Category: Tasmania

State Leagues wrap: COVID chaos and big boilovers

WHILE Victoria has descended into COVID chaos once more, state leagues rolled on in South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia with a bunch of intriguing results produced. While it was largely business as usual in the SANFL, there was a major boilover in the TSL, while the WAFL top five is firming as three teams continue to battle for top spot. We run you through all the results from around the nation and what they mean moving forward in this week’s state leagues wrap.

South Australia (SANFL):

While Round 16 proceedings are currently under a COVID cloud, Round 15 went ahead without a hitch in the SANFL. There were two clashes between top five teams this past weekend, as ladder position counted for plenty with every higher-ranked side picking up full points across the five-game round.

At the top of the tree, Glenelg extended its perfect run to 14 games with an 18-point win over South Adelaide, who have now in lost three of their last four outings. A three-goal to nil opening term proved the difference, as the Bays put away another finals candidate. Matthew Snook (29 disposals, one goal), Luke Partington (26 and one), and Chris Curran (24 and one) were all prominent in yellow and black, while Bryce Gibbs managed 27 touches, 14 tackles and a goal in his 50th League match, fittingly against his old side.

Saturday’s other top five clash saw reigning premier Woodville-West Torrens power past Norwood, winning by 36 points on the back of a second half surge. The Eagles piled on nine of the last 10 goals after trailing at the main break, flexing their muscle forward of centre. James Tsitas and Mitch Grigg led the disposal count for either side with 29 touches apiece, while Tyson Stengle‘s two goals at the end of term three helped the Eagles push ahead.

Port Adelaide and Sturt remain in the hunt for finals after respective wins against the bottom two sides, though both came by a mere 13 points. The Magpies did enough to get past a plucky West Adelaide on Sunday, remaining one game out of the top five, while the Double Blues bettered Central District in a low-scoring slog to sit two games off the pace. North Adelaide was the weekend’s other winner, downing Adelaide by 54 points to strengthen its standing in third.

Tasmania (TSL):

Clarence has shaken up the TSL top four frame, defeating North Launceston by two points in a major boilover. The Roos led by a single point at half time and after extending the margin to eight come the final break, were made to reclaim the ascendancy via Colin Garland‘s boot at the death.

The result sees Clarence close to within a game of its weekend rival, as the Northern Bombers suffer rare consecutive losses in what was meant to be a celebration for player-coach Brad Cox-Goodyer‘s 200th game.

Brandon Leary booted four goals for the victors in a losing effort for the Northern Bombers, while Garland finished with three and James Holmes was named best afield.

Meanwhile, league leader Launceston escaped a similar scare against Tigers, snaring three goals to nil in the final term to sneak home by 13 points. The Blues trailed at every break after the hosts got the jump, but clawed their way back and pounced at the ideal time.

Fletcher Seymour and Cody Thorp (two goals) were among the victors’ best, while Luke Graham booted a game-high three majors for Tigers as Zach Adams claimed full votes.

In the weekend’s sole non-top four clash, Lauderdale powered past Glenorchy on the back of a 13-goal second half, saluting to the tune of 81 points. Leading a brigade of nine individual goalkickers for the Bombers was Edward Stanley (five), while Tyler Martin (four) and Allen Christensen (three) compounded their side’s scoreboard dominance.

Western Australia (WAFL):

East Perth inflicted the sole ladder change after Round 15 of the WAFL League season, jumping Perth in eight after its nine-point road win over the Demons. Former Carlton-listed pair Rohan Kerr (41 disposals, 10 marks) and Angus Schumacher (33 disposals, two goals) were prominent for the Royals, who held off Perth’s final term surge after leading by an even five goals at three quarter time.

A three-way tie for points from first to third remains after Claremont, Subiaco, and South Fremantle all claimed their ninth wins for the season. Subiaco still leads the way on percentage having defeated West Coast by 20 points, with 10 of the Lions 12 goals coming at one end of Leederville Oval.

Claremont isn’t far behind after downing Peel Thunder by nine points on Sunday, while South Fremantle’s 36-point win over Swan Districts proved a definitive result between finals contenders. Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect Jesse Motlop debut for the Bulldogs, booting two goals from 13 touches.

West Perth came away as the round’s other winner after scraping past East Fremantle by five points, overcoming a half time deficit and near-costly inaccuracy to remain clean in fourth. The Falcons were served typically well by Aaron Black (38 disposals, nine marks), as Tyler Keitel and Lachlan Bailey booted four goals for their respective sides.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

Victoria’s recently-extended five-day lockdown saw Round 14 of the VFL scrapped, with the competition currently running on a week-by-week scheduling basis. Victorian teams which travelled to Queensland also had their official fixtures cancelled, though Essendon and North Melbourne combined their reserves to face Brisbane in a scratch match on Saturday. Returning Roos tall Charlie Comben impressed with four goals in that hit-out.

The VFL Women’s finals series has also been impacted, but the VFL says it remains committed to awarding a premier with just the preliminary and grand finals left to play.

Image Credit: Cory Sutton via SANFL

Draft Central announces release of first ever AFLW Draft Guide

IN an AFL Women’s Draft first, Draft Central is excited to announce its inaugural AFL Women’s Draft Guide set to be released next week.

After three successful editions of Draft Central‘s AFL Draft Guide over the past few years, the team has expanded to include an 80-page guide focused purely on the AFL Women’s Draft. The guide features profiles of every AFLW Draft Combine invite, as well as plenty of others who are in contention, ahead of the draft on Tuesday, July 27.

Draft Central‘s AFLW Draft Guide features player vitals, profile, key stats and links to further information on each of the key draft prospects in what is a must-have guide for any AFL Women’s Draft enthusiast.

The 2021 AFL Women’s Draft Guide features:

  • 54 full page profiles
  • More than 100 total AFLW Draft profiles of players yet to be on an AFLW list
  • Profiles include key numbers, fun facts and detailed profiles to get to know the potential draftees

The next batch of AFL Women’s stars will make their way to the elite level in the next fortnight, and having followed them along their journey over the years, Draft Central is releasing the FREE and downloadable draft guide.

Like the AFL Draft Guide, the AFLW Draft Guide will require just an email to download the guide, with the option of becoming a free subscriber for monthly updates.Those already subscribed to Draft Central and receive the AFL Draft Guide will automatically receive the AFLW Draft Guide.

Stay tuned to Draft Central for the official release date early next week, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our YouTube channel for more content.

State Leagues wrap: Youngsters press claims for senior call-ups

A BUNCH of up-and-coming talents pressed their claims for senior selection across the state leagues this past weekend, with finals time drawing closer in the top tier. The West Australian Football League (WAFL) made its return after a week away due to lockdown, while it was business as usual around the nation with just over a month of home-and-away action left to play out. We run you through all the results from around the nation and what they mean moving forward in this week’s state leagues wrap.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

The Battle of Bell Street headlined Round 13’s action in the VFL, with the Northern Bullants holding on to win by a single point against traditional local rival, Coburg. Players did justice to the resumption of this long-standing rivalry, though the Lions’ last ditch surge was not enough to snatch victory at Piranha Park. Bullants big man Daniel Hughes took home the inaugural Harold Martin Medal as best afield, having finished with 18 disposals and 35 hitouts.

While the Bullants picked up their third-consecutive win, Footscray avoided a major boilover to remain undefeated in 2021, defeating Sydney by seven points on the back of a six-goal final term. The Bulldogs twice trailed by as many as six goals throughout the contest, but did enough to power past the plucky Swans outfit. Patrick Lipinski‘s claims for a recall remain strong after 36 disposals and a goal, while tall Sydney pair Logan McDonald (14 marks, four goals) and Patrick McCartin (27 disposals, 11 marks) dominated the airways.

Collingwood and Geelong remain fixed in the top eight after earning their own closely contested victories, downing 2019 grand finalists Richmond and Williamstown respectively. The Cats lead at every break in their 12-point triumph, while senior-listed midfielder Charlie Constable (30 disposals, seven tackles, one goal) continuing his ominous form, while young forwards Jack Ginnivan (four goals) and Noah Cumberland (five) were sensational in the Magpies’ five-point salute on enemy territory.

While Port Melbourne was thumped by 95 points in Frankston on Friday, the Borough’s home deck was used on Saturday to field the clash between Greater Western Sydney (GWS) and Gold Coast. The Giants, who had a handy mix of AFL-listed players and academy products, ran out 40-point winners with Zach Sproule (five goals), Matt De Boer (35 disposals, three goals), and senior skipper Stephen Coniglio (36 disposals, eight tackles) proving a class above.

Casey and Sandringham were the other Victorian sides to register premiership points in Round 13, while Southport returned to the fray with a resounding 109-point romping of Brisbane. The result sees the Sharks sit a win clear in second, still an equal amount of points away from current frontrunner Footscray. The Round 14 fixture has also been announced, with both Sydney teams having the bye while Queensland travel is set to resume for a trio of Victorian clubs.

South Australia (SANFL):

Ladder position counted for plenty in Round 14 of the SANFL, as all of the top five sides registered wins against their bottom five counterparts. The handful of fixtures took part on a super Saturday of state league action, which did little to really shake up the order of things ranking-wise.

Reigning premier Woodville-West Torrens opened proceedings with a 19-point win over the bottom-placed West Adelaide, despite managing just nine goals from 30 scoring shots. Westies tidied up the margin with three final term consolation goals, but the Eagles’ scoring power was all too much in the end. Jack Hayes had a day to remember for the victors, clunking 20 marks (seven contested) and booting two goals, while prolific small forward Tyson Stengle managed 3.4 from eight touches.

Competition frontrunner Glenelg pushed its undefeated streak out to 13 games with a 30-point win over Sturt, kicking away in a five-goal to one third term. Bays spearhead Liam McBean booted six goals in a commanding display, as Lachie Wilsdon snared eight in North Adelaide’s 48-point salute over Central District. The likes of Harrison Wigg (42 disposals, nine clearances), Samuel McInerney (24 disposals, five goals), and Campbell Combe (29 disposals, two goals) were among the Roosters’ other outstanding individual performers.

North’s win opened up a gap to Port Adelaide in sixth, after the Magpies went down to Norwood by 36 points. The usual suspects were amongst it for the Redlegs, with Mitch Grigg (31 disposals, seven clearances, one goal), Richard Douglas (30 disposals, eight clearances), and Brad McKenzie (24 disposals, two goals) all in the thick of things. South Adelaide was the weekend’s other winner, with pick one contender Jason Horne (19 disposals, one goal) again catching plenty of eyes as his Panthers got the better of Adelaide.

Tasmania (TSL):

Launceston took out a crucial TSL top-of-the-table clash on Saturday, downing North Launceston by 53 points to strength its spot as the league leader. The Blues now boast a two-game gap to their closest rival, and consolidated their latest victory with five goals to nil in the final quarter. Brayden Pitcher booted six majors to spearhead the Blues’ win, Jake Hinds and competition stalwart Jay Blackberry took out votes as the best two players afield.

Fellow top four sides Tigers and Clarence also picked up wins against the bottom two teams, in North Hobart and Lauderdale respectively. The Tigers accelerated during a five-goal second term to end up 40-point victors on the road, while Colin Garland snared another bag of six goals as his Roos wrapped up a 49-point win on home turf. Both sides remain locked on 32 points, with Clarence ahead in third by 0.23 per cent.

Western Australia (WAFL):

The WAFL returned after last week’s lockdown with crowds enjoying five fixtures across a stacked Saturday of state league football. The home sides won out in four of those games, while Subiaco shot back to the top of the table as the race for minor premiership honours heats up.

Claremont’s one-point loss to South Fremantle opened the door for Subiaco to reclaim top spot on percentage, though all three teams now sit level on eight wins with a two-pronged chasing pack ready to pounce at just one game adrift. The top five looks relatively set, with a three-game gap now opened up between Swan Districts in fifth and Peel Thunder in sixth.

Swans scraped past the ever-improving West Coast by two points to remain in the hunt with West Perth, as the Falcons had a much easier time defeating East Perth by 30 points. Geelong champion Harry Taylor returned to East Fremantle and booted four goals as Corey Warner, the brother of Chad made his League debut, but their efforts were not enough to help overcome the Thunder in a 26-point loss.

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

2021 Under 19 AFLW All-Australian team announced

THE NAB AFL Women’s Under 19 Championship All-Australian Team has just been announced with a number of talented players making the cut after exceptional performances throughout the Championships.

There is a strong mix of talent from across the country but it is Victoria once again that holds the monopoly with a combined 11 players named in the team. There are six players hailing from Vic Country and five from Vic Metro, a testament to the strength of the Victorian developmental pathways despite a wealth of players missing last year due to the COVID-19 enforced lockdown.

Western Australia is also well represented with three player named, with youngster Ella Roberts leading the pack and well and truly making a name for herself despite only being the ripe age of 16-years-old. She also took out the 2021 NAB Player of the Championships Medal given her star power and impressive performance against Vic Metro where she suffered leather poisoning racking up 31 touches, six inside 50s and two goals. South Australia and the Allies also have three representatives apiece while Queensland managed the two.

It is no surprise to see the likes of Georgie Prespakis, Charlie Rowbottom, Maggie Harmer, Teagan Levi, Jess Doyle, Courtney Rowley, Zoe Prowse, Tahlia Gillard and Tara Slender named in the side given they are all 2020-21 AFLW Academy members. All nine players showcased their wares throughout the tournament, putting their best foot forward and doing no harm to their AFLW Draft potential in the process.

Chloe Leonard is the only top-ager named in the 18-player squad while there are a number of bottom-agers with the likes of Roberts, Lauren Young, Cynthia Hamilton and Paige Scott who made their way into the team, despite not being eligible for the draft this year. Although on the younger side, Hamilton took home the MVP award for the Allies highlighting the bright future the youngster has and her sheer dominance throughout the Championships.

AA Team:

B: Chloe Leonard – Isadora McLeay – Jaide Anthony
HB: Maggie Harmer – Lauren Young – Annie Lee
C: Aurora Smith – Teagan Levi – Courtney Rowley
HF: Jess Doyle – Ella Roberts – Stella Reid
F: Paige Scott – Cynthia Hamilton – Georgia Campbell
R: Zoe Prowse – Charlie Rowbottom – Georgie Prespakis
INT: Makaela Tuhakaraina – Tahlia Gillard – Tara Slender – Zoe Venning

Maurer thrives on Tasmanian “team bond”

RETURNING for her second season of Tasmania Devils representation in 2021, there was a rise in “enjoyment” levels for tough midfielder-forward, Ella Maurer. The 19-year-old thrived across nine NAB League outings in her top-age campaign, averaging a tick under 17 disposals and five tackles as an integral part of the starting squad. She put much of her own, and the team’s success down to a rising “team bond”.

“We’ve really come together,” Maurer said. “We’ve been really united and it’s just been really enjoyable. Sometimes in previous years I found that it was a big sluggish getting to training but this year every training was enjoyable. All the coaches, staff and girls were great to be around.

“I love team sports, just the whole vibe and being out there with the girls.”

Through a consistent and much-improved NAB League campaign, Maurer was able to bring her own strengths to the fore and lean on her senior experience to provide a hard edge. She’s a player who loves the “aggression” of the game, which shows in the traits she says are her strengths, and areas for improvement.

“[My strength] is probably my attack on the ball,” she said. “Just being able to get in and get the ball out from contests and get the hands off to a teammate… [I’m working on] being cleaner and my skills, especially when I go down forward.

“I love to play in the midfield and rotate forward, I love to play down there as well. Even in the backline, I like to play some defensive footy so a bit of everything really.”

Maurer’s 2021 form saw her selected in the Allies squad, where she remained a constant ball winner and tough competitor, averaging 18 disposals, six tackles, and three clearances per her three games. The representative honours matched Maurer’s goals constantly “improving [her] game” and playing “at the highest level” possible.

She has plenty of examples to follow too, with former North Launceston captain Jodie Clifford a particular source of inspiration for the rising teenage prospect, having been there almost every step of the way.

“[Clifford] is just a really inspiring person and player as well,” Maurer said. “She’s one of the coaches for the Devils, the midfield coach, and I got to play footy with her at North Launceston. She was our captain and best and fairest both years that we played together.”

“I started playing footy when I was 14 in the junior youth girl’s team at North Launceston Football Club. I played there for two years, then went on to play in the TSLW team for North Launceston for the two years we had that. Unfortunately that folded so now I’m at Old Scotch in the NTFA.”

A raft of Tasmanians also joined Maurer in North Melbourne’s VFLW side this year, with as many as 11 of them getting out on the park at one time in blue and white. There are certainly big things happening out of the Apple Isle and if Maurer’s development is anything to go by, the rate of improvement will be steep.

Image Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

State Leagues wrap: Finals-bound sides make moves

THERE is a new leader in the Victorian Football League (VFL) and some rising challengers in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) after full rounds of highly entertaining action over the weekend. The top of the tree looks settled down in the Tasmanian State League (TSL), while West Australian fans will have to wait another week for more West Australian Football League (WAFL) action after a lockdown-enforced bye.

We run you through all the results from around the nation and what they mean moving forward in this week’s state leagues wrap.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

A mixed bag of results saw margins stretched from one to 75 points in Round 12 of the VFL, with eight games played across Friday evening to Sunday night. Geelong opened proceedings with a comprehensive win over Essendon, thumping the Bombers by that round-high margin on home turf. The Cats kicked away early with 11 goals to two in the first half, as Charlie Constable again helped himself to over 40 disposals and Darcy Lang booted five majors. They are finding their groove.

Box Hill was another big winner in Round 12, and got things started on Saturday by feasting on a Gold Coast side littered with top-ups. Six goals to Fergus Greene meant he outgunned the five-goal Suns all on his own, as his Hawks saluted to the tune of 72 points at Box Hill City Oval. They move ahead of Casey in third after the Demons suffered a shock loss to GWS Giants – another team filled with top-ups and academy talent. Giants skipper Stephen Coniglio made his return via the reserves, while Matt de Boer responded well to his axing to claim 25 disposals, and Demon Sam Weideman booted three goals in his claim for a senior recall.

Standalone sides Coburg and Northern Bullants both secured wins over aligned opponents on Saturday afternoon, marking successful hitouts at their respective home venues. The Lions toppled Carlton by 37 points on the back of a seven-goal final term, as Marcus Lentini (39 disposals) and Sam Lowson (four goals) starred, while the Bullants held off Richmond to win by 13 points, with skipper Tom Wilson (31 disposals) leading the way.

Footscray became the new ladder leader on Sunday, ending North Melbourne’s winning run with an 11-point victory at Whitten Oval. The Bulldogs kicked six of their 10 goals in the second term to stream ahead after trailing at quarter time, and never looked back. Frankston and Collingwood also secured wins to retain their spots in the top eight by percentage alone. Jack Ginnivan could soon be in for a debut after booting four goals in the Magpies’ win over Sandringham, while Nathan Freeman (45 disposals) got back to his usual output as the Dolphins downed Sydney.

Six sides enjoyed bye rounds this past weekend, including all three Queensland teams – Aspley, Brisbane Lions, and Southport. Port Melbourne, Werribee, and Williamstown were the Victorian clubs able to put their feet up in Round 12, recharging for the weekend ahead.

South Australia (SANFL):

Woodville-West Torrens proved the big winner in Round 13 of the SANFL, moving clear of South Adelaide in second spot with a 36-point win on Saturday. The Eagles put through six goals to one after half time in a clinical effort, with former AFL-listed pair Tyson Stengle (five) and Troy Menzel (four) combining for nine majors. The top five could soon be in for a shake-up too, with Sturt and Port Adelaide knocking on the door after respective Round 12 wins.

The Double Blues beat fourth-placed Norwood in a low-scoring slog on Friday night, putting them within a game of the finals places. Port remains level on points with fifth after snapping its three-game losing run to get past Central District, with senior-listed youngster Zak Butters (21 disposals, two goals) making a positive return to action through the reserves side.

It was business as usual for the undefeated Glenelg, who picked up a 12th victory on the back of its eight-goal final term blitz. The Bays trailed at every break but flicked the switch when it mattered most, soaring past Adelaide to win by 15 points. North Adelaide was also victorious on Saturday, proving 44 points better than West Adelaide to maintain its top five standing. The Roosters were served by some big performers, namely Campbell Combe, Harrison Wigg (both 39 disposals) and Keenan Ramsey (five goals).

Tasmania (TSL):

North Launceston showed no signs of letting up in its quest to reign back ladder leader, Launceston, after thumping Glenorchy by 105 points to open Round 14 of the TSL. The Northern Bombers overwhelmed their opponents in the front half with 33 total scoring shots to 13, headlined by their 12-goal to one second half. Zach Burt and Brandon Leary both snared four majors in the win as two of their side’s 10 individual goalkickers.

Despite the result, Launceston remains clear out in front after 14 rounds, having accounted for Lauderdale to the tune of 38 points. The contest was effectively over by three quarter time, as the Blues led by 75 points with just one major score in the Bombers’ account. With that in mind, Launceston’s foot came off the gas and Lauderdale poured on eight goals in the final term to restore some respectability to the scoreboard. Leading the charge was Josh McGuinness, who booted seven of his side’s nine goals, while Cody Thorpe snared three for the Blues to be named best afield.

Clarence rounded out the weekend’s action with a 55-point win over North Hobart, feasting on the cellar dweller to move level on points with third-placed Tigers, who had the bye. Colin Garland spearheaded the Roos’ victory with six goals, as his side kicked away strongly to add seven majors in the final term. Tigers return next week against the Demons, while Glenorchy gets a rest in Round 15.

Western Australia (WAFL):

Western Australia’s lockdown enforced a bye round this week in the WAFL, even cancelling out the women’s grand final – which has since been rescheduled for Sunday. All WAFL and WAFLW clubs were allowed to resume training as of July 3 with restrictions still in place and set to be eased today. All three men’s grades are scheduled to resume this coming weekend for Round 14, with five games fixed on Saturday July 10.

Image Credit: Cory Sutton/SANFL

Draft Central Power Rankings: July 2021

THE Draft Central July Power Rankings have been locked in after an interrupted, but nonetheless productive month of football around the nation. Two fresh faces feature among the top five as a new number one contender arises, while another two previously unranked players have thrust their way into the overall list of 25 on the back of undeniable form. We profile the full array of prospects in our latest edition, taking you through each players’ last month and the factors behind their moves. Also highlighted are some other names potentially around the mark.

Note, the list is ordered purely on our opinion and each players’ current ability and potential, not taking into account any AFL clubs’ lists or needs.

#1 Jason Horne
South Adelaide/South Australia | Midfielder
21/06/2003 | 184cm | 78kg

June Ranking: #1

Snapshot: A midfielder with next to no weaknesses, whose power bodes well for tough ball winning and impressive aerial marking, as well as consistent scoreboard impact.

Heralded as the clear number one choice coming into 2021, Horne retains his crown in our second rankings edition for the year. The South Adelaide talent impressed in his debut SANFL League outings as a bottom-ager, and has since transitioned into a more prominent midfield role with guidance from former Carlton and Adelaide champion, Bryce Gibbs. He has long been a standout among the South Australian crop, participating in back-to-back Under 16 carnivals and being crowned his state’s MVP in 2019 as captain. Only recently 18, Horne boasts a well-balanced game with plenty of damaging strengths and very few weaknesses, with his exposure at senior level another factor which sees him awarded with number one status in our eyes.

Last month:

Horne has continued on his merry way at SANFL League level, with his consistent output displayed across the last month of action. Despite three of his four outings in that time being losses, Horne played above his season averages to produce numbers of 16 disposals, 4.3 marks, 4.5 tackles, 2.3 clearances, and 0.5 goals per game. Given he is so entrenched in the top three spots, it is easy to look past his development and sustained success, but the pick one contender is in as good a form as ever currently.

>> Q&A
>> SANFL League Player Focus
>> The race to be number one – what separates Daicos and Horne?

#2 Nick Daicos (COL F/S)
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Midfielder
3/01/2003 | 183cm | 72kg

June Ranking: #2

Snapshot: Daicos has an unrivalled understanding of the game; able to bring his teammates into it and anticipate where his next possession will come from, leading to utter domination.

The Collingwood father-son prospect (son of Peter) has more than justified all the hype leading into 2021, solidifying his status as a bonafide number one contender. Daicos made his long-awaited NAB League debut in Round 1 and has gone on to dominate the competition, putting up ridiculous numbers through the engine room as the skipper of a deeply talented Oakleigh Chargers group. Much like his brother, Josh, Daicos was only due to enter the Chargers’ program last year but was made to wait for his unveiling in Oakleigh colours. It was well worth it, though keen watchers already knew of his supreme ability having seen him hold his own in a Carey Grammar side featuring Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson. Daicos is banging down Horne’s door and may well break through as he continues to put runs on the board, in dominant fashion.

Last month:

Daicos only played one game throughout June, but it was a ripper. The Oakleigh Chargers captain got some decent attention in his side’s loss to the Northern Knights, but still managed to rack up 37 disposals and kick a goal. He was perhaps not as damaging as he could have been with his disposal, but most qualms on his season thus far are essentially nit-picks, and exemplary of the quality he is judged at. His average of 35.8 disposals remains a league high, but he did not have the chance to add to it last week after again being managed. He also missed out on Vic Metro trial duties.

>> Q&A
>> Head-to-Head: Daicos vs. Sonsie
>> NAB League POTW: Round 3
>> The race to be number one – what separates Daicos and Horne?

#3 Sam Darcy (WB F/S)
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Tall Utility/Ruck
19/08/2003 | 204cm | 75kg

June Ranking: #15

Snapshot: Darcy is a fast-developing tall talent who can play in each key position post, is athletic, and marks the ball cleanly.

They say the apple does not fall far from the tree, and that is the case with Sam Darcy – the son of 226-game Western Bulldogs champion, Luke. He is a raw tall prospect capable of playing on every line, which he has proven in his time with Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB League and Scotch College in the APS Football competition. He is a top five pick on potential and the clear best tall in the draft, with his versatility and rate of improvement proving hard to ignore. Darcy has impressed with his athleticism and aerial ability as a key defender who rotates into the ruck in the NAB League, but has also consolidated his eye-catching forward forays at school football level. Bulldogs fans, you have another on the radar.

Last month:

Darcy shot into top three calculations with a brilliant few games in June, most significantly his six-goal during the Victorian Under 19 trials. The Bulldogs father-son prospect was swung forward as he has done during the school football season and was near-impossible to stop. He had a 10cm height advantage on most opponents but took full toll to dominate aerially, while also showing great athleticism and football smarts across the attacking arc. During his one outing for Oakleigh, Darcy started in defence and was similarly assured with his clean intercept marking, before rolling through the ruck and eventually finding the goals up forward. He has solidified his status as the best tall available, and may challenge the previously untouchable top two.

#4 Finn Callaghan
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
26/04/2003 | 189cm | 82kg

June Ranking: #11

Snapshot: Callaghan is a classy mover with great agility for his size, and has shown a high level of development to prove his balance of outside and inside traits.

One who seems destined to crack the top five picks come year’s end, Callaghan has enjoyed a substantial rise in stocks in the first half of 2021. The flying wingman/half-back has recently transitioned to an inside role, but continues to prove difficult to stop at full flight with his blend of straight-line power and swift agility. While he is working on becoming more outwardly damaging with his disposal, the 18-year-old is quite a clean user of the ball by hand and foot. He is capable of gaining good meterage on the outer with speed and his long boot, and seems to manufacture time on the ball in the clinches.

Last month:

The top five trigger has been pulled on Callaghan after even more undeniable performances, who was arguably best afield during his two NAB League appearances in June and impressive when suiting up for Vic Metro. He continued his transition to the inside with Sandringham, producing 31 and 28 disposals in his most recent outings and looking ominous in the process. Callaghan was shifted back out to the wing in between those games for the Victorian Under 19 trials, warming to the contest and showing some of his best traits, despite not racking up the usual numbers.

>> Compare the Pair: Callaghan vs. Sinn

#5 Tyler Sonsie
Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro | Midfielder
27/01/2003 | 181cm | 76kg

June Ranking: #3

Snapshot: A smooth-moving midfielder with terrific poise and class, Sonsie opens up the play with his clean disposal and ability to kick goals.

One of the most highly-touted Victorian prospects before a ball had been bounced in 2021, Sonsie’s absolute best is exceptionally good. The Eastern Ranges prospect was Vic Metro’s Under 16 MVP in 2019 and is one of the few 2003-born NAB Leaguers to have already experienced the Under 19 competition. He was part of his region’s 2019 minor premiership-winning side, rolling forward off a wing. Now a draft eligible talent, Sonsie has moved more permanently into midfield and while he is developing his defensive running, has plenty of attacking traits to offer. His ability to exit stoppages with poise and make good decisions with ball in hand is top notch, with that exceptional skill level also translating to dual-sided finishing in front of goal.

Last month:

Another to have only played once during June, Sonsie is currently on the road to recovery after suffering bone bruising in his last appearance for Eastern. The injury was sustained during the final quarter against Sandringham and Sonsie was quiet to that point by his lofty standards, managing 15 disposals and three inside 50s. Luckily the knock wasn’t any worse, though Sonsie also missed out on the Vic Metro trial games and is facing a few more weeks on the sidelines.

>> VFL Player Focus
>> Head-to-Head: Sonsie vs. Daicos
>> NAB League POTW: Round 1

#6 Josh Sinn
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Half-Back/Midfielder
7/01/2003 | 186cm | 82kg

June Ranking: #5

Snapshot: A line-breaking half-back who has shown promising development in midfield, Sinn’s greatest strengths are his speed and kick penetration.

Another established leader among the Victorian crop as one of Sandringham’s co-captains, Sinn’s best is as damaging as anyone in the overall draft pool. He is regarded as the best technical kick in the Dragons’ program and is given the license to look for options others simply wouldn’t. His penetrative boot and line-breaking speed make him a meters gained machine, observed most significantly with his well-timed runs off half-back or on the wing. Sinn has also moved onto the inside of late to good effect, showing a handy balance of traits and utilising the size he added during last year’s lost season. His campaign has been interrupted by injury, but he looks poised to return soon and play out a full season in the NAB League.

Last month:

Sinn was eased back from a hamstring strain in June, turning out twice for the Sandringham Dragons and proving steady in his output. The Dragons co-captain started at half-back in his first outing, finishing on 13 touches in a big win against Oakleigh, before raising that slightly in 15 and five inside 50s against Tasmania last week. He spent more time in the midfield during that game and advanced the ball well, in a promising sign for his run towards the National Championships.

>> Compare the Pair: Sinn vs. Callaghan

#7 Matthew Roberts
South Adelaide/South Australia | Midfielder/Forward
31/07/2003 | 183cm | 81kg

June Ranking: #4

Snapshot: Roberts is a hard-working and consistent midfielder with senior experience who racks up plenty of the ball, but can also rotate forward.

A second South Adelaide midfielder within the top 10 of our count, Roberts’ form has seen him prove difficult to deny of such honours. Like Horne, he represented South Australia at back-to-back Under 16 carnivals, playing a key role as he split his time between midfield and the forwardline. The 17-year-old broke through for his League debut in 2021, skipping the Reserves grade after a scintillating start in the Under 18s competition. As one of the hardest and smartest runners in the draft crop, Roberts is also a sound user of the ball and looks towards fellow left-footer Marcus Bontempelli as a model for his own game. His ability to hit the scoreboard matches said archetype, though Roberts also has a hard edge and competitiveness which sets him apart.

Last month:

Roberts is currently sidelined with a syndesmosis injury, set for another couple of months out of action due to the injury sustained during a school football hitout. He had played two League games for South Adelaide to that point, but will have to wait to further prove his credentials.

>> Q&A
>> SANFL League Player Focus

#8 Campbell Chesser
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Country | Balanced Midfielder
27/04/2003 | 186cm | 83kg

June Ranking: #6

Snapshot: A speedy and productive mover on the outside, Chesser breaks the lines from half-back or the wing but has also shown a good balance in his ball winning.

A third Sandringham Dragons prospect in the top 10, Chesser also lays claim to damaging outside traits – weaponising his run-and-carry and use by foot. While he hails from Lavington, in Murray’s region, the 18-year-old boards at Melbourne Grammar and thus turns out for the Dragons. He is another of his age group who had NAB League experience under his belt prior to 2021, and has stayed true in terms of position to impact off the wing and half-back line. Chesser has only just cracked Sandringham’s stacked midfield in a bid to showcase his balance, having recently returned from injury.

Last month:

Chesser is another who only recently made his return from injury, coming back from work on his meniscus. The dashing midfielder was thrust into a formidable Sandringham Dragons midfield mix having played his earlier games on a wing, finishing with 19 disposals and five inside 50s as his side defeated Tasmania.

#9 Josh Gibcus
GWV Rebels/Vic Country | Tall Defender 
4/04/2003 | 195cm | 84kg

June Ranking: #10

Snapshot: An intercept marking defender who reads the play well and has a sizeable leap, Gibcus’ eye-catching form has propelled him into top 10 calculations.

For the second month running, Gibcus is the second tall prospect on our list and has earned his spot with superb form this year. The Greater Western Victoria (GWV) defender is an intercept type who uses his strengths to advantage; reading the play beautifully and timing his movements to float onto the scene, before rising with his springy vertical leap to take series of marks and force turnovers. While he is working on his ground level game, Gibcus is so clean in the air and usually a sound distributor across the last line, showing great composure on the ball. He was one of the many AFL Academy call-ups and truly held his own in that fixture, as he continues to improve at a great rate.

Last month:

The high-marking defender has had a stead sort of month, playing at both ends of the ground and even through the ruck. When stationed down back, Gibcus performed his usual feats in the air, and is slowly getting back to his best in terms of his distribution by foot. GWV threw him in the ruck against Geelong Falcons to help boost his output, and he has since had a few stints up forward both in the NAB League and Under 19 trials.

#10 Ben Hobbs
GWV Rebels/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
16/09/2003 | 183cm | 80kg

June Ranking: #17

Snapshot: Hobbs is a hard-nosed, hard-working inside midfielder who loves to compete both defensively and in a ball-winning sense.

The GWV Rebels ball winner has not been able to fully show his wares in 2021 due to injury, but is proving he can break back into top 10 contention with a clean run at it. He featured at NAB League level as a 16-year-old in 2019 after earning All Australian honours for Vic Country, slowly getting accustomed to the rigours of midfield work in the elite talent pathway. His best traits are shown at the contest, with a hard edge and competitive streak seeing him win plenty of the ball on the inside. The nuggety 17-year-old is working on his outside game, but has such clear strength around the ball and has taken full toll upon his return to action.

Last month:

After enduring an injury-interrupted start to the season, Hobbs returned with a bang to thrust himself back into top 10 contention. The bull-like midfielder helped himself to 34 touches and two goals in his first NAB League outing since Round 3, before starring for Vic Country in the Under 19 trials. His willingness to hunt the ball, tackle, and then move forward to kick goals means he impacts consistently, and hopefully he can do so with an extended run.

>> NAB League POTW: Round 9

#11 Matthew Johnson
Subiaco/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder
16/03/2003 | 193cm | 80kg

June Ranking: #7

Snapshot: With smooth agility and clean hands at the contest, Johnson is one of the premier tall midfielders in this year’s draft crop and has plenty of upside.

Hailed as the best tall midfielder in this year’s crop coming into the season, Johnson is one with a point of difference and a good amount of development left. The 193cm Subiaco prospect continues to put on size and can win the ball at the coalface, but stands out most with his smooth movement in traffic and clean hands around the ground. He suits an in-vogue modern day prototype and will inevitably yield comparisons to some of the currently dominant midfielders over 190cm. Johnson is already well versed in terms of representative duties and was part of Subiaco’s WAFL Colts premiership side in 2020. He also earned a senior debut this year and would have done so earlier if not for injury on the eve of season proper.

Last month:

After a three-game stint at League level, Johnson has dropped back down to the Colts competition and as expected, found much more of the ball. He notched 30 disposals and six tackles in his second game back, before a 16-touch effort in his latest outing. With good skills on the inside and a growing frame, Johnson should be dominant against his peers.

#12 Neil Erasmus
Subiaco/Western Australia | Midfielder/Forward
2/12/2003 | 188cm | 80kg

June Ranking: #14

Snapshot: An exciting forward who has transitioned wonderfully well into midfield, Erasmus lays claim to eye-catching athletic traits both aerially and at ground level.

Another prospect out of Subiaco who played in last year’s WAFL Colts premiership, Erasmus has built on his potential this year having come in as a potential first round bolter. He burst onto the scene with four goals in that 2020 Grand Final, showcasing great speed and clean hands up forward after putting in a terrific PSA Football campaign. While he was played off half-forward and the wing as an AFL Academy call-up, Erasmus has proven himself to be quite the consistent ball winner through midfield this year, bringing some spark to the engine room. He has a great vertical leap and can impact both aerially and at ground level, with scoreboard impact remaining in his back pocket.

Last month:

Erasmus hasn’t returned to the WAFL grades since his Round 7 outing, which consolidated the exciting midfielder’s consistent start to the year. He has been going along strong in the PSA as skipper at Hale though, making him difficult to look past among the top 15 as he continues to sharpen his disposal.

#13 Josh Rachele
Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country | Forward/Midfielder
11/04/2003 | 180cm | 78kg

June Ranking: #8

Snapshot: A mercurial forward who has drawn comparisons to GWS star Toby Greene, Rachele has unbelievable smarts, skills, and a keen eye for goal.

Rachele is rightly a standout among his draft class, having taken out the Under 16 Division 1 MVP award for Vic Country in 2019. He quickly went on to represent the Murray Bushrangers, averaging a tick under 18 disposals and two goals in four games as a 16-year-old. The exciting forward hails from an elite soccer background and has quick feet to show for it, as well as the smiling celebrations you’d expect on the end of well-finished goals. Rachele is lauded for his skills and smarts in the forward half, but has shown an aptitude for midfield work with his turn of speed and ability to find the ball at ground level. He’s capable of highlight-reel moments.

Last month:

While Rachele is certainly mercurial at his best, we haven’t always seen that level of form in 2021. He has essentially remained a permanent forward while turning out for the Murray Bushrangers and played the same role in his Vic Country trial outing. Rachele is finding the goals though, with a round-high six majors in his latest NAB League appearance an indicator that his best is worthy of top 10 status – if he can find it.

#14 Arlo Draper
South Adelaide/South Australia | Midfielder/Forward
20/01/2003 | 185cm | 71kg

June Ranking: #20

Snapshot: Draper is a classy midfielder-forward who utilises his agility in the engine room, and brilliant marking ability to impact when stationed inside attacking 50.

One of the more intriguing and versatile prospects in the draft pool, Draper has garnered attention with his promising bottom-age form and continued success in the SANFL Under 18s this year. The smooth-moving midfielder has had no trouble getting his hands on the ball with more consistent time in midfield, before impacting in his resting stints up forward. He is yet another South Adelaide prospect in the mix, with his stylish form and clean hands making him easy on the eye to keen draft watchers. He is one who may feature highly on many draft boards despite being snubbed by the AFL Academy, and has great upside in his current role.

Last month:

Draper is said to be sparking a bidding war between the two Adelaide clubs, which could push his value into the top 10. He started June off in the SANFL Reserves, breaking through for two games after scintillating Under 18s form. He averaged 16.5 disposals in those outings, before making a splash on his junior return with 31 touches, seven inside 50s and a goal in South’s win against Sturt. He is set for an extended stint on the sidelines having suffered a syndesmosis injury.

>> SANFL U18s Player Focus

#15 Mac Andrew (MEL NGA)
Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country | Ruck/Tall Utility
12/04/2003 | 200cm | 70kg

June Ranking: #21

Snapshot: A raw tall prospect who has proven his worth in each post, Andrew’s vertical leap and fast-developing craft really catch the eye.

Another key position type who rocketed up draft boards with a promising start to the year, Andrew will have Melbourne recruiters a little nervous with his performances to date. He now sits inside our current top 20, boasting raw athleticism and bucketloads of upside given his ever-improving ability to be utilised at either end of the ground, or in the ruck. While he has proven his versatility, the Demons Next Generation Academy (NGA) talent looks most comfortable in the ruck, where his leap and clean follow-up work stands out.

Last month:

Andrew was set to add to his exciting opening rounds with a return to NAB League action, but unfortunately fell to injury early in his outing against Bendigo. Having gone down in a heavy contest, Andrew hasn’t been sighted on-field since and also missed the Under 19 trials.

>> ‘Rays on the rise

#16 Josh Fahey
GWS GIANTS Academy/Allies | Medium Defender
11/11/2003 | 186cm | 76kg

June Ranking: #12

Snapshot: A run-and-gun rebounding defender who gives his all and boasts a raking left-foot kick, Fahey is arguably this year’s leading Northern Academy talent.

Our top-ranked Northern Academy prospect in 2021, Fahey is clearly the best prospect out of the Allies crop and a real first round contender. He returned to the GWS GIANTS Academy program this year to confirm his eligibility as an academy product, having previously shifted to Queensland and joined forces with the Gold Coast SUNS Academy. The Queanbeyan native has impressed onlookers across both states with his dash out of defence and penetrative kicking, both damaging weapons for a player of his position. He has earned a VFL berth with the GIANTS and was named best afield in April’s AFL Academy showcase.

Last month:

Another who has had some time away, Fahey did not take part in the Giants Academy’s NAB League stint, but made his third appearance for the Giants’ VFL last week. He was understandably quiet with seven disposals in his first outing at the level since Round 5 (May).

#17 Josh Goater
Calder Cannons/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder
2/06/2003 | 190cm | 79kg

June Ranking: #19

Snapshot: A big-bodied midfielder with explosive athletic traits and clean hands on the inside, Goater is a prospect with great potential.

Goater lays claim to one of the more impressive athletic profiles in the draft pool, particularly in a power sense. His explosive turn of speed and impressive vertical leap are traits which catch the eye at testing events and are transferred on-field, with the Calder Cannons product able to produce exciting passages of play. He has proven his worth in midfield with good ball winning strength and clean hands on the inside, but can also roll out to a wing or pinch-hit up forward. He is another who stakes his claim on high upside.

Last month:

Goater remains in the mix after some really consistent form for the Calder Cannons, as well as a strong showing in the Vic Metro trial game. As a permanent fixture in midfield, the big-bodied prospect showcased his strong ball winning ability and clean hands, playing the role of extractor and distributor perfectly. He ticked over 30 touches in his latest appearance for Calder and uses the ball efficiently, suiting his side’s kick-mark style.

#18 Jack Williams
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Tall Forward/Ruck
1/12/2003 | 195cm | 91kg

June Ranking: #9

Snapshot: Williams is a versatile tall prospect who thrives aerially and consistently kicks goals up forward, while also rotating through the ruck or even to defence.

One of the bolting key position players in this year’s draft pool, Williams has been in sensational form at WAFL Colts level. The 195cm East Fremantle talent has shown his best form as a forward in 2021, booting 23 goals in eight WAFL Colts games to this point and showcasing his exceptional aerial ability. While he has been swung forward this season, Williams can also pinch-hit in the ruck and is accustomed to defensive roles too. His clear versatility and upside saw him selected in this year’s AFL Academy intake, and he showed good signs in the academy’s showcase fixture against Geelong VFL.

Last month:

Williams’ goalkicking record at Colts level speaks for itself, and the East Fremantle tall continues to find the big sticks consistently. He booted two majors in each of his last two outings, but was really impressive in his latest dig with 22 disposals, eight marks and 21 hitouts to continue his aerial dominance. With such a strong group of key forwards at Western Australia’s disposal, Williams’ form will have to be constant if he is to retain focal point status at representative level. He does have the added string to his bow of versatility, with a ruck chop-out proving useful at various times this season.

#19 Josh Ward
Northern Knights/Vic Metro | Midfielder
15/08/2003 | 181cm | 79kg

June Ranking: NR

Snapshot: A classy midfielder who is capable of winning mountains of possessions, Ward proves a centre bounce mainstay with his clean skills and work rate.

Having started the year on the precipice, Ward has broken into and consolidated his spot among the 2021 crop’s top 25 places. The Northern Knights midfielder is one who works hard both ways and gets stuck in at the contest, able to win his own ball and distribute with clean skills to the outer. He is also beginning to showcase his own traits on the outside and can impact while resting forward, but holds clear value as a reliable ball winner at the stoppages. A Vic Metro representative at Under 16 level, Ward is destined for the same honours as a rising draft eligible Under 19 talent this year.

Last month:

Ward has been one of the form players of the draft pool since our last edition, seeing him soar into the top 20 and look quite comfortable there. It all started with an outstanding 34-disposal effort in Northern’s win over Oakleigh, where he matched Daicos around the contest and was super productive with his ball use. Ward carried that form into the Vic Metro trial game as captain, showcasing more of his outside ability with transitional run and time in the forward half. He capped off a brilliant month of football by racking up another 35 touches and laying nine tackles as the Knights went down to Murray last week.

#20 Jacob Van Rooyen
Claremont/Western Australia | Tall Forward
16/04/2003 | 194cm | 88kg

June Ranking: #13

Snapshot: Van Rooyen is a tall forward who presents well with strong hands overhead and a booming kick, but has also shown potential to move further afield.

Pegged as Western Australia’s best draft prospect and potentially the leading tall coming into the year, Van Rooyen continues to impress in 2021. He was part of Claremont’s WAFL Colts side which went down in last season’s Grand Final, booting 19 goals in 10 games. He donned the Black Ducks jersey in 2020’s West Australian All Stars fixtures and was a lock for the AFL Academy intake in 2021. A glandular fever diagnosis has halted his progress a touch, but Van Rooyen started out the season at League level and was difficult to deny for a return after showing great form in the WAFL Colts.

Last month:

Having been managed back into some form and full-time minutes via the Colts, Van Rooyen returned to the senior WAFL grade last week. He managed a combined 10 goals in his three Colts outings beforehand, but only snared one from six touches and four marks upon cracking into the League set-up for his fourth cap. With an uninterrupted run up forward and potentially some better midfield form, Van Rooyen could once again climb the order.

>> WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 8

#21 Cooper Murley
Norwood/South Australia | Midfielder
20/06/2003 | 178cm | 70kg

June Ranking: #18

Snapshot: A stylish forward runner, Murley holds his own on both sides of the contest and loves to break into attack with speed and slick ball use on the fly.

Murley is an exciting player in full flight, able to break forward quickly with gut running and terrific speed from midfield. He dominated the SANFL Under 18s competition last year and was part of Norwood’s premiership-winning team, showcasing his undeniable talent and upside. In 2021, his progress has been halted by injury, though the 18-year-old has already earned a Reserves berth and remains one of South Australia’s brightest prospects. Having returned from injury last month, he could well be one to rise up the board with a consistent run of form and even more senior exposure.

Last month:

Murley is another who has battled injury in 2021, but is now finding his feet having gotten back on the park. He returned via the Reserves grade but has since found form back in the Under 18s, notching two games of over 30 disposals and two goals in the last three weeks. As was the case at times last season, Murley seems a class above his peers but the true test will be how he can adapt should he be thrust back into the senior grades. If he keeps his form up, a promotion seems inevitable.

>> SANFL U18s Player Focus: Cooper Murley

#22 Rhett Bazzo
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Tall Defender/Forward
17/10/2003 | 195cm | 81kg

June Ranking: #16

Snapshot: A key defender who has adjusted to a forward role in 2021, Bazzo is fantastic in his aerial judgement and clean with ball in hand.

Another of Western Australia’s many promising key position prospects, Bazzo made his name as a defender but has since shifted forward. As he did in the AFL Academy showcase, the Swan Districts product may well revert back to that defence post during state representative duties, but looks just as suited to playing an attacking role with his sound marking and use of the ball. He is another who claimed Under 16 All Australian honours in 2019, making him a well known quantity and one with plenty of class. Bazzo has shown just that in four WAFL Colts games to this point, while also turning out for Guildford Grammar in the PSA Football competition.

Last month:

Mixing his time between PSA football and the WAFL Colts, Bazzo continues to be utilised at either end of the ground. He didn’t have much to do in his lone Colts outing for the month, managing 10 disposals, two marks and eight tackles in Swan Districts’ 80-point Round 12 win over Subiaco. It was his fourth Colts appearance for 2021 and it is becoming evident that Bazzo looks most suited to his intercept marking role down back, where he is likely to be stationed for Western Australia at the Under 19 National Championships.

#23 Joshua Browne
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Midfielder
3/01/2003 | 185cm | 77kg

June Ranking: #23

Snapshot: An ultra-consistent midfielder who runs hard and finds plenty of the ball, Browne is one of the most in-form midfielders nationwide.

Browne is a player whose form has made him hard to deny for a spot in the top 25, with his ability to win big numbers at a remarkable rate making him one of the most consistent performers in the draft pool at present. He has built on a promising bottom-age campaign with East Fremantle to hit new heights in the WAFL Colts competition, competing with grunt at the contest and running hard to accumulate around the ground in relentless fashion. He is also quite solid defensively on the inside and is the type of player you want on your side, especially among the centre bounce mix.

Last month:

Browne’s sensational WAFL Colts form continued into June, as the reliable midfielder found plenty of the ball and even hit the scoreboard in some big efforts. Two of his last three outings for East Fremantle yielded 38 disposals, with his latest appearance also seeing Browne end up with three goals to his name against Perth. His output is undeniable and more dominant performances like that of Round 11 will only put his stocks in good stead around this even range.

#24 Darcy Wilmot
Northern Knights | Defender
31/12/2003 | 182cm/70kg

June Ranking: #25

Snapshot: Wilmot is a tenacious and brave half-back whose most flashy weapons show on the attack, as he breaks the lines with great speed and ball use.

Wilmot has thrust his name into contention with increasingly impressive performances for the Northern Knights in 2021, as well as an impressive senior debut at local football level. The small-medium defender has all the typical class and running prowess you would expect on the rebound, but is also willing to compete above his size in aerial contests. The 17-year-old still has plenty of development left as a December 31 birth, meaning he only just makes the cut to be eligible for this year’s draft. His run-and-gun style is sure to catch many more eyes as the season continues, with Wilmot a prospect truly on the rise.

Last month:

Wilmot continued his exciting form with a strong start to his month, turning out for Northern and notching 22 touches in his usual defensive post, as the Knights toppled Oakleigh. He was able to utilise his running power, speed, and sharp ball use in the trial games too, lining up across half-back and even rolling up to a wing for Vic Metro. He continues to showcase handy points of difference for a player of his size and position, essentially holding his place in our count.

#25 Blake Howes
Sandringham Dragons | Forward/Wing
7/04/2003 | 190cm/79kg

June Ranking: NR

Snapshot: One of the best athletes available in this year’s draft, Howes boasts a terrific aerial game but also competes well at ground level and shows promising versatility.

Rounding out the top 25 is another new name in the mix, but one who should be well known to keen draft watchers. Howes was an All Australian at Under 16 level, plying his trade as a high-marking forward with wonderful athleticism and clean hands. While he started the year off in that usual forward post, Howes has since shown his versatility with a shift to the wing and is a classic high-ceiling type of prospect. He was included in this year’s initial AFL Academy intake and continues to back up that selection with form fitting of his potential as a mainstay in the Sandringham Dragons’ side.

Last month:

A name which has hovered around the mark, Howes makes his Power Rankings debut on the back of some really promising displays over the last month. Since moving up to a wing for Sandringham Dragons, Howes has played the position well by getting his hands on the ball more while still showcasing his marking prowess. In finding more possessions, Howes has also proven his ground level prowess. He very nearly had a blinder on the weekend, managing 24 disposals and nine marks against Tasmania, but just falling short on the end product with four behinds. At 190cm, his athleticism and versatility will excite many watchers.

IN THE MIX:

The two to fall out of the rankings since last month’s edition are Glenelg midfielder-defender Lewis Rayson and tall Northern Knights midfielder Ned Long. Rayson continues to tick along with more midfield minutes in the SANFL Under 18s, while Long has not been sighted at NAB League level in the last month and did not feature in the Victorian trials.

West Australian goalkicking ace Jye Amiss is becoming increasingly hard to deny. The East Perth spearhead is the leading WAFL Colts goalkicking charts with 37 in nine games, proving a dead-eye with his set shot conversions and difficult to stop when stationed one-on-one inside 50. His latest outing yielded a bag of seven majors, and he doesn’t need too many opportunities to make an impact.

After snaring five goals for Vic Country during last month’s trials, Dandenong midfielder-forward Judson Clarke is climbing draft boards. His mix of pace and skill catches the eye, with his current form pointing towards top 25 potential. Sam Butler, the brother of St Kilda’s Dan is another in that boat, but was recently injured having made a successful transition into midfield. GWV teammate Sam Breuer has also done so, only from defence, showing good speed and intent around the ball.

The likes of Zac Taylor and Lachlan Rankin are clever footballers who also enjoyed solid trial games to go with their NAB League form, so too Connor Macdonald. Back over in South Australia, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera could be another to watch after breaking through for his League debut, having strung together some form at the Reserves level.

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 10

NAB League regions had their depth tested over the weekend as Under 17 and 19 representative action took place over Saturday and Sunday, but a bunch of prospects were left to battle it out in the elite underage competition. We take a look at some of the top performers from each side across all five games, in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RESULTS | NAB League Round 10 snapshot

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 17.12 (114) def. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.5 (17)

By: Eli Duxson

Sandringham Dragons:

#5 Lachlan Benton

Was prolific all day for the Dragons playing through the midfield and notching up his best game for the season numbers-wise, finding the footy 26 times. Making the most of his extended minutes around the ball with teammates on Vic Metro duties, he showed a willingness to get to contests and be active at them. His speed out of stoppages was impressive with his tank allowing him to cover ground and find the ball uncontested (nine marks) as well under pressure. He kicked a set shot goal from just inside 50 at the start of the second quarter to round out arguably a best on ground performance.

#39 Matthew Harms

The lively debutant more than proved his worth with his two goal, 14 disposal, and five tackle effort out of half-forward. With the mullet flowing, his first impact on the game was a run-down tackle as he brought that physicality to every contest. He is not big in size, but he certainly did not play like it as he showed good work rate to push up the ground and help his midfielders, while also clearing space behind him for his big forwards to lead into. He kicked the Dragons’ second goal of the game with a tidy snap, while also kicking their second-last goal by getting on the end of a smooth chain of possessions.

#53 Eren Soylemez

The 19-year-old continued his impressive form, collecting his most disposals on the season (12), while bobbing up for his usual few shots a game. As a forward in the first half, he often pushed out of the arc to be the one delivering balls inside 50 or working back to crumb which often was not required with the clean and unaffected entries and marks. Speaking of marks, he showed he was capable overhead. His ball use by foot inside 50 was almost flawless as he found multiple targets with his four inside 50s. He was shifted back in the third quarter and continued to show his tidy ball use was necessary in the defensive half, although his defensive ability was hardly required and displayed. Moving forward to end the game, he managed two majors as he moved to 14 goals from six games.

#61 Max Heath

The St Kilda mid-season draftee performed at his new home in RSEA Park, showing why he is in the AFL system. Although at times he was caught out of position in the ruck either through unfavourable throw-ins/ball-ups or as he engaged body, he did look the most likely in the contest having led all comers with 23 hit outs on the day. He has a strong base and is prepared to create space for teammates when the ball hits the deck, throwing his weight around. Heath also proved a viable option up forward, being too tall for opposition defenders to effectively spoil, managing a goal from a strong mark.

#66 Charlie McKay

The father-son prospect enjoyed another big performance in his side’s dominant display, totalling 30 disposals to go with a goal, five inside 50s, and four tackles. He provided a lot of grunt on the inside as usual although his tackling numbers were just below his season average, keeping in mind Sandringham almost won by 100 points. His physicality around stoppages is not represented through stats as his pressure and strength inside were featured heavily. He capitalised on his side’s dominance around the ball, providing a running option moving forward, proving to be composed and tidy with his disposal.

#74 Felix Flockart

The 202cm over-ager kicked the most goals in the game with three, also his first goals of the season. A backup ruckman to Heath, he spent some unimpeded time up forward and managed the first goal of the game with a lead up mark and set shot from distance. His second goal came from a snap, with his last bookending the game after a big mark. He took five for the game but created many more contests with his leap and attack on the aerial ball, providing a solid option down the line for the Dragons. Flockart used his strength to his advantage in the ruck as he has 13 hit outs and was more than handy as a second option for Sandy.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#5 Sam Collins

Collins returned to the footy expected of him with 21 disposals, six marks, and five tackles in what was a tough outing for his Chargers. He was active early in the greasy conditions, burrowing in at stoppages while shooting balls inside 50 and being an option for defensive 50 exits. He showed good awareness in tight with a nice spin out of traffic a highlight, while also utilising strong and steady hips to stay upright in tackles. A good return to form despite the disappointing result.

#12 Lochlan Jenkins

Another one of the few performers for Oakleigh who also did his best out of their engine room but was overrun in the end. Jenkins had 22 disposals and a goal to go with four tackles and three inside 50s and looked impressive on the inside, as well as in space. His third quarter was busy with his side down nine goals, as Jenkins helped the Chargers to their best quarter by clearing deep inside 50, while turning disputed balls into clear possession. Another spin and slip of a tackle was nice in tight as he had his highest disposal game for the season with his Metro teammates away.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 6.15 (51) def. CALDER CANNONS 6.1 (37)

By: Seb Bartholomeusz

Northern Knights:

#11 Jackson Archer 

Plying his trade across half-back, Archer had some good moments throughout the match. He had 18 disposals to go along with six marks and five tackles. While he doesn’t have the biggest frame, Archer still laid some strong tackles and competed well in one-on-one contests in defence. He also showed some good skills playing on the outside and sweeping across half-back. A couple skill errors were rectified by his second efforts and composure to execute under pressure. Composure was a highlight of his game, as Archer knew how to take his time, find targets, and importantly not succumb to pressure.

#17 Jackson Bowne 

Bowne had an impressive game, collecting 26 disposals and showing some good signs of what he may be capable of in the future. He often displayed good bursts of speed and explosiveness to break away from tackles and evade defenders. Standing at 174cm, Bowne doesn’t shy away from a contest and is the type of player that seems like he just loves that side of the game. He loves to take the game on, and he backs his ability to beat opponents. He kicked two behinds for the day but was always dangerous around stoppages and running towards goal.

#22 Jack Rossimel 

It could’ve been a big day for Rossimel after he put in a super impressive performance for a tall forward. His only downfall was his 0.3 on the scoreboard which didn’t reflect the game he had. He competed well and flew at every contest, he offered a strong aerial target for his team mates to kick to, and he provided some good leads to get on the end of a few marks, resulting in shots at goal. In addition to his marking abilities, Rossimel showcased his agility, getting down and dirty to lay some hard tackles, and following up his work with second and third efforts at the ball. He is a versatile forward and has already kicked multiple goals on more than one occasion. A big bag could be around the corner.

#55 Josh Hamilton 

Hamilton collected 29 disposals on the day and led all comers. He was ferocious with his hunt on the footy, and he worked hard from the first bounce to the final siren. He stood out with his speed and footwork to sidestep oncoming tacklers. Hamilton showed off his skills in some impressive passages, making use of the forward handball, and always following his play to be an option again. One passage of play in the third term would’ve caught the eye of many, after a desperate smother, Hamilton continued to fight for the ball and laid a tackle, before eventually getting a handball. He was always determined to win the ball, great game.

Calder Cannons:

#3 Jackson Cardillo 

Cardillo was a bit quiet in the first half, but he certainly got busy in the second, spending more time in the guts. He finished with 16 disposals, showing off his ability to stand up in a tackle and handball under pressure. He competes well in the middle, can break lines, and hit targets. He is a good size and very capable of competing in a one-one-one. He also read the play well in the second half as he begun to have a bigger influence. Cardillo is a big danger to opposition teams if he is at his peak for four quarters.

#4 Sam Clohesy 

Clohesy is a bit of a utility and has the attributes to play in multiple positions across the ground. He spent most of his time against the Knights across half-back and through the middle. A reasonably tall player at 189cm, Clohesy showed good endurance to cover large parts of the ground on his way to 23 touches. He played a bit like Jack Lukosius, the way he swept across half back with good skills, but also pushed up the ground and was a good user heading inside 50. He uses his size to stand up well in tackles and dispose of the ball in contested situations. He had a nice minute of play in the second term where he caught the ball while smothering an opposition kick, before getting it inside 50 quickly. Moments later he took an intercept mark. He added five marks and six tackles to his stat sheet in what was a strong four quarter effort.

#6 Flynn Lakey 

It was a sixth 20-plus disposal game for Lakey in as many matches, and this one was probably a best on ground performance. A total of 27 touches, paired with 11 tackles, the midfielder was relentless all day. He went in hard and found his own ball, read the ruck taps well and got clearances and put his teammates in space. He made a great play in the third quarter after going in for the hard ball, winning the free kick for a sling tackle, and then having the presence of mind to play on quickly and handball to a teammate who was able to kick a goal. He was courageous and kept competing until the final siren. For his small size he certainly gives everything a crack and is not afraid to put his body on the line. Great performance in a losing side.

#35 Dane Whitnall 

Whitnall plays as a key pillar down back for the Cannons. For his 193cm stature, he has quite good mobility and coupled with his ability to read the play, there were multiple times where he was able to leave his man to spoil or take a mark. One of his best attributes was holding structure, he was often set up well in defence and got into good positions to impact contests. Whitnall was also an option exiting defence. He took 11 marks for the game and had 18 disposals in what was a solid performance. A couple of times he was a bit sloppy with his disposal which led to re-entries into the Cannons defensive 50. With a bit more experience, the Carlton father-son hopeful can remove those errors from his game.

WESTERN JETS 5.8 (38) def. by EASTERN RANGES 9.11 (65)

By: Peter Williams

Western Jets:

#18 Nash Reynolds

Played an important role on the inside and was in-sync with ruck Paul Tsapatolis at the stoppages. Reynolds knew where to move, read the tap well and would chuck the ball on the boot to clear it. The end result was hit and miss, but he was getting it forward and giving his forwards first chance to get in front. He showed a fierce intent when tackling and quick hands, then received a 50m penalty and nailed the set shot from just inside 50 in the second term. He spread well and took a number of marks around the ground, including a contested grab on the wing in the final term, then not long after intercepted the ball at half-forward reading it well in flight.

#33 Billy Cootee

Started off with a double fend-off early in the game on the wing, and had a quick shot on goal under pressure which went to the goalsquare. Cootee worked hard to mark in the defensive 50 and then give off the quick handball to release a running teammate in transition. A mixture of hard and clean at ground level in the match, he had a few chances going forward, but missed a set shot in the second term and was forced to rush off the left in the third term on the wing. Overall he won his fair share of the ball and contributed strongly to the team’s cause.

#50 Paul Tsapatolis

Each stoppage was like watching a clip on repeat. Tsapatolis’ body work and strength was too good and his ability to plant his leg then protect the drop of the ball to palm the pill wherever he wanted was a standout. Once he had his body positioning, he was unmovable, and his set play which was a tap behind the head to Reynolds a few times was good. He won a free kick inside 50 in the first term but it drifted in the wind, then clunk a strong contested mark at half-back. The clear dominant ruck on the ground, the AFL-listed Cats rookie is progressing nicely.

Eastern Ranges:

#4 Josh Clarke

A simply massive accumulating game from the Eastern skipper who did as he pleased around the ground. The amount of times he would receive the handball on the outside to favour his trusty left foot without too much notice was fortunate for him. Even when he was closed down, Clarke showed off his terrific strength and evasion combination to shrug the would-be tacklers, then execute by hand to a teammate on the outside. He showed great on-field leadership in all thirds of the ground, and used the ball well in the conditions. He always tried to take the game on, and slotted home a great goal from the top of 50 in the first term. He had a few more chances, with a couple of shots in the third term which just missed, then a shot in the fourth that was marked in the goalsquare. Able to play the game on his terms, Clarke was far and away the best on ground.

#9 Mitchell Sruk

Had a crack throughout the four quarters and after missing a few kicks early in the game, settled into the conditions and was able to use better composure in the latter three quarters. He worked hard and ran for second and third possessions out of defence and through the midfield, and was often tasked with the kickouts. One of the noticeable strengths of Sruk’s was his tacking technique, where he was able to pin the arms and roll his opponent rather than going into his back. He showed great strength in close to rip the ball way from an opponent and get it out, then won a lot of his touches on the outside by working hard to get to teammates to receive the handball.

#32 Flynn Kroeger

Kroeger found the ball all over the field, often winning it in defence, spending time in the midfield and then holding a firm line at the top of 50 for the rushed kick out. His handballing and vision under pressure was mostly solid. He did drop a mark going back with the flight in the second term, but showed good second effort to win it at ground level, though rushed his handball which missed the target. Kroeger showed some good bursts of speed at times and when inside would often chuck it on his boot, but his ability to gather at ground level around stoppages was impressive. Overall a solid performance with some hits and misses.

TASMANIA DEVILS 11.17 (83) def. DANDENONG STINGRAYS 8.2 (50)

By: Michael Alvaro

Tasmania Devils:

#1 Baynen Lowe

The busy small midfielder led all comers on Sunday, collecting 33 disposals to go with 10 inside 50s and nine tackles in a Draft Central Player of the Week performance. His happy knack of finding the ball and short bursts of speed allowed for plenty of distance-snatching plays in midfield, where Lowe would either receive or win the hard ball before bombing a long kick forward. He also provided fierce tackling intent, hunting the ball carrier and hitting hard whenever possible to force stoppages or spillages. While a lot of his early possessions were won in the clinches, Lowe went on to work into positions to be released before disposing forward. A lot of his kicks were rushed and sought distance rather than a direct target, which contributed to Lowe’s three behinds on the day.

#12 Jye Menzie

Menzie started brightly in his usual forward post, working high up the ground to complement his inside 50 threat. The top-ager’s running back towards goal resulted in his first major, a pretty straightforward finish over the back. He added another in the opening term, adjusting his run nicely to crumb off hands and dribble home with class. Menzie’s pressure and ability to keep his feet both proved outstanding in the early stages, before enduring a quiet patch. He popped back up after half time and converted a 45m set shot on the wrong side for a right footer, finishing with three goals but leaving a couple more out there with two behinds.

#20 Tyler McGinnis

As expected of the 2001-born over-ager, he often looked the most composed and polished player afield. He leaned on his greater level of experience to read the play well and clunk numerous intercept marks, judging the ball better than most in flight. He showed good courage when flying or cutting across opposition forwards, keeping his eyes on the ball rather than worrying about oncoming contact or his direct opponent. That same trait could be observed in his one-on-one wins, as McGinnis easily plucked the ball while his adversary scrambled to get body or a spoil in. His ball use was also clean, distributing well-hit kicks both forward and laterally throughout the game.

#37 Tom McCallum

McCallum marked just about everything that came his way at half-forward, snapping up 11 grabs in what was an outstanding aerial performance. He seemed to grow in confidence as the game wore on, initially contesting well before making good on most balls which came his way with clean clunks. That also translated to his kicking, as the bottom-ager gradually took on more risky inboard passes and pulled them off well. At 191cm, his reach was difficult for Dandenong’s defenders to combat and he often marked with good separation on the lead. McCallum also hit the scoreboard with two majors, both in the first half as reward for his overall effort.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#38 Max Gregory

Gregory was a really productive distributor out of defence, finishing with four rebound 50s among his 12 kicks and 20 disposals overall. The top-ager was composed across half-back, able to either run it out of his own area or clear his lines with efficiency by foot. Combined, those two features saw Gregory run out as one of the better rebounders on the day in a performance where he equalled his season-high tally for disposals.

#39 Daniel Didomenicantonio

Didomenicantonio was a leader among Dandenong’s group with the Stingray’s other leadership group members on Vic Country duties. He set up his side from the back, often tasked with kick-in duties and looking to gain meterage with his penetrative boot. He provided solid forward drive when released via hand, able to take on the green ball and quickly transition Dandenong into attack. One such instance saw him stream through the corridor during the second term, before spearing a ball to Jai Culley on the lead at half-forward. It was a solid game overall for the 17-year-old, who managed a team-high 26 disposals.

#44 Jai Culley

As part of the midfield-forward rotation, Culley arguably looked at his best in attack where he was one of the Stingrays’ most reliable targets. He managed to get his hands on the ball around the contest, but had more impact with his possessions in the front half. Culley converted well from his long-range set shots, but was a little less reliable when made to rush his disposals, getting less direction and penetration. Still, multiple goals and five marks made for a promising game from the 2003-born talent.

#50 Sam Frangalas

An emergency for Vic Country’s Under 17 fixture, Frangalas was one of the best bottom-agers afield. As part of the starting centre bounce combination, he looked to get on the move at stoppages and often got first hands to the ball. His repeat running and continued following of the play allowed him to chain possessions up the ground, though his disposal at full tilt was sometimes hit and miss. Frangalas found plenty of ball dropping back during term two, but his rotation was up forward, where he constantly got the ball and either wheeled to go long, or dished off quickly to a runner.

BENDIGO PIONEERS 15.14 (104) def. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 8.3 (51)

By: Nick Kitchell

Bendigo Pioneers:

#4 Jack Hickman

It was a superb day out for the Bendigo mid/forward as he put together a best on ground performance for the Pioneers. It felt as though Hickman was everywhere, utilising his massive tank to get to every contest and more often than not impact it, whether it was digging a handball out of the congestion or using his acceleration to break away and open up the game. He showed confidence in his kicking, backing himself take the game on with kicks into the corridor. An impressive feature of Hickman’s game is his running patterns and positioning, always seeming to be in the right place at the right time. He also exhibited his versatility in his stints down forward, lowering his eyes and delivering a composed pass to teammate who goaled. He then proceeded to reward himself for a hard day’s work, snapping a goal of his own on his left from directly in front in the dying minutes of the game. A trait that stood out whilst Hickman was in the midfield was his competitiveness, laying a strong tackle on the opposition ruckman and showing good aggression against a bigger-bodied Murray midfield.

#13 Jack Evans

Typically found along half-back, Evans spent the entirety of the game on the wing. After a slow start he eventually worked his way into the game, doing most of his damage forward of centre. Evans was always able to impact when the ball came his way, winning his one-on-ones and creating numerous scoring opportunities, including a quality goal off a step from 40 metres out. In what had the potential to be a tough day for an outside midfielder due to the scrappy nature of the game, Evans still managed to be one of the more involved Pioneers in Sunday’s contest on the way to racking up 23 disposals.

#15 Jack Stewart

With numerous absences from the Pioneers’ usual midfield group, Stewart stepped up in a big way. Sharing his time evenly between midfield and forward, he found a good balance between winning the ball on the inside and linking up on the outside, doing both with composure. His spread and work rate up and down the ground was notable, seemingly bobbing up at most contests. Stewart remained busy whilst forward, getting a great front and centre crumb off a marking contest and snapping on goal as well as taking an intercept mark in the forward 50, however put the set shot wide for a minor score. His cleanliness by hand stood out in addition to his willingness to take the short option by foot rather than blazing away.

#36 Will Sheehan

The pillar up forward for the Pioneers, Sheehan bagged a game-high three goals. The smooth moving forward got up and down the ground with ease, reaching as high up as centre wing and wheeling back deep inside forward 50 to contest aerially. Leading up at the ball carrier was where Sheehan looked most dangerous, creating separation from his opponent with ease. A moment that gave a good depiction of Sheehan’s character was when he marked 15 metres out on a slight angle and rather than going back and slotting an easy goal, he gave a handball over the top for a teammate to walk into an open goal, exemplifying his unselfishness. In addition to his offensive ability, Sheehan exhibited strong defensive traits, laying solid tackles as well as working hard to force a forward half turnover in the dying seconds of the game.

#39 Anthony Depasquale

For what Depasquale lacks in athleticism he makes up for in just about every other aspect of his game. Arguably the cleanest player on the ground, Depasquale was near perfect below his knees and created numerous clearances via handballs out of congestion, using his composure to weave his way out of stoppages. Whilst his blue-collar work on the inside cannot be commended enough, Depasquale’s work rate around the ground should also receive praise, finding pockets of space seemingly at will. When not on the ball he spent time forward, utilising his footy smarts to read the ball off the hands of forwards and constantly putting himself in the right position to get the footy. A couple contested marks rounded out Depasquale’s rather complete performance.

#58 Max Dow

A famous name among the Bendigo Pioneers region, Dow looked right at home in his NAB League debut. He adjusted well to the pace of the game from the outset, playing with composure and confidence. For an undersized body, Dow’s attack on the ball was impressive, earning a couple of free kicks thanks to his willingness to take contact from a bigger body. He was busy up forward, creating a turnover and shovelling a handball out to Jack Evans who goaled, as well as creating another scoring shot which sailed wide of the big sticks. In addition to distributing, Dow slotted two goals of his own on debut, one coming from a set shot after a free kick and the other on the run from 30m out. After having a strong first half, Dow was rewarded with some midfield time which was short lived before he was moved back forward.

Murray Bushrangers:

#2 Charlie Byrne

On a day where his team was lacklustre, Byrne was far from it. A player who typically spends his time across half-back or on a wing, the Under 19 Allies squad member made the smoothest of transitions into the midfield, collecting a game-high 32 disposals. Byrne capitalised on his team’s dominance in the ruck, frequently getting first use and utilising his strength to break tackles and get hands free or occasionally backing in his leg speed to burst out of stoppages and send forward one of his game-high 11 inside 50s. When not in the midfield Byrne spent time as a high half-forward, demonstrating a willingness to work high up the ground and get involved in play as opposed to sitting in the forward 50 and waiting for play to come to him. Byrne made a few impressive plays by foot around the ground including some crafty short kicks to teammates, however there were times when he missed easy targets as well as blazing away to a contest rather than lowering his eyes to an open teammate.

#10 Jedd Longmire

A member of the Under 17 NSW-ACT squad, Longmire did plenty of good work in the forward half of the ground as well as being a solid contributor in his time in the midfield. Leading patterns and positioning were standout traits in Longmire’s game when forward, finding good lanes to lead up at the ball carrier as well as putting himself in the right position to be used when in his own forward 50. This smart positioning paid dividends when he placed himself in the perfect spot for a mark inside 50 and proceeded to go back and nail the set shot. In his limited time in the midfield, Longmire exhibited a strong inside game, embracing the physical nature of this contest whilst also being clean under pressure.

#31 Ethan Warburton

The Bushies’ defensive 50 was under attack all day long, and if not for Warburton the final margin would have been far greater. The 18-year-old stood tall all day against the Pioneers forwards, exhibiting some strong intercept marks, the first of which a specky where he flaunted his athletic traits. In addition to his intercepting ability, Warburton provided plenty of rebound for his team in the way of a game-high nine rebound 50s. Trusted with kick-ins, his penetrating left foot ignited numerous attacks for the Bushies which often resulted in forward 50 entries.

#37 Jake Hodgkin

It was a hard day at the office for Hodgkin, however the big-bodied defender did himself no disservice with his performance. You couldn’t ask for much more out of Hodgkin who was just about as reliable as they come in Sunday’s contest. With ball in hand Hodgkin was always composed, breaking tackles and getting his hands free when he got himself into trouble, always finding targets when given time. Defensively Hodgkin didn’t give his opponent an inch, tackling strongly as well as taking a strong intercept mark.

State Leagues wrap: Full-time action resumes

FULL-TIME fixtures were back in the South and West Australian state leagues, where a raft of upsets shook up proceedings, while Victorian fans were treated to nine games and it was business as usual down in Tasmania. We run you through all the results from around the nation and what they mean in this week’s state leagues wrap.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

One fixture was cancelled, but the show rolled on in the VFL as Round 11 came around. Geelong emphatically returned to the winners list on Friday night, opening proceedings with a 118-point trouncing of the Brisbane Lions in the Sunshine State. Three of the Cats’ 12 individual goalkickers booted four goals as their AFL-listed brigade took full toll, including Charlie Constable (44 disposals, nine marks, one goal) in the engine room.

All of the round’s remaining fixtures took place in Victoria amid interstate Covid chaos, with a new ladder leader crowned. The undefeated Footscray Bulldogs are that side after easing past Coburg by 32 points, with Patrick Lipinski (29 disposals) among those pushing for a senior call-up. Bulldogs father-son prospect Ewan Macpherson booted two goals from 11 touches after being overlooked for Under 19 Vic Metro honours, while another Northern Knights product in Marcus Lentini racked up 43 disposals for Coburg.

North Melbourne’s positive run of form continued as the Roos knocked off Werribee by under a goal, with the top eight squeeze getting ever-tighter. Collingwood snuck in with a win over Frankston, pushing the Dolphins out in the process, while Box Hill solidified its spot after blitzing Aspley after half time, and Sandringham compounded the hurt of a poor weekend for Richmond fans, getting up by five goals over the Tigers.

A memorable quartet of Sunday games was kicked off at Casey Fields, as the home side improved to 6-0 after beating Essendon to the tune of 48 points. Familiar faces in Ben Brown (five goals) and Nathan Jones (36 disposals) staked their claims for senior action, with the Demons flying at both levels in 2021. The Northern Bullants’ journey came full circle as they defeated Carlton by 32 points at Preston City Oval, making for a fitting first win on the season at their traditional home.

A heated derby clash between Williamstown and Port Melbourne resulted in the Seagulls claiming a 37-point win, with plenty of fines to be handed out after an all-in brawl at quarter time. The round was seen out by another derby, of the Sydney variety, as Greater Western Sydney defeated the Swans by 38 points. The game was played in Melbourne and a host of top-up players were fielded across either side, allowing a bunch of NAB Leaguers to gain some valuable state league experience.

South Australia (SANFL):

Full competition resumed in the SANFL for Round 12, with the weekend’s proceedings extended back out to five fixtures after last week’s two-game set. North Adelaide opened the show on Saturday by dislodging Port Adelaide from the top five, taking the Magpies’ spot with a 76-point beating. Harrison Wigg was excellent for the victors, claiming 30 disposals and two goals, while former Port midfielders Aaron Young and Andrew Moore combined for 49 disposals and 15 clearances. Keenan Ramsey was also key in establishing the Roosters’ ascendancy, finishing with 3.2 from 15 touches and 12 marks.

Norwood solidified its spot in the top five with a five-goal win over Central District, helping the Redlegs draw level on points with the two other sides chasing Glenelg. South Adelaide is one of those teams, but the Panthers faltered on Saturday in an upset loss to Sturt. Inaccuracy cost the top five side dearly, though it meant the Double Blues would send off premiership player Mark Evans off on the right note. In Sunday’s lone fixture, Glenelg stretched its unbeaten run to 11 games, downing reigning premier Woodville-West Torrens by 19 points to only further their flag credentials.

Tasmania (TSL):

TSL frontrunner Launceston flexed its muscle on Saturday, thumping fourth-placed Clarence by 69 points on home turf to stay clear in top spot. The Blues were again spearheaded by competition leading goalkicker Dylan Riley, who booted six majors, while games record holder Jay Blackberry was named best afield. Colin Garland got the votes for Clarence, who still sit two games clear in fourth.

Fresh off a bye, North Launceston kept touch with the Blues after beating Tigers by an even six goals, setting up a two-game buffer to their weekend rivals in the process. A three-goal haul from Northern Bombers player-coach Bradley Cox-Goodyer saw him earn best afield honours. Glenorchy chalked up a fourth win in the round’s other game, beating last-placed North Hobart by 25 points as five-goal hauls to Harrison Gunther and Nathan Hardy headlined either sides’ efforts.

Western Australia (WAFL):

South Fremantle was the only team to beat a side below it on the ladder in Round 12 of the WAFL, amid a weekend littered with upsets. The Bulldogs accounted for Perth with a 34-point win, proving too strong and drawing within a game of top spot. Competition frontrunners Claremont remain clear in first despite a 14-point loss to West Perth, as the Falcons were led by usual suspects Aaron Black (34 disposals, 12 tackles) and Tyler Keitel (12 disposals, five marks, 3.2)

Swan Districts knocked off the other top two side, Subiaco, holding off the Lions despite some goalkicking inaccuracy. Jesse Palmer was a key culprit with one goal and six behinds, though it mattered little as his side got the job done to keep its two-game buffer inside the top five. Looking to close on Swans is East Fremantle, though the Sharks went down by 51 points to West Coast, in the Eagles’ second win on the season.

West Coast remains in bottom spot despite the result, after East Perth also notched its second-straight victory by shaking down the Peel Thunder. The Royals trailed at the first three breaks but enacted a terrific comeback effort after half time, ending up seven points to the good and drawing level on premiership points with their weekend adversaries.

Image Credit: Jonathan Di Maggio/AFL Photos

2021 NAB League Boys Player of the Week: Round 10

TASMANIA Devils midfielder Baynen Lowe has taken out the Draft Central NAB League Player of the Week vote for Round 10. The 17-year-old was overlooked for Allies selection, but served a timely reminder of his talents with 33 disposals, six marks, nine tackles, and 10 inside 50s in the Devils’ 33-point win over Dandenong Stingrays on Sunday.

Lowe narrowly beat Eastern Ranges skipper Josh Clarke in yesterday’s poll, despite some vocal support, sneaking two votes ahead to get this week’s nod. Clarke was also exceptional in Round 10, racking up 38 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50s and a goal as the Ranges powered past Western. Both players will co-captain the Draft Central Team of the Week.

Upon returning to the Tasmanian side, Lowe has been in exceptional form with averages of 30 disposals, five marks, five tackles, and seven inside 50s across his last three outings. He becomes the first Tasmanian to earn Player of the Week honours this season and is the fifth 2003-born prospect to do so, joining quite a high-level list of talent.

2021 DRAFT CENTRAL NAB LEAGUE BOYS PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

Round 1: Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges)
Round 2: Connor Macdonald (Dandenong Stingrays)
Round 3: Nick Daicos (Oakleigh Chargers)
Round 4: Fraser Marris (GWV Rebels)
Round 9: Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)
Round 10: BAYNEN LOWE (TASMANIA DEVILS)

Image Credit: Andrew Woodgate