Author: Peter Williams

Young guns shine in AFLW practice matches

FOOTY is back and it was welcomed by five AFL Women’s practice games on Saturday, which allowed fans to witness how teams were shaping up ahead of the AFLW’s season. While the results were secondary, there were plenty of eye-catching moments across the country with three games in Victoria, one in Queensland and one in the Northern Territory.

We take a look at how each game went down:

 

GWS GIANTS 3.1 | 5.3 | 9.6 | 11.9 (75)
BRISBANE 1.1 | 2.3 | 3.3 | 4.4 (16)

Layshon Park, Brisbane

GOALS:

GWS: Schmidt 3, Staunton 3, Bonner, Zreika, Gisu, Collier, Bennetts,
Brisbane: Wuetschner, McCarthy, Frederick-Traub, Dowrick.

Club wraps:

GIANTS thump Lions in AFLW practice match

Key points:

1 GWS could be the dark horse of season 2019

GWS could end up being a sneaky chance for the flag in 2019 if their form in the pre-season is anything to go by. Sliding up the radar perfectly and with no Phoebe McWilliams for the upcoming season, the GIANTS went about their business in terrific fashion, manufacturing goals from multiple sources, with Aimee Schmidt and Cora Staunton booting three apiece.

2 Brisbane take long-term approach

We have seen first hand the embarrassment of riches that Brisbane has at its disposal in Queensland, albeit having to share the youngsters once the Gold Coast side enters the competition in 12 months. On the weekend there was the likes of McKenzie Dowrick – who booted a goal on debut – and fellow All Australian, Lauren Bella who started in the ruck going up against another All Australian, but that at senior level in Erin McKinnon. A terrific showing of faith from coach, Craig Starcevich.

3 Cross-coders are as impressive as ever

You need not look far, but the likes of Taylah Davies, a former GWS GIANTS netballer was really strong in the air and looked at home with the oblong ball. With Staunton already showing the success of international recruits to the game, it will be great to see how many of the former netballers, basketballers and other sporting stars, can have an impact in season 2019.

 

GEELONG 0.1 | 3.3 | 6.3 | 7.4 (46)
CARLTON 2.0 | 3.1 | 5.1 | 7.2 (44)

Ikon Park, Carlton North

GOALS:

Geelong: McWilliams 4, Ivey, Clifford, Darby.
Carlton: Davey 4, Plane 2, Audley.

Club wraps:

Cats record impressive two-point win
Blues show plenty of promise

Key points:

1 Brianna Davey is a star

In case anyone had forgotten what the Carlton captain was capable of, the star midfielder who missed the bulk of the 2018 season played forward and was a standout. She booted four goals across the game and was a lively target, shaping as a third option outside of dynamo, Darcy Vescio and tall timber, Tayla Harris inside 50 for the Blues.

2 Phoebe McWilliams will cause serious headaches

Much like Davey, McWilliams is as damaging at ground level as she is in the air, and she showed it in her first game in the blue and white hoops. Since crossing from the GWS GIANTS in the off-season, McWilliams enjoyed a VFL Women’s premiership with Hawthorn, ironically against her new teammates. She fitted in well and looms as a potential leading goal kicker now the midfield kicking to her has some serious depth.

3 Madison Prespakis and Nina Morrison showing what the fuss is about

We have promoted their abilities for the past 12 months, but Madison Prespakis and Nina Morrison let their football do the talking in the match at Ikon Park. Prespakis was judged one of the best on-field, copping a hit and bouncing back, while Morrison was exciting and enjoyed a win with her new teammates. Prespakis and Morrison could be the AFL Women’s equivalent debate of Marcus Bontempelli and Patrick Cripps – both stars in their own way and huge futures for their respective clubs.

 

MELBOURNE 0.0 | 2.3 | 2.5 | 4.10 (34)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.1 | 1.2 | 7.2 | 9.2 (56)

Casey Fields, Cranbourne

GOALS:

Melbourne: Hore 2, Hickey, Scott.
North Melbourne: Hope 2, Abbatangelo 2, Bateman, Garner, Kearney, Riddell, C Haines.

Club wraps:

Cordner remaining positive
Report card: Practice match

Key points:

1 North Melbourne will be scary when they click

It is something the fans of the AFL Women’s competition feared when North Melbourne assembled a “dream team” of sorts, picking up reigning league best and fairest winner, Emma Kearney, and key Collingwood players in Mo Hope, Jasmine Garner, Emma King and Jess Duffin among others. While Duffin was out playing for the Renegades, the Kangaroos had no troubles kicking a winning score. At first they did not manage to find the flow, but then booted six goals in the third term to storm away with the match.

2 Melbourne will take time

The Demons have lost one of the biggest names of the AFL Women’s competition – and she never even left the club. Daisy Pearce will sit out the 2019 season while she is pregnant with twins, and the Demons will search to fill that hole with a host of young up-and-coming players. They have recruited well with Tyla Hanks and Maddy Brancatisano among those who could step up into the Dees’ midfield, but the experienced side will just take a bit of time with a number of fresh faces coming through. Fatigue was another factor, according to Harriet Cordner, but Melbourne will still be a tough assignment this season.

3 Kangaroos forward line the best in the business

They might be brand new, but the fact VFL Women’s talents, Sophie Abbatangelo and Ash Riddell stepped up and showed no fear upon their senior level debuts shows even North Melbourne’s next tier of players will provide great depth in season 2019. While much is talked about their high profile recruits, adding in those players along with young talents, Daisy Bateman – who kicked the opening Roos’ goal – and Chloe and Libby Haines, shows that the side will have the depth to cover any injuries to their top stars.

 

BULLDOGS 1.1 | 2.4 | 3.4 | 5.5 (35)
COLLINGWOOD 0.2 | 1.2 | 2.4 | 4.4 (28)

MARS Stadium, Ballarat

GOALS:

Bulldogs: Brennan, Blackburn, McLeod, Hunt, Gamble.
Collingwood: Rowe 2, McIntosh, Hildebrand.

Club wraps:

Dogs score pre-season win over Magpies
Good signs in narrow loss to Dogs

Key points:

1 Western Bulldogs will be force again

While the Magpies do not have a great deal of support in regards to their flag chances, the Western Bulldogs looked ultra-impressive in their seven-point win over the Pies, having the ability to rest co-captain Ellie Blackburn in the second half after a superb first half. They shared the goals around and used precision kicking to hurt the Magpies.

2 Baby Magpies and cross-coders stand tall

They were always going to be inexperienced compared to the reigning premiers, but the Magpies draftees were impressive throughout the loss. Dandenong Stingrays’ skipper, Jordyn Allen and Oakleigh Chargers talent, Katie Lynch were a couple of names raised by coach Wayne Siekman after the game, while cross-coders Sarah Rowe and Sharni Layton were very competitive in the forward half.

3 Dogs sweat on Lochland’s ankle

Leading goalscorer, and forward dynamo Brooke Lochland caused some worry amongst Dogs fans when she was taken from the field after a collision. While full results were yet to come at the time of publication, AFL Women’s reporter Sarah Black believed it was not as serious as first thought.

 

ADELAIDE 2.2 | 5.2 | 8.3 | 9.4 (58)
FREMANTLE 1.4 | 3.4 | 3.7 | 5.8 (38)

TIO Stadium, Darwin

GOALS:

Adelaide: Scheer 2, Thompson 2, Forth, A Foley, Varnhagen, J Foley, Phillips.
Fremantle: Antonio 2, Houghton 2, Bresland.

Club wraps:

New Crows impress in trial match victory
Freo challenged by Crows in Darwin

Key points:

1 Danielle Ponter and Chloe Scheer impact at either end

Young guns, Danielle Ponter and Chloe Scheer gave an indication they will be key players in Matthew Clarke’s Adelaide side this season, playing roles at either end. Ponter’s work out of defence using her slick skills to hit-up targets is different from her forward craft with Essendon VFL Women’s side, while Scheer was prolific up forward booting a goal and returning successfully from a knee injury that kept her from being drafted following her top-age year.

2 Fremantle will be competitive

With the amount of changes the Dockers have had, particularly with experience heading out the door and young talents walking in, it was always going to be tough against a premiership contender in challenging conditions. They looked solid early, but were outclassed in the third term before holding firm in the final stanza to avoid a blowout. The Dockers are a side that will be introducing plenty of new faces to the side in season 2019, so expect there to be some mixed results.

3 Crows talls go down

The win was somewhat soured by tall Crows, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Jasmyn Hewett, as they were forced from the field and will undergo scans during the week. It was the position that the Crows could ill-afford to lose, and will be sweating on the results. Given how strong the Crows are through the midfield, Adelaide will be keen to have a dominant force in the ruck giving the onballers first touch.

Feature Image credit: Arj Giese

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 14

SOME finals-defining matches will take place this weekend in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League competition. Two sides battling desperately to grab a top five place in the Tiwi Bombers and Waratah will be tested against the top two teams in Southern Districts and Nightcliff, while Palmerston Magpies do not have it any easier, taking on the in-form Darwin Buffaloes. In the other game of the round, the bottom two sides go head-to-head in Wanderers and St Marys, with an Eagles loss all but certainly closing the door on finals chances.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v. TIWI BOMBERS
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 2pm
Norbuilt Oval

The game between second and sixth never looked so enticing for those keen to head down to Norbuilt Oval on Saturday afternoon. At times this season, Southern Districts have looked unstoppable, but last week Darwin Buffaloes found the Crocs’ kryptonite in a heart-stopping one-point thriller that knocked Southern Districts off the top of the NTFL ladder. Meanwhile, Tiwi Bombers had a day out to celebrate Austin Wonaeamirri‘s 150th game with a 100-plus point victory over Wanderers to give themselves a handy percentage boost. A win her would all but likely catapult them into fifth, and possibly fourth if Nightcliff do a number on Waratah, but in saying that, the Crocs will be keen to atone for a rare loss last week and will want to take care of business at home here. Ross Tungatalum is the key player for the Bombers up forward, fresh off another big performance last week, he has 25 goals for the season, two more than fellow sharpshooter, Dionysius Munkara. The best and fairest favourite for the Bombers, Jason Puruntatameri has been named in the best for every game he has played, and looms as a danger man trying to stop the Crocs’ attack. Ashton Hams has been crucial in the Bombers’ recent form, named in the best for his three games. Speaking of in-form players, Jess Koopman had a day out last weekend with six snags against Darwin, albeit in a losing side. He brought his total to 24 majors in just seven games and is the clear leading goalkicker for Southern Districts. The Crocs do not rely on one spearhead however, as they have eight players who have kicked double-figure goals in season 2018/19. The trio to watch are Dean Staunton (13 goals), Dylan McLachlan (10) and Charles McAdam (10), all featuring among the best at times this season. Beau Schwarze has been in great form of late, and looms as another key playmaker in the match. Expect the Crocs to remind the Bombers why the former are a title contender, although the Bombers have the attack to unsettle the Crocs’ defence and continue their great form.

WANDERERS v. ST MARYS
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 2.30pm
TIO Stadium

The first game of a double-header at TIO Stadium pits the two bottom sides against each other. Historical powerhouse, St Marys has had an inconsistent season as sweeping change has seen plenty of fresh faces join the Saints in what could be described as somewhat of a rebuild. Like St Marys, Wanderers have shown they can be competitive at times, but are often let down by momentum swings or disappointing quarters here and there. Both sides head into this game believing a win could be on the cards, and realistically, a loss would be devastating for either side. The Eagles know heading home without the four points will spell almost certain end to any finals aspirations, while St Marys would not only need a strong finish, but likely need other results to go their way in the run home if they were to snatch a finals spot. Talented teenager, Joel Jeffrey has been the star for the Eagles this season, booting 11 goals from nine games. But with AFL Academy opportunities, he has not been there the whole time, much like the Muk Muks’ second highest goalkicker, Davin Ferreira with seven goals in three games. In fact, just six players have reached double-figure games this season for the cellar dwellers, adding consistency as a challenge for the coaching staff. They had a game to forget against the Bombers last weekend, with Thomas Motlop named Wanderers’ best in a 102-point defeat. The Eagles will want to come out a lot stronger against St Marys who should not be underrated. Former Gippsland Power hard nut, Nathaniel Paredes has been the star of the side this season, averaging a goal a game from his 12 matches and named in the best eight times. Along with Ben Taylor – who has managed every game and booted six goals – the pair has been a shining light. The experienced Raphael Clarke has done his best with a young defence, while Shaun Edwards‘ spark last week was clear to see. They just need to produce more consistency in games, and if they had not conceeded a seven-goal opening term to Nightcliff, they may well have caused an upset against the now ladder leaders. St Marys head in as favourites, but Wanderers will eye this as an opportunity to grab a crucial four points.

WARATAH v. NIGHTCLIFF
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 5pm
TIO Stadium

The second match at TIO Stadium sees top-of-the-table Nightcliff hoping to maintain the pole position despite fourth placed Waratah’s best efforts. Given their closest two rivals – Palmerston Magpies and Tiwi Bombers play the other top three teams, and Nightcliff looked vulnerable at times against St Marys, the Warriors have a real opportunity to fend off the chasing sides with a win here. Victory would not only give them some breathing space, but not entirely rule them out of third place, with the Buffaloes just four points and percentage ahead of the Warriors. In saying that, Nightcliff know how important this game is, and whether or not complacency crept into the side at quarter time against St Marys –  having booted seven goals to one in the opening term – they regained their composure after conceding a half-time deficit and went on to win the match. Abraham Ankers has been a key player for the Warriors this season, and from five games has booted seven goals. Raven Joliffe and Brodie Carroll are other Warriors who have stood out this season, while no doubt Waratah would have loved to have former Melbourne full-forward Michael Newton in the square, after 13 goals in his two games this season. Cameron Barrett has been the man to turn to up forward for Waratah, leading the goalkicking with 14 majors in 11 games. If you are talking about goals, look no further than Tigers’ gun, Trent Melville who has slotted a massive 43 for the season. He is 15 clear of the next closest player, and is well on his way to an easy leading goalkicker award this season. A key reason why the Tigers have been unstoppable at times, Melville has booted three goals in both of his prior appearances against Waratah this season. Matthew Bricknell (19 goals), Liam Holt-Fitz (17) and Cameron Ilett (16) are other important players in the forward half, while Shaun Wilson would be among the leading contenders for the Tigers best and fairest with Melville and Ilett. Nightcliff deservedly go in as favourites, but cannot afford an intensity drop off or they could pay against the Warriors.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES v. DARWIN BUFFALOES
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 6pm
Asbuild Oval

The final game of the round will be under lights at Asbuild Oval as Palmerston Magpies look to tame the Darwin Buffaloes. After a loss to Nightcliff a fortnight ago, Darwin bounced back with a terrific one-point victory over Southern Districts, to remain in contention for a top two spot, and all but lock up a finals place. They take on the Magpies here who could be a danger team depending on how they front up. They knocked off the Buffaloes a month ago, but also went down to Tiwi Bombers a fortnight ago and were thumped by St Marys mid-season, so finding the consistency is important. The Buffaloes would feel the likes of Waratah, Palmerston and even Tiwi Bombers breathing down their necks, so taking out one of their closest competitors would give Darwin fans some much needed relief. They will need to find a way to stop one-man goalkicking machine, Kyle Emery who has 28 snags from 10 games, and is capable of kicking a bag. Emery has booted just two goals in their prior meetings, including being held goalless in Round 3. Emery is the only Magpie to have registered into double-figure goals this season, although former Essendon goalsneak, Alwyn Davey has eight from 10 games in 2018/19. Aaron Davey has contributed when there in his four matches, while Broderick Church and Mishai Perry also have eight apiece. The key man in the middle is Matthew Dennis who is far and away the Magpies’ best and fairest favourite, named in his team’s best every single week this season. He could loom as the man to stop in order to cut off the supply to Emery down the field. Darwin has more of an even spread of goalkickers, with regular draft hopeful, Adam Sambono leading the way thanks to 18 majors this season. Jarrod Stokes (12), Matt Campbell (12) and Chris Williams (11) are the others in double figures, while Darryl White has averaged two goals a game from his three matches. Kevin Maroney, Joe Anderson and Ryan O’Sullivan have been the Buffaloes best around the ground this season and the travelling fans will be keen to see Darwin take home the four points. Given the most recent meeting you cannot rule out Palmerston stealing an upset, but the Magpies will need to be on their game.

SOME finals-defining matches will take place this weekend in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League competition. Two sides battling desperately to grab a top five place in the Tiwi Bombers and Waratah will be tested against the top two teams in Southern Districts and Nightcliff, while Palmerston Magpies do not have it any easier, taking on the in-form Darwin Buffaloes. In the other game of the round, the bottom two sides go head-to-head in Wanderers and St Marys, with an Eagles loss all but certainly closing the door on finals chances.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v. TIWI BOMBERS
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 2pm
Norbuilt Oval

The game between second and sixth never looked so enticing for those keen to head down to Norbuilt Oval on Saturday afternoon. At times this season, Southern Districts have looked unstoppable, but last week Darwin Buffaloes found the Crocs’ kryptonite in a heart-stopping one-point thriller that knocked Southern Districts off the top of the NTFL ladder. Meanwhile, Tiwi Bombers had a day out to celebrate Austin Wonaeamirri‘s 150th game with a 100-plus point victory over Wanderers to give themselves a handy percentage boost. A win here would all but likely catapult them into fifth, and possibly fourth if Nightcliff do a number on Waratah, but in saying that, the Crocs will be keen to atone for a rare loss last week and will want to take care of business at home here. Ross Tungatalum is the key player for the Bombers up forward, fresh off another big performance last week, he has 25 goals for the season, two more than fellow sharpshooter, Dion Munkara. The best and fairest favourite for the Bombers, Jason Puruntatameri has been named in the best for every game he has played, and looms as a danger man trying to stop the Crocs’ attack. Ashton Hams has been crucial in the Bombers’ recent form, named in the best for his three games. Speaking of in-form players, Jess Koopman had a day out last weekend with six snags against Darwin, albeit in a losing side. He brought his total to 24 majors in just seven games and is the clear leading goalkicker for Southern Districts. The Crocs do not rely on one spearhead however, as they have eight players who have kicked double-figure goals in season 2018/19. The trio to watch are Dean Staunton (13 goals), Dylan McLachlan (10) and Charles McAdam (10), all featuring among the best at times this season. Beau Schwarze has been in great form of late, and looms as another key playmaker in the match. Expect the Crocs to remind the Bombers why the former are a title contender, although the Bombers have the attack to unsettle the Crocs’ defence and continue their great form.

 

WANDERERS v. ST MARYS
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 2.30pm
TIO Stadium

The first game of a double-header at TIO Stadium pits the two bottom sides against each other. Historical powerhouse, St Marys has had an inconsistent season as sweeping change has seen plenty of fresh faces join the Saints in what could be described as somewhat of a rebuild. Like St Marys, Wanderers have shown they can be competitive at times, but are often let down by momentum swings or disappointing quarters here and there. Both sides head into this game believing a win could be on the cards, and realistically, a loss would be devastating for either side. The Eagles know heading home without the four points will spell almost certain end to any finals aspirations, while St Marys would not only need a strong finish, but likely need other results to go their way in the run home if they were to snatch a finals spot. Talented teenager, Joel Jeffrey has been the star for the Eagles this season, booting 11 goals from nine games. But with AFL Academy opportunities, he has not been there the whole time, much like the Muk Muks’ second highest goalkicker, Davin Ferreira with seven goals in three games. In fact, just six players have reached double-figure games this season for the cellar dwellers, adding consistency as a challenge for the coaching staff. They had a game to forget against the Bombers last weekend, with Thomas Motlop named Wanderers’ best in a 102-point defeat. The Eagles will want to come out a lot stronger against St Marys who should not be underrated. Former Gippsland Power hard nut, Nathaniel Paredes has been the star of the side this season, averaging a goal a game from his 12 matches and named in the best eight times. Along with Ben Taylor – who has managed every game and booted six goals – the pair has been a shining light. The experienced Raphael Clarke has done his best with a young defence, while Shaun Edwards‘ spark last week was clear to see. They just need to produce more consistency in games, and if they had not conceded a seven-goal opening term to Nightcliff, they may well have caused an upset against the now ladder leaders. St Marys head in as favourites, but Wanderers will eye this as an opportunity to grab a crucial four points.

 

WARATAH v. NIGHTCLIFF
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 5pm
TIO Stadium

The second match at TIO Stadium sees top-of-the-table Nightcliff hoping to maintain the pole position despite fourth placed Waratah’s best efforts. Given their closest two rivals – Palmerston Magpies and Tiwi Bombers play the other top three teams, and Nightcliff looked vulnerable at times against St Marys, the Warriors have a real opportunity to fend off the chasing sides with a win here. Victory would not only give them some breathing space, but not entirely rule them out of third place, with the Buffaloes just four points and percentage ahead of the Warriors. In saying that, Nightcliff know how important this game is, and whether or not complacency crept into the side at quarter time against St Marys –  having booted seven goals to one in the opening term – they regained their composure after conceding a half-time deficit and went on to win the match. Abraham Ankers has been a key player for the Warriors this season, and from five games has booted seven goals. Raven Jolliffe and Brodie Carroll are other Warriors who have stood out this season, while no doubt Waratah would have loved to have former Melbourne full-forward Michael Newton in the square, after 13 goals in his two games this season. Cameron Barrett has been the man to turn to up forward for Waratah, leading the goalkicking with 14 majors in 11 games. If you are talking about goals, look no further than Tigers’ gun, Trent Melville who has slotted a massive 43 for the season. He is 15 clear of the next closest player, and is well on his way to an easy leading goalkicker award this season. A key reason why the Tigers have been unstoppable at times, Melville has booted three goals in both of his prior appearances against Waratah this season. Matthew Bricknell (19 goals), Liam Holt-Fitz (17) and Cameron Ilett (16) are other important players in the forward half, while Shaun Wilson would be among the leading contenders for the Tigers best and fairest with Melville and Ilett. Nightcliff deservedly go in as favourites, but cannot afford an intensity drop off or they could pay against the Warriors.

 

PALMERSTON MAGPIES v. DARWIN BUFFALOES
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 6pm
Asbuild Oval

The final game of the round will be under lights at Asbuild Oval as Palmerston Magpies look to tame the Darwin Buffaloes. After a loss to Nightcliff a fortnight ago, Darwin bounced back with a terrific one-point victory over Southern Districts, to remain in contention for a top two spot, and all but lock up a finals place. They take on the Magpies here who could be a danger team depending on how they front up. They knocked off the Buffaloes a month ago, but also went down to Tiwi Bombers a fortnight ago and were thumped by St Marys mid-season, so finding the consistency is important. The Buffaloes would feel the likes of Waratah, Palmerston and even Tiwi Bombers breathing down their necks, so taking out one of their closest competitors would give Darwin fans some much needed relief. They will need to find a way to stop one-man goalkicking machine, Kyle Emery who has 28 snags from 10 games, and is capable of kicking a bag. Emery has booted just two goals in their prior meetings, including being held goalless in Round 3. Emery is the only Magpie to have registered into double-figure goals this season, although former Essendon goalsneak, Alwyn Davey has eight from 10 games in 2018/19. Aaron Davey has contributed when there in his four matches, while Broderick Church and Mishai Perry also have eight apiece. The key man in the ruck is Matthew Dennis who is far and away the Magpies’ best and fairest favourite, named in his team’s best every single week this season. He could loom as the man to stop in order to cut off the supply to Emery down the field. Darwin has more of an even spread of goalkickers, with regular draft hopeful, Adam Sambono leading the way thanks to 18 majors this season. Jarrod Stokes (12), Matt Campbell (12) and Chris Williams (11) are the others in double figures, while Darryl White has averaged two goals a game from his three matches. Kevin MaroneyJoe Anderson and Ryan O’Sullivan have been the Buffaloes best around the ground this season and the travelling fans will be keen to see Darwin take home the four points. Given the most recent meeting you cannot rule out Palmerston stealing an upset, but the Magpies will need to be on their game.

Weekend wash-up: NTFL – Round 13

A TRIPLE header at TIO Stadium kicked off the weekend, with Tiwi Bombers showing no mercy against the cellar-dwelling Wanderers. Nightcliff took down a plucky St Marys side to claim top spot, as Darwin Buffaloes had a thrilling one-point win over top-of-the-table Southern Districts. In the final game, Palmerston Magpies kept their finals hopes alive with a win over Waratah.

 

WANDERERS 6.5 (41)
TIWI BOMBERS 22.11 (143)

GOALS:

Wanderers: J. Wilson 2, M. White 2, J. Adams, J. Cubillo.
Tiwi: R. Tungatalum 5, A. Wonaeamirri 4, A. Tipungwuti 2, J. Simon 2, S. Munkara 2, N. Djerrkura, M. Cooper, H. Puruntatameri, P. Heenan, J. Sagiba, C. Burgess, A. Tipungwuti.

BEST:

Wanderers: T. Motlop, S. Meyer, B. Motlop, J. Sattler, Q. Hartog
Tiwi: A. Hams, J. Puruntatameri, R. Tungatalum, A. Tipungwuti, A. Wonaeamirri, M. Dunn

Tiwi Bombers put the lowly Wanderers to the sword with an eye-catching 102-point victory. Twelve individual goal kickers helped the Bombers to the percentage-boosting win, which was all but decided by half-time as Tiwi piled on 10 goals to one by the main break. A more determined Wanderers side saw the losing team add three goals in the third term to the Bombers’ five, but the scoring power of the visiting side resulted in a seven goals to two final quarter to run away with the contest. Ross Tungatalum booted five goals and was named among the best for the Bombers, while 150th gamer, Austin Wonaeamirri managed four majors. Ashton Hams and Jason Puruntatameri were named as the Bombers’ best, while Thomas Motlop and Scott Meyer were the Eagles’ best. Josh Wilson and Mark White were the multiple goal kickers for the losers with two goals apiece.

 

ST MARYS 8.7 (55)
NIGHTCLIFF 12.3 (75)

GOALS:

St Marys: S. Edwards 3, B. Taylor, M. Jeffery, R. Clarke, B. Rioli, T. Davies.
Nightcliff: S. Deery 2, T. Melville 2, L. Holt-Fitz 2, P. Wills 2, C. Ilett 2, H. Drogemuller, M. Hagan.

BEST:

St Marys: N. Paredes, R. Clarke, J. Long, B. Rioli, T. Saunders, L. Ferreira
Nightcliff: P. Wills, H. Drogemuller, T. Kidney, K. Riley, S. Wilson, C. Ilett

Shaun Edwards inspired second term was not enough to get the job done for St Marys who played catch-up after a dismal opener. The Saints trailed by 33 points at quarter time, before a three-goal bust by Edwards in the second stanza saw the home team remarkably hit the front as they held the Tigers scoreless in the second term. Unfortunately for the underdogs, it was not to last, with Nightcliff booting five of the last six goals of the game to record a 20-point victory and snatch top spot. The Tigers had five multiple goal kickers as they shared the goals around in the win. Phillip Willsbooted two majors and was named the Tigers’ top player, while Hugo Drogemuller (one) and Tyson Kidney were also among the best. For the Saints, Edwards’ three goals was the highlight up forward, while Nathaniel Paredes and Raphael Clarke continued their great form this season, named among St Mary’s best.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 15.9 (99)
DARWIN BUFFALOES 15.10 (100)

GOALS:

Southern Districts: J. Koopman 6, D. Staunton 3, D. McLachlan 2, R. Young 2, R. O’Brien, M. Mummery.
Darwin Buffaloes: A. Sambono 4, M. Campbell 4, D. Shillabeer 3, J. Stokes 2, M. Rosas, D. White.

BEST:

Southern Districts: R. Tambling, J. Koopman, B. Schwarze, D. McLachlan, L. Ogden, S. Martin
Darwin Buffaloes: S. Anderson, M. Rosas, K. Williams, M. Campbell, P. Boles, K. Maroney

The match of the round lived up to pre-game expectations, with third-placed Darwin Buffaloes taking home the four points after a thrilling one-point win over ladder leaders, Southern Districts. The Crocs led at the first change by four points, but it was the Buffaloes who piled on seven goals to four in the second term to head into half-time with an 18-point lead. Southern Districts threw themselves back into the contest after the main break with four goals to three to cut the deficit to just seven points, a margin that could have even been in their favour had it not been for six behinds. With the Nightcliff loss fresh in their minds from the previous week, Darwin held strong in the final term as the Crocs threw everything at the Buffaloes, but fell a point short as Darwin kept its slim top two hopes alive. Adam Sambono again had a day out up forward for the winners with four goals, while Matt Campbell (four) and Darren Shillabeer (three) were also productive. Steven Anderson was named the Buffaloes’ best, while teenage talent, Malcolm Rosas was also impressive, booting a goal and was electric across the ground. For the Crocs, you had to spare a thought for Jess Koopman who slotted six goals in a losing side, while former AFL player, Richard Tambling was the best on ground for the Crocs. Beau Schwarze and Dylan McLachlan were others who stood up in the defeat.

 

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 11.5 (71)
WARATAH 9.13 (67)

GOALS:

Palmerston: K. Emery 3, B. Church 2, A. Lonergan, M. Bunworth, M. Dennis, J. Wunungmurra, E. Frank, S. Talbot.
Waratah: S. Tatupu 2, S. Godden 2, J. Wray 2, H. Kerinaiua, B. Minkulk, A. Ankers.

BEST:

Palmerston: M. Dennis, N. Lockyer Jnr, M. Bunworth, E. Frank, L. McDonald, M. McMasters
Waratah: A. Ankers

In the standalone game away from TIO Stadium, Palmerston Magpies held onto fifth spot with a vital four-point victory over Waratah. The win meant the Magpies moved to within percentage of the fourth placed team, and also avoided Tiwi Bombers overtaking them given the Bombers had a huge triple-figure win earlier in the round. Waratah led by seven points at the first change but the Magpies booted four goals to two in the second term to head into half-time with a two-point advantage. They maintained their slim hold on the game with a four-point lead at the final break, with that margin being the final margin. The Magpies were the more accurate side with six less scoring shots, but four more points at the end of the game. Kyle Emery booted three goals for Palmerston as Broderick Church capped off some good work with two majors. Matthew DennisNigel Lockyer Jnr and Mitch Bunworth were the Magpies’ best in the win, while Abraham Ankers was Waratah’s best in the loss. Shem TatupuSam Godden and James Wray all booted two goals.

Draft Central launches for 2019

WELCOME to  2019, and while the year is still young, the Draft Central coverage is ready to get rolling ahead of the AFL Women’s competition next month.

In 2018 we saw our first two-day draft, an inaugural premiership for Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup, and Geelong Falcons take home the first TAC Cup Girls premiership that required a Grand Final. Mature-agers got their chance in this year’s draft, while North Adelaide and Southport both survived controversies in their flag tilts to break droughts. It was announced that Tasmania will return to the TAC Cup in 2019 as well as featuring the northern academies, with the whole competition receiving an overhaul.

In 2019 we will cover in depth the following under-age competitions:

  • Victorian Under 18 boys competition (previously TAC Cup);
  • Victorian Under 18 girls competition (TAC Cup Girls);
  • National Under 18 Championships; and
  • AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships.

We will also focus our attention on the over-age competitions:

  • AFL Women’s;
  • VFL;
  • VFL Women’s;
  • SANFL and SANFLW; and
  • WAFL and WAWFL.

Throughout the year we will look over more female competitions in South Australia and Western Australia, as well as our weekly coverage across the northern states and Tasmania. Later in the year we will cover the Under 16 Championships and V/Line Cup which are the great development pathways through to the elite level.

You might see the website undergo some changes over the summer, and we will be looking to make improvements across the board. If you’re interested in other sports, check out our two other Draft Central sites as we turn our attention to Basketball Draft Central and Netball Draft Central in 2019, further growing the brand.

As always, we are keen to have passionate writers on board, so if you are keen to write about the up-and-coming talent in any of the three sports, send an email to our Recruitment Officer, Taylah Melki at taylah@adzeemedia.com.

Weekend wash-up: NTFL – Round 12

LADDER leaders, Southern Districts and Nightcliff all but consolidated the top two spots with six rounds remaining in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League. The Crocs and Tigers hold a 16-point lead and considerable percentage over the rest of the competition. Waratah and Tiwi Bombers gained vital wins and percentage in their respective victories, while Darwin will hope to bounce back next weekend after likely erasing any chance of snaffling second before finals.

Nightcliff 9.12 (66)
Darwin Buffaloes 7.10 (52)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: M. Hagan 4, J. Butcher 2, C. Ilett, T. Melville, W. Derksen.
Darwin: D. White 2, B. Mitchell, J. Clark, D. Shillabeer, R. O’Sullivan, M. Campbell.

BEST:

Nightcliff: D. Butcher, M. Hagan, C. Holmes, C. Ilett, L. Holt-Fitz, N. Brown
Darwin: M. Rosas, R. O”Sullivan, P. Campbell, K. Maroney, K. Williams, Z. Stephenson

In the match of the round, second placed Nightcliff took home the four points against a gallant Darwin Buffaloes, likely locking up a top two spot in the process. Despite trailing by seven points at the first break, a three goals to zero second term resulted in the Tigers regaining the lead by the main break. Both teams could only manage two goals for the rest of the game, while the Buffaloes would have rued their five behinds in the final term, having opportunities to hit the front but not capitalising and going down by 14 points. Micheal Hagan booted four goals in a terrific effort up forward for the winners, while former Port Adelaide forward, John Butcher booted two, and Danny Butcher was named the Tigers’ best. For the Buffaloes, Darryl White was the only multiple goal scorer, while young gun and AFL hopeful, Malcolm Rosas again starred in defeat, with the teenager named Darwin’s top player in the loss, while Ryan O’Sullivan was also consistent in defeat.

St Marys 5.15 (45)
Waratah 11.9 (75)

GOALS:

St Marys: S. Edwards 2, R. Clarke, A. Wilson, J. Musgrove.
Waratah: K. Kantilla 3, S. Weddell 2, H. Kerinaiua, T. Mosquito, S. Flanegan, S. Godden, J. Wray, J. McKenzie.

BEST:

St Marys: B. Rioli, R. Clarke, K. Delahunty, A. Wilson, S. Edwards, T. Frawley
Waratah: Not supplied

Waratah made its opportunities count in front of goal in a vital 30-point win over St Marys. The four points elevated the Warriors to within striking distance of the third placed Buffaloes, while also adding a four-point breathing space to Palmerston Magpies who had a disappointing loss to Tiwi Bombers on the weekend. Kim Kantilla was the danger in front of goal, booting three of his side’s 11 majors, as Sam Weddell slotted two. Unfortunately for the Saints, they could not seem to buy a goal in the first half, registering just one from 11 scoring shots to be 18 points behind despite having two more scoring opportunities. Shaun Edwards was the only multiple goal scorer for the Saints, while Ben Rioli and veteran, Raphael Clarke were the losing side’s best.

Wanderers 6.8 (44)
Southern Districts 14.16 (100)

GOALS:

Wanderers: J. Erlandson, J. Wilson, J. Box, K. Smith Thompson, M. Totham, S. Tipiloura.
Southern Districts: W. Farrer 4, D. McLachlan 2, R. Tambling, T. Brook, C. Gallio, S. Rusca, S. Thorne, M. Mummery, J. Brown, D. Staunton.

BEST:

Wanderers: D. Weetra, J. Eldridge, G. Marika, J. Erlandson
Southern Districts: R. O’Brien, B. Schwarze, D. McLachlan, D. Staunton, S. Martin, C. McAdam

Ladder leaders, Southern Districts had to fight for a half against cellar dwellers, Wanderers before eventually shaking the Eagles off in the second half. Leading by two points at quarter time and eight points at half-time, the Crocs piled on 11 goals to three in the second half – including seven goals to one in the final term – to run away with the comfortable 56-point victory. The final scoreline did not reflect the Eagles’ intent in the first half as they took it up to the premiership favourites. Will Farrer was the dominant goal kicker for the winners, booting four goals, while Dylan McLachlan was named among the best for his two majors. Dual West Australian Football League (WAFL) premiership player, Rory O’Brien and teenager, Beau Schwarze were named the Crocs best in a match which saw Southern Districts finish with 10 individual goal kickers. The Eagles had six individual goal kickers, with Daniel Weetra and Jayden Eldridge highlighted for their strong performances despite the defeat.

Tiwi Bombers 19.14 (128)
Palmerston Magpies 14.12 (96)

GOALS:

Tiwi: A. Tipungwuti 5, R. Tungatalum 4, J. Simon 2, S. Munkara 2, H. Puruntatameri, A. Tipungwuti, A. Hams, M. Wilson, A. Wonaeamirri, P. Heenan.
Palmerston: A. Davey 4, K. Emery 4, A. Lonergan 2, S. Talbot 2, M. Dennis, M. Bunworth.

BEST:

Tiwi: J. Puruntatameri, R. Tungatalum, S. Babui, A. Hams, M. Cooper, M. Dunn
Palmerston: M. Dennis, S. Talbot, A. Davey, K. Emery, A. Diamond, J. Patrick

Tiwi Bombers have kept their finals hopes alive with a terrific 32-point victory over fifth placed Palmerston Magpies. In what was a high-scoring affair, the Bombers were always in control, booting six goals in the opening term and keeping the Magpies at arms-length throughout the contest. The talented goalsneak who received a Rookie Me Combine invitation last year, Adam Tipungwuti put on a show with five majors, while the experienced Ross Tungatalum slotted four majors and was named among the best with Jason Puruntatameri. For the Magpies, Kyle Emery, Alwyn Davey and Samuel Talbot booted 10 goals between them and were all named among the best, with Matthew Dennis determined to be Palmerston’s top player on the day, also slotting one major in the contest.

LADDER leaders, Southern Districts and Nightcliff all but consolidated the top two spots with six rounds remaining in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League. The Crocs and Tigers hold a 16-point lead and considerable percentage over the rest of the competition. Waratah and Tiwi Bombers gained vital wins and percentage in their respective victories, while Darwin will hope to bounce back next weekend after likely erasing any chance of snaffling second before finals.

Nightcliff 9.12 (66)
Darwin Buffaloes 7.10 (52)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: M. Hagan 4, J. Butcher 2, C. Ilett, T. Melville, W. Derksen.
Darwin: D. White 2, B. Mitchell, J. Clark, D. Shillabeer, R. O’Sullivan, M. Campbell.

BEST:

Nightcliff: D. Butcher, M. Hagan, C. Holmes, C. Ilett, L. Holt-Fitz, N. Brown
Darwin: M. Rosas, R. O”Sullivan, P. Campbell, K. Maroney, K. Williams, Z. Stephenson

In the match of the round, second placed Nightcliff took home the four points against a gallant Darwin Buffaloes, likely locking up a top two spot in the process. Despite trailing by seven points at the first break, a three goals to zero second term resulted in the Tigers regaining the lead by the main break. Both teams could only manage two goals for the rest of the game, while the Buffaloes would have rued their five behinds in the final term, having opportunities to hit the front but not capitalising and going down by 14 points. Michael Hagan booted four goals in a terrific effort up forward for the winners, while former Port Adelaide forward, John Butcher booted two, and Danny Butcher was named the Tigers’ best. For the Buffaloes, Darryl White was the only multiple goal scorer, while young gun and AFL hopeful, Malcolm Rosas again starred in defeat, with the teenager named Darwin’s top player in the loss, while Ryan O’Sullivan was also consistent in defeat.

St Marys 5.15 (45)
Waratah 11.9 (75)

GOALS:

St Marys: S. Edwards 2, R. Clarke, A. Wilson, J. Musgrove.
Waratah: K. Kantilla 3, S. Weddell 2, H. Kerinaiua, T. Mosquito, S. Flanegan, S. Godden, J. Wray, J. McKenzie.

BEST:

St Marys: B. Rioli, R. Clarke, K. Delahunty, A. Wilson, S. Edwards, T. Frawley
Waratah: Not supplied

Waratah made its opportunities count in front of goal in a vital 30-point win over St Marys. The four points elevated the Warriors to within striking distance of the third placed Buffaloes, while also adding a four-point breathing space to Palmerston Magpies who had a disappointing loss to Tiwi Bombers on the weekend. Kim Kantilla was the danger in front of goal, booting three of his side’s 11 majors, as Sam Weddell slotted two. Unfortunately for the Saints, they could not seem to buy a goal in the first half, registering just one from 11 scoring shots to be 18 points behind despite having two more scoring opportunities. Shaun Edwards was the only multiple goal scorer for the Saints, while Ben Rioli and veteran, Raphael Clarke were the losing side’s best.

Wanderers 6.8 (44)
Southern Districts 14.16 (100)

GOALS:

Wanderers: J. Erlandson, J. Wilson, J. Box, K. Smith Thompson, M. Totham, S. Tipiloura.
Southern Districts: W. Farrer 4, D. McLachlan 2, R. Tambling, T. Brook, C. Gallio, S. Rusca, S. Thorne, M. Mummery, J. Brown, D. Staunton.

BEST:

Wanderers: D. Weetra, J. Eldridge, G. Marika, J. Erlandson
Southern Districts: R. O’Brien, B. Schwarze, D. McLachlan, D. Staunton, S. Martin, C. McAdam

Ladder leaders, Southern Districts had to fight for a half against cellar dwellers, Wanderers before eventually shaking the Eagles off in the second half. Leading by two points at quarter time and eight points at half-time, the Crocs piled on 11 goals to three in the second half – including seven goals to one in the final term – to run away with the comfortable 56-point victory. The final scoreline did not reflect the Eagles’ intent in the first half as they took it up to the premiership favourites. Will Farrer was the dominant goal kicker for the winners, booting four goals, while Dylan McLachlan was named among the best for his two majors. Dual West Australian Football League (WAFL) premiership player, Rory O’Brien and teenager, Beau Schwarze were named the Crocs best in a match which saw Southern Districts finish with 10 individual goal kickers. The Eagles had six individual goal kickers, with Daniel Weetra and Jayden Eldridgehighlighted for their strong performances despite the defeat.

Tiwi Bombers 19.14 (128)
Palmerston Magpies 14.12 (96)

GOALS:

Tiwi: A. Tipungwuti 5, R. Tungatalum 4, J. Simon 2, S. Munkara 2, H. Puruntatameri, A. Tipungwuti, A. Hams, M. Wilson, A. Wonaeamirri, P. Heenan.
Palmerston: A. Davey 4, K. Emery 4, A. Lonergan 2, S. Talbot 2, M. Dennis, M. Bunworth.

BEST:

Tiwi: J. Puruntatameri, R. Tungatalum, S. Babui, A. Hams, M. Cooper, M. Dunn
Palmerston: M. Dennis, S. Talbot, A. Davey, K. Emery, A. Diamond, J. Patrick

Tiwi Bombers have kept their finals hopes alive with a terrific 32-point victory over fifth placed Palmerston Magpies. In what was a high-scoring affair, the Bombers were always in control, booting six goals in the opening term and keeping the Magpies at arms-length throughout the contest. The talented goalsneak who received a Rookie Me Combine invitation last year, Adam Tipungwuti put on a show with five majors, while the experienced Ross Tungatalum slotted four majors and was named among the best with Jason Puruntatameri. For the Magpies, Kyle EmeryAlwyn Daveyand Samuel Talbot booted 10 goals between them and were all named among the best, with Matthew Dennisdetermined to be Palmerston’s top player on the day, also slotting one major in the contest.

AFL Draft review: West Coast

REIGNING premiers, West Coast Eagles were able to top up certain areas across the ground, picking up an outside midfielder, inside midfielder, small forward and a couple of key position forwards who can pinch hit in the ruck. They also managed to snatch readymade Collingwood defender, Josh Smith who has experience he can add to a young group in defence.

 

National Draft:

 

Xavier O’Neill – Outside Midfielder

Oakleigh Chargers’ midfielder, Xavier O’Neill was an initial surprise invite to the National Draft Combine, having missed selection for the National Under 18 Championships. The disappointment for O’Neill was quickly put aside as he put together a very consistent season along the wing and through the midfield, then showed off his top athletic abilities at the combine. He shared the kicking test honours and was terrific in the 20m sprint as well, with West Coast likely to use his speed and skill through the midfield. He might have been a surprise bolter on the night, but speed and skill has been a key focus for clubs in recent years, and O’Neill certainly ticks those boxes.

Luke Foley – Inside Midfielder

An overager who did not even nominate for the 2017 AFL National Draft after a disappointing top-age year, came back and pieced together a really impressive season which shot his name up into draft calculations. He earned a spot in Western Australia’s state side for the National Under 18 Championships, and then dominated the Colts for Subiaco, also slotting into the WAFL Colts Team of the Year. He was predicted to go in the first two rounds and it was no surprise to see the local clearance winner and accumulator plucked out by the Eagles, as a readymade player who can walk into the premiers’ midfield, or forward line, if fit.

Bailey Williams – Key Position Forward/Ruck

Touted as a first round prospect at the start of the year, Dandenong Stingrays tall, Bailey Williams slid to the Eagles’ third selection in the second round. He has primarily played as that key position forward this season, while pinch-hitting in the ruck. He has an enormous vertical leap and a booming kick, he just needs to iron out his goal kicking which he seemed to lose confidence with over time. Williams is capable of dominating games in the air, and is a great value pick at the selection, and fits a need for West Coast.

Jarrod Cameron – Small Forward

The Next Generation Academy forward lands at the Eagles and joins brother, Charlie in the AFL. While they are on opposite sides of the country, Jarrod has similar exciting traits, and is further developed at the same age than his brother. He seemed a long shot to be drafted 12 months ago, but with a five-goal haul against Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium, and a consistent back-end of the season in the WAFL, Cameron put his best foot forward and impressed the Eagles recruiters enough to match a bid. He might take some time as he fills out, but he is an exciting long-term prospect.

 

Rookie Draft:

 

Harry Edwards – Key Position Forward/Ruck

Local talent, Harry Edwards is a perfect rookie selection for the Eagles, as he is a long-term prospect. At 195cm, Edwards is undersized for a ruck, and is more likely to develop into that key position forward who can assist the number one ruck. He is quite raw and needs to develop further physically, weighing in at around 80kg. He is mobile for a ruck and has some nice athletic traits, and unlike many talls, applies defensive pressure to opponents. Edwards will need patience from fans, but is a low-risk pick in the Rookie Draft and one that could be developed further in the elite environment at Optus Stadium.

Josh Smith – General Defender

The former Pies defender only played the first game of the home and away season this year before making way for others and not being able to squeeze back into the side. Drafted as a mature-ager from Queensland initially, Smith dropped out of Collingwood’s plans as they stormed to a surprise grand final berth. Little would Smith know that the disappointment of both missing out on the decider and the disappointment for his side’s loss that day towards the opposition side, would change as the premiers would throw him a lifeline. He adds experience to the defence and puts selection pressure on other players in that group.

 

Summary:

When a club wins a flag, there are no major changes needed, but the Eagles went about plugging holes in areas they felt they could improve. They picked up a couple of midfielders and a couple of developing talls, while matching a bid on their talented NGA player, and adding experience to their squad with Smith in the Rookie Draft.

AFL Draft review: St Kilda

ST KILDA targeted ready-made players at the 2018 AFL National and Rookie drafts, bringing in an elite tall, followed by players who can slot straight into the best 22 from round one if needed. Around the ground they picked up two general forwards, two defenders and an inside midfielder to go with a key position forward, covering a lot of bases and depth at Moorabbin.

 

National Draft:

 

Max King – Key Position Forward

The standout key position forward from Victoria and up there in contention for the number one pick until a knee injury ruined his year, King made his way to his supported club with their first overall selection at pick four. At 200cm and with a sub-three second 20m sprint, King is an unbelievable athlete, taking contested grabs at the highest point, and has a unique ability to take the game by the scruff of the neck and have an impact. He might not have been out on the field much this season, but his work off-the-field was just as influential, showing how highly rated his character is as well.

Jack Bytel – Inside Midfielder

The inside midfielder was believed to be hunted by Richmond with their second round pick, but the Saints snapped up the Calder Cannons co-captain with the selection before, adding him to their long list of big-bodied onballers. With a penetrating kick, strength overhead and a knack of retrieving the ball from contested situations, Bytel not only adds another ready-made midfielder to the fold, but natural leadership that will strengthen the Saints’ culture. He is that prototype midfielder size, and being good friends with King also helps as the pair end up in the red, white and black.

Matthew Parker – General Forward

A mature-ager who stepped up in the absence of Tim Kelly this year, Parker became a nuisance for opposition sides inside 50. The South Fremantle forward booted 27 goals from 20 games, while averaging 13 disposals and three marks per game in 2018. His breakout season has earned him a place on St Kilda’s AFL list, and along with SANFL premiership player, Robert Young, will add serious competition to the Saints’ forward half spots.

Nick Hind – General Defender

The speedy Ballarat plumber enjoyed a huge season at Essendon in the VFL in 2018, and now finds himself on the Saints’ senior list. He was best known for the semi-final winning sprint down the middle of the ground against Richmond in the dying seconds which delivered the ball to James Stewart for an upset Essendon win. He will offer that blistering speed on the outside from half-back and along the wing, which is what the Saints crave, and will provide them with an outside runner for their hardened inside midfielders to find.

Robert Young – Small Forward

After just managing the six SANFL League games with Port Adelaide Magpies last season, Young moved to North Adelaide where he became a crucial member of the Roosters’ forward six. He booted 19 goals from 19 games with the premiers, including a haul of six majors against Norwood early in the year. He has that keen goal sense and X-factor up forward, and will cause serious damage if given time and space. Another mature-age player who is ready to go and offer a battle-hardened body to the lighter Saints forward line.

 

Rookie Draft:

 

Callum Wilkie – General Defender

The sole Rookie Draft selection was North Adelaide defender, Callum Wilkie. He joins teammate, Robert Young on the Saints list after an ultra impressive season as an intercept defender. He has been gradually improving each year, and was a key cog in the Roosters’ premiership this year. He will develop into that Sam Gilbert role at half-back, being a rock taking grabs off opposition forward entries. He can also drift forward if required, and reads the ball in flight really well and is clean above his head, taking contested grabs.

 

Summary:

St Kilda clearly targeted players that will challenge for roles in the best 22 from round one, if fit. They picked up four mature agers, with Parker and Young capable of slotting into attack, while Hind and Wilkie could become crucial intercept players in defence. Throw in the big body of Jack Bytel in midfield and the key target of Max King inside 50 once he has recovered from his season-ending knee injury, and the Saints have six players who could immediately add to their side.

AFL Draft review: Richmond

RICHMOND headed into the 2018 AFL Draft Period with the aim of improving its side across the board, hopefully picking up some inside strength, which it did with its first two selections. They then picked up some outside runners, and capped off the day with a small pressure forward from the Tigers’ own backyard, and by redrafting a pair of delisted Tigers for list management purposes.

 

National Draft:

 

Riley Collier-Dawkins – Inside Midfielder

Richmond addressed its need for an inside midfielder with its first selection in the National Draft. After Carlton traded into the first round to snatch up Liam Stocker the pick before, Richmond grabbed slider, Riley Collier-Dawkins who offers great upside for the team. Already a great size at more than 190cm and ready to go, Collier-Dawkins has a fantastic burst of speed out of a stoppage, and is capable of having an impact up forward in the air. He can hit the scoreboard and play a multitude of roles which would have enticed the Tigers in picking him up at Pick 20.

Jack Ross – Balanced Midfielder

Fellow Oakleigh Chargers’ teammate, Jack Ross was the Tigers next selection in the National Draft, with Ross not quite having the upside that Collier-Dawkins has, but instead has very few flaws in his game. He is a good kick, wins the ball inside or out, tackles hard and spreads well, with most boxes ticked for the natural leader. He played very well in the APS vs AGS match and continued that form throughout the TAC Cup season, remarkably taking home Oakleigh’s best and fairest despite missing a number of games due to school commitments. He did not play at the National Under 18 Championships, but enjoyed a good 2018 season that was ultra-consistent.

Fraser Turner – Outside Midfielder

A hard outside runner, Turner offers great spread and a versatility to play in all thirds of the ground. Expect him to be a winger in time, with some similarities to Jared Polec in the way he is able to cover the ground and get the ball forward. Turner was predicted to go earlier than the Tigers’ third selection, and the Clarence product became the third Tasmanian drafted in the National Draft. He just adds that extra ball-winning ability on the outside and is a different mix to the Tigers’ midfield group.

Luke English – Balanced Midfielder

The hard-running ball winner from Perth earned a place on Richmond’s senior list late in the draft. He has also enjoyed a consistent season over in the west, and was one of Western Australia’s most consistent performers during the National Under 18 Championships. He is not a flashy player, but English offers a consistent work rate each and every game, and Tigers fans can expect him to be running from the first bounce to the final siren given his huge endurance base. He can play forward as well if required, so it could be a role Damien Hardwick might have in store for him.

Rookie Draft:

 

Jake Aarts – Small Forward

Richmond did not have to look too far for its first selection in the Rookie Draft, selecting small forward Aarts, from the Tigers’ VFL side. After putting in a great season as a pressure forward, Aarts earned a State Draft Combine invite, and in the end, was rewarded with a spot on the senior list. He does not have to move from Punt Road, but will be one who looks to continue his form to try and achieve an AFL call-up during the season as a readymade player.

Jacob Townsend –  General Forward

The former GWS GIANTS’ forward was the fairytale story of 2017, coming into the team late in the season and booting a swagger of goals to retain his place in Richmond’s side for the 2017 AFL Grand Final. He became a premiership player and turned his career around, though his 2018 season saw him play just the 10 games with the rise of Jack Higgins and the like. Townsend sought out the market, but in the end was re-rookied by Richmond and offers good depth on the Rookie List.

Mabior Chol – Key Position Forward

Another Richmond player who was re-rookied, Key Position Forward Chol has bulked up further in 2018, but did not manage a senior game to add to his one AFL game in total. He had some highlight-reel moments in the VFL for the Tigers, and expect more of the same in 2019 after Richmond continued their faith in the big man as a long-term prospect.

Summary:

Richmond took home four midfielders in the National AFL Draft, bulking up the area that lost players over the off-season, and struggled at the coalface in 2018. The Tigers did not need too much improvement across the field, so had the flexibility to go best available along with inside bodies, and they have achieved what they hoped, also re-rookieing two players and picking up a big improver from their VFL side.

AFL Draft review: Port Adelaide

PORT Adelaide certainly finished the AFL Draft with a South Australian feel even if they took just the one local with their first three picks. With the exception of Western Jets’ Zak Butters and Gippsland Power’s Xavier Duursma, Port Adelaide took six South Australians and re-rookied Cameron Hewett in what was a needs-based draft for the Power.

National Draft:

 

Connor Rozee – Medium Utility

The Power snapped up local product, Rozee with their first selection in the first round, adding skill and class to the Power’s blue collar midfield. With the loss of outside runners during the trade period, Rozee adds that run back into the team. Having played seniors for North Adelaide, eventually culminating in a premiership, Rozee can play against senior bodies despite being very light. He joins premiership teammate, Boyd Woodcock who was selected later in the National Draft. Rozee is also able to play back or forward, with strong hands given him an ability to clunk grabs in the air, or win ground balls.

Zak Butters – Outside Midfielder/Forward

The classy outside midfielder is similar to Rozee in many ways, but is a touch smaller and is more effective at ground level. He moves incredibly well and has a terrific kick that he uses to penetrate laterally through opposition defences. He knows how to weight kicks and hold off handballs until a teammate is prepared, and is always on the move. He needs to continue to build his endurance, and did miss the second half of the season after shoulder surgery, but is an exciting prospect with high scope that the Power can develop over the next few years.

Xavier Duursma – Medium Utility

One of the most consistent players available, Duursma offers great value later in the first round. He can play anywhere on the ground and win the ball in contested situations, or be on the receiving end as well. He hits the scoreboard and covers the field with ease, and is just one of those smooth movers that has a touch of grace with ball-in-hand. In 2018, Duursma captained the Gippsland Power and adds leadership to the side, but like the two selections before him, is still very light. All three are players who will need to add strength to their frames, but can play across multiple positions.

Riley Grundy – Key Position Defender

The brother of Collingwood’s Brodie, Riley Grundy is a key position defender who is still developing his game. Very raw, Grundy is a player who will likely spend substantial time in the SANFL, continuing to work on the areas to make him more consistent across the board. He has come on in leaps and bounds over the past 12 months, and Port Adelaide is going to give him time to continue that upward trajectory. Given the way his brother has shot up into the league’s elite, Port will hope Riley can do the same in time, but for now he is still developing.

Boyd Woodcock – Small Forward/Midfielder

One of the best accumulators of the football, Woodcock is small in stature but just keeps powering on. He played a pivotal role in North Adelaide’s premiership, earning his spot in the SANFL League side, then holding it for the remainder of the season following the National Under 18 Championships. He has transformed into a small forward who can still find the football, and apply scoreboard pressure. Despite his size, he is more readymade than some of the others drafted, and once he works on some of the areas required of him, could fill a role inside 50.

 

Rookie Draft:

 

Tobin Cox – Small Forward/Midfielder

Overager, Tobin Cox had a lot of bad luck with injury in his top-age year, but to his credit he fought back and produced a good season which included 22 goals in 14 games for Glenelg. He seemed best suited as a forward, but loves the contested brand of football in the middle, with a knack for accumulating the footy and winning a truckload of clearances. While he might be a touch short to play inside at AFL level, he has developed that role inside 50 which could be suited for him.

Cameron Hewett – Tall Utility

Yet to play a game for Port Adelaide, Hewett earned a reprieve with Port Adelaide redrafting the versatile midfielder in the Rookie Draft. He can play forward or back as well as through the middle, but is yet to taste senior football which is something he would hope to do in 2019.

 

Cat B Rookies:

 

Martin Frederick – Small Defender

A value selection as a free hit with a pre-selection to the Rookie Draft, Frederick showed a willingness to back himself and take the game on from half-back. While he did not star at the State Draft Combine testing, his results do not indicate what he is capable of on the field. He has an explosiveness from the back half and loves to tuck the ball under his arm and take off. While he is still raw, needs to find more of the football and is still light, he has some nice traits to develop which make him a value selection as a Category B Rookie.

Kai Pudney – General Defender

Pudney plays a similar role to Frederick, but is a bit taller with better endurance. His kicking is the big question mark, making some errors by foot, but with an elite tank and an ability to find the ball, the Category B Rookie also has some foundational traits that Port Adelaide can work with. More built for senior football, just tidying up some areas of his game will be required at AFL level.

 

Summary:

Port Adelaide addressed the need for speed during the AFL Draft period, picking up three classy ball users with their first three picks, then selecting a developing tall in Grundy, and four players who can provide run and pressure at both ends. With the picks outside the first round being later in the draft, the Power have opted for homegrown talent with a potential to improve.

AFL Draft review: North Melbourne

VERSATILITY was the key for North Melbourne in the 2018 AFL Draft period, taking players who can slot into a variety of roles on the field. The Kangaroos also stayed close to home with their selections, picking up three players attached to the club. An early bid did not scare the Roos off at Pick 8 from Next Generation Academy member, Tarryn Thomas, while they also won the rights to father-son prospect Bailey Scott, and had a free hit at talented, but unlucky Joel Crocker, as well as the slider of the draft, Curtis Taylor.

 

National Draft:

Tarryn Thomas – Balanced Midfielder/Forward

The North Launceston product has been a source of hope for North Melbourne fans for some time now, with Thomas showing his ability at a young age, playing at the National Under 18 Championships at just 16. Since then he has continued on an upward trajectory and his biggest strength is by far his clean hands. He could be a one-touch player in the middle of a hail storm, and with his clean disposal comes a touch of class and plenty of scope to improve. He is still quite lightly built, but is a good size and will likely play up forward early in his career, before naturally transitioning into the midfield. A real gift for Kangaroos fans and the club had no issues matching the bid.

Curtis Taylor – General Forward

Invited to draft night, the Calder Cannons forward was the last name to be called out of those with an invitation, lasting until the 40s in what was a genuine slide. With an invitation to the first round, it meant at least one club was considering him with a pick at that stage, but North Melbourne ended up the beneficiaries, trading up to score Taylor with a live trade. He offers strength overhead, some X-factor and a keen goal sense, as well as an ability to float through the midfield. He needs to build his consistency, but he has some nice tools to work with going forward.

Bailey Scott – Medium Utility

It was almost unbelievable to see Scott land where he did, as the medium utility was an equally as surprising slider as Taylor. Scott can play inside or outside, roam up forward or drift back, and ticks a lot of boxes across the board. He is strong overhead, uses the ball well and has a fierce attack on the footy. At the National Under 18 Championships, Scott was one of the most impressive players for the Allies, and is equally equipped with offensive and defensive traits. In many ways, Scott provides a readymade player if required, and he has the hardness that the Kangaroos midfield has, as well as the ability to create magic on the outside as well.

Joel Crocker – Tall Utility

Little would have been talked about Crocker given he has missed the entire year due to injury, but just quietly this is a steal. With the selection being the definition of a no-risk, high-reward selection, Crocker has some fantastic athletic traits and can play through the midfield, or up forward. The son of Darren who still works at the club, Crocker has a lot of work to catch up on in terms of match fitness, but the scope that the Kangaroos would see in the tall utility and former Sandringham Dragons player, is exciting.

 

Rookie Draft:

Tom McKenzie – Balanced Midfielder

The Northern Knights midfielder slid compared to where some had him, but heads across the city to Arden Street and represents good value at this pick. McKenzie can play inside or outside, though he is lightly built so will need some more time before competing with senior bodies. He spent time at half-back for Vic Metro at the National Under 18 Championships, and followed on in that role back in the TAC Cup with the Knights.

Kyron Hayden – Balanced Midfielder

Redrafted from the senior list for list management purposes, Hayden will have a point to prove as he hopes to overcome some injury issues of the past couple of seasons. A big-bodied midfielder who can play inside or outside, we are yet to see the best of him and hopefully 2019 can be a turning point.

Tom Wilkinson – General Forward

The Southport forward has finally achieved his dream of making it to the AFL after missing out through Sandringham Dragons, and heading north. Playing in the NEAFL he was a standout in the Sharks’ premiership-winning forward line, earning praise from former Carlton forward, Matthew Lappin. It took until very late in the Rookie Draft, but Wilkinson landed at the Kangaroos and can now begin his AFL career.

 

Summary:

This is a draft that could go down as one of North Melbourne’s best, picking up three players attached to the club, two of which were bargains, while the fourth player was a massive slider and also represents value. McKenzie and Wilkinson are free hits in the rookie draft and are seen as equally good value at those selections, with Wilkinson and the recovering Hayden, able to play once fully fit. Overall, an exciting draft for the Kangaroos who picked up players with high upside and just add class to what is a blue collar midfield.