Tag: blayne o’loughlin

Draft Central’s 2021 SANFL Under 18s Team of the Year

WITH only Saturday’s grand final left to play, now is the perfect time to look back at the SANFL Under 18s season that was in Draft Central‘s 2021 Team of the Year (TOTY). Finalists Glenelg and Woodville-West Torrens combined to contribute nine members of the 22-man squad, which is led by West Adelaide midfielder Cade Kennedy (captain) and highly touted South Adelaide prospect Arlo Draper (vice-captain).

Nine of the selected group represented South Australia in last month’s Under 19 National Championships bout against Western Australia, while a further two did so at Under 17 level this year. There were also plenty of talented South Australians who narrowly missed, either due to playing more football up the grades, in school competitions, or through the squad’s overall strength.

We take you through all 22 selections line-by-line, highlighting the strengths each squad member brings to the collective and exactly why they each feature.

DEFENCE

FB: Charlie Pridham (West Adelaide) – Dayne McGary (Glenelg) – Brock Thomson (Woodville-West Torrens)
HB:
Blayne O’Loughlin (North Adelaide) – Oscar Adams (Glenelg) – Lewis Rayson (Glenelg)

Clean foot skills and composure with ball in hand are prominent traits of the TOTY defence. Named in the back pocket, West Adelaide’s Charlie Pridham enjoyed a standout season for the Bloods, playing every game (including two finals), and finishing with the most disposals and kicks of anyone in the competition. A reliable contributor down back, Pridham remained calm under pressure and provided plenty of rebound and drive from the backline.

Glenelg’s Dayne McGary earned selection at full back following a strong season in the yellow and black, which saw him average 15 disposals and six marks per game. Often assigned the oppositions best tall forward, McGary’s strength and clean kicking were vital for the Bays’ success. Eagles defender Brock Thomson was an obvious selection down back following an ultra consistent year for the grand finalists, which saw him average 23 disposals, four marks and close to six rebound 50s.

North Adelaide gun Blayne O’Loughlin demanded a half-back spot after a terrific season at Prospect which saw him earn state Under 19 selection. As clean and composed as anyone under duress, O’Loughlin’s attacking instincts and dash from defence were hallmarks of the Roosters’ game plan. Oscar Adams joins fellow Tiger McGary in defence, slotting into the centre half-back role. Adams spent the year rotating between the ruck and a defensive role, with his height, reach and aerial prowess earning him state honours.

State Under 19 vice-captain Lewis Rayson slots in on the other half-back flank, having provided the Bays with plenty of trademark run-and-carry throughout the season. Also effective through the midfield, Rayson is a high metres gained type of player, whose dare and attack on the ball has proven valuable for SA and Glenelg alike.

MIDFIELD

C: Isaac Birt (South Adelaide) – Cade Kennedy (West Adelaide, captain) – Dustin Launer (Woodville-West Torrens)
FOL:
Will Verrall (South Adelaide) – Hugh Jackson (North Adelaide) – Arlo Draper (South Adelaide, vice-captain,)

South Adelaide’s Isaac Birt was a simple selection on the wing following a breakout season which saw him rise to become one of the state’s best outside midfielders. His combination of speed, endurance and crisp ball use cut apart games week-after-week, with his Round 10 effort against Norwood (31 disposals, two goals, 11 marks, five tackles and eight inside-50s) sure to have caught the attention of scouts.

Hard-working West Adelaide skipper Cade Kennedy is the starting centreman in the TOTY and has been named captain after displaying tremendous on-field leadership to inspire the Bloods’ rise from bottom last season to a preliminary final berth. He averaged 27 disposals, six marks, five tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s as one of the competition’s most well-rounded on-ballers. Hard at the contest but an effective run and carry option, Kennedy is well-deserving of a spot in the starting midfield.

Eagles utility Dustin Launer could have slotted into just about any position on the team, such is his versatility, but his efforts in a balanced midfield role see him selected on the wing. A classy ball user and hard runner, Launer collected 30 disposals in five games, including efforts of 42 and 37 (twice). Talented bottom-aged Panther Will Verrall narrowly edged out Centrals’ Saxon Evans and West’s Oscar Steene to win the number one ruck role. Verrall finished second in the competition for total hitouts, but was arguably more dominant when the ball hit the ground, with his ball-use and willingness to compete at ground level impressive for a player of his height.

North Adelaide’s Hugh Jackson was another obvious choice in the midfield rotation. He shot out of the blocks and finished with an average of 29 disposals, five marks, four clearances and five inside 50s. A smooth mover and good ball user on his left foot, Jackson was also clever by hand throughout the year. Despite spending time in the Reserves and League grades, South Adelaide’s Arlo Draper was too good at Under 18s level to leave out of the team of the year. Averaging 24 disposals, four marks, five tackles, six clearances and a goal per game, Draper was a class above the field in his nine matches. A classy mover who excels in traffic at stoppages, Draper also proved difficult to handle up forward and has been named vice-captain of the side.

FORWARD

HF: Hugh Stagg (Glenelg) – Will Pearce (Woodville-West Torrens) – Jesse Thackeray (West Adelaide)
FF:
Jack Delean (South Adelaide) – Corey Brougham (Glenelg) – Zyton Santillo (North Adelaide)

The half-forward line of the TOTY certainly packs a punch, led by Glenelg bull Hugh Stagg. Stagg’s power and strength was integral to the Bays’ engine room throughout the year, but he also proved his worth up forward by kicking 23 goals in 13 games for the minor premiers. At centre half-forward, competition leading goal kicker Will Pearce demanded selection after a dominant season with the Eagles which saw him bag 47 majors from 20 matches and lead the competition in contested marks. Loxton North product Jesse Thackeray produced a great season for the Bloods. Splitting his time between the midfield and half-forward, Thackeray’s work rate was always high and his defensive work wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by the West Adelaide coaching staff.

Despite not being draft eligible for another couple of years, brilliant small forward Jack Delean is thoroughly deserving of his forward pocket role. He booted 26 goals in eight Under 16 matches to help the Panthers to the flag earlier in the season, then took to the Under 18 competition like a duck to water, bagging 35 goals in 13 matches – including two hauls of five, never failing to hit the scoreboard. Electric at forward-50 stoppages, Delean wrecked havoc in the air and on the ground in a sensational season in the blue and white.

Glenelg’s Corey Brougham narrowly edged teammate Jack Harding to take out the all-important full forward position. A reliable set shot for goal, booting 38 goals in 14 matches, Brougham was unstoppable on the lead and his vice-like hands saw him mark just about everything which came his way. Zippy Rooster Zyton Santillo‘s defensive pressure and creative ball use through the midfield and in attack saw him earn a spot on the opposing pocket. Santillo produced a consistent season, finishing with an average of 23 disposals, five marks, five tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s per game.

INTERCHANGE

Matthew Dnistriansky (Norwood) – Jordan Lukac (Woodville-West Torrens) – Saxon Evans (Central District) – Harvey Harrison (North Adelaide)

The interchange bench was hotly contested, but Norwood’s Matthew Dnistriansky simply had to be picked to fill a role across the backline. Norwood’s most consistent player in what was a tricky year for the defending premiers, Dnistriansky’s measured ball use, sound vision and decision making were highlights of his year.

Following a dominant preliminary final showing, in which he booted five goals and lead his team to victory, Eagles captain Jordan Lukac was a late inclusion into the squad. Impressive up forward, the athletic big man also helped out in the ruck and got stronger as the season wore on. Bulldogs tall Saxon Evans finished the season with the most hit-outs of anyone and is arguably the best tap-ruckman in the state. Athletically gifted, Evans was perhaps unlucky not to be given a run in the state side against Western Australia.

Harvey Harrison is North Adelaide’s fourth selection in the team of the year. A midfielder with terrific running power and handy skills at top speed, Harrison is good in-tight but spreads as well as anyone in the competition. He finished the year averaging 25 disposals, six marks, four tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s.

Unlucky to miss: 

As is the case with all representative sides, there are a number of talented players who should consider themselves unlucky to have missed the cut. Glenelg had a number of fantastic contributors throughout the season, including medium defender Cooper Beecken, smart forward Harry Tunkin, classy midfielders Darcy Gluyas and Hunter Window, and strong-marking tall forward Jack Harding.

West Adelaide’s Kobe Ryan would have easily made the side but spent much of the year playing college football with Sacred Heart. His Bloods teammates Dylan White and Luke Young also narrowly missed out. Central District struggled at times, but Tahjin Krieg and Isaiah Dudley were standout performers. From South Adelaide, rebounding defender Lachlan Hayes and nimble midfielder Luke Mitton could also consider themselves unlucky to have narrowly missed the cut.

Up the Grades: Which youngsters cracked senior footy?

WITH finals time finally upon us in state leagues around the nation, there are plenty of budding AFL Draft prospects who are stepping up on the big stage. In a look Up the Grades, we highlight some of the National Combine invitees, state squad members, and academy products who plied their trade at senior level this past weekend.

A talented quartet of South Australian Under 19 representatives plied their trade in the SANFL top flight this past weekend, headlined by pick one contender Jason Horne-Francis. After a relatively quiet National Championships dig by his lofty standards, the explosive midfielder-forward sent a reminder of his talents with 24 disposals, five clearances, nine inside 50s and a goal as the Panthers downed West Adelaide. Matthew Roberts also featured as South secured finals, snaring two goals from 13 disposals.

First round bolter Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera also returned to the League grade, though his Glenelg side lost its first game for the season right on the eve of finals. The 18-year-old wingman notched nine disposals and four marks for the Bays. Elsewhere, top-ager Max Litster was productive on debut with 23 touches and seven marks as Woodville-West Torrens trounced Central District. Raw Bulldogs defender and combine invitee Leek Alleer took two marks from eight disposals, while Tasmanian Oliver Davis (16 disposals) turned out for Adelaide’s last game of the season – a loss to Norwood.

There were a few more debuts in the Reserves, including North Adelaide midfield pair Hugh Jackson and Harvey Harrison. Both managed 11 disposals with the latter, an emergency for last week’s championships clash, also kicking a goal. Under 18s skipper and Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) candidate Blayne O’Loughlin also featured for the Roosters, who beat Sturt.

The Double Blues were served well by state vice-captain Mani Liddy (26 disposals, eight clearances) who is in good touch, while Zac Becker also built on his representative form with 22 touches and a whopping 13 rebound 50s in the loss. Up the other end, it was a quieter day for fellow tall Morgan Ferres.

Woodville-West Torrens and Central Districts were the other two sides to field a bunch of Under 19 state squad members, as the Eagles got up by 15 points. Most of them turned out in Bulldogs colours, including debutant Luca Whitelum (21 disposals, nine marks) and Shay Linke (18 disposals, nine marks, eight tackles), who narrowly missed the starting squad.

Adelaide NGA small forward Isaiah Dudley was productive with 15 touches and a goal, while the speedy Lachlan Grubb had it 12 times. For the Eagles, bottom-ager Adam D’Aloia ran out at the level once more and laid six tackles to go with his 14 disposals. Northern Territory native Ronald Fejo was another to watch in the two’s, booting a goal from 24 disposals as West Adelaide downed South.

Over in Western Australia, a trio of state squad guns hit League level after helping the Black Ducks to last week’s Under 19 win. Peel Thunder utility Brady Hough was arguably the pick of the bunch, registering 22 disposals, nine marks, five inside 50s and a goal in his sparkling top flight debut.

Backman Jack Avery took five marks for Perth in a loss to West Perth, while Fremantle NGA prospect Jesse Motlop booted 2.2 from his 13 touches as South Fremantle beat West Coast. Classy Subiaco midfielder Matthew Johnson was also set to line up for the Reserves, but did not end up taking the field at any level.

Three seperate age groups were represented among the Tasmania Devils players to turn out in Sunday’s TSL preliminary final, which saw Launceston qualify for this week’s decider with a big win over Clarence. National Combine invitee Baker Smith was among the Roos’ best in the loss along with Darcy Gardner (one goal), as Noah Holmes again got stuck into his ruck duties.

Bottom-agers Tom McCallum and Bryce Alomes also lined up for Clarence, as did the 2002-born Lachlan Borsboom. In the navy blue of Launceston, Zach Morris continues to provide quality with his versatility, while top-agers Jayden Hinds and Bailey Gillow played their parts off the bench with a grand final appearance up for grabs.

The QAFL entered its second week of finals, leaving a couple more left to play, with a scattering of Brisbane and Gold Coast academy products hitting the senior grade. Suns Academy player of the year Bodhi Uwland turned out for Broadbeach, who secured a spot in the grand final by downing Labrador.

The exciting defender-midfielder was joined by Cody Harrington (one goal) and Ryan Pickering in the winning side. For Labrador, top-ager Bailey Reeves and Mackenzie Riddle were among the squad which will get a second chance at grand final qualification next week.

Maroochydore is the team the Tigers await, after the Roos defeated reigning premier Morningside in style on Saturday. Daniel Lanthois booted a goal for the victors, while big-bodied midfielder Toby Triffett was named the Panthers’ best, as fellow top-ager Saxon Crozier managed a goal and Max Nelson again played his part.

Featured Image: Brady Hough (left) earned a WAFL League debut this week | Credit: Shazza J Photography

Scouting Notes: 2021 AFLU19s – Western Australia vs. South Australia

THE 2021 AFL Under 19 National Championships got underway on Saturday in a last-minute clash between Western Australia and South Australia at Lathlain Park, with the hosts getting up 9.13 (67) to 5.8 (38). In a bumper edition of Scouting Notes, we take a look at the performances of every player afield, including some defining showings from top draft prospects. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

>> Match Report: WA claims big win in champs opener

WESTERN AUSTRALIA #1-19:

By: Ed Pascoe

#1 Jesse Motlop (South Fremantle)

The Fremantle NGA member didn’t have that four-quarter performance he would have been after, but still managed to show his eye-catching traits – starting in the first quarter with a trademark rove and snap goal, showing his forward craft. Motlop provided great pressure and second efforts in the second quarter, but was very quiet in the third quarter before moving into the midfield in the last and winning plenty of the ball, while also taking a few marks around the ground.

#2 Jed Hagan (East Fremantle)

The only 2022 draft prospect to take the field, Hagan looked as comfortable as anyone out on the ground and showed plenty of composure and competitiveness down back. Hagan provided some meaningful drive of half-back, often using the ball well by hand and foot, but it was his competitiveness for his size that really impressed. In one instance he won a contest against SA tall forward Morgan Ferres, who had been beating most taller opponents all day in marking contests. A consistent four-quarter performer, Hagan looks a great prospect for the 2022 draft.

#4 Judd McVee (East Fremantle)

The speedy half-back didn’t do a lot wrong, playing a new position this year after showing signs as a midfielder at Under 16s state level. McVee was smooth in most things he did with ball in hand, using it by hand and foot and looking stylish in the way he carried the ball from defence. Although his production wasn’t as high as other teammates in defence, his slick ball use and role was still very important.

#7 Angus Sheldrick (Claremont)

It was a typical game from Sheldrick with the strong bodied midfielder showing his contested prowess around the ball, and equally strong drive and attacking mindset. Sheldrick’s kicking wasn’t at his best standard and he could have kicked a nice goal on the run which ended up hitting the post, and that kicking will be something he continues to work on. His attack on the ball, however, is just about the best amongst this year’s draft crop – winning some free kicks from some courageous plays. His third quarter was his best highlighted by a one-handed intercept mark and another play brushing off an opponent with ease to kick long inside 50.

#9 Max Chipper (Swan Districts)

Chipper was a late in for the injured Neil Erasmus and he made the most of his call-up to be among his side’s major ball winners playing on the wing. Chipper did well to work into defence to be an outlet for a switch and his ball use from the defensive half was solid. Although not the quickest with ball in hand, his work-rate around the ground helped him take plenty of marks and contribute well in transition for WA.

#12 Lochlan Paton (West Perth)

One of the pressure forwards for WA, Paton played his role well despite his low production and he was rewarded late in the game with a nice intercept mark and snap goal. Paton’s pressure and ability to get some timely smothers in set up plenty of scoring opportunities for his teammates and despite a few unlucky free kicks given away, he kept up his pressure for all four quarters. A midfielder for the last few years, Paton has fared well in this forward role of late.

#13 Bryce Watson (Swan Districts)

The athletic small defender didn’t lose too many contests as his leap and speed gave the SA forwards a lot of trouble, with some nice spoils and an ability to close down his opponents on the lead. Watson’s kicking wasn’t to a great standard at times but his work by hand was often clean and creative, and he showed a solid mix of defending and attacking. His strong contested intercept mark in the third quarter was a real highlight.

#14 Taj Woewodin (East Fremantle)

The Melbourne father-son prospect had a solid game playing on the wing and across half-back, showing safe decision making with ball in hand and good skills by hand and foot. His knack of taking intercept marks showed his ability to read the play well and he almost kicked a nice goal from long range in the second quarter, but just missed. It’s been a solid year for Woewodin, with that consistency on show in his game against SA in an as-expected sort of performance from him.

#15 Finn Gorringe (East Fremantle)

The captain of WA was a steady head in defence, often using the ball well by foot and barely losing a one-on-one contest. It was no surprise to see him favour his kicking over handballing, with some very nice kicks well weighted to his teammates. Although this game wasn’t his most productive, he still managed to show why he was made captain of the side.

#18 Josh Browne (East Fremantle)

Although it took until the second half for Browne to really get going, it turned out a rather typical performance form the East Fremantle ball magnet with his ability to win the ball on the inside and outside. Browne’s consistency by foot was just about his only blemish with some great kicks inside 50 but a few poor kicks as well, which where uncharacteristic. Where he excelled was his ability to win the contested ball and feed out nicely by hand, and while usually winning plenty of the ball in the middle, he also managed to win his fair share while playing at half-forward – taking a few marks and being a great outlet. He would finish as one of WA’s most productive players for the day.

#19 Kade Dittmar (East Perth)

A typical performance from the inside midfielder who won his fair share of his disposals at the coal face, using his big frame to his advantage. His ability to break tackles was on show, as was his ability to stick the hard ones, which earned him a free kick in the second quarter where he would slot his only goal for the game. Although his kicking at times was poor, his ability to win clearances cleanly and not just with his strong frame was very promising.

WA's Jesse Motlop (left) and Jack Williams celebrate a goal | Credit: SANFL

WESTERN AUSTRALIA #20-43

By: Declan Reeve

#20 James Tunstill (East Perth)

Having produced a good season to date at WAFL Colts level, Tunstill took the opportunity against South Australia to put his name in the mind of recruiters with a strong display, particularly in the first half. Early on it felt like Tunstill was involved in every bit of WA play, winning the ball from stoppages or receiving a releasing handball to move the ball forward quickly. He timed his runs well and positioned smartly around contests to be in the best spot to win it. In the thick of it, Tunstill did well to keep the ball away from opponents, then fire out sharp handballs to teammates in space. What was arguably most impressive about Tunstill’s game was how he tracked the ball on the ground and refused to be knocked off balance, winning the ball against opponents and flicking it up to teammates before he could be brought to ground.

#22 Jack Avery (Perth)

Having experienced the intensity of WAFL League level, Avery looked mostly composed in the defensive 50, using his strength and size to take intercept marks or throw a fist in to impact an opponent’s attempt when required. Later, he would also followed up with safe ball use to keep WA in possession. In the moments that Avery did push up the ground, he wasn’t afraid to take on opponents and try to hit the most aggressive option.

#23 Matthew Johnson (Subiaco)

The highly touted WA midfielder showed exactly why he is in first round consideration with a skilful display. Whilst Johnson isn’t the fastest player going around, his decision making and evasion in traffic gives him more than enough tools to appear quicker than most opponents, able to spot out a target in the thick of things and execute the skill well. Johnson’s work-rate meant that he was always a chance to impact the play, going in to win it himself or working hard forward of the ball to provide an option, then following up with clean ball use to keep WA going forward. That same work-rate saw Johnson impact inside his defensive 50 more than most other midfielders and worked it out well. When Johnson had the ball he more often than not looked to move it into the corridor to open up the forward 50 for his side. 

#25 Ethan Regan (East Perth)

A game of almosts for Regan saw him show off his best athletic traits in patches, just lacking consistent impact across the game. Regan did well to win the ball below his knees on the move for a taller player, consistently picking the ball up off on half-volleys and turning his opponent around quickly, before moving the ball on by foot. His kicking inside 50 was superb, setting up multiple scoring opportunities by hitting up leading targets rather than bombing long, although he did kick a great goal from outside 50. Regan also utilised his leap to take the ball in the air uncontested, with his intercept of a chip kick in the midfield the best example of this.

#29 Jacob van Rooyen (Claremont)

After making a name for himself as a tall forward option over the past couple of years, van Rooyen has been playing in defence at state level recently, continuing his development in the role with an impressive display. van Rooyen was rarely beaten through the contest, able to spoil the ball when caught behind his opponent, but more often bodying his opponent to protect the drop zone and take the mark. van Rooyen’s disposal was good throughout the game, looking to use it safely out of the defensive 50 but aggressively when going into the forward half. His defensive work-rate stopped a few promising SA plays, working hard to impact the ball on the goal line early on in the game, and then building more confidence to leave his opponent and take marks in front of packs, or fill the hole in defence to take marks from rushed kicks further up the ground. 

#30 Jye Amiss (East Perth)

Amiss had an outstanding display, with his two-goal first half particularly impressive. His opening major was the first of the game, where he was held without the ball in a pack inside 50, earning a free kick and kicking well from straight in front. His second was arguably the highlight of the day, collecting a half-volley along the boundary line inside 50, where he took a couple of steps to balance and slotted the goal from about 40 out. Apart from two goals, Amiss showed off his danger on the lead, where he managed to get separation from his opponents easily and held the ball out in front, more often than not looking to pass it off to a teammate leading towards him or hand it off to a runner if he was further up the ground. In keeping teammates involved, he ultimately sacrificed what could’ve been a four or five goal game. It was promising to see Amiss actively look to push up the ground and take marks on the wings, keeping the SA defence guessing and allowing other teammates to be the main target inside 50 at times.

#31 Eric Benning (Claremont)

Although Benning wouldn’t have put up massive numbers compared to some of his other tall teammates, the Fremantle NGA hopeful’s athleticism caught the eye with his leap and agility particularly impressive for his size. This was highlighted best with a few marking contests where Benning was caught behind but still managed to take a mark over the top of his opponent, or took a clean one grab pick up below his knees and weaved through traffic. 

#34 Corey Warner (East Fremantle)

Playing in his usual wing role, Warner had a few key moments especially early on in the game. Pushing to be an option in the corridor when the ball was on the other wing, but also showed his willingness to win the inside ball and work through traffic with his evasiveness, or at times, sheer strength when pushing opponents away. It was encouraging to see Warner lose opponents by turning them inside out and then getting the ball to a teammate with his quick hands or inside 45 kicks.

#36 Rhett Bazzo (Swan Districts)

This was somewhat a breakout performance for Bazzo, showing off his reading of the game by taking plenty of intercept marks, but also able to drift across the front of packs and take marks out in front, quickly playing on with the ball. Bazzo more often than not looked to switch the ball across the 50 when he won it, putting it in front of his teammates so they could keep running after they had taken the mark. Bazzo was also confident when pushing up the ground, providing as an option in the corridor, even earning himself a free kick and 25m penalty, unfortunately unable to convert the goal from 50 out, although this was one of very few blemishes on his long kicking with his kick ins from SA behinds often getting distance and kick starting offensive plays. What was arguably most impressive from Bazzo was his two way running, where he’d push back hard when SA won the ball to impact contests inside 50, even spoiling a ball right on the goal line.

#38 Brady Hough (Peel Thunder)

The only other multiple goal kicker apart from Amiss, Hough enjoyed a solid display where he showed off some smart leading patterns in the forward half, able to get separation with ease, getting used more often as the game went on and he started to stamp his authority on the contest. The first of his two goals came from a free kick inside 50 where he went for a ground ball and had his legs taken out from under him, kicking it from right in front with ease. The second was more challenging, where he had a set shot pressed into the deep pocket and put it through.

#40 Jake South (Subiaco)

South took advantage of a relatively weaker SA ruck division and flexed his muscle to win most hitouts by outbodying his opponents in the ruck, initiating contact and knocking them off balance to control the stoppages. South grew in confidence as the game went on, starting to take the ball out of the ruck and taking on opponents himself. South also positioned well behind the play, taking intercept marks and looking solid below his knees.

#43 Jack Williams (East Fremantle)

Struggling in front of goal for the day, Williams still looked a dangerous option in the forward 50 where his strength was too much for the SA defenders to handle at times, taking contested marks without really looking challenged. That same strength gave him an advantage when he took ruck contests inside 50, pushing opponents out of the way and taking the ball himself or tapping it straight down in front of a teammate. Williams’ work-rate in the forward half can’t be overstated, consistently providing repeat leads and drawing an opponent to free up space for a teammate to lead into. He did get himself on the scoreboard to reward his efforts, pushing an opponent under the ball and taking it over his head, slotting a goal from right in front about 35 out.

WA skipper Finn Gorringe addresses his side | Credit: WAFL

SOUTH AUSTRALIA #1-18:

By: Tom Wyman

#1 Isaiah Dudley (Central District)

The Adelaide NGA prospect had a quiet start to the game, as South Australia struggled to get the ball past the halfway mark in the early stages. With the Western Australia midfield controlling the game, the small forward was starved of opportunity to impact the game. However Dudley had his moments as the game wore on, particularly when moved into the midfield for the final term. His speed and run and carry was evident in patches, as was his clever football smarts, however the nature of the game denied the Central Districts teenager of an opportunity to assert himself.

#2 Blayne O’Loughlin (North Adelaide)

It was a tough day for North Adelaide defender Blayne O’Loughlin, who wasn’t able to assert his usual calmness upon the contest. Given a close-checking role on dangerous WA forward Jesse Motlopfor much of the game, O’Loughlin struggled defensively as the son of Kangaroos and Power star Daniel gained separation and booted a regulation goal early in the piece. Although he looked more composed down back as the game wore on, nailing a couple of kicks in the defensive-50, he wasn’t able to impact with his usual offensive flair. An uncharacteristic turnover by foot in the final term gifted the home side with the easiest of goals.

#5 Jase Burgoyne (Woodville-West Torrens)

Port Adelaide father-son Jase Burgoyne was one of the croweaters best on a difficult day. Stationed across half-back, his work rate and two-way running was admirable. He was involved in much of South Australia’s offensive play, with a couple of nice passages of run and carry along the wing reinforced by some clean ball-use. However he was also quick to run back and offer support when the visitors were under siege down back. The talented utility, who made his SANFL league debut with Port Adelaide earlier in the year, was efficient by foot but his disposals lacked damage. Overall, it was a solid if unremarkable display from Burgoyne, who appears likely to join the Power come draft night.

#6 Lachlan Grubb (Central District)

The speedy 19-year-old small forward struggled to impact the game, but he certainly wasn’t alone. Grubb had a couple of ‘nearly’ moments, including a smart rove and quick snap at goal which ultimately fell short but, like Dudley, wasn’t favoured by the nature of the contest.

#8 Lewis Rayson (Glenelg)

The South Australian vice-captain was one of the visitors best performers in their 29-point defeat. Despite being stationed across half-back in the first couple of quarters, the Glenelg product strolled forward and registered the first genuine shot on goal for SA, a long-range attempt which was touched on the line. Under immense pressure, with the WA midfield sending it inside-50 regularly, Rayson was one of few South Australian’s to exhibit calmness and composure with the ball. Rayson’s run out of defence was important and his quick hands were noticeable. His kicking was largely clean, albeit for a costly turnover in the final term. He pushed up into the midfield at-times as the SA coaching staff looked to shuffle the magnets, but looked at home at half-back, where he read the play well and was able to take a couple of strong intercept marks.

#9 Hugh Jackson (North Adelaide)

Hugh Jackson managed to get his hands on the ball often, but didn’t have the impact on the contest he would’ve liked. Starting on the wing before given a stint on-ball, the skilful Rooster was clean by hand in the clinches, but got caught trying to do too much a couple of times on the broadcast wing. He had a snap on goal after a nice bit of roving, but had an inconsistent day by foot, with some kicks finding their targets and others missing. Nevertheless, he demonstrated a natural ability to find the footy around the ground.

#10 Isaac Birt (South Adelaide)

South Adelaide’s Isaac Birt ran hard up and down the wing all day, working relentlessly to consistently provide an outlet option on his side of the ground. He was able to use his precise left-foot on a couple of occasions and was largely clean with his ball-use. A draft bolter who has risen to become one of the SANFL Under-18s best players this season, Birt showed some run and dash and produced an admirable performance for South Australia.

#12 Cade Kennedy (West Adelaide)

The West Adelaide skipper started the game in the midfield. He got his hands on the ball early but was lacked some cleanness with his first touch. He tackled hard and spread well across the ground to provide an option between the arcs. He found key forward Lukas Cooke inside-50 with a nice kick against the flow of play in the first term, then later released defender Lewis Rayson with a clever gather and intelligent handball. Although he faded out of the game, Kennedy had a couple of nice moments in difficult circumstances.

#13 Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (Glenelg)

Wanganeen-Milera was clearly South Australia’s best player in the tough loss. One of few to show poise and execute under pressure, the Glenelg teenager looked up to the level immediately. The wingman used the ball intelligently and his work under pressure was outstanding. Whilst many of his teammates appeared rushed and fumbly as WA brought the heat, Wanganeen-Milera read the game well, moved like a Rolls Royce, made the correct decisions and showed off a couple of nice tricks under duress. He was crunched by WA star Jye Amiss in the final term when going back with the flight of the ball, and was forced to leave the field, but later returned to bravely run out the match. Perhaps one of the only South Australian’s whose draft stocks will have risen after his performance, Wanganeen-Milera appears likely to feature in first round calculations on draft night after a classy display.

#14 Jacob Owens (Glenelg)

Jacob Owens spent the game rotating from the half-forward flank to the wing. A ball-magnet for the Tigers in the SANFL Under-18 competition, Owens ran into some good spaces but lacked composure with his first couple of touches, throwing it on the boot and lofting it forwards instead of lowering his eyes. Appearing rushed at-times, Owens, like many of his teammates, struggled to adapt to the pace of the game at-times, despite finding a bit of the ball and working his way into some good spaces.

#17 Hugh Stagg (Glenelg)

Fresh off a four-goal performance against West Adelaide last weekend, Hugh Stagg spent the game at half-forward for South Australia. His kicking was poor early, contributing to a couple of turnovers, however he slotted the first goal of the game for SA after benefitting from a 50-metre penalty. The powerful flanker missed a shot on goal later in the game, and could have benefitted from a stint on the ball to gain some confidence.

#18 Arlo Draper (South Adelaide)

Top ten pick candidate Arlo Draper showed patches of class and was among South Australia’s best players at Lathlain Park. Draper split his time between the half-forward line and the midfield, as he has done all season. He was a marking target in attack and moved well in-traffic in the midfield. He was classy with his disposal by hand and foot and demonstrating some stoppage smarts to win a couple of clearances. In the final term, Draper expertly outbodied his opponent and took an easy mark before booting the first goal of the final quarter. He could have added a second with a set-shot after winning a high free-kick, then later passed off another gettable attempt to teammate Lukas Cooke in the pocket. He didn’t accumulate high numbers, but used it well and had an impact on the game.

Jason Horne-Francis captaining South Australia | Credit: SANFL

SOUTH AUSTRALIA #20-35:

By: Michael Alvaro

#20 Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide)

It was a hit-and-miss kind of day for Roberts, who featured prominently in South Australia’s midfield. At his best, he found plenty of the ball and helped drag the Croweaters back into the game through sheer work-rate. The South Adelaide talent was particularly prolific in the second term and looked most productive in possession during said period, capping it off with a well hit 45m set shot goal. He made some good double efforts at ground level and was moved forward for longer stints in term four, but found himself rushed and a touch scratchy when disposing by foot at times.

#21 Jason Horne-Francis (South Adelaide)

There were plenty of eyes fixed of Horne-Francis, who skippered the South Australian side in his typical midfield-forward role. He didn’t quite have the impact he would have liked on-ball and just couldn’t get his hands on it, but showed some of his power with lunging pressure acts. His pure class in possession shone through though, as he used the ball well on the move and hardly looked rushed. One of his best kicks was a spearing ball across the top of the 50, hitting Hugh Stagg to prove his short game can be as effective as his long-range penetration. Horne-Francis ended up spending plenty of time forward in term four, converting a free kick and unselfishly handing off to Zac Becker for an assist.

#22 Mani Liddy (Sturt)

Another of the South Australian leaders and one of his side’s most prominent ball winners, Liddy proved an important four-quarter performer. The Sturt top-ager was typically strong around the ball, tackling hard and looking to bustle through congestion to release his outside runners. Liddy sometimes hacked his clearances forward but got good distance, and even found a bit of green ball around the ground through sheer work-rate. He put in a massive shift during the first half when WA was well on top, standing up in tough circumstances.

#23 Cooper Beecken (Glenelg)

Stationed among an under-siege defence, Beecken did a little bit of everything in an overall promising performance. The Glenelg backman was forced to play above his size in competing against the likes of Jack Williams at times, but fared well when running off his opponent on the rebound. Beecken timed his forward forays well to get on the end of handballs and deliver by foot, showing crisp skills and making good choices with his trust left boot.

#25 Max Litster (Woodville-West Torrens)

Another member of the backline who contributed aerially and across the ground, Litster proved his value as one of SA’s 2002-born prospects. The Woodville-West Torrens product has gained great experience at SANFL Reserves level this season and transferred his reliability to this outing. Litster made double efforts at the ball and wasn’t afraid to get in a contest, rising for spoils and chasing up ground balls. He was arguably among his side’s best handful of players overall, especially given he had plenty of work to do.

#27 Morgan Ferres (Sturt)

Ferres just about played a lone hand as SA’s most feasible forward target, presenting up the ground to good effect in what was a terrific first half performance. The Sturt tall worked his direct opponent over time and time again, easily getting separation on the lead and cleanly sticking his marks beyond the forward arc. Ferres was an important link for the Croweaters, but they could probably have done with another of him to make things happen inside 50. He wasn’t quite able to hit the scoreboard, and was moved to defence in term four.

#31 Lukas Cooke (Woodville-West Torrens)

Part of South Australia’s front six, Cooke usually does his best work as a marking option inside 50 but was made to work a little further afield on this occasion. The Woodville-West Torrens tall had a couple of difficult opportunities to kick goals in the first and fourth terms, but put one set shot out on the full while the other shaved the post. He had some nice moments in between when the going was tough, using his reach in the air and presenting on the lead.

#32 Zac Becker (Sturt)

Plenty of play went through Becker in defence, as he took on the task of manning Jye Amiss and mopped up plenty across defensive 50. He was tasked with the early kick-ins and went for distance with his massive boot, though saw plenty balls come straight back his way. Defensively, he got in good positions to make contests and intercept, including a couple of important marks and spoils. He was eventually shifted forward in term four and snared a goal for his efforts.

#33 Oscar Adams (Glenelg)

The tallest timber in South Australia’s starting back six, Adams had to be on his game against WA’s range of key forward options. The 198cm Glenelg prospect stood up strongly, attacking aerial contests and doing well to follow up once the ball had spilt off hands. He didn’t look to do too much with ball in hand, often taking the first and most effective option as SA shifted onto the rebound, using the ball cleanly for a player of his size.

#34 Jordan Lukac (Woodville-West Torrens)

Lukac’s physicality suited the intensity of the game, as the Woodville-West Torrens bigman looked to crash and bash his way into the contest. He played his usual ruck/forward role, rotating between both posts and faring well in the air. While he had a little more trouble gathering cleanly at ground level, Lukac worked hard for his side and added some strength around the ball.

#35 Oscar Steene (West Adelaide)

South Australia’s starting ruck, Steene showed promising potential as a 199cm prospect, but is still a touch raw. While he arrived at plenty of contests and got hands to the ball at most of them with his pure height and reach, Steene was made to battle hard to compete physically in the ruck and marking departments. Still, the West Adelaide tall has an aerial game he can build on.

Featured Image: Player’s fly in Saturday’s AFL U19 National Championships clash between WA and SA | Credit: SANFL via Twitter

TEAMS | 2021 AFLU19s – Western Australia vs. South Australia

THE 2021 AFL Under 19 National Championships have finally arrived, with Western Australia set to take on South Australia at Lathlain Park on Saturday afternoon. The highly anticipated clash was initially delayed in its original Sunday slot, but is back on after eased border restrictions. The Croweaters will thus travel West, led by pick one contender Jason Horne-Francis, who lines up in midfield alongside deputy Mani Liddy and South Adelaide teammate Matthew Roberts.

Western Australia will be skippered by East Fremantle top-ager Finn Gorringe, who takes his place in defence while vice-captain Josh Browne prepares for an epic engine room battle. Fellow deputy Neil Erasmus will miss due to a bad corky, replaced by running machine Max Chipper. There are few real surprises across either line-up, though the hosts’ tall forward riches sees Jacob van Rooyen starting in defence. The Black Ducks are stacked in midfield too, with first round prospect Matthew Johnson squeezed out to a forward flank.

The South Australians boast a good mix of speed and class, with the likes of Port Adelaide father-son prospect Jase Burgoyne, Glenelg wingman Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, and top 10 candidate Arlo Draper among those to watch in the tricolours. Central District League representative Shay Linke was unlucky to miss the SA interchange, while electric Claremont small Jahmal Stretch would have narrowly missed the cut for WA. Both have been named as emergencies.

The action begins at 1:00pm local time, with both sides inevitably itching to get a proper taste of representative action. All 2021 National Championship fixtures are set to be broadcasted. Stay tuned to Draft Central over the next few days, as we’ll have a wrap of the game and Scouting Notes on every player to come on Monday.

>> PREVIEW: Where it’s won – WA vs. SA U19s

2021 AFL U19 National Championships

Western Australia vs. South Australia
Saturday August 28, 1:00pm AWST
Lathlain Park

FINAL SQUADS

Western Australia:

B: F. Gorringe, J. Avery, B. Watson
HB: R. Bazzo, J. van Rooyen, J. Hagan
C: C. Warner, G. Sheldrick, T. Woewodin
HF: M. Johnson, J. Williams, L. Paton
F: E. Benning, J. Amiss, J. Motlop
R: J. South, J. Tunstill, K. Dittmar

Int: J. Browne, B. Hough, J. McVee, E. Regan, M. Chipper
Emg: J. Busslinger, M. Chipper, K. Harbour, J. Stretch

South Australia:

B: M. Litster, Z. Becker, B. O’Loughlin
HB: C. Beecken, O. Adams, J. Burgoyne
C: I. Birt, M. Roberts, N. Wanganeen-Milera
HF: A. Draper, M. Ferres, L. Grubb
F: H. Stagg, J. Lukac, I. Dudley
R: O. Steene, J. Horne-Francis, M. Liddy

Int: L. Cooke, H. Jackson, C. Kennedy, J. Owens, L. Rayson
Emg: H. Harrison, S. Linke, L. Whitelum

Featured Image: (Left to right) West Australian leaders Josh Browne, Finn Gorringe, and Neil Erasmus | Credit: WAFL via Twitter

Where it’s won: Western Australia vs. South Australia Under 19s

THE 2021 AFL Under 19 National Championships are poised to go ahead in some form on Saturday afternoon, as Western Australia hosts South Australia at Mineral Resources Oval. While the clash, originally scheduled for Sunday, was postponed in the wake of state border closures, eased restrictions will allow the South Australian squad to travel without the need to quarantine.

With extended squads already announced for both states and plenty of stars among them, keen draft watchers will already have a good idea of who to watch in the highly-anticipated fixture. With those players in mind, we take a look at where the game will likely be won, and a few of the marquee match-ups poised to light up the big stage. Stay tuned, as both sides will be revealed tomorrow.

>> Squad Previews: South Australia | Western Australia

WHERE IT’S WON

The Midfield Battle

Both engine rooms match up quite well, with some of the premier players from either side set to feature at the centre bounces. All eyes will be on pick one candidate Jason Horne-Francis, who skippers the South Australian squad and will likely anchor the Croweaters’ midfield alongside top-age deputy, Mani Liddy. Add Matthew Roberts into the starting mix, and SA has a strong, reliable mix of ball winners.

That trio is matched well by WA’s likely lot, set to feature Subiaco pair Neil Erasmus and Matthew Johnson along with East Perth battering ram, Kade Dittmar. The trio has some serious size about it, measuring up at an average of 188cm compared to the 183cm stature of SA’s group. That may be levelled out by the physicality of Horne-Francis and Liddy, with Roberts and Johnson the types who will respectively look to thrive off that inside battle.

In terms of depth, both teams bat pretty deep. SA will look to rotate recent League debutant and top 10 prospect Arlo Draper from the front six, along with Glenelg bull Hugh Stagg. Classy Port Adelaide father-son candidate Jase Burgoyne is another viable option from half-back, along with the likes of Hugh Jackson, Cade Kennedy, and Shay Linke off the bench. On the outside are a couple of pure wingmen in Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera and Isaac Birt, who provide some class and running power to further the team’s balance.

Western Australia’s depth is equally formidable. Corey Warner, the brother of Sydney’s Chad, and East Fremantle teammate Josh Browne would fancy starting spots, with the former also a capable wingman. The strong-bodied Angus Sheldrick has proved his worth as a mid-forward rotation piece, while James Tunstill is another East Perth ball winner who may feature, and Melbourne father-son hopeful Taj Woewodin can chip in from half-back. On the outer, Max Chipper is a running machine, while Brady Hough and Lochlan Paton have the versatility to contribute in multiple roles.

With a handy balance of inside grunt, class, and outside run, both midfields will be quite obviously central to their sides’ fortunes. WA’s representatives have already gotten a taste of how they may work together in a number of trial games, and while the SA squad will share plenty of familiarity, they may have some catching up to do. Having two leaders at the source certainly helps, though.

The Talls

Plenty has been made about Western Australia’s array of tall forward options, with the Black Ducks boasting a true embarrassment of riches in said department. Leading WAFL Colts goalkicker Jye Amiss is an absolute deadeye and doesn’t need too many opportunities to impact with multiple goals, while versatile East Fremantle tall Jack Williams thrives aerially and looks a likely centre half-forward/ruck candidate.

Having been thrown into defence during WA’s trial games, Jacob van Rooyen booted 11.5 in his last two Colts outings, while Claremont teammate Eric Benning has also shown his developing forward craft of late and could pinch-hit from the ruck. The Black Ducks are not as strong at the other end of the ground, but Swan Districts standout Rhett Bazzo is a classy intercept-marker who should organise the fort well and Jack Avery can play above his 190cm standing. 195cm bottom-ager Jedd Busslinger may also feature.

South Australia’s starting key defenders, Zac Becker and Oscar Adams will certainly have their hands full. The former reads the play well and is built nicely at 92kg, but the latter will have plenty to do aerially at 198cm, while Cooper Beecken (191cm) may have to play slightly above his size. The Croweaters have some height and power of their own at the other end, with Jordan Lukac and Morgan Ferres strong starting pair supported by Lukas Cooke and Luca Whitelum off the bench.

We may well see some big bags of goals kicked given how well both sides stack up in attack compared to defence, at least in the tall department. With 2021 looming as largely a midfielder’s draft at the top end, opportunity awaits for the talls who can step up on the big stage and potentially shoot into top 15 contention.

The Smalls

With so many bigmen taking the field, the smalls will be equally important in helping capitalise on contest spills in attack or mopping up down back. South Australia will gain a good mix of speed and smarts from Central District pair Lachlan Grubb and Isaiah Dudley up forward, while the likes of Blayne O’Loughlin and Lewis Rayson are serious rebounders in defence. Rayson may also roll up to a wing, while O’Loughlin can play forward or impact in midfield at 171cm.

WA has some dangerous small forwards to watch, headlined by Fremantle NGA prospect Jesse Motlop. Along with Claremont’s Jahmal Stretch and East Fremantle’s Kaden Harbour, there is some serious skill, speed and smarts at the feet of WA’s talls. Down back, Swan Districts defender Bryce Watson has impressed of late, while Finn Gorringe would provide some physicality to go with the class of fellow Sharks, Jed Hagan and Judd McVee.

Whichever set of smalls can better capitalise on the work of their talls will contribute greatly to opening the game up and releasing a bit of pressure off the bigmen. With such a focus on the talls and midfielders, these are the types who may pop up in important moments or have an impact after flying under the radar.

Featured Image: Western Australia’s Matthew Johnson (left) and South Australia’s Jason Horne-Francis in AFL Academy colours | Credit: Michael Klein/Herald Sun

2021 AFL Draft Combine list released

THE list of 2021 AFL Draft Combine invitees was released on Monday, with 90 of the country’s brightest prospects selected to show their athletic wares next month. The list will be extended to 120, with 60 of that total allotment set to attend the National Combine on September 29-30 at Marvel Stadium. The remaining 60 invitees will participate in state-based testing days held around Australia.

>> Top 25: August Power Rankings update

Among the initial 90 invitees is an even spread of talent from each National Championships region. With Victoria supplying around half of the usual draft intake each year, 41 of the state’s best prospects (19 country, 22 metro) earned invites. 11 of the 13 included Allies squad members also turned out at NAB League level, giving the competition strong representation.

The West and South Australian crops look strong as ever, with both states producing 18 players to the initial intake. Among them is pick one candidate Jason Horne-Francis, who features alongside South Adelaide teammates and fellow first round fancies, Arlo Draper and Matthew Roberts. Subiaco pair Neil Erasmus and Matthew Johnson lead the WA contingent, along with a raft of key position options.

>> Indicative draft order: Who’s in the top 10 mix?

There aren’t too many surprises among the allotted crew, with only one player chosen outside of the Under 19 realm and 87 of the chosen 90 born in 2003. 20-year-old Central District key defender Leek Alleer is the lone ‘mature’ ager, while Eastern Ranges’ Corey Preston and Giants Academy member Harrison Grintell are the only 19th-year players in the mix.

For the most part, players have been selected directly from the representative squads put together ahead of this year’s National Championships, which continue to be postponed. Tasmanian Will Splann is one who came from outside the Allies squad, while Northern Knights pair Anthony Caminiti (tall forward) and Ned Long (midfielder) did not feature for Vic Metro after trials – though, the latter was injured.

Nick Daicos is a pick one contender

Nineteen players are club-tied, split between father-sons, Northern Academy products, and Next Generation Academy (NGA) hopefuls. Oakleigh Chargers teammates Nick Daicos (Collingwood) and Sam Darcy (Western Bulldogs) are father-son candidates who could yield bids within the top two picks, while Jase Burgoyne (Port Adelaide) will likely end up at Alberton outside of the first round.

Giants Academy standout Josh Fahey headlines the Northern Academy input, along with fellow AFL Academy member Austin Harris (Gold Coast). Top 10 candidate Mac Andrew looks set to be the sole NGA product taken before pick 20, but there is plenty of talent clubs will have exclusive access to.

Among them is rising St Kilda-tied pair Mitchito Owens and Marcus Windhager, who impressed enough to earn Vic Metro selection. Over in WA, ruck/forward Eric Benning (Fremantle) and athletic utility Ethan Regan (West Coast) have risen into contention, and the has been conjecture over Jesse Motlop, who also features as a Dockers NGA selection but will only land there past pick 40.

2021 AFL DRAFT COMBINE LIST

NSW-ACT:

Angus Anderson – Sydney Swans Academy
Ryan Eyers – Murray Bushrangers
Josh Fahey – GWS Academy
Harrison Grintell – GWS Academy
Patrick Voss – Oakleigh Chargers/GWS Academy

Northern Territory:

Andy Moniz-Wakefield – NT Thunder
Ned Stevens – NT Thunder/Gold Coast Academy

Queensland:

Will Bella – Gold Coast Academy
Austin Harris – Gold Coast Academy
Bodhi Uwland – Gold Coast Academy

South Australia:

Leek Alleer – Central District
Cooper Beecken – Glenelg
Isaac Birt – South Adelaide
Jase Burgoyne – Woodville-West Torrens
Lukas Cooke – Woodville-West Torrens
Arlo Draper – South Adelaide
Morgan Ferres – Sturt
Jason Horne-Francis – South Adelaide
Hugh Jackson – North Adelaide
Shay Linke – Central District
Cooper Murley – Norwood
Blayne O’Loughlin – North Adelaide
Lewis Rayson – Glenelg
Matthew Roberts – South Adelaide
Hugh Stagg – Glenelg
Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera – Glenelg
Luca Whitelum – Central District
James Willis – North Adelaide

Tasmania:

Sam Banks – Clarence
Baker Smith – Clarence
Will Splann – North Hobart

Vic Country:

Mac Andrew – Dandenong Stingrays
Jamieson Ballantyne – Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Miller Bergman – Dandenong Stingrays
Tom Brown – Murray Bushrangers
Sam Butler – Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Campbell Chesser – Sandringham Dragons
Judson Clarke – Dandenong Stingrays
Toby Conway – Geelong Falcons
Josh Gibcus – Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Cooper Hamilton – Bendigo Pioneers
Ben Hobbs – Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Mitch Knevitt – Geelong Falcons
Kai Lohmann – Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Connor Macdonald – Dandenong Stingrays
Charlie Molan – Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Josh Rachele – Murray Bushrangers
Josh Rentsch – Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Jai Serong – Gippsland Power
Hamish Sinnott – Greater Western Victoria Rebels

Vic Metro:

Finn Callaghan – Sandringham Dragons
Anthony Caminiti – Northern Knights
Paul Curtis – Western Jets
Nick Daicos – Oakleigh Chargers
Sam Darcy – Oakleigh Chargers
Youseph Dib – Oakleigh Chargers
Josh Goater – Calder Cannons
Blake Howes – Sandringham Dragons
Tyreece Leiu – Eastern Ranges
Ned Long – Northern Knights
Mitchito Owens – Sandringham Dragons
Corey Preston – Eastern Ranges
Lachlan Rankin – Oakleigh Chargers
Josh Sinn – Sandringham Dragons
Jake Soligo – Eastern Ranges
Tyler Sonsie – Eastern Ranges
Zac Taylor – Calder Cannons
Dante Visentini – Sandringham Dragons
Josh Ward – Northern Knights
Darcy Wilmot – Northern Knights
Marcus Windhager – Sandringham Dragons
Karl Worner – Oakleigh Chargers

Western Australia:

Jye Amiss – East Perth
Rhett Bazzo – Swan Districts
Eric Benning – Claremont
Josh Browne – East Fremantle
Kade Dittmar – East Perth
Neil Erasmus – Subiaco
Brady Hough – Peel Thunder
Matthew Johnson – Subiaco
Jesse Motlop – South Fremantle
Lochlan Paton – West Perth
Ethan Regan – East Perth
Angus Sheldrick – Claremont
Jahmal Stretch – Claremont
James Tunstill – East Perth
Jacob van Rooyen – Claremont
Corey Warner – East Fremantle
Bryce Watson – Swan Districts
Jack Williams – East Fremantle

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 17

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 17 and 19 representative squad members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 12.6 (78) def. SOUTH ADELAIDE 11.11 (77)

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#11 Trent Tattoli

The 16-year-old did some impressive things in his side’s narrow win, booting two goals from a team-high 26 touches. Tattoli’s gut running from arc to arc lead to a terrific opening goal for Centrals, as he helped chain a passage from half-back and kept running to eventually get on the end of a handball and finish inside 50. He made good decisions on the ball and took a couple of strong contested marks, leaping to protect the drop against oncoming opponents with great courage. Tattoli capped his game with another major in term four, marking a successful return.

#17 Tahjin Krieg

A constant driver of the ball through midfield, Krieg again got his legs pumping for the Bulldogs and looked lively around the ball. He often got first hands to the ball at the back of centre bounces and used his turn of speed to wheel away from congestion, before sending a left-foot kick forward. Krieg also found some uncontested ball around the ground and looked to snatch metres through the corridor, while booting a couple of handy goals from forward 50 stoppages. He finished with 21 disposals and seven clearances to go with those two majors.

#37 Cody Gilchrist

Playing as a true swingman for the Bulldogs, Gilchrist rotated to either end of the ground and impacted with his marking in both roles. He took some time to build into the game but had a purple patch during term three, taking back-to-back intercept marks in defence before rolling forward for a shot on goal. He was also prominent in the final quarter, using his reach as a marking target at half-forward and helping to link Centrals inside 50. Gilchrist claimed a game-high nine marks, including four contested among his 18 touches.

#38 Brodie Tuck

Tuck was again terrific as a forward focal point and ruck rotation, registering 23 disposals, nine marks (three contested) and 2.2 in a productive outing. The 193cm bottom-ager looked comfortable with ball in hand, taking time to make the right decisions and executing his skills relatively well. He got involved in general play and proved a viable marking target, while also proving dangerous one-out inside 50 where he snared those two majors. Tuck was one who stood up in the final term, helping steer Centrals to victory.

Others:

Luigi Mondello (21 disposals, eight clearances, one goal) and Jayden Matz (14 disposals, 11 tackles, one goal) added some speed and size to midfield, while the likes of Thomas Clements and Jake Grubb found plenty while rebounding from defence. Henry Ratcliff proved busy as usual, as Nash Haynes showcased his marking prowess and Saxon Evans snared a couple of goals to go with 22 hit-outs.

South Adelaide:

#4 Jack Delean

Delean was dangerous as ever inside attacking 50, booting 4.3 from 14 disposals and eight marks. The 16-year-old small forward threw himself at aerial contests with a sizeable leap, while also getting busy at ground level and showing his smarts around goal. Almost everything South sent inside 50 went through Delean, who defied his 179cm frame to clunk three contested marks. His ability to draw free kicks also presented opportunities, but Delean could not quite take full toll from his array of scoring attempts. Still, he set a good tone early and popped up with two important goals in the final quarter when the game was up for grabs.

#39 Will Verrall

The bottom-age bigman was in ominous form on Saturday, racking up massive numbers of 26 disposals, seven clearances, and 29 hit-outs as the Panthers fell agonisingly short of victory. At 200cm and 92kg, Verrall’s pure size proved difficult to combat in contested situations as he prized the ball free and either dished out to midfielders, or bombed a clearing kick away. He also looked to hit to zones with his taps, making for more fluent clearance play. He won a couple of his own clearances at important times in the final term, stamping his presence on the play in a big outing.

Others:

The Panthers were served well by some Under 16 prospects who showed promising glimpses. Ryan Pearsons snared three goals, while Sid Draper showed a bit of athleticism up forward and Blake Rodrigues laid a team-high seven tackles in midfield. The likes of Cooper Rogers (27 disposals, seven clearances) and Luke Mitton (21 and eight) were again important around the ball, while Hugo Hoeck rotated forward off the wing to goo effect with three goals from 18 touches and seven marks.

NORWOOD 9.15 (69) def. NORTH ADELAIDE 8.12 (60)

By: Tom Wyman

Norwood:

#11 Connor Kent

Connor Kent had the ball on a string for the Redlegs. Although he missed a gettable shot on goal early in the game, he put the miss behind him and continued to run amok through the midfield. Kent used the ball reasonably well, hitting up Matthew Dnistriansky on the lead with a beautiful kick, but turning it over with a short in-board kick later on. Although he wasn’t dominate in the clinches, Kent did his damage in general play with his overlap run and carry proving important. Kent’s long-range kick to the top of the goal square avoided all hands and trickled through for a miraculous surprise major at the tenth-minute mark of the third quarter. He finished with 35 disposals, six marks, seven inside-50s and four rebounds.

#17 Peter Minervini

Peter Minervini was handed the number one ruck role for Norwood and stood tall. Although he was soundly beaten in terms of pure hit-out numbers to North’s Oliver Moors, Minervini was terrific when the ball hit the deck, cracking in hard and winning a game-high nine clearances. He worked really hard around the ground to provide an option in the air, taking a couple of strong grabs. Minervini tackled hard and used the ball well by both hand and foot, finishing with 27 disposals, seven tackles, seven hit-outs and five inside-50s in a great, team-first performance.

#26 Jett Boxer

With no obvious tall target in attack, it was left to medium-tall Jett Boxer to carry the forward line. This season, the powerfully-built unit has shown he knows where the goals are, managing three hauls of three goals prior to his four-goal effort on Saturday morning. He presented well up the ground and marked just about everything in his path, proving a real handful for the North Adelaide backline. Operating out of the goal square, he appeared unbeatable at-times as the Redlegs made a conscious effort to look for him one-out. He gathered 19 disposals, five marks and six inside-50s to go with his match-winning bag of four.

Others: 

Riley Verrall read the play well from his half-back role and generally hit his targets by foot. He gathered a season-high 31 touches, six marks and 11 rebounds, combining well with Taj Rahui, who added dash and speed down back. Matthew Dnistriansky played a slightly different role for the Redlegs. Usually stationed across half-back, he was thrown forward and tasked with being that extra lead-up medium-forward, finishing with 17 disposals, eight marks, four tackles and a couple of behinds. Midfielders Grant Catalano (26 disposals and a goal) and Corey Jones-Bobridge (21 disposals, five marks and five tackles) also performed well for the victorious Redlegs.

North Adelaide:

#4 Isaac Keeler

Exciting bottom-aged key forward Isaac Keeler had a hot start to the game, getting on the end of some slick ball movement. He timed his leads well then backed his speed to gain separation from his direct opponent. When given a burst in the ruck in relief of Oliver Moors, Keeler showed off his elite athleticism and terrific skills in general play. It was encouraging to see Keeler get involved up the ground and have an impact through the ruck, however he will rue missing a couple of gettable set-shots, particularly given the tight margin. Nevertheless, Keeler finished with 13 disposals, two goals, eight marks and eight hit-outs.

#15 Harvey Harrison

Consistent midfielder Harvey Harrison was the clear best-on-ground for the visitors in their narrow defeat to the Redlegs at Coopers Stadium. Harrison won his fair share of the contested ball and was terrific at stoppages, however it was his important run and carry, injection of speed and silky ball-use which elevated his game. His overlap running ensured he received a number of one-twos, and his delivery by foot even at top-speed was a treat to watch. He was composed in traffic, quick and efficient by hand and relentless in his work rate all over the ground. The North Adelaide forwards were queuing up to get on the end of some of Harrison’s textbook right-foot entries into the attacking-50. Harrison finished the game with 30 disposals, eight marks, eight clearances and six inside-50s.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

It was a typically clean and composed performance from Adelaide Next Generation Academy member Blayne O’Loughlin. Deployed across half-back, O’Loughlin was seemingly always there to mop up but, importantly, worked exceptionally hard to involve himself in the offence. He used the ball beautifully often under duress, displaying composure and vision and great decision-making capabilities. His run and carry proved pivotal in turning defence into attack, as the nephew of Sydney Swans great Michael O’Loughlin looks set to play a big role down back for South Australia at the upcoming National Championships. He finished with 28 disposals, four tackles and ten rebounds in the tight loss.

Others:

Hugh Jackson wasn’t at his prolific best but toiled hard despite a slow start. As the game wore on, he won more of the ball in general play and was able to utilise his precise left-foot kick. He accumulated 18 disposals, laid five tackles, won five clearances and sent the ball inside-50 on five occasions. Oliver Moors had a significant height advantage over Norwood’s stand-in ruckman Peter Minervini and dominated the hit-outs as expected. He gathered 14 disposals to go with three marks, four clearances and 32 taps.

The diminutive Kelsey Rypstra booted an important fourth term goal for the Roosters to go with his 15 touches and seven marks. Speedster Zyton Santillo laid a couple of massive tackles to completely halt the progress of a couple of Norwood opponents. He won 17 disposals, five marks and seven tackles. Key forward Adam Heath worked well with Isaac Keeler in attack, booting two goals from 13 disposals and five marks.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 22.11 (143) def. STURT 2.9 (21)

By: Tom Wyman

Woodville-West Torrens:

#5 Sam Nicholls

Small midfielder Sam Nicholls was excellent through the midfield for the victorious Eagles. Early on, he pounced on a loose ball deep in the Eagles forward-line and slotted his first goal of the game. Although smaller in stature, Nicholls was hard at the contest and used his core strength to bounce out of a couple of tackles. A powerful player, he showed some nice skills and smarts at stoppages and added a second goal in the final term. He finished with 25 disposals, seven marks, three tackles and six inside-50s.

#6 Dustin Launer

On a day in which the Eagles had so many excellent contributors, Dustin Launer stood out as the best on ground. He was allowed to roam the backline but also pushed up onto the wing, where he won an abundance of uncontested possessions. His ball-use all day long was sublime, providing the Eagles forwards with pin-point delivery over a variety of distances with his sweet left foot. Launer was calm and composed and thought was way through situations with great poise. He worked hard and ran into intelligent positions to gather a game-high 37 disposals, eight marks, three tackles, three clearances and four rebounds in a stellar display.

#9 Brayden Calvett

Half-forward Brayden Calvett played one of his best games of the season in the Eagles emphatic 122-point victory. He slotted the first of Woodville-West Torrens’ 22 goals with a long range effort after taking a nice intercept mark. Calvett applied plenty of pressure in his role across the forward line, laying six tackles. He ran hard between the arcs to provide an outlet along the flanks, then delivered the ball inside-50 nicely. Calvett’s skills were a standout as he managed 23 disposals, six marks and nine inside-50s.

#16 Will Pearce

With full-forward Jordan Lukac spending more time in the ruck, Will Pearce quickly became the focal point in attack. And he played the role to perfection, presenting up at the footy brilliantly and clunking just about everything in his airspace. He kicked his first goal from a tricky set-shot after earning a free kick and his second major was a left-foot snap which just trickled through. Pearce would go on to add another goal in the third term to cap off a terrific day, which also saw him gather 18 touches, nine marks (three contested) and five inside-50s.

#17 Mattaes Phillipou

The son-of-a-gun bottom-ager had a quiet start to the game but worked into the contest beautifully. He booted his first of three goals from a snap out of a forward-50 stoppage, then converted a second-quarter set-shot to extend the Eagles lead. Phillipou’s aerial ability complemented the likes of Pearce and Lukac in attack, with the trio all looking dangerous throughout the contest. However Phillipou’s midfield craft was perhaps his most promising sign, with the SA Under-17 squad member winning a game-high eight clearances. He also managed 22 disposals and four marks.

#21 Adam D’Aloia

The SA Under-17 skipper stood out with his terrific work by hand and excellent contested ball winning ability. D’Aloia demonstrated great football smarts, vision and spacial awareness around the stoppages to execute a number of slick handballs in-tight. The on-baller was also good by foot with his clearances often gaining good distance. His delivery in general play was also sound, particularly going inside-50. Concluding the game with 34 touches, six marks, six clearances, ten inside-50s and a goal, expect D’Aloia to play a strong role for the Eagles as the under-18 finals series approaches.

Others:

With lead ruckman Zac Phillips forced off early in the game with an apparent injury, Jordan Lukac shouldered the load and performed very well. He showed fantastic athleticism to win 18 hit-outs, but was also a genuine threat when he pushed back into the forward line. Lukac finished with four goals from 11 disposals and three marks. Charlie Blair was another forward who benefitted from the Eagles midfield dominance, finishing with 15 disposals, six marks (three contested) and two goals.

Utility Jay Watson booted three goals and won 22 disposals, along with eight marks and five tackles, while Will Neumann gathered 28 disposals, nine marks, seven tackles and five inside-50s. The efforts of Brock Thomson down back are also deserved of a mention. He read the ball well and attacked each contest hard, winning 28 disposals, six marks and three rebounds.

Sturt:

#5 Jordan Hein

With the ball breaching the Double Blues’ defensive-50 no-less than 63 times, utility Jordan Hein was never far from the action. Often under pressure, Hein was one of few Sturt players to show some composure and skill with ball in-hand. Although slim, he wasn’t afraid to put his body on the line and apply some defensive pressure, finishing with eight tackles. He pushed up onto the ball at various stages and proved effective, winning a team-high seven clearances. Clearly Sturt’s best player on what was another difficult day for the club’s under-18 side, Hein finished with an admirable 30 disposals, six marks, four inside-50s and three rebounds.

#10 Jake Aish

The Sturt midfield struggled to get their hands on the ball, but Jake Aish had some good moments, including a nice piece of run and carry which led to the Double Blues first goal at the eight minute-mark of the second quarter. Aish was prepared to put the hard yards in and run both ways, showing good work rate and aerobic capacity. He finished with 21 disposals, six marks, three tackles, five clearances and three inside-50s.

Others: 

Midfielder Jamie Taylor was one of few Double Blues to get his hands on the ball on a consistent basis throughout the game. He showed some nice signs, including some penetrating kicking and handy work at stoppages, finishing with 25 disposals, four marks and four clearances. Lachie Thomas was solid under immense pressure down back, gathering 20 disposals and seven marks. In attack, Kade Harvey had just six disposals but kicked both of the visitors two goals.

GLENELG 14.13 (97) def. WEST ADELAIDE 5.12 (42)

By: Eli Duxson

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

The Glenelg captain led from the front with a brilliant four goal display from seven scoring shots, a fantastic day was almost perfect following his 36-disposal effort last week. Did his work in the engine room early showing his power and strength in tight and through tackles, before spending much of the rest of the game in the forward line. Three of his goals came in the second term where he gave his side a clear enough buffer looking good on the lead and in contested situations. His first goal saw him mark on the lead and drill it from 40 metres, while his next two came from nothing bursting out of a pack and kicking a check side and a left foot snap showing an enviable goal sense. He scrapped hard and managed another goal from a mark and set shot but showed his versatility with his best scoring effort since his last matchup with the Bloods. He finished with 4.3, 19 disposals, four marks (two contested), and seven tackles.

#17 Corey Brougham

The big forward started the game on fire holding front position in marking contests to kick a pair of goals in the first term, but then faded out until the final quarter. He looked ominous whenever he was leading at the ball finding space on leads and utilising a good pair of hands. Starting deeper in the forward 50 to start he was the beneficiary of some good ball moving inside 50, but when that delivery deteriorated, he pushed further up the ground as a link player. His athleticism and tidy foot skills made him quite effective. Brougham ended with 3.1, 15 disposals, five marks (two contested), and five inside 50s.

#36 Darcy Porter

Backing up last week’s two-goals and 29 disposals, Porter looked just as impressive in the top-of-the-table clash finding the ball in each third of the ground displaying a high work rate. With a sweeping kick and clever hands, he showed a good mix between inside and outside leading his side’s disposal count. He looked composed with ball in hand looking 360 degrees and lowering his eyes to find the teammate in the best decision and mostly executing. His speed was impressive, but his manoeuvrability in tight was just as good. He kicked a goal in the first quarter from 40 metres off a step, rounding a good day. Porter finished with the goal, 26 disposals, five marks, four clearances, and four inside 50s.

Others:

Returning from some time in the Reserves, Lewis Rayson showed his class, poise, and precise left boot collecting 24 disposals and seeming as though he had so much more time with ball in hand than everyone. 16-year-old Benjamin Ridgway showed his turn of speed as he managed 23 disposals and a goal, while Darcy Gluyas looked solid again around the ball and with ball in hand.

West Adelaide:

#16 Dylan White

Continued his impressive season with 28 disposals, eight tackles, and four clearances making West Adelaide’s midfield much more competitive with his work inside. Like many of his teammates he struggled to get into space out of stoppages with ball in hand due to Glenelg’s pressure, but his spread without ball in hand allowed him to take eight marks as the Bloods were often forced to work it up with short kicks. Due to this, his disposals were not super damaging but his work rate and nous to find the footy certainly shone bright for his side on a tough day.

#33 Jesse Thackeray

Another West Adelaide accumulator who just could not quite find space as often as he would have liked coming off 37 disposals last week, but a solid game, nonetheless. Another hard-worker who had a few long sprint efforts to find the ball as he did at either end, but he also did plenty of work in the guts being active at stoppages to often get first hands on the footy. His ground ball gathers at pace were excellent, a particularly good one was a half-volley gather in the second quarter where he was able to send it inside 50. He finished with 29 disposals, five clearances, three inside 50s, and four rebound 50s.

Others:

Westies skipper Cade Kennedy struggled a little bit at times but started to come good late after an almost day, but he still managed 21 disposals. Small defender Charlie Pridham was exemplary with his ball use out of the backline, the designated kickout taker had 21 kicks, most of which would have been effective. Ruckman Oscar Steene was also very good in the ruck with 31 hit outs, while also showing a propensity to gather below his knees and use his 14 disposals well.  

Image Credit: Glenelg FC

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 16

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 17 and 19 representative squad member and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

STURT 2.5 (17) def. by WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 21.17 (143)

By: Michael Alvaro

Sturt:

#12 Jamie Taylor

Taylor was Sturt’s most prolific ball winner with 25 disposals and nine clearances on what was a tough day for his side. He rotated forward through midfield but was also sighted dropping back a heap during the second half to try and help the Double Blues shift out of their defensive half. Taylor also worked to bustle through congestion and provide some intent in his tackling, while also getting around his teammates among what was an undermanned Sturt outfit.

#28 George Pope

A bright spot for Sturt in 2021 has been the emergence of 16-year-old Pope in midfield, and the 2005-born prospect again got his hands dirty on Saturday. He proved powerful with both his burst of speed and tackling pressure around the ball, putting in repeat efforts to help steady against the Eagles’ dominance. While there is work to do on his kicking, Pope got good purchase on a few long balls and was certainly willing to find it himself. He finished with 19 disposals, six tackles and three clearances.

Others:

Kade Harvey rolled up into midfield and again found a good amount of ball, finishing with 19 disposals and seven clearances for the Double Blues. Ethan Field was another to feature in the engine room and notched 12 touches after a promising start, while the likes of Mitch Felton, Lachlan Boscence, and Thomas McCourt all had plenty to do in a besieged defence.

Woodville-West Torrens:

#8 Brock Thomson

Rotating through midfield from defence, Thomson was again solid for the Eagles with his ability to drive his side forward. He had no trouble finding the ball having contributed 24 disposals and seven marks, with his work overhead quite sound. It complimented his burst across the ground and punchy kicking, which helped keep Woodville-West Torrens flowing in possession.

#9 Jase Burgoyne

The Port Adelaide father-son prospect has been nothing short of prolific at Under 18s level and that was no different on Saturday, as he amassed a game-high 40 disposals, nine marks, and nine clearances. He often found a way to claim the first centre break of each term; handling the ball cleanly either off taps, at ground level, or via a handball receive before, using the afforded time and space to deliver an effective kick inside 50. Burgoyne does the fundamentals well in terms of skill execution and while many of the options he chose were short and safe, he still hardly wasted a touch. He has also shown a good knack for taking overhead marks and registered three contested on the day, gaining the confidence to protect his space or leap at the ball. He dropped back plenty during the second half and accumulated at will, looking quite casual in his work.

#14 Blake Hansen

Hansen was another who had plenty of the pill with 34 disposals, nine marks and seven inside 50s, playing the wing role to a t. The dashing bottom-ager hit the scoreboard early with a nice checkside finish under heavy pressure, but put multiple other chances wide on the fly having pushed forward aggressively. Still, his ability to work hard both ways and find space to drive forward into allowed for ruthlessly quick Eagles transitions. Having previously done so off half-back, Hansen looks well suited to the wing position where his attacking instincts take toll.

#17 Mattaes Phillipou

It was a massive day out for Phillipou, who racked up 32 disposals and snared 6.2 in a rather fruitful outing. The developing bottom-ager set the game up in term one, creating separation on the lead and showing good ground level smarts to snare three of his majors from 11 touches. His clean hands both in the air and below his knees made for a dual threat in attack, before shifting into the midfield mix and remaining involved. Phillipou booted a goal in each of the following three quarters, with two coming from set shots and one from a quick snap closer to goal. He’s one to watch closely for 2022.

Others:

The Eagles were dominant around the ball, with thanks to the likes of Will Neumann, Sam Nicholls and Dustin Launer. Big man Jordan Lukac also took on the primary ruck duties and brought even more physicality to the engine room, before resting forward. Will Pearce again snared a trio of late goals to finish with five for the day, while Michael Papanotis claimed three. Elsewhere, Brody Mair provided a bit of dash out of defence and Jay Watson snuck forward well off a wing.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 6.3 (39) def. by GLENELG 18.15 (123)

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#14 Thomas Clements

Charged with plenty of responsibility in defence, Clements had his work cut out for him on Saturday but stood up well to amass a game-high 43 disposals, 10 marks, and 11 rebound 50s. He took on the kick-in duties and was Centrals’ general in defensive 50, where he found plenty of the ball and looked to set his side on the rebound. He had to fight hard to turn the ball over and keep the Bulldogs in possession as Glenelg piled on the pressure all day.

#17 Tahjin Krieg

The nippy Centrals midfielder had another productive outing on Saturday, notching 23 disposals, six marks and seven tackles. Most of his best work was done around the ground as Glenelg took over at the coalface, with Krieg showing good work-rate to drop back and help his side drive forward. He had a few eye-catching running passages, including one three-bounce foray to the wing, often finishing his work with a sharp left-foot kick.

#38 Brodie Tuck

Tuck was again outstanding for Centrals, rotating through the ruck from his usual forward post. While he only registered two marks, they respectively showed the bottom-ager’s terrific judgement of the ball in flight and ability to hold his ground in a wrestle. His clean hands were also observed in general play, as Tuck was able to snatch the bumbling ball with one grab and pump his side into attack. He booted booted three goals, with two slotted from around the 50m arc and the other a handy checkside finish after mopping up his own marking attempt.

Others:

The likes of Jake Grubb and Nash Haynes were others who also had plenty to do in defence alongside Clements, while Henry Ratcliff proved productive on the ball with his 21 touches, nine marks, and goal. Starting ruck Saxon Evans also returned to the grade after a Reserves dig, winning 19 hit-outs and three clearances.

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

It was another high-output game for Stagg, as the powerful midfielder registered a team-high 36 disposals, eight clearances, and 1.3 rotating forward from the engine room. He looked ominous when breaking forward and showcased terrific smarts in the clinches, able to rip the ball free and then burst into space. Stagg was dangerous when resting forward too, with his lone goal an outstanding but of one-on-one play where he sped past his opponent to win a loose ball inside 50 and slot the it home. He steadied well in front of goal but put multiple opportunities wide, which would have capped a massive game.

#17 Corey Brougham

Brougham was just about unbeatable in the air on Saturday, claiming 11 marks (three contested) among his 21 disposals. He presented strongly and read the ball better than anyone in flight, before taking it cleanly with one-grab clunks. Brougham also capped his work with four goals and could have had even more if not for a couple of errant set shots. His highlight for the day came in term four, marking at half-forward before taking two bounces and coolly slotting a terrific goal on the run.

#21 Cooper Beecken

The promising 18-year-old continues to show nice glimpses out on the wing, and worked into the contest strongly to finish with 21 disposals, six marks, and three goals. He was generally clean and quick with his skills, helping move the ball fluently without fuss while making an impact on the scoreboard that we haven’t yet seen from him. All three of Beecken’s majors came in the second half, with two snared in term three on the back of pure smarts and those quick skills of his.

#36 Darcy Porter

Starting brightly with the game’s first goal, Porter was always in the contest for Glenelg and finished with impressive numbers of 29 disposals, eight marks, and two goals. He took the game on with his speed and willingness to move the ball on quickly, helping the Bays launch into attack. He rotated through midfield but also worked hard while stationed forward to move up the ground and hurt Centrals on the way back. His positive carry and intent made for some swift ball movement in yellow and black.

Others:

There were plenty of solid contributors for Glenelg in what was a big win. William Watts and Darcy Gluyas were both productive through midfield, while Benjamin Ridgway got busy with a couple of goals up forward. Jack Harding came away with four majors, and Hunter Window also pitched in with some nice moments out on the wing.

North Adelaide 6.9 (45) def. by South Adelaide 18.10 (118)

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#12 Hugh Jackson

It was a quiet start to the game for Hugh Jackson, with the clean-kicking onballer struggling to get his hands on the ball. And when he did manage to gather the ball, he seemed to be under immediate pressure from the South Adelaide midfield, who were clearly weary of his ability to inflict damage with his precise ball-use. Denied space to use his damaging left-foot, Jackson resorted to handballing, where he displayed good vision and decision making. Although down on his output from early in the season, Jackson was still one of North’s best, winning 21 disposals along with three marks, four tackles and four clearances.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

Blayne O’Loughlin was at his prolific best for the Roosters, despite their hefty loss. Across half-back he was involved immediately, swooping upon the loose-balls and doing lots of cleaning up in defence. His calm head under pressure matched his skill execution and willingness to involve himself in some attacking plays forward of centre. He provided some excellent overlap run and pushed forward to boot North’s third goal, but also ensured he hurried back to defence when South Adelaide looked to attack. The Crows NGA prospect fought to the bitter end and complimented his composure and skill with toughness one-on-one. He finished with a game-high 35 disposals and nine rebound 50s.

#26 Kelsey Rypstra

Kelsey Rypstra played an important role for the home side. Stationed at half-forward and rotating through the midfield, he injected some speed around the contest and, importantly, made the most of his opportunities in front of goal. He intelligently soccered home the Roosters first of the day, then read the play to perfection to take an intercept mark inside 50 and slot the subsequent set shot. The only Rooster who looked dangerous with ball-in-hand at times, Rypstra would go on to boot another two goals and finish the day with a bag of four. He also gathered 15 disposals and five marks.

Others: Utility Adam Heath played well in a variety of roles, but was particularly noteworthy when pushed into the midfield, where he won a team-high six clearances. His bigger frame ensured Heath won plenty of contested ball, which he complimented with sound ball-use going inside 50. Harvey Harrison showed glimpses of his talents in the midfield, with his speed and run and carry providing a point of difference. He gathered 20 disposals, three marks and five tackles. Angus Tully produced his best game of the season, gathering a season-high 23 disposals, five marks and four rebounds. Lewis Saint’s efforts were also commendable, finishing with 18 disposals, seven marks and six tackles down back.

South Adelaide:

#3 Luke Mitton

Clever midfielder Luke Mitton backed up his best-on-ground effort last weekend with another strong showing against North Adelaide at Prospect Oval. Busy from the get-go, his nimble foot work proved effective in the trenches and his speed was a staple throughout the contest. Despite doing most of his work on the inside, Mitton used the ball efficiently. His pressure around the ball-carrier was important, as was his two-way running and balance of defence and attack. Mitton finished with 24 disposals, five marks, three tackles, five clearances and four rebounds.

#4 Jack Delean

After dazzling in South Adelaide’s big win over Central Districts last week, Jack Delean backed it up with another sensational showing. Despite being a couple of years away from draft eligibility, Delean has lit up the SANFL Under 18s competition this season, booting a goal in every match since debuting in Round 5. The small forward showed the Roosters defence just how dangerous he can be in attack when he exploded through a forward 50 stoppage and ran into an open goal not once but twice in the first term. Delean made his direct opponent look hopeless when he accelerated into back-to-back open goals, using his natural smarts and elusiveness to damaging effect. He continued to threaten as the game wore on, flying for marks and booting a couple of set-shots to finish with five goals, 12 disposals and five tackles.

#8 Cooper Rogers

Cooper Rogers is one of several South Adelaide midfielders to have produced consistent seasons to-date, and his efforts in the Panthers 73-point win over the Roosters was one of his best. His confidence received a boost early on when the balanced midfielder’s left-foot snap trickled through for a major. With North possessing some dangerous ball-users through the middle, the relentless and often-fierce tackling pressure applied by Rogers went a long way to restricting their impact. Playing a very physical game, Rogers spent time on Rooster Hugh Jackson at stoppages and nullified his influence to perfection. South Adelaide’s leading possession-winner, Rogers was dominant at stoppages, finishing with a game-high 11 clearances to go with 29 touches, four marks, seven tackles and 10 inside 50s.

#10 Isaac Birt

Wingman Isaac Birt had a decent day out at Prospect. One of South Australia’s best outside midfielders, Birt was often targeted by teammates when looking to turn defence into attack. He provided some meaningful run and drive on the periphery, particularly from the half-back line. His kicking was sharp and bullet-like at times, however Birt’s skills at full speed occasionally let him down. He finished with 25 disposals, seven marks and seven inside-50s.

#39 Will Verrall

Bottom-aged ruckman Will Verrall solidified his standing as one of SA’s brightest young talents with a great performance for the Panthers. Verrall set the tone early, using his strong athletic base to leap into ruck contests and outreach his North Adelaide opponent. He used his body well in the ruck contests but it was his work once the ball hit the deck and around the ground which elevated his game. Verrall worked into some handy positions around the ground, then capitalised on his positioning by taking some great marks down the line. A ruckman who is not generally renowned for his overhead work, it was encouraging to see Verrall haul in a couple of strong grabs. The icing on the cake came when Verrall snapped truly out of a forward-50 stoppage in the third term. He showed great strength and bustle to burst through a couple of stoppages, to further highlight his ground-level impact. Verrall finished with 20 disposals, four marks (three contested), 18 hit-outs, seven clearances and five inside-50s.

Others: Skipper Dylan Brown led from the front for the Panthers, laying six tackles. One of the best pressure players in the SANFL Under 18s competition, Brown also gathered 13 disposals and five marks and seven inside-50s playing on the wing. Busy half-back Lachlan Hayes played a typical game in which he read the play very well in defence, finishing with 25 disposals and nine rebounds. Bottom-aged centre half-forward Koby Cockshell was impressive for the visitors, booting two goals from 18 disposals.

WEST ADELAIDE 12.16 (88) def. NORWOOD 12.7 (79)

By: Tom Wyman

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

It was a stereotypical Pridham performance from the competition’s best small defender. He did as he pleased across the backline, mopping up when necessary, using the ball effectively and turning defence into attack. Although he opted for the safe option on many of his kicks, he executed well and player a key role in the Bloods grinding out a hard-fought victory against the Redlegs. He finished with 26 disposals, eight marks and six rebound 50s.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Cade Kennedy did his draft hopes no harm with a dominant display at Hisense Stadium. The midfielder was everywhere but proved particularly useful in congestion, where his natural, hard-at-it ball-winning tendencies rose to fruition. He was easily the best clearance winner on the ground, but when he didn’t win the ball himself, Kennedy tackled well and denied the Redlegs on-ballers time and space. Although he could have lowered his eyes on a couple of occasions when he probably had more time than he thought, Kennedy’s skills were on full display in a terrific passage of play in the first quarter. It started when he won a free kick and hit up the leading Oscar Steene at half-forward with a precise right-foot kick. He kept on running and received it back before measuring an inside-50 ball to perfection on his left. Throughout the game, he continued to balance defence with attack and did some damage on the outside to compliment his inside grunt work. He finished the game with 34 disposals, six marks, six tackles, ten clearances and 10 inside 50s.

#33 Jesse Thackeray

Jesse Thackeray was again in the thick of it for West Adelaide. His strength in the contest was a highlight when utilised in the midfield, and his presentation and willingness to work hard impressed when he was thrown onto the half-forward flank. He produced a very balanced game, winning plenty of ball on the inside but also doing some damage on the outside, where Thackeray used the ball fairly well. He finished the game with 35 disposals, ten marks, three tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s.

#45 Oscar Steene

With Norwood’s first choice ruckman sidelined through suspension, Oscar Steene capitalised on his advantage in the ruck to give the Bloods on-ballers first look. He really looked to impose himself on the contest by punching the ball out of the ruck and clearing the area. However Steene balanced this out with some deft tap-work to set-up the likes of Cade KennedyDylan White and Jesse Thackeray at ground level. He took a couple of strong marks around the ground and should have finished with a goal to go with his 13 disposals, seven marks (two contested), four tackles and 29 hit-outs.

Others: Bloods’ forward Jaeden Watts booted four goals in his sides narrow win. Although he had limited opportunities, gathering just ten disposals, he made them count in-front of the big sticks. Midfielder Dylan White impressed with his gut-running. He worked relentlessly hard up and down the wing to accumulate 16 marks for the match, along with 27 disposals, five inside 50s and a goal. Unfortunately he’ll rue missing a handful of opportunities in front of goal.

Norwood:

#15 Riley Verrall

Stationed across half-back, Riley Verrall produced one of his best performances for the season. He looked to generate run and carry from the defensive-50 and showed a desire to cut open the Bloods defensive structures by foot. Although not all of his kicks inflicted damage, his intent was admirable. He read the play well and took a number of intercept marks. The leading disposal-getter for the Redlegs, Verrall collected 26 touches, ten marks and five rebounds for the match.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Half-backman Matthew Dnistriansky has been Norwood’s most consistent performer throughout the season to-date, and he was again among the clubs best in their nine-point defeat to the Bloods. He was composed and clean with ball in-hand but also pushed forward to boot the first goal of the second term and hand the Redlegs the lead. Dnistriansky was effective between the arcs and finished with 20 disposals and five marks.

Others: Over-aged full-forward Ned Carey snapped the Redlegs first from close range and competed well all game to finish with three goals. Small forward Taj Rahui was again one of Norwood’s best players, showing glimpses of his talents throughout the course of the match. He booted a good running goal in the opening term and gave the Redlegs a glimmer of hope with a late major, finishing with 13 touches. Combative on-baller Corey Jones-Bobridge tried hard, winning four clearances and 19 disposals. He was effective going forward, launching the Redlegs inside-50 on eight occasions.

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 15

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 17 and 19 representative squad member and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

NORWOOD 6.8 (44) def. by GLENELG 17.10 (112)

By: Tom Wyman

Norwood:

#10 Taj Rahui

Rahui was one of Norwood’s best in their disappointing defeat. He brought genuine speed and run and carry with ball in-hand, spending time in the midfield and across half-forward. Although his kicking was hit-and-miss, his intensity could not be faulted. Late in the game he was involved in a heated scuffle after his set shot from 15 metres out was smothered by the man on the mark. After receiving another free kick following the altercation, he made no mistake. Rahui finished with 19 disposals, four tackles, eight inside 50s and two goals.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Matthew Dnistriansky was Norwood’s best player in tricky circumstances. He started the game across half-back but pushed into the midfield at various stages, where his tall frame and efficient skills added some much-needed polish to the Norwood midfield. When he had ball in-hand, you felt as if the right decisions would be made. He booted an impressive long-range goal in the second term to showcase his clean kicking. Dnistriansky’s composure, vision and skill was evident throughout, but it was his acrobatic smother which proved the highlight of his game. When tensions boiled over in the last quarter, it was great to see Dnistriansky offer some calming words to teammate Taj Rahui before he re-took his set-shot, highlighting the skilful teenager’s leadership. The Rostrevor product gathered 19 disposals, seven marks and three tackles.

Others:

On-baller Grant Catalano found plenty of the ball through the midfield. He was strong overhead and battled gallantly in the trenches to finish with 20 disposals, four marks, three tackles and three rebounds. Benjamin Belperio was also good in the middle, collecting a team-high 22 disposals, seven tackles and six clearances. Key position player Ned Carey operated out of full forward and had a good battle with Glenelg backman Dayne McGary. Carey’s superior reach proved troublesome at times, but he unfortunately he couldn’t fully capitalise in front of goal, booting two goals and three behinds from eight touches and three marks.

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

One of the SANFL Under 18 competition’s best performers across the season so far, Stagg again played an influential role in the Tigers win over Norwood. His trademark brute strength was on show as he powered his way through would-be tacklers and burst away from stoppages. He broke the game open with some moments of explosiveness, but occasionally Stagg wasted the ball by foot and lacked penetration in his kicking. He tackled well at ground level and won plenty of contested ball, finishing with 23 disposals, three marks, six tackles, three clearances, five inside 50s and a first quarter goal.

#6 Darcy Gluyas

The dependable Gluyas has played a variety of roles for the Tigers this season, but started the Round 15 clash at the centre bounce. He would continue to ply his trade in the midfield for the duration of the game, fighting hard in congestion, tackling with intent and using the ball with efficiency. Gluyas’ class shone through when he took a terrific one-handed mark in attack. He finished the game with 22 disposals, four marks, six tackles, four clearances and seven inside-50s.

#21 Cooper Beecken

Cooper Beecken produced perhaps his best performance of the season in the Bays 68-point win over the Redlegs. Having spent most of the season stationed across half-back in an intercept-marking role, Beecken was deployed in a slightly more advanced wing role at The Parade. He spent passages of the game on the inside but did his best work in space. Beecken worked hard to present as an outlet option along the wing, where he showcased his high-end athleticism and aerial strength. When he drifted back, Beecken read the play well and positioned himself smartly. He displayed a willingness to take the game on by foot, which led to a couple of turnovers. However his vision and intent was admirable. Beecken gathered 22 disposals, eight marks, three tackles and completed a strong showing with a goal.

Others:

Small forward Kane Viska was ever-present in attack. Importantly, he made the most of his opportunities in front of the big sticks, nailing his set shots and making the most of a couple of down-field free kicks within range. The Westminster product collected 12 disposals to go with his bag of four goals. Strong-bodied forward Jack Harding used his strength to get on top of the Norwood backline. He took seven marks and booted three goals from 13 disposals, but could have had an even bigger day had he converted a couple of other opportunities.

Brodie Edwards displayed good skills and composure in the midfield. His natural football smarts, defensive pressure around the ball and sound decision making were also highlights of his game. Edwards booted a highlight-reel goal from the pocket in the final term to add to his 19 disposals and ten tackles. Hunter Window (18 disposals and three tackles) and Darcy Porter (20 disposals and a goal) were also serviceable through the midfield.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 15.13 (103) def. NORTH ADELAIDE 8.6 (54)

By: Michael Alvaro

Woodville-West Torrens:

#9 Jase Burgoyne 

In his first game at the level since Round 11 after a Reserves stint, Burgoyne picked up right where he left off. The silky skilled Port father-son prospect managed a well compiled 27 disposals and nine marks, rotating back from midfield. His clean kicking skills came to the fore around the ground, as Burgoyne distributed with poise and hardly wasted a touch. While many of his short passes found safe options, every side needs a cool head like Burgoyne showed. He also contributed some more contested work than usual and looked good when flying for overhead marks, of which he clunked a few.

#14 Blake Hansen 

The run-and-gun bottom-ager brought a spark to the backline with his pace and aggressive intent on the rebound. He would often charge off unopposed to get handball receives once the Eagles won possession in midfield, gaining serious meterage with his speed and penetrative boot. He even got dish-offs all the way up at half-forward for a couple of flying shots at goal, but couldn’t quite hit the target. Hansen can be a real threat in those instances, and looks to make things happen with ball in hand. He finished with 28 touches and nine marks from defence.

#16 Will Pearce

Pearce made a thundering impact on the scoreboard with seven goals on Saturday, including the game’s first and last majors. His opening score was the only one which didn’t come from a set shot, and he only missed one of his seven opportunities via that method. For most of the day, Pearce worked up to half-forward as a linking option when the Eagles advanced inside 50, bringing others into the game with quick ball movement. He was duly rewarded with four goals to three quarter time, before putting the cherry on top of a big win by piling on the last three of the game. 21 disposals, nine marks (three contested) and seven goals – fair statline.

#17 Mattaes Phillipou 

The Eagles have a really promising bottom-ager on their hands in Phillipou, a multi-sport athlete with plenty of upside. He rotated constantly through midfield and the forwardline on Saturday, finishing with balanced figures of 23 disposals, five marks and a goal. Phillipou is a good height for the hybrid type and combines his developing midfield craft with some handy aerial work forward of centre, proving hard to stop with his leap and reach. He also got his hands dirty at ground level and booted WWT forward quickly, while his goal came via a free kick in term three.

Others:

The Eagles had a bunch of players step up in their big win, with the likes of Dustin Launer (37 disposals, 12 marks), William Neumann (27 disposals, two goals), and Sam Nicholls (22 disposals) all productive around the ball. Brock Thomson had his moments rotating through the middle from defence, and Mishai Wollogorang provided his usual spark on the rebound. Talls Zac Phillips, Jordan Lukac, and Jonte Hunter-Price were also solid, with the latter enjoying an intercept-marking purple patch during the second term.

North Adelaide:

#4 Isaac Keeler

Keeler is as exciting as they come as a tall prospect, with his raw athleticism and skill making for eye-catching moments up forward and through the ruck. The Adelaide NGA product was initially stationed deep forward, but got into the game once rotated on-ball and when working further afield as a marking option. He stood under plenty of long kicks and took eight marks for the day with his impressive reach, even getting all the way down to follow-up at ground level. He showcased quick skills by hand to produce chances for others, but could not quite capitalise to hit the scoreboard himself on this occasion.

#12 Hugh Jackson 

While it was tough going at times for Jackson, who was down on his usually phenomenal disposal output, he still managed to produce some handy moments when carrying the ball forward from midfield. He ended up with 16 touches (13 kicks) and four inside 50s, numbers which were indicative of his style of play. Jackson often looked to manufacture some space to break clear at the back of stoppages, using his turn of speed to jet forward before delivering a sharp kick. While he faltered a touch at full tilt, Jackson managed to hit plenty of passes to leading forwards under pressure. He also helped the Roosters chain their transitions through the corridor and arguably looked the most likely midfielder to make something happen when in possession.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin 

Another of Adelaide’s exciting NGA hopefuls, O’Loughlin was given the chance to further showcase his versatility with an extended run through midfield. He started out in defence though and produced his usual work there, getting to plenty of ground level contests and sweeping North Adelaide into transition with his speed and kicking. O’Loughlin also took the kick-ins and even in general play, looked sharper when hitting short options rather than blasting it long. He looked busy in midfield and got his legs pumping on the attack, finishing with 21 disposals (18 kicks), three clearances, and five rebound 50s.

Others:

Midfielders Harvey Harrison (25 disposals, four clearances) and James White (22 disposals, five marks) were both solid for the Roosters in what ended up a big loss, while Sam McTaggart got busy out on the wing. Adam Heath and Zyton Santillo were others to find a good amount of ball rotating through midfield, and bottom-ager Kelsey Rypstra was one of two Roosters to snare a pair of majors.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 23.16 (154) def. CENTRAL DISTRICT 7.8 (50)

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide:

#3 Luke Mitton

Diminutive South Adelaide midfielder, Mitton had a productive day at Noarlunga. He spent the game operating at the feet of the ruckman and proved a solid extractor at ground level. He spread well from the contest and worked hard throughout the game, and his work at stoppages when the ball was inside 50 ensured he added two goals to his tally. Mitton’s first major came from a set-shot and his second was a regulation snap after finding himself in a paddock of space out the back of the contest. He finished as the Panthers’ leading disposal getter, gathering 26 touches, seven marks, three tackles and five clearances.

#4 Jack Delean

Despite being a couple of years away from draft eligibility, small forward Delean put on a clinic at Noarlunga. He was involved in the action right away, presenting with intent to take a strong mark inside 50. Shortly after, he booted his first goal of the game from close-range and could have added another with his next effort – a set shot gettable by his lofty standards. However, Delean more than made up for the blemish by proving a class above one-on-one. His ability to read the flight of the ball and position his body well in the marking contests ensured he took a number of inside 50 grabs.

His second goal of the term was perhaps his best of the day. Delean brought the ball to ground in the marking contest, promptly gathered his own crumb, weaved past a would-be tackler and slotted a beauty from 45 metres. He slammed through his third first-term goal after bursting through a stoppage and continued to look like the most dangerous player on the ground with the ball in his vicinity. Delean’s vertical leap and marking prowess was exceptional, as was his movement through stoppages up forward. Already looking like a top talent, Delean finished with five goals to his name, to go with 14 disposals, seven marks (two contested) and three tackles.

#8 Cooper Rogers

Rogers worked well with fellow midfielder Mitton, with the pair proving a handful around the contest. Rogers attacked the ball with admirable aggression and showcased some excellent breakaway speed and burst. He was also excellent defensively, tackling hard and throwing himself into the packs to force a ball up. With ball in hand, Rogers could’ve lowered his eyes more often, instead of launching it long, particularly when he found himself in some space exiting stoppages. At times explosive, Rogers managed 23 disposals, five marks, six tackles, eight clearances, six inside 50s and a goal.

#10 Isaac Birt

One of the surprise packets of the 2021 SANFL Under 18 season so far, Birt again showed glimpses of his talents in the Panthers hefty win. His raw speed and acceleration along the wing broke open the game at-times, and his precise kicking was also a highlight. Birt’s foot skills going inside 50 were particularly noteworthy, measuring each pass with pin-point accuracy. He booted a nice snap goal and could have had another if not for a fumbled bounce when streaming into goal. His strength overhead was also on display as he hauled in a couple of contested marks. Birt finished the contest with 20 disposals, nine marks, four tackles and eight inside 50s.

Others:

Key forward Tom Schirmer had a wonderful day for the Panthers. He spent some time in attack but was also given an extended run in the ruck to relieve Will Verrall. Schirmer proved far too big and strong for his direct opponent, easily out-bodying them in the marking contest. Possessing a booming left-foot kick, Schirmer nailed his set shots and finished with four goals to go with 10 disposals and four marks.

Bailey Pilmore beautifully complimented the efforts of Delean. He tackled well at ground level but was vice-like in the air, taking three contested marks. A smooth-mover, he was another Panther to boot a bag, finishing with four goals from 15 disposals and five marks. Ryan Pearsons had a terrific start to the second term up forward. He presented well and also looked threatening above his shoulders. He gathered 10 disposals, took five marks and added two goals.

Central District:

#10 Dylan Wall

On an undoubtedly disappointing day for his side, Wall was one of Centrals’ bright spots. He booted the Bulldogs first goal of the game late in the opening term after taking a strong mark inside-50. He snapped home his second early in the third term and finished the game with three majors to his name, to go with 11 disposals, three marks and seven tackles.

#17 Tahjin Krieg

Central District was outclassed from the get-go against a talented South Adelaide unit, but Krieg worked hard throughout the contest, refusing to throw in the towel. Playing his customary midfield role, Krieg brought speed and intensity to the contest. He looked to use his breakaway pace to get things moving for the Bulldogs, particularly through the middle of the ground. Krieg tackled hard and showed admirable courage to take a strong contested mark in the first term. Krieg will look to tidy up his disposal in the final weeks of the season, as his kicking was hit-and-miss throughout the contest and in front of goal. Nevertheless, he tried hard and finished with 16 disposals, four marks, seven tackles and three inside 50s.

#38 Brodie Tuck

Tuck shouldered most of the ruck work for the Bulldogs and fought well against South’s combination of Verrall and Schirmer. One of the more prolific Bulldogs, Tuck was arguably Central District’s best performer. He shared the spoils with Verrall in terms of hit-out numbers, both finishing with 17 taps, however Tuck showed excellent athleticism and work rate to be a factor around the ground. He gathered 20 disposals but also won a team-high six clearances to highlight his ability to follow-up his own work. The Salisbury North tall registered six inside 50s and also added a goal in what was a promising performance.

WEST ADELAIDE 19.18 (132) def. STURT 4.6 (30)

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

Productive as ever in the back half, Pridham helped Westies turn defence into attack. The zippy small racked up 34 disposals (29 kicks), four inside 50s and three rebound 50s, helping his side force turnovers before helping spark a range of transitions. Pridham used his speed and short kicking game to good effect, while holding a high line behind the ball to pile plenty of pressure on Sturt when an attack was forming. Plenty went through him off half-back, and he helped get the Bloods into advanced areas of the ground time after time.

#10 Cade Kennedy 

Kennedy lead all-comers on Saturday with 35 disposals, nine marks and eight clearances, working well around the ground and generating some momentum from midfield for Westies. He snuck forward to mark uncontested and slot the game’s first goal in term one, helping his side maintain a forward flow in the first half. He was sometimes forced wide when breaking from centre bounces, but began to break straight towards goal after the main break to prove much more damaging in possession. His repeat running efforts and ability to carry the ball became more of a feature as the game wore on, capping a well-rounded effort.

#37 Tom Scully 

The bottom-aged key position prospect finished with a flurry, booting the game’s final three goals to end up with four overall. Rotating through the ruck and forwardline, Scully used his reach at 201cm to win a game-high 14 hit-outs, while also positioning well between the arcs to take a couple of nice overhead grabs. He utilised that same reach to snare his first goal, taking the ball at full stretch close to goal before duly converting. He showed handy mobility for his final three majors, with the third a very nice dribbler in the dying seconds of the match.

#45 Oscar Steene

Another West Adelaide tall around the 200cm mark, Steene showcased really promising aerial ability on Saturday. He rose to take nine marks (two contested) and won 13 hitouts rotating with Scully through the ruck and forwardline, but only managed a couple of behinds in front of goal. Still, Steene’s ability to read the ball in flight and take it at its highest point was great – whether it was presenting as a lead-up option up forward, or positioning well behind the ball to intercept. His speccy out on the wing during the fourth quarter drew a big reaction from the crowd, and rightly so as his side romped to a big win.

Others:

Among West Adelaide’s 10 individual goalkickers, Harrison Barker and Luke Young snared 3.3 apiece with some productive work up forward, while midfielders Jesse Thackeray (22 disposals, two goals) and Dylan White (26 disposals, two goals) broke into attack with intent. Another to do so was Dylan McCormick, who also snared a major from his 20 touches and six marks.

Sturt:

#12 Jamie Taylor 

Taylor was a constant in Sturt’s midfield, proving reliable at the contest while also working around the ground to help the Double Blues gain some fluency on the ball. While he didn’t hit every target, Taylor showed good endeavour in a solid performance despite his team being soundly beaten. He finished with 17 disposals (14 kicks), six marks, and six tackles.

#25 Kade Harvey 

Being a Sturt defender was a tough gig on Saturday, and Harvey would know all about just that. The Double Blues backman managed a team-high 25 disposals, 10 marks, and 15 rebound 50s in a game where he had plenty of work to do. Entrusted with the kick-ins, Harvey looked to snatch as much meterage as possible before clearing the ball long by foot, and was even pinged for running to far on one such occasion. He also tried hard to mop up across defensive 50 and made a couple of timely intercepts, but was truly up against it for most of the game.

Others:

Jake Aish was again solid in midfield, snaring a goal in the fourth term to cap his 21-disposal effort. Jaymes Tregakis and Ethan Field also had a crack through the engine room, while Thomas McCourt did so down back and Chad Reschke was a handy target at the other end, finishing with 1.2 from his seven touches.

Image Credit: North Adelaide FC via Facebook

Ones to Watch: The draft prospect bottleneck brimming with talent

WHILE the top end of the 2021 AFL Draft pool is shaping up nicely despite constant injuries to gun players, unexpected season intermissions, and the absence of an Under 19 National Championships, a massive bottleneck remains just outside of first round contention. Draft Central released its August Power Rankings update on Monday, which ranked the nation’s 25 best prospects, but had about 40 in contention for said honours.

With such an even crop forming around the 20-35 mark, we nominate a player from each national carnival region who could soon rise up the ranks to feature in future rankings, while also highlighting a bunch of other players to watch as regular season fixtures wind down. Some of the talents listed below were also spoken about in the latest Final Siren Podcast episode, where the Draft Central crew fielded your questions.

VICTORIA

Potential Riser: 

Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons)
31/01/2003 | 180cm/74kg | Midfielder

Arguably the 26th player in our August Rankings, Taylor may have already made a case for pushing into the top 25 come September’s edition. The small midfielder boasts excellent skills, vision, and decision making, which is exactly what you want from a player who finds the ball as much as he does. At 180cm, Taylor can also double as a pressure forward and utilise those reliable skills in the front half, but has really found a home as Calder’s primary ball winner of late. Over his last three NAB League outings, the 18-year-old has averaged 34 disposals, seven marks and six tackles en route to taking out the Round 15 Player of the Week. He is one of the form players of the draft pool right now, and is proving difficult to deny.

Ones to Watch:

There are plenty of Victorians in the mix as usual, with most already sneaking into the top 25 – like Tom Brown, Sam Butler, and Judson Clarke this past month. Arguably the next biggest riser has been St Kilda Next Generation Academy (NGA) hopeful Mitch Owens, a winger from the stacked Sandringham Dragons regions. The 190cm gloved goer has done plenty of growing over the last year and was a late call-up to last month’s Vic Metro side. He took his chance well, and was in fine form for the Dragons with 25 disposals, six marks, and seven tackles in their most recent outing.

Fellow Sandringham wingman Blake Howes has previously featured in our rankings and remains around the mark, with his athleticism and versatility boding well for a talent with incredible upside. Having rolled up to the wing from his usual forward post in 2021, the 190cm Vic Metro representative has added strings to his bow and booted two goals from 20 touches in his latest NAB League appearance.

Connor Macdonald and Jake Soligo are a couple of small midfielders with handy turns of speed who have no trouble finding the ball, and can also roll forward to impact the scoreboard. Collingwood NGA prospect Youseph Dib is another in that small category at 174cm, but has a mature body which stood up to the rigours of VFL football earlier in the year. He has stood up in midfield recently with his strength and speed around the contest, but is also able to play pressure roles at either end of the ground. Oakleigh teammate Lachlan Rankin is another to monitor; offering versatility, natural smarts, and clean skills in a range of roles.

At the taller end of the midfield scale, Geelong Falcons ball winner Mitch Knevitt has consistently been a standout for his region at the coalface. While he has plenty of room left for improvement, clubs will likely look at his speed, contested work and 193cm frame as traits which point towards workable upside. Fellow big-bodied mid Ned Long has been sidelined of late, but was in promising form at the start of the NAB League season.

There are a couple of defenders who have also impressed throughout the year to prove their potential, in Justin Davies and Oscar Morrison. Both represented Vic Country and have nice combinations of tall and small traits at just under 195cm. Meanwhile, Morrison’s Geelong Falcons teammate Toby Conway has firmed as one of the premier rucks available, standing at over 200cm with handy craft in that department and evolving influence around the ground.

Dandenong Stingrays midfielder Connor Macdonald

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Potential Riser:

Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (Glenelg)
22/02/2003 | 188cm/70kg | Wing

A smooth-moving wingman with elite pedigree, Wanganeen-Milera is among one of the more eye-catching South Australian prospects. The nephew of Essendon and Port Adelaide champion, Gavin, he caught the eye last year with his speed and dare on the outer for Glenelg’s Under 18s, and has since plied his trade in the senior grades. After 11 Reserves outings, the 18-year-old earned a League berth with the Bays this season and was even a late addition to the AFL Academy squad in April. His skill and poise on the ball made him a standout in South Australia’s Under 19 trial game last month, and with his collection of high-level attributes as a tall and raw wingman, Wanganeen-Milera is certainly on the rise.

Ones to Watch:

After being considered among the top 10-20 prospects coming into 2021, Norwood midfielder-forward Cooper Murley was squeezed out of out latest top 25. It’s through no real fault of his own though, with the productive attacking runner first missing out on AFL Academy duties due to an ankle injury in April, before suffering a collarbone injury in the opening minutes of a SANFL Under 18s outing last month. With an extended run and some more senior action, he can quickly improve his stocks.

A trio of club-linked prospects have put themselves in contention with sustained form in 2021, particularly at Under 18s level. Port Adelaide father-son prospect Jase Burgoyne is quite highly regarded in his state, with versatility and clean foot skills among his best traits. While he is quite light-on, he enjoyed a steady three-game stint with Port’s SANFL outfit this season and has no trouble finding the ball.

Adelaide NGA products Blayne O’Loughlin and Isaiah Dudley are crafty smalls who will also come into consideration, and both have even managed to crack the Reserves grade. North Adelaide leader O’Loughlin is the nephew of Michael and loves to generate defensive rebound with his speed and kicking, while Centrals’ speedster Dudley also has good pedigree, with his high-level footy smarts boding well for a future in the small forward role.

North Adelaide midfielders Hugh Jackson and James Willis have both thrown their hats in the ring as potential bolters, but offer quite different strengths. Jackson has clearly been the SANFL Under 18s’ top ball winner with an average of 31.7, while also leading the league for handballs and inside 50s. He has a handy turn of speed, as does the explosive Willis. While a touch more raw in his finished product, Willis certainly catches the eye with his power and agility in the engine room.

State Under 16 and Under 19 teammates Lewis Rayson and Morgan Ferres continue to be thereabouts too. Rayson’s drive and kick penetration on the outer has proven a consistent feature of his game, while Ferres booted 13 goals from a whopping 21 scoring shots in his two SANFL Under 18s outings this season. Both have earned Reserves berths, while Centrals midfielder-forward Shay Linke has broken through to the top flight this year and showed some promise.

Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera in SA colours | Image Credit: AFL Photos

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Potential Riser:

Jesse Motlop (South Fremantle)
23/11/03 | 176cm/74kg | Small Forward

Fremantle staff and fans alike will be cursing a technicality in the NGA rules which may see Motlop snatched from their grasp. NGA products from metro regions in South and Western Australia are only eligible to join their aligned clubs with a bid past pick 40, and Motlop has certainly staked his claim to be taken well within that range. The speedy small forward has a terrific eye for goal and applies valuable pressure, which he showed in his WAFL League debut for South Fremantle last month. The son of former Port and North Melbourne forward, Daniel, has also featured at PSA level for Aquinas College and led the competition’s goalkicking as a Year 11 last year. He can also roll into midfield but will likely pique the most interest with his work inside attacking 50.

Ones to Watch:

Twin talls Jacob van Rooyen and Rhett Bazzo were highly touted coming into the season and while they have shown glimpses of top 25 potential thus far, may have fallen just outside that range. Claremont’s van Rooyen is a noted key forward who has shown his versatility this year with time in midfield and more recently, down back. A glandular fever diagnosis halted his initial run at League level. Bazzo, an Under 16 All Australian defender, has arced back to his intercept-marking roots of late after being trialled up forward earlier in the year. Both are AFL Academy members and will be key state Under 19s figures.

Among the recent League debutants are Corey Warner and Luke Polson, who are quite different prospects. Warner, the brother of Sydney’s Chad, is a real goer out on the wing while Polson is a mobile and versatile tall talent who is not afraid to run with the ball. Along with this pair, one of the state’s biggest risers has been West Coast NGA product Ethan Regan, out of East Perth. At 189cm, he is an explosive unit with terrific aerial prowess and the ability to cover good ground in transition.

It would be remiss not to mention some of WA’s top performers in the recent state Under 19s hitouts. Big-bodied midfielders Kade Dittmar and Angus Sheldrick have been superb across the three games, while Dittmar’s Royals teammate James Tunstill is a promising type. The likes of Jahmal Stretch and Kaden Harbour are lively small forwards entering the conversation, while Taj Woewodin should have Melbourne’s attention as a potential father-son pick-up. Meanwhile Lochlan Paton and Brady Hough have been solid across a few different roles for the Black Ducks.

Jesse Motlop celebrates a goal on his League debut | Image Credit: South Fremantle/WAFL

ALLIES

Potential Riser:

Sam Banks (Tasmania Devils)
2/04/2003 | 187cm/73kg | Half-Back

Banks has long been on the radar as Tasmania’s standout draft prospect for 2021, having taken out Under 16 Division 2 MVP honours in 2019. He also made eight appearances for the Devils’ NAB League side in the same year and has turned out in the TSL for Clarence. While he was sighted up on a wing and through midfield in the past, Banks has played almost exclusively in defence this season upon battling injury. A broken wrist saw him miss out on representing the AFL Academy in April, but the 18-year-old made his NAB League return in Round 11 and has looked promising with his rebound running and skills by foot across half-back. He could be in for a boost with an extended run and some more showings of his potential in roles further afield.

Ones to Watch:

Banks’ fellow Tasmanians Oliver Davis and Sam Collins have gotten back on the horse after being overlooked last year. Hard-nosed midfielder Davis attracted mid-season draft interest and is currently part of Adelaide’s reserves squad, while Collins has moved up to Victoria and linked with reigning NAB League premier, Oakleigh Chargers, where he has featured in midfield upon returning from injury. Forward Jye Menzie is another in the top-age category, and recently snared a bag of goals in the Devils’ Under 17 vs. Under 19 clash.

There are plenty of Northern Academy prospects who their respective clubs will look at closely. Brisbane has seen the likes of Saxon Crozier, Tahj Abberley, Toby Triffett, Charlie Bowes, and Will Tasker take strides at state league level this year, having all remained in the Lions’ system as 19-year-old talents. Gold Coast has more 2003-born talents in the pipeline, including AFL Academy member Austin Harris. He, too has gained VFL experience along with defender Bodhi Uwland and twin talls Will Bella and Jack Johnston.

Elsewhere, Giants Academy member Josh Green (brother of Tom) trained with Richmond during preseason and may still have some interest, while Murray Bushrangers prospects Charlie Byrne and Cameron McLeod were among those to have some interest at the next level – both during preseason and in this year’s mid-season intake.

Sam Banks in action for Clarence | Image Credit: Solstice Digital