Category: SANFL

2021 SANFL Under 16s season wrap: Panthers and Double Blues finish top two despite final round losses

A HECTIC conclusion to the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 16s competition saw the top two sides lose only their second game for the season in the final round, as Rounds 6 and 7 of the action wrapped up on Saturday and Wednesday in the past five days respectively.

South Adelaide finished on top by the barest of margins, with a higher percentage of 0.11 compared to Sturt, though both teams suffered shock losses to non-finalists in Round 7. The Panthers went down to sixth placed Woodville-West Torrens and the Double Blues suffered defeat to the fifth placed West Adelaide. In other results, Glenelg held Central District winless for the season as they got up in a nail-biter by two points to finish third, and North Adelaide booked its spot in the finals by accounting for seventh placed Norwood in a tight eight-point result.

Four days earlier, the top three teams all secured wins, and ultimately helped themselves to the prime positions on the ladder, with South Adelaide getting up over fourth placed North Adelaide by 17 points, Sturt defeating Norwood by a whopping 70 points, and Glenelg accounting for Eagles by 44 points. West Adelaide’s gallant end to the season had started with a comfortable 31-point victory over the Bulldogs.

In terms of the season top performers, Kane McAuliffe was head and shoulders above the rest for disposals, averaging a mind-bogging 31.9 disposals per game. The Roosters midfielder started off his season with a comparably low 23 touches, before going nuts with two 28-disposal games, and the rest with 33 or more, including a 43-disposal effort against the Eagles in Round 3. He also averaged a whopping 10 marks, 5.9 tackles, five clearances, 7.3 inside 50s and 4.6 rebound 50s to be the top performing player across the competition.

His partner-in-crime Angus Tully was not far behind with the Roosters talent averaging the flat 31 disposals per game from six matches, picking up more than 30 touches in three of his matches, including 41 disposals against West Adelaide in Round 4. Tully also averaged 4.2 marks, 4.3 tackles. 6.8 clearances, 5.5 inside 50s and 2.2 rebound 50s.

The highest disposal average was Central District’s Trent Tattoli who gave the wooden spooners something to celebrate about, averaging 34.6 disposals per game in five matches since debuting in Round 3. He only dipped below 35 disposals once in his time showing remarkable consistency, and finished the 2021 season also accumulating 8.2 marks, 4.0 tackles, 4.8 clearances, 4.8 inside 50s and 3.6 rebound 50s.

West Adelaide’s Lukas Zvaigzne (26.1 disposals, 5.7 marks, 4.0 tackles, 3.0 clearances, 3.4 inside 50s and 2.6 rebound 50s) and Eagles’ Jed Thomson (22.1 disposals, 4.0 marks, 2.3 clearances, 2.3 inside 50s and 2.6 rebound 50s) rounded out the top five ball-winners this season.

Meanwhile there was a three-way tie for the leading goalkicker award, with Sturt’s Chad Reschke, South Adelaide’s Jack Delean and Norwood’s William Rowlands all booting 16 goals. Reschke was the most impressive, achieving the feat from just five games, with multiple goals in every game, including hauls of four against South Adelaide and Glenelg, and hauls of three against North Adelaide and Eagles, to finish with 16.14 for the season. He also averaged the 10.2 disposals and 4.6 marks this year.

Delean played the six matches, and booted 16 goals despite going goalless in two games. He slotted a huge six goals against North Adelaide in his final match in Round 6, whilst having a haul of four against Glenelg, and three goals against both Central District and Norwood. Delean also averaged the 5.2 marks, 3.7 inside 50s and 2.8 tackles from 14.2 disposals. Meanwhile Rowland slotted five goals against Glenelg and four against North Adelaide in his best of a seven-game effort, averaging the 14.1 disposals, 3.1 marks, 3.0 inside 50s and 2.8 tackles.

While Reschke also averaged more than two contested marks per game, and McAuliffe and Delean were also up there in the stakes, Glenelg’s Ashton Moir was the clear standout with 18 contested marks in six games at an average of three per match. The Bays talent also averaged the 16.2 disposals and 6.5 marks slotting the four goals for the season, and 12 of his 18 contested marks coming against Norwood (seven) and West Adelaide (five).

When it came to big men, it was Jayden Matz who topped the league for hitouts. The Central District amassed 172 hitouts – 49 more than any other player in the league – at an average of 24.6 per game – to go with 16.6 disposals, 3.3 marks, 5.4 tackles, 3.6 clearances and 3.0 inside 50s. South Adelaide’s Tom Schirmer (24.6 hitouts per game from four games) was influential across his five matches, while West Adelaide’s Jack Wilson (15.6 hitouts from seven) and North Adelaide’s Darcy Kelly (18.2 from six) both totalled 109 hitouts for the season.

Tully and McAuliffe both featured in the top five for clearances in 2021, ranked first and fourth in total hitouts, whilst Norwood’s Connor Butcher averaged the 5.2 clearances per match from seven games, as well as 21.1 disposals, 4.3 tackles and 3.6 inside 50s. South Adelaide’s Tom Wheaton finished with the highest average from just five games, recording a whopping 7.2 clearances, as well as 25.6 disposals, 5.3 marks, 7.4 tackles and 5.8 inside 50s. Sturt’s Kobe McEntee averaged the 22.0 disposals, 4.8 clearances, 4.7 marks, 5.8 tackles and 5.2 inside 50s.

Finally looking at the defenders, the top rebounders in season 2021 were led by Rooster Toby Turner, who played all seven games for an average of 7.4 rebound 50s per game to accompany 16.0 disposals and 4.3 marks. West Adelaide’s Oscar Talbot (19.3 disposals, 7.3 rebound 50s), McAuliffe, Sturt’s Brodie Maloney (17.0 disposals, 5.2 rebound 50s) and Norwood’s Harvey George (15.8 disposals, 5.2 rebound 50s) were the others rounding out the top five with 30-plus rebound 50s for the season.

Of all those talents, McAuliffe finished on top in terms of Dream Team points, becoming the only player to hit 1000 in total and exactly 1000, at an averaged of 142.9 per game. Zvaigzne was next with 713 (101.9 per game), followed by Tully (687 at 114.5 per game), Matz (686 at 98) and Tattoli 677 at 135.4). The next best were West Adelaide’s Max Downs (628 at 89.7) and Eagles’ Pat Toole (609 at 87) to round out the 600-plus total points getters.

 

ROUND 6 RESULTS:

Norwood 5.9 (39) defeated by Sturt 17.7 (109)
Central District 9.7 (61) defeated by West Adelaide 14.8 (92)
WWT Eagles 11.4 (70) defeated by Glenelg 17.12 (114)
South Adelaide 14.9 (93) defeated North Adelaide 11.10 (76)

ROUND 7 RESULTS;

South Adelaide 11.8 (74) defeated by WWT Eagles 12.3 (75)
Sturt 9.8 (62) defeated by West Adelaide 13.11 (89)
Glenelg 12.9 (81) defeated Central District 12.7 (79)
Norwood 12.8 (80) defeated by North Adelaide 13.10 (88)

Picture: Cory Sutton/SANFL

State Leagues wrap: Contenders appear after two rounds

STATE League football continued across the country on the weekend, with plenty of teams recording back-to-back wins, while others look for improvement across the board following a disappointing first week. We take a look at the action in the QAFL, SANFL, TSL and WAFL across Round 2.

QUEENSLAND:

By: Peter Williams

A couple of massive wins to sides – including a triple-figure thumping – saw plenty of goals kicked in what was effectively a very one-side round in the QAFL. Aside from one 14-point differential, the other four games were between 32 and 100 points. The largest of them all was Maroochydore’s 25.18 (168) to 10.8 (68) shellacking of Wilston Grange. The Gorillas were coming off a first round one-point win over newcomers Noosa Tigers, but ran into an unstoppable force in the Roos.

Maroochydore piled on a whopping 12.12 to 3.1 by half-time, and booted six goals in each of the first three quarters, and seven in the final term for 43 scoring shots to 18. After narrowly missing out on the leading goalkicker award last year, Maroochydore’s Mitchell Scholard wasted no time getting some runs on the board with 11 majors, kicking more goals than the entire opposition side. Lochie Laing booted four snags, while Lachlan Robinson and Josh Govan were also impressive for the winners. Hugh Fidler managed three majors for Wilston Grange, while Harry Wilson and Mitchell Crawley were steadfast in defeat.

League newcomers Redland-Victoria Park also wasted no time asserting themselves on the competition with a high-scoring 58-point win over 2019 QAFL premiers Surfers Paradise. In the combined highest scoring match of Round 2, the Sharks won 24.10 (154) to 15.6 (96). Twenty two players hit the scoreboard in the match, with Josh Brown and Harrison Kerr snagging four goals apiece for the winners, while Thompson Smith‘s three majors were the most of any player on the losing side. Matthew Walters (Redland-Victoria Point) and Jack Prestegar (Surfers Paradise) were named the top players for their respective sides.

Reigning premiers Morningside also kicked off their season in style with a 43-point triumph over Palm Beach Currumbin. Rising star talent Nathan Colenso slotted five majors in the win, with Sam Godfrey (one) and Liam Dwyer (two) also among the best for the Panthers. Nick Crowley and Frazer Eaton both kicked a couple of goals for the Lions, as Corey Joyce was named best-on for the home side.

The result sets up a tantalising grand final rematch next week after Connor Nutting (five goals) and Jordan Moncrieff (four) put Labrador to the sword during Broadbeach’s 15.7 (97) to 9.11 (65) win. Trailing by 10 points at quarter time, the Cats piled on 13 goals to six in the final three quarters to get the win, with Tyrone Armitage and Ryan Gilmore both impressive. Shaydan Close and Blair Rubock both kicked three goals for the Tigers, while Andy Hollis was named the best in a losing side.

In the tightest game of the round, Mt Gravatt held on to run out the stronger side against Sherwood Districts, defeating the Magpies, 12.12 (84) to 9.16 (70). Trailing by a goal at half-time, and then leading by only four points at the final break, the Vultures booted 4.3 to 2.5 in the final term to secure the win. Jonah Licht nailed half a dozen goals in the victory, while Craig Malone and Gavin Grose were among the Vultures’ best. For Sherwood, Kobe Tozer made a successful return from injury the last couple of years to slot three goals for the Magpies, as Luca Winton and Riley Easton were also among the losing team’s top players.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

By: Liam Badkin

At Alberton Oval, Port Adelaide pulled off a miraculous comeback against the Bulldogs, kicking 4.6 to 0.0 in the last quarter to run out 17-point victors. Boyd Woodcock led his side with 23 disposals and a goal, while Jarrod Lienert had 23 touches of his own but missed both of his opportunities to put his name in the goalkickers column. Luke Surman kicked 3.2 and led the come from behind victory. Kyle Presbury was the best for the Bulldogs, racking up 36 disposals and nine marks, while Ethan East was dangerous around goal, kicking three.

At Prospect Oval, the North Adelaide Roosters fell to a second quarter surge courtesy of the South Adelaide Panthers, who kicked seven goals to one in the second term, to put the game out of reach. The Roosters battled hard in the second half, but the comeback couldn’t be completed as they were defeated by 11 points. South Adelaide’s Joseph Haines found plenty of the ball, accumulating 28 disposals, while midfielders Joel Cross and Bryce Gibbs combined for 11 clearances. Liam Fitt, Damon Frietag and Eamon Wilkinson kicked two goals each. For the Roosters, Harrison Wigg had 29 disposals, while Jarred Allmond impressed with 27 touches and a goal. William Combe kicked two goals while an inaccurate Aaron Young kicked 1.4 for the day.

Moving to Unley Oval, the Redlegs backed up last week’s win with another, beating Sturt by 21 points in a solid outing. Sturt trailed all game, and while the margin was only four points at half time, the Redlegs did enough to keep their opponents at bay and leave the ground 2-0 after two games. Matthew Nunn and Nikolaus Rokahr finished with 24 disposals each, while Michael Knoll was the main extractor from stoppages, finishing with nine clearances. Dom Barry and Tom Wagner slotted two goals apiece. For Sturt, James Battersby won a game high 25 disposals and was able to hit the scoreboard with a goal in a solid performance, while Ashley Johnson kicked two goals to try and bring his side back into the contest.

Across at ACH Group Stadium, the Glenelg Tigers proved too good for the Woodville West Torrens Eagles, winning by a comfortable 29 points. Inaccurate to start the game, the Eagles punished their opponents, who were left ruing their missed opportunities. A second half told a different tale as the Tigers kicked 11 goals to three and would be pleased with their turnaround. Tigers midfielder Matthew Snook was unstoppable in the midfield, finishing with 24 disposals, 12 tackles, 10 clearances and a goal, setting the tone for his teammates. Luke Partington (32 disposals) and Brett Turner (26 disposals and 10 clearances) both found themselves with the ball plenty of times, while Luke Reynolds and Lachie Hosie chimed in three goals each. For the Eagles, Daniel Menzel (three goals) and Dane McFarlane (25 disposals) fought hard.

Hisense Stadium was home to a classic on Saturday afternoon, as the Adelaide Crows scraped past the North Adelaide Bloods by six points in a thriller. With the game tied at three quarter time, both sides were inaccurate, kicking three behinds each, but a James Matthews goal in time on proved to be the match winner. For the Crows, skipper Matthew Wright found plenty of the ball, disposing of it 27 times and combined well with ruckman Kieran Strachan who displayed dominance in the air. Luke Pedlar kicked three goals, all of which proved to be handy. For the Bloods, former Hawthorn player Kieran Lovell dominated through the midfield with 39 disposals and six clearances, while Logan Hill continued to find the ball with 27 touches.

TASMANIA:

By: Liam Badkin

Saturday’s Tasmanian football action saw some big wins across the grounds. Clarence bounced back from last week’s loss to Lauderdale by defeating Glenorchy by 32 points at KGV oval. Coming off the bye last week, Glenorchy found themselves trailing by four goals at the main break. A third quarter fightback saw scores level heading into the final term, but Clarence kicked five goals to none in the last quarter to walk away with their first win of the year. There were a plethora of goal kickers for the victors. Former Brisbane Lions and Essendon player Josh Green and Oliver Preshaw kicked three goals each, while Jacques Barwick chimed in with two. Onballer Baxter Norton was judged best afield for his work through the midfield, while playing coach and former Richmond Tiger Jeromey Webberley was also amongst the best. For Glenorchy, Ben Karamic booted a game high five goals to be his side’s best performer and start his season off in style.

Moving to Kingston’s Twin Ovals, the Tigers took down Lauderdale by 29 points in a convincing win. The Tigers started the game in style, kicking 5.0 to Lauderdale’s 3.1, and the lead only continued to grow. Lauderdale struggled to contain the Tigers, particularly in the second term, and it didn’t help that the Tigers didn’t miss a shot on goal until the third term. For the Tigers, Tyler Carter kicked three goals, while Sam Duigan, Elijah Reardon, Marcus Gardner and Max Collidge all kicked two each, and midfielder Lachlan Clifford was judged best afield. For Lauderdale, Josh Mcguinness kicked four goals and was his side’s best, while Will Poland also impressed in his first game of the year.

In the north of the state, North Launceston bounced back from last week’s disappointing defeat to crush North Hobart by 113 points at UTAS Stadium. Last year’s runners up dominated all day, not allowing their opponents from the south any room to score, while piling on the goals themselves. For the winners, there were 10 individual goal kickers, led by Thomas Bennett’s four goals and Brad Cox-Goodyer’s three. Daniel Withers kicked two of his own and was his side’s best performer. For the Demons, Jack Mcculloch was the lone goal scorer for his side, while Callum Kilpatrick tried all day.

Launceston had the bye.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

By: Peter Williams

Subiaco has set the bar high in the early stages of the WAFL season, with an impressive 33-point win over fellow Round 1 winners, East Fremantle. The teams were evenly matched to three quarter time with the Lions leading by just two points, before running away with it in the final term thanks to 5.8 to 1.1 in order to post a 12.14 (86) to 8.5 (53) victory over the Sharks. Leigh Kitchin had a day out with a match-high 28 touches, as well as 10 tackles and six inside 50s, working hard alongside Gregory Clark (21 disposals, five marks, 11 tackles, one goal). Ryan Borchet (three goals) and Harrison Marsh (two) were both prominent in the win. For the Sharks, ball magnet Josh Schoenfeld racked up 27 touches and 10 tackles to go with his 40-plus disposals from last week, while Luke Strnadica dominated the ruck with 48 hitouts and a goal to accompany 23 disposals, five marks and four tackles.

Claremont is hot on Subiaco’s tail after Round 2, accounting for another Round 1 winner in South Fremantle on Saturday. The Tigers won 17.6 (108) to 13.14 (92) in the game of the round. Lachlan Martinis and Jye Bolton combined for 63 disposals and nine tackles, while Jake Patmore (26 disposals, four marks) and Kane Mitchell (25 disposals, eight marks and three goals) were also prominent. Top draft-eligible tall Jacob Van Rooyen had a quieter day out compared to Round 1, managing the seven touches and three marks. Dylan Main (26 disposals, four marks and three tackles) and Haiden Schloithe (24 disposals, five tackles, five inside 50s and a goal) were the most prominent players for the Bulldogs.

After suffering a Round 1 defeat, Peel Thunder completely dismantled East Perth with a 15 goals to three second half, to run away with the 24.10 (154) to 7.7 (49) victory. The Thunder were far too strong in posting the 105-point shellacking, as a combination of past and present AFL talents took control. Fremantle duo, Taylin Duman (30 disposals nine marks and three inside 50s) and Connor Blakely (26 disposals, seven marks and two inside 50s) were both impressive, while ex-Eagle Will Schofield (26 disposals, seven marks, 16 hitouts and a goal) and ex-Bomber Jackson Merrett (25 disposals, seven marks) all stood out. For the Royals, Angus Scott had a day out with 34 touches, four marks, three tackles and six inside 50s, while Jackson Ramsay did all he could in the loss with 28 disposals, 10 tackles and six inside 50s.

West Perth bounced back from a Round 1 loss to easily account for a disappointing West Coast side, piling on nine and 10 goals in the respective first and second halves, as the Eagles only managed the three apiece in those halves. The Falcons dominated possession with four players picking up 30-plus disposals, and only one player having single-digit disposals on their way to a team total of 457 disposals. Aaron Black had a lazy 43 disposals, nine marks and six inside 50s in his 200th WAFL game, joined in the 40-plus club by Trent Manzone (40 disposals, seven marks). Shane Nelson (31 disposals, five marks) and Connor West (30 disposals, six marks) were also massive ball winners, whilst up forward, Tyler Keitel was unstoppable thanks to six goals from 17 touches and nine marks, while Mitchell Antonio snagged four goals from 25 touches and a whopping 15 marks. The Eagles had a couple of players pushing for a recall with Brayden Ainsworth (36 disposals, 10 marks and three inside 50s) the clear best, while Alex Witherden managed the 26 touches, six marks, four tackles and two inside 50s.

In the only game of the round where a Round 1 loser defeated a Round 1 winner, Swan Districts got on the board with a 50-point victory over Perth. While the Bombers kicked 3.6 in the final term to reduce the deficit, the damage was already done in the first three quarters, when the Swans booted 11 goals to three. Ball magnet Sam Fisher had a lazy 41 touches with seven marks, six tackles, seven inside 50s and a goal, teaming up well with fellow ex-Carlton VFL midfielder Frank Anderson (31 disposals, five marks, six tackles and five inside 50s). Nelson Waite (29 disposals, five marks and four tackles) and Aidan Clarke (28 disposals, 14 marks and four inside 50s) were also strong, as Matt Riggio (20 disposals, six tackles, five inside 50s and four goals) was a dominant goalkicker alongside Jesse Palmer (11 disposals, three marks and four goals). For Perth, Chris Masten had the 29 disposals and six marks, while Brady Grey (28 disposals, six marks, seven tackles and eight inside 50s) and Brent Edmonds (25 disposals, eight marks, five inside 50s and a goal) were also consistent despite the loss.

Picture credit: WAFL

SANFL Player Focus: No alarms in consistent start to season for Jason Horne

HIGHLY rated South Adelaide Panther Jason Horne backed up his 19 disposal and one goal effort in Round 1 in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) again with 16 disposals, one goal, six tackles, and four inside 50s on Saturday afternoon at Prospect Oval. Horne was set for a challenge coming up against the experienced North Adelaide Roosters in Jarred Allmond’s 200th League game, one of the various Roosters players to get physical with Horne throughout the contest.

He started the game in the middle and showed his already-accustomed comfortability with the bigger bodies of senior footy, consistently looking to engage body around stoppages and get first hands on it. Reigning Magarey Medallist Campbell Combe in particular worked to deter Horne from contesting but to little effect. Horne did a good job of getting to stoppages all game when playing on-ball, but at times was too overzealous in his attack. He would often move into a stalemate contest in a pack and leave his opponent at the stoppage open on the outside. After the first goal of the game, he moved forward and continued to spend seven to eight minutes on-ball, and then to half-forward.

He was a lead up target on centre wing twice in the first term but mis-kicks in blustery conditions did not favour him despite the separation from his opponent. When the ball was in his aerial vicinity, he displayed his leap and competitiveness to get hands on it without clunking those big marks he has shown he can. A brilliant chase down smother highlighted his manic defensive pressure in the forward half as he followed up cleanly to dispose of it through hands. Despite his age, he showed good volume in his tackles and bumps as he was able to move bodies when required.

He started in the middle to begin the second quarter and gravitated less to the drop of the ball, while still maintaining a strong front position. His spread from the stoppage was smooth as he got involved in a rebounding link. Although it perhaps was not the best choice to go to with his kick, he followed up well again to apply enough pressure to skew the North Adelaide kick. He covered good distance to get to stoppages again and found himself deep in defensive 50 unsure of what to do. After taking on a couple of tackles and only just handballing to no one in particular, the rebounded ball came straight back for a Roosters goal. He was again confronted by senior North Adelaide players as they let him know how they felt, but he showed good temperament and maturity to uphold a positive body language and strong intent as the game restarted.

Moving back forward he continued to try and be dangerous aerially, but the wind was making it hard. Horne then made something out of nothing as a pressured shot on goal hit the behind post after a nice gather. Despite his aerial efforts, he showed a good awareness of his role to play as a traditional half-forward pushing up at the centre bounce to open room behind him for his key forwards, and also working through most contests to get front and centre.

Horne would not get to another centre bounce in the second half as he spent most of his time at half-forward and looked his most dangerous in the third quarter. After some more confident push and shove, a classy one-handed pickup resulted in a point after kicking from 45 metres out under pressure. The physicality continued, and he was dropped by Allmond after some wrestling saw Horne on top and was able to receive the free kick. He slotted the set shot which was pivotal to the positive attitudes of his teammates as the Panthers ultimately won the game on the back of their third quarter effort. Immediately after, Horne missed a snap attempt on goal and continued to cause headaches for the Roosters. His defensive pressure remained, as did his workrate, finding space on multiple occasions with long sprints.

Looking to work on his field kicking inside 50 before the season, he found a teammate beautifully who dropped a mark which would have resulted in a set shot for goal, but a lot of his field kicking for the day was somewhat rushed out of stoppages and contests. He had 12 kicks and four handballs but when he had time, his skills were flawless.

Horne backed up his performance last week and played a quality role rotating through the middle and half-forward, and could have very easily had a three-goal game. South Adelaide will play Port next week as he will be challenged with some AFL-listed players.

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 2

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s rolled on into Round 2, with the latest weekend of action producing some excellent performances from plenty of 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the second 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. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

GLENELG vs. WWT EAGLES

By: Liam Badkin

GLENELG:

#32 Oscar Adams

Worked hard through the midfield all day to give his team ascendency. Fought all game in the poor conditions to give his midfielders first use with his hitouts around the ground.

#20 Lewis Rayson

Found plenty of the ball and rarely wasted it. A game-high 29 disposals showcased his creativity with the ball as he set up countless plays with his hard work from half-back. An excellent performance as he continues to impress and demonstrate the quality talent coming out of South Australia.

#5 Hugh Stagg

Didn’t get a heap of the ball, but made the most of it when he did. Kicked a nice goal from a snap in the first quarter to extend his side’s strong lead. Spent time on the ball where he used his big frame to put others in better positions.

#13 Hayden Brokensha

A quieter performance than last week, the hard runner only found the ball eight times but there were still plenty of bright spots. His disposal could’ve been cleaner, but the effort was never in doubt as he looks to build on this performance.

#10 Lachlan Scannell

Another who didn’t accumulate the ball as much as last week, but showed his endeavour and willingness to work hard for his touches. With a solid 15 disposals, Scannell ran tirelessly all day and found himself an integral link up player as his side rebounded the ball out of defensive 50.

EAGLES:

#12 Brayden Calvett

The lethal left footer once again proved his worth to his side. Working around the midfield, he took the game on plenty of times and used his damaging skills to hurt the opposition and incite fantastic ball movement. Missed a shot on goal at the start of the last quarter but would be pleased with his performance overall.

#4 Jase Burgoyne

A handy link-up player who did his best work on the half-forward line. Always crafty, Burgoyne was a key cog in a lot of good Eagles ball movement. Found the ball 23 times and should hold his head high despite the loss. One of his side’s best on the day, and should built into competition well after an interrupted preseason.

#17 Lukas Cooke

A quieter game than last week, Cooke was the victim of the ball not entering his forward 50 enough. It’s hard to judge a key forward on a game where his side is beaten around other areas of the ground. Kicked his sole goal to open the scoring account for the second quarter as he tried to pull his side back into the game. Other than that, lack of opportunities hurt his output.

#2 Jay Watson

Found the footy plenty of times in a game where his side struggled to get their hands on it. Constantly drove the ball forward with his quality kicking skills, and tried until the final bounce to get his side back into the game.

#15 Adam D’Aolia

Another solid performance for the midfielder, as he fought bravely in a losing battle. Was dangerous around the stoppages, where he managed to find a game-high five clearances, despite his forwards not finishing his hard work and being beaten. Also worked his way to six tackles as he forced plenty of stoppages with his ability to stop opponents in their tracks.

 

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. WEST ADELAIDE

By: Liam Badkin

CENTRAL:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

One of his side’s strongest performers on the day, the highly touted mid-forward lived up to the high expectations he has set for himself. Working through the midfield and forward of the ball, Dudley provided a spark on a dour day for his side. His explosiveness was hard to ignore around the contest, as he burst through packs and finished the day with 17 disposals and two goals. His stocks continue to rise.

#37 Cody Gilchrist 

It was a day that could have yielded so much more for the aerial specialist, but his inaccuracy cost him a bag of six as he finished with 1.5. His marking skills were more efficient as he brought down five grabs, with some contested. His ability to set himself up for a scoring opportunity is a real stand out, and if his accuracy can improve, he will be a nightmare for defenders.

#16 Shay Linke 

The SANFL Academy member once again continued his promising start to the year, and demonstrated his ability to win the footy all around the ground. His work around the stoppages was marvellous as he worked his way to 30 disposals and four clearances. His third quarter goal showcased his ability to hit the scoreboard, and he performed strongly on a tough day at the office.

#28 Luca Whitelum 

Backed up last week’s solid showing with another, consistently competing in a losing side. Missed two shots on goal that he could’ve kicked if he had his time over, but never gave up. Another step in the right direction.

WEST ADELAIDE:

#10 Cade Kennedy 

One of his side’s best performers, Kennedy found plenty of the ball and gave opposition coaches headaches as he continued to rack up possessions. His work at the contest was high-level, extracting three clearances, and he hit the scoreboard with a handy second quarter goal, when the opposition were making a strong run. Fantastic.

#36 Tyson Coe

While gathering slightly less of the ball than last week, Coe still showed his talent as a big-bodied midfielder, finding the ball 15 times. His two goals would’ve pleased his coaches as he continues to add strings to his bow.

#54 Harry Lemmey 

The developing key forward continues his improvement with another nice game. The ball movement inside 50 at times suited his skillset as he reeled in five marks. Could’ve finished with five goals but instead settled for 2.3 in an important performance for his side.

#9 Kobe Ryan

A star in the making, Ryan put in a best on ground performance with his outstanding effort in the midfield. Seemingly always around the play, the bottom ager was herculean for his team, winning eight clearances to drive his team forward. His defensive work was just as strong, laying eight tackles as he refused to be beaten by an opponent. Strong in the air and on the ground, he was impossible to stop, as he remarkably went at 90 per cent disposal efficiency from his 33 touches. An outstanding performance.

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORTH ADELAIDE 

By: Tom Wyman

SOUTH ADELAIDE:

#33 Arlo Draper

One of SA’s most highly rated draft prospects, Draper had some nice moments where he appeared a cut above Under 18 level, but didn’t star as the Panthers were beaten by a strong North Adelaide side. Starting at the centre bounce but drifting forward for parts of the match, Draper is a great size for the modern game at 186cm.

His quick snap on goal from the stoppage was soccered through on the goal-line for a major, but highlighted his high-level forward craft. An impressive overall athlete, Draper’s stoppage nous was terrific, reading the taps well and gliding through congestion on a number of occasions. He didn’t attend every stoppage but still won a game-high seven clearances – highlighting his smarts in the midfield. Draper’s hands in-tight were sound and he hit some tricky targets by foot, particularly when looking to centre the ball.

Although the Willunga product didn’t dominate proceedings or find lots of the ball, he had an impact just about every time he touched it. Draper is clearly an aerial threat and his strong midfield craft and ability forward of centre will no doubt have scouts monitoring him closely. He concluded the game with 16 disposals, a goal (10 kicks and six handballs) and four tackles.

Others: 

Angus Bradley was likely best-on-ground for the Panthers. Although South Adelaide were beaten in the midfield, Bradley didn’t back down, winning a team-high 31 disposals (25 kicks and six handballs) to go with seven marks and eight rebound-50s. A kick-first type of player, Bradley used the ball cleanly by foot.

Half-back flanker Lachlan Hayes showed a nice bit of zip from defence. He took the game on wherever he could and appears to be a smart player. He finished with 22 disposals and three rebounds. Key defender Dylan Miller was opposed to talented Roosters forward Isaac Keeler and kept the Adelaide NGA product goalless, after he booted five majors the week before.

Wingman Isaac Birt produced a balanced game, finishing with 19 disposals, six marks, six tackles, three inside-50s and a goal, with fellow midfielder Cooper Rogers (22 disposals, six tackles and three clearances) also busy. Koby Cockshell booted three goals for the home side.

NORTH ADELAIDE:

#4 Isaac Keeler

After kicking five goals in a dominant display against Central District last week, the tall forward was well-held by the South Adelaide backline. The bottom-aged Adelaide NGA product still showed some nice glimpses, with his ability to gain separation on the lead, natural athleticism and impact at ground level all evident.

However, Keeler was slightly off despite the Roosters’ win, dropping a simple chest mark in the opening term and turning the ball over a couple of times by foot. His cleanliness below his knees was a real highlight though. Keeler finished with 11 disposals, three marks, three tackles and a couple of clearances when given a run in the ruck. Expect him to return to the scoresheet against the Redlegs next week.

#12 Hugh Jackson

Jackson has stated the season in dominant fashion and would have to be one of the early favourites to take out the McCallum-Tomkins Medal (SANFL Under 18 best and fairest), after a strong showing against the Panthers. His hands in traffic, on both sides of his body, were not only lightening fast, but they always found their target. Playing as an inside midfielder, Jackson won a lot of his possessions in congestion but, impressively, was still able to hit his targets by foot.

However, like many of his North Adelaide teammates, Jackson has the ability to spread well from the stoppages and get involved in general play, which allows him to best exploit his clean skillset. His running patterns allowed him to get on the end of handball chains and be the one to deliver the ball inside-50. The teenager, from Crystal Brook in the heartland of the Roosters country zone, drew teammates towards him with his kicking and was able to slice through tricky gaps in the play.

He did all the defensive stuff too, laying a game-high ten tackles. He was caught holding the ball a couple of times, however the smooth-mover again looked in complete control, finishing the clash with 33 disposals, five marks, five clearances, five inside 50s. He was unlucky to have a snap at goal hit the post in the fourth quarter too.

#15 Harvey Harrison

Blayne O’Loughlin’s 44-touches are hard to overlook, but the performance of Harrison had a similar influence over the game. Harrison was typically productive around the ground, consistently winning the ball in-tight at the coal-face, but it was his spread from the contest and the run and carry that he provided which proved deadly. Involved in countless handball-chains through the middle of the ground, Harrison was instrumental in turning defensive into attack.

Many players tend to waste their possessions when travelling at full speed, but not Harrison. His delivery by foot was outstanding and his running goal in the third-term triggered a flurry of Roosters majors, however he could have had an even bigger game if he had converted some of his chances in-front of the big sticks (kicking five behinds). The Golden Grove junior looks to have established himself as one of the leading midfielders in the state, after accumulating 64 touches across the first fortnight of action.

A high metres-gained type of midfielder, Harrison finished the round two clash with 31 disposals (21 kicks and ten handballs), four marks, six tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s and a goal. He sits third in the competition for disposals (trailing only teammates Blayne O’Loughlin and Hugh Jackson), equal-fourth for marks and second for clearances – highlighting his well balanced game.

#18 James Willis

Willis returned to the Roosters’ Under 18s set-up and wasted no time in getting involved. He spent time rotating through the midfield and forwardline, where his speed, run-and-carry, and ability to win the contested ball featured prominently. He applied plenty of defensive pressure around the ball and tackled with genuine intent. The SANFL Academy member also bobbed up for two goals late in the game, to go with 18 disposals, three marks, four tackles and five inside 50s.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

The skipper led from the front for the Roosters, setting up the play beautifully from half-back. Another Rooster who is tied to the Adelaide Crows via NGA rules, O’Loughlin had the ball on a string right from the start. Although he did accumulate many of his touches from kick-ins, his skills when exiting the defensive-50 were exceptional. Always calm and composed with ball in hand, the SANFL Academy member was largely pin-point with his disposal by foot, weighing up the situation and thinking his way through things.

O’Loughlin reads the game so well and possesses a rare understanding of how the play appears to be unfolding in-front of him, then consistently makes the right decision and executes by hand or foot. The crafty defender is a deep thinker on the field and is equipped with the skillset to match, but he also showed a willingness to crack in hard for his side and win some contested ball, which will have impressed scouts and recruiters watching on.

O’Loughlin’s footy smarts were again on display when he sprinted 30 metres to plug the gap in-front of a leading South Adelaide forward and prevent a near-certain shot on goal. Blayne finished with a game-high 44 disposals (30 kicks and 14 handballs), nine marks, four tackles and eight rebound 50s in what could well be his best performance at Under 18s level to date.

#29 Zyton Santillo

The speedy Santillo was typically industrious for the red and whites through the midfield and in attack. He had no trouble finding the ball and used it really well. One of several North Adelaide midfielders with some speed and skill, Santillo was precise with his kicking, particularly when heading inside 50, and ran hard both ways. Not unlike Brisbane star Dayne Zorko in the way he moves, Santillo once again showed he is an important cog in what appears to be a very strong Roosters squad, accumulating 31 disposals, seven marks, six tackles, six clearances and six inside 50s in an impressive outing.

Others:

Whilst the North Adelaide midfield unit will receive much of the attention and plaudits for their dominance, defender Lewis Saint played an important role in defence, breaking up several Panthers attacks. Medium-forward Thomas Cusack had a blistering third term, booting four goals in six minutes to break-open the game and more-or-less put the game beyond reach. Elliott McNamara was an important target up forward, finishing with 20 disposals, four marks (including two contested), six tackles and five inside 50s.

 

NORWOOD vs. STURT

By: Tom Wyman

NORWOOD:

#1 Tyson Walls

After making a strong start to the season last weekend, the bottom-aged midfielder was again among the best players on the ground in Norwood’s victory. He spent the game in his customary midfield role, where he won his fair share of contested ball and showed an ability to look for the right options in congestion, rather than blaze away.

He possesses a very quick first couple of steps and, importantly, he used this to advantage, often speeding away from stoppages in his bright yellow boots. A well-balanced midfielder who shares some similarities in playing style to Essendon’s Darcy Parish, Walls’ vision and skill execution were also commendable. He banked himself a well deserved goal in the closing stages of the final term and finished with 24 disposals (19 kicks and five handballs), seven marks, six tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s.

#9 Alastair Lord

The speedy half-back/wingman took a while to get going, but worked into the game nicely and proved to be the most damaging player on the ground after quarter time. Primarily stationed in the defensive 50 but pushing up onto the wings when required, Lord provided plenty of his trademark run-and-carry. For a player of just 177cm, he displayed good strength above his head and took a couple of timely intercept grabs.

Lord’s attacking mindset was clear from the outset, as he looked to break lines with his speed whenever possible. At times, he made things more difficult for himself by running into traffic, however his aggressive mindset was pivotal in the Redlegs 32-point win. In what was a scrappy game for the most part with both sides struggling to execute their skills, Lord’s ball use stood out. He finished with 28 touches (17 kicks and 11 handballs), seven marks and four inside 50s.

#25 Matt Dnistriansky 

The athletic defender was once-again Norwood’s designated kicker down back. Often charged with the kick-in duties, Dnistriansky looked to set up the play with his precise kicking. He has a racking right foot kick and was accurate across long and short distances. He positioned himself well throughout the game, dropping in front of the Sturt forwards to cut off several Double Blues attacks. Although many of his touches were accumulated deep in defence, his clean ball-use was important. Concluded the game with a game-high 29 disposals (24 kicks and five handballs), nine marks and eight rebounds.

Others:

SANFL Academy Hub member Taj Rahui showed a couple of nice glimpses in-tight, with his breakaway speed and agility on show. Connor Kent missed a couple of shots on goal but was prolific, accumulating 27 touches and seven marks. Bottom-aged defender Riley Verrall was inconsistent by foot but found plenty of it and provided some handy rebound across half-back, finishing with 26 disposals, seven marks and seven rebounds.

STURT:

#7 Nick Sadler

Bottom-aged midfielder/forward was one of Sturt’s best performers in what proved to be a scrappy contest at Coopers Stadium. Sadler was unlucky to hit the post with a set-shot from a difficult angle in the first term, but made up for it just moments later by sending a piercing kick through for a major. He went head-to-head with Norwood’s Alastair Lord and held his own, even managing to beat the speedster to the ball on the outer wing on one occasion. He looks to have a long and penetrating kick and appears clean on both sides of the body. He finished with 20 disposals (14 kicks and six marks), six marks, three clearances and six inside 50s.

#11 Will Spain

The inside midfielder didn’t set the world alight but was solid through the engine room. He is one of the best tacklers in the competition and a capable ball winner at stoppages, however Spain also ran some nice patterns which allowed him to pick up uncontested possessions. He worked tirelessly, often going head-to-head with Norwood’s Tyson Walls, and used the ball well by hand. He finished with 19 disposals, four marks, nine tackles and four inside 50s.

Others:

With talented key forward Morgan Ferres not playing, the Double Blues clearly lacked a focal point in attack. Powerful medium-forward Jacob Lochowiak had his moments and competed well. Jake Aish (20 disposals, one goal, six clearances and six inside-50s) found plenty of the footy through the midfield and Jordan Hein (24 disposals and ten rebounds) used it well out of defence. Jamie Taylor kicked a goal and had 20 disposals while the ruck-duo of Hugo Kittle and Jackson Bishop provided the Sturt midfielders with first use, winning 17 and 15 hit-outs respectively. Down back, the clean-kicking Zac Becker (20 disposals, five marks and 15 rebounds) provided some handy rebound from defence.

Image Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

2021 SANFL Under 16s Round 5 wrap: Bays snatch win as South and Sturt continue to soar

THE 2021 SANFL Under 16s season rolled on into Round 5, with four fixtures split evenly across Thursday evening and Friday afternoon. League frontrunners South Adelaide and Sturt both dined out with 55-plus point triumphs, while North Adelaide made it three wins on the trot and Glenelg snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in a thriller. All that, and more in our Round 5 wrap.

West Adelaide 9.6 (60) def. by Glenelg 8.13 (61)

Glenelg broke the hearts of West Adelaide on Thursday evening, snatching a one-point win against the Bloods at Hisense Stadium to snap its two-game losing streak. The Bays trailed at every break and only briefly snuck ahead during the second term, but two goals at the death saw them escape with the full set of points, winning 8.13 (61) to 9.6 (60) to make their wealth of opportunities finally count.

Ben Ridgway was exceptional for Glenelg, booting two goals alongside Charlie Hillier while also collecting a game-high 28 disposals and five clearances. The pair also ended up putting their side ahead at the clutch. Ashton Moir and Lucas Camporeale were also among the Bays’ big ball winners, as the former also dominated aerially with 11 marks (five contested).

Will Patton and Marcus Pavlic were Westies’ sole multiple goal kickers with two apiece. Pavlic also worked hard to win 14 hitouts, three clearances, and three marks. Lukas Zvaigzne was terrific with 21 touches and a goal, but it was Jordan Gadeleta who ended atop the Bloods’ disposal charts with 24.

Norwood 5.7 (37) def. by South Adelaide 14.12 (96)

South Adelaide remains the SANFL Under 16s team to beat after defeating Norwood by 59 points at Coopers Stadium on Thursday evening. South led from the first goal and applied consistent scoreboard pressure to comfortably pull away from the Redlegs throughout; managing seven goals in each half, with nine of their total 14 majors coming at one end in the 14.12 (96) to 5.7 (37) drubbing.

Panthers standout Tom Wheaton claimed game-high tallies in disposals (24), marks (11), tackles (seven) and inside 50s (seven) in a terrific performance which also yielded a goal. Sid Draper was Souths’ next best ball winner, as the likes of Phoenix Hargrave (three goals) and Sebastian Oliver (two) both made their touches count. Hargrave was among a trio of Panthers to boot three majors.

Harvey George and Rohan Bailey were kept busy in Norwood’s defence as they both ticked over 20 touches while combining for 11 marks and 15 rebound 50s. Kade Madigan was also amongst it with 17 disposals (15 kicks), seven marks and a goal, as Eamonn Cronin clunked five contested grabs in a solid aerial display.

North Adelaide 10.16 (76) def. Central District 9.4 (58)

North Adelaide claimed its third win on the trot, straightening up in front of goal to down Central District by 18 points at Prospect Oval on Friday afternoon. The Roosters trailed by nearly three goals during the third term despite boasting a wealth of scoring shots, but more than made up for it in the final term with five goals to Centrals’ one, running out 10.16 (76) to 9.4 (58) victors.

Roosters gun Kane McAuliffe racked up a team-high 35 disposals to go with game highs in marks (14), tackles (six), and inside 50s (seven), continuing his incredible run of form in 2021. Jed Dignan led a trio of North players to boot two goals, while Angus Tully and Luke Harvey were others who saw plenty of the ball.

Bulldogs skipper Trent Tattoli led all comers with 37 touches and a goal from midfield, trailed closely by Sebastian Wauer on 36 and 13 marks. William McCabe also won his fair share of possessions, as William O’Brien booted a game-high three goals and Angus Vandenberg notched two from his 20 disposals in Centrals’ losing effort.

Sturt 13.15 (93) def. WWT Eagles 5.8 (38)

Sturt flexed its muscles after half time to thump Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) by 55 points at Unley Oval on Friday afternoon. The Double Blues shot out of the blocks but were pegged back well in term two by a plucky Eagles outfit, before streaming away once again after the main break with eight goals to one. The power-packed flurry contributed massively to their 13.15 (91) to 5.8 (38) victory.

Spearhead Chad Reschke snagged three goals for Sturt, but was one of two players to also notch four behinds. George Pope finished as the Blues’ major ball winner with 26 touches and six clearances, as Kobe McEntee (21 disposals) and Ned Atkinson also got busy in the win.

Defender Jedd Thomson was the only Eagle to tick over 20 disposals, with 22 of his 25 touches coming via foot. Jett Hasting was among a trio of WWT players to finish on 16, while Colby Ackland and bigman Izaac Niemann managed to add two goals apiece despite their side’s loss.

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 1

STATE league football returned in South Australia on the weekend, with AFL Draft prospects scattered throughout all three grades as they begin their quest for elite level recognition. In the first SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we narrow our focus to the Under 18s competition, where a bunch of promising talents had big games across the four fixtures. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG

By: Tom Wyman

WEST ADELAIDE:

#3 Charlie Pridham

Pridham spent most of the day in the defensive half of the ground as the dedicated kicker down back. He was tasked with kick-in duties early on and his teammates clearly looked for him when exiting defence. Although some of his ball use, particularly early in the game, was not super effective, Pridham exhibited some nice awareness of time and space and appears to understand the game well. The Bloods’ most prolific player, the diminutive Pridham accumulated 32 disposals, five marks, four tackles and a game-high 12 rebound 50s in what was a strong opening effort.

#9 Kobe Ryan

The bottom-aged midfielder showed why he has a big future with a stunning performance in his Under 18 debut. Having spent most of last season playing college football with Sacred Heart, Ryan was in everything early on, winning the opening clearance before following up his kick with a strong tackle. Impossible to miss with his long blonde hair, Ryan consistently showed an ability to be in the right areas at the right time. He looks to be a very natural footballer who can find the ball at will, but also use it creatively. Ryan showed he has several different types of kicks at his disposal too, possessing the capacity to spear one long into the forward 50, chip it into space for a teammate to run onto, or size up a leading teammate with a clever snap. Despite his slim build, Ryan was fantastic in the air and tackled brilliantly at ground level. A textbook tackle on the broadcast wing was another highlight of his game. If his 28 disposals, six tackles and four clearances is anything to go by, the midfielder appears set for a terrific year.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy was one of the Bloods’ best despite his side going down by 26 points. He tried hard all day, cracking in whenever necessary but also having an impact on the outside of the contest. He exhibited quick evasiveness on a couple of occasions and looked threatening at stoppages inside-50.

#36 Tyson Coe

Coe, in-tandem with teammate and schoolmate Kobe Ryan, provided something to look forward to for Bloods fans after a difficult 2020 season for the clubs’ Under 18s. A strong physical specimen despite being a year younger than most others, Coe used his size and strength to advantage in his inside midfield role, winning a game-high seven clearances. He has a well-developed inside game, with his strong tackling, contested ball winning and overhead marking all very sound. His pack mark in the first quarter was indicative of his strength. However, it was his turn of speed from the stoppages which really impressed. Coe possesses a nice burst of power and, although his kicking technique could use some minor refinement, his skills over a variety of distances were predominately effective. One of several talented bottom-agers on show at Hisense Stadium, Coe finished with 24 touches, six marks and five tackles.

#40 Luke Young

The key forward presented up at the footy all day and was also clean when the ball hit the ground. Clearly the number one target in attack for the Bloods, Young brought the ball to ground well whenever he didn’t manage to mark it. He showed great strength to stand up on numerous occasions, both in the air and in general play. His tacking was strong for the entirety of the contest and his leading patterns ensured he was often available as a target down the line. Young kicked two goals, both from close range, and finished the night with 20 touches, 10 marks and four tackles in what was a very strong start to the new season. Expect him to be the focal point in attack for the Bloods throughout the season.

#54 Harry Lemmey

Lemmey kicked the first goal of the game after marking Kobe Ryan’s inside 50 kick. He looks to have a beautiful set shot goalkicking technique. Spending most of the game as a key forward, Lemmey didn’t get a heap of opportunity, with the Bloods’ ball-use going inside 50 not always benefitting his aerial skillset. Regardless, Lemmey appears to have some nice traits and will no doubt take some positives from the Round 1 clash. The bottom-ager finished with nine disposals and five marks to go with his two majors.

Others:

Dylan McCormick did some nice things throughout the game for West Adelaide. He accumulated 16 touches and took seven marks. Adam Bunworth was effective down back, providing six rebounds from his 17 disposals and Harry Barnett fought well in the ruck, finishing with 19 hit-outs.

GLENELG:

#2 Harry Tunkin

After piecing together a strong 2020 season, Tunkin was again impressive in the Tigers’ Round 1 victory. Splitting his time between the forwardline and midfield, Tunkin regularly won first possession at the stoppages he attended. His awareness in-tight, football smarts, vision and ball-use by hand were the primary features of his game. A natural ball-winner, Tunkin regularly found teammates on the outside with clever over-the-back handballs and applied plenty of pressure around the ball carrier. He collected 31 disposals and booted one goal, along with three marks, five tackles and five clearances in what was a strong first-up effort from the Prince Alfred College junior.

#5 Hugh Stagg

Stagg was one of several strong performers for the Tigers. A strong physical presence, Stagg was utilised as a forward but also spent considerable time as a big-bodied on-baller. He displayed great strength above his head in the first quarter, taking the mark and finding key forward Harry McInnes with a well-placed kick which lead to the Bays’ second goal of the match. At times he could have been sharper with his ball use, however the forward-midfielder was a threat for the duration of the contest and applied a heap of intense tackling pressure. Stagg could consider himself unlucky not to have walked away with a couple more goals to his name. He finished with 26 disposals, one goal, five marks, eight tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s.

#13 Hayden Brokensha

Bottom-ager, Brokensha pieced together a reasonably strong game for the Bays Under 18s. The SANFL State Talent Hub member spent a large portion of the game on the wing with stints through the inside of the contest. He worked hard both ways and provided some important run-and-carry between the arcs. His kicking was clean for the most part and he showed an ability to win his own ball when thrown into an inside role. Brokensha accumulated 14 disposals and took six marks in a performance which the midfielder will look to build upon as the season gets rolling.

#16 Harry McInnes

Key forward, McInnes threatened to tear apart the game in the first quarter, bagging two goals within the first seven minutes of the contest. Clearly the most dominant forward on the ground, McInnes’ lead-up work was fantastic as he used his power, size and strength to advantage. However, it was a frustrating night for the PAC product, who converted just two of his eight shots on goal, with a couple of snaps rattling the post. He was super busy around the ground, gathering 19 disposals and five marks in what proved to be a ‘what-if’ game for the big man. Still, his dominance on the lead will cause plenty of headaches for opposition sides this season.

#20 Lewis Rayson

One of the standout South Australian prospects heading into season 2021, Rayson wasted no time in showing recruiters what he can do. Stationed in his customary half-back position, the speedster never backed down from the contest and refused to be beaten, both in the air and once the ball hit the deck. His positioning allowed him to cut off several West Adelaide attacks and from there he used his speed and precise ball-use to damaging effect. In general play, he backed himself to hit targets which few players would dare to attempt. Although his speed, skills and intercept marking down back are the main strengths of his game, it was Rayson’s contested ball work which was particularly impressive against the Bloods. Rayson fought harder than his West Adelaide opponents, willing himself into the contest and refusing to give up the ball. He concluded the game with 31 possessions at a brilliant 94 per cent disposal efficiency, six marks, three tackles and seven inside 50s.

Others:

Jacob Owens was prolific all day, winning 29 disposals, sending the ball inside-50 five times and taking an equal game-high 11 marks. His run-and-carry through the middle of the ground was a highlight. Bottom-ager Archie Lovelock showed a touch of class with ball in hand. He kicked a beautiful snap goal in the second term and looked very much at home at Under 18s level, filling a variety of roles around the ground. He finished with 23 disposals at 70 per cent efficiency and took eight marks. Darcy Gluyas was vital for Glenelg, mopping up plenty of West Adelaide forward entries and marshalling the troops from his half-back role. He gathered 27 disposals and took seven marks. Adelaide father-son prospect Brodie Edwards was typically clean with ball in hand across half-back, operating at 84 per cent efficiency by foot. Harrison Kaesler finished with 26 disposals, ten marks, five inside 50s and four rebounds, while bottom-aged talent Lachlan Scannell also performed well, collecting 20 disposals, six marks and four tackles.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

By: Tom Wyman

NORTH ADELAIDE:

#4 Isaac Keeler

It was the Isaac Keeler show for much of the day at Prospect Oval, with the athletic big man bagging five majors as his side easily accounted for Central District. After featuring in the ruck a few times last season, Keeler spent the whole day in attack and really showcased his elite athleticism. He was able to get separation from his various direct opponents with relative ease, using his natural speed to put distance between the Bulldogs defenders. One of the most exciting young talents in South Australian football, Keeler slotted the opening goal of the day with a beautiful kick from 50 metres out and followed that up 10 minutes later with another long-range effort, this time on the run. He finished with five goals but could have easily added another couple as the forward missed a couple of gettable opportunities. Keeler benefitted from the Roosters’ midfield domination and the Bulldogs simply had no answers for him on the lead. Also extremely threatening once the ball hit the deck, Keeler will have plenty of recruiters and Crows fans excited about his prospects, finishing the game with 12 disposals and six grabs.

#5 Shaun Bennier

One of three Roosters included in the Under 17 SANFL State Talent Hub, Bennier showed flashes of his talents at Prospect Oval. He did his best work coming out of defence, where he managed five rebounds and showed some excellent evasiveness. A good size at 190cm and 80kg, the Ingle Farm product tackled hard and accumulated 19 touches in North’s 49-point triumph.

#12 Hugh Jackson

Isaac Keeler booted five and Harvey Harrison was terrific, but it was the work of Crystal Brook midfielder, Jackson which took centre-stage for the Roosters. Spending all game in the midfield, Jackson was everywhere from start to finish, accumulating the ball at will and combining with the likes of Harrison, James White, Zyton Santillo and Max Blacker to completely dominate the midfield battle. Not only did he find the ball at will, Jackson used it to perfection by hand and foot. Exceptionally clean below his knees, his kicking was a real treat to watch at times. For a tough inside-leaning midfielder, his ability to spot up targets over short and long range and execute both in-tight and in space made it easy for the Roosters forwards to capitalise upon. He switched the play efficiently, hit multiple targets inside 50 and, crucially, looked to spot up teammates out of stoppages where others would have blasted away. He was equally as creative by hand too, consistently hitting targets with crafty handballs, especially at stoppages. Instead of completing simple one-metre handballs in congestion to a teammate under pressure, Jackson evidently looked to pass it to players with some space, a skill which has been mastered by some the best inside midfielders in the game. Jackson was sensational for the Roosters, finishing with 37 disposals, six marks, three tackles, seven clearances and a goal.

#15 Harvey Harrison

Harrison was one of a handful of North Adelaide on-ballers who had a field day in the opening round of the season. Like Hugh Jackson, Harrison was not afraid to back his skills and hit tricky targets, particularly when looking to go inboard. A beautiful kick to the leading Isaac Keeler early-on in the contest was a real highlight of his game. Harrison provided some fantastic run and carry through the midfield and showed some tricks around the ball, including a well-executed pirouette. The midfielder’s work rate was evident, as he tirelessly ran from contest to contest, even as the game was in its dying stages. Some of his clearance work also proved vital. Harrison finished the game with 33 disposals, a game-high 13 marks, seven clearances, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

The North Adelaide captain picked up from where he left off in 2020, after impressing as a bottom-ager for the Roosters last season. O’Loughlin spent the day in the half-back role which he has well-and-truly made his own over the past year or two. The Gepps Cross junior and Adelaide Crows Next Generation Academy prospect, who describes himself as a ‘crafty backman’, was typically cool and calm with ball in-hand. He rarely wasted a possession and plays with such poise and calmness. O’Loughlin has a tremendous ability to sense how much time he has and isn’t afraid to wait until the right option presents itself, rather than kick long in hope. Against the Bulldogs, he also made a couple of strong defensive efforts one-on-one, to compliment his ball-use. Easily one of SA’s most talented prospects, O’Loughlin finished with 29 disposals (including 23 kicks) and seven rebound 50s for the red and whites.

#28 Max Blacker

Bottom-aged midfielder, Blacker was one of the standout performers for the Roosters. The midfielder is one of those players who seems to always be involved and around the footy. He was particularly busy early on as North Adelaide asserted its dominance over the contest in the opening quarter of action. Blacker used the ball well for the majority of the game and was one of several Roosters who consistently delivered the ball on a silver platter to their leading forwards. However, he will likely be peeved with having finished with three behinds. Blacker concluded the game with 21 disposals, three tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s.

#29 Zyton Santillo

Santillo was at his creative best for the Roosters. Part of North’s superb midfield rotation, the zippy Payneham product certainly has some tricks up his sleeve, but wasn’t afraid to crack in and do the hard stuff. He worked tirelessly all game and managed to take an impressive 10 marks. He won three clearances and showed off his neat foot skills to hit-up Charlie Froling on the lead with a perfect pass in the first half. Santillo racked up 25 touches, five marks, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s for the game.

Others:

Exciting forward Kelsey Rypstra produced a very good performance for the victorious Roosters, making the most of his shots on goal to finish with three-straight majors. He also managed 19 disposals and eight marks. Key forward Charlie Froling worked well in tandem with Isaac Keeler and was another beneficiary of the Roosters’ slick ball movement and efficiency going forward. A mobile tall with great hands overhead, Froling nailed three goals and took five marks for the game. Midfielder James White finished the clash with 24 disposals, seven tackles, four clearances and a goal.

CENTRAL DISTRICT:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

The Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect entered the game with high expectations, having been earmarked as a potential draftee for a number of years now. The talented pocket-rocket started the game at the centre bounce and was shifted forward at various stages. Despite being smaller than many of his opponents, Dudley attacked the ball with ferocity and bounced off several would-be tacklers. It was clearly difficult for Dudley to have much impact on the game up forward, given the Bulldogs lacked the polish of the Roosters. He was perhaps unlucky to be caught holding the ball a couple of times, however Dudley applied plenty of pressure of his own through the midfield and in attack, laying seven tackles for the game. He booted a classy goal from the pocket to start the second term to highlight his skills around goal. Dudley finished the game with 18 disposals, seven tackles, two clearances and six inside 50s.

#16 Shay Linke

The Central Districts leader and SANFL Academy member was clearly his side’s best in what proved to be a tricky day for the red, white and blue. Spending most of the game in the midfield, the versatile Linke accumulated a team-high 27 disposals and was particularly effective around the contest, winning four clearances. The top-ager from Tanunda looks a good size at 188cm and, at 75kg, has some growth left in him which will excite recruiters.

#37 Cody Gilchrist 

The big full forward was one of the Bulldogs’ bright spots, booting three goals in attack. Although he missed a number of chances to finish with a bag, Gilchrist provided a presence in the air, hauling in three contested marks for the day and helping set up a couple of Bulldogs majors. Gilchrist looked mobile when the ball hit the deck and did just about all he could, all things considered. He finished with 11 disposals and seven marks.

Others:

Midfielder Luigi Mondello was one of the Bulldogs’ best. He showed some real burst from the contest and wasn’t afraid to take the game on, using his speed to good effect. He kicked two goals from nine disposals. Ruckman Saxon Evans narrowly got the better of North Adelaide big-man Durant Tindale in the ruck contest, finishing with 23 hit-outs to Tindale’s 20. Ruben Carreno managed 23 disposals and six rebounds while Tahjin Krieg competed well, collecting 20 disposals, a team-high eight clearances and seven inside-50s. Finn Read also had some nice moments, booting a goal to go with six marks and 17 touches.

STURT vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS

By: Tom Cheesman

STURT:

#11 Will Spain

A member of the Under 19 State Talent Hub, Spain was fantastic for the Double Blues and will be one of their most reliable performers this season. The midfielder has good aerobic fitness, which enables him to get to plenty of contests and work into defence to help his side’s offensive transition. In Friday’s match, he was also clean below his knees, positioned himself well at stoppages and spread well once his side won the ball. With eight clearances and strong bodywork to make space for other Sturt midfielders, it is evident that Spain has a high football IQ. These attributes, along with his willingness to repeatedly apply tackling pressure, will hold him in good stead this season. The only negative was that he missed a shot at goal in the third term that he should have nailed. Nonetheless, he finished with 29 disposals, eight clearances, four marks and five tackles.

#12 Jamie Taylor

Taylor, a powerful midfielder with a booming left foot kick, was one of Sturt’s most consistent contributors throughout the match. With 30 disposals (the most on the ground), six marks, five clearances and six inside 50s, it was an impressive all-round performance by Taylor. He has the strength to fend off oncoming tackles, crumbs marking contests well, and uses his kicking ability to open up the play. He will be dangerous in combination with Will Spain and Brad Jefferies in the midfield for Sturt this season.

#13 Brad Jefferies

Jefferies is a potential bolter this year and he had a good start to the season against the Eagles. The midfielder stayed composed when tackled, worked hard around the ground and found plenty of the ball. A highlight was a clever forward handball out of a stoppage to teammate Will Spain in the third term that initiated some fast attacking play. He worked forward to kick two majors in the second half, including an important one just before three-quarter time to give Sturt the lead. He finished with 21 disposals, six marks, four tackles and three inside 50s.

#32 Morgan Ferres

A hybrid forward with elite marking capabilities, Ferres was easily the best player on the ground. He kicked six majors to go with 17 disposals, 10 marks (two contested) and two inside 50s. Ferres was the centrepiece of our first Player Focus piece for the year, which took a deep-dive into his Round 1 performance.

Others:

Charlie Fryer (four marks, six tackles, two rebound 50s) was reliable in defence for the hosts, and he produced a couple of incredible highlights for the local crowd. The main ones were a run-down tackle in the first quarter and an unbelievable mark of the year contender at the start of the second term. Mitcham Hawk Kai Tucker (17 disposals, eight marks, six inside 50s) was brilliant all day on a wing, while Felix Packer (three goals) and Nick Sadler (21 disposals, seven clearances) were also strong contributors in the victory.

EAGLES:

#12 Brayden Calvett

Calvett showed how important he is to the Eagles’ Under 18 side in Round 1 with an impressive performance. He rotated between midfield and forward, often playing the sweeper role at centre clearances. This allowed teammates to find Calvett out the back of stoppages and enabled him to utilise his lethal left foot to send the Eagles inside 50. The Eagles love Calvett having the ball around the 50-metre arc, as his ball movement going forward is near elite. This ability was on display frequently throughout the contest, including when he hit Lucas Cooke in the second term to set up a goal, and when he booted a major himself at the start of the third term to give his side the lead. When Calvett took marks in the defensive half, he often looked to switch and open up the play, and his explosiveness when breaking away from stoppages caused plenty of trouble for the opposition. Calvett finished with 22 disposals, five inside 50s, five rebound 50s, four clearances, four tackles, three marks and a goal.

#17 Lukas Cooke

Cooke provided a strong presence for the Eagles up forward. After not getting many opportunities in the first term, Cooke earned a free kick inside 50 but missed the shot on goal. The important thing to come from this was that Cooke did not let the miss sour his confidence. He made a major impact in the second term, kicking back-to-back goals and becoming a key reason why the Eagles got back into the contest. His contested marking was fantastic and he was their most reliable target going forward. He also pushed back to take some intercept marks behind the play, thus showing that he can play a defensive role if need be. The delivery to him wasn’t always great in the second half and, as a forward, he was understandably a bit quieter once Sturt took full control of the game in the final term. He finished with 17 disposals, two goals, 11 marks (two contested), four inside 50s and a tackle.

Others:

Adam D’Aloia (24 disposals, eight tackles, nine clearances) was great in the midfield for the visitors, while Will Pearce (two goals, six marks) and Brock Thomson (20 kicks, eleven rebound 50s) also had good starts to the season.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORWOOD

By: Tom Cheesman

SOUTH ADELAIDE:

#21 Matty Roberts

Roberts is the among the highest rated South Australian midfielders in this year’s draft class, and on Friday at Flinders University Stadium, he showed exactly why that is. He played predominantly as an inside midfielder and eased himself into the contest, collecting several marks around the ground and displaying his quick hands. While he found plenty of ball on the outside, he wasn’t his usual dominant self at the stoppages early in the match. With that said, the last quarter was when he really stepped it up. Norwood were within a goal for most of the final term, and Roberts responded to their efforts by frequently pushing back to help the defence, taking intercept marks and hunting the football at stoppages to get it moving in his team’s direction. Once South earned a seven-point lead with a couple of minutes to go, Roberts pushed forward and kicked the sealing goal with a volley out of mid-air. He finished his well-rounded performance with 25 disposals, eight marks, six clearances, six tackles, six rebound 50s, five inside 50s and a goal.

#33 Arlo Draper

Draper is a member of the Under 19 State Talent Hub and was dominant for the Panthers on Friday, collecting 25 disposals to go with seven marks, six tackles, seven clearances and two inside 50s. While he is extremely versatile and can play any position on the ground, he was predominantly played as a midfielder in this contest. In this role, he proved that he is a class above Under 18 level and certainly can impose his will on a contest at the centre clearances. Draper has great closing speed and spreads well from stoppages, and he provided plenty of exciting link-up play through the middle of the ground. He is also a strong tackler, as demonstrated when he caught Redlegs speedster Archie Richardson holding the ball in the first term. Draper went forward at times, looked dangerous in one-on-one situations and booted two goals in the second half. His second goal was a clever soccered effort off the ground from a forward 50 stoppage, a moment that should feature on his highlight reel come the end of the season.

Others:

Cooper Rogers (15 disposals, four marks, seven tackles) found plenty of the ball early, while Lachlan Hayes (16 disposals, six marks, five rebound 50s) showed great agility in defence by weaving through trouble and using quick hands on multiple occasions. Hugo Hoeck (17 disposals, two goals) and Dylan Brown (13 disposals, one goal) were also lively throughout the match.

NORWOOD:

#1 Tyson Walls

Under-ager, Walls was very impressive for Norwood, their most prominent contributor on the day. He has an electric first couple of steps once he receives the ball, clean hands and a clever sidestep that he used to get past opponents on numerous occasions. This included when he used it on the 50-metre arc to shake off an oncoming tackler and boot Norwood’s first major of the day. Walls is also fantastic at working into space, has a fluent set shot routine and solid foot skills. His delivery inside 50 was effective in most instances, and he booted a nice 40-metre goal in the third term. He finished with 25 disposals, eight inside 50s, four marks, four tackles, three clearances and two goals.

#9 Alastair Lord

Lord, a member of the Under 19 State Talent Hub, was reliable in defence for the Redlegs. He is a crafty half-back flanker that reads the ball well, uses it brilliantly by foot and has an innate ability to get free for uncontested marks. Lord was great at helping his side control possession whenever necessary, an important trait in half-back flankers at all levels of the game. He also made an impact at times coming off the back of the square at centre clearances, and this is something he should look to do more in future contests. He collected a game-high 26 disposals to go with eight marks, four tackles and three rebound 50s.

Others:

The skills of Noah Hyde (14 disposals, five marks, one goal) and Bailey Gal (14 disposals, five marks) were impressive for Norwood, as was the run provided by under-ager Taj Rahui (17 disposals, three tackles). Matthew Dnistriansky (20 disposals, seven marks) was good in defence.

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography

State Leagues wrap: Easter Weekend opens seasons

STATE league men’s football returned across the weekend, with the SANFL, WAFL and TSL all back to full-strength competitions, whilst a standalone fixture in the QAFL went ahead despite some concerns, ahead of a blockbuster Round 2 next weekend.

QUEENSLAND:

Noosa Tigers had a promising return to the QAFL in the standalone Round 1 match despite going down in defeat, as Wilston Grange got up by one-point in a thriller. The league newcomers fought it out after being down by 14 points at the final break to boot 7.3 to 4.8 in the final term after a sluggish start, but it would not be enough in the 7.14 (56) to 8.7 (55) loss. Hugh Fidler and Max Hewett both booted two goals for the Gorillas, while Aaron Wilson starred with four majors for the Tigers. Corey Lobb (Noosa) ad Errin Wasley-Black (Wilston Grange) were their respective sides’ top players.

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

In the SANFL, all eyes were on Pick 1 contender Jason Horne, as he ran out for South Adelaide against the Crows’ reserves. The teenage talent racked up 19 disposals, six marks, four tackles and four clearances in the win, whilst it was ex-Crow Bryce Gibbs who stole the show with a match-winning 36 disposals, six marks and five clearances. Ex-Lion Sam Skinner had 17 disposals and booted two goals in the win, whilst Liam Fitt (four goals) was the busiest inside 50. Joel Cross (28 disposals, seven marks) and Hayden Sampson (25 disposals, 12 marks and one goal) were other to win plenty of the football in a massive 61-point smashing, while Crows’ reserves talent Hamish Latchford stepped up with 31 disposals, 12 marks and two clearances. Jackson Hately (25 disposals, 10 marks and two clearances) was the eye-catching one, as young talls Josh Worrell (20 disposals, five marks), Darcy Fogarty (14 disposals, three marks) and Fischer McAsey (14 disposals, six marks) also played.

It was not much better news for Port Adelaide’s reserves who also went down, losing to Norwood by 45 points. Father-son prospect Taj Schofield racked up 22 disposals, three marks and booted a goal, while Sam Mayes (28 disposals, seven clearances) and Jarrod Lienert (26 disposals, seven tackles) also worked hard. Matthew Nunn was unstoppable for the Redlegs with 39 disposals, five marks, 11 tackles and five clearances, whilst ex-Crow recruit Richard Douglas did as he pleased with 26 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, four clearances and a goal. Ex-Cat Jacob Kennerley also impressed with 24 disposals, five marks and six tackles, whilst ex-Hawk Paul Puopolo booted 2.3 from 19 disposals and three marks. Draft hopeful Jackson Callow booted 2.2 from 11 disposals and five marks on his SANFL debut, working well with Dom Barry (21 disposals, five marks and three goals) inside 50.

In the tightest game of the weekend, Central District toppled North Adelaide by nine points, in what saw 20 goals kicked in the first half. Whilst only nine more were kicked in the second half, the Bulldogs got up thanks to four goals from Justin Hoskin and Aiden Grace. Ethan East also slotted two goals, while ex-Oakleigh premiership player Thomas Graham kicked a goal from eight touches and two marks on his League debut. Ex-GWS GIANTS Academy member Harry Grant was also lively with 25 disposals, seven marks and six clearances, as Kyle Presbury (26 disposals, 13 marks), Brendan Dew (24 disposals, six marks) and Travis Schiller (24 disposals, six marks) were among eight players to reach 20-plus disposals. For North Adelaide, reigning Margarey Medallist Campbell Combe had 26 disposals, eight clearances and five tackles, while Jarred Allmond (31 disposals, six marks) and Aaron Young (15 disposals, four goals) were also impressive.

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles easily accounted for Sturt thanks to a massive seven goals to one final term to run away with the contest by 46 points in the end. The Menzel brothers booted seven goals between them, as Troy (four goals) and Daniel (three) had days out in their new colours. James Tsitas (29 disposals, three clearances and four tackles) and Riley Knight (26 disposals, seven clearances, six tackles and a goal) were both lively, as was ex-Bomber Kobe Mutch on debut with 21 disposals and nine marks. For Sturt, Tom Lewis was hard as usual around the stoppages on his way to 19 disposals and eight clearances, teaming up well with James Battersby (21 disposals, five clearances), while Casey Voss (20 disposals, six marks) and Josh Shute (17 disposals, 10 marks) were busy once again on the outside.

In the final game, Glenelg knocked off West Adelaide by 11 points, with Michael Virgin (32 disposals, 11 marks) and Luke Partington (31 disposals, five clearances) both racking up the ball. Matthew Allen (28 disposals, 11 marks and a goal) and Darcy Bailey (28 disposals, seven marks, six clearances, six tackles and two goals) were sensational, while Callum Park (26 disposals, six marks) and Matthew Snook (29 disposals, eight clearances) also found plenty of it. In the loss, Isaac Johnson slotted 3.3 from 23 touches and five marks, while Kieran Lovell‘s SANFL debut was a success with 22 disposals, five marks, four clearances and four tackles. Ex-Gold Coast Academy goalsneak Josh Gore kicked a goal from nine touches and impressively made 10 tackles in the loss, while Jonathon Beech was also good with two goals from 13 disposals and seven marks.

 

TASMANIA:

Reigning premiers Launceston kicked off its season with a big win over rivals North Launceston in a grand final rematch, defeating the Northern Bombers by 55 points at UTAS Stadium. Dylan Riley (three goals) and Jake Hinds (two) stepped up to the plate once again in the big win, as Michael Musicka and Cody Thorp slotted multiple goals as well. For the Bombers, Brad Cox-Goodyer was the standout, as Ollie Sanders kicked a goal and was amongst the best for the losers, one of a number of youngsters running through the team, while Thomas Bennett was also impressive.

Meanwhile the Tigers got off to the perfect start, holding their nerve against North Hobart in an 11-point victory. They led by 35 points at half-time, and whilst they still kicked the 13 scoring shots in the second half, only managed the 4.9, compared to the Demons’ 9.3. The Kingborough-based side had done enough though to win 10.18 (78) to 10.7 (67), with 19-year-old Zach Adams booting a goal and named best on ground. Max Collidge and Riley Ashlin were also impressive, whilst for the Demons, Jack Sandric was best-on with a goal, while Jye Menzie was among the young brigade who slotted a major.

In the other match of Round 1, Lauderdale also held on against a fast-finishing Clarence. Allen Christensen was the headline recruit, booting three first half goals to do all the damage as the Bombers led by 29 points at the final break. They only managed one behind in the last term as the Roos stormed home with 3.5 of their own, only to fall seven points short. Aside from Christensen, reigning league best and fairest Sam Siggins was named among the best with Nat Franklin. For the Roos, Ollie Davis continued his form from his draft year with a best on ground effort, as Ethan Jackson and Darcy Gardner were other youngsters to step up, while Josh Green slotted four goals in the loss.

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

The WAFL kicked off its season with some high-scoring thrillers, as every winner hit triple-digits, including a whopping 242 points combined between Claremont and Swan Districts. Every team scored at least 74 points, with the greatest margin being 32, during East Fremantle’s victory over Peel Thunder. In that match, Josh Schoenfeld brought his own football to Western Australia, with ex-Gold Coast Sun racking up 41 disposals, nine marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and four rebounds in a whopping effort on debut for the Sharks. Ex-Blue Blaine Boekhorst had 26 touches, two marks and kicked a goal in the win, whilst ex-Saint and Pie Jonothan Marsh had 21 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and 2.1. It was the effort of Dillon O’Reilly looking to force his way back to the elite level with three goals from 14 touches, five marks and two tackles. For Peel, it was Sam Sturt who demanded a recall to the AFL with five goals from 12 disposals and four marks, while Joel Western had 13 touches, four marks and kicked a goal.

In other matches, East Perth’s Nick Robertson made a promising debut with 30 disposals, four marks and a goal returning from Brisbane, while another ex-AFL talent in Jackson Ramsay had 29 touches, five marks, seven inside 50s and a goal in a huge day out. Lachlan Delahunty racked up 23 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and three tackles for the winning side, as captain Leigh Kitchell drove the team through a massive 29 touches, 11 inside 50s and five tackles. Ben Sokol, Michael Braut and Aaron Heal all slotted three goals. Perth got past West Coast reserves in a 13-point outing despite nine goals between Isiah Winder and Nathan Vardy. Winder had five snags from 18 touches and five marks, while Vardy had a whopping 35 hitouts, 15 disposals and three marks to go with 4.1. Ex-Eagle Chris Masten racked it up against his old side with 29 touches, five marks and seven inside 50s, whilst ex-Saint Doulton Langlands (20 touches, four marks, three inside 50s and two goals), ex-Docker Brady Gray (27 disposals, eight marks and six inside 50s) and ex-Pie Josh Smith (23 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50s and a goal) all had big performances.

Meanwhile South Fremantle accounted for West Perth with Haiden Schloithe and Matt Parker having days out. Schloithe racked up his usual 30 touches, and had seven tackles, six inside 50s and two goals, while Parker had 26 touches, two marks five tackles and 11 inside 50s. Brandon Donaldson booted two goals from 25 touches and three marks in the win, whilst four West Perth players racked up 30-plus disposals. Aaron Black (36 disposals), Trent Manzone (35), Shane Nelson (34) and Blake Wilhelm (30) had leather poisoning with their ball-winning efforts, but it would not be enough to drag their sides across the line. Tyler Keitel and Keegan Knott both slotted four goals, whilst Cody Ninyette and Mason Shaw combined for nine majors in the win. Finally Claremont won by 24 points over Swan Districts in a 38-goal extravaganza. Alexander Manuel and Isaac Barton booted four and three goals apiece for the Tigers in the win, but it was top-age draft talent Jacob Van Rooyen who caught the eye with 12 disposals, four marks and 2.2 at senior level. Thomas Edwards (four goals) and Jesse Palmer (three) were both lively inside 50 for the Swans, whilst Sam Fisher (33 disposals, seven tackles, five inside 50s and three rebound 50s) and Jesse Turner (34 disposals, 11 marks, four inside 50s and four rebound 50s) were the best in the loss. Jye Bolton suffered leather poisoning with a massive 39 touches, six marks, five tackles, six inside 50s and a goal, marginally ahead of teammates Bailey Rogers (36 disposals, one goal) and Ryan Lim (34 disposals, one goal).

 

Picture credit: David Mariuz / SANFL

SANFL Player Focus: No first round blues for Sturt’s Morgan Ferres

ATHLETIC Sturt youngster Morgan Ferres is a member of the 2021 State Talent Hub, and one of the most highly-rated South Australian forwards in this year’s draft class. His season commenced on Friday at Unley Oval when Sturt came up against Woodville-West Torrens, and he started the year in blistering form. With six goals, ten marks (two contested), 17 disposals and two inside 50s, it was a day out against reasonable opposition. With four behinds and multiple unselfish goal assists during the contest, it is fair to say that he could have kicked nine or ten. Regardless, he leads the SANFL Under 18 goalkicking tally after Round 1 and has set himself up for a strong season.

Ferres started the match by taking a nice mark on the lead, but sprayed his first shot on goal. He quickly redeemed his miss by juggling a mark, playing on and snapping the Double Blues’ second major in the opening six minutes. This was the first of many instances where Ferres read the flight of the ball far better than the Eagles defenders and got himself into ideal positions. Later in the first term, Ferres pushed up to half-forward to create a higher option for teammates streaming off half-back. He showed that he has quick hands when his handball released a teammate into space and led to a goal from Kai Tucker. Ferres should have kicked his second from the next centre bounce, but he missed an open shot from 35 metres out. Soon after, he worked hard to get open, marked and quickly delivered to Henry Read inside 50, who kicked Sturt’s fourth goal of the day. Ferres’ score involvement numbers were very high on Friday, and he regularly attempted to give the ball to teammates who were in better positions to kick at goal. Another example of this occurred late in the first term when, after earning a free for a hold on the 50-metre arc, Ferres looked like he was going to have a shot but instead passed it off. This unselfish play led to a goal by Cormac Dwyer.

Ferres linked up well with wingman Tucker throughout the match, who used his accurate foot skills to find the leading Ferres on numerous occasions. In the second term, after Ferres got on the end of a pass from Tucker, he was tight on the boundary and attempted to pass it off, but the kick fell short of his target. Ferres is naturally unselfish and passing was the right option on this occasion, it was just the execution that missed the mark. Four minutes in, Ferres completed a beautiful fat-side lead to earn an uncontested mark and he drilled his set shot from 35 metres out. His marking appears to have gone to another level this year, as demonstrated when he took a tough contested grab after a long kick down the line from Brad Jefferies. Ferres immediately looked inside and found Jordan Hein in the corridor, thus opening up the other side of the 50 for Sturt forwards to lead into. At the 22-minute mark, as the deepest forward, Ferres outbodied his opponent, marked and strolled into an open goal for his third. Sturt went into half time with a two-point lead, thanks in large part to Ferres’ three majors and numerous score involvements to that point.

The Eagles got well on top at the start of the third, so the ball did not enter the Blues’ forwardline much during that period. With Sturt ten points down, Ferres claimed a mark but was penalised for a push in the back. It was not until the 23-minute mark that Ferres got another opportunity to make an impact, and he did not waste it as he took a chest mark on the lead and booted through his fourth. He had another chance to goal from the next centre bounce after picking up the ball cleanly and turning sharply around his opponent, but his snap went through for a behind. Sturt reclaimed the lead just before three-quarter time and looked to have the momentum at the break.

Early in the last quarter, Ferres led into the pocket to took a strong overhead mark. With his impressive vertical leaping ability and long reach, it is difficult for his opponents to get a spoil in without chopping his arms. These traits will assist him as he rises up the grades, and this is why coaches will encourage him to take more marks overhead or out in front as he continues his development. After his grab, Ferres went back and kicked a beautiful snap around the body for his fifth. Ferres said in his preseason interview that he has been working on his goalkicking during the offseason, and this hard work clearly paid off in this instance. Ferres is very good at letting his man play in front and calling for the kick over the top into space, thus allowing him to take comfortable uncontested marks. He did this again at the 12-minute mark, which led to his sixth and final goal of the day from approximately 35 metres out. Soon after, Ferres crumbed a contest in the forward pocket, sidestepped an Eagles defender and attempted to dribble through a goal, but he just missed to the near side. As the siren sounded, Sturt ran out winners by 40 points. Ferres would have been happy with the result and his performance, as he proved that he is already a class above Under 18 level.

The scoreboard flattered Sturt in the end, as it kicked the final nine goals of the match to come away with the points. Ferres was certainly their most prominent contributor throughout, and the side required his contributions to be able to score consistently. Although Ferres will also be playing school football at St Peter’s College for much of 2021, he could also earn an opportunity to play at SANFL League level depending on how Sturt’s senior side fares. Playing against bigger bodies would be a fascinating challenge for Ferres, and he will also seek to compete and shine at the Under 19 National Championships in September and October. It will be interesting to see how Ferres’ game develops throughout the year as he attempts to impress AFL scouts en route to the 2021 AFL Draft.

Image Credit: Mel Faull/Get Snapt

2021 SANFL Women’s Round 6 preview: Quadruple header at Adelaide Oval

A MASSIVE Super Saturday of action at Adelaide Oval sees four back-to-back games with plenty of footy to watch in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition.

GLENELG vs. STURT
Saturday, April 3 @ 11am
Adelaide Oval

The evenness of the competition sees two bottom four sides battle it out in the opening game, but both are not too far off the top four spots. Glenelg in particular have won two of five games and have gone close on a number of occasions, but are one point outside the finals spot. A win in this match, and a loss to South Adelaide or Woodville-West Torrens Eagles will see the Bays back in the top four. Sturt are on the bottom of the table with one win from five matches, but a victory would draw them level with a number of teams – including Glenelg – and snap the Double Blues’ three-game losing streak.

Glenelg will welcome youngster Kimberley Fry who crossed to the Bays from Central District over the off-season, as well as State Academy members Brooke Tonon and Tamsyn Morriss back into the fray. Sturt has made six massive inclusions, with debutant Abby Pengelly joining captain Maya Rigter, and the quartet of State Academy members in Zoe Prowse, Alex Ballard, Georgia Swan and Hannah Prenzler all back into the side. Sturt had some impressive individual efforts last week, with Jess Good and Alisha Gepp among the top performers, while Glenelg will loo to the likes of Ellie Kellock, Jessica Bates and Madisyn Freeman who are all in good form of late.

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, April 3 @ 12:45pm
Adelaide Oval

Fresh off their big win over West Adelaide, Central District takes on North Adelaide who has only been able to collect one point from a possible four in the past two weeks. Their draw with South and prior loss to Norwood will have the Roosters hungry for a win, and keeping in touch with the top of the table Redlegs. The Bulldogs had three close losses in Rounds 2-4 but were back on the board in a big way with a comprehensive win over West Adelaide last week. They have the most potent attack in the competition, averaging 35 points a game with their nearest rivals being West Adelaide (29.4 points per game). A win and results in their favour could see the Bulldogs back inside the top four.

Central District welcomes a trio of youngsters back into the side, with Laitiah Huynh, Madison Lane and Lauren Breguet returning from state duties, with the Dogs yet to confirm any omissions. North Adelaide will bring in Amelie Borg, Kate Case and Jorja Eldridge among their inclusions after their state duties, and hope it to be a catalyst to get the full points on the board this week. The Bulldogs’ forward line has been functioning well, with Katelyn Rosenzweig, Chantel Reynolds, Breguet and Huynh among the more damaging players going around. Shelby Smith is enjoying a ripping season, as is Caitlen Teague. They will need to match it with the likes of Leah Tynan and Jaimi Tabb in midfield, while Kristi Harvey and Talia Radan are two in-form key pillars in the back 50.

WWT EAGLES vs. NORWOOD
Saturday, April 3 @ 2:30pm
Adelaide Oval

A huge top three clash between Woodville-West Torrens Eagles and Norwood is one of the games to watch, with the resurgent Eagles having won three on the trot and bolting into third on the SANFL Women’s table. Norwood has ticked off every box since the Round 1 loss to West Adelaide, winning four on the trot and being the most in-form team of the competition. With both sides on winning runs, it will be a massive clash which could reshape the top three sides.

Woodville-West Torrens will be without Natasha Holmes who is a key out due to injury, but the Eagles do welcome back Jamie Parish and Charlotte Dolan from the State Academy duties, as well as Zahn Anthony, and a potential debutant in Cheryllee Waters. Norwood will also bring in Jade Halfpenny and Alana Lishmund from their South Australian representation, as Elizabeth Drake and Isabel Martin beef up the side, with four players out including ex-Eagle Tesharna Maher, The Redlegs will be warm favourites in this one, with Sophie Armitstead, Leah Cutting and Ella Murison all impressing throughout the season, and Mattea Breed and Morgan Johnston also standouts. For the Eagles, Shineah Goody is one of the talented youngsters to look out for the future, as is Jaida Tabb who is in her second game back, while Astrid Gooley and Kiana Lee are other dangerous forwards who can hit the scoreboard.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. SOUTH ADELAIDE
Saturday, April 3 @ 4:15pm
Adelaide Oval

West Adelaide has been understrength the last couple of weeks, losing the past three games since winning the first two this season. They come up against a Panthers side that has found its grove, collecting five of a possible six points in the past three weeks, almost making it three wins on the trot with victory against North Adelaide, but had to settle for a draw. a win to the Bloods is crucial given they have conceded more points that any other side, but have also scored the second most of any side, as one of the exciting teams running around. South will be hoping to leapfrog a team or two if they can get up in the clash.

West Adelaide have welcomed back a remarkable amount of players, with nine total named as ins for the clash with the Panthers. Along with the State Academy members in Lauren Young, Keeley Kustermann and Zoe Venning, they also regain the services of the experienced Chelsea Biddell, Melanie Elsegood and Madison Newman, and youngster Scarlett Griffiths also returns. For the Panthers, Hannah Munyard joins Tahlita Buethke, Gypsy Schirmer and Lauren Clifton as some of the inclusions for the Panthers as they will have a tough game against a now full-strength Westies outfit. Ailish Considine, Sharnie Whiting and Bec Owen have been among those holding up the fort for the Bloods, while for South, Lisa Whiteley made a strong return last week, and Brianna Wedding and Jaslynne Smith are strong in defence. The midfield combination of Montana McKinnon, Czenya Cavouras and Nicole Campbell is also hard to beat on any given day, making this match a cracker.

Picture credit: On the Ball Media via SANFL

State Leagues preview: Opening rounds kick-off across the country

IN a Draft Central first, we have streamlined a look across the nation with a number of state leagues returning to action over the Easter long weekend. Competitions in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland all kick-off over the weekend and we preview them all in one convenient preview. At the time of publishing, only the South Australian and Tasmanian teams were out, with our West Australian and Queensland previews to come.

South Australia:

The much anticipated South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition kicks off starting tonight in a huge opening long weekend of action.

Tasmanian key forward Jackson Callow will be one to watch for Norwood tonight as they host Port Adelaide returning to the competition after a year off due to the COVID-19 restrictions regarding AFL non-selected players in state leagues. With ex-Geelong talent Jacob Kennerley and ex-Swans tall Michael Knoll returning to Coopers Stadium, the home team will be hard to beat. For Port fans, they will get a glimpse at recent draftees, father-son prospect Taj Schofield and key forward Ollie Lord, whilst the likes of Dylan Williams and Joel Garner are also named in there.

Speaking of ex-AFL talent, South Adelaide has bolstered its list with no bigger name than ex-Crow and Blue, Bryce Gibbs joining the Panthers. He joins ex-Cat Jake Tarca and ex-Lion Sam Skinner, whilst former State Under 18s player Damon Frietag has also joined the cause, Potential number one pick Jason Horne is the player many will turn in to watch, named on the bench to start 2021. Their opponents Adelaide is in the same boat to the Port Magpies, returning to the competition for 2021. Next-Generation Academy (NGA) member Tariek Newchurch is an exciting talent to watch named off half-back, with AFL-listed Crows Jackson Hately, Riley Thilthorpe and Fischer McAsey alongside another NGA draftee in James Borlase. Thilthorpe being named on a wing will be an interesting one to watch, showing off the 200cm key position player’s versatility.

Looking to the other Good Friday clash between Central District and North Adelaide, GWS GIANTS’ Academy member Harry Grant has crossed to the Dogs, with Tom Graham stepping up to League level after plying his trade with the Reserves following a 2019 premiership with Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB League. Tasmanian Aiden Grace arrives from Glenorchy, whilst the Bulldogs brother-duo of Travis and Jarrod Schiller will find plenty of the ball. Lachlan Grubb and Lewis Cowham are among the ones to watch in the Reserves side. For North Adelaide, reigning Margarey Medallist Campbell Combe will look to get his season off to a perfect start, with ex-Power and Suns talent Aaron Young joining the team, and former Under 18s state representative Dyson Hilder at full-forward.

In a mid-afternoon game at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval, the Eagles will unveil ex-Crow Riley Knight, as well as former Central talents Daniel and Troy Menzel for their clash against Sturt. James Tsitas has remained in South Australia rather than head back to the VFL, while Kobe Mutch will complete a dominant midfield hoping to get back on an AFL list after his time at Essendon. Ex-Crow Patrick Wilson will don the Double Blues colours in 2021 and is straight into the midfield, with former Under 18s state representative Josh Shute also in the side for his League debut. Jordan Houlahan and Zane Kirkwood will once again be keen players for the visitors.

In the final game of the round, Glenelg hosts West Adelaide tomorrow evening. The Tigers have brought in two ex-AFL talents in former Swan Toby Pink, and North Melbourne tall Sam Durdin. Both will provide great versatility around the ground, and back-to-back leading goalkicker Liam McBean will start off another season back at full-forward. Margarey Medallist from a couple of seasons ago Luke Partington will return again for the Bays, as Cooper Horsnell could be among a number of junior players to step up to League level in Round 1. For West Adelaide, Kieren Lovell has joined the side after a stint with Tigers in the TSL last season, while Tom Murphy has been named in the side after his stint with North Melbourne. Josh Gore will be a very handy goalkicker inside 50, while over-age draft prospect Jye Sindeberry has been named at centre half-back for the match.

 

TASMANIA:

Looking down on the Apple Isle, the youth of the competition will be reduced when Tasmania Devils enter the NAB League competition after it was cancelled in 2020. Nonetheless, there are still some good young talents to keep an eye on, and established players who will stand up.

North Hobart kicks off its campaign against Tigers in what should be a fascinating contest. Youngsters Jye Menzie and George McLeod are among the ones to watch for the Demons, as they hope to topple a Tigers side that has lost key ball winner, Kieren Lovell to the SANFL. Lachlan Gadomski remains an important tall for the Tigers, with Sam Duigan a key inclusion for the Kingborough-based side.

In a massive 2020 Tasmanian State League Grand Final rematch, the two Launceston sides go head-to-head with North Launceston up against reigning premiers, Launceston. Young midfielder Ollie Sanders will play a crucial role on the inside, with plenty of chances over the off-season for the Northern Bombers, though Jay Foon and Brad Cox-Goodyer remain among the top players in the side, and Angus Jeffries another teenager to keep an eye on in 2021. Launceston will have its forward line combination of Jay Blackberry and Dylan Riley, as Jake Hinds will line-up again in midfield for the team.

The other match for the weekend is Lauderdale up against Clarence. The Bombers will welcome Allen Christensen to the side, with the ex-AFL livewire named in the middle, team up with Sam Siggins in there. Clarence have a ton of youth on display, led by last year’s Rising Star in Ollie Davis back again, alongside Ethan Jackson, Darcy Gardner and Noah Holmes among others looking for a good 2021 season in the red and white.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

Peel Thunder vs. East Fremantle
Subiaco vs. East Perth
Perth vs. West Coast
South Fremantle vs. West Perth
Swan Districts vs. Claremont

QUEENSLAND:

Noosa Tigers vs. Wilston Grange Gorillas

Just the one match this weekend in a standalone clash between new Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) newcomers Noosa Tigers, and Wilston Grange Gorillas. The match, set to be played at Rococo Oval in Noosa, will have a 2pm start if it goes ahead. With much uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak in Queensland, there is yet to be confirmation the match will go ahead. The teams are also yet to be named due to the uncertainty around the outbreak.

Picture credit: Solstice Digital