Author: Staff Writers

Scouting Notes | 2021 Under 17 National Championships: South Australia vs. Western Australia

SOUTH Australia and Western Australia kicked off the 2021 Under 17 National Championships in style, playing to a three-point thriller at Hisense Stadium on Sunday. It was the Croweaters who came out on top after leading at every break, though they were truly made to earn the victory. WA had snuck ahead for an unlikely late lead via Mitch Williams‘ second final-term goal, but the ascendancy was short-lived as SA tall forward Isaac Keeler snapped home the winning goal with six minutes left to play. Early inaccuracy, and a late miss on the run from Luke Brown ultimately came back to haunt the Sandgropers, as they went down 8.8 (56) to 7.11 (53) in an enthralling carnival opener.

FINAL SCORES:

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 3.2 | 4.4 | 6.6 | 8.8 (56)
WESTERN AUSTRALIA 0.4 | 2.7 | 4.7 | 7.11 (53)

GOALS:

SA: J. Delean 3, I. Keeler 2, L. Slade, M. Phillipou, H. Barnett
WA: K. Sanchez 2, M. Williams 2, J. Scaife, L. Brown, J. Cleaver

DC BEST:

SA: A. D’Aloia, N. Sadler, J. Delean, K. Ryan, J. Magor, W. Patton
WA: D. Curtin, A. Condon, S. Gilbey, J. Cleaver, J. Busslinger, K. Sanchez

SCOUTING NOTES

South Australia:

By: Michael Alvaro

#1 Max Blacker (North Adelaide)
169cm/61kg | 2/07/2004 | Midfielder

A productive part of South Australia’s midfield rotation, particularly during the first half, Blacker got his hands on the ball plenty of times. He proved busy at the contest, getting to ground balls to win his own possessions, but also providing an option to receive and break to the outer. His disposal by foot was a little rushed under the early pressure, but the diminutive North Adelaide midfielder straightened up and was really lively going forward at times. Blacker finished with 18 touches in a solid outing with plenty to build on.

#8 Jack Delean (South Adelaide)
179cm/65kg | 15/04/2005 | Forward

A prospect likened to Isaac Heeney, Delean is terrific aerially for a player standing at 179cm and has fantastic forward smarts. He was stationed almost exclusively inside attacking 50 and did not need too many opportunities to make an impact, booting a game-high three goals. He started brightly, snaring the opening major with a sharp snap, before adding a second in the first quarter from a holding free kick 20m out. He was a touch quieter during the middle periods of the contest, but would come to life in patches, looking dangerous whenever the ball entered his area. Delean also rose to take a couple of eye-catching pack marks, and booted his third goal at the start of the final term, thanks to some persistent work from Jaiden Magor at half-forward.

#9 Nick Sadler (Sturt)
179cm/66kg | 8/01/2004 | Balanced Midfielder

Lauded for his inside/outside balance in midfield, Sadler operated on both sides of the contest to good effect and was one of SA’s most prolific ball winners with 22 touches. The Sturt product looked really smooth on the ball when released on the outer, able to run it forward and utilise his clean kicking skills. He got particularly busy during the third term, where his stints on the wing allowed him to drop back and help the defence to generate some rebound. In the same term, he would be sighted running back with the fight for a good mark at forward wing, before getting a couple more centre bounce rotations and faring well.

#10 Kobe Ryan (West Adelaide)
182cm/68kg | 17/02/2004 | Defender

Ryan is a versatile prospect whose skills are transferable to many roles, and half-back was his given station on Sunday. His ability to accumulate possessions saw him finish with 17 disposals and seven rebound 50s, with which he was able to showcase his mix of clean and penetrative kicking skills. The West Adelaide prospect was usually assured in his decision making and really warmed to the contest, getting busy after half time and putting in some big efforts over the ball throughout the dying stages.

#16 Jaiden Magor (South Adelaide)
185cm/77kg | 16/02/2004 | Forward

Like Ryan, Magor was squeezed out of the SA midfield and onto his secondary half-forward post, where his physicality and ball use heading towards goal really shone. He registered an early score by hitting the post with a 45m set shot, though a lot of his work was done further afield as the South Adelaide prospect worked hard to link his side into attacking 50. Magor’s midfield nous came to the fore with some tough ball winning work, able to burst through traffic and shrug tackles with real tenacity. Those traits helped directly assist two vital final term goals for SA; with the first a paddling effort at half-forward to win the ball and kick long to Delean, while the second saw him get a handball off to Isaac Keeler amid two tackles, helping put the Croweaters back in front. Overall, he played his role brilliantly and brought great intent.

#18 Will Patton (West Adelaide)
193cm/71kg | 4/01/2005 | Defender

Another of the well-performed 2005-born prospects, Patton proved to be South Australia’s general down back with his intercept and rebounding abilities. He positioned well to cut off a number of West Australian attacks, working back and across to mark overhead and judging the ball well in flight when doing so. The 16-year-old often commanded front position and with such strong marking, proved quite effective in that role. He also showed a good willingness to move the ball on quickly and set SA going on the rebound. Patton finished with a promising 10 disposals and four rebound 50s.

#20 Mattaes Phillipou (Woodville-West Torrens)
188cm/79kg | 27/12/2004 | Forward

One of the many good athletes afield and another with the fabled basketball background, Phillipou showed plenty of promise up forward. He came to life during a second quarter purple patch, presenting well at half-forward and contesting a series of high balls against multiple opponents at a time. While he was not always able to cleanly take a mark, Phillipou leaned on his athleticism to recover best, win the spillage and show good intent to keep the ball moving forward. The Eagles talent also kicked a nice goal in the third term, winning a two-on-two spill deep inside 50 and snapping home over his shoulder.

#21 Adam D’Aloia (Woodville-West Torrens)
184cm/84kg | 9/04/2004 | Midfielder

Arguably the best player afield, certainly in South Australian colours, D’Aloia was exceptional with his work around the contest. He racked up a game-high 30 disposals, including nine clearances and nine inside 50s as he held sway at most stoppages. The Eagles product used his mature frame to bullock his way to the ball and work a clear path out, either dishing cleanly to runners or booting a long kick forward. He was a consistent ball winner throughout the contest and proved difficult to combat with his physicality, which he used in a clutch late moment. D’Aloia sealed the game with a desperate tackle in the last 30 seconds, winning the ball back for SA inside defensive 50 and helping them hold on for victory.

#25 Isaac Keeler (North Adelaide)
197cm/83kg | 23/04/2004 | Key Forward

The Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect is already one of the more highly touted talls in next year’s crop, and showed a little bit of just why that is the case on Sunday. He was employed up forward and got busy close to goal, not only competing aerially but also using his speed to follow up at ground level. Posing a dual threat with such athleticism, Keeler used his superior reach to mark and convert a major from the goalsquare in term two, before again using his pace to gain good separation on the lead when working further afield. He ended up booting the winning goal for SA, receiving off Magor’s hard ball win and snapping home with pure class. All up, Keeler finished with 13 disposals, five marks and two goals to his name.

#30 Brodie Tuck (Central District)
193cm/90kg | 6/12/2004 | Key Defender

Another strong intercept marker in defence, Tuck’s solidity across the backline helped his side get on top early and stay there. He read the play beautifully to get into good spots, before rising to clunk marks overhead with courage and clean hands. The Centrals talent was not always in the thick of things, but popped up with such moments to make his mark and bring a cool head to SA’s defensive work – especially on some of WA’s fast breaks.

Western Australia:

By: Ed Pascoe

#2 Jed Hagan (East Fremantle)
174cm/71kg | 15/10/04 | Wing/Forward

Not the most prolific game from the usually prolific, though Hagan he made his touches count and his toughness served him well whenever he went for the ball. A shoulder concern has kept him out of the midfield rotations, which is where he plays his best football, and half-back was WA’s strength in this lineup, seeing Hagan shifted to the wing and half-forward. Although they aren’t preferred positions for Hagan, he at least got to show some versatility and his seven tackles showed his willingness to provide pressure and toughness.

#4 Koen Sanchez (East Fremantle)
179cm/59kg | 19/01/2005 | Wing/Forward

Not eligible until the 2023 draft, the East Fremantle product was a quick and elusive player for WA, spending time on the wing and proving a menace around goals with his speed and creativity. Sanchez showed natural football smarts with some skill and speed to match, which made him a real headache for the opposition. At 179cm and only 59kg, Sanchez has plenty of upside and with 17 disposals and two goals, he was one of his side’s most influential players, looking like one of WA’s most exciting players for the 2023 draft.

#8 Conrad Williams (Claremont)
182cm/62kg | 30/11/2004 | Wing

A quick and smooth moving wingman, Williams showed plenty of exciting traits as a Fremantle NGA prospect a player to watch in the coming years. Williams made the wing position his own, offering plenty of run and carry to show a great mix of speed and agility, as he made getting past opponents look like a cakewalk. He was one of the many Claremont products to play in what continues to be a strong breeding ground for potential draft prospects.

#12 Tyzreise Clark (Subiaco)
183cm/72kg | 29/01/2005 | Forward/Midfielder

An impactful forward who can also go through the midfield, Clark has some swagger about his football – playing with a strong burst and confidence whenever he goes for the ball. A year younger than most of his peers being available for the 2023 draft, the Subiaco prospect has tremendous upside and you can only imagine the improvement left in him on the lead-up to his draft year. Clark didn’t win a stack of the ball but his confidence and balance with ball in hand made him look like a future star.

#14 Sam Gilbey (Claremont)
185cm/67kg | 14/05/2004 | Defender

A quick and elusive mover who was the lightest-bodied defender for WA, Gilbey could barely be touched with his athleticism and was more than comfortable in the air against bigger and stronger opponents. Gilbey looks to have tremendous upside with some great athleticism and a light frame to be built upon. His skills on his favoured left boot and his confidence under pressure really impressed, with the 185cm prospect proving to be one of Claremont’s best talents going into the 2022 draft.

#17 Luke Michael (West Perth)
185cm/83kg | 19/03/2004 | Defender

Part of the strong defensive lineup for WA, Michael was tough and composed down back, able to intercept mark and also provide plenty of run and drive from defence. Michael complimented his teammates well, with the West Perth prospect able to show a good mix of attacking flair with his willingness to take the game on, but also show courage in the air and defend hard when he needed to. It was difficult to stand out with so many WA defenders having great games, but Michael held his own and should build confidence to take on the Victorian sides in July.

#20 Jack Cleaver (East Fremantle)
187cm/83kg | 22/05/2004 | Utility

A tough and skilful player from East Fremantle, Cleaver has a no frills approach to his football. He cracked in hard but also showed plenty of skill and composure –  especially by foot – as one of the many talented left-footers for WA. Starting in defence, he showed plenty with those aforementioned traits and with the game on the line in the last quarter, he was moved into the middle while also drifting forward to have an impact by kicking a nice goal. Cleaver would go on to finish with 19 disposals and be amongst the main ball winners for his side.

#28 Jess Busslinger (East Perth)
195cm/83kg | 11/03/2004 | Key Defender

Playing more like a tall back flanker, the rangy 195cm defender read the play well in defence and showed a lot of composure with ball in hand, working hard to spread to attack from defence. Busslinger had an incredible 18 marks, with his best coming late in the game with a telling contested mark to give his side an opportunity at a late goal and the win. The East Perth tall has started the carnival in fine form with a team high 28 disposals.

#30 Daniel Curtin (Claremont)
190cm/86kg | 8/03/2005 | Defender

An intercept marking machine for WA, the Claremont-based prospect read the ball well in the air and was clean and classy with his marking and disposal, certainly looking a prospect for the 2023 draft. The 190cm left-footer was undersized against the tall SA forwardline, but more than held his own with his impressive leap and judgment overhead. An incredible mark in the third quarter just highlighted his talent and was one of 10 marks he had for the day. It will be interesting to see how much growth Curtin has left, to see if he becomes a genuine key defender by the time the 2023 draft comes around.

#40 Alex Condon (Claremont)
201cm/78kg | 25/07/2004 | Ruck

The talented ruckman from Claremont who is also a talented basketballer, Condon showcased his great leap and deft touch in the ruck in a great contest with highly regarded SA ruckman, Will Verrall. Condon’s clear athletic traits were on display, showing that leap not only in ruck contests, but also around the ground as he flew for a nice mark to prove he could be a handy forward prospect as well. Condon has plenty of upside and with those athletic traits and with 12 disposals and 23 hitouts, he has shown to be one of the leading ruck prospects for the 2022 draft.

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 11

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s continued over the weekend with Round 11, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. This week a number of key talents were out due to the AFL Under 17s Championships game against Western Australia, but plenty of others stepped up. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

norwood 14.16 (100) def. Central districts 10.7 (67)

By: Tom Wyman

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

After accumulating plenty of the ball in his return to Under 18s level last weekend, classy midfielder Cooper Murley didn’t have as much of an impact against the Bulldogs. Murley started in the centre bounce and showed good stoppage nous, anticipation and football smarts throughout the game. He positioned himself well and got on the move at stoppages where possible to make best use of his breakaway speed. He read the taps well and was particularly clean with his disposal by hand. The Tea Tree Gully junior showed brilliant commitment to fly into oncoming traffic in a marking contest, however his courageous work was undone by a free kick being paid against his teammate. Murley tackled particularly well and seems to have a good technique. His skills in general play were fine without being of great damage, however he let himself down in front of goal, hitting the post twice within a minute via a set shot and quick snap. He also missed his third attempt at goal for the quarter, a running attempt which he would usually slot. Murley concluded the outing with 20 disposals, two marks, six tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s.

#11 Connor Kent

Redlegs ball magnet Connor Kent was clearly the most prolific player on the ground in Norwood’s 33-point win over Central Districts at The Parade. The left-footed onballer produced a well-balanced performance to guide the Redlegs to their first win since Round 3. Kent won plenty of contested ball in tight, but it was his ability to spread from the contest and work hard to accumulate the footy around the ground which made him so effective. He was composed in traffic and used the ball fairly well. Despite not seeming to boast great speed, Kent provided plenty of run and carry throughout the contest. At times he was in charge of the kick in duties, where he was able to showcase his long foot skills. He booted three goals for the game – the best being a terrific 40-metre effort off one step in the first term. Among the top ball-winners in the competition, Kent finished with a round-high 38 disposals, five marks, six tackles, five clearances, three inside 50s and eight rebounds.

Others: Midfielder Benjamin Belperio won his fair share of contested ball for the Redlegs. He demonstrated good strength in close and was effective at stoppages, finishing with 20 disposals, seven marks, four clearances and five inside 50s. In attack, Jett Boxer was the go-to man, nailing three goals. Also booting three behinds, he accumulated 20 disposals, four marks and three inside 50s. Wilson McShane (21 disposals and five marks) and Peter Minervini (18 disposals, three marks and four clearances) were among Norwood’s top disposal winners and ruckman Aidan Lake (17 disposals, five marks, five tackles, 12 hit-outs and five clearances) competed gallantly against dominant Centrals bigman Saxon Evans.

Central District:

#9 Trent Tattoli

The performance of Angle Vale teenager Trent Tattoli was the shining light for Central Districts, despite the clubs defeat. Captain of the Bulldogs Under 16 side who competed earlier in the year, Tattoli lined up on the wing in his first Under 18s game for the club. He looked up to the level from the get-go, finding plenty of the ball on the outside. His ball drop and kicking action is unconventional and many of his kicks lacked penetration, however they often reached their desired target regardless. Tattoli’s poise and composure with ball in hand was impressive, given he is two years younger than many of his teammates and opponents. Tattoli put the Bulldogs in front in the second quarter after pouncing on the crumbs. It marked a terrific second term for Tattoli, who was deployed in more of an inside/outside role rather than as a pure wingman. A hard worker who not only runs hard, but works into logical spaces on the field, Tattoli finished the game as the Bulldogs leading possession winner, gathering 24 touches, ten marks, five clearances and four inside 50s in what was a terrific start to his Under 18s career.

#29 Saxon Evans

The Bulldogs were often outclassed by Norwood, but ruckman Saxon Evans provided his midfielders with first use for much of the day. Clearly the competitions leading hit-out ruckman, Evans’ leap and overall athleticism proved a real handful for the Norwood talls. He would often get his hands on the ball first by simply leaping over his direct opponent, as he has done all season. He slotted an important set shot goal on the half-time siren to put Central Districts ahead at the main break. Evans was strong in the air without being a dominant marking force, hauling in two contested grabs, and worked well around the ground to involve himself in general play. He finished with 18 disposals, five marks, 38 hit-outs, three tackles and five clearances.

#37 Cody Gilchrist

Athletic full-forward Cody Gilchrist threatened to tear apart the game in its early stages. Operating out of the square, Gilchrist looked damaging on the lead, where he used his speed and long reach to good effect. Gilchrist simply outsized and outmuscled his opponent for much of the contest, however his workrate and leading patterns up forward ensured he was the most threatening forward on the ground. He had an inconsistent day in front of the big sticks, missing some very gettable opportunities whilst nailing others. The 198cm Gilchrist finished the game with 20 disposals, seven marks (three contested), six hit-outs and two goals (three behinds) in an encouraging showing.

Others: Bulldogs midfielders Luigi Mondello and Tahjin Krieg produced workmanlike performances, accumulating 17 and 14 disposals respectively. Tackling machine Tomas Hahn was typically combative in-and-under, winning 14 possessions and laying 12 tackles while also booting a goal. Adam Deakin was strong in the air down back and also provided some serviceable rebound, finishing with 21 disposals, six marks and 11 rebounds. Fellow defender Jake Grubb played his best game at Under 18s level, collecting 18 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and four rebounds and showing some nice signs.

STURT 5.11 (41) DEF. BY SOUTH ADELAIDE 14.15 (99)

By: Liam Badkin

Sturt:

#10 Jake Aish

The clearance machine was once again his side’s best player, battling hard in the engine room in what was a tough day for the Sabres. Aish’s toughness was on full display as he found more than his fair share of contested possession on the ground and fed it out to his teammates in ideal positions. Once again could have used slightly more composure and execution when on the outside of the contest, but fought tooth and nail to make life easier for his fellow midfielders. Finished the contest with 20 disposals, seven tackles, four clearances, seven inside 50s and even hit the scoreboard and although his inaccuracy cost him a big day on the stat sheet, his 2.2 input was big, given his side’s low scoring result for the afternoon.

#17 Mitch Felton

Backing up last week’s stellar performance, the speedy defender was another bright spot on a tough day for Sturt. The ball was often hammered into South Adelaide’s forward line, so Felton constantly found himself around the ball, and always looked to clear the ball from the backline with his classy ball use and damaging pace. Took a pair of contested marks deep in defence, on his way to 23 touches, five tackles and a whopping 13 rebound 50s as he battled all day to try and give his side some desperately needed run.

South Adelaide:

#10 Isaac Birt

The versatile wingman was once again eye-catching in South Adelaide’s 58-point triumph over the Sabres over the weekend. Burt found plenty of space to use his signature run-and-dash along the wing, providing his side with bursting pace along with reliable delivery to teammates, whether it was by hand or foot. Continuously peppered the ball inside 50, giving his teammates ample opportunity to score, and frequently his work resulted in a goal for his side. Can be proud of his 20 disposals and five mark outing.

#33 Arlo Draper

The midfielder picked up right where he left off, delivering yet another best-on-ground performance from the midfield, where his side had dominance for virtually all four quarters. Worked hard around the contest to fight for the contested possessions, and often proved too strong for his Sabre opponents, who could only watch as the South Adelaide midfielder burst away from stoppages with ease. A second quarter goal was simply reward for effort, as Draper’s strong work around the stoppage was translated to the scoreboard. Finished with 30 disposals (20 kicks), four marks, five tackles, nine clearances and seven inside 50s in a dominant performance.

Others:

Up forward, it was the trio of Hugo Hoeck (four goals), Dylan Brown (three goals) and Tom Schirmer (three goals) who could not be stopped, frequently sharing the opportunities amongst each other, while down back, Lachlan Hayes frequently removed the ball from the defensive arc, finishing the game with 10 rebound 50s from his 29 disposals.

GLENELG 9.10 (64) DEF. BY WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS EAGLES 11.9 (75)

By: Liam Badkin

Glenelg:

#20 Lewis Rayson

Rayson continued his consistent form, working tirelessly around the ground to finish as one of his side’s strongest performers. His midfield minutes continue to grow on a weekly basis and so too his confidence, emerging as one of the competition’s cleanest midfielders with his disposal efficiency and lack of fumbling around the ball. While his statistics were down on last round, Rayson’s impact remained the same as he constantly thwarted opposition attacks with his intercept marking, and his pace once again broke the game open when given the opportunity. Rayson finished with 21 disposals and eight marks in a performance that will be sure to impress scouters.

Others:

Benjamin Ridgeway was another strong performer through the middle, pouring in 20 disposals and a goal to form a dangerous combination with Rayson, while up forward Corey Brougham took advantage of the speedy ball movement to hit the scoreboard for two goals and two behinds to lead his team in scoring.

WWT Eagles:

#9 Jase Burgoyne

The Port Adelaide father-son prospect delivered one of his strongest performances of the 2021 season, keeping the ball on a string through the midfield and slicing the opposition open with his run-and-carry from the stoppage. His ability to find a target forward of the ball was also to be admired, and an impressive third quarter goal was the icing on the cake. Burgoyne finished the match with 26 disposals in a performance that will please both Eagles and Power fans going forward.

#24 Zac Phillips

The talented ruckman got the better of his Glenelg opponent throughout the match, delivering ascendancy in the air, and then following up his work when the ball hit the ground, a trait that is almost necessary in today’s game. Phillips pulled down multiple pack marks when the ball was forced down the line by either side, grabbing the ball from seemingly impossible positions. His mobility on the ground and athleticism in the air continue to amaze, and the impressive youngster finished with 17 disposals and 22 hitouts.

Others:

Tough midfielder Sam Nicholls was powerful through the stoppages, finishing with 20 touches, 11 crunching tackles and a goal, while Dustin Launer was outstanding in an attacking midfielder role, racking up 21 touches to go with three goals.

North Adelaide 15.8 (98) def. West Adelaide 10.3 (63)

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#12 Hugh Jackson

If there was one area in which Hugh Jackson could improve upon this season, it has been his scoreboard impact. Having booted just three goals up until Round 11, Jackson doubled his season tally by booting three majors in the Roosters triumph. It didn’t start perfectly for Jackson though, with the ball magnet missing a regulation set shot from close range. However he bounced back in style, proving elusive around stoppages in particular. A silky mover, he used the ball well with that damaging left foot and was very clean at ground level. His highlight for the day was undoubtedly his long range running goal from just beyond the 50 metre arc which never looked like missing. Jackson concluded another fruitful outing with 32 disposals, six marks, four tackles, seven clearances and seven inside 50s.

#18 James Willis

Talented Roosters Hugh Jackson, Blayne O’Loughlin and Harvey Harrison have all had their moments in the limelight this season, and on Saturday afternoon it was midfielder James Willis’ time to shine. Recognised as one of the best junior onballers in the state, Willis was dominant against West Adelaide. He started the game by laying a terrific smother, then later ran down a West Adelaide opponent with a strong tackle. These defensive efforts have been a hallmark of Willis’ game throughout the past couple of seasons, and they shone through at Prospect Oval. Willis spent most of the game in the midfield and was effective on the inside and the outside, winning some contested ball and also using his explosiveness to damaging effect when given a pocket of time and space. He also used the ball well, even whilst travelling at top speed. A dynamic prospect, Willis used his stiff arm a couple of times, demonstrating the power and strength he plays with. He finished as the Roosters leading ball winner, gathering 34 touches along with seven marks, six tackles, six clearances, eight inside 50s and three rebounds.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

Half-back Blayne O’Loughlin again found an abundance of the ball in his customary role as an attacking defender. He worked very hard between the arcs to provide an outlet option. The Roosters looked to give him the ball whenever possible and the Crows Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect provided plenty of bounce from the backline. His kicking was slightly off at various stages throughout the contest, with a number of his kicks falling short of their intended target. Nevertheless, O’Loughlin’s relentless run and carry, vision and composure proved invaluable to North Adelaide. He finished with 31 disposals, five marks, three tackles, three clearances, five inside 50s and six rebounds.

Others: Reliable onballer Harvey Harrison again had his hands on the ball all day, accumulating 32 disposals to go with five marks, six tackles, six clearances and four inside 50s. His fast and clean handball skills were of particular note. Zyton Santillo had another strong game, laying ten tackles and using the ball well. The clever half-forward/wingman also managed 21 disposals, three clearances, five inside 50s and a classy goal. His fellow wingman Sam McTaggart also impressed, gathering 26 disposals, seven marks and a goal of his own. Up forward, Oliver Dignan booted four majors and Jack Hodges performed well in the absence of Isaac Keeler, booting three goals and amassing 22 disposals and seven inside 50s.

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

Charlie Pridham has become one of the most consistent rebounding defenders in the competition and he again amassed plenty of the football on Prospect Oval. Clearly West’s most reliable ball user when transitioning from defence, Pridham didn’t take many risks by foot, and as a result wasn’t overly damaging. However he was clean and composed and always seemed to be there to mop up for the Bloods. The under 18 competition’s leading rebounder, Pridham finished with 33 touches (including 28 kicks), nine marks and ten rebounds.

#33 Jesse Thackeray

Jesse Thackeray was rewarded for his consistent season by being selected in South Australia’s phase one Under 19 National Championships squad. In 2021, the midfielder/forward has stepped up in the absence of talented bottom-aged duo Tyson Coe and Kobe Ryan, who have spent much of the season playing school football. Thackeray snapped a brilliant goal from the pocket shortly after a lengthy delay due to a serious injury to teammate Mitch Hahn. Despite the Roosters dominating the midfield battle, Thackeray tried hard and added another goal with a quick-fire shot in traffic. He finished with 29 disposals, three marks, six clearances and four inside 50s.

#45 Oscar Steene

Ruckman Oscar Steene was one of five West Adelaide juniors to make the initial state Under 19 squad ahead of the National Championships, set to take place in July and September. The 199cm tall was among the Bloods best performers despite his sides 35-point defeat to North Adelaide. Steene went head-to-head with Rooster tall Oliver Moors for the majority of the game, and the pair fought an enticing battle. Steene used his mobility and leap to get his hands on the ball, but was pushed aside relatively easily at times. He didn’t have a big impact on the game aerially, however Steene’s skills in general play were clean and his willingness to impact the game at ground level was evident. He finished with 14 touches, four tackles, 27 hit-outs and three clearances.

Others: Speedy midfielders Dylan McCormick (20 disposals, six tackles, six clearances and six inside 50s) and Hugh Desira (19 disposals, three marks, four clearances and three inside 50s) provided some run on the outside but also did their bit on the inside in the absence of hard-nosed skipper Cade Kennedy, who earned himself a call up to the reserves. Mobile medium forward Luke Young added two goals to his season tally and Ben Burbridge (20 disposals, five marks, six tackles and four clearances) was effective in the middle.

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 10

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s continued through over the weekend with Round 10, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

West Adelaide 13.12 (90) drew with Woodville-West Torrens 14.6 (90)

By: Tom Wyman

West Adelaide:

#10 Cade Kennedy

West Adelaide captain Kennedy has been one of the Under 18 competition’s most reliable performers throughout the season to-date. His 49-disposal, 15-mark and nine-clearance effort against the Eagles in Round 7 showcased his serious ball-winning capabilities. Although Kennedy did not amass as much of the ball in West’s second encounter with Woodville-West Torrens, he used the ball well by foot and worked hard. He ran into good positions, often ensuring he was open as an option in the corridor. At the coalface he was typically strong, winning seven clearances to go with 21 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s.

#16 Dylan White

Bloods midfielder/forward White produced a strong showing in the clubs thrilling draw under Friday night lights at Hisense Stadium. Splitting his time between attack and an on-ball roll, White’s aerial work was a highlight, along with his two goals within two minutes in the final term. White’s run-down tackle and goal put the Bloods back on top in the last quarter. Although he will be frustrated to have missed a gettable shot in the dying stages of the match, White was clearly one of West’s best contributors on the night, finishing with 23 disposals, seven marks, eight tackles and three clearances.

#33 Jesse Thackeray

Thackeray was the most dominant on-baller on the field when it came to in-and-under work. His contested ball winning ability and stoppage nous shone through, accumulating a game-high 11 clearances. Also strong overhead, he was the Bloods leading possession winner, finishing with 27 touches and five marks. Thackeray had several shots on goal in the last quarter, all of which could have changed the outcome of the game, however he wasn’t able to split the big-sticks.

Others: Playing his first Under 18s game since round four, wingman Jed Obst provided the Bloods with some polish on the outside. He calmly slotted the tying goal with a minute left in the final term to cap off a strong game, which featured 21 touches, seven marks and four inside-50s. Half-back Charlie Pridham didn’t accumulate the high numbers we’ve become accustomed to seeing, however he was typically calm and poised when mopping up under pressure. In the ruck, Oscar Steene continued to show some positive signs in his duel with Eagle Zac Phillips. He broke-even with Phillips in pure hit-out numbers, and was serviceable around the ground, laying five tackles and gathering 13 disposals. Luke Young played well in his centre-half-forward role. He presented well throughout the night and was strong overhead, hauling in six marks, three of which were contested. He accumulated 19 disposals and booted two goals in what was a valuable contribution. Fellow forwards Lachlan Tredwell and Mitch Hahn also played their roles well, booting three and two goals respectively. Although they didn’t win an abundance of the ball, the pair looked threatening close to goal.

Woodville-West Torrens:

#6 Dustin Launer

Launer was easily the most productive player on the field in the clash with West Adelaide. He moved exceptionally well through traffic, showing poise and calmness with ball in-hand and rarely wasting a disposal. Launer was careful and precise with his distribution by hand, pinpoint by foot and displayed great vision throughout the game. He won four clearances, but away from the contest, Launer provided some meaningful run and carry. His snap goal off one-step in the third quarter was another feature of his promising game. A smart utility who reads the play well, Launer concluded the match with 33 disposals, eight marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds.

#10 Sam Nicholls

Diminutive midfielder Sam Nicholls played an important role for Woodville-West Torrens. Despite being on the smaller side, Nicholls played a combative, in-and-under role in the middle, however his ball-use was clean despite often being under imminent pressure. His important goal late in the second term extended the Eagles lead ahead of the half-time break. Nicholls tackled hard and was the Eagles leading clearance-winner. The hard-working inside midfielder finished with 19 touches, five tackles, six clearances and four inside 50s.

#24 Zac Phillips

The 19-year-old ruckman Phillips wasted no time in asserting himself on the contest, accumulating a couple of early touches. Up against West Adelaide tall Oscar Steene for much of the game, Phillips narrowly got the better of his opponent at stoppages around the ground. He worked hard away from the contest to get involved in general play, amassing 19 disposals. Although he was sometimes caught out for speed, Phillips was largely clean by hand and foot. His running goal in the second term highlighted his solid skillset. Phillips finished the game with 21 hitouts, three clearances and four inside 50s.

Others: Charlie Blair kicked the first goal of the game for the visitors and also slotted majors early in the second and fourth terms. Rotating through the midfield and forward line, Blair applied good defensive pressure and displayed some good stoppage smarts. He gathered 19 touches, five marks, four tackles and three clearances. Charlie Adams had some nice moments throughout the game, finishing with 18 disposals, four marks, four tackles, three clearances and a goal. Brock Thomson (20 disposals and six rebounds) was effective down back, while tall-forward Jordan Lukac proved too tall at-times, booting three goals.

NORTH ADELAIDE 11.5 (71) DEF BY GLENELG 14.9 (93)

By: Eli Duxson

North Adelaide:

#12 Hugh Jackson

The prolific ball-winner continued his impressive form with another consistent display. Taking up his usual spot in the middle, he was lively early showing good activity around stoppages, while positioning himself well to be an easy outlet should his team win it at the bottom of the pack. He often got to the back of the pack to utilise his silky ball use to propel his side forward. Jackson showed a willingness to use both sides of his body as well as reaching both ends of the field, not just trying to find the ball around the middle of the ground. He often found himself in defence trying to use those skills again to rebound efficiently, doing so on five occasions. He picks good options with ball in hand and always opts for a teammate in a better position, not just going for the glory-hunting goal or stat. He hit the scoreboard in the third quarter pushing in off his defensive zone to kick from just inside 50 off a couple of steps, a nice finish. Jackson ended the game with 27 disposals, the one goal, five clearances, and six inside 50’s.

#18 James Willis

A reliable inside midfielder who compliments Jackson’s ability to go in and out well, often extracting from packs or opening up the game with a burst of acceleration. Willis led his opponent to the ball at most stoppages often reading it better in flight or just hunting it more. He showed good temperament in the stoppages and like Jackson, did not just blaze away and looked for a sound option whether it was through hands or foot. His disposal was inconsistent at times but was generally good as he almost goaled to end the first quarter but managed to find the goals in the third quarter off an intercept mark. Willis had 25 disposals, one goal, and four clearances in another solid outing.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin put up another typically sound performance assuming his natural defensive rebounding role but was also thrust into the midfield at times to try and help get his side back in the game. He has become a reliable defender riding his opponent closely, competing well both in the air and on the ground, and tackling hard and well. His ability to use the ball well is common knowledge but it was on display again as his trusty left boot found targets all over the ground. He has a good feel for the game doing the basics right from stopping opposition runners from advancing to putting on solid blocks for teammates when he could have easily hung out and demanded the ball. He looked comfortable in the midfield as his direct opponent tended to drag him away from the contest to nullify his impact as he managed three clearances. O’Loughlin finished with 26 disposals.

Others: Glenelg maintained control for much of the day, but Harvey Harrison managed another serviceable contribution with 15 disposals and a goal, but his greatest impact came without ball in hand as tackled hard and tackled well eight times. William Dowling found himself across the midfield and in the forward line as he snuck through for three goals. His set shot was on point as he never looked like missing, but it was most impressive how he chose the times to go forward well. He also had 14 disposals and four clearances.

Glenelg:

#12 Brodie Edwards

The potential father-son selection was damaging early with some steady ball use, especially in the first quarter. His kicking was reliable but his hands in tight were elite, managing to pick up and dish off above his head quickly and efficiently under duress. He drifted into defence at times as well and was often found to rebound, doing so five times. While he often looked balanced and steady with ball in hand, one mishap in the third quarter resulted in a goal directly from a poor kick inside defensive 50. Edwards finished with 23 disposals.

#16 Harry McInnes

One half of the Glenelg twin towers proved to be a difficult matchup for North Adelaide as he booted five goals from just 10 disposals. He did not venture out of forward 50 too much but he did not need to with the Glenelg defence and midfield feeding it to him more than enough times. While he worked up early and managed to set a teammate up inside 50 for a goal, his best work was done deep slotting his first major in the second quarter, but three from the third. These four goals came on the lead as his hands were like glue in contested situations, while he also used his strength to create space for himself either to mark or get out on a lead. His final goal came from a free kick but he certainly looked hard to stop all day.

#21 Cooper Beecken

The 190cm wingman was disciplined in his role as he held his position, while also worked back defensively when required. He came through his first contest hard, with his next being a good mark with heat coming the other way. He was clean in his gathers and mostly good with his left boot, but seemed a little rushed at times. One particular kick was smothered by the man on the mark resulting in a North Adelaide goal. His height made him a tough matchup for the Roosters as his height provided an intercept option for the long kicks down the line. Beecken finished with 23 disposals, seven marks, and four inside 50’s.

#24 Jack Harding

The other half of the Bays’ twin towers in Harding had a fortunate day, but was damaging, nonetheless. Four first-half goals were the difference in the score line in what was an otherwise even first half. He got up the ground frequently to provide a marking option and proved to be a difficult matchup. His first two goals came from spills and feeds to him and kicked them both from the goal line. He competed hard and his next two came from a little bit more work with strong body created space for himself a couple of times as he goaled from similar positions in front of goal. Harding managed 4.1 from 17 disposals to go with seven marks.

Others: Glenelg controlled much of the day and had contributors aplenty. Darcy Gluyas was another one of the left footers in the side to find plenty of it with 26 disposals. He was clumsy at times going to ground unnecessarily but was busy in working to space to find the ball, doing so quite effectively. Jacob Owens led all comers with 33 disposals but was not as damaging with ball in hand. Lewis Rayson was prolific in the first half with 18 disposals on his way to 28, using his raking left boot to often kick long and strong with seven inside 50’s and four rebound 50’s.

Norwood 10.10 (70) def by South Adelaide 11.13 (79)

By: Tom Wyman

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

Featuring in his first Under 18s game of the season after spending much of the season with Norwood’s Reserves, classy outside midfielder Murley was typically prolific. He had a quiet start to the contest, lining up in the forward line for the first half of the opening term. However he was soon moved into the midfield role where he was so dominant as a bottom-ager last season. Murley found the ball at ease on both the inside and the outside of the contest, however his skills and cleanliness were inconsistent throughout the day. Whilst his kicking was precise and his pickups one-touch at times, Murley also uncharacteristically fumbled and missed some targets as the game wore on. His class was very evident however, particularly when he calmly slotted a goal on the run. He worked hard between the arcs and showed some breakaway speed. Going head-to-head with South’s Isaac Birt at various stages, Murley was clearly one of Norwood’s best performers, however expect his skills and cleanliness to improve. He finished the contest with 33 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, eight rebound 50s and two goals.

#11 Connor Kent

Tough midfielder Kent battled hard all day for the Redlegs. He won more than his fair share of contested ball and amassed four clearances, however it was the intense tackling pressure he applied which proved most valuable to Norwood’s performance. He booted a fantastic snap goal on his left-foot in the final minute of the first quarter, but wasn’t as clean by foot in general play as he would’ve liked. Regardless, Kent was Norwood’s best inside midfielder, finishing the game with 28 disposals, five marks, 14 tackles and four inside 50s.

#19 Charles Kemp

Kemp was Norwood’s most damaging player in their narrow loss to the Panthers. He spent much of the day as the go-to guy in attack, despite not being of true key position height. He booted the first goal of the match for the ‘legs and presented well up the ground. His intelligent leading patterns were well rewarded throughout the day, with his teammates often looking for him down the line and leaving Kemp to do the rest in the air. He consistently used his body well one-on-one, nudging his direct opponent under the ball and taking a couple of uncontested grabs. As he dominance in the air continued, Kemp was moved into the ruck in the later stages of the game and held his own despite giving away plenty of height to the South big men. He finished the game with two goals to go with 19 disposals, ten marks (three contested), eight hitouts and five clearances in a terrific display.

Others: Will Charlton had some good moments down back, accumulating 15 disposals and four rebounds. Utility Jack Ianniello looked promising up forward and on the wing, with his aerial strength standing out. He finished with 12 disposals, six marks (four contested), four tackles and two goals. The performance of ruckman Phoenix Foster would have thoroughly impressed the Redlegs coaching staff. Playing just his second game of the season, the ruckman showed great mobility around the ground and used the ball well by foot. Although he is raw, Foster showed some very promising signs, finishing the game with 18 disposals, five clearances, 18 hitouts and a goal.

South Adelaide:

#5 Angus Bradley

Bradley returned to the Panthers Under 18s set-up for the first time since round four and made an immediate impact. Bradley relished the role as the number one midfielder in South’s engine room and appeared to be in everything from the get-go, launching himself at ground balls with ferocity and putting his body on the line time after time. Whilst his inside game was strong, importantly, Bradley used the football well by foot – his clever snap kick in traffic to find an open player being a prime example of his efficient ball-use. The ball-magnet ran tirelessly from contest-to-contest, racking up nine marks. He finished with a game-high 36 disposals, ten tackles, eight clearances, three inside-50s and three rebound 50s in a well-rounded showing from the teenager.

#10 Isaac Birt

Birt continues to go from strength-to-strength after producing yet another best-on-ground performance at Coopers Stadium. The Panthers vice-captain dominated his wing from start to finish, running up and down the ground and racking up the metres gained. His consistently precise ball use, over both short and long ranges, proved invaluable. His penetrating kicking sliced through Norwood’s defensive structures and provided the Panthers forwards with great opportunities. His strength overhead was also a highlight and continues to be an underrated component of his game. However the most impressive component of his game was the way he lifted in the fourth term when the game was on the line. He seemed to have the ball on a string and used it well, especially going inside 50. The skilful outside midfielder finished with 31 disposals, 11 marks (three contested), five tackles and eight inside 50s.

#13 Lachlan Hayes

Hayes was typically productive in his role as the primary rebounder. Providing plenty of energy in the back half with his adventurous run and carry and long kicking, Hayes also did all the defensive things well – his desperate tackle to prevent a certain goal being a prime example. He read the play well and used the ball reliably by foot, concluding with 20 disposals, five marks, three tackles and eight rebounds.

Others: Like a number of his teammates, South Adelaide captain Dylan Brown lifted when it mattered in the final quarter. Despite having a quieter game up until the last term, Brown lead from the front, hauling in two big pack marks. He finished with 19 disposals, five marks, seven tackles and seven inside-50s. Tom Barrett provided constant pressure in attack and, despite missing a couple of chances, finished with two goals for his efforts.

STURT 15.13 (103) DEF CENTRAL DISTRICT 9.12 (66)

By: Eli Duxson

Sturt:

#10 Jake Aish

Another classy game from Aish who was the equal-leading disposal getter amassing 27. A great blend of inside and outside game was made possible with his hard running all over the ground. Over the ball he is stable with that hip and core strength exemplified in an aerial contest where he was pushed in the air but landed on his feet and kept running. He positions himself well around stoppages to release with his good ball use, while also working both ways just as hard. He set up multiple goals with pinpoint passes but could not manage any of his own missing two shots he probably would have liked to convert.

#13 Brad Jefferies

Jefferies provided plenty of grunt on the inside for Sturt using his larger frame to extract the footy. Once the ball was out he spread well and was able to find space, often working across the ground laterally to provide a linking option between the arcs for the double blues. He was willing to kick on either side of his body and did so effectively, while also opting to use hands in tight often looking to get the ball moving forward. Jefferies’ strength in tackles allowed him to be that effective as he was able to free an arm or himself completely multiple times. He snuck forward in the last quarter where Aish hit him up and he converted truly to round out his day. He managed 22 disposals, one goal and four clearances.

#32 Morgan Ferres

To say Ferres had a day out would be an understatement. Eleven scoring shots for 7.4, to go with 18 disposals and nine marks, four of which were contested. His first came early in the game with a brilliant rove and snap on his left foot. Although he spilled a simple uncontested mark in the goal square soon after, it did not affect his game with four of his next six goals coming from marks on the lead or using his body to create space to mark. He caused headaches for the Central District defence as he managed to find space comfortably, while also forcing his opponent into leaking a couple of free kicks to kick another two. In what was a massive game for Ferres could have been even bigger, but the focal point of the Sturt offence was the difference in the end.

Others: Sturt maintained their pressure for much of the game and Jamie Taylor and his eight tackles played a role in that. He was physical all game and managed 20 disposals and a goal for his effort. Charlie Fryer was a rock down back in the first half, while Jacob Lochowiak (16 disposals, two goals) was serviceable as well.

Central District

#3 Isaiah Dudley

The livewire gave the crowd plenty to be excited about with his dash and cleanliness with the ball, but it was a huge hanger late in the third quarter that really got people up and about. Although his 45-metre set shot hit the post, a goal would have made it a one-point game at the time meaning he showed up at an important moment. He did manage two goals from pretty much the same spot on the ground being just inside 50 on a 45-degree angle, although one was a set shot, and one was on the move. As a forward he pushed up the ground to be an option and rove contests maximising his speediness, while also proving dangerous with his cleanliness around goal. Pushing up in the midfield saw him make quick and effective decisions while working back defensively as well. Dudley finished with 22 disposals and five inside 50’s to go with his two goals.

Others: Tomas Hahn played a similar role to Dudley switching between forward and the midfield but mostly played in the latter where he used his speed to get on the outside quite often and launch forward balls. He had 24 disposals (21 kicks), 10 inside 50’s, six tackles, and five clearances. Defender Ruben Carreno found the ball just as many times as Sturt’s Aish albeit he was the designated kickout taker, while ruckman Saxon Evans did well as a mostly lone hand having 16 disposals of his own to go with his 31 hit outs.

 

Picture credit: On the Ball Media

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 9

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s returned and rolled on into Round 9, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

South adelaide 12.10 (82) defeated West Adelaide 8.9 (57)

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide

#10 Isaac Birt

Consistent wingman Isaac Birt was arguably the best player on the ground in South Adelaide’s win over the Bloods at Noarlunga. He got involved in the game early, hitting a couple of beautiful left foot kicks, including a lace-out bullet to the leading Kyle Marshall inside 50. A smooth-mover who possesses a very aesthetically-pleasing kicking style, Birt played with more class and polish than his counterparts, displaying excellent vision and making smart decisions with ball-in-hand. He used his speed to provide some important run and carry, but also tackled well and was strong in the air when it was his turn to go. In what was another strong performance from one of South Australia’s best wingman, Birt gathered 26 disposals, seven marks (two contested), three tackles, three clearances and seven inside 50s.

#38 Tom Schirmer

Full-forward Tom Schirmer produced his best performance at Under 18’s level, after helping the Panthers claim the Under 16’s flag earlier in the year. Working out of the goalsquare, Schirmer read the ball well in the air and was able to out-body his direct opponent with relative ease. Importantly, the 16-year-old made the most of his favourable positioning and size advantage by clunking everything in his area. Although he missed a couple of gettable opportunities in front of goal, his dominant three-goal third term helped turn the game in South’s favour. Deployed in the ruck when the ball was inside-50, Schirmer finished the day with 13 disposals, five goals (four behinds), four marks (all contested), five hit-outs and a couple of clearances.

#39 Will Verrall

Bottom-aged ruckman Will Verrall was engaged in a competitive battle with West Adelaide ruckman Oscar Steene for much of the Saturday morning contest. Although Steene finished ahead in the hitout numbers, the South Adelaide big man was more involved in general play than his direct opponent. He used his mobility to good effect, covering the ground well and accumulating several link-up possessions. Clearly one of the most talented ruckman in the state, Verrall finished another productive outing with 19 disposals, three marks, 20 hitouts and three clearances.

Others: Small defender Lachlan Hayes accumulated plenty of the football in the defensive-half for the Panthers. Charged with the kick-in duties, Hayes looked to take the game on with his dash, speed and skill wherever possible. He finished with 33 disposals, four tackles and 13 rebounds. Onballer Koby Cockshell found himself involved in everything in the first quarter. He concluded the outing with 17 disposals, four tackles, four clearances and a goal. Up forward, exciting 16-year-old Jack Delean had a quieter day (nine disposals and two marks), but still showed glimpses of his enormous potential, including a wonderful crumbing goal from an inside-50 stoppage.

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

The ever-reliable Charlie Pridham was terrific for the Bloods. Playing the half-back role in which he has found so much of the football this season, Pridham mopped up everything in his area. He seemingly always found himself open in the defensive 50 and made himself an easy hit-up option for his teammates. Pridham didn’t attempt to bite off more than he could chew by foot, preferring to take the low-risk short option rather than attempt to hit a difficult target. His services off the half-back line have been a vital reason behind the Bloods successes this season and although his side fell to a spirited South Adelaide, Pridham still managed 31 touches, seven marks, six tackles and four rebounds.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Skipper Cade Kennedy has been a workhorse in the midfield for the Bloods this season, and he was at it again in West’s 25-point defeat. His foot skills were inconsistent throughout the match, however his fight at ground level and contested ball winning ability was invaluable. Although he was not as dominant at the stoppages as he has been in the past, Kennedy was effective with his hands in-tight and applied plenty of pressure around the ball. He finished with 25 disposals, six marks, eight tackles, two clearances and seven inside-50s.

Others:

Dylan White (29 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, six clearances, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s) was terrific through the midfield for West Adelaide. His ability in the coalface supported the efforts of fellow onballers Cade Kennedy and Jesse Thackeray. Thackeray himself gathered 19 disposals, three marks and six inside 50s for the match in another well-rounded performance in his midfield/half-forward role. Medium forward Mitch Hahn was the main man for West Adelaide in attack. Although he was far from the tallest up forward, he was able to use his natural smarts and physical strength to nudge his opponent under the ball and take a number of inside 50 marks. He finished with three goals, to go with nine disposals and three marks. Centre half-forward Luke Young was quiet early but worked his way into the game nicely. He appeared to find it challenging to gain separation on the lead but, as all good forwards do, capitalised on his opportunities inside 50. Young amassed 15 disposals, two marks and two tackles to go with his couple of goals.

STURT 8.10 (58) defeated by NORTH ADELAIDE 14.12 (96)

By: Liam Badkin

Sturt:

#5 Jordan Hein

By far Sturt’s strongest performer in the 38-point defeat to North Adelaide. Spending time through the midfield, Hein displayed an exceptional ability to drive the ball forward by foot. Finishing with a team-high 20 kicks, Hein displayed courage with some of his kicks, bravely taking on the corridor on multiple occasions. Laid some solid tackles throughout the contest (five for the day), and his work rate to provide an option for teammates caught the eye. On a day where there were plenty of stationary players ahead of the ball for Sturt, Hein consistently provided a strong lead for teammates, and helped keep the ball moving forward for his side. Missed a shot on goal to open the third quarter when the game could have gone either way, a small blemish on what was a strong performance in a losing side.

Others:

James Tragakis led his side for disposals with 23 for the day as he worked hard through the contest to extract the ball. Down back, plenty of run was generated by Mitch Felton, who finished the game with a whopping 11 rebound 50s as he constantly drove the ball forward for Sturt, despite the inactivity up forward at times.

North Adelaide:

#12 Hugh Jackson

Dominant. Took his own footy to the contest as he finished with a game-high 41 disposals in a powerful performance through the midfield. There was no better performer in the engine room, as Jackson extracted the ball 12 times from stoppages, frequently giving opposition players and coaches headaches with his ability to find the ball in nearly any circumstance. Sturt attempted to curve his influence as the game continued, but it mattered not, with Jackson always finding a way to get the ball on his boot, finishing with 30 kicks. Was hugely influential in the result of the game, with North Adelaide’s midfield ascendancy a major factor in the final margin.

#18 James Willis

Was arguably better than his teammate in the number 12 jumper, with Willis stuffing the stat sheet on his way to 35 disposals, nine marks, five clearances and two goals. Spending time rotating through the midfield and the forward line, Willis was able to have an impact wherever his magnet was moved to. The statistics impress, but they don’t tell the tale of his immense pressure around the contest. Opposition players struggled to get a clean disposal around him and when they did, it was often rushed and ineffective.

Others:

Harvey Harrison hurt the opposition all over the ground, finishing with two goals from his 32 disposals and ten marks in a typically classy display.

Woodville-West Torrens 22.12 (144) defeated central district 6.10 (46)

By: Tom Wyman

Woodville-West Torrens:

#5 Brayden Calvett

Calvett produced his best performance of the season in the Eagles’ big win. Operating across the half-forward flank and pushing up onto the wing and midfield at times, Calvett booted two goals in three minutes in the first term before Central had registered a major. He would go on to boot another couple to finish the game as one of four Eagles to nail three-plus goals. He read the play well and made the most of his chances in-front of the big sticks. Calvett finished the game with 23 disposals, three marks and four inside-50s.

#6 Dustin Launer

Whilst the likes of Calvett, Burgoyne and Phillipou will deservedly steal the headlines for Woodville-West Torrens, the performance of Dustin Launer wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by the Eagles coaching staff. Particularly impressive early on in the game, the half-back/midfielder showed excellent poise and skill with ball in-hand. He looked calm and assured of himself even when under pressure, and executed well by hand and foot. Launer also showed plenty of ability in the midfield, where he won four clearances, along with his 20 possessions, seven marks, three tackles and three rebounds.

#9 Jase Burgoyne

Burgoyne quite simply did as he pleased upon return to the Eagles Under 18 set-up after spending time at league level with the Port Adelaide Magpies. Stationed in defence early-on, the Power father-son prospect looked unflustered all day. Not only did he find the ball at will, Burgoyne used it efficiently. He rarely attempted any audacious kicks, instead preferring to hit the obvious shorter target. Burgoyne was able to glide through the midfield, where he displayed a similar level of composure and poise with the football, making sensible and informed decisions. He flew high above the pack to claim a terrific mark, but the highlight-reel grab was unfortunately short-lived as he was penalised for placing his hands in the back of Bulldog Saxon Evans. Burgoyne got amongst the goal kickers when he waltzed into an open goal late in the fourth term to cap off a great performance. He finished with 37 disposals, ten marks and four clearances.

#21 Mattaes Phillipou

There were several candidates for best on ground honours in the Eagles 98-point triumph, but Mattaes Phillipou would have to be the front-runner after he slotted five majors. Spending more time up forward than in previous weeks, Phillipou’s aerial strength was on full display as he floated in to take several contested marks. After booting two early goals, Phillipou was clearly full of confidence as he set sail for home from beyond the 50-metre mark a couple of times, fancying his chances given his form in front of goal. It was just one of those days for the forward/midfielder, who consistently found himself in the right place at the right time, best highlighted by his fourth major, which came after Jase Burgoyne’s hurried kick forward fell right into his awaiting arms. When pushed into the midfield, his stoppage nous and contested ball winning were terrific. Phillipou finished a game to remember with 32 disposals, six marks (three contested), four tackles, eight clearances and five inside 50s.

Others: Ruckman Zac Phillips fought hard against Bulldogs ruckman Saxon Evans. Although Phillips was beaten early, he worked his way into the contest and had more of an impact as the game wore on. He got caught out for some slow disposal on a couple of occasions, but was more effective than Evans around the ground, gathering 19 disposals to go with his four marks, six clearances and 14 hitouts. Sam Nicholls accumulated 26 disposals, four marks, six tackles and five clearances in the midfield, while strongly built country kid Will Pearce booted four goals and played with plenty of aggression. Forward Jack Murphy booted three goals and Blake Hansen was another Eagle to impress, collecting 21 disposals and five marks.

Central District:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

The Bulldogs may have been soundly beaten from start to finish at Woodville Oval, but pocket rocket and Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect Isaiah Dudley showed why he is among South Australia’s top handful of draft hopefuls. Starting at the centre bounce, Dudley wasted no time asserting himself on the contest by winning the opening clearance and hitting a target by hand moments later. Throughout the contest, he switched from the midfield to a deep-forward role with fellow Academy Hub member Austin McDonald. Dudley’s attack on the contest was sensational, as was his contested ball winning and relentless tackling pressure. However it was his distribution by hand which elevated his game. He made excellent decisions by hand and showed vision and skill to locate targets away from the congestion, many of whom had time and space to move in. The powerfully built utility showed plenty of class to snap a goal from a difficult angle in the pocket, but should have finished with a couple more to his name. All in all, it was a very impressive performance from Dudley, who finished with 27 disposals, two marks, eight tackles, six clearances and four inside 50s.

#21 Austin McDonald

In just his third game back from a serious leg injury, bottom-ager Austin McDonald showed why he is considered one of the leading midfielders in SA. The Barossa product split his time between the midfield and the forward line, with the Bulldogs preferring to keep their two most damaging players, Dudley and McDonald separated. McDonald was not dominant, however he was certainly one of the Bulldogs best performers. He looks to be a natural ball-winner who appears best suited to an inside midfield role in the long term. He finished with 25 disposals, four marks, five tackles, two clearances and four inside-50s.

Others:

Half-back Ruben Carreno tried his best to weather the storm in defence. He provided some meaningful rebound, finishing with 19 disposals, two marks, three tackles and 11 rebounds. In the midfield, big-man Saxon Evans managed to get the better of his duel with 19-year-old Eagles tall Zac Phillips. The athletic ruckman gathered nine disposals and kicked a solid set-shot goal in the first term. At ground level, Tahjin Krieg never stopped trying for Central Districts. Despite lacking a touch of polish, he ran hard around the ground, tackled with ferocity and showed some speed and hustle out of the contest, concluding with 18 possessions, nine tackles, six clearances and seven inside-50s. Tomas Hahn was typically robust, laying 14 tackles, winning seven clearances and gathering 19 disposals. Dylan Wall was the best of the Bulldogs forwards, booting three goals.

GLENELG 15.12 (102) defeated NORWOOD 3.5 (23)

By: Liam Badkin

Glenelg:

#6 Darcy Gluyas

With teammate Hugh Stagg missing, Gluyas took the extra opportunity around the ground with both hands and stepped up to the moment. Through the midfield, he was terrific with five clearances and 31 disposals, but worked both ways for his side. Eight strong tackles provide a clear display of the toughness he showed through the engine room, and even floated forward to kick a classy second quarter goal to put the exclamation point on a fantastic all-around performance from the Glenelg midfielder.

#12 Brodie Edwards

A much better performance for the workhorse through the midfield, improving on last week’s quieter performance to finish the contest with 21 disposals and seven tackles. Working through the engine room, Edwards was one of his side’s premier extractors, finishing the contest with a game-high six clearances, through either his fast hands or impressive ability to get the ball on the boot. Was one of his side’s strongest in the 79-point drubbing of Norwood.

Others:

Up forward, Corey Brougham thrived as the team’s number one marking option, booting a whopping five snags from his 14 touches, and displayed his dominance in the air with three contested clunks.

Norwood:

#11 Connor Kent

Was his side’s bright spark on quite a dark day. The team was convincingly beaten, but Kent can hold his head high, amassing 37 disposals, seven inside 50’s and nine tackles through the middle. Kent was constantly trying to provide some desperately needed spark for his side, laying bone-crunching tackles and finding the ball, even when he was on the back foot. Far and away the best player for Norwood, and probably deserved a better result than what was given to him.

Image Credit: Port Adelaide FC

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 6

THE 2021 NAB League season rolled on over the weekend despite a fourth Victorian lockdown, with a pair of Northern Academy derbies making up the extent of the Round 6 fixtures. It meant budding AFL Draft prospects from around the nation got their chance to shine on centre stage, and a good number of them impressed. Check out the top performers from both fixtures in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RESULTS: Round 6 snapshot

GWS GIANTS Academy 10.9 (69) def. Sydney Swans Academy 9.9 (63)
By: Michael Alvaro

GIANTS Academy:

#7 Matthew Hamblin

Hamblin finished as the most prolific GIANTS midfielder with 27 disposals and proved a productive runner among the centre bounce group. He showed a good step through traffic and was able to zip onto the outer with a few quick steps before disposing of the ball cleanly. Complimenting those bursts was one excellent example of repeat running in the second term, where Hamblin was involved at half-back, got the ball again as the GIANTS transitioned through the corridor, and was rewarded for his running effort as he received inside 50 and slotted a goal on the fly. He could have added a couple more majors, but put shots wide in terms one and four.

#21 Fraser Kelly

Kelly was one who rotated forward from midfield and had an impact in both roles, collecting 18 disposals and booting three goals. He finished well on the day and his third major was an important one to level the scores in term four, snapping home with aplomb. Around the ball, he showed clean hands and the ability to get his arms up while being tackled to keep the play moving. While some of his handball distribution fell short of the intended targets, Kelly looked stylish in tight spaces and under solid pressure at the contest.

#24 Sam Frost

The GIANTS Academy leader was a dominant aerial force across his side’s defensive 50, rising to take 10 grabs and looking to generate some forward momentum by foot on the rebound. He took on the kick-in duties, which aided his road to 30 disposals (24 kicks), and looked to have sharpened his execution a touch this time out. Frost’s intercept marking was the highlight of his game though, as he sat on opponents’ heads in one-on-one contests and floated across to cut off an array of Sydney attacks. It’s clear what his key strength is, and he played to it perfectly on this occasion.

#31 Josh Green

A top-age prospect who has garnered interest for the mid-season draft, Green was solid in this outing without being dominant. He used his strong frame on the inside to get over the ball and distribute out of congestion, with 18 of his 25 disposals coming by hand. He was clean in those situations, even under tackling pressure, and brought his teammates into the game by playing to his primary strength in congestion. Green also rotated forward and took a couple of decent grabs, with a two-bite mark in the second term leading to his lone goal of the game – a set shot conversion from 40 metres out.

Swans Academy:

#3 Felix Rogers

Rogers clearly has no trouble finding the ball and again proved as much by accumulating a game-high 34 disposals both inside and away from the contest. He positioned well at the back of stoppages to receive second possession and be released to burst forward with a short run and kick. The 18-year-old also turned feeder himself and found a way to consistently get his hands on the ball, while spreading well to accumulate around the ground. He lifted in term four when the game was on the line, getting busy in midfield despite his side falling short. Rogers also hit the scoreboard with a set shot goal in the third quarter and was arguably best afield.

#7 Pierce Roseby

Another small Swans midfielder who finds the ball at will, Roseby worked hard all day for his side in an offensive and defensive sense. He worked back well when stationed in midfield to provide an outlet option, generally using the ball well with his short kicking game. Roseby used the same kind of method forward of centre too, often marking inside 50 but looking to find the next short option within the arc. He seemed to spend a bit more time up forward in the second half but presented right up the ground and covered plenty of territory in the process, helping his side link out of defence and along the outer.

#15 Jeremy Woodford

Woodford was one who showed great class in possession and made his kicks count, despite not racking up as much as others. Stationed on the wing and moving the ball forward of centre, Woodford was able to link the Swans into attack from the outer, weighting well directed passes to centre half-forward and inside attacking 50. One such pass was a goal assist for Hugh McLeod in the second term, and that kind of execution proved a weapon at times. Woodford was also thrown into the centre bounces and showed nice spurts of agility, but looked more comfortable when operating in space and given the time to hit a target going forward.

#26 Angus Anderson

Providing a hard edge on the inside, Anderson competed well and looked to help set the tone for Sydney. He built into the game steadily, proving strong at the contest with attempts to bustle out of congestion and break tackles with strength. Those kind of efforts meant Anderson had a good amount of presence at stoppages, but he also spread well to boot a goal on the run in term two, while also dropping back to find the ball in defence when required.

Brisbane Lions Academy 7.7 (49) def. by Gold Coast SUNS Academy 13.18 (96)
By: Declan Reeve

Lions Academy:

#12 Saxon Crozier

Considered unlucky by some not to be picked up in last year’s draft, Crozier showed that he’s since worked on his football to enhance his stocks for this season. With one particular knock last season being his inside game, Crozier played the majority of the contest as a rover on his way to a game-high 34 disposals. He won the first clearance of the day which set the tone for how he would play, utilising his positional awareness and speed to win the ball around the ground and then use it well, especially when kicking, to get the Lions into good spots. He balanced his performance well, also featuring on the wing at times where he showed what people already knew he could do, holding his space and being a switch option before getting the ball and pumping it forward.

#23 Charlie Bowes

Utilising his speed and deadly long kick, Bowes was one of the standout users of the footy throughout the game. He often leant on his penetrative kick to break lines and get the ball well clear of the defensive 50. When he took the kick-ins, he’d back in his speed and take on the opponent on the mark, then once he had run his distance, kick it 50-plus meters low and hard to give his leading teammates the best chance of holding onto it. Not only able to bullet his kicks, when required he weighted them well for a teammate to run onto and take easily.

#26 Jack Briskey

The former Collingwood train-on player was solid defensively and dangerous offensively, providing a well rounded performance that is sure to catch some eyes. He was strong overhead, even when under pressure, to hold most marks he should’ve taken. His follow up disposal was also generally good, though missing a few kicks or failing to get much penetration remains an area of improvement. What’s most impressive about Briskey is his athleticism for a bigman – he possesses great speed which saw him go for a couple of runs, one in the second quarter was particularly notable, where he took on two opponents and took a couple of bounces, then kicked long inside 50. That speed, along with his great leap meant that he rarely allowed his opponents to take marks near him, as he could close down the space extremely quickly and then compete in the air to get a fist in and spoil the mark.

SUNS Academy:

#2 Max Pescud

Splitting his time between the forwardline and midfield, Pescud was arguably the spark that got Gold Coast piling on scores in the second and fourth quarters, bringing a nice bit of zip to the midfield group when he got the ball. He generally used it well, more inclined to place the ball in front of teammates rather than bullet it directly at them, making it easier to hold onto. When in the forwardline he was always dangerous, kicking the Suns’ first two goals of the game; one from a strong lead when the Suns got a turnover, and the next from crumbing from a pack and snapping it through the middle.

#4 Austin Harris

Whilst not accumulating massive numbers, the AFL Academy member added a bit of class out of the back half for the Suns, with his ball use and speed especially dangerous in transition. He got into the right spots trying to receive a handball on the outside of packs, with the times he was used in those situations generally resulting in a penetrating kick forward. Had an impressive display of composure in the third term, where he got the ball and managed to evade two opponents, then break a tackle and kick the ball laterally to a teammate. Through his efforts to be involved even when the ball wasn’t in the backline, he got up the ground and snagged a goal in the second quarter. He occasionally tried to do too much or opt for unrealistic targets, which is an area of his game he can look to iron out.

#22 Bailey Reeves

Starting the game up forward before being promptly moved into the midfield, Reeves was one of the leading ball winners for the Suns. In midfield, his balanced disposal was vital to his side winning the midfield battle, as he would often get first hands on it around the stoppages and then move it on via hand to an outside runner or kick long forward. In open play his kicking was accurate and sharp, giving his leading forwards to best chance to hold onto it and maintain their separation.

#35 Will Bella

The most dominant forward in the contest, Bella was able to easily out-body and out-reach opposition defenders in marking contests, making it almost a sure thing he was going to win one-on-ones. As the Lions defenders caught onto this strength, they started to look to outnumber him, forcing him to start leading a bit more and look to create separation which he did to varying success. He would’ve had more than just two goals if he had been a bit more accurate, with that conversion a part of his game that he’ll certainly look to work on. Looked comfortably the best ruck when he was rotating through there, winning taps and doing well as a ‘kick behind the play’ player.

SANFL U18 Scouting Notes – Round 8

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s returned and rolled on into Round 8, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

GLENELG 8.10 (58) def. by WEST ADELAIDE 9.8 (62)

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

Hugh Stagg once-again appeared a class above the rest at ACH Group Stadium. The bull-like utility went head-to-head with fellow ball-magnet Cade Kennedy at various stages when deployed through the middle. However it was his work in attack which almost won the game for the previously undefeated Bays. He opened the scoring for the home side by caressing through a stab kick on the run from a tricky angle. His third-term set-shot cut the margin to two points, before he added a third major late in the frame to extend Glenelg’s lead. He could’ve added a couple more goals too, finishing with three behinds. Stagg’s ability to burst through would-be tacklers with speed, strength and bustle set his game apart. Also showcasing his overhead marking strength, Stagg concluded the match with 30 disposals, five marks (two contested), four tackles, seven clearances and eight inside-50s in another sensational performance from the teenager.

#6 Darcy Gluyas

With teammate and potential first-round draftee Lewis Rayson missing from the side, Gluyas spent some extra minutes on the ball, while still impacting the game when moved to the forward flank. One of several Tigers boasting the versatility to fill a role almost anywhere on the ground, Gluyas was heavily involved early, showcasing plenty of composure and an effective side-step. Although he dropped a couple of marks he would’ve normally taken, Gluyas slotted an important goal from a 45-metre set shot in the second term. Overall, the consistent Gluyas made another solid contribution for Glenelg, accumulating 15 disposals, three marks, three tackles and three clearances.

#12 Brodie Edwards

Brodie Edwards started in the centre-bounce and spent much of the day rotating through the midfield for the Tigers. Edwards was typically workmanlike throughout the game, working hard to apply plenty of pressure around the contest. He was, however, caught out for a lack of pace in the defensive half when he was mowed down from behind. It was a quieter day for Edwards, who finished with 14 disposals, however he still was able to demonstrate level-headedness with ball in hand and a willingness to apply plenty of pressure, laying seven tackles.

Others: Full-back Dayne McGary was strong in the defensive half for the yellow and black. His strength overhead was a real feature of the game, and so too was his ability to read the play and peel off his direct opponent to impact the contest. He was also careful and assured by foot and provided some serviceable rebound. He gathered 22 disposals, 11 marks and five rebounds.

Playing his third game of the season, Benjamin Ridgway collected 19 disposals, three marks, five tackles, three clearances and a goal for the Tigers, with Darcy Porter and Bailey Durant also among the home side’s best performers.

 

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

The ever-reliable Charlie Pridham produced another clean and composed performance in his customary role as the kicker across half-back. Pridham backed his skillset in even when under pressure and displayed good vision to spot up several difficult targets throughout the morning. The blonde-haired ball magnet, who is averaging 26.9 disposals per game in 2021, was largely clean by foot when kicking in from defence and finished the game with 25 disposals, three marks, four tackles and seven rebound-50s.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Following a 49-disposal effort last weekend, West Adelaide captain Cade Kennedy once again led from the front in the middle. Kennedy threw himself at the contest, winning plenty of contested ball and displaying some excellent stoppage nous. When the Tigers won the ball in the coalface, Kennedy ran hard defensively and looked to pressure the ball carrier, as evidenced by his equal team-high ten tackles. He was also effective in general play, working into helpful spaces and often stationing himself in the centre square as an in-board option. Although he wasn’t always effective by foot, Kennedy finished with 23 disposals, four marks, five clearances and five inside-50s.

#13 Hugh Desira

Wingman Hugh Desira played an important role in West Adelaide’s upset win. The hard-working midfielder used the ball well on the outside but also proved more than capable when moved into an inside role, winning a team-high six clearances. His quick snap goal five minutes into the second term helped continue West’s early dominance. In arguably his best game of the season to-date, Desira gathered 19 disposals, two marks, six clearances and four inside-50s.

Others: Midfielder/forward Jesse Thackeray finished the game as the leading ball-winner on the ground, gathering 31 disposals to go with seven marks (three contested), three clearances, six inside-50s, four rebounds and a goal. Opportunist forward Saleh Baltagie booted the first goal of the game from a free kick then capitalised on the loose ball twice to finish the game with three majors. His pressure in the forward half was excellent and his goals were reward for effort.

West’s dual-ruck set-up of Tom Scully and Oscar Steene overwhelmed the undersized Tigers big-men. They finished with 24 and 27 hit-outs respectively and, importantly, worked well around the ground, remaining clean below their knees and effective in general-play.

STURT 5.4 (34) def. by NORTH ADELAIDE 20.16 (136)

By: Tom Wyman

Sturt

#12 Jamie Taylor

Prolific midfielder Jamie Taylor was clearly Sturt’s best player despite the 102-point smashing. He started at the centre-bounce and showed a couple of positive glimpses, including a damaging fend-off, effective side-step and good penetration by foot, in what was an overwise dour day for the Double Blues. One of very few Sturt players who looked capable of matching the Roosters star-studded midfield, Taylor worked hard around the ground and finished the game with ten marks. He also managed 30 disposals, six clearances and a couple of inside-50s.

Others: The Sturt backline was peppered from start to finish, which placed defenders Mitch Felton and Kade Harvey under the pump. Given the ball breached Sturt’s defensive 50 on no less than 67 occasions for the game, the duo did just about all they could. In charge of the kick-ins, Felton provided some important rebound from defence, concluding the game with 24 disposals, three marks, four tackles and 13 rebounds. His racking foot skills were a standout. Meanwhile, Harvey gathered 21 disposals, eight marks and five rebound-50s.

Blake Fidge booted the clubs only two goals of the second-half, while George Pope (23 disposals, eight clearances and five inside-50s) and Patrick Tidemann (22 disposals, ten marks, four inside-50s and five rebounds) were others who could hold their heads up high.

 

North Adelaide

#3 Adam Heath

North Adelaide’s second term acceleration was largely thanks to a four goal quarter from key forward Adam Heath. Heath benefitted greatly from some excellent inside-50 foot skills from the talented Roosters midfield brigade, always playing in-front, timing his leads well and marking relatively unobstructed. His set-shot goal kicking was solid, albeit for a couple of misses. He will rue hitting the post from point-blank range early in the second, however his four-goal heroics more than made up for the blemish. Heath finished the game with 20 disposals, five goals, 12 marks and three inside-50s.

#4 Isaac Keeler

The athletic key forward again proved far too good for the Sturt backline as the Roosters pilled on goal after goal. He wasted little time getting into the contest, having a set-shot sighter early in the first term. He booted his first goal by intelligently staying down when others flew and slotting the regulation goal after the ball fell into his hands. Keeler nailed his second from just inside the 50-metre arc on the tightest of angles, and added a third from a set-shot after simply outreaching the Sturt defender. Possessing natural forward instincts, Keeler often read the play a fraction earlier than everyone else, and these football smarts, combined with his explosive acceleration on the lead, saw him have several shots on goal. Keeler also had an impact when he worked his way up the ground, with his leap allowing him to get on top of the Sturt ruck department. The bottom ager’s speed and mobility allowed him to have a genuine impact at ground level too. Keeler finished the game with 19 disposals, ten marks (two contested), three tackles, ten hit-outs and three majors.

#12 Hugh Jackson

It was another strong showing for Hugh Jackson, who has proven himself to be one of the best ball users in the nation so far this season. Even though the Sturt midfielders were clearly well aware of his damaging left foot and ability to accumulate the ball at will, they were unable to get near the Roosters number twelve. He worked tirelessly throughout the game, moving well in traffic and swinging onto his left-foot whenever possible. North Adelaide were always going to be hard to stop when Jackson and O’Loughlin were afforded time to deliver it inside 50 to damaging effect. Jackson, who leads the competition for disposals by no-less than 48 to West’s Cade Kennedy, added another 37 to his mounting tally, while also managing 12 marks, six clearances, 11 inside-50s and four rebounds in another wonderful performance.

#15 Harvey Harrison 

Prolific onballer Harvey Harrison took a little while to get going, but when he did, his speed and run and carry through the middle of Unley Oval was great to watch. His kicking was inconsistent but his stoppage work was excellent, scrapping around at ground level and feeding it out to the plethora of Roosters waiting to receive. He calmly curled home a major on his left-foot to inflict more pain upon the opposition in the dying minutes of the third term. One of the competition’s best performers over the opening two months of under-18 action, Harrison finished the game with 31 disposals, seven marks, nine clearances and three inside-50s.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

Those who have had the pleasure of watching Crows Next Generation Academy member Blayne O’Loughlin go about his business this season will hardly be surprised to see him notch up another 42 disposals in the Roosters 102-point win. Blayne started down back but wasn’t afraid to leave his man and push up around the ball to impact at the stoppages. O’Loughlin’s ball-use got better as the game wore on, with many of his earlier touches being relatively simply short passes. His run and carry through the middle of the ground was important, as was his crafty disposal and calmness under duress down back. O’Loughlin was effective between the arcs, accumulating seven inside-50s, seven rebounds and ten marks to go with his 31 kicks and 11 handballs.

#26 Kelsey Rypstra

The diminutive Rypstra has been one of North Adelaide’s most underrated performers so far in 2021, and his performance against the Double Blues was excellent. He snapped the first goal of the game for the red and whites then, in the final term, added a second on the run after getting on the end of a fast break from the centre bounce. Rypstra’s ball-use, like so many of his teammates, was clean and often damaging. His kicking, particularly going forward, made the job of the Roosters forwards much easier. In addition to his two majors, the half-forward/midfielder finished the game with 24 touches, six marks and seven inside-50s.

Others: Speedster Zyton Santillo played an important role for the Roosters through the midfield. Although he may be small in stature, Santillo broke tackle after tackle and won his fair share of contested ball at the coalface but, importantly, delivered the ball well by foot. He applied plenty of pressure, finishing with seven tackles to go with 23 disposals, six marks, three clearances and three inside-50s.

James White and James Willis both found plenty of the ball for the Roosters. White was clean throughout the contest, gathering 26 disposals, four marks, three tackles and four inside-50s. Willis managed 23 touches, four marks, four tackles, six inside-50s and a goal and showed some draftable qualities, including a quick turn of pace, run and carry and a booming long kick. He was unlucky to have a long-range effort on goal touched on the line.

CENTRAL DISTRICTS 7.5 (47) def. by SOUTH ADELAIDE 14.10 (94)

By: Liam Badkin

Central Districts:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

Displayed his classy playmaking ability again through the midfield, finding the ball 17 times in another impressive outing for his club. His ability to find the ball on the run was on display, hitting up teammates from all over the ground. Rarely took the ball when he was stationary at stoppages, always seeming proactive and attempting to generate some run around the contest. Missed an opportunity to hit the scoreboard in the final term when his team faced an impossible deficit. One of the better ball users in the league and displayed it fully throughout this contest.

#21 Austin McDonald

One of the standout players for his side, McDonald was instrumental through the midfield, finding the ball 24 times and rarely wasted it. His hands within the contest are as elite, and constantly generated some run by moving the ball on quickly. When giving the ball to teammates, he found them on the run, and was brutal around the contest. Headed forward and booted two goals on a day where his side was desperately short on scoring opportunities. No Central Districts player found the ball more than McDonald, and his run of strong form continues.

Others: Through the midfield, Tomas Hahn laid a whopping 19 tackles in one of the toughest performances of the year. Also found the ball 23 times, showcasing his all-around ability, while Adam Deakin was a constant threat in the backline with six rebound-50’s.

 

South Adelaide:

#4 Jack Dealan

The talented youngster was once more a looming threat up forward for South Adelaide, booting three goals in another solid outing. Dealan’s arial presence was once again on display, highlighted by a strong contested mark. Two second-quarter goals proved perfect in demonstrating his ability to rip a game apart in a short period of time. Dealan’s draft stock continues to rise and will likely rank towards the top when his draft eligibility comes in a couple of years’ time.

#10 Isaac Birt

The midfielder was solid without being outstanding in the win for South Adelaide, racking up 15 disposals. With the return of Arlo Draper, Birt spent more time on the outside of the contest, and when given time and space, hurt the opposition with his outside run. Took a strong contested mark to add another bow to his game, and his disposal efficiency improves on a weekly basis. Might have had less of the ball than recent weeks, but certainly lost no respect from coaches and teammates with a decent outing.

#33 Will Verrall

The bottom-aged ruckman beat his opponent, and certainly got the job done in his role, proving crucial to the side’s victory. Finishing with 33 hitouts, Verrall gave his midfielders first use, with his ruck craft improving on a weekly basis. He combined well with a variety of South Adelaide’s midfielders, and even followed up his tap work on plenty of occasions, finishing the match with 19 disposals and even winning eight clearances of his own. Did his draft stock no harm at all.

Others: Draper was strong through the middle, finishing with 27 touches and his contested work was once again a clear standout. Defender Lachlan Hayes found plenty of the ball, racking up 25 touches and consistently repelled the ball from defensive 50.

NORWOOD 5.9 (39) def. by WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 13.12 (90)

By: Liam Badkin

Norwood:

#11 Connor Kent

The midfielder stood out on a tough day for the side’s engine room, finishing with 32 disposals in a tough performance. With virtually no ruck dominance all day, Norwood had to get creative in getting their clearances, so Kent and other mids began reading the opposition’s tap. Had the opportunity to kick a much-needed goal for his side, but the shot just missed. Nine tackles and seven clearances were reflective of his willingness to get his hands dirty in the contest.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Racked up a game-high 36 disposals from the backline, and worked hard to try and defend countless Eagle attacks on goal. Always clean with his disposal, Dnistriansky took risks with his kicks, and while they didn’t always come off, some attacking ball movement was a nice change of pace on a day where his side was convincingly beaten in most areas of the ground. Finished with eight rebound-50s as he tried to get the ball moving forward for his team.

Woodville West Torrens:

#16 Will Pearce

Was once again one of the focal points for his side, when they were moving the ball forward, mainly due to his strong arial presence at times combined with his impressive work when the ball hit the deck. Could have had four majors, but missed two gettable shots, so only finished with two snags for the day. 13 disposals showed that he can be more than a threat in front of goal, finding teammates in space when he was given the opportunity.

#18 William Neumann

Spending time through the midfield and up forward, Neumann was once again lethal for the winning side, finishing with 17 disposals in a typically tough outing. Like previous weeks, his pressure was outstanding around the contest, constantly harassing opponents into making errors that he or teammates would swoop on. Hit the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, as his side went into party time with the game locked away. Certainly lost no fans with this showing.

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 4

THE 2021 NAB League season resumed over the weekend after a month-long hiatus, with a handful of Northern Academies entering the fray and making for a bumper nine-game weekend. It meant budding AFL Draft prospects from around the nation were on full show, with some staking their claims for mid-season draft honours. Check out the top performers from each fixture in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RESULTS: Round 4 snapshot

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS vs. WESTERN JETS

By: Declan Reeve

Sandringham Dragons:

#6 Blake Howes 

A knock-on effect of the outs that Sandringham had saw Howes play majority of the game on the wing, where his speed, skill and ball winning were well highlighted in what was his most prolific performance of the season to date. As a winger, he still managed to find ways to impact on the inside with his quick and clean hands at ground level, as well as to teammates, tearing up the Western midfield at various points in the game. His positioning and ability to time his run led to some highlight moments, winning crucial clearances in the early stages of the game while also gathering intercept marks around the ground, with one leading to the first goal of the game. 

#17 Finn Callaghan

With some starting midfielders out due to injury or VFL selection, Callaghan got the chance to shine with a move inside, playing the game out as a major ball winner for the Dragons. What stood out most with Callaghan’s game, was his stoppage craft and clearance winning in tight space, demonstrating this best at stoppages around the ground where he’d read the ball off the rucks hands, and then burst free from opponents and look to switch the play across ground with his strong kicking. Able to balance his disposal well, Callaghan also looked to get his defenders involved in offensive play, encouraging teammates to run past and receive the handball to then kick long. When Sandringham were looking to get back into the game in the fourth quarter Callaghan’s defensive workrate shone, even taking a kick in late, then running up and winning the clearance that resulted from the kick to the wing.

#42 Luke Cleary

Continued to do the things he does well, playing to his strengths with his run from behind setting up plenty of opportunities, linking up well with teammates Callaghan and Howes with his handball receive work when he pushed up the ground. Cleary positioned himself really well in the backline, especially after the initial first two goals from Western in the third quarter, to be one of the first players to the ball every time it entered defensive 50, looking to handball it to a teammate out the back. 

#52 Luke Nankervis

Splitting his time between the forward line and midfield, Nankervis Stood out with his ability to keep his hands free through traffic, or when being tackled, to get a handball off to a teammate and keep Sandringham moving with the ball. Bringing a creative spark around goals in the second half, he kicked two highlight reel worthy goals, using the wind to his advantage to get them from tricky spots along the boundary. When he was given his opportunity on the inside he looked good, being clean below his knees and maintaining that cleanliness through traffic.

#53 Eren Soylemez

Always capable of having an impact if given even the smallest of opportunities, Soylemez continued his goal kicking ways with 3 goals in the tight contest, kicking 2 of them in the second quarter to give Sandringham a lead heading into half time. He was able to find the goals from almost anywhere when in the forward 50, with a couple of shots falling just short or being touched, with a little refining on finishing, Soylemez could’ve had 5 or 6. 

#66 Charlie McKay

With Hipwell selected for Sandringham VFL, his spot as the major contested ball winner for Sandringham opened up for McKay who has been forced into a defensive role prior to this game. Not looking to waste his opportunity, Mckay impressed with his constant attack on the ball and opponent around stoppages, leading to a game high 37 disposals and playing a big part in Sandringham’s attempt to claw back the lead in the fourth quarter. Perhaps lacked some penetration with his skills at times, but looked to move the ball to the right spots.

Western Jets:

#2 Harrison White

Perhaps Western’s most consistent player throughout the day, White was a constant driver from the midfield, looking to create dangerous plays around stoppages with his speed and agility. This agility was shown throughout the day, with plays where he’d get through packs with the ball, avoiding tackles, a pretty common occurrence through the game. His use by foot was particularly impressive as well, able to follow up that dancing through packs with pinpoint kicks to targets inside 50. Got himself two goals in the scoring frenzy third term, with the first being the most impressive as a snap under pressure from about 50 out.

#26 Cody Raak

Returning from the NAB League Break with added VFL experience, the mid-season draft prospect had a solid performance as a composed figure in the Western defence. He was rarely caught behind his opponents, but managed to close down the distance well and spoil. He used the ball exceptionally well by foot, especially in the defensive half, where he’d look to switch the play or slow it down to assess his options. As usual, he intercepted well throughout the game, pushing off opponents, especially in the last quarter, to impact the ball further up the ground and keep the pressure on.

#32 Paul Curtis

Started the game fairly quiet as the ball was around the Sandringham forward half for majority of it, still managing to get a couple of tackles inside 50 when it came down. It was the third quarter in particular where the Jets piled on 8 goals, with Curtis putting in 4 of those for his side. Whilst not a tall player, he played as a lead up target, with his leading patterns near perfect, getting his first two goals by leading well to smart spots, where his midfielders could put it easily in front of him from the centre clearances. 

#35 Liam Conway

Was the main player in the Western midfield to step up in the second half, with his work around the ground crucial to Western’s massive third quarter. What was most evident, was how well he uses his burst around stoppages to get away from opponents, where with that separation he steadies himself well and uses the ball beautifully by foot, setting up the first goal of the third quarter with the first clearance, pinpointing the kick to teammate Curtis. He was also a threat aerially, with his leap and ability to hold the ball well making it hard for anyone to impact his marking without giving away a free kick. When he wasn’t the target of a kick, he played a crumbing role well at ground level around contests, often at the fall of the ball off hands and then able to take it cleanly.

#50 Paul Tsapatolis

Comfortably the most dominant ruck in the game, Tsapatolis took full advantage in the absence of Jacob Edwards and Max Heath, the main Sandringham rucks, who were out with school football commitments. What was most impressive for Tsapatolis was how easily he found front position in the ruck contests to win taps relatively uncontested, taking full advantage of the height and size difference of his opponents. After Sandringham had started to read his taps he switched on and started to grab the ball from the ruck and bomb it long forward.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS vs. BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY

By: Liam Badkin

Northern Knights:

#9 Darcy Wilmot

Fantastic off half back, particularly in the first half when the Knights had most of the footy. His pace was damaging, as he sliced through the opposition with his inboard running, and was able to find a target by foot. For his size at 183cm, he showed his fantastic capability above his head, taking a nice intercept mark in the second quarter, and provided countless spoils that thwarted Brisbane attacks. He was closely checked in the second half, as the opposition realised how much damage he was capable of causing, but overall he combined very well with his fellow backmen, and was probably his side’s strongest performers on the day. Disappointingly, finished the game with an injured neck after smashing in hard to a contest, and had to be helped off.

#10 Ben De Bolfo

Much like Wilmot, was damaging off half back, combining with teammates to clear the ball out of defensive 50 with ease. Has a talent for reading the crumb off the marking contest, consistently reading the drop of the ball and finding a teammate to rebound the ball out of Brisbane’s forward line. Skills by foot and hand were solid all day, and his defensive work was fantastic too. Combined well with Wilmot on multiple occasions in the first half when the Knights half back line was the most damaging weapon in their arsenal.

#19 Joel Trudgeon

The Knights captain led by example in a masterful display through the midfield. You will struggle to find a better set of hands in the contest, as he was rarely wrapped up, instead using his strength to keep his arms free and find a teammate to clear the contest. From the very first bounce, he was prominent in and around the contest, never fearful of attacking the ball. His tackling pressure was immensely physical too, and his knack for timing his tackles perfectly to avoid giving away a free kick. Floated forward to kick a goal in the third quarter, and nearly booted two in a row, but his set shot faded right. Was clearly best on ground for the day, leading his side to a strong victory.

#26 Dominic Akuei

A strong defensive performance from the 192cm backman, as he delivered a performance that will give him confidence moving forward. Had a desire to create run from the backline, constantly looking to spread from the backline when his side gained possession. Kept his opponents quiet and wasn’t afraid to get in the face of his opponents. He was even thrown into the ruck in the last quarter and displayed his athletic capabilities. Had his moment of the day in the last term with a brilliant goal saving run down. A promising outing, and plenty to build on in future matches.

#28 Joel Fitzgerald

Worked his way into the game strongly after a quiet first term. A moment that seemed to kickstart his game came in the second term, when he won a contest on the wing, handballed to a teammate, ran hard to receive it back, before delivering a lace-out pass to a teammate inside 50. After this, he was finding himself in all the right positions, and proved hard to tackle on more than one occasion. Kept his players accountable and hurt them with his two-way running.

Lions Academy:

#4 Shatna Cashen-Harris

Looked capable of breaking the game open at stages, with his pace around the ball evident, and his pressure constantly making the opposition nervous. Quietened off after a bright first quarter, but still showed promising signs in glimpses throughout the match. Spent time rotating up forward and through the midfield, where he injected some desperately needed energy.

#16 Lochlan Harrop

Was impressive for the Lions on a tough day at the office. Started the match coming off the bench straight into the midfield, before moving to the backline where he truly excelled. Can read the ball outstandingly well, and while he didn’t mark them all, his willingness to launch himself at the Knights’ inside 50 delivery stopped plenty of scores and displayed tremendous courage. Missed a couple of targets by foot, but overall a gutsy performance that would have inspired his teammates.

#24 Connor Bulley

Was solid throughout the day, as he battled hard to defend the Knights’ attacks. Found himself on the losing side of a few contests, with near perfect delivery to his opponents, but never dropped his head. Was much better in the third quarter, when his side put themselves in the contest. Floated forward to boot a goal in the third term, and will be better for the experience.

GEELONG FALCONS vs. GWS GIANTS ACADEMY

By: Peter Williams

Geelong Falcons:

#4 Gennaro Bove

Played a four-quarter effort with his usual impact up forward, getting involved further up the ground when the Falcons were struggling to get it forward. He kicked his first goal in the opening minute of the second term from a set shot, and whilst his second did not come until the final quarter thanks to some clever crumbing, he still worked hard across the ground, set up another goal to Mitch Knevitt and took some strong grabs for a smaller player.

#11 Cooper Whyte

Had some eye-catching plays through the midfield and had more of an impact than his stats might suggest. Whilst he had lower numbers compared to some others in the game, he showed off a sweet sidestep, a front-on fend-off and a clean set of hands in close when being tackled. At times he might do too much, but he tried to create, which did pay off as well.

#12 Noah Gribble

Brought his own football to the game with 14 more disposals than anyone else on his team. Personified four quarters and kept working hard, and whilst at times his field kicking still let him down, his work rate and spread was what helped him stand out. He has a thumping long boot that can travel 50m, and he hit the scoreboard early in the second term with a great running goal after going from the wing to just inside 50. His defensive pressure and second efforts, as emphasised by his great smother on the wing 17 minutes into the fourth term was indicative of his effort.

#16 Charlie Ham

Found plenty of the ball working up and down the ground, and whilst he might have had more impactful performances before, got back into it after a few weeks off pretty well. A kick-first player, Ham was able to get back and help his defence, then drive it forward to put it to his teammates advantages when in transition, to finish with the second most touches on his team.

#28 Mitch Knevitt

A mixed performance where his best was unbelievable, but he had patches where he needed to get more involved. His ability to clunk contested marks, and athletically take control was really impressive, and he was able to play both through the midfield and up forward. He did cop a knock which limited him somewhat forward, but he still kicked a goal and did some nice things across the board.

#32 Noah Gadsby

It was great to see Gadsby back after a long-term injury, with the talent really standing out in the forward half. He slotted two goals, which included one from hard running and popping it through the goalsquare, then a second major off a step to slot it home early in the second quarter. In the same term he produced a well done run-down tackle at half-back, spreading well to the wings and covering the whole ground impressively.

GIANTS Academy:

#1 Harry Grintell

Ended up being the match-winner with three last quarter goals to help his side over the line. Spending time in the midfield then going forward to be that damaging player close to goal, Grintell really came alive in the final term after a quiet game to-date. His first goal came from a free kick nine minutes in, then responded to the Falcons’ major with a quick-fire goal two minutes later, then kicked the winning goal late in the game after running hard towards a bouncing ball, getting boot to ball in a flash to snap it through.

#19 Maximus Monaghan

Was arguably the GIANTS’ most eye-catching midfielder, working well at the stoppages and even sliding in to take a mark in the second term and converting the set shot. He applied plenty of defensive pressure and showed some nice moves out of congestion with clever sidestepping. He was able to adjust his kick mid-run which was impressive and overall had an impact for his team.

#21 Fraser Kelly

Kicked a couple of goals from 12 touches and only the two kicks. He kicked a very clever goal from 50m that caught the eye and bounced through well, then took a strong contested grab in the fourth term and nailed the set shot from 15m out. One moment he had that really caught the eye was his ability to win the ball at the coal face, and hold off delivering the handball until the second option which he did well to execute perfectly.

#24 Sam Frost

His defensive work was really impressive, gobbling up anything that came his way and then offered himself up as a rebounding option. His disposal at times was a concern, turning over a number of touches including one not under pressure. However his work without the ball and an ability to rebound out of the back 50 was a real highlight, as Frost picked up 12 rebounds – nine more than any other player on his team and served as an anchor back there.

#30 Brad Rauter

Another defender who had some great defensive work but just needed to sharpen his disposal, Rauter stood up well against pressure and was able to often win contests against multiple opponents. He laid a great tackle after trapping the ball in against an opponent – and beating another – to win a free kick, but unfortunately turned over the kick. He took some good marks and had some solid moments as a whole.

#31 Josh Green

Constantly involved inside 50 and always looked liked a damaging forward, he kicked an early major for the GIANTS dribbling one home from the behind post. He kicked his second in the third term with a snap around his body to cut the deficit to five points at that stage. He was always lively, pushing up and down the ground and racking up some big numbers rotating through the midfield and laying some big tackles. Possibly the more impressive aspect was his ability to get up the ground then get it inside 50.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

By: Michael Alvaro

Murray Bushrangers:

#3 Toby Murray

One of a few promising talls afield, Murray seemed to grow in confidence as the game wore on and showcased his upside rotating through the ruck and forwardline. He started in attack and was able to get separation on the lead while presenting out, with his reach also coming in handy while attempting overhead marks. While he may have some filling out to do to clunk those grabs more consistently and wrestle in the ruck, Murray’s athleticism and ability to adapt by using said trait was terrific to watch. One of his best moments was a holding the ball tackle at centre half-forward, which he used to hit up Cameron McLeod inside 50.

#5 Paddy Parnell

A run-and-gun type of rebounder out of defence, Parnell seemed to be in perpetual forward motion throughout his latest outing. There isn’t much of him, but the top-ager made an impact with his aggressive running patterns and timing when searching for handball receives. Tasked with taking the kick-outs, Parnell would often play on and weave through holes in the zone, getting as far as 40 meters at times before delivering by foot, or chaining by hand. While it sometimes invited unnecessary pressure, he would often opt to kick short so he could run on and get the hand off – such instances saw him move the ball across the defensive 50 arc, or all the way through the corridor. Parnell’s clean kicking skills were also a feature, and he used them to launch a nice goal on the fly in term two.

#8 Zavier Maher

In his return NAB League outing, the top-age mid-season draft candidate would have done his chances no harm. Maher found plenty of the ball in his usual midfield post, proving a strong body at the stoppages and dropping back well during the second half to accumulate a wealth of possessions. A couple of knocks which saw him overlooked at last year’s draft were his kicking skills and ground level cleanliness, which he still looks to be working on. He bombed out of the contest and sent forward a few floaters on the move, but looked clean by hand at the stoppages when fresh. His upside is clear to see, with great power and an explosive turn of speed allowing him to drive Murray forward out of congestion. Maher showed good smarts when using his body, and if he can continue to add polish to his game and impact away from the contest, will be very hard to deny at the next level.

#24 Cameron McLeod

Another promising top-age prospect, McLeod played a key hand in Murray’s win by allowing his side to apply sustained scoreboard pressure. The 19-year-old presented beautifully high up the ground, where he would mark and quickly move the ball on with terrific skills for his size. Most things he did on Saturday were clean, able to clunk the ball without much fuss and then keep the chain going smoothly by foot. The first of McLeod’s four majors came in the second term, where he waited down inside 50 and latched onto the bouncing ball before finishing well. He showed similar ground level nous in the following period for goal number two, dropping a mark but recovering quickly before snapping home once more. He booted two more well-struck goals, both coming from range with one being a set shot. Arguably his best outing to date.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#1 Youseph Dib

Changes in the Oakleigh side saw Dib utilised almost permanently through midfield, where his physicality, turn of speed, and pressure game combined well. He looked to have brought in a good deal of confidence having gained VFL experience during the break, but made some costly skill errors coming away from the contest at full tilt. As the game wore on, he seemed to actively take more time before disposing of the ball, getting the legs pumping and choosing the right option. Dib also spent a bit of time up forward but was a midfield mainstay, setting a good tone at the stoppages and welcoming a bit of niggle.

#3 Nick Daicos

The Chargers skipper missed out on a berth with Collingwood’s VFL side having been managed over the break, but had the ball on a string in his return to action. His game-high 44 disposals were accumulated on the back of an unbelievably sound understanding of the game, which saw Daicos anticipate exactly where his next possession would come. He stayed active at the stoppages, looking to push off his man and burst through the contest to work a viable exit from congestion. Later in the game, he put more of a defensive hat on by anchoring the stoppages and opting against streaming to the front. A team-first kind of leader, he showed clear intent to bring his teammates into the game and that is why his numbers were so inflated, as he also worked to demand the ball back and push into dangerous areas. He won and received the ball in good spots, but did a lot of early work under pressure which limited the impact of his disposals – particularly by foot. While that was the case, you have to marvel at Daicos’ ability to consistently look a class above the Under 19 level.

#4 Sam Tucker

Another top-ager who made his first appearance in 2021, Tucker was a prominent forward figure.He got amongst the action early too, boosting his confidence with consecutive first term goals – both from long range. Tucker’s presentation up to the forward 50 arc allowed him to showcase his clean hands at ground level, operating in front position and making good of whatever kind of delivery came his way by running through the line of the ball, collecting, and disposing. He missed a few more chances to find the goals throughout the game, but overall made for a steady return.

#64 Ned Moyle

A true ruckman, Moyle again proved why he is one to watch at the upcoming mid-season draft. He looked to impose himself on the contest by using his strength against less mature opponents, nudging them under the ball and grabbing clearance after clearance. While some of his kicks under pressure can be scrubbers with little penetration, Moyle got better length on his disposals in this outing and also did well to dish by hand when appropriate. His work around the ground is also improving, but adjusting against more athletic rucks who won’t engage and can outmanoeuvre him will be the bigman’s next big test. Elsewhere, he followed up well and tackled hard, while also doing the one-percenters like shepherding to release his midfielders.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS vs. GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY

By: Liam Badkin

Dandenong Stingrays:

#8 Bayleigh Welsh

The Stingrays captain provided some of his signature run against the Suns. He frequently burst from deep in the backline to provide some pace for his side that proved crucial in the end. His kicking skills are to be marvelled at, as he never tried to do too much with the ball, just enough to hit a target and keep the ball in his side’s possession. Kept his opponents accountable playing on the likes of Shaye Walsh for the majority of the contest. His leadership was also fantastic as he marshalled the troops from half back.

#14 Will Bravo

Was busy throughout the midfield for the entire contest as he battled for the ball on the inside of the contest and was used as an outlet on plenty of occasions. Was willing to run both ways, as he worked hard into defence to clear the ball. Gathered a crucial ball in the second term and was able to clear the ball from the contest despite the pressure from Gold Coast forward Malachi Dumas. Displayed incredible endurance as he pushed from contest to contest, and worked hard for the entire game.

#17 Bryce Milford

The talented utility was used in the backline throughout the contest, as the Dandenong coaches attempted to take away Gold Coast’s height advantage up forward. Didn’t get too much of the ball, but certainly nullified the impact of his opponent, being matched up on players such as Will Bella at times. Moved to a wing where he displayed his ability to play multiple positions, where he used his height and endurance to create some space. His 195cm height gives him a significant advantage on his opponents on the wing and looked more settled out there.

#22 Mac Andrew

The Melbourne Next Generation Talent displayed his enormous potential in the contest as he proved to consistently prove a threat wherever he was placed. Starting the game up forward, Andrew launched at everything, showcasing his tremendous athletic ability. While he didn’t clunk any marks, he was vital in bringing the ball to ground for his smaller teammates. He later moved into the ruck, where he displayed outstanding leaping ability, but his follow up work was just as impressive. Andrew didn’t let his 200cm height prevent him from battling hard on the ground to fight for the ball. A player with no ceiling and one to keep an eye on.

SUNS Academy:

#4 Austin Harris

The AFL Academy member certainly lived up to the hype whenever he got the ball, using his magnificent foot skills to clear the ball from defensive 50, or find a teammate up the field. Splitting his time between half back and the wing, Harris stood out in both lines. When he was in the backline, he played as loose man at times, which is logical given his lethalness when the ball is in his hands. He took plenty of kickouts too, which showcased his booming boot that cleared the ball from the Stingray forward line. Delivered a bullet pass to Bella in the second term, but the forward couldn’t convert. Continues to impress.

#17 Bodhi Uwland

Was terrific in the backline, with an ability to compete in the air, and then mesmerise opponents when the ball was on the ground. Had an outstanding second term, as he appeared to pop up everywhere for the Suns, saving countless scores with his ability to read the play. Had serious composure when the ball was in his hands, and was able to weave his way through traffic despite the manic Dandenong pressure. Looked settled down back and likely impressed coaches with his performance.

#35 Will Bella

The talented big man worked his way into the game, despite close checking from the opposition. The delivery to him was scrappy at times, but he never stopped competing, and was able to draw a few free kicks, despite being out positioned in the marking contest. Booted Gold Coast’s first with an absolute ripper, as he gathered the ball at the point post, and snapped around his body from a tight angle to give his team some desperately needed spark. Didn’t spend too much time in the ruck, and was stationed around the 50m arc most of the time, allowing Hamann to play one out deep in the forward line.

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY

By: Peter Williams

Gippsland Power:

#5 Chance Doultree

Had the ball on a string all day for the Power and never stopped trying over four quarters, although his efficiency throughout the contest could lift as he was often forced into rushing or bombing long. He was able to have an influence on the game with two goals, including a thumping kick after a sidestep from 50m to nail a long-range goal. His penetrating kick was able to get his team out of trouble on a number of occasions, but just needed more composure at times to have the full effect. Could not fault his effort on the day though, as always.

#28 Zane Duursma

The excitement machine up forward, Duursma certainly had a memorable debut with three goals to his named. Playing as that permanent forward, Duursma kicked his first eight and a half minutes into the second term with a clever snap off the right boot inside 50. His net two came from set shots in the third term, the first from a mark and then the second from a push in the back. He pulled down a lovely contested grab in the fourth term on the wing, and looked the most damaging every time he went near it.

#37 Max Walton

While he has typically looked more suited to defence, Walton was able to expand his repertoire to include forward and through the midfield. He ran hard, was able to use the ball well under pressure and read the ball well in flight. He took a nice grab on the wing at one stage, chipped quickly to the boundary line playing on, ran hard and marked 60m out, but was pushed late so got a 50m penalty and nailed the set shot goal.

Swans Academy:

#3 Felix Rogers

A real lively type in the forward half, Rogers was the dynamic link between midfield and forward, setting up a number of goal-scoring opportunities. He finished the game with a goal himself, but it was his work in transition getting it inside 50, and working hard around the ground that stood out, and he moved quickly in little bursts, finding space to mark and then keep it moving.

#7 Pierce Roseby

Another one who worked hard through the midfield then drifted forward to hit the scoreboard with two majors, Roseby found plenty of the ball in the win. He was able to extract it from the contest and get it going forward inside 50, then kicked a couple of goals as one of a number of midfielders who went forward and converted important shots.

#10 Jordan Endemann

Had a great day up forward with three majors from 19 disposals and four marks. His first goal came from point-blank range, but his next one showed just what he was capable off, winning it at speed, grabbing it cleanly off the burst and a half-volley pickup, turning around and snapping for a major late in the second term. He was a dangerous forward and did all his work in the first half when his team was down moreso than adding cheapies at the end, which was impressive.

#26 Angus Anderson

Really stood out for mine as a prominent midfielder with high-level competitiveness and an ability to work through traffic. He made the odd mistake, but as a whole he showed off a penetrating kick and looked lively through the midfield, accumulating the ball at will and finishing with a goal for his troubles. A lot of his touches were in close, and he was the one shovelling it out to teammates, or bursting away, drawing an opponent and handballing to a teammate on the outside.

#28 Luke Giacometti

One to keep an eye on in 2021, Giacometti showed good footy IQ and an ability to read the ball well in flight coming off half-back. He tried to create from defence and move the ball in transition, and whilst he would make the odd mistake, he certainly knew how to find it and then keep it moving going forward. A player with upside for the future.

CALDER CANNONS vs. BENDIGO PIONEERS

By: Michael Alvaro

Calder Cannons:

#4 Sam Clohesy

Employed in a couple of different roles after his Young Guns outing, Clohesy started forward and was also sighted up on the wing this time out. He registered the second score of the match with a quick snap close to goal and hit the post in term three, making up a couple of Calder’s 20-plus minor scores. The top-ager found it difficult to stay involved at times, but timed his runs well to be a handball receive option on the outer, and adjusted well overall. One of his best moments came in the final quarter, as he propped and made a brilliant decision to kick inboard from the wing. With nothing on down the line, the poise to look and deliver into the corridor opened up the play for Calder.

#5 Zac Taylor

Arguably the best player afield, Taylor came up clutch with some wonderful exhibitions of skill and smarts at crucial junctures in the match. He started up forward and was a busy member of the attack, looking to get the ball on the move and working over his opponents to find space inside 50. He rotated into midfield during term two, where he got his hands on the ball more and showed terrific decision making on the uptake. His foot skills going inside 50 were superb, particularly during the final term where he made all the right choices and hit teammates on the lead. He was one who really stood up when it mattered and helped drag Calder over the line.

#8 Paul Pascu

This kid is one to watch for the future. Having participated in the Under 17 carnival and trialled for Vic Metro, Pascu slotted into the Cannons’ engine room and looked right up to the level. He looks a hardened ball winner who competes well and is pretty slick in possession, with a couple of plays seeing him fend off when exiting congestion or breaking forward with aggression. He capped his day with a clutch goal on the run during the final term, showing he is not afraid of the big moment.

#18 Jack Newitt

This was one of Newitt’s better outings for the Cannons this year, with his best traits coming to the fore more consistently. Stationed out on the wing, he was able to move forward dangerously and competed well in the air, showcasing his sticky hands and solid leap. When allowed more minutes inside 50, he presented on the lead and was found on multiple occasions, allowing for chances to add to his first term goal. He would eventually do so in the final quarter via a set shot, but did most of his good work earlier with clean hands and skills on display.

#25 Josh Goater

Goater was one of the bigger bodies in midfield, as per usual, and got to work by getting first hands on the ball at stoppages. His size and power proved difficult for the Bendigo midfielders to combat, as he slipped out of would-be tackles and was constantly able to get a disposal away. While some kicks were rushed, Goater was clean by hand and improved in that facet as the game wore on. His closing speed and pressure on the ball carrier were prominent during term three, before he was moved out onto the wing in the latter stages.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#11 Cobi Maxted

Arguably Bendigo’s best and most important player on the day, Maxted was made to quickly adjust to a variety of roles on the fly and did so with aplomb. He started forward and was rotated into the ruck, where he competed well despite being quite undersized. The top-ager was also used as a rover at the centre bounces, showcasing his versatile range and sound movement. He did most of his best work up forward though, booting three goals and taking eight marks. All three of those majors came at important points of the match; scoring against the run of play, in red time, and during the final term with what should have been the sealer. His set shot motion was quite fluent and made for good viewing, with plenty to like about Maxted’s overall game.

#13 Jack Evans

A leader of this Bendigo side from the back, Evans was kept busy in defence and had to lean on his strengths to help Bendigo stay alive. Much of his work was rinse and repeat, as Evans looked to distribute by foot and went long on many occasions. He was tasked with the kick-ins and often breached the defensive 50 arc with those responsibilities, before later taking on more attacking and varied options as Calder caught onto his tendencies. Overall, it was a solid return for Evans, who was made to absorb a heap of pressure in the backline.

#23 Xavier Mitchell

The top-ager was level as Bendigo’s top rebounder for the day, employed deep in defence and doing his best work there. He was a productive driver of the ball out of danger zones, able to use his long peg to gain good meterage coming away from his own scoring end. Mitchell was able to compete aerially but also did some solid work mopping up at ground level, sweeping cleanly under pressure and being kept busy during the second and third terms in particular. With Calder holding so much territory throughout the game, he played an important role.

TASMANIA DEVILS vs. NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER ACADEMY

By: Michael Alvaro

Tasmania Devils:

#2 Darcy Gardner

The leading ball winner on the day, Gardner caught the eye with slick work at the stoppages and agile spins out of trouble. His decision making while exiting congestion was sound, able to zip away and hit targets further afield. He looked deceptively strong for his size and was very difficult to wrap up, proving a slippery mover around would-be tacklers and making some look silly. He could not quite hit the scoreboard in this clash, putting wide a set shot after the half time siren.

#5 Oliver Sanders

Another of the relatively small Tasmanian midfielders, Sanders continued his good form to date with a productive outing in the engine room. He was able to cleanly extract or receive at the contest, before getting the legs pumping and looking to deliver into attack by foot. While he was able to snatch meterage in those plays, Sanders also showcased a sound short-range game and generated some really positive momentum for his side. He was in the wars a bit too, copping a knock during the third term but running out the game.

#9 Jonty McIvor

McIvor may not have had a wealth of possessions, but made them count and broke the game open in term two for his side. Playing his first game for the season, the opportunistic forward was first sighted closing in for an intercept mark in attacking 50, which he used to slot his first goal. He looked strong on the lead and used that method to boot goal number two, before making it three in quick succession by snapping up a forward 50 spillage first and finishing well on the left. McIvor bagged a fourth in term three, converting from the tightest on angles right on the siren.

#29 Dom White

Difficult to miss out on the field, White impacted well on the outer and worked hard to find plenty of the ball. He came off the line hard to receive from centre bounces and go inside 50, getting good separation in quick time from his direct opponent. That also became a factor in general play, as White worked over his opponent by running forward aggressively to become a free option in the front half. His ball use was generally sound too, and he even found the big sticks with a goal in the second quarter, running in over the back.

NT Thunder Academy:

#4 Beau Tedcastle

Tedcastle came into the game as one of the NT’s most highly fancied youngsters, and he didn’t disappoint with some slick work up forward. He snared the first goal of the game after about five minutes, using his instinct and foot speed to sneak the ball home from close range. The St Mary’s product also presented well as a target inside 50, playing slightly above his size and thriving on the chaos footy his side attempted to enforce. He made good on another quick entry to boot goal number two in the third quarter, before providing pressure around the ball during his move into midfield in the next period. Tedcastle can zig, zag and create in the front half, looming as one to watch.

#8 Ronald Fejo Jnr

An over-ager in this clash, Fejo looked far and away the NT’s most clean and skilful prospect. He started on the wing and operated there for most of the day, slicing forward like a knife through butter with his speed and repeat run efforts to chain through the corridor. He often looked to position at the back of stoppages, where he could clearly view the best path forward and carve out an attack in electric form. Fejo also showcased good foot skills, hitting targets on the move and picking the right options going inside 50.

EASTERN RANGES vs. GWV REBELS

By: Michael Alvaro

Eastern Ranges:

#1 Tyler Sonsie

The highly touted prospect started brightly and was able to get his hands on the ball, but found the going tough as GWV’s midfield began to get on top. He got first hands to the ball at the opening centre bounce and showcased his slick hands with a nice dish-off, which he would continue to do around the ground. A lot of his work was done under pressure, but Sonsie proved his class and was not afraid to compete. He jagged a goal from nothing in the opening term and later combined his dual-sided foot skills with rare vision to turn and hit targets others would not attempt to. A really smooth mover, his classy stoppage exits were blanketed, but still came through in spurts.

#2 James O’Connor

The top-ager played an unheralded role on GWV key forward Josh Rentsch, thrust into the lop-sided matchup (in terms of size) after quarter time and competing well despite the clear discrepancy. While he had his hands full with the Rebels goalkicking ace one-out inside defensive 50, O’Connor was still able to compete aerially and had some nice moments sweeping out of his own area. He looked to make every post a winner at ground level and ran the ball well, providing a bit of spark on the rebound in some tough spots.

#3 Jake Arundell

One who showed a bit in the Young Guns fixture, Arundell returned with the Ranges and got back to his busy ways up forward. He looked a lot more productive in the second half, showing great speed to chase up loose balls up onto the wing and presenting a solid option there on the lead. With his back to goal, Arundell would twist and turn to buy enough time before disposing of the ball, and hit some really nice kicks going inside 50. He finished well and added a goal to his game in the fourth quarter from a set shot, 35 metres out after being made to earn the mark.

#5 Jake Soligo

Soligo finished equal as the Ranges’ leading ball winner and set the tone for a terrific first term with the game’s opening goal. Having turned his back on goal at the 50-metre arc, his decision proved a good one as he slammed home the long-range shot with aplomb. The Eastern skipper proved nice and evasive in traffic and often found a way to dish out of congestion, while not being afraid to crack in and do the tough stuff. He had a good moment late on, flying in a contest against Fraser Marris and winning the ball before hitting Bradley Watson inside 50 with plenty of class.

#31 Tyreece Leiu

A constant in the Ranges’ besieged defence, Leiu proved a reliable figure who was able to read the play well and intercept a number of promising GWV attacks. His intercept marking ability was evident throughout the game, as he did so in one-on-one battles or by peeling off his direct opponent to impact third-up. Leiu’s clean hands allowed him to be a cool head in the crisis, while sound disposal furthered that influence on the rebound. A really solid game overall, and one which forced the Rebels to get creative with their ball use.

GWV Rebels:

#3 Charlie Molan

Employed up on the wing, Molan did all the fundamentals well and was reliable as ever for the Rebels. He positioned well at the back of stoppages to help his defence and read the play well to know when to attack, or when to hang back. Working into the back half, he was a sound outlet option on the rebound and in possession, his strong kicking came to the fore. Molan is as competitive as they come and got the Rebels out of trouble on numerous occasions by splitting or winning key ground balls, sweeping his side onto the front foot.

#5 Josh Rentsch

The skipper looked on track for a mammoth goal haul and settled on five, with no Eastern defender able to properly go with him throughout the entire contest. He looked ominous early, with his power and marking ability causing headaches as he positioned one-out inside 50. Rebels players only had to kick the ball long over the back and he would easily clunk the mark within range of goal. The finishing touch was Rentsch’s only downfall, as he missed some gettable opportunities from set shots in between those five conversions. He was either incredibly unselfish, or lacking in a bit of confidence in that department as he constantly looked to dish off to teammates – even at the top of the goalsquare after a strong mark. It was a commanding display though, and a good showcase of his key strengths.

#6 Marcus Herbert

A really classy type in midfield, the top-ager just knows how to get out of tight spots. Herbert may have been in the wars during this outing, but battled on to run out the game and displayed his typically smooth ability to slip away from the stoppages. His delivery by foot was a bit shaky in the first half, but he soon fixed up and made his exit kicks work. One particular passage saw him come away from the centre bounce and deliver laterally to the wingman, who ran onto the kick without breaking stride. The Geelong VFL representative certainly looks ominous at his best.

#8 Josh Gibcus

The fast rising intercept defender picked up right from where he left off, putting in another handy shift across the back half. He reads the play so well and proved as much with a series of intercept marks, using his sizeable leap and clean hands to stop Eastern attacks in their tracks. While the ball did not enter his area for long periods in the match, Gibcus set up beautifully and was consistently in the right spots, making the right decisions to ensure he could intercept. From there, he distributed the ball nicely despite a rare kicking error in the final quarter. He continues to be one to watch.

#12 Fraser Marris

Marris finished as the best player afield and really took over as the game wore on with his unrelenting accumulation of possessions. Running through midfield, the top-ager got his hands on it early and was able to distribute, using the ball cleanly at short range and using his smarts to navigate at the stoppages. He ramped up his forward drive in the second half, finding the ball in increasingly advanced areas and getting his legs pumping through the middle of the ground to have a greater impact outside the contest. He even hit the scoreboard in term free after winning a free kick, and had a hand in many more goals throughout the game through sheer weight of numbers in the engine room.

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 7

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s returned and rolled on into Round 7, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

NORTH ADELAIDE 17.10 (112) def. NORWOOD 6.6 (42)

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#4 Isaac Keeler

Ultra-talented bottom-ager Isaac Keeler added another four goals to his season tally, proving far too good for the Norwood backline. Having spent time at full-forward and as the number one ruckman at stages throughout the season, Keeler began the clash in attack. He pushed up the ground nicely, gaining separation on the lead with ease and providing the Roosters midfielders with a spot-up target. At full-stretch, he proved near-on impossible to defend. Along with Keeler’s supreme athleticism, he is also a beautiful set-shot for goal, with his natural, laid-back style cooling converting more often than not. He was even effective when deployed a kick behind the play for a brief period in the second half. Suspect his speed, ground-level cleanliness and leap will cause plenty of headaches for defenders in years to come. Keeler finished the game with 15 disposals, eight marks (two contested), five hit-outs and four goals.

#12 Hugh Jackson

The form-player of the competition was at it again on Prospect Oval, starting from where he left off last round. Jackson waisted no time in getting started, seemingly involved in everything for the red and whites. At the stoppages, the Rostrevor College prospect often lined up on the defensive-side, and if he didn’t win the clearance himself, his Roosters teammates found him by hand and allowed him to swing onto his trusty left-foot. His foot skills are a huge weapon and his ability to pick-off target-after-target has been a treat to watch throughout the season. An aesthetically pleasing midfielder who moves so well, his quick handballs always seemed to find their targets regardless of the nearby pressure – a testament to his skill and vision. Although he didn’t find as much of the ball in the second half, Jackson had already made his mark on the contest and finished with 27 disposals, eight marks, three clearances, eight inside-50s and a goal.

#15 Harvey Harrison

Harvey Harrison has been forced to play second-fiddle to Hugh Jackson for most of the season to-date, but he finished as the best player on the ground in the Roosters 70-point win over Norwood. One of the SANFL Under-18 competition’s most prolific ball-winners, Harrison had managed just one goal for the year before the clash with the Redlegs. However that soon changed, as he nailed four majors, including a beautiful running goal from just inside-50 to highlight his precise ball-use at top speed. A line-breaking midfielder who runs and runs, Harrison was also prepared to crack in and do the hard stuff, laying nine tackles. His contested ball winning and stoppage nous was excellent, as the teenager finished with 26 disposals and eight clearances.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

The Adelaide NGA product lined up down back at the opening bounce but quickly worked his way into the on-ball rotation. After proving himself as one of the best small defenders in the country over the first two months of the season, O’Loughlin showed he can also play a role through the midfield. He fought hard at ground level, winning his fair share of contested ball and using his nimble footwork, composure and poise to work his way through congestion on several occasions. However it was O’Loughlin’s long-range goal in the third term which was the highlight. He finished another solid outing with 22 disposals, three tackles and three rebounds.

Others:

Zippy small midfielder Zyton Santillo has been one of North Adelaide’s best performers this season and his round seven effort was no exception. Providing plenty of speed and creativity, Santillo zigged and zagged his way through congestion with ease, and used the ball well inside-50. He gathered 20 disposals, five marks, four tackles, five inside-50s and a goal.

His fellow midfielder James Willis also had an excellent game. He was strong at the coalface, winning six clearances, and tackled hard all day. He finished with 25 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and five inside-50s. Half-forward Sam McTaggart was heavily involved from the get-go and concluding the game with 20 touches, seven marks, six tackles and a goal. Ruckman Oliver Moors was utterly dominant, winning 45 hit-outs. He also found plenty of the ball around the ground, gathering 16 touches, four marks and five clearances.

Norwood:

#11 Connor Kent

Midfielder Connor Kent was Norwood’s best player in what proved to be a difficult day at the office for the visitors. The leading possession-winner on the ground, Kent’s ability to win the contested ball and distribute it cleanly by hand was promising. With the Roosters dominating the hit-outs (54-17), the Norwood midfielders were on the back-foot for most of the day and spent a considerable portion of the day chasing the likes of Jackson, Santillo, Harrison and O’Loughlin. However Kent, arguably Norwood’s most consistent player in 2021, can hold his head up high, finishing the game with 31 disposals, four marks, five tackles and three inside-50s.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Talented backman Matthew Dnistriansky stood tall down in defence, despite the Roosters belting it inside-50 on 54 occasions. The clean-kicking Dnistriansky read the play well and was strong in the air. Although he did try to bite off a bit more than he could chew at-times, particularly when looking to bring the ball back into the corridor, Dnistriansky was largely effective by foot. He provided a game-high 11 rebounds, to go with 29 disposals, eight marks, three tackles and four inside-50s.

Others: 

Half-back Riley Verrall was serviceable in defence, collecting 22 disposals and using it well by foot for the most part. He also registered five marks, three tackles and six rebounds. Forward Jett Boxer kicked three of Norwood’s six goals. His strength overhead was a highlight, hauling in nine marks for the game, three of which were contested. He also managed 23 disposals, three tackles and a couple of hit-outs. Elsewhere, Peter Minervini managed 16 disposals and seven clearances, while Louis Joseph collected 16 disposals, six tackles and a goal.

GLENELG 23.11 (149) def. SOUTH ADELAIDE 5.6 (36)

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

Hugh Stagg has emerged as one of the best players in the under-18 competition this season, and his round seven effort was similarly dominant. Involved in everything from the get-go, Stagg hit every contest with the sort of speed and power of a Patrick Dangerfield-type, looking to use his superior size and strength to burst his way through traffic. Not one to fear using the fend-off, Stagg clearly relished the competitive side of the game. Although not everything he touched turned to gold, with some of his kicks lacking penetration or just missing their desired target, you just felt like something was going to happen whenever he was around the ball. His overhead strength saw him take a couple of nice grabs up forward, as he ended the game with three goals. The goal kicking forward/midfielder, who seems to be going from strength-to-strength with each game, gathered another 31 disposals, nine marks (three contested), three tackles, four clearances and five inside-50s in his sides 113-point demolition.

#17 Corey Brougham

Strong forward Corey Brougham was the beneficiary of the Bays midfield dominance and excellent ball-use inside-50. The clear leading target, Brougham was seemingly always in-front of his man, which allowed him to get first bite at the ball on the lead. His clean hands overhead were once again a big part of his game. Brougham has a simple and effective set-shot routine, but he would have loved to have converted a couple of gettable chances in-front of the big sticks. Nevertheless, the powerful forward finished with 13 disposals, six goals and five marks (three contested) in a dominant display.

#20 Lewis Rayson

Rayson started the game down back, but as we’ve seen all throughout the season, he proved just as effective when thrown into the middle. In either role, his attack on the football and ability to break the lines with both his speed and penetrating foot skills proved damaging. Deceptively strong overhead for a player of his size and stature, Rayson once again played a big part in securing Glenelg their seventh win of the season. Rayson finished the game with 27 touches, five marks, two tackles, four clearances, five inside-50s, four rebounds and a set-shot goal in another well-rounded performance.

Others: 

Utility Darcy Gluyas showed some real class with ball in-hand. His composure was excellent and his ball-use was effective. He finished with 25 touches, seven marks, three tackles and three clearances. Brodie Edwards was also typically calm and assured with ball in-hand. He slotted a goal after the half-time siren and gathered 20 disposals, four marks, five tackles and five clearances. Down back, Cooper BeeckenBailey Durant and Harrison Kaesler generated some meaningful rebound, finished with four, five and seven rebounds respectively. Ethan Murdock and Brodie Patter each booted four-straight for the home side, with Daniel Nicotra and Matthew Wolfenden also contributing two apiece.

South Adelaide:

#4 Jack Delean

Having led the Panthers to a flag in the SANFL Under-16 competition earlier in the year, young forward Jack Delean once-again suited up for South Adelaide’s under-18 side for their clash with the undefeated Glenelg. And he immediately looked the most promising of South’s forwards. Touted as a likely high-pick despite being a couple of years away from draft eligibility, Delean’s aerial ability was immediately obvious, running back with the flight of the ball and hauling in a great grab early in the first term. He kicked his first goal after finding himself in the right place and the right time and also found himself in position-A to soccer home his second. He pushed up the ground well and finished the game with 12 disposals, five marks (four contested) and three goals.

#10 Isaac Birt

Consistent midfielder Isaac Birt was probably South Adelaide’s best player in what was a difficult day for the Panthers. Birt found himself spending more time on the inside this week, with star midfielders Arlo Draper and Matthew Roberts both out of the side. He seemed to relish the added responsibility and really flew the flag even as the Tigers seemed to pile on goal-after-goal in the second half. Birt found plenty of it and used the ball fairly well, especially when he found himself with some time and space. He concluded the game with a team-high 21 disposals, eight marks, three tackles, six clearances and five inside-50s.

#39 Will Verrall

The Panthers may have been soundly beaten on the day, but bottom-aged ruckman did his reputation as one of the state’s most exciting key position prospects no harm. His tap-work and ruck craft at stoppages was impressive, as regularly palmed it down to the Panthers on-ballers with the sort of touch rarely seen in young rucks. He combined particularly well with midfielder Luke Mitton, who seemed to read his tap-work the best of anyone. Verrall followed-up well at ground-level and finished the game with 14 disposals and 33 hit-outs.

Others:

Diminutive on-baller Luke Mitton was certainly one of his sides best, gathering 17 touches, five tackles, nine clearances  and five inside-50s. Cooper Rogers found himself involved in the contest as a high half-forward, winning 12 touches and five inside-50s, while Lachlan Hayes and Dylan Miller were effective in defence, finished with 11 rebounds between them.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 12.17 (89) def. STURT 6.11 (47)

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

Always a creative type through midfield, Dudley proved once again on Saturday that he is exactly the player Centrals would want delivering the ball inside attacking 50. While some of his darting kicks fell short, the Adelaide NGA prospect was often able to hit leading targets with great class on the move, finishing his productive forward runs. That same active streak could also be observed at the stoppages, as Dudley looked to take the ball in motion and either burst forward, or draw an opponent before dishing laterally. He would also repeat run in an attacking sense if the opportunity to go inside 50 presented, as the highlight of his day a long goal which came on the end of two running bounces through the corridor. As expected, he was also clean below his knees and clever around goals, with another major coming in term four from a coolly finished snap.

#7 Austin Poulton

Poulton was part of Centrals’ forward-midfield rotation and like Dudley, was able to compliment his ball winning feats with some scoreboard impact. He started the game as well as anyone, getting busy with presentation up at half-forward, before making his mark with two first-term goals. Both were quickfire, opportunistic shots out of congestion which showed he knew exactly where the big sticks were. Poulton also got his hands on the ball through midfield, but looked most impactful when receiving up on the arc where he would twist, turn, and pick the right option looking laterally or towards goal.

#21 Austin McDonald

In his first Under 18s outing for the year, McDonald picked up from where he left off by unsurprisingly leading all comers with 28 disposals. The bottom-ager simply knows how to find the football, earning or receiving it at the contest and also working to be an option around the ground. His use by hand looked typically sound, and his willingness to move the ball on quickly is a trait which suits the Centrals style of play. McDonald often looked to snatch meterage by foot, but has plenty of area for growth with his kicking – even if some of those left-foot floaters found the intended target. As a bottom-ager, he has plenty of time to fill out his promising skillset.

#29 Saxon Evans

Evans has established himself as a dominant kind of ruck at Under 18s level and was again in the thick of things for Centrals on Saturday. He had his moments at the centre bounces and stoppages with some nicely directed hits to his rovers, but was arguably more impactful with his work around the ground. Evans was able to find the ball between the arcs and at either end of the field – including an contested mark in defensive 50 as Sturt took a long-range set shot. In his time up forward during the second half, Evans continued to prove a solid aerial target, capping his day with a free kick conversion in the fourth quarter after assisting a Brodie Tuck major.

#38 Brodie Tuck

Another impressive bottom-ager for Centrals, Tuck has some nice traits for his size. He worked well in tandem with Jayden Matz up forward to provide a reliable marking target, with his strong hands and contested marking ability coming to the fore. The bigman opened his account in the first term with a straightforward mark and goal deep inside 50, before adding a second in the third term after taking a strong pack mark. He could well have ended up with an absolute bag if not for inaccuracy, finishing with four behinds and a couple of attempts which failed to register scores. While his overhead marking was a highlight, Tuck also showed an uncanny knack for finding space in tight areas, able to shrug off opponents or fein a handball to buy a bit more time on the ball. His poise in those situations was good, proving a nice extra string to his bow.

Others:

The Bulldogs had a number of strong performers, with the likes of Henry Ratcliff, Tahjin Krieg, and Tomas Hahn proving productive members of the forward-midfield rotation. Jayden Matz booted three goals and presented nicely both inside 50 and up the ground, while Matthew Borlace positioned expertly to intercept in the back half and got his side going with positive movement on the rebound.

Sturt:

#8 Lachie Thomas

The hard-working wingman was sighted running deep into either arc, providing some reinforcement on the last line of defence while also pushing forward aggressively. Not only did he work hard up and back, but Thomas also competed in the air and on the ground, proving nice and strong in the contest. His efforts to drop back and help the defence with intercept marks were notable, as were a couple of running-bounce passages going the other way, with Thomas working well in space to create some drive on the outer.

#12 Jamie Taylor

A relatively permanent part of Sturt’s midfield group, Taylor won the first centre clearance of the match and was often able to get his hands on the ball at stoppages. He had a team-high six clearances which allowed him to put the ball into dangerous areas and give his forwards opportunities to strike with quick delivery into the attacking arc. He booted a goal in the second term and could have had another after the siren, but put the shot wide for no score. In what was a solid performance from the engine room operator, he had little trouble getting his hands on the ball and imposing himself on each contest.

#20 Jaymes Tragakis

Another productive member of the midfield group, Tragakis had a nice purple patch in the second term and provided Sturt with some forward drive out of the middle. He was able to work forward and find the ball in advanced areas, not afraid to get his legs pumping with some run-and-carry before delivering inside 50. At the stoppages, he peeled off well on a couple of occasions to get a handball receive in space, allowing him to stream forward unimpeded. One of his best moments started with a possession at half-back, which he followed up to receive back and continue his run before delivering a goal assist inside 50.

Others:

Jake Aish was the Double Blues’ leading ball winner and was a constant in midfield, as Patrick Tidemann lit up the outside on numerous occasions with electric run-and-carry. Kade Harvey proved reliable down back with strong marking, while using his kick-in duties to gain meterage and rebound out of the defensive arc. All 21 of his disposals were kicks, with 12 of them rebound 50s. Archer Bawden was another who had his moments, clunking some nice intercept marks late in the piece.

WWT EAGLES 13.5 (83) def. by WEST ADELAIDE 13.9 (87)

By: Tom Cheesman

Eagles:

#16 Will Pearce

Pearce was the Eagles’ most prominent contributor up forward in this contest. He provided a reliable target for teammates kicking down the line, took some strong marks on the lead and hit the scoreboard with four goals. His third term was a standout, where he nailed two goals on the run (including one from the 50-metre arc) and another from a set shot, helping his side erase the five-goal deficit and hit the front just before the final break. Although Pearce missed two very kickable shots early in the match, the work he did to earn these goal-scoring opportunities were highlights. One was a clever front and square in the first term, and the other was a strong contested grab in the second term after brilliantly working his opponent under the ball. Throughout the match, Pearce brushed off oncoming tacklers with ease, collected ground balls cleanly and pushed back to help his midfielders defend in transition. Pearce’s delivery into the forward 50 was also consistently effective, including when he hit Samuel Harnas lace out on the lead in the second term. Pearce finished with 13 disposals, five marks (two contested), three inside 50s and four majors.

#18 William Neumann

Neumann was another of Woodville-West Torrens’ best players in their four-point defeat. Rotating between midfield and forward, Neumann tirelessly hunted the ball all day, applied strong pressure at stoppages and helped out his teammates when they were under pressure around the ground. Neumann proved that he is a tough player during this contest, as he took multiple very solid hits and kept his feet on each occasion. His ability to take contact from the opposition before cleanly disposing of the ball with quick hands is a major strength, and this opened up the play for the Eagles in several instances. Neumann also used his body well in marking contests, laid some strong tackles and hit the scoreboard with three majors, including a nice set shot in the final term. He finished with 24 disposals, six marks, six clearances, three tackles and three goals.

Others:

Dustin Launer (24 disposals, four tackles, four clearances) and Sam Nicholls (16 disposals, three tackles, three clearances) worked hard all day for the hosts. Speedster Jay Watson (two goals, 14 disposals, seven marks, three tackles) had some important moments up forward.

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

Pridham continued his brilliant season for the Bloods on Saturday at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. His ball use coming out of defence was outstanding, as he found targets with ease down the wings and through the corridor. The small defender’s ability to find the footy is profound, and his teammates love getting the ball in his hands because of his reliable decision-making and impressive foot skills. Pridham works hard into space to earn uncontested possessions, rarely panics with ball in hand and is not afraid to take heavy contact from the opposition despite his short stature. Pridham finished with 31 disposals (26 kicks), four marks, four inside 50s and three rebound 50s.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy put in of the best Under 18 performances you will see in 2021 on Saturday, collecting an incredible 48 (yes, 48) disposals (including 34 kicks) to go with 15 marks, nine clearances, seven tackles, seven inside 50s, five rebound 50s and a goal. For AFL Fantasy fans out there, that is 209 points in one match.

Kennedy used the SANFL bye last weekend as an opportunity to make his A-Grade debut for the Mitcham Hawks in the Adelaide Footy League, and it is clear that this experience playing against stronger bodies in the seniors was great for his immediate development. Returning to the Under 18s with aplomb, Kennedy was every bit as dominant as his statline suggests. He was impactful at the clearances, used his pace to breakaway from opponents, initiated plenty of link up through the middle of the ground and worked hard into defence to help his side extract the ball from dangerous areas.

Many of his 48 touches came across the half-back line, where he released teammates into space and started attacking forward thrusts with clean ball use. Kennedy’s kicking, an area that he has needed to work on in the past, was very effective in this contest. He has a reliable left-foot (opposite foot) kick as well, a rare but important attribute for a player to have in today’s game. The number of uncontested marks he took was astounding, and each of these provided his side an opportunity to control the ball and set up across the ground to stretch the defence.

At stoppages, Kennedy showed the ability to keep his feet while being tackled, which allowed him to distribute clean handballs to teammates in space on the outside. If no handball options were on offer, he was more than willing to throw it on the boot and get the ball moving forward. In the third term, Kennedy kicked one of the goals of the day when he intercepted an opposition handball and brilliantly booted a snap off just a few steps to put his side back in front. In typical Kennedy fashion, he immediately got on with the job and won the next centre clearance as well. Kennedy is undoubtedly one of the South Australian prospects to keep an eye on as the 2021 season progresses.

Others:

Jesse Thackeray (25 disposals, seven marks, five clearances, one goal) was important in the midfield, while Ben Burbridge (19 disposals, six marks, four inside 50s, one goal) used the ball effectively around the ground. Ruckman Harry Barnett (12 disposals, 19 hitouts, four marks, four inside 50s) showed impressive agility for his size and Luke Young (17 disposals, three marks, three tackles, two goals) had some great moments up forward.

Image Credit: Hannah Howard / SANFL

2021 Academy Watch: SANFL Women’s Round 11

IN the ultimate round of regular season action, there were a number of standout performances from the current South Australian State Women’s Academy members. In our latest Academy Watch edition, we look at those talented state representatives who ran out for their respective South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s sides in Round 11. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

NORWOOD vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 

By: Liam Badkin

Norwood:

#15 Alana Lishmund

A quiet day statistically but did some good things defensively. Pressured opponents constantly and the effort never dropped. While she had only the four disposals, her mark on the game couldn’t be measured on the stat sheet.

#22 Jade Halfpenny

Rotated through the midfield and the forward line as expected, and was damaging for the majority of the game. Had the first set shot of the game early in the first quarter, but pushed it across the face of goal, and missed another to open scoring in the second quarter. Her tackling pressure and attack on the ball were as prevalent as ever as she pushed her way to 11 disposals and four tackles in a solid outing for the Academy player.

#30 Sarah Branford

Did some nice things with her eight disposals, including launching the ball inside 50 three times as she hit targets on multiple occasions during crucial passages of play. Kicked a nice running goal to end the second quarter to find her highlight of the day. The goal displayed her speed and evasiveness as she gave her side a commanding lead.

WWT Eagles:

#8 Charlotte Dolan

Did most of her work defensively, as she laid an impressive five tackles throughout the match. With the opposition constantly having the ball in their hands, Dolan was ruthless with her attack on the ball and the player, with her crunching tackles even earning her a couple of free kicks. Eight disposals in what was an ugly day at the office for her side.

#25 Jamie Parish

The defender was constantly under the pump as the ball was constantly driven inside the opposition’s defensive 50. Only had the seven touches, but a promising sign came as she took a strong contested mark on the wing in the first quarter when the game was still up for grabs. Will only get better for the experience.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WEST ADELAIDE

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#1 Tahlita Buethke

The athletic midfielder showed good explosive traits out of congestion, as she constantly looked to get on the move at stoppages and spark some forward momentum for South. While she fumbled a touch when over ground balls, Buethke proved an active participant at the contest and naturally faced forward once she prized the ball, which meant she could also wheel around and kick down the line. Kicking to targets and getting more purchase on each disposal are areas of development, but Buethke’s intent and effort cannot be faulted. She had a couple of key disposals late in the piece, with one a kick within the forward 50 which went towards the hot spot, but was intercepted.

#36 Gypsy Schirmer

Schirmer was a player who proved relatively consistent throughout the contest, but seemed to lift when the game was on the line. Roaming the wing, she was able to set up on the defensive side and was not sucked into South’s forward 50, but worked back well to win a good amount of ball. She was clean and effective with most of her touches and used her size to impact defensively when required. One such instance resulted in a free kick against, where Schirmer laid a heavy tackle as she hunted a loose ball on the wing at the start of term three. She hit the scoreboard with a quick shot on goal in the next quarter, sailing the ball home to bring South within striking distance of a remarkable comeback win. Another good moment late in the piece came as she got to a loose ball out of defensive 50 and showed great poise to help her side start a new chain of possession under pressure.

West Adelaide:

#3 Abbie Ballard

Part of the Westies midfield rotation, Ballard was competitive and made her mark going both ways. She consistently dug in at ground level and was quite clean in her distribution having prized the ball out of congestion. While a lot of her good work was done early, Ballard tried to put her side on the front foot to begin term four, reacting first at the centre bounce to soccer the ball forward in a makeshift clearance.

#7 Scarlett Griffiths

It was quite a quiet day in terms of pure numbers for Griffiths, but she still managed to have a couple of nice moments. The forward showed good initiative to actively man the mark, within the rules, during term two and was quick off the mark to pressure the ball carrier once play on was called. Later in the same quarter, she impacted in the air up at half-back to spoil her opponent and force a spill.

#8 Keeley Kustermann

It was a relatively steady return game for Kustermann, whose last outing was also against South Adelaide in April. While she was not as prolific in a ball winning sense from defence, Kustermann tried her best to impact at contests with tackles and some competitive acts when the heat was on. She tracked back well on a few occasions to help mop up ground balls, and was also seen taking a nice mark from the kick-in during term four, but unfortunately turned the ball over with her kick inboard.

#9 Zoe Venning

A prominent part of West Adelaide’s midfield rotation, Venning showed once again that she just knows how to find the ball. Working hard to impact at either end of the ground, she hit the ball at speed and looked to drive her side forward with trademark long kicks on the end of her runs. Venning’s accumulative factor was high in this outing, credit to a bunch of ground ball gets and plays where she would gather some momentum going Westies’ way. She also used that run to get involved in possession chains, continuing them with repeat efforts and good intent on the attack. Kicking to targets and lowering her eyes on the move could pose as ways to get full value from each disposal.

#30 Lauren Young

The superlatives will soon run out for Young, who was again outstanding for West Adelaide as her side clinched a finals berth. While she built into the contest, Young impacted immediately with repeat tackle efforts which saw her earn a holding-the-ball free kick at half-back. Once moved into the centre bounces, she was able to get first hands on the ball and would have learned plenty while running alongside Adelaide young gun, Teah Charlton. While she already boasts a solid built and is able to win the ball with strength, Young’s aerial marking was arguably the highlight of her day. She rose to take four marks overall and competed for plenty more, showing plenty of courage to go back with the flight or stand tall in packs. Her second contested mark came at a crucial time during the last quarter, proving clutch as Westies scrambled to hold onto their lead. She was dominant during a third term purple patch and managed to find the ball in all parts of the ground, also finding the goals with a well-struck set shot.

STURT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE

By: Liam Badkin

Sturt:

#3 Georgia Swan

While she didn’t get the scoreboard impact that she deserved, her hard work up the ground caught the eye as she pushed hard to win the ball for her side. 12 impressive disposals were the highlight as she worked up the field of play and launched the ball inside 50 on numerous occasions. Missed a shot on goal that would have capped off an impressive performance, but can still hold her head high.

#19 Alex Ballard

Once again displayed her knack for delivering strong leads that prove hard to ignore for teammates, clunking the ball four times as she has so many times before. Didn’t get rewarded with the win, or an amazing amount of disposals, but played to her strength on the lead and showed some promising signs going forward.

#20 Hannah Prenzler

Had a tough day being assigned to the backline, and competed a number of times in the air to thwart some North Adelaide attacks. Provided an option on the switch when Sturt were able to get their hands on the ball, and wasn’t afraid to push up the ground to provide a contest. Seven disposals for the day.

#30 Zoe Prowse

One of her side’s finest performers, essentially doing it all in the tough loss against a quality opposition. Kicked 1.2 up forward, but pushed up into the contest on countless occasions, where she won seven hitouts, five clearances and laid five solid tackles around the ball. Can play essentially anywhere on the ground and demonstrated this during the match. Opposition sides will certainly be mindful of her in the future.

North Adelaide:

#38 Kate Case

Worked her way around the ground, ending up in defence, as she has displayed the ability to play anywhere in the past. Had five touches in the defensive half of the ground and continued her reputation of harassing opposition players into causing turnovers. Her three tackles echoed this perfectly.

#43 Ameile Borg

Once again locked down Sturt forwards as she built on last week’s performance. She has shown in the past that she can play on opponents of all sizes and did this once again during the match. Five disposals for the match and even won a pair of hitouts as she didn’t shy away from taking stoppages in the defensive 50. Her talent for locking down an opponent catches the eye on a weekly basis and this round was no exception. A promising performance to end the season.

GLENELG vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

By: Michael Alvaro

Glenelg:

#7 Brooke Tonon

Arguably the pick of this bunch on the day, Tonon was her usual productive self off half-back. The Bays youngster got involved early with a holding-the-ball tackle and was persistent with her pressure game, before coming to life with ball in hand. Tonon positioned well on the last line of defence in a couple of instances to cut off long kicks towards goal, then looked to take the game on immediately with some dash and long kicking. She constantly looked to spark Glenelg’s forward momentum via handball receives, or even by forcing the ball on through paddles or kicks off the ground. One of her final acts for the day was a nice read and sliding intercept touch on the wing, showing good courage.

#12 Tamsyn Morriss

Morriss may not have finished with a flattering statline, but contributed some important plays in defence amid the hard-fought contest. She built into the game, trailing a touch to her direct opponent but making a couple of crucial contest splits in term three. The first was a one-on-one spoil deep inside defensive 50, and the second was a ground ball win in a one-on-two situation, which ended up yielding a stoppage. Morriss went on to lay a solid lock-down tackle on fellow academy member Lauren Breguet, one of her two tackles on the day.

Central District:

#28 Lauren Breguet

Starting forward, Breguet made a splash early with some explosive work around the contest. She looked to bustle away and create space out of tight situations, proving quite lively and difficult to stop at full pelt. Her aggression at ground level matched the overall tone of the game and helped Centrals gain a spark inside attacking 50, as she constantly tried to get her legs pumping and make things happen. Breguet slotted into the midfield group in the second quarter and while she fumbled a touch at ground level, attempted to bring similar intent. She showcased her speed with a nice run-down effort on Brooke Tonon in term three, and capped her game with a solid overhead mark from front position in the corridor, during the fourth quarter.

#41 Laitiah Huynh

Playing almost exclusively in the forwardline, Huynh worked well up the ground and looked to get involved in play all the way up to half-back. She competed at ground level but in the heat of a largely contested game, did much of her work under a great amount of pressure. The zippy mover could not quite generate her usual speed on the outer, instead having to dispose of the ball quickly from more contested situations. She copped contact to hold onto a solid mark on the defensive side of the corridor during term three, and generally made good decisions by foot when given the time, if not for airing her kicks a touch.

2021 VFLW Round 11 wrap: Dogs keep finals hope alive as Cats leave run home late

THE Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Round 11 saw plenty of tight results including a draw between the bottom two sides, and the Western Bulldogs kept their finals hopes alive.

SOUTHERN SAINTS 2.0 | 2.0 | 4.3 | 5.5 (35)
GEELONG CATS 0.2 | 1.10 | 1.10 | 6.10 (46)

GOALS:

Southern Saints: G. De Angelis 2, C. Whitfort, T. Bohanna, A. Jordan
Geelong Cats: R. Cranston 2, O. Barber, A. Johnson, G. Clarke, C. Gunjaca

BESTS:

Southern Saints: M. McDonald, G. De Angelis, A. Hynes, H. Stuart, T. Bohanna, A. Burke
Geelong Cats: T. Smith, S. Van De Heuvel, C. Leonard, B. Beckley, R. Webster, P. Sheppard

Geelong notched up a handy 11-point win over Southern Saints on Saturday to hold onto second spot on the ladder. Despite a slow and inaccurate start to the game Geelong worked their way back into the contest to hit the lead in the second quarter given that they peppered away at the big sticks for majority of the term. But the Saints hit back in the third, revitalised after the half time break to pile on two goals while rendering Geelong scoreless. With the game in the hands of the Southern Saints it was the Cats’ time to shine and that they did piling on five goals in the final quarter. It was the first time in the game that Geelong scored multiple games with the visitors riding a real wave of momentum in the last to steal a come-from-behind win.

Laura Gardiner was a ball magnet picking up 26 disposals for the Cats while partner in crime Rebecca Webster was also impressive amassing 25 touches and a staggering 12 tackles. AFLW gun, Darcy Moloney was strong around the contest finishing with 18 touches as both Sophie Van De Huevel and Tamara Smith struggled to hit the scoreboard with two and three behinds respectively but found plenty of the footy. Richelle Cranston spurred her side on inside 50 with two majors as Georgia Clarke also got busy with a goal of her own to accompany her 11 possessions. Father-daughter youngster Alice Burke was arguably one of the best on-field for the Saints picking up 20 touches as Molly McDonald also inserted herself in the thick of things with 18 disposals. Tara Bohanna, Gabriella De Agelis and Abbey Jordan managed to keep things ticking along nicely on the scoreboard for the Saints with the trio all kicking a major apiece.

CASEY DEMONS 3.5 | 3.5 | 3.7 | 3.7 (25)
CARLTON 0.0 | 3.2 | 3.3 | 8.3 (51)

GOALS:

Casey Demons: C. Sherriff 2, I. Simmons
Carlton: B. Walker 3, M. Guerin, A. Micallef, S. Lawrence, O. Madden, C. Hammans

BESTS:

Casey Demons: C. Sherriff, E. Birch, E. McNamara, S. Johnson, A. Brown, M. Macdonald
Carlton:  M. Guerin, S. Lawrence, J. Borg, B. Walker, N. Plane, L. McEvoy

Carlton flexed their muscles in an impressive display against Casey Demons to run out 26-point victors. The Demons blew Carlton out of the water in the opening term nailing three goals and really could have put them to the sword had they been more accurate. But their inability to convert in front of the big sticks cost them in the end as Carlton fought their way back into the contest. The Blues slotted three goals in the second term however Casey still had the upper hand albeit by two points. But the real damage came in the final term as Carlton found their kicking boots, stacking on five goals to run out victorious.

Lucy McEvoy was a force to be reckoned with for the Blues as she racked up 25 disposals with 17 of them kicks along with seven tackles. Maddy Guerin also had a day out picking up 22 touches and a goal while Natalie Plane also made her presence felt for the navy blue amassing 19 touches. Brooke Walker could not be denied inside 50 for Carlton as she nailed a handy three goals while Charlotte Hammans hit the scoreboard as Amber Micallef slotted her first major. Eliza McNamara was influential across the ground for Casey collecting 20 disposals and five tackles. Teammate Libby Birch was also up to her usual tricks amassing 19 touches as Megan Fitzsimon plied her trade with 17 touches and 11 tackles. Casey Sherriff brought her kicking boots for Casey as she banged home two majors while Isabella Simmons also chimed in with a goal of her own in the loss.

PORT MELBOURNE 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 1.4 (10)
COLLINGWOOD 0.2 | 2.2 | 5.2 | 8.4 (52)

GOALS:

Port Melbourne: M. Kuys
Collingwood: I. Barnett 4, M. Zander 2, H. Bowey, C. Bunker

BESTS:

Port Melbourne: J. Anthony, C. Dyett, A. Edmonds, K. Jacques, S. Sansonetti, C. Bromage
Collingwood: K. Lee, M. Cann, I. Barnett, H. Bowey, J. Lambert, C. Bunker

Collingwood made light work of Port Melbourne running over the top of their third placed opponents by 42 points. Neither side could buy a goal in the opening quarter as Collingwood could only manage two points while Port Melbourne were rendered scoreless. Things started to heat up a little bit more by the time second quarter came around as the Pies booted two unanswered goals to hold a 14-point lead heading into the main change. Having been held scoreless for the opening half the Borough finally got onto the board albeit with a behind. In the meantime Collingwood continued to motor as they added another three goals to their tally. With the game all but won and done the Magpies put the final nail in the coffin slotting another three goals and while Port Melbourne got their first on the board it was too little, too late.

There was no stopping Imogen Barnett who proved to be a handy option inside 50 for the Pies, snaring four goals from her 11 touches. Hot on her heels was Matilda Zander who was also influential in front of the big sticks nailing two majors while Hannah Bowey also effectively added to the total. It is no surprise that Jaimee Lambert was a force to be reckoned with for Collingwood picking up a game-high 26 disposals as she received support from the likes of Mikala Cann (25 touches) and Maddy Shevlin (17) to keep the Pies ticking along nicely through the midfield. Marla Neal was a tackling machine laying 13 for the match as Amelia Verlado showcased her strong hands to clunk five marks to accompany her 16 touches. Sophie Molan worked gallantly in her sides defeat accumulating 18 possessions as Kodi Jacques also dug deep to rack up 16 touches and six tackles. Melissa Kuys was the lone goalkicker for the Borough and also got her hands dirty thanks to her nine touches.

WILLIAMSTOWN 0.4 | 0.6 | 0.9 | 1.10 (16)
DAREBIN 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.4 (16)

GOALS:

Williamstown: R. Tripodi.
Darebin: T. Mills, S. Simpson.

BEST:

Williamstown: L. Steane, A. Whelan, J. Doyle, E. Straford, L. Suleiman, A. Melnikas
Darebin: S. David, K. Roe, T. Mills, K. Hazlett, J. Dal Pos, A. Lister

Williamstown and Darebin Falcons have played out the first draw of the VFL Women’s season in a low-scoring tight tussle. Only one goal was kicked in the first three quarters as the Seagulls kicked nine consecutive behinds in that period before finally getting a last quarter major. Darebin also kicked their second goal in the final term, with both teams level on 16 points apiece.

Lisa Steane had 30 disposals as a clear standout for the Seagulls, with young gun Sydney Swans Academy member Jess Doyle collecting the 15 touches and laying three tackles. Aimee Whelan (13 disposals, two marks and three tackles) was also named amongst the best, whilst Ruby Tripodi, Erin Todd and Emily Pease also stood out. For Darebin, Jess Dal Pos had a team-high 19 touches and 15 tackles, whilst Annalyse Lister finished with 16 and 13. Samara David clunked four marks and laid nine tackles to go with 15 touches, whilst Sidney Cubasch, Kathleen Roe and Katelyn Hazlett also stood out. Northern Knights debutant Trinity Mills kicked a goal in the match.

ESSENDON 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.3 | 1.4 (10)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.1 | 2.2 | 4.3 | 4.4 (28)

GOALS:

Essendon: M. Clifford.
Western Bulldogs: E. Friend 2, A. Scott, I. Grant.

BEST:

Essendon: E. Ashley-Cooper, M. Clifford, A. Morcom, Z. Friswell, A. Barba, E. Yassir
Western Bulldogs: S. Ruedin, A. Tessari, E. Georgostathis, N. Dojiok, A. Gogos , I. Pritchard

The Western Bulldogs kept their finals hopes alive with an 18-point triumph over Essendon at the aptly-named Windy Hill. The conditions were not suited to clean possessions, and it was the Dogs who made the most of it, restricting the Bombers to just three behinds in the first three quarters to lead by 24 points at the final break, then Mia-Rae Clifford booted the final goal of the match to cut the deficit to a straight three goals at full-time.

Simone Ruedin (eight disposals, 21 hitouts) and Amanda Tessari (13 disposals, 24 hitouts) took control in the ruck, whilst young guns Ella Friend kicked two goals and Nyakoat Dojiok was lively in defence, intercepting everything that came her way. Jess Fitzgerald (22 disposals, nine tackles) and Angelica Gogos (22 disposals, 11 tackles) were the busiest ball-winners for the Dogs. For Essendon, midfielder Georgia Nanscawen stood up with 20 touches and four tackles, while Eloise Ashley-Cooper (16 disposals, three marks and seven tackles and Clifford (12 disposals, three tackles, one goal) also impressed. The young combination of Zali Friswell and Emelia Yassir were also named amongst the best in the loss.

HAWTHORN 2.0 | 4.0 | 4.0 | 4.2 (26)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.1 | 2.3 | 4.7 | 4.10 (34)

GOALS:

Hawthorn: P. McWilliams 2, J. Williams, E. Chaston.
North Melbourne: B. Slaney, A. Hamilton, A. Smith, L. Wright.

BEST:

Hawthorn: G. McRae, K. Cox, T. Luke, C. Perera, E. Chaston, M. Hutchins
North Melbourne: A. Hamilton, R. Hicks, S. Skinner, M. Kiely, D. Bannister, M. Eastman

North Melbourne has knocked off Hawthorn at Box Hill after kicking the only two goals in the second half. The Kangaroos kicked away with 14 scoring shots to six, as Phoebe McWilliams slotted two goals for the Hawks, but the shared load at the Roos got them home. Hawthorn looked to be on top at half-time, but North Melbourne refused to give in and eventually took home the points on the road.

Meagan Kiely had 25 disposals, five marks and six tackles in another big effort, sharing the load with Molly Eastman (22 disposals, four marks and six tackles) and Sarah Skinner (19 disposals, six marks and three tackles) for the Roos. Daria Bannister (18 disposals, nine tackles) and Alexia Hamilton (16 disposals, four marks, five tackles and 14 hitouts) were others who found plenty of the ball with Reni Hicks (15 disposals, eight tackles) also named amongst the best.

Tamara Luke racked up 43 hitouts from 18 touches, seven marks and two tackles, whilst AFLW Draft hopeful Grace McRae with six disposals and seven tackles was named the Hawks’ best. Jenna Richardson (15 disposals, six marks), Meg Hutchins (12 disposals, two marks) and Eloise Chaston (six touches, four marks and one goal) were also strong in the match, Ex-Roo Katelyn Cox stood out against her former side, with Chantella Perera returning to the brown and gold from out west and was named amongst the best.