Tag: adelaide

Q&A: Blayne O’Loughlin (North Adelaide/South Australia)

ADELAIDE fans will again have their eyes on a budding Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect, with North Adelaide talent Blayne O’Loughlin gunning for the big leagues in 2021. The crafty defender enjoyed an exceptional bottom-age South Australia National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s season last year, with his ability to break lines and cleanly deliver by foot impressing many onlookers. He also has terrific family footballing ties, as the nephew of Sydney Swans great, Michael O’Loughlin.

Draft Central correspondent Tom Wyman chatted to O’Loughlin at the recent South Australia preseason testing event for a question and answer (Q&A) special.

Q&A:

Q: How do you think you tested today?

A: “I felt I went pretty well. Yo-yo was probably the biggest one I was focussing on and I ended up beating my score from last year. I was one (level) away from 21 so I’m pretty upset about it but what can you do, hopefully I beat it next time.”

 

Can you tell us a bit about your footy journey so far?

“I started in Under 6’s at Gepps Cross then throughout the grades I moved to Gaza, and Payneham Football Club. Then I was with North Adelaide through the Under 13s and all the way up to the 18s now.”

 

What are some of your goals for the season individually and with North Adelaide?

“The main thing is probably to get into the leadership group, that I was one thing I wanted to work on this year because last year as an under-ager I was starting to get a bit more vocal on the ground, so I’m looking to bring that into this year and hopefully get into the leadership group to see what the coaches think. But I’m always trying to help out my other teammates, especially the younger ones as well.”

 

How would you describe yourself as a player?

“I feel like I’m a crafty backman, so one that likes to use the ball by foot but likes to get teammates involved at the same time and find them space very well.”

 

Are your skills your best attribute?

“Yeah, I feel like my skills are my biggest attribute but I’m working on trying to get fitter so I can use that as another attribute to work well with my skills.”

 

Is there any player in the AFL you would compare yourself to?

“Someone like Zac Williams or Bachar Houli. More Bachar Houli in a one-on-one, but then I like to run-and-carry a bit so that’s why I like to look at Zac Williams, he likes to use the ball by foot and run with it.”

 

How has being tied to the Adelaide Crows academy been for you?

“It’s been pretty good. I’m training with the Crows now so we’ve trained over the last two weeks with them, up with the senior squads doing a bit of weights and touch sessions with them. It’s been good, just looking at the professionalism in what they do, the nutrition they use and how they go about training, the way they encourage the new lads, it’s very welcoming there.”

 

Would you be happy to go there, or anywhere?

“I’m happy to go anywhere. Crows have put a lot of time into me so I’m happy to go there, but I’m also happy to go anywhere just to play footy.”

 

How would you describe yourself as a person, off the field?

“Just a fun and outgoing person. Someone who likes to have a laugh with mates and teammates, I got a lot of mates at different clubs so we like to have a bit of competition with each other but at the same time it’s just fun. I like to go to the beach, take my mind away from footy, that sort of thing.”

 

How did you go about managing school with footy during last year?

“I finished school last year, so it was a bit tough at the start due to Covid. I had to do a lot of stuff online so I had to get into a good rhythm, just to wake up early because some people don’t like that and just doing work from home. I wanted to finish my schooling, that was my main (goal) last year, just to finish Year 12 but then to have a good footy season as well. It worked out pretty well so I’m pretty happy with last year.”

 

What’s the plan for this year?

“I’ve got a foundation course with uni. I didn’t know what I wanted to do last year, that’s why uni offered a foundation course, so it’s like a set-up for how to start uni and all that. I also had an apprenticeship but that was 38 hours a week so I can go back to it.”

Image Credit: Naomi Jellicoe/The Advertiser

EXPLAINER | Pocket Podcast: Club AFL Draft previews (Part 4)

OVER the past few weeks, Draft Central launched its brand new series of pocket podcasts, a collection of short-form discussions which narrow in on a range of topics heading into the 2020 AFL Draft. In the next edition, special guest Tom Cheesman again joined Chief Editor Peter Williams and AFL Draft Editor Michael Alvaro as they continue to break down how this year’s draft may pan out for each club.

The clubs featured in part four are Adelaide, Essendon, and Greater Western Sydney (GWS), all of whom loom as the three biggest players in this year’s first round. The Crows lay claim to pick one and have narrowed their options down to four; bid on Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, or take one of Logan McDonald, Riley Thilthorpe, and Elijah Hollands. With Pick 9 and the first two second round selections also under their belt, this years wooden spooners comfortably hold the highest total draft points value of any side. There also looms the factor of their academy products in Tariek Newchurch and James Borlase, who they will hope can get to the club as rookies.

Then there is Essendon, who could become the first team to boast three top 10 picks since the expansion era, depending on how the pointy end plays out. The Bombers’ early hand will likely attract some live trade interest, but a great opportunity to bring in multiple elite talents presents itself. Essendon could also place bids on a couple of academy talents, with Port Adelaide NGA hopeful Lachlan Jones in that range and Collingwood NGA member Reef McInnes tempting the Bombers, who are crying out for a big-bodied inside midfielder. Like Adelaide, Essendon also has a couple of academy members of interest in Cody Brand and Josh Eyre.

GWS is the other club with a massively influential hand, largely thanks to the Jeremy Cameron trade. The Giants now lay claim to four first round picks and five within the top 30, providing a terrific opportunity to hit live trading hard or simply work with the strong haul they already have. There are a good number of options available in the teens for GWS, of which could bolster their midfield and key defensive needs in the long term. It is also a good range for sliders to come into play and the Giants may well end up as the team which shapes the late-first round to early-second round action.

Below are the picks held by each club, as of December 3.

Adelaide: 1, 9, 22, 23, 40, 80 
Essendon:
6, 7, 8, 44, 77, 85, 87
GWS: 
10, 13, 15, 20, 26, 74, 88

To listen to the discussion in full, click here.

>> DOWNLOAD 2020 AFL Draft Guide
>> AFL Draft Whispers: 2020
>> Power Rankings: November Update

2020 AFL Draft Preview: Adelaide Crows

WITH the 2020 trade period done and dusted, it is now time for clubs and fans alike to turn their attention to the draft. Between now and draft day (December 9), clubs will have the opportunity to exchange picks until the final order is formed a couple of days out. While the chaos ensues, Draft Central takes a look at how each club may approach the upcoming intake opportunities with the hand they formed at the close of trade period. Obviously they are subject to heavy change, so perhaps we can predict some of that movement here.

Adelaide is first up, the team which finished last in 2020 and thus holds the power of wielding pick one in the draft. An inspired final month meant Crows fans were left with something to cheer about in the three-win campaign, and holding the competition’s ace card will only add to their excitement. It is the first number one pick Adelaide will use in its history and with many list needs to cover amidst a heavy rebuild, there is plenty of pressure on Crows staff to nail every move and selection. As it stands, they boast the highest total draft value index points of any club at 6832 – over 1300 more than the next-best club.

CURRENT PICKS*: 1, 9, 22, 23, 40, 56, 66, 80
* – denotes as of November 19

>> Podcast: The current best AFL Draft hands

ELIGIBLE ACADEMY/FATHER-SON PLAYERS:

James Borlase (NGA), Luke Edwards (father-son), Tariek Newchurch (NGA)

>> Podcast: The best academy/father-son hauls

LIST NEEDS:

Ball-winning midfielder
Key forward depth
Ruck depth

FIRST PICK OPTIONS:

It seems the race for pick one is down to two options; Logan McDonald and Riley Thilthorpe. Debate has raged over whether the Crows will opt to select McDonald, a West Australian key forward who bolted into top three contention this year, or to eliminate any threat of the ‘go home factor’ by snapping up local forward/ruck, Thilthorpe.

While nothing from McDonald suggests he would be unhappy to shift interstate, the argument for Thilthorpe goes that he is far less likely to move elsewhere in future and can prove a safe pillar for the Crows’ to form their rebuild around. While McDonald is arguably considered the better talent, this is the kind of thinking which may impact Adelaide’s choice.

If it were up to us, McDonald is the Crows’ man. They may also consider placing a bid on Western Bulldogs NGA product Jamarra Ugle-Hagan to keep the ‘Dogs accountable, as they would not think twice in matching for the athletic forward who is the consensus best talent in this year’s crop. Elijah Hollands looms as another option, the only midfielder of the bunch and one who could prove a perfect fit for Adelaide’s engine room with his size, x-factor, and ability to rotate forward.

LIVE TRADE OPTIONS:

The Crows are likely to put pick one under lock and key, but have great potential for flexibility with their later picks. Pick nine could be split into two first rounders in order to maximise the amount of top-end talent brought in, perhaps even packaged up with one of their early second rounders. It may also be used to improve their hand in next year’s first round, as the 2021 intake looks like being a strong one.

Covering potential bids for all three eligible players in Borlase, Newchurch, and Edwards may be tough, so there could be work to do to ensure those bases are covered. Although, it seems more likely that only two of the three will land at Adelaide, especially with Edwards seemingly considering his options in the open draft. The Crows should be one of the busier clubs in terms of pick swaps both in the lead up to draft day, and as it goes live.

THE KEY QUESTIONS:

Who will the Crows take with pick one?

Will they bid on Jamarra Ugle-Hagan first?

Do they trade or split pick nine?

Do they trade into next year’s first round?

Will they take all three of Newchurch, Borlase, and Edwards?

Where will the bids come in for those three players?

Featured Image: (Retrieved from) Perth FC

EXPLAINER | Pocket Podcast: The best AFL Draft hands

OVER the past few weeks, Draft Central launched its brand new series of pocket podcasts, a collection of short-form discussions which narrow in on a range of topics heading into the 2020 AFL Draft. In the next edition, Chief Editor Peter Williams again sat down with AFL Draft Editor Michael Alvaro, this time to discuss which clubs hold the best hands heading into the 2020 AFL Draft.

While the indicative draft order is set to undergo a raft of changes in the build up to draft day (December 9), the discussion highlighted three teams which were head and shoulders above the rest of the competition in terms of their pick hauls as of the end of trade period. Adelaide, Greater Western Sydney (GWS), and Essendon were the sides in question, though the positions of all 18 teams also came under the microscope; touching on pure draft value index points, flexibility and potential to trade, and likely academy or father-son selections.

To listen to the discussion in full, click here.

Below is a recap of what makes the three aforementioned clubs’ draft hands so strong:
(All picks are as of November 18)

Adelaide
Picks: 1, 9, 22, 23, 40, 56, 66, 80

Having finished bottom, the Crows have all the power with pick one for the first in their history and will likely use it to gain one of Logan McDonald or Riley Thilthorpe. Afterwards is where it gets interesting, as Adelaide could opt to split pick nine or use it to get into next year’s top 10 as the 2021 crop looks a strong one. The Crows also have three prospects already tied to them in Tariek Newchurch (NGA), James Borlase (NGA), and Luke Edwards (father-son). As it stands, Newchurch is likely to attract the first bid and one for Borlase will hopefully come after their current pick 40. The Crows could be left with a tricky decision as to whether they match for Edwards, who is also flirting with nominating for the open draft. Either way, Adelaide must nail this intake and lay a strong marker for its rebuild.

GWS
Picks: 10, 13, 15, 20, 29, 52, 74, 88

An exodus of sorts sees the Giants hold five picks within the top 30, four of which land among the first round. While the loss of Jeremy Cameron will be felt immediately, GWS has the opportunity to stock up with high-quality long-term options and avoid another steep drop off after finishing 10th in 2020. Alternatively, the Giants could use their picks in the teens to try and enter next year’s first round, or even sneak further into this year’s top 10 should a likely suitor wish to split their picks. Josh Green, the brother of Tom looks set to be the Giants’ sole academy selection this year but holds a value which will be relatively straightforward to match with one of their late picks, if necessary. GWS could be one of the busier clubs in the lead up to draft day and has plenty of potential to extract from its current hand.

Essendon
Picks: 6, 7, 8, 44, 77, 85, 87

The third of three clubs to currently hold a total points value of over 5000, Essendon may also become the first club since the expansion era to take three top 10 picks into the draft. What the Bombers decide to do with those picks is anyone’s guess given the flexibility afforded to them, and that there looms a few long-term list needs which require attendance. It seems as if they will opt to part ways with at least one of their top 10 selections, again either keen on next year’s crop or to expand their options in the first round. Another interesting scenario would be to package a couple of those picks to move into the top five, with Logan McDonald a prospect of particular interest. The Bombers also look set to bring in a couple of promising NGA talls in Cody Brand and Josh Eyre, with the latter potentially attracting a bid before the their current round three selection. There is likely enough cover for Eyre later on, though Essendon may also opt to bolster that late hand for any advanced bids.

>> Power Rankings: November Update

Past Episodes:

Best readymade prospects
Best players under 175cm
Best midfielders over 190cm
Logan McDonald vs. Jamarra Ugle-Hagan
Best academy and father-son hauls
Brayden Cook vs. Conor Stone
Key defenders kicking comparison
Offence from defence
Denver Grainger-Barras vs. Heath Chapman
The top non-aligned midfielders

Young gun focus: 2020 SANFL Grand Final wraps

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS (WWT) took out both senior South Australian National Football League (SANFL) premierships on Sunday, defeating North Adelaide in the League and Reserves Grand Finals at Adelaide Oval. Meanwhile, Norwood’s even team spread helped the Redlegs take home the Under 18s flag.

With young guns impressing at state league level, we again narrow our focus for this week’s SANFL wrap to the performances of youth throughout the competitions. There is plenty to unpack in our final edition for the year, with Under 18 prospects scattered across the two senior levels, and a bunch of youngsters impressing in the junior grade. Amid make-or-break situations in dramatic season finales, the cream of South Australia’s finest crop rose to the top.

LEAGUE:

WWT EAGLES | 1.1 | 10.3 | 12.8 | 13.9 (87)
NTH ADELAIDE | 3.4 | 4.4 | 5.6 | 7.6 (48)

Woodville-West Torrens converted its minor premiership into a League flag after defeating North Adelaide by 39 points at Adelaide Oval on Sunday afternoon. Just a fortnight removed from their semi final defeat to the Roosters, the Eagles soared to victory on the back of a nine-goal to one second term. The match-defining period saw WWT inflict a 50-point turnaround, inspired by three goals to Jack Oatley medal winner, Jordan Foote en route to seven unanswered majors. North was unable to truly recover from there, with a pair of late consolation goals only slightly trimming the final margin.

As has been the case all season, a bunch of promising young types excelled for the Eagles. Competition leading goalkicker, James Rowe has attracted a heap of elite level interest after a fantastic season, which he capped off with two goals from 15 disposals. Jacob Wehr is another in the same boat, and he was strong once again with 19 disposals, six marks, and five tackles. Defender Rhyan Mansell proved his worth with eight marks from 19 touches, joined down back by Port Adelaide NGA prospect Lachlan Jones (18 disposals, five marks). Up the other end, VFL import Sam Lowson snared 1.2, while Ben Jungfer‘s mid-finals senior promotion yielded seven disposals and plenty of promise.

Former Adelaide and Gold Coast player Harrison Wigg was among North Adelaide’s best, notching a team-high 29 disposals to go with eight tackles and seven breaches of either arc. His rating for effort was arguably matched by 2020 Magarey Medallist Campbell Combe, who got his hands dirty with 15 disposals, seven clearances, and a game-high 10 tackles. Will Combe managed a goal from his 10 touches, while 19-year-old defender Karl Finlay justified his senior selection once again with 13 disposals, three marks, and five tackles.

RESERVES:

WWT EAGLES | 2.1 | 3.5 | 5.8 | 8.11 (59)
NTH ADELAIDE | 2.2 | 3.2 | 5.6 | 6.8 (44)

The Eagles’ Reserves provided the perfect base for their League teammates to build off, trumping North Adelaide by 15 points in a tense decider at Adelaide Oval. 20-year-old Mitch Mead earned the Bob Lee Medal as best afield, as he snared a goal from 15 disposals and laid a whopping 15 tackles. While the Roosters snuck ahead during the first and second terms, they could not catch the Eagles back up after half time as fresher legs perhaps prevailed for the premiers.

An injury to key midfielder Harrison Magor in the first term meant North was always going to be up against it, though Lee Minervini showed just why he has played at League level this season with 20 disposals, nine tackles, six clearances, and a goal. He formed a strong partnership with 2020 Reserves Magarey Medallist Dakota Nixon, who also managed 20 touches. Patrick Davies was another to impress up forward with two majors from 19 disposals, while Dyson Hilder had it 16 times and clunked seven marks.

For the triumphant Eagles, Ethan Haylock clearly led all comers with 27 disposals, topped by five clearances and a goal. Jackson Lee also contributed a handful of clearances among his 21 touches, while former Port Adelaide rookie Kai Pudney showed his class at the level with 17 disposals and a goal. But it was Mead, the son of Port champion Darren who stole the show and best afield honours.

UNDER 18s:

NORWOOD | 4.4 | 5.7 | 11.10 | 15.13 (103)
STURT | 2.3 | 4.4 | 5.5 | 8.5 (53)

The best two SANFL Under 18s sides went head-to-head in this year’s decider at Thebarton Oval, but it was Norwood who claimed a second victory in three weeks over minor premier, Sturt to claim the premiership flag. Kicking towards the wind-favoured end, the Redlegs put together four goals in the opening term to set up a two-goal buffer, and proceeded to strangle any form of Sturt attack in the following period. The Double Blues seemed to grow increasingly frustrated as the contest wore on, with Norwood’s astute defensive structure and quick transitional play allowing them to stay on top. Undisciplined acts followed as the umpires kept their whistles up, with Norwood cruising home to an emphatic 50-point win.

Redlegs ruckman Nathan Hearing was named best afield after bombing forward 11 clearances from his 21 disposals. Teammates Henry Nelligan (28 disposals, 1.3), Xavier Tranfa (19 disposals, two goals), and Harlee Chandler (19 disposals, six tackles) were not far behind either. Nelligan worked hard to accumulate around the ground, while Tranfa’s majors came in quick succession to break the game open, and Chandler proved a very handy finals addition. Ethan Schwerdt also booted two goals from midfield, while pacy 17-year-old Cooper Murley managed 1.3, and bigman Finn Heard provided a terrific target en route to bagging three majors. Up the other end, co-captain Sam Duke was solid as ever, leading a phenomenal team effort from his side.

Mani Liddy was arguably Sturt’s best in a losing effort, particularly early as he finished with 18 disposals, seven clearances, and a goal. If not, Adelaide NGA hopeful James Borlase (22 disposals, eight marks) was a worthy candidate having brought some serious fire and physicality to the contest, albeit a touch overzealous. Malachy Carruthers‘ ball use off half-back was quality as he booted forward nine rebound 50s from 21 touches, while usual suspect Tom Powell found the most ball with 25 disposals and a goal. Skipper Ned Walter tried hard with five rebound 50s in a tough gig from defence, with Morgan Ferres (15 disposals, six marks, one goal) a lively target leading up the field. Will Spain also had an impact, digging in at ground level and laying a game-high seven tackles.

Featured Image: Eagles coach Jade Sheedy holds aloft the 2020 SANFL League premiership trophy | Credit: SANFL

Scouting Notes: 2020 All Schools Cup Grand Final – Henley vs. PAC

PRINCE Alfred College (PAC) defeated Henley High 10.9 (69) to 8.6 (54) on Tuesday, earning victory in the 2020 All Schools Cup Grand Final at Thebarton Oval. Our scout, Ed Pascoe was on hand to put together scouting notes on the outstanding players, with plenty of 2020 and 2021 AFL Draft prospects among them.

Henley:

#12 Bailey Chamberlain

The speedy Chamberlain spent his time playing through the midfield and in defence as a rebounder and arguably did his best work behind the ball, using his speed and dare to create. He would balance this late in the second quarter with some steady play, taking marks and keeping composed to hit his short targets by foot. Chamberlain has spent most of his time with West Adelaide as a midfielder, but his time with Henley has showed he has a bit more versatility to his game while also still winning plenty of the ball as he had another 20-plus disposals.

#29 Jase Burgoyne

The talented son of a gun isn’t eligible to be drafted until 2021, but he has had an outstanding bottom-age year. His form continued again for Henley, waxing with Chamberlain through the midfield and off half-back where he was classy as ever, showing plenty of skill and flair. Burgoyne was a classy customer all day with clean hands and slick movement through traffic; his best bit of play came in the second quarter, laying a strong tackle and quickly getting up in the blink of an eye to cleanly gather the ball and quickly dart away, flicking out a one-two handball and long kick to finish it off. Another nice bit of play came in the third quarter with another clean pickup and quick handball to Taj Schofield, which would set up a goal. Burgoyne has showed a good balance between his attacking and defensive game and he certainly looks a player to watch for next year.

#66 Tariek Newchurch

The Adelaide Crows NGA prospect has been an excitement machine this year and that continued again for Henley. It didn’t take long for him to show off his talent with a scintillating first quarter. He set the crowd alight with the goal of the day, selling candy in the midfield and then taking a few bounces, getting the one-two before slotting the running goal from 45-metres out. He wasn’t as damaging for the remaining quarters, but he did well to keep involved and try to create with little tap ons and some bursts of speed on the wing. He had another great bit of play in the last quarter, laying a great tackle and then quickly playing on to set up a timely Henley goal. Newchurch only kicked the one major and almost kicked a few more, but he always looked dangerous.

#68 Taj Schofield

Another Port Adelaide father-son but for this year’s draft, Schofield didn’t take long to show his class, slotting and amazing goal tight on the boundary. Despite that, he was struggling with the pace of the game early, getting caught a few times, but this would change as the game went on. He showed great composure with ball in hand all day, rarely panicking and always taking his time to make the right decision to usually execute by hand and foot. His second goal was almost as good, if not better than his first, showing great movement and composure to get out of trouble and slot a classy goal on the run in the third quarter. He did the team things well in the last quarter with some great tackles, with one being rewarded by the umpires and he couldn’t have done much more to try and gets his side over the line.

#80 Caleb Poulter

Poulter was a force all day for Henley, with the tall midfielder continuing his fine form this year with a dominant midfield display that again re-affirmed his draft stocks. What really impressed was his four-quarter consistency which hasn’t quite been a factor in his game as his ability forward of centre takes him away from the midfield in a lot of games. He did well to push behind the ball multiple times to take intercept marks, but also pushed hard offensively to set up and get on the end of attacking chains with plenty of shots from 50-metres out on his booming left-foot. He only kicked the one goal from his numerous shots but it was a pearler, gathering the loose ball cleanly and quickly getting ball to boot from outside 50, with the luck of the bounce seeing the ball make it through for a goal. Poulter would have had around 30 disposals for the day and if Henley had won, would have been a big shot at winning best afield honours.

PAC:

#18 Harry McInnes

The ever-dangerous McInnes just keeps finding the goals week after week. The talented bottom-ager plays the full forward role despite being a bit undersized at this stage. He is a natural forward and knows where to lead and where the goals are. He took numerous strong contested marks during the game and his best came in the third quarter where he also drew the 25-metre penalty, which showed his smarts and natural forward nous. His kicking at goal was a bit shaky and he could have really had a huge game if he was more accurate. The left-footer is building well into his draft year next year, finishing the game with three goals and plenty of behinds to go with it.

#27 Will Charlton

Not his most productive game, but Charlton is a great draft prospect for next year playing as a rebounding, medium-sized defender who has a great mix of defensive traits and attacking flair. His kicking wasn’t as assured as usual, but his intent and ability to intercept or spoil was very strong and I can certainly see him being a leading rebounding option for his side next year. He should do well for Norwood and perhaps have a part in the Redlegs’ finals tilt later this year.

#33 Declan Hortle

The big-bodied ruckman, who is not draft eligible until next year really gave it to one of the leading ruckman from SA this year in Zac Phillips, and he may have gotten the better of him too. The Sturt bigman was very competitive in the ruck, giving up some height but certainly making use of his strong body and smarts around the stoppages. He used the ball well for a his size and wasn’t afraid to tackle hard and really scrap along with his smaller midfielders, who worked well with him. Hortle would kick the sealer with a goal on the run in the last quarter showing good mobility and skill for his size, and he was certainly one of PAC’s most influential players in their grand final win.

#34 Harry Tunkin

Arguably best on ground along with eventual winner James Borlase, the hard working Glenelg bottom-ager was a consistent four-quarter performer through the midfield, winning plenty of the ball at the coalface while also getting on the outside – using his smarts and work-rate. Tunkin also hit the scoreboard with a nice dribble goal in the first quarter, and a nice set shot goal from a free kick in the last quarter. Tunkin was a force offensively and just as much as he was defensively, with the nuggety on-baller tackling with intent and working hard to provide an outlet in defence. Tunkin had the ball on a string winning 20-plus disposals as he looks to build into his draft year in 2021. He has certainly shown to be a consistent and hard working player these last two years.

#44 James Borlase

A worthy winner for best on ground, the talented Crows NGA prospect missed out on father-son qualifications for Port Adelaide and it would frustrate those supporters seeing Borlase playing so well this year. Borlase has had a strong year, earning a senior game for Sturt and also being a strong contributor for PAC, where he has played forward and back. But it was down back where he dominated on this occasion, with his impressive ability to take intercept marks. Borlase was a wall for PAC and he would have had around 10 intercept marks for the game as he read the ball better than anybody and he had the frame to stand strong and take them cleanly. He also did well on the rebound and despite not being super quick, he still moved the ball on in a timely fashion and often used it well by hand and foot. His second quarter in particular was massive, taking five marks with just about every one of them impressive or contested in some way. His composure and sure hands really helped PAC steady the ship whenever Henley came charging through the middle, and his influence made him a clear choice for best on ground in the end, with Tunkin another strong performer for PAC.

Featured Image: PAC players celebrate their Grand Final triumph | Credit: Mark Brake/The Advertiser

Young gun focus: SANFL Round 10 wrap

WITH young guns impressing at state league level around the nation, we again narrow our focus for this week’s South Australian National Football League (SANFL) wrap to the performances of youth throughout all three grades. There is plenty to unpack in our second altered edition, with an Adelaide Crows Next Generation Academy (NGA) hopeful making his League debut, while three teams are now tied for top spot in the Under 18s.

>> SCROLL for full results 

West Adelaide vs. Sturt

League: West Adelaide 8.6 (54) def. by Sturt 10.1 (61)
Reserves: West Adelaide 7.6 (48) def. by Sturt 12.8 (80)
Under 18s: Sturt 10.14 (74) def. West Adelaide 5.9 (39)

A late rally ensured Sturt got over the line against West Adelaide in their League clash under Friday night lights, with just seven points separating either side come the final siren. The game would have attracted the eyes of many an Adelaide Crows fan, as NGA prospect James Borlase made his top flight debut for the Double Blues. The strongly-built swingman was solid down back, working a handy intercept game and using the ball well across his 14 disposals and five rebound 50s.

Tom Lewis and Casey Voss racked up 21 disposals each, aided by 53 hitouts from Daniel Fahey-Sparks, though coach Nathan Grima may face a selection dilemma as Tom Powell continues to bang the door down at Under 18s level. The prolific midfielder added another 47 disposals and 10 clearances to his formidable season tallies, while also contributing two goals. His partner in crime, Mani Liddy was also terrific with 33 touches and a goal of his own as Sturt sealed a hat-trick of wins over the Bloods.

Leading SA draft prospect Riley Thilthorpe was rested from his League duties with Westies this week, seeing former Sydney Swans Academy member Hamish Ellem slot in to bag two majors. Reed Stevens, the brother of leading ball winner, Kaine had 17 touches and six clearances on his League debut, while Lachlan Squire was unable to match his own debut numbers, kept to nine disposals.

In the Reserves grade, 19-year-old Josh Shute was named among Sturt’s best, while Under 18 midfielders Bailey Chamberlain and Nicholas Couroupis were among the best half-dozen for Westies in a losing effort. Jye Sinderberry (12 disposals, five marks) was again outstanding in the junior grade upon his second game back from injury.

Norwood vs. WWT Eagles

League: Norwood 12.12 (84) def. WWT Eagles 6.8 (44)
Reserves: Norwood 9.6 (60) def. by WWT Eagles 13.8 (86)
Under 18s: WWT Eagles 11.14 (80) def. Norwood 7.8 (50)

18-year-old Daniel Fairbrother had a League debut to remember, as Norwood trumped ladder leader, Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) by 40 points to remain in the finals hunt. The 182cm prospect gathered 12 disposals in his maiden outing, while Victorian recruit Nik Rokahr had a game-high 34 disposals. Isaac Saywell was another solid young performer for the Redlegs, registering 10 marks among his 19 touches overall.

Lachlan McNeil (21 disposals) continued his consistent run of form for the Eagles despite a rare loss, while the likes of Lachlan Jones and Rhyan Mansell had few answers for Norwood in defence. Up the other end, livewire small forward James Rowe was kept to just one goal as WWT struggled for firepower. It was just the second time all season Rowe managed less than three goals in a game.

Finn Heard narrowly missed League selection this week for Norwood, but managed to instead run out for the Reserves alongside fellow Under 18s Michael Cavallaro, Jack Saunders, Jackson Murphy, and Ben Ianniello. Caleb Poulter and star VFL recruit Sam Lowson both lined up for WWT in the same game, as the Eagles soared home 26-point winners.

Poulter’s absence at Under 18s level was made up for by the likes of Jase Burgoyne, Max Litster, and Harrison Dawkins, who all contributed over 25 touches. AFL Academy members Taj Schofield and Henry Smith both hit the scoreboard in the Eagles’ 30-point win. The result saw Norwood pipped for top spot, though the performances of Henry Nelligan and Cooper Murley (both 24 disposals and one goal) were promising. Mobile bigman Sam Duke was arguably the Redlegs’ best, notching 26 disposals and eight marks.

South Adelaide vs. Central District

League: South Adelaide 14.19 (103) def. Central District 10.6 (66)
Reserves: South Adelaide 9.4 (58) def. by Central District 13.16 (94)
Under 18s: Central District 7.7 (49) def. by South Adelaide 11.14 (80)

Daly Andrews built strongly on his opening SANFL League outing, adding two goals to another tally of 18 disposals as South Adelaide comfortably accounted for Central District. The Victorian’s kicking game and ability to penetrate in transition came to the fore as the Panthers kept their top four spot safe.

Bottom-age gun Jason Horne showcased his eye-catching hops and a good deal of confidence in another League appearance, finishing with 15 disposals as he continues to lead the class of 2021. Exciting 19-year-old forward Beau McCreery popped up in glimpses, contributing a single goal to his team’s win. For the Bulldogs, Dandenong Stingrays graduate Jack Toner was a touch quieter than his last few games, gathering 10 disposals. Meanwhile, Jackson Kelly, the son of Sydney champion, Paul booted two goals in a promising display.

There was some notable talent running around in the Reserves grade, headlined by the return of South star Daniel Sladojevic. The 19-year-old booted a goal, but his Panthers were ultimately outclassed by the Bulldogs to the tune of 36 points. Under 18 prospects Phoenix Spicer and Lachlan Grubb also took the field for either side.

The Panthers managed to get one back at Under 18s level, with an even team performance leading them to a 31-point win. Draft bolter Brayden Cook was again productive aerially with eight marks, though struggled with his radar in front of goal to register three behinds. Max Clifton, Liam Hamilton, Jayden Little, and Jack Flett were among the best top-agers afield, while Hugo Hoeck booted four goals and Arlo Draper notched six clearances. The midfield combination of Austin McDonald and Brodie Lake again worked well for the Bulldogs, as the pair combined for 51 disposals and 13 clearances. Bigman Wyatt Ryan was also influential.

North Adelaide vs. Glenelg

League: North Adelaide 10.9 (69) def. by Glenelg 10.11 (71)
Reserves: North Adelaide 14.11 (95) def. Glenelg 4.10 (34)
Under 18s: Glenelg 8.10 (58) def. by North Adelaide 21.10 (136)

Glenelg may have snuck home by two points in a crucial League clash against North Adelaide, but the Roosters were well on song across the other two grades in Round 10. Potential mature-age AFL recruit Luke Partington again impressed for the Bays with 27 disposals, bested only by Harrison Wigg of the Roosters (29 disposals). A pair of 19-year-old Tigers in Callum Park (18 disposals, seven rebound 50s) and Luke Parks (15 disposals, six marks) were instrumental in the back half for Glenelg, combining slick rebounding skills and aerial marking prowess collectively.

A bunch of Roosters stole the show at Under 18s level, with the likes of Jayden Davison, Blayne O’Loughlin, Matthew Borg, and Kyle Brazell all finding both plenty of the ball and the big sticks. Harvey Harrison booted a game-high four majors, followed closely by Adelaide NGA hopeful Tariek Newchurch with three. Kye Dean played his part as usual for the Tigers, finishing with 24 disposals and two goals, while midfield partner Hagan Wright managed 21 touches.

Featured Image: Deb Curtis/SANFL

Squad predictions: 2020 South Australia Under 18s

THE annual Under 18 National Championships may be the only chance we get to catch a glimpse of the class of 2020 before draft day, with a decision on the recommencement of competition pushed back to at least September. In the meantime, Draft Central takes a look at how each regional squad may line up should the carnival come around, but with a few stipulations in place. Last week we began with our Vic Metro and Vic Country predictions, and today we take a look at South Australia’s (SA) potential line-up.

GUIDELINES:

  • Top-agers (2002-born) have been prioritised due to the limited season and exposure
  • Of those, AFL Academy Hub members also gain priority for the starting squad
  • Bottom-agers (2003-born) in the hub, and top-agers outside it are limited to a total of three spots
  • 19-year-old inclusions are also limited, having already staked their claims in previous years

A lot may change between now and when the squad will be announced, and it should be noted that players with known long-term injuries will not be picked here. Of course, the sides may vary greatly as players look to shift and develop in different positions, but each member has been selected based on the roles they have previously played. Given only previous form, preseason testing and scratch matches are what we have to go off, bolters are also difficult to gauge at this point.

Players named as depth outside of the initial squad below are inevitably options who will rotate through the side, and it is impossible to fit all the options within a list of 22. But without further ado, let’s get stuck into the third squad prediction, with SA’s talent broken down line-by-line.

* – denotes bottom-aged

DEFENCE

FB – Lachlan Jones, James Borlase, Isaiah Dudley*
HB – Will Schreiber, Jye Sinderberry, Zac Dumesny

Height looms as somewhat of an issue in our proposed defence, with versatile utility James Borlase the tallest of the lot at 189cm, joined in a key position post by the 188cm Jye Sinderberry. But that is not to say the chosen six lack in marking power or strength, with South Adelaide’s Zac Dumesny a capable interceptor, while Lachlan Jones adds a good amount of grunt with his 184cm/88kg frame.

Glenelg’s Will Schreiber adds to the back six’s solidity, while diminutive bottom-ager Isaiah Dudley can fill a pocket at either end on account of his ground level pressure. Should the SA coaches look toward a more conventional key position structure, Riley Thilthorpe is a tall option who can play just about anywhere, but will more likely be used as a ruck/forward. Luke Edwards is another half-back option having played there during last year’s Under 18s carnival.

MIDFIELD

C – Bailey Chamberlain, Luke Edwards, Tom Powell
FOL – Riley Thilthorpe, Jamison Murphy, Taj Schofield

The Croweaters lay claim to one of the stronger and more diverse midfield groups, and we are excited about how this one stacks up. It was tough to whittle down the options, but the balance of this six looks about right.

On the outside, Bailey Chamberlain and Tom Powell provide some real dash and athleticism, and will also be able to rotate through the centre bounces with their speed/agility combination. There may be a slight query on Powell’s endurance coming off spates of long-term injuries, but he was impressive during preseason testing.

Forming the centre bounce core is arguably a group of four midfielders, with Thilthorpe a dynamic ruck option who fares just as well at ground level. While he may feature as a key forward or utility at times as he improves his ruck craft, the range of other options in that department means he can be utilised around the ground.

A couple of potential father-sons make their move into the middle, with Edwards a big-bodied inside type who compliments the smooth moving Taj Schofield very well. Edwards, who is also a very capable defender is a must in the midfield given Jamison Murphy and the remaining candidates stand no taller than 180cm. Murphy’s hard-at-it style means he should have no troubles on the inside though, and provides a great story as a former Australian Under-17 cricket captain.

FORWARD

HF – Tariek Newchurch, Kaine Baldwin, Jason Horne*
FF – Corey Durdin, Henry Smith, Lachlan Grubb

There are a couple of players who are simply essential choices in the final team; with Under 16 Division 1 MVP Corey Durdin slotting into a pocket, and returning key forward Kaine Baldwin a lock across half-forward. It was tempting to slot Thilthorpe in at centre-half forward, but Baldwin is just as capable there at 193cm and 91kg.

172cm pocket-rocket, Durdin is a terrific midfielder at Under 18s level, but is sure to find a home as a small forward at the next level – as justified by his form in said position for Central Districts’ League side. Baldwin has not played any footy for over a year due to an ACL tear, but is a contested marking phenom who can also roam further afield.

He will likely be joined up the spine by Henry Smith, a raw tall option who marks the ball at its highest point at over 200cm. At his feet and alongside Durdin in our side is Lachlan Grubb, another who has entered the senior realm for Centrals’ Reserves side. He is an impressive athlete, much like silky Adelaide NGA prospect Tariek Newchurch. Last year’s State Under 16s captain and MVP Jason Horne rounds out the six, a player already accustomed to playing above his age group and one who may also feature through midfield.

INTERCHANGE

INT – Caleb Poulter, Mani Liddy, Nicholas Kraemer, Ned Carey

This was a very difficult bench to select with a bunch of line-calls, as will become obvious with the depth listed below. Ned Carey features as the lone key position option, able to fulfil a ruck-oriented role alongside the likes of Thilthorpe and Smith while resting forward.

Caleb Poulter is a dynamic option who could well have made it onto the half-forward flank, much like how Nicholas Kraemer could enter the midfield fray and Mani Liddy could be utilised on either of the said lines. Kraemer is one who can add some strength through the engine room, while Liddy could feature there too having previously been pushed out to the flanks.

TOP-AGE DEPTH

A pair of smalls who will likely rotate through the squad include Henry Nelligan and Cooper Horsnell. Nelligan is a midfielder who is never far away from the action, able to find the ball with ease at 170cm. Horsnell is the more forward-inclined of the two, able to find the goals while adding the string of wing play to his bow.

Another 200cm key position option, Zac Phillips is from the Woodville-West Torrens program and could get a look-in as ruck or key forward depth. An impressive utility who may also come into consideration is Riley Holder, who posted very impressive numbers for Glenelg in a range of roles at 190cm.

Aside from the Academy-listed top-agers mentioned above, Glenelg quartet Kye DeanLuke Pedlar, Jordan Moore, and Reid Kuller are names who have floated around the system, while Bulldogs pair Samuel Falland and Lewis Cowham may also be thereabouts, along with Norwood tall Sam Duke and West Adelaide’s Harvey Bock. There are of course, many others who will come under consideration, but the Academy group is quite strong and difficult to look past.

THE BOTTOM-AGERS

The top-agers for 2020 set the benchmark with a national carnival win in their Under 16s year, and while last year’s 16s crop could not achieve the same feat, there are certainly some bright talents who will feature in the future.

Cooper Murley and Matthew Roberts were equally difficult omissions from the starting squad given our stipulation of three bottom-agers, maximum, and a decent midfield core. An Under-16 All-Australian last year alongside Horne and Dudley, Murley is a highly talented small midfielder who can also move forward, while Roberts has similar versatility as a 182cm midfielder.

Arlo Draper and Lewis Rayson are another two bottom-aged prospects among the Academy ranks, and could both make a case for breaking into the side. Athletic tall forward Morgan Ferres could come into consideration among the key position ranks, though the stocks are already quite full in that department.

Harry Tunkin is a Prince Alfred College and Glenelg product who impressed at Under 16 level, while Port Adelaide father-son hopeful Jase Burgoyne is also coming through the ranks and could feature at some point before his top-age year.

>> SANFL U18 CLUB PAGES:

Central District // Preseason interviews
Glenelg // Preseason interviews
North Adelaide // Preseason interviews
Norwood // Preseason interviews
South Adelaide // Preseason interviews
Sturt // Preseason interviews
West Adelaide // Preseason interviews
WWT Eagles // Preseason interviews

>> SANFL U18 PLAYER FEATURES:

AFL Draft Watch:

Kaine Baldwin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Marquee Matchups:

Durdin vs. Campbell

Player focus: VFLW – Round 3

THE NT Thunder has been one of the in-form teams of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition and we decided to focus on one of the hottest young talents in the competition. Nineteen year-old, Eloise Jones played her first season in the AFLW for Adelaide, and was nominated as a Rising Star during the season. Jones will line up for the NT Thunder in the VFLW season, and played mainly on the wing in the Thunder’s big win over Essendon at TIO Stadium. We analysed Jones’ game, including movements, stats and more*.

*Please note that statistics may be different to Champion Data due to definition and human error.  

 

#2 Eloise Jones- NT Thunder  

Q1:

0.00: Started on the wing
2.42: Attempted smother on Danielle Ponter’s kick out of the pack
4.34: Ran from defensive 50 to centre square
5.40: Moved forward to receive a kick from the boundary line
5.59: Ran towards Chelsea Randall to assist her when she had the ball in hand
6.09: Ran and chased two Essendon players in the centre square
8.05: Ran to receive a handball but Machaelia Roberts missed her with the handball
9.01: Laid a high tackle on Natasha Hardy in defensive 50
10.45: Attempted to pick up the footy but just slipped through her hands in the centre square
12.24: Moved inside the centre circle to play as an onballer after Alex Quigley’s goal
13.35: Ran hard to take an intercept mark in the Thunder’s forward line off Kirby Hicks’ kick from full back, but the ball slipped through her hands
18.25: Collected the footy off the deck off Jordann Hickey’s kick and kicked it towards goal, but it goes out on the full

Q2:

0.00: Started on a wing
1.37: Marked a free kick from Emma Swanson in the forward 50 on a tight angle from about 45 metres out
1.57: Kicks the ball to the top of the square instead of going for goal
3.55: Used fast closing speed to put pressure on Maddy Collier, who kicked back into the corridor inside NT’s forward 50
4.40: Jones takes a great contested mark off Jess Allan’s centering ball, and got the opportunity to have a shot at goal from 30 metres out directly in front
4.54: Jones misses the shot at goal
6.40: Takes an intercept mark of a Hayley Bullas kick from about 50 metres out from goal after running on from the interchange bench
6.43: Pinpoints the kick inside 50 to Tayla Thorn
9.54: Jones leaps for a fantastic uncontested overhead mark just outside the goal square, straight in front from Chelsea Randall’s kick to the square
10.02: Kicks her first goal of the day
17.57: Jones picks up a loose ball and kicks it along the ground inside 50

Q3:

0.56: Tried to snatch the ball off an Essendon opponent while she was being tackled by Emma Swanson
2.02: Ran behind Renee Forth on the set shot to get a chance to run into goal from long range, but didn’t receive the handball
8.04: Laid a tackle on Valerie Moreau and the ball spilled out of bounds
8.32: Jones punches the ball towards Georgia Bevan from the throw-in stoppage
8.52: Dived on the ball while Hayley Bullas was being tackled by Michelle Ellis to create a stoppage
9.06: Jones picked up the ball off a deck from the ruck tap and is immediately tackled by Lisa Williams. Creates a stoppage
16.40: Tayla Thorn hacks it forward and Jones picks the ball off the deck and takes off from the back half
16.41: Handpasses over the top to Emma Swanson in space

Q4:

0.00: Started on the wing
5.08: Jones picks up a kick that falls short inside 50 and handballs it off to captain, Angela Foley
6.47: Jones gets a loose ball, spins around her opponent and hacks it inside 50
10.18: Jones marks a long switch kick from Angela Foley
10.20: Kicks the ball straight to Samantha Barnett, but the ball slips out of her hands
17.59: Jones lays a tackle on Jessica Trend. Creates a stoppage
18.17: Jones gets the clearance from the stoppage, waves away her opponent and kicks the ball to Georgia Bevan just outside the centre square, who marks

Total stats: One goal, zero behinds, three tackles, five marks, one contested mark, four uncontested marks, nine kicks, two handballs, 11 disposals, one free against

Overall, Jones played really well on the wing, using her great hands to effect at multiple times. She opted to kick rather than handball, which paid off for her throughout the afternoon. The 19 year-old also floated up forward at times and generally made an impact when she did, kicking one goal for the afternoon. Jones was named third best in the Thunder’s 72-point win over the Bombers.

Doedee reaping the rewards of patience

A LOT was made of Jake Lever‘s hostile exit from the Adelaide Football Club in the off-season. After weeks of commotion and rumours, the fiasco was ended on the first day of trading, with the Demons landing the young tall defender in exchange for two first round picks and a a swap of later selections.

In his three years at the Crows, Lever played 56 games, quickly establishing himself as arguably the competition’s best young tall defender. His courage and intercept marking ensured the first round draft pick was a vital cog in Adelaide’s terrific, yet unrewarded season.

It certainly appeared as if Lever’s presence would leave a gaping hole in the Crows backline. But waiting in the wings was a 21 year-old, skinny, fresh-faced kid who the Crows took in the first round back in the 2015 National Draft.

His name was Tom Doedee, a junior basketball star who showed promise for TAC Cup side the Geelong Falcons. Coming into draft day, many draft experts believed he would find a home, but it would likely come later in the night.

In what was the biggest surprise of the draft, the Crows recruiters revealed Doedee as their second pick, behind talented South Australian Wayne Milera. Doedee, a raw basketball-convert, spent his first year with the clubs South Australian National Football League (SANFL) side, making him the only first round draftee of 2015 not to make their debut throughout the year. The Crows made him wait and learn his trade in the SANFL again in 2016 and 2017.

Last season was a particularly successful one, in which he led the league for intercept marks. But by this time, some had even forgotten he existed on an AFL list. With Lever out the door, Doedee set his sights on making the third-tall defender spot his own.

A strong, injury free pre-season saw him at long last selected to make his debut in the round one clash with Essendon. Since then, he has barely put a foot wrong. In week two, his 25 disposals (including 14 contested) at an incredible 96% efficiency, 6 marks, 327 metres gained and three inside-50 performance in the 36-point win over Richmond deservedly earned him the rounds rising star nomination.

As a result of Doedee’s outstanding start and, in contrast, Jake Lever’s struggles, debate has surfaced surrounding who the better player is. Doedee beats out Lever in five vital statistical areas – disposals, disposal efficiency, intercept possessions, marks and score involvements.

Granted, Lever may need more time to adjust before he is so harshly criticised, but Doedee’s success goes to show that spending time learning from coaches and playing against battled-hardened state league opponents can sometimes be a better option than immediately being flung into AFL football.

Doedee is one of a few draftees who seem to elevate their game once they set foot on the hallowed turf in an AFL game. Whilst fans may want to immediately push to see what their teams young players have to offer, some future-stars just simply require patience.