Tag: brayden cook

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL – League & Under 18s semi-finals

FINALS time in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18s and League competitions, with a focus on State Academy based talentNational Combine invitees, and others who may push for selection along the line.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

>> Power Rankings: October Edition

LEAGUE

South Adelaide vs. Glenelg

By: Eli Duxson

South Adelaide:

#33 Jason Horne

The 17-year-old was eventually named in the final 22 and returned a serviceable performance of 15 disposals and a goal which all but iced the game. Moving between half-forward and the midfield, he managed to find a bit of the ball between the wings, and surged it forward with his four inside 50s. At times it looked clear that he lacked some body maturity, being pushed around at stoppages, but he also showed the inverse by breaking tackles and displaying strong evasive skills through traffic. Horne was clearly accountable and taking defensive positions around stoppages when playing in the middle, and he was able to take good attacking positions in the forwardline. He took and held front position several times, but also timed his run well to rove the contests from his key forwards. His goal came from holding space and hitting the crumbed ball at the optimal time before finishing neatly. He did not find a lot of space with ball in hand, so majority of his kicks were hacks out of contests, but when he found space, he used it well.

#35 Tom Highmore

It was not a big disposal game for the mature-age combine invitee, but it was a solid display down back which helped his Panthers to a preliminary final berth. His modest 11 disposals were of course coupled with six marks (two contested), as he continued to show his consistency at the contest. His aerial balance highlights his hip and core strength as he tackled hard and well for much of the day. He backed courageously into traffic on a couple of occasions and was also very capable moving the other way through traffic, building good energy through the ball with his size and speed. His strength allowed him to out-body opponents in one-on-one contests, but he also used it to put his body in front of an teammate’s direct marker to free them up for the mark. He will be looking to carry this output as deep into the season as possible to give himself the best run at the draft.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Glenelg:

#23 Callum Park

The smooth-moving and long-sleeve wearing Park played most of the game in defence while spending some stints on the wing in the second half, managing 16 disposals (14 kicks) and seven rebound 50s. The designated kick-out taker used the ball efficiently as he usually does and defended reasonably well, although at times he was caught out of position after turnovers in the back half. His highlight of the day was a massive run out of defence, taking several bounces with no options forward. He ran at least 100-150 metres and managed to find a short target to finish it off. The 19-year-old’s season is over after playing every senior game except for Round 1 and being a reliable performer in the back half for Glenelg.

#27 Luke Parks

Parks did not enjoy the run and jump at the ball that he normally does, playing a stricter defensive role on the last line for Glenelg. Although it was a disappointing day for the reigning premiers, no South Adelaide goals came from his direct opponent, further showing his key position qualities. When he was able to, he attacked the ball hard to clear and he still managed to take four marks, with two of them being intercepts. He spoiled and tackled well, but just did not enjoy the attacking freedom he normally does playing higher up the ground. A sturdy game overall, and a good season from the Swans Academy product.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

WWT Eagles vs. North Adelaide

By: Eli Duxson

Eagles:

#16 James Rowe

The Ken Farmer medallist added to his already impressive tally with two goals to go with 19 disposals and five clearances. With the early North Adelaide domination, Rowe was forced up the ground to impact and continued to rove higher for much of the day. His timing to rove and accelerate was good and while he would have preferred to be in front of goal, he was still making an impact. He took a strong overhead mark from a standing vertical jump in front of goal, and drilled the set shot for his first majors, and his side’s second. His second goal came in the second term after earning a holding the ball free kick and snapping it in from close range. While he did not impact the scoreboard for the rest of the game, he showed healthy aggression at the contest and was able to impact stoppages with his activity.

#28 Jacob Wehr

It was a massive opening quarter for the defender, setting up his team-high disposal count of 23, coupled with 10 rebound 50s. Wehr almost exclusively took the kick-outs for the Eagles but also found the ball in general play. When his opponent pushed up to add the extra number to the stoppage, he sat out the back and was available for a clearing handball or to run past. At defensive 50 stoppages, he also showed that he was a close checker despite being a ball winner. He has good dash, poise, is tidy below his knees, and tackles well. A good game overall for Wehr and he will be important in the Eagles’ chances of playing in the Grand Final.

#34 Lachlan Jones

Hardness at the contest and sturdy defence is what we come to expect from Jones, and he delivered again on the weekend. He managed 19 disposals and 11 rebound 50s and seemed to be around the ball whenever it was in his defensive half. Running up with his opponent, he managed to get up the ground and be an attacking option but used his speed again to ensure he worked back just as hard. He is someone you do not want to deal with in traffic due to his size and strength, but also his intensity and evasive awareness. He continued to put himself into traffic to win the ball or halve a contest all game. In the final quarter, he seemed to be everywhere as he continued to repel the ball. Though the Port Academy product will be hoping he has two games left, performances like the one he put up have been consistent of his season, doing his draft stocks no harm.

#51 Lachlan McNeil

The 19-year-old played mostly on the wing and seems to be a true wing player. He managed 15 disposals and a goal and was disciplined with his positioning all game. He was continually aware of his opponent’s position around stoppages, and when the ball was in dispute, he would get goal side of the contest to be another defender if the opposition got the ball, or be a relieving option if his teammates won it. His attack on the ball was strong, often coming through with good pace. He took a Roosters player out to set the tone early in the second half. Spending some time in the midfield with wet conditions allowed him to display his cleanliness in possession and disposal. Back on the wing in the final quarter, he held his space around the 50-metre line with a deep forward 50 stoppage. The ball was eventually knocked out his way and he weaved through a couple of defenders to slot through a much-needed goal for the Eagles.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

North Adelaide:

#37 Karl Finlay

His defence was not needed for large patches of the game due to his side’s dominance at stages, ending with just the three disposals. He managed a few more thumping spoils, which has been a good aspect of his game for much of the season, but he just was not able to intercept mark like he usually can. This was partly due to the swirly and wet conditions for part of the game, but also the Eagles’ forward entries being more directed, yet scrappy. He took on a tackle in the second quarter in front of goal and was caught holding the ball. The confidence was admirable, but it was perhaps the wrong option. Although he was quiet, it meant his side will play in the final game of the year. It will be interesting to see how he goes.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

UNDER 18s

WWT Eagles vs. South Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

Eagles:

#3 Taj Schofield

The Port Adelaide father-son hopeful produced a mixed bag in his most decent outing; producing some sharp work through traffic, but also scuppering a few of his kicks in the windy conditions. Rotating between the wing and centre bounces, Schofield worked hard both ways to find a good amount of ball, often relieving in the back half while providing a spark in forward transitions. He is often the receiver, but did well to sweep up at ground level and remain aware of his closing opponents throughout the hotly-contested game. The perceived pressure perhaps saw some of his spearing kicks fall short or go wide, though he had no trouble in converting a set shot in the second term for his lone goal of the game. Schofield lifted his output in the final term which was good to see, as the game was well and truly still alive.

#7 Caleb Poulter

Starting out on a wing, which may be a hint at which position he may suit at the next level, Poulter was a handy midfield wildcard for the Eagles once he eventually rotated to the inside. He looked most dangerous forward of centre in the early stages, latching onto long balls forward and pushing towards goal. He would then get his hands dirty at the coalface and showed good strength on many instances to stand up in tackles and flick a handball out, enabling the Eagles to continue their forward momentum. Poulter’s repeat ball winning efforts and kick penetration were important for his side, with his distinct casual style on the ball making him such a stylish player to watch.

#17 Liam Ueding

A rock at the back, Ueding seems to be the perfect player to thrive among the atmosphere of finals football. The bottom-ager competed hard one-on-one and at ground level, but the most eye-catching aspect of his game was observed through various aerial efforts to intercept. Ueding would be seen flying in late to clunk contested marks on numerous occasions, emphatically shutting down South’s attacks and allowing the Eagles to set up a counter attack. While most of his work was done inside defensive 50, the bottom-ager also pressed up the ground to take a handy grab in the corridor during the final term.

#25 Henry Smith

At just about 200cm, Smith is a difficult matchup at the Under 18s level on the pure basis of his height. While stationed up forward, the Eagles bigman was near-impossible to stop when he took front position, with no South Adelaide defender able to reach the same heights as Smith. He used that clear strength to his advantage to take a number of strong marks inside forward 50, while also booting a pair of goals in the first half. Smith spent some time in the ruck too, an area of growth for him, and managed to clunk some relieving marks around the ground.

#28 Nick Mitzithras

Mitzithras has caught the eye of late with his speed and damaging use by foot across half-back, both of which were again useful in this outing. The daring small defender started the game brightly, dashing out of the back half and helping the Eagles generate some forward momentum. His line-breaking ability was a handy asset given the contested nature of the game, though that kind of output wavered as the contest wore on. Although, Mitzithras’ closing speed again came to the fore in the final term, as he hunted down a South Adelaide opponent inside defensive 50.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Another potential Port Adelaide father-son (2021 eligible), Burgoyne has enjoyed a stellar bottom-age season. The versatile midfielder was often seen slipping away and out of congestion at the centre bounces, while also roving the taps beautifully to set him on his way. That roving ability was obvious in the first term as Burgoyne got moving forward with a centre clearance, and provided a daring corridor run to help set up a Max Litster goal. He had a shocking turnover in the final term which led to a Souths goal almost directly from the kickout, but Burgoyne’s disposal by foot was often clean in the short range. He can perhaps work on bombing less by foot, but otherwise has a sound overall game. He capped off his outing with a sealing goal in the final term while resting forward.

Others:

Brock Thomson was another Eagles defender to impress, able to read the ball in flight and fly for intercept marks while also providing a safe outlet in defensive 50. Harrison Dawkins‘ strong hands and sizeable leap were on full show, and the top-ager even pitched in with a couple of very classy goals at crucial moments. Max Litster was another to fare well through midfield, as the cream rose to the top for WWT.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

South Adelaide:

#4 Max Clifton

A perennial forward mover, Clifton was arguably South Adelaide’s best and most consistent player afield. The small midfielder often used his low centre of gravity and breakaway speed to burst clear from the centre, pumping the ball forward on his favoured left foot with terrific penetration. While not all of his booming kicks hit targets in the front half, meterage is often important in finals football and Clifton gained plenty. As the anchor at centre bounces, Clifton would paddle the ball to his advantage if the heat was too close, but also managed to cleanly gather and dispose of it by hand or foot. As his side’s leading ball winner on the day, there is not much more Clifton could have done.

#10 Brayden Cook

This was a rare goalless game from Cook, who was blanketed well by the Eagles defenders throughout. Starting out on the wing, the top-aged draft bolter generated some handy run between the arcs and often sought to play on immediately. While his attacking mindset sometimes worked to bring others into the game and but South into dangerous positions, Cook came undone as the contest drew tighter and he looked to take on too much. In the end, he could not find the same rhythm and transitional creativity as he did in the early stages, and was set upon immediately each time he neared the ball up forward.

#20 Zac Dumesny

Having built a reputation for his class on the ball and efficient disposal, Dumesny had some forgettable moments with turnovers from defence in this outing. Stationed off half-back, the highly-touted prospect took on South Adelaide’s kick-in duties and would often provide a safe outlet inside defensive 50. His use by foot was often sound, but most of his disposals were sent either short or sideways. He began to take the game on with his runs up to the wing, receiving and looking to move the ball forward quickly. That is perhaps where he came unstuck, with a couple of rushed disposals leading to direct chances at goal for WWT. He was utilised a touch further afield in the latter stages, but found most of his possessions in the opening half.

#21 Matthew Roberts

Roberts was on track for a monster day after dominating the first half alongside fellow bottom-ager, Arlo Draper. A midfield staple, Roberts began his accumulative exploits from the get-go, providing a good balance of neat short kicks and long, penetrating balls inside 50. He was the most prolific player afield in the second term, starting with a series of centre clearances and providing a well-weighted pass to Dylan Brown for a goal assist. Roberts was eventually swung forward himself, using his elite work-rate to lead up hard at the ball and snare a pair of goals to keep his side in the hunt. He was a little quieter after half time as the Eagles began to get back on top, but popped up late with a set shot on the wrong side for a left footer which hit the post. Has top 10 potential for 2021.

#33 Arlo Draper

The second of South Adelaide’s damaging bottom-agers, Draper looked like tearing the game apart in the first half. Starting up forward, the athletic youngster read the ball in flight and used his sizeable vertical leap to outdo his opponent one-on-one close to goal. He booted the Panthers’ first goal of the game with a set shot conversion, and took a massive pack mark on the goal line to bag his second in the same term. He was also influential when thrown into the midfield, using his size at the contest and coming away cleanly with slick hands and slippery agility. His bodywork and goal sense again came to the fore as he bagged goals in the second and third terms, and there were a number of times where Draper was able to burn his opponent over the back with full confidence in his pace. A versatile, crafty player with raw talent, he is another who could prove a first round prospect in 2021.

#35 Nicholas Kraemer

The South Adelaide skipper has taken on a variety of roles upon returning to the fold post-injury, and played predominantly in defence during this outing. He often manned Caleb Poulter throughout general play, able to match the dynamic Eagles midfielder for size and strength. Kraemer’s intercept marking also stood out on this occasion, as he read the ball well in flight and marked strongly to relieve pressure inside defensive 50. This was more evident in one-on-one situations, as Kraemer sometimes trailed when packs formed, though his clean hands at ground level allowed him to impact at the fall of the ball. A crucial holding the ball tackle in the third term further showcased his defensive appetite, as he stopped an Eagles fast break in its tracks. It was a solid overall outing for the top-ager, who started the season so promisingly through midfield.

Others:

Jack Flett proved a livewire up forward in the second half, finishing with three goals and loving each of them with some bigtime celebrations. His aerial ability and pace are very handy up either end of the ground. Jaiden Magor sured up his conversion in the second half to snare a couple of very sharp goals from the boundary line, while 16-year-old ruck Will Verrall showed some great signs and Dylan Brown‘s physicality shone through.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Sturt vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

Sturt:

#11 Will Spain

Spain started positively by booting the first goal of the game from a set-shot from just inside 50. As he has all season, the talented bottom-ager battled hard through the midfield, despite his side being comprehensively beaten on the scoreboard as the game wore on. He spent time on the dangerous Henry Nelligan and was able to hold his own and find a bit of the ball on the outside as well as the coal-face. On a tough day for Sturt, Spain was one of their better performers, finishing with 18 disposals, four marks, three tackles and three inside 50s.

#13 Bradley Jefferies

Jefferies, like fellow bottom-ager Will Spain, had his work cut out for him when the Norwood on-ballers began to dominate proceedings. He still found his fare share of the ball at ground level, fighting hard for every possession in and under. Jefferies booted a nice running goal from just inside the 50-metre arc in the third quarter to keep the Double Blues within striking distance, and his kick to the leading Jacob Lochowiak resulted in a shot at goal a couple of minutes later. The midfielder pieced together a nice game and finished the semi-final with 20 disposals and five marks.

#17 Mani Liddy

The ultra-consistent Liddy was again among Sturt’s best despite the frustrating result. As always, his clean hands at ground level and quick and effective handballing were standouts. Liddy was by far Sturt’s best clearance winner for the game, proving a handful at the stoppages all day. He was also effective in general play, particularly early on, displaying great composure in traffic before finding Jacob Ferrari with a short kick inside 50 to set up the Double Blues’ second goal. As the game wore on, his quick hands were integral to Sturt getting the ball going their way. Another highlight of Liddy’s game was his bone-crunching tackle on Norwood on-baller Jack Saunders, which won him a holding the ball free kick. Liddy finished with 22 disposals, five tackles, nine clearances and three inside 50s in what was a gallant display from the inside midfielder.

#18 Tom Powell

After he missed the final minor round game with calf tightness, Powell was a welcome return to the Sturt midfield. His presence was felt immediately, taking a terrific one-on-one mark and kicking long. His shot for goal from long range certainly would have tested the calf but sailed through with ease, albeit for a minor score only. Some of Powell’s shepherding and blocking didn’t register a statistic but proved invaluable in releasing the likes of Liddy, Spain, and Jefferies. Throughout the semi-final, Powell spent some time on close friend Nelligan in a clash between two of the Under 18 competition’s most prolific on-ballers. His kicking has been one of his only knocks so far this season, but his disposal by foot was largely sound on Saturday afternoon. He worked very hard around the ground, was typically clean below his knees, attacked every contest with ferocity and won plenty of contested ball, despite not quite finishing with the numbers we’ve become so accustomed to seeing from Powell. He finished with 18 disposals, nine marks, eight tackles, three clearances and five inside 50s, but expect him to lift his output in next weeks all-important preliminary final.

Others:

George Skeet Manuell held up well in defence when forced to weather an onslaught of Norwood forward entries. He provided some nice rebound when exiting the defensive 50, concluding the game with 18 disposals and a game-high 13 rebounds. The Double Blues lacked a genuine target up forward, but Jacob Lochowiak proved a handy outlet on a couple of occasions. The strongly-built forward showed off his vice-like hands and long right-foot kick and finished the game with 10 disposals, two goals, five marks and five tackles. Ned Walter performed well under-siege in defence and Lachlan Thomas provided an outlet on the outside of the contest. Blake Higgins finished with 15 disposals and six marks and ruckman Declan Hortle won a game-high 22 hit-outs.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

Although in recent weeks Murley hasn’t registered the massive numbers of earlier in the season, he has shown flashes of brilliance with ball in hand which will have AFL recruiters excited. In the first term, it was his clean disposal by hand which stood out. His clean pick-up at ground level at quick handball to Xavier Tranfa led to Norwood’s first goal of the contest. Throughout the game, Murley showed a willingness to use his opposite foot and hit his targets more often than not. He was always on the move at stoppages when around the ball and looked to open up the game on the outside with his elite speed. He finished with 19 disposals, three marks, thee tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s.

#4 Henry Nelligan

Nelligan was once again outstanding for Norwood through the midfield. He was opposed to Tom Powell at various stages and probably ended up on top in that battle. His classy spin through traffic was a highlight in the first term and his use of the ball was clean and effective, by both hand and foot. He was often the first player to get his hands on the ball at stoppages and was quick to find a target in some space. The pocket-rocket has been tremendous since returning to Under 18s level and will be difficult to stop in the Grand Final, set to be played in a fortnight’s time. He finished the contest with a well-rounded stat-line consisting of 25 disposals, five marks, four tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s

#5 Ethan Schwerdt

Schwerdt sprung to life in the third term and was a key reason behind Norwood’s inside 50 dominance. The Double Blues had no answer for his ball-winning around the contest and were unable to prevent him from thrusting Norwood back into attack time-after-time. Schwerdt has become an instrumental component of the highly talented Norwood midfield unit. He was clean at ground level and finished the match with a game-high 27 disposals, three marks and five inside 50s.

#21 Jack Saunders 

Saunders backed up his best-on-ground performance last weekend with another standout showing in Norwood’s big semi-final victory over Sturt at Thebarton Oval. He spent some time off half-back early on, where he was able to use his speed and booming right-foot kick to turn defence into attack. However, he was most effective when moved onto the ball. Saunders provided an instant spark and became the most damaging player on the ground. He attacked every contest at high-speed and ran hard both ways to link up the play between the arcs. He was very clean and precise by foot and backed-himself to hit a couple of difficult targets through the middle of the ground. Saunders will have accumulated an abundance of metres-gained in what was another fantastic performance from the dynamic, hard-running midfielder. He finished with 25 disposals, eight marks, three tackles, three clearances, five inside 50s and three rebound 50s.

#30 Finn Heard

Throughout the season, the Redlegs have proven to be a much better side whenever Heard is in the line-up. The big full forward again showed why he is one of the best tall forwards in SA by producing a strong performance in attack. Although he missed his first two attempts on goal from gettable opportunities, he was on the receiving end of Norwood’s midfield dominance as the ‘Legs began to take over. Heard’s leading patterns generated ample opportunities and his ability to gain separation on the lead was terrific. Heard, who played a stay-at-home role in attack, will have enjoyed being handed two goals from the square in the third term. He finished with five goals and two behinds from four marks and nine disposals.

Others:

Corey Jones-Bobridge was one of his side’s best in the 52-point triumph. He nailed two goals, to go with 17 disposals, five marks, three clearances and three inside 50s. The powerful Xavier Tranfa also did some damage on the scoreboard, booting two goals from his 20 disposals. He also laid four tackles, won four clearances when pushed into the midfield and sent the ball inside-50 on a team-high six occasions. Michael Cavallaro finished with 12 disposals and seven marks, while Harlee Chandler won 20 disposals, five marks, four clearances and four inside 50s. Ruckman Nathan Hearing was a force around the stoppages, winning seven clearances and the booming long kick of Sam Duke proved effective down back.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

Featured Image: Eagles midfielder Taj Schofield evades tacklers | Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

Draft Central Power Rankings: October 2020

COMBINES, All-Star showcases, and state league finals have brought new life to the 2020 AFL Draft scene, as budding prospects around the nation look to prove their worth ahead of that one day in (likely) early-December. Victorian talents remain in the unknown, but feature aplenty in our list which has undergone a series of minor shuffles. In Draft Central’s latest Power Rankings, the form guide has shot out to 30 names; compared to 25 in our September analysis, and 20 in both August and July.

Among the fresh faces, a South Australian bolter enters the top 25, while two Fremantle Next-Generation Academy (NGA) prospects make their way onto the board alongside a highly-touted Sydney Swans Academy gun. All that, and more in our October Power Rankings update.

Note, the list is ordered purely on our opinion and each players’ ability, not taking into account any AFL clubs’ lists or needs.

#1 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Country | Key Position Forward
4/04/2002 | 194cm | 84kg

Western Bulldogs fans may not entirely enjoy seeing Next Generation Academy (NGA) product, Ugle-Hagan perched atop the tree given the hefty price that comes with it, but should be buoyed by their club having first dibs on such a remarkable talent. The 194cm key position forward has been compared to champion goalkicker Lance Franklin for his athleticism and left-foot kick, but he plays a little differently. Ugle-Hagan’s pace off the lead and sticky hands overhead set him apart, while elite scores in each of the preseason testing events make him an irresistible prospect alone. He is the consensus number one choice at this point, having delivered on the hype as he moved to the Oakleigh region via a scholarship with Scotch College.

September Ranking: #1

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#2 Elijah Hollands
Murray Bushrangers/Vic County | Forward/Midfielder
25/04/2002 | 188cm | 80kg

Hollands’ placing in these rankings will inevitably prove one of the hardest to call throughout the year, given he is set to sit out the entire 2020 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). At this point though, he has done more than enough to warrant top five status at the least, and finds a place in second spot once again. While his knack for producing game-defining periods has most significantly been achieved forward of centre, Hollands has the size and skill to warrant his goal of earning more midfield minutes. With clean hands, athleticism, and a booming boot which often finds the goals, Hollands is all you could ever want from a high-ceiling prospect. Not playing shouldn’t hurt his value too much, but it would have been nice to see him get an uninterrupted crack at NAB League level having finished his schooling at Caulfield Grammar.

September Ranking: #2

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League, and recovery from long-term knee injury.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#3 Logan McDonald
Perth/Western Australia | Key Position Forward
4/04/2002 | 196cm | 86kg

A dominant key position forward with terrific endurance is McDonald, who adds to the strong tall and West Australian representation on this list. The high-marking spearhead ran out for his state thrice during last year’s Under 18 National Championships, averaging a goal per game and impressing with his ability to clunk marks leading up the ground. He has terrific hands on the lead and usually has no trouble finding the big sticks, while his high-level endurance confirms his status as a true, modern-day centre half-forward. Having grown and filled out to a more conventional key position size, McDonald has showcased his game-winning ability from forward of centre in 2020 – something which earned him All-Australian honours as an Under 16s player.

September Ranking: #3

Last Month: McDonald showed off his endurance at last week’s West Australian combine, scoring third in the 2km time trial. On-field, the key forward capped off his season by helping Perth qualify for the WAFL League finals for the first time in over 20 years, but was kept goalless in the Demons’ week one loss. He booted one major the week before, and managed three against Swan Districts before Denver Grainger-Barras was switched onto him.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus | Player Focus

#4 Denver Grainger-Barras
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Key Position Defender
14/04/2002 | 194cm | 78kg

Another tall amongst the top five, and a versatile one at that. While he is definitely most comfortable and renowned as a key position defender, the Swan Districts hopeful’s versatility lies in the varying roles he play inside defensive 50. Credit to his athleticism and slender frame, he is able to keep up with medium types at ground level, while also showing form as a lockdown type on the opposition’s best big forward, or as an intercept marking outlet. Grainger-Barras is a cool head in possession too, boasting a sound kick for his size and composure beyond his years. That same level-headedness and footballing IQ makes him a sound reader of the play from the back, and the leading option in his position.

September Ranking: #4

Last Month: Grainger-Barras was another to showcase his high-level athleticism at the West Australian combine; scoring third in the running vertical jump (left), fifth in the 20-metre sprint, and second in the agility test. After a terrific outing against Logan McDonald’s Perth, the prolific defender rounded out his season with just six disposals and two marks as Swan Districts failed to make finals.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus | Player Focus

#5 Will Phillips
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
22/05/2002 | 179cm | 78kg

We all marvelled at how well Oakleigh graduates Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson have adapted to life in the AFL, and Phillips could be the next Charger in line to do just that having leant on the pair during his bottom-aged campaign. Like Rowell, Phillips is a sub-180cm prospect who consistently finds plenty of the ball and possesses great leadership qualities. He is a well-balanced midfielder too, having plied his trade at times on the outside for Oakleigh en route to premiership glory. Phillips seems to thrive on the inside though, with his hardness and ability to weave through traffic making him an invaluable stoppage asset. The Caulfield Grammar student was set to juggle APS football and NAB League duties in 2020, while standing as a clear leadership candidate for Vic Metro come national carnival time – all before the pandemic hit.

September Ranking: #5

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#6 Riley Thilthorpe
West Adelaide/South Australia | Ruck/Key Position Forward
7/07/2002 | 201cm | 100kg

In a welcome change from last year’s crop, key position prospects will be in abundance at the top end. Thilthorpe is one of them, an athletic ruck/forward who possesses enormous running capacity and can dominate the airways. In his ruck duties, the 201cm West Adelaide product plays more like a fourth midfielder, able to follow up at ground level and cover the ground like a small. He has been utilised in a more forward-oriented role for the Bloods at SANFL League level though, with his goalkicking attributes and diverse skillset already making him a handful for senior players with more mature bodies. Ask any of the South Australian Under 18s who they have most been looking forward to playing alongside in 2020, and Thilthorpe is among them. Jot the name down, he should be among those you are most looking forward to watching, too.

September Ranking: #6

Last Month: The West Adelaide bigman has battled through injury trouble over the last month, unable to get back on the park at SANFL League level despite being named. A niggling groin injury also kept him from testing at the South Australian combine.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

#7 Braeden Campbell
Sydney Swans Academy/Allies | Balanced Midfielder/Forward
4/02/2002 | 181cm | 72kg

While he has again been squeezed out to number seven, Campbell is a player who could potentially sit among the top five come season’s end. Uncertainty lingers over how much exposure NSW/ACT athletes will be able to gain in 2020 given the NEAFL and NAB League scrappings, but one must only watch last year’s Under 17 Futures All-Star showcase to be reminded of Campbell’s talent. He was best-afield in that game, with electrifying speed, hardness at the ball, and a booming left-foot kick catching the eye of all who bore witness. The Swans Academy product is also apt in the short range as well, and has the invaluable ability to impact games in multiple positions. Whether it be on the inside, outside, or forward of centre, Campbell is a match-winner and should cost the Swans a pretty penny in terms of draft points.

September Ranking: #7

Last Month: The exciting Swans Academy prospect booted a goal in each of his three AFL Sydney Premier Division outings for Pennant Hills in September. The Demons won two of those games, but lost most recently in their lone finals dig against St George. The NSW/ACT combine on October 25 will be Campbell’s next point of call.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus

#8 Tanner Bruhn
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
27/05/2002 | 182cm | 73kg

Class with a capital ‘C’ is what Bruhn has been described as, despite his limited on-field opportunities of late. The Geelong Falcons midfielder burst onto the scene as Vic Country’s Under 16 MVP in 2018, but injuries have cruelled him since; having initially required knee surgery after a 2019 preseason incident, and undergone a follow-up procedure that would have had him in doubt to feature early this year. He still managed to add two NAB League outings to his resume towards the end of last season, showcasing his terrific stoppage craft with clean hands and wonderful movement around the ball. Should he eventually enjoy an extended run and put his best form on display, Bruhn could well push to be the premier midfielder of this year’s bunch.

September Ranking: #8

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#9 Lachlan Jones
WWT Eagles/South Australia | General Defender
9/04/2002 | 186cm | 89kg

Yet another NGA prospect, Jones is tied to Port Adelaide and features quite highly on this list. His big frame has seen him adjust well to the rigours of SANFL League football, running out against mature bodies in nearly all of the Eagles’ fixtures thus far. As a general defender, Jones possesses obvious hardness at the ball and can compete both aerially and at ground level, remaining relevant going both ways too. His skills are also a big asset, able to spear passes to high percentage options while also breaking games open with his long-range efforts. Jones may well be one to push further up the list as he progresses in 2020, with some solid traits which point to a quick transition into the next level.

September Ranking: #10

Last Month: Jones is another to have missed some football over the past month, but thankfully not much. An ankle injury kept him from testing at the recent South Australian combine, and also saw him miss Round 14 in the SANFL. After some hit-and-miss form, the big-bodied defender returned in week one of the finals with 19 disposals and 11 rebound 50s as his Eagles went down to North Adelaide.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus Round 3 | Round 8

#10 Nathan O’Driscoll 
Perth/Western Australia | Midfielder/Defender
17/05/2002 | 187cm | 78kg

One of Western Australia’s leading prospects is O’Driscoll, a hard-at-it inside midfielder who can also double as a damaging half-back or wingman. The 187cm Perth Demons product was a standout at Colts level last year, while also breaking through for three outings in the Black Ducks’ Under 18 National Championships campaign as a bottom-ager. Having learnt off the likes of former Perth teammate and Brisbane draftee, Deven Robertson, O’Driscoll is primed to become a permanent midfield fixture having already proven his ball winning capabilities. His penetrating boot and speed-endurance mix make him a prospect with many desirable traits, not to mention his older sister, Emma is already plying her trade at AFLW level for Fremantle.

September Ranking: #11

Last Month: O’Driscoll finished off his top-age campaign as a regular fixture in Perth’s League midfield. While a disposal average of 11 over his last three games does not jump off the page, O’Driscoll looked composed on the ball and was able to impact defensively as well. He runs all day, and proved as much my finishing second in WA’s 2km time trial. He also came runner-up in the 20-metre sprint, while taking out the agility test. He boasts an impressive speed-endurance mix through midfield.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus

#11 Nikolas Cox
Northern Knights/Vic Metro | Key Position Defender/Utility
15/01/2002 | 199cm | 82kg

A 199cm player who can run, kick on both sides, and play just about anywhere? It sounds too good to be true, but that is exactly what Cox brings to the table as his region’s most outstanding draft candidate. Cox cut his teeth as a tall wingman and key position swingman in 2019, juggling his time between school football, 10 NAB League outings, and a berth in the Under 18 Vic Metro squad as a bottom-ager. In 2020, the Northern Knights co-captain was set to develop as a centre-half back, with his athleticism and versatility in the role lending to the fact he has an enormous ceiling. He was also set to be a prime candidate to lead Vic Metro this year, lauded for his professionalism and the example he sets via training standards.

September Ranking: #9

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and AGSV Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#12 Alex Davies
Gold Coast SUNS/Allies | Inside Midfielder
18/03/2002 | 192cm | 85kg

A second Northern Academy prospect and the first Queenslander on this list, Davies is one of the more highly touted big-bodied midfielders of his cohort. Standing at 192cm and filling out to 85kg, the SUNS Academy hopeful boasts the ideal size to not only dominate his junior competitors, but more importantly make an immediate impact at the next level. He has been his state’s prime ball winner for some time and thrives on racking up high contested numbers, but has also displayed terrific poise in traffic and adds releasing handballs to his thumping kicks away from the stoppages. He ran out for four of Gold Coast’s NAB League outings as a bottom-ager, and looked set to prove lynchpin among the Allies squad in 2020.

September Ranking: #12

Last Month: Davies has been inactive due to an elbow injury sustained in August, missing out on Broadbeach’s run to the QAFL Seniors Grand Final.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#13 Reef McInnes
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder
12/12/2002 | 192cm | 84kg

Sitting outside the top 10 due to others’ rises is another inside midfielder and a second NGA product from both the Scotch College and Oakleigh Chargers systems. Attached to Collingwood, McInnes is set to be yet another in the production line of academy and father-son prospects made available to the Magpies, and looms as a first round candidate. While he was pushed out to the forward line in Oakleigh’s stacked premiership side, McInnes is a bull on the inside who can dominate at stoppages. He is hardly the typical slow, strength-dependant type either, able to lean on his agility and awareness to effectively extract from midfield. The versatility he was made to learn as a bottom-ager adds another string to his bow, with goals a valuable part of his game in 2019.

September Ranking: #13

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#14 Zach Reid
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Key Position Defender/Utility
2/03/2002 | 202cm | 82kg

A versatile tall who could push for top 10 status, Reid returned a consistent output during his bottom-age season as a key member of Gippsland’s spine. He was tried up either end and through the ruck across 15 NAB League outings, but looked most comfortable down back and should find a home there once again in 2020. At 202cm, Reid is filling out nicely and can utilise that added strength to compete better one-on-one against big key forwards. He is a terrific judge of the ball in flight and positions intelligently, not just relying on his height to compete aerially. Reid is also both a sound handler and user of the ball for his size, providing a cool head in rebounding transitions.

September Ranking: #15

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and Gippsland Football League.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#15 Kaine Baldwin
Glenelg/South Australia | Key Position Forward
30/05/2002 | 193cm | 90kg

The news of Baldwin’s second ACL tear in as many years – albeit partial this time – was shattering. It means the promising 193cm forward will miss out on yet another season of football after earning All Australian honours at Under 16s level in 2018, and a crack at the SANFL Reserves grade as a bottom-ager. In our eyes, he remains a first round prospect on talent alone, and looked poised to really crack on in 2020 after his initial recovery. He was a handy preseason testing performer, with good returns in the vertical jumps and yo-yo test conveying Baldwin’s ability to crash packs and clunk big contested marks, while also harnessing that aerial dominance in his work up the ground.

September Ranking: #14

Last Month: Inactive due to recovery from long-term knee injury. Earned a National Combine invite for September 30 but did not participate.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#16 Heath Chapman
West Perth/Western Australia | Key Position Defender
31/01/2002 | 192cm | 81kg

A player who has risen into top 20 calculations, Chapman is a key position defender with many points of difference. Having cut his teeth in the role during his bottom-age year, the 193cm prospect has been able to roll off as a third tall down back for West Perth in 2020, utilising his shrewd reading of the play and athleticism to provide dominant intercept marking prowess. His ability to open up the play in transition with long, rebounding kicks is Chapman’s other key strength, making him a versatile defensive outlet who finds plenty of the ball. Given his size and athletic attributes, that third tall prototype seems his most likely avenue to the elite level, though he is just as capable competing as a more traditional key position player.

September Ranking: #16

Last Month: Chapman earned a League call-up in Round 8, but saw his senior stint prove one-and-done after 11 disposals against Claremont. He made a terrific return to the Colts level with 24 disposals and eight marks against eventual premier Subiaco, before managing 16 disposals and six marks amid tough conditions as the Falcons went down to East Fremantle in a preliminary final. He was an impressive performer at the combine too, faring well in the 2km time trial.

>> Draft Watch

#17 Oliver Henry
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Medium Utility
29/07/2002 | 187cm | 77kg

A brother-of who could eventually feature at the top end of this year’s rankings is Henry, the younger sibling of Geelong Cats defender, Jack. The Geelong Falcons product has top 10 potential, able to play up either end of the ground and pull down big marks. While he looks most comfortable up forward as a high-flying third tall type, Henry is just as capable down back where his aerial prowess translates to intercept value. At 187cm, he plays above his size through sheer athleticism and reading of the play, with the potential to also move up onto a wing. If Victorian prospects had been allowed back onto the park in 2020, Henry would likely have been one to rise quite steeply given his enormous upside and versatility.

September Ranking: #17

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League, local, and school football.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#18 Archie Perkins
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Forward/Midfielder
26/03/2002 | 186cm | 77kg

Perkins has all the makings of a special talent. Having caught the eye as a forward and outside midfielder in 2019, the Sandringham Dragons standout was poised to spend more time on the inside as a top-ager, with just the right size and some incredible athletic attributes to aid his transition. Perkins boasts a monster vertical leap, covers 20 metres in less than three seconds, and is brilliantly agile, making for an ideal athletic base. His finishing touch is an area he can refine, but the 186cm prospect is no stranger to finding the goals and can be a real game changer when required. Damage or impact is a key trait which is often hard to measure, but Perkins ranks highly in that department.

September Ranking: #20

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#19 Caleb Poulter
WWT Eagles/South Australia | Midfielder/Forward
12/10/2002 | 192cm | 79kg

One of this year’s brightest bolters, Poulter has rocketed up draft boards after an eye-catching start to his top-age season. The big-bodied midfielder brings a serious presence through midfield, able to win plenty of the ball himself while also hunting the opposition with tackling pressure. Add to his midfield craft the ability to take big marks overhead, hit the scoreboard with his penetrating left boot, and utilise his terrific athletic base, and you have a prospect who can wreak absolute havoc at his best. With some senior football also under his belt in 2020, Poulter has stood up and been noticed quickly. It has been a steep rise since his Under 16 carnival in South Australian colours last year.

September Ranking: #23

Last Month: Poulter’s stocks have risen not only on the back of a Reserves call-up and some solid form, but also due to his outstanding combine results. The tall midfielder came fourth in South Australia’s 20-metre sprint, second in the running vertical jump (right), and fifth in the 2km time trial. On-field, he managed four Reserves outings before returning to the Under 18s with a bang, booting two goals from 18 disposals. He also managed 20 touches in the Eagles’ finals win over South Adelaide, most recently. Poulter has spent a bit of time on a wing, and boasts great versatility in the sense that he can also roam forward or impact on the inside.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch

#20 Zane Trew
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder
26/04/2002 | 185cm | 80kg

Trew is one of many top-end prospects who have had to battle injury throughout their bottom-age seasons, but he looks primed to bounce back well in 2020. Hailing from the talent-stacked Swan Districts program, Trew is a classy inside midfielder who can rack up plenty of ball in style, backed by his 40-disposal effort in last year’s WAFL Colts competition. While he was limited to just three outings and missed Under 18 selection for WA, the 186cm prospect should not be forgotten in first round discussions. Trew is a handball-happy extractor, able to flick out releasing touches to his runners, but he is just as effective by foot with clean skills at short range and penetration when required. Should be a lock for the WA engine room this season with representative games ahead.

September Ranking: #19

Last Month: Despite Swan Districts’ inability to make finals, Trew finished his WAFL Colts campaign on a high. The inside midfielder was seemingly teased with a senior call-up, but instead racked up 22 and 32 disposals in his final two Colts appearances. He also laid a combined 19 tackles in those games, and took part in the West Australian draft combine. Trew achieved a much more consistent run this season, despite some slight injury troubles.

>> Draft Watch
>> Draft Diary 1 | 2
>> Marquee Matchup

#21 Tom Powell
Sturt/South Australia | Midfielder
2/03/2002 | 183cm | 74kg

There are few more consistent ball winners than Powell, who has put an interrupted bottom-age season behind him to emerge as arguably Sturt’s most promising draft prospect. The Double Blues standout simply finds the ball at will, able to get his side going on the front foot from midfield with clever positioning, movement, and extraction. He may be a touch handball happy, but is an elite exponent of that tool and is beginning to mix in his kicking to have an even greater impact on games. At his best, Powell is nothing short of dominant, though goals and a greater run-and-carry game would make him a complete midfielder – think Lachie Neale‘s development.

September Ranking: #18

Last Month: Calf tightness restricted Powell in light of the recent South Australian combine, and he seemed to carry the same niggle into his latest game. The midfielder returned a rare performance of under 20 disposals in Sturt’s semi final loss to Norwood, but averaged 31.7 disposals and 8.3 clearances across his other three September appearances. It will take something big to keep him down for a second week, as he looks to help the Double Blues qualify for an Under 18s Grand Final.

>> Feature (April) | (September)
>> Draft Watch

#22 Finlay Macrae
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
13/03/2002 | 184cm | 75kg

You may recognise the name and yes, Finlay is the half-brother of Western Bulldogs midfielder, Jack. They are quite clearly cut from the same cloth, with the younger Macrae possessing a similar ball winning appetite and class on the ball to his established older sibling. The 184cm Charger also boasts a terrific balance in his traits, able to impact the play moving forward with sound decision making and precise execution via foot, on top of his obvious exploits in extraction. While he is not overly quick, Macrae’s evasiveness comes through agility and awareness, which would have been on full show as he prepared to feature prominently for Oakleigh, Xavier College, and Vic Metro in 2020.

September Ranking: #21

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#23 Jack Carroll
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Midfielder/Defender
20/12/2002 | 187cm | 76kg

A fresh face to last month’s expanded list, Carroll has plenty of first round suitors. Coming into his top-age season, Carroll was pegged as a classy outside midfielder or half-back who moved well and used the ball efficiently by foot. But after nearly a full season of WAFL Colts football through midfield, the 187cm prospect has also shown his worth inside the engine room. Carroll measures up at a good height and while he may be a touch light around the contest, he uses his high-level agility and poise to weave through traffic before effectively disposing of the ball. A versatile talent with good upside, Carroll is destined to rise even further.

September Ranking: #22

Last Month: Carroll’s season ended after he suffered a broken wrist in Round 8 of the WAFL Colts, having run out the game against Subiaco to collect 18 disposals. He still managed to test at the West Australian combine, achieving second place in the standing vertical jump, and fifth in the running jumps off either foot. He faces a race against time to play in the upcoming All-Star fixtures.

>> Draft Watch

#24 Brayden Cook
South Adelaide/South Australia | Wing/Forward
18/07/2002 | 189cm | 82kg

Search for the 2020 AFL Draft bolter, and Cook’s name is likely the one you’ll find top of any list. The South Adelaide prospects has come from the clouds to not only put himself within draft contention, but right up into top 25 calculations. Plying his trade either up on a wing or inside forward 50, Cook is a game-winner who is capable of kicking bags of goals and taking eye-catching marks. His size allows him to not just rely on his vertical leap, but also out-work his opponents one-on-one, with his terrific goal sense often helping finish the job. Having put his name on the map, the wingman/forward can now look forward to featuring among his state’s All-Star showcase.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Cook enhanced his draft stocks with some handy combine results; coming fifth in the 20-metre sprint, fourth in the standing vertical jump, and fifth again in the running vertical jump (right). Most recently, he was kept goalless as South Adelaide bowed out of the Under 18s finals race, though Cook has proven his worth with a bag of five goals this month, and two majors in every other effort.

>> Draft Watch

#25 Joel Jeffrey
NT Thunder/Allies | Utility
12/03/2002 | 192cm | 80kg

The sole representative from the Northern Territory in our top 25, Jeffrey is arguably the region’s most promising draft prospect this year. Having grown to 192cm, Jeffrey is a true swingman who can dominate aerially up either end. His reading of the ball in flight is exceptional, and his sticky hands do the rest of the work as he pulls down big marks. The son of NT legend Russell Jeffrey, Joel comes from good pedigree and is terrifically athletic for his size; boasting speed to burn, a sizeable leap, and clean hands at ground level. Having gained senior football experience with Wanderers in the NTFL, Jeffrey was set to move to Queensland this year given his ties to the Gold Coast SUNS via their access to the Darwin zone. The move was ultimately put on hold due to the current pandemic, but Jeffrey looks likely to end up in the Sunshine State come season’s end.

September Ranking: #25

Last Month: The NT native took part in the recent Queensland combine, while also starring in the NT All-Stars game with three goals. He was utilised as a lead-up forward in that outing, the position he is said to prefer, although he is arguably just as good as an interceptor down back.

>> Draft Watch

#26 Brandon Walker
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Half-Back
17/10/2002 | 183cm | 75kg

Introducing one of the smoothest movers of the potential 2020 AFL draft cohort, who is tied to Fremantle’s NGA. Dockers fans will be desperate to downplay Walker’s potential, with elite speed, agility, and vertical leaps combined with clean skills to make up the East Fremantle prospect’s game. He looks a damaging outlet off half-back with his line-breaking ability and precision via foot, while also providing solid defensive cover credit to eye-catching aerial feats and reading of the play. Walker can also move through midfield, adding another string to his bow as he develops. His twin brother, Chris joins him at East Fremantle and in the Dockers Academy.

September Ranking: #24

Last Month: A sore foot post WAFL Colts finals football kept Walker from performing at the WA combine, though he has shown some handy form on-field. The defender averaged 18 disposals over his last four games, and managed 15 in East Fremantle’s preliminary final loss to Subiaco. He has been named at centre half-back most weeks, but loves to break the lines and deliver forward. He’ll be a half-back at the next level.

>> Draft Watch

#27 Bailey Laurie
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Forward/Midfielder
24/03/2002 | 178cm | 76kg

Another member of Oakleigh’s talent-rich 2019 premiership side, Laurie also features highly in our estimations. The small forward/midfielder is a livewire, and can take games away from the opposition quickly as a high-impact player. His forward running and wonderful agility make for some highlight-reel snippets, consisting of line-breaking bursts and baulks which make his opponents look silly. The Caulfield Grammar student is a great character and a teammate who others love to play alongside, adding a different element to his on-field prowess.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#28 Eddie Ford
Western Jets/Vic Metro | Medium Forward/Midfielder
21/06/2002 | 186cm | 80kg

If you’re after one of the best Under 18s highlight packages among this year’s crop, then look no further than Western’s Ford. The Jets’ leading prospect is capable of taking high marks, booting long goals, and bursting forward to break the lines with his explosive athleticism and speed. Having cut his teeth as a medium forward, the 186cm Victorian has recently requested tape of Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe as he looks to sharpen his midfield craft. He certainly has the size and athletic profile to make the transition, and would have done so with some time on the park as a top-ager. You may remember his Under 17 Futures All-Stars performance from last year, which is what he can produce at his best. Consistency will be key.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#29 Errol Gulden
Sydney Swans Academy/Allies | Small Forward/Midfielder
18/07/2002 | 172cm | 68kg

Seemingly joined at the hip with fellow Swans Academy gun Braeden Campbell throughout their journey to the bigtime, Gulden has long been a highly-touted prospect. The small utility broke through to claim the Division 2 MVP award at the 2018 Under 16 National Championships, racking up mountains of the ball and kicking bags of goals. Since, he has carried such form into his outings with the Swans Academy, while also playing senior footy in the AFL Sydney Premier Division, and representing the Allies Under 18s last year. The crafty mover is small, but holds his own and is as naturally talent a prospect as there is this year.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Gulden’s month began brightly with two goals, and second-best afield honours as his AFL Sydney Premier Division side beat the Inner West Magpies. He returned against the North Shore Bombers but was held goalless, with a Grand Final appearance against Sydney University and the NSW/ACT combine his next points of call.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#30 Joel Western
Claremont/Western Australia | Small Midfielder/Forward
12/10/2002 | 172cm | 68kg

Fremantle’s NGA talent program has proven one of the more successful producers of AFL-level players since its inception, and Western is one of a few highly touted prospects set to take the next step in 2020. The Claremont captain took his side to a second consecutive WAFL Colts Grand Final after last year’s premiership triumph, overcoming some early injury concerns to run out an outstanding season. The small midfielder is all-class through the engine room, able to zip out of traffic and deliver the ball forward with freakish skill. As will be expected at the elite level, Western is also capable of playing up forward and even across half-back, making him a player with plenty of upside for Dockers fans to look forward to.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Claremont’s Colts Grand Final commitments saw Western become unavailable for the WA combine, though it mattered little given his on-field performance. Playing predominantly through midfield, Western raised his stocks with a consistent end to the year, averaging 23 disposals across his last three games. He stands up in big games and can find the goals, making for a couple more handy points of difference.

>> Draft Watch

IN THE MIX:

The recent combines and finals football has brought out the best in a lot of players, who may be flirting with top 30-40 contention. Adelaide NGA hopeful James Borlase was recently best afield for Prince Alfred College in the SA All Schools Cup Grand Final, while Port father-son prospect Taj Schofield lit up the South Australian combine. Zac Dumesny made a solid return from injury in the SANFL Under 18s, as did Luke Edwards in the Reserves. The likes of Corey Durdin and Luke Pedlar remain sidelined, however.

Over in WA, Isiah Winder was another to test well in his state’s combine, while Subiaco’s Lachlan Vanirsen and Claremont’s Jack Avery have shot into draft contention on the back of fantastic finals series. Vanirsen took out the Jack Clarke Medal and was also named best afield in the WAFL Colts Grand Final, which the Lions won.

Brodie Lake‘s impressive All-Stars outing and combine results will have Gold Coast fans smiling, as the NT native falls under their Darwin zoning. Brisbane Academy members Blake Coleman and Saxon Crozier recently helped Morningside upset Broadbeach in the QAFL Seniors Grand Final, while Tasmanian Jackson Callow was in a rich vein of form before being injured.

Victorians Connor Downie, Jake Bowey, Max Heath, and Cody Brand are among those also around the mark.

Out to impress: SANFL Semi Finals

TEENAGE sensation Lachlan Jones will return to the Eagles senior side for their semi-final clash with North Adelaide. The Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect rolled his ankle in Woodville-West Torrens’ round 13 victory over West Adelaide, preventing him from taking part in the final match of the minor round. Jones did not test in the South Australian draft combine during the week out of precaution, but is expected to make his return after being named on the half-back flank.

Fellow teenager Ben Jungfer is also a possibility of taking part in his first SANFL finals series, having performed well in the senior side since debuting in Round 13. He has been named on the extended interchange, along with Tasmanian defender Rhyan Mansell. 

Roosters defender Karl Finlay is also set to get a taste of finals action when he lines up at full-back for Jacob Surjan‘s men. Fellow tall Dyson Hilder has been named on the extended bench.

Canberra import Tom Highmore has been named at centre-half-back for South Adelaide when they take on the reigning premiers, Glenelg, in the second game of an Adelaide Oval double-header. Exciting small forward Beau McCreery has been named in the forward pocket after he wasn’t risked for the clubs final minor round match. 17-year-old future star Jason Horne has been included on the extended bench.

Meanwhile, Glenelg defender Luke Parks (back pocket) and utility Callum Park (wing) have both been named on the field for the Tigers as they look to defend their crown.

Sturt defender and Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect James Borlase has been included in Sturt’s reserves side for their clash with North Adelaide at X Convenience Oval on Saturday morning, alongside wingman Josh Shute and key forward Tom Emmett.

Ball-magnet Tom Powell will return to Sturt’s under-18s side for their semi-final clash with Norwood, after he missed last weekend’s encounter with Glenelg and the draft combine testing with calf tightness. He will re-join the consistent Mani Liddy and Will Spain in the engine room for the minor premiers. Malachy Carruthers has been named on the half-back flank and exciting bottom-ager Morgan Ferres at centre-half-forward.

The Redlegs have also named a strong side for the all-important clash with their eastern suburbs rivals. Prolific pocket-rocket Henry Nelligan and dynamic goal-kicker Jack Saunders will lead the Norwood midfield unit into battle, supported by bottom-ager Cooper Murley and classy utility Michael Cavallaro. Gun forward Finn Heard will provide a dangerous target in attack, having booted 20 goals in just six games during the minor rounds. At the opposite end of the ground, the club will be hoping defensive duo Daniel Fairbrother and Sam Duke can intercept and set-up the play for the Redlegs off half-back using their clean foot skills.

The Eagles under-18s have named a settled line-up for their semi-final with South Adelaide. Power father-son prospect Taj Schofield performed strongly at the combine during the week and has been named in the forward pocket, alongside tall Henry Smith (centre-half-forward) and club leading goalkicker Jack Wheare (half-forward flank). Caleb Poulter has been named in the centre, with ruckman Zac Phillips, bottom-aged ball-magnet Jase Burgoyne and the consistent Max Lister also named in the starting midfield rotation.

South Adelaide draft bolter Brayden Cook will be looking to replicate his match-winning performance the last time the clubs met, back in Round 8. Cook, who booted a competition-high 26 goals in 12 minor-round games, has been named on the wing, with versatile AFL Academy member Nick Kraemer selected at half-forward. The Panthers will also be hoping dynamic bottom-ager Arlo Draper (forward pocket) and the talented Liam Hamilton (half-forward flank) can help the club kick a winning score. After winning 33 disposals in his first under-18s game of the year last weekend, Zac Dumesny will provide the side with flexibility and skill. Will Verrall is set to lead the ruck division, with 17-year-old Matthew Roberts and the big-bodied Harry Spacie to do the roving.

FIXTURES

League:

South Adelaide vs. Glenelg | Sunday October 4, 12:15pm @ Adelaide Oval
Woodville-West Torrens vs. North Adelaide | Sunday October 4, 3:15pm @ Adelaide Oval

Reserves:

Sturt vs. North Adelaide | Saturday October 3, 11:00am @ X Convenience Oval
Central Districts vs. Woodville-West Torrens | Saturday October 3, 1:30pm @ X Convenience Oval

Under-18s:

Woodville-West Torrens vs. South Adelaide | Saturday October 3, 11:00am @ Thebarton Oval
Sturt vs. Norwood | Saturday October 3, 1:30pm @ Thebarton Oval

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL – Round 14

ROUND 14 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talentNational Combine invitees, and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

>> Power Rankings: September Edition

WWT Eagles vs. Central District

By: Tom Cheesman

WWT:

#3 Taj Schofield

Schofield put together a strong performance at Prospect Oval on Saturday. He is a silky midfielder that never fumbles and is willing to do the little things such as smothering and blocking to help his team. His work rate was fantastic in this game, as he ran into space on numerous occasions to take uncontested marks. Schofield’s skills were consistently good, highlighted by a beautiful spearing kick to half-forward in the second quarter. He also displayed some nice forward craft when he produced a clean front-and-centre crumb and set up a Henry Smith goal in the third term. Schofield finished with 25 disposals, six marks, eight inside 50s and two clearances.

#7 Caleb Poulter

Poulter proved once again that he is a class above Under 18s level with 27 disposals, five marks, five inside 50s and four tackles. He has great size and rotates between midfield and forwardline. In this game, he always followed up his possessions and attacked the ball with ferocity. He frequently pushed back to help the defence to help out and provided a strong marking target when required. Although he made a couple of skill errors early, he cleaned this up as the game wore on. Poulter kicked two majors for the day, including a goal of the year contender in second term where gave a forward handball, pushed hard to get the hands back and then casually drilled the drop punt from 50 metres out on the boundary.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

With 31 disposals for the day, under-ager Burgoyne was the leading ball winner for his side. He rotated between half-back and midfield, where he was able to break away from opponents with speed. His first couple of steps are incredibly quick, and from there he becomes very difficult for opposition players to tackle. Burgoyne has great hands overhead and a nice leap, as shown when he took a beautiful mark at half-back in a one-on-one in the second term. He also looks to switch or kick the ball into the corridor whenever possible to open up the game for his side offensively. Burgoyne capped off the strong performance with a clever snap goal from a stoppage in the final term.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

McDonald was the Bulldogs’ best player on the day. He is a hard-working midfielder who reads stoppages well and finds plenty of the ball around the ground. His tackling was fantastic, as he never let players run past him and won free kicks for holding the ball. McDonald won many loose balls because he simply attacked it harder than his opposition, and he also has great vision and composure under pressure. McDonald finished with 32 disposals, 12 clearances, four marks, four tackles and four inside 50s.

#37 Cody Gilchrist

Gilchrist was a standout for the Bulldogs, particularly early in the contest. He provided a great presence up forward with some fantastic leads at the ball carrier. It is always important for a key forward to be reliable when kicking for goal, and Gilchrist was very dependable on Saturday. He nailed three majors including a beautiful set shot from the boundary in the third term. Gilchrist finished with 11 disposals and three marks to go with his three goals.

#39 Wyatt Ryan

Ryan has had a good season in 2020, and this continued at Prospect Oval. He had a great battle with Eagles ruckman Zac Phillips, as both men displayed fantastic body-work and tap craft when they were in the middle. Ryan was a dominant force around the ground, as he often provided an option coming out of defence and gave quick hands to teammates running past to start some attacking play. He also got involved in link-up chains out of stoppages, applied strong tackling pressure, and demonstrated that he has a good field kick for a man his size. Ryan kicked a goal from a set shot in second term after some poor Eagles defending allowed the ball to bounce through. He finished with a very impressive statline of 25 disposals, 25 hitouts, nine marks, five clearances and five inside 50s.

>> MORE CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

West Adelaide vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

West Adelaide:

#1 Charlie Pridham

Despite his smaller stature, Pridham was one of West Adelaide’s best performers at ACH Group Stadium. Primarily deployed on the wing and through the midfield, he made an immediate impact on the game at the first couple of stoppages, where he was able to read the tap and break free from his opponent to dish off an effective handball. He cracked in when it was his turn to go, laying six tackles. Although he was out-bodied at times in one-on-one contests, Pridham will look to add some size in the off-season and build on this encouraging performance ahead of the 2021 season. He finished the contest with 19 disposals, six tackles and three rebound 50s.

#4 Cade Kennedy

Another talented bottom-ager to impress for the Bloods was midfielder, Kennedy, who once again showed why he is one of South Australia’s leading small midfield prospects for next season. Kennedy gave it his all at each contest, cracking in hard against some of Norwood’s strong-bodied on-ballers. Although his work in-tight was the highlight, Kennedy was also able to impact the play away from the stoppages, finishing with six inside 50s. He tackled hard as always and was rewarded with a holding the ball free kick early in the first term. One of his side’s shining lights in what has been a challenging season, Kennedy concluded the final minor round game with 21 disposals, four tackles and five clearances.

#10 Eduard Van den berg

The strongly-build defender gave it his all despite facing an onslaught of Norwood inside 50s. Van den berg was strong in the one-on-one contests and asserted himself on the game with a couple of strong tackles. He was once again handed the kick-in duties and used his raking left foot to deposit the ball beyond the defensive 50 arc. Van den berg’s short kicking was also precise for the most part. He finished the final game of the season with 27 disposals, three tackles, four clearances and a game-high 12 rebound 50s.

Others:

Small forward Connor Blackwell booted three of West’s five goals for the game, making the most of limited opportunities inside 50. He applied plenty of pressure on the ball handler inside 50, finishing the game with seven disposals and five tackles. Centre half-forward Luke Young provided a lead-up target down the line, finishing with 11 disposals, four marks and a couple of tackles. Luke Heitmann and Thomas Faulkner shared the ruck responsibilities and combined for 23 hit-outs. After spending much of the season playing school football, Hamish Dunkin returned for the Bloods’ final game and had some nice moments running between the arcs, finishing with ten disposals, six marks, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s.

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

The talented midfielder has pieced together a wonderful bottom-aged season, however he didn’t quite have the impact he would have liked agains the Bloods on Saturday; finishing with 15 disposals, one goal and three inside 50s. He made a couple of uncharacteristic errors, including an errant kick out-on-the-full and fumble at ground level. However, he attacked the contest at speed and was still able to have some eye-catching moments through the middle, showing off his elite speed and high endurance. With the likes of Michael Cavallaro, Ethan Schwerdt, Daniel Fairbrother and Jack Saunders joining he and Henry Nelligan in the Redlegs’ midfield rotation, Murley didn’t get the on-ball minutes he has become accustomed to across the season. However, expect him to be prominent in Norwood’s finals campaign.

#4 Henry Nelligan

One of the competition’s most relentless and consistent ball winners, Nelligan was at it again at The Bay. He was everywhere early on, winning clearances and also contributing in attack. He was very clean at ground level and used it efficiently by hand and foot on most occasions. He, like several other Norwood midfielders, was able to get forward and impact the scoreboard to compliment his ball-winning capabilities through the middle. Nelligan has been fantastic since returning to Under 18s level and finished the game with 33 disposals, one goal, four marks, six clearances and ten inside 50s.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

The Redlegs have certainly welcomed the return of Cavallaro to the Under 18s lineup. He added some much needed composure and clean disposal to the side, complimenting the speed of Cooper Murley and Jack Saunders and in-and-under ball-winning of Henry Nelligan. He had numerous intercept possessions, where he was able to use his elite football smarts to cut-off the West Adelaide attack. Crucially, the wingman/half-back also made the most of his opportunities in front of goal, nailing three majors for the game to go with 21 disposals, three marks and four inside 50s. Expect his poise and decision making to have a impact as the Redlegs enter finals.

#13 Marcus Roberts

Roberts made another strong contribution through the midfield and up forward for the victors. He dribbled home an easy goal out the back of the stoppage late in the first quarter to extend his sides lengthy lead. He also worked well with the other talented Norwood midfielders and provided some strong clearance winning when on the ball. Roberts finished with 28 disposals, five marks and five clearances in the Redlegs’ 83-point hammering.

#21 Jack Saunders

Saunders was the clear best-on-ground in Norwood’s comprehensive triumph. He started in the middle and impressed with his breakaway pace. Although his foot skills have been questioned by some throughout the course of the season, his kicking was precise for much of the contest against West Adelaide. After booting a couple of behinds, he slotted his first major via a set shot from 30 metres out directly in front. Later on, his terrific run down tackle was rewarded with a free kick, which he converted after originally looking to pass it off. His tackling pressure remained high for the entirety of the contest and Saunders was able to break the game open with his burst running and intensity around the ball. He used his strength well one-on-one while up forward and harassed the ball carrier relentlessly, but his impact on the scoreboard was what separated his game from the rest. Saunders finished with 29 disposals, five goals, eight marks, seven tackles and four inside 50s.

Others: 

It was an ‘all played well’ type of game for the Redlegs, who finished off the minor round in the best way possible. Ethan Schwerdt made a strong contribution through the midfield, winning 25 disposals, one goal, seven clearances and six inside 50s. Xavier Tranfa booted two goals within a minute up forward and looms as a potential wildcard in attack over the next couple of weeks. The booming leg of Sam Duke was on display down back, launching a couple of kick-ins close to the centre circle. The athletic Benjamin Ianniello provided some run-and-carry from half-back and used the ball well across a variety of distances. He managed 15 disposals, a goal and four marks. Regular ruckman Nathan Hearing spent more time in attack this week and was able to clunk a couple of trademark contested marks. Daniel Fairbrother made a positive return to the Under 18s after his stint with the Norwood League side. He took a little while to get involved but worked his way into the game nicely, taking several intercept marks and using the ball typically well. Fairbrother concluded the outing with 12 disposals, four marks and four tackles.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

North Adelaide vs. South Adelaide

By: Eli Duxson

North Adelaide:

#5 Leo Coates

It was a relatively quiet game for the key forward who had to push up the ground more than usual to make an impact. He finished with just the nine disposals, but six marks and six tackles are indicative of his effort. He worked into defensive 50 to assist with rebounds on a few occasions but could not find the same space he found around the ground inside forward 50. He would have liked to have more of an impact on the scoreboard, but his efforts around the ground are commendable.

#12 Hugh Jackson

The crafty wingman put together a very handy game for the Roosters as he ended up with 20 disposals, one goal, and seven marks. He showed early a delicate poise on his trusty left boot, poise that he would continue all game with 90 per cent of his disposals being kicks. His work rate was impressive as he often filled holes in defensive 50 from the wing, while working forward to threaten goals. Some silky agility and evasion to get around a couple of defenders was a highlight in his first half of play. He looked to impact the scoreboard more in the second half and managed to do so after drilling a set shot. Jackson looked clean below his knees and with his disposal all game.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

The Crows NGA product was electrifying in the first quarter, having four shots on goal in the early stages of the game and kicking two of them. He finished with four goals from his 17 disposals and was finding space on the lead and around the contest. His pressure and efforts without the ball stood out all game, with a big chase down tackle in the middle of the ground exemplifying that. He looked dangerous moving up the ground and in the middle with his pace and core strength, managing five clearances during his time in the midfield. He could have been a little wiser at times to not blaze away around goals kicking a couple out on the full, but his efforts are nonetheless exciting.

#28 Matthew Borg

Borg was a little quieter than his usual output, but he toiled away in the midfield all game to finish with 15 disposals, four tackles, and five clearances. He was not far off enjoying a big game as he was often there or thereabouts, fumbling at times or being overlooked for handball receives. Borg scraps on the inside but looks the most dangerous when following up, with his repeat efforts a key feature of his game. He made good decisions with ball in hand and should be pleased with a fine season.

#29 Zyton Santillo

The nuggety Santillo capped off a solid season with 20 disposals and a goal playing out of the forward half. His agility was on show early as he lost his defender who was hot on his tail quite easily, but was also very impressive with his disposal. He was deliberate and accurate through either handballs or kicks as he recorded 10 of each. Despite his height, he found plenty of space and proved to be a good option as a link player going forward, his disposal efficiency being a key in that. He also showed a wise ability to hold space at stoppages to be an outlet player, doing so on multiple occasions.

#37 Karl Finlay (League)

Another serviceable game for the 19-year-old in one of North Adelaide’s key defensive slots, as he ended the game with 12 disposals and five marks. As he continues to grow in confidence, he looks to become more attacking and involved in forward moving plays, while also continuing the sturdy defensive side of his game. His reading of the flight of the ball was again reliable with a few thumping spoils killing the play. Finlay was an option on kick-ins for the Roosters, marking twice outside 50 to continue the ball forward. An ambitious yet perfect kick into the corridor is also indicative of his confidence levels growing and with finals to play, it will be exciting to see what he can do.

Others:

The Under 18 season is over for the Roosters, but Jayden Davison finished a consistent year with 28 disposals and six clearances while James Willis (18 disposals, six clearances) and Kallis Freer (16 disposals, one goal) were also solid. Other Adelaide NGA products in Lam Simon (nine disposals) and Blayne O’Loughlin (eight disposals) did not enjoy the attacking liberties they usually do, with the South Adelaide forwards keeping them accountable and the South midfielders looking for better options than the long bomb in hope. Dyson Hilder played in the seniors again and was challenged defensively, but still managed to play a role.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

South Adelaide:

#10 Brayden Cook

The medium forward was South Adelaide’s primary option going forward and could have very well kicked a bag. He finished with 2.5 from his 12 disposals and looked threatening whenever he was near it all game. Competing aerially is no issue for his height as he makes the most of a strong vertical leap to throw himself at the contest. Though he had just the three marks, he was able to get separation from his direct opponent on several occasions, with misguided entries or another defender preventing more shots on goal. His five behinds did not come from poor shots either, missing a couple of set shots narrowly, but he proved he was able to dob them with a 35-metre set shot from the boundary giving him his first major for the game. Naturally playing a bit more between the arcs, he showed a strong ability to push up the ground to provide an option, as well as be efficient once the ball hits the deck. A serviceable game in the end, but not far off a huge one.

#20 Zac Dumesny

In his first game this season in the Under 18s to help the Panthers qualify for finals, Dumesny accumulated in the back half amassing; 33 disposals (26 kicks), and 11 marks. It was a forgettable start to the game for him though with two turnovers from poor kicks in South’s defensive 50 directly resulting in goals, and another leading to a behind. Although he found a lot of the ball, a lot of his disposals were relatively easy being from taking the kick-outs, last touch out of bounds kicks, or getting it back from sideways chips. He was often loose defensively and was able to provide run out of the backline and rebound to effect, as his kicking became very clean and effective. He was useful with his attacking setups out of the back half but being given a tougher task defensively would appear to stretch him. It would be interesting to see how he plays in the midfield going forward, as with no tackles and clearances, he appeared most comfortable on the outside and was quite useful there.

#21 Matthew Roberts

Undoubtedly a best on ground performance for the hard-working midfielder as he ended up with 28 disposals, four goals, 13 marks, and eight inside 50s. Roberts was active at stoppages but spread well to find space often, finding a lot of ball between the arcs during slow play from the Panthers. His preferred left boot looked as clean as it gets, although he did look reluctant to go on his right side on one occasion. He normally had enough time and space to steady on his left though. Roberts’ poise going inside 50 was classy, but he was also very effective being on the receiving end from forward entries. His first goal came in the first term from a lead up mark and set shot goal, while his second came from a 25-metre penalty, advancing him to the goal square after putting his head over it. His final two goals came at a crucial time in the final quarter as it pushed the lead slightly out of reach for North Adelaide. His third goal would have travelled the best part of 60 metres, as he kicked the next one soon after from a quick snap out of pack on his opposite boot, proving he is capable when needed on his non-preferred. A great game for him as he will look to carry that play into finals.

#33 Arlo Draper

The fleet-footed Draper worked himself into the game nicely finishing with 17 disposals, two goals, eight marks, and five tackles. He played mostly half-forward and pushed up the ground to be an option around the centre of the ground and with his pace and aerial ability, he showed good versatility as he was able to gather cleanly off the ground as well. He kicked a very nice set shot from 40 metres on the wrong side for a right footer after finding space. Draper found space all game with ease and had a stint on the ball in the final quarter to show off his dash. Draper showed he is a bit of a utility and his team will be hoping he can continue to put up performances like this one, a solid game all round.

#35 Nick Kraemer

Kraemer started the game on Tariek Newchurch who was on fire early, but built himself into the game to finish with 19 disposals and seven marks out of South’s defensive end. The pace of Newchurch proved to be a little too much, but Kraemer was able to use his strength in static contests to halve them. His ball use was generally sound and he looked to provide some run off half-back at times as well. With a decent balance between kicks and handballs (12 kicks, seven handballs), he showed a level head under pressure and often made good decisions.

#35 Tom Highmore (League)

The 22-year-old from Canberra continued to show his class out of the defensive half for the Panthers, putting up another respectable game with 19 disposals, seven marks (four contested), and three rebound 50s. In his return game from a thigh injury, his intercept marking ability was on display in the first term, taking a nice contested one-handed mark, and reading the Roosters’ rebound the best to chop off a Harrison Wigg bullet. That particular play highlighted his ability to read the play and the flight of the ball, popping up at important times on several occasions. He courageously backed into oncoming traffic in the second quarter to take another impressive mark. Highmore’s kicking was tidy as usual, hardly putting a foot wrong as he was entrusted with kick-out duties a couple of times. He took aggressive positions in marking contests and was strong defensively, having to do battle with Keenan Ramsey (seven disposals, no goals) for most of the game. Highmore’s positioning when playing as a loose allowed him to set up rebounds, but more importantly fly and impact contests when necessary. This performance certainly would not have done any harm to his draft stocks.

Others:

A win cemented South Adelaide’s place in the finals for the Under 18s and while the inclusion of Dumesny was handy, players like Harry Spacie (23 disposals, 10 marks) and Max Clifton (20 disposals, one goal, seven inside 50s) stepped up as they enter finals footy. Luke Mitton was quieter than usual with just the six disposals, while William Verrall dominated the ruck battle with 30 hitouts. Williamstown Seagull Daly Andrews continues to play a role in the seniors since crossing the border, finishing with 13 disposals, six tackles, and a goal late in the game. He enjoyed good midfield minutes and worked hard on the inside all game having usually been cited as an outside threat.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Glenelg vs. Sturt

By: Michael Alvaro

Glenelg:

#1 Harry Tunkin

The diminutive and tough Glenelg midfielder/forward led his side for disposals, earning 24 to go with six marks, seven tackles, and three clearances. Coming off a solid school football season, the bottom-ager has slotted straight into the Bays’ side and performed well. He works hard for each possession and that was no different on this occasion, as he burrowed in time after time to try and generate some forward momentum for his side. He also found a good amount of ball while up forward too, but up at half-forward rather than close to goal. The only real knock on Tunkin’s effort was his kicking at times; often bombing out of congestion or scrubbing the ball forward in a rush. With another year to sharpen that tool, Tunkin should be a reliable outlet for Glenelg.

#2 Nasiah Wanganeen

While the lively wingman looked a little proppy on a couple of occasions, he still managed to have an impact and put his leg speed to good use. Wanganeen’s ability to close while chasing and apply manic defensive pressure is undoubtedly one of his key strengths, though he could not quite utilise that same factor going the other way. The bottom-ager tracked back well in the early stages, but found more ball forward of centre in the second half with much of the sting sapped from the contest. 13 disposals and three tackles far from do justice to his true form on Saturday in what was a tough game for the Tigers.

#19 Jayden Davis

Another reliable Glenelg bottom-ager, Davis was below his best of the weekend but popped up with some nice contributions. The midfielder again showcased his clean hands, able to hold onto overhead marks while also collecting the ball well at ground level. He booted a superb set shot goal from around 50 metres out in the third term and generally used the ball neatly around the ground. Having returned a solid overall campaign, Davis has plenty to build on in 2021 – his draft year.

#25 William Wiseman

Shock, another bottom-ager who stood up for the Bays on Saturday. Wiseman was terrific in all areas of the field, not afraid to inflict the force of his 192cm/102kg frame on opponents in his vicinity. His first signs of form were made while rotating through the ruck, following up well at centre bounces to win strong holding the ball free kicks. The bigman went on to lay four tackles overall, with much of his impact in the second half coming through a raft of contested marks. Utilised at either end of the ground, Wiseman was able to control the airways and in particular, pump the ball out of an under-siege defence during the final term. He has some nice traits to build off, especially if he grows a few more cm’s.

#32 Jarrad Parish

Parish was a mainstay down back for the first three terms, working well to intercept and provide a cool head on the last line for Glenelg. The 188cm prospect even attended the centre bounces in the final term as Glenelg looked to shuffle the magnets and extract more ball through midfield. He struggled a touch in that department, but was sound when stationed behind the ball, even adding kick-in duties to his aerial work. Parish finished with 15 disposals (13 kicks) and eight marks.

Others:

There were plenty who rotated through the Bays’ engine room, with the likes of Oscar Clark (23 disposals) and Henry McAuliffe (23 disposals, five clearances) both working hard throughout the game. Bailey Durant saw plenty of ball down back alongside Brodie Edwards, while the likes of Hugh Stagg, Jesse Boag, and Jaden Grosser all showed good signs. Jarman Sigal had a terrific final term down back too, covering well as Parish moved further afield.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

Sturt:

#9 Malachy Carruthers

It is not hard to see why Carruthers earned a national combine invite, as the sharp-kicking defender proved a class above with his use by foot in what was otherwise a turnover-heavy contest. The top-ager broke the game open with his ability to hit targets in the corridor, putting Sturt in the best possible position to attack. His pin-point delivery to runners also allowed them to continue in their stride, opening up the stale, short-kicking trend of the game. As somewhat of a loose outlet, Carruthers was also able to generate some run through the corridor himself via handball receives, while dropping back into defensive 50 as a relieving option. Another string to his bow is intercept marking, with some nice floating grabs making for a complete highlight package. The half-back finished with 34 disposals and 15 marks on a dominant day.

#11 Will Spain

As he has done all season, Spain put in another solid shift for the Double Blues, rotating well through midfield as a well-balanced small option. The bottom-ager not only put his head over the ball, but was able to find more possessions on the outer with his hard running and clean hands at ground level. Add speed to the equation, and Spain was able to produce some nice breakaway plays from congestion. A well-struck set shot goal in the final term capped off a decent day, as Spain finished with 20 disposals, eight marks, and five tackles.

#13 Bradley Jefferies

Jefferies has been another terrific inclusion back into the Sturt lineup after school football commitments, and thrived once again from the engine room. The bottom-age talent was a mainstay through midfield and won his fair share of clearances (10), though lacked some depth on his kicks out of congestion at times. Jefferies also snuck forward on many an occasion and was unlucky not to hit the scoreboard. That lack of strength in his kicks perhaps cost him, as his range of snapped attempts did not have the required bend or whip around the corner to squeeze through the big sticks. Still, 34 disposals, 10 clearances and three behinds makes for a great midfield outing by anyone’s standards. He should be another to watch for next year’s South Australian draft crop.

#17 Mani Liddy

Arguably Sturt’s premier established top-age player in the absence of Tom Powell, Liddy was again able to find the ball at will; racking up 34 disposals, 10 marks, and five clearances. While some of those touches were had in the latter stages as Sturt looked to control the pace of the game, Liddy still worked hard to get to the right positions and won a mountain of his own ball earlier on. The nuggety midfielder showed good strength to stand up in tackles and distribute from the clinches, but could perhaps have sent clearances forward more often instead of handballing to space, or a teammate under pressure. His short kicking was usually sound, though he saw a few fall short while on the move as he looked to stab them into the wind. Liddy’s attempts to fend and burst from stoppages was also noticeable, and bodes well for his scope of improvement. A second term set shot conversion proved the cherry on top of his performance.

#27 Ned Grieve

Grieve was again a key fixture in defence for the Double Blues, able to impact aerially with sound intercept marking, while also moving the ball into transition via foot. Whether he was cutting across the contest or standing up in one-on-one situations, Grieve managed to clunk 13 marks in his 25-disposal outing, while also contributing to Sturt’s short chains in the back half. With another strong performance, the top-ager is well primed for a big finals series with the minor premiers.

Others:

Ned Walter was another strong defensive outlet alongside Grieve, taking 10 marks while penetrating either arc five times each. Jacob Lochowiak showed some eye-catching athleticism, with his vertical leap helping him present forward of centre. Ethan Field rotated through the middle to find plenty of ball, while Morgan Ferres made the most of his chances to boot three majors up forward.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

Featured Image: Sturt’s Will Spain in action against Glenelg | Credit: Phil Radoslovich/SANFL

Young gun focus: 2020 SANFL Round 14 wrap

WITH young guns impressing at state league level around the nation, we again narrow our focus for this week’s South Australian National Football League (SANFL) wrap to the performances of youth throughout all three grades. There is plenty to unpack in our next altered edition, with Under 18 prospects scattered across the two senior competitions, and a bunch of youngsters impressing in the junior grade in Round 14. Heavy finals ramifications were in place during the ultimate regular season round, which saw the cream truly rise to the top.

Norwood vs. West Adelaide

League: Norwood 6.11 (47) def. by West Adelaide 8.9 (57)
Reserves:
Norwood 5.7 (37) def. by West Adelaide 9.14 (68)
Under 18s:
Norwood 18.12 (120) def. West Adelaide 5.7 (37)

West Adelaide finished both its senior seasons on a high, defeating Norwood in the League and Reserves grades. While the results saw Westies steer clear of the last-place Redlegs Reserves, the Bloods still finished bottom of the League and Under 18s ladders with a combined three wins in either competition. Norwood was the best of the rest at League level, and missed out on top spot in the Under 18s by percentage only after a second-straight win.

The top flight debuts of Bailey Chamberlain and national combine invitee Jye Sinderberry were made memorable, as the two Westies young guns performed solidly in their side’s win. Chamberlain racked up 17 disposals and booted a goal playing on the wing, while Sinderberry managed 12 touches from defence. Lachlan Squire and fellow NSW/ACT recruit Hamish Ellem were also part of the Bloods’ victory. Norwood’s Jack Heard made up another debut for the weekend, notching 14 disposals and five marks for the Redlegs.

Nicholas Couroupis, Cooper Gilbert, Michael Laudato, and Hugo Kelly were among the young Bloods to contribute as West Adelaide saluted to the tune of 31 points at Reserves level, trumping a Norwood team which also boasted some young talent in the form of Mitchell Carroll, Alexander Scali, Lachlan Falco, and Nathan Maunder, the former two of whom booted a goal each.

The junior Redlegs got one back with an 83-point thumping of Westies, headlined by 29 disposals and five goals from the returning Jack Saunders. Henry Nelligan (33 disposals, one goal) was another small to find plenty of the ball, while Xavier Tranfa and Michael Cavallaro joined Saunders in booting multiple goals from over 20 touches. Westies’ tough season ended bluntly, though Eduard van den Berg (27 disposals, 12 rebound 50s) and Cade Kennedy (21 disposals, five clearances) were among those to finish their consistent campaigns in good form.

Central District vs. WWT Eagles

League: Central District 13.10 (88) def. WWT Eagles 13.6 (84)
Reserves:
Central District 13.9 (84) def. WWT Eagles 6.6 (42)
Under 18s:
Central District 9.9 (63) def. by WWT Eagles 16.12 (108)

Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) officially secured the League minor premiership on Saturday despite a shock loss to Central District, with gun small forward James Rowe also tying for the competition’s leading goalkicker award. The Bulldogs also triumphed in the Reserves to secure a minor premiership of their own in front of the second-placed Eagles, while WWT’s Under 18s are every chance to go back-to-back having secured third spot.

Rowe’s sole major and three from Coburg VFL recruit Sam Lowson were not enough to help the Eagles finish the League regular season with a win, though there were some promising young performers. Among them, former Port rookie Kai Pudney managed 20 disposals, followed by 18 from 19-year-old Lachlan McNeil. Northern Territory product Ben Jungfer will also hope to have secured his finals place after 11 touches. Jackson Kelly (21 disposals, 10 tackles, one goal) and Jack Toner (19 disposals, six marks, one goal) were both terrific for the winners, finishing their senior campaigns off well along with the Bulldogs overall.

Lachlan Grubb and Nicholas Lange snared two goals apiece as the Centrals two’s got up by 42 points, doubling their opponents’ total score in the process. But it was 2019 Oakleigh Chargers premiership player Thomas Graham who was named best for the victors in a terrific performance. Thomas is the son of former Hawthorn and Richmond player, Mark Graham, and was eligible to be drafted to the Hawks via the father-son rule.

As usual, the Eagles managed a good spread of performers as their Under 18s secured a comfortable win, led by usual suspects Jase Burgoyne (31 disposals, one goal) and Caleb Poulter (27 disposals, two goals). Port father-son prospect Taj Schofield was in the thick of it, Jordan Kasianowicz booted four majors, and tall pair Henry Smith and Zac Phillips both fared well aerially while hitting the scoreboard. 16-year-old Austin McDonald capped off a stellar season with 32 disposals and 12 clearances against stiff opposition, aided by Lewis Cowham (30 disposals, 10 clearances) and bigman Wyatt Ryan, who matched his hitout haul (25) with disposals.

Sturt vs. Glenelg

League: Sturt 9.13 (67) def. by Glenelg 12.8 (80)
Reserves:
Sturt 7.16 (58) def. Glenelg 8.2 (50)
Under 18s:
Sturt 13.15 (93) def. Glenelg 3.4 (22)

Equal League leading goalkicker, Liam McBean‘s four majors led the Bays to a confidence-building win heading into finals, though it was Sturt who took the points across the Reserves and Under 18s fixtures. Having snuck into the top four, the Tigers’ premiership defence is alive, but their season came to an end in the two remaining competitions. Conversely, the Double Blues will boast finalists in both those grades, with the Under 18s finishing top, but the League side left behind in sixth while the Reserves claimed third.

Glenelg over-ager Callum Park will bring some good form into finals, having managed 19 disposals (17 kicks) and 11 rebound 50s from his usual defensive post. Double Blues ruckman Daniel Fahey-Sparks ended his own season in commanding fashion, winning a monster 49 hitouts to go with his 18 disposals, seven marks (four contested), five clearances, and one goal.

Despite five goals from Nicholas Leck and a raft of young contributors, the Bays’ Reserves couldn’t repeat the feat. Riley Holder and Xavier Robins both played their first games at the level for Glenelg, while the likes of Luke Edwards, Ty Murphy, Cooper Horsnell, Hagan Wright, and Mitch Martin made up the Bays’ youthful core. Anzac Lochowiak and Beau Schwarze both found the big sticks in a winning Sturt side which also boasted Josh Shute and Tom Emmett.

Three Sturt guns racked up 34 disposals each as the Double Blues won comfortably in the Under 18s; with Malachy Carruthers working hard to also claim 15 marks, Bradley Jefferies snaring 10 clearances, and Mani Liddy adding a goal to his tally. Bigman Morgan Ferres booted three majors as he looks to impact during the postseason. Harry Tunkin (24 disposals, seven tackles) was busy for Glenelg, leading the disposal count in front of three teammates – Oscar Clark, Bailey Durant, and Henry McAuliffe – who all managed 23 touches.

South Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

League: South Adelaide 13.9 (87) def. North Adelaide 6.9 (45)
Reserves:
South Adelaide 8.7 (55) def. by North Adelaide 12.8 (80)
Under 18s:
South Adelaide 14.10 (94) def. North Adelaide 11.12 (78)

South Adelaide pulled off a confidence-boosting win over fellow finals bound League side, North Adelaide, while also securing finals at Under 18s level with another quality victory over the Roosters. North managed to get one back in the Reserves though, only cementing the status of their two senior sides in the postseason.

Mature-age national combine invitee Thomas Highmore provided a reminder of his class with 19 disposals and seven marks (four contested) from defence, while Victorian recruit Daly Andrews booted a goal from his 13 touches. For North, Karl Finlay was one of their best young performers with 12 disposals and five marks, as former Gold Coast listed player Harrison Wigg impressed with 23 disposals and seven marks for the Roosters.

Zac Dumesny made his return via the Under 18s, helping his Panthers lock in a top four spot with 33 disposals (26 kicks) and 11 marks. Bottom-ager Matthew Roberts had a day out with four goals from 28 touches, while Harry Spacie (23 disposals, 10 marks) was also handy, and Nicholas Kraemer (19 disposals) was another to return strongly. Draft bolder Brayden Cook booted 2.5 from his 12 disposals. Jayden Davison (28 disposals, six clearances) was again a top performer for the Roosters, while Hugh Jackson and Zyton Santillo both ticked over 20 touches and found the goals. Adelaide NGA gun Tariek Newchurch capped his season with four majors in a more consistent display.

Featured Image: North Adelaide’s Harrison Wigg is shut down by South Adelaide’s Daly Andrews | Credit: Deb Curtis/SANFL

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL – Round 13

ROUND 13 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talentNational Combine invitees, and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

>> Power Rankings: September Edition

Norwood vs. South Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

He may not have been at his absolute dominant best, but the bottom-ager still managed to impact proceedings with his searing pace and forward running. Murley built into the contest well, stationed at his typical midfield post as others rotated heavily around him. His break-neck acceleration and cleanliness came to the fore in tandem during the latter stages, as Murley gathered ground balls or received out of congestion, before freeing himself of opposition pressure with pure speed and delivering inside 50. He first found the goals in the second term after cooly converting a holding the ball free kick, but Murley’s highlight of the day came as he burned an opponent to win the ball over the back, before steadying and slotting a second major at full flight. There is no stopping him when he gets going, and the talented midfielder finished with 19 disposals, seven inside 50s, and two goals after a steady start.

#4 Henry Nelligan

Nelligan is a player who has no trouble in finding the ball, and that was exactly the case in this outing as he racked up an equal team-high 23 disposals for Norwood. The diminutive ball winner was one of the many Redlegs to rotate through midfield, providing a relevant two-way presence with numerous ground ball gets and a game-high eight tackles. He did well to chain his possessions and bring teammates into the game, while also working back into defence to help out – particularly when South was on top in the first term. Nelligan also has the ability to impress with weaving runs through traffic and outstanding use of his lateral vision, though much of his work came via scrubbed clearances and short-range passes to keep the play moving. A solid day out, nonetheless.

#11 Xavier Tranfa

One of the many prospects to return to SANFL action via the college football scene, Tranfa slotted into Norwood’s midfield well. The Rostrevor skipper also moved through the forwardline, but was arguably most impactful while operating the engine room. While Tranfa tended to bomb hurriedly out of congestion, he also had some nice passages where his agile step and quick, pumping bursts allowed him to exit the contest. The top-ager very nearly hit the scoreboard, as two final-term set shots only just failed to hit the target. He did provide a handy goal assist in the same term though, measuring a nice pass to honour William Warrick‘s lead inside 50. While others found more of the ball, Tranfa made the most of his 16 disposals with six clearances and eight inside 50s among them, as well as a couple of strong contested marks.

Others:

Another school football inclusion, Ethan Schwerdt notched 23 disposals as he slotted into the midfield fold. The Pembroke gun was clean and hard at the ball, also laying seven tackles in a solid outing. Samuel Duke was the other Redleg to have 23 touches, as he was made particularly busy in the early stages before settling Norwood down back. He contributed 10 marks, many of which were intercepts, and 10 rebound 50s. Finn Heard was another big performer for the victors, booting five goals and presenting beautifully up forward as a key position focal point. Half of his eight marks were contested. Rounding out, Michael Cavallaro continued his promising season with 19 touches and 11 marks, linking well between the arcs.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

South Adelaide:

#10 Brayden Cook

Cook is every bit the difference maker for South Adelaide, proving as much despite his five-goal effort being made in vein. While the draft bolter’s finishing has wavered at times among his wealth of opportunities, Cook was efficient as ever inside 50 on this occasion. He sparked the Panthers’ early onslaught with the opening goal of the game, burning an opponent before slotting the ball home. Another was added late in the same term, this time as he anticipated well after a long ball hit the deck. A classy dribble finish made for a third goal in term two, before Cook arrested Norwood’s momentum in the following period with two goals at the death, putting South back in front heading into the final break. Both majors showcased Cook’s incredible class on the ball, and an innate ability to know exactly how to move, to find space and the goals. Swinging him forward from the wing is South Adelaide’s wildcard, and it almost worked once again. Only 13 disposals this time out, but Cook only needs a few moments to make an impact.

#21 Matthew Roberts

It is as if he never left. Another to return to SANFL Under 18s action via the school football competition, Roberts immediately reminded onlookers of his class. Along with Brayden Cook, the bottom-ager was integral to South Adelaide’s blistering start, booting two outstanding goals in the first term. He was simply everywhere, tracking back to intercept in defence, extracting at the coalface, and eventually sneaking forward to bomb home those two majors. Roberts just has the happy knack of being able to find the ball in all parts, which is largely aided by his high-level work-rate. Add courage, the ability to lift a side on his shoulders, and neat use of the ball to those traits, and you have a first round prospect heading into next year’s draft. He copped some nagging opposition attention in the end, but still managed 31 disposals, six marks, six clearances, and two goals.

#33 Arlo Draper

Another bottom-age gun who has proven he is easily up to scratch, Draper continued his terrific form as a primary midfielder for the Panthers. He is already a good size, and uses every bit of his frame to stand up in tackles, most notably in the first term as he dished off to Brayden Cook while being pulled down on the attacking arc. While extracting has largely been his game, Draper also worked hard around the ground to gain an accumulative factor, but was much more suited to the cut and thrust of clearance work. He faded out of the game a touch, but still had a hand in numerous score involvements – including his own set shot which hit the post late in the day. Draper ended with 20 disposals, four clearances, and four inside 50s.

Others:

Max Clifton was another terrific part of the South Adelaide midfield, and attempted to lift when his side needed it. His ability to take the game on through the corridor and deliver forward via foot was again on show, as he managed eight inside 50s from 13 disposals. Jack Flett again showed good signs in defence, popping up for intercept marks and providing some dare on the rebound. He had 20 disposals and seven marks, while Harry Spacie took six marks from his 18 touches in defence. Dylan Brown‘s pressure was another strong point, as he laid six tackles in another valiant effort.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

North Adelaide vs. Sturt

By: Eli Duxson

North Adelaide:

#5 Leo Coates

The key forward had the Ned Grieve matchup all game and kept him accountable, kicking two goals and two behinds, and taking five marks. He scored the first goal of the game after being the recipient of a downfield free kick, and after starting his run up from the cricket pitches, he drilled the set shot and made the distance comfortably from 50 metres. Coates did not seem to be kicked to with long entries, so whether he was not in the right position or caught out with ill-directed kicks, that is certainly an area where he can stamp his authority more in games. When he pushed up the ground, he created contests at the very least and tried to follow up with pressure or blocks. He looked most impressive with slow forward entries as he was able to find space on Grieve and lead out and mark on several occasions. He kicked his second goal this way.

#20 Jayden Davison

The hard-running midfielder worked all game and continued to get to contest after contest. He finished with 27 disposals, one goal, and six clearances as he continues to put up solid performances. He lined up on Tom Powell at most stoppages but continued to hunt the ball himself. Davison had first hands on the ball at most stoppages and with good evasive skills, accurate handballs with either hand, and a relentless work ethic to put in repeat efforts, it was hard to stop his output. He was a little clumsy early over the ball either fumbling or going to ground, but once he got going he looked as clean as anyone. He spent most of the game in the midfield and continued to run hard both ways. His efforts were rewarded in the second quarter as he managed a goal with a quick gather and kick out of congestion. With more than 20 disposals and a goal in four of his previous five matches, Davison has proven himself to be a valuable member of this Roosters outfit.

#22 Lam Simon

Simon did not start the game the way he would have liked, giving away a free kick for high contact in front of goal, gifting Sturt their first goal. From there, it was strength to strength for the defender as he showed off his athleticism and ability to read the play to find his own ball. He clearly had a defence-first mindset though with some good one-on-one spoils, even courageously backing into a pack to fist it away. Once his job was done in defence, his acceleration and attack on the ball enabled him to burst through packs and provide some run-and-carry. His disposal was rushed at times under pressure, so he kicked a lot more than he handballed, but his disposal was neat more often than not. Simon finished with 16 disposals and six marks (three contested) in what was a good day for the North Adelaide defence.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

One of the more trusted ball users in the side, the defender ended up with 31 disposals, one goal, eight marks, and seven rebound 50s to help his side get the win they had. While some of his 26 kicks were chips sideways in defence, he also showed a willingness to attack the footy and lead his opponent to the ball, picking the ball up cleanly on the bounce on many occasions. His acceleration and cleanliness make him very damaging and when you factor in his ball use with that left boot, he becomes an exciting player to watch. When he runs off his opponent he manages to impact the contest with a spoil or mark or simply by creating a stoppage. When he does this, he does lose touch easily and although it did not cost him or his side, it is an easy way to give your opponent a freebie if it gets over your head. He capped off his game in the third quarter after receiving a 25-metre penalty to allow him to nail a set shot from 45 metres. While he does accumulate with short sideways kicks, his attack on the ball and ability to set up play from his defensive half is impressive and one to watch for opposition teams.

#37 Karl Finlay (League)

Finlay spent most of his day deep in defence and was the James Borlase matchup when he was playing forward. The key defender spoiled well and tackled strongly as he usually does, but it was his marking that stood out the most. He took two contested marks out of his six, with one of them being in a one-on-one contest with Borlase playing on the back shoulder. He read the flight of the ball well all game and looks to be growing in confidence. In the final quarter he managed to get knee in the back of a Sturt player and take a nice overhead mark. He set up well behind the ball to help the North Adelaide forward squeeze but decided to push forward on one occasion and try to impact the scoreboard. He gathered and wheeled on his left boot and had a shot from 40 metres, but could only manage a behind. Along with his six marks he had 14 disposals and efforts that would not have made the stat sheet.

#38 Dyson Hilder (League)

Hilder found himself on Borlase on a few occasions but with Finlay, he remained solid down back for the Roosters. Also still growing in confidence in his second consecutive game back in the League side, he got on the attack, involving himself in links from deep in defence to clear. His kicking was tidy and he was confident enough to go on either side of his body. Hilder ended up with 13 disposals and four rebound 50s as he looks to hold his spot in the senior side for finals.

Others:

North Adelaide enjoyed two solid victories but in the Under 18’s, James Willis stood out and it was not for his bright blonde hair, but his 23 disposals and two goals. He provided some exciting run while also doing some of the grunt work inside for the Roosters. Thomas Millar was also very serviceable down back being strong in the contest, while distributing the ball efficiently out of his defensive 50. He finished with 17 disposals, eight marks, and five rebound 50s.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Sturt:

#2 Tom Lewis (League)

The 20-year-old enjoyed one of his better games for the season as he found his way to 21 disposals to go with nine tackles and seven clearances. Shifting between the midfield and the forward line, Lewis was not afraid to enforce a physical presence around the contest. His tackle count is indicative of the pressure he applied and him doing most of his work on the inside. He earned multiple free kicks by being the first at the ball and was tidy with his left boot. A brilliant chase down tackle in the final quarter even though Sturt trailed exemplified his effort and capped off a good game for him despite the loss.

#9 Malachy Carruthers

The combine invitee spent much of the day at half-back and was kept busy with 21 disposals and eight marks. He was lively early as he ran out of defence and created width on forward movements for Sturt. He also looked to be poised with ball in hand, opting to handball instead of kicking it to a contest. His marking was impressive, taking one overhead running back with the flight, and another intercept mark in a pack. His disposal looked reliable and his dash and effort to continue Sturt’s surge forward was important. However, he opted to have a shot on goal from a tough position after working hard with repeat efforts, instead of going inboard. Although it was a tough day for his side, his athleticism and ability to read the play looked threatening.

#11 Will Spain

The inside midfielder continues to prove himself as a reliable contributor in the Sturt midfield, but today, he showed off some of his ability on the outside. He spent more time in the forward line and spread hard from some of the stoppages, instead of being the one constantly over the ball or laying tackle after tackle like usual. He had some nice runs through the middle of the ground, showing off his run-and-carry with his smooth movement. Spain finished with 29 disposals, five tackles, and five clearances and continued to remain consistent all game.

#17 Mani Liddy

Liddy did not have the output that we have come to expect from him, but 16 disposals and six clearances is still a serviceable effort. His strength was on display as usual and he did most of his work on the inside with 11 of his disposals being handballs. After a quiet second quarter, he looked much more active in the third which is a good indicator of his resilience and persistence to continue, despite it not coming as easy to him as it usually does.

#18 Tom Powell

One of Sturt’s most highly rated performers put in another big game to end with 35 disposals, 10 clearances, and seven inside 50s. His work rate and speed to burst from stoppages with the ball and create, as well as without the ball to get to a dangerous positions, continues to be his trademark. He puts in long-distance efforts so even if opposition teams think they get the better of him at a stoppage, he will just keep running. His handballs under pressure in-close are very tidy, and he demands respect from his opponents whenever he is around the ball. He often lines up beside or behind the ruckman to enable him to run to hit zones and whenever he did this during the game, a North Adelaide player was right next to him. When he was resting and another Sturt player was in the midfield, they were left alone – a good indicator of the respect that opposition coaches are showing to him. Another big performance from him which we have come to expect and with one game left in the season, we will see if the coaches decide to give him a League chance, or allow him some continuity as his Under 18 side moves into finals.

#29 James Borlase (League)

The key position Borlase returned to the senior side and showed glimpses of why people are so excited about him. The Crows Next Generation Academy prospect split his time between forward and back, although he has been touted as a defender during his time in the pathway programs. As a forward, he presented up the ground well and continued to create contests. His marking looked a little bit inconsistent and he seemed to struggle to find space on leads except for one occasion in the second quarter. After a beautiful delivery, he leant back on the set shot kick from around 40 metres and put it out on the full.

He moved back for the second half and did not get much of a chance to show off his defensive traits in one-on-one contests. He looked to be accountable and found himself on a few different opponents, both taller and shorter than him. He became more attacking in the final quarter; seeming to grow in confidence, clearing the ball, and looking to mark. He reads the flight of the ball well but looked a little tentative with his overhead marking at times. A miskick from a kick-out in the final quarter sent the ball straight back over his head for a goal. His first game back showed he was still a bit rusty, and perhaps he has some development left. There is still a lot to like about him with his versatility, size, and athleticism.

#34 Casey Voss (League)

Voss assumed his role at half-back and managed 21 disposals and five marks. Defensively he was very solid, showing courage on several occasions backing into packs to spoil, but it was his attacking play that was impressive. He is clean and strong over the ball much like his father, and his kicking ability was tidy. He found space very often around the stoppage and seems to want the footy. He had 17 kicks and four handballs but was often the player providing run and being on the end of handballs. After one of his higher disposal games for the season, Voss has been consistent for Sturt and will look to finish his season off strongly.

#46 Jack Henderson (League)

The 21-year-old midfielder has been impressive for Sturt since breaking through into the senior side and had another solid outing with 19 disposals and six inside 50s. One of those inside 50s was to Borlase in the first quarter with a beautiful 40-metre bullet pass which thumped into the forward’s chest. Spending some time all over the ground, Henderson looked best hanging off the contest as his ball use was elite, and his first touch ability aided that well. He showed good speed getting involved in attacking chains and put in repeat efforts to keep pushing the ball forward. If his right-foot kicking was not enough, he also set up a goal with his left, showing plenty of ability.

Others:

Other ball winners for Sturt included Bradley Jefferies (28 disposals, eight clearances) and Lachlan Thomas (24 disposals), while Morgan Ferres was the Double Blues’ major goal scorer kicking four majors. Grieve was down on his usual output, playing the defensive role on Coates and picking up just the nine disposals.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

Central District vs. Glenelg

By: Tom Wyman

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

As has been the case all season, inside midfielder, McDonald was everywhere for the Bulldogs. McDonald’s smart and tireless running patterns allowed him to accumulate the ball en masse, particularly early in the game. The 16-year-old possesses football smarts well beyond his age and read the tap-work of ruckman Wyatt Ryan particularly well. Throughout the season, he has laid some excellent tackles and he did so once again at Prospect Oval, when a textbook tackle was rewarded with a holding-the-ball free-kick. Although lacking penetration at-times, his kicking was predominately effective, hitting up a number of targets on the exterior with his natural left-foot. He refused to give up on a contest and was rarely beaten in contested situations – a testament to his core strength and ball winning abilities. Arguably best-on-ground in the Bulldogs’ win, McDonald finished with a game-high 34 disposals and five marks.

#15 Finn Read

Read played arguably his best game for the season in the Bulldogs’ thrilling win. He booted the opening goal of the game within the first minute of play, then nailed a second against the flow of play late in the third quarter to arrest some of the Tigers; momentum. With the Bulldogs up by just one point late in the final term, Read’s goal at the 25-minute mark all but sealed the deal for Central District. Read was an aerial threat all day across half-forward, taking seven marks including a strong contested grab. His ball use inside 50 was also pivotal in the Bulldogs’ win. He finished the contest with 24 disposals and six inside 50s.

#16 Brodie Lake

The Northern Territory native played an important hand in the win, combining well with Austin McDonald, Wyatt Ryan and Luigi Mondello through the midfield. Lake, who has also spent some time in the Reserves since joining the Bulldogs, attacked the ball with ferocity and looked to use his aerial leap and burst of speed to good advantage when thrown into attack by the Central District coaching staff. Similar to McDonald, Lake’s clearance work was terrific, particularly at centre bounces where he gathered, accelerated away from his direct opponent and thrust the Dogs into attack. Lake finished with 21 disposals, three marks, four tackles, eight clearances and six inside 50s.

#22 Luigi Mondello 

Mondello provided some class through the midfield, to compliment the hard, contested ball-winning of McDonald and Lake. Mondello had some eye-catching moments throughout the contest, with his evasiveness at stoppages, smooth movement through traffic and creative handballing standing out. However the highlight of his game was a fantastic snap goal around the corner, shortly after the half-time break. Although he fumbled on a couple of occasions, his evasiveness and agility were impressive. Mondello finished the game with 20 disposals, four marks, three tackles and two inside 50s.

#39 Wyatt Ryan

The big ruckman once again provided a real presence for his side, in the air and also at ground level. He marked almost everything that entered his air space, including several intercepts. The Bulldogs often looked for him as the target down the line and he hardly let them down, clunking five contested marks and ten grabs in total. However his competitiveness and brute strength were also on display at ground level, where he was able to win the contested ball and send it forward on several occasions. His kicking was up and down, but he hit several targets which ruckman of his age could be hesitant to attempt. He had a good battle with Glenelg’s Calvin Perks and William Wiseman in the ruck and managed to win 28 hit-outs. Ryan’s work rate was exceptional, accumulating 31 disposals all over the ground and sending the ball inside 50 on nine occasions. Clearly one of the Under 18 competition’s best ruckman this season, Ryan was once again terrific for the Bulldogs.

Others:

Cody Gilchrist provided a target up forward, taking several strong marks in attack. He booted three goals from 13 disposals and seven marks. Michael De Jonge hit the scoreboard with two majors to go with 19 touches, four marks, four tackles and three clearances. Jacob Fiebiger (11 disposals and four marks) and Luca Whitelum (16 disposals, six marks, four tackles, four inside 50s and four rebound 50s) both performed well down back under pressure for Central District.

>> MORE CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

Glenelg:

#1 Harry Tunkin

Tunkin was among Glenelg’s most consistent performers despite the frustrating result. In the midfield, he spent time going head-to-head with Austin McDonald, but it was his work forward of centre where he looked most damaging. He slotted a classy goal from 40 metres in the dying minutes of the first term and showed great goal nous and football smarts to follow it up with a goal from a quick hack forward. Despite his smaller size, the Prince Alfred College student applied plenty of pressure, competed well, and finished the day with 22 disposals, six marks, a game-high seven tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s.

#12 Xavier Robins

The Bays were certainly glad to have Robins back from school football duties. He slotted straight into the backline and provided some class and rebound from defence. He read the play well and looked to take the game on with his pace and run-and-carry whenever possible. He displayed nice vision to spot up Harry Tunkin in some space on the grandstand side of Prospect Oval twice within a couple of minutes in the third term and found the ball with ease for the entire game. At stoppages in the defensive 50, Robins had a high impact, winning five clearances. Trusted with the kick-in duties, he used the ball well over a variety of distances and controlled much of the play for the Bays in defence, finishing with 30 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and ten rebound-50s.

#19 Jayden Davis

The bottom-aged Jayden Davis was terrific for Glenelg, particularly in the third term when it was all one-way traffic in favour of the yellow and black. Early on in the game, he found Riley Holder with a beautiful kick inside 50 which led to Harry McInnes’ second goal. He displayed great courage to mark whilst running back with the flight and booted his first goal at the ten minute mark of the third term to trigger a couple of Tigers goals. During the third quarter, his link-up play and delivery inside 50 was outstanding, hitting target-after-target with precision. After setting-up several Bays majors, he booted his second after getting out the back of a marking contest to continue Glenelg’s surge. Davis could have had a third for the term if his long range effort wasn’t touched on the goalline. He finished another strong showing with 19 disposals and ten marks (including three contested).

#21 Riley Holder

The return of centre-half-forward Holder helped straighten the Tigers up and provided a presence around the ground. His hands overhead were a real feature, even managing to outmark Wyatt Ryan in attack before kicking truly. He combined well with fellow key forward Harry McInnes, with Holder getting up the ground and McInnes staying closer to goal. His foot skills, over both long and short distances, were effective and his accuracy in front of goal ensured his capitalised on his work rate. He was thrust into the middle for a short stint to provide a big-bodied presence around the ball but was at his best on the lead. The Glenelg skipper finished with game with 24 touches, 11 marks (including a game-high six contested), three tackles, a couple of clearances and five inside 50s, to further his case as one of South Australia’s premiere centre half-forwards.

Others:

Seven Tigers found in-excess of 20 disposals, including Oscar Clark, who ran well both ways and provided an option on the outside. He finished with 27 disposals, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s. Henry McAuliffe battled hard in the midfield and laid a couple of strong tackles. He won 27 touches and used the ball well. Fresh off an Intercol medal for his performance down back against Rostrevor, Cooper Beecken was valiant in the backline, concluding with 17 disposals. The aforementioned Harry McInnes booted three goals and competed well in the air to take six marks. William Watts (25 disposals, nine marks and a goal) and Hunter Window (21 disposals and six marks) were also among Glenelg’s best performers.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

WWT Eagles vs. West Adelaide

By: Peter Williams

WWT:

#4 James Tsitas (League)

The former Williamstown star made his presence felt in this game with a mammoth 39 disposals in a clear best on ground performance. While James Rowe and Sam Lowson kicked nine between them, it was the clearance work and class of Tsitas that shone the brightest. In a time where clubs might look to mature-age ready-to-go midfielders, Tsitas showed exactly what he is capable of with a huge performance on-ball. His goal late in the game off the outside of the boot was all class, and he just managed to find so much space around the ground.

Tsitas had a lazy 39 disposals, seven marks, 10 tackles, 10 clearances, five inside 50s, two rebounds and a goal.

#5 Sam Lowson (League)

The former Coburg forward had a quiet first half before coming alive with four second half goals to blow the game right open. He was clever inside 50, kicking one right before the three-quarter time siren, and continually found space and made opportunities out of nothing. He nailed a set shot and missed another, but Lowson was a clear standout in front of goal once Rowe moved into the midfield, and he remained a real danger at ground level and one to watch ahead of the SANFL finals series.

Lowson had 13 disposals, two marks, two inside 50s and four goals on the night.

#16 James Rowe (League)

If you are an aspiring small forward, then highlights of Rowe should be what clubs use to show exactly how you play the role. Every time he went near it he looked dangerous, and he finds space with ease and has some serious wheels when he takes off. But it is more about his anticipation and game sense inside 50 that makes him so damaging. It was obvious the Eagles had set plays in the forward half where teammates would help block for him and he would cruise on through and kick a goal off the stoppage. A couple of times he did it and looked far too easy, and had another great running goal close to the pocket reacting quicker than everyone else. With a couple of set shot goals – and a couple of misses – Rowe was far too dominant for whoever came his way. Deserves a chance at the next level because if you are good enough, you are big enough.

Rowe finished with a massive 5.2 from 19 disposals, four marks, four clearances and two inside 50s.

#19 Zachary Phillips

His ruck work was superb and follow-up work also strong, as Phillips played a solid game across the four quarters. He showed his ability to clunk marks in the air, and provide a target around the ground, as well as showing smarts to tap the ball to a teammate on the wing rather than take possession and be tacked, then receiving the ball back and handballing off again. He had a couple of flying shots on goal that both missed wide, but it was due to his hard running to get to half-forward from initial centre clearances that gave him those chances on goal. He showed quick hands to a teammate when in congestion and was happy to drop back to help play a kick and a half behind play when his side was attacking.

Phillips finished with 20 disposals, nine marks (two contested), 22 hitouts, three clearances and four inside 50s.

#25 Henry Smith

Smith played an almost-game where he continually got to the right positions and worked his opponent under the ball, but could not quite hold the grabs. When battling one-on-one Smith was solid, but when facing a couple of opponents, it was body contact from behind that often caused him to spill the mark. He still worked hard and showed great decision making in the third term to set up a great goal to Cormack O’Reilly with a lovely long kick to the other side of the ground for his teammate to run in and kick a major. He kicked a goal of his own on the run when he saw an open goalsquare and popped it home.

Smith had the 13 touches, three marks (two contested) six hitouts, three inside 50s and one goal to his name.

#28 Nick Mitzithras

Caught the eye midway through the game with his run out of defence and penetrating kick. He had a couple of scrubber kicks but they seemed to still work out, and he was strong in the air as well. One-on-one, Mitzithras held his own, marking in the defensive goalsquare six minutes into the third term, and then early in the fourth, held off an opponent and used momentum to push off him, win the loose ball in front and kick long to the wing. His decision making and disposal generally was pretty good and he was not afraid to take the game on, rebounding on a number of occasions.

Mitzithras had 21 disposals, four marks (one contested) and seven rebounds for the match.

#29 Jay Watson

Always looking lively in the forward half, Watson could have had a massive day out, but just finished with the two goals from six scoring shots. His first goal came from a set shot midway through the second term, and he then set up a teammate not long after with a lovely pinpoint pass inside 50. He continued to try hard throughout the game, and had a set shot that went close to the line but just missed to the right, before kicking truly with a clever snap off the left playing on from a mark close to the boundary. Having a couple of long-range set shots in the final term, one missed to the right and another hit the post, but nonetheless, Watson was always active inside 50.

Watson finished with 2.4 from 21 disposals, five marks (one contested) and four inside 50s.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

The prominent ball winner on the ground, Burgoyne showed his dual-sidedness with an ability to hit targets off his left when required, even though he was a predominant right-footer. Most of his kicks during the match were short, sharp passes without penetration, but with high efficiency. Burgoyne just makes the right decisions and did not go for anything that was unnecessarily risky, but he did open up the game with some neat kicks inboard. His work around the clearances was superb and he was the clear dominant midfielder on the ground with his effectiveness. He set up a number of scoring opportunities with his ball use and his cleanliness both in the air and ground level was terrific. He had a set shot himself from 40 metres, eight minutes into the final term, and showed he possesses a long kick, hitting the post midway up and proving unlucky not to kick the goal.

Burgoyne ended the match with a game-high 35 disposals, seven marks, nine clearances, two inside 50s, four rebounds and three tackles.

#34 Lachlan Jones (League)

The Port Adelaide Next-Generation Academy member might have finished with the least touches on his team (seven) but he was far from ineffective. His work rate was high and a lot of the time his running went unrewarded. He would spread from half-back to the wing and kept the ball moving in transition. His ability to cover ground from deep in defence to half-forward was a credit to his running, and he also laid a couple of good tackles in the game. The fact that most of his touches were either rebounds or inside 50s told a tale of his effectiveness in moving the ball.

Jones ended with seven disposals, one marks, two tackles, three inside 50s and three rebounds.

#47 Ben Jungfer (League)

The over-age talented midfielder spent time across the ground, winning the ball at half-forward, along the wing, and even at half-forward. He has always been known for his tackling pressure, and he showed it by laying a massive tackle on an opponent in the final term at half-back, earning the plaudits of his teammates. One aspect about Jungfer’s game that really stood out was his composure and ability not to be overawed. The majority of his touches were quick handballs, but he managed to execute generally well and even had a flying shot on goal from 50m which narrowly missed.

For a debut, Jungfer was mighty impressive with 19 disposals, three marks, three clearances, two inside 50s and five tackles.

#51 Lachlan McNeil (League)

The over-age talent was willing to take the game on and seriously impressed throughout. He can make the odd mistake, but his metres gained – including a run down the middle with a couple of bounces – more than makes up for it with his determination to break the lines. He is a high-impact player in that regard and he did well off half-back and pushing through the middle throughout the four quarters.

McNeil finished 14 disposals, one mark, three inside 50s, two tackles, two clearances and two rebounds.

Others:

Brayden Calvett was the biggest standout of those not mentioned above, amassing nine inside 50s and six marks from 27 disposals, also booting a goal. O’Reilly (25 touches, seven marks, eight inside 50s and a goal), Max Litster (23 disposals, six marks and five inside 50s) and Zeke Scott (21 disposals, three inside 50s and a goal) were the others to catch the eye.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

West Adelaide:

#4 Cade Kennedy

The bottom-age midfielder was a clear standout for the Bloods, and one of the four-quarter performers. He attacks the ball hard and tracks it well, always having eyes for the footy. There is not much of him, but he is always running hard and often looking to present in defensive 50 from the kick-out and then quickly give-and-go with teammates down the field. He had a memorable moment late in the third term with a huge tackle on Henry Smith to trap the bigman’s arm and win a free. He opened the fourth quarter with a good centre clearance, and whilst he did sell a teammate into trouble in the final term with an extra handball when it should have probably been a kick, Kennedy could hold his head high in that performance in what was a 90-point defeat.

Kennedy ended the game with 30 disposals, 10 marks, seven tackles, five clearances, two inside 50s and four rebounds.

#49 Lachlan Squire (League)

Had a tough day at the office having to spend time on competition danger man, James Rowe early. He was good one-on-one, but Rowe was quick at ground level, and Squire was unlucky to give away a free kick close to the boundary line for keeping him in check at one stage. While Rowe certainly took the chocolates in their duel – and it was not just him – Squire showed what he is capable of doing with some lovely long kicks out of defence, and a fierce tackle on Rowe to win a free kick. His defensive pressure and strength standing up in tackles was a feature, having some time in the midfield but predominantly stationed back on the last line and having the kick-out duties.

#59 Hamish Ellem (League)

It was a tough day for the big man who continually presented for the Bloods, having more of an influence late in the game when his marks were starting to stick. He had a few chances going up for grabs in the first two quarters but could not quite bring them down, but once he gained confidence he looked good. He set up a goal to a teammate in the final term, whilst kicking a goal himself in the sixth minute after some good work inside 50. Ellem was not able to have too much time and space when in possession, which is why he ended up with a predominantly handball-focused game, but used his body well in close.

Others:

Eduard Van den berg tried hard for the Bloods’ Under 18s, amassing 31 disposals, six marks, five tackles and nine rebounds, playing in a tough position on the last line. He repelled time and time again for the Bloods, but could not have too much salvation with the relentlessness of the Eagles. Ben Burbridge (23 disposals, six inside 50s and five tackles) was good, whilst Edward Faulkner (20 disposals, five marks, four tackles and four inside 50s) had a huge run-down tackle in the last term which caught the eye. Zac Venning (15 disposals, four marks and three rebounds) also tried hard, as did Kane Sherlock (18 disposals, eight rebounds and six marks).

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

Featured Image: Sturt’s Morgan Ferres flies for a mark | Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

Young gun focus: 2020 SANFL Round 13 wrap

WITH young guns impressing at state league level around the nation, we again narrow our focus for this week’s South Australian National Football League (SANFL) wrap to the performances of youth throughout all three grades. There is plenty to unpack in our next altered edition, with Under 18 prospects scattered across the two senior competitions, and a bunch of youngsters impressing in the junior grade in Round 13. Some returning school football guns also made for handy inclusions, putting in eye-catching cameos.

West Adelaide vs. WWT Eagles

League: West Adelaide 5.4 (34) def. by WWT Eagles 16.14 (110)
Reserves:
West Adelaide 3.6 (24) def. by WWT Eagles 11.8 (74)
Under 18s:
WWT Eagles 15.17 (107) def. West Adelaide 2.5 (17)

Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) did the triple over West Adelaide on Friday and Saturday, taking home its hat-trick of wins by a combined margin of 216 points. At League level, the Eagles have all-but officially clinched the minor premiership, while Westies look destined to finish in the wooden spoon position.

Mature-age draft prospects James Rowe (five goals) and Sam Lowson (four) were electric up forward, combining for nearly half of the winners’ score. NT Thunder product Ben Jungfer collected 19 touches on his League debut, while Port Adelaide NGA prospect Lachlan Jones had just seven disposals. Jacob Wehr, who is garnering some attention, managed 13 disposals and laid six tackles down back. Former Port Rookie Kai Pudney is set to compound the selection squeeze come finals, having notched 26 touches in his fourth game for the season.

The Bloods had some good young talent take the field as well, headlined by National Combine invitee Mitchell Duval, who reeled in seven marks on a tough day for the Westies defence. GWS Academy graduate, Lachlan Squire continued his run in the top flight with 19 disposals and nine rebound 50s in a slightly different role, while Sydney Academy product Hamish Ellem booted a goal up forward.

Bailey Chamberlain again narrowly missed the cut at League level, but continues to thrive in the Reserves despite his side’s shortcomings. Westies went down to another strong Eagles side in the second grade, but had Chamberlain and Jye Sinderberry named among the best players. Fellow Under 18s prospect Nicholas Couroupis has also proven an asset in the side across the last few weeks alongside Cooper Gilbert, while Hugo Kelly returned to the fold, and another Swans Academy product in Kyle Martin continued his streak in the Reserves. Taj Schofield and Harrison Dawkins were present for the Eagles in their big win having recently earned promotion, joining goalkicker and first round bolter Caleb Poulter at the level.

WWT booted 13 goals to West Adelaide’s one after quarter time to seal a massive Under 18s win on Saturday, despite both sides missing some key personnel – listed above. Another Port Adelaide-aligned prospect, Jase Burgoyne again topped the disposal charts for the Eagles with 35, leading from fellow bottom-agers Brayden Clavett (27) and Cormack O’Reilly (25), who also kicked a goal each. Jay Watson could have had a massive day out having managed 2.4 from 21 touches, while Zac Phillips (20 disposals, nine marks, 22 hitouts) was prominent aerially.

Eduard van den Berg was again kept busy down back for West Adelaide, racking up a team-high 31 disposals and nine rebound 50s. Cade Kennedy (30 disposals, seven tackles) and Ben Burbridge (23 disposals) were the main forms of resistance from midfield, while Luke Young again worked hard up the field from his forward post, but couldn’t find the goals.

South Adelaide vs. Norwood

League: South Adelaide 17.14 (116) def. Norwood 6.6 (42)
Reserves:
South Adelaide 8.7 (55) def. by Norwood 9.5 (59)
Under 18s:
Norwood 14.10 (94) def. South Adelaide 10.9 (69)

South Adelaide crushed Norwood’s League finals dream on Saturday, running out 74-point victors to consolidate its own top four position. The Panthers were terrific across the board against a wounded Redlegs outfit, but in terms of young talent, saw Jason Horne and Beau McCreery each boot a goal. Victorian recruit Daly Andrews had his quietest outing yet, but still managed 12 disposals. Another VFL pick-up, Nikolaus Rokahr was one of Norwood’s best, while 21-year-old Cole Gerloff snared a goal, Brodie Carroll kept his spot after a Round 12 return, managing nine touches alongside Under 18s gun, Daniel Fairbrother.

The Redlegs’ Reserves pipped South Adelaide at the post, claiming a four-point victory despite remaining planted to bottom spot with two wins. Jack Saunders continued his terrific run of form, this time in a slightly different aspect with two majors among a relatively young squad. National Combine invitee Phoenix Spicer again hit the scoreboard for the Panthers with one goal, while Damon Freitag matched his feat as he looks to gain an extended run.

Norwood’s defeat of South Adelaide at Under 18s level also sets up an intriguing final round of action, with the Panthers only just holding on to their top four spot. The Redlegs had plenty of strong contributors, with Finn Heard booting five goals, while Sam Duke had 21 kicks from his 23 touches, and Henry Nelligan was industrious as always with fellow AFL Academy member, Cooper Murley. School football returnees Ethan Schwerdt (23 disposals) and Xavier Tranfa (16) also showed good signs.

Speaking of, Matthew Roberts picked up where he left off, racking up a game-high 31 disposals and booting two goals for South. He was supported well by fellow bottom-ager Arlo Draper in midfield, while Brayden Cook slammed home five majors, and the defensive pair of Jack Flett and Harry Spacie was again strong.

Sturt vs. North Adelaide

League: Sturt 8.6 (54) def. by North Adelaide 12.13 (85)
Reserves:
Sturt 7.8 (50) def. by North Adelaide 8.12 (60)
Under 18s:
North Adelaide 14.7 (91) def. Sturt 8.7 (55)

North Adelaide secured second spot at the very least at League level on Saturday, defeating Sturt by 31 points to complete what ended up being a clean sweep of the Double Blues. The defensive duo of Karl Finlay and Dyson Hilder was reunited at League level having interchanged through the Reserves, and both had an impact in the Roosters’ win.

Sturt bigman Daniel Fahey-Sparks was prominent as he bagged two goals and won 29 hitouts, while midfielders Tom Lewis and Casey Voss were again serviceable with 21 touches apiece. Crows NGA hopeful James Borlase returned from College football duties, managing 10 disposals in a more advanced role.

It was a much tighter affair in the Reserves as the Roosters crowed to the tune of 10 points, but Sturt still boasted a couple of strong young performers. Tom Emmett was again among the most notable, booting three goals to take his fortnightly tally to eight. The strongly-built forward has suited the level well since earning a berth last month.

Another dominant performance at Under 18s level sees North Adelaide in with a big chance of snaring a top four spot, having knocked off the ladder leaders in true style. Bottom-age Crows NGA prospect Blayne O’Loughlin again accumulated plenty of ball with 31 disposals, while Jayden Davison and James Willis both hit the scoreboard from midfield among a raft of impressive performers. Unsurprisingly, Sturt’s Tom Powell led all comers with 35 disposals, while the likes of Bradley Jefferies, Malachy Carruthers, and Morgan Ferres (four goals) all made an impact upon their returns to the competition.

Glenelg vs. Central District

League: Glenelg 11.11 (77) def. Central District 10.16 (76)
Reserves:
Glenelg 11.9 (75) def. by Central District 15.14 (104)
Under 18s:
Central District 13.7 (85) def. Glenelg 12.6 (78)

Reigning League premier, Glenelg secured its spot in finals, but not before being pushed all the way by a gallant Central District outfit on Saturday evening. Callum Park (27 disposals, 11 rebound 50s, one goal), Luke Parks (18 disposals, eight marks), and Jonty Scharenberg were among the defence which helped stave off Centrals in the dying stages. Dandenong Stingrays graduate Jack Toner also played arguably his best game yet for the Bulldogs, notching 27 disposals and laying seven tackles in the defeat.

Plenty of talented prospects also impressed in the Reserves grade, particularly for the Bays despite a 29-point loss. Ty Murphy was in everything early, finishing with three goals alongside Victorian Mitch Martin, while Kye Dean also found the big sticks upon his return to the twos. Hagan Wright was named among the Tigers’ best, while potential Adelaide father-son Luke Edwards played alongside his brother, Jackson, and Under 18s Cooper Horsnell and Connor Drum added to the young talent afield. Fresh off a five-goal haul, Lachlan Grubb managed to find the goals again with one major, while mature-age prospect Nicholas Lange booted four.

Centrals also picked up a win in the Under 18s, their fourth for the year, to close the gap to Glenelg among the bottom four. 16-year-old Austin McDonald was back to his prolific best with a game-high 34 disposals, while bigman Wyatt Ryan (31 disposals, 10 marks, 28 hitouts) had another monster game, Finn Read snared three goals from midfield, and Brodie Lake (21 disposals, eight clearances, one goal) fit right back in after a run in the Reserves.

School football standout and National Combine invitee Xavier Robins showed his wares with 30 disposals and 10 rebound 50s for the Bays, while Riley Holder and Harry Tunkin combined for an evenly-shared 46 disposals and four goals. Harry McInnes was another Tiger, among others, to show promise with three majors.

Featured Image: North Adelaide’s Karl Finlay flies for a mark | Credit: Phil Radoslovich/SANFL

Out to impress: SANFL Round 13 Preview

THE penultimate round of South Australian National Football League (SANFL) action is upon us, with a couple intriguing matches coming given the way the respective ladders are currently set up. As we roll into Round 13, Draft Central continues its new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game.

West Adelaide draft hopeful Bailey Chamberlain is in contention to make his SANFL League debut after being named on the extended bench for the Bloods’ Friday night encounter with Woodville-West Torrens. The Roxby Downs product has produced a highly consistent and productive season, rising up from the under-18s and performing well in the reserves over the past few rounds. Unfortunately, exciting tall Riley Thilthorpe will miss another match with a groin injury.

The top-of-the-table Eagles could call upon physical midfielder Ben Jungfer, who has impressed whilst spending the year at reserves level. Skilful utility Caleb Poulter has once again been named in the reserves to face a Bloods side which features strong marking defender Jye Sinderberry. Power father-son prospect Taj Schofield and tough onballer Harrison Dawkins have also been elevated to the Eagles seconds.

In the under-18s, talented bottom-ager Cade Kennedy has been named in the centre for the Bloods, with Luke Young named at centre half forward and Edward Van den berg in the back pocket. Talls Henry Smith and Zac Phillips will once again be looking to control the airways for the Eagles, with consistent midfielders Max Lister and Jase Burgoyne lurking at ground level.

Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect James Borlase will return to the Double Blues league side after he missed their round 12 clash due to school football commitments with Prince Alfred College. Named on the extended bench, he will provide a key position option down back against a talented North Adelaide forward line. Tom Emmett will run out with Sturt’s reserves at Peter Motley Oval and midfield trio Will SpainTom Powell and Mani Liddy will front up again for the clubs under-18s at Prospect Oval.

North Adelaide have added 19-year-old Karl Finlay to the selected squad after he spent a week with the reserves. The Roosters under-18s appear to be peaking at the right time of the season, but will face a Sturt side which has been the competition’s pace-setter all season. Forwards Leo Coates and Zyton Santillo have provided excellent service in attack and 16-year-old ruckman Isaac Keeler has provided good service to midfielders Matthew BorgJames Willis and Kyle Brazell. The Roosters have been well led by Adelaide Academy trio Lam Simon, Blayne O’Loughlin and Tariek Newchurch and boast a formidable line-up.

South Adelaide young gun Jason Horne and Victorian import Daly Andrews have been named on the extended bench for the Panthers home clash against the Redlegs. Mature-aged key defender Tom Highmore will play a key role down back in the seniors, while fellow draft hopefuls Zac Dumesny and Phoenix Spicer line-up in the reserves.

South Adelaide’s under-18s have named a strong side for their important meeting with Norwood. Brayden Cook has been named on the wing, with Max Clifton set to lead the onball rotation. Nick Kraemer will start at centre half forward, flanked by Liam Hamilton and Liam Nye. Strong-bodied defender Harry Spacie and midfielders Jayden Magor and Matthew Roberts will also return to bolster the under-18s.

Midfielder Jack Saunders is a chance to make his league debut with Norwood after performing well at reserves level. If he survives the final cut, he will join fellow junior Daniel Fairbrother in the side. Both have worked their way up the ranks off the back of consistent performances throughout 2020.

The Redlegs under-18s, like their southern opponents, have named a strong lineup for the Saturday morning clash. The skilful Michael Cavallaro will form a damaging onball rotation with bottom-aged star Cooper Murley and ball magnet Henry Nelligan. Tall utility Ned Cary could provide a focal point in attack, in tandem with leading target Finn Heard.

The Edwards brothers, Luke and Jackson, will front up for the Tigers reserves when they face Lachlan Grubb and the Bulldogs reserves. Glenelg’s under-18s have been bolstered by the return of several college footballers. Talented trio Xavier Robbins, Henry McAuliffe and Cooper Beecken will be looking to help Glenelg record their sixth victory of the season, after leading Sacred Heart to victory over arch-rivals Rostrevor last weekend.

Midfielder Austin McDonald and Northern Territory import Brodie Lake will be looking to help Central Districts to another victory in what has been a challenging season.

FIXTURES

League:

West Adelaide vs. Woodville-West Torrens | Friday September 18, 7:20pm @ Hisense Stadium
Sturt vs. North Adelaide | Saturday September 19, 2:10pm @ Peter Motley Oval
South Adelaide vs. Norwood | Saturday September 19, 2:10pm @ Flinders University Stadium
Glenelg vs. Central Districts | Saturday September 19, 4:10pm @ ACH Group Stadium

Reserves:

West Adelaide vs. Woodville-West Torrens | Friday September 18, 4:50pm @ Hisense Stadium
South Adelaide vs. Norwood | Saturday September 19, 11:05am @ Flinders University Stadium
Sturt vs. North Adelaide | Saturday September 19, 11:30am @ Peter Motley Oval
Glenelg vs. Central Districts | Saturday September 19, 1:30pm @ ACH Group Stadium

Under-18s:

Norwood vs. South Adelaide | Saturday September 19, 11:00am @ Coopers Stadium
North Adelaide vs. Sturt | Saturday September 19, 11:00am @ Prospect Oval
Central Districts vs. Glenelg | Saturday September 19, 1:25pm @ Prospect Oval
Woodville-West Torrens vs. West Adelaide | Saturday September 19, 1:25pm @ Coopers Stadium

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL – Round 12

ROUND 12 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talentNational Combine invitees, and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

>> Power Rankings: September Edition

North Adelaide vs. Central District

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#5 Leo Coates

The strongly built Coates pieced together another strong performance for the Roosters as they continued their impressive run of form. Coates was able to use his physicality and strength to get on top of his direct opponent and assert his authority on the game. He booted two goals late in the opening term, then added a third nine minutes into the second quarter to help the Roosters capitalise on their dominance. A genuine focal point in attack, Coates finished with 16 disposals, seven marks and four goals for the match and is shaping as a valuable asset as North Adelaide makes a push for the finals.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

The exciting Newchurch created several scoring opportunities for his side and could have walked away with a bag if not for some inaccurate goalkicking. Newchurch’s aerial work was particularly eye-catching, taking a couple of strong contested grabs to show he isn’t a forward who simply relies on his clean hands and smarts on the ground. He pushed up the field to get involved in the play and used his quick turn of pace to get back inside 50 and look to get on the end of his earlier good work. Newchurch concluded the outing with 16 disposals, one goal and three behinds, eight marks and three inside 50s.

#22 Lam Simon

Simon was one of several Roosters to find plenty of the footy as the controlled the contest against Central District. Playing across the backline, Simon’s aerial prowess was again on show, hauling in seven marks. He tackled hard when the ball hit the deck and used it well by foot. Although the Crows Academy prospect is still raw, he has shown plenty of glimpses and is learning how to utilise his exciting athleticism to advantage. Simon finished with 20 disposals (including 14 kicks) and five tackles.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin has pieced together a terrific bottom-age season and was once again impressive across half-back for North Adelaide. The Crows Next Generation Academy prospect used it brilliantly out of defence and provided plenty of rebound for the Roosters. Typically composed with ball in hand, O’Loughlin made good decisions by foot and shapes as one of South Australia’s most promising small prospects for 2021. He finished the day with 27 disposals, four marks, four tackles and five rebound 50s.

#28 Matthew Borg

Borg was arguably best-on-ground for the Roosters as he continues his sensational season. Borg was typically hard-at-it around the contest, cracking in to win plenty of contested ball in congestion and at stoppages, highlighted by his game-high nine clearances. Despite the Bulldogs’ ruckman dominating, Borg was able to read the taps and get his hands on the ball before his opponents. On the rare occasion the Roosters didn’t win the ground ball, Borg tackled with the aggression and strength we’ve come to expect from the inside midfielder. He was able to hit the scoreboard as well, nailing goals in the second and third quarters. Borg has been instrumental in the Roosters’ fine form and finished the contest with 26 disposals, six marks and seven tackles.

#29 Zyton Santillo

Santillo was another bottom-aged Rooster to impressive in the club’s big win. Playing in his customary lead-up small forward role, the smooth-moving speedster found an abundance of the footy for a player of his stature. Although he wasn’t able to hit the scoreboard as much as he would have liked, Santillo’s neat skillset was on display when heading inside 50, hitting a couple of nice passes in attack and, crucially, providing plenty of pressure at ground level. Another North Adelaide player to have found some terrific form in the back half of the season, Santillo finished the game with 23 disposals, nine marks, five tackles and four inside 50s.

#32 Isaac Keeler

The ruck/forward continues to go from strength-to-strength after impressing once again at Elizabeth’s X Convenience Oval. An agile mover for a player of his height, Keeler was an overhead marking threat for the entirety of the contest, clunking a couple of strong contested grabs and 11 marks in total. Although the strong bodied Wyatt Ryan used his physical advantage to get on top in the ruck, Keeler still managed nine hit-outs and was excellent around the ground. Keeler was not afraid to get involved in handball chains and used the ball well by foot for a big man, sending it inside 50 on four occasions. Up forward, he booted two goals and looked potent whenever the ball was in his area. Keeler seems to improve with each passing game and finished this one with 20 disposals.

#36 Kyle Brazell

The wingman once again played a pivotal link-up role by connecting defence to attack for the red and white. Brazell’s high endurance allowed him to run all over the ground, gathering possessions and taking marks seemingly at will. A versatile prospect, Brazell was able to push forward and boot a late goal as reward for his tireless running. The game’s leading disposal winner, Brazell’s work between the arcs stood out, finishing with four rebound 50s and four inside 50s. He gathered 28 touches, 13 marks, four tackles and a couple of handy clearances.

Others:

Forward Elliott McNamara was excellent in the air, hauling in 11 marks to go with 21 disposals, three tackles and five inside 50s. Bottom-aged midfielder James Willis combined well with the likes of Jayden Davison and the aforementioned Borg. He worked hard around the ground and used his burst of speed to break free from his opponents and send the ball into attack. Willis finished with 23 disposals, a goal, seven marks, four tackles and five inside 50s. Shaun Bennier booted three goals from limited opportunities and defenders Tyler McKenzie and Thomas Millar also had impressive days for the Roosters.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

The young midfielder was up against it all day, with the likes of Matthew Borg, Jayden Davison and James Willis dominating at stoppages and around the contest. Although McDonald didn’t have the influence he would have liked, he still got his hands on the footy often and finished the game with 20 disposals. He managed a couple of clearances, laid five tackles, and never stopped trying.

#39 Wyatt Ryan

It was a day to forget for Central Districts, but ruckman Ryan will certainly remember it. He was by far the Bulldogs’ best player, dominating the ruck to win 32 hitouts. However, he also worked hard around the ground to be a marking target in attack. He was always an option for the kick down the line and took numerous contested marks against a North Adelaide side which is typically strong in the air. Ryan made a couple of errors by foot, as many ruckman do, but backed himself to hit a couple of tricky targets. Ryan finished with a team-high 26 disposals (including 21 kicks), 11 marks (three contested) and four inside 50s in a strong performance in a losing side.

Others:

Luigi Mondello was the Bulldogs’ best stoppage player for the match, concluding the contest with seven clearances to go with 25 disposals, four tackles and three inside 50s. Ruben Carreno (23 disposals and six marks), Michael De Jonge (23 disposals, eight marks and four clearances) and Jacob Fiebiger (21 disposals and seven marks) were others to find a bit of the ball for Centrals.

>> MORE CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

Sturt vs. Norwood

By: Eli Duxson

Sturt:

#11 Will Spain

Spain struggled to get going early but was his defensive best around the stoppages. He ended with 18 disposals and 10 tackles which is nothing out of the ordinary for him. At times he went to the dangerous Henry Nelligan around stoppages but was able to break away and find his own ball. His good tank allowed him to play in the midfield for most of the game and he finished strongly, continuing to tackle hard despite their lead, and earning a holding the ball free kick with which he found a teammate for a shot on goal. His defensive style compliments the major ball winners in Tom Powell and Mani Liddy, but he has shown he can step up in the past and have a big game.

#17 Mani Liddy

Liddy was on from the first bounce, collecting 24 disposals to go with five clearances and a goal. The solidly-built mid continued to show his ability in-tight, but was also able to be a threat on the outside. His cleanliness below his knees coupled with his strength through his legs makes him a difficult matchup in close quarters, although he was able to find space and get dangerous to set up rebound attacks. Showing off his aerobic capacity, he would continue running and find the ball in all parts of the ground. He was then able to find space at forward 50 stoppages on a consistent basis, looking difficult to get in front of. He drilled a set shot from 50 metres out after being the recipient of a downfield free kick, capping off a solid day for he and Sturt.

#18 Tom Powell

The highly-rated prospect continues to show why he is so highly touted with 33 disposals, one goal, eight inside 50s, and six clearances. He did his chances of a senior berth no harm at all. He was everywhere in the first quarter, and if he was not getting the clearance, he was spreading hard offensively from the stoppage and being involved in the chain – he ended with 11 marks. His kicking was wayward early as he seemed to struggle to make good connection, but his 24 kicks to nine handballs is indicative of his shift in style as he looks to be more damaging with his possessions. A centred ball in his defensive 50 was one of his ill-directed kicks, which Henry Nelligan chopped off and it resulted in Norwood’s first goal of the game.

His kicking drastically improved from there as he would go on to set up three goals with well-weighted passes. A good sign of his maturity is also his physicality. He managed to have a good balance of going hard at the contest without being reckless. He just seemed to be always hunting the ball. Despite some early blemishes with his kicking, he was one of the driving factors in the big win.

#27 Ned Grieve

The stalwart in defence for Sturt enjoyed another solid outing, intercepting and clearing at will with 25 disposals, five rebound 50s, and eight marks. He read the flight of the ball well and showed a strong overhead marking ability, also showing good confidence to attempt to mark. Grieve took the front position in marking contests quite a few times, but there was a couple of occasions where opting to spoil would have been the better choice. It did not catch him out but that is the strength that most key defenders possess – think Harris Andrews. He was also very capable at ground level, looking strong over the ball, as well as being very composed and not rushed, making good decisions with good execution.

Others:

Lachlan Bates and Russell Rigney each kicked three goals, while Ethan Field chipped with two goals to go with his 15 disposals.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

It was a trying day for the Redlegs, but Murley was again prolific with 30 disposals and six clearances. He again displayed an innate ability to be a one-touch player as it seemed his hands were covered with glue. He was quick to get the ball from the ground to a teammate through hands, although at times the Sturt pressure seemed to rush him and make him skew his passes. His speed was also threatening between the flanks, as his run-and-carry and his efficient kicking made him a weapon on the outside. He continued to try all day and found plenty of it in the final quarter, but Sturt was just too good.

#5 Henry Nelligan

He started the game on fire having four shots on goal, further proving his danger to opposition teams around goal. Coming off a monster week like Murley, Nelligan managed 26 disposals, three goals, and seven clearances. The most impressive thing about his forward craft is that he creates his own opportunities. Whether they were intercept possessions, snaps out of stoppages, or set shots from creating space to mark, he looked hard to stop. He again showed his kicking ability on either side of his body, and his fitness to cover ground and get to most stoppages. He gave away an undisciplined downfield free kick but continued to toil away all game.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

Playing mostly in the defensive half for Norwood, Cavallaro was one of the best on the day with 34 disposals, 10 marks, and a goal – pushing forward in the final quarter to round out a solid day. The attacking defender assisted at any contest he was near, but also positioned himself well at the back of stoppages to provide a running option for his midfield. He was poised and efficient with the ball, and his kicking accuracy on both feet was definitely a highlight. Even though he found plenty of the ball, he was still accountable all game. He looked most comfortable during slow play but was capable of moving it quickly in space, and in traffic.

Others:

Backing up another impressive effort from last week, Nathan Hearing again managed to spread and get dangerous with 19 disposals, 21 hit outs, and nine clearances. Samuel Duke also toiled away down back all day with 26 disposals and 15 marks.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

South Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#3 Luke Mitton

The diminutive bottom-ager was among South’s top ball winners with 24 disposals and seven clearances, seemingly enjoying the added responsibility that comes with midfield minutes. Mitton’s endurance running capacity was on show as he worked hard all day for the Panthers, digging in at the coalface despite his light frame. He has the kind of traits you would expect from a 172cm player too, with explosive speed, clean hands at ground level, and evasiveness all coming to the fore on Saturday. Mitton may lack a touch of strength and penetration coming away from the contest, but will inevitably improve in those areas as he grows into his top-age year.

#4 Max Clifton

Another sub-180cm Souths midfielder, Clifton was arguably the best of the lot on this occasion. The top-ager racked up a team-high 26 disposals and six clearances, while also breaching either arc a combined 10 times throughout a consistent performance. South Adelaide likes to attack with speed and precision through the corridor, and Clifton was a key outlet in those kinds of plays as he wheeled onto his left side to deliver the ball forward. His speed and willingness to accelerate the play made life difficult for Wesites’ defenders, and helped Clifton make an impact away from the contest.

#10 Brayden Cook

After being held relatively well in the first half, Cook came to life after the main break in more advanced positions. While stationed on the wing, Cook often finds a way to gain separation as South transitions, while also creating his own space while on the ball with series of twists and turns. Up forward, his elite vision, skill execution, and goal nous make him a handful for any opposition defender. All of those traits lifted in the second half, as the top-ager got creative inside 50 with some shrewd work in full flight. He capped off his day with a couple of final term goals, the first of which set the tone for South’s late breakaway. It was an eye-catching effort too; as he gathered a loose ball, weaved between two defenders, and snapped truly.

#15 Liam Hamilton

Hamilton was another Panther who built into the game well, making a menace of himself both deep inside attacking 50, and up the ground. The 18-year-old proved a key link in his side’s forward momentum, presenting smartly through the corridor and moving the ball along quickly. When found deeper in his own half, Hamilton was able to adapt his ability to bring teammates into the game, creating scoring opportunities all-round and attracting opposition attention. While he converted a major in the second term, Hamilton’s radar was a touch off as he also registered three behinds from 19 disposals and nine marks. A solid outing nonetheless.

#22 Jack Flett

Many of the South Adelaide midfielders and forward caught the eye on Saturday, but Flett was one of his side’s best afield from defence. At 183cm, one of the top-ager’s greatest weapons is his versatility; able to impact the game with his aerial marking, while also providing good rebound with speed and dare across the ground. He started brightly with some terrific intercept marks, positioning perfectly to get a good jump at the ball and cut of West Adelaide’s attacks. After somewhat of a quiet patch, Flett again came to life after half time, popping up with some more aerial efforts, as well as a bunch of take-ons and bursting runs out of defensive 50. 17 disposals and seven marks (four contested) made for a good day out.

Others:

South Adelaide’s contributors are always numerous, and there were plenty of others who stood out. Dylan Brown brought the hurt through midfield with 11 punishing tackles to go with 19 touches and a goal, while Liam Nye proved crafty up forward with 21 disposals and a goal of his own. Isaac Burt was productive on the wing, and the likes of Hugo Hoeck (three goals) and Jamison Snelling (15 disposals, one goal) showed great promise further afield. AFL Academy member Nicholas Kraemer returned from injury and looked solid at the contest, though may have had his load managed en route to 10 touches and five tackles.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

West Adelaide:

#4 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy was once again arguably West Adelaide’s best contributor, having amassed 23 disposals, seven clearances, and a goal from midfield. As a mainstay in the engine room, Kennedy provided a spark for the Bloods with his perennial forward momentum, founded by pace and deceptive strength at the stoppages. He was particularly effective at the centre bounces, where those traits came to the fore in tandem. Kennedy’s creative edge and vision going forward were noticeable early as he found Izach Zinndorf for a first term major, while later kicking his side ahead with a free kick conversion after the siren.

#6 Michael Laudato

The classy top-ager was a frequent figure in defence, collecting a game-high 28 disposals, 12 marks, and six rebound 50s. While he was one of a few Westies defenders to have benefitted from a safe, short-kicking style at times, Laudato also showed his ability to ping it long and hit some less conservative targets. Add to that some attacking run and the willingness to take his opponents on, and Laudato produced a strong all-round game.

#12 Zac Venning

Venning’s final term in particular warrants a mention, as he broke out of his shell and looked to provide a heap of urgency from half-back. While he was solid throughout the opening three terms, Venning had a much greater impact as he looked to run-and-carry through the corridor during the latter stages, while also taking on a touch more via foot. To lift when the game is up for grabs is a great asset, though it may have proven too little, too late for Venning and the Bloods. He finished with 26 disposals, eight marks, and six rebound 50s nonetheless.

#15 Kane Sherlock

A third defender among this week’s group, Sherlock impressed in a few facets en route to 18 disposals, five marks, and five tackles. His ability to compete in the air initially, and follow-up with ground level work allowed for some tone-setting rebound in the early stages, which was followed by more solid intercepts. Later on, the solidly-built top-ager was directly opposed to Brayden Cook deep in defensive 50, but fared well on the last line with desperate attempts to lock the ball in and stop South Adelaide in its tracks. His safe use by foot was also handy, though a couple of long kick-ins alluded to another string to his bow.

#20 Luke Young

The bottom-ager is another strongly-built unit at 185cm and 86kg, which allows him to be utilised as more of a centre half-forward type. Young’s marking in that role was solid as ever on the weekend, as he reeled in seven grabs (two contested). Much of his work was done up the ground, finding separation to provide a target coming out of defence for the Bloods. Young was just as impactful inside forward 50 though, especially as he booted all three of Wesites’ majors throughout the second and third terms to keep them in the hunt.

Others:

Hugh Desira was one who added some good speed and an attacking mindset to the midfield mix, while the likes of Ben Burbridge and Dylan White were both productive at the contest, providing the grunt work. Eduard van den Berg was his usual self off half-back too, moving forward instinctually and gaining good meterage with his 23 disposals.

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

Glenelg vs. WWT Eagles

By: Eli Duxson (Under 18s) & Tom Cheesman (League)

Glenelg:

#9 Kye Dean

With no Hagan Wright, among others, Dean had some added responsibility. Although it was a tough day for Glenelg, he still managed 21 disposals. With the Eagles’ rampant pressure, he had to work hard for his possessions and often found himself deep in defence just to get his hands on it. His disposal was rushed at times with the Eagles’ pressure around the ball and it was hard to find teammates. As usual though, he worked hard all day and was strong over the ball. He plugged a hole in his forward 50 in the third quarter to try and mark, but sometimes got in the way of his leading forwards.

#27 Luke Parks (League)

It was a tough day to be a Glenelg defender, but Parks did the best he could in the circumstances. He is a very reliable defender that was under the pump in this match from the beginning. The Eagles were getting repeat inside 50s early and Glenelg was panicking, so Parks continually found himself having to clean up other people’s mistakes.

Parks is fantastic in the air, as he is rarely beaten one-on-one and often goes up as the third man in to spoil other forwards and help out his teammates. He took some nice marks as well, including a magnificent overhead mark in the second term flying back into a pack. He also laid some good tackles, especially deep in defence to stop what could have been certain goals for the Eagles.

His kicking is usually reliable but he made a couple of mistakes by foot as the game went on. In the second term, he took a brilliant intercept mark but then tried to bite off a kick into the corridor and missed the target, which led to an opposition goal. He made up for this with a beautiful kick inside 50 to Luke Reynolds on the lead in the third quarter.

Parks got sent forward briefly in the third term to help provide an option when Glenelg had the wind, but he did not have much of an impact up there. In the last quarter, he went back to defence and curtailed many more opposition attacks. He also linked up well with teammates to get the ball moving forward. Parks finished with 13 disposals, six marks (two contested) and two tackles for the day.

Others:

A 93-point Under 18s loss does not often provide many good performances, but Frazer Bradley managed 26 disposals, while Elijah Owen scored two goals.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

WWT Eagles:

#3 Taj Schofield

The father-son prospect enjoyed another big game in the comprehensive win, amassing 32 disposals to go with a goal and seven inside 50s. He was clean below his knees and showed a good evasive ability in traffic, highlighted with a neat sidestep. His skills were on point all day with his kicking near perfect. This was coupled with his good decision-making as he did not blaze away and send it deep, but rather looked laterally and moved it with hands. He is the kind of player forwards would want sending it inside 50, but he did it all himself in the second quarter after recovering from a marking contest to burst and wheel to kick a goal on the run from 40 metres.

#19 Zac Phillips

Though he seemed to lose the ruck battle on the day, his serviceability came from his work rate both defensively and offensively. He finished the day with 20 disposals, 13 hitouts and two goals but his contested marking stood out, taking a couple at both ends. He showed great fitness covering a large amount of the ground and always put in big efforts in the contest. Both of his goals came from in front of the big sticks, drilling both set shots. He looked a little wary over the ball at times and was also a little predictable with set plays in the ruck. But with good size, athleticism, and skills, he has great potential. If he can work on his ruck craft and strength over the ball, his game will go to the next level.

#25 Henry Smith

The combine invitee spent most of his day up forward, but also ended up with 20 disposals and two goals. Smith looked mobile around the ground and most comfortable in the forward half. He led out well and took a nice contested mark early in the game, but missed the set shot. His first goal came soon after, earning a holding the ball free kick at the top of the goal square and putting it straight through the middle. His second also came from a free kick, but this time a ruck infringement, kicking the set shot from 35 metres. Smith provided a solid target up the wings for the Eagles’ rebounds and did not lose in the air, either marking, or bringing it to ground for the smalls to mop up.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

It is strength to strength for Burgoyne as he stakes his claim as a 2021 prospect, ending up with a game-high 36 disposals to go with a goal and nine marks. He was his silky best with clean gathers and handballs early, before providing his usual outside run and carry. He spent time at half-back in the second quarter, sprinting inside the square at the centre bounce, but also showing some good defensive traits. He can sometimes drift when playing as a defender but some good man marking and spoils were impressive to see. His goal came later in the term after splitting defenders and running into an open goal to slot it from 35 metres out. Another great game for Burgoyne.

#16 James Rowe (League)

Rowe has proven to be one of the best small forwards in the SANFL this season, and he showed why he’s such an important part of the Eagles’ side on Saturday. He started the game by reading a ruck contest in the forward 50 brilliantly, bursting through the stoppage, collecting the ball at speed and snapping the first goal of the game. Although this was his only goal for the day, he impacted the match in so many other ways.

Rowe’s defensive pressure in the forward half was relentless, highlighted when he laid a run-down tackle on Billy Stretch in the middle of the ground to win a holding the ball decision. His speed makes opposition players panic whenever he is in their area, regardless of whether they have the ball or not. Rowe also provided a strong lead-up option whenever necessary, worked into defence to get some touches, and pinch-hit in the midfield at times. He showed that he has good vision and is very unselfish when he hit Jackson Lee with a clever pass inside 50 in the second quarter.

Rowe received plenty of attention from the opposition and earned multiple free kicks for his troubles. His work rate and willingness to follow up his possessions enabled him to set up many scoring opportunities for his teammates. If Rowe was not on the radar of AFL clubs before this season, I would be surprised if he isn’t at least being considered by some clubs now. He finished with 16 disposals, five tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and a goal.

#28 Jacob Wehr (League)

Wehr boasts a beautiful left-foot kick and worked hard all day to find plenty of the ball. He spent time in the midfield, where he linked up well with teammates and ran back to help the defence. However, his most prominent position was a half-back role which he played very well. He took the kick-ins and was comfortably launching them 60 metres into the wind, and his pressure on the opposition was fantastic. This was highlighted when he produced a lunging tackle on reigning Magarey Medallist Luke Partington to win a holding the ball decision in the first term.

He used his kicking ability to open up the game for his side, as evidenced in the first term when he delivered a spearing ball straight through the middle of the ground to a teammate. Wehr was confident enough to bite off these tough kicks despite the difficult weather conditions, and he hit the target just about every time. He also did the little things well such as attacking the footy with pace, working hard to the next contest, rushing behinds when necessary and doing the one-percenters. A magnificent smother in the final minutes of the game capped off his superb performance. Wehr finished with 29 disposals, eight rebound 50s, four inside 50s and two clearances.

#34 Lachlan Jones (League)

Jones is a product of the Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy and is quickly becoming one of the best prospects in this year’s draft. He had a pretty easy day on Saturday in defence thanks to the dominance of his side, but was still able to show why he is so highly-rated by recruiters. His work in marking contests was outstanding, as he consistently positioned himself well and out-bodied his opponents to win the footy. He rarely loses a one-on-one contest and is always willing to help out his teammates in the air.

Jones got to position himself higher up the ground than usual because the ball was so regularly in the Eagles’ forward 50, and this led to him taking one of the marks of the year in the second term. It was a textbook hanger over a pack at half-forward that showed off his amazing athleticism and great hands. He then had the composure to find Jack Hayes with a long kick inside 50, who finished off the good work with a goal. Jones showed some other strings to his bow too, including some run-and-carry out of defence in the final term and some nice link-up play with teammates around the ground. At 185cm, he is a great size for his position and will only get better with more experience in the years to come.

Others:

A big Under 18s win meant many contributors; Max Litster again boasted terrific numbers with 29 disposals and a goal, while Zeke Scott chipped in with 20 disposals and two goals.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

Featured image: South Adelaide’s Jack Flett flies for a mark | Credit: Simmone Le Raye/SANFL

Young gun focus: 2020 SANFL Round 12 wrap

WITH young guns impressing at state league level around the nation, we again narrow our focus for this week’s South Australian National Football League (SANFL) wrap to the performances of youth throughout all three grades. There is plenty to unpack in our third altered edition, with Under 18 prospects scattered across the two senior competitions, and a bunch of youngsters impressing in the junior grade in Round 12.

>> SCROLL for full results 

Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) is again the talk of SANFL town, after drubbing reigning League premier, Glenelg by 78 points to put one hand on the minor premiership. 19-year-old Lachlan McNeil was again terrific among a raft of key Eagles ball winners, collecting 24 disposals in the win. Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) candidate Lachlan Jones contributed to the defensive effort seeing the Bays held to just four majors, and he even added a huge specky to his highlight reel. Fellow defender Rhyan Mansell managed 14 touches, but comes under an injury cloud at the unideal time with his Achilles complaint. Glenelg’s Luke Parks (13 disposals, six marks) and Callum Park (14 disposals, nine rebound 50s) were both kept busy down back in the heavy defeat.

2020 AFL Draft hopefuls Luke Edwards (Glenelg) and Caleb Poulter (WWT) battled it out in the Reserves, as the Eagles again came away comfortable winners. Fellow Under 18s Cooper Horsnell and Ty Murphy have also enjoyed two’s berths for the Bays, along with Victorian mainstay Mitch Martin and 18-year-old Brady Searle up forward. WWT midfielder Harrison Dawkins was also named for a well-earned promotion. While the Eagles have already secured finals qualification across both senior levels, Glenelg’s youngsters like Edwards, Horsnell, and Murphy could spill back into the Under 18s side should the Tigers sneak into the top four there.

Speaking of the Under 18s, the Eagles pulled off a hat-trick of victories over their yellow and black counterparts, securing a thumping 93-point win on Saturday. Port fans will be buoyed to see father-son prospects Jase Burgoyne (2021-eligible) and Taj Schofield (2020) lead the ball winning stakes with over 30 disposals each, as both also hit the scoreboard in their midfield rotation. Max Litster (29 disposals, seven clearances, one goal) was again prominent, while bigmen Henry Smith and Zac Phillips both managed two goals apiece. Frazer Bradley (26 disposals, six marks) found the most ball for Glenelg, while Kye Dean and William Watts continued their solid form.

Elsewhere, South Adelaide and North Adelaide both bolstered their spots in the top four; as the Panthers preyed on Westies, and the Roosters crowed in a win over Central District. Daly Andrews’ promising start to SANFL League life continued with another 16 disposals and one goal, while 17-year-old Jason Horne was terrific for 15 touches and a major of his own in the Panthers’ victory. 2020 National Combine invitee Thomas Highmore also made a steady return from injury. North Adelaide key defender Dyson Hilder, whose League return saw Karl Finlay go the other way, was solid with 11 disposals and seven marks as his Roosters got up.

There was also some good talent running around for the Panthers at Reserves level, with another National Combine invitee in Phoenix Spicer among them. The speedy small forward/midfielder booted two majors and was among his side’s best players as South romped to a 71-point win. Draft hopeful Zac Dumesny was also listed to make his return from injury in the two’s. Prolific Westies midfielder Bailey Chamberlain narrowly missed League selection, but was part of the Reserves squad alongside Jye Sinderberry. Leading prospect Riley Thilthorpe was billed to slot back into the League lineup, but was a late scratching on account of his niggling groin complaint.

The Bloods’ Under 18s made South Adelaide earn its victory, pushing the Panthers for most of the game. Michael Laudato and Zac Venning combined for 54 disposals, 20 marks, and 12 rebound 50s in a busy defence, while Cade Kennedy and Dylan White worked hard through the engine room with over 20 touches and seven clearances apiece, and Luke Young snared three goals up forward. South’s depth proved too strong though, as the likes of Max Clifton, Luke Mitton, Dylan Brown, and Liam Hamilton all proved productive, while draft bolter Brayden Cook booted two goals and Nick Kraemer finally got back on the park.

Like the Panthers, North Adelaide enjoyed a big Under 18s win of its own, downing Centrals to the tune of 94 points. Among the goalkickers were Kyle Brazell and Matthew Borg, who each also found plenty of the ball, while bigmen Leo Coates (four goals) and Isaac Keeler (two) also impressed. There were no multiple goalkickers for the Bulldogs with some classy personnel missing, though Wyatt Ryan put in another mammoth performance with 26 disposals, 11 marks, and 32 hitouts. Lachlan Grubb was also an outstanding performer at Reserves level, booting five goals in Centrals’ win.

Back in the League frame, Norwood kept its finals hopes alive with a razor-thin win over Sturt, won off the boot of VFL recruit Nikolaus Rokahr. The Redlegs have been hampered by injuries, but that has only allowed youngsters like Daniel Fairbrother to get an extended run at senior level. He collected 19 disposals in his third senior game. Sturt swingman and potential Adelaide NGA prospect James Borlase missed due to school football commitments, though Tom Lewis continues to impress having gathered 18 disposals in the loss.

The Doubles Blues rocketed clear atop the Under 18s ladder as well, demoting Norwood to third with a 56-point triumph. Unsurprisingly, Tom Powell collected a team-high 33 disposals, but was outdone by Norwood’s Michael Cavallaro (34), who returned from Reserves duties. Ben Ianniello, who also has Reserves experience, collected 28 touches for the Redlegs, while Cooper Murley again ticked over the 30-mark. Henry Nelligan was also terrific with three goals from 26 touches despite the loss. He was one of the unlucky players to miss out on a National Combine nod though, alongside Sturt’s Mani Liddy, who contributed 24 disposals and a goal.

RESULTS

League:

West Adelaide 8.7 (55) def. by South Adelaide 17.13 (115)
Norwood 10.16 (76) def. Sturt 11.7 (73)
WWT Eagles 16.15 (111) def. Glenelg 4.9 (33)
North Adelaide 15.20 (110) def. Central District 12.6 (78)

Reserves:

West Adelaide 8.2 (50) def. by South Adelaide 18.13 (121)
Norwood 1.3 (9) def. by Sturt 13.20 (98)
WWT Eagles 14.17 (101) def. Glenelg 5.5 (35)
North Adelaide 9.16 (70) def. by Central District 13.9 (87)

Under 18s:

Central District 3.4 (22) def. by North Adelaide 17.14 (116)
Sturt 16.9 (105) def. Norwood 7.7 (49)
South Adelaide 12.15 (87) def. West Adelaide 10.4 (64)
Glenelg 5.4 (34) def. by WWT Eagles 18.19 (127)

Featured Image: Eagles forward James Rowe (front left) celebrates with teammates | Source: Cory Sutton/SANFL