Tag: austin mcdonald

Scouting Notes: 2021 South Australia Under 17 Futures

WITH their Under 19 counterparts taking centre stage on AFL Grand Final day, South Australia’s brightest Under 17 prospects went head-to-head at Adelaide Oval on Friday night in the state’s annual Futures showcase. Split into Blue and Yellow teams, the 2004 and 2005-born talents produced a dramatic ending to a contest which gained momentum as it wore on, with the Blue side coming out on top thanks to Nick Sadler‘s breakaway goal in the dying seconds.

We take you through some of the top performers and players to watch from either side in the latest Scouting Notes edition. Note, they are the opinion of the individual author.

BLUE 2.3 | 4.6 | 7.9 | 11.10 (76)
YELLOW 2.1 | 2.7 | 7.10 | 10.12 (72)

GOALS:

Blue: J. Delean 3, B. Mair 2, N. Sadler 2, L. Slade, W. McCabe, T. Scully, H. Barnett.
Yellow: D. Pitt 2, P. Weckert 2, K. Ryan 2, M. Downs 2, L. Rawlinson, W. Rowlands.

TEAM BLUE:

By: Declan Reeve

#1 Tyson Walls (Norwood)
05/03/04 | 172cm | 67kg

Chosen as captain for the SA Blue side, Walls did well to lead by example all around the ground as he threw himself at the footy, with little to no concern for getting hurt by opposition running in for the same ball. Walls did most of his damage when he could get a handball or run onto a spilled ball, then accelerate away from his opponents to give himself more time to steady up and dispose of the ball. One moment that highlighted this particularly well came in the third term where he got a handball when he was surrounded by opponents, but back himself to get through the pack with his acceleration and agility, splitting the pack with ease and handballing to a teammate.

#9 Jack Delean (South Adelaide)
15/04/05 | 179cm | 65kg

One of the more well known 2023 draft talents, it’s no surprise that Delean led the game for goals, slotting three majors as arguably the most influential forward afield. Whilst Delean does a lot of good work inside 50, he pushed up the ground well to take marks on the wing or in the centre of the ground and generally looked to move the ball quickly inside 50. One play saw him quickly u-turn after a mark up the ground, run a few steps and kick long to a teammate that had stayed free inside 50 despite Yellow rebounding it earlier, showing strong game sense. Delean’s ability to get separation on the lead and his leading patterns are big parts of his game, as well as converting well from all areas of the 50 with his solid set shot routine and kick. A more underrated part of Delean’s game is his stoppage craft when he’s given the opportunity to be around them inside 50, having a few moments where he got first possession from the ruck tap.

#11 Archie Lovelock (Glenelg)
19/12/04 | 177cm | 69kg

Lovelock played a somewhat under-appreciated role as a high half-forward for the game, pushing up the ground and taking marks before moving the ball on quickly. He may not have hit the scoreboard himself, but Lovelock was directly responsible for a couple of scores with his clean kicking inside 50. What was most impressive about Lovelock was his ability to get to the right spots in space and take marks, finding ways to lose his opponent so he was rarely under much pressure when taking the ball or moving it on.

#15 Nick Sadler (Sturt)
08/01/04 | 179cm | 72kg

Sadler was a constant headache for his opponents around stoppages and around the ground. With a good read of the play and the ball off the rucks’ hands, he was able to consistently find it and generally used it well, looking for teammates that were leading for him. If there wasn’t anyone leading for him, he would hand it out to another runner. Sadler also managed to hit the scoreboard with two majors even though he played mostly as a midfielder, with his second goal proving the match-winner where he broke away from his opponent at the centre stoppage, ran onto the ball towards his goals, took a bounce and then slotted home beautifully from 50 out.

#31 Tyson Coe (West Adelaide)
21/10/04 | 182cm | 82kg

Whilst Coe doesn’t necessarily play the most flashy style of game, he impacted with an in-and-under style and unforgiving approach to opponents with the ball, tackling hard and winning contested ball around the ground. What’s most impressive is Coe’s tracking of opponents with the ball, occasionally bumping opponents in the way out of his path to get to the ball. This doesn’t mean that his ball use should be underrated however; his hands in close can be deadly, and he often looks to centre the ball by foot when out in space.

#43 Jayden Matz (Central District)
23/04/05 | 195cm | 78kg

Whilst Matz wasn’t necessarily a major ball winner, he showed in brief spurts he’s one to watch for the future, with his athleticism being particularly impressive for a tall prospect. He was able to keep up and even beat much smaller opponents in foot races, whilst also capable of leaping over his opponents in the ruck contests. He offers good dynamism and versatility around the ball.

#51 Harry Barnett (West Adelaide)
22/01/04 | 201cm | 92kg

Arguably the best player for the Team Blue, Barnett took some time to work into the game with some good bits of play in the first half, before really coming into his own in the second half as he started to get on top in the ruck contests. Barnett has a rare level of mobility and skill for such a tall player, with his kicking particularly damaging, it became difficult for Team Yellow to deal with as he gradually won more and more of the ball. At his height it’s no surprise that Barnett is a good mark, and he showed that with a couple of impressive contested grabs in the defensive goalsquare, as he worked back hard to be there and stop certain goals before quickly moving the ball on. By the end of the game, Barnett was spending more time up forward, where he took a good mark by pushing an opponent off him and taking the ball full stretch, slotting the goal from directly in front.

Kobe Ryan was best afield for Team Yellow | Credit: Russell Millard/The Advertiser

TEAM YELLOW:

By: Michael Alvaro

#4 Loch Rawlinson (Sturt)
1/06/2005 | 177cm | 67kg

One who rotated forward off the wing, Rawlinson provided some nice spurts of run moving into attack on the outer. He read the play well to time his runs and receive in dangerous spots, before making good decisions with his kicks going inside 50. He was squeezed on his right side a couple of times, but hit multiple passes which led directly to scores, while also adding a goal of his own after earning a free kick in the fourth quarter.

#8 Taj Rahui (Norwood)
17/10/2004 | 175cm | 70kg

Usually a dashing rebounder for Norwood, Rahui took up a starting spot on the wing before swinging forward and even attending some centre bounces. His aggressive run-and-carry was a real weapon for Team Yellow, helping to open the play up and offer quick inside 50 entries. Rahui backed his speed and ability to break tackles, accelerating forward with intent and looking quite powerful for his size. He was shifted to the inside in term three, and nearly hit the scoreboard when sneaking forward in the same quarter.

#10 Will Rowlands (Norwood)
19/06/2005 | 176cm | 70kg

Like his Redlegs teammate Rahui, Rowlands shifted forward from the wing before getting a short run on the inside in the second half. He took a bit of time to get involved, but showed some tricks once he got his hands on the ball. With more touches, Rowlands gained the confidence to twist, turn and manufacture space around his opponents with subtle hip feints. He moved forward with purpose and almost kicked a goal from range in the second quarter, before converting a fluky kind of major in the third. Deep in the pocket, Rowlands paddled the ball between multiple opponents, picked it up and swung home a kick at the big sticks to level the scores.

#14 Alex Holt (Sturt)
28/01/2005 | 181cm | 71kg

One of Team Yellow’s most used players at the centre bounces, Holt arguably had more impact on the outside where he took on the green ball and carried it forward. He started brightly and sparked multiple transitions by marking his side’s kick-ins before setting off quickly down the line. Holt’s positive intent on the attack was complimented by a kicking game which compounded his metres gained impact.

#18 Kobe Ryan (West Adelaide)
17/02/2004 | 183cm | 70kg

Far and away the best player afield on Friday night, Ryan has quickly established himself as a Top 10 prospect for next year’s draft. He had the ball on a string throughout the contest, showcasing a ridiculously high work-rate to rack up possessions all around the ground and at the contest. The West Adelaide midfielder proved tough as they come with some of his efforts at stoppages and under high balls, copping some big hits but getting back up and continually finding the ball. His balance through midfield is outstanding and his well-rounded game was compounded by the impact of two goals. He could have finished with even more and looked to have kicked the game-winner with a 50m bomb as the clock wound down, making good on his time as a permanent forward in term four. He would be a good shout to crack SA’s Under 19 side and can play just about anywhere.

#20 Austin McDonald (Central District)
1/01/2004 | 179cm | 75kg

A bottom-ager who has already climbed the SANFL grades, McDonald again showed his wares as a consistent accumulator for Team Yellow. The Centrals ball winner was a constant through midfield and proved clean at the contest by hand. That side of his game is quite efficient, but McDonald also sent a few clearances away when he prized first possession off the taps. The left-footer’s kicking is a touch awkward on the move at times, though it mattered little as he hit up Kobe Ryan to assist what looked to be the game-winning goal.

#40 Patrick Weckert (Woodville-West Torrens)
23/01/2005 | 188cm | 82kg

While he played at both ends of the ground, Weckert arguably made his biggest strides as a forward with two goals in the third term. He started in defence though, tasked with the kick-in duties and looking to snatch some metres with those possessions. When swung forward, Weckert presented well to not only provide a target inside 50, but also a viable link into the arc. Both of his goals came from set shots with the second earned via a nice stretching mark and conversion just before the three-quarter time siren.

#44 Damon Pitt (Norwood)
23/03/2004 | 195cm | 82kg

Pitt was Team Yellow’s most likely key forward throughout the game and produced some nice displays of strength en route to snaring two goals. His first came in the opening term via a marking contest free kick, converting nicely from 40m. Pitt went on to take solid marks on the lead and one-on-one, but missed a pair of set shots in term two. His second major came in the third term from a contested mark deep inside 50, and the 195cm prospect continued to pepper the goals but could not quite scrounge another six-pointer for his efforts.

#52 Will Verrall (South Adelaide)
11/03/2004 | 200cm | 92kg

While not his most outwardly dominant outing, the Team Yellow skipper tried his best to impose himself on the contest. Verrall made an immediate impact, winning a holding the ball free kick at the opening centre bounce to showcase his intent around the ball. He was strong as usual at ground level when throwing his big frame around, and also displayed some handy ruck craft with palms down to his rovers.

Featured Image: Jack Delean celebrates a goal for South Adelaide | Credit: Nick Hook Photography

2021 SANFL Under 18s: Round 18 wrap

AS South Australia’s Under 19 team jetted off to Perth to face Western Australia, the final round of the SANFL Under 18 competition took place across metropolitan Adelaide on Saturday. Glenelg collected the minor premiership, winning 15 of their 18 matches to sit three games clear of second-placed Woodville-West Torrens. After finishing on the bottom of the ladder with just one win to their name last season, West Adelaide jumped to third spot with 12 minor round victories. Meanwhile, South Adelaide won eight of its last 11 matches to round out the top four ahead of the SANFL Under 18 finals series.

North Adelaide 14.20 (104) def. Sturt 11.11 (77)

North Adelaide bounced back from a lacklustre first term to claim a 27-point win over Sturt at Prospect Oval. Talented utility Adam Heath booted the opening goal of the game at the 11-minute mark of the first term, before unanswered goals to Sturt’s Tom Gibson, Luca Slade, Cormac Dwyer and Hugo Kittel gave Sturt the strong start they were after. Roosters key forward Isaac Keeler kick-started a strong second term from the home side with an early goal, before Max Blacker and William Dowling booted goals and Heath nailed his second. The game would ebb and flow until the final siren, with both sides finishing their respective seasons in attacking fashion.

Despite the Double Blues providing a close contest, the Roosters proved too strong, led by midfielder Harvey Harrison. Named as an emergency for the state game, Harrison gathered 34 disposals, seven marks and 10 clearances to lead North to victory. Heath finished with three goals from 27 disposals, while Dowling booted 1.3 from his 30 touches. Hughen Wissman sent the ball inside 50 on a game-high 13 occasions from 29 disposals and eight marks. For the Double Blues, Alex Holt gathered 26 disposals, six marks, five inside 50s and 10 rebounds, while Kade Harvey was solid in defence, managing 20 touches and 10 rebounds. Jake AishDeclan Hortle and Tom Gibson each finished with two goals to their name.

Central District 7.8 (50) def. by Woodville-West Torrens 17.16 (118)

A slow start condemned Central District to a hefty defeat at the hands of a strong Woodville-West Torrens outfit. The Bulldogs appeared helpless as the Eagles added seven first term goals to race away to a 39-point lead at the opening break. Tall swingman Jonte Hunter-Price added two goals and five Eagles booted singles in the opening term at X Convenience Oval. The Eagles proved a class above in the second term, with their talented midfield getting on top. The Bulldogs stemmed the flow after the main change, with key talls Cody Gilchrist and Brodie Tuck hitting the scoreboard, but ultimately fell by 68-points.

Eagles ball magnet Dustin Launer continued his rich vein of form with another outstanding performance. The midfielder collected 26 disposals, eight marks, five clearances and six inside 50s to go with his three goals from the engine room. The ever-reliable Brock Thomson had another strong game, ending up with 28 disposals and eight marks, while Jay Watson managed 27 disposals, nine marks and a goal. Hunter-Price and fellow forward Will Pearce finished with three goals for the visitors, with Charlie Blair and Ben Schwartz adding two apiece. For the Bulldogs, Thomas Clements was strong down back, collecting 36 disposals, 11 marks and eight rebounds. After leading Sacred Heart to victory in the All Schools Cup during the week, Luca Whitelum gathered 25 disposals and seven marks for Central District, while fellow Barossa product Austin McDonald collected 21 touches and four clearances.

Norwood 6.8 (44) def. by Glenelg 15.12 (102)

An eight-goal second term propelled minor premier Glenelg to victory over the defending champion, Norwood at Coopers Stadium. Two goals in as many minutes to clever small forward Harry Tunkin gave the Tigers the early ascendancy before goals to Alastair Lord and Benjamin Belperio evened things up heading into quarter time. After Redleg Jack Ianniello booted an early goal to start the second term, the Bays kicked seven unanswered goals to race out to a lead. The sides both added two goals in an even third quarter, but Glenelg’s dour defence held Norwood goalless in the final term to run out 48-point victors.

Despite missing defensive duo Oscar Adams and Cooper Beecken, speedster Lewis Rayson, midfield bull Hugh Stagg, classy wingman Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, and outside ball winner Jacob Owens to state commitments, the Bays showcased their tremendous depth to take care of business away from home. Darcy Gluyas stood tall in the midfield, accumulating a game-high 38 possessions, six marks, five tackles and five clearances in a best-on-ground performance. Lachie Burtt and William Wiseman both nailed three goals for the match, with key forward Jack Harding adding a couple. Shouldering the bulk of the ruckwork for the Redlegs, Ned Carey won 23 hit-outs and kicked a goal from his 10 touches. Jayden Gale collected 21 disposals, five marks and a goal and the returning Alastair Lord finished with 21 touches of his own.

West Adelaide 12.15 (87) def. South Adelaide 10.9 (69)

West Adelaide will commence its finals campaign in winning form after claiming a three-goal win over South Adelaide in a seesawing affair at Hisense Stadium. The Panthers kicked the first four goals of the match to take a healthy lead into the first break before Westies hit back with a four-goal-to-zero second quarter to take a slim two-point lead into half-time. Despite some wayward accuracy in-front of goal, the Bloods kicked on after the break to secure their twelfth win of the 2021 season.

Talented bottom-aged midfielder Kobe Ryan was the star of the show for the victors, booting three goals and collecting 24 touches for the home side. He was well supported in the middle by schoolmate Tyson Coe, who won seven clearances in his 21 disposals, and the consistent Jesse Thackeray, who accumulated 22 possessions, seven marks and five tackles. Rebounding defender Charlie Pridham notched 23 disposals and managed seven rebounds. The forwardline combination of Luke Young and Tom Scully proved effective, with the former booting three goals and taking nine marks and the latter adding 2.4 in-front of goal. Lachlan Hayes played an important role down back for South, gathering 31 possessions and 12 rebounds, while midfielders Cooper Rogers, Angus Bradley and Luke Mitton each won plenty of the ball. Star forward Jack Delean was well-held by the Bloods’ defence, booting just one goal for the match to finish the home and away season with a remarkable 32 majors in just 12 games. Bottom-ager Koby Cockshell proved a handful though, taking three contested marks on his way to kicking four goals.

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography via South Adelaide FC

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 13

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

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

By: Declan Reeve

Central District:

#21 Austin McDonald

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

#37 Cody Gilchrist

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

OTHERS:

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

North Adelaide:

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

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

#4 Isaac Keeler

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

#51 Angus Tully

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

OTHERS:

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

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

#11 Jacob Owens

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

#13 Hayden Brokensha

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

#20 Lewis Rayson 

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

#21 Cooper Beecken

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

#38 Jakob Ryan 

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

Others:

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

Sturt:

#5 Jordan Hein

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

#8 Lachlan Thomas

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

#15 Alex Holt

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

Others:

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#4 Jack Delean

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

#10 Isaac Birt

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

#11 Jaiden Magor

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

Others:

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

Norwood:

#2 Tyson Walls

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

#20 Max Michalanney

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

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

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

Others:

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#9 Kobe Ryan

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

#10 Cade Kennedy

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

#35 Will Patton

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

#51 Harry Barnett

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

Others:

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

WWT Eagles:

#17 Adam D’Aloia

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

#20 Lukas Cooke

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

#21 Mattaes Phillipou

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

#24 Zac Phillips

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

#26 Jordan Lukac

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

Others:

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

 

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 12

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

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

By: Eli Duxson

Sturt:

#24 Cormac Dwyer

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

#39 Felix Packer

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

Others:

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

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

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

#16 Benjamin Belperio

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

Others:

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

Woodville-West Torrens:

#17 Adam D’Aloia

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

#21 Mattaes Phillipou

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

#24 Zac Phillips

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

Others:

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

South Adelaide:

#5 Angus Bradley

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

#10 Isaac Birt

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

#19 Tom Wheaton

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

#23 Noah Howes

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

#35 Koby Cockshell

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

Others:

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

North Adelaide:

#4 Isaac Keeler

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

#18 James Willis

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

Others:

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

West Adelaide:

#9 Kobe Ryan

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

#10 Cade Kennedy

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

#23 Dylan McCormick

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

#36 Tyson Coe

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

#37 Tom Scully

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

#54 Harry Lemmey

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

Others:

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

Central District:

#9 Trent Tattoli

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

#21 Austin McDonald

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

Others:

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

Glenelg:

#2 Harry Tunkin

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

#6 Darcy Gluyas

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

#20 Lewis Rayson

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

#38 Jakob Ryan

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

Others:

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

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography via South Adelaide FC

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 9

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s returned and rolled on into Round 9, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

South adelaide 12.10 (82) defeated West Adelaide 8.9 (57)

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide

#10 Isaac Birt

Consistent wingman Isaac Birt was arguably the best player on the ground in South Adelaide’s win over the Bloods at Noarlunga. He got involved in the game early, hitting a couple of beautiful left foot kicks, including a lace-out bullet to the leading Kyle Marshall inside 50. A smooth-mover who possesses a very aesthetically-pleasing kicking style, Birt played with more class and polish than his counterparts, displaying excellent vision and making smart decisions with ball-in-hand. He used his speed to provide some important run and carry, but also tackled well and was strong in the air when it was his turn to go. In what was another strong performance from one of South Australia’s best wingman, Birt gathered 26 disposals, seven marks (two contested), three tackles, three clearances and seven inside 50s.

#38 Tom Schirmer

Full-forward Tom Schirmer produced his best performance at Under 18’s level, after helping the Panthers claim the Under 16’s flag earlier in the year. Working out of the goalsquare, Schirmer read the ball well in the air and was able to out-body his direct opponent with relative ease. Importantly, the 16-year-old made the most of his favourable positioning and size advantage by clunking everything in his area. Although he missed a couple of gettable opportunities in front of goal, his dominant three-goal third term helped turn the game in South’s favour. Deployed in the ruck when the ball was inside-50, Schirmer finished the day with 13 disposals, five goals (four behinds), four marks (all contested), five hit-outs and a couple of clearances.

#39 Will Verrall

Bottom-aged ruckman Will Verrall was engaged in a competitive battle with West Adelaide ruckman Oscar Steene for much of the Saturday morning contest. Although Steene finished ahead in the hitout numbers, the South Adelaide big man was more involved in general play than his direct opponent. He used his mobility to good effect, covering the ground well and accumulating several link-up possessions. Clearly one of the most talented ruckman in the state, Verrall finished another productive outing with 19 disposals, three marks, 20 hitouts and three clearances.

Others: Small defender Lachlan Hayes accumulated plenty of the football in the defensive-half for the Panthers. Charged with the kick-in duties, Hayes looked to take the game on with his dash, speed and skill wherever possible. He finished with 33 disposals, four tackles and 13 rebounds. Onballer Koby Cockshell found himself involved in everything in the first quarter. He concluded the outing with 17 disposals, four tackles, four clearances and a goal. Up forward, exciting 16-year-old Jack Delean had a quieter day (nine disposals and two marks), but still showed glimpses of his enormous potential, including a wonderful crumbing goal from an inside-50 stoppage.

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

The ever-reliable Charlie Pridham was terrific for the Bloods. Playing the half-back role in which he has found so much of the football this season, Pridham mopped up everything in his area. He seemingly always found himself open in the defensive 50 and made himself an easy hit-up option for his teammates. Pridham didn’t attempt to bite off more than he could chew by foot, preferring to take the low-risk short option rather than attempt to hit a difficult target. His services off the half-back line have been a vital reason behind the Bloods successes this season and although his side fell to a spirited South Adelaide, Pridham still managed 31 touches, seven marks, six tackles and four rebounds.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Skipper Cade Kennedy has been a workhorse in the midfield for the Bloods this season, and he was at it again in West’s 25-point defeat. His foot skills were inconsistent throughout the match, however his fight at ground level and contested ball winning ability was invaluable. Although he was not as dominant at the stoppages as he has been in the past, Kennedy was effective with his hands in-tight and applied plenty of pressure around the ball. He finished with 25 disposals, six marks, eight tackles, two clearances and seven inside-50s.

Others:

Dylan White (29 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, six clearances, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s) was terrific through the midfield for West Adelaide. His ability in the coalface supported the efforts of fellow onballers Cade Kennedy and Jesse Thackeray. Thackeray himself gathered 19 disposals, three marks and six inside 50s for the match in another well-rounded performance in his midfield/half-forward role. Medium forward Mitch Hahn was the main man for West Adelaide in attack. Although he was far from the tallest up forward, he was able to use his natural smarts and physical strength to nudge his opponent under the ball and take a number of inside 50 marks. He finished with three goals, to go with nine disposals and three marks. Centre half-forward Luke Young was quiet early but worked his way into the game nicely. He appeared to find it challenging to gain separation on the lead but, as all good forwards do, capitalised on his opportunities inside 50. Young amassed 15 disposals, two marks and two tackles to go with his couple of goals.

STURT 8.10 (58) defeated by NORTH ADELAIDE 14.12 (96)

By: Liam Badkin

Sturt:

#5 Jordan Hein

By far Sturt’s strongest performer in the 38-point defeat to North Adelaide. Spending time through the midfield, Hein displayed an exceptional ability to drive the ball forward by foot. Finishing with a team-high 20 kicks, Hein displayed courage with some of his kicks, bravely taking on the corridor on multiple occasions. Laid some solid tackles throughout the contest (five for the day), and his work rate to provide an option for teammates caught the eye. On a day where there were plenty of stationary players ahead of the ball for Sturt, Hein consistently provided a strong lead for teammates, and helped keep the ball moving forward for his side. Missed a shot on goal to open the third quarter when the game could have gone either way, a small blemish on what was a strong performance in a losing side.

Others:

James Tragakis led his side for disposals with 23 for the day as he worked hard through the contest to extract the ball. Down back, plenty of run was generated by Mitch Felton, who finished the game with a whopping 11 rebound 50s as he constantly drove the ball forward for Sturt, despite the inactivity up forward at times.

North Adelaide:

#12 Hugh Jackson

Dominant. Took his own footy to the contest as he finished with a game-high 41 disposals in a powerful performance through the midfield. There was no better performer in the engine room, as Jackson extracted the ball 12 times from stoppages, frequently giving opposition players and coaches headaches with his ability to find the ball in nearly any circumstance. Sturt attempted to curve his influence as the game continued, but it mattered not, with Jackson always finding a way to get the ball on his boot, finishing with 30 kicks. Was hugely influential in the result of the game, with North Adelaide’s midfield ascendancy a major factor in the final margin.

#18 James Willis

Was arguably better than his teammate in the number 12 jumper, with Willis stuffing the stat sheet on his way to 35 disposals, nine marks, five clearances and two goals. Spending time rotating through the midfield and the forward line, Willis was able to have an impact wherever his magnet was moved to. The statistics impress, but they don’t tell the tale of his immense pressure around the contest. Opposition players struggled to get a clean disposal around him and when they did, it was often rushed and ineffective.

Others:

Harvey Harrison hurt the opposition all over the ground, finishing with two goals from his 32 disposals and ten marks in a typically classy display.

Woodville-West Torrens 22.12 (144) defeated central district 6.10 (46)

By: Tom Wyman

Woodville-West Torrens:

#5 Brayden Calvett

Calvett produced his best performance of the season in the Eagles’ big win. Operating across the half-forward flank and pushing up onto the wing and midfield at times, Calvett booted two goals in three minutes in the first term before Central had registered a major. He would go on to boot another couple to finish the game as one of four Eagles to nail three-plus goals. He read the play well and made the most of his chances in-front of the big sticks. Calvett finished the game with 23 disposals, three marks and four inside-50s.

#6 Dustin Launer

Whilst the likes of Calvett, Burgoyne and Phillipou will deservedly steal the headlines for Woodville-West Torrens, the performance of Dustin Launer wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by the Eagles coaching staff. Particularly impressive early on in the game, the half-back/midfielder showed excellent poise and skill with ball in-hand. He looked calm and assured of himself even when under pressure, and executed well by hand and foot. Launer also showed plenty of ability in the midfield, where he won four clearances, along with his 20 possessions, seven marks, three tackles and three rebounds.

#9 Jase Burgoyne

Burgoyne quite simply did as he pleased upon return to the Eagles Under 18 set-up after spending time at league level with the Port Adelaide Magpies. Stationed in defence early-on, the Power father-son prospect looked unflustered all day. Not only did he find the ball at will, Burgoyne used it efficiently. He rarely attempted any audacious kicks, instead preferring to hit the obvious shorter target. Burgoyne was able to glide through the midfield, where he displayed a similar level of composure and poise with the football, making sensible and informed decisions. He flew high above the pack to claim a terrific mark, but the highlight-reel grab was unfortunately short-lived as he was penalised for placing his hands in the back of Bulldog Saxon Evans. Burgoyne got amongst the goal kickers when he waltzed into an open goal late in the fourth term to cap off a great performance. He finished with 37 disposals, ten marks and four clearances.

#21 Mattaes Phillipou

There were several candidates for best on ground honours in the Eagles 98-point triumph, but Mattaes Phillipou would have to be the front-runner after he slotted five majors. Spending more time up forward than in previous weeks, Phillipou’s aerial strength was on full display as he floated in to take several contested marks. After booting two early goals, Phillipou was clearly full of confidence as he set sail for home from beyond the 50-metre mark a couple of times, fancying his chances given his form in front of goal. It was just one of those days for the forward/midfielder, who consistently found himself in the right place at the right time, best highlighted by his fourth major, which came after Jase Burgoyne’s hurried kick forward fell right into his awaiting arms. When pushed into the midfield, his stoppage nous and contested ball winning were terrific. Phillipou finished a game to remember with 32 disposals, six marks (three contested), four tackles, eight clearances and five inside 50s.

Others: Ruckman Zac Phillips fought hard against Bulldogs ruckman Saxon Evans. Although Phillips was beaten early, he worked his way into the contest and had more of an impact as the game wore on. He got caught out for some slow disposal on a couple of occasions, but was more effective than Evans around the ground, gathering 19 disposals to go with his four marks, six clearances and 14 hitouts. Sam Nicholls accumulated 26 disposals, four marks, six tackles and five clearances in the midfield, while strongly built country kid Will Pearce booted four goals and played with plenty of aggression. Forward Jack Murphy booted three goals and Blake Hansen was another Eagle to impress, collecting 21 disposals and five marks.

Central District:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

The Bulldogs may have been soundly beaten from start to finish at Woodville Oval, but pocket rocket and Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect Isaiah Dudley showed why he is among South Australia’s top handful of draft hopefuls. Starting at the centre bounce, Dudley wasted no time asserting himself on the contest by winning the opening clearance and hitting a target by hand moments later. Throughout the contest, he switched from the midfield to a deep-forward role with fellow Academy Hub member Austin McDonald. Dudley’s attack on the contest was sensational, as was his contested ball winning and relentless tackling pressure. However it was his distribution by hand which elevated his game. He made excellent decisions by hand and showed vision and skill to locate targets away from the congestion, many of whom had time and space to move in. The powerfully built utility showed plenty of class to snap a goal from a difficult angle in the pocket, but should have finished with a couple more to his name. All in all, it was a very impressive performance from Dudley, who finished with 27 disposals, two marks, eight tackles, six clearances and four inside 50s.

#21 Austin McDonald

In just his third game back from a serious leg injury, bottom-ager Austin McDonald showed why he is considered one of the leading midfielders in SA. The Barossa product split his time between the midfield and the forward line, with the Bulldogs preferring to keep their two most damaging players, Dudley and McDonald separated. McDonald was not dominant, however he was certainly one of the Bulldogs best performers. He looks to be a natural ball-winner who appears best suited to an inside midfield role in the long term. He finished with 25 disposals, four marks, five tackles, two clearances and four inside-50s.

Others:

Half-back Ruben Carreno tried his best to weather the storm in defence. He provided some meaningful rebound, finishing with 19 disposals, two marks, three tackles and 11 rebounds. In the midfield, big-man Saxon Evans managed to get the better of his duel with 19-year-old Eagles tall Zac Phillips. The athletic ruckman gathered nine disposals and kicked a solid set-shot goal in the first term. At ground level, Tahjin Krieg never stopped trying for Central Districts. Despite lacking a touch of polish, he ran hard around the ground, tackled with ferocity and showed some speed and hustle out of the contest, concluding with 18 possessions, nine tackles, six clearances and seven inside-50s. Tomas Hahn was typically robust, laying 14 tackles, winning seven clearances and gathering 19 disposals. Dylan Wall was the best of the Bulldogs forwards, booting three goals.

GLENELG 15.12 (102) defeated NORWOOD 3.5 (23)

By: Liam Badkin

Glenelg:

#6 Darcy Gluyas

With teammate Hugh Stagg missing, Gluyas took the extra opportunity around the ground with both hands and stepped up to the moment. Through the midfield, he was terrific with five clearances and 31 disposals, but worked both ways for his side. Eight strong tackles provide a clear display of the toughness he showed through the engine room, and even floated forward to kick a classy second quarter goal to put the exclamation point on a fantastic all-around performance from the Glenelg midfielder.

#12 Brodie Edwards

A much better performance for the workhorse through the midfield, improving on last week’s quieter performance to finish the contest with 21 disposals and seven tackles. Working through the engine room, Edwards was one of his side’s premier extractors, finishing the contest with a game-high six clearances, through either his fast hands or impressive ability to get the ball on the boot. Was one of his side’s strongest in the 79-point drubbing of Norwood.

Others:

Up forward, Corey Brougham thrived as the team’s number one marking option, booting a whopping five snags from his 14 touches, and displayed his dominance in the air with three contested clunks.

Norwood:

#11 Connor Kent

Was his side’s bright spark on quite a dark day. The team was convincingly beaten, but Kent can hold his head high, amassing 37 disposals, seven inside 50’s and nine tackles through the middle. Kent was constantly trying to provide some desperately needed spark for his side, laying bone-crunching tackles and finding the ball, even when he was on the back foot. Far and away the best player for Norwood, and probably deserved a better result than what was given to him.

Image Credit: Port Adelaide FC

SANFL U18 Scouting Notes – Round 8

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s returned and rolled on into Round 8, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

GLENELG 8.10 (58) def. by WEST ADELAIDE 9.8 (62)

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

Hugh Stagg once-again appeared a class above the rest at ACH Group Stadium. The bull-like utility went head-to-head with fellow ball-magnet Cade Kennedy at various stages when deployed through the middle. However it was his work in attack which almost won the game for the previously undefeated Bays. He opened the scoring for the home side by caressing through a stab kick on the run from a tricky angle. His third-term set-shot cut the margin to two points, before he added a third major late in the frame to extend Glenelg’s lead. He could’ve added a couple more goals too, finishing with three behinds. Stagg’s ability to burst through would-be tacklers with speed, strength and bustle set his game apart. Also showcasing his overhead marking strength, Stagg concluded the match with 30 disposals, five marks (two contested), four tackles, seven clearances and eight inside-50s in another sensational performance from the teenager.

#6 Darcy Gluyas

With teammate and potential first-round draftee Lewis Rayson missing from the side, Gluyas spent some extra minutes on the ball, while still impacting the game when moved to the forward flank. One of several Tigers boasting the versatility to fill a role almost anywhere on the ground, Gluyas was heavily involved early, showcasing plenty of composure and an effective side-step. Although he dropped a couple of marks he would’ve normally taken, Gluyas slotted an important goal from a 45-metre set shot in the second term. Overall, the consistent Gluyas made another solid contribution for Glenelg, accumulating 15 disposals, three marks, three tackles and three clearances.

#12 Brodie Edwards

Brodie Edwards started in the centre-bounce and spent much of the day rotating through the midfield for the Tigers. Edwards was typically workmanlike throughout the game, working hard to apply plenty of pressure around the contest. He was, however, caught out for a lack of pace in the defensive half when he was mowed down from behind. It was a quieter day for Edwards, who finished with 14 disposals, however he still was able to demonstrate level-headedness with ball in hand and a willingness to apply plenty of pressure, laying seven tackles.

Others: Full-back Dayne McGary was strong in the defensive half for the yellow and black. His strength overhead was a real feature of the game, and so too was his ability to read the play and peel off his direct opponent to impact the contest. He was also careful and assured by foot and provided some serviceable rebound. He gathered 22 disposals, 11 marks and five rebounds.

Playing his third game of the season, Benjamin Ridgway collected 19 disposals, three marks, five tackles, three clearances and a goal for the Tigers, with Darcy Porter and Bailey Durant also among the home side’s best performers.

 

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

The ever-reliable Charlie Pridham produced another clean and composed performance in his customary role as the kicker across half-back. Pridham backed his skillset in even when under pressure and displayed good vision to spot up several difficult targets throughout the morning. The blonde-haired ball magnet, who is averaging 26.9 disposals per game in 2021, was largely clean by foot when kicking in from defence and finished the game with 25 disposals, three marks, four tackles and seven rebound-50s.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Following a 49-disposal effort last weekend, West Adelaide captain Cade Kennedy once again led from the front in the middle. Kennedy threw himself at the contest, winning plenty of contested ball and displaying some excellent stoppage nous. When the Tigers won the ball in the coalface, Kennedy ran hard defensively and looked to pressure the ball carrier, as evidenced by his equal team-high ten tackles. He was also effective in general play, working into helpful spaces and often stationing himself in the centre square as an in-board option. Although he wasn’t always effective by foot, Kennedy finished with 23 disposals, four marks, five clearances and five inside-50s.

#13 Hugh Desira

Wingman Hugh Desira played an important role in West Adelaide’s upset win. The hard-working midfielder used the ball well on the outside but also proved more than capable when moved into an inside role, winning a team-high six clearances. His quick snap goal five minutes into the second term helped continue West’s early dominance. In arguably his best game of the season to-date, Desira gathered 19 disposals, two marks, six clearances and four inside-50s.

Others: Midfielder/forward Jesse Thackeray finished the game as the leading ball-winner on the ground, gathering 31 disposals to go with seven marks (three contested), three clearances, six inside-50s, four rebounds and a goal. Opportunist forward Saleh Baltagie booted the first goal of the game from a free kick then capitalised on the loose ball twice to finish the game with three majors. His pressure in the forward half was excellent and his goals were reward for effort.

West’s dual-ruck set-up of Tom Scully and Oscar Steene overwhelmed the undersized Tigers big-men. They finished with 24 and 27 hit-outs respectively and, importantly, worked well around the ground, remaining clean below their knees and effective in general-play.

STURT 5.4 (34) def. by NORTH ADELAIDE 20.16 (136)

By: Tom Wyman

Sturt

#12 Jamie Taylor

Prolific midfielder Jamie Taylor was clearly Sturt’s best player despite the 102-point smashing. He started at the centre-bounce and showed a couple of positive glimpses, including a damaging fend-off, effective side-step and good penetration by foot, in what was an overwise dour day for the Double Blues. One of very few Sturt players who looked capable of matching the Roosters star-studded midfield, Taylor worked hard around the ground and finished the game with ten marks. He also managed 30 disposals, six clearances and a couple of inside-50s.

Others: The Sturt backline was peppered from start to finish, which placed defenders Mitch Felton and Kade Harvey under the pump. Given the ball breached Sturt’s defensive 50 on no less than 67 occasions for the game, the duo did just about all they could. In charge of the kick-ins, Felton provided some important rebound from defence, concluding the game with 24 disposals, three marks, four tackles and 13 rebounds. His racking foot skills were a standout. Meanwhile, Harvey gathered 21 disposals, eight marks and five rebound-50s.

Blake Fidge booted the clubs only two goals of the second-half, while George Pope (23 disposals, eight clearances and five inside-50s) and Patrick Tidemann (22 disposals, ten marks, four inside-50s and five rebounds) were others who could hold their heads up high.

 

North Adelaide

#3 Adam Heath

North Adelaide’s second term acceleration was largely thanks to a four goal quarter from key forward Adam Heath. Heath benefitted greatly from some excellent inside-50 foot skills from the talented Roosters midfield brigade, always playing in-front, timing his leads well and marking relatively unobstructed. His set-shot goal kicking was solid, albeit for a couple of misses. He will rue hitting the post from point-blank range early in the second, however his four-goal heroics more than made up for the blemish. Heath finished the game with 20 disposals, five goals, 12 marks and three inside-50s.

#4 Isaac Keeler

The athletic key forward again proved far too good for the Sturt backline as the Roosters pilled on goal after goal. He wasted little time getting into the contest, having a set-shot sighter early in the first term. He booted his first goal by intelligently staying down when others flew and slotting the regulation goal after the ball fell into his hands. Keeler nailed his second from just inside the 50-metre arc on the tightest of angles, and added a third from a set-shot after simply outreaching the Sturt defender. Possessing natural forward instincts, Keeler often read the play a fraction earlier than everyone else, and these football smarts, combined with his explosive acceleration on the lead, saw him have several shots on goal. Keeler also had an impact when he worked his way up the ground, with his leap allowing him to get on top of the Sturt ruck department. The bottom ager’s speed and mobility allowed him to have a genuine impact at ground level too. Keeler finished the game with 19 disposals, ten marks (two contested), three tackles, ten hit-outs and three majors.

#12 Hugh Jackson

It was another strong showing for Hugh Jackson, who has proven himself to be one of the best ball users in the nation so far this season. Even though the Sturt midfielders were clearly well aware of his damaging left foot and ability to accumulate the ball at will, they were unable to get near the Roosters number twelve. He worked tirelessly throughout the game, moving well in traffic and swinging onto his left-foot whenever possible. North Adelaide were always going to be hard to stop when Jackson and O’Loughlin were afforded time to deliver it inside 50 to damaging effect. Jackson, who leads the competition for disposals by no-less than 48 to West’s Cade Kennedy, added another 37 to his mounting tally, while also managing 12 marks, six clearances, 11 inside-50s and four rebounds in another wonderful performance.

#15 Harvey Harrison 

Prolific onballer Harvey Harrison took a little while to get going, but when he did, his speed and run and carry through the middle of Unley Oval was great to watch. His kicking was inconsistent but his stoppage work was excellent, scrapping around at ground level and feeding it out to the plethora of Roosters waiting to receive. He calmly curled home a major on his left-foot to inflict more pain upon the opposition in the dying minutes of the third term. One of the competition’s best performers over the opening two months of under-18 action, Harrison finished the game with 31 disposals, seven marks, nine clearances and three inside-50s.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

Those who have had the pleasure of watching Crows Next Generation Academy member Blayne O’Loughlin go about his business this season will hardly be surprised to see him notch up another 42 disposals in the Roosters 102-point win. Blayne started down back but wasn’t afraid to leave his man and push up around the ball to impact at the stoppages. O’Loughlin’s ball-use got better as the game wore on, with many of his earlier touches being relatively simply short passes. His run and carry through the middle of the ground was important, as was his crafty disposal and calmness under duress down back. O’Loughlin was effective between the arcs, accumulating seven inside-50s, seven rebounds and ten marks to go with his 31 kicks and 11 handballs.

#26 Kelsey Rypstra

The diminutive Rypstra has been one of North Adelaide’s most underrated performers so far in 2021, and his performance against the Double Blues was excellent. He snapped the first goal of the game for the red and whites then, in the final term, added a second on the run after getting on the end of a fast break from the centre bounce. Rypstra’s ball-use, like so many of his teammates, was clean and often damaging. His kicking, particularly going forward, made the job of the Roosters forwards much easier. In addition to his two majors, the half-forward/midfielder finished the game with 24 touches, six marks and seven inside-50s.

Others: Speedster Zyton Santillo played an important role for the Roosters through the midfield. Although he may be small in stature, Santillo broke tackle after tackle and won his fair share of contested ball at the coalface but, importantly, delivered the ball well by foot. He applied plenty of pressure, finishing with seven tackles to go with 23 disposals, six marks, three clearances and three inside-50s.

James White and James Willis both found plenty of the ball for the Roosters. White was clean throughout the contest, gathering 26 disposals, four marks, three tackles and four inside-50s. Willis managed 23 touches, four marks, four tackles, six inside-50s and a goal and showed some draftable qualities, including a quick turn of pace, run and carry and a booming long kick. He was unlucky to have a long-range effort on goal touched on the line.

CENTRAL DISTRICTS 7.5 (47) def. by SOUTH ADELAIDE 14.10 (94)

By: Liam Badkin

Central Districts:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

Displayed his classy playmaking ability again through the midfield, finding the ball 17 times in another impressive outing for his club. His ability to find the ball on the run was on display, hitting up teammates from all over the ground. Rarely took the ball when he was stationary at stoppages, always seeming proactive and attempting to generate some run around the contest. Missed an opportunity to hit the scoreboard in the final term when his team faced an impossible deficit. One of the better ball users in the league and displayed it fully throughout this contest.

#21 Austin McDonald

One of the standout players for his side, McDonald was instrumental through the midfield, finding the ball 24 times and rarely wasted it. His hands within the contest are as elite, and constantly generated some run by moving the ball on quickly. When giving the ball to teammates, he found them on the run, and was brutal around the contest. Headed forward and booted two goals on a day where his side was desperately short on scoring opportunities. No Central Districts player found the ball more than McDonald, and his run of strong form continues.

Others: Through the midfield, Tomas Hahn laid a whopping 19 tackles in one of the toughest performances of the year. Also found the ball 23 times, showcasing his all-around ability, while Adam Deakin was a constant threat in the backline with six rebound-50’s.

 

South Adelaide:

#4 Jack Dealan

The talented youngster was once more a looming threat up forward for South Adelaide, booting three goals in another solid outing. Dealan’s arial presence was once again on display, highlighted by a strong contested mark. Two second-quarter goals proved perfect in demonstrating his ability to rip a game apart in a short period of time. Dealan’s draft stock continues to rise and will likely rank towards the top when his draft eligibility comes in a couple of years’ time.

#10 Isaac Birt

The midfielder was solid without being outstanding in the win for South Adelaide, racking up 15 disposals. With the return of Arlo Draper, Birt spent more time on the outside of the contest, and when given time and space, hurt the opposition with his outside run. Took a strong contested mark to add another bow to his game, and his disposal efficiency improves on a weekly basis. Might have had less of the ball than recent weeks, but certainly lost no respect from coaches and teammates with a decent outing.

#33 Will Verrall

The bottom-aged ruckman beat his opponent, and certainly got the job done in his role, proving crucial to the side’s victory. Finishing with 33 hitouts, Verrall gave his midfielders first use, with his ruck craft improving on a weekly basis. He combined well with a variety of South Adelaide’s midfielders, and even followed up his tap work on plenty of occasions, finishing the match with 19 disposals and even winning eight clearances of his own. Did his draft stock no harm at all.

Others: Draper was strong through the middle, finishing with 27 touches and his contested work was once again a clear standout. Defender Lachlan Hayes found plenty of the ball, racking up 25 touches and consistently repelled the ball from defensive 50.

NORWOOD 5.9 (39) def. by WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 13.12 (90)

By: Liam Badkin

Norwood:

#11 Connor Kent

The midfielder stood out on a tough day for the side’s engine room, finishing with 32 disposals in a tough performance. With virtually no ruck dominance all day, Norwood had to get creative in getting their clearances, so Kent and other mids began reading the opposition’s tap. Had the opportunity to kick a much-needed goal for his side, but the shot just missed. Nine tackles and seven clearances were reflective of his willingness to get his hands dirty in the contest.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Racked up a game-high 36 disposals from the backline, and worked hard to try and defend countless Eagle attacks on goal. Always clean with his disposal, Dnistriansky took risks with his kicks, and while they didn’t always come off, some attacking ball movement was a nice change of pace on a day where his side was convincingly beaten in most areas of the ground. Finished with eight rebound-50s as he tried to get the ball moving forward for his team.

Woodville West Torrens:

#16 Will Pearce

Was once again one of the focal points for his side, when they were moving the ball forward, mainly due to his strong arial presence at times combined with his impressive work when the ball hit the deck. Could have had four majors, but missed two gettable shots, so only finished with two snags for the day. 13 disposals showed that he can be more than a threat in front of goal, finding teammates in space when he was given the opportunity.

#18 William Neumann

Spending time through the midfield and up forward, Neumann was once again lethal for the winning side, finishing with 17 disposals in a typically tough outing. Like previous weeks, his pressure was outstanding around the contest, constantly harassing opponents into making errors that he or teammates would swoop on. Hit the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, as his side went into party time with the game locked away. Certainly lost no fans with this showing.

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 7

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s returned and rolled on into Round 7, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

NORTH ADELAIDE 17.10 (112) def. NORWOOD 6.6 (42)

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#4 Isaac Keeler

Ultra-talented bottom-ager Isaac Keeler added another four goals to his season tally, proving far too good for the Norwood backline. Having spent time at full-forward and as the number one ruckman at stages throughout the season, Keeler began the clash in attack. He pushed up the ground nicely, gaining separation on the lead with ease and providing the Roosters midfielders with a spot-up target. At full-stretch, he proved near-on impossible to defend. Along with Keeler’s supreme athleticism, he is also a beautiful set-shot for goal, with his natural, laid-back style cooling converting more often than not. He was even effective when deployed a kick behind the play for a brief period in the second half. Suspect his speed, ground-level cleanliness and leap will cause plenty of headaches for defenders in years to come. Keeler finished the game with 15 disposals, eight marks (two contested), five hit-outs and four goals.

#12 Hugh Jackson

The form-player of the competition was at it again on Prospect Oval, starting from where he left off last round. Jackson waisted no time in getting started, seemingly involved in everything for the red and whites. At the stoppages, the Rostrevor College prospect often lined up on the defensive-side, and if he didn’t win the clearance himself, his Roosters teammates found him by hand and allowed him to swing onto his trusty left-foot. His foot skills are a huge weapon and his ability to pick-off target-after-target has been a treat to watch throughout the season. An aesthetically pleasing midfielder who moves so well, his quick handballs always seemed to find their targets regardless of the nearby pressure – a testament to his skill and vision. Although he didn’t find as much of the ball in the second half, Jackson had already made his mark on the contest and finished with 27 disposals, eight marks, three clearances, eight inside-50s and a goal.

#15 Harvey Harrison

Harvey Harrison has been forced to play second-fiddle to Hugh Jackson for most of the season to-date, but he finished as the best player on the ground in the Roosters 70-point win over Norwood. One of the SANFL Under-18 competition’s most prolific ball-winners, Harrison had managed just one goal for the year before the clash with the Redlegs. However that soon changed, as he nailed four majors, including a beautiful running goal from just inside-50 to highlight his precise ball-use at top speed. A line-breaking midfielder who runs and runs, Harrison was also prepared to crack in and do the hard stuff, laying nine tackles. His contested ball winning and stoppage nous was excellent, as the teenager finished with 26 disposals and eight clearances.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

The Adelaide NGA product lined up down back at the opening bounce but quickly worked his way into the on-ball rotation. After proving himself as one of the best small defenders in the country over the first two months of the season, O’Loughlin showed he can also play a role through the midfield. He fought hard at ground level, winning his fair share of contested ball and using his nimble footwork, composure and poise to work his way through congestion on several occasions. However it was O’Loughlin’s long-range goal in the third term which was the highlight. He finished another solid outing with 22 disposals, three tackles and three rebounds.

Others:

Zippy small midfielder Zyton Santillo has been one of North Adelaide’s best performers this season and his round seven effort was no exception. Providing plenty of speed and creativity, Santillo zigged and zagged his way through congestion with ease, and used the ball well inside-50. He gathered 20 disposals, five marks, four tackles, five inside-50s and a goal.

His fellow midfielder James Willis also had an excellent game. He was strong at the coalface, winning six clearances, and tackled hard all day. He finished with 25 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and five inside-50s. Half-forward Sam McTaggart was heavily involved from the get-go and concluding the game with 20 touches, seven marks, six tackles and a goal. Ruckman Oliver Moors was utterly dominant, winning 45 hit-outs. He also found plenty of the ball around the ground, gathering 16 touches, four marks and five clearances.

Norwood:

#11 Connor Kent

Midfielder Connor Kent was Norwood’s best player in what proved to be a difficult day at the office for the visitors. The leading possession-winner on the ground, Kent’s ability to win the contested ball and distribute it cleanly by hand was promising. With the Roosters dominating the hit-outs (54-17), the Norwood midfielders were on the back-foot for most of the day and spent a considerable portion of the day chasing the likes of Jackson, Santillo, Harrison and O’Loughlin. However Kent, arguably Norwood’s most consistent player in 2021, can hold his head up high, finishing the game with 31 disposals, four marks, five tackles and three inside-50s.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Talented backman Matthew Dnistriansky stood tall down in defence, despite the Roosters belting it inside-50 on 54 occasions. The clean-kicking Dnistriansky read the play well and was strong in the air. Although he did try to bite off a bit more than he could chew at-times, particularly when looking to bring the ball back into the corridor, Dnistriansky was largely effective by foot. He provided a game-high 11 rebounds, to go with 29 disposals, eight marks, three tackles and four inside-50s.

Others: 

Half-back Riley Verrall was serviceable in defence, collecting 22 disposals and using it well by foot for the most part. He also registered five marks, three tackles and six rebounds. Forward Jett Boxer kicked three of Norwood’s six goals. His strength overhead was a highlight, hauling in nine marks for the game, three of which were contested. He also managed 23 disposals, three tackles and a couple of hit-outs. Elsewhere, Peter Minervini managed 16 disposals and seven clearances, while Louis Joseph collected 16 disposals, six tackles and a goal.

GLENELG 23.11 (149) def. SOUTH ADELAIDE 5.6 (36)

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

Hugh Stagg has emerged as one of the best players in the under-18 competition this season, and his round seven effort was similarly dominant. Involved in everything from the get-go, Stagg hit every contest with the sort of speed and power of a Patrick Dangerfield-type, looking to use his superior size and strength to burst his way through traffic. Not one to fear using the fend-off, Stagg clearly relished the competitive side of the game. Although not everything he touched turned to gold, with some of his kicks lacking penetration or just missing their desired target, you just felt like something was going to happen whenever he was around the ball. His overhead strength saw him take a couple of nice grabs up forward, as he ended the game with three goals. The goal kicking forward/midfielder, who seems to be going from strength-to-strength with each game, gathered another 31 disposals, nine marks (three contested), three tackles, four clearances and five inside-50s in his sides 113-point demolition.

#17 Corey Brougham

Strong forward Corey Brougham was the beneficiary of the Bays midfield dominance and excellent ball-use inside-50. The clear leading target, Brougham was seemingly always in-front of his man, which allowed him to get first bite at the ball on the lead. His clean hands overhead were once again a big part of his game. Brougham has a simple and effective set-shot routine, but he would have loved to have converted a couple of gettable chances in-front of the big sticks. Nevertheless, the powerful forward finished with 13 disposals, six goals and five marks (three contested) in a dominant display.

#20 Lewis Rayson

Rayson started the game down back, but as we’ve seen all throughout the season, he proved just as effective when thrown into the middle. In either role, his attack on the football and ability to break the lines with both his speed and penetrating foot skills proved damaging. Deceptively strong overhead for a player of his size and stature, Rayson once again played a big part in securing Glenelg their seventh win of the season. Rayson finished the game with 27 touches, five marks, two tackles, four clearances, five inside-50s, four rebounds and a set-shot goal in another well-rounded performance.

Others: 

Utility Darcy Gluyas showed some real class with ball in-hand. His composure was excellent and his ball-use was effective. He finished with 25 touches, seven marks, three tackles and three clearances. Brodie Edwards was also typically calm and assured with ball in-hand. He slotted a goal after the half-time siren and gathered 20 disposals, four marks, five tackles and five clearances. Down back, Cooper BeeckenBailey Durant and Harrison Kaesler generated some meaningful rebound, finished with four, five and seven rebounds respectively. Ethan Murdock and Brodie Patter each booted four-straight for the home side, with Daniel Nicotra and Matthew Wolfenden also contributing two apiece.

South Adelaide:

#4 Jack Delean

Having led the Panthers to a flag in the SANFL Under-16 competition earlier in the year, young forward Jack Delean once-again suited up for South Adelaide’s under-18 side for their clash with the undefeated Glenelg. And he immediately looked the most promising of South’s forwards. Touted as a likely high-pick despite being a couple of years away from draft eligibility, Delean’s aerial ability was immediately obvious, running back with the flight of the ball and hauling in a great grab early in the first term. He kicked his first goal after finding himself in the right place and the right time and also found himself in position-A to soccer home his second. He pushed up the ground well and finished the game with 12 disposals, five marks (four contested) and three goals.

#10 Isaac Birt

Consistent midfielder Isaac Birt was probably South Adelaide’s best player in what was a difficult day for the Panthers. Birt found himself spending more time on the inside this week, with star midfielders Arlo Draper and Matthew Roberts both out of the side. He seemed to relish the added responsibility and really flew the flag even as the Tigers seemed to pile on goal-after-goal in the second half. Birt found plenty of it and used the ball fairly well, especially when he found himself with some time and space. He concluded the game with a team-high 21 disposals, eight marks, three tackles, six clearances and five inside-50s.

#39 Will Verrall

The Panthers may have been soundly beaten on the day, but bottom-aged ruckman did his reputation as one of the state’s most exciting key position prospects no harm. His tap-work and ruck craft at stoppages was impressive, as regularly palmed it down to the Panthers on-ballers with the sort of touch rarely seen in young rucks. He combined particularly well with midfielder Luke Mitton, who seemed to read his tap-work the best of anyone. Verrall followed-up well at ground-level and finished the game with 14 disposals and 33 hit-outs.

Others:

Diminutive on-baller Luke Mitton was certainly one of his sides best, gathering 17 touches, five tackles, nine clearances  and five inside-50s. Cooper Rogers found himself involved in the contest as a high half-forward, winning 12 touches and five inside-50s, while Lachlan Hayes and Dylan Miller were effective in defence, finished with 11 rebounds between them.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 12.17 (89) def. STURT 6.11 (47)

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

Always a creative type through midfield, Dudley proved once again on Saturday that he is exactly the player Centrals would want delivering the ball inside attacking 50. While some of his darting kicks fell short, the Adelaide NGA prospect was often able to hit leading targets with great class on the move, finishing his productive forward runs. That same active streak could also be observed at the stoppages, as Dudley looked to take the ball in motion and either burst forward, or draw an opponent before dishing laterally. He would also repeat run in an attacking sense if the opportunity to go inside 50 presented, as the highlight of his day a long goal which came on the end of two running bounces through the corridor. As expected, he was also clean below his knees and clever around goals, with another major coming in term four from a coolly finished snap.

#7 Austin Poulton

Poulton was part of Centrals’ forward-midfield rotation and like Dudley, was able to compliment his ball winning feats with some scoreboard impact. He started the game as well as anyone, getting busy with presentation up at half-forward, before making his mark with two first-term goals. Both were quickfire, opportunistic shots out of congestion which showed he knew exactly where the big sticks were. Poulton also got his hands on the ball through midfield, but looked most impactful when receiving up on the arc where he would twist, turn, and pick the right option looking laterally or towards goal.

#21 Austin McDonald

In his first Under 18s outing for the year, McDonald picked up from where he left off by unsurprisingly leading all comers with 28 disposals. The bottom-ager simply knows how to find the football, earning or receiving it at the contest and also working to be an option around the ground. His use by hand looked typically sound, and his willingness to move the ball on quickly is a trait which suits the Centrals style of play. McDonald often looked to snatch meterage by foot, but has plenty of area for growth with his kicking – even if some of those left-foot floaters found the intended target. As a bottom-ager, he has plenty of time to fill out his promising skillset.

#29 Saxon Evans

Evans has established himself as a dominant kind of ruck at Under 18s level and was again in the thick of things for Centrals on Saturday. He had his moments at the centre bounces and stoppages with some nicely directed hits to his rovers, but was arguably more impactful with his work around the ground. Evans was able to find the ball between the arcs and at either end of the field – including an contested mark in defensive 50 as Sturt took a long-range set shot. In his time up forward during the second half, Evans continued to prove a solid aerial target, capping his day with a free kick conversion in the fourth quarter after assisting a Brodie Tuck major.

#38 Brodie Tuck

Another impressive bottom-ager for Centrals, Tuck has some nice traits for his size. He worked well in tandem with Jayden Matz up forward to provide a reliable marking target, with his strong hands and contested marking ability coming to the fore. The bigman opened his account in the first term with a straightforward mark and goal deep inside 50, before adding a second in the third term after taking a strong pack mark. He could well have ended up with an absolute bag if not for inaccuracy, finishing with four behinds and a couple of attempts which failed to register scores. While his overhead marking was a highlight, Tuck also showed an uncanny knack for finding space in tight areas, able to shrug off opponents or fein a handball to buy a bit more time on the ball. His poise in those situations was good, proving a nice extra string to his bow.

Others:

The Bulldogs had a number of strong performers, with the likes of Henry Ratcliff, Tahjin Krieg, and Tomas Hahn proving productive members of the forward-midfield rotation. Jayden Matz booted three goals and presented nicely both inside 50 and up the ground, while Matthew Borlace positioned expertly to intercept in the back half and got his side going with positive movement on the rebound.

Sturt:

#8 Lachie Thomas

The hard-working wingman was sighted running deep into either arc, providing some reinforcement on the last line of defence while also pushing forward aggressively. Not only did he work hard up and back, but Thomas also competed in the air and on the ground, proving nice and strong in the contest. His efforts to drop back and help the defence with intercept marks were notable, as were a couple of running-bounce passages going the other way, with Thomas working well in space to create some drive on the outer.

#12 Jamie Taylor

A relatively permanent part of Sturt’s midfield group, Taylor won the first centre clearance of the match and was often able to get his hands on the ball at stoppages. He had a team-high six clearances which allowed him to put the ball into dangerous areas and give his forwards opportunities to strike with quick delivery into the attacking arc. He booted a goal in the second term and could have had another after the siren, but put the shot wide for no score. In what was a solid performance from the engine room operator, he had little trouble getting his hands on the ball and imposing himself on each contest.

#20 Jaymes Tragakis

Another productive member of the midfield group, Tragakis had a nice purple patch in the second term and provided Sturt with some forward drive out of the middle. He was able to work forward and find the ball in advanced areas, not afraid to get his legs pumping with some run-and-carry before delivering inside 50. At the stoppages, he peeled off well on a couple of occasions to get a handball receive in space, allowing him to stream forward unimpeded. One of his best moments started with a possession at half-back, which he followed up to receive back and continue his run before delivering a goal assist inside 50.

Others:

Jake Aish was the Double Blues’ leading ball winner and was a constant in midfield, as Patrick Tidemann lit up the outside on numerous occasions with electric run-and-carry. Kade Harvey proved reliable down back with strong marking, while using his kick-in duties to gain meterage and rebound out of the defensive arc. All 21 of his disposals were kicks, with 12 of them rebound 50s. Archer Bawden was another who had his moments, clunking some nice intercept marks late in the piece.

WWT EAGLES 13.5 (83) def. by WEST ADELAIDE 13.9 (87)

By: Tom Cheesman

Eagles:

#16 Will Pearce

Pearce was the Eagles’ most prominent contributor up forward in this contest. He provided a reliable target for teammates kicking down the line, took some strong marks on the lead and hit the scoreboard with four goals. His third term was a standout, where he nailed two goals on the run (including one from the 50-metre arc) and another from a set shot, helping his side erase the five-goal deficit and hit the front just before the final break. Although Pearce missed two very kickable shots early in the match, the work he did to earn these goal-scoring opportunities were highlights. One was a clever front and square in the first term, and the other was a strong contested grab in the second term after brilliantly working his opponent under the ball. Throughout the match, Pearce brushed off oncoming tacklers with ease, collected ground balls cleanly and pushed back to help his midfielders defend in transition. Pearce’s delivery into the forward 50 was also consistently effective, including when he hit Samuel Harnas lace out on the lead in the second term. Pearce finished with 13 disposals, five marks (two contested), three inside 50s and four majors.

#18 William Neumann

Neumann was another of Woodville-West Torrens’ best players in their four-point defeat. Rotating between midfield and forward, Neumann tirelessly hunted the ball all day, applied strong pressure at stoppages and helped out his teammates when they were under pressure around the ground. Neumann proved that he is a tough player during this contest, as he took multiple very solid hits and kept his feet on each occasion. His ability to take contact from the opposition before cleanly disposing of the ball with quick hands is a major strength, and this opened up the play for the Eagles in several instances. Neumann also used his body well in marking contests, laid some strong tackles and hit the scoreboard with three majors, including a nice set shot in the final term. He finished with 24 disposals, six marks, six clearances, three tackles and three goals.

Others:

Dustin Launer (24 disposals, four tackles, four clearances) and Sam Nicholls (16 disposals, three tackles, three clearances) worked hard all day for the hosts. Speedster Jay Watson (two goals, 14 disposals, seven marks, three tackles) had some important moments up forward.

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

Pridham continued his brilliant season for the Bloods on Saturday at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. His ball use coming out of defence was outstanding, as he found targets with ease down the wings and through the corridor. The small defender’s ability to find the footy is profound, and his teammates love getting the ball in his hands because of his reliable decision-making and impressive foot skills. Pridham works hard into space to earn uncontested possessions, rarely panics with ball in hand and is not afraid to take heavy contact from the opposition despite his short stature. Pridham finished with 31 disposals (26 kicks), four marks, four inside 50s and three rebound 50s.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy put in of the best Under 18 performances you will see in 2021 on Saturday, collecting an incredible 48 (yes, 48) disposals (including 34 kicks) to go with 15 marks, nine clearances, seven tackles, seven inside 50s, five rebound 50s and a goal. For AFL Fantasy fans out there, that is 209 points in one match.

Kennedy used the SANFL bye last weekend as an opportunity to make his A-Grade debut for the Mitcham Hawks in the Adelaide Footy League, and it is clear that this experience playing against stronger bodies in the seniors was great for his immediate development. Returning to the Under 18s with aplomb, Kennedy was every bit as dominant as his statline suggests. He was impactful at the clearances, used his pace to breakaway from opponents, initiated plenty of link up through the middle of the ground and worked hard into defence to help his side extract the ball from dangerous areas.

Many of his 48 touches came across the half-back line, where he released teammates into space and started attacking forward thrusts with clean ball use. Kennedy’s kicking, an area that he has needed to work on in the past, was very effective in this contest. He has a reliable left-foot (opposite foot) kick as well, a rare but important attribute for a player to have in today’s game. The number of uncontested marks he took was astounding, and each of these provided his side an opportunity to control the ball and set up across the ground to stretch the defence.

At stoppages, Kennedy showed the ability to keep his feet while being tackled, which allowed him to distribute clean handballs to teammates in space on the outside. If no handball options were on offer, he was more than willing to throw it on the boot and get the ball moving forward. In the third term, Kennedy kicked one of the goals of the day when he intercepted an opposition handball and brilliantly booted a snap off just a few steps to put his side back in front. In typical Kennedy fashion, he immediately got on with the job and won the next centre clearance as well. Kennedy is undoubtedly one of the South Australian prospects to keep an eye on as the 2021 season progresses.

Others:

Jesse Thackeray (25 disposals, seven marks, five clearances, one goal) was important in the midfield, while Ben Burbridge (19 disposals, six marks, four inside 50s, one goal) used the ball effectively around the ground. Ruckman Harry Barnett (12 disposals, 19 hitouts, four marks, four inside 50s) showed impressive agility for his size and Luke Young (17 disposals, three marks, three tackles, two goals) had some great moments up forward.

Image Credit: Hannah Howard / SANFL

South Australia announces 2021 state talent hub

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) yesterday announced its 2021 State Talent Hub, consisting of Under 17 and 18 squads. As the AFL steps away from its national hub-based academies, South Australia has designed its own state program around the two age groups to better prepare talent for next year’s Under 17 and 19 National Championships. The 50-player Academy allows players access to a concentrated high-performance program which is set to commence next month, with another camp due in January next year.

>> SCROLL TO VIEW THE U17 & U18 TALENT HUBS

Among the prominent names in the Under 18 squad is Jason Horne, who has made his claim as the current 2021 number one pick frontrunner. The South Adelaide midfielder has already gained SANFL League experience and shone with his speed and aerial marking. Fellow Panthers Matthew Roberts and Arlo Draper are other high-end prospects to feature, while Norwood premiership player Cooper Murley would also have been one of the first names picked.

There are a few notable players already tied to clubs too, with the likes of Jase Burgoyne (Port Adelaide, father-son), Isaiah Dudley (Adelaide, NGA), and Blayne O’Loughlin (Adelaide, NGA) all earning selection. Jase is the son of Port premiership player Peter, while Dudley is the cousin of Melbourne livewire Kysaiah Pickett, and O’Loughlin is the nephew of Sydney champion Michael.

In the Under-17 crop, Jaiden Magor looms as an early leader having starred in SA the Under 17 Futures game this year. Austin McDonald is another ball winning midfielder at the top end having already established himself as a key cog in Central District’s engine room, while Kobe Ryan is an outside type with terrific run and Westies teammate Tyson Coe featured at the 2019 Under 16s championships as an under-ager. Will Verrall and Isaac Keeler are a couple of exciting, mobile talls, and the latter is tied to Adelaide’s NGA.

2021 South Australia Under 18 State Talent Hub:

Oscar Adams | Glenelg

Zac Becker | Sturt

Cooper Beecken | Glenelg

Jase Burgoyne | Eagles

Brayden Calvett | Eagles

Lukas Cooke | Eagles

Matt Dnistriansky | Norwood

Arlo Draper | South Adelaide

Isaiah Dudley | Central District

Morgan Ferres | Sturt

Cody Gilchrist  | Central District

Jason Horne | South Adelaide

Declan Hortle | Sturt

Jonte Hunter-Price | Eagles

Hugh Jackson | North Adelaide

Cade Kennedy  | West Adelaide

Hugo Kittel | Sturt

Shay Linke  | Central District

Alastair Lord | Norwood

Cooper Murley  | Norwood

Blayne O’Loughlin | North Adelaide

Jarrod Parish | Glenelg

Lewis Rayson | Glenelg

Matt Roberts | South Adelaide

Will Spain | Sturt

Hugh Stagg | Glenelg

Nasiah Wanganeen | Glenelg

Jay Watson | Eagles

Luca Whitelum | Central District

James Willis | North Adelaide

2021 South Australia Under 17 State Talent Hub:

Shaun Bennier | North Adelaide

Max Blacker | North Adelaide

Fraser Bone | West Adelaide

Oliver Britten-Jones | Sturt

Hayden Brokensha | Glenelg

Hunter Carter | Eagles

Tyson Coe | West Adelaide

Adam D’Aloia | Eagles

Isaac Keeler | North Adelaide

Harry Lemmey | West Adelaide

Jaiden Magor | South Adelaide

Austin McDonald | Central District

Taj Rahui | Norwood

Kobe Ryan | West Adelaide

Nick Sadler | Sturt

Lachlan Scannell | Glenelg

Brodie Tuck | Central District

Riley Verrall | Norwood

Will Verrall | South Adelaide

Tyson Walls | Norwood

Featured Image: Jason Horne in action for South Adelaide | Credit: Deb Curtis/SANFL

Scouting Notes: 2020 South Australian Under 18 All-Stars

THE 2020 South Australian Under 18 All-Stars and Under 17 Futures took to Thebarton Oval on Friday night, performing in their final showcase for the year. While a number of highly touted top-age draft prospects were unable to take the field, other big names were able to show their class. In the main event, Team Grundy defeated Team Hurn 12.18 (90) to 4.12 (36), while Team Smith held on to beat Team Ebert 9.6 (60) to 7.10 (52) in the curtain raiser.

Draft Central Football Editor, Michael Alvaro was on hand to take note of the standout players and familiar names who impressed across both games. For the full teams and replays of either game, click here.

>> Power Rankings: October Update

Under 18 All-Stars – Team Grundy (Red) vs. Team Hurn (Yellow)

Team Grundy:

#4 Jase Burgoyne

One of a half-dozen Team Grundy bottom-agers, the 2021-eligible Port Adelaide father-son prospect showed off some of his best traits in patches. Able to adapt on each line, the smooth moving son of Peter boasts plenty of upside, but remains quite raw and light-on at 184cm/62kg. He was able to show nice agility in traffic and evasive techniques which helped him keep clear of closing opponents. Much of his work was done in general play, but he is known to be a strong accumulator who can utilise his sound short kicking game to help his side maintain possession.

#6 Will Spain

Another bottom-ager on Team Red, Spain popped up with some nice moments throughout the game. The diminutive Sturt midfielder was mostly utilised on the outer, where he was able to get his legs pumping with ball in hand and provide quick linkage between the arcs. He conveyed a good work-rate to get back and take a relieving diving mark inside defensive 50 during the second term, but showed his best form when taking the game on and gaining repeat possessions with his line-breaking run.

#7 Blayne O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin is a 2021-eligible prospect who is sure to provide Adelaide fans with continued hope, given he is tied to the Crows’ Next Generation Academy (NGA). There may not be much of the 172cm defender, but he packs a punch. He was able to compete well in his usual defensive post, proving strong at ground level and rebounding quickly once he had snapped up possession. While stationed a touch deeper than usual, O’Loughlin’s penetration by foot was somewhat replaced by his sound decision making, as he was able to find shorter options. He was even entrusted with the kick-ins at times, much like he has been with North Adelaide.

#8 Henry Nelligan

The 2020 SANFL Under 18s premiership player had a case for being best afield, as his sheer work-rate and ability to accumulate possessions across the ground took full toll. Nelligan is one of the most consistent players among his South Australian peers in terms of pure ball winning; able to win it at ground level, in space around the ground, or even on the lead up forward. His craftiness forward of centre came to the fore, with a beautifully improvised snap to Tom Emmett in the second term making for a nice goal assist. He also had chances to find the goals himself, but saw a set shot and attempt on the run dragged wide, while a quick snap in the final term was rushed over. His second efforts and clear footballing smarts make up a lot for what he lacks in size, and it seems he had a point to prove having missed out on a National Combine invite.

#11 Lachlan Grubb

Perhaps another National Combine omission with a point to prove, Grubb seems to have gained a great deal of confidence having turned out at senior level. The speedy forward brought exactly that to the contest, breaking the lines and proving a menace going inside 50. While he missed multiple chances to get on the scoreboard himself, Grubb assisted goals to Zac Dumesny in the second term and Cooper Horsnell in the fourth, while also unselfishly hitting up Tom Emmett on the fly when he could easily have sunk a shot from 35 metres out. But arguably his biggest play of the night came via a three-bounce dash on the wing during the third term, where he showcased his high-level sprinting ability to burn an opponent and deliver inside 50. A solid outing, he just needs to refine that finishing product.

#12 Daniel Fairbrother

Fairbrother is another Norwood premiership player, and one who has also gained some valuable senior experience. In a defensive role which he looks comfortable in, the top-ager was able to prove his worth with ball in hand on the back of some clean kicks and composed touches. He is the type of player you want to be exiting the defensive 50, and was a strong contributor across half-back.

#15 Max Clifton

Another solid contributor, Clifton popped up with glimpses of his best form in each quarter. In the first term, it was his courage to mark strongly overhead and willingness to move the ball on immediately which stood out. In the second stanza, the midfielder showed nice agility and was difficult to tackle. After half time, he had more of an impact inside attacking 50 with a set shot attempt which went wide, followed by an assist to Nasiah Wanganeen who tapped-in a snap on goal from point-blank range.

#16 Mani Liddy

The hard-nosed Sturt midfielder proved a fast starter, nearly snaring two impressive goals within the opening term. He did manage to claim Team Grundy’s first major, taking advantage from a free kick inside 50 and finishing with aplomb on the checkside. He almost followed it up with a snap moments later, but could not find the same spark as the contest wore on, rotating between the midfield and forwardline.

#17 Cooper Beecken

Arguably the most impressive bottom-ager afield, Beecken is a light and athletic 190cm defender who boasts many similarities to Hawthorn’s Will Day. The Glenelg prospect proved very clean and composed in possession across the back half, chiming in with timely intercept marks and mopping up at ground level. He seems to cover the ground well too, able to float into good positions in the defensive arc and help initiate rebounding forays. Having spent a good chunk of his season turning out for Sacred Heart, Beecken has emerged as an early top 25 prospect ahead of his draft eligible year in 2021.

#20 Zac Dumesny

The highly touted South Adelaide prospect was back to his best in this contest, taking up a spot on the wing and even rotating through the inside at times during the second half. Dumesny’s third quarter was arguably his best; as his clean hands, sharp skills, forward running capacity, and intercept qualities all came to the fore. He got forward well to become an option in said term but hit the post with his 30-metre set shot, and was also sighted marking on the defensive goal line during the following stanza. A typical Dumesny play was evident in the second quarter, as he gathered superbly on the half-volley at pace and flicked out a releasing handball to Caleb Poulter on the run. Top effort overall, one of the best afield.

#21 Riley Holder

Another prospect out of Sacred Heart and Glenelg, Holder proved dangerous inside attacking 50 with his strong aerial marking and sound conversion in front of goal. He booted three majors overall, with all three coming from set shots. Two of them were claimed in the opening term, as Holder’s ability to gain separation on the lead and hold onto marks on the move helped earn those scoring opportunities. He sunk a third after half time by presenting well once again, capping off a handy display up forward.

#22 Nic Couroupis

Couroupis is an over-ager who has flown a little under the radar, but came to prominence with some nice plays in this outing. The strongly-built midfielder spent a lot of time in defence, utilising his overhead marking ability to relieve some contested situations in the back half. He had a nice attacking moment too, with a well-taken mark in the corridor helping him continue his run and provide Tom Emmett with a goal assist just before the half time siren, while his kicking game was also generally sharp.

#33 Caleb Poulter

Far and away the best and most classy player afield, particularly in the first half, Poulter may well have cemented his first round status with this performance. The 192cm midfielder started at the centre bounces and made an impact straight away with a couple of clearances right out of the middle. He was simply cleaner and more effective than any other player, extracting beautifully and hitting a teammate with nearly every disposal. His ability to release long handballs from congestion has always been a key trait, and one particular pass from the centre bounce found Zac Dumesny on the wing, who hardly had to break stride to gather. It is difficult to do justice to his impact in the first half, with his silk and poise on the ball proving a class above the rest. Hardly reliant on pure strength, Poulter proved elusive and athletic in his craft. He was quieter after the main break, but had done plenty to prove his worth beforehand.

#34 Tom Emmett

About a month shy of his 19th birthday, Emmett looks a mature type in terms of his physicality and willingness to compete. At 186cm/86kg, the Sturt forward provided great presence inside 50 and finished with a game-high four goals. He was particularly aggressive at opposition kick-ins, reading the play well to intercept and even snaring a turnover goal that way. His long-range set shot conversion right on the half time siren showed his finishing ability, and some Reserves experience this year seems to have boosted his stock back down at Under 18s level.

Team Hurn:

#3 Corey Durdin

The Central District product found some form in spurts as he returned from repeat hamstring injuries, though it was a tough night to be a Team Hurn forward. As has always been the case with Durdin, his ground level efforts were terrific; not only digging in to win his own ball, but also applying strong tackles, smothers, and attempting to accelerate away. The 173cm prospect moved high up the ground in search of possession and attended some stoppages in general play, before moving into the centre bounces during the final term. He was most prominent during the last quarter, showing good toe away from congestion and finding a couple of teammates inside 50 with neat kicks.

#4 Bailey Chamberlain

Having staked his claim for Westies’ Under 18s as a primary ball winner, Chamberlain showcased his balance with a decent performance on the wing. He played there upon earning a senior call-up and was able to utilise his speed in transition to help link Team Hurn inside attacking 50. He tended to shift into the corridor at times, which proved a dangerous ploy when his teammates found him and he was able to accelerate forward. Chamberlain’s kicking at speed remains a touch scrappy, though back-to-back forward thrusts in the final term proved he is capable of finding his targets, but just needs to do so more consistently.

#7 Xavier Robins

Somewhat of a bolter in this year’s talent pool, Robins comes from good pedigree and possesses some handy weapons at half-back. The dashing defender was in the thick of the action early, mostly sighted attempting to repel Team Grundy’s attacks within the defensive arc, and darting kicks forward. While still a touch light, Robins has great speed and repeatedly worked all the way up to half-forward to move his side into attacking 50. While it didn’t always come off, Robins GPS data should show some solid numbers from those efforts.

#8 Liam Hamilton

It was somewhat of an ‘almost’ performance from Hamilton, who ended up with plenty of chances inside forward 50 but could not quite come away with a major score. The South Adelaide top-ager found the ball in dangerous positions nonetheless and was particularly lively in the second half. Perhaps his biggest stumbling block was the distance many of his shots came from, with some falling short from around 40 metres out, while others went wide either on the run or at a closer range. With a more refined finishing ability, Hamilton could have ended up with a bag of goals.

#9 Tom Powell

It often takes a keen watcher to observed Powell’s true impact in midfield, as many of his disposals are easily missed on the inside. The 2020 McCallum Tomkins Medallist showcased his wonderfully clean and quick hands in congestion, keeping his hands up in tackles and flicking out accurate passes to his runners. He just always seems to be able to get a handball away at the ideal time and is one of the most effective stoppage players in this year’s crop. His biggest impact was arguably felt in the early stages, but he also finished well and was able to accumulate at either end in between.

#11 Tariek Newchurch

Plenty was made of Newchurch’s starting position on the wing for Team Hurn, though he did not quite have the overall impact he would have liked. He was first sighted making a darting run inside attacking 50, not afraid to go backwards to find space before delivering well across the arc. Newchurch then popped up with a couple of nice moments in the second and third terms, forced right into the defensive half to take a strong intercept grab overhead, and tracking back to take another in the following quarter. He looked to move the ball on and generate some attack with his pace, but it was a tough night for the men in yellow. Plenty of Crows fans will be excited to get Newchurch on board as an NGA selection.

#13 Brodie Lake

Lake was arguably his side’s most impressive player and was Team Hurn’s sole goalkicker for the best part of three quarters. The Northern Territory native was outstanding in the first half, booting a couple of classy majors and impacting the play from midfield. While rotating forward, he first latched onto a Luke Edwards kick on the lead and sunk a lovey set shot from 40 metres on a tough angle. His second goal was a party trick, converting a checkside attempt from a fair distance out on the boundary line. He also laid a fantastic tackle in the first term to force a stoppage in his defensive goalsquare, exemplifying his work-rate. Lake faded a touch in the second half, but his early moments would have stuck clear in the memory of onlookers.

#14 Nicholas Kraemer

The big-bodied South Adelaide midfielder had his top-age season interrupted by injury, but has fared well upon his return with plenty of time in defence. That was no different in this game, as Kraemer was able to bring great physicality and cleanliness to an under-siege back six. He was busy to start with and had an impact through midfield, but arguably did his best work down back with intercepts and hard work at ground level. It would not have been easy to compete so consistently given the one-sided nature of the game, but Kraemer stood up and was generally reliable with ball in hand, even from the kick-ins.

#15 Beau McCreery

Team Hurn’s only 19-year-old afield, McCreery provided some good spark for his side working up the field from his forward post. He was even thrown into the midfield during the second half having suffered from a lack of service inside attacking 50. The lively South Adelaide product got involved going forward, and his highlight for the game came via an outstanding run-down tackle in the second term to earn possession back.

#16 Luke Edwards

Edwards is one of the many South Australian prospects to have been highly touted from a long way out, especially given his father-son ties to the Adelaide Crows. He somewhat reverted back to a familiar state-level role in this outing, rotating between the midfield and backline for Team Hurn. He provided Brodie Lake with his side’s first goal in the opening term and was generally safe in his disposal via foot. Having won a clearance or two, most of Edwards’ contributions came in defence as he took the kick-ins and looked to calmly distribute out of the back half. He did run into trouble with a couple of turnovers from defensive 50, but worked to recover the ball and was a solid figure overall.

#24 Nathan Hearing

Fresh off his best afield SANFL Under 18s Grand Final performance, Hearing took on the ruck duties once again at 195cm. He is a competitive unit, able to claim the ball out of the ruck and pump it forward, or compete at ground level to help his midfielders with a physical presence. He missed the chance to cap off his game with a goal in the final term, sending a set shot wide.


Under 17 Futures – Team Ebert (Blue) vs. Team Smith (Yellow)

Team Smith managed to hold off Team Ebert in the Under 17 Futures fixture, with a bunch of promising 2021 and 2022-eligible prospects strutting their stuff at Thebarton Oval. As is often the case in showcase games, particularly at the end of a strenuous season, a raft of players popped up in patches throughout the contest to provide a taste of what’s to come in terms of South Australian talent.

For the Yellow side, Jacob Lochowiak was physical in midfield, while also proving dangerous within the attacking half. Eagles prospect Brayden Calvett had an enthralling battle with Isaac Birt on the wing, as both players showcased their line-breaking speed and forward running. Lachlan Scannell is a prospect to watch for 2022, as he rotated with fellow 16-year-old Kobe Ryan from half-back to the wing. Tyson Coe is another from that crop, and his work in midfield and defence was solid. Tyson Walls was a lively figure up forward, with Harry Tunkin doing some nice early work down back and through midfield. Sturt’s Brad Jefferies was able to find the ball as he moved forward from the middle, while Shaun Bennier was a dangerous figure inside 50 despite some conversion worries. Bigmen Adam Heath and Declan Hortle were also prominent, with the former presenting well from his starting forward post, while the latter booted two majors in his ruck/forward role.

Twin tall forwards Harry McInnes (three goals) and Luca Whitelum (two) were terrific targets for Team Ebert, with Glenelg’s McInnes mostly stationed inside 50 while Whitelum presented up the ground. James Willis‘ acceleration away from congestion was an eye-catching feature through midfield, and he was supported well by classy 16-year-old Jaiden Magor. Another 2004-birth, Austin McDonald also found plenty of the ball, while Isaac Keeler showed some promising athleticism in the ruck. Cade Kennedy was a handy member of the midfield/forward rotation, with Lachlan Thomas a threatening link into attacking 50 along with Blake Hansen.

Featured image: Nicholas Kraemer gets a kick away for Team Hurn | Credit: Mark Brake/AFL Photos

Caught the Eye: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 14

THE TOP junior prospects from South Australia rolled on into Round 14 of the SANFL Under 18s competition, with a number of standouts continuing to emerge. In this edition of Caught the Eye, we have again compiled a list of the best and most promising performers from across the weekend, with one representative from all eight SANFL clubs. For extended profiles on each AFL Academy member and National Combine invitee listed, click on their names highlighted in red. For our full weekend scouting notes, click here.

WWT Eagles vs. Central District

Caleb Poulter
WWT Eagles | Midfielder/Forward
12/10/2002 | 190cm | 79kg

Stats: 27 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said: “Poulter proved once again that he is a class above Under 18s level… in this game, he always followed up his possessions and attacked the ball with ferocity. He frequently pushed back to help the defence and provided a strong marking target when required. Although he made a couple of skill errors early, he cleaned this up as the game wore on. Poulter kicked two majors for the day, including a goal of the year contender in second term.” – Tom Cheesman

Verdict: Having completed a solid school football campaign and a stint in the Reserves, Poulter looks primed to make an impact during the Under 18s finals series. The tall midfielder showed off all of his athletic prowess during Wednesday’s South Australian combine, and continues to thrive on-field. His consistency has been remarkable this year, putting him within reach of a potential first round draft shout. 190cm, goalkicking midfielders who can mark and run well are in vogue at the moment, making Poulter a highly-fancied prospect among this year’s pool.

Austin McDonald
Central District | Midfielder
1/01/2004

Stats: 32 disposals (24 kicks), 4 marks, 4 tackles, 12 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “McDonald was the Bulldogs’ best player on the day. He is a hard-working midfielder who reads stoppages well and finds plenty of the ball around the ground. His tackling was fantastic, as he never let players run past him and won free kicks for holding the ball. McDonald won many loose balls because he simply attacked it harder than his opposition, and he also has great vision and composure under pressure.” – Tom Cheesman

Verdict: The 16-year-old capped off a remarkable Under 18s season on Saturday with one of his best performances to date. He was again Centrals’ most prolific ball winner, something which has come so naturally despite his age, size, and the fact that the Bulldogs only won four games this year. McDonald looms as one of South Australia’s top midfield prospects for the 2022 draft, but there remains plenty of room for improvement and a long way to go, yet. Such consistency does not go unnoticed, though.

West Adelaide vs. Norwood

Cade Kennedy
West Adelaide | Midfielder/Small Utility
20/06/2003 | 177cm | 71kg

Stats: 21 disposals, 2 marks, 4 tackles, 5 clearances, 6 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “Another talented bottom-ager to impress for the Bloods was midfielder, Kennedy, who once again showed why he is one of South Australia’s leading small midfield prospects for next season. Kennedy gave it his all at each contest, cracking in hard against some of Norwood’s strong-bodied on-ballers. Although his work in-tight was the highlight, Kennedy was also able to impact the play away from the stoppages. He tackled hard as always and was rewarded with a holding the ball free kick early in the first term.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: Kennedy is another player who has managed to shine among a side which has lost most of its games, with his work-rate and tenacity ensuring he has an impact on each contest. He was up against it on Saturday given the depth of Norwood’s midfield, but constantly gets his hands on the ball and wills himself out of congestion with pace, while also getting his hands dirty with defensive acts. Should he hit the 180cm mark as a top-ager and truly take over the Bloods’ midfield, it will go a long way to putting Kennedy within draft contention in 2021.

Jack Saunders
Norwood | Midfielder
11/02/2002 | 178cm | 71kg

Stats: 29 disposals (20 kicks), 8 marks, 7 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 5 goals, 2 behinds

Our scouts said: “Saunders was the clear best-on-ground in Norwood’s comprehensive triumph. He started in the middle and impressed with his breakaway pace. Although his foot skills have been questioned by some throughout the course of the season, his kicking was precise for much of the contest against West Adelaide. His tackling pressure remained high for the entirety of the contest and Saunders was able to break the game open with his burst running and intensity around the ball. He used his strength well one-on-one while up forward and harassed the ball carrier relentlessly, but his impact on the scoreboard was what separated his game from the rest.”  – Tom Wyman

Verdict: Saunders’ senior experience has clearly done his confidence and form a world of good, taking his game to another level as he dropped back down into the Under 18s setup. The hard-running midfielder put on a show for Norwood and will likely make them a finals force in the coming weeks, with some terrific class on the inside allowing him to run the show on the outer. As are scouts suggested, Saunders did it all, but it was his five goals which truly set his game apart. He would have been a smoky for South Australia’s state squad, and is a reliable player with good qualities at SANFL level.

North Adelaide vs. South Adelaide

Tariek Newchurch
North Adelaide | Small Forward/Midfielder
21/07/2002 | 181cm | 73kg

Stats: 17 disposals (13 kicks), 3 marks, 5 tackles, 5 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 4 goals

Our scouts said: “The Crows NGA product was electrifying in the first quarter, having four shots on goal in the early stages of the game and kicking two of them. His pressure and efforts without the ball stood out all game, with a big chase down tackle in the middle of the ground exemplifying that. He looked dangerous moving up the ground and in the middle with his pace and core strength, managing five clearances during his time in the midfield. He could have been a little wiser at times to not blaze away around goals kicking a couple out on the full, but his efforts are nonetheless exciting.” – Eli Duxson

Verdict: Newchurch’s first term is exactly what would have Crows fans most excited about nabbing their NGA talent come draft time. The small forward set the game alight, producing a raft of scoring opportunities for both himself and his teammates. At his best, that’s the kind of freakish, game-winning quality Newchurch provides. It was pleasing to see him put in a more consistent performance, with some midfield time also allowing him to show off a different side to his game. He remains one of the better small forward options in this year’s pool, but his ties to Adelaide should stave off would-be bidders in the top 30.

Matthew Roberts
South Adelaide | Midfielder/Utility
31/07/2003 | 183cm | 76kg

Stats: 28 disposals (22 kicks), 13 marks, 3 tackles, 2 clearances, 8 inside 50s, 4 goals

Our scouts said: Undoubtedly a best on ground performance for the hard-working midfielder… Roberts was active at stoppages but spread well to find space often, finding a lot of ball between the arcs during slow play from the Panthers. His preferred left boot looked as clean as it gets, although he did look reluctant to go on his right side on one occasion. He normally had enough time and space to steady on his left though. Roberts’ poise going inside 50 was classy, but he was also very effective being on the receiving end from forward entries. A great game for him as he will look to carry that play into finals.” – Eli Duxson

Verdict: Roberts is another player set for a huge finals series, with the Panthers bottom-ager already a potential top 10 prospect for next year’s draft. He simply works harder than most others, accumulating the ball at will while holding a great presence around the ball, and being able to find the goals from range. He has a good balance of class and grunt, with his no-fuss style, red hair, and shared initials among the other traits which help draw comparisons to Matt Rowell. He may not reach the exact same heights, but Roberts is a dependable player who has picked up from where he left off after completing his school football duties.

Nasiah Wanganeen
Glenelg | Wing
22/02/2003 | 187cm | 69kg

Stats: 13 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 1 inside 50, 1 rebound 50

Our scouts said: “While the lively wingman looked a little proppy on a couple of occasions, he still managed to have an impact and put his leg speed to good use. Wanganeen’s ability to close while chasing and apply manic defensive pressure is undoubtedly one of his key strengths, though he could not quite utilise that same factor going the other way. The bottom-ager tracked back well in the early stages, but found more ball forward of centre in the second half with much of the sting sapped from the contest.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: The stats hardly did justice to Wanganeen’s game on the weekend, as one of Glenelg’s more impactful players. His closing speed was a particular highlight despite only registering three tackles, and it was great to see him hold a consistent endeavour throughout the contest despite Sturt getting well on top. The bottom-ager is usually most damaging going forward with his speed and raw talent, so look forward to catching more of that as he moves into his top-age campaign next year.

Malachy Carruthers
Sturt | Half-Back/Utility
11/05/2002 | 183cm | 69kg

Stats: 34 disposals (27 kicks), 15 marks, 2 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 7 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “It is not hard to see why Carruthers earned a national combine invite, as the sharp-kicking defender proved a class above with his use by foot in what was otherwise a turnover-heavy contest. The top-ager broke the game open with his ability to hit targets in the corridor, putting Sturt in the best possible position to attack. His pin-point delivery to runners allowed them to continue in their stride, opening up the stale, short-kicking trend of the game. As somewhat of a loose outlet, Carruthers was also able to generate some run through the corridor himself via handball receives, while dropping back into defensive 50 as a relieving option. Another string to his bow is intercept marking, with some nice floating grabs making for a complete highlight package.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: One who has somewhat flown under the radar is Carruthers, who has hardly missed a beat since returning from school football duties with St Peter’s. Having returned to the SANFL fold with Sturt, the top-ager has sent a reminder of his draftable talent with some outstanding form. It was no different on Saturday, with his game-high disposals and marks tallies backing up his perceived impact. Not only can Carruthers break the game open by hitting attacking options via foot, but he also has the work-rate to chain his possessions or provide a safe outlet deep in defence. His pacy runs through the corridor also catch the eye, with intercept marking yet another highly desirable trait for the half-back. There’s plenty to like about what Carruthers presents, and a big finals series should further consolidate his draft stocks.

Featured Image: Sturt’s Malachy Carruthers in action for St Peter’s | Credit: Brenton Edwards/The Messenger

>> 2020 South Australia Under 18s Squad Prediction
>> 2020 Power Rankings: September | July | August

SANFL League Player Focus:
Rd 1 – Corey Durdin
Rd 2 – Riley Thilthorpe
Rd 3 – Lachlan Jones
Rd 8 – Jason Horne & Lachlan Jones

AFL Draft Watch:
Kaine Baldwin
James Borlase
Bailey Chamberlain
Brayden Cook
Zac Dumesny
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Lachlan Jones
Tariek Newchurch
Caleb Poulter
Tom Powell
Taj Schofield
Henry Smith
Riley Thilthorpe

Marquee Matchups:
Kaine Baldwin vs. Denver Grainger-Barras
Corey Durdin vs. Braeden Campbell
Luke Edwards vs. Connor Downie