Tag: 2019 under 18 national championships

AFL Draft Watch: Luke Edwards (Glenelg/South Australia)

IN the build up to football eventually returning, Draft Central  takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state at Under 17 or Under 18s level in 2019.

While plenty can change between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at preseason testing, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft watch is versatile Glenelg product Luke Edwards, who is eligible to be drafted by Adelaide under the father-son rule in 2020 given his father, Tyson‘s 321-game career with the Crows.

One of six Tigers to be named in the South Australian Academy Hub, Edwards is arguably the most credentialed of the lot having already featured at SANFL Reserves level, and in all four of South Australia’s Under 18 fixtures last year as a bottom-ager.

In 2020, the 187cm prospect will be looking to ply his trade more prominently through the engine room, utilising his solid frame and outstanding contested ball work after proving his worth as a rebounding half-back throughout 2019.

A lower back niggle prevented Edwards from completing a full preseason and participating in the fitness testing day, though he will be raring to go should the class of 2020 get back on the park.

PLAYER PAGE:

Luke Edwards

Height: 187.2cm
Weight: 80.7kg
Position: Inside midfielder/half-back

2019 SANFL U18 STATS: 8 games | 22.5 disposals | 4.4 marks | 5.8 tackles | 5.1 clearances | 4.6 inside 50s | 1 goal

2019 U18 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS STATS: 4 games | 18.8 disposals | 4.3 marks | 3.3 tackles | 2.75 rebound 50s | 1.5 inside 50s

Strengths: Versatility, contested ball, reading the play, efficiency
Improvements: Explosive speed, contested marking

QUOTES FROM PRE-SEASON:

Preferred position… “(Midfield) is where I’ll probably be playing mostly through the state champs. But it’s obviously good to be able to be that versatile type of player – go through the mid, down back.

“I enjoy playing through the mid probably more, I find it easier than playing down back so hopefully through the mid a little bit more, find more of the ball which would be good.”

2020 goals… “Hopefully I can play some senior footy, play a couple of League games if that’s before state champs or after state champs. “Obviously I’ve got my older brother (Jackson) who’s come down again so if I could play with him as well that’d be pretty cool.

“And hopefully by the end of the year, get drafted but we’ll just wait and see what happens with that.”

Working on… “Probably just that contested marking if I want to go down back or if I want to go up forward. “Just being able to be that player who can run and crash a few packs like Kaine Baldwin and take some big marks, that’d be pretty cool.”

GET TO KNOW GLENELG’S UNDER 18s

SCOUTING NOTES:

Under 17 Futures All Star Game

By: Michael Alvaro

The potential Adelaide father-son has composure beyond his years and looks a versatile type. Starting in his usual half-back role, Edwards showed great poise in his disposal coming out of defence and worked hard to impact the play further afield once he had released the ball himself.

His intercept marking game was also sound, reading the ball well in flight to get in the right position on defensive wing. He is the accumulating type in the backline, but looks a different player once thrown into the midfield with his strong hands and frame allowing him to play that inside game.

Open Schools Cup Grand Final vs. PAC

By: Michael Alvaro

Adelaide fans would want to be keeping the potential father-son’s progress on the down-low, but he keeps on showing good signs of form. Edwards’ quick and clean hands in congestion were outstanding, flicking the ball out effectively to his runners and staying strong through the hips under tackling pressure.

He looked at home through the midfield but also chimed in down back with some rebounding kicks and showed good penetration when going long.

2019 Under 18 National Championships vs. Allies

By: Michael Alvaro

One of few bottom-agers in the SA squad but was again impressive in spurts. He found a spot in the back six throughout the carnival, but will become a good midfielder in time with his clean hands and strong frame.

Edwards had a shaky moment early with a pretty bad turnover by foot on defensive wing, but would make amends later in the game with some clean gathers off the deck and improved composure inside defensive 50 as the game wore on.

2019 Under 18 Championships vs. Vic Country

By: Craig Byrnes

The son of former Adelaide champion Tyson, Luke is a potential father-son option for next year, but speculation continues to grow that he may opt to nominate for the open draft.

He again found himself behind the ball on Friday, intercepting, rebounding and often starting dangerous scoring chains. He took an excellent intercept mark in the third term which set up a goal for his team at a vital time.

2019 Under 18 National Championships vs. Vic Metro

By: Sophie Taylor

At 187cm he is a good size which allows him to compete strongly one-on-one against the top-aged boys. With 18 disposals, Edwards had no issues finding the football.

He generally used it well, playing across half-back (at times stationing himself in ‘the hole’ in-front of the key forwards) and also in an inside midfield role. Dribbled home a goal in the third term in an attempt to kickstart SA after half-time.

AFL Draft Watch: Denver Grainger-Barras (Swan Districts/Western Australia)

IN the build up to football eventually returning, Draft Central  takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state at Under 17 or Under 18s level in 2019. While plenty can change between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at pre-season testing, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft watch is Swan Districts defender Denver Grainger-Barras, who made his WAFL League debut last year after two impressive performances at the Under 18 National Championships for Western Australia. While his style of play is sometimes that of a defender’s defender, the 195cm prospect is incredibly athletic for his size, and possesses a sound intercept marking game.

Poised to challenge for number one draft pick honours this year, Grainger-Barras burst onto the scene with a solid Under-16 carnival in 2018, but had his outstanding run of achievements cut slightly short last year as a long-term shoulder injury kept him out of action until the 2020 pre-season. Now raring to get back into things, the 18-year-old is set to play a key role in each side he suits up for should he get on the park.


PRESEASON TESTING HIGHLIGHTS:

Speed: 3.08 seconds (Above Average)
Agility: 8.190 seconds (Elite)
Running Vertical Jump: 78cm (Above Average)

PLAYER PAGE:

Denver Grainger-Barras

Height: 195cm
Weight: 78kg
Position: Key Defender

2019 WAFL COLTS STATS: 7 games | 10.1 disposals | 3.7 marks | 2.1 tackles
2019 UNDER 18 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS STATS: 2 games | 12 disposals | 7 marks | 2 tackles | 2.5 rebound 50s

Strengths: Reading the play, intercept marking, athleticism, defensive versatility, composure
Improvements: Endurance, offensive output

SCOUTING NOTES:

2019 Under 18 National Championships vs. Vic Country

By: Lenny Fogliani

The bottom-ager was excellent in defence for the Sandgropers, often thwarting many of Vic Country’s attacking forays. Stationed at centre half-back and often opposed to Elijah Hollands, Grainger-Barras accumulated 13 possessions and took eight marks, while Hollands gathered 14 possessions but failed to kick a goal.

2019 Under 18 National Championships vs. Allies

By: Peter Williams

Another bottom-age tall who will hold the West Australian side in good stead for next year, he has some neat defensive and offensive attributes. He killed a contest at half-back with a great spoil across the line, and proceeded to be an intercepting defender throughout the game, saving a number of dangerous forward entries by dropping into the hole. Most importantly, he remained composed under pressure and looks like a promising prospect.

2018 Under 16 National Championships vs. Vic Metro

By: Michael Alvaro

The Black Ducks key man put in a tough shift in his defensive 50 post, marking or intercepting almost everything that came his way. His hands overhead were exceptional, and he showed a willingness to take the game on with quick exits out of defensive 50. A defender’s defender, the best way to describe his game was solid – as a rock.

Q&A: Nikolas Cox (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)

AS the postponement of all seasons commenced over the last few weeks, we head back to the pre-season a month earlier where we sat down with a number of athletes across the country. In a special Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, Draft Central‘s Michael Alvaro chatted with Northern Knights’ Nikolas Cox at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day hosted by Rookie Me.

The 199cm utility showed a wealth of promise in his bottom-age year, playing on the wing and as a key position outlet up either end of the ground. Like many of his Knights teammates, the modern-day footballing prototype is a terrific runner and uses it to play into his versatility. Having already turned out for Vic Metro and been selected in last year’s Under 17 Future Stars showcase game, Cox enters his top-age year looking to cement a spot across centre half-back while shouldering the Northern co-captaincy alongside Ewan Macpherson.

MA: How’s the day been for you?

NC: “It’s been good. Obviously it’s a pretty long day, lots of stuff happens but it’s a good day to have every single region come in (and) spend some time together. “It’s good to see everyone, it’s been a bit challenging but good.”

You’re lauded for your athleticism as a taller athlete, have you been able to show that in these tests?

“Yeah I think so, for sure. Things like the vertical jump, off both feet I think that’s one of my strengths. “But I’m looking forward to the yo-yo, hopefully I can do well in that with endurance probably being one of my biggest strengths. So yeah, hopefully I do well in that.”

You’ve played on a wing and up either end, are you looking to nail down just one position this year?

“Obviously you love to have some versatility, you want to be able to play different roles for the team or whatever’s necessary. But I think I’ll be playing a lot of back this year, trying to get some continuity in a certain spot, really nail that position and get all that craft good. So hopefully I’ll nail down some back and then if I need I’ll push up to the wing or go down forward and I still want to keep that skillset, to have that available.”

It must’ve been great to be around the Metro squad last year and even this year, how’s that been for you?

“Yeah it’s good, you learn so much in that environment. I mean, some real superstars like Matt Rowell, I spent a lot of time with Fischer McAsey down back and doing a lot of craft with him. Even this year we’ve got a really humble group at Metro and I think we can do some exciting things, hopefully I can stay in that group. But yeah, I’ve learned so much – most of my craft work, lots of little things – it’s been really good, really beneficial for me.”

What are some of those things you’re still looking to develop at the moment?

“A lot of body positioning work. “Obviously I need to work on my strength, so just trying to work around ways that I can build that up and just little techniques that can help me get an advantage on stronger opposition.”

Are there any goals for the year or landmarks you want to hit?

“I just want to get deeper into finals with this team (Northern). “Obviously cut short last year against Western which was devastating so hopefully we can get a better run and get deeper into finals, get some real form at the end of the year.”

Do you think that with a few of the top-age boys that you’ll be able to push for that?

“Yeah for sure. “We’ve got really strong bottom-agers coming through too, a really good running group – 2km time trials showed with boys nearly breaking six minutes – so I think we’re going to have a pretty strong group going forward this year. “A good contribution from 19 (year-olds), top-agers, and bottom-agers so really looking forward to it.”

Scouting notes: AFL U18 Championships – South Australia vs. Allies

SOUTH Australia held firm late-on to finish off its national carnival with a 17-point win over the Allies at Marvel Stadium on Wednesday. Michael Alvaro was on hand to note down some of the prominent players, with all notes opinion-based of the individual writer.

South Australia:

#1 Kysaiah Pickett

The exciting Eagles product proved his worth once again after missing SA’s last game through suspension, collecting 22 disposals and booting a goal. While he is an obvious threat at ground level with his pace and clean hands, Pickett also has good spring and competed well above his head when required. He started well with a ground ball get against three opponents in the first term, wheeling away from them and shooting the ball inboard to Callum Park. Despite spending a lot of time up on the wing, Pickett snared a goal deep inside 50 in the second term with an easy finish into the open goal on the run. It always felt like he was about to do something special when near the ball, and he did as much with a high-flying mark on the wing in the same quarter. Was otherwise a pretty typical display from Pickett, zipping around to mop up at ground level and proving a tackling menace at both ends.

#3 Corey Durdin

Was by no means a big game from the bottom-ager in terms of his disposal output (just seven), but he continues to show little bursts of form in a forward role. There isn’t much of him at 173cm, but Durdin cracks in against bigger bodies and tackles hard – boding well for his inside midfield craft. Showed his class with a snapped goal from a forward stoppage in the first quarter, and caught the eye with a clean pick up and spin on defensive wing in the following term. Should enjoy more midfield time in his top-age year.

#7 Dylan Stephens

The classy mover arguably left his best championships performance for last, racking up a game-high 33 disposals – including nine clearances. Stephens worked tirelessly through midfield for SA, winning the ball in all areas of the ground and proving clinical by foot on his left side. He looked dangerous early when breaking forward, getting hand-offs in areas where he could unleash a long-range shot on goal, despite not quite finding them. While a lot of his best work was done when breaking away from congestion, Stephens also showed an ability to win his fair share of inside ball. His typically pin-point kicking was somewhat compensated as he threw the ball on his boot quickly on occasion in those situations, which is a rare area he can polish up on. Much of his game was one of accumulation, but Stephens’ cleverness shone through at times, with a tap over his opponent and gather on the run at defensive 50 proving shrewd, and his agility in traffic outstanding throughout.

#8 Jed McEntee

Looks to have a really nice mix of class and grit, doing some clever things on the outside while digging in desperately to win the ball at ground level. Had more impact than his stats suggest, and first came into the game with a big tackle on the wing in the opening term. McEntee went on to pop up with little bursts of agility through traffic up the ground, while also running hard forward to mark inside 50 on two occasions, but missing both set shots. He made good on that with his involvement in Jackson Mead’s third quarter goal, diving to get a hand on the ball as an opponent looked to pick it up, winning it, standing up to burst through would-be tacklers and flicking out to Kysaiah Pickett, who moved it on to Mead for a terrific team goal from nothing.

#9 Cameron Taheny

Looked dangerous in the opening stages, showing his typically strong hands overhead and darting a neat kick laterally in his first influential play of note. The dangerous forward spent a lot of time up the ground on a wing, but still proved worthy inside attacking 50 with a slow dribbled goal from a turnover in the first term. Tended to opt for a lot of space on the attacking side when matched up on Mitch O’Neill up the ground, and it allowed him to find over half of his 21 disposals uncontested. It clearly worked in his favour as Taheny used his skills and the time afforded to make a couple of darting hit-up passes toward the forward 50 arc in the third term. A good day for the dynamic SA prospect.

#10 Joshua Shute

Shute managed to accumulate 21 disposals as one of SA’s better outside movers on his customary wing. While his running game was not as obvious as in his other carnival outings, Shute showed good pace when called upon and worked hard to penetrate the arcs at either end by foot. Is one whose stocks have risen after some solid representative action, and has noticeable traits as a rangy outsider.

#12 Will Day

Put in another slick display off half-back, building into the game with a purple patch in the second term. Is a good height while being quite light on, but still held up well in contests to add to his more prevalent outside traits. Only had the two rebound 50s but made some typically neat kicks as he won the ball up the ground. Half-backs are dime a dozen, but Day is starting to set himself apart.

#15 Harry Schoenberg

Was arguably one of the biggest improvers across the national championships, finishing off an outstanding carnival with 27 disposals to earn his state’s MVP award and be named All Australian. Plays a more unheralded role given the class of his centre bounce partners, but well and truly did it all from midfield with five marks, five clearances, four tackles, and a goal. That goal came on the run from range in the second term to spark South Australia’s dominance, and Schoenberg enjoyed a short game of kick to kick with Will Day later in the quarter to pad his stats. He almost snared another goal on the fly in the third term but missed, but just seems to win the ball wherever he goes. Hands out and kicks forward well, making him a rounded midfield prospect.

#18 Jackson Mead

Another strong showing from the potential Port Adelaide father-son, and he started beautifully with a couple of spearing hits through the corridor to find teammates leading up to the forward 50 arc. Mead would go on to rack up the ball well and continued to push forward in damaging fashion on the outside when allowed the time and space. Showed a bit of cheek to throw the ball at his opponent as he was shoved out of bounds, and capped a solid game with his neat checkside goal in the third term. Mead used his frame to win the ball between the arcs, but bit off a bit too much when moving through congestion as he was caught holding the ball just before his goal. Rightly earned All Australian honours, but Port fans will want to keep that on the down-low.

#19 Luke Edwards

One of few bottom-agers in the SA squad but was again impressive in spurts, making him a leading father-son prospect (Adelaide) for next year. Found a spot in the back six throughout the carnival, but will become a good midfielder in time with his clean hands and strong frame. Edwards had a shaky moment early with a pretty bad turnover by foot on defensive wing, but would make amends later in the game with some clean gathers off the deck and improved composure inside defensive 50 as the game wore on. Also had a nice bit of play when recovering from a spilt mark, putting in a quick first few steps to get away from danger. Has a handy bit of versatility and will have impressed many.

#20 Lachlan McNeil

Another less heralded midfielder pre-championships, McNeil was again one of his side’s leading ball winners as a hard-working cog on the inside of SA’s engine room. His impact is not always noticeable, but McNeil’s touches and tackles at the stoppages proved vital in allowing the likes of Stephens to work the ball forward in space. Can work on polishing up his disposal at times, shown by a kick and handball under pressure in the final term, but is a great role player in the midfield mix.

#24 Will Gould

The two-time All Australian defender is an absolute unit, and used his frame to good effect throughout the game. You just always feel nervous for his opponents as he closes in, exemplified best as he threw his body around early and laid a crunching bump on the much smaller Errol Gulden later in the third term, who he has 30kg on. On top of his physicality, Gould is also surprisingly damaging by foot – playing as one of SA’s designated kickers from defence. Given his ability to stand up in tackles, Gould is often cool in a crisis and has the confidence to take the game on by playing on from kick-ins. He did so in the second term, and got busy in the following quarter inside defensive 50 with some neat touches to keep his side composed. He hits the ball hard from that centre half-back position, and that boded well for his 10 rebound 50s from 25 disposals. His ability to play tall became obvious with a couple of marking efforts from the side too, and he looks a dynamic prospect.

#33 Dyson Hilder

Was swung forward in this game and while Hilder did not find whole lot of the ball (eight disposals, two marks), he still had some nice moments with efforts in the air. He was unlucky not to claim a couple more marks in the second term, flying well for one on the forward 50 arc and having one taken away from him with a free kick inside 50. He did manage to hold on for a mark in the final quarter among a decent pack, booting his only goal for the game with the resultant set shot. Enjoyed a promising carnival, formerly forming a solid partnership with Karl Finlay down back.

#35 Karl Finlay

Assumed his usual role as the leading key defender for SA, and did so to great effect to be one of his side’s best in the first half. Only had the four marks from his 11 disposals but it seemed like he had more, starting with a strong take going back on the defensive arc. Finlay followed it up with a couple of spoils in aerial contests in defence and up on the wing, putting in similar efforts in the second quarter. His attack on the ball and consequential rebound on the fly was excellent for a player of his size, and he could be that intercepting defender at the next level – rather than a key position back.

Allies:

#1 Errol Gulden

The bottom-aged Sydney Academy member was again impressive, buzzing around the forward half and proving damaging as he wheeled craftily onto his left side. He started in ideal fashion with a well-read crumb off hands inside 50 and clinical finish for his side’s first and only goal in the opening term. While his spearing passes on the left look good when they come off, Gulden has a tendency to look for those low-percentage kicks across the 50 arc and did turn one over in this game. Can pick his shots better, but is so damaging when he hits them and you would not want to smother his natural talent. Finished with 14 disposals (12 uncontested).

#2 Hewago Paul Oea

The Papua New Guinea-born forward made his usual impact, but also did well to find more disposals than his carnival average (15). His defensive pressure and damage on the outside was terrific, while also flicking out effective handballs when under a touch more pressure. Better known as ‘Ace’, much of the Suns Academy member’s best work was done over the back when streaming forward, sending the ball inside 50 on five occasions and finding Noah Cumberland well to supply him with one of his two goals.

#3 Connor Budarick

Named All Australian in the back pocket, Budarick’s Academy Series MVP award was largely earned for his work through the midfield, and his handball-heavy 21 disposals ensured a solid end to his national carnival. The Suns Academy skipper continued to do the dirty work as the anchor at centre bounces, laying eight tackles and winning over half of his possessions in contested situations despite only standing at 175cm. He is all heart, but has the speed and finishing qualities up forward to make him even more desirable for the Suns. Found the goals with the first major of the second half after cleaning up from Tom Griffiths’ tackle on Will Gould.

#4 Malcolm Rosas Jnr

Rosas continued his electric end to the national championships, combining harmoniously with the Allies’ brigade of zippy smalls to give the opposition defenders headaches. While there is not much of him, the Darwin product has a good knack of prizing the ball free with opponents around, but works even better in space and has the speed to find it. Was one of the more influential Allies with his 15 disposals and three inside 50s, and could have had an even better game with better finishing. Still managed to post two goals after his first-half woes in front of the big sticks and offers some real silk forward of centre.

#9 Mitch O’Neill

The hard-nosed Tasmanian earned second All Australian honours with another solid outing, collecting a respectable 16 disposals on the wing. He often started with a fair bit of separation from his opponent when the centre bounces went up, and it showed as he found a touch more uncontested ball than usual. Did not have as profound an impact as he has shown he can over the last two games with his role on the outer of midfield, but always manages to attract the ball and works hard both ways to help out his defenders and provide for forwards.

#12 Ashton Crossley

The Lions Academy member is a contested ball beast, complimenting fellow big-bodied midfielder Tom Green well at the stoppages to have arguably his best game for the carnival. Is a handball-happy kind of player in his extraction role, and that was no different in this game with his 16 handballs from 22 disposals – with six clearances to boot. Played his role well and provided a physical edge, but can work on polishing up his disposal and running game.

#16 Ben Jungfer

Another inside type in the Allies midfield, Jungfer was slightly down on his usual disposal output with 10. Still fulfilled his role of prizing the ball free and winning it at the coalface, with eight of his possessions contested and three of them ending in clearances. Just gets the ball going forward when allowed to throw it on the boot, and got it moving inside 50 when he could.

#20 Matt McGrory

Was one who stepped up in patches and looked to have built into the game nicely after a relatively quiet opening. Is usually employed out on the wing, but had a couple of good moments under pressure with kicks going inside 50 and showed glimpses of his class that had been more few and far between in previous outings. Showed some promise with his 14 disposals and consolation goal in the final term.

#22 Tom Green

Again led the way for his side as their leading ball-winner (23 disposals, 18 contested possessions, six clearances), bossing stoppage proceedings but having less impact around the ground than he did in his previous outing. Used his big frame to stand up in tackles and keep the ball alive in typical fashion, while laying seven of his own on South Australia’s nippier midfield types. Rightly earned All Australian honours and pushed his case well for top 10 selection come the end of the year as the pool’s leading inside midfielder.

#46 Noah Cumberland

Cumberland just continues to get better and found form at the right time during the carnival. Loves to kick long down the line and get his side going with some rugby-like dash, but was caught out for running too far early on as he tucked the ball under his arm. While he shows moments of his rawness, Cumberland also proved classy with his two goals, and particularly with his nicely weighted set shot in the third term. Had 18 impactful disposals, four tackles and four inside 50s as one of his side’s best. Will be an interesting prospect for the Lions to consider going forward.

Scouting notes: AFL U18 Championships – Vic Country vs. South Australia

VIC Country kept its perfect 2019 National Championships record in tact with a heart-stopping one-point win over South Australia at on Sunday. We were on hand at GMHBA Stadium to note the standouts from either side – and there were plenty – with the opinion-based notes that of each individual writer.

Vic Country:
By: Michael Alvaro

#2 Caleb Serong

Again led from the front for Country, posting fantastic numbers as a constant in the midfield. Serong showcased his inside qualities, making up for a lack of height with his clear strength and intensity around the ball to prize out 10 clearances in all areas of the ground. Given over half of his possessions were contested, Serong’s kicking was compensated at times with some clearing balls skidding along the turf and others ending in turnovers or throw-ins. Still has obvious class though and looks neat with more high percentage kicks, but had a bit of a down day in that area. That still doesn’t take away from his outstanding performance, and he could have ended up with a couple of goals to cap off the display had quick snaps had he put away some his quick chances. Just works so hard and looks tireless, making him a reliable commodity with good versatility.

#3 Cody Weightman

The livewire Stingrays small forward was electric once again for Country, posting his second four-goal haul of the carnival. He is just so dynamic inside 50, hunting the ball and his opponents at ground level, while also flying hight to compound the threats he presented. Weightman’s desperation showed, as he was simply more hungry for the ball in an aerial duel against three opponents in the first term, bringing it to ground. His first goal came with a straightforward mark on the lead and set shot conversion, backing it up with a more typical finish over the back just before the quarter time siren to have two early on. While he looked most likely inside 50, Weightman did well to also find the ball up the ground as the game progressed, but ran forward hard to get free once again. He snared a third goal in the second term with a clever steal in the goalsquare, and added a fourth after half time with a left-footed snap, while also almost producing another highlight as he smothered and hit the post with the ball he won in the final term. Really rising among the small forward stocks.

#4 Sam Flanders

Was brilliant again through the midfield alongside partner-in-crime, Caleb Serong. Has real athleticism and burst at the stoppages to go with his clean hands, allowing him to provide real drive going forward – as shown in his 10 inside 50 entries. Spent some time forward where he looked just as comfortable, using his sizeable leap to mark well overhead and get to a number of contests. A finished product was the only thing lacking for Flanders in those stints, but he did find the goals in the final term with a neat checkside conversion from his holding the ball free kick. Has really adapted well to his midfield minutes and it looks a primary role for him now, with so many weapons to turn to athletically and skill-wise.

#6 Riley Baldi

Was not as prolific in terms of ball-winning as he has been lately, but still made a steady contribution when running through the engine room. Is a hard worker at the stoppages with his willingness to run both ways – tackling well when he isn’t scooting away with ball in hand and onto his left foot. Initially caught the eye with a tackling effort on the wing to earn a free kick, and then started the second half brightly with the first clearance as he moved into the centre bounce. Continued to accumulate from there, and popped up again in the final quarter with a precise kick inside 50 to find Lachie Williams – which is something he seems to have added to his arsenal.

#9 Isaac Wareham

The Rebels defender proved to be a shrewd inclusion for Country, adding to the class across their back six despite not being a huge ball winner. Wareham’s point of difference to his aerially-apt teammates is his ground-level game, mopping the ball up well with clean hands and flicking it on quickly to alleviate any previous danger. Had some nice moments in the final term as he came into the game with some dashing bursts forward, proving an effective mover of the ball out of the defensive half and one-touch below his knees.

#12 Lachlan Ash

It was a typical day out for the Country co-captain, gaining serious meterage with his line-breaking speed and elite kicking skills. Ash’s impact early on came in the air with superior reading of the ball in flight to intercept, recovering well on one occasion as he spilt the mark to move forward. He had a hand in Cody Weightman’s late goal in the first term with a run from half back, which proved a sign of things to come. Ash would go on to accumulate well across half back – positioning smartly, swooping on ground balls, and zipping through traffic at speed to release long balls into Country’s attacking half. His previous work culminated in a couple of unreal plays in the final term, with the first a three-bounce run which he couldn’t quite finish off from 50m. The second proved a game-winner, as Ash backed himself to take on an opponent on defensive wing, burn him off through the corridor and deliver a pin-point pass to Brodie Kemp inside 50 with two opponents closing fast. Ash’s ability to take on such responsibility and create the chance was incredibly impressive, and makes him a real leader.

#13 Jay Rantall

Was one who popped up in patches throughout the game despite consistently featuring at stoppages, catching the eye most as he broke from congestion. Is really starting to come into his own in the midfield, with a strong athletic base boding well for his breakaway traits and bursts forward. The kick on the end of such plays was the only slight issue with Rantall’s game, spearing a couple of stray passes going inside 50 despite looking stylish while delivering at full stride. One of those kicks across the 50 arc ended up coming off as Cody Weightman found the goals, and Rantall almost booted his own major in the third term on the run. Has so much upside and a wealth of nice traits, making him a prospect who is easy on the eye but still developing.

#16 Brodie Kemp

Was the hero of the day, slotting an ice-cool set shot with the last kick of the game to give Country a miraculous win. While Kemp’s strong overhead mark and clinical conversion was the talking point at the final siren, he had already proved his worth earlier in the day. The big-bodied Bendigo product finally enjoyed an extended run through the midfield and was even used forward on the back of his strong overhead capabilities, amassing 27 disposals, seven marks, five clearances, and four inside 50s. Kemp’s cleanliness in snapping up the ball and using it by foot made him so effective early on as he accumulated strongly, working well at stoppages and linking into the forward arc in general play. He just seemed to get into the right spots and made the most of each touch, exemplified best with his game-winning play. Will be moving up draft boards on the back of his versatility and one-touch ability, and will look to finish off the carnival strongly on Wednesday.

#17 Hayden Young

Was one of Young’s quieter games given the lofty standard he has already set, but he still managed to get his rebound game going and won a good amount of ball. The Stingrays product positioned well inside defensive 50 to get on the last line, and worked hard to find space after delivering kick-ins. His kicking game is usually arguably the best of anyone in this year’s draft pool, but Young tended to more often play the percentages with his long-range kicks down the line or into space – showing good decision making but not necessarily always hitting a direct target. You always sensed that Young was hanging around when a Country player marked at half forward, wanting the hand-off to launch a bomb towards goal. He managed to get a couple, but they didn’t quite come off with one shot being smothered straight off the boot. A solid outing, and hardly made a mistake as per usual.

#24 Brock Smith

Smith was ultra-impressive deep inside defensive 50, intercepting well in the air with good judgement while also mopping up the ground balls. He hardly loses a one-on-one, backing up much of the niggle he engages in with his direct opponents as a typical defender. Smith was also composed in possession, using the ball efficiently by foot from defensive 50 and just seems to be a really calm outlet for whichever side he plays in. An important part of a very talented Country back six, providing physical presence and good defensive traits on top of his skill.

#36 Sam De Koning

De Koning was fantastic in the air as a permanent key defender, leaping to intercept almost everything that came his way – whether it was through strong marking or an assured fist. The dynamic tall was as competitive as I’ve seen throughout his top-age year, closing quickly on opponents and leaping well to get to contests he had no right to. Looks to have finally found his position having been tried up forward and through the ruck, with his reading of the play and athleticism making him one of the more exciting key defenders this year.

#40 Charlie Comben

Took on his usual duties in the ruck, winning a game-high 22 hitouts. Comben has been somewhat of a surprise packet during the carnival, and continued his form with some solid contested marks and competitive follow-up work. Showed his marking traits off early with a nice overhead clunk on the lead up to his forward 50, followed by another up the other end from a kick-in. With his aerial prowess in mind, Comben also positoned a kick behind the play on his forward 50 arc for the rushed rebound kick, despite it not coming off on numerous occasions. Capped off a decent day with a terrific chase on Corey Durdin to halt an exciting run and effect the bottom-ager’s shot on goal.

South Australia:
By: Craig Byrnes

#7 Dylan Stephens

A solid outing by the highly rated wingman, who did most of his good work on the outside of the contest. He has some class with the footy and can move through congestion with ease. He was able to run and carry forward of centre, particularly early, highlighted by a brilliant goal in the first term which he calmly slotted after running and bouncing at speed. He has some genuine composure, but perhaps tries to take on to much by foot on occasions and was one of many victims of the skinny GMHBA Stadium boundaries throughout the day by kicking it out on the full in the third term. Stephens finished the day with 20 disposals.

#10 Josh Shute

Another South Australian wingman with some impressive outside tricks who is a lovely modern size at 187cm. Shute caught the eye early with an outstanding smother in the first term which he followed up to collect and kick inside 50 to a dangerous position. He is a one touch player and clean under pressure, but the attribute that’s really exciting is his willingness to take on his opponent. He had multiple moments throughout the day where he’d use a simple side step or candy sell to make the opposition over commit and he was off in no time. He worked hard to create an option in space too, taking 10 marks. While he still has some work defensively, Shute’s 19 disposals had impact.

#12 Will Day

Despite a light 70kg frame, Day is a real goer who will throw his body toward the ball in any situation. He started really well, attacking the in dispute footy and rebounding with penetration. He is equally capable in the air as he is on the ground, creating the flexibility to play on different sized players in the back half. His seven rebound 50s were an equal match high, but he also managed to link further up the ground and find the ball forward of centre. A rangy type who is really starting to win some admirers, he ended the day with 24 disposals.

#15 Harry Schoenberg

This guy is having an outstanding individual tournament and is flying under the radar to an extent. He set the tone for South Australia in the first term, winning 12 disposals and while 10 were handballs, his touches were relevant. He is really clean inside and has sharp hands, perfectly shown in the first term when he executed a fast link up escape in the defensive 50. He is quicker than he looks and possesses some explosive attributes to evade tackles, giving a “don’t argue” fend and hip flick in the term third to get away from an opponent. He finished the day with a team high 32 disposals and six clearances to again be one of South Australia’s better performers.

#18 Jackson Mead

The Port Adelaide father/son prospect produced a real eye catching match, getting involved during defining moments and lifting when the game was on the line. He was clean on the inside and influential on the spread, showcasing both elements in the first half when he won a clearance, carried the ball and superbly hit a target inside 50. He ran both ways, helping the defensive unit when he could and getting in dangerous positions in the front half. He went up a gear in the final term kicking two goals, the first a superb bending snapped finish that got the South Australians up and about. 22 disposals, four clearances and scoreboard impact meant that Mead was arguably one of the most influential players on the day.

#19 Luke Edwards

The son of former Adelaide champion Tyson, Luke is a potential father/son option for next year, but speculation continues to grow that he may opt to nominate for the open draft. With plenty to play out until then, the talented bottom ager is currently playing some outstanding footy and looking like being one of the better 2020 prospects. He again found himself behind the ball on Friday, intercepting, rebounding and often starting dangerous scoring chains. He took an excellent intercept mark in the third term which set up a goal for his team at a vital time. Edward’s ended the game with 23 disposals and is looking more comfortable with every game.

#20 Lachlan McNeil

An inside midfielder who does a lot of heavy work at ground contests, both offensively and defensively. He puts his head over the ball and fights, ensuring that he has a physical impact with or without the ball. While he isn’t the prettiest player in the South Australian side, you know what you are going to get and I suspect Tony Bamford would lock him in to complete his role successfully every game. He is solid overhead too, taking an excellent mark under pressure in the defensive 50 during the tense third term. A solid return again, finishing the game with 23 disposals, six tackles and three clearances.

#24 Will Gould

The intercept defender with the thick set and booming right foot is well on track to become a dual All Australian, after producing a near best on ground performance against Vic Country. It is the first time I’ve seen him live and boy does he provide a physical, almost scary presence when the ball is in his area. He controlled the back half with his ability to read the play and make smart decisions to pick the ball off at will to win 26 disposals. In the second term he competed for a difficult aerial contest and despite being out of position, won the ground ball to highlight his determination. Gould had some huge moments in defence during that manic fourth term, but with the game on the line he managed to win the ball forward of centre and give South Australia the lead with a brilliant running goal from just inside the arc in the final minutes. Vic Country ultimately got that goal back to win, but Gould gave recruiters the best evidence possible that he is a big moment star.

#33 Dyson Hilder

Another South Australian defender who had a large say, the 196cm key position player continues to gain fans with his consistent performances. While he dropped a mark he would usually take in the first term, he barely made another error for the rest of the day. He reads the drop of the ball so quickly, often coming off his man or using excellent body work to protect the position he wants to be. He out bodied the much heavier Josh Smith on multiple occasions and was so calm in difficult situations late in the game. He took some great intercept marks when his side really needed it and made great decisions by foot too. You get the feeling he is one of the best KPDs available in 2019.

#35 Karl Finlay

The South Australian defensive unit is really well credentialed and Finlay was another to impress at GMHBA Stadium on Friday afternoon. Finlay is a little shorter than your modern key position type at 192cm, but he has the flexibility to play on smaller players and is loves to have a say aerially. He really lifted in the second half, taking multiple contested intercept marks and complimented, Gould, Hilder, Edwards, Day and the like perfectly. He flies under the radar a tad like a few South Australians, but he just continues to tick so many boxes.

Country looks to remain undefeated in Geelong double-header

GMHBA Stadium hosts Round 4 of the AFL Under 18 National Championships, as Vic Metro faces the winless Allies and the undefeated Vic Country hosts South Australia, while Western Australia will enjoy a bye. Find the full teams and a preview for both games below.

VIC METRO vs. ALLIES
Friday June 28, 10:30am
GMHBA Stadium

Vic Metro comes to Geelong looking to roll on with the same form that saw them pick up their first win for the carnival last time out, while the Allies’ search for the same feat continues. Much was made of Metro’s chances coming into the championships given their talent on paper, and while they have not quite lived up to the billing of favourites, the Oakleigh/Sandringham quartet of Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson, Josh Worrell, and Fischer McAsey has been terrific across each outing. Having previously been a case of too much from too few, Metro seemed to brake that mould against South Australia last week as Louis Butler and Lachie Potter held their dangerous forward opponents well, Trent Bianco and Jack Mahony won their fair share of the ball, and the inclusion of Emerson Jeka up forward proved more than handy as a key position target. Metro’s highly-touted ball winning capabilities will only be further strengthened in this game against a formidable Allies engine room, with Ryan Byrnes coming in after returning well from injury, Lachie Stapleton finally knocking down the selection door, and bottom-ager Will Phillips also getting his chance. The forward line balance looks much more settled too, with Dylan Williams coming back in and Jamieson Rossiter forming a solid tall partnership with Jeka.

The Allies will fancy their match-ups up forward, albeit with small stocks, as Suns Academy guns Josh Gore and Hewago Paul Oea proved their worth last week, while Braeden Campbell and Malcolm Rosas Jnr are also set to cause headaches in front of goal. Their midfield strength will also get a work-out, with Tom Green likely to duke it out with Anderson and Finn Maginness, while Mitch O’Neill could take on Rowell, and Ben Jungfer comes in for some depth. They will not be getting service from Sam Gaden like last week though, with over-age Murray ruck Ben Kelly coming in to fill the void alongside the undersized Jake Steele. The likes of Steele will certainly compete, which is something that the Allies had worked on given a much-improved effort against the fast finishing West Australian side. Greater efficiency in front of goal will be the test, and this classy Metro side will surely make them pay for any missed opportunities.

Look for the midfield battle to really take centre stage in this one, with Metro’s overall depth putting them in good stead coming into the clash.

TEAMS

Vic Metro:

B: 15. Louis Butler, 38. Brodie Newman, 26. Ryan Sturgess
HB: 18. Lachlan Potter, 29. Fischer McAsey, 5. Trent Bianco
C: 24. Noah Anderson (C), 25. Finn Maginness, 22. Miles Bergman
HF: 31. Joshua Worrell, 28. Jamieson Rossiter, 7. Lachlan Stapleton
F: 1. Jack Mahony, 36. Emerson Jeka, 23. Dylan Williams
R: 40. Nick Bryan, 11. Matthew Rowell, 12. Ryan Byrnes
Int: (from) 30. Harrison Jones, 13. Daniel Mott, 9. Will Phillips, 39. Jack Bell, 27. Oscar Lewis, 16. Darcy Cassar, 35. Nikolas Cox

Allies:

B: 21. Luke Parks, 52. Dirk Koenen, 8. Tom Griffiths
HB: 20. Matt McGrory, 26. Liam Delahunty, 24. Joel Jeffrey
C: 42. James Peatling, 3. Connor Budarick, 9. Mitch O’Neill
HF: 46. Noah Cumberland, 37. Joshua Gore, 2. Hewago Paul Oea
F: 32. Jake Steele, 31. Hamish Ellem, 36. Sam Thorne
R: 54. Ben Kelly, 22. Tom Green, 16. Ben Jungfer
Int: (from) 44. Nicholas Brewer, 5. Braeden Campbell, 12. Ashton Crossley, 1. Errol Gulden, 47. Jeromy Lucas, 15. Will Martyn, 4. Malcolm Rosas Jnr

VIC COUNTRY vs. SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Friday June 28, 1:00pm
GMHBA Stadium

Vic Country will look to keep its perfect record in tact in what is set to be a cracking match-up against South Australia to close out the day’s play. Country have been the surprise packet of the tournament thus far, with their obvious class and top-end talent being matched by the manic pressure and application of their depth players. Coming off a bye round, they will be hungry to claim a third-straight win and effectively clinch the championship title against the last year’s winners. A comprehensive win against the Allies last time out puts them in good stead, with a wealth of contributors putting their hands up on each line. Hayden Young and Lachie Ash have been terrific both in the air and by foot thus far down back, with Brodie Kemp another to contribute while mixing time in the midfield. Gippsland pair Caleb Serong and Sam Flanders have also been solid in the engine room. Goals from the likes of small forwards Ned Cahill and Cody Weightman will again be important, but one of the better aspects of Country’s performances has been the rise of some more unheralded names – with the likes of Brady Rowles, Riley Baldi, Jay Rantall, and Thomson Dow all poised to continue their solid form in this game.

Country’s free-scoring ways from Round 2 will not come as easily against a sturdy South Australian defence though, with Oliver Shaw returning from injury to add to a back six comprised of key performers in Will Gould, Will Day, Luke Edwards, and Karl Finlay. Their forward line looks a touch more dangerous despite having Kysaiah Pickett missing due to suspension, with the dynamic Cameron Taheny good to go after a corked thigh kept him out of last week’s squad, and Declan Carmody another who should add some class alongside bottom-age midfielder Corey Durdin – who slots into the forward pocket on his return. While the start to their title defence was ideal, a losing effort against the previously winless Vic Metro was not their best, and the likes of Jackson Mead and Harry Schoenberg will have to step up once again in the midfield, with Dylan Stephens one who can bounce back from a slightly down day. Simply competing will be key on the road against a Country side that will test them in the contest, so the Croweaters will need to be on their game if they are to keep their title defence alive.

TEAMS

Vic Country:

B: 18. Brady Rowles, 36. Sam De Koning, 26. Jesse Clark
HB: 12. Lachlan Ash (C), 24. Brock Smith, 17. Hayden Young
C: 29. Lachlan Williams, 16. Brodie Kemp, 15. Ryan Sparkes
HF: 1. Ned Cahill, 20. Elijah Hollands, 3. Cody Weightman
F: 19. Fraser Phillips, 39. Joshua Smith, 6. Riley Baldi
R: 40. Charlie Comben, 4. Sam Flanders, 2. Caleb Serong (C)
Int: (from) 8. Thomson Dow, 14. Liam Herbert, 37. Blake Kuipers, 10. Harrison Pepper, 13. Jay Rantall, 9. Isaac Wareham, 5. Cameron Wild

South Australia:

B: 19. Luke Edwards, 35. Karl Finlay, 22. Harrison Magor
HB: 24. Will Gould, 33. Dyson Hilder, 12. Will Day
C: 7. Dylan Stephens, 18. Jackson Mead, 10. Joshua Shute
HF: 23. Brady Searle, 9. Cameron Taheny, 14. Declan Carmody
F: 3. Corey Durdin, 32. Daniel Sladojevic, 17. Josh Morris
R: 37. Lachlan Burrows, 15. Harry Schoenberg, 20. Lachlan McNeil
Int: 4. Jordan O’Brien, 11. Callum Park, 28. Oliver Shaw, 42. Damon Freitag, 8. Jed McEntee, 31. Jordan Moore

BYE: Western Australia

Scouting notes: AFL U18 Championships – Allies vs. Western Australia

IN a see-sawing game, Western Australia ran out the stronger of the two sides in the game against the Allies, who booted three of the first four goals before the Sandgropers piled on seven consecutive majors to take home their second win from three games. Peter Williams checked out the game and his opinion-based notes on some of the standouts are below.

Allies:

#3 Connor Budarick

So composed with ball in hand, Budarick showed a terrific burst out of the middle early in the game to kick inside 50 to a dangerous spot. He applied defensive pressure throughout laying a massive number of tackles, and rose high to clunk a big contested grab on the wing. Budarick had a shot on goal in the third term after being the quickest to react to a Noah Cumberland mark, but his shot missed. Had another chance in the final term from a tight angle and tried to set it up to a teammate, but the Western Australia defence saw it coming and spoiled it over the line.

#4 Malcolm Rosas Jr

The highlights package, and almost-highlights from this game was unbelievable. Time and time again, Rosas Jr looked like he was about to tear the game open, whether it be through his blistering runs, his terrific side steps, or his high-flying grabs. He pulled out all the tricks in an eye-catching performance. Rosas kicked an early goal in the first term after contesting a ball in midfield and running forward, then set Josh Gore up for another after selling candy and dancing around a couple of players to kick perfectly into space. A couple of other chances in the first half were either marked or hit the post, but he looked ever dangerous. In the third term, Rosas Jr took a five-bounce run from half-forward deep into attack but took one too many bounces and lost control. He followed up with a couple of tackles, but the run was terrific. He did it again in the final term, taking a number of bounces of half-back, burning an opponent then side-stepping another and giving it off. Flew high in his final act of the game, could not quite take it then laid a big tackle.

#5 Braeden Campbell

Just a really clever player and one who looks dangerous in the forward half. He can hurt opposition players in the air or at ground level, and does not need much time and space to create something. He reads the taps and attempts to spin out of trouble, quickly putting boot to ball. Had a chance to do so in the second term for a major but it was touched on the way through, then had another chance in the third term through a snap but hit the post. Finished with a couple of behinds, but looked dangerous.

#9 Mitch O’Neill

A standout four-quarter performance from the Tasmanian who brings others into the game with his elite kicking and decision making. O’Neill is so composed under pressure and clean at ground level or in the air, and takes the risky kick that can backfire, but with his skill often puts pressure on the opposition defence. An example was his spearing pass straight down the guts to Noah Cumberland who took a huge mark. Often O’Neill dictates to his teammates down the field where to lead or when to fly for marks by his kicks. Made very few mistakes in a really outstanding performance.

#22 Tom Green

Played his usual role with some time in defence as well, mostly using his big frame to outmuscle the West Australian midfielders. He won a number of important clearances and dumped the ball forward, winning a lot of possessions around the ground. His work rate is terrific and showed off his versatility by playing in defence in the final term. He does not take a backwards step and has terrific hands in close, continually working hard.

#31 Hamish Ellem

Continually battled hard in the forward 50, spending time in the ruck and more so after Sam Gaden went off early in the third term. He had a number of opportunities but again could not capitalise, kicking a few behinds. He did set Josh Gore up for a goal in the final term, putting the ball nicely in front of him to convert the chance. He held his own in the ruck contests when he did and had a heavy workload at times against the highly rated Luke Jackson.

#37 Josh Gore

A talented forward, Gore is not a huge possession winner, but he makes the most of his opportunities. He slotted a great goal in the opening term, then broke the drought early in the fourth with a terrific goal. He was tight against the boundary line, used strength at the hips to shrug off an opponent and snap around his body to put it through the middle. He had another set shot in the second term after dispossessing West Australian captain Deven Robertson, but missed to the right.

#44 Nicholas Brewer

Held his own against the dangerous Elijah Taylor, even though Taylor did get off the chain more late in the game. He produced the top defensive effort of the match by running down the electric Taylor, continuing to chase 40m even after the forward had eluded him once, and his work rate saw him drag him down as he kicked to save a goal.

#51 Sam Gaden

Came off the ground early in the third term after what had been a really impressive performance against Luke Jackson in the ruck. While he knew Jackson had the athleticism, Gaden had the body strength and used it to his advantage at stoppages, working hard particularly at boundary throw-ins to outmuscle his opponent and give the midfielders first touch. He used the ball pretty well around the ground and was able to have a couple of inside 50s to dangerous positions. It was no surprise Western Australia got on top once he came off and Jackson had a lot more free reign at the stoppages.

Western Australia:

#3 Tyrone Thorne

There is not much of the lightweight forward, but his ability to hook the ball around the goal when having set shots from tight angles on his left was almost “Bend it like Beckham” style. He finished the game with three goals from four set shots, and while he was not a huge possession winner, played the role of permanent small forward perfectly.

#4 Riley Garcia

An accumulator by hand, Garcia wins a lot of his touches with deft handballs in close. He did his best work running hard on the outside and trying to take the game on, moving nicely around the stoppages. He almost sold himself into trouble at one stage in the third term, but remained composed and gave off the handball to a running teammate whilst Garcia was being hemmed in by three opponents. He hit up a teammate inside 50 in the final term and kicked it long down the wing well.

#5 Liam Henry

Another player in the game who looked always dangerous whenever the ball was in his area, the Fremantle Next Generation Academy Player had some really impressive touches at both ground level and in the air. He dropped an early mark and was turned over, but the next chance he got he learnt from the first error and clunked it at the highest point. He later roved a ball well off a pack and kicked it to a teammates’ advantage whilst Henry was under pressure. A quick thinker, Henry used the ball well, setting up a Tyrone Thorne goal in the second term and a Callum Jamieson goal in the fourth term with perfect kicks to their advantage. He only needs a second to dispose of the ball, and has lightning quick hands. At one stage he thought a bit too quickly in the first term, overrunning the ball or “spending it before he had it” but did back up with a defensive effort. He had a shot on goal in the final term but the shot went across the face in the dying seconds. A prospect who has a lot of upside.

#6 Cameron Anderson

Really stepped up into the game in the second term, working between the arcs with some impressive runs. He sold some candy and got past an opponent running inside 50 but his shot was touches on the line. He showed neat skills across half-back and then spent time up forward to lead out and take a good mark. He set up the leading Logan McDonald with a nice pass in the third term, then began a scoring chain in the fourth quarter with the nous to take on the man on the mark to draw an opponent and handball away to give the outnumber up the field.

#10 Deven Robertson

A work horse who put in a four-quarter performance once again. His strengths include his hands around the stoppages and his no-fear attitude towards the contest. He has game smarts and class to know his surroundings, and a high level of spacial awareness which was exemplified by his ability to wheel around in the final term and hit-up Tristan Hobley in space. There are still areas to develop, with Robertson dispossessed on a number of occasions, and the kicking under pressure was scratchy at times. What was impressive about Robertson’s game was he was able to take the game on from half-back and kept trying to gain metres for his side going forward. He was solid with the ball when having time and space. Has very quick hands and was important at the clearances.

#17 Jeremy Sharp

Had a mixed bag performance on the day, with some terrific vision and slicing 45-degree passes, and then some strange out-on-the-full kicks. His vision and delivery when given time and space is very impressive, and is clean at ground level. It is his kicking under pressure when forced to rush in congestion, or when at full speed being hunted down by opposition players that could be tightened up. He worked hard throughout and found the ball plenty in the first three quarters, roaming in all thirds of the ground. Set up a number of scoring chains and had lightning hands to give to a teammate with the disguised handball in close, before finishing the game off with a long-range goal from outside 50 in the dying seconds of the third term.

#19 Elijah Taylor

An exciting forward who was always looking like kicking a bag, and while he was well contained in the first half by Nicholas Brewer, got off the chain in the second half. His first goal did come in the first term from kicking across his body after missing a set shot 40m out when it hit the behind post. He had a chance for a second by leading into space 30m out on a 45-degree angle but his kicked just missed to the right. After half-time his influence on the game blew up, selling candy for a terrific goal. He took a mark, looked to play-on to his right, waited for his opponent to commit, then swung back to his left and never looked liked missing with a terrific kick. He booted his third in the dying minutes with a snap around the body. He dropped a potential mark, but followed up with a clean one-grab off the ground and snap off his left around the body. Taylor knows how to use the ball well under pressure.

#25 Logan McDonald

A talented bottom-age key forward, McDonald showed some great signs inside 50. He lead out at the right times and looked sure with his hands. He did kick out on the full from a snap early in the game, but worked into the match with a goal from a set shot 35m out on a tight angle. He had another chance on the opposite side but pulled it to the far left. He worked hard up the ground to take a couple of nice marks leading out along the wing and half-forward.

#32/#37 Luke Jackson

Had a jumper change midway through the game, and ended up coming from the field after an unlucky clash in the dying minutes deep in attack. Early on he had an intense battle with Sam Gaden, outmuscled at times at the stoppage, but was doing well around the ground with some good tackles and nice work at ground level to fire away quick handballs. He stamped his authority on the game in the second half once Gaden was off the ground, too athletic and nimble for Hamish Ellem and Liam Delahunty who were forced to play a more part-time shared role through the ruck rather than pinch-hit as they had before.

#35 Trent Rivers

Uses the ball well and had a solid game, with a big first quarter and a quieter second term, before working hard throughout the third and fourth quarters to win the footy. He has great vision and game awareness to set up scoring plays, and is able to use his slick skills to hit-up teammates leading out up forward. He won a vital one-on-one contest against Hewago Paul Oea on the wing, which would have been dangerous for the West Australians if he lost with a paddock in front of Oea. Rivers bumped his opponent off the ball and then with pressure coming, he had the composure to handball to a teammate and keep it moving. Remains composed with ball-in-hand and makes the right decisions.

#36 Denver Grainger-Barras

Another bottom-age tall who will hold the West Australian side in good stead for next year, he has some neat defensive and offensive attributes. He killed a contest at half-back with a great spoil across the line, and proceeded to be an intercepting defender throughout the game, saving a number of dangerous forward entries by dropping into the hole. Most importantly, he remained composed under pressure and looks like a promising prospect for next year, pushing up the ground to kick inside 50 at one stage late in the game.

Western Australia’s title campaign back on track with 25-point win over Allies

WESTERN Australia steadied after a slow start against a determined Allies outfit, to post a 25-point win at Alberton Oval on Saturday. Captain Deven Robertson and fellow midfielder, Trent Rivers stood tall across the game, while forwards Elijah Taylor and Tyrone Thorne booted three goals apiece.

The Allies booted three of the first four goals of the game, but missed a number of chances to go further ahead, with their inaccuracy stretching into the second and third quarters. In that time and including early in the fourth, the West Australians had booted seven consecutive goals to all but put the result beyond doubt.

It had been far from easy for the Sandgropers, with their second goal of the game not coming until almost half an hour after their first, before heading into half-time just six points behind. They then produced their best effort in the premiership quarter with four goals to zero, as Robertson, Rivers, Liam Henry and Taylor led the way, while Luke Jackson broke the shackles with Sam Gaden heading down to the rooms early in the quarter and not returning.

Josh Gore popped up to boot a final term goal and break the drought for the Allies after nine consecutive behinds. James Peatling also made good on an opportunity later in the term, but the class of Taylor and Thorne shone as the designated home side ran out 10.8 (68) to 5.13 (43) winners.

Not only were the likes of Robertson and Rivers accumulators through the middle for Western Australia, they were well assisted by the likes of Riley Garcia and Henry taking the game on. Up either end, Logan McDonald and Denver Grainger-Barras showed promising signs for next year’s draft, while Jeremy Sharp and Cameron Anderson popped up for some nice highlights.

For the Allies, it was Mitch O’Neill who put together an outstanding four-quarter performance to try and will his side over the line thanks to his elite kicking and decision making across the ground. Malcolm Rosas Jr played his best game of the year with a dominant performance including two running plays with five bounces, a number of candy-selling activities and a classy goal which could have been one of a number with a bit of luck. Others who stepped up were Braeden Campbell who was dangerous as a high half-forward and when inside 50, as well as Gaden before coming off injured, and Hamish Ellem continually presenting.

The result means Western Australia is still capable of winning the overall title if the Sandgropers can defeat Vic Country, having knocked off Vic Metro and now the Allies. While they lost to South Australia, the Croweaters’ defeat at the hands of Vic Metro has kept both teams in contention, and with Country to play both Western Australia and South Australia. The Allies on the other hand are not able to win the title this year, but will hope to finish off strong in their remaining two games against Vic Metro and South Australia.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA 1.0 | 3.2 | 7.6 | 10.8 (68)
ALLIES 3.4 | 3.8 | 3.11 | 5.13 (43)

GOALS:

WA: Thorne 3, Taylor 3, McDonald, Sharp, Jamieson, Jackson
Allies: Gore 2, Rosas, Peatling, Lucas

BEST:

WA: Robertson, Rivers, Thorne, Garcia, Henry, Taylor
Allies: O’Neill, Rosas, Campbell, Gaden, Budarick, Ellem

Scouting notes: AFL U18 Championships – South Australia vs. Vic Metro

THE highly-fancied Vic Metro team finally got on the board with an impressive 17-point win over South Australia away from home. Tom Wyman was on hand to review the action, and take some opinion-based notes on the outstanding players.

South Australia:

#1 Kysaiah Pickett

Much like the first game, ‘Kossie’ showed glimpses of his brilliant talent but was unable to have a genuine influence on the game for long enough. He presented himself well, had sharp hands in-close and looked threatening when the ball was in his vicinity, but it was ultimately not his day with Metro on top.

#7 Dylan Stephens

The Norwood midfielder gathered 18 touches playing a typical inside/outside role in the South Australian midfield. However his ball use for much of the day was inaccurate with many leading to turnovers. Despite this, he worked hard all day, but will be looking to improve in the remaining two matches.

#10 Joshua Shute

The South Australian wingman was amongst his side’s best on the day, collecting 19 disposals. He showcased excellent vision to pinpoint a kick inside-50, leading to a shot on goal in the final term, before following it up minutes later with a strong contested mark. There are a number of traits to like with Shute, who would have impressed a few on the day.

#12 Will Day

Day produced yet another strong performance in defence for the Croweaters. His athleticism and aerial ability are fast becoming trademarks of his game, with his intercept marking and ball use excellent for the majority of the afternoon. Although his light frame saw him taken to ground on multiple occasions, there is a reason why recruiters view Day as a high-potential pick once he is able to add size.

#15 Harry Schoenberg

Woodville-West Torrens on-baller Harry Shoenberg was the leading possession winner on the ground, finishing with 29 disposals. Perhaps the Croweaters’ best performer in an otherwise uninspiring showing, Shoenberg was seemingly everywhere, with a strong tackle in the opening term leading to a holding the ball. His ability to find the ball at will should appeal to AFL recruiters.

#18 Jackson Mead

Potential Port Adelaide father/son Jackson Mead was again effective through the middle for South Australia. Early in the first term he set the tempo with multiple clearances and a strong tackle. However, like many of his teammates, Mead wasted the ball on multiple occasions, with a momentum killing inside-50 turnover particularly standing out. Was strong in the contest throughout, however, opposed to a talented Metro midfield brigade.

#19 Luke Edwards

Potential Crows father/son Luke Edwards showed why he should be included amongst the top prospects in the class of 2020. At 187cm he is a good size which allows him to compete strongly one-on-one against the top-aged boys. With 18 disposals, Edwards had no issues finding the football. He generally used it well, playing across half-back (at times stationing himself in ‘the hole’ in-front of the key forwards) and also in an inside midfield role. Dribbled home a goal in the third term in an attempt to kickstart SA after half-time. Certainly one to watch for next year.

#22 Harrison Magor

North Adelaide on-baller Harrison Magor spent time on Metro stars Matthew Rowell and Noah Anderson at different stages throughout the day. He was particularly busy early on and finished the day with 18 disposals.

#23 Brady Searle

Searle did some handy things for South Australia, including nailing two shots and taking a strong mark, however his impact was admittedly limited until the final term with the game almost beyond doubt. Likely did enough to hold his position for the next game.

#24 Will Gould

Gould was solid, if unspectacular, in the 17-point loss. Starting the day forward, he was unable to get going early on but returned to the backline soon enough, where he was able to get his hands on the football. With the likes of Karl Finlay and Dyson Hilder taking the key forwards, Gould was able to play his natural role as the ‘kicker’ out of half-back. He was composed and hit most of his targets by foot.

#35 Karl Finlay

Full-back Karl Finlay stood up well despite his side conceding a multitude of inside-50’s. With his socks pulled up in typical fashion, Finlay reinforced his claim as one of the leading key defenders in the draft class.

Victoria Metro:

#1 Jack Mahony

Small forward/midfielder Jack Mahony was busy early and concluded the outing with 22 disposals with his pressure and intensity key features. A run-down tackle, backed up by an accurate set-shot got the Vics going in the second quarter.

#5 Trent Bianco

Bianco was again impressive in his role as a small defender off half-back for Metro. He collected 25 disposals, with many of them providing meaningful damage from defence. His run and carry was crucial in driving his side forward.

#11 Matthew Rowell

It was another typical, workmanlike day at the office for star Matthew Rowell. His enormous work-rate was evident throughout the day as he battled hard, doing a high proportion of the grunt work for Metro. He finished the outing with 26 disposals, with his run and carry, strength overhead and efficient hands in-tight of particular note.

#24 Noah Anderson

Anderson, skipper of the victorious Metro side, led from the front in what was likely a best on ground performance. Clearly a class above his opponents, Anderson nailed two goals for the visitors, with his sharp kicking (over long and short distances), vision and decision-making standing out. He collected a team-high 27 disposals and was also an aerial threat up forward, doing his pick one aspirations no harm.

#29 Fischer McAsey

The Sandringham Dragon defender was solid all throughout the contest, playing as a key defender. McAsey did some of his best work in the air, taking multiple big grabs and completing a series of intercepts. Despite SA being renowned for their backline, McAsey was arguably the best defender on the ground as his stocks continue to rise.

#31 Joshua Worrell

After booting four goals against WA the week before, Josh Worrell added another three to his tally. The tall utility was dangerous in attack all day, constantly posing a threat to the South Australian defence. After South Australia kicked the opening two goals of the second half and appeared to be gaining the upper hand, Worrell’s smother and goal from the square halted the surge and swung the momentum back in favour of the Vics. His overhead marking was also notable.

#36 Emerson Jeka

In his first game of the Championships, Western Jet Emerson Jeka presented well at full-forward for the Victorians. Jeka took numerous marks on the lead however he could well have made a greater impact on the scoreboard, missing multiple set-shots. He proved difficult to contain, despite South Australia’s strong key defensive options.

Metro and Allies continue search for opening championships win

A BUMPER double-header sees the Under-18 national carnival hit South Australia, with the Allies and Vic Metro looking to get on the board against Western Australia and South Australia respectively. Check out all the teams and a preview for both games below.

ALLIES vs. WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Saturday June 22, 10:30am
Alberton Oval, South Australia

Western Australia will look to regain a positive record in the 2019 AFL National Under 18 Championships when they face the winless Allies on neutral territory to kick off a South Australian double-header.

The Sandgropers started magnificently in their Round 1 win against Vic Metro, but fell short on home turf against the fast-finishing South Australia last time out. They are set to maintain a relatively consistent starting lineup coming into this clash, with the all-important core of the team again remaining in tact. While Luke Jackson has consolidated his status as the nation’s best Under 18 ruck, the likes of skipper Deven Robertson and Riley Garcia have benefitted from his silver service at the stoppages to dominate that area. Runners like Jeremy Sharp and Trent Rivers have also shown flashes of brilliance off half-back, and bottom-ager Logan McDonald looks to have stamped his claim as the side’s number one forward after impressing in game two.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the game will be the x-factor in each side’s forward half, with Elijah Taylor and Liam Henry finding plenty of goals so far for WA, while the Allies have included Gold Coast Academy pair Hewago Paul Oea and Josh Gore in hopes of creating some spark inside 50. After conceding 18.8 against Vic Country, the Allies have also bolstered their back six with a couple of overagers – namely Dirk Koenen and James Peatling, while shifting Braeden Campbell to his more natural half-forward spot. Connor Budarick is another who faces a move from half-back, set to spend more time running through the middle among a formidable Allies engine room set-up which should be able to match up well against WA’s. Big-bodied Suns product Ashton Crossley will add to their contested ball-winning capabilities, and over-age GWS/Oakleigh mover Jeromy Lucas could find a spot on the wing or flanks at either end. The top-end class looks to be on WA’s side in this clash, but you cannot count the talented Allies out, with match-winners in the midfield and forward of centre who will look to lift the team after a disappointing first outing.

TEAMS

Allies:

B: 21. Luke Parks, 52. Dirk Koenen, 8. Tom Griffiths
HB: 36. Sam Thorne, 44. Nicholas Brewer, 42. James Peatling
C: 9. Mitch O’Neill, 15. Will Martyn, 1. Errol Gulden
HF: 5. Braeden Campbell, 31. Hamish Ellem, 4. Malcolm Rosas jnr
F: 37. Joshua Gore, 26. Liam Delahunty, 47. Jeromy Lucas
R: 51. Samuel Gaden, 22. Tom Green, 3. Connor Budarick
Int: 24. Joel Jeffrey, 20. Matt McGrory, 2. Hewago Paul Oea, 46. Noah Cumberland, 12. Ashton Crossley

In: D. Koenen, N. Brewer, J. Peatling, J. Gore, J. Lucas, H. Oea, S. Gaden, J. Jeffrey, A. Crossley
Out: N. Murray, J. Barling, M. Conroy, S. Collins, J. Rayner, O. Davis, B. Reville, W. Chandler, S. Ryan

Western Australia:

B: 13. Ben Johnson, 21. Jake Pasini, 36. Denver Grainger-Barras
HB: 17. Jeremy Sharp, 26. Trey Ruscoe, 35. Trent Rivers
C: 12. Regan Clarke, 10. Deven Robertson, 9. Tristan Hobley
HF: 18. Jai Jackson, 30. Reuben McGuire, 19. Elijah Taylor
F: 5. Liam Henry, 25. Logan McDonald, 39. Callum Jamieson
R: 32. Luke Jackson, 14. Chad Warner, 4. Riley Garcia
Int: 6. Cameron Anderson, 20. Jaxon Prior, 3. Tyrone Thorne, 24. Ronin O’Connor, 22. Max Murphy

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA vs. VIC METRO
Saturday June 22, 12:50pm
Alberton Oval, South Australia

In the fixture that shaped early in the year as the game of the national carnival, South Australia and Vic Metro are set to lock horns in Saturday’s second game, with the sides showing quite differing form.

The hosts kicked off their title defence in style last week after a Round 1 bye, running over the top of WA away from home to pick up an impressive win. They will be without the only multiple goal kicker from that match though in Cameron Taheny, with the exciting forward picking up a groin injury. That means the likes of Kysaiah Pickett and Josh Morris will need to provide that spark inside 50 against a dynamic Metro defence, with Brady Searle also a handy front six inclusion. The balanced SA midfield looks quite set, with Jackson Mead consolidating his spot on the centre line, while Dylan Stephens and Jed McEntee add even more class and Will Day should be an important runner on the outside. Bottom-age talent Luke Edwards remains in the side after a promising display, joined by fellow ’02 birth Zac Dumensy as the only other bottom-ager in the team.

There is notable talent on each line for SA, putting them in good stead to compete across the board – but the midfield battle looks primed for Metro to win. The Victorians have made six changes as they continue to search for a win having come into the carnival as arguable favourites. Much of that is down to the individual brilliance of the likes of Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell, who have stood up in both games despite suffering two losses. The midfield remains relatively untouched, with a shuffle in the forward line seeing Emerson Jeka, Jamieson Rossiter, and Dylan Williams all coming into the team, while surprise leading goal kicker Josh Worrell stays on the forward flank. Northern’s Adam Carafa gets another chance alongside Andrew Courtney, while Carafa’s Knights teammate Nikolas Cox is one to watch as an athletic, tall wingman. The likes of Trent Bianco, Louis Butler, and Darcy Cassar – who all like to dash from defence – will all be kept accountable by the SA forwards, so may be tested once again for form. Up the other end, they will hope for a much bigger goal haul given their inclusions and the greater team balance they look to have. Expect a tense start, but plenty of highlights given the talent on paper from either side.

TEAMS

South Australia:

B: 30. Oliver Grivell, 35. Karl Finlay, 4. Jordan O’Brien
HB: 24. Will Gould, 33. Dyson Hilder, 19. Luke Edwards
C: 7. Dylan Stephens, 18. Jackson Mead, 10. Joshua Schute
HF: 23. Brady Searle, 43. Jamie Coff, 15. Harry Schoenberg
F: 1. Kysaiah Pickett, 32. Daniel Sladojevic, 17. Josh Morris
R: 37. Lachlan Burrows, 8. Jed McEntee, 20. Lachlan McNeil
Int: 22. Harrison Magor, 16. Zac Dumensy, 5. Darnell Tucker, 31. Jordan Moore, 12. Will Day, 11. Callum Park, 28. Oliver Shaw, 34. Jack Carpenter

In: J. Moore, B. Searle, Z. Dumensy, J. Coff, J. Carpenter, O. Shaw
Out: C. Taheny (injured), C. Durdin, D. Freitag

Victoria Metro:

B: 16. Darcy Cassar, 33. Corey Watts, 26. Ryan Sturgess
HB: 15. Louis Butler, 29. Fischer McAsey, 5. Trent Bianco
C: 24. Noah Anderson, 11. Matthew Rowell, 22. Miles Bergman
HF: 31. Joshua Worrell, 28. Jamieson Rossiter, 1. Jack Mahony
F: 23. Dylan Williams, 36. Emerson Jeka, 2. Mitch Mellis
R: 40. Nick Bryan, 25. Finn Maginness, 8. Adam Carafa
Int: 37. Andrew Courtney, 18. Lachlan Potter, 13. Daniel Mott, 21. Hugo Ralphsmith, 35. Nikolas Cox
Emg: 30. Harrison Jones, 9. Will Phillips

In: E. Jeka, A. Courtney, D. Williams, J. Rossiter, A. Carafa, N. Cox
Out: O. Lewis, J. Bell, H. Jones, J. Honey, C. Dean, J. Ross (all rotated)

BYE: Victoria Country