Category: West Adelaide

AFLW Draft: 10 Top-agers to watch in 2022

EVERY year there are some unlucky players who missed out on being picked up in the AFL Women’s Draft. The good news is, there is always another year, and with the likes of Abbie Ballard, Ashanti Bush, Dana East, Ella Maurer, Elizabeth Snell and Amanda Ling among those all being selected across the nation, there is more reason than ever to suggest that just because a player misses out on the first chance of being drafted, the dream is far from over. Here are 10 top-agers to watch in 2022 with their draft summary, and what they might need to do to take their game to the next level.

Jaide Anthony (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
20/11/2003 | 166cm
Medium Defender

A really smart player who knows the game well and reads the play behind the ball, Anthony was a member of the AFL Women’s Academy as a bottom-age talent last year. She showed why through an outstanding yet interrupted season, copping a couple of concussions – including in Vic Country’s win over South Australia at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships – to still perform at a high level. She won Vic Country’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, and proved through her actions to be an incredibly courageous player. Whilst standing at 166cm, Anthony is not afraid to go up in the marking contest and bring the ball down, and when she does have ball-in-hand, her kicking is outstanding. A talent who teammates can trust with ball-in-hand, and she has spent time up forward as well at times, kicking a goal in the Stingrays’ loss to the Geelong Falcons in finals. Without a doubt the biggest surprise not to be picked up, but a big preseason behind her and Anthony could prove a lot of people wrong in 2022.

Nyakoat Dojiok (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
07/01/2003 | 175cm
Tall Defender/Wing

The running defender has some seriously eye-catching traits with her combination of acceleration and power making her hard to slow down when she is up and about. A traditional half-back, Dojiok can read the ball in flight with ease and float across contests to intercept, or drop into the hole when a high ball comes into defence. She knows where to stand when the play is headed towards her and her metres gained are massive compared to a lot of her contemporaries. She is often a get-and-go player, always looking to move on the ball, and whilst her kicking at times needs sharpening up, her development over the past few years at the Rebels has certainly improved and makes her one of the better intercept defenders going around. While it was a bit of a surprise to see Dojiok still on the board at the end of the draft, her areas to continue to improve are still there, and an extra year in the Under 19s could do her wonders.

Abby Hewett (Wilston Grange/Queensland)
12/04/2003 | 162cm
Medium Utility

There might not be much of Hewett at 162cm, but the talented utility can play anywhere on the field. She knows how to win the ball inside or outside, reads it well in the air or ground level, and whilst she does her best work in close, can play as an outside player too. There are questions over where she will slot in at AFLW level, and she does have to learn to find the ball more often, but that is only because she can do so much damage with ball-in-hand, be it winning it in close and distributing it to the outside, using it in transition, or finding it close to goal and hitting the scoreboard. Hewett was unlucky not to be picked up, but perhaps being able to solidify a position in 2022 and raising her accumulation will put her in a better position.

Grace Matser (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
03/01/2003 | 186cm
Ruck

If we are talking about points of difference, then Gippsland Power ruck Matser certainly has that in a ruck. Standing at 186cm, Matser is an early 2003 birth, but has been involved in the Power program since the V/Line Cup days, even as a developing tall back then. What really makes Matser stand out compared to other rucks is her footy IQ and her kicking. Being a left footer, Matser uses the ball well around the ground, so is a player that teammates are happy to give the ball to and dispose of, with her ball drop, technique and delivery inside 50 quite impressive. When watching Matser at stoppages, she always gets to the right position, and whether or not she wins the tap, she has made life difficult for her opponent. The area of improvement for Matser is her overhead marking, mostly because she does everything right – positioning, timing the ball drop and protecting the zone – but needs to hold onto the grabs. Around the ground in play, Matser is as influential as any ruck, and when she can clunk those grabs, will become a more influential key position tall at either end. Like many talls, having an extra year in the system will help her develop her marking and become a more complete player.

Grace Mulvahil (Southern Districts/Northern Territory)
18/04/2003 | 172cm
Medium Defender/Utility

The Northern Territory talent has been a junior star in the NTFL Women’s competition, becoming the second youngest player to win the best on ground in the senior grand final last year. She also won the Rising Star award, and has been touted as a talent to watch for many years. Still developing and constantly getting better, Mulvahil’s standout trait is her kicking, able to pinpoint passes around the ground both under pressure and when in space. Her acceleration off the mark, and evasion makes her hard to stop, with a high work rate to boot. Standing at 172cm, Mulvahil is a good size to play as a half-back or even push up to the wing, but knows where the goals are too if thrown forward. She averaged the 10.5 disposals, 2.0 marks and 3.5 tackles at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, holding her own against stronger opponents and providing great run for the Allies. Mulvahil has all the ability to become a really strong player at a high level, it is about building her game and potentially playing as much as she can, potentially in the SANFL Women’s or QAFL Women’s.

Poppy Schaap (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
28/07/2003 | 153cm
Small Forward/Midfielder

A really impressive small midfielder, Schaap might be the smallest one going around at 153cm, but she packs a punch and has some unbelievable traits. Her best trait is her clean hands, rarely making a fumble at ground level and able to dish off to teammates in order to create goal-scoring opportunities. As a forward, Schaap slotted eight goals in nine games, often finding space where few could to snap around her body in big moments. She also slotted three goals in her three Vic Country games at the AFLW Under 19 Championships, and laid plenty of tackles along the way. Her defensive pressure is right up there with her other key strengths, though it is hard to look past her ball-winning skills, composure and goal sense, and is a perfect pressure forward who can push up into the midfield. Along with Anthony she was the next most unlucky one not to be picked up from the Victorian pool, but no doubt will go back and continue to get better and be a quality Under 19s player next season, and get more VFLW games under her belt too.

Gypsy Schirmer (South Adelaide/South Australia)
18/02/2003 | 178cm
Tall Utility

A versatile tall with terrific athleticism, Schirmer is capable in all thirds of the ground, Starting as a forward throughout her bottom-age years, Schirmer proved she could be damaging around goal be it winning possession in the air or at ground level. Over the past 12 months, Schirmer pushed into the midfield, predominantly on the wing, but also won plenty of contested ball in close. Being able to win the hard or loose ball, Schirmer then went into defence late in the year for South Adelaide where she showcased her breakneck acceleration and was able to create fast ball movement in transition. Expect her to be more of a forward to start with at the top level, but she certainly has potential to become a midfielder long-term. One of only two AFLW Academy members not to be picked up, it was a surprise given her rapid development, but with the expansion of the AFLW and Port Adelaide set to come in very soon, Schirmer – along with the abundance of South Australian talent capable of stepping up to the next level – will be in the Power’s sights.

Chloe Reilly (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
12/10/2003 | 163cm
Medium Forward/Medium Defender

When you watch Reilly for the first time, you do a double-take at the listed 163cm height, because whilst she might be smaller than her opponents, quite often she is able to either leap higher than them, read the ball better than them, or clunk grabs better than them. Her one-on-one ability is quite impressive as is her overhead strength. Couple these traits with her powerful kicking, and Reilly has enough about her to suggest she could play at either end, which she has done this season at WAFL Women’s level for East Fremantle. Primarily a forward though, Reilly has great aggression at the ball and does not take a backwards step, almost having the chance to win the game for Western Australia against Vic Metro after the siren, and whilst that did not work out, Reilly still had a solid carnival, booting two goals and averaging 11.3 disposals, 2.0 marks, 1.7 inside 50s, 2.0 rebound 50s and kicking a couple of majors in an all-round effort. Ironing out some consistency and building her endurance further could be the key for Reilly who was not too far off in her draft-eligible year. Only turning 18 in October, Reilly is one who can stand up and have a big 2022 and put her hand up to be drafted like a number of mature-age WAFL Women’s players did this season.

Zoe Venning (West Adelaide/South Australia)
04/11/2003 | 168cm
Inside Midfielder/Forward

Venning is a player who enjoyed a terrific season, not only standing out for West Adelaide in the SANFL Women’s, and representing South Australia at the AFLW Under 19 Championships, but picking up a host of accolades along the way. Venning won All-Australian honours as well as the West Adelaide best and fairest – claiming the latter ahead of teammate and league best and fairest winner Lauren Young – to be one of the more consistent players all season. Her inside game and defensive pressure is superb, and whilst still working on her kicking, Venning has improved over the past couple of years, and has a great balance of athleticism between endurance, speed and agility to impress at the top level. Similar to Schirmer, Venning was more the victim of such a strong draft pool, and with Port Adelaide on the horizon, it seems a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ to get to the elite level. Another year of developing the areas of her game to improve and Venning could be more potent with ball-in-hand in 12 months time.

Jemima Woods (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
28/05/2003 | 174cm
Tall Forward/Utility

The talented tall forward has come on in leaps and bounds this season, developing her game to play further up the ground in season 2021, and even pinch-hitting in the ruck. At 174cm she is able to compete well one-on-one with a high work rate and clever leading patterns to find the ball inside 50 thanks to her athleticism. More often than not though, Woods has found herself being the first target in the forward half, then looking for options inside 50, with more than three inside 50s per game to go with her four goals from eight matches. Averaging almost 12 touches per game at NAB League Girls level, Woods burst onto the VFLW scene with three goals on debut for the Western Bulldogs, and whilst the going has been tougher since, still has some great upside for the future. Definitely the raw talent in the group, but Woods could be a promising top-age talent next season, and spending more time in a VFLW program like she did for a few games with the Bulldogs, will further fast-track her growth.

22 in 2022: AFLW Draft Ones to Watch

WHILE the 2021 AFL Women’s Draft is done and dusted for another year, clubs quickly turn their attention to 2022, having followed the potential draft prospects for many years. Whilst there will be at least 12 months until the players begin to hear their names called out, Draft Central will throw up 22 names to remember for 2022, in alphabetical order. This does not necessarily mean that the 22 named will be the top 22, but some of many who have already impressed across the board.

Charlotte Baskaran
Balanced Midfielder
09/12/2004 | 162cm
Western Jets / Vic Metro

One of the best kicks going around, Baskaran is a potent inside/outside midfielder who is able to find space and do a lot of damage with ball-in-hand. A high impact player, Baskaran has remarkably already played three seasons at the Jets, making her debut as a 14-year-old back in 2019. Over the past two seasons, she has averaged more than 20 disposals and around six tackles per game, but it is her pinpoint passes inside 50 that make her a clear standout amongst the top Victorian talents.

Mia Busch
Medium Defender
18/05/2004 | 166cm
Eastern Ranges / Vic Metro

The skilful defender burst onto the scene this year with an impressive consistency, averaging 15.1 disposals, 2.8 marks, 3.5 tackles and 3.5 rebounds. She caught the eye with her ability to use the ball well by foot coming out of the defensive half, and has equal measures of defensive and offensive traits that can set up play down the field. Won Eastern Ranges’ best and fairest award this season, and will be expected to push into the midfield next year to showcase her versatility.

Amber Clarke
Medium Utility
22/12/2004 | 169cm
Dandenong Stingrays / Vic Country

In a very talented Stingrays lineup, Clarke has likely pushed herself to the front of the cue thanks to her enormous upside. Arguably the fastest player in the Victorian pool, once she gets goalside, it is all over for any opponent hoping to catch her. Impossible not to see with her ability to just get and go, Clarke can play at either end, booting 10 goals in six games in 2021. That tally would have been more, had injury not struck in the Vic Country championships game against Vic Metro.

Octavia Di Donato
Tall Utility
23/02/2004 | 172cm
Bendigo Pioneers / Vic Country

After showing glimpses in her first season (one that was albeit cut short), Di Donato stepped up in 2021 to showcase terrific versatility from defence, to attack and eventually through the midfield. That latter role is what is likely to be her goal in 2022, and she showed she can win the ball, averaging 15.4 disposals, 3.6 marks and 3.3 inside 50s. Possessing a booming kick, Di Donato is a high-impact player forward of centre, and ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to what she could produce at the next level.

Mackenzie Eardley
Key Position Utility
13/01/2004 | 180cm
Dandenong Stingrays / Vic Country

The second Dandenong player on the list, Eardley shapes as a top key position option, credit to her versatility at both ends. Still refining her marking itself, Eardley is quite an athletic player with good ground level work. She can be on the last line or in attack, and moves well for a player of her size. She has pinch-hit in the ruck too, and with another preseason behind her, expect her to be one of the prominent key position players in the draft, stepping up to play two games with the Vic Country Under 19s squad already.

Hannah Ewings
Inside Midfielder
17/03/2004 | 167cm
North Adelaide / South Australia

The only player on this list not to play AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships this year, Ewings was a late out due to an ankle injury in the SANFL Women’s. Her form in the 18 months leading up to that moment was nothing short of sensational, and the North Adelaide player won the Breakthrough Player Award in the SANFLW in 2020, becoming a premiership player at 16-years-old. Similar to Ellie McKenzie, Ewings has a booming kick, is strong in the air and at ground level, and is an unbelievable contested ball-winner.

Jasmine Fleming
Midfielder/Forward
05/11/2004 | 165cm
Oakleigh Chargers / Vic Metro

Not making her debut until the final round of the NAB League Girls season, Fleming – the daughter of Australian cricket champion Damien – came in and dominated. Only turning 17 at the end of the year, Fleming averaged 20 disposals, four tackles, four inside 50s and booted three goals to collect a premiership medal along the way. With eye-catching athleticism out of the stoppage and superb skill, Fleming is one of those players that will only get better with time, and is a natural sportsperson, sharing the load with – you guessed it – cricket.

Alana Gee
Balanced Midfielder
20/04/2004 | 170cm
Coolangatta Tweed / Queensland

If clean and composed with ball-in-hand is what you are after, then Gee is the type of player to catch the eye. A good size at 170cm, Gee covers the ground well and is able to use either foot. Her work rate to win the ball in all thirds is impressive, and at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, was the outside receiver to get-and-go forward, playing between a wing and in defence, but she is a natural inside midfielder who will take over from the recently drafted Teagan Levi and Bella Smith in the Queensland program.

Montana Ham
Inside Midfielder
29/03/2004 | 178cm
Western Jets / Vic Metro

The other key Western Jets talent is dominant clearance player Ham, who has been catching the eye since her debut as a 14-year-old back in 2019. A very different prospect to Baskaran, Ham has a lot more height, and has been utilised in just about every role, but her best is inside where she wins the ball and thumps it on the boot with a penetrating kick. She played two of Metro’s games at Under 19s level and did not look out of place, averaging 15 disposals, four marks and three inside 50s. One of the taller options to keep an eye on next season.

Cynthia Hamilton
Inside Midfielder
02/04/2004 | 178cm
GIANTS Academy / NSW-ACT

Hamilton is the top NSW-ACT prospect for 2022 after taking out the Allies’ Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at the 2021 AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships. Racking up a whopping 21.5 disposals, 3.0 marks, 10.0 tackles, 5.0 inside 50s and booting two goals in her two games, Hamilton is a fierce player at the ball, and puts her body on the line time and time again. She is one who at her size can add more strings to her bow and refine a few areas of her game, but in terms of her natural footballing ability, it is there to see.

Bridie Hipwell
Inside Midfielder
15/06/2004 | 174cm
Sandringham Dragons / Vic Metro

After a starring role early in her Round 1 game for the Dragons, Hipwell hurt her ankle and missed several weeks. She finished the NAB League Girls season averaging 12.5 disposals and around three inside 50s and three tackles, then played the one Metro game at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships. A strong inside midfielder with good hands, Hipwell is someone who is capable of going forward and providing some height as well when required.

Sofia Hurley
Balanced Midfielder
30/01/2004 | 166cm
Sandringham Dragons / Vic Metro

An eye-catching midfielder with great spacial awareness through traffic, Hurley reads the ball off hands so well and is able to burst away fro stoppages. Possessing a nice balance of athleticism and skill, Hurley is the type of player who can turn a game when on-song, using the ball so well from half-back to half-forward. A high running capacity saw her average 18.1 disposals, 4,7 tackles, 3.9 inside 50s and 3.0 rebound 50s, finding the ball in all thirds of the ground, and looms as one of the top Victorian midfielders.

Keeley Kustermann
Medium Utility
17/04/2004 | 166cm
West Adelaide / South Australia

Another South Australian prospect to keep an eye on is the smooth-moving Kustermann who is well-balanced and able to use the ball so well under pressure. Having impressed as a 15-year-old at SANFL Women’s level last season in defence, Kustermann played further up the ground in 2021, and even played inside at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships. An injury early in the game against the Allies ended her championships early, but Kustermann eventually returned to state league level where she took to the field in a grand final.

Charlotte Mullins
Forward/Midfielder
28/10/2004 | 165cm
Aspley / Queensland

Impressing in both her Academy game against Coorparoo, and at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships against Vic Country, Mullins is a lively player who can find the ball and apply good defensive pressure to the opposition. She works herself into space, wins the ball and can create goal-scoring opportunities for both herself and her teammates. Likely to be more of a midfielder in 2022, Mullins has proven she can play as a high half-forward and then push up the ground to get involved when the game is not on her team’s terms.

Claire Ransom
Balanced Midfielder
21/02/2004 | 169cm
Tasmania Devils / Tasmania

The standout prospect from the Apple Isle next year is Ransom, a player who can best be described as class personified. As clean as they come on the inside, Ransom picks the right option time and time again, and her ball use by hand or foot is exquisite. Standing at 169cm, Ransom is a good size to play inside or outside, but she is best utilised winning the ball and using her smarts to sidestep and opponent then hit a target under pressure. Does not need to win a lot of the ball to do a lot of damage.

Ella Roberts
Tall Forward
17/12/2004 | 175cm
Peel Thunder / Western Australia

Yet to turn 17, Roberts already has an AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships MVP under her belt. Averaging a massive 24.3 disposals, 5.7 marks, 4.7 tackles, 5.3 inside 50s and booting four goals in three games, Roberts showed what anyone familiar with the WAFLW already knew – she is a star in the marking. Winning a grand final off her own boot at 15, Roberts translated that form into 2021, and showed she has few flaws between her aerial and ground work, and athleticism to boot. Right now, Roberts is the top player in the 2022 AFL Women’s draft class.

Paige Scott
Medium Forward
25/06/2004 | 166cm
GWV Rebels / Vic Country

The X-factor in the draft crop, Scott is an unbelievably dynamic forward who can turn a game off her own boot. Slotting 15 goals in nine games for the GWV Rebels in the NAB League Girls, then seven goals in three games at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships – including turning the game around against South Australia – she is a natural footballer inside 50. The scary thing was despite being such a dominant goalkicker, inaccuracy plagued her at times and she could have kicked even more. A fierce contested player, Scott is strong overhead and great at ground level too.

Emily Shepherd
Inside Midfielder
05/04/2004 | 164cm
Dandenong Stingrays / Vic Country

Having three players inside the top 22 at this stage emphasises just how strong the Stingrays will be next year, and Shepherd is that inside midfielder who can win clearances with great body positioning and strength. She throws the ball on the boot going forward, but wins a lot of contested ball and can extract it from the stoppages. Able to go forward and kick goals as well, Shepherd was injured mid-season and missed a fair chunk of football before returning to play all three Vic Country games at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, averaging 11.3 disposals.

Keeley Skepper
Inside Midfielder
15/03/2004 | 163cm
Murray Bushrangers / Vic Country

When it comes to penetrating, few put the boot to ball like it owes them something quite like Skepper. Possessing enough speed to run out of the clearance, Skepper has one mode of kicking and that is with ultimate power. She racks up clearances time and time again, also amassing a high volume of inside 50s, averaging 4.7 per game to go with 16.7 disposals, 2.3 marks and 4.9 tackles. Once she is able to pinpoint those penetrating kicks, look out because her ability to win the ball and create separation is terrific.

Tara Stribley
Outside Midfielder
22/03/2004 | 165cm
Swan Districts / Western Australia

Western Australia’s top rated midfielder is Stribley out of Swan Districts, where she is clean and composed with ball-in-hand and creates run and carry on the outside. A lightly-built player, the 165cm wing is able to roam up and down the ground to find the ball. Definitely an outside receiver, it plays to Stribley’s strengths which are her ball use and decision making, as well as her vision, though she can also play off flanks and create opportunities for teammates down the ground or inside 50, which makes her a point of difference in the role she plays.

Lauren Wakfer
Ruck
23/04/2004 | 180cm
South Fremantle / Western Australia

The top ruck in the AFLW Draft pool at this stage is Wakfer out of the South Fremantle program, where she has come on in leaps and bounds this year. Averaging 12 hitouts and 10.3 disposals at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, Wakfer is just as impressive at ground level, with great athleticism and turn of speed for a tall. She laid 5.3 tackles per game at the championships, and can also play as a key forward as she has at times in the WAFLW. Still adding more strength, Wakfer has high-level upside for the future.

Lily-Rose Williamson
Medium Defender/Midfielder
25/08/2004 | 166cm
Gippsland Power / Vic Country

A member of the Gippsland Power program for many years now coming through the V/Line Cup, Williamson is a high-potential project player who took her game to another level in 2021. Showing glimpses of her capabilities that come with unbelievable acceleration and power, Williamson would set the world record for most fend-offs in a season and probably only need a couple of games to do so. She can use the ball well when winning it, but it is her defensive pressure and metres gained that stands out, and once it all clicks consistently, watch out.

OTHERS TO WATCH:

The depth in the 2022 AFL Women’s Draft is exciting and unbelievable. When making the list, there were many more names that could have squeezed in. Calder Cannons’ Abbey McDonald is a smooth-moving small midfielder with good defensive and offensive traits and one who was the next in line to be named. Looking across Victoria, GWV Rebels defender Molly Walton and Gippsland Power midfielder Yasmin Duursma are another couple to remember for 2022, with another Rebels talent in ruck, Kalani Scoullar likely to be among the best rucks in the draft crop. Geelong Falcons have a number of even prospects such as Charlotte Simpson and Ashleigh Van Loon who will lead the midfield brigade, while Mia Van Dyke has been a highly touted tall for a number of years. Northern Knights’ Brooke Plummer showed strong signs as a wing in 2021 and will be another that catches the eye in 2022, while J’Noemi Anderson is a Sandringham Dragons and Allies representative hailing from the Northern Territory. With names aplenty, a few more who impressed at Victorian Under 17s level were Alisha Molesworth, Felicity Crank and Grace Hay who are all in the mix. Calder Cannons pocket rocket Reese Sutton and Western Jets’ Krystal Russell proved some highlights at ground level and in the air respectively.

Moving north, Ella Smith in Queensland is a notable performer in her bottom-age year, as is Fleur Davies, the taller sister of recently drafted, Giselle. Amelie Borg is a tall option playing between defence and pinch-hitting in the ruck as a Croweater to keep an eye on. Norwood inside midfielder Lana Schwerdt is a ball-winner to remember for 2022, while tall forwards Astrid Gooley and Jorja Hooper are also promising key talents. In Western Australia, Emily Gunton has had a strong end to the WAFLW season and could be a bolter early in 2022, while Ash Reidy, Mylee Leitch and Aisha Wright are dangerous players in the forward half.

2021 AFLW Draft club review: Adelaide

NOW the AFL Women’s Draft is done and dusted, Draft Central will review each club’s draft hand, and provide supporters with all the content they need to know about the latest additions to their AFL Women’s programs. We start the club-by-club reviews with Adelaide.

#17 Zoe Prowse (Ruck)
03/07/2003 | 177cm
Sturt / South Australia

The top talent in South Australia, Prowse has been a member of the AFL Women’s Academy for a number of years so it was no surprise to see her name read out first for this year’s draft. Standing at 177cm, Prowse is able to use her athleticism and footy smarts to her advantage to win plenty of hitouts to advantage, but she is also just as clever at ground level. Prowse could end up becoming a midfielder at AFLW level to force her way into a pretty strong Crows lineup, but she has played forward as well indicating her versatility. Her defensive pressure at ground level, and aerial ability never come into question, and the Crows have yet another outstanding talent on their hands.

ZOE PROWSE CONTENT:

>> Prowse set for a positional change in 2021

>> Prowse excels from being thrown into key role

>> AFLW Draft Positional Analysis: Rucks

#20 Brooke Tonon (Medium Defender/Wing)
19/09/2003 | 166cm
Glenelg / South Australia

Tonon’s drafting caps off a remarkable rise from the talented teenager, who went from playing a bit of everywhere in her debut season last year in the SANFL Women’s, to becoming a premier half-back for Glenelg in the Bays’ premiership season. A key cog running out of defence and pushing up to a wing, Tonon just uses the ball so well, reads it in flight and shows great courage around the ground. Her ability to make great decisions with ball-in-hand not only put her into draft projections, but selected as the second player overall in the South Australian pool. Whilst still light, Tonon packs a punch, and she will be one that teammates love to get the ball in the hands of, and once she irons out some composure, she will be a terrific player.

BROOKE TONON CONTENT:

>> “Tenacious” Tonon shows massive development

>> SANFLW Player Focus: Brooke Tonon (Glenelg)

>> AFLW Draft Positional Analysis: Tall/Medium Defenders

#34 Abbie Ballard (Small Midfielder/Forward)
16/04/2002 | 159cm
West Adelaide / South Australia

Much like her West Adelaide teammate Rachelle Martin last year, Ballard did not get picked up in her draft year, but went back to work and did not drop her head to earn a spot a year later as a 19-year-old. There is not much of the small midfielder/forward at 159cm, but she is someone who attacks he contest ferociously, and never backs down. She has a potent left foot she can use to slice up opposition defensive zones, and her contested ball winning skills are superb. Clean at ground level and makes the right decisions, Ballard led the Westies into the SANFL Women’s Grand Final as acting captain and is a player who does exactly what coaches love – the team thing – which is something you can expect from the pocket rocket at AFLW level.

ABBIE BALLARD CONTENT:

>> Ballard ready to take next step

>> AFLW U18s to Watch: Abbie Ballard (West Adelaide/South Australia)

DRAFT SUMMARY:

Adelaide was able to dictate its own hand in the AFL Women’s Draft, selecting the three players it wanted with its three selections. The Crows had a smorgasbord of talented players to pick from, and in the end opted for three utilities – tall, medium and small – emphasising the importance to play various roles at the elite level. It meant that by selecting these three, the likes of AFL Women’s Academy member Gypsy Schirmer and All-Australian Zoe Venning missed out, though there is little doubt that with their determination they will get their chance at the top level, be it through an injury top-up or additional selection this year, or in the coming years through expansion.

Draft Central AFLW Draft Power Rankings – Nationwide: July 2021

AFTER releasing the Draft Central AFLW Draft Power Rankings – Victorian Pool last month, we have gone one step further to include the entire nation. Not only will the Power Rankings feature the Victorians from last month, but the top stars from across the country to give an indication of where they might be rated if the AFL Women’s Draft was truly national. Note that the Power Rankings to do not take into account any draft selections, and are more an opinion-based ranking system on the draft prospects.

We have also not included any players who have previously been on an AFLW list, just undrafted or now draft-eligible players. Please note the rankings are the opinion of the author.

>> Draft Central AFLW Draft Power Rankings – Victorian Pool: June 2021

 

Georgie Prespakis

#1 Georgie Prespakis (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
13/03/2003 | 168cm
Balanced Midfielder

Key strengths: Ball-winning, tackling, quick hands, footy IQ

The most consistent prospect across the board and has been touted as a star from her debut as a 15-year-old two and a half years ago. There she dominated up forward with 13 goals in 10 games, averaging a massive 22.6 disposals and 5.6 tackles to win the league best and fairest at just 16 years of age. Her numbers have remained consistent going into the middle, and whilst she almost always gets close attention from the opposition, Prespakis is a renowned tackler with 8.8 per game in her top-age season. Her ball winning ability and strength to win the pill at the stoppage and extract it away, as well as have an impact forward of centre, are among her strengths. In terms of improvements, sometimes she can rush the kicks around her body, but she is able to get to enough repeat stoppages, to have more influence than most others.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #1

AFLW Draft notes:

There was always the weigh up for Geelong between Prespakis and Rowbottom with the pair the two clear standout Victorian talents. Now that Rowbottom has opted to go to Queensland, the Cats are expected to pounce on Prespakis with Pick 2.

Charlie Rowbottom

#2 Charlie Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
22/01/2003 | 178cm
Inside Midfielder/Tall Forward

Key strengths: Contested marking, tackling, strength, upside

The powerful, tall inside midfielder has already proven to be a difficult player to try and contain across four quarters, able to win a game off her own boot when up and about. So strong in the air and at ground level, Rowbottom averaged 7.1 tackles to go with 17.6 disposals and 2.8 marks in season 2021, also booting 10 goals in 11 games. Whilst long-term the sister of Sydney’s James will become a midfielder, expect her to be a tall forward who can kick multiple goals in a game. Her upside is one of the best in the draft crop, and her versatility makes her damaging. Her kicking both in-field and on goal is an area of improvement, but her ability to do all the hard stuff – from winning the ball, tackling and clunking the important marks – more than makes up for the ironing out process that will happen with time. An exciting talent for the future.

State-based Pool Ranking (Queensland): #1

AFLW Draft notes:

Rowbottom pulled off the surprise of the AFL Women’s Draft when it was announced she would nominate Queensland, opening the door for Gold Coast with Pick 1. Expect the Suns and new coach Cameron Joyce to be thrilled to pick up Rowbottom with Teagan Levi to bolster the midfield.

Teagan Levi

#3 Teagan Levi (Bond University/Queensland)
14/08/2003 | 169cm
Inside Midfielder

Key strengths: Athleticism, strength, kicking, game sense

Touted as the top Gold Coast Suns Academy member, Levi has been an exciting talent for a couple of years now. A bottom-age AFLW Academy member, Levi has all the traits to become a really dominant inside midfielder. A more precise kick than the top two Victorians, Levi also has the athleticism to boot, and whilst she does not have the versatility that Prespakis and Rowbottom have yet, Levi is such a complete inside midfielder with high-level footy smarts that will enable her to add more strings to her bow as she develops. Unfortunately, Levi only got the one AFLW Under 19 Championships game, picking up 17 disposals, six clearances, five tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds in Queensland’s loss to Vic Country.

State-based Pool Ranking (Queensland): #2

AFLW Draft notes:

Levi was hot favourite to be selected with Pick 1 until Rowbottom nominated Queensland, but it will not matter to the talented midfielder, with the pair set to help fast-track Gold Coast’s rebuild up the AFLW ladder.

Courtney Rowley

#4 Courtney Rowley (Peel Thunder/Western Australia)
24/09/2003 | 167cm
Balanced Midfielder

Key strengths: Speed, clean hands, marking, kicking

Heading west for the fourth placed spot, Peel Thunder’s Courtney Rowley is similar to Levi with a more outside than inside ability. Whilst the talented teenager proved she could also play inside at the AFLW Under 19 Championships, her ball use and athleticism lends itself to be a slick outside talent who can go inside when needed a la Georgia Patrikios. With such a well balanced profile from her ball use, evasion, overhead strength and versatility – being able to play in any third of the ground – Rowley is definitely one of the more complete players going around. Ready to step straight up to senior level having already won a club best and fairest at Peel Thunder at 15-years-old and played through back-to-back premiers sides – though only won the one flag due to injury late this season – Rowley can compete against bigger-bodied players.

State-based Pool Ranking (Western Australia): #1

AFLW Draft notes:

Despite being the standout West Australian talent in our eyes, West Coast will weigh up whether to go tall or small with the first pick, with Amy Franklin the other considered. Rowley is very deserving of the first West Australian selection, but if not, then her name will be off the board at the next WA pick to the Dockers.

Zoe Prowse

#5 Zoe Prowse (Sturt/South Australia)
03/07/2003 | 177cm
Ruck

Key strengths: Athleticism, versatility, clean hands, tackling pressure

Able to get it done in the air or at ground level, Zoe Prowse is just as capable at any role thrown at her. Whilst traditionally being a ruck credit to her athleticism and clean hands, Prowse has trialled as a midfielder at SANFLW level, and also up forward as a marking tall. Able to clunk big grabs, and if not, bring the ball to ground and lay fierce tackles, Prowse is the most complete ruck in the draft. Despite standing a touch under the average ruck height at 177cm – in fact two centimetres smaller than midfielder Rowbottom – Prowse more than makes up for it with her vertical leap. Having the ruck smarts to get the ball to advantageous spots for her teammates, expect the Sturt prospect to be really clean when getting her chance at AFLW level.

State-based Pool Ranking (South Australia): #1

AFLW Draft notes:

Adelaide do not need to compete for any players, and whilst curve balls can be thrown at state-based drafts, expect Prowse’s name to be the one the Crows look to first as the player who has been the most consistent over the past few years.

#6 Tara Slender (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
03/11/2003 | 175cm
Tall Utility

Key strengths: Versatility, contested marking, footy smarts, positioning

Despite a somewhat interrupted season for the AFL Women’s Academy member, playing only the five games due to injury and AFLW Under 19s Championships commitments, Slender still showed why she is a top-end prospect; stepping up from her role as a rebounding intercept defender, to be a forward and midfielder this year in a remarkable display of versatility. Arguably the NAB League Girls’ Most Valuable Player for her side, the Pioneers were a far better team with her in it, and averaging a massive 4.2 marks as well as 5.2 tackles along with her 16.2 disposals shows she has no trouble winning the ball in the air, one-on-one or at ground level. A natural leader co-captaining the Pioneers, Slender could fill any role at AFL Women’s level and has some great upside for the future as well.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #2

AFLW Draft notes:

Slender is one of the most unique and versatile players in the AFLW Draft crop. Whilst the first handful of picks might be midfielders, Slender has already shown she can roll through the midfield if need be, and should not be off the board too long.

#7 Stella Reid (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
10/09/2003 | 173cm
Medium Utility

Key strengths: Versatility, spread, skills, goal sense

A natural ball-winner with a slick left foot and smooth-moving ability, Reid has proven she can play on all three lines of the field. Starting off half-back and pushing up to a wing, Reid finished her season up forward and ended up slotting 15 goals in 11 games, including three in Oakleigh’s premiership win. She averaged 1.4 goals for the season from 20.1 disposals, 4.5 marks and 3.2 inside 50s per game, looked to as a key player to move the ball in transition. She used it well by hand or foot and was able to find space with ease. Multiple times a game Reid would make you wonder how she got in so much space even when tearing it up, but credit to her work rate and smarts to be able to find the open space and then punish the opposition through either her disposal or on the scoreboard.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #3

AFLW Draft notes:

Much like Slender, Reid is as versatile as they come, but from an outside sense. She can play at half-back, half-forward or on a wing, and hits the scoreboard regularly, and that will appeal to clubs. It is anticipated she will be in the first half-dozen Victorian picks alongside her teammates Rowbottom and Amanda Ling.

Ella Friend

#8 Ella Friend (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
30/12/2003 | 175cm
Tall Forward/Wing

Key strengths: Contested marking, mobility, upside, penetrating kick

The top contested marking player in the draft crop, Friend will be a highly sought after talent for her ability to not only clunk the big grabs, but use her penetrating left boot in both the midfield and forward lines. Transitioning from centre half-forward to a wing in the second half of the season, Friend showcased her mobility and her knack for for winning the ball in multiple areas of the field. Only two days away from being a bottom-ager, expect Friend to have plenty of upside left in her and would be a great target for a team needing a key target up forward who can also work hard up the ground. She averaged the 16.0 disposals, 4.3 marks and 2.9 tackles per game in the 2021 season, and slotted two goals on debut for the Western Bulldogs’ VFLW side. A good size at 175cm to play anywhere on the ground.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #4

AFLW Draft notes:

Friend is the dominant key position forward available in the draft, and with safe hands and athleticism to move up the ground, she could easily be considered in the first couple of selections. With the Cats on the lookout for a tall and having multiple picks in the region, she will no doubt be on their radar.

#9 Jaide Anthony (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
20/11/2003 | 166cm
Medium Defender

Key strengths: Kicking, marking, courage, footy IQ

A really smart player who knows the game well and reads the play behind the ball, Anthony was a member of the AFL Women’s Academy as a bottom-age talent last year. She showed why through an outstanding yet interrupted season, copping a couple of concussions – including in Vic Country’s win over South Australia at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships – to still perform at a high level. She won Vic Country’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, and proved through her actions to be an incredibly courageous player. Whilst standing at 166cm, Anthony is not afraid to go up in the marking contest and bring the ball down, and when she does have ball-in-hand, her kicking is outstanding. A talent who teammates can trust with ball-in-hand, and she has spent time up forward as well at times, kicking a goal in the Stingrays’ loss to the Geelong Falcons in finals.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #5

AFLW Draft notes:

The Vic Country MVP winner is one of the better ball users in the Victorian crop and with Carlton among those with back-to-back picks early, Anthony could be a player the Blues look to in order to fill that need.

Amy Franklin

#10 Amy Franklin (Claremont/Western Australia)
04/02/2003 | 177cm
Key Position Utility

Key strengths: Athleticism, overhead marking, versatility, upside

The other West Australian vying for the first picked from the state is the high-upside, talented tall in Franklin. Able to pull down some strong grabs at either end of the field, Franklin has athleticism rarely seen in a tall and is a marquee talent long-term. Still raw in some areas and looking to improve her ground balls, Franklin’s ability to mark, turn and go, not only able to keep distance on opponents but often create separation, is remarkable for a player of her size. She has a long kick and is able to hit the scoreboard regularly when inside 50. Whilst still able to impact in defence, and is more than capable of taking on a task at either end of the field, she looms as a future key forward, and her forward craft is very good, able to judge the ball in flight, outbody her opponent then get goal side to kick majors.

State-based Pool Ranking (Western Australia): #2

AFLW Draft notes:

No doubt Franklin will come into consideration for West Coast’s first selection given how hard talented, athletic key position players are to find. If the Eagles swoop on Rowley, expect the Dockers to very quickly read out Franklin’s name, and a pairing of Franklin and Roxy Roux is nightmare-fuelled for any opposition defence.

Jess Doyle

#11 Jess Doyle (Sydney Swans Academy/NSW-ACT)
15/09/2003 | 170cm
Medium Forward/Midfielder

Key strengths: Clean hands, one-on-ones, competitiveness, forward craft

The smooth-moving Sydney Swans Academy member out of the Manly Warringah Wolves has that touch of class about her whether it is inside 50 or through the midfield. Possessing clean hands and an ability to create space for herself, Doyle can win the ball on the lead or at ground level and do a lot of damage. Eyeing off improving her endurance for the future, her competitiveness and forward craft inside 50 makes her such a talent for the future. Still plenty to learn, expect her to play from early on to fast-track her development against senior bodies as she has already developed at a rapid rate competing at the next step up from local football through the AFLW Under 19 Championships. One to watch for the long-term and no doubt one that the Swans will be eyeing off when they enter the league.

State-based Pool Ranking (NSW-ACT): #1

AFLW Draft notes:

Without Sydney having a team as of yet, the talented Doyle falls in the GIANTS hands for now, and will be an incredible steal given the GIANTS do not have a pick until the third round. Expect Doyle to either be taken with the first or second pick, depending if the GIANTS opt for their own Academy talent in Ally Morphett first.

#12 Tess Craven (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
23/12/2003 | 163cm
Inside Midfielder

Key strengths: Clearances, accumulation, consistency, footy IQ

Arguably the best pure inside midfielder in the Victorian pool, Craven has had quite the season for the Falcons. She won the Falcons’ best and fairest award, averaging 21.1 disposals, 4.4 marks, 3.3 inside 50s, 2.0 rebound 50 and 3.9 tackles, then played the two games with Vic Country for 20.5 disposals, 6.0 clearances and 5.0 tackles. She is an inside ball winner and one who can extract it out of the contest going forward. She is smaller than other inside midfielders at 163cm, but she can gain separation at the stoppage and has the footy smarts to be able to use the ball well under pressure. She is also clean and gets her hands dirty at ground level, which is something that stands out in her game at any level.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #6

AFLW Draft notes:

Geelong holds the number one Victorian pick in the draft crop, and whilst they do tend to look to local talent, expect them to gamble Craven will be there with their next selection. Having multiple picks inside the first round, the Cats could bring Craven in straight away to step up, but the question will be whether another club such as St Kilda or Carlton look to pounce and derail the Cats’ plans.

#13 Amanda Ling (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
09/07/2002 | 161cm
Inside Midfielder

Key strengths: Clean hands, acceleration, endurance, work rate

The first 19th year prospect to feature in this list, Ling has had an outstanding season and shown why the move to an Under 19s competition was important. Despite standing at just 161cm, she is hard to bring down, very slippery in tackles and always able to get her hands free. She is really clean with her hands, and can burst away with a mix of acceleration and endurance, capped off by a high work rate through the midfield. She averaged 17.9 disposals, 2.2 marks, 6.5 tackles and 3.2 inside 50s in season 2021 for the Oakleigh Chargers, whilst playing the two games for Vic Metro thus far, averaging 16 disposals and six tackles. Already managing a game at VFLW level for Port Melbourne and not looking out of place, Ling showed she is a big-game player by taking home the best afield medal in the 2021 NAB League Girls Grand Final.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #7

AFLW Draft notes:

Expect Ling to be the bolter of the AFLW Draft. Whilst long considered inside the Top 10 Victorian prospects at the close of the NAB League Girls season, the 19-year-old Ling could well be taken second in the Victorian pool with St Kilda strongly considering the young gun. If they choose not to, it is hard seeing her slip past Carlton with the Blues’ back-to-back picks given Ling’s obvious appeal and meeting their clean inside needs.

Annie Lee

#14 Annie Lee (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
28/08/2003 | 169cm
Medium Defender

Key strengths: Marking, rebounding, consistency, composure

The reliable rebounding defender barely put a foot wrong all season and was a player her teammates could rely upon to use the ball well out of defence. Her strengths were clearly her intercept marking, where she latched onto 5.1 marks per game to go with 16.9 disposals and 4.5 rebound 50s. Already she has managed the two games at VFLW level, and was outstanding for Vic Country in her three games, holding up the fort in defence well and providing some good rebound with almost five rebound 50s per game there. At 169cm she can play against tall or small opponents because she reads the ball well in flight and shows good composure when with it. As a whole, Lee just ticks a lot of boxes in terms of what she is capable of doing.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #8

AFLW Draft notes:

One would think Geelong would be eyeing off Lee as another home grown talent, but with so many Falcons and other clubs ready to pounce, it will be interesting to see where he lands. Very consistent and in our Phantom Draft lasted to the Western Bulldogs at Pick 22, which anything in that range is a steal. Expect her to be snapped up earlier, however.

#15 Perri King (Tasmania Devils/Allies)
25/08/2003 | 170cm
Balanced Midfielder

Key strengths: Acceleration, tackling, clearances, accumulation

The sole Tasmanian AFL Women’s Academy member has the best balance between offensive and defensive capabilities, not only able to average 19.7 disposals and 4.2 inside 50s, but she amassed a whopping 9.4 tackles per game for the Devils in the NAB League Girls competition. On debut for North Melbourne VFLW she laid another seven tackles to go with 15 touches, and had the 10.5 tackles with 14.5 disposals, at the AFLW Under 19 Championships. But there is more to King than just ball-winning and tackling, with the athletic talent able to burst out of the stoppage and extract from tight situations. At times could add a touch more composure with her kicking, but her upside compiled with her well-balanced, two-way running is what makes her an outstanding prospect and rounding out the top 10.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria/Tasmania): #9

AFLW Draft notes:

Whilst King fits a different nomination under the Tasmanian group, she is still included in this as the ninth top prospect for the state. All that means is that North Melbourne – who can take her at any stage given the Tasmanian link – will walk away with a steal. In the Phantom Draft she was taken at Pick 45 as an example of where she could go in the draft, but ignore the number, she is right in the mix among the top players.

#16 Maggie Harmer (Maroochydore/Queensland)
12/04/2003 | 170cm
Medium Defender/Wing

Key strengths: Reading the play, intercepting, marking, athleticism

The talented Maroochydore prospect and AFL Women’s Academy member is a well-balanced talent who has a mix of offensive and defensive traits. She reads the ball well in flight, is able to hold onto grabs and is able to drive the ball forward in transition. Setting up at half-back, Harmer is a good size at 170cm to beat most opponents one-on-one, and whilst she is hoping to build her ground ball ability more, her aerial work is strong. A handy athleticism with a balance of speed, agility and endurance make her hard to stop, and she is someone who can roll onto a wing and then provide that key link moving the ball inside 50, able to pinpoint passes well. There is a lot of upside with Harmer making her one to watch for the long-term as well as the short-term.

State-based Pool Ranking (Queensland): #3

AFLW Draft notes:

With the top two Queensland pool talents in Rowbottom and Levi heading to the Suns, Harmer is in the mix to be the first called out for the Brisbane Lions on AFLW Draft night. Along with Mikayla Pauga, Harmer is also an AFLW Academy member and one whop has shown great signs over the years, so expect no hesitation from the Lions to bring her into their senior program.

Gypsy Schirmer

#17 Gypsy Schirmer (South Adelaide/South Australia)
18/02/2003 | 178cm
Tall Utility

Key strengths: Acceleration, goal sense, contested work, overhead marking

A versatile tall with terrific athleticism, Schirmer is capable in all thirds of the ground, Starting as a forward throughout her bottom-age years, Schirmer proved she could be damaging around goal be it winning possession in the air or at ground level. Over the past 12 months, Schirmer pushed into the midfield, predominantly on the wing, but also won plenty of contested ball in close. Being able to win the hard or loose ball, Schirmer then went into defence late in the year for South Adelaide where she showcased her breakneck acceleration and was able to create fast ball movement in transition. Expect her to be more of a forward to start with at the top level, but the AFL Women’s Academy member certainly has potential to become a midfielder long-term.

State-based Pool Ranking (South Australia): #2

AFLW Draft notes:

Much like Prowse, Adelaide can select Schirmer unopposed, and as another AFLW Academy member and player with high upside, expect her to be one the Crows snap up with their selections.

#18 Aurora Smith (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
13/12/2003 | 165cm
Wing

Key strengths: Speed, work rate, accumulation, outside game

The premier pure wing in the NAB League Girls competition bounced back from a quiet game against Vic Metro in the AFLW Under 19 Championships, to really dominate in her final two outings against South Australia and Queensland. She knows how to find the ball and is a natural running wing which she showcased all year for Murray Bushrangers. Another player whom given an extra month would be a bottom-ager, really impressed in her draft-eligibly year, averaging 20.7 disposals – almost double what her prior two seasons were. She drove the ball inside 50 four times per game, and had more than two rebound 50s per match as well, providing great run and carry down the wing going forward, something that really caught the eye on a regular basis.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #10

AFLW Draft notes:

Smith is one of the best outside running options in the draft, and one would expect a team like Carlton or Richmond to look at the Murray talent, with her finding a home somewhere in the first two rounds given her unique traits and ability to break the game open from that specialist wing position.

#19 Georgia Campbell (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
01/09/2003 | 182cm
Ruck/Key Forward

Key strengths: Ruck work, mobility, forward presence, high impact

The upside for father-daughter eligible prospect Georgia Campbell is quite impressive, with the talented ruck able to rest up forward for parts during games due to Eastern Ranges’ abundance of rucks. There she was still able to kick five goals in eight games to go with her 20.9 hitouts, and also slotted a goal for Vic Metro while averaging a higher 12 disposals, and 12 hitouts at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships. The Western Bulldogs supporter is eligible to go to the Dogs, or Melbourne, and will be nominated in the near future. She has great mobility for a ruck and can get around the ground and be an option, and also provide a good presence when inside 50 which makes her difficult to contain.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #11

AFLW Draft notes:

Already signed by Melbourne after the Western Bulldogs supporter opted for the Dees, Campbell will be taken with Pick 42 in the draft – the Demons first – under the father-daughter matching rules. It will be one of the steals of the draft given in an open draft, Campbell could well have been snapped up in the first round.

#20 Nyakoat Dojiok (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
07/01/2003 | 175cm
Tall Defender/Wing

Key strengths: Speed, power, reading the play, intercepting

The running defender has some seriously eye-catching traits with her combination of acceleration and power making her hard to slow down when she is up and about. A traditional half-back, Dojiok can read the ball in flight with ease and float across contests to intercept, or drop into the hole when a high ball comes into defence. She knows where to stand when the play is headed towards her and her metres gained are massive compared to a lot of her contemporaries. She is often a get-and-go player, always looking to move on the ball, and whilst her kicking at times needs sharpening up, her development over the past few years at the Rebels has certainly improved and makes her one of the better intercept defenders going around.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #12

AFLW Draft notes:

The athletic defender will attract plenty of attention as the quickest half-back with height available in the Victorian pool. She could end up with her VFL Women’s side the Western Bulldogs, though Richmond is another side that is in the Dojiok range that could look for speed and see her as a tall midfielder of the future.

Mikayla Pauga

#21 Mikayla Pauga (Bond University/Queensland)
10/04/2003 | 161cm
Medium Forward

Key strengths: Clean hands, ground balls, acceleration, game sense

The Maroochydore talent moved to Bond University under the Riewoldt Family Scholarship to study, and has enjoyed a more consistent 2021 after being plagued by injuries of late. She has the class and cleanliness by hand or foot to do a lot of damage in the forward half, and whilst Pauga needs to build her endurance, she has high footy IQ that makes her read situations well when roaming inside or outside of the forward 50. Able to win the ball aerially or at ground level, Pauga is one who had more of a decision on her hands that most Queenslanders having made the move to the Gold Coast despite being in the Brisbane Lions Academy, but has opted for the Lions zone, continuing her pathway through the club over the years.

State-based Pool Ranking (Queensland): #4

AFLW Draft notes:

Having nominated Brisbane as her zone, Lions staff and supporters will be relieved and pleased to pick up the AFLW Academy member be it with their first or second selection alongside fellow AFLW Academy Harmer.

#22 Emelia Yassir (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
25/09/2003 | 160cm
Balanced Midfielder

Key strengths: Contested work, aggression, disposal, high impact

Bursting onto the scene as a 15-year-old during Calder Cannons’ run to the 2019 NAB League Girls Grand Final, Yassir played 11 games in her debut season to hold her own against much older opponents. In her top-age year, Yassir lifted her numbers to 16.7 disposals, 3.9 tackles and 3.1 inside 50s to be a crucial player in the Cannons’ forward half of the ground. Her contested work and aggression around the football makes her a player that would do anything to win the football and shows a high level of football nous, along with high impact in the games. She will generally use it well going forward, and whilst she might only be the 160cm, could settle as a midfielder or defensive forward with her traits and skillset.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #13

AFLW Draft notes:

Yassir is a player who could go first or second round depending on the club’s needs. She has a lot of potential for the future and might be one Carlton looks to with its back-to-back picks, with North Melbourne and Richmond around the right region, and even the Western Bulldogs having a few selections together.

#23 Brooke Tonon (Glenelg/South Australia)
19/09/2003 | 166cm
Medium Defender/Wing

Key strengths: Athleticism, kicking, aggression, versatility

After being a bit-parts player all over the field for Glenelg in her bottom-age year, Tonon found her home off half-back and playing up on a wing at times. Her ability to read the game, win the ball and use it well out of defence became her niche, and she went on to have a sensational year, cementing her place in the Bays’ best side and winning a SANFL Women’s flag in the process. Whilst her AFLW Under 19 Championships was cut short following a red card from a tackle, Tonon showed enough to suggest that she has built a profile more than capable of stepping up to the next level both with ball-in-hand and off the ball.

State-based Pool Ranking (South Australia): #3

AFLW Draft notes:

After the two AFLW Academy members, the Crows have quite the decision on their hands, but on form in 2021, Tonon is a player who has arguably stepped up the most to be third in the ranks with her clean ball use and decision making off half-back or further afield. Included in the Academy as a late entry post-championships, the medium defender has plenty to like for the future.

Gabbi Featherston

#24 Gabbi Featherston (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
12/11/2003 | 169cm
Medium Forward/Ruck

Key strengths: Vertical leap, penetrating kick, aggression, upside

Standing at 169cm you would not expect someone to be listed as a ruck, but such is Featherston’s leaping ability that she has indeed become a secondary ruck at NAB League Girls level. Pinch-hitting in there to average 4.3 hitouts per game, Featherston is at her most dominant around the half-forward line where she can lead out, clunk grabs and show great courage in the air or at ground level. Whilst she could improve her composure around goal – she had plenty of chances that were opportunities which went begging – her ability to have so many chances and create opportunities is impressive. She is a raw talent with plenty of upside, and with a long, penetrating kick and strong hands, she is a valuable addition to any forward line.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #14

AFLW Draft notes:

Featherston has the potential to be a bolter or slider in the draft depending on where clubs see her. She has enormous potential given her athletic traits, and ability to play anywhere. Geelong might want to bring in another Falcon, though with so many Falcons in the pool, Featherston might be on that a team such as North Melbourne or the Western Bulldogs look to for a forward option. No doubt Collingwood with their three consecutive Victorian pool picks would be considering a player with her skillset too.

#25 Charlotte Thomas (Subiaco/Western Australia)
05/09/2003 | 175cm
Tall Utility

Key strengths: Kicking, clean hands, reading he play, decision making

Had it not being for a pesky wrist injury ruling out her 2021 season, Thomas would undoubtedly be higher on this list. Luckily for the tall talent who predominantly plays forward and can roll through the midfield, she has plenty of runs on the board. An AFLW Academy member, Thomas is the third one from Western Australia in the Academy, and as she showed in her bottom-age year, uses it so well with precise ball-use and decision making. Able to assess the situation well, Thomas is a player who could slot in anywhere on the field, and whilst she has spent most of 2021 recovering, she will be right to go for the start of the AFLW season.

State-based Pool Ranking (Western Australia): #3

AFLW Draft notes:

With Rowley and Franklin expected to go in the first two spots, Thomas will likely be the next name to be read out, though if the Dockers were willing to put all chips in based on previous years form, then Thomas could end up second, otherwise it is expected she will head to the Eagles with West Coast holding three of the first four selections.

#26 Poppy Schaap (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
28/07/2003 | 153cm
Small Forward/Midfielder

Key strengths: Clean hands, goal sense, composure, accumulation

A really impressive small midfielder, Schaap might be the smallest one going around at 153cm, but she packs a punch and has some unbelievable traits. Her best trait is her clean hands, rarely making a fumble at ground level and able to dish off to teammates in order to create goal-scoring opportunities. As a forward, Schaap slotted eight goals in nine games, often finding space where few could to snap around her body in big moments. She also slotted three goals in her three Vic Country games at the AFLW Under 19 Championships, and laid plenty pf tackles along the way. Her defensive pressure is right up there with her other key strengths, though it is hard to look past her ball-winning skills, composure and goal sense, and is a perfect pressure forward who can push up into the midfield.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #15

AFLW Draft notes:

Another Geelong Falcon who the Cats could look to bring through the program, but is a target for anyone looking for a clean forward inside 50. The Kangaroos, Tigers and Bulldogs all have picks in Schaap’s expected draft range, and might consider the reliable talent.

Meagan Kiely

#27 Meagan Kiely (North Melbourne/VFLW)
15/12/1994
Balanced Midfielder

Key strengths: Footy IQ, kicking, clean hands, consistency

The first mature-ager and VFLW player to make it into the Power Rankings, Kiely would have to be one of the favourites for the Lambert-Pearce Medal after a dominant display for North Melbourne this season. Relocating from Tasmania, the Roos would be keeping a close eye on the 26-year-old, who could slot straight into any midfield with her natural ball-winning skills, work rate and leadership. As good as any readymade midfielder outside the AFLW, the North captain has lead the competition across disposals and marks this year, showing she can win it at the coal face, or on the outside, with her clean hands and kicking impressive, but most of all her footy IQ shining through. Averaging a massive 22.8 disposals, 4.7 marks and 5.6 tackles from her 12 games, she is the premier VFLW player at this stage.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #16

AFLW Draft notes:

Despite hailing from Tasmania, Kiely is now relocated to Melbourne, so falls under the Victorian rather than Tasmanian zone. Regardless of the fact she will not be a free hit for the Roos, North Melbourne would be certainly considering bringing their VFLW skipper up to the AFLW program, but there will likely be one or two clubs in the mix for an immediate midfield boost. Carlton and Collingwood are two sides that could grab another midfielder with one of their many picks.

#28 Dana East (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
10/06/2002 | 167cm
Inside Midfielder

Key strengths: Inside game, clean hands, acceleration, contested ball

The most consistent of the West Australians throughout the entire WAFL Women’s season, East shot up into draft projections early in the season with some outstanding performances for Swan Districts. The inside midfielder is just so clean with her hands on the inside, and thrives on the contested ball, shovelling it out to teammates, or tucking it under the arm and bursting away with her quick first few steps. She has offensive and defensive pressure in equal measures, and is someone who can impact a game from the midfield. East has also spent time resting forward and can hit the scoreboard, though she is a future inside midfielder with a great balance of inside and outside traits. After the AFLW Academy members, East looms as the safest option, but also the one that could slot straight in if required, even with some areas to iron out such as her kicking consistency.

State-based Pool Ranking (Western Australia): #4

AFLW Draft notes:

Regarded highly in the West Australian State Academy, she could be paired up with Rowley through the midfield at the Eagles, or might slide to Fremantle’s next pick if indeed the Dockers go tall with Franklin. Either way, East is one who would be top of mind for both West Australian clubs, and is someone who could impact from early on in her AFLW career.

Brooke Hards

#29 Brooke Hards (Western Bulldogs/VFLW)
19/07/2002 | 167cm
Medium Utility

Key strengths: Footy smarts, versatility, athleticism, kicking

The former Bendigo Pioneers co-captain is the second VFLW player to feature. The soon-to-be 19-year-old excelled as an inside midfielder at junior level, but chose to step up to VFLW level where she improved on the areas that saw her overlooked. Hards moved to the outside playing every role under the sun from forward, to back and wing, able to win the ball and most importantly build up metres gained with her run and carry. Boasting enormous upside and great footy smarts, when able to get-and-go, Hards is damaging with ball-in-hand and has well-balanced athleticism, mainly her acceleration. While her numbers might be lower than at junior level, her game-impacting moments have been higher making her a valuable prospect.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #17

AFLW Draft notes:

Like a number of VFLW performers, showed more signs in the last couple of rounds, and much like North Melbourne with their VFLW performers, the Western Bulldogs would have her among their thoughts to bring up from the VFLW to AFLW program after playing every game this season. Providing versatility and speed around the ground as well as the ability to impact through the midfield, Carlton or Collingwood are other clubs that might look at a talent with an extra year of senior experience.

#30 Sarah Skinner (North Melbourne VFLW)
15/10/1999
Forward/Midfielder

Key strengths: Forward craft, accumulation, versatility, consistency

Another VFLW player who might not have earned a Draft Combine invite but simply has to be in the mix to be drafted is a second Tasmanian playing for North Melbourne in Skinner. She has transitioned from being a forward and the TSLW’s best player and consistent talent, into one of the best in the VFLW, showing she can lift at any level. Still only 21-years-old, Skinner has had some huge numbers since primarily staying in the midfield, picking up 18.1 disposals, 3.8 marks and 4.8 tackles for the Roos. It is her ability to play forward or through the midfield and adapt to the play, creating goal scoring opportunities for either herself or her teammates. Skinner is a plug-and-play typer who the Roos would be considering, but other teams would have to be keeping an eye on too.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria/Tasmania): #18

AFLW Draft notes:

Travelling over from Tasmania each week has proved valuable for Skinner who has had a sensational year for the Roos in the VFLW. As a player the Roos can take towards the back-end of the draft, Skinner is a valuable talent who adds both midfield and forward prowess, and much better value than what North Melbourne would pay in an open draft.

Abby Hewett

#31 Abby Hewett (Wilston Grange/Queensland)
12/04/2003 | 162cm
Medium Utility

Key strengths: Contested ball, clearances, goal sense, versatility

There might not be much of Hewett at 162cm, but the talented utility can play anywhere on the field. She knows how to win the ball inside or outside, reads it well in the air or ground level, and whilst she does her best work in close, can play as an outside player too. There are questions over where she will slot in at AFLW level, and she does have to learn to find the ball more often, but that is only because she can do so much damage with ball-in-hand, be it winning it in close and distributing it to the outside, using it in transition, or finding it close to goal and hitting the scoreboard. Whatever she ends up becoming, Hewett is one of the more underrated prospects in this year’s draft given Queensland’s lack of AFLW Under 19 Championships, but no doubt the two Queensland clubs eyes are all over her given her performances at QAFLW level.

State-based Pool Ranking (Queensland): #4

AFLW Draft notes:

A Brisbane Lions Academy member, Hewett will likely be a third or fourth option for the Lions with Bella Smith being the other Academy member having had an impressive season this year. Brisbane has its own zone to pick players from, so the Wilston Grange product will find a way there, and it will be interesting to see how the Lions chose to utilise her.

#32 Ingrid Houtsma (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
20/11/2003 | 176cm
Tall Utility

Key strengths: Versatility, X-factor, athleticism, marking

A player with plenty of upside, Houtsma becomes the remarkable fifth Falcon in the top 18 players showing just how deep the Falcons’ side was this season. She does not need to win a lot of the ball to have an impact, her Houtsma’s athleticism across the ground as a 176cm enabling her to play on a wing, or in a key position player at either end. Strong overhead, and able to win it at ground level, Houtsma attacks the ball at speed on a lead, and generally uses it well when in possession. Still ironing out consistency within games, the versatile utility has already spent time at centre half-back, centre half-forward and on the wing, which is a huge feather in the cap for the teenager.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #19

AFLW Draft notes:

Much like her Falcons teammate Feathertson, Houtsma is one who could bolt or slide given her raw attributes, but she has a lot to like about her game. A player who could be taken second round onwards, Houtsma represents value for any side that picks her up given her size, athleticism and versatility. Geelong might look at her, with the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda bringing plenty of youth through their programs, and Collingwood looking for a versatile tall.

#33 Tahlia Gillard (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
12/12/2003 | 190cm
Ruck/Key Forward

Key strengths: Mobility, versatility, size, athleticism

The towering ruck/forward AFL Women’s Academy season makes it into the top 20 on the back of a solid overall season. Whilst she still needs to work on clunking more grabs above her head, Gillard’s work around the ground and ability to get to repeat contests for a ruck and running as a midfielder is really impressive. Often towering over her opponents, Gillard moves incredibly well, and is a tall that teammates are not afraid to use in transition, as she rotated between the ruck and full forward to average 11.3 disposals and 14.1 hitouts, as well as a couple of inside 50s per game. A December birth, Gillard has plenty of upside that with time could develop into a damaging tall.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #20

AFLW Draft notes:

With Campbell already off to the Dees, Gillard looms as the best ruck prospect in the Victorian pool. She can play as a key forward too, and standing at 190cm, she is also clearly the tallest prospect in the AFLW Draft pool. Whilst still rounding out her game, Gillard is one who clubs could pounce on early, with the AFL Women’s Academy member having developed over the past few years, and has plenty of scope for the future. Carlton could be prime for Gillard as a tall target, with Western Bulldogs also likely to want to grab a tall, whist Collingwood would snap her up pretty quick if available given she fits the Magpies’ exact need.

Sarah Lakay

#34 Sarah Lakay (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
20/02/2003 | 186cm
Ruck

Key strengths: Ruck work, vertical leap, marking, defensive pressure

The standout West Australian ruck and a big improver in this year’s AFLW Draft crop, Lakay has come a long way in the past 12 months. From a basketball background, it is no surprise to hear of Lakay’s athleticism, and it was certainly no shock to see her smash the vertical jump records at the recent AFLW Draft Combine. Lakay is a high leaper with clean hands and great upside, able to tap the ball to advantage for her teammates. She is strong overhead, and good at ground level with great defensive pressure, and despite needing to improve her endurance to impact for longer, Lakay has plenty of potential to become a first choice ruck at AFLW level at 186cm.

State-based Pool Ranking (Western Australia): #5

AFLW Draft notes:

West Coast will likely use one of its two picks in the second round to pick up Lakay, especially if paired up with Rowley and Thomas. If the Eagles land Franklin, Lakay may slip to the Dockers who are more than happy to add another talented tall to their list, but both clubs would be very keen to pick up the athletic ruck.

#35 Bella Smith (Maroochydore/Queensland)
05/10/2003 | 167cm
Inside Midfielder

Key strengths: Strength, power, contested ball, clean hands, inside game

The fact Smith is potentially the sixth best player in the Queensland pool speaks volumes for the state and its footballing programs. The hardened inside midfielder could easily be rated in the top few, such is the evenness of the overall pool, with her inside game the second best behind top pick, Levi. She does not quite have the outside game that others do, but her contested ball-winning ability, clearance work and strength is what makes her the player she is. Able to dominate on the inside and extract the ball to the outside, Smith is the prototype inside midfielder and one who could play from early on in her career. She has the power to create separation from her opponents, and can distribute well by hand when exiting the congestion.

State-based Pool Ranking (Queensland): #6

AFLW Draft notes:

Another Brisbane Lions Academy member, it does not matter what order the Lions take them in, but they have a plethora of great youngsters to pick up, and Smith will only add to their inside brigade.

#36 Ally Morphett (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
11/11/2003 | 188cm
Ruck/Key Forward

Key strengths: Ruck work, penetrating kick, contested marking, competitiveness

Whilst the rucks so far in this Power Rankings have been athletic talents who utilise their around the ground speed and vertical leap to impact the contest, whereas Morphett offers a different skillset. Whilst able to still leap high, it is her body positioning and strength that helps her beat opponents, and despite not being as athletic as some of the others, she is the best contested mark of the rucks, and her competitiveness in the air or at ground level is superb. The other way Morphett has an advantage is her ability to play forward, where she can clunk contested marks and unleash her penetrating kick to effect. Being a part of the GIANTS Academy and NSW-ACT zone, Morphett is one who fits a need for the GIANTS as another tall, and would be more likely to start as a key forward and pinch-hit in the ruck.

State-based Pool Ranking (NSW-ACT): #2

AFLW Draft notes:

The GWS GIANTS may well read Morphett’s name out first given the Murray Bushrangers talent is the top pick in their Academy, but either way her name will come off the board, with the AFLW Academy member a player capable of impacting from early on, and working alongside Erin McKinnon at the GIANTS.

Keeley Sherar

#37 Keeley Sherar (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
29/10/2003 | 170cm
Balanced Midfielder

Key strengths: X-factor, upside, clearances, tackling

The Eastern Ranges talent was one who really stepped up in 2021 after only managing the one game in the shortened season last year, so not much was known about what she was capable of. Sherar not only stepped up to be a prime ball-mover for the Ranges – particularly in the absence of Olivia Meagher in the second half of the season and Tarni Brown after she was drafted last year – but earned a Vic Metro jumper for her troubles. Averaging 14.8 disposals, 3.4 inside 50s and 4.8 tackles, Sherar is a forward runner with great tackling skills and extraction out of the contest, can move the ball quickly and get it inside 50 well to set up scoring opportunities. One to watch who can add a point of difference to a midfield.

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #21

AFLW Draft notes:

At this stage it is hard to work out where players might end up, with Sherar heading to the Pies in our Draft Central Phantom Draft. Eastern Ranges have a good relationship with the Magpies, and expect Collingwood to consider the midfielder, with Melbourne having some good value picks, and St Kilda also looking for a midfielder on the inside with some good pace to send Georgia Patrikios and Tyanna Smith to the outside.

#38 Brooke Vickers (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
06/03/2003 | 171cm
Medium Defender/Wing

Key strengths: Skills, composure, versatility, reading the play

A medium defender who runs off half-back, hits up targets and then roams along a wing, Vickers is a player with some great upside, and is another Oakleigh Chargers’ premiership player. She averaged the 13.5 disposals, 3.3 tackles and a well-balanced two inside 50s and rebound 50s per game, such was her ability to cover the ground. The Chargers did not see as much of it in their defence as other teams, so Vickers had to hold a high line at times and be that kick behind the ball ready to intercept. She is not a renowned marker, but she is one to receive the handball and go, and uses the ball well in transition. Still developing areas of her game, as an overall prospect Vickers has some great talent

State-based Pool Ranking (Victoria): #22

AFLW Draft notes:

Like Sherar, it is difficult to exactly calculate where Vickers might land given the amount of even talent at this point in the draft, but the skilful defender and outside runner is likely to have a number of possibilities. The Western Bulldogs, Collingwood and Melbourne are all teams that like to play quickly with speed, so Vickers would be a name to watch out for there.

#39 Zoe Venning (West Adelaide/South Australia)
04/11/2003 | 168cm
Inside Midfielder/Forward

Key strengths: Contested ball, inside game, defensive pressure, endurance

Venning is a player who enjoyed a terrific season, not only standing out for West Adelaide in the SANFL Women’s, and representing South Australia at the AFLW Under 19 Championships, but picking up a host of accolades along the way. Venning won All-Australian honours as well as the West Adelaide best and fairest – claiming the latter ahead of teammate and league best and fairest winner Lauren Young – to be one of the more consistent players all season. With the Crows having so much strength at their disposal, and a smaller draft pool, Venning is one who has shown enough to be on a list, and it will come down to list spots and preferences. Her inside game and defensive pressure is superb, and whilst still working on her kicking, Venning has improved over the past couple of years, and has a great balance of athleticism between endurance, speed and agility to impress at the top level.

State-based Pool Ranking (South Australia): #4

AFLW Draft notes:

Following the announcement of the finalised AFLW Draft order, Adelaide only had three selections in its hand, and Venning is considered the fourth one in these rankings. However it indicates where Venning would go in an open draft, and could easily be sourced by interstate clubs, or indeed picked ahead of one of the other three if the Crows find the need for Venning’s role.

Makaela Tuhakaraina

#40 Makaela Tuhakaraina (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
23/08/2003 | 158cm
Small Utility

Key strengths: Acceleration, agility, power, defensive pressure

A raw potential player with huge upside, Tuharakaina is another West Australian who has come on in leaps and bounds the past 12 months. Cementing her self in South Fremantle’s best side from a rugby background, Tuhakaraina’s acceleration and agility is hard to beat, and the combination might be the best of anyone in the AFLW Draft pool. Despite standing at 158cm, Tuhakaraina is able to do a lot of damage by breaking up the opposition defensive zones, and she can play in any third of the ground. Often up forward running from a high half-forward inside 50, Tuhakaraina is still developing fundamentals of her game which is understandable, but her power and ability to burn off opponents gives clubs a raw canvas to work with going forward. With her defensive ability and offensive switch to burst away, she is a talent who will naturally catch the eye.

State-based Pool Ranking (Western Australia): #6

AFLW Draft notes:

Both clubs could do with her athletic profile, and she is ranked sixth here in this Power Rankings, but she could easily go higher with what she could become. Tuhakaraina might not have the game-on-game consistency of some of the others above her, but her sheer talent and upside would have both West Coast and Fremantle assessing their options.

Others:

Victorian Pool:

Holding the next two places in our rankings from Victoria are GWV Rebels’ Chloe Leonard and Northern Knights’ Maeve Chaplin. Top-age talents Bendigo Pioneers’ Elizabeth Snell and Eastern Ranges’ Olivia Meagher are thereabouts, as is Port Melbourne’s Sophie Locke, and AFLW Academy member Maykaylah Appleby. GWV Rebels’ Tahlia Meier, Oakleigh Chargers’ Eliza James, Gippsland Power’s Grace Matser, Calder Cannons’ Zali Friswell, Geelong Falcons’ Elizabeth Dowling and Dandenong Stingrays’ Ash Richards are others in contention.

Western Jets’ Jemima Woods, Casey Demons’ Imogen Milford, Eastern Ranges’ Cadhla Schmidli and Northern Knights’ Tarrah Delgado round out the AFLW Draft Combine invites who have the most interest. From a non-Combine invited look, Essendon’s Alana Barba, Collingwood duo Imogen Barnett and Matilda Zander – and as an outside roughy after a good year Marla Neal – are those who might be considered to make the step up, as North Melbourne’ Molly Eastman and Southern Saints’ Tara Bohanna have also enjoyed good seasons.

The Power Rankings do not include past AFLW players who are a chance of regaining a chance such as retirees who have backflipped to return playing such as Tegan Cunningham and Leah Kaslar, and ex-North Melbourne now Essendon VFLW skipper Georgia Nanscawen. Hawthorn VFLW also have plenty of players worthy of another chance, with the likes of Georgia Bevan, Nadia von Bertouch and Kristy Stratton among those in the brown and gold able to step in and make an immediate impact. Kate Gillespie-Jones and Winnie Laing both crossed from their respective clubs to run around with Casey Demons in the hope of being redrafted.

From a Tasmanian perspective, top-age talents Ella Maurer and Jemma Webster, as well as consistent draft-eligible talents Jemma Blair, Amy Prokopiec and Amy Bissett would be among those who have done the most to put their hands up for North Melbourne (and the wider Victorian pool).

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN POOL:

South Adelaide speedster Tahlita Buethke, Central District powerful forward Lauren Breguet and small forward/midfielder with the deadly left foot in Abbie Ballard are all very even in terms of whether they might get called up to the Crows or a club takes a look interstate. Ruck Leah Cutting is one you would expect to attract interest from interstate with Collingwood, Western Bulldogs and the West Australian teams always able to add another tall to the mix.

WEST AUSTRALIAN POOL:

East Fremantle’s Chloe Reilly is next in line out west, with mature-age left foot forward Tessa Doumanis, defender Emily Bennett and slick utility Melisha Hardy among the even contingent being considered. Peel Thunder duo Bella Mann and Beth Schilling have good scope for improvement, with Swan Districts duo Emma Nanut and Nyra Anderson and Claremont’s Matilda Dyke the other West Australians to keep an eye on. Norwood’s Jade Halfpenny has chosen West Australia as her nominating state and would be in the Top 60 overall as that athletic forward/midfielder, whilst VFLW talents North Melbourne’s Airlie Runnalls and Geelong’s Theresia Meissner are among the others having nominated the state. Sandringham Dragons’ Pia Staltari has nominated the state she grew up in and could be a slick ball user off half-back or on the outside for one of the West Australian sides.

QUEENSLAND POOL:

Giselle Davies is in the next few in our Power Rankings, with the Queenslander a member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy, and could even be taken in those first few picks. The Suns also have access to the Northern Territory talent including AFLW Academy member Ashanti Bush, and talented, athletic Grace Mulvahil who also would have made it into the Top 50 of the Power Rankings. The 20-year-old Bella Clarke received a Combine invite, as did mature-age Madison Goodwin and Steph O’Brien, whilst Brisbane Lions Academy members Christine Okesene and Casey Wynne are also in the mix to be picked up after their invites.

NSW-ACT POOL:

In our Phantom Draft, top-age tackling machine Brodee Mowbray found her way to the GIANTS and would be next in line with the talented forward in Georgie Fowler. The GIANTS have a number of late picks and with no competition for the Pool, could look to other top-age talents Maddy Hendrie or Teagan Germech who also received and AFLW Draft Combine invite.

2021 South Australia Under 19 squad announced – Phase 2

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) announced its Phase 2 Under 19 squad on Wednesday, with 33 of the state’s brightest prospects making the cut. An internal trial game on Friday night helped decide the final few selections, albeit amid terrible weather for a showcase game, as SA prepares to face Western Australia on August 7 in Round 1 of this year’s Under 19 National Championships.

Glenelg has contributed the most players, with seven Bays talents included in the squad. Among them is Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, the nephew of Gavin Wanganeen, who performed strongly in last week’s trial. While he is not club linked, Adelaide has a pair of Next Generation Academy members – Isaiah Dudley and Blayne O’Loughlin – in the squad, while Port Adelaide father-son candidate Jase Burgoyne (son of Peter) also features.

There are six 2002-born players in line for representative honours, with three of them coming out of the Woodville-West Torrens program. Namely, they are talls Zac Phillips and Jordan Lukac, and Max Litster. Sturt’s Mani Liddy returns after a terrific trial outing, as does Centrals speedster Lachlan Grubb, while Glenelg’s Dayne McGary is an eye-catching selection once again.

Among the premier 18th-year talent, first pick candidate Jason Horne just about selects himself, while fellow South Adelaide guns Matthew Roberts and Arlo Draper could recover from their respective ankle injuries in the nick of time. Cooper Murley (collarbone) is another in that category, though fellow Norwood prospects Henry Nelligan, Ned Carey, and Alistair Lord will hope to get a look in for Phase 3 as they return later in the year.

There are a couple of stat leaders among the pack too, in North Adelaide’s Hugh Jackson (disposals, handballs, inside 50s) and Centrals tall Saxon Evans (hitouts). Both have been in undeniable form at Under 18s level, as have the likes of James Willis and Lewis Rayson – who loom as ones to watch.

South Australia’s third selection phase will come prior to the state’s final batch of championships fixtures, which will take place in late-September as the squad travels to face against Vic Country and Vic Metro. The Croweaters are also set to take on the Allies during Phase 2.

Below is a preview of how the South Australian team may look, in a line-up put together by Draft Central analyst Ed Pascoe. Note, those named on the interchange and emergency lists are likely to rotate between the two Phase 2 fixtures.

Scroll further to see the full squad list.

B: Blayne O’Loughlin (North) – Oscar Adams (Glenelg) – Cooper Beecken (Glenelg)
HB: Jase Burgoyne (Eagles) – Zac Becker (Sturt) – Lewis Rayson (Glenelg)
C: Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (Glenelg) – Matthew Roberts (South) – Shay Linke (Centrals)
HF: Arlo Draper (South) – Morgan Ferres (Sturt) – Will Spain (Sturt)
F: Isaiah Dudley (Centrals) – Lukas Cooke (Eagles) – Cooper Murley (Norwood)
FOL: Zac Phillips (Eagles) – Jason Horne (South) – Hugh Jackson (North)

INT: Hugh Stagg (Glenelg), James Willis (North), Brayden Calvett (Eagles), Jordan Lukac (Eagles), Mani Liddy (Sturt)

EMG: Saxon Evans (Centrals), Lachlan Grubb (Centrals), Isaac Birt (South), Jacob Owens (Glenelg), Cade Kennedy (West), Dayne McGary (Glenelg), Luca Whitelum (Centrals), Oscar Steene (West), Harvey Harrison (North), Max Litster (Eagles)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA PHASE 2 UNDER 19 SQUAD:

PLAYER SANFL CLUB HEIGHT WEIGHT
Lachlan Grubb Central 177cm 75kg
Isaiah Dudley Central 166cm 69kg
Shay Linke Central 190cm 79kg
Saxon Evans Central 201cm 94kg
Luca Whitelum Central 188cm 77kg
Dayne McGary Glenelg 192cm 85kg
Lewis Rayson Glenelg 183cm 69kg
Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera Glenelg 188cm 70kg
Cooper Beecken Glenelg 190cm 73kg
Hugh Stagg Glenelg 180cm 79kg
Jacob Owens Glenelg 184cm 69kg
Oscar Adams Glenelg 198cm 85kg
Blayne O’Loughlin North 171cm 74kg
Hugh Jackson North 181cm 70kg
James Willis North 180cm 75kg
Harvey Harrison North 181cm 71kg
Cooper Murley Norwood 178cm 69kg
Arlo Draper South 186cm 75kg
Jason Horne South 184cm 77kg
Isaac Birt South 181cm 70kg
Matthew Roberts South 184cm 80kg
Mani Liddy Sturt 183cm 80kg
Morgan Ferres Sturt 190cm 80kg
Will Spain Sturt 178cm 69kg
Zac Becker Sturt 190cm 92kg
Cade Kennedy West 178cm 75kg
Oscar Steene West 199cm 82kg
Max Litster Woodville-West Torrens 184cm 83kg
Zac Phillips Woodville-West Torrens 201cm 85kg
Jordan Lukac Woodville-West Torrens 196cm 89kg
Brayden Calvett Woodville-West Torrens 177cm 72kg
Jase Burgoyne Woodville-West Torrens 186cm 65kg
Lukas Cooke Woodville-West Torrens 195cm 80kg

Image Credit: AFL Photos

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 14

THE 2021 SANFL Under 18s season continued over the weekend, with the latest round of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 17 and 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 4.13 (37) def. by NORWOOD 10.10 (70)

By: Michael Alvaro

Woodville-West Torrens:

#14 Blake Hansen

With plenty to do in the Eagles’ defence, Hansen racked up an equal game-high 25 disposals and nine rebound 50s. The bottom-ager took on the kick-in duties while stationed in his usual defensive post, often snatching metres out of the goalsquare before unleashing a long kick. He was also shifted up onto the wing, showing the same kind of positive forward run and looking for handball receives on the outer.

#16 Will Pearce

Pearce was a strong and consistent part of the Eagles’ midfield mix, proving prominent around the contest in conditions which made clean extraction tough. He managed to get his hands on the ball plenty of times and finished with 21 disposals, seven marks, and six tackles in a pretty well-rounded display, though he couldn’t quite find the goals like he usually does up forward.

#18 William Neumann

Another strong body in midfield, Neumann seemed well suited to the conditions with his ample work over the ball and ability to break tackles with brute force. Neumann also showed some nice points of difference, with one being his overhead marking as he rose for a couple of solid grabs around the ground. He also won a free kick inside 50 and slotted a well-hit set shot goal, adding to his 20 touches and four clearances.

Others:

Dustin Launer again finished as one of the Eagles’ highest ball winners with 23 disposals, as the likes of Jack Murphy (19 disposals, nine marks) and Nathan Barkla (16 disposals, five tackles) put in solid shifts. Meanwhile, state Under 17s squad member Hunter Carter had it 14 times though midfield and snared a goal early in the final term.

Norwood:

#3 Noah Hyde

Hyde was super busy for Norwood on the outer, breaking the lines with positive run-and-carry and proving clever with ball in hand. He racked up 22 touches, seven marks and five inside 50s for the Redlegs, helping link forward in transition and breaking into some really dangerous areas. He very nearly impacted the scoreboard in a major way too, but could only register two behinds.

#9 Tyson Walls

Like Hyde, Walls helped link Norwood into attack with productive carry and clever ball use between the arcs. He looked to get creative with ball in hand; darting short kicks to his forwards, chaining possessions by hand, and working hard to have repeat impacts in his side’s passages of play. The state Under 17 squad member had another terrific outing overall, finishing with 21 disposals and five inside 50s.

#10 Taj Rahui

Arguably best afield for the Redlegs, Rahui was perhaps even better than his final statline of 25 disposals, six marks, and three rebound 50s. The bottom-ager mopped up beautifully across Norwood’s defensive half, setting a high line to help force turnovers and keep his side locked into attack mode. He handled the ball cleanly in tough conditions and was not afraid to take on tackles, with rebounding run a key feature of his game. Rahui also looked to kick through the corridor, hitting some aggressive passes through the middle to really compound his impact in a well-rounded performance.

#20 Charles Kemp

Another player who handled the ball exceptionally well in muddy conditions, Kemp clunked a remarkable seven contested marks among his total of eight overall. He used his strength well when stationed as Norwood’s deepest forward, engaging well with his opponent before snapping the ball up. As the game wore on, Kemp also worked further afield and presented strongly on the lead, proving a reliable marking target. He kicked three goals for the game, turning crumber for the last with a nice shark off hands and snap finish.

Others:

Norwood’s midfield worked hard at the coalface to set the Redlegs on the front foot, with the likes of Benjamin Belperio (24 disposals, eight clearances), Peter Minervini (23 disposals, five inside 50s, and Will Charlton (21 disposals, two goals) all returning really solid efforts. Jayden Gale was productive with nine inside 50s, while Will Bowman and Riley Verrall stood up in defence.

NORTH ADELAIDE 10.5 (65) def. by WEST ADELAIDE 15.7 (97)

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#5 Shaun Bennier

Donning the long-sleeves, defender Shaun Bennier was one of the Roosters best performers on an otherwise disappointing day for the red and whites. Starting the game deep in defence, he was seemingly involved in everything for the Roosters as West Adelaide peppered the goal-face. His long kicking was on display as Bennier was charged with the kick-in duties. He had some good battles with a couple of the West Adelaide forwards, including Tom Scully, and did well despite giving away some height. Late in the second term he was moved to the other end of the ground, with the change paying immediate dividends as Bennier booted a set-shot goal. Moving back into defence after the main break, his ball use remained clean and his rebound proved important. He finished the game with 16 disposals, three marks and seven rebounds.

#28 Max Blacker

With important midfielders Hugh Jackson, Harvey Harrison and James Willis out of the side due to state commitments, bottom-aged on-baller Max Blacker was given a more balanced role through the midfield. He found plenty of the ball and seemed to enjoy spending some more time on the inside, compared to his predominately wing-role when the Roosters are at full-strength. He used the ball fairly well for most of the game, with his disposal by foot generally careful and precise. The equal-leading disposal getter for the home side, Blacker finished with 24 touches, four marks, three tackles, three clearances and three inside-50s.

Others: 

Midfielder William Dowling (24 disposals, five marks, three tackles, three clearances, six inside-50s and a goal) was certainly one of North’s best, working hard through the middle. He was joined by Kane McAuliffe (18 disposals, four tackles, three clearances and two goals) and Adam Heath (17 disposals and four clearances) who both fought hard. The former produced one of the highlights of the game by launching a left-foot goal from outside-50 late in the game. Angus Tully joined McAuliffe as the Roosters only multiple goal-kickers, booting a couple apiece, while James White laid a game-high 12 tackles to go with 16 disposals and a goal.

West Adelaide:

#7 Kobe Ryan

Bottom-aged midfielder Kobe Ryan was once again his sides most prolific player in the triumph over North Adelaide. The Sacred Heart College student showed excellent vision and skill to hit up his targets with ball in-hand. The placement of his kicks, despite the blustery conditions, highlighted his terrific skillset. He cracked in typically hard all-game, drawing a number of free kicks simply by going in lower than his opponent. A natural ball-winner who reads the game well in-tight, Ryan was knocked off the ball at-times by bigger bodied opposition, but concluded another positive showing with 32 possessions, five tackles, eight clearances and nine inside-50s.

#37 Tom Scully

Key forward Tom Scully had a great day in attack for West Adelaide. Scully provided teammate Harry Barnett with a cop-out in the ruck at-times, but was stationed deep in attack for much of the contest. He presented up the ground well, with his size and reach clearly worrying the North Adelaide defenders. He looked capable overhead without being dominant. A highlight was his strong one-on-one mark in the third term which led to a set-shot goal. Scully was very clean below his knees and showed a willingness to get involved in the game in general play rather than simply wait for his opportunities in the air. The tall utility finished with 12 disposals, three goals, two marks and 17 hit-outs.

#40 Luke Young

Medium forward Luke Young tore open the game with a brilliant passage in the second quarter which saw him boot three goals in as many minutes. Strong overhead, Young used his size to advantage in attack, nudging his opponent under the ball to take a couple of solid grabs. He combined well with Tom Scully inside-50, with the duo proving difficult to stop in-tandem. Young would add a fourth goal in the final term to complete a terrific showing which saw him also manage 17 disposals and six marks (two contested).

#51 Harry Barnett

Big-man Harry Barnett was terrific in the ruck for West Adelaide, often getting both hands to the ball at stoppages and either clearing space or palming it down to his midfielders. However Barnett’s ability to impact the game aerially was particularly exciting. His judgement of the ball in-flight and strong hands overhead allowed him to take five grabs for the game – two of which were contested. Barnett showed off his leap and athleticism by soaring high early in the first term to haul in a spectacular grab. The teenager worked hard around the ground and booted a second-term goal. He finished the day with 9 disposals and 23 hit-outs in an encouraging performance given the less-than favourable conditions at Prospect Oval.

Others:

Small defender Charlie Pridham didn’t accumulate as much of the ball as in recent weeks, however he still had some important touches, particularly under pressure down back. The under-18 competition’s leading rebounder, Pridham managed 17 disposals, four tackles and three rebounds in the Bloods win. Midfielders Tyson Coe and Dylan McCormick produced workmanlike performances through the middle. Coe impressed with his brute strength and clean hands in-tight, finishing the game with 18 touches, five tackles, six clearances and four inside-50s. The speedy McCormick also gathered 18 possessions, to go with four tackles, five clearances and three inside-50s.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 6.7 (43) def. GLENELG 4.9 (33)

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide:

#5 Angus Bradley

The blonde-haired utility spent the game in the midfield, having shown an ability to fill a role across half-back earlier in the year. Bradley was effective at stoppages, positioning himself well, reading the ruckman’s taps and often clearing the area with a quick snap. In tricky conditions, he showed a desire to break open the game with some passages of run and carry. However Bradley could have lowered his eyes to spot up shorter targets at-times instead of kicking long, particularly when going forward. He added a goal in the third term after capitalising on a Bays fumble on the goal-line and finished the day with 22 disposals, five tackles, seven clearances and six inside-50s.

#11 Jaiden Magor

Bottom-ager Jaiden Magor started the game at half-forward but rotated through the midfield as the game wore on. He didn’t accumulate the numbers of fellow on-ballers Angus Bradley or Luke Mitton, however Magor showed some glimpses which suggests he has a very bright future. He was clean at ground level and weaved through traffic nicely. His highlight of the game came tucked against the boundary line where Magor danced past a couple of would-be tacklers, located a target in the corridor and picked him off with a pin-point drop punt. He tackled hard as always and moved well across the ground but missed a couple of opportunities in-front of goal, finishing with three behinds to go with 13 disposals, five tackles, three clearances and four inside-50s.

#13 Lachlan Hayes

Lachlan Hayes was South Adelaide’s glue down back in what was arguably a best on-ground performance. The diminutive defender read the play well and positioned himself well to cut off a number of Glenelg attacking moments. Spending some time on the dangerous Harry Tunkin at-times, he not only held his own in one-on-one situations, but covered for a number of his teammates, always seeming to be in the thick of it in defence. He provided plenty of rebound from South Adelaide’s defensive-50 and used the ball well in windy and slippery conditions. The 17-year-old from the Cove Football Club finished with a team-high 27 disposals, eight marks, three tackles and 11 rebounds.

Others: 

Small midfielder Luke Mitton was combative in his on-ball role, providing some all-important energy around the contest. He gathered 20 disposals (including 18 kicks), five tackles and six clearances. Fellow midfielder Tom Wheaton managed 17 disposals, five tackles and three clearances. Talented ruckman Will Verrall fought hard against Glenelg big-man Henry Gould, with the pair both having their moments. Verrall finished with 24 hit-outs along with eight disposals. Clever forward Jack Delean booted two goals from his seven touches, including a well-taken set-shot.

Glenelg:

#6 Darcy Gluyas

With a couple of Glenelg’s best players absent from the under-18 side due to state commitments on Friday night, Darcy Gluyas was the Bays go-to guy in the middle. He was dominant in the first term, winning 14 possession and providing some calmness and composure in an otherwise scrappy, heavily contested-style game. Wearing the long-sleeves, Gluyas spent some time on the inside and the outside and looked particularly damaging when given some time and space. He gathered 26 disposals, four marks, six tackles, five clearances and four inside-50s in a well-rounded display.

#29 Hayden Brokensha

Bottom-ager Hayden Brokensha played arguably his best game in Bays colours in the clubs ten-point defeat. He was deployed across half-back where he demonstrated good poise and looked quite at home. An unfortunate mistake on the Panthers goal-line led to a South Adelaide major, however Brokensha accumulated plenty of the football and showed some promising signs in the yellow and black, finishing with a game-high 29 disposals, two marks and six rebounds.

#38 Jakob Ryan

Jakob Ryan lined-up across half-forward to start the game but was moved onto the wing as the game progressed. He had a set-shot early in the game but pushed the kick across the face. He was clean by hand on a couple of occasions on the outer wing and was composed with his ball-use all day, both by hand and by foot. A classy mover who has performed well for Glenelg’s under-18s since re-joining the team a couple of weeks ago, Ryan gathered 26 disposals, four marks, four tackles and three inside-50s.

Others:

Adelaide father-son product Brodie Edwards produced another solid performance playing a variety of roles for Glenelg. Clean by hand throughout the contest, he finished with 22 disposals, four clearances and three rebounds. Harry Tunkin managed 20 disposals, three marks, four tackles and a goal and was typically busy around the ball. Archie Lovelock and Will Watts both accumulated 22 disposals, whilst key forward Harry McInnes booted three of Glenelg’s four goals for the game.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 7.12 (54) def. by STURT 15.13 (103)

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#17 Tahjin Krieg

Krieg was Centrals’ best player afield and the most prolific across both sides, finishing with impressive numbers of 37 disposals, 10 marks, and five clearances. He was constantly on the move in midfield, breaking to the outer and generating plenty of forward momentum for his side. While Sturt was well on top for most of the game, Krieg proved a consistent figure and was clever in his decision making with ball in hand. Whether it was darting away to avoid tacklers or drawing the opponent one way before moving the other, Krieg found ways to manufacture room to run, with his sharp kicks the only facet which sometimes let him down.

#38 Brodie Tuck

Considering his side was dominated for much of the contest, Tuck fared well to come away with 21 disposals, eight marks, and 3.3 as Centrals’ rotating ruck-forward. He was mostly stationed forward and proved a focal point for the Bulldogs, but not always in a traditional key position sense. While Tuck presented nicely up the ground as a marking option, he was also made to work with plenty of ground balls inside 50, and showcased some dynamism when doing so. The bottom-ager snagged two of his three majors during the third term, putting through consecutive snaps with class for a man of his 193cm standing.

Others:

Ruben Carreno had plenty to do down back before being shifted to midfield, showcasing a sound short kicking game among his 25-disposal effort. Henry Ratcliff also rolled through midfield and collected 21 touches, while Jake Grubb (17 disposals, seven marks) was handy on the outer and Adam Deakin (12 disposals, six marks, three behinds) was dangerous once swung forward from defence.

Sturt:

#7 Nick Sadler

Sadler was superb for Sturt, showcasing every bit of his class from midfield with 26 disposals, six clearances and a goal. He looked as polished as anyone in possession, with his clean hands and punchy kicking helping the Double Blues gain ascendancy in the centre. The bottom-ager proved a slippery customer and utilised his speed on the ball, snatching metres or gaining ample separation to ensure his kicks were either well directed or at least penetrative. He was even busy when resting forward and speared some lovely passes to others, while also producing a highlight-reel speccy and goal at the end of the third term.

#11 Luca Slade

Sturt has some really promising Under 16 talent coming through its 18s squad, and Slade is one of them. The 2005-born midfielder-forward enjoyed plenty of minutes in the engine and looked dangerous on the break, using his speed to carry the Double Blues into attack. When stationed forward, Slade worked up to the arc and helped link his side towards goal. His smarts showed more and more as the game wore on, and Slade finished with 28 disposals, seven marks and a goal – with more than just one look at the big sticks.

#28 George Pope

Another of Sturt’s up-and-coming Under 16s, Pope continues to show promise after contributing 24 disposals, five inside 50s and two goals. The under-ager rotated through midfield but spent plenty of time forward, using his strength to bustle through tackles and release handballs under that kind of pressure. He helped the Double Blues break into attack and while his disposal by foot remains a touch raw, Pope managed to convert two terrific goals.

Others:

Sturt was served well by its forwards, as Jackson Bishop (13 disposals, four goals), Chad Reschke (15 disposals, nine marks, two goals), and Blake Fidge (14 disposals, one goal) formed a very handy trio. Cormac Dwyer was productive in midfield with 28 disposals, five clearances and a goal, while the likes of Jamie Taylor and Kai Tucker also had their moments on either side of midfield.

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography via South Adelaide FC

Scouting Notes: 2021 South Australia Under 19 trials

SOUTH Australia’s best available Under 19 talent went head-to-head on Friday night, contending with shocking weather to stake their claims for representative honours. A stronger Team Yellow handily beat its Team Blue counterpart, 8.7 (55) to 2.8 (20), though the result was an afterthought with state squad spots up for grabs.

First round prospects Jason Horne (League), Matthew Roberts, Arlo Draper, and Cooper Murley (all injured) were among those unavailable, but there were still some handy standouts who showed their class on a tough night for clean footy. We highlight them below in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

TEAM YELLOW 2.2 | 3.3 | 6.6 | 8.7 (55)
TEAM BLUE 0.1 | 0.4 | 0.6 | 2.8 (20)

GOALS:

Yellow: I. Dudley 2, M. Ferres 2, J. Lukac, W. Spain, Z. Phillips, M. Liddy
Blue: D. McDonald, H. Kittel

BEST:

Yellow: N. Wanganeen, B. O’Loughlin, M. Liddy, I. Dudley, J. Burgoyne, H. Jackson
Blue: L. Whitlum, B. Thomson, M. Dnistriansky, C. Horsnell, D. McDonald, Z. Dumesny

TEAM YELLOW:

By: Michael Alvaro

#2 Isaiah Dudley (Central District)
30/04/2003 | 166cm/69kg | Small Forward/Midfielder

Wet conditions typically suit those low to the ground and Dudley, the smallest player afield at 166cm, took toll. The Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) product was crafty in his small forward post, proving near-impossible to monitor on the lead with his clever runs and deft bodywork. He kicked the only goal of the second term, edging the heavy ball home from a set shot, before adding another in the third. Dudley also got a late run in midfield and showcased slick skills, but looked most dangerous inside 50 when Team Yellow entered on a fast break.

#4 Blayne O’Loughlin (North Adelaide)
11/01/2003 | 171cm/74kg | Small Defender/Midfielder

Another of the crafty smalls for Team Yellow, O’Loughlin took up his usual position down back but also rotated nicely through midfield. He helped form a high line behind the ball, pushing up aggressively to force turnovers at ground level and thrust his side into attack with a sharp kicking game. The Adelaide NGA hopeful was particularly prominent in term four, as he found the ball in more space around the ground and hit some nice targets on the move.

#8 Hugh Jackson (North Adelaide)
3/05/2003 | 181cm/70kg | Midfielder

Usually a consistent ball winner, Jackson proved as much once again as a staple in the Team Yellow midfield. He often took up the anchor spot at the back of centre bounces and read the flow of play beautifully to receive first hands on the outer. With a burst of speed, Jackson would then wheel around and carry the ball forward on his left side, but was sometimes let down by his kicking in the tough conditions. The North Adelaide midfielder also had a shot on goal in term one, seeing his attempt pushed wide as he was squeezed for space while kicking.

#12 Lachlan Grubb (Central District)
7/12/2002 | 177cm/75kg | Small Forward

One of six 19th year prospects afield for Team Yellow, Grubb warmed to the contest well and got quite busy in the front half after quarter time. Starting forward, the Centrals speedster pushed up the ground before looking to use his pace when carrying back towards goal. He proved threatening in those quick passages and even had a couple of set shot chances on goal, which he couldn’t quite convert with the heavy ball.

#14 Lewis Rayson (Glenelg)
14/01/2003 | 183cm/69kg | Wing/Half-Back

While not his most prolific performance, Rayson was still able to showcase some of his value in a variety of roles. Stationed behind the ball and on both sides of midfield, the Glenelg prospect ran hard and provided nice drive with his speed and equally quick ball movement. He lurked on the outer and looked to either receive or work into space around the ground, where he typically does his best work in transition.

#16 Jase Burgoyne (WWT Eagles)
15/07/2003 | 186cm/65kg | Defender/Midfielder

The lightly-built Port Adelaide father-son prospect was one of the best players afield before half time, racking up plenty of ball as he waxed between midfield and defence. Burgoyne, whose champion uncle is aptly nicknamed ‘Silk’, showed some of that exact trait with his sharp baulks and poise in possession. He found his way out of tough spots with class, propping in traffic before distributing cleanly by foot. He accumulated many of his touches across the backline in term two, but saw the play head back his way many times with clean ball movement difficult to generate.

#22 Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (Glenelg)
22/2/2003 | 188cm/70kg | Wing

Another talent with famous names to carry, Wanganeen-Milera is blazing his own trail. He looked the most polished player afield amid heavy rain and wind, making the wing his own and operating nicely between the arcs. The recent Glenelg League debutant proved threatening with his classy ball use going forward, making terrific decisions under pressure and finding ways to hit targets inside 50. While not always leaning on his speed, Milera played the conditions well with more agile shifts and can be damaging either way on the outer.

#26 Mani Liddy (Sturt)
20/02/2002 | 183cm/80kg | Inside Midfielder

Liddy staked his claim for best afield honours, and could well have been through sheer output across the four quarters. The 19-year-old Sturt midfielder was a mainstay at the contest, using his mature frame to burrow in over the ball and bustle out of stoppages. He used his strength in those instances and was quite effective in both his decision making and use by hand, while still looking to develop his kicking and outside run. Liddy capped off his effort with a goal on the run in term three, taking the advantage and steadying nicely inside 50.

TEAM BLUE:

By: Declan Reeve

#7 Brock Thomson (WWT Eagles)
20/02/2003 | 178cm/64kg | Small Defender/Midfielder

Involved throughout the defensive half, Thomson did his best to impact contests and stop incoming opposition attacks as they flew in. Had a few crucial moments early on, taking a couple of intercept marks in the defensive 50 and kicking it out wide. It became evident pretty quickly that Thomson is able to get good distance behind his kicks, generally gaining 40 or 50 meters on each one, with a kick in during the second quarter where he took three steps and launched it to the centre square the best example of his penetration. 

#27 Matthew Dnistriansky (Norwood)
22/03/2003 | 187cm/75kg | General Defender

Looking like one of the standout performers from the Blue side, Dnistriansky was seemingly involved in everything in the backline, mixing his intercept marking and kicking ability to cause constant headaches for the Yellow forwardline. He took his time to work into things but once he stuck his first mark he was always present. The Norwood prospect looked to kick the ball wide when he had possession and there weren’t any options up the ground, but wasn’t afraid to take trickier kicks further up the field to try and create something offensively, in a game where those opportunities didn’t come about too often. He pushed up the ground as the game went on and started taking marks on the wing to send the ball long inside 50.

#29 Luca Whitlum (Central District)
16/07/2003 | 188cm/77kg | Midfielder/Utility

Whitlum was sighted everywhere through the game, impacting in all thirds of the ground. He looked his best in the thick of the contest, able to throw his weight around and knock others off balance to win the ball, or apply high pressure on opposition ball winners to force stoppages. It was the story of his game early on, unable to really stick tackles but pushing opponents into tricky spots, but as he worked into the game he started sticking them more. Whitlum generally used the ball well by foot, taking safer options when they were presented.

Image Credit: Mark Brake/AFL Photos

Competitive Venning used to putting in the “extra effort”

WINNING your club’s best and fairest award over the league and state Under 19s MVP is no mean feat, but it’s exactly what West Adelaide midfielder Zoe Venning pulled off in 2021. The tenacious ball winner was part of a strong Westies side which surged to this year’s SANFL Women’s grand final, averaging 16.5 disposals, 4.7 tackles, and 2.1 clearances across 12 games.

Having previously played netball at a high level, the 17-year-old says she knew exactly what it would take to be able to put in the “extra effort” required to make such strides at senior level.

“I was quite high up with my netball so I was used to putting the extra effort in off the field,” Venning said. “I always did my running… I know what it takes to put in hard work so that wasn’t something I was inexperienced with, it was more the age gap because I had always played with girls my age.

“Moving to SANFLW and playing with older girls matured my level of training, being a bit more mature was the biggest challenge.”

Venning credited her footballing journey to her dad, who encouraged her to “give it a go” having already excelled in netball and basketball. After starting out with the Mitcham Hawks, she fell in love with the game and soon found team success closer to home.

“I got to where I am now through my dad,” she said. “I first played at Mitcham Hawks when I was 13 and I didn’t want to play at all but dad said ‘come on Zoe, give it a go’ and I really liked it. My first game I got a lot of it, kicking off my shin but I just loved it.

“My dad wanted to make a girl’s program where I live, so he started up the Blackwood Football Club girl’s program and I’ve played there ever since and every year we’ve won the premiership. It’s just been such a good culture, all my best friends play there so that’s really how I started footy.”

Having started out scrubbing the ball off her shin, Venning has since added some polish to her game but remains a tough sort of ball winner who thrives at the contest. When outlining her strengths, the versatile talent was quick to list “contested ball wins” atop the tree.

“I really back myself,” she said. “I don’t really get intimidated by who I’m (against). I control if I’m going to get the ball or not, I’m not an outside receiver.

“I also think my marking’s quite strong. As a midfielder I can take a strong mark and be a link-up player, even on the kick-outs.”

Zoe Venning on the move for West Adelaide | Image Credit: On The Ball Media

Venning’s strengths made her a lock for SANFLW Team of the Year honours, and she brought the same kind of vigour to her state representative duties. With averages of 23 disposals, seven tackles, and four clearances per her three National Championship games, she also earned Under 19 All Australian status.

Speaking amid April’s Victorian leg of the carnival, she had both individual and team goals in mind.

“It’s been a really good achievement and I’m really excited just to show people what I’ve got,” she said. “I’m looking at it as an opportunity for me and the team to really utilise the talent we have in SA because it’s our standalone year.

“I’m just looking forward to showing my teamwork with others and it’s not just me, I want everyone to do well. But I still want to show that I am a strong player and I’m here to get drafted.”

While finding her way onto an AFLW list is the end goal, Venning is also seeking to succeed in her current Year 12 studies and knows missing out may not be the “be all and end all”. She also has a strong source of inspiration to look up to at the next level.

“An inspiration is Rachelle Martin, who was in my Westies team,” she said. “She inspires me because she worked so hard to get where she is now, playing for the Crows. “She’s a really hard worker, really nice, always caring to her teammates and that’s mainly what inspires me to keep going. I see her work ethic and I want to be like that.”

Come July 27 at the 2021 AFLW Draft, Venning has the chance to join Martin at Adelaide.

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 13

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

CENTRAL DISTRICT 12.7 (79) def. by NORTH ADELAIDE 16.12 (108)

By: Declan Reeve

Central District:

#21 Austin McDonald

McDonald was the major ball winner for Central through the contest, with his balance around the contest particularly impressive, able to win the ball in close or hold out and get a handball receive on the outside, he’d get the ball and spread well from the contest to give himself space to weigh up his options. Often good use by hand, especially in tight, it was McDonald’s kicking that at times let him down, looking rushed even without pressure sometimes; it was obvious when he did take his time the technique was more than good enough to get the ball to the advantage of teammates.

#37 Cody Gilchrist

Playing as the main forward target for Centrals, Gilchrist continued his impressive form in the forward half, getting a return of five goals and two behinds from the standout performance. Gilchrist was dominant aerially and on the lead, able to consistently clunk marks or draw in a free kick from his opponent, the reliability he presented as a target kept Central in the game. With the goals all fairly standard full forward goals, mostly from set shots, it was promising to see that Gilchrist looked to pass off the footy when on tougher angles, and pushed up the ground to be an option higher up and give into the 50, playing an overall selfless game.

OTHERS:

Trent Tattoli (28 disposals and 10 marks) never gave up despite Centrals being behind for so long, with Brodie Tuck (15 disposals, five marks and a goal) also looking good in patches as he did his best to assist Gilchrist as a forward target.

North Adelaide:

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

Playing his usual role in the back line, O’Loughlin brought really dangerous drive out of the defensive half as he pushed up to get handball receives. He was often used when he called for it coming from behind, getting it at top speed and kicking long forward. When he had the opportunity to steady himself, or when he was taking the kick ins, O’Loughlin delivered well to the advantage of his teammates. Managed to sneak forward and kick two goals to round out an impressive performance.

#4 Isaac Keeler

Splitting his time between the forward line and the ruck, Keeler did his best to make every play he was involved in dangerous, even if it meant sacrificing his own stats sheet with a tap to advantage of a teammate, or a give off inside 50. Despite his tall stature, Keeler covers the ground remarkably well, and finds ways to beat opponents with his agility and speed quite often, even after collecting the ball from below his knees he’s able to burst away and pass it off elsewhere. Didn’t have the greatest day in terms of accuracy returning with two goals and three behinds, with his consistency on goal a noted area of improvement.

#51 Angus Tully

Whilst not the tallest player out there, Tully looked strong aerially when required to prove it, with his aerial strength getting him a contested mark in the first quarter and a goal to follow it. He showed a real natural instinct for ground balls as well in the forward half of the ground, able to win them under pressure and dish out a handball, or burst away and kick to leading teammates. Earned his highest goal return of the season so far, accurately putting four goals on the board with no behinds.

OTHERS:

James Willis (34 disposals, three goals and six marks) was as solid a contributor as the Roosters could’ve asked for splitting his time between the midfield and forward-line, with Max Blacker (27 disposals, one goal and six marks) and Zyton Santillo (26 disposals) also registering high returns for their hard work. Despite registering his lowest disposal tally for the season, Hugh Jackson (17 disposals) still had some nice moments.

GLENELG 10.21 (81) def. STURT 5.3 (33)

By: Michael Alvaro

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

A solid body in the Bays midfield, Stagg contributed plenty of work at the coalface with his strength over the ball and ability to dish out handballs under tackling pressure. He would often win possession and be forced to dispose with opponents hanging off him, but backed himself to break clear of congestion with power. He booted his lone goal for the game with a well-steadied finish in the third term, having also registered two behinds and even more opportunities as he looked to manufacture some space.

#11 Jacob Owens

Finishing as the most prolific player afield with 38 disposals, Owens seemed to be everywhere at times on the back of his unrelenting two-way running. That exact trait saw him play the wing role perfectly, breaching either arc consistently while also carrying the ball positively everywhere in between. Whether he was dropping back or driving forward, Owens used the ball relatively neatly, but found less space to operate as the game wore on. Overall, it was an ultra consistent display from the running machine.

#13 Hayden Brokensha

Another Tiger who played his role effectively, Brokensha swept beautifully out of defence and was at the fall of nearly every contest formed in the back half. When not intercepting himself, Brokensha would mop up the spills and chase the loose balls, providing a cool head across Glenelg’s high defensive line. He tended to use the ball well in tough spots and knew when to either hand off under pressure, or release a lateral kick to open the play up.

#20 Lewis Rayson 

Rotating through the midfield and defence, Rayson’s running power and ability to chain possessions saw Glenelg drive forward with force. He used his turn of speed to set off in space after winning ground balls, dishing a handball and working hard to receive the next possession. Rayson also did so when using the ball by foot, targeting shorter options at times to stay involved in the play. His radar was a touch off in the first half, but he steadied after the main break to deliver some cleaner passes inside 50. He pressed up aggressively behind the ball and forced turnovers, even showing his handy vertical leap with an intercept mark during term three. Productive as always, it was another solid 25-disposal outing for Rayson.

#21 Cooper Beecken

Beecken didn’t finish with the formidable numbers of others, but looked sharp as ever on the ball when working it out of defence. He’s a smooth operator across half-back and showed as much on Saturday with clean and composed contributions in tough areas of the ground. His best stint came during term three, where his assured handling and distribution allowed Glenelg to force the turnover and move swiftly into its array of transitions.

#38 Jakob Ryan 

The bottom-ager was exceptional, working high up the ground from his forward post to provide a reliable marking target. Ryan constantly got separation on the lead and presented strongly all the way up to half back, taking clean marks and quickly moving the ball on. He proved a key link in Glenelg’s rebounding play, with his repeatable skill proving hard to stop. A fourth term free kick conversion proved reward for his effort, before pulling up a bit sore in the dying stages. 23 disposals and 10 marks just about does his performance justice.

Others:

Brodie Edwards, Ben Ridgway, and Will Trevena were all productive members of Glenelg’s midfield rotation with over 20 disposals each, while William Watts also got a run in there and snared 3.2 up forward. Harry Tunkin and Hunter Window were good at ground level, as the likes of William Wiseman and Jarrad Parish looked to contribute aerially at either end of the ground.

Sturt:

#5 Jordan Hein

Having gained some experience in the Reserves grade, Hein returned to the Under 18s and had no trouble getting his hands on the ball. He finished as Sturt’s highest disposal getter with 30, including 23 kicks and 10 rebound 50s. Hein worked hard to accumulate from the last line, all the way up to centre half-forward with his running game sending the Double Blues forward with intent. While he looked to get good distance on some kicks, he also saw the ball come straight back in some instances. The zippy mover held a high line and came off it hard to receive off centre bounces, attempting to immediately drive his side into attack with green ball.

#8 Lachlan Thomas

The wingman produced another solid performance for the Double Blues, taking up his usual post and playing the position well. He dropped back to help the defence but tended not to get sucked into the forward arc, or into the contest. Still, Thomas fought for the ball when called upon and took a courageous mark under the high ball in term one. He took up handy positions on the outer and was a positive runner with ball in hand.

#15 Alex Holt

Along with Hein, Holt had plenty to do in defence as Glenelg poured on 31 scoring shots. He was only second to his teammate for disposals, but that haul included a game-high 23 kicks and 15 rebound 50s. Those numbers were slightly inflated by his kick-in duties, but Holt was made to compete on the last line of defence and chimed in with some really nice intercept marks – particularly in term three – before quickly moving the ball on by foot.

Others:

Bottom-ager Nick Sadler did some nice things in his 12-disposal effort from midfield, while the likes of Loch Rawlinson and George Pope also sought to provide some resistance at the source. Another state Under 17s representative in Luca Slade also had his moments and Kai Tucker provided some handy run.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 15.10 (100) def. NORWOOD 9.3 (57)

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#4 Jack Delean

The crafty small forward again got to work and was a menace inside attacking 50 with 4.2 from 15 touches. Delean built into the game steadily and snared three of his four majors after half time, though his first game before the main break from a smart front-and-centre crumb. The bottom-ager proved handy on the lead and converted three set shots with aplomb. His third goal came on the back of a terrific overhead mark against two opponents, defying his size, while the fourth was earned via a free kick as he got busy at a forward 50 stoppage. Undeniable in attack.

#10 Isaac Birt

Birt was again outstanding in his customary wing role, linking South into attack with his work between the arcs. While listed in an outside role, Birt also did the tough stuff with hard tackles, eye-catching spins out of traffic, and solid overhead marks. He brought his usual wingman traits to the fore too, running and delivering forward with intent – backing his pace and skills to do so. He finished with 25 disposals, seven marks, and a combined eight breaches of either arc.

#11 Jaiden Magor

The other major goal-getter on the day, Magor proved a deadeye in front of the big sticks with four six-pointers. Three of his four goals came from set shots, as Magor dealt with tough angles and a variety of distances with aplomb. He was courageous with a couple of his marks going back with the flight and proved powerful over the ball, working hard up the ground before earning his eventual reward inside attacking 50. His last goal came in the third term, as he was gifted the ball by an opponent and did well to snap home quickly on his left foot.

Others:

Midfielder Luke Mitton led all comers with 30 disposals and provided constant effort around the ball for South, supported well by the likes of Angus Bradley and bottom-ager Tom Wheaton. Lachlan Hayes and Cooper Rogers were also productive, while ruck Will Verrall took full toll of a height and leap advantage to finish with 32 hitouts and six clearances.

Norwood:

#2 Tyson Walls

Rotating through both sides of midfield from the forwardline, Walls worked hard to provide the Redlegs with some attacking momentum. He started in the front six and looked to craft ways forward with his speed and agility, searching all the way up to half-back to find the ball and move it on immediately. He was everywhere at times, and it was no surprise to see him finish as Norwood’s top ball winner with 23 disposals. When thrown into the centre bounces, Walls held his own and was tough in tackles against a pretty handy South midfield.

#20 Max Michalanney

The bottom-ager was a constant down back for Norwood, proving particularly influential in the first half with his ability to repel South Adelaide’s attacks. He took on some of the kick-in duties and was generally neat in those situations, but tended to bomb a bit more under pressure in general play. Michalanney did plenty to win the ball back for Norwood though, positioning in all the right spots to either intercept aerially or impact the ground ball. He registered six rebound 50s among his 19 disposals.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Playing in a variety of roles, Dnistriansky was one of the cleaner and more composed ball users for Norwood. He started out on the wing and was thrown into the centre bounces, dropping back well to support the defence in both roles where he picked off safe short options by foot. Dnistriansky was not afraid to look inboard or use either foot, helping steady the Redlegs under pretty substantial pressure. He also moved forward after half time and hit the scoreboard with a well-finished snap goal in the third quarter.

Others:

State Under 17s representative Taj Rahui provided some nice run out of defence, with Will Bowman another to rebound by foot. Will Charlton carried the ball forward well through midfield, while Oskar De Luca snared two goals and looked lively up forward. Starting on the same line, standout top-ager Cooper Murley was injured in his very first involvement, appearing to hurt his shoulder while being tackled.

WEST ADELAIDE 9.3 (57) def. by WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 18.14 (122)

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#9 Kobe Ryan

As a classy fixture in the West Adelaide engine room, Ryan again proved his value not only with ball in hand, but also without it. The bottom-ager notched up 26 disposals, five tackles and seven clearances, showcasing a good balance of inside and outside traits along the way. He looked polished in possession but was also willing to crack in and do the tough stuff when required. Ryan capped his game with a goal from nothing in the third term, barrelled out of a contest from range.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy again stood up to finish as Westies’ main ball winner, managing a team-high 28 disposals and 11 marks in a workmanlike outing. As a near-permanent part of his side’s centre bounce combination, Kennedy was able to burrow in to win his own ball, but was arguably more impactful with his driving plays through the corridor – where he would often mark uncontested, get the legs pumping, and thrust a long ball inside 50. He also looked to chain handballs through the middle and popped up everywhere at times. That included up forward, where he bagged a set shot goal in the opening quarter.

#35 Will Patton

The 2005-born prospect defied his age to provide plenty of solidity down back, proving a cool head in the face of Woodville-West Torrens’ 32 scoring shots. A key feature of Patton’s game was his intercept marking, with the youngster rising high to pluck marks either drifting across, one-on-one, or in the thick of packs. He was as reliable as anyone afield in that department and generally distributed the ball well too, marshalling the play under plenty of pressure.

#51 Harry Barnett

One of the more impressive bigmen afield in context, Barnett had a heck of a job in front of him coming up against the sheer array of Eagles talls. He stood up well, particularly in the first half, showcasing his mobility at 202cm. The state Under 17s representative looked quite polished for his size and was able to earn a few chances on goal before half time. He missed a set shot in the first term, but came back to convert another set shot opportunity in the second after presenting well on the lead. He finished with 12 disposals, six marks and 16 hitouts.

Others:

Jesse Thackeray was a prominent part of the West Adelaide midfield once again with 23 disposals and four clearances, while the likes of Charlie Pridham and Kye Roberts got to work in an under-siege defence. Jed Obst was also handy on the wing on what ended up being a tough day for the Bloods.

WWT Eagles:

#17 Adam D’Aloia

The state Under 17s captain went about his usual ball winning business, finding plenty of it on the inside but also using the ball well for a player of his typing. He finished with 29 disposals, seven clearances and seven inside 50s, lowering his eyes nicely when released and driving inside 50. He was quite a permanent fixture in midfield for the Eagles, proving reliable once again and setting a solid tone to follow.

#20 Lukas Cooke

Cooke is undeniably dangerous with his aerial threat deep inside attacking 50, and the Eagles’ forwardline structure played to his strengths on Saturday. With just 10 disposals and four marks, Cooke registered five scoring shots which included three goals from grabs near the big sticks. He missed a couple more gettable chances, but still made an impact with majors and showcased his clean marking ability.

#21 Mattaes Phillipou

The bottom-ager is truly firming as one to watch for next year, with his athleticism and ability to find the goals again coming to the fore. He took advantage of two Westies defenders slipping over to put through the game’s first goal, and went on to add two more in the final term to cap off a promising outing. Phillipou looked dangerous when working up the ground, linking the play with his marking and pace to be a really productive attacking force. He also got a run in the midfield, where he shows great versatility.

#24 Zac Phillips

The over-aged ruck continues to show nice signs of development, furthering his game past the obvious strength of ruck craft. Phillips worked around the ground well to provide a marking option between the arcs, clunking nine grabs with four of them contested. His overall output of 22 disposals and seven inside 50s would read well for a much smaller player, let alone a player of Phillips’ 201cm frame.

#26 Jordan Lukac

Another of the Eagles’ dangerous talls, Lukac looked at his best when stationed inside 50 where he booted a game-high four goals from seven disposals. Five of his seven touches were scoring shots, but it felt like Lukac impacted more than his numbers would suggest, or perhaps his avenues to goal were just impressive. He showed strong hands on the lead and good athleticism inside 50 at times, especially in snaring his two second half majors. The first saw him cut inside and snap truly from the boundary, while the second was an opportunistic soccer finish in the goalsquare. He tapped well while rolling through the ruck too, playing his role well.

Others:

The Eagles had a plethora of strong contributors, none more so than leading ball winner Dustin Launer (42 disposals, 13 marks, 11 inside 50s, one goal). Blake Hansen (33 disposals) also found plenty of it, while smalls Sam Nicholls and Jay Watson got to work with the latter booting three goals. William Neumann had his moments in midfield too, and Jonte Hunter Price held firm in defence. Early on, Mishai Wollogorang set the game alight with his speed on the rebound.

 

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 12

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

STURT 9.9 (63) def. by NORWOOD 13.11 (89)

By: Eli Duxson

Sturt:

#24 Cormac Dwyer

Returned to the Double Blues outfit for the first time since Round 5 and brought all the same pressure and physicality he departed with. He laid the most tackles for Sturt with eight as the big-bodied inside midfielder tried to utilise his sturdy frame as best he could. Dwyer took on more of a defensive role at stoppages as he remained static but held front position and prevented his direct opponent from running to hit zones or spreading for the second and third handballs. He often went defensively to Cooper Murley when their midfield rotations lined up. His disposal was a little scratchy at times but his work in and under was where he thrived. Dwyer finished with 15 disposals and eight clearances to go with his tackling numbers in a welcome return to Sturt’s engine room.

#39 Felix Packer

Undoubtedly kept Sturt in the game with his perfectly accurate five goals as the focal point of the Double Blues’ forwardline. Packer did all his work inside 50 and with his strength one-on-one and ability to finish, that was fair enough. His first goal came from a 25-metre set shot after he earned a free kick for holding the ball. Soon after he wore one in the mid-section after backing into a contest in what was the only time all game he looked vulnerable. The hulking unit managed two more goals in the second quarter with a Tom Hawkins-style pluck and snap out of a forward 50 ruck contest, and another set shot from a tight angle. He did not require much separation to mark contested often finding just enough space on the lead to get his hands in front of him. A 25-metre penalty netted him a shot in the goal square while his final goal came from another nice snap after marking on the point line.

Others:

In what was a lean day in terms of contributors for Sturt, Dylan Thredgold dominated the ruck with 31 hit-outs compared to Norwood’s best in 10. Jake Aish was also quiet on his standards with his first single-digit disposal game for the season, finishing on eight.

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

Since returning from Reserves duties, Murley has continued to make the Under 18s competition his own with his second 30-plus disposal game from three outings. His speed and acceleration kept him in the middle of the ground for most of the game, with stints down forward to rest or present a different challenge for Sturt. Murley managed to find space with such running abilities and mark uncontested which he did 11 times. His speed took centre stage when he held outside position on a Norwood rebound and when he saw his chance to go, he took off and marked 20 metres out directly in front. Not many can keep up with him. With ball in hand, he looked composed, seeming as though he had much more time than everyone else and was clean with his ball use, making good decisions. His second goal came from a Gary Ablett Jr­-like snap from the right boundary, curling in wonderfully for a great finish. He missed a third shot which would have just been a cherry on top of his 31 disposals, two goals, and six rebound 50s, from which he showed his defensive work rate.

#16 Benjamin Belperio

Backing up his 21-disposal effort last week came arguably Belperio’s best game for the season, as he notched three goals from his 18 touches to go with five marks and four clearances. He kicked the first goal of the game with a nice finish on the run at pace with his penetrating kick. Like Murley, he rotated between centre, wing, and forward and was disciplined with his positioning. If he moved off the ball to find the footy he could have improved on his solid stats, but he would have done his team a disservice with fewer options and not stretching the Sturt defence. When around the ball however, he hunted it and tried to bustle through contests to obtain possession. His second goal came after the ball spilled to him as he showed his hip strength to break through a pair of tackles before dribbling it through. His final goal came from a set shot from just inside 50 after marking overhead which he flushed. When working back defensively he was often good at locating before getting involved on the rebound, although on one occasion he drifted and did not see the opponent standing behind him in the pocket. Although it had no impact on the scoreboard, it would have been just a minor blemish on an otherwise serviceable contribution.

Others:

Defensive duo Matthew Dnistrianksy and Riley Verrall managed 26 and 25 disposals respectively in their rebounding efforts, while Bailey Gal laid the most tackles on the ground with 11. Aidan Lake’s impact on the game would not be represented on the stat sheet as his effort around contest was immense. Not the prettiest player but he showed plenty of heart.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 12.8 (80) def. SOUTH ADELAIDE 11.7 (73)

By: Tom Wyman

Woodville-West Torrens:

#17 Adam D’Aloia

South Australia’s Under 17 skipper produced a typically tough, in-and-under performance in his return to the Eagles set-up. The inside midfielder started the clash well, hurtling himself at the contest with ferocity and laying an abundance of defensive pressure. His stoppage smarts were evident but it was his relentless tackling which stood out. D’Aloia worked well around the ground but was clearly at his best in congestion. Although he was quieter after a strong first term, the midfielder will certainly be a key component to the Eagles’ side as finals approach. He finished the game with 16 disposals, 10 tackles and five clearances.

#21 Mattaes Phillipou

Another member of South Australia’s Under 17 side, Phillipou looked threatening whenever the ball was in his vicinity. Dividing his time between an inside midfield role and the forwardline, Phillipou used his tall 188cm frame well in both roles. In attack his overhead marking meant he was a prominent target going forward, and through the middle his superior size and strength proved equally valuable. His ability to win the ball at ground level then get his hands free to give off a quick handball was impressive. A known goal kicker, Phillipou added another two to his season tally, to go with 24 touches, four marks and seven clearances.

#24 Zac Phillips

A number of bottom-aged Eagles stood out in the win over South Adelaide, however 19-year-old Phillips had a dominant day in the ruck. Predominately competing against South’s Thomas Welk, Phillips used his athleticism, size and improving ruck craft to provide his midfielders with first use. As the game wore on, Phillips accumulated more of the ball around the ground, whilst still holding the advantage in the ruck duel. Clearly the best key position player on the ground, Phillips finished a fruitful day with 14 touches, three clearances and 51 hit-outs.

Others:

Midfielder Brock Thomson (30 disposals, five marks, six clearances and three inside 50s) finished the match as the leading ball-winner on the ground. Always a presence at stoppages, Thomson combined well with fellow on-baller Sam Nicholls (12 disposals, five tackles and four clearances). The pair produced workmanlike performances which proved pivotal in the Eagles narrow triumph. In attack, full forward Jordan Lukac showcased his terrific athleticism to boot back-to-back opportunist goals from close range and help wrestle back the momentum for the Eagles. Henry Hawker played an important half-forward role for the home side, booting three goals from 18 disposals. His work overhead was a highlight, taking nine marks including three contested.

South Adelaide:

#5 Angus Bradley

Bradley was deployed down back for South Adelaide, where his clean skills and ability to read the play helped get the Panthers out of trouble on numerous occasions. He was at times made to pay for some moments of indecisiveness, however he found the ball at will and generally used the football well by foot. Having produced some excellent showings through the midfield this season, Bradley showed he has the tools and versatility to play a number of roles by performing well across half-back. He finished with a team-high 23 disposals, three marks and three rebounds.

#10 Isaac Birt

Birt has been South Adelaide’s best performer for much of the season to-date, with his speed and silky ball use impressing on-lookers. However, his influence was curtailed in tricky conditions against the Eagles. The midfielder worked typically hard up and down the outer wing, accumulating mark-after-mark, but wasn’t as clean and precise by foot as we’ve come to expect from the Strathalbyn product. At times he was caught trying to bite off more than he could chew, which could be forgiven considering his often scintillating delivery. He still managed to gather 16 disposals, eight marks, five tackles and seven inside 50s.

#19 Tom Wheaton

Tall midfielder, Wheaton made an excellent initial impression in his first Under 18s game. After captaining the Panthers Under 16s to glory earlier in the year, Wheaton was heavily involved from the get-go on debut, matching it with the Eagles on-ballers. A strong-bodied midfielder who appears quite physically developed, Wheaton found himself under all sorts of pressure in his first handful of possessions, however he seemed to thrive upon the tough, contested nature of the game. He found the ball in some more time and space as the game went on, but was at his best in-tight where he scrapped around and put his body on the line time-after-time. He finished as the leading clearance player on the ground, which speaks volumes to his high-level midfield craft and football smarts. Wheaton gathered 21 disposals, four marks, eight clearances, four tackles and four inside 50s in a very encouraging effort.

#23 Noah Howes

Exciting forward, Howes booted five goals and very nearly lifted his side to victory at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. Another member of South’s triumphant Under 16 side, Howes looked very threatening on the lead, using his athleticism and speed to gain separation. At times he appeared the most damaging player on the field, with the Panthers clearly looking to get it into his hands up forward. Four of his five goals came in the first half, including a terrific set shot effort from beyond the arc. Also impressive was his willingness to follow-up at ground level, laying five tackles to go with nine disposals.

#35 Koby Cockshell

Talented utility, Cockshell worked well in tandem with the aforementioned Howes in attack. He booted two majors and took a couple of great contested marks to highlight his overhead strength. Also helping out in the ruck at times, the 195cm talent finished with 12 disposals and four marks (all contested). Cockshell is yet another member of South Australia’s Under 17 squad.

Others:

The versatile Cooper Rogers started the game in a half-forward role, however he was at his best when moved on-ball in the second half. He attacked the contest hard, tackled with intent and added some speed and energy to the Panthers midfield set-up after the main break. He finished with 11 disposals, nine tackles and a couple of clearances. Luke Mitton gathered 19 disposals, six tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s while Lachlan Hayes was effective in defence for South Adelaide. The fearless defender read the play well, accumulating 15 disposals, five marks and four rebounds.

NORTH ADELAIDE 4.11 (35) def. by WEST ADELAIDE 19.12 (126)

By: Michael Alvaro

North Adelaide:

#4 Isaac Keeler

Truly a shining light on what was a relatively dull day for North Adelaide, Keeler was unlucky not to get more reward for his efforts in the way of major scores. The bottom-aged Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) member kicked 1.4, with his finishing hardly matching all the work done in the build-up. Keeler was able to showcase his athleticism throughout the day; marking strongly at full pelt on the lead, baulking opponents as he wheeled inside 50, and covering the ground like a much smaller player. Still, that little bit of polish would have turned a very good game into a remarkable one for the promising key forward.

#18 James Willis

The explosive Roosters midfielder was arguably his side’s most productive engine room operator throughout the contest, generating useful drive in the front half. Willis went inside 50 eight times among his 15 total disposals, usually on the end of powerful runs where he backed his pace to burn or gain separation from an opponent. He, too could have done with a bit more polish on his kicks, but booted an excellent long goal on the fly during the third quarter – hardly breaking stride as he breached North’s attacking arc.

Others:

The Roosters got some value out of their midfielders in patches, with the likes of Zyton Santillo (23 disposals, eight clearances), Hugh Jackson (22 disposals), and James White (21 disposals, seven marks) all getting their hands on the pill. Harper Montgomery somewhat flew under the radar to finish with a team-high 24 touches in defence, while Blayne O’Loughlin was tried on each line but could not quite get his usual game going. The Crows NGA hopeful capped his 16-disposal game with a late goal.

West Adelaide:

#9 Kobe Ryan

Employed on both sides of midfield, Ryan returned an excellent performance with 28 disposals, six tackles, and four clearances. The balance which he displayed was top notch, with the bottom-ager in good position to be released for green ball on the outer, but also cracking in to win his own ball and lay tackles. He looked stylish in possession and hardly wasted a touch with his clean skills, helping Westies chain useful passages together on the uptake. Certainly one of the bottom-agers to watch, closely.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy was productive as always upon his return to the Under 18s grade, with two games of Reserves experience under his belt. The hard-working ball winner was busy early and worked back well to help his defenders transition into attack, maintaining that kind of form throughout the match. He would often move the ball on quickly and drive Westies forward by foot, finding more room to operate as the game wore on. Kennedy also found more ways to be productive with his disposal, hitting some nice targets going inside 50 during the second half.

#23 Dylan McCormick

While five West Adelaide forwards ended up with three goals or more, McCormick was arguably the most consistently productive of the lot. He finished with 3.2 from 18 disposals, working well up the ground as a leading option before then becoming a threat closer to goal. He got on the board during the second term after converting a free kick, adding one more in each of the following periods to cap off a positive performance up forward. His goals proved reward for effort, as McCormick created for others in the early stages before doing the damage himself.

#36 Tyson Coe

The bustling bottom-ager provided a big body in midfield for West Adelaide, proving difficult to match at the coalface. Coe won a team-high five clearances but contributed 15 of his 25 disposals by hand, often dishing out to his runners amid tackling pressure. He tried to generate some of his own outside run in the second term, but looked better on the inside with his efforts to extract. A well-finished goal on his favoured left side during the final term capped of Coe’s outing.

#37 Tom Scully

Scully is of a much different build to his more famous namesake, but showed something in his own right with a bag of five goals for Westies. The 201cm bottom-ager started forward and pinch-hit in the ruck, with his height and reach proving troublesome for his North Adelaide adversaries. All four of his marks were contested, with three of them leading directly to goals inside attacking 50. Scully converted his four set shots nicely and even added a snap in the fourth quarter, displaying some finesse to go with his handy ruck craft as a secondary.

#54 Harry Lemmey

Despite being beaten in his first one-on-one marking contest up on the wing, Lemmey was hardly dismayed and managed to show some really nice signs with his aerial work. He was often manned by fellow bottom-ager Shaun Bennier and beat him for pure reach on account of a 9cm height advantage. You still have to take the marks though, and Lemmey did just that when snaring three of his five scoring shots. He finished with 3.2 from 11 disposals and six marks with some handy work both inside and out of the attacking 50.

Others:

Liam Westdijk and Lachlan Tredwell were the other two Westies players to finish with three majors, marking a dominant attacking display. Dylan White also found the goals and was a strong body in midfield alongside Jesse Thackeray. Charlie Pridham also got busy, providing a bit of dash on the rebound from defence.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 6.7 (43) def. by GLENELG 18.10 (118)

By: Tom Wyman

Central District:

#9 Trent Tattoli

The 16-year-old wingman tried hard for Central District and showed some glimpses of his high potential. His first couple of involvements were great tackles, but later his composure in traffic and effective ball use stood out. Although his skills were inconsistent throughout the day, Tattoli worked very hard up and down the ground competed well despite the Bulldogs being outplayed. He finished with 13 disposals, seven marks and three tackles.

#21 Austin McDonald

McDonald was the Bulldogs’ best player in their 75-point defeat. Starting at the centre bounce, he spent much of the first term on-ball, finding the ball at ease and reading the tap work of teammate Saxon Evans well. McDonald struggled by foot but continued to find the ball when moved to a half-forward flank. In attack, he showed good forward craft and was rewarded for his tireless effort with a third-term goal. The bottom-ager can certainly refine his skills and decision making, but proved he knows how to find the ball in a variety of roles, finishing with a team-high 28 disposals, six marks, three tackles and five inside 50s.

Others:

Defender Ruben Carreno was the Bulldogs designated kicker down back and did just about all he could in trying circumstances. He was measured by foot but also used his long kicking to good effect when exiting the defensive 50. Carreno finished with 27 disposals, four marks and 11 rebounds. Saxon Evans was the dominant ruckman at X-Convenience Oval, finishing with 12 disposals, 30 hit-outs and six clearances. Tomas Hahn produced an admirable performance, cracking in hard and applying some important defensive pressure despite lacking some polish.

Glenelg:

#2 Harry Tunkin

The diminutive Tunkin spent the day in the midfield and performed very well. His contested ball work was excellent, so too his cleanliness by hand and effectiveness by foot. He read the taps well at stoppages then broke through several would-be tacklers in congestion. It seemed as if whenever he was around the ball, Tunkin made an impact. Arguably the best on ground in a very well-rounded performance from Glenelg, the productive Tunkin finished the game with 25 disposals, eight tackles and three clearances.

#6 Darcy Gluyas

Gluyas started the game at the opening centre bounce but also spent time on the wing and across half-forward throughout the day. His class was on show early when he sold some candy to cut inside and deliver a beautiful pass deep inside 50 to Corey Brougham, who goaled. Gluyas was typically composed with ball in hand, always seeming to weigh up his options nicely before executing well by foot. With the Tigers dominating proceedings, he booted a third-term major but later missed a couple of gettable chances in front of goal. Nevertheless, it was another very solid performance from a reliable contributor, who finished with 19 disposals, seven marks, six tackles and five inside 50s.

#20 Lewis Rayson

Rayson was typically damaging in his customary half-back role. He provided constant run-and-carry with ball in hand and added raking long foot skills to his exciting dash. Always attacking the ball at full speed, Rayson nailed the first goal of the game from a 40m set-shot after floating forward. His work to get in and out of congestion was admirable and his contested ball winning complimented the eye-catching run-and-carry. Rayson finished with 25 disposals, six marks, three clearances, three inside 50s and four rebounds.

#38 Jakob Ryan

Playing his first SANFL Under 18s game since Round 4, Ryan fitted back into the Glenelg side with ease. Deployed across half-forward and the wing, his neat foot skills on both sides of the body were a real highlight. A classy player, his ability to turn his opponent inside-out and find a target with a long kick inside 50 in the first quarter set the tone for what was to come from the SA Under 17 squad member. Duelling with Bulldog Trent Tattoli for parts of the game, he used the ball terrifically well on both his left and right boot, made excellent decisions and displayed good vision. In the final term he spent more time in attack and took a number of contested grabs. One of South Australia’s brightest bottom-aged prospects, he finished the game as the equal-leading ball getter on the field with 28 disposals, along with 11 marks (three contested), three clearances and six inside 50s.

Others:

Glenelg key forwards Corey Brougham and Jack Harding proved far too good for their Bulldogs opponents. Their size and strength led to dominance in the air, and their leading patterns caused headaches for the Central District backman. Harding finished with five goals from 16 disposals and 11 marks (four contested) and his partner in crime also nailed five majors, along with 15 touches and seven grabs. Small midfielder Hunter Window provided some energy and spark around the contest, gathering 23 disposals and six inside 50s. Oscar Adams may have been beaten in hit-out numbers by Central District’s Saxon Evans, however he got the upper hand around the ground, accumulating 19 disposals and seven marks to go with 18 hit-outs.

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography via South Adelaide FC