Tag: 2020 afl

Tahau excited for what future might hold

“SOFT” is not often a word you would associate with football, but that was South Australian product, Indy Tahau’s first impression of the sport. Coming from a rugby background the exciting prospect was taken back by the reduced amount of physicality in comparison to rugby.

“I found it a little bit soft at the start was like, ‘Oh, they don’t really tackle properly but whatever.’ And, I got used to it and it was a lot more skill involved in it with all the kicking and everything,” she said.

Playing as a centre in rugby, Tahau was accustomed to the physical contests and gruelling nature of the sport highlighting that her role was to “get the ball and get hit, tackle, take the contact”. However with limited pathways for women when it came to pursuing her rugby dreams, Tahau decided it was time to jump ship.

“So we’re all Kiwi so we all played rugby and that was pretty much the only sport accepted in the household. And then it got to about an age where they didn’t do women’s rugby,” Tahau said. “ So I played netball for a season and footy came along for girls. I moved across to that because I felt like that was the closest to rugby.”

Although it took some time for Tahau to make her way to footy, once she found it, she had an immediate impact with her attack on the footy and ability to absorb the physicality a couple of key components in her game, while also hinting at the fact that more skill was involved in the oblong-ball game than in rugby.

“I’ve actually decided that it’s a lot more like fast paced and a lot more skill involved, you don’t just run into someone and hope for the best,” she said.

Still relatively new to the sport having only taken it up two or so years ago, Tahau is aware of the areas she needs to improve on to have a profound impact, especially at AFLW level.

“Yeah, so like, just like knowing the proper technique of kicking because I haven’t done it from a little age so yeah just specific skills like that but nothing else, like catching and what nots all the same. I guess, just kicking,” she said.

Standing at 175cm, Tahau has steadily made a name for herself in the ruck and while it is not her preferred position she has noted that is where her strength lies and is needed to perform for her team.

“Look I would like to say forward but I think people prefer me ruck. Can’t really kick many goals, but ruck’s probably my strongest,” she said.

When asked about what aspect of rucking she enjoyed the most, Tahau highlighted her ability to have a continuous impact in the game and be involved in a variety of passages of play.

“Maybe just like always being in play, like following the ball around, sometimes having to dictate where you can put it,” she said.

Based in South Australia, the youngster has hopes of moving up to Queensland to be with her family and ply her trade with the likes of Gold Coast or Brisbane Lions sometime in the near future, if all goes to plan.

“Yeah, my mum and grandparents lived up there pretty much all my life and my dad’s lived down here, so yeah that’s the plan. Yeah, move up there so hopefully be picked up by one of the Queensland clubs,” she said.

Somewhat of a raw prospect, the soon to be 18-year-old touts her development through the South Australian National Football League (SANFL)  Women’s with South Adelaide Panthers as a key reason for her growth and opportunities, having played four games for the club this season and also managing four goals.

“I’d say that it has definitely brought me a lot of skills and maybe not quite up to the level of AFLW but I definitely think it’s prepared me for making that next step and pushing me harder,” she said.

Already registering a lot of interest from clubs ahead of the draft, Tahau highlighted how much that meant to her and most importantly how it meant that her dreams could actually come to fruition.

“Yeah, it was very exciting like getting some sort of recognition for having only been in it for like two years. So yeah that was really exciting I feel like, wow this could be a future for me,” she said.

With the draft around the corner, Tahau is excited about the prospect of joining an AFLW club in 2021 and although she thinks it would come as a “big surprise” given her limited time playing the sport, believes it would be “amazing to be assumed that (she) could play at that level.”

2019 AFL Draft Focus: Round 15 – Coleman debuts as Lions hold off the Magpies

THE NUMBER of recruits from the 2019 AFL Draft to run out for their respective teams on the weekend dropped to single digits in Round 15, with six teams enjoying a bye and a few youngsters being squeezed out of senior selection. There was still plenty to take out of this weekend’s action for the class of 2019, with a bunch of up-and-comers continuing to stamp their mark on the competition. We take a look at how they performed.

Lachlan Ash (GWS)
15 disposals (93% efficiency), 2 marks, 3 tackles, 1 clearance, 2 rebound 50s

The GIANTS did all they needed to against Carlton in a win with few frills, and Ash played his role well against some dangerous Blues forwards. Directly opposed to the likes of Eddie Betts and Jack Martin at different stages of the game, the Murray Bushrangers product held his own, able to match either man for pace and smarts at ground level. He was sound on the ball too, hitting up high percentage options and enabling the GWS defence to take a breather with composed decision making.

Keidean Coleman (Brisbane)
12 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50

Coleman was the sole Lions Academy product Brisbane was able to snap up in last year’s draft, and his journey to the bigtime made for a great story. On debut, the 20-year-old popped up with some nice moments, floating up the ground from his usual forward post to impact the play. While he turned the ball over a few times, Coleman’s attack on the ball, clean hands, and defensive intent all came to the fore in what was a solid maiden senior outing. Lions fans will be keen to see what he can produce with an extended run, though competition for spots will be tight come finals time.

Thomson Dow (Richmond)
4 disposals (75% efficiency), 2 tackles, 2 score involvements

After a promising debut in last week’s win over West Coast, Dow only found a third of the disposals he managed last time out. All of his disposals were handballs, found mostly in the forward half. There will be plenty more opportunities for the Bendigo Pioneers graduate to make his stamp at senior level, but he will need to boost his output to stand a chance of making the grade during finals.

Michael Frederick (Fremantle)
11 disposals, 4 marks, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s, 4 score involvements

He may have been somewhat of a pick from the blue in last year’s National Draft, but Frederick has added some real spark to the developing Fremantle side. In his return to the senior fold after being managed for Round 14, the South Australian produced much of what fans have come to expect of him, injecting speed to the Dockers’ forward half with his run and tackling pressure. Frederick’s ability to contribute among links towards goal has been a real asset thus far, and that was no different with his four score involvements against Richmond.

Jake Riccardi (GWS)
9 disposals, 5 marks (4 inside 50), 5 score involvements, 2 goals, 2 behinds

Riccardi’s form across his first three AFL appearances has had some analysts suggesting he should have been taken in the first round of last year’s draft. Such calls may yet prove hyperbolic, but the Calder Cannons and Werribee product has looked a natural fit in the GIANTS’ forwardline amid some stiff competition. Riccardi again outperformed the likes of Jeremy Cameron, Harry Himmelberg, and Jeremy Finlayson en route to finishing as the sole player afield to boot multiple goals. His ability to attack the aerial contest and clunk the ball at its highest point has been terrific to watch.

Trent Rivers (Melbourne)
16 disposals, 3 marks, 1 tackle, 1 inside 50, 1 rebound 50, 3 score involvements

In hindsight, Rivers may well prove to be one of the biggest bargains among last year’s crop, as he continues to look comfortable at the elite level. It was a pretty dour night for Melbourne, going down to a rebuilding Sydney outfit, but the West Australian was again able to find plenty of the ball and generate some forward momentum from the back half.

Harry Schoenberg (Adelaide)
11 disposals (82% efficiency), 2 marks, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s, 5 score involvements, 2 goals

Adelaide’s opening win for 2020 made for one of the more captivating moments of the season, and their second selection in last year’s draft played his part. The South Australian native has all the physicality to justify his readymade status, and continues to compete well against more mature bodies. While he is primarily known for his midfield craft, Schoenberg also snuck forward to nab a couple of goals as his Crows soared to a 35-point victory.

Caleb Serong (Fremantle)
22 disposals (17 kicks), 6 marks, 5 tackles, 5 clearances, 5 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50

If he is not leading the race at this point, Serong is arguably among the top three players in contention for this year’s Rising Star award. The diminutive, yet tough midfielder gets it done week in, week out and has proven one of the more consistent first-year players in 2020. Serong has ticked over the 20-disposal mark five times in 11 games this season, and is did so against the reigning premiers while opposed to Trent Cotchin. He is a star in the making, and will only benefit from such an extended run in the Dockers’ senior lineup.

Featured image: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

2019 AFL Draft Focus – Round 14: Riccardi kicks GIANTS back onto the winners list

THE NUMBER of recruits from the 2019 AFL Draft to run out for their respective teams on the weekend again crept into double digits, despite a few youngsters being squeezed out of senior selection. There was plenty to take out of Round 14 for the class of 2019, with a bunch of up-and-comers continuing to stamp their mark on the competition, and Thomson Dow making his debut. We take a look at how the best handful of them performed.

STAR OF THE ROUND: Jake Riccardi (GWS)
STATS: 12 disposals (10 kicks), 9 marks (5 inside 50), 6 score involvements, 4 goals, 1 behind

Building on his 16 disposals, 10 marks, and two goals on debut last time out, Riccardi went about further proving his doubters wrong with a phenomenal four-goal performance against Fremantle. The 20-year-old mature age draftee fired up forward alongside fellow key forward Jeremy Cameron, who also booted four majors as the GIANTS rejoined the winners list. Riccardi is quickly repaying the faith shown in him by the GWS recruiting staff, keeping Jeremy Finlayson out of the side in the process. Working from his station inside forward 50, the Calder Cannons and Werribee Tigers product wowed fans and pundits alike with his overhead marking and ability to convert, drawing comparisons to some of the greats of the game in terms of aerial presence.

Noah Anderson (Gold Coast)
23 disposals, 3 marks, 1 tackle, 5 clearances, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 7 score involvements, 1 goal

Last year’s number two pick has arguably returned a handful of performances worthy of Rising Star nominations this season, and continues to thrive after his Round 7 nod. Anderson ticked over 20 disposals for the second time in three games, as he and his SUNS teammates got back to their best in a win against North Melbourne. Accumulating all the way across midfield, inside and out, the Oakleigh Chargers graduate again showcased his terrific balance of traits, and the kind of impact he is capable of imposing forward of centre. A classy running goal put the cherry on top of his quality outing.

Will Day (Hawthorn)
16 disposals (81% efficiency), 2 marks, 3 tackles, 1 rebound 50, 4 score involvements 

One of the more consistent Hawks in a rare down season of late, it is easy to forget that Day remains in his maiden campaign at AFL level. The South Australian picked up another 16 disposals and again used it at an efficient rate (81 per cent); not only plugging in as a safe outlet across the back half, but also generating some momentum in transition. Day’s intercept marking and sharp kicking have been his greatest strengths thus far, and he was certainly kept busy in the second half as Essendon ran over the top to hand Hawthorn a ninth loss in 2020.

Thomson Dow (Richmond)
12 disposals (10 handballs), 2 marks, 2 tackles, 3 clearances, 1 inside 50, 1 rebound 50

It was a memorable weekend for the Dow family, as Thomson made his AFL debut with Richmond, while Blue brother Paddy returned to Carlton’s lineup. After 14 rounds, the Tigers finally unleashed their 2019 first round pick and allowed him to gain some valuable midfield experience. Dow looked relatively comfortable in the clinches, getting his hands on the ball early and finishing with 12 disposals, which included three clearances. In time, his speed and explosiveness should come to the fore and allow for a greater weight of bursting kicks away from the contest.

Trent Rivers (Melbourne)
16 disposals (11 kicks), 6 marks, 1 tackle, 1 inside 50, 2 rebound 50s

It has been surprising to see Rivers managed so often this season, as he constantly looks so comfortable at AFL level when given a chance. In the Dees’ inspired win over St Kilda, the West Australian recruit again proved his worth with some eye-catching plays down back. His mix of speed, composure, and efficiency by foot made for a reliable package as Melbourne worked to catapult forward from its own half. Rivers has plenty of weapons to suggest he’ll be a mainstay in the side, and a real asset at that for years to come.

Others in action:

Lachlan Ash (GWS)
Connor Budarick (Gold Coast)
Brad Close (Geelong)
Sam Flanders (Gold Coast)
Liam Henry (Fremantle)
Kysaiah Pickett (Melbourne)
Caleb Serong (Fremantle)

Featured image: Paul Kane/Getty Images