Author: Staff Writers

TSL weekly wrap: Round 10 – Good weekend for Bombers as Tigers keep finals dream alive

NORTH Launceston has gained top spot on the 2020 Tasmanian State League (TSL) ladder again after Launceston lost its third game of the season to slip to second on the table. With most of the AFL Draft hopefuls injured or playing school football this weekend, we focused on the game between Lauderdale and Launceston, and then wrapped up the other matches.

FEATURE GAME: Lauderdale 18.7 (115) defeated Launceston 7.10 (52)

By: Fraser Stewart

Lauderdale came from behind to defeat Launceston at Lauderdale Oval on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Blues 18.7 (115) to 7.10 (52). After Launceston kicked the first three goals of the match Lauderdale responded in emphatic fashion for the rest of the game as they claimed a 64 point win. 

Harry Richmond (14 disposals, seven marks, five goals), Samuel Siggins (12 disposals, three marks and three goals), Luke Nelson (18 disposals, six clearances and two goals), Toutai Havea (two goals), Hayden Smith, Josh McGuinness, Robbie McManus, Phillip Bellchambers and Tyler Martin all chipped in as they kicked a goal each in the home side’s emphatic win. For the away side, Jack Hinds booted three goals from 10 touches and four marks, and Jobi Harper (20 disposals, four marks, 11 clearances and two goals) were the standout performers in the losing side.

The younger players to watch included Nick Baker who was impressive with 18 touches, three marks, three clearances and seven rebounds in a strong performance, while Jared Dakin (15 disposals, three marks and five tackles) tried hard but could not have his usual output, and Isaac Chugg (12 disposals, three marks and three rebounds) also won enough of it out of defence, but like his teammates was unable to be as damaging as usual.–

OTHER RESULTS:

North Hobart 8.6 (54) defeated by Tigers 9.5 (59)
Clarence 9.5 (59) defeated by North Launceston 10.8 (68)
Glenorchy 8.2 (50) defeated by Tigers 8.12 (60)

By: Peter Williams

Tigers remarkably kept their finals hopes alive with back-to-back upset wins in Round 9 leaving North Hobart and Glenorchy in their wake. The Tigers won both games on the road by a combined 15 points, defeating the Demons in a mid-week fixture by five points, then toppling the Magpies on the weekend by 10 points.

Kieren Lovell had 21 disposals, seven clearances and five inside 50s against the Demons, but it was obvious he was just warming up for the weekend when he broke the season-record disposal count with 40 (18 contested), 13 clearances, six marks, six inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal in a remarkable effort. Fellow former AFL-listed talent Mackenzie Willis also impressed with 18 touches, four clearances and three inside 50s against the Demons, and 23 disposals, four clearances and three inside 50s against the Magpies. Tyler Carter booted 4.3 across the two matches to be the dominant goalkicker for the yellow and black.

Heading to school footy on the weekend, Sam Collins played on Wednesday night and helped himself to 17 disposals, six marks – two contested, three tackles and five one percenters, whilst fellow draft hopeful, Jye Menzie (12 disposals, six marks – two contested – and one goal) also player. Jayden Charlton stood out with 20 touches as at elite 90 per cent efficiency and 50 per cent contested rate, also having eight clearances, three marks and two inside 50s. Sam Caswell (14 disposals, two marks, seven clearances, two inside 50s and a goal) was the other Bomber to stand out in the loss.

For the Magpies, John Geard racked up 29 disposals, 10 clearances, six inside 50s, five marks and four tackles, one of a number of Glenorchy players to pick up big disposals numbers. Daniel Joseph (30 disposals, seven marks, three clearances, five inside 50s and five rebounds), Josh Arnold (28 disposals, six marks, four tackles and nine rebounds) and Callen Daly (23 disposals, six clearances, four tackles and three goals were also impressive. Jaye Bowden booted four goals from 13 disposals and five marks to do everything he could to drag his side across the line.

In the other match of the weekend, North Launceston went outright top on the TSL ladder with a nine-point win over Clarence. The Bombers had to come from a four-point half-time deficit to win in a tight one, led by Brad Cox-Goodyer (23 disposals, five clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal) and Jay Foon (23 disposals, seven marks and nine rebounds). Josh Ponting (19 disposals, six clearances, six inside 50s and eight tackles) was lively, whilst bottom-ager Baynen Lowe booted two goals from 14 disposals.

For the Roos, Chris Nield was unstoppable up forward, slotting five straight goals from eight disposals and five marks – two contested – while Keegan Wylie was a standout through the middle with 21 disposals, four marks, 10 rebounds and a goal. Jarrod Harper was next best with 15 disposals, three clearances and three inside 50s, while Keren Howlett tried hard for 10 disposals, four clearances, three tackles and three inside 50s.

Picture: Solstice Digital & Photography

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL – Round 11

ROUND 11 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talent, National Combine invitees, and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

>> Power Rankings: September Edition

Glenelg vs. West Adelaide

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#8 Hagan Wright

The consistent Wright was once again among Glenelg’s best players in the Tigers’ victory. Wright was typically prolific around the ground and in the contest, showing some great polish by foot for most of the day. The midfielder weaved through traffic nicely on a number of occasions and continues to compile a strong season in a number of roles for the yellow and black. He formed a strong partnership with fellow on-baller Kye Dean, with the pair helping the Bays finish plus-20 in clearances. Wright’s tireless work rate and two-way running was represented by his four inside 50s and five rebounds. He finished the contest with 31 disposals, three marks, two tackles and eight clearances.

#9 Kye Dean

The strong-bodied inside midfielder was terrific for Glenelg in pristine conditions at ACH Group Stadium. He worked hard for all four quarters and set the tone from the get-go with his fearless attack on the football, contested ball winning, and stoppage nous. Dean was active at stoppages, constantly on the move and battling to get to the front position. Although his work in the coal-face was most recognisable, he was also able to have an impact going forward, providing the Glenelg forwards with six inside 50s in a strong outing from the 18-year-old. Dean finished with an equal game-high 31 disposals, five marks, four tackles, eight clearances and six inside 50s.

#19 Jayden Davis

The bottom-aged Davis continued his impressive season at Tigerland with another encouraging performance on Saturday. A versatile prospect, his work rate around the ground enabled him to collect an equal game-high nine marks and have an impact across all zones of the field. Davis has demonstrated his abilities in front of goal on numerous occasions this year, and added another two to his season tally. A natural ball-winner, Davis worked himself into excellent positions around the ground to gather 28 disposals and five inside 50s. Having established himself at Under 18s level this season, expect Davis to continue to grow into one of South Australia’s most promising talents.

#23 Callum Park (League) 

In his distinct long-sleeves, Park showcased his neat skillset and athleticism from his role in defence. The teenager accumulated eight rebounds in the Tigers’ big win, setting up several scoring opportunities with his vision and skill execution from the defensive half. Although slight in build, Park is a nice size and is one of a handful of mature-aged South Australians to cement their spots at League level in 2020.

#27 Luke Parks (League)

The talented Sydney Swans Academy graduate spent a considerable amount of time down in the rooms with what appeared to be a finger dislocation or hand injury. However, he returned to the field and was still able to have an impact on the game from defence, taking six grabs. One of the SANFL’s best markers, Parks has attracted some attention after making an eye-catching start to his senior football career in South Australia.

Others:

Under 18s bigman Sam Potter was clearly the dominant ruckman on the ground, accumulating 12 possessions and 31 hit-outs. Up forward, Calvin Perks certainly made the most of his touches, booting six goals and one behind from just seven disposals. He also provided a chop-out in the ruck for the aforementioned Potter, winning eleven hit-outs. William Watts was another Tiger to find plenty of the ball, concluding the successful outing with 27 disposals, six marks, four tackles and three clearances. In the Reserves, Luke Edwards kicked the first goal of the match and looked comfortable upon his return from concussion.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

West Adelaide:

#4 Cade Kennedy

The West Adelaide bottom-ager produced another promising showing through the midfield. Despite his side being comprehensively beaten in the contest, Kennedy refused to back down and also showed some nice skills away from the congestion. His high work rate between the arcs was again impressive, as was his kicking on both sides of his body. Kennedy has strung a couple of nice games together for the Bloods over the past month and will look to carry this late-season momentum into his draft-eligible campaign in 2021. Kennedy finished with 18 disposals, four marks, five tackles and seven inside 50s and was one of few Bloods to generate some offensive spark through the centre of the ground.

#10 Eduard Van den berg

The reliable Van den berg refused to back down even when his side was struggling to keep up with the accurate Bays. West Adelaide’s leading ball winner, Van den berg spent time down back and also pushed up into the midfield at various stages, and was able to have an impact in both roles. He provided some valuable rebound from defence (five rebound 50s) and finished the game with 20 disposals, six marks and five tackles.

#20 Luke Young

The strongly-built key forward tried his best to will his side over the line, booting three goals straight in the first half to keep the Bloods in the contest. The West Adelaide midfielders looked for him up forward whenever possible and he provided a strong presence in attack. He took seven marks for the contest and appeared threatening whenever the ball was in his vicinity. Despite the Bloods slumping to their tenth loss of the campaign, the bottom-aged centre half-forward will certainly have taken plenty of confidence from his performance at the Bay. He finished with 17 disposals and five inside 50s.

#24 Jye Sinderberry

It was a difficult day for the West Adelaide defenders, but key defender Sinderberry was one of the Bloods’ best performers. One of twenty South Australians invited to the draft combine, Sinderberry’s overhead marking strength was once again on display as he hauled in five grabs, including a strong contested pack clunk. He distributed the ball well by foot for the majority of the contest and demonstrated why recruiters see plenty of upside in the number 24, despite being a few centimetres short of the traditional key position height. Sinderberry finished with 19 disposals and three rebound 50s.

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

Norwood vs. Central District

By: Eli Duxson

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

It was a monster game from Murley as he ended up with 40 disposals, three goals, five clearances, and 11 inside 50s. His acceleration and agility with ball in hand was impressive and he looked so elusive to his opposition, but it was his groundwork that was equally impressive. A one-touch player, Murley so often reeled in innate one-handed gathers pulling away from his body which he made look so easy under pressure. His first goal came in the second quarter with a left foot snap, looking very comfortable on either side of his body.

His second half highlighted his lethal outside ability as his speed and efficient ball use allowed him to be very damaging in his forward half, as he was often doing as he liked. Rotating through the forward line in the final quarter snagged him another two goals; one snapped on his right boot after repeat efforts, and the other a set shot from just inside 50 on a slight angle. If he was not hurting you enough on the inside, his spread and speed on the outside definitely was. Murley’s inside to outside blend was very well done, and his stats show he was dominant all game.

#5 Henry Nelligan

Not to be outdone was the compact Nelligan and his whopping 47 disposals, three goals, 10 marks, seven tackles, and eight clearances. He imposed himself on the game with a mammoth first term which saw him have three shots on goal and cover almost every inch of the ground. His big tank allowed him to be at almost every stoppage where he used his strength and acceleration to be lively and often the most damaging. When he was not plugging holes in his defensive 50 and being a part of every Redlegs midfield play, he was resting forward and looking just as dangerous. Whether it was slotting a set shot from 45 metres or being front and centre at a contest, you could not help but feel like he was going to do something.

The second half saw him maintain his play, allowing him to show off his ability on either side of his body and just how strong he is through his core and hips – looking difficult to tackle. He kicked another long set shot in the third quarter and crumbed a contest in the fourth to kick his third goal from the goalsquare to truly round out his incredible day out. In what looked like a direct rotation with Murley, he loomed just as dangerously up forward as he did in the guts and basked in what was a dominant day for both him and Norwood.

#9 Riley Verrall

With just 11 scoring shots coming from 26 Glenelg inside 50s in a big win for Norwood, the numbers would suggest that Verrall had a decent day out in the defensive half. His 21 disposals and seven marks only confirm that as he looked clean with his gathers below the knees and disposal with either hand or foot. He also showed a strong ability to intercept mark, using his body well in several marking contests.

His athleticism and physicality were good and was very reliable in one-on-one contests. His teammates appeared to trust him around the ball as they often backed him in to win the contest and be there for the handball receive. A solid defender who gathered plenty of his own ball but did appear on his own on a couple of occasions in his defensive 50. It did not hurt Norwood on the scoreboard though, so ended as a very solid performance from Verrall.

#38 Cole Gerloff (League)

Gerloff was a bit quiet in the first half and did not start the game as he would have liked, giving away a downfield free kick which led to a Bulldogs goal. Rotating between the midfield and half-forward, he showed a strong tackling ability and physical presence, but barring the one clearance, he was not overly damaging with ball in hand.

His second half turned that around as he managed two shots on goal in the third quarter. The first one saw him do well to manufacture a snap out of a forward 50 throw-in, which he could not quite work back to score. The second one saw him take a gutsy mark falling back into the contest and after being well held for much of the game, he hit the scoreboard after drilling the set shot from just inside 50. Proving this was no fluke, he continued to take another two contested marks, showing strength and resilience after copping a swipe to the head. He was busy in the final quarter and looked good at stoppages when on the move and though he does not have blistering pace, he works hard and gets in and under.

Others:

There were many contributions in the big Under 18s win for the Redlegs, but Nathan Hearing’s game was outstanding. The ruckman looked to be athletic for his size, immovable at the contest, a serial one-percenter enthusiast, and very good at following up his work in the ruck. He found his way to 21 hit outs, 23 disposals, seven inside 50s, and five clearances. Billy Haebich also found plenty of it with 24 disposals while Tom McDonald and Nathan Maunder each kicked three goals.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

Central District:

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

It was not a good day for Durdin as he appears to have re-injured his hamstring early in the game having just returned from a stint on the sidelines. After earning an invite to the draft combine during the week, he managed just one disposal before the injury and is expected to miss three weeks of action – putting him in a race against time to play again this season.

Others:

There were not many standouts for the Bulldogs in the heavy defeat in the Under 18s. Matthew Borlace managed 25 disposals in the busy backline, being entrusted with the kick-out duties, while Brodie Tuck was equally as busy with 21 disposals and 11 rebound 50s. Luigi Mondello looked lively and threatening with his speed and zip, but looked to lack effort in the contest at times. He finished with 15 disposals and two behinds. Michael De Jonge was also serviceable with 15 disposals and 12 tackles. NT prospect Brodie Lake made his Reserves debut, booting a goal in the Bulldogs’ big win.

>> MORE CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

South Adelaide vs. Sturt

By: Peter Williams

South Adelaide:

#10 Brayden Cook

Cook almost proved a match-winner for the Panthers when he went forward to boot two final term goals early in the period, contributing to his side kicking five consecutive goals and hitting the front. He also missed a couple of chances, but his work one-on-one work was great and his leading quite proficient as well. Had he truly converted the couple of behinds in that final term – finishing with 2.3 for the entire game – he could have had an even bigger day out. Nonetheless, he still finished with the 20 touches and nine marks, looking unstoppable on the lead. His vision is superb, taking the chance to hit up a teammate on the 45-degree kick 30-metres out rather than blazing away from a long-range goal in the opening term. He has high level footy smarts, and while there are still areas to work on, he has some serious quality traits.

#33 Arlo Draper

Pencil in the name to remember for next year because Draper was best on ground as a bottom-ager. He finished with an impressive 29 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, 10 clearances and eight inside 50s, but every time he went near it he managed to gain ground and looked like bringing a teammate into the game. He kicked the easiest of goals from the goalsquare late in the first term, and while he had been solid in the first three quarters, he almost hauled the Panthers across the line in the final term. He had five consecutive clearances from stoppages he attended through the final period, of which a couple led to goals and another couple led to scoring opportunities. He exits the stoppage around the back to get onto his right and has a long kick that can penetrate defensive zones. Hard not to notice him when he stands up in the biggest moments of the game.

#33 Jason Horne (League)

The bottom-ager looked classy at the level and while he did not win a heap of the footy, he did enough to show why he is already in contention for the number one pick next year. Kicking a goal midway through the final term to put his side back in front, he took a great mark close to the boundary line in the second term and kicked right to the danger spot with a booming kick. He then only narrowly missed a shot not long after as it hit the post from 50-metres out. He made good decisions with ball-in-hand and whilst a quick snap early in the third drifted way wide, he showed his toughness in the opening 10 seconds of the final term where he copped front-on contact and was down for a while but got back up and played out the match to finish with 10 disposals, three marks, three tackles and a goal.

#45 Daly Andrews (League)

Was able to show his trademark speed along the outside and use his raking boot to advantage to break down the opposition defensive zone. He played predominantly off a wing to try and break the lines, and he did so in the third term when he ran from the defensive side of the wing to half-forward and kick inside 50. He might have occasionally had a few loopy high kicks that were rushed, but he did his job through his run-and-carry, and was not afraid to take the game on.

Others:

Sam Hinders and Jayden Little both had the 24 touches, whilst combining for 20 marks and 14 rebound 50s holding up the fort in defence. Max Clifton buzzed around the ground working hard for 22 disposals, four marks, three tackles and three clearances, while Dylan Brown racked up seven clearances from his 17 disposals, three marks and three tackles.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Sturt:

#17 Mani Liddy

Did not have the same influence as the week before with just one clearance – after 10 against West Adelaide – but still worked hard across the four quarters. He won the ball in each third, and more importantly was able to get free and impact the scoreboard as well. He finished with a couple of goals, including one after an intercept mark where his kick from 50-metres sailed home in the opening term. He showed quick hands around the stoppage and was able to give it off to Tom Powell who kicked a great goal on the run in the third term, with Liddy having a chance at a third goal with a dribble shot but it missed in the opening minute of the final quarter.

#18 Tom Powell

Much like Liddy, did not have the same impact as the week before, but still racked up the pill 27 times and had 10 clearances. His third term goal was a ripper on the run, and his strength around the stoppages was still evident. What Powell does so well is his clean hands at ground level, showing an elite pick-up off the deck to bounce off an opponent and handball to a free teammate on the wing. In that instant, he assessed what he needed to do and made a great decision by hand and used his vision well. His pressure in the second term allowed a teammate to kick a goal, keeping the ball in play deep in attack. His work rate never wavered and he was able to hit up a teammate leading out from goal in the third term.

#27 Ned Grieve

Really impressed me playing in defence after a quieter outing last week. The intercept defender had 23 disposals, 10 marks and a couple of rebounds, often being a rock on the last line. He took a number of crucial one-on-one marks in the second term, and was responsible for switching play out of the back half, showing great composure and being a key player for the Double Blues in the win.

#2 Tom Lewis (League)

Put in a tireless effort around the ground and was often found firing out quick handballs to teammates and standing up in tackles. Lewis has a neat sidestep that can wrong foot opponents, which he did on a number of occasions whilst under pressure to kick long inside 50. After helping set up teammates, Lewis fittingly got on the end of the sealer, kicking a great goal in the 17th minute of the final term out of nothing to ice the game.

#17 Jed McEntee (League)

Not as prolific as past weeks, but just so strong around the stoppages. He made a few mistakes – such as being pinged for holding the ball or dropping a mark – but his effort was there throughout four quarters. His strength when being tackled sees him often getting his hands free, and his tackling pressure itself is a feature of his game. In a tight match, his equal game-high 10 tackles were superb. A low bullet pass to half-forward in the third term was also eye-catching.

#29 James Borlase (League)

Much like McEntee was not as prolific as the week before when he shone on debut. What stood out was his ability to pick himself up after an early mistake – he dropped an uncontested mark leading to a South goal – to remain composed under pressure coming out of the back 50. Some of his kicks were superb, with one elite kick coming in the third term off the back of a one-on-one intercept mark to hit up McEntee in the middle on that 45-degree angle. He read the ball flight in the final term to take a strong mark 20 metres out from defensive goal, and showed great pressure to force a turnover just moments earlier.

#46 Jack Henderson (League)

Was one of the best afield for his work across four quarters, always looking lively and dangerous with ball-in-hand. He had a shot on goal in the opening term but it was touched across the line, before going on to set up a number of goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates. He copped contact in the second term on the wing but bounced straight back up with a good inside 50 to Ash Johnson for a goal, and then did it again by taking the game on in the third term and hitting up a leading Oliver Grivell. He got his reward for effort with a goal of his own to put the icing on the cake with a snap around the body in the 27th minute of the final term.

Others:

Lachlan Thomas found plenty of the ball racking up 22 touches and eight marks on the outside, while Ethan Field had the two clearances to go with 21 disposals and eight marks. Jacob Ferrari provided good support through the ruck picking up 16 disposals, five marks, 13 hitouts, four tackles, three clearances and a goal, whilst Jordan Opperman booted 3.2 from 13 touches and five marks.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

North Adelaide vs. WWT Eagles

By: Michael Alvaro

North Adelaide:

#18 James Willis

The bottom-ager built brilliantly into the game, generating some terrific drive for North Adelaide from midfield. He looked lively early in the forward half, but was also sighted digging in up the other end as the Roosters tried to turn the tide in their favour. Willis’ pace and dare through the middle really came to the fore after half time, as he willed his side forward with bursting runs and strong play at the contest, while also doing his bit defensively with some terrific tackling pressure. His attack-minded approach in transition and ability to chain possessions with repeat running proved key for the Roosters, even if he spurned a few kicks. The 180cm prospect finished with 22 disposals and six tackles in an impactful display.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

This game was another instance where Newchurch proved that he does not need a whole lot of opportunities to make his mark on the contest. The Adelaide Crows NGA hopeful popped up in spurts throughout the game, starting up forward but attending the stoppages further afield in general play. His lightning quick first five steps and overall evasive technique allowed him to weave out of congestion, with clean hands making his work all the more easy. He hit the scoreboard after half time having drifted a touch, gathering off hands and snapping a clever goal over his shoulder in the third term. Newchurch’s second goal was just as impressive, as he again gained separation at the fall of the ball, wheeled onto his right side, and slammed the ball home. He did miss a couple of late chances to seal the game, but got in the right places. His impact is always high, but consistency is a lingering area of improvement.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

Another Crows NGA prospect, O’Loughlin was busy as ever in his defensive post. The bottom-ager provided a terrific balance of offensive and defensive work to the back six, sweeping up the loose balls and rebounding with speed. A pleasing part of his game was the ability to sense when to run off through the corridor for a handball receive, bringing that speed and his kicking prowess to the fore on the break. While he was well held at times and saw a few clearing kicks come straight back, O’Loughlin lifted when it mattered and showed good urgency late in the game with his ability to penetrate off half-back. He finished with a game-high 28 disposals – 23 of which were kicks.

#29 Zyton Santillo

Santillo was one of the best players afield, employed as somewhat of a sub-180cm centre half-forward. The diminutive mover presented brilliantly all day for the Roosters, hitting up full-chested at everything his midfielders sent forward. The bottom-ager was also able to mop up at ground level when the delivery was not so flash, zipping his way through traffic and onto his favoured side to hit targets inside 50. An Under 16 state representative last year, there is plenty to like about Santillo as a small forward who gets busy. His tackling pressure was also on point, and he capped off his 22-disposal performance with a goal in the third term.

Others:

Matthew Borg and Jayden Davison were the other midfield mainstays, finding a good amount of ball each with 27 and 24 disposals respectively. Borg often looked to burst away and help the Roosters break forward, while Davison accumulated well through the corridor and booted a classy goal. They were supported well by ruckman Isaac Keeler, who contributed 21 disposals and six clearances. Kyle Brazell and Lam Simon had their shining moments, while Kane Flanagan and Tyler McKenzie battled brilliantly down back against good opposition.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

WWT Eagles:

#3 Taj Schofield

It was an up-and-down day from the Port Adelaide father-son prospect, who was often in the game but struggled to have his usual impact. Stationed out on the wing once again, Schofield did well to sense which direction the ball was headed from the centre bounces, running hard both ways to either create an outlet or impact the next contest. He was a touch fumbly under pressure at ground level and tended to air his kicks a little on the break, but is usually quite sharp in those areas. Schofield had a couple of chances to hit the scoreboard in the second half, coming closest with a free kick which cannoned into the post. 16 disposals and five inside 50s was his final stat-line, a good base to improve upon.

#19 Zachary Phillips

It has not always been his major strength this season, but some of Phillips’ ruckwork on this occasion was unbelievably good. In what seemed to be a series of set plays, the 200cm bigman was constantly able to find his midfielders on the move at centre bounces and stoppages, palming down deft touches into the perfect space. North Adelaide caught onto a few of the said plays, but that was not before he sent just about every one of his midfielders on their way with well-directed hits. Phillips also spent a good deal of time up forward, stationed deep inside attacking 50. He used his height to advantage, particularly late when he snagged his second goal after marking over the top of his smaller opponent in the goalsquare. That major gave the Eagles a sniff, but they ultimately fell short. 30 hitouts for Phillips in the end, many of which were to advantage.

#25 Henry Smith

The second of Woodville-West Torrens’ 200cm prospects, Smith rotated between the forwardline and ruck to good effect. He showed some of the upside which earned him a national combine invite, following up well at stoppages while also faring well aerially as expected. Smith was another to use his height to advantage, clunking some big pack marks both around the ground and inside forward 50 against multiple opponents. Remarkably, all five of his marks were contested. While perhaps more of a lead-up forward prospect, Smith’s ruck craft was reasonably sound as he finished the game with 15 disposals, 15 hitouts, and fourth-term a goal.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Burgoyne simply continues to win mountains of possessions for the Eagles, rotating beautifully through midfield from defence. The potential 2021 Port Adelaide father-son prospect constantly looked to break forward off half-back, sweeping up the loose ball and even chaining some running bounces. The bottom-ager put his usually sharp short-range kicking to one side on this occasion, more often opting to kick long down the line and gain meterage in the heat of the contest. In midfield, he benefitted from the ruckwork of Zac Phillips to break forward with speed, and was one of many Eagles to up the intensity when the game was up for grabs late. Burgoyne finished with a team-high 27 disposals and eight clearances, while penetrating either arc four times apiece.

Others:

Harrison Dawkins showed good strength through midfield and was impactful in the dying stages, managing 24 disposals and six inside 50s for the Eagles. Max Litster was busy early en route to 21 touches and six inside 50s, while Jordan Kasianowicz provided a good link forward for his side. Kasianowicz also sunk a pair of long-range majors, capping off a terrific outing. Brock Thomson was another to impress down back, while Jack Wheare booted three goals in a strong showing up forward.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

Featured image: Callum Park in action for Glenelg | Source: Gordon Anderson/SANFL

Scouting Notes and Player Focus: QAFL – Round 8

IN a huge round of Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) action, the top two teams have secured their spots on the ladder heading into the final round of the season where they will face off for the minor premiership. Both Broadbeach and Morningside remain undefeated but that will change in Round 9 when they go head-to-head to determine who finishes on top of the table.

At the other end of the ladder, it looks like the top six sides are also locked in barring a huge loss in the final round, with Surfers Paradise now needing a massive percentage boost to jump into sixth, with Labrador and Wilston Grange ruled out being eight points behind sixth. Of the Round 8 results, Morningside’s 52-point thumping of Palm Beach Currumbin was the most impressive, while Broadbeach smacked Wilston Grange to the tune of 93 points. In the slightly closer games, Sherwood was too good for Surfers Paradise (28 points), and Maroochydore got the better of Labrador (26).

For this week, we focused on some of the outstanding Northern Academy members running around in the QAFL for the various sides in the four matches.

RESULTS:

Maroochydore 9.13 (67) defeated Labrador 6.5 (41)
Morningside 16.17 (113) defeated Palm Beach Currumbin 9.7 (61)
Sherwood 12.13 (85) defeated Surfers Paradise 8.9 (57)
Wilston Grange 4.7 (31) defeated Broadbeach 18.16 (124)

 

Scouting notes:

Maroochydore vs. Labrador – Tom Cheesman
Morningside vs. Palm Beach Currumbin – Tom Cheesman
Wilston Grange vs. Broadbeach – Peter Williams

 

Tahj Abberley (Wilston Grange) [Brisbane Lions]

Had another standout game for the Gorillas and just keeps winning the ball through the middle with ease. His attack on the ball and his quick disposal work in his favour, while his tackling pressure, and more specifically his technique are what makes him a tough player to shake even for much bigger opponents. Abberley’s ability to bounce up after being poleaxed is admirable, and he has just about the highest work rate going around. In terms of his disposal, he is more impactful when handballing to space, or being a link in the chain going forward running down the ground. When he is up and running, he is a huge metres-gained player, so has the advantage of often running 30-odd metres before kicking long down the ground and get it well out of the danger zone. His reading of the taps from the stoppage is also a highlight of his game, but his willingness to compete and keep it moving was great.

Shatna Cashen-Harris (Wilston Grange) [Brisbane Lions]

A raw prospect who hits the contest at a million miles an hour. His closing speed is worrying for an opposition player with the ball, and he spreads well around the ground to win it in space. His tackling is first class and when inside 50, he has the goal sense to be clever, such as a nice snap off the left eight minutes into the third quarter, which was unfortunately marked on the line. He did set up the first goal of the match by lowering his eyes and hitting up Angus O’Brien. As mentioned, Cashen-Harris is still a raw prospect because his kicking at times can be inconsistent and float in and out of games at times, but of his matches this year, it would definitely be up there with one of his more consistent efforts. Cashen-Harris can often also win free kicks for opponents holding onto him, knowing he has the breakaway speed to shake off opponents.

Blake Coleman (Morningside) [Brisbane Lions]

Coleman is one of the most exciting draft prospects to watch and had another fantastic performance in this clash. The Brisbane Lions Academy member spent a lot of time up forward, where he provided a great option for teammates coming out of defence and up the wings. Coleman has a good size and looked dangerous in marking contests, as he regularly used his athleticism to rise above opposition players and get his hands to the ball first. He always forced a second defender to go with him in the air to bring the ball to ground, thus creating more space for crumbers at his feet. Coleman also rolled through the midfield in short bursts, and his clearance work was definitely a highlight. He won many clearances and provided an electric moment in the first term where he burst through the front of a stoppage on the wing, collected the ball cleanly, took a bounce and then delivered a beautifully-weighted long kick to the advantage of his key forward. There was nothing Palm Beach’s defence could do in this situation and it was a great example of how unstoppable Coleman can be when in full flight. Around the ball he used quick hands effectively and laid some strong aggressive tackles, including a bone-crunching spear tackle in the second term. He can improve defensively with regards to running back and stopping opponents from getting cheap handballs around the back, but his work rate at stoppages was good. Coleman kicked two goals for the day, which were an amazing drop punt from the boundary and a clever snap around his body out of congestion. The youngster has the explosiveness and X-factor that many recruiters look for in draft prospects, and he will only get better with more experience at senior level.

Nathan Colenso (Morningside) [Gold Coast Suns]

Colenso played all across the ground for Morningside and did not seem out of place in any position. He started at half-back and played the role of positioning himself out the back of stoppages so that he could apply strong defensive pressure on attacking opposition midfielders. This was highlighted by a fantastic run-down tackle in the first quarter, which caused a turnover. He then pushed up onto a wing, and in this position he dropped into holes well and always looked to centralise the ball whenever he got the opportunity. Colenso was also clean in congestion and showed courage by taking a mark running back with the flight in the third term. He spent more time up forward throughout the second half, where he used his strong tackling ability to apply pressure and used his size to provide a good option for teammates going inside 50.

Saxon Crozier (Morningside) [Brisbane Lions]

Crozier spent most of his time on the wing and had a solid performance against Palm Beach Currumbin. He was composed ball in hand, clean below his knees and delivered some fantastic long kicks inside 50. Crozier often got involved in switches of play and worked hard to ensure his side controlled possession across the wings. In the air he usually made a good contest and regularly provided an option for teammates coming out of defence. The two main highlights of his game were a strong mark down the line in the second term, and a nice goal on the run after taking a bounce in the third term. Although Crozier did make some mistakes, he showed some very promising signs.

Aidan Fyfe (Broadbeach) [Gold Coast Suns]

He does not need a lot of touches to really hurt the opposition, because like Abberley, he is a metres gained player. Fyfe looks to run and carry or take the game on at every opportunity, and is a good size coming off half-back. He can push up to a wing to impact and hold a firm line as an interceptor behind the play. One-on-one he can match it with most and has the athleticism to spin out of trouble as he did in the first term by turning his opponent inside out and kicking inside 50. Sometimes Fyfe can do a bit much with ball-in-hand, and had a Hollywood handball behind his head that missed the target but was luckily cleaned up, but the next overuse by hand was coughed up and turned over trying to run down the middle. Nonetheless, it is Fyfe’s ability to move the ball in transition and run down the wing that sets him apart. He took a couple of bounces in the third term and his movement helped set up a Josh Gore goal. In the final term, Fyfe intercepted off half-back with another one-on-one mark and then hit the scoreboard himself in the 12th minute, intercepting at half-forward this time, taking a run and launching from just inside 50 for it to sail home.

Josh Gore (Broadbeach) [Gold Coast Suns]

Had another solid game playing as a small forward in a big win, and mostly took his chances when they came. He worked up to the wing at times and while he was still a bit fumbly at ground level when under pressure, once he is able to control the ball, he rarely wastes an opportunity. He did well in the first term to gather the ball under pressure and fire out the handball to a teammate, then led out and marked inside 50 to convert his first major of the game from a set shot. His second came 14 minutes into the next term, when he chucked it on his preferred left following a handball receive and did not mind it with an equally-fitting goal celebration to put his team up. Later in the term he looked like creating some magic off the back of some great defensive pressure – corralling an opponent and tackling him over the boundary line and winning the free kick – only to put the ball out on the full from 50m. His third goal was what you could describe as his bread and butter, roving the ball off hands inside 50, Gore reacted quicker than his opponents, got goal side and with an open goalsquare put it through. He had another chance late in the term but his set shot drifted and fell short, then had a final term chance close to goal but copped a “Jack Crisp-like” bounce which went behind him and the defence were able to save the day.

Carter Michael (Maroochydore) [Brisbane Lions]

Michael is one of Brisbane’s leading Academy prospects and he gave Lions fans more reasons to be excited in Maroochydore’s 26-point victory. He spent time at half-back and on the wing, where he worked hard to facilitate switches of play and provide an attacking option for teammates. Sometimes Michael’s hard running went unrewarded, but this did not bother him and he never stopped creating an option, which was a great sign. At stoppages, Michael positioned himself well (usually at the back) and attacked the ball whenever it went near him. He was frequently willing to put his head over the footy, take contact and then give quick hands on the up to teammates. Michael rarely fumbled all day, which was fantastic because it showed how comfortable he is at senior level against the stronger bodies. When in the defensive 50, Michael used his booming left foot kick to clear the area and launch some fast attacking transitions for his side. He did have one bad turnover in the last term kicking across goal, but he usually keeps his kicks flat so that they get to his intended targets very quickly and cannot be intercepted. Michael also applied some strong tackling pressure throughout the match, earning a holding the ball decision in the second term for his efforts.

Rhys Nicholls (Labrador) [Gold Coast]

Gold Coast Academy prospect Nicholls was one of the best players for Labrador on Saturday. He found plenty of footy in the first quarter when Maroochydore did most of the attacking, and this set the tone for an outstanding performance. His run off half-back was highly impressive, as he used his express pace to break-away from opponents and create some link-up play with teammates. Nicholls is very evasive and willing to take the game on, and although this meant he got himself into pressure situations at times, his pace and agility got him out of these predicaments more often than not. After getting caught holding the ball late in the second term, one of Nicholls’ coaches (or fans) was overheard saying, “head up Rhys, that’s what we want.” I thought this was great because, being a young player, Nicholls could have otherwise dropped his head after this incident, but instead he continued to take the game on and provide some much-needed run for his side. Nicholls’ spearing left foot kick was very effective and he took some nice intercept marks in defence. He also attacked the footy with aggression, followed up his possessions and applied strong defensive pressure whenever required. Nicholls is a great size for his position and skillset, so he should have a bright future.

Bailey Reeves (Broadbeach) [Gold Coast Suns]

Reeves aided Fyfe as one of the better players on the day, predominantly for his ability to clear the defensive zone with his long raking kick. He always looked to switch play on a number of occasions, and was strong one-on-one such as his intercept mark in the first term. A terrific tackle on the slippery Cashen-Harris allowed Reeves to win the ball back for his side, and in the second term, his long bomb inside 50 set up a goal to Clay Cameron. Given Reeves’ ability to penetrate inside 50, he can afford to bomb long and put it to 15m out and worry defenders into punching which then brings Broadbeach’s crumbers – such as Gore – into play. His strength on the inside of the contest was great, showing his ability to rip the ball away from an opposition player and kick forward. While he has a tendency at times when under pressure to rush his disposal, he will often follow up with a second effort to apply pressure to the opponent or help out a teammate. He had a crack off the right with a snap from 50m good enough but just missed to the right. Reeves had quite a number of inside 50s and pressure acts on the day, and overall had an impressive performance for the Cats. 

PLAYER FOCUS:

By: Fraser Stewart

Max Pescud (Surfers Paradise) [Gold Coast Suns]

The QAFL Player Focus is chosen prior to the round and after his six-goal haul last week, Pescud was picked as the player to watch for Round 8. Unfortunately things did not go his or the Demons’ way for the exciting Gold Coast Suns forward, who kicked just one major this time after 12 goals in four games. Nonetheless, here’s how Fraser Stewart saw his performance:

Q1:

Plying his trade at full-forward did not get much use of the ball in the first quarter as he did not quite get the service he needed to have an early impact on the game or on the scoreboard. He got a few touches here and there, but nothing of significant notice as he was relatively quiet. He nearly had a score assist after giving out a handball when he was being tackled, however his teammate sprayed his shot wide and went in for a behind, apart from that he could not really get going.

Q2:

After being shut down for most of the first quarter, there were signs that he was starting to come to life, as he got more hands on the football, as well as moving up the ground to be around the contests more. He showed more desire to try and have an impact on the game, especially after kicking six goals last week, as he freed up space and made more of an effort leading for marks. His work paid off as he earned himself a set shot at goal midway through the second quarter after collecting a mark on the lead, however, his set shot went wide as he scored a behind.

Q3:

Started the third quarter leaving his full forward position to be on the wing in a bid to try and impact the game on his terms. He set up an attacking play on the left wing as he wanted to play on quickly which led to a behind, apart from that he was quiet. Ventured up forward late in the third quarter, and after the Surfers Paradise Demons cut open the Sherwood Magpies defence as they went through the corridor, he finally kicked his first goal of the afternoon and his first for the game running into an open goal and kicking it on the goalline.

Q4:

Went back to where he started the game at full-forward but once again he did not get the service he needed as the Sherwood Magpies nullified his impact. Early in the quarter he got caught holding the ball but made amends when he went in for his second effort and smothered the free kick. He tried to make things happen midway through the quarter to try and spark a demons attack as he collected a loose ball from a stoppage but managed to kick behind. He ventured down back in the later stages of the fourth term and got his hands on the footy a few more times to limit the scoring of the Sherwood Magpies.

Picture: RF Photography

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 10

ROUND 10 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

WWT Eagles vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

WWT:

#3 Taj Schofield

The Port Adelaide father-son prospect pieced together another polished performance across the wing for the victorious Eagles. His precise kicking was a standout, along with his vision, smarts, and ability to take his time with ball in hand and assess the situation before making a decision. Schofield also showed a couple of nice tricks, including a well rehearsed ‘dummy’ and swift side-step. Although he missed a couple of scoring opportunities, he kicked a classy goal from 35 metres out on a slight angle to somewhat rectify his previous blemishes. The midfielder finished with 22 disposals, eight marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s in a strong outing.

#6 Zeke Scott

Scott’s contested marking was the highlight of his game on Saturday. A dynamic forward, he is one of several Eagles to possess a strong body, which he was able to use to his advantage in the air. At ground level, Scott tackled hard and wasn’t afraid to use his strength to attack the contest. He finished with 21 disposals, six marks (two contested), five tackles and five inside 50s for Woodville-West Torrens.

#9 Max Litster

The ever-consistent Litster produced another strong performance through the midfield. His toughness around the ball was particularly noticeable, attacking each contest at full speed and backing it up with several repeat efforts if he didn’t win the ball himself. Although his best work was done in close quarters, he worked hard both ways to provide an outlet option away from the contest as well. A strong contested ball winner, Litster showed why he is amongst the SANFL Under 18 competition’s most prolific on-ballers, finishing the game with 26 disposals, four marks, five clearances and six inside 50s.

#18 Harrison Dawkins

The big-bodied Dawkins provided a real presence around the contest for the Eagles. Dawkins was able to use his size to advantage when opposed to some of Norwood’s smaller midfielders in Cooper Murley and Henry Nelligan. He was terrific at stoppages, knowing which spaces to run into, then doing his utmost to win the ball at the coalface. His strength overhead was also terrific and is one of his best assets as a strongly-build on-baller. A crucial component of a strong Woodville-West Torrens lineup, Dawkins finished the outing with 25 disposals, seven marks, seven tackles, ten clearances, six inside 50s and three rebound 50s in another strong showing.

#25 Henry Smith

The AFL Academy member produced arguably his best performance of the season to-date, dominating the airways up forward and providing a presence in the ruck in relief of teammate Zac Phillips. As usual, Smith was the Eagles’ number one target in attack. They looked to centre the ball for him inside 50, allowing him to run and jump at the ball and use his contested marking strength to advantage. A prime example of this came in the just minutes into the clash, when Smith took a strong grab then converted the resultant set-shot from close range.

However, aside from his strong aerial presence, Smith’s cleanliness at ground level, quick and effective distribution by hand, and willingness to crack in and tackle hard was impressive. He spent more time in the ruck against the Redlegs than in previous weeks and fought well against Nathan Hearing, combining particularly well with teammate Harrison Dawkins at stoppages. The key forward finished with 15 disposals, two goals, five marks (two contested), nine tackles, ten hit-outs and four inside 50s.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

The smooth-moving Burgoyne again proved why he is amongst South Australia’s most promising teenagers. Eligible to join Port Adelaide via the father-son rule in 2021, Burgoyne’s class was evident from the get-go in the first match of a Saturday double-header at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. Burgoyne was once again trusted with the kick-in duties this week and used the ball well throughout the contest, aside from a couple of rare skill errors in the third term. He was very composed with ball in hand and made good decisions by foot. Although kicking is his natural game, Burgoyne also produced some really creative and clean handballs to his teammates’ advantage. In all, it was another encouraging performance from the silky bottom-ager, who concluded the game with 26 disposals, four marks, four tackles and two rebound 50s.

Others:

Brayden Calvett provided some eye-catching moments on the outside of the contest. He moved well and showed some nice tricks with ball in hand. Calvett provided plenty of run and finished with 21 disposals, four marks and four clearances. Ruckman and AFL Academy Hub member Zac Phillips had a good battle with Norwood’s Nathan Hearing. He was particularly productive early on in the contest and, although not as prolific around the ground, was vital in giving his side an advantage (plus-11) in the hit-outs.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

Talented bottom-ager, Murley was one of his side’s best in the frustrating loss. Starting in the middle, Murley was then shifted to the forwardline later in the opening term. He took an excellent lead-up mark in front of the likes of Henry Smith and showed he isn’t exclusively a ground-level player. Murley’s speed was obvious and his high endurance and relentless work-rate allowed him to get on the end of several handball chains across the ground. He was particularly prolific in the second term and showed excellent clean hands at ground level. Murley did shank an inside 50 with his opposite left-foot when he should have hit teammate Henry Nelligan on the lead, but he was once again heavily involved for Norwood. Despite his smaller frame, his natural talent ensured he was still a threat at stoppages and around the ball. Not afraid to dish out a solid bump, Murley collected 24 disposals, one final term goal, a game-high nine marks, four tackles, four clearances and six inside 50s.

#5 Henry Nelligan

Nelligan showed why he has spent time at League and Reserves level already in season 2020. A natural ball-winner, Nelligan spent most of the day through the midfield but also spent time as a pressure forward. His kicking and decision making was perhaps a little inconsistent throughout the contest; hitting up teammate Cooper Murley with a terrific pass early in the game, but then turning the ball over when going forward later on. Nelligan’s low centre of gravity and strength through the hips made him quite difficult to tackle on the move in congestion, and his work-rate around the ground was terrific. He was typically clean by hand and tackled strongly as always. He was involved in a heavy mid-air collision in the final term but bounced back and soldiered on – a testament to his courage and toughness. Arguably his side’s best player on the day, Nelligan finished the game with 24 disposals, three marks, five tackles, five clearances, six inside 50s and four rebound 50s.

#27 Nathan Hearing

The Norwood big-man fought hard against Henry Smith, Zac Phillips and Jonte Hunter-Price, who also chopped out in the ruck for the Eagles. Hearing ran his opponents around the ground using his strong endurance, and took a couple of handy intercept marks when dropping back in defence. His kicking was also sound, despite his technique appearing awkward at times. Once again, his willingness to throw his weight around at ground level was impressive for player of Hearing’s physique. Although the Eagles won the hit-outs, Hearing’s tap work was the best of all the ruckman as Norwood finished plus-eight in the clearances. Hearing finished with 12 disposals, four tackles, and 16 hit-outs.

Others: 

Although not draft-eligible until 2022, Riley Verrall again looked comfortable at Under 18 level for Norwood. He was deployed off half-back where he was able to use his penetrating right-foot kick to good effect. He provided plenty of run and rebound from defence, finishing with 19 disposals, seven marks and seven rebound 50s. He combined well with Lachlan Falco in the defensive 50, who caught the eye with some terrific run-and-carry of his own. He was one who really looked to break the lines and would have finished with high metres gained. Falco finished the game with 23 disposals and three marks. James Warton (25 disposals, five tackles, eight clearances and five inside 50s) was good through the midfield and the clean-kicking Sam Duke (26 disposals, eight marks, four tackles, seven rebound 50s) was Norwood’s leading possession winner across half-back.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

Central District vs. South Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#12 Brodie Lake

The Northern Territory recruit continued his terrific start to life in the SANFL, again proving one of Centrals’ most prolific ball winners with 22 disposals, eight clearances, and six inside 50s. While a lot of his work on the spread and contributions around the ground have been key features to his previous outings, Lake seemed to take a more inside focus to his game this time out. His extraction work was on point, not only winning the ball in close, but also streaming away for some eye-catching centre clearances. The top-ager was a touch fumbly below his knees at full pace and inconsistent in his delivery by foot, but looked stylish in everything he did. The flash is there, but so is the hard stuff, with Lake applying some punishing defensive pressure and proving strong at the contest. He also boasts a sizeable leap and can take marks at full stretch, adding another string to his bow.

#13 Austin McDonald

McDonald’s uncanny knack of finding bucketloads of the ball carried on into yet another impressive Under 18s appearance, as he collected a game-high 29 disposals and five clearances. While he sometimes lacks the strength and speed to burst away from congestion, the 16-year-old has no trouble getting his hands on the ball in the first place, and looks tidy when disposing under less pressure. The next step in his development will be refining his disposal from the clinches, as well as gaining a touch more penetration on his kicks. He has the inside game, but was also clever on the outer with some nice drawing handballs and accumulation around the ground. Another pleasing part of McDonald’s game was his tackling, which has come to the fore in recent weeks. He laid five throughout this game and was aggressive in his defensive duties, ultimately rewarded for his efforts in taking opponents down.

Others:

Versatile bigman Wyatt Ryan was again productive for the Bulldogs, drifting back while taking on rucks duties, and also presenting well as a forward to finish with 17 disposals, five marks, and 31 hitouts. Finn Reed fared well through the middle to notch 19 disposals and a classy goal in the first term, while Luigi Mondello showed a zippy step en route to bagging two majors. Christopher Tidswell was another to pop up with some promising moments, particularly in the first half as he took on the highly-touted Brayden Cook.

>> MORE CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

South Adelaide:

#10 Brayden Cook

This year’s first round bolter is building some serious momentum, and while he did not quite have the desired scoreboard impact in this game, Cook showed some promising signs. Starting on the wing, many of Cook’s highlights came through his aerial ability, rising above his opponents to stick some terrific overhead marks. Even when he couldn’t hold onto his marks, the top-ager followed up with handy work at ground level where he proved smooth and evasive on the ball. After being held relatively well in the first term, Cook spent a touch more time forward immediately after the main break and turned provider with a couple of goal assists to Hugo Hoeck. He would only manage three behinds of his own though, as the radar proved a little off. Still, Cook is the kind of player his teammates often looked for when transitioning into attack, and his positioning a kick behind the ball allowed the Panthers to better dictate possession.

#33 Arlo Draper

The bottom-ager has travelled somewhat under the radar of late, but seems to be thriving upon a more permanent move into the midfield. While still a touch light-on, Draper is a good size at 185cm and looks comfortable in contested battles. He was quiet in the early stages, but came into the game with some deft touches in congestion, while also showcasing his terrific agility and awareness to weave through traffic and come away with the ball in style. A couple of centre clearances attested to that, though his strength when caught was also evident. Draper’s work to accumulate at either end of the ground helped him have a more sustained impact, as he glided his way to 19 disposals and six clearances, while also laying six tackles.

Others:

As usual, there was a bunch of reliable performers who again stood up for South Adelaide. The likes of Liam Hamilton (19 disposals, eight marks, one goal) and Max Clifton (16 disposals, six marks) were busy through the midfield rotation, while Jayden Little provided a cool head across half-back with his 20 touches. Jack Flett was another to impact down back with his run-and-carry, as Liam Nye and Jamison Snelling both found the goals up the other end. Bottom-age smalls Dylan Brown and Luke Mitton were also lively through midfield and up forward, with Hugo Hoeck (four goals) the leading goalkicker.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Glenelg vs North Adelaide

By: Eli Duxson

Glenelg:

#8 Hagan Wright

Wright looked the most dangerous for Glenelg all day, providing run both in the midfield and off half-back. He was active at most stoppages and contests, timing his runs well to get on the end of hit-outs and handball receives. The Bays were keen to get it in his hands as he moved smoothly on the inside and outside, generally using the ball well. Moving out of defence, where the ball so often was for Glenelg, looked simple for Wright as he so calmly weaved through traffic and displayed good evasive skills.

His physicality remained as the Roosters pushed further away in the second half and his balance over the footy was impressive. He seemed to be in good positions to receive the ball on many occasions and worked hard to get to stoppages. He ended up with 21 disposals, four tackles, and five clearances in a well-rounded performance on an ordinary day for his side.

#9 Kye Dean

The well-built midfielder spent most of his time on ball, but often drifted forward to try and impact the scoreboard. His composure was solid early as he opted to find shorter options instead of wheeling and blazing away, and he used it well by hand in-tight. He was hard to knock over the ball and used his strength to bustle his way through the contests. His ball use was not always reliable, but the blustery conditions certainly were not doing anyone any favours.

He finished the second half with a goal after getting on the end of a link and floating it in from a tight angle, while having a further two shots on goal for the game. He missed an open shot 30 metres out on the run, but made up for it with a tidy set shot in the fourth quarter. A big fend-off in the third term displayed his strength as he ended with 24 disposals, two goals, and five clearances.

#23 Callum Park (League)

The former Australian Under 18 baseball representative probably had his best game of the season with 18 disposals, seven marks, and seven rebound 50s. His ability to run-and-carry and use the ball well on his left-foot are probably his key strengths, and he did both well. He was taking the kick-outs for much of the game and provided plenty of run off half-back. He moved smoothly and was dangerous on the outside. He opted to kick more than he handballed, but his lone two handballs of the game were in critical areas deep in defence with clean ground ball gathers. Swapping between wing and half-back, he was accountable when he needed to be but was often utilised as a loose defender when playing on the wing and the Roosters were near their attacking 50.

Park set up well behind the ball to mark, but he also worked hard in attack. On one instance he kicked out, and then continued to work up and eventually received a handball centre wing. A pivotal smother in the tense final quarter capped off a solid outing for him as he looked comfortable with his role.

#27 Luke Parks (League)

The Sydney Swans Academy product was given the tough role on Lewis Hender and despite Hender’s three goals, Parks enjoyed a good game in the tight win. His aerial ability was on show early, taking a hanger at edge of the centre square. Like he has done for much of the season, it showed his confidence to mark in contests instead of going the for defensive spoil. There were some occasions where opting to spoil would have been more appropriate though. He reads the flight of the ball well and often parked himself under the high ball to mark courageously.

Hender managed to create separation but Parks was hot on his tail with good speed and agility. He also showed confidence to run off Hender and find his own ball or impact the contest, but when you do, you must impact. Parks was caught out on a couple of occasions and Hender just snuck away. His cleanliness and composure with the footy was good, but his physicality and aggression was also a highlight as he was not afraid to hit the ball hard or back up teammates in the push and shove.

Bays coach Mark Stone backed his aerial prowess in the last quarter and left him loose in crucial times and Parks did not let him down. Parks finished with 15 disposals and six marks and is definitely one to keep and eye on.

Others:

Glenelg did not have the best of days, but the play of Riley Davis was promising who had 17 disposals and six tackles, but three behinds could have made it a very solid outing. Tom Moyle-Read was also serviceable with 15 disposals and a goal and looked comfortable with ball in hand.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

North Adelaide:

#21 Tariek Newchurch

Newchurch made the most of a dominant day for the Roosters, slotting three goals to go with his 16 disposals. He also made the most of a solid breeze to kick his first early in the contest off a couple of steps from 50 metres after winning a free kick. With patches in the midfield he showed he was capable of so much more and could play as a midfielder with his speed and cleanliness, but it was not on show for as much of the day as you would have liked. He looked to work back hard defensively, but it was his attacking run that was most exciting after roving well and running with ball the best part of 60 metres to goal from almost on the goal line.

His acceleration and pace again excited in patches as he displayed strength in-tight as well. He did burn teammates on a few occasions, kicking blindly toward goal, but after fluffing one kick he made up for it with a goal soon after. Newchurch is an exciting prospect with his pace, relative strength, ball use, and ability to hit the scoreboard, but there is certainly a higher potential to develop his game like Shai Bolton has in the AFL.

#28 Matthew Borg

Borg was prolific again and enjoyed a brilliant game with 26 disposals, three goals, and seven clearances. The midfielder worked hard both ways, taking intercept marks in defensive 50, but also getting dangerous up the other end. His pace and intent on the ball looked tough to defend and he kicked his first goal in the first quarter after creating space in a one-on-one in the pocket, before dribbling it through brilliantly. He even gave a bit to the crowd. Borg’s ability to get the ball from the ground to a target through hands in very little time was on show a few times, but he did appear reluctant to use his left hand to handball.

In a dominant day for his side, he found himself in space a lot, but he made his way to good positions instead of just floating and waiting for the ball to come. He found the ball and made things happen. One several occasions he broke away from the stoppage but was called back due to free kicks. He played out of full forward at one point and after a nice lead up and mark, he drilled the set shot from nearly 50 metres.

#37 Karl Finlay (League)

The up and down nature of the wind-affected game kept Finlay busy at full back, but he showed he was up to the task. After a wayward contest early, he began to read the flight of the ball well, providing some thumping spoils to clear the space. He also showed a willingness to get his own ball and use it which is indicative of his confidence, but a poor decision under pressure deep in defence was almost costly.

The former Prince Alfred College captain showed good discipline when the ball hit the ground to locate his opponent instead of being drawn to the ball. His hands looked solid with an intercept mark and with his mobility and 192cm and 88kg frame, he certainly showed potential to be a key position player for the future.

Others:

North Adelaide boasted many good performers in their 78-point win, but the leading disposal getters were Jayden Davison and Blayne O’Loughlin, who each had 28 disposals. Davison also recorded 10 clearances although his ball use did not always adjust well with the conditions. O’Loughlin found a lot of ball out the back and with the kickouts and could have been a lot more damaging, but he typically just opted for longer targets. Kyle Brazell kicked three lovely set shot goals to go with 23 disposals and showed versatility playing all over the ground. Harvey Harrison kicked four majors for the Roosters and was constructive whenever he had ball in hand.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Sturt vs. West Adelaide

By: Peter Williams

Sturt:

#11 Will Spain

Showed some promising signs and nice dash throughout the match, and continued to attack the contest hard. His speed at running through stoppages to try and win the ball and burst out was admirable, with great defensive pressure and tackling to go with it. At times his possession was a little rushed, and his determination to move the ball quickly often saw him step off his line such as marking at half-forward going to run trying to stop, then having to handball backwards. Overall his tackling pressure was superb, and he was not afraid to bring down bigger opponents, so it was no surprise to read he had an equal game-high seven tackles.

#17 Mani Liddy

Liddy might have been overshadowed in the stat-line by game’s end by partner-in-crime Tom Powell, but make no mistake, Liddy was just as influential, if not more so at times. His strength at the stoppages to win the ball, stand tall and get his arms free was a feature of his game, but he also has that touch of class about it too. He does the hard stuff then can add the touch of class, having a number of shots on goal out of forward stoppages. In the first term he snapped for goal twice, the first time missing but the second sailing through in the 25th minute of the game for Sturt’s fifth. He has the smarts to weigh his kicks and put it to his teammates’ advantage and it was his work at half-back under pressure to get it to Powell that ended in a goal to Oliver Britten-Jones at the other end. His hands are electric in close, also showing clean kicking, then working hard to get free into space. Not afraid to cop contact, Liddy was absolutely sensational, and his stoppage and contested work a real treat.

#18 Tom Powell

By the time you are reading this you will have seen the stat-line – 47 disposals, 10 clearances, nine marks, three tackles and 2.2 – so there is little need to tell you he had a huge game. The reason Powell is able to rack up these numbers is because he simply runs hard around the ground, gets to contest after contest, and then gets into ball-winning positions to quickly move the ball on. He is too strong for opponents inside the contest, and then just plays simple footy when needed to kick long to dangerous areas for the opposition to try and defend. Twice in the first term Powell hit up targets pretty much in the goalsquare with long bombs inside 50 to their advantage. It did not need to be pretty, just give his forwards a chance and he placed it well. His sheer work rate to win the ball in all thirds was admirable, and his stoppage craft is very clever. In the second term he set up a third goal with a nice run inside 50 then opted to pass to a leading Kai Tucker rather than go for goal.

His vision by hand is good, to sense teammates running in space, with his decision making and execution by foot an area of improvement from the game. A number of times he would bomb the ball long which, as it showed in the first time can pay off, but also turned it over on a number of times, such as when he was coming out of defence on a few occasions. Nonetheless, Powell’s offensive game really drove a dagger into Westies’ heart and he kicked his first goal from a set shot free kick four and a half minutes into the third term. His second came late in the quarter to lead out and take an uncontested mark at the top of the goalsquare thanks to some shepherding from teammates. A third shot on goal moments later saw Powell kick across the face of goal but hit the opposite behind post for out on the full. His second efforts when making a mistake were also solid, because he missed a handball trying to put it into the path of a teammate at half-forward, but then mopped up and gave it to his teammate running inside 50 for a scoring opportunity. Had some fun in the last term, racking up the stats with his teammates, but finished as a throughly deserved best on ground with a stat-line reflective of a high work rate and scoreboard impact. Not only did he boot two goals, but he directly had a hand in three others in Sturt’s big win.

#2 Tom Lewis (League)

Had some promising moments playing in the forward half of the ground with a particularly impressive third term. He first entered the foray with an important kick inside 50 at the nine-minute mark, then won the ball in midfield through good positioning and kicked long again leading to an Aidyn Johnson goal three minutes later. He had a quieter second term though still won touches, but came alive in the third, willing his side back into the contest. He had a quick snap off the left that went wide and bounced out of bounds, but was continually rushing the chaos ball inside 50. His kick to a dangerous area set up Mihail Lochowiak who goaled, and then put pressure on the West defence with another long kick to the goalsquare in the dying minutes before it was rushed through. He himself almost kicked an impossible goal from the behind post but went across the face to the other side of the ground. He finished with a strong 21 touches, five marks, four tackles, five clearances, and crucially, seven inside 50s.

#17 Jed McEntee (League)

Just a really hard-working effort by the over-ager who plied his typical fierce tackling game to good effect. He would use the ball quickly down the wing early in the game, got a second kick at half-forward, and then cleaned up in the pocket after trying to assist for another touch. He would win the ball in close and get ball to boot quickly, and then hit the scoreboard himself on the end of an end-to-end play by the Double Blues, marking uncontested in the goalsquare and kicking a major from 20 metres out straight in front in the 19th minute of the third term. In the last quarter with the game on the line, McEntee worked back into defence to provide some support and settle the team down.

#29 James Borlase (League)

Making his debut at League level, the Adelaide Next-Generation Academy prospect was one of the more impressive players, particularly early in the game. While many debutants might look and hope for an easy first few touches, Borlase held up with a handball under pressure then took a contested intercept mark. He used the ball well and was good in his positioning throughout the game, and while he did not always take every mark he went for, he still racked up quite a few – six in total – and also applied plenty of pressure both through tackling and implied pressure that would have impressed the coaches. In the final term in particular with the game in the balance, Borlase laid a massive tackle, but what was the most impressive fact was he grabbed him once, his opponent almost got free, but Borlase went again and brought him down in a 360-degree tackle. To finish with 14 touches, six marks, three tackles and five rebounds on debut, that was a big tick and Adelaide would have been pleased with his development.

Others:

Aside from the top two Sturt stars, Liam Swiderski racked up 28 touches and 12 marks rebounding off out of defence and mopping up from West’s poor inside 50 entries. He was one of a number of Double Blues who also used the time late in the game to practice closing out close games by chipping it around, with Jordan Hein (24 touches, five marks and seven rebounds) also busy in defence. Ethan Field was strong up forward with 23 touches, five marks and two goals, while Ned Grieve and Jamie Taylor both racked up 22 touches by game’s end. For West, Eduard Van den berg tried hard in the back 50 alongside Sinderberry, notching up nine rebounds to go with his 23 touches and eight marks.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

West Adelaide:

#3 Hugh Desira

The bottom-ager looked lively throughout the game and showed a number of impressive traits in what was ultimately a tough day at the office for West. Desira laid a good tackle on Mani Liddy in the opening term to win a free, and then would work back to save his side a number of times deep in defence. He had great vision to hit up a target on the opposite side of the ground and get the ball moving, then did it in the forward half through congestion to spot a free player at the top of the attacking 50. He was a part of the midfield rotation for the Westies, but it was his spread and run out of defence that stood out, doing well with the ball under pressure.

#4 Cade Kennedy

Won a fair bit of the ball through the middle, rotating between inside and outside roles, and working hard as a free man to get clear on a wing and create space. His work rate was exemplified by being involved with at least three handballs down the wing before being knocked over through a heavy bump. Midway through the second term he was collected high and won a free kick, and was able to keep the ball moving quickly. He handed off an unselfish goal assist to Izach Zinndorf whose snap to the line was called a goal despite Sturt appealing it was marked. He has a dual-sided ability, because when caught on his left side he kicked off his left, and when caught on his right he kicked off his right. Later in the game he dug deep to help out the defence, and then had a shot on goal from 40 metres following a free kick 10 minutes into the final term, but his set shot went way left.

#24 Jye Sinderberry

Really stood out for mine in terms of West players and produced the performance he is capable of at half-back. Not only did he do his job one-on-one, but he provided drive, held a high line and even went into the ruck for a few stoppages. His pressure and one-percenters would have been high, even if he did not officially lay a tackle. He worked hard on a number of occasions to get to the front position and read the ball in flight well. He took a number of intercept grabs, including one at speed late in the second term, and after an earlier miss by foot, was able to generally use it solidly. In one instance he went into the ruck and used his leap to win it out of the ruck, charge forward and kick inside 50, but was intercepted by a Sturt defender. The third term saw Sinderberry cover so much ground up and down, and he even had a set shot from just inside 50 after a double penalty for late contact and then infringing the mark, but his set shot missed to the left. Overall a really strong game as that rebounding, yet accountable defender.

#49 Lachlan Squire (League)

In his second League game, Squire acquitted himself around the stoppages well, using his big frame to match it with more experienced opponents. Often opposed to Abe Davis at the stoppages, he was not afraid to throw his weight around and then go in hard to win the contested ball and shovel it out to teammates. His positioning around the stoppages was good and he had clean hands under pressure, but sometimes did a little too much, like when he tried to fend off a player nine minutes into the second term and got done for incorrect disposal. He had a crack throughout four quarters and had a quick shot on goal in the 17th minute of the third term but was brought down in the tackle. Had more of an influence than nine disposals might suggest, and his three clearances attest to that, always being in tough situations.

#59 Hamish Ellem (League)

The former Sydney Swans Academy member seems to have improved his mobility a touch over the off-season after missing out on being drafted last year. Playing out of full-forward, he has always been able to be quick at ground level and snap around his body, but with less time in the SANFL compared to Under 18s, Ellem showed he could stand up and show off the same party tricks there. After a quiet first term where he contributed just the one kick, he slotted his first goal 42 seconds into the second term. The first clearing kick out of the middle went straight down his throat and he went back to kick from 50 metres and sail it home. He kicked his second early in the third as well, just two minutes in kicking a quick snap around his body from 40 metres. In the fourth term he spent some time in the ruck and had a remarkable pickup snap off the deck that only just missed in the last few minutes, and that would have put West within two points.

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

Featured image: Hannah Howard/SANFL

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 9

ROUND 9 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

North Adelaide vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#5 Leo Coates

Coates produced a strong showing at Coopers Stadium. He started up forward and rolled home the Roosters’ second goal of the game from a tricky angle in the first term. He was eventually shifted into the midfield where he was able to use his bigger frame to advantage, particularly in the third term when the heavens opened up. Also trialled in the ruck on various occasions – a testament to his versatility – Coates worked hard around the ground and always provided an option when up forward. He was also one of North’s most valuable players in the final term when the game was on the line. His side’s leading ball-winner, Coates finished with 31 disposals, one goal and two behinds, 10 marks, five tackles and nine inside 50s.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

One of several Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospects in action for the Roosters, Newchurch struggled at times to make an impact. He kicked the opening goal of the game within the first minute but was barely sighted for much of the first term. He laid a strong tackle to win himself a holding-the-ball free kick and used the ball cleanly in general play. In an attempt to assert himself on the match in the second quarter, Newchurch regularly pushed up the ground and won some uncontested ball. Unfortunately for Newchurch, he missed a snap he would normally have kicked and also sprayed a straightforward shot for goal on the run. The skillset, class and goal nous are clearly there for Newchurch, but he will need to more consistently lift his output in the back half of the season. Newchurch finished the game with 12 disposals, two marks, three tackles and four inside 50s.

#22 Lam Simon

Simon had some nice moments in his customary backline role. He was a touch fumbly early but improved as the game wore on, with his eye-catching athleticism and overhead strength particularly impressive. His obvious highlight of the match was a spectacular hanger on the half-back flank to intercept a likely Norwood forward 50 entry. For such a raw talent, Simon’s kicking technique appears quite natural and fluent and he hit most of his targets. With his intercept marking ability and athleticism, the top-aged Simon is another Crows Academy prospect to keep an eye on. He concluded the match with 19 disposals and seven marks (three contested).

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin continued his strong season with another fine showing against the ladder-leading Redlegs. He took a little while to get involved, but it soon became apparent why O’Loughlin is charged with the kick-in duties for the Roosters. His kicking, over both short and long distances, was excellent. He remained composed in the backline and trusted himself to hit up several targets through the corridor. Along with his sound execution, O’Loughlin displayed excellent vision and provided plenty of rebound for the red and whites. Although smaller in stature, he appears quite well-built and was solid in one-on-one contests. O’Loughlin was the pick of the Crows Academy prospects at Coopers Stadium, finishing with 25 disposals, four marks, four tackles, four inside 50s and seven rebound 50s.

#28 Matthew Borg

The prolific midfielder was again amongst the leading disposal getters on the field. Despite the Roosters being soundly beaten in the ruck contest, Borg’s work at the coalface was a major reason why his side finished plus-four for clearances. Borg looks to have a nice turn of pace, but his kicking, particularly with his opposite foot, could do with some refinement. Nevertheless, his goal in the third quarter ensured the Roosters went into the final change with the momentum. And his final term goal proved vital in North Adelaide securing an important victory away from home against the competition’s best side to-date. Along with his two important goals, Borg finished with 25 disposals, two marks, seven tackles, six clearances and seven inside 50s in a well-rounded performance.

#36 Kyle Brazell

The wiry Brazell started the game well and remained one of his side’s best throughout the match, spending time on the wing and up forward. Brazell was clean at ground level, accumulated plenty of the ball, and used it very well for the the most part. Although his kicking action is slightly unconventional, the left-footer boasts a measured and precise action and hit most of his targets. He gathered 27 disposals, ten marks, three tackles and six inside 50s.

Others:

Defender Kane Flanagan was impressive in defence, particularly early on. A no-frills type, he provided some meaningful run-and-carry and finished with 14 disposals, three marks and three rebound 50s. Like a number of his teammates, James Willis took a little while to get going but was heavily involved in the third term. He became an important cog through the midfield as the game wore on, with his ball use particularly impressive. He finished with 20 disposals, nine tackles and five clearances. Jayden Davison laid a game-high eleven tackles and also won six clearances. He, like Borg and Willis, was terrific in the contest despite the dominance of Norwood’s ruck department. Samuel McTaggart (20 disposals, four marks and four tackles) and Harvey Harrison (13 disposals, seven tackles and four clearances) were others to impress for North Adelaide.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

One of several exciting bottom-aged South Australian prospects making a strong impact at Under 18s level, Murley was typically classy despite his side’s loss. Although he wasn’t as efficient in front of goal as he would have liked, missing a couple of shots he would normally nail, it was Murley’s stoppage nous which really stood out. He boasts a flashy skillset and is very quick, but his stoppage work would have really impressed the Norwood coaching staff.

One of the things which is really noticeable with Murley is that he is always on the move at stoppages, looking to use his lighting quick acceleration to burst through a pack. Murley rarely finds himself flat-footed and won most of his clearances through thoughtful positioning and pure smarts, rather than brute strength. He was clean at ground level despite the slippery conditions and his intercept mark in the third term was followed up by a perfectly placed long kick to Henry Nelligan on the outer wing. Despite his light frame, Murley continues to shine at Under 18s level and finished another impressive day at the office with 26 disposals, three marks, five tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s.

#5 Henry Nelligan

The industrious Nelligan was the most prolific player on the field, seemingly finding the ball at will. His running patterns are excellent and he always puts his head over the ball. Nelligan has also been able to impact the scoreboard since returning to Under 18s level after stints in Norwood’s League and Reserves sides. His running goal from 40 metres out in the second term helped cut North’s lead back before half time. Small but strongly built, Nelligan’s kicking was iffy at-times but his contested ball winning was terrific. Clearly one of South Australia’s most productive young midfielders, Nelligan concluded the outing with 33 disposals, five marks, five tackles, six clearances, eight inside 50s and four rebound 50s.

#27 Nathan Hearing

His side ultimately fell short, but Hearing was arguably best on ground. He started well, winning the opening clearance and kept going from then on. Ruckman aren’t typically known for their precise kicking inside 50, but Hearing was able to pin-point three targets amongst his five inside 50s. He comfortably won the ruck duel and consistently provided the Redlegs midfielders with first use at stoppages, but also showed a willingness to get involved around the ground. Hearing’s overhead marking was another outstanding component of his game. He clunked three contested grabs (seven marks in total) and provided a target down the line in a match where the tall forwards were quiet for both sides. His connection with Nelligan and Murley was terrific and the big man finished with 19 disposals, five tackles, 29 hit-outs and six clearances.

Others:

Connor Kent found plenty of the ball in the first half and finished with 20 disposals and six marks. Defenders Bailey Gal (25 disposals, six marks and five rebound-50s) and Billy Haebich (25 disposals, three marks, three tackles and three rebound-50s) were also amongst Norwood’s best, generating plenty of rebound from the back half.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

Glenelg vs. South Adelaide

By: Tom Cheesman

Glenelg:

#8 Hagan Wright

Wright was a standout for the Bays, finding plenty of the ball and frequently using his pace to break the game open. He worked hard on the inside and the outside, demonstrated a willingness to run both ways, and regularly provided an option for teammates coming out of defence. He laid some nice tackles, showed the ability to break tackles, and was good at delivering the ball inside 50 to the advantage of his forwards. At stoppages, he always held his positioning well and did not get sucked into the contest, thus enabling him to be an option for quick hands on the outside so that his team could move the ball quickly. Wright finished with 30 disposals, nine marks, four tackles, three clearances, four inside 50s and four rebound 50s.

#9 Kye Dean

Dean had a strong impact in the midfield for the Tigers. He applied plenty of pressure on the inside, showed composure with ball in hand and worked hard around the ground to take some nice marks. Dean was very clean with one-touch gathers at stoppages and ran back to help his teammates in defence when they were under pressure. He finished with 27 disposals, six tackles and six clearances.

#19 Jayden Davis

Bottom-ager Davis continues to be a major asset for Glenelg in multiple areas of the ground. He worked incredibly hard to get to the right positions and find the ball when in the midfield, but his greatest impact on Saturday came when he was up forward. Davis kicked three of his side’s seven goals, showing how much more productive they are with him inside 50. All three of his goals came within a five-minute patch in the third term and included a couple of clever left-foot snaps. He is a player that can change a game in the blink of an eye, and he should become even more dominant with added experience at Under 18 level. Davis finished with 24 disposals, eight marks, five tackles and three goals.

#27 Luke Parks (League)

It was a tough day to be a Bays defender, but Parks stood up under insurmountable pressure. The former Sydney Swans Academy member worked very hard defensively right from the opening bounce. He earned a free kick for too high early on because he was willing to put his head over the footy despite heavy pressure from South Adelaide forwards. He showed that he can play on all sizes, often switching to different opponents whenever necessary to stop the Panthers from creating scoring opportunities.

Parks’ best skill is his intercept marking, which was very prominent throughout the game. He often floated in from the side to rise above the pack to take strong contested marks. However, to use this attribute effectively he does play off his opponents a little bit to help himself cover ground more quickly, as all great intercept markers do. This can leave Parks out of position and susceptible to a fast rushed, chaotic kick inside 50, as evidenced in the first term when Panthers forward Sam Overall was able to take a fortunate mark in front position. I can honestly say this is nit-picking though, as it was the only ‘mistake’ Parks made defensively in the entire game.

Parks is very strong in one-on-one contests, highlighted when he took a brilliant mark one out in the goal square in the third term when his side was under the pump. In congestion he applied great body pressure on the opposition, never letting them get an easy possession and creating space for teammates. With ball in hand he was reasonably reliable by foot and eager to get it moving quickly whenever possible. Parks finished the game with 11 disposals, six marks and five rebound 50s.

Others:

Under 18s Frazer Bradley (16 disposals, six contested marks) and Connor Drum (19 disposals, nine marks) were fantastic in the air throughout the contest for Glenelg, despite going down by 23 points.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

South Adelaide:

#4 Max Clifton

Clifton was the best player afield in the Under 18 match. He is a brilliant user with a booming left-foot kick and frequently broke the game open by biting off difficult kicks both through the corridor and going inside 50. At stoppages he was outstanding at playing the sweeper role, as he never let anything past him and amassed many inside 50s straight from the middle of the ground. He quite simply went lower and harder than his opponents at the footy all day, earning multiple free kicks for his efforts. He applied strong pressure too, including an aggressive run down tackle in the final term to earn a holding the ball free kick. Clifton collected 28 disposals, nine inside 50s and five clearances for the day.

#10 Brayden Cook

Cook is a fast-rising draft prospect and showed once again that he is a class above Under 18 level, finishing with 23 disposals, ten marks and a goal. Intercept marking was one of his standout attributes early in the season, and it was great to see this on show at times on Saturday. He worked hard around the ground to collect plenty of possessions and link up with Panthers teammates to transition the ball forward efficiently. He showed that he has great strength too when he took a strong contested one-on-one mark inside 50 in the second term. In the last quarter, he got on the end of a lovely weighted kick from teammate Dylan Brown to kick a major, making up for the more difficult set shot he missed earlier in the game. Cook has proven that he can play a range of positions and it will be very interesting to see where he is placed when playing higher levels of competition.

#33 Jason Horne (League)

Bottom-ager Horne is one of the top prospects for the 2021 AFL Draft and showed why that is the case on Saturday. He started the game off brilliantly and was a key reason why the Panthers kicked the first four goals. An early highlight was when he collected a mark on the left half-forward flank and then delivered a beautifully weighted kick across his body to the advantage of his teammate. This was a smart kick because putting it into the space (when the rest of the 50 was congested) allowed his forward to protect the drop zone and take what essentially ended up being an uncontested mark.

While Horne spent most of his time up forward, he got to roll through the midfield at times. When he was in there, he showed glimpses of how great a stoppage player he will be in the years to come. He never fumbles, has quick hands, magnificent ball control, and has an ability to spin at the right time so that he can get a clean handball out to teammates when tackled. He also worked up the ground to help the defence whenever they were under pressure. Although he missed a snap at goal in the first term, it was from about 40 metres about and easily made the distance, showing how much range he already has kicking around his body. The one-handed pluck before it was another sign of his incredible ball control.

Horne used his opposite foot a lot throughout the game, often wheeling onto that side of his body by choice when opponents tried to pressure him towards the boundary. He is also a fantastic pressure player, as exhibited when he laid strong tackles on Glenelg’s Billy Stretch and Callum Park in the second term. Under pressure he was such a calming influence for his side, always maintaining composure and keeping a level head. This was demonstrated when he started a forward thrust in the second term by winning the clearance at half-back, weaving his way through traffic and linking up with a teammate out the front of the stoppage. At this stage, Glenelg was right in the contest and many other players on both sides were panicking when they got the footy in congestion.

Unlike many young midfielders when they push up to League level, Horne is confident competing in the air. He launched at the footy multiple times when playing up forward, trying to mark whenever possible but responsibly spoiling when he was caught behind. Horne has some decent pace too when he wants to use it, highlighted when he ran down Glenelg defender Michael Virgin in the last term. Horne finished with 10 disposals, five tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s for the day.

#45 Daly Andrews (League)

Williamstown recruit Andrews played his first SANFL match for the Panthers on Saturday, and it’s fair to say he was very impressive. He spent most of his time on the wing and ran hard both ways throughout the entire game, finding plenty of the footy on the inside and outside. His attack on the ball was fantastic, and he was always willing to take the tackle and dish it out to create space for teammates to work into. At stoppages, he positioned himself well at the back, often receiving a quick handball and then moving the ball forward.

Andrews has a good size which helps him in one-on-one contests, as he is a solid mark overhead and always at least brought the ball to ground. He showed great agility by frequently running around oncoming tacklers and using handballs to link up with teammates and transition the ball out of defence. He never got sucked into the contest when he didn’t need to be there. Holding his positioning and width outside the stoppage allowed him to help out defensively and spread wide with ease.

In the third term, he kicked a very important goal by working hard from half-back to receive a handball from teammate Beau McCreery at half-forward, then straightening with a few steps and kicking truly from about 50 metres out. It was clear that Andrews will be a major asset for the Panthers for the rest of the season. He finished with 18 disposals, six inside 50s, four clearances, four marks and three tackles to go with his goal.

Others:

Arlo Draper (26 disposals, ten clearances, seven tackles) was one of the Panthers’ best in the Under 18s, running hard through the midfield and weaving past opponents at stoppages with ease. Dylan Brown (15 disposals, two goals) was fantastic up forward, while Phoenix Spicer (15 disposals, one goal) was lively and had a lot of score involvements.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

WWT Eagles vs. Sturt

By: Eli Duxson

WWT:

#7 Caleb Poulter

Poulter was prolific again for the Eagles, racking up 31 disposals to go with nine clearances, seven tackles, and five marks. He spent most of the day in the midfield and was on the move at stoppages all day. After a bit of a quiet first term for him, he did not miss a beat for the rest of the game, going in hard and aggressively at the contest. He intercepted a handball at a stoppage and cleared it down the line, only to follow up, receive a handball back, and find a leading target inside forward 50. It was indicative of his willingness to put in repeat efforts no matter where he was.

Poulter’s second half was dominant. He was faultless below the knees even in the muddy conditions and a sound decision maker under pressure. He seems to have a good tank but also manages to just get to very good spots, at one point it seemed that he was everywhere. He moved forward in the final quarter and though he managed just three behinds, he looked threatening. He has a good aerial ability and when it comes to ground, he goes back into midfield mode.

Poulter’s ball use was fantastic and when you get it 31 times, they will be important touches. His clearance work was top class and his ability to work in tight was impressive. If he could have hit the scoreboard a bit more accurately, it could have become an even bigger day for him.

#9 Max Litster

Litster had a complete day and would be competing for the votes with his 26 disposals and three goals. The solid-bodied midfielder was aggressive, showed good acceleration, and was more often that not one of the more active players at stoppages. He did seem to be flat-footed at times, but he covered so much ground working both ways exceptionally. He looked to move smoothly and when he drifted forward in the first quarter, he managed a tidy snap across the body to goal. On several occasions he worked his way deep defensively and in the second quarter, he took a strong overhead mark from a high clearance. His ball use was a little scratchy at times and he will want to improve on that.

His third quarter was busy as he made himself a marking option for the Eagles’ defensive 50 exits to display his strong hands and work rate again. He had three shots on goal and missed a 50-metre set shot despite making the distance with the heavy ball. He drilled another set shot after finding space from sloppy Sturt defence, and received hands to slot it from 40 metres out. Litster moved back on a couple of occasions and seemed to position himself quite well.

#19 Zac Phillips

Phillips controlled the ruck all game and won the hit-out battle comfortably, recording 30 to go with his 11 disposals. He seemed to be aiming his taps which was a positive sign, but ball-ups around the ground seemed to be his weakness. He often stayed too upright and was able to be pushed off balance on multiple occasions. He seemed to just be trying to use his athleticism to win the taps and though it did work, you would like to see some more body engagement.

His third quarter was terrific and was a key factor in the Eagles’ domination as he found the hit zones more regularly. Phillips has great raw ability with his mobility and tap work, but there are some things to work on. His ball use was not consistent, and he gave away two free kicks which led to back to back Sturt goals. With that being said, he has tremendous upside and with some work in those areas, he could be a damaging ruckman for the future.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Burgoyne had another day out, collecting 33 disposals and amassing seven clearances. He moved between the wing, half back, and midfield and was able to find the ball in all positions. He seemed the most comfortable on the wing and in the midfield, as when he played down back, he only looked to attack and never really looked accountable. When he was on the wing, he was able to drift down back and become the spare player to use the ball exiting the defensive 50, also taking the kick-ins.

With his slight frame, he went to ground unnecessarily at times but still showed a strong ability to win his own ball in tight and dispose of it cleanly. He seemed to drift at times but in a good way. He gracefully moved around the field and just popped up and used his acceleration, surprising Sturt. This was on display when in the last quarter, he lined up on the half back-flank at the centre bounce and charged at the contest, taking possession and running right through the lane that opened up for him up the guts, sending it deep inside forward 50.

Though he will be looking to get a little bit stronger, his pace and outside ability compliments his efficient kicking. His teammates looked for him to use the ball and he was effective in doing so.

#30 Zane Williams (League)

The debutant started the game well with a tumbling gather before he stayed composed, assessed his options, and straightened up to find a target inside forward 50 who goaled. His pace was electric and looked dangerous front and centre. He laid a strong tackle later in the first quarter to receive a holding the ball free kick, a reward for his relentless aggression early. His second quarter displayed his roving ability, timing his run well, and taking clean possession at good pace. His ball use did not always match his good work, but he was not far off.

His second half saw his play phase out a little bit, but his effort remained. He was around it on several occasions, but he just could not get his hands on it as often as he would have liked. He showed an ability to be a leading target and with his pace, he looks to be a tough matchup when he gets going. Just the nine disposals for Williams but a solid first outing, nonetheless.

#34 Lachlan Jones (League)

The absolute brute of a teenager also did not find a lot of it, but in his defensive post for the Eagles in a comfortable win, it is probably a good indicator of a good team performance. His mobility and balance for his size was impressive and it was on display with a hard contest on the loose ball, as he ran through and was able to find possession sweeping out the back. He also gathered the contested ball late in the first term but was squeezed for space on the boundary. The stat that does not show up on the stat sheet is spoiling, but that is something that Jones managed a bit of with thumping, clearing spoils off good leaps a highlight. The highlight of the game would have been a hanger for Jones, but it bounced out at the wrong time. A good indication of his confidence though.

He moved forward in the last quarter and looked very comfortable. He led up well and found space easily with good acceleration and was generating good force coming through. You would not want to stand in his way. After making some big contests, he took a nice, contested mark 25 metres out and slotted his first league goal on the set shot. He has a another shot on goal later in the term but leant back on the kick to get a minor score. Usually playing in the back half, it was a good display of versatility for Jones.

#51 Lachlan McNeil

One of the better performers for the Eagles as the 18-year-old found 23 disposals to go with six clearances. He spent time on the ball and on the wing and showed a good balance between contested inside work, and slick outside ball use. His work in tight was a thing of marvel as he managed to find teammates with quick hands and being strong enough to be able to run on and impact again. His outside use linked a lot of defence to offence with three rebound 50’s and three inside 50’s. His ball use was clean and had a good balance between kick and handballs.

McNeil hunts the ball and was active at stoppages. His repeat efforts in the contest were impressive and his hip strength was also good for not being a big-bodied midfielder. He moves like Zac Bailey and worked hard to create an option in the back half of the ground. A highlight came in the fourth term with a clean spinning gather on a strong attack. He continues to go from strength to strength and playing good midfield minutes is an indication of the confidence he has, and the confidence the Eagles have in him.

Others:

The Eagles boasted performers all over the park, Harrison Dawkins was impressive again with 25 disposals and six clearances, while Jack Wheare looked dangerous in their forward line kicking one goal and four behinds. Some work on his set shot would have seen him kick a bag.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

Sturt:

#11 Will Spain

Spain had to step up in the absence of Tom Powell, and with 31 disposals, a monstrous 15 tackles, and a goal, he certainly did so. His poise when he had possession, combined with relentless pressure and hustle when he did not, was impressive. He used the ball well when he had space as well as in-close, which seemed to be most of the game as he spent a lot of it in and under the contest. His ground ball gathers at pace were good in the conditions, and he showed good pace and strength with a big fend-off almost leading to a goal. He had a little blunder in the second quarter with a poor kick almost turning it over in his defensive half, but he scrapped and earned a free kick at the next contest.

As the Eagles took over in the third quarter, his output was not the same. He was still hustling and working hard but his opposition was just too strong. His work in tight did not change and he was eventually rewarded with a goal from 40 metres out, a nice finish. Spain’s work rate to continue getting to stoppages was impressive and he showed a good ability to win and use his own ball well when he was there.

#17 Mani Liddy

The well-built Sturt midfielder also put in a complete performance as he done all season with 29 disposals, two goals, nine tackles, and five clearances. If you had to describe Liddy in a word, it would be strong. He was strong over the ball, with the ball, and without the ball. He was able to stand up in tackles and release, take solid overhead marks, and bustle through contests. His ball use was a little scratchy in the conditions, but his contested work and ability to be a strong option when he rested forward was good.

He worked hard for his first goal, putting in a 60-metre sprint to keep the play moving forward, before kicking it off the ground on the goal line. Liddy moved well in the fourth quarter to cover the exit and was rewarded with a misguided Phillips kick which he promptly gathered and goaled. He worked hard all day and stuck to his guns. Would love to see him spending more time down forward as he looks like a tough matchup both in the air and on the ground, but his contested work in the midfield is important for Sturt.

#34 Casey Voss (League)

Voss assumed his role down back and ended up with 20 disposals and six marks. He was serviceable defensively, but his strength seemed to be how he created offence out of the back half. He provided run on several occasions and was very tidy with his disposal with either handballing or kicking. His handballing complimented his ability to collect at pace and under pressure, and his kicking was pinpoint at important times.

He has all the assets you could want out of a midfielder, poise, tidy ball use, strength, and an ability to win his own ball. He certainly has the pedigree and at 182cm and 80kg, you can expect him to develop into a genuine midfielder in the future after spending bursts in there so far this season.

Others:

Ned Grieve had a quieter performance for Sturt but is certainly capable of more and showed glimpses of his best, while Jake Aish was important with 20 disposals and six clearances – both in the Under 18s.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

Central District vs. West Adelaide

By: Ed Pascoe

Central District:

#12 Brodie Lake

Lake keeps going from strength to strength since coming down from NT, becoming a factor for Central District through the midfield. Lake started the game well, winning some stoppages and kicking long and accurately. His best bit of play came winning a holding the ball free kick at the defensive arc, then quickly playing on with a bounce, getting the one-two, and taking another bounce to finally kick long inside 50 to a teammate. That particular passage showcased his point of difference compared to many other midfielders in this year’s draft. Lake really impressed around the ground, not just at stoppages, taking plenty of marks with a few contested as well. Lake finished the game with 30 disposals, 12 marks and five clearances in a complete midfield display, showing his mix of dash and toughness. He looks another good prospect for Gold Coast as part of their Darwin zone.

#13 Austin McDonald

McDonald just keeps impressing every week. The talented youngster who isn’t even draft eligible until 2022 just continues to rack up the football through the midfield despite being lighter and shorter than most he comes up against. What really impressed was his tenacity in giving multiple efforts at the coal face and these efforts I would hope become a theme of his game in the coming years. McDonald finished the game with 28 disposals and five clearances and seems to have a knack of finding the pill consistently, which bodes well for his future at the level.

#23 Jonty Patrick

Joining Lake from the NT, Patrick was a livewire in the forwardline, showing plenty of skill and proving very clean in everything he did. His best quarter was in the second where he had some good bits of play with one instance when he gathered cleanly and waxed with Lake, which I expect to happen more often in the coming weeks. He would go on to kick a nice goal, going for a run and slotting the goal nicely to show his class. It wasn’t a huge game with only 11 disposals, but he worked hard off the ball with seven tackles and will only improve from here on out.

>> MORE CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

West Adelaide:

#4 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy was one of West Adelaide’s talented bottom-agers who impressed in their first win of the season, playing off half-back and through the wing. He offered plenty of run and drive from the back half and favoured kicking, rarely missing a target with some nice low passes. His work-rate was on show when he ran hard to give an option coming out of defence, and while he wasn’t used, he just kept running until finally he would gather a loose ball and quickly kick long. It was good to see his hard running get rewarded with a possession. Kennedy finished the game with 20 disposals and four tackles.

#20 Luke Young

Watching Young play, you wouldn’t think he still has another year in the 18s system as the strong-bodied forward already looks to have the size and strength to compete. Compete he did, with a strong display playing as a shorter centre half-forward with his ability to lead up at the ball carrier and use the ball well in transition. Young had plenty of opportunities to hit the scoreboard and could have really had a big day if he was more accurate. He kicked the one that counted though, taking a mark at the top of the square in the last quarter to secure the Bloods’ first win of the year with a cool set shot. Young finished the game with 27 disposals, nine marks and kicked 2.3 in what was perhaps a best on ground performance.

#24 Jye Sinderberry

It was good to get Sinderberry back and he had a major say in West Adelaide finally getting a win, with his work in defence just outstanding. Sinderberry was an intercept marking machine, always finding himself in the way of Central’s forward entires. His ball use coming from defence was also superb, using the ball neatly by hand and foot. He lifted even more in the last quarter, taking some timely marks and finished the game with 23 disposals and six marks as the young centre half-back looks to finish the year strongly.

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

Featured Image: Hannah Howard/SANFL

Scouting notes and weekly wrap: TSL – Round 6

LAUNCESTON suffered its first defeat of the Tasmanian State League (TSL) competition, going down in an odd low-scoring game to Clarence by a point, as North Launceston and Glenorchy both recorded important wins in challenging conditions.

GLENORCHY vs. NORTH HOBART

By: Peter Williams

Despite coming into the game as favourites given their recent record against the best sides, North Hobart found itself on the back foot, booting just four behinds in the first half as Glenorchy raced to a four-goal lead in wet conditions at KGV. The Demons hit back in the second half, but just as it looked like they might have a sniff, the Magpies steadied through the likes of Jaye Bowden and James Deegan who both stood tall, while Matthew Joseph also kicked a couple of goals. For the Demons, Hamish Allan stepped up in the ruck, while Jack Sandric was a clear best-on in the 7.8 (50) to 4.8 (32) defeat.

Glenorchy:

#34 Braidy Simpson

The 15-year-old showed some nice signs playing for the Magpies against the Demons. He rushed a little early in the game with a couple of turnovers or missed kicks, but was able to get into the game the more it went on, and when he had time and space, hit up Jaye Bowden on the forward side of the wing, and then did it again later leading to an Aaron Joseph goal. He won more of the ball as the game went on and did not look out of place in the side despite his young age.

#36 Callum Thompson

A promising game from the Southern Football League (SFL) best and fairest winner who just has the composure and footy smarts playing across half forward and at times, deep forward. He had a chance to extend his side’s lead at the first break after marking in space in the pocket, but his shot drifted to the right. He set up teammates after that, and while it was not always perfect, he won a free kick from a great tackle on the wing in the second term and earned a 50m penalty, and his kick went into the danger zone. While that kick was intercepted, he showed nice composure to look inside when at half-forward, opting to centre the ball to a free teammate in a better position which opened up the game in the 15-minute mark of the term. He did not win a heap of the footy, but had his moments.

#53 Riley Best

Had quite a number of neat touches through the middle and was not afraid to take the game on. In the second term he wheeled around and kicked inside 50 really deep to the danger zone, and then finished off some hard running to receive the ball from Bowden 45m out with a terrific set shot goal. Considering the conditions, Best was clean at ground level and was able to get it forward to Bowden’s advantage later in the term. Unlike many others in the game, Best used the ball fairly well and was influential around the clearances and getting the ball inside 50. 

#55 Nathan Blowfield

Tried hard all game for the Magpies and is composed when under pressure in defence, he did get out-marked late in the game against Patrick Walker at half-back, but as a whole, he was able to be composed with ball-in-hand and good at ground level one-on-one. One of the few to hardly miss a target all game and played a really sensible role for a defender in the conditions.

North Hobart:

#11 Jake Steele

One of a number of over-agers in the Demons side, Steele worked hard in challenging conditions for key forwards, and showed a high level of work rate to win a number of touches up the ground. He could have finished the game with a much bigger impact, kicking three behinds, but he was able to be clean at ground level and present a contest in the air. He applied defensive pressure and was strong in that regard, and while his timing when flying for marks could use some work – he flew twice but mistimed the jump – he did what you would expect of someone his size in the wet, which was compete for four quarters.

#15 Hamish Allan

While he had a quiet first term playing through the ruck, Allan got better as the game went on and really took advantage of Glenorchy’s second ruck in Brady Williams. Towering over his opponent, Allan might have been outsmarted in the opening term at times by the experienced James Deegan, but he dominated Williams in the hitouts, and by the time Deegan got back, Allan was matching, if not beating him later in the game. Not as mobile as Deegan at ground level, Allan was crucial because he got so many clear taps to get the ball into space for his midfielders to run onto, and while they did not always get to do it, he was winning more than his fair share of hitouts. He would get forward and provide a presence in the air, but as has been typical with 200cm-plus players, was better to handball rather than kick, particularly in the wet conditions.

#19 Will Peppin

Another over-ager who was one of the more prolific ball winners for the Demons, Peppin tried hard for four quarters. Like many of his teammates, Peppin turned the ball over going forward early in the game, but he was more efficient as the match wore on. In the second term he had a nice spin out of trouble at half-back to release the ball by hand to a teammate who kicked forward. He rushed a few kicks going inside 50 which were intercepted, but his work rate and intensity at the ball in the conditions was great, exemplified by his ability to nullify a one-against-two contest on the wing in the third term and buy his teammates time to assist.

#46 Jye Menzie

Might not have had the scoreboard impact the lively flyer can have, but he was one of the more impressive players early on in the conditions. He flew for marks and got down and dirty at ground level, and still looked dangerous when the ball was in his area. He pressured opposing players who had the ball or were about to collect, and realistically should have had a goal midway through the third term, but mis-kicked it a mile in the air. He was quieter in the fourth term, but laid a great tackle in defence to lock the ball in, and his first term in particularly was where he was working hard.

#48 Patrick Walker

While many of his teammates were missing targets early in the wet conditions, Walker was using the ball well and showing clean hands off the deck. He was kicking long out of the back 50 and trying to provide run for his team against the flow with some one-twos on the win. Walker showed composure under pressure and while he made the odd mistake in the wet conditions after the opening term, was still able to show good recovery on the wing when knocked off the ball at first in the third term, and then pressured an opponent off the ball to make a mistake in the last quarter. His hands in the wet conditions remained strong with a deep kick to the pocket important as the Demons continued to attack late.

#49 Sam Collins

It was a mixed bag for the intercepting defender who did not have it all his own way throughout the game. He was good at switching play and trying to create something, but also made a number of turnovers in doing so. He was still valiant defensively with some good third-up efforts to spoil the ball, or provide pressure to opposing forwards, but like many of his teammates, had a few crucial mistakes. A handball turnover meant for Menzie in the middle went back the other way and resulted in a goal, and a long kick out of defence was intercepted on the wing. He played better wet weather football after the third term turnover goal, and still remained composed, without trying to overdo it. He had a terrific moment in the fourth term charging off half-back to win the ball in traffic and kick forward, then was thrown forward himself and showed good pressure in a losing side.

#51 George McLeod

The bottom-ager was impressive on debut, showing great courage going back with the flight early in the game, and while his subsequent kick was intercepted, he showed clean hands at ground level inside 50 to get it to Menzie for a scoring opportunity. McLeod just had a crack in a game where it was challenging to show off any athletic traits or clean hands, but he still managed to get the ball from a congested situation to teammates on a number of occasions and showed no-fear in doing so. His attack on the footy was impressive and while he is still light and was fended off easily in the third term at one stage, he has composure beyond his year. That came in the third term late when going inside 50 he had the composure to lower the eyes and not go to the predictable tall forwards leading out, instead spotting a free Thomas Reeves leading to space and went for the nice short kick out in front leading to a vital goal. Overall he moved well and showed some slick kicking skills in wet conditions and is one to watch for the future.

 

NORTH LAUNCESTON vs. TIGERS

By: Eli Duxson

After a relatively even first half, reigning premiers North Launceston pulled away from Tigers to record an impressive 56-point victory at UTAS Stadium. The Bombers only led by five points at quarter time and 12 points at half-time, but restricted Tigers to just five behinds in the second half, while piling on 7.7 and running away with a big win. Bart McCulloch starred with five majors and was one of the Bombers’ best, while Brad Cox-Goodyer (two) and Jack Avent were also impressive. For the Tigers, Kieran Lovell (two goals) put in a trying effort, as did Tyler Carter (two), while Lachlan Gadomski was named best-on for the losing side.

North Launceston:

#16 Oliver Sanders

Sanders played mostly between the wings and occasionally drifted up forward for the Bombers and was lively early in the game. A shower swept across the ground and kept the ball on the deck for a bit longer than usual, but this just prompted his straight-line attack on the footy and showed he has some contested ball ability. He had a good habit of timing his run and getting in the right position to receive handballs but was not able to connect on two kicks to send it inside 50. His hard work down the wings meant he led his opponent to the ball and won his own possession, using it well through hands. He had a set shot on goal from about 35 metres in the second quarter but missed narrowly.

Sanders’ third quarter was a little quiet, but he managed to get dangerous in final term when the Bombers were on top. He seemed to read the contest well with good positioning front and centre or roving the ball on the move. He showed his compact frame could lay strong tackles, winning a holding the ball free kick earlier in the game and bringing the Tigers’ ruckman to ground late in the game. He also showed that his frame was strong through the hips and core as he maintained his balance after being knocked in an aerial contest.

He has had a good mix of inside and outside play, but he is certainly able to find more ball and impact the scoreboard. In saying that, he also seems like the player who does not need a high possession game to make an impact with his tidy left boot.

#25 Jackson Callow

The 194cm and 95kg key position player showed he can be a utility for a team but seemed to be more effective in the defensive half. Callow played out of full forward for the first half and showed good athleticism and work rate with no reward. He copped a stinger to the shoulder early but made his way back out there to be an option. He managed to get his hands on a lot of long and high balls but was not making enough space for himself through engaging the body. Despite his lack of body work in marking contests, he showed he was adept to play ruck if needs be as he used his sturdy build to get first use of it in the air.

Like the previous week, he made the switch down back for the second half and was very good. His only blemish was spoiling a teammate going for the same mark which just showed he needed to switch from a forward to a defensive mindset little quicker. The rest of his work for the second half made up for it. He showed a good ball-reading ability in the air to mark and his speed on his opponent’s leads were electric. He was clean with his loose ball intercepts and used it well with both handballs and kicks.

Callow definitely looked a lot more comfortable in the defensive 50 than the forward. He is a good size to play key position and did all the right things as a defender. He can be a threat up forward if he uses his speed and strength to create separation from his opponent more consistently.

Tigers:

#19 Oliver Burrows-Cheng

A bit of a quiet game for the medium-sized forward although there was still a lot to like. He was hard at it and did not go off his line when he had to and showed good acceleration. He laid strong tackles and did not want to lose in congestion with repeat efforts to gather the ball and did so on a few occasions. He took a good overhead mark in the second quarter after holding a good position for the Tigers’ rebound. He hit a target on a solid switch kick but could have held to find a target up the ground in a more dangerous position – it still paid off, though.

He did seem to drift a bit around stoppages in his attacking half and was often caught between being at the next contest up forward or going to the stoppage. Either way, he looks capable in the air and when it hits the ground to rove but is also strong enough and fast enough to win his own ball in tight. A highlight of his came in the fourth quarter as he worried the Bombers player out of the contest with his ominous attack on the ball and won possession himself, sending it inside 50.

Although his numbers would not have indicated a big impact on the game, he has all the explosive traits of brilliance if he can get himself involved a bit more, whether that is with confidence or positioning, it will be exciting if he can bring it together.

#31 Lachlan Gadomski

A Devil from last season, Gadomski was named the Tigers’ best after doing his best impression of an anchor in his overwhelmed defensive post. At 186cm and 82kg, he is not your prototype key defender, although he showed at times that he could play both tall and small. In wet conditions early, he set the tone for what he is all about which is strong defence turning into offence. A strong one-on-one spoil was followed up, gathered, and cleared. He showed a willingness to win in his own ball under pressure both in the air with safe hands and on the floor. He was generally good with his disposal and stayed composed despite being swamped with attacking entries from the Bombers. He did concede a goal after being pinned holding the ball with a spinning gather, but his attack on the ball could not have been faulted.

As North Launceston dominated the play in the final quarter, it gave him Gadomski more work to do. His tackling ability was on display with a splendid chase down tackle after spoiling to earn a free kick. He continued to intercept mark and rebound, but also showed a calm temperament to not just run and gun with his clearances and try to find a target to slow the frenetic play down. He also showed good strength late in the game to stand up in a tackle and get a handball away.

He could play in the midfield for the Tigers but did not because it would probably leave them undersized down back. He played a bit like Dylan Grimes with his intercept play and stringent defence, holding his opponent to just one shot on goal for the game. A good game all round for Gadomski.

 

LAUNCESTON vs. CLARENCE

By: Fraser Stewart

On a slippery Windsor Park and in a relatively low scoring affair which saw one goal in the first term by Launceston, it was very much a battle of attrition, as there were plenty of stoppages, with not much free-flowing play happening. For much of the first half, Launceston put the pressure on Clarence’s defence, however, even with impressive performances by Blues ruckman Tim Auckland and Jared Dakin were not enough as they sprayed their chances in front of goal going down 1.10(16) to 2.5 (17). While Clarence were under the pump, Baker Smith showed what he could do and linked up with Sam Banks in the middle. Clarence, when going forward, looked dangerous when they used the wings and got their first goal in the third quarter. Two minutes before the full-time siren sounded Luke Swinton led for the ball and converted the set shot to give Clarence the win and the upset of the season so far.

Launceston  

#20 Jared Dakin

Was quiet for the first half and most of the second, but still found plenty of the ball and made good decisions. While it may not have been his best game and maybe it was due to the conditions, he still played well having not impacted the scoreboard as his position awareness was one of his biggest strengths which meant it allowed him to get the ball out of congestion and start a link up play. His second efforts when losing the ball is also to take note of. As soon as he lost possession, he quickly put the pressure on, often causing a turnover or a stoppage.

Clarence

#23 Sam Banks

Just like last week Banks began as an outside midfielder, and came to life late in the first quarter grabbing a few possessions out of the contest. While this game he may not have provided anything special for the highlights reel, he showed good vision when he had the ball linking up to multiple scoring chances. He was also calm when he got the ball and took a few seconds to kick it into space when he took a mark. He had a stint down back early in the game to help switch the play linking to an attacking play. He has a good eye for a mark, goes to the contest quickly and even gets the ground ball out in a fast manner. Like his counterpart it was his work off the ball that really mattered in their one-point win.

#46 Baker Smith

It was a busy day for him, as he did not have much breathing room as Launceston kept on putting the pressure on Clarence’s defence for most of the day. He showed good glimpses of what he can do which may come into effect in next years draft period, as he had a few good intercept marks stopping various Launceston attacks. Despite having a relatively quiet game after quarter time as he did not get much of the ball, it was his defensive smarts that was his best attribute. His skills on one-on-one defending were good as he threw a few spoils in multiple contests, and just playing and moving the ball into space was another important skill he showed.

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 8

ROUND 8 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in. Some sides remained slightly depleted over the weekend with school football making its return.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

WWT Eagles vs. South Adelaide

By: Tom Wyman

WWT:

#7 Caleb Poulter

It was another strong outing from the first round candidate, who accumulated plenty of the ball around the ground. Poulter won the opening two centre clearances of the game and spent considerable time up forward in the latter stages of the first term. Although a couple of his early handballs missed their intended targets, Poulter moved well in congestion and was typically damaging by foot. For example, a searching kick deep inside-50 to Zac Phillips was expertly placed. He then helped extend the Eagles’ lead with a nice snap on his trusty left boot.

Although some of his kicking on his non-preferred side was inaccurate, it was encouraging to see him back himself in with his right boot. Poulter showed off his aerial prowess with a strong contested grab later in the game and was clean at ground level all day. He was most damaging as an outside midfielder where he was able to weigh up his options and execute cleanly. He finished a well-rounded day with 28 disposals, three marks, four tackles, five clearances, seven inside-50s and four rebound-50s.

#9 Max Litster

The midfielder found a heap of the ball around the ground and was particularly damaging at the coalface. Litster’s work around the stoppages proved vital to his sides early dominance and his work rate around the ground was noticeable. He finished the match with 30 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and eight clearances.

#19 Zac Phillips

Phillips was clearly the best ruckman on the ground and his connection with his fellow midfielders was a cut above the rest. He rotated through the forward line when Jonte Hunter-Price was given a run through the ruck, and managed to convert a regulation set-shot after marking a beautifully placed kick from Poulter. Phillips was willing to get himself involved at ground level, laying a couple of nice tackles and winning three clearances for himself. The bigman concluded the outing with 16 disposals, one goal, five marks, three tackles and 26 hit-outs.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Ball magnet, Burgoyne has been one of the competition’s most prolific midfielders so far this season, and he again accumulated a heap of the ball against South Adelaide. A smooth mover who appears to glide across the turf, Burgoyne was largely effective by foot and took the game on whenever the right option presented itself. He boasts a very natural and fluent kicking action and took almost all of the kick-ins for the Eagles, which will have admittedly inflated his stats.

Burgoyne generated plenty of rebound from the defence but also showed off his abilities at the contest by winning five clearances. He backed himself in by foot and clearly wanted the ball in his hands. Like many juniors, he is still quite lightly built but possesses a nice frame which will excite AFL clubs. A bottom-ager who is eligible for the 2021 draft, Burgoyne moved well through traffic and showed a couple of flashy skills, including a terrific side-step. He finished the encounter with 32 disposals, five marks, five clearances and nine rebound 50s.

Others: 

Midfielder Harrison Dawkins was heavily involved at the stoppages early on, using his strong body to burst his way through several packs. He nailed a nice crumbing goal in the first term and was one of the Eagles’ best at the contest, winning six clearances to go with 16 disposals and five inside 50s. Tall forward Henry Smith‘s contested marking stood out. He spent minimal time time in the ruck and was the go-to target in attack for Woodville-West Torrens. He didn’t find much of it but was still effective, with his reach and overhead marking proving a challenge to defend. Smith finished with eight disposals and four marks (three contested).

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

South Adelaide:

#4 Max Clifton

Clifton had a highly influential day through the midfield. His long left foot was a once again a standout of his game and his toughness around the ball will have really pleased the South Adelaide coaching staff. Clifton possesses a very distinct kicking style which allows him to get plenty of distance and penetration. He was also very smart with ball in hand, often kicking into open space and allowing his teammates to run onto it and surge forward. Whenever he found himself in some space, Clifton looked to accelerate away and maximise his damage.

Although his ball use was terrific, his stoppage nous and toughness didn’t go unnoticed. He laid an excellent shepherd at a stoppage to block an Eagles opponent and allow teammate Will Verrall to gain possession. Whilst he won’t get a stat for the play, it was instrumental in his side heading inside 50. A strongly-built midfielder, Clifton added a real physical presence to the Panthers’ midfield and played with a healthy aggression. He looked to take the game on whenever possible and was also very clean by hand. A real on-field leader, Clifton finished the day with 20 disposals, six marks, seven tackles, six clearances and seven inside-50s.

#10 Brayden Cook

Cook has rocketed up draft boards in recent weeks and the hype will only continue to increase after he won South Adelaide the game off his own boot. Cook started the match on the wing and showed a glimpse of his terrific leap to almost take a great pack mark early on. He sent a laser-like ball inside 50 to the leading Verrall and showed elite acceleration to speed away from his opponent and run into goal, but his kick missed to the near side. Along with his speed, Cook’s penetrating delivery inside-50 was exceptional. He set-up several goals by hand and foot and missed a couple of attempts himself, but late in the third term, Cook booted the first of his five majors. He simply judged the flight of the ball better than everyone else, remained composed and converted the checkside.

Crucially, Cook knows when to have a crack at goal and when to pass it off, but in the fourth quarter it was all about him. He took a terrific one-on-one mark deep inside-50 and goaled to give the Panthers the perfect start to the final term. His third, a freakish soccer goal from the boundary line, was one for the highlight reel and added to South’s late momentum. Just moments after, it appeared he was going to do the same from an identical spot, but as the ball bounced away he tapped it back in and ran back to gather and keep the play alive. Cook’s expert use of the body in marking contests, combined with his vice-like hands and damaging leap proved too much for the Eagles defenders to handle. A potential first round contender, Cook gathered 22 disposals, eight marks (four contested), three tackles and five inside 50s in a breathtaking display up forward.

#17 Harry Spacie

Spacie was one of the Panthers’ best in the thrilling come-from-behind victory. He set the tone early with a terrific pack mark on the wing, juggling it but making it stick on the way down. Down back, Spacie was composed under pressure and positioned himself well to cut off several attacks. He played with genuine courage, always fully committing himself at ground level and wasn’t afraid to stand under the packs. However, when the Panthers needed a spark in the midfield, Spacie moved on-ball and played a vital role in turning the tide. He used his big frame to bullock his way through would-be tacklers and fought brilliantly at ground level. He was also involved in a couple of important scoring plays late in the final term for South Adelaide. His terrific kick found teammate Luke Mitton inside 50, who nailed the final goal of the game, and his clean handball to a teammate in space helped set up Jack Flett for the match-winning shot at goal. Spacie finished with 22 disposals, seven marks, six tackles and three inside 50s in a highly respectable showing.

#33 Arlo Draper

One of several talented bottom-agers in the Panthers side, Draper worked his way into the game nicely. An ill-directed handball resulted in an Eagles goal early in the second term, however he made up for it shortly after by launching a bomb from long range which eclipsed all sets of hands and landed across the goal line. His ability to bounce back after making a mistake was also apparent in the final term, when he caught Poulter holding-the-ball after he was pinged for the same offence moments earlier. Draper was clean at ground level and showed some individual brilliance when he won a tricky one-on-two near the boundary, then using great vision to nail a teammate with the subsequent handball. He showed some nice speed and acceleration and was very effective at the stoppages in the final term. Draper finished with 19 disposals, three tackles, seven clearances and three inside 50s.

Others:

Defender Jayden Little took a couple of strong contested grabs down back for the victors. He accumulated 16 disposals, six marks (two contested) and three rebound 50s. Hugo Hoeck had some exciting moments in attack and created plenty of scoring chances. He gathered 10 disposals, one goal and three behinds, two marks and two tackles. Dylan Brown played taller than his height would suggest, hauling in a couple of handy grabs. He finished with one goal and four inside 50s from 11 disposals. Phoenix Spicer was typically exciting, producing another trademark run down the wing in the last term before capping it off with a neat centering ball to the man of the hour, Cook, who goalled. Spicer’s highlight reel keeps expanding with every game and he finished with 13 disposals, five tackles and seven inside 50s.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Central District vs. Sturt

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#12 Brodie Lake

A reasonably new addition to the Centrals Under 18 squad, Lake has made the move South to pursue a greater weight of opportunities in the SANFL. He is tied to the Gold Coast SUNS by way of their access to the Darwin zone, and is benefitting from simply being able to get out on the park. After a steady debut outing, Lake made it two wins from two games with a much-improved performance. He was a constant through the midfield, able to win his own ball in-close, while also utilising his strong running capacity to accumulate on the spread. Lake was a touch fumbly early and had to make a few adjustments to find his range by foot, but had no trouble in front of goal with a major in the third term. That particular play was made by Lake’s vertical leap, which proved to be a handy string to his bow along with solid tackling pressure.

#13 Austin McDonald

When the Bulldogs needed a lift in the final term to see the game out, 16-year-old McDonald was one to stand tall. He put together a string of efforts late in the piece which would have undoubtedly lifted Centrals; strongly containing a bursting Mani Liddy to catch him holding-the-ball at a stoppage, pinging another opponent inside defensive 50, and capping off his hot five minutes with a smother on the same arc. He was impactful throughout the earlier stages too, winning a bunch of ball in the clinches as an ever-present through midfield. McDonald’s kick penetration and tendency to rush his disposal at times can be sharpened, but will inevitably iron out as he gets up to speed with his more seasoned opponents. He won team-highs in disposals (28) and clearances (nine), which is incredible considering his age.

#27 Leek Alleer

Alleer has played himself into a consistent vein of form in the Under 18s, and looks to have really found a home on the wing. In an solid outing, he was able to impact the centre bounce breaks off his line, while also breaking hard both ways to find the ball among either arc. Alleer again added goals to his game this time out, starting in the opening term with a big pack mark in the goalsquare. He benefitted from a 25-metre penalty to convert his second in the following period, and could have finished with a bag if not for inaccuracy. With terrific athleticism and size, Alleer is an interesting prospect who can thrive both in the air and at ground level, while providing efficient use with ball in hand.

Others:

Matthew Borlace put in a terrific shift from defence, providing great aerial presence and drive on the rebound to finish with 27 disposals, eight marks, and eight rebound 50s. Wyatt Ryan was a reliable target once thrown forward, taking eight marks among his 18 disposals, while Cody Gilchrist proved the key man inside 50 as he booted four goals in a commanding display. Christopher Tidswell and Kobe Wilson were others to show promising glimpses with their driving run for the Bulldogs.

>> MORE CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

Sturt:

#17 Mani Liddy

It perhaps wasn’t Liddy’s finest day out on the field, but he still managed to have an impact with 26 disposals, nine tackles, seven clearances, and a goal. The hard-nosed inside midfielder spread well early to find the ball away from his usual home at the coalface, and it was lucky he did so as he was caught on numerous occasions throughout the game when looking to burst clear of congestion – trying to take on a bit too much with each possession. Undeterred, it only seemed to ignite Liddy as he looked to impose his physicality on the game. He upped his tackling aggression and didn’t mind a bit of niggle, as he willed his side on in the hard-fought contest. A third term snap goal capped off his trying day.

#18 Tom Powell

After a quieter outing last round, Powell was back to his prolific best with 39 disposals, nine marks, six clearances, and a goal. While he has proven near-unbeatable at getting to the ball around stoppages, Powell has been expanding his game to win more uncontested possessions around the ground, while also attempting to utilise a touch more run-and-carry. That sharp disposal in-tight remained though, as the Double Blues midfielder was simply cleaner and more aware than any other ball winner on the field. His ability to work to either end of the ground and contribute effective short kicks was also evident, but most of his highlights came via lightning-fast releasing handballs out of congestion. His form, as always, is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore in terms of first round calculations.

Others:

Charles Fryer and Ned Grieve were both kept busy behind the ball, with the former delivering 11 rebound 50s, and the latter chiming in with 21 disposals. Blake Higgins was again influential off the wing with 17 touches and five inside 50s, while Will Spain produced some nice running plays on the outer to go with his prominent inside ability. Jordan Hein was also a busy mover at ground level for the Double Blues.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

North Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

By: Tom Cheesman (Under 18s) & Eli Duxson (League)

North Adelaide:

#13 Elliott McNamara

McNamara was fantastic for the Roosters. He is a lively forward who applied plenty of pressure throughout the contest to create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. His willingness to work up the ground and provide an option on the lead stood out, and he always looked to move the ball quickly once he got it in his hands. McNamara finished with six majors for the day but could have kicked eight or nine if he took all of his half-chances. He also had 22 disposals, four marks and four tackles in the brilliant display.

#20 Jayden Davison

Davison had a strong day running through the midfield. He found plenty of the ball and worked very hard to get to contests around the ground. His ability to hold his body position in contested situations was evident throughout the game, and he continually showed the composure to use the ball cleverly by hand rather than just blindly bomb it forward. Davison finished with 26 disposals, six clearances, five tackles and a goal.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin played at half-back for the Roosters and was definitely one of the players that stood out. He is quick, evasive and attacks the footy with ferocity when it is anywhere in his area. Early in the game he found plenty of it and provided run-and-carry through the centre of the ground. O’Loughlin loves coming off the back of the square from centre bounces, running in a straight line and impacting the contest. He also has a nice spearing left-foot kick that he used to break the game open on multiple occasions. O’Loughlin collected 22 disposals, six marks (three contested) and four rebound 50s.

#28 Matthew Borg

Looking at the stats after the game, it was no surprise that Borg was the leading disposal winner on the ground. The midfielder worked incredibly hard at stoppages and on the spread, regularly connecting well with teammates to transition the ball forward effectively. He provided an option coming out of defence whenever necessary, rarely fumbled, and showed that he has great hands under pressure. Borg was dominant in the last quarter after West reduced the deficit to four points, willing his side to a compelling 54-point victory. He finished with a complete stat-line of 36 disposals, ten inside 50s, eight tackles, seven marks, six clearances and two goals.

#27 Harrison Magor (League)

Magor did not have the output that he would have liked this game, but he showed that he could play a role, and was given some responsibility with solid midfield minutes. He started at some centre bounces in the first quarter and though he did not have his hands on the footy too much early, he applied enough defensive pressure to allow his senior players to clear easier.

He did show a high work rate, working back to mark in defensive 50 and use it well. His second quarter showed a little bit more as he managed to handball strongly with opponents clung onto him on multiple occasions. This may have been partly due to him being static at most stoppages, if he got on the move, he may have been able to find the ball in space a little more. In saying that, if his role was to play more defensively, he did it well.

His third quarter was quiet, but he was important at times in the tense final quarter. It looked like a set play for him to set up in front of the ruckmen at boundary throw ins, then move to block a teammate’s opponent to allow them to get into the hit zone. He did this for Andrew Moore on multiple occasions which resulted in clearances. Later in the quarter he pushed forward and held his space out of a loose ball contest and as his direct opponent went into the contest, he stayed out and received hands to find a short target which led to a goal.

Magor ended up with nine disposals, but his five tackles highlighted his defensive ability in the midfield. You can expect him to find the footy more as he continues to develop as he was continually around it.

#38 Dyson Hilder (League)

It was an up and down game for the former State 18s representative, who showed glimpses of great defensive nous, but like most defenders, got caught out at times. His first impact on the game showed some of the former as he charged off his opponent to smother a potential inside 50, instead creating a boundary throw-in. His closing speed was impressive early, as was his spoiling ability to kill the ball, an increasingly important aspect with the craft that the smaller players are showing in recent times.

His third quarter provided a moment he would rather forget, with a genuine mis-kick deep in his back pocket going straight to a West Adelaide forward who promptly goaled. He set-up well defensively to not get dragged up the ground into congestion and found the ball out the back. He read the ball well all game and managed to get the first fist on quite a few high balls, but he looked to get a little bit lost once the ball come to ground. It did not cost the Roosters, but it is an easy fix. There were a few occasions where he could have used his strong frame to stay over the loose ball in defence, as he got knocked off a little bit too easily at times.

Hilder ended with eight disposals but showed he can be a reliable key position defender. His ball use was good except for the one clanger and his speed and ability to read the play were all indicative off his potential.

Others:

Harvey Harrison (29 disposals, six clearances) and James White (29 disposals, five tackles) both played well for the Roosters’ Under 18s, as did Shaun Bennier (17 disposals, three goals). Lam Simon (15 disposals, four marks) was very solid in defence.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

West Adelaide:

#7 Cooper Gilbert

I highlighted Gilbert as a player to watch a few weeks ago after his performance at half-back against South, and he showed some more promise in this contest. He played predominately through the midfield in this one and showed his ability to win contested footy. His kicking was a major asset for the Bloods once again, as he frequently found a target when delivering the ball inside 50, including an outstanding weighted kick to find Izach Zinndorf on the lead in the second term. However, a couple of times he gave handballs when he perhaps should have kept backing himself in to kick the ball forward. Gilbert finished with 19 disposals, six tackles and five clearances.

#18 Bailey Boughen

Boughen played at half-forward for the Bloods and was one of their best on the day. He got them off to a hot start with the first goal of the game, and then drifted in and out of the contest as it wore on. Boughen is a fantastic tackler and applied plenty of pressure on his opponents, winning a couple of holding the ball decisions because he proved so difficult to fend off. He is a good user of the footy when composed and held his position well up forward. Boughen finished with 13 disposals, six tackles, six inside 50s and two goals.

#21 Nicholas Couroupis

Couroupis was one of the Bloods’ best midfielders with 19 disposals, seven clearances and four tackles in this match. He collected plenty of contested possessions at stoppages and used his explosiveness to break away from the contests. His lateral vision is outstanding for a young player, as he found targets that many would not see and used lengthy handballs to clear congestion and give his teammates space to work into.

#18 Riley Thilthorpe (League)

One half of the teenage twin towers for West Adelaide, Thilthorpe played most of the game in the forwardline but proved to be a solid ruck rotation as he has done so far this season. A standout trait for his game was his ability to gather below his knees cleanly and find a target with a handball, an impressive ability for someone who is around 200cm. This was on display early as he managed a quick snap at goal under pressure, but it narrowly missed.

An evenly poised game meant there were momentum swings and Thilthorpe showed a great ability to cover the ground and provide an option for West Adelaide’s rebounds out of defence. His speed on the lead was a highlight as he took a strong contested mark in front of his opponent, before finding a target with a well weighted kick to advantage. Proving he was more than just a tall option up forward, his ground ball abilities were paired with a willingness to go after his own ball in-tight, not needing to leave it for his smaller teammates – he could do it himself. The second quarter showed all of the same traits with his clean disposal and athletic forward option, but he also showed he was not afraid to throw his weight around as he helped his teammates out when there was a little bit of push and shove.

The second half displayed a defensive aspect that his mobility can bring. You do not expect him to turn on a dime, but his agility for his size was sharp when the ball hit the deck and he tried to stop his opponents. He laid a crunching tackle which prompted a free kick for a throw and was unlucky to not get the 25-metre penalty and a shot on goal. After taking a somehow uncontested pack mark, he had a shot on goal from 45 metres but just missed. His run-up and kicking action was fluent though and he made the distance comfortably. A spinning contested gather also highlighted his cleanliness over the footy as he found a teammate on the wing who set up a goal.

A solid contribution from the big man as he ended with 16 disposals and two behinds. He had the most contested marks on the ground and was mostly efficient with his disposal. There were times where he found space in dangerous positions but was often disadvantaged with the kick or just could not complete the mark, so if he can start to finish off those plays, you can expect him to contribute more on the scoreboard.

#59 Hamish Ellem (League)

The other half of West Adelaide’s teenage twin towers celebrated his 19th birthday on game day and despite the loss, Ellem enjoyed a serviceable outing. One of the Bloods’ early forward entries of the game grubbed its way towards the Sydney Swans Academy product, who almost took the low mark. Still holding front position, his 195cm and 103kg frame sprung to its feet and managed a quick snap across the body which missed.

He played forward all game and pushed up the ground to provide a target. His impressive 3.01 second 20-metre sprint was on show with a strong mark out in front on a hard lead. He slotted the set shot from 50 metres to give his team the early lead. He followed that up with a tidy mop up from a kick to his disadvantage as his handball assisted a teammate’s goal. His second quarter was a story of him getting to good spots, but not having enough space to operate with opponents draped on him. If he can start to find that space, he could really be a threat up forward.

Ellem brilliantly halved a two versus one inside his forward 50, laying two big tackles before his teammates arrived. He later took a mark on centre wing and did well to read the situation of the game and not move it quickly. He instead stayed composed and found a short target. He also liked to throw his body around in aerial contests, but found himself landing hard later in the fourth quarter.

The bigman made some small errors throughout the game like going to ground to mark when he did not really need to and kicking into the man on the mark, but for a young player in a senior environment, his output was impressive. He finished with a goal and nine disposals and if he can start to use his size and speed to get more space on the leads, you can expect those numbers to increase.

Others:

When the Under 18s game was tight early in the last quarter, defender Eduard van den Berg (21 disposals, four marks, four rebound 50s) was one of the few Bloods that stood up. Benjamin Burbridge (14 disposals, five tackles) was clean with ball in hand and Thomas Faulkner (10 disposals, three marks, one goal) was effective up forward.

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

Glenelg vs. Norwood

By: Michael Alvaro

Glenelg:

#9 Kye Dean

While others may have won a touch more ball, Dean was one of the more impactful midfielders across the day for either side. His presence around at the contest and strength to burst away complemented his ability to gets first hands to the ball well, making him difficult to stop. He worked back into the defensive 50 hole early and accumulated some ball in the back half, while later looking lively as he rested up forward. Dean was clean in possession with one-touch gathers and efficient disposal by foot, bringing a sense of calm to the fast-moving game. He was often the provider from stoppages with his extraction, but could have shown more of a killer instinct with better utilisation of his penetrating kick, and opting to go for goal as he broke inside forward 50 during the third term. Still, Dean was arguably the most valuable Bays midfielder out there with 27 disposals and six clearances.

#19 Jayden Davis

Davis returned another reliable shift for the Bays, proving an asset in all areas of the ground. When starting in midfield, the bottom-ager was able to provide a contest in the clinches, while also working back well to provide some assistance to his defence. He also had a say while rotating through the forwardline, able to utilise his solid marking overhead to become an option inside 50. Davis somehow manages to constantly find space when freed from the engine room, and his sure disposal ensured Glenelg could chain up some quality plays. His kicking did waver a touch late on, but Davis overall found himself in all the right places and was solid at the contest. He finished with 22 disposals and seven marks.

Others:

William Watts was Glenelg’s most prolific ball winner with 27 disposals and nine marks around the ground, while Riley Drum (18 disposals, one goal) was another to get in on the midfield action. Bailey Durant closed out the game well to finish with 21 disposals from defence, while Hunter Widow was lively up the other end, and Ty Murphy showed good toe on the outside. Riley Davis was impressive up forward too, booting an equal game-high three majors while also moving through midfield.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

The bottom-ager just looks so comfortable out there against bigger bodies, dominating with his speed, skill, and smarts. The feature of Murley’s game on Saturday was undoubtedly his repeat running, adding a dual threat to his initial bursts away from the middle with the ability to gain separation from his opponent and re-enter the possession chain. There were countless times where Murley would break forward, then be seen receiving the kick right after his own inside forward 50. When given an inch, Murley can take a mile and really damage the opposition with his decision making. The execution was not always there, but he proved a slippery customer and would have been an enormous headache for the Glenelg midfielders and coaching staff alike. 30 disposals, eight marks, 11 clearances and a goal is a day out by anyone’s standards.

#5 Henry Nelligan

Another sub-180cm Redlegs midfielder, Nelligan is building into some really nice form upon his return to the Under 18s grade. He may be small, but boasts deceptive strength to pry the ball off his opponents, while also utilising all the speed, agility, and smarts any player of his size should. Nelligan was one of the cleaner players on the field, and showed terrific awareness on multiple occasions to pull off some eye-catching plays. Most of them were completed going forward, where Nelligan summed up the situation, and was not afraid to go slightly backwards to find a target. He somewhat lacked a finishing touch when searching for goals of his own, but Nelligan was productive in all parts as he arced away from opponents both through midfield and up forward. He is a natural footballer, but will have to sacrifice some of his ball winning ways in order to find a spot at the next level – more-so as a small forward.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

One of three Redlegs to crack the 30-disposal mark, Cavallaro was a real asset going forward for his side. The small wingman works well going both ways on the outer, able to drop into defensive 50 or hit targets with spearing balls up forward. He is a crafty player around the ball, with deft little touches and steps to rid himself of any contact allowing him to be more productive in open space. Cavallaro was one of many Norwood players to join in with the chain effect of possessions, often either starting or finishing them with clean disposal. He also seems to be dual-footed, which is invaluable when carving out opportunities in transition.

#9 Riley Verrall

The 16-year-old is the latest member of his age group to make a splash upon entering the Under 18 scene, and looked lively in the early stages. Stationed at half-back, Verrall ran hard off the line at centre bounces to initiate some run-and-carry when either gifted a handball receive, or at the base of a spillage. He looked particularly lively in the early stages with some neat accumulation in the back half, only daring to break the lines when required in open play. He’ll be better for the experience, and adjust to the speed of the game in time.

Others:

There were a good bunch of standouts for the Redlegs across the ground, with their even spread a major reason as to why they currently sit atop the table. The run-and-carry of Connor Kent and Lachlan Falco was impressive, with Marcus Roberts, Jackson Murphy (both two goals), and Alexander Scali (three) among the most lively forwards. Nathan Maunder proved a key link going forward, while Samuel Duke was able to make his mark up either end of the ground.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

Scouting notes and weekly wrap: TSL – Round 5

IT was a big weekend of Tasmanian State League (TSL) action as a number of Tasmanian Devils prospects past and present ran around for respective clubs in the three matches over the weekend. We took notes on some of the young guns and recap how the matches went down.

CLARENCE vs. TIGERS

Tigers recorded their first win of the 2020 TSL season with an upset 15-point victory over Clarence. The win was on the back of a dominant first three quarters where Tigers piled on 12 goals to four in an impressive performance. Clarence roared to life in he final term as they booted 5.3 to 0.1, but still fell short of victory, going down 12.5 (77) to 9.8 (62). Luke Graham and Tyler Carter slotted three goals each for Tigers, as Kieran Lovell ran amok around the ground. Will Campbell and Zach Adams were other impressive players for the yellow and black. For the Roos, Oliver Davis was unbelievable and features in our notes, as does Sam Banks, while former Brisbane and Essendon goalsneak Josh Green slotted three majors in defeat.

By: Peter Williams

Clarence:

#20 Oliver Davis

Had a sensational outing and was clearly one of the Roos’ bet and four quarter performers. The AFL Academy member started onball and played there primarily other than the odd rest inside 50. His stoppage nous was terrific, and he was always burrowing in to either win the ball or lay a tackle on his opponent. Davis is able to find the exit at stoppages and read the taps well, and in the second term he got a quick snap off out of a stoppage to set up a goal for Josh Green. He has the smarts to reduce the impact of an opponent as well, by corralling them into a space – as he did in the third term at half-back – which forces them to retreat to safety and allow his teammates numbers to get back on the transition. Davis is definitely one of those pure inside ball winners and while sometimes he can be overzealous with his tackling, he is not afraid to crack in time and time again, showing off a high work rate. Reminded me a bit of Dylan Clarke at Under 18s level.

#23 Sam Banks

Played an outside role along and wing and drifting into either 50 when adding an extra number. Did not need to win a heap of the ball to do damage when he had his chance. His work under pressure is good, able to kick safely from half-back to the wing without putting it out on the full and gained vital metres. As a ball-winning midfielder, Banks did get caught out once by being sucked into the defensive 50 stoppage in the second term, and his opponent snuck out the back where an opposition player found him lurking at the top of 50. Banks’ offensive traits are superb though, and he showed in the third term what he can do with time and space, putting on the jets and burning off an opponent to kick long to the goalsquare where it almost created a goal-scoring opportunity.

Tigers:

#31 Lachlan Gadomski (Tigers)

The athletic 20-year-old remained in the interest of AFL recruiters last year, and he showed in little bursts what he is capable of. Having a clean run at it for a change this season, Gadomski was reliable in defence, with clean hands in the air and a strong aerial presence. He was hungry for the ball and laid some fierce tackles, but was also creative on the last line, often looked at as the option to switch play or, as on one occasion, go long down the middle. His pressure game was exemplified by winning a one-on-two contested in the back pocket where he was able to get the ball across the line, and in the fourth term, he did well not to give away a free backing back to a one-on-one and spoiling it to rush a behind.

 

LAUDERDALE vs. NORTH LAUNCESTON

North Launceston kicked into gear after a slow first half to pick up another win in its premiership defence season. The Bombers trailed by six points at quarter time against another top four side in Lauderdale, but after hitting the front by half-time (one point), ran away with it in the second half to boot six goals to two and secure a 10.7 (67) to 6.5 (41) victory. Nick Baker was terrific for Lauderdale and features in the notes, while Phillip Bellchambers, Josh McGuinness and Luke Nelson (three goals) were also impressive. For the winners though, Jackson Callow slotted two goals alongside Bart McCulloch, as youngster Sherrin Egger (one) and Alex Lee, were named amongst the best.

By: Fraser Stewart

Lauderdale:

#17 Nick Baker

Set up Lauderdale’s first goal of the game with impressive vision down on the wing. Impressive off half-back and was not afraid to show his attacking style of play often going forward to try and spark a Lauderdale attack, while at the same time showing great speed which was evident throughout the second half of the game. As well as showing a great instinct to attack, he was also calm in defence when the pressure was on him often defusing various North Launceston attacks through intercept marks and was even calm when he rushed a behind which shows he has the knowledge of match awareness in defence.

North Launceston:

#16 Ollie Sanders

Was quiet for much of the first half, came to life throughout the third term. However, he was always around the contest and it could be noted that much of his work went unnoticed as he was often the first person to get the ball out of a contest. It could be noted that his style more focussing on the one-percenters in which he contributed with a few spoils and pressure acts. Took a strong mark late in the third quarter to help slow the play showed good knowledge.

#21 Sherrin Egger

Set up North Launceston’s first goal of the game as he set up a Jackson Callow set shot off a clearance. He was impressive around the stoppages as he knows when to get the ball out often through a quick handball to set up a North Launceston attack. He also showed good composure when facing traffic often manoeuvring out of the way of Lauderdale’s oncoming players. He showed good vision too, and this was evident when he was on the wing as he knew where to kick it. Earned himself a 100-metre penalty early in the last quarter and kicked a goal, he goes hard at the contest too.

#25 Jackson Callow

It took 16 minutes for Callow to show what he is capable of as he kicked the first goal of the game with a great lead after a great chest mark. He was everywhere throughout the game plying his trade at half-forward where he kicked two goals and kicked it cleanly off the boot, in the ruck where he showed a great leap and even won a few hitouts. He also spent the majority of the last term in the backline defusing various Lauderdale attacks through intercept marks and spoils. On top of that, he can also be a handy midfield player too, as he was collecting possessions when he was near the ball. He has the potential to be a very useful player for any side as this game showed he can be a great utility that can play pretty much everywhere and has the footy smarts to go along with it. 

 

NORTH HOBART vs. LAUNCESTON

By: Eli Duxson

It was a captivating matchup in a top of the table clash which went right down to the wire despite a slow first half scoring wise. North Hobart looked like finally breaking Launceston’s undefeated streak after leading by two points at the main break, but then Launceston edged in front and held on to the lead to secure a memorable three-point win, 9.7 (61) to 9.4 (58) in one of the games of the season. While proven performers in Bailey Walker and Dylan Riley (four goals) stood out for either side, we will take a look at some of the young talent on display at North Hobart Oval in North Hobart’s Jake Steele, Hamish Allan, Will Peppin, Jye Menzie, Patrick Walker, and Sam Collins and Launceston’s Jared Dakin.

North Hobart

#11 Jake Steele

Steele has become the focal point of the Demons’ forward line having developed rapidly in the senior environment. The first forward entry of the game scrubbed its way into Steele who could not trap it which set the tone for much of his first quarter. He left the forward 50 on many occasions and provided a solid outlet target for North Hobart and despite not managing a mark until later in the quarter, he contested and brought it ground for his teammates to go to work. He made the most of some relaxed Launceston defence to mark uncontested 30 metres out and drilled it to give him his only goal for the day. Despite not impacting the scoreboard for the rest of the game, he showed his endurance with big efforts to create an outlet target in the back pocket. His field kicking looked scratchy but his willingness to push up the ground and help his defence is certainly a positive aspect of his game.

The second half saw him help Allan in the ruck and despite giving up some strength to Launceston ruckman Tim Auckland, he used his athleticism to not allow an easy clearance at stoppages for the Blues. When the game was at peak intensity in the final quarter, he managed to keep a cool head under pressure with a slick handball out of a pack to a runner on the wing which set up a deep forward entry, and taking an important intercept mark on his goal line.

Though he will look to continue working on his ball use around the ground, the Demons will be pleased with his improvement and ability to play as a key position player who can swing through the ruck. If he can turn his big spoils and marking contests into big contested marks, he will be a dangerous player moving forward.

#15 Hamish Allan

The matchup between he and Auckland from the outset was one to watch and he certainly did not back down an inch. The 205cm and 100kg brute of a 19-year-old showed an impressive amount of athleticism and endurance for much of the game, earning him a spot in his side’s best players. He thumped the ball from the very first ruck contest of the game and looked ominous from the outset. Later in the first quarter he even managed a clearance and a rebound 50 as he was willing to win, and use, his own ball. The second quarter provided one of the highlights of the game as he went for a big hanger in the middle of the ground. Even though he did not have to jump as high as the average player would have, it was still a good grab with a knee in the back of his opponent. Looking like he was unsure of what to do with it, he looked to go left, and then lumbered his way to his right and around the man on the mark to send it inside 50 where no North Hobart players were, unfortunately.

With Steele assisting him in the ruck for a lot of the second half, he managed to rest up forward and snagged a goal from a contested mark, slotting the goal from 25 metres out. He continued to show that he was not just a tall who slapped the ball out of the ruck, he even takes big pack marks leading up the wings much like Steele did when the Demons were moving forward. Further showing off his endurance, whenever he was in the ruck, he worked back defensively to plug the hole and did it effectively.

A very impressive game from the big man would have caught the eye of many as the prototype ruckman has started to turn into the hard-working athletic tall who can do it on both ends. Allan certainly has this ability and the only way is up for him.

#19 Will Peppin

The Devil from last season in the versatile Peppin found himself moving from the wing to the backline in what was a tough contest with the ladder leaders and despite his slight build, he looked to win his own ball on several occasions. He found his way to good spots and looked most comfortable floating down and getting the ball out the back. His ball use let him down for much of the first half, but he has done the hard yards to possess the ball which is what he would have been happy with. The first quarter saw a slick spin move and gather inside a defensive 50 pack, but an errant handball was the first of a few forgettable disposals for Peppin. Doing the grunt work with no result is far from a negative as clean and consistent ball use will come with confidence and experience at the level. His second quarter saw a drastic improve with an effortless side-step and switch kick deep in his defensive 50 hitting a target, and a well-weighted chip kick up the other end for a dropped mark from a teammate.

His second half showed off his pace as he assisted Allan for an easy goal, but it also showed off his inside work as he was willing to get in and under and scrap to win the hard balls. Even though he was muscled out of a contest early in the last quarter, he persisted on showing great poise in the defensive half of the ground in the manic moments as he started to become lively with their defensive exits. One of which included a big kick off the ground where he continued on to get on the end of a handball from his teammate who gathered his kick, as he found a target inside 50 for a shot on goal.

Even with a tough start in terms of disposal efficiency, he came into his own for most of the game and showed a level-head under defensive pressure. He will be looking to add some strength, but his inside and outside balance are a key feature of his game.

#46 Jye Menzie 

Menzie had a quiet game on his standards playing out of half-forward for the Demons but looked very threatening whenever he was around the ball. He led up strongly in the first quarter to mark at the centre of the ground and drilled a low ball to a target inside 50 who assisted a goal. Trying to get himself involved a bit more with Launceston doing most of the attacking in the second quarter, he found his way to the half back-flank to help with an exit. Menzie made a grubby kick from Steele look very good with an impressive ground ball gather at pace and under pressure, as he showed composure up against the boundary line and find a target with a handball. His pressure near the contest was also a highlight of his, a trait that many forwards require as they do not typically impact the game through high possessions.

His second half continued the same way his first half did with high impact on contests, but he would still like to find the footy a bit more. Menzie won a crucial one-on-one centre wing with a clean one-hand gather on the chaos ball before losing his footing. That did not affect him that much as he bounced back up to remain poised and recorded a goal assist with a kick to advantage inside 50. Being the link option between flanks for most of the game, Menzie found some space inside forward 50 following a quick Demons rebound, but unfortunately could not convert the 45-metre kick.

He may not have had as many possessions as he would have liked, but his defensive pressure, impact on contests and clean hands and disposal are what you want out of your forwards. Soon enough, his effort will turn into scoreboard results on a more consistent basis as it has in previous weeks.

#48 Patrick Walker

The AFL Academy member played predominantly on the wing as his run and carry and penetrating kick was on display. He injected himself into the game with a strong first quarter setting up well around stoppages to get clearances, while also finding himself free on transition plays to use his neat kicking to keep pushing it forward. Late in the opening quarter he drifted forward and took a mark in front of his opponent 45 metres out, but a 50-metre penalty put him on the goal line, and he put it straight through the middle. A quieter second quarter meant he almost got himself a second goal but fumbled at the wrong moment.

His second half also started a bit quieter than his blistering start to the game, but his play picked up with the intensity of the game in the final quarter as he halved a big contest in his defensive half before receiving help from teammates. His work did not stop there as he received a handball 60 metres away to pump it deep inside his forward 50. He continued to pop up in important spots as he had another shot on goal which just missed and covered good ground to create options on rebounds and entries.

Though he did have some quiet patches, he managed to maintain position and discipline as a wingman and more importantly, he played that linking role well with good ball use. He is a bit of a Lachie Whitfield type with a lean build, but good disposal and still an ability to find and win his own ball.

#49 Sam Collins

Normally playing as an attacking defender, he was given the responsibility of playing on the last line of defence against the Hudson Medal leader in Riley. The AFL Academy member showed he was up to it for much of the game, but a burst of brilliance from Riley may not reflect that if you only looked at the score sheet. He was caught behind on a few occasions due to quick ball movement off the turnover from Launceston but was not caught behind by much. He still scrapped at all contests but not had not conceded a goal for the first half. He kicked the ball well and found good options as his attacking mindset paid off when trying to escape tricky situations. He continued to find his own ball despite his tough assignment for the first half, but a missed spoil and loose body checking showed there are still things to work on if he wants to be a key defender moving forward.

Collins showed great closeout speed and ball reading all day, but there was not a lot he could have done to stop Launceston and Riley in the third quarter. Perfect kicks to space and strong hands meant Riley kicked his four goals for the day in the third quarter. To Collins’ credit, he did not give up. As you do as a defender, you force your opponent to kick goals from tough spots and work hard for it, and that is exactly what Collins did. He was on his tail for every lead and forced Riley toward the boundary.

His ball use was certainly a highlight of his game and all things considered, he defended well on a classy operator who enjoyed a quarter you do not have very often. He has all the attributes of a key defender as he reads the play well, has great closeout speed and with time, he will add some more strength to take on opponents like Riley moving forward.

Launceston:

#20 Jared Dakin

With no Isaac Chugg out there, he was the sole Devil representative for the Blues who did not enjoy the type of game that he has in recent weeks. He played in the forward half all day and did not impact the scoreboard, but he did pop up at good times to apply defensive pressure. He created a forward 50 boundary throw in due to a strong closeout and intercept spoil. Later in the quarter he hit up Riley inside 50 with a mark she should have taken. Besides kicking into the man on the mark, his first half was full of good pressure around the ball, he just could not get his hands on it.

Much like the other young talent on display, Dakin turned it on with the heat of the game in the final quarter, bringing that pressure and turning it into shots on goal. He hit the post after marking inside 50 and took a big contested mark further afield. He started to look dangerous when he laid a crunching tackle to create a forward 50 stoppage, before muscling out a handball while wrapped up.

He will certainly look to have more output in coming weeks, but his effort never wavered. He continued to apply defensive pressure and be physical around the stoppage.

ROUND 5 RESULTS:

Clarence 9.8 (62) defeated by Tigers 12.5 (77)
Lauderdale 6.5 (41) defeated by North Launceston 10.7 (67)
North Hobart 9.4 (58) defeated by Launceston 9.7 (61)

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 7

ROUND 7 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in. Some sides remained slightly depleted over the weekend with school football making its return.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

WWT Eagles vs. West Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

WWT:

#7 Caleb Poulter

Despite spending the majority of his time running through midfield, Poulter accumulated most of his possessions on the outside. It beggars belief that he was able to find so much space around the ground, racking up 27 disposals and eight marks – largely uncontested in open play. He still showed glimpses of his contested work and the ability to flick out long, releasing handballs, while also looking to get on the move at stoppages as the Eagles’ anchor. One of the main restrictions on Poulter’s impact was his tendency to bomb the ball long looking for distance, rather than a specific target. While his penetration is usually effective, it worked against him at times as his kicks played right into West Adelaide’s defensive setup.

#9 Max Litster

Litster was a key cog in the Eagles’ midfield throughout the game, getting his hands dirty with 26 disposals and seven clearances. He dug in hard to win a bunch of ball at the centre bounces early on, which seemed to inject him with a deal of confidence as he continued to pop up with eye-catching efforts. He blazed away with a few kicks in the first half, but began to adjust in the second half with bursts away from congestion before delivering the ball forward. Litster’s strength and subtle turn of speed came to the fore, and he was a solid contributor for his side.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

The 2021 Port Adelaide father-son candidate returned monster numbers as he rotated through the defence and midfield, collecting a game-high 37 disposals, five clearances, nine rebound 50s, and a goal. While his stats were padded slightly by taking on the kick-in duties, Burgoyne had no trouble in finding his own ball in all areas of the ground. He looked dangerous in his forward movement, hitting the ball at speed and getting creative with his disposal on the up-take. His ability to chain possessions and provide a clean touch at the contest was noticeable, as was his knack of knowing exactly where the play was moving. Burgoyne looks a likely type for next year’s draft.

Others:

If not for inaccuracy in front of goal, big Henry Smith would have enjoyed a very good outing up forward, but instead booted 1.3 from his nine disposals, while Zac Phillips won 24 hitouts in the ruck. Harrison Dawkins was his usual self through the midfield and forwardline, collecting 23 disposals and booting a goal, while Jay Watson (two goals) and Jacob Godden (one) looked dangerous at ground level. Will Neumann was another to impress in patches, showing good physicality in his 11-disposal performance, which included four clearances and eight tackles.

>> WWT EAGLES CONTENT

West Adelaide:

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

While the pure numbers of 34 disposals, six clearances, and four inside 50s read incredibly well by anyone’s standards, Chamberlain still endured a tough night against solid opposition. He quite obviously has no trouble finding the ball and was constantly around the action, but it was more a case of struggling to generate any serious drive for the Bloods with his disposal – particularly in the first half. He would often find himself stuck with no support around him, by no fault of his own, or having to bomb long to a contest. He seemed to use his speed more effectively after half time to break away from congestion and deliver forward, though. There is always room for improvement, but Chamberlain is very much still West Adelaide’s primary ball winner.

#7 Cooper Gilbert

Gilbert was a positive mover through the Westies midfield, providing a physical edge at the contest while also remaining accountable. He may not have won mountains of the ball with 15 disposals and three clearances, but made his presence felt with solid defensive pressure and six strong tackles. He was one of the West Adelaide players to have run out the game strongly, and supply much-needed support to the likes of Chamberlain at the fall of the ball.

#12 Zac Venning

The West Adelaide defence was under siege after quarter time, and Venning was part of the commendable resistance. He took on some of the kick-in duties and was quite sound in his disposal by foot, while also chiming in with some much-needed intercept possessions both in the air and at ground level. While his sweeping role across the back half was largely an accumulative one, his 22 disposals and seven rebound 50s were all important to the Bloods’ cause.

Others:

Eduard van den Berg continued his solid form down back with another 27 disposals and nine rebound 50s, supported well by Kane Sherlock (18 disposals, seven tackles). Luke Young impressed up the other end with three goals from 17 touches, seemingly enjoying his own handiwork.

>> WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

North Adelaide vs. Sturt

By: Michael Alvaro

North Adelaide

#9 Jamison Murphy

It was a successful return to SANFL Under 18s action for Murphy, who slotted straight back into his role rotating through the midfield from half-back. He is not particularly quick, but just seems a level above in terms of his awareness, able to assess his options and run a full measure before delivering the ball cleanly by foot. Murphy was clean and composed on the last line, adding some sweeping defensive duties to his safe use of the ball going forward. He would later move into the midfield to good effect, even bombing home a 50-metre set shot in the second term. There are hardly any frills in Murphy’s game, but you know what you’re going to get with his hard work, strength, and efficient style.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

Newchurch was North Adelaide’s other AFL Academy hub member to return to SANFL Under 18s duties, and again showed glimpses of his raw talent. The Adelaide Crows NGA hopeful has terrific agility and evasiveness, and constantly utilised that aspect of his game on Saturday. He was often sighted running hard up the ground to find the ball and create a spark for the Roosters with inboard kicks, while also getting busy close to goal. Newchurch’s ability to collect the ball from forward 50 stoppages at speed was outstanding, and almost earned him a goal on multiple occasions. While the pop in his set shots came under question early on, Newchurch eventually found the big sticks with a nice snap in the second term.

#24 Kallis Freer

The Roosters’ most prolific ball winner on the day (28 disposals, five clearances), Freer was terrific after steadily building into the contest. He formed a terrific combination with Matthew Borg at the stoppages, often receiving the first handball out of traffic and bursting forward with speed and strength. That was before he went on to win a mountain of his own ball, providing great drive and accumulating well around the ground. His second term goal on the fly was his highlight of the day, and he even set one up for Zyton Santillo in the third.

Others:

Borg was again terrific from midfield with 26 disposals, seven clearances, and a goal. His ability to get first hands on the ball worked to release his outside runners well. The tall and small defensive duo of Lam Simon (21 disposals, 10 marks) and Blayne O’Loughlin (25 disposals, eight rebound 50s) again worked wonders, with Simon intercepting well in the air, while O’Loughlin buzzed away at ground level. Santillo was also an effective link heading forward, with his defensive pressure and handy aerial work helping him to 17 disposals and a goal.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Sturt:

#11 Will Spain

While his touches may not always be as noticeable as those of his midfield peers, Spain is such an important part of the Double Blues’ midfield setup. With Tom Powell spending a touch more time away from the centre bounces and stoppages, the diminutive ball winner was able to dig in and get first hands on the pill in heavy congestion. His feeding handballs made it easier for others to pump the ball forward, and set the tone for Sturt’s midfield edge. He is still a bottom-ager, so has plenty of time to continue to develop, and the work rate seems to be there already.

#17 Mani Liddy

Liddy arguably took over as Sturt’s prime mover through midfield on this occasion, and ended up as his side’s top ball winner with 30 disposals and seven clearances. His strength at the contest was outstanding, and there were countless times where he was able to either shrug off would-be tacklers with strength, or use his core to stand up and flick the ball out. Liddy’s releasing handballs were effective early, and he began to kick more as the game wore on – particularly long. While his tendency to try to fend off tacklers got him in trouble in the third term and may have the same effect at the elite level, Liddy still provides great ball winning quality and smarts through midfield.

#18 Tom Powell

If 27 disposals and 10 clearances makes up your quietest outing in weeks, then you know you’re going alright. Powell may have spent a good amount of time up forward for Sturt across this outing, but made his midfield minutes count when thrown back into the engine room. He worked into the game well after quarter time, again showcasing his composure on the ball with some terrific decision making by hand in traffic. Powell was as clean as ever and worked around the ground well to rack up some uncontested possessions, utilising sharp short-range kicks to help the Double Blues move into attack. He clearly looked more comfortable in midfield, and made a good impact as Sturt ran over the top of North Adelaide in the final term.

Others:

William Staples made his mark early with a couple of opportunistic goals, while Blake Higgins was another to start brightly, finding a good amount of space on the wing to finish with 23 disposals and 10 marks. William Taylor saw plenty of the ball down back (17 disposals, nine rebound 50s), while Tom Emmett‘s late goals up the other end proved crucial to the Double Blues’ win.

>> STURT CONTENT

Glenelg vs. Central District

By: Tom Cheesman (U18s) & Peter Williams (League)

Glenelg:

#10 Ty Murphy

Murphy worked hard up and down the outer wing for Glenelg, collecting 16 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and a goal in the draw. He has outstanding speed and used this asset to break away from opponents and get the ball moving quickly. A highlight was in the third term when he produced a clean pick-up to intercept the ball and goal from about 40 metres out on the run.

#11 Harry McInnes

Tall forward McInnes had a day he will never forget. He produced a brilliant first half, kicking three goals and impacting the contest whenever the ball went forward, whether it be through score involvements or forward pressure. He always led well at the ball carrier and showed great agility for his size when the ball hit the deck. In the second half, he kicked two more goals and had a chance to win the Bays the game with a set shot for goal after the siren (who trailed by one point at the time). Although he missed to the left, there is no way Glenelg would have scraped through with a draw without McInnes’ fantastic performance. He finished with 13 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and 5.4.

#16 Maxwell Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald played at centre-half back and showed that this position suits him to a T. The youngster read the ball brilliantly from one or two kicks behind the play and took multiple intercept marks with strong hands. Fitzgerald’s work rate was exceptional for a big man and his kick was also very reliable, hitting the majority of his targets when moving the ball forward. He finished with 15 disposals, seven marks, five rebound 50s and three tackles.

#20 Bailey Durant

Durant was positioned at half-back alongside Fitzgerald and put together arguably his best performance for the season. He came off the back of the square with pace at numerous centre bounces and impacted the contests. He was composed with ball in hand and was willing to push up the ground to launch the ball into the Bays’ attack. Durant finished with 18 disposals, four marks, four tackles and four inside 50s.

#27 Luke Parks (League)

A player I rated last season playing for Sydney Swans Academy, it was great to see him continuing the form he has already set himself this season. He looks comfortable at senior level, able to control the airways, not panic with ball-in-hand on the last line, and use the ball effectively going long down the line, or in switching the play. He took a whopping 10 marks – four contested – and was a real thorn in the Bulldogs’ side with his ability to get into the right position and outmark his direct opponent. He did not have as many touches as he has had in previous weeks, but he earned them all, finishing with 14 disposals, four tackles, two clearances and two rebounds. As an over-ager he looks to have ticked the box to compete against quality senior players in one of the top state leagues in the country, so certainly deserves a look-in this year.

#30 Luke Edwards (League)

Making his debut in the League side, Edwards did not look out of place having the chance to run out alongside his brother, Jackson. He was busy early with a goal assist midway through the term thanks to a clever kick across his body. It almost looked like it was going to bounce through, but sat up and Matthew Snook had the nice cherry pick on the goal line to make it a certainty. He provided an option at half-back and played the safe option with his ball use, but it was his defensive pressure and willingness to crack in that caught the eye. Having second and third efforts at the contest, and refusing to give in, Edwards finished with a really solid, 10 disposals, three marks and five tackles, whilst also recording a behind.

Others:

Riley Davis (20 disposals, two goals) worked tirelessly for the Bays and kicked an important clutch goal from a set shot. Connor Drum (16 disposals, two goals) was accurate in front of goal while Jarman Sigal (17 disposals, 14 hitouts, seven tackles) used his athleticism to impact contests in the ruck and around the ground.

>> GLENELG CONTENT

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

McDonald had another strong game for the Bulldogs. In what turned out to be a scrappy affair, the youngster was a quite simply a class above. He worked hard at stoppages, ran back to help his defence whenever required and kicked to his teammates’ advantage when moving the ball forward. McDonald clearly tried to make his team go more central with their ball movement by frequently presenting for the switch in the centre square to open up both sides of the ground. He filled the stats sheet with 24 disposals, eight clearances, seven tackles, six marks, six inside 50s and five rebound 50s.

#15 Lewis Cowham

Cowham returned to the Under 18 side for this clash against Glenelg and was arguably the best performer on the ground. He hunted the ball relentlessly at stoppages, was smart by hand and took multiple intercept marks because of how well he positioned himself around the ground. Cowham demonstrated the ability to use both sides of his body by foot and linked up well with other midfielders in transition. He finished with 24 disposals, seven tackles, six marks and five clearances.

#32 Saxon Evans

Evans was one of Central’s standout performers in this outing. He played in the ruck and up forward, switching with fellow big man Wyatt Ryan. While he was fantastic in the ruck with 32 hitouts, Evans was incredibly potent up forward, kicking four majors for the day. He played in front at most forward 50 contests which allowed him to use his size and mark quick entries out of the middle. Evans also has a nice set shot for goal, highlighted when he slotted a difficult kick from the 50-metre arc on a tight angle in the first term.

#39 Wyatt Ryan

As mentioned above, Ryan shared the ruck duties with Evans and was also very impressive in this contest. He provided a great option for the Bulldogs coming out of defence, taking numerous strong marks on the wings above his head in contested situations. He then gave quick handballs to runners that were coming in waves to break through the Tigers’ defensive setup and launch deep into attack. Ryan finished with 17 disposals, 11 hitouts, eight marks (four contested) and a goal.

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

A really clean prospect whose work at ground level is superb. He does not fumble too many ground balls, and he just knows how to rove a marking contest with ease. He had an early chance in the match by doing just that and kicking towards goal but went across the face and stayed in. Throughout the first half he looked really busy and was winning a fair chunk of the ball in the opening term, even pushing up to half-back at one stage. He hit up Troy Menzel inside 50 midway through the term, and almost had a mark close to goal at the 17-minute stage but it slipped through his hands. He did a lot of running up the ground to win the ball through midfield and even at half-back in the second term. He had a chance on goal again in that quarter, showing clean hands out of the stoppage and receiving the ball back, but rushed a little and his kick went across to the right. He finally got on the end of one in the third term kicking a major on the run from 35m. While his second half was not as huge numbers wise as his first, he continued to look dangerous whenever the ball was in his area. Durdin ended with 11 disposals – 10 kicks – two marks, two tackles, an impressive five inside 50s and a goal.

#32 Jack Toner (League)

The ex-Dandenong Stingrays ball magnet continued his work at Under 18s level last year to have no issues whatsoever getting to the right spots in his third League game for the year. Handed the responsibility of kickouts more often than not, Toner would look to run-and-gun out of defence. At times the pace caught up with him and he would have to rush or was run down, but when he was able to execute cleanly, the Bulldogs looked a lot more damaging. He showed off a raking long boot and even pushed up to half-forward at one stage, showing quick hands and an ability ti move the ball in transition. He started a scoring chain for Central midway through the second term, and beat his season-high from last week with an extra disposal to have 21 touches, three marks, five rebounds, two clearances and two inside 50s in a promising display.

#52 Lachlan Grubb (League)

Didn’t win a heap of it, but was not afraid of the contest and used the ball well when he did get it. In just his second League match, he showed clean hands when he had it, and spread to the flanks and up to the wing when required to be lively. He often looked for the short pass, but he also had the athleticism to worry opponents into rushing at times, and finished with nine disposals, four marks and a tackle in the loss.

Others:

Christopher Tidswell (12 kicks) worked hard once again in defence, displaying some nice run and link-up with teammates. Kobe Wilson (18 disposals, five marks) used his pace to impress down the wing and kicked an outstanding running goal (after a fantastic crumb from Lowan Welch) to put his side in front at the 25-minute mark of the final term. Finn Reed (nine disposals, four inside 50s, one goal) was lively up forward.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

South Adelaide vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide:

#4 Max Clifton

Max Clifton fought hard in the midfield all day against a talented Norwood on-ball unit. His long left-boot stood out, launching several bombs down the line and also nailing a goal on the run from beyond the arc early in the second term. Clifton’s disposal by foot would continue to be a feature of his game from that point on, with his ability to execute a difficult kick and find Brayden Cook on his own deep inside-50 another excellent example. He finished the match with 16 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three clearances and five inside-50s.

#10 Brayden Cook

Medium forward Brayden Cook has shown some glimpses of his talent already this season, but his four goal effort against the Redlegs will have really turned some heads. He slotted his first goal from a regulation set-shot after floating across the pack to take a nice mark. Later, Cook swooped at the back of a marking contest and gathered the loose ball cleanly before accelerating away and kicking long for a teammate to run onto and goal from the square. Later in the final term he showed excellent hustle to force a turnover, gather the loose ball and complete a clean pass to Clifton, who then returned the favour by finding him all alone inside-50, where he booted his fourth. Cook’s cleanness by foot, aerial prowess and speed at ground level was exciting to watch and he finished the day with 16 disposals (15 kicks), eight marks (three contested) and four inside-50s.

#23 Phoenix Spicer

Spicer added some real excitement to the game with his speed and ability to break the lines. He embarked on several long runs on both wings and would have accumulated plenty of metres gained. Although his disposal whilst travelling at speed wasn’t always effective, there’s no denying his outside talent and ability to break open a game with his electric leg speed. He concluded the match with 17 disposals, four tackles and a game-high nine inside-50s.

#27 Will Verrall

South’s 16-year-old tall shared the ruck duties with Heath Treloar and also spent some time up forward. Despite his age, Verrall looked at home at under-18s level, with his athleticism a real positive. He moves extremely well for a big man and took a big contested mark early in the game to get the Panthers rolling. Verrall finished with eight disposals, three marks and 18 hitouts and looks to be one to watch evolve at under-18s level across the next couple of years.

#33 Jason Horne (League)

At just 17 years of age, Jason Horne made his league debut on Sunday afternoon at Coopers Stadium. He spent the entire match in the forward line, often opposed to Emmanuel Irra, and didn’t look out of place from the moment he entered the field, winning himself a holding the ball free kick in the opening minutes. He provided some run and carry on a couple of occasions and was strong in the air when he needed to be. Aside from a poor forward-50 entry in the second term, Horne’s foot skills were solid. He spotted a teammate inside-50 who kicked a much needed goal for the Panthers later in the game. He wasn’t provided with lots of opportunities, but certainly showed some encouraging early signs. He finished with nine disposals, three marks, two tackles and three inside-50s.

Others: 

Ruckman Heath Treloar performed well and provided the South Adelaide midfielders with a plethora of taps to advantage. He played a vital role in South’s second quarter revival and finished the match with eight disposals and seven tackles to go with a game-high 24 hitouts. Jayden Little had a couple of nice moments across half-back and through the midfield. He collected 15 disposals, five marks, three clearances and five rebound-50s. Left-footer Jack Flett was another to impress across half-back. He found plenty of the footy and set-up much of the Panthers rebound from the back-half. Flett finished with a team-high 20 disposals and eight marks (two contested). Although slight in his build, midfielder Luke Mitton had his moments in attack and on the ball, headlined by a breakaway clearance in the first term. He finished with 12 disposals, five tackles and six clearances and was one of the Panthers best. Key defender Harry Spacie was trusted with the kick-ins and was one of South’s better players in a high-scoring opening term. He took a couple of strong contested marks and accumulated 20 disposals and seven rebound-50s.

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

Bottom-ager Cooper Murley continues to shine at under-18 level after another excellent showing in the red and blue at Flinders University Stadium. The silky smooth midfielder/forward was never flat-footed at stoppages and looked to get on his bike early in the hope of receiving the ball in a dangerous position, which he was successful in doing on multiple occasions. His running patterns and ability to accelerate away from his opponents allowed him to accumulate plenty of the ball. Murley’s ability to remain composed and hit his targets by foot whilst running at high speed is a trait which not many can master, particularly at his age. He kicked a classy goal on the run from a tricky angle late in the first term to extend the Redlegs sizeable lead, but it was his involvement at one particular centre bounce which would have really excited AFL scouts. His direct opponent didn’t go body-on-body at the centre bounce and allowed him some space, which Murley took full advantage of. He accelerated away from the pack, gathered the ball at speed then turned and hit ruckman Nathan Hearing all alone across the other side of the stoppage with his left foot. He is simply too quick and skilful to be allowed any space to operate in. Although the flashy stuff was eye-catching, Murley also tackled hard and took three terrific marks whilst facing the opposite direction by simply reading it better than his Panthers opponent. The exciting talent finished with a game-high 31 disposals, seven marks, six tackles, four clearances and six inside-50s.

#5 Henry Nelligan

Nelligan returned to under-18s level after stints with the league and reserves sides and was typically industrial around the ball. He spent time up forward but was most effective as an inside midfielder. Regularly the last player to stand up after a contest, Nelligan won plenty of contested ball and was the leading clearance player on the ground with eight. He tackled strongly and with intensity and booted two goals from set-shots inside-50. A significant proportion of his kicks were hurried snaps out of congestion but in general play his skills were relatively clean. He finished with 24 disposals, two marks and ten tackles.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

Cavallaro’s skills with ball in hand, football smarts and composure were all prominent in the win over the Panthers. He was instrumental in Norwood’s third goal, kicking long to the goal square where teammate James Warton marked and converted the subsequent set-shot. It was encouraging to see Cavallaro back his foot skills and look to hit several in-board targets. Although he spends most of his time on the wing and across half-back, ‘Cav’ showed he is capable of winning his own ball by cracking in hard when it was his turn to go. Wherever possible, he lowered his eyes and surveyed his options instead of taking the simple option and kicking long down the line. Cavallaro’s vision to spot a teammate in space at the other side of a stoppage helped get the ball moving Norwood’s way and quick handballing was superb once again. He capped off another strong outing with a goal from right on the 50 metre arc in the third term. Cavallaro finished with 19 disposals, five marks and four inside-50s.

#17 Daniel Fairbrother

The intercept-marking machine was at it again across half-back for the ‘legs. Fairbrother’s ability to read the play downfield and position himself to cut off opposition forward entries has been vital to Norwood’s terrific start to the season. He was strong in the air, but at ground level he provided some meaningful rebound from the back-50 and didn’t shy away from any contest. Although many of his kicks were short and relatively low percentage, his foot skills were sound for the majority of the clash and helped construct several attacking passages. Fairbrother finished with 23 disposals, nine marks (three contested) and seven rebound-50s.

#21 Jack Saunders

It was another strong showing from consistent midfielder Jack Saunders. He spent some time on the inside but earned most of his possessions on the outside of the contest and in open space, where he was able to use his excellent acceleration to provide run and carry between the arcs. Although his ability to accumulate the football week-in, week-out is impressive, question marks loom over Saunders’ disposal by foot, which has been up and down so far in 2020. However he was largely sound by foot against the Panthers and delivered a couple of beautiful kicks inside-50 to leading teammates. His goal off only a couple of steps from right-on the 50 metre line in the third term was a real highlight and his ability to impact the scoreboard has proven invaluable for Norwood. The blonde-haired on-baller finished with 24 disposals, eight marks, four tackles and six inside-50s.

Others:

Taj Rahul performed well in his half-back role. He used his speed and long foot skills to generate rebound from the Redlegs defensive-50. His attack on the ball was also encouraging to see. He collected 12 disposals, four marks, three tackles and four rebound-50s. Key forward Finn Heard was once again the focal point of the Norwood forward line. He consistently gained separation from his direct opponent on the lead and converted all-bar-one of his chances to finish with three goals. Ruckman Nathan Hearing had a couple of Panthers opponents to contest against at Noarlunga. He won a couple of nice taps to advantage but it was his excellent work at ground level which really stood out, particularly for a player of his size. One of the best big men in the SANFL under-18 competition, Hearing picked up 19 disposals, six clearances and four inside-50s to go with his 16 hitouts.

>> NORWOOD CONTENT

Scouting notes: Northern Academy Series – Round 1

THE 2020 Northern Academy Series got underway over the weekend, with prospects from the Brisbane Lions, Gold Coast Suns, GWS Giants, and Sydney Swans talent programs all looking to impress. State derbies kicked off proceedings, and made for a couple of hard-fought battles.

In a willing contest under sunny conditions, the Gold Coast Suns Academy won by 53 points over their Sunshine State rivals. The Suns booted the first six goals of the game – five came with the breeze in the opening term – to run out comfortable winners.

The Sydney Swans Academy also ran out winners in their clash with the GWS Giants prospects, setting up the victory with a string of five unanswered goals which extended from the second term, onwards. Soggy conditions ensured hard work would be made for the 15-point triumph, with a good bit of niggle to go with the contested slog.

We took a look at some of the Academy members and how they performed, as well as a bunch of other names who impressed on the day.

Brisbane Lions vs. Gold Coast Suns

Brisbane:

By: Peter Williams

#12 Saxon Crozier

Played a mixture between the wing and getting back to help the defence, Crozier was neat with his ball use and always looking to create run for the Lions. After a quieter first term – though he had a good handball out of defence – he had an number of impressive plays in the second term. He sidestepped an opponent and got it quickly onto the right, and presented to his teammates around the field. His handballing release to teammates streaming down the ground opened up the play for Brisbane to begin to cut the deficit back.

#13 Blake Coleman

Not a high possession player, Coleman has high level footy smarts and clean hands that make him so difficult to stop. He is one of those players who might not get a touch for a half, then can win the game for his side with a couple of impactful plays. After a few silky moves in the first term, he combined well with Tahj Abberley down the ground to win it on the wing and keep paddling the ball in front of him. Somehow he managed to gain distance, shake off his pursuers and launch a goal from 50m having beaten three opponents in the clear goal of the day. His second major in the third term was more straightforward, floating in from the side to then hold his ground and clunk the grab 35m out. He nailed the set shot six and a half minutes into the term, and almost had another good mark in the final quarter but could not quite hold it. As he booted two of the Lions’ four goals, he did well to play his role in the forward half with great pressure.

#14 Carter Michael

Michael showed a great balance of offensive and defensive traits throughout the contest, playing off half-back and then pushing up the ground when required. His first foray in the match was a good early spoil, getting the body contact out of the way. Throughout the match, Michael ran hard to be an option through the middle, and often ran up to the kicker at a stop in play to receive the get and go, to add an extra number to the play and try and use his speed to drive the ball down the ground. He pumped the ball inside 50 on occasions, and was working hard to look for one-two opportunities for his teammates. He copped a knock in the defensive 50 back pocket, but bounced straight back up and was solid throughout the entire game. Showing nice hands out of congestion, Michael ran down the ground and teamed up with Abberley well in keeping the ball moving. He had a snap on goal of his own late in the final term, but the wind did not help him out and it went out on the full. His reaction in one passage of play saw him bolt down the middle and leave his opponents in his wake. He was a treat to watch on the day and a real highlight for the Lions.

#15 Tahj Abberley

One of the Lions’ best throughout the day, he just kept trying to create off half-back and push up the ground. He set up a goal to Coleman in the second term with his pace off half-back, and then teamed up well with Michael in the final term with the one-two handballs down the ground. He stayed involved in all four quarters, and even drifted forward at times to kick it deeper inside 50, having a clever snap from long range, but it drifted for a behind. He won plenty of the ball in all thirds of the ground, and when the heat was on early in the game, Abberley was one of the few who stood up and continued to try hard against the flow. He used the ball well and showed good hands in traffic throughout the contest, and definitely showed plenty of potential in the defeat.

Others:

In terms of others who caught the eye, Shatna Cashen-Harris was lively up forward, with clean hands and a silky side-step, always looking dangerous. In midfield, the combination of Sam Winterbottom and Daniel Lanthois tried hard with the latter kicking a clever goal in the second term, whilst Ben Thomas kicked the other major for the Lions. Over-ager Max McDonald was dominant in the ruck, whilst Noah McFadyen provided a contest up forward, and Kuot Thok was not afraid to crash and bash the packs in defence.

>> Lions Academy Content

Gold Coast:

By: Ed Pascoe

#13 Rhys Nicholls 

Nicholls did not have the most productive game but he was still able to show his skill and talent with some nice spin moves and classy movement from the back half. The clever left-footer looked very smooth whenever he got possession and like many of his teammates, always took the opportunity to move the ball forward as quickly and cleanly as possible. 

#14 Max Pescud 

Maybe the most unlucky Suns player not to be included in the AFL based academy, he has been a regular goal scorer in the QAFL and backed that up again. He kicked multiple goals while also unselfishly passing off more opportunities as he could have easily ended up with about five goals himself. A quick player who takes the game on, tackles, and marks with intent despite his light frame, he came undone a few times with his run but when he was up-and-running and taking bounces, he looked very sharp and even got some time through the midfield late in the game, winning a few clearances. 

#19 Josh Fahey 

Fahey played for NSW/ACT in last year’s Under 16 championships and now finds himself with the Gold Coast Suns, although he wont be tied to any academies for next year’s draft. That’ll come as a sigh of relief for all AFL clubs, as he put on a best on ground performance down back. Fahey wasn’t hard to miss with his blonde locks but he also wasn’t hard to miss for the Lions going inside 50 as they kicked it down his throat multiple times. Fahey cut off plenty of attacks, attacking the contest hard and cleanly. His left-foot kicking from defence was a real feature, both long and damaging, and he had a major influence on the result. Fahey looks to be a very promising prospect for the 2021 draft.  

#20 Aiden Fyfe 

Fyfe had the ball on a string on his favoured wing position, and would had to have been the leading possession winner on the ground as he was involved in every quarter as one of the most consistent players afield. Fyfe found the ball all over the ground, working hard defensively and offensively. He was one of many to kick a goal in the first quarter with a nice snap and he would set up countless others with his clean hands and composure when in possession. Fyfe rarely wasted his touches and often hit teammates in a better position than himself. Despite not being the quickest player out there, he was certainly one of the sharpest in both skill and mind with ball in hand. 

#22 Jack Johnston 

The captain of the side, Johnston was a rock in defence at centre half-back. He took some nice strong marks and was cool and composed across the back half. Johnston is a strong player already standing at 195cm and 95kg, using his frame well both overhead anover the ball, and his disposals were often very clean for a big man. 

Others:

A couple of over-agers who impressed were forwards, Josh Gore and Nathan Colenso. Both were able to hit the scoreboard multiple times and look damaging, with Colenso on the lead, and Gore mixing between the lead and in play. Both have been prominent goalkickers at QAFL level, and brought that same form into the game, with Gore’s clean hands and Colenso’s strength and tackling ability amongst the attributes that stood out for the respective forwards.

>> Suns Academy Content

GWS Giants vs. Sydney Swans

By: Michael Alvaro

GWS:

#1 Harry Grant

The diminutive over-ager was thrown right into the cut and thrust of midfield and hardly looked out of place. Grant hunted the ball from the first bounce, with his pace and tenacity at ground level making for a solid two-way contribution. If he wasn’t digging in to win his own ball at the stoppages, Grant was applying smothering defensive pressure to make life hard for opposition midfielders. It seemed the conditions suited his game well, and he would later move forward where he very nearly added a goal to his game with a sharp snap.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Another 19-year-old prospect to show promising glimpses of form, Delahunty was primed to make is mark on the NAB League and VFL in 2020. Instead, he took the opportunity this weekend to show his worth back with the Giants Academy, and had his moments throughout the game. Starting in defence, Delahunty took a nice contested mark to intercept a deep Sydney entry, while also looking to rebound aggressively by running his full measure and delivering by foot. He is somewhat of an in-between size at 192cm and 87kg, allowing him to compete both aerially and at ground level. He continued to take the game on from defensive 50, but was caught holding the ball as he looked to fend off an opponent in the third term. A move forward followed, and Delahunty capped off his performance with a tidy, quick finish for the final goal of the game.

#27 Josh Green

Green cuts a similar figure to his brother, Tom – albeit a touch taller and leaner – and was tried in an inside midfield role for the Giants early on. His 192cm frame allowed him to compete at the stoppages, while his ability to get up either end of the ground made him an influential player throughout the game. While he was a touch slow to truly build into the contest, Green began to show his best form after half time with some terrific overhead marking in tricky conditions. His clearance work built as well with the added confidence, and a later move behind the ball allowed Green to showcase his strong hands and intercept quality.

#42 Maximus Monaghan

One of a number of Giants to have rotated through midfield, Monaghan also showed some good signs while stationed both in defence and attack. The top-ager is strongly built and applied himself at the contest, showing good aggression and strength to break free and dispose of the ball via foot. He accumulated well through the engine room and was later sighted up either end of the ground where he was able to find his way to the ball.

Others:

On a day where the conditions made it tough to take a lot out of the game, there were a number of players to have provided little flashes of form. Bottom-age forward Sam Stening presented well up the ground early and was later rewarded with a goal for his run-down tackle on Max Geddes. The likes of Coopa Steele and Joel Dunstall dug in to find plenty of the ball, while Harrison Grintell looked lively up forward, and Sam Frost was among a few solid defenders. Under 16 NSW/ACT MVP Kai Watts booted a goal from his permenent forward position, while Jack Driscoll rotated back through the ruck.

>> Giants Academy Content

Sydney:

#2 Sam Gaden

Gaden proved a strong a flexible key position option for the Swans, starting forward and eventually plying his trade down back. The over-ager worked up the ground well in the early stages, presenting as a link into Sydney’s forward 50. He provided a goal assist to Jackson Barling in the second term with a hacked kick into the arc, and doubled his impact with some forward 50 ruck work. Having been moved down back in the second half, Gaden showcased his ability to intercept, sweeping well both in the air and at ground level.

#3 Kye Pfrengle

A player who needs only a few touches or moments to catch the eye is Pfrengle, who looked particularly lively in the first term with some incredible marking attempts. The top-age AFL Academy hub member certainly has a spring in his step, leaping high for the ball to intercept GWS’ long defensive rebounds. While he failed to hold onto most of his speckie attempts, Pfrengle was positioned well behind the ball to begin with, allowing him enact that intercept game. He would later be seen a touch deeper in defence, locking the ball in and taking the kick-outs, making handy contributions just when it seemed he was drifting out of the contest.

#7 Braeden Campbell

The leading Swans Academy prospect looked like tearing the game apart as he dominated the opening stages, showing terrific signs through midfield. While his speed and damaging kicking on the outside often garner the most praise, it was Campbell’s toughness and ability to adapt to the conditions which stood out most on this occasion. His clearance work was sound throughout the match, and despite coughing up a rare turnover by foot in the second term, he was able to find his range consistently. With some opposition attention incoming, Campbell was moved to half-back and also rotated off the wing, while pushing forward to slot a goal in the third term. He looked most dangerous with his burst away from the stoppages though, and hunted the ball well when on the inside.

>> Academy Series Player Focus

#15 Sam Thorne

Another over-ager to have made his mark on the game was Thorne, a small midfielder who thrived in the soggy conditions. He was a regular at the centre bounces and stoppages, accumulating the ball with ease at ground level and releasing well to his teammates on the move. Thorne’s ability to shark the ball off hands and get his legs pumping to burst away was noticeable, and it helped set the tone for Sydney from where it mattered most. He finished as one of the most prolific ball winners on the day, and kept his name in the hat as far as the Swans are concerned.

#22 Errol Gulden

Campbell’s partner-in-crime, Gulden was a consistent threat for Sydney and managed to find the ball at will while rotating from the wing, through the middle, and up forward. The 176cm mover relies more on agility and smarts rather than pure pace, so initially found it hard in the wet conditions to have his usual impact on the game despite constantly getting his hands on the ball.

Still, Gulden snared the opening goal after being tackled high inside 50, and used it as a catalyst to work more effectively at ground level. His work-rate forward of centre was outstanding, and he could be seen pushing inside 50 from the wing to snare his second major, hardly breaking stride as he gobbled up the loose ball and slotted it home on the fly. Gulden was arguably best afield in the second half, and is just so difficult to stop at full flight. It was good to see him get busy up forward too, as that high half-forward role looks most like being his starting position at the elite level.

#25 Jackson Barling

Barling is another Academy talent to have missed out last year, but seems to have taken it in his stride after an impressive performance. He was first sighted using the ball cleanly in the back half, staying composed to provide a refreshing point of difference in the largely-contested game. His biggest impact came upon his move to the forwardline though, where Barling would kick three goals. His first came on the back of a juggled mark inside 50, which was quickly followed by another strong grab and set shot conversion in the second term. Yet another big clunk helped deliver a third major in the final quarter, though he selfishly burned Thorne as he looked for a fourth. Still, Barling’s scoreboard impact helped turn the game significantly in Sydney’s favour, and his hardness at 183cm and 85kg was impressive as it should be for an over-ager.

Others:

The talent in the Swans Academy runs deep, and there were plenty of others to have pitched in across the day. Marc Sheather was hard at the ball through midfield, while fellow AFL Academy member Marco Rossmann showed some promising signs early in his role up forward. Oscar Bird was another solid contributor who got involved in Sydney’s forward surges.

>> Swans Academy Content