quarter with a couple of bouncing runs from the back half and away from stoppages. Chesser got on his bike well when in space at half-back, looking to attack onto his left boot and move forward quickly. Not his usual self, but certainly showed glimpses.

#3 Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)

There is little doubt over Hobbs’ ball winning capabilities, and he proved as much with another 25 disposals and six clearances in this outing. He is just so aggressive around the ball, willing his way through the contest and latching onto possession at stoppages before quickly getting boot to ball to slam it forward. With his contested game down pat, it was good to see Hobbs win more ball around the ground and use it efficiently by foot, kicking neatly over short distances and proving all-class forward of centre. Hobbs kicked two memorable goals, the first created by an unbelievably timed Joshua Rachele tap-on and snapped home at full speed, and the second slotted home from long range as he got a hand-off through the corridor. Would be a good chance to get a shot with the Rebels as early as this year, and was only second to Rachele for Country during the carnival.

#5 Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power)

Moschetti is one who just seemed to pop up every now and then, quietly accumulating possessions through midfield and in the back half. His first good bit of play came through a clearance on the move in the first term, shifting to defence in the second quarter and taking a relieving mark. He looked calm with his rebounding run, but bordered on casual a couple of times as he mopped up working back and slipped handballs out to teammates with opponents closing in. He was relatively steady for the remainder of the game, reading a tap well in the third term to send Country inside 50 and finishing with 13 disposals, five tackles, and four rebound 50s.

#6 Kai Lohmann (GWV Rebels)

Lohmann came to life in a brilliant final term, getting to just about everything across the back half and hardly putting a food wrong. Earlier, he showed off his crafty outside movement and evasiveness up on the wing shrugging off his opponents and providing driving runs forward. But a move to defensive 50 saw Lohmann contribute his best moments, first taking a brave mark inside defensive 50 and winning key balls at ground level with terrific composure. His influence on the last line was great with a few handy intercept possessions and calm touches to see the ball into touch with opponents circling around goal. Looks a clever prospect with nice athletic traits.

#9 Hugh Hamilton (Bendigo Pioneers)

Rotated between midfield and at both ends, showing good strength in one-on-one situations and also proving dangerous at forward 50 stoppages. Hamilton found the goals early in the second term after latching onto a loose ball and booting home from close range, while also missing a snap in the following quarter from a stoppage close to home. The Bendigo product’s body positioning against direct opponents allowed him to win the ball both in the air and at ground level, and he stood up well in tackles to dish off. Hamilton made a questionable kicking decision when looking to switch across the defensive 50 after a good mark, but was otherwise really solid with 15 disposals, five clearances and a goal.

#11 Connor Macdonald (Dandenong Stingrays)

The Dandenong forward is a constant threat in the forward half with his line-breaking speed and ability to find the goals, putting in another decent showing with 11 disposals and two goals. Tends to show up in patches and with glimpses of promise, which would just about describe his two majors. Macdonald popped up in the second term to convert a relatively straightforward goal in close proximity to the big sticks, and showed off his pace with a terrific goal on the run in full flight to start the final quarter. Is flashy and has class, causing headaches for opposition defenders.

#13 Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)

The 2019 Kevin Sheehan medallist and Country MVP was again sublime, leading all-comers with 26 disposals, three clearances, three inside 50s and a goal. Despite starting in the midfield, Rachele’s looked most lively early inside attacking 50, missing a couple of early snaps on goal with his finishing still the only part of his game somewhat letting him down (1.3). He would soon well and truly make up for those two early behinds though, instinctively tapping over his shoulder to create Ben Hobbs’ first goal in a bit of play that was nothing short of special, showing uncanny presence of mind. Rachele went on to provide spark at the stoppages, winning his share of clearances and keeping his hands up well in congestion. The Country co-captain also showed off his wheels moving forward, continuing to create with a couple of one-two plays moving forward on the outside. He managed to hit the scoreboard in the third term with some good harassment inside 50 to see the ball spill free, latching onto the chance well to convert from close range. He capped off his game with some more crafty stoppage work and a nice kick inside 50 to assist a Tom Brown goal, falling to the ground after the final siren having given his all.

#17 Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels)

Another from what looks to be a strong Rebels crop, Molan accumulated well across the game to finish with 20 disposals, four clearances, three inside 50s, and a goal. His hands out of congestion in a pretty handball-happy outing (13) were a feature, especially as he racked up possessions at stoppages in all areas while running through the midfield. He had a little purple patch with his clearance work in the third term to win a couple from the centre bounces and push Country inside 50, continuing that form in the following quarter. Molan provided a strong body around the contest and is already a good size at 187cm, with the versatility to also have an impact up forward.

#18 Tom Brown (Murray Bushrangers)

Brown was super in the forward half, providing a key link from half forward into Country’s attacking arc with five inside 50s. So often Brown was the player found when his side cleared from the centre bounces, leading up superbly to half-forward and proving to be clean up the ground. It was his work inside the arc that truly made a difference though, finishing with a game-high three goals from his 16 disposals. Brown got going with an early snapped goal before narrowly missing another attempt, going on to get busy with a conversion from a holding the ball free kick, and claiming his third from deep in the 50 in the final term. The Murray forward was very efficient with his production and looks an exciting medium forward prospect.

#27 Josh Rentsch (GWV Rebels)

While it was not exactly a day out for Rentsch in front of goal, he did well to provide a presence inside 50 and follow up well around the ground when rucking. He was again unlucky not to benefit more from his strong lead-up play, copping pretty good heat from his opponents closing behind him and missing his only set shot for the game in the second term. Rentsch did his best to contribute at ground level, following up drops of the ball to dish off handballs to his runners and ending with 13 disposals, four clearances, and 10 hitouts in a solid game.

Queensland goes unbeaten at home to round out U16 carnival

QUEENSLAND finished its Under 16 Division 2 campaign off on a winning note, beating the Northern Territory by 52 points in a heated contest to go undefeated in their two home legs. Brisbane Lions Academy prospect Noah McFadyen was the star of the day, proving too strong deep inside 50 and finishing clinically to boot eight goals.

The home side was dominant in the opening term, with the tall forward trio of McFadyen, Jye Lockett, and Will Bella causing headaches early on for the smaller NT defence. It was all Queensland after Mark White missed NT’s only chance for the quarter, with McFadyen making no mistake up the other end with a sliding mark and set shot conversion to first trouble the scorers. Lochlan Harrop soccered home from the goalsquare to make it two, with McFadyen adding his second shortly after via a free kick for holding. Lockett made it a four-goal to nil term by putting away one of two kicks earned deep inside 50 with marks over the back, and the signs were looking ominous.

In similar vain to the first term, the Thunder enjoyed early territory but could not quite take full advantage. White’s sharp baulk and shot was marked on the line by James Packer, but Tom King then marked a Preyben Tipiloura shot which fell short to slam home NT’s opening goal from close range. Another two forward forays followed, but Queensland held firm and rebounded well to see McFadyen add his third goal in reply with a mark deep in the 50. The trend continued in uncanny fashion as Brodie Lake hit the post for NT, and Queensland punished the errand shot with another McFadyen goal after marking strongly one-on-one. Again, the next scoring play was a missed snap from NT’s Tyrell Lui, but Daniel Lanthois had no such troubles for the Maroons as he extended the margin further. McFadyen then capped off a big first half with his fifth goal close to the bell, marking on the lead and putting through another elementary set shot goal. The Queenslanders simply looked like scoring with each attack and did exactly that, helping themselves to a 44-point lead at the main break.

The opening exchanges of the third term were even, with much of the play occurring between the arcs and the sides sharing a rushed behind each. That was before Austin Harris broke the deadlock with a goal on the run, and was smashed late after the kick for his troubles. Tipiloura provided the instant reply to back up NT’s physical spirit with his own goal on the fly, and Lake helped them get on top in the term after marking twice inside 50 and converting the second shot. After a long period of stalemate and a few Queensland players looking to get their names on the scoresheet, McFadyen booted his sixth goal with yet another one-on-one mark in the goalsquare and straightforward finish. The margin was 47 points heading into the final change, but NT were putting up a fight. 

Fight was somewhat of a key word as things got a little physical after White hit Lanthois late after he had disposed of the ball, with a tussle breaking out. Having received some chat from the crowd, White streamed in to boot a classy goal on the run and promptly shooshed them in celebration in a cheeky bit of showmanship. The scoring continued as Tipiloura added another in full motion, but Queensland hit back with three goals of their own as they looked to pretty up the scoreboard. One of those came from McFadyen for his seventh major as he read the wind well, going on to finish with eight with a goal just before the final siren.

Harris led all-comers for the Maroons with 23 disposals, nine marks, four breaches of each arc, a goal and plenty of meterage. Lanthois (20 disposals, seven tackles, four clearances, one goal) and Harrop (20 disposals, four marks, two goals) were others to find both the goals and plenty of possession, while Lockett joined McFadyen and Harrop as the only other multiple goal kicker from his 12 disposals and seven marks. For NT, Antonio James was solid down back accumulating 16 disposals, five marks and four rebounds, with Ariki Lowe zippy in the midfield for his 15 disposals, six clearances and seven inside 50s, and Tipiloura arguably catching the eye most with his 11 disposals, five inside 50s and two goals. White was another crafty mover forward and succeeded in a few baulks in his nine-disposal and one-goal game in a low-scoring Thunder effort.

QUEENSLAND 4.3 | 8.5 | 10.9 | 14.9 (93)
NT 0.1 | 1.3 | 3.4 | 6.5 (41)

GOALS:

QLD: N. McFadyen 8, L. Harrop 2, J. Lockett 2, D. Lanthois, A. Harris
NT: P. Tipiloura 2, T. King, B. Lake, M. White, F. Buitenhuis

ADC BEST:

QLD: N. McFadyen, L. Harrop, J. Lockett, D. Lanthois, G. Sanoing
NT: P. Tipiloura, M. White, B. Lake, T. King, A. Lowe   

Metro powers home to claim Division 1 title

A 12-GOAL second half against Western Australia (WA) helped Vic Metro claim the Under 16 Division 1 National Championships title, powering to a 67-point win in perfect conditions at the GABBA.

Oakleigh key forward Alex Lukic was dominant with five goals, while classy Eastern midfielder Tyler Sonsie booted four and won plenty of the ball.

It was WA who made the brighter start under the Brisbane sun, booting the first two goal of the game through Rhett Bazzo and a quality Judd McVee snap, but their lead soon disappeared as Metro began to penetrate their solid half-back set-up. Sonsie snuck home Metro’s first goal after marking deep inside 50, and Blake Howes was the beneficiary of Josh Sinn’s searing ball into the 50 to make it two. It was Zac Taylor who played a key hand in putting the Victorians in front – zipping through traffic to find space to snap on home, and handing off to Lukic shortly after to give them a nine-point lead at the first break.

The Black Ducks made the perfect start to the second term as McVee streamed inside 50 to claim his second major, but Jack Rossimel provided a quick reply after intercepting a Blake Morris kick across goal. The goal-for-goal trend continued as Kade Dittmar converted a tough chance from 40-metres out on the boundary, but Saverio Marafioti snapped the streak with his goal on the run to level the scores. It was at that point that Metro began to gain the ascendancy in territory, but couldn’t quite find their way to goal as WA stood firm, right until Sonsie snapped truly once again to give Metro their one-goal lead at the main break.

After Tyreece Leiu found the first goal of the third term for Metro, WA looked to be mounting a comeback as goals from Jake Littleton and Richard Farmer got them back to within one point. That was not quite to be the case though, as Lukic broke the game open with three-consecutive goals on the back of some good work close to goal and easy finishes as he opened up the angles. Youseph Dib snapped home to extend the Metro lead, but a late Richard Bartlett major from a WA forward stoppage gave them a sniff heading into the final break at 17 points down, with Farmer adding the handy point.

That behind wasn’t put to use though as Metro ran away with the game early in the final term, with Lukic adding a fifth after Morris spilt an eye-catching spekkie attempt and Sonise a third and fourth with some shrewd work close to home. The surge continued with majors to Taylor, Henry Brown, Howes and Jake Soligo as Metro enjoyed a host of scoring shots and coasted to victory.

Dib was Metro’s leading ball winner with 20 disposals and four clearances, while Sonsie had 20 touches and four clearances to go with his 4.3, and Eastern teammate Soligo gather 19 disposals and finished with one goal. Taylor and Howes were others to impress with their work inside forward 50, ending with two goals apiece.

For WA, Max Chipper led all-comers with his 23 disposals, five marks and four inside 50s, while Bartlett was in the thick of it with 23 touches, seven clearances and a goal, and Morris did his best to stand up down back with 16 disposals, four marks and seven rebound 50s. Littleton was another to win a good amount of ball (18 disposals), while McVee was arguably their best player in the first half, finishing with 16 disposals, seven clearances and two goals.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA 2.3 | 5.5 | 8.7 | 8.7 (55)
VICTORIA METRO 4.0 | 6.5 | 11.6 | 18.14 (122)

GOALS:

WA: J. McVee 2, R. Bazzo, K. Dittmar, S. Marafioti, J. Littleton, R. Farmer, R. Bartlett
VM: A. Lukic 5, T. Sonsie 4, Z. Taylor 2, B. Howes 2, H. Brown, Y. Dib, J. Soligo, J. Rossimel, T. Leiu

ADC BEST:

WA: J. McVee, B. Morris, R. Bartlett, R. Bazzo, M. Chipper
VM: T. Sonsie, A. Lukic, Z. Taylor, Y. Dib, J. Sinn