Tag: carter michael

2020 QAFL season preview: Three months later, the QAFL returns

AFTER an extended break, the 10 Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) teams are preparing to run out for the first time in 2020 this weekend. The nine teams are comprised of four Brisbane sides, four Gold Coast teams and one Sunshine Coast side. Sandhurst Hawks competed in 2019, but withdrew from the competition for 2020 late last year.

Last year, Surfers Paradise Demons triumphed in the grand final over Palm Beach Currumbin. The Demons stopped their opponents from winning a three-peat after successfully claiming the 2017-18 flags. It was the fourth consecutive grand final for the Lions who went 2-2 from the reign at the top, while for the Demons, it was a historic moment to take out their first ever flag since competing in the previous Gold Coast AFL competition. Palm Beach Currumbin’s back-to-back titles are the only two on record for the Lions as well, showing a shift in the success for teams of late.

Overall of the current teams in the top grade, Southport leads the way with 13 premierships, only two behind Mayne, a side that won its last in 1982 and currently plays in the Queensland Football Association (QFA) North. Next up is Morningside with nine flags and Coorparoo with six, whilst Broadbeach and Maroochydore remain the only two sides yet to taste premiership glory in the top grade. Wilston Grange has the longest premiership drought of the lot, with Gorillas fans having to go back to 1972 for their last flag.

Throwback to last year and the eventual premiers, Surfers Paradise finished second on the table behind their grand finalists, Palm Beach Currumbin. Morningside was behind the Demons on percentage still notching up 12 wins, while Broadbeach sat fourth two wins behind third, but with a higher percentage. Mt Gravatt was in fifth, but 12 points behind in the standings.

Round 1 takes place this Saturday with Broadbeach having the first bye of the new nine-round season where each team plays every other team once. The top six make the finals, with the top two given the first week of finals off, to play the winners of the elimination semi-finals of third to sixth placings. The QAFL Grand Final will take place on Saturday, September 26.

Reigning champion Surfers Paradise opens its account against Palm Beach Currumbin in a massive grand final rematch at Sir Bruce Small Park. It leads a host of big games, including Sherwood up against Mt Gravatt, Morningside taking on Labrador and Maroochydore facing off against Wilston Grange.

In terms of the young guns coming through the AFL Academy Allies’ hub, potential first round pick, Alex Davies is aligned to Broadbeach, along with Aidan Fyfe, while Morningside had a talented duo in Blake Coleman and Saxon Crozier. Jack Johnston is a Palm Beach Currumbin player, whilst Carter Michael represents Maroochydore. Noah McFadyen (Wilston Grange), Rhys Nicholls (Labrador) and Jack Briskey (Western Magpies) are all aligned to clubs there, whilst Tahj Abberley won a Rising Star nomination for Sandgate but of course the Hawks will no longer be competing in the top tier this season.

2020 AFL Draft Positional Analysis: Outside Midfielders

DASHING, daring outside midfielders are becoming increasingly important amid the current trend of contested, scrum-like styles of play, able to break the lines and change the course of games in a flash. Among this year’s crop lies a versatile bunch of outside types who can double in different positions, and while not all of them currently have the opportunity to show their worth on the field, exposed form and long preseasons for most allow for a window into how the current stocks stack up.

In ramping up our 2020 AFL Draft analysis, Draft Central continues its line-by-line positional breakdowns, moving on to the best outside midfielders. The following list features pocket profiles of top-age (2002-born) prospects who are part of their respective AFL Academy hubs, while also touching on some names who missed out last year, or may feature on another list.

Without further ado, get to know some of the premier outside midfielders who are eligible to be drafted in 2020.

Note: The list is ordered alphabetically, not by any form of ranking.

Jake Bowey
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
174cm | 66kg

Starting small, Bowey kicks off this list as one of the prospects who may sneak into top 20 calculations on draft boards, with plenty of desirable attributes to outweigh his 174cm/66kg frame. The Sandringham Dragons product is hard at it, able to take the ball cleanly and burst through congestion with his high-level speed and agility. He featured in 16 NAB League games last year stationed on his customary wing position, but is quite apt forward of centre and could even utilise his sharp foot skills off half-back.

>> Q&A
>> Marquee Matchup

Jack Carroll
East Fremantle/Western Australia
188cm | 79kg

Another in the line of East Fremantle Under 18 prospects is Carroll, who comes in at a good size to compete across a range of positions. The West Australian’s precision kicking makes him damaging on the outside, while courage in the air and intercept marking prowess make him a half-back option. The 188cm prospect can also roll through midfield, but has quality traits on the outer and will more likely find a spot there should state representative duties come calling.

Saxon Crozier
Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies
189cm | 80kg

Crozier has been one of Queensland’s most highly touted 2020 prospects for a while now, and has cut his teeth as an out-and-out outside midfielder thus far. The tall, rangy Brisbane Academy product has filled out of late and has eyes on securing an inside role, but has arguably shown his best form to date on the wing. Crozier’s running capacity and ability to hurt the opposition when given time and space suit the outside role, and he has also adapted his skills to run off flanks at either end of the ground. He will be a leader among the talented Brisbane crop, and should prove a handy addition to the Allies squad.

>> Q&A

Connor Downie
Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro
185cm | 83kg

The Hawthorn Next Generation Academy (NGA) candidate may have eyes on more minutes on the inside, and boasts the ideal size for it, but is so good running on the outer that we simply had to include him in this list. Downie is set to skipper the Eastern Ranges side which lost in last year’s NAB League decider, with the experience of 14 games and a Vic Metro Under 18 outing under his belt. While he is not overwhelmingly quick, Downie loves to get the ball moving and finishes his line-breaking runs with penetrating left-foot bombs. His skills can be adapted to a half-back role, and he is no stranger to finding the big sticks, either.

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

Errol Gulden
Sydney Swans Academy/Allies
172cm | 68kg

Search the definition for pocket rocket and a picture of Gulden is what you are likely to find. The nippy Swans Academy hopeful does not let his size get in the way of making a big impact; as his smarts, agility, and ability to chain possessions allow him to carve up the opposition on the outside. While he could also be considered a small or half-forward, Gulden is just as capable of wreaking havoc from the wing and enjoys getting into space. He won the Under 16 Division 2 MVP in 2018, appeared four times for the Allies as a bottom-ager, and has already played senior footy. Look out.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

Brodie Lake
Peel Thunder/NT Thunder Academy/Allies
186cm | 70kg

One of the Northern Territory’s brightest draft prospects this year is Lake, a tall midfielder who boasts great versatility and running power. He has twice featured in the Thunder’s Under 16 squad, taking out last year’s MVP award for his service through midfield and in defence. Lake has also plied his trade for Peel Thunder and at senior level for Southern Districts in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL), lauded for his coachability, skills, and work rate. He will be one to keep an eye out for come the national carnival, and will be eligible to be taken by Gold Coast given its alignment to the Darwin academy zone.

Carter Michael
Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies
188cm | 74kg

A second Queenslander on this list, Michael may well find himself lined up on the opposite wing to fellow Brisbane Academy product, Crozier when it comes time to run out for the Allies. The 188cm prospect is a silky mover through traffic who boasts a penetrating left foot kick, and he may well be one to juggle time between inside and outside roles throughout the year, depending on which team he represents. He already has experience on the inside for the Lions at Under 18 level and is a leader among that group, but may be pushed out to the wing for the Allies where he can make an impact with his sharp decision making.

>> Q&A

Tom Powell
Sturt/South Australia
180cm | 73kg

Powell made an immediate impact upon his return to SANFL Under 18s action last week, collecting 34 disposals in Sturt’s Round 1 win over Central District. The speedy midfielder actually has quite a nice balance of traits given his mix of athleticism and ball winning ability, but may find his way into the South Australian lineup on the outside where his explosive burst will come in handy. It is pleasing to see Powell back on the park after an unlucky run with injuries in 2019, and he should quickly rise in stocks should his form persist.

>> Q&A

Taj Schofield
WWT Eagles/South Australia
178cm | 72kg

The son of Port Adelaide premiership player, Jarrad, Schofield is another South Australian prospect to have battled injury as a bottom-ager, but he is primed to make an impact in 2020. Power fans will be keeping a close eye on the 2020 father-son candidate, who is incredibly classy on the outside with eye-catching agility and short-range kicking. Schofield has been working on his inside craft, too, and featured among the Eagles’ Under 18 centre bounce quartet in Round 1 after starting up forward. The small prospect was named in the 2018 Under 16 All Australian side, where he represented Western Australia before making the move to SA.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

OTHERS TO CONSIDER

There are plenty of other prospects who could fit into the outside midfielder category, but are more effective in other roles from out perspective. Among them, the elite trio of Will Phillips, Tanner Bruhn, and Braeden Campbell are all players we deem to be of the balanced midfielder variety, along with the likes of Finlay Macrae and Bailey Chamberlain. Corey Durdin is one who would be considered more of an inside type, and we see him as a small forward in the long run in any case.

Speaking of, Sam Conforti will make the same transition for Bendigo, while West Australian pair Ira Jetta and Joel Western can roll through multiple positions, including on the outside, but look more suited to flank or pocket roles. Glenelg small Cooper Horsnell also has eyes on a role further afield, but remains in the small forward category.

There are a raft of defenders who move up the ground well and may, in future, be considered outside midfielders. NAB Leaguers Charlie Byrne and Nick Stevens have the ability to roll further afield, but seem to prefer their half-back posts, while Tasmanian academy pair Sam Collins and Patrick Walker are in a similar boat. Queenslander Tahj Abberley is one who can play just about anywhere but has been billed as a small defender, and we like Ty Sears as a running half-back, too.

In the utility category comes the likes of Zac Dumesny and Campbell Edwardes. Dumesny made his SANFL League debut in 2020 and can operate on the wing or up forward, but looks like developing into a third tall in defence. Edwardes is as versatile as they come and is yet to lock down a specific role despite looking comfortable on the outside.

Of course, anyone else we may have missed could also appear in our previous analysis on inside midfielders.

Positional Analysis: Inside MidfieldersKey Position Forwards

>> CATCH UP ON OUR OTHER SERIES

Squad Predictions:
Allies
South Australia
Vic Country
Vic Metro
Western Australia

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AFL Draft Watch

Preseason Testing Analysis:
Jumps
Speed
Agility
Endurance

Get to know: Carter Michael (Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies)

AS the postponement of all seasons commenced over the last few weeks, we are taking a look at some of the up-and-coming draft prospects for the 2020 draft. In a special Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, Draft Central‘s Michael Alvaro chatted with Brisbane Lions Academy prospect Carter Michael. As we delve into the Queensland-based talent, you’ll get to know everything you need to know about the brightest academy talents.

Michael, a midfielder who for the most part has displayed his talent on the outside, is looking to base his game around Western Bulldogs star, Marcus Bontempelli as he bulks up for more permanent time at centre circle. The 188cm prospect has a similarly damaging left foot kick, and likes to break free from stoppage congestion with his acceleration and agility.

Having a brother also within the Lions’ Academy ranks has helped with the improvised training workload, with the pair building an at-home gym and using the local football oval to keep up to scratch. Michael has already graduated from high school, and is using 2020 to focus on his football while also saving money earned from his part-time job as a Dominos delivery boy.

The Maroochydore junior also has a wide-range of mentors both on and off the field to look up to, with a bunch of Lions Academy products setting an example for those to come, the coaching staff guiding him along the way, and his Dad coaching him from Under 10s to Under 16s.

Carter already boasts a decent footballing resume too, having run out for the Lions in the NAB League, represented Queensland in last year’s Under 17 Futures series, and been selected to play on Grand Final day in the Under 17 All Stars showcase. The man himself gives us an update on his training, mindset, and goals amid lockdown.

Q&A

Carter, how’d you go during pre-season, any niggles or did you have a clean slate?

“I started off well, was fit and healthy. With training, I didn’t miss a session with the boys and then the day before testing, I got called up to play NEAFL Lions against the SUNS and I got turf toe.

“That’s my only main injury so I was out for a couple of weeks but had to have it strapped ever since. That’s the only niggle so far, apart from that I’ve been pretty healthy through the pre-season which is good.”

 

Did you test at the pre-season day?

“No I didn’t because they told me to rest after I played the game the day before. “So I only did the standing reach, nothing else.”

 

What was the feeling like then when you got news about the season being delayed?

“I was shattered. “We had a meeting with all the boys in Brisbane, so we all travelled to Brissie. “We were talking about it and it was pretty flat to be honest. “Everyone was shattered, not being able to train with each other.”

“So it’s been hard but I’m lucky enough, I’ve got a brother who’s also in the Lions Academy. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to train with him every day so that’s one bonus, having a brother.”

 

Is he younger than you?

“Younger, a year younger. “Yeah he’s taller though, taller than me already.”

 

So a different kind of player?

“Yeah, he plays more in the forward line, like key forward. “He’s still developing though, still light like me but I play more midfield so it’s a good combination.”

 

How have you been improvising your training at home?

“We’ve built our own little gym in the backyard. “Built our own chin-up bar, a few weights which is good. “Most mornings we’ve been doing our gym session and then in the afternoons, because we live close to the Maroochydore footy fields, we go down there and either do our running with the footy or just have a kick around.”

 

Have you still been in contact with the Lions Academy and the Allies Hub, have they kept in touch?

“More with the Lions Academy. “Every Monday our mids have a Zoom meeting and we just talk about little things like this week we have a project about finding a player who you want to base your game around. “It’s good, it gives us something to do. “But not as much with the Allies… we do have a group chat but that’s about it.”

 

Who’s the player you look to base your game on, who’ve you chosen?

“I chose the Bont (Marcus Bontempelli). I love the way he plays. “He’s kind of the same build as me, just a little bit taller. “I was reading about his draft year and about the way he plays and I can kind of see the similarities (between) his strengths and my strengths. “We’re both left-footers, like to carry the footy so I thought he was a good player to base my game around.”

 

In terms of your mind-set, did it change at all given you might not get on the park as much as you would have liked?

“I’ve thought about how it’s a really good chance to work on my weaknesses especially and things I want to grow. “Putting on weight, I’ve been eating way more than I usually have with training so I’ve been trying to put on size.

“And also to improve my running, so I’ve put it into a positive at the same time,  just building on my weaknesses to get a bit better. “That’s what you’ve got to do I guess, you’ve got to look at the positives in this.”

 

What are some of the on-field things you’re looking to develop as well?

“One big one is my leadership with the Lions Academy. “Being there for three years now I’m kind of one of the more experienced ones.

“So when I get back on the park hopefully, even just bringing leadership to some of the younger boys and being a good role model around them which is one key thing that the coaches talk to me about.”

 

Have you been changing position at all, are you looking to play more inside mid as well now?

“Yeah, I’m looking to develop that bigger body because I’m 188cm so if I can put a bit of size on and get used to the technical ways on the inside, it’s good having both – to be able to win your own footy as well like the Bont does. I’ve been trying to work on the inside game.”

 

What do you see as your key strengths?

“One would probably be my kicking, I’ve got a pretty good left foot kick, I kick long as well. “I like to base my game around my kicking. “And my decision making when I’ve got the footy I think is another good one I’ve got.

“Also my speed, I’m pretty for a bloke my height, I think under three (seconds over 20m), so just trying to get that footy and accelerate out of the contest.”

 

Tracking back a bit to your footy journey, have you always played juniors for the Maroochydore Roos?

“Yeah, I started there in Under 10s. “My Dad coached me all the way up to Under 16s which has been great, he’s been like my role model and he’s taught me pretty much everything about footy today which is great. “He’s just always been there for me, it’s good.”

 

Did your Dad used to play as well?

“He didn’t play at the elite level but injury kind of ruined his career. “I think he’s done about four knee reconstructions which doesn’t help but he says he was a handy footballer back in the day, which I believe.”

 

And then coming into the Lions Academy, what was that like?

“I got put in the Lions Academy when I was about 12, it’s been great for me. “Luke Curran and Josh Hunt have been great for me. “I got put in the Under 18s Lions Academy as a 16-year-old so that was a bit nerve-wracking I’ve got to say in those first few training sessions, seeing those older boys. “But eventually I got used to them and it was great for me for the next two years after that.”

 

Have you had any good mentors there? There’s been some decent talent coming out of the Lions Academy.

“One guy who’s from Noosa as well, he’s the Lions Academy mids coach at the moment, James Gellie. “He’s been great for me, he’s just there always supporting me and telling me how good I can be. “He’s pretty much been there since day one so it’s been great having him there.”

 

Representing Queensland must have been a pretty good honour for you?

“Yeah. “I represented them a few times, I love it. “I love the Queensland boys, it’s great. “Last year I didn’t get to play the first two (Under 17 Futures) games though because I had a broken finger, so I didn’t get to play against New South Wales at Southport, I ran water for them.

“But then I eventually got on the park in Victoria and played alright so it was great to be back out there with the boys.”

 

Who are some of the Brisbane and Queensland boys you enjoy playing alongside?

“There’s a couple of boys, Saxon (Crozier) and Blake (Coleman), I’m good mates with them and Tahj (Abberley). We all gel pretty well, we’ve been close for ages because Sax and I and Tahj have played since Under 12s so we’ve known each other for a fair while now. We’ve got a good bond going there.”

 

They’re all in the Allies hub with you, it must be good to have those familiar faces around the camps too?

“Yeah it is. The camp we went on the Gold Coast was great, I loved it. All the boys were so nice, I met so many new blokes and I’m good mates with them now, we keep in touch – asking them how their training’s been going. It’s a good bond, a close team even though we’ve only had one camp together.”

 

You’ve met a few boys from other states you’re looking forward to playing with?

“A few boys from the Northern Territory like Brodie Lake and Joel Jeffrey, “I’m pretty close with them. Big Jacko (Jackson Callow), I’m close with him as well so I can’t wait if we get the chance to play alongside them.”

 

In terms of your goals for the year, have they adjusted at all?

“Pretty much, if we get back to playing with the Allies just being able to be fit and healthy and play every game to put my best foot forward. “Then hopefully like everyone to get to the draft combine, and hopefully the big picture is getting on a senior list.”

 

Are you set on ending up at Brisbane or are you keeping your options open?

“I’m just keeping my options open, I wouldn’t be fussed wherever I go. “It’s just been a dream of mine so it doesn’t really matter where.”

 

You support Brisbane I assume?

“Yeah, I’ve supported Brisbane my whole life. “We went through a rough patch there early but it’s been good seeing the boys develop and get a few wins on the board.”

 

Did you get to train with the senior boys as well during pre-season?

“We got to have two weeks with them luckily enough, that was great. “I loved that experience, just the way they’re so close and the way they connect with each other even outside of training. “It was really good to be a part of that.”

 

You would’ve played in the NAB League this season too, how was it last year?

“That was great, I got to play against and alongside some great players like Noah Cumberland and Will Martyn, who were lucky enough to get drafted. “I learned heaps off them, their professionalism, especially Will’s professionalism went a long way. “And I was lucky enough to play in the midfield with a few of those boys which I loved.”

 

Noah Cumberland was a Maroochydore boy as well, did you play with him in juniors?

“Yeah I’m pretty close with him. “He was in my first-ever (Australian rules) team so we’ve just grown up every year being in my Dad’s team. It was so cool to see him get drafted, my Dad had a few tears in his eyes saying ‘That was me’, it was pretty funny, it was good.”

 

Was there a step-up in competition against the Victorian boys, some of the high-end draftees?

“We played against Sandringham Dragons at Sandringham one game and they touched us up by about 100 points. “But I was lucky enough to play on Ryan Byrnes, I think he got drafted to St Kilda.

“So I learned heaps from him, just his inside game, the way he positions his body – you just learn so much off those great players which then you can take and bring into your own game.”

 

Growing up, did you play any other sports?

“I actually played cricket. My Dad was a mad cricket player as well so I played cricket from about Under 14s to about Under 16s, I played three years there. “I loved it but I had to just put it aside for now just to focus on footy. It’s a bit tough doing those two sports at this time.”

 

Are you doing Year 12 at the moment as well?

No, I graduated last year. “I’m just having a year off, trying to save up money. “I’ve got a part-time job at Dominos as a delivery boy, it’s good.”

 

So you’re still doing that, they’re still open at the moment?

“Yeah, I’m doing four to five shifts a week just trying to save up.”

 

Outside of footy, is there anything else you’re working on?

“I’ve been looking at TAFE courses because I like architecture and draft design. “I did graphics when I was at school and it’s an interest of mine.”

NAB League Boys 2019 Throwback: Round 4 – Academies run riot among joint top four

DESPITE reverting back to a six-game format after Round 3’s nine-game marathon, there was plenty of worthy action to come out of Round 4 of last year’s NAB League season. The Northern Academies continued to get into the swing of things, with two of them making up a top four all joined on 12 points by the weekend’s conclusion. Fans were treated to two separate double-headers – at Southport and Sandringham – while Calder became the first side to make the trip down to Tasmania to face the Devils. All six Victorian Country sides underwent a bye round, while some of the remaining Metro clubs took slightly weakened line-ups into their matches.

First to take the park in Saturday’s lone pair of fixtures were the Northern Knights and GWS GIANTS Academy, with the New South Welshmen overcoming a half time deficit to storm home 26-point winners. A four-goal to one third term proved the difference for GWS as both sides struggled for accuracy in front of goal in the face of Sandringham’s coastal breeze.

GIANTS Academy jet Tom Green had a day out as his side’s only eventual draftee afield, racking up a game-high 38 disposals as far-and-away the best player on the park. Carlton may have bid on Green in last year’s draft, but would end up taking arguably the next best inside midfielder out there on this occasion within the first round in Sam Philp, who competed hard for his team-high 26 touches. Ayce Taylor, the only other draftee was quiet with eight disposals, while newly-made Knight Liam Delahunty booted three goals, and former Oakleigh recruit Jeromy Lucas managed two majors from his 28 disposals.

Sydney faced a tough test next up on the Trevor Barker Beach Oval turf, facing the talented – albeit slightly compromised – Sandringham side on its home patch. But lead by an inspired couple of bottom-aged smalls, the Swans were able to get on top and stay there for an unlikely win against the eventual preliminary finalists. A 10-goal to five opening half made for an unassailable lead, with the Dragons pouring on some late consolations to bring the final margin to a more respectable 22 points.

Over-ager Angus Hanrahan was Sandringham’s best, covering the ground well for 28 touches and 2.4, while bottom-agers Darby Hipwell (24 disposals, 0.3) and Archie Perkins (16 disposals, two goals) enjoyed some added responsibility given Sandringham’s many omissions. 2020 over-age hopeful Kyle Yorke also impressed with three majors, but was ultimately outdone by Sydney bottom-age gun Braeden Campbell, who booted four from his 13 disposals. Allies squad member Hamish Ellem also managed two majors alongside Sam Thorne, but it was Errol Gulden who caught the eye on the outside and going forward, as he amassed 27 disposals and a goal to continue his electrifying form.

Fast forward a day and travelling up to Southport were the Oakleigh Chargers to take on Gold Coast’s Academy, minus all of their 2019 draftees. The squad shuffling and travel took toll as the visitors went down by a resounding 71 points to the SUNS, managing just three goals in an unusually impotent performance going forward. With eight goals to one in a dominant second half, the home side took away the four points and rose atop of the NAB League ladder with its perfect 3-0 record.

Connor Budarick took the field with fellow SUNS draftees Matt Conroy and Patrick Murtagh, returning a best afield performance on the back of his game-high 28 disposals and one major. The two aforementioned talls were quieter with a combined 11 disposals, but also contributed three collective goals and 29 hitouts. Josh Gore could have had a day out had he been more accurate than his 2.5 from 20 disposals, while 2020 prospect Alex Davies found it 16 times and also booted a goal. For Oakleigh, over-ager Joe Ayton-Delaney stood up to amass 26 disposals, followed by Kaden Schreiber‘s 24. 2020 top-ager Lochlan Jenkins had it 17 times, while Collingwood NGA prospect Reef McInnes was a touch quieter with 13 disposals – two less than 2020 19-year-old prospect Jacob Woodfull‘s 15 to go with 16 hitouts.

The second match in the Sunshine State saw Eastern come from behind to down an accurate Brisbane Lions Academy, with a pair of Richmond draftees having an impact on the contest among a raft of bottom-aged talent. The Ranges had the better of the first half in tricky conditions, but found themselves behind come three quarter time as the Lions turned up the heat. The eventual minor premiers had plenty left in the tank though, booting five goals to Brisbane’s one in an epic final term surge.

At the forefront of the win was bottom-ager Salele Faegaimalii, who racked up 28 disposals and slammed home two goals from midfield in a barnstorming performance. He was supported well by half-back Joshua Clarke, who booted a terrific goal from his 21 touches, while cricketing prodigy Wil Parker found it 14 times. For the Lions, skipper Will Martyn amassed a monster 37 disposals, while fellow Richmond recruit Noah Cumberland snared three goals from 15 touches. Others to impress were bottom-agers Saxon Crozier (24 touches), Carter Michael (19), and Blake Coleman (four goals), while bigmen Tom Wischnat (19 disposals, three goals) and Ben Hickleton (three goals) also had a say for their respective sides. But is was Eastern’s team spread which won it on the day and earned a top four berth.

Down on the Apple Isle, Tasmania made good on its first full-time hosting duties in the NAB League, knocking over Calder by 12 points at Penguin Reserve. While the Devils were essentially at full strength, the Cannons were missing a few top-age stars but came in boasting some promising bottom-agers to match that of their opponent. After a goalless opening term, the game picked up with Tasmania kicking out to a 21-point lead at the main break despite only having one more scoring shot. The Devils’ accuracy held them in good stead, helping them to maintain the lead in the face of Calder’s greater number of opportunities come the final siren.

The only two draftees afield both donned the Tasmanian green, with AFL rookies Mitch O’Neill (16 disposals) and Matthew McGuiness (20) both having their say in patches. But the impressive bottom-age contingent featuring Patrick Walker (24 disposals, one goal), Oliver Davis (19 disposals), Sam Collins (18), and Jackson Callow (four goals) mattered most, with 16-year-old Division 2 MVP Sam Banks also collecting 17 touches on his NAB League debut. For Calder, Essendon NGA prospect Cody Brand booted three goals to prove his versatility, but it was Harrison Minton-Connell who led the way with 26 touches and 1.3 from midfield. Coburg-listed over-ager Tye Browning had it 22 times, with Lions teammate Ben Overman notching 17 touches from defence, and bottom-aged gun Jackson Cardillo showing his potential with 15 disposals.

The final game of the round brought us to our fourth venue, as Western Jets thumped the Northern Territory Thunder Academy by 71 points at Downer Oval in Williamstown. While the Jets struggled to adjust to their ‘home’ conditions with a massive 24 behinds, their weight of opportunities ensured they would also put 18 shots through the big sticks to deliver the winning score. For the Thunder, who ran out of legs after a bright opening term, this would be their third loss in as many NAB League appearances for the year.

Western’s bigmen stood tall on the day, with Aaron Clarke booting 4.6 from 18 disposals and 10 marks, while former-Sandringham product Will Kennedy had 25 disposals and 28 hitouts in the ruck, providing terrific service to fellow over-ager Daly Andrews (25 disposals, six inside 50s). There was a bunch of talent which ran out for the Thunder, as Maurice Rioli Jnr made his debut with 16 touches, Nichols Medalist Beau O’Connell starred with 18 disposals and a goal, and Brandon Rusca lead the disposal count with 25. Stephen Cumming battled hard in the ruck for 18 touches, 30 hitouts and a goal, while Tyson Woods was the standout forward (13 disposals, 3.2).

Scouting notes: Under-17 Futures

TEAM BROWN romped home by 47 points in the Under-17 Futures showpiece game on grand final day on the MCG, with a number of prospects putting their hands up for top-end selection at this early stage. With recruiters watching on, we also cast an eye over the game to bring you our opinion-based scouting notes on every player afield.

Team Brown (Black)

By: Peter Williams (#1-8) and Michael Alvaro (#16-36)

#1 Jake Bowey (Sandringham Dragons)

One of Team Brown’s best players on the day with his run and neat kicking skills throughout. His day started with some great running power and vision to get the ball into the hands of Eddie Ford for an early goal, and then produced a lovely kick at full speed through the middle to Blake Coleman. He used the ball well time and time again, winning a fair bit of it on the wing and half-back, but also setting up plays going forward, including a late game interception at half-forward and tight kick into Ford in the pocket. His hands in close and ability to find space, as well as his footy IQ is great. Even took a very nice high mark early in the fourth term and played on straight away to keep the ball moving.

#2 Braeden Campbell (Sydney Swans Academy)

Deservingly Best on Ground and it was easy to see why. He rarely wasted it and his left foot was a treat. On a day where the skill level was hit and miss, Campbell seemed to turn everything he touched to gold with his three majors from 14 disposals. The Sydney Swans Academy member had a couple of early touches then got his team on the board running out of a stoppage and launching from 40m on the left to sail it home. He kicked a second early in the third with a lovely left foot snap on the boundary, then made it two in a short space of time with a ripping goal from 55m on the run. At times he did a bit too much, such as being pinged for holding the ball by Henry Walsh in the second term, but his dare and run was something to admire and by taking on the game, he set up scoring opportunities to Reef McInnes and Joel Jeffrey late in the game, and even had a chance himself with a snap which bounced towards goal but was kept in, only for teammates to finish off the job with a major.

#3 Taj Schofield (Woodville-West Torrens)

Was not the biggest ball winner, but felt after a quiet first half, he had some really nice plays in the second half. He took the game on from half-back and set up an end-to-end goal which lead to a massive Braeden Campbell goal early in the third. Schofield showed clean hands at ground level and hit the ball at full speed to deliver a pinpoint pass into Saxon Crozier, but rushed a kick shortly after trying to get to James Borlase at half-forward and it was intercepted. Had a highlight play early in the fourth term by spinning out of an opponent’s grasp and producing a neat kick forward.

#4 Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons)

Needs to work on his ground balls further, but battled hard throughout the four quarters. Got going more as the game went on, kicking an important set shot early in the third term to get Team Brown going again. He won a lot of his touches under pressure in close but turned over some of his kicks, however produced a hard body at the coalface.

#5 Blake Coleman (Brisbane Lions Academy)

Lively to say the least. He is one of those players you would come to the football to see. Laid a terrific couple of tackles to set the tone early in the game, with his second being a big run-down tackle and win a free straight in front of goal. He converted that and continued to look dangerous, taking a mark outside 50 but his delivery inside was a scrubber kick to the pocket. It was one of his only poor kicks going inside, because he seemed to hit-up targets well throughout, setting up Braeden Campbell for a goal with the one-two at half-forward and produced a very nice kick into Reef McInnes inside 50 in the third term. He was able to win the ball at a stoppage in the midfield to show his midfield potential, then finished the game on a high note by selling candy to Wil Parker in the goalsquare and booting it from point blank range.

#6 Will Phillips (Oakleigh Chargers)

Just a tackling machine who keeps on battling hard. Philips is a work horse who continues to dig in and win the ball and do all the team things to support his teammates. He laid a massive 14 tackles for the game while winning another 20-plus disposals. One of the better inside midfield options heading into next year, he is strong at the stoppages and can spread to the outside to win it as well and set up teammates. He kicked a goal in the third term by winning the ball from a stoppage, fending off an opponent and snapping it off his right at the top of the square. He then set up Joel Jeffrey with a goal thanks to a very nice kick inside 50.

#8 Eddie Ford (Western Jets)

Started the game with a bang, picking up eight touches and booting two goals in an eye-opening first term. He had his hands on it early leading outside 50, then kick a great running goal on the right from 40m out. His second goal came when Ford read the tap perfectly, pushed off his opponent in Errol Gulden and chucked it on his boot for it to sail through. It showed his high-level footy IQ and goal sense all in one play. He was still very busy throughout the game with some nice touches, though his first term was his standout. Had a shot from 45m on the run in the third term but it sprayed to the left. His best is very good.

#16 Connor Downie (Eastern Ranges)

Gave a glimpse into his role for next year with a mix of time between his usual wing/half-back position, and in the midfield. Downie’s willingness to get on his bike at every opportunity and move the ball forward was a feature, fitting the metres-gained role well on the outside. He would often dish off on the move and continue his run to get it back, ending his move with a long kick forward on his customary left side. May well continue his shift towards a more inside role and has the size to do so, but arguably looked more damaging on the outer as he has been all year.

#17 Saxon Crozier (Brisbane Lions Academy)

Crozier was one of many high-level outside runners for Team Brown, looking to find space and break forward on the ball. One of his first ominous looking runs was cut short by a nice run-down tackle, but Crozier was not to be deterred and found a good amount of possessions from half-back to the wing. He worked up the ground in the third term to mark on the 50 arc, but missed the resultant set shot. It was a standard performance from the Lions Academy member, who will look to develop from simply being a linker between the arcs.

#18 Luke Edwards (Glenelg)

The potential Adelaide father-son has composure beyond his years and looks a versatile type. Starting in his usual half-back role, Edwards showed great composure in his disposal coming out of defence and worked hard to impact the play further afield once he had released the ball himself. His intercept marking game was also sound, reading the ball well in flight to get in the right position on defensive wing. He is the accumulating type in the backline, but looks a different player once thrown into the midfield with his strong hands and frame allowing him to play that inside game. His smart handballs out of congestion were terrific in the second half, especially at centre bounces, and he would benefit from spending more time there.

#19 Sam Collins (Tasmania)

It was a more handball happy game from the damaging rebounder, who swept up the loose balls well on the outside all day. He was clever with his flicks out of congestion and into space, but also brought his kicking into the frame with a couple of long roosts down the line to send Team Brown forward. Collins got back well to cover the defence, as shown by a run-down tackle in the first term, while also directing traffic as his teammates moved the ball on. Will be one of the Devils’ top prospects in 2020, and is a good interceptor on his day as well.

#20 Elijah Hollands (Murray Bushrangers)

It was a very near-complete performance from the Team Brown captain, who booted two classy goals in his time between the midfield and forward line. His work rate in the engine room was top notch, digging in to win the ball himself and tackling hard going the other way with the opposition breaking. Hollands also impacted the centre bounces from his starting position on the wing early on, proving clean and composed when the footy was hot. His first goal was a typical one, propping after he collected the loose ball and snapping home. The second was a show-stopper, slamming the ball through the big sticks from 55m out off a couple of steps. Is one of the leading prospects at this early stage, and narrowly missed out on best afield honours.

#21 Blake Morris (Subiaco)

After what was a shaky start with Morris looking a touch lost in defence, the recent WA Under-16 MVP began to show off some of his best traits. His best moment in the first half was a courageous double-effort going back with the flight of the ball, but Morris’ best came to the fore after the main break. He gained confidence with ball in hand, finding Riley Thilthorpe inside 50 with a lace out kick and going on to use it well on the last line. While Morris was unable to showcase his theatrical aerial prowess as a whole, he almost pulled down a huge mark in the centre square, but landed heavily for his troubles. Looks raw at this stage but can be very exciting.

#22 Joel Jeffrey (Northern Territory)

Jeffrey is an excitement machine up either end with his marking and running abilities and proved as much in this game. He started down back and positioned well behind the ball to snap up much of what came his way. Jeffrey’s one-on-one marking was sound too, which is a handy addition to his eye-catching outside play. While his forward run and long kicks helped him impact the play past the wing, Jeffrey was moved up the other end more permanently to good effect with two goals in the second half. The Wanderers’ product snuck out the back well on both occasions, marking inside 50 and slotting home with a lovely set shot action.

#23 James Borlase (Sturt)

Borlase is in the rare position of being a player whose father played more than 250 games for Port Adelaide, while also being an Adelaide Crows academy member, and he may cost either club a pretty penny at this stage. Drifting across the defensive 50, Borlase took a couple of strong intercept marks in the third term and chased the ball up well at ground level. He is that in-between size – not quite having key-position height but possessing a strong frame – and can play both tall and small roles. While his marking game was strong, Borlase had a couple of less comfortable moments on the ground, getting caught holding the ball on two occasions despite a solid overall game.

#24 Nick Stevens (GWV Rebels)

The classy mover looked at home across half back, competing well and getting the ball moving along the line. He took some time to build into the game and had his best moments during the second and third terms with shows of clever use by both hand and foot. His mix of competitiveness and class came to the fore, winning his own ball one-on-one but doing so with quick gathers and flashy spins. Unfortunately had a horror kick across goal in the final term which cost his side a goal, but was otherwise a valuable member of the back six.

#25 Reef McInnes (Oakleigh Chargers)

McInnes continues to step up in showcase games and did so here with a solid display of ball winning across the day. Starting in midfield, McInnes proved he was more than an inside workhorse with his poise on the ball and decision making when hemmed in. He has that surprising agility at times – much like GWS Academy product Tom Green and Carlton’s Patrick Cripps – which helps to get him out of trouble on top of his strength in the tackle. He went on to become influential up forward, finding separation on the lead and almost pulling in some strong marks. It proved a shrewd move, as McInnes booted two goals; the first coming from a 50m penalty, and the second shortly after with a classy snap from the tightest of angles. The Pies have yet another promising NGA product on their hands.

#31 Josh Treacy (Bendigo Pioneers)

It was a quiet outing from the physical Pioneers forward, who chimed in with a few neat touches. One of his first was a typical lead-up mark on the wing, and he followed that up in the last term with a strong pack mark inside 50 which led to his sole goal of the game. In between those moments was a take out of the ruck which led to a Will Phillips goal, highlighting Treacy’s potential to impact the play inside 50.

#32 Logan McDonald (Perth)

McDonald looked like becoming an ominous target early as he bolted out of the goalsquare on the lead and snapped up the ball well at ground level. He was the deepest tall inside 50 in the first term but could not quite put it all together, going on to work up the ground and link into the arc. Has great athleticism and showed he can kick well too, finding fellow Black Duck, Shannon Neale inside 50.

#33 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (Oakleigh Chargers)

It was a promising display from the Bulldogs NGA product played out of position for the most part at centre half-back. He started off on his usual leads up forward but soon slotted in behind the ball and did well to leap at whatever came his way. He was terrific at the drop of the ball in the third term with his athleticism, and would have been a really effective player had he stuck more of his kicks on the run. That is the area of his game he seems to be working on, so expect to see some improvement heading into his top-age year after some inconsistencies here. Almost found the goals too with a set shot on the half time siren.

#34 Riley Thilthorpe (West Adelaide)

The promising tall is solidly built but has the look of a raw and rangy ruckman as a clearly more athletic type. While he was beaten in the ruck contests at times, Thilthorpe worked well around the ground to showed clean hands and ball use. He spent most of his time up forward after quarter time, hitting the post after a nice piece of agility to gather and find space to let fly deep inside 50. He had a similar moment leading up with a midfielder-like gather and give to Connor Downie, but could not quite get down to a couple of half-volleys later on. Thilthorpe showed glimpses of his high-end talent, and is certainly one to watch if he can showcase his marking game more often.

#35 Shannon Neale (South Fremantle)

Like Morris, Neale played in this year’s Under-16 carnival as an over-ager and impressed enough to get the nod here. An athletic ruckman, the South Fremantle product took over those duties for most of the day and positioned well for ball-ups and throw-ins. It was that positioning which allowed him to palm down to Eddie Ford for his second goal from a forward 50 stoppage in the first term, showing a good bit of combination. Neale went on to rest forward and found the ball up on the arc, kicking well for his size – except for a set shot which fell short, but fortunately led to a Reef McInnes goal. Is a likely type as a late bloomer.

#36 Zach Reid (Gippsland Power)

While he spent a bit of time in the ruck, Reid’s best work is arguably always done down back and he proved that again here. He was composed with ball in hand and dished off to his runners well, while also kicking capably on the last line. He capped his game with a strong pack mark in the third term and got involved well in Team Brown’s rebounding efforts.

Team Dal Santo (White)

By: Peter Williams (#1-10) and Ed Pascoe (#16-37)

#1 Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans Academy)

His side’s best despite the loss, and the Sydney Swans fans would be pumped to see both him and Campbell playing well on the MCG. After a quieter first term by his standards often opposed to Ford at stoppages, he really got going and was crucial in getting his side back into the contest in the second term. Kicked the easiest of goals over the back in the second term running into the square with space behind him, and looked composed in his movements in close. He sidesteps opponents with ease and gets his hands free time and time again, showing good core strength to stand up in tackles. Just a really clean player who when he gets going adds that touch of class to any side and is hard to stop.

#2 Joel Western (Claremont)

The West Australian was one of Team Dal Santo’s better players on the day, showing good composure at half-back under pressure. He did go forward at times but looked more rushed going inside 50 with the odd turnover from a quick snap. He had a shot on goal but the kick went out on the full, and spent the second half in the defensive half of the ground, being a reliable player who picked up a number of touches back there trying to settle his team down.

#3 Corey Durdin (Central District)

The pocket rocket had some highlight plays to suggest he can be a damaging player when he is on, and generally used it pretty well despite not racking up a heap of it. He has that great burst of speed that can burn off opponents and showed it early running down the middle but unfortunately only had a one-on-three option to kick to, which he did pretty well to put it to his teammate’s advantage to at least nullify the contest. He almost kicked a dribbler goal late in the first term but just missed, then made up for it with a great outside-of-the-boot goal two minutes into the second term. Was quieter in the second half as Team Brown controlled possession in the front half, but the forward still had a lovely straight kick down the middle, and had a scoring chance in the final term but it hit the woodwork.

#4 Wil Parker (Eastern Ranges)

A quiet game by Parker after a big NAB League Grand Final the weekend before, and the increased pressure showed despite his best efforts. His first kick was perfect at half-back taking the risk with a pinpoint dagger to a teammate under pressure with centimetre perfect accuracy, but his risks also came unstuck by trying to get the ball in-board, but was intercepted by opposition players reading the play well, and then tried to use his jets to run down the middle, but was caught in doing so. An exciting player who is not afraid to take the game on, but it is a high-risk, high-reward style of play.

#5 Finlay Macrae (Oakleigh Chargers)

A solid game by the NAB League premiership player who was busy in all thirds of the ground. He used it well in the back half early in the match, seeming composed for his side and just settling down and releasing the pressure valve with safe kicks in defensive 50. When he went further up the ground he was able to set up his team going inside 50, winning more of the ball as the game went on. Macrae showed good hands under pressure in defence, but will thrive in the midfield next season.

#6 Tanner Bruhn (Geelong Falcons)

Quiet game in realistically what was his third elite level game since a long-term injury. He showed good strength early to get a handball away whilst being tackled in the middle, and had a shot on goal in the opening term but was run down inside 50 by Sam Collins before he could.

#7 Zavier Maher (Murray Bushrangers)

Was one of the better Team Dal Santo players and when with time and space, knows how to use it. He was continually running along the wing pumping it inside 50, setting up scoring opportunities for his teammates. He got the ball to Oliver henry inside 50 and hit up Nathan O’Driscoll at half-forward, then had a couple of scoring chances himself with a bounding shot late in the second term and later on a flying shot on the goal but just missed both. When under pressure he rushed his kicks at time to try and get it forward, but was generally eye-catching and showed good strength around the stoppages.

#8 Nathan O’Driscoll (Perth)

Spread well to win the ball in all thirds of the ground and found plenty of it, particularly early. He took a strong mark at half-forward in the first term and then won a lot of his touches at half-back as the game turned against his side. He would play the defensive side of the wing to mop up and kick long, providing a release option for his side going forward.

#9 Zac Dumesny (South Adelaide)

Did not win a heap of it but was fairly economical with his ball use. He had a quick handball whilst being tackled at half-forward, but was not so lucky when he tried to play on in a similar spot and was run down by Reef McInnes. Managed to hit-up Zavier Maher and Joel Western on the wing coming off half-back with neat passes in the second half as well.

#10 Jack Carroll (East Fremantle)

A quiet start but worked into it with a strong mark at half-back late in the second term and opened the game right up. Had a courageous marking attempt to spoil it away in the middle of the ground against Eddie Ford, then played in the forward half of the ground with midfield minutes in the second half. He fired a no-look handball out to space late in the third term for a teammate to run onto at the centre stoppage, then proceeded to find plenty of the ball through the middle. He finished the game with a nice kick off the left on the run for a consolation goal midway through the last quarter.

#16 Archie Perkins (Sandringham Dragons)

The talented Sandringham Dragons prospect had a quiet game but still showed some of his skill with a nice baulk deep in defence showing good composure in the first quarter when Team Brown was making a charge. Perkins has plenty of talent is a player to watch next year especially in the forward half.

#17 Lachlan Jones (Woodville-West Torrens)

The strong bodied Jones is a Port Adelaide NGA prospect who has had a good year for Woodville-West Torrens, looking most at home in defence. He was strong over the ball and made good decisions with ball in hand.

#18 Oliver Henry (Geelong Falcons)

The talented Geelong Falcon who is the younger brother of rising Cats’ defender Jack Henry showed plenty of his talent in what was a hard day for the Team Dal Santo forwards. He was still able to catch the eye; he hit the scoreboard in the last quarter with a quality intercept mark in the goal square showing his speed and quick decision making. Henry was strong overhead and clean at ground level but he also did the what was required defensively as well with some good tackles and smothers, he looks to be one of the most dangerous forward prospects in the 2020 draft.

#19 Carter Michael (Brisbane Lions Academy)

The Brisbane Lions academy prospect showed his class on the wing moving well through traffic and sending the ball well inside 50 on his long left boot. What also impressed was his strong marking ability and he looks a good prospect as a tall wingman and was hard not top notice with the blonde hair and the way he moved through congestion to deliver the ball.

#20 Brodie Lake (Northern Territory/Peel Thunder)

The Peel Thunder prospect did not get a lot of the ball but he still caught the eye with some nice plays where he got to showcase his athleticism. Lake impressed down back with his kicking and speed and willingness to attack the contest. With his willingness to use his speed to both run with the ball and spoil he looks like the type of defender who can play on talls and smalls while also providing rebound.

#21 Alex Davies (Gold Coast SUNS Academy)

The Gold Coast academy prospect was one of Team Dal Santo’s better performers going through the midfield and winning plenty of the ball especially early. He is a nice size as a modern day tall midfielder and he had no trouble winning first possession and dishing it out to his runners. He kicked a lovely goal in the last quarter under pressure he was able to cleanly pickup and quickly kick a nice running goal.

#22 Heath Chapman (West Perth)

The talented Chapman has had a strong year for his club West Perth and playing as a tall defender for Team Dal Santo he did some nice things especially late in the game. Chapman had a good couple of minutes taking a strong intercept mark before the ball came back in once again where he span out of trouble, showing his athleticism.

#31 Josh Green (GWS GIANTS Academy)

Green is a solid and strong player already and you could see it in the way he played. The Giants academy player and younger brother of Top 10 prospect for this year Tom Green shares a lot of physical traits with his brother but is more of a key position type with his strong body and marking ability. He converted a nice goal after a fantastic chase down tackle in the last quarter.

#32 Jackson Callow (Tasmania)

The strong bodied key position forward had a solid game showing he didn’t just rely on his size to take marks to kick his goals as he gathered a loose ball and kicked a lovely snap goal in the second quarter. He was moved to defence in the second half and looked better as the game went on taking a nice intercept mark in the last quarter, Callow looks to be the leading Tasmanian prospect for the 2020 draft.

#33 Ollie Lord (Sandringham Dragons)

Lord did not get a lot of supply playing as a key forward for Team Dal Santo but the Sandringham prospect still showed some nice things. Lord showed good athleticism and looked comfortable with ball in hand up the ground in transition showing he isn’t just a forward half player, laid a good tackle in the first quarter as well showing good aggression.

#34 Cody Brand (Calder Cannons)

Brand played his usual role that he did for Calder Cannons all year playing a dour role down back. The Essendon NGA prospect took a few nice intercept marks showing he was not afraid to come off his opponent and his long kicking was always an asset. Brand also showed he was good at ground level as well with a nice trap to pickup the ball in defence under heavy pressure and clear the ball out of the area.

#36 Henry Walsh (Geelong Falcons)

The brother of 2018 Number 1 pick Sam Walsh played well in the ruck and was not afraid to give a good contest. The Falcon’s decision making with the ball was slow early but he did not let that get him down kicking a goal roving a contest right on the line which was odd for a ruckman to do to say the least. Walsh had a nice moment in the last quarter roving his own hitout and sending the ball long inside 50.

#37 Henry Smith (Woodville-West Torrens)

The other big Henry to ruck for Team Dal Santo – Smith actually showed more up forward with a strong contested mark and set shot goal in the first quarter. The Woodville-West Torrens prospect, as good as he looked overhead, also had a great pickup in the middle of the ground which was excellent for a 200-plus cm player and if he could improve his aggression in general he could prove to be a hard player to stop at the next level.

Next year’s stars to strut stuff on AFL Grand Final Day

NEXT year’s top draft prospects will once again get the chance to impress recruiters and stand out in front of AFL fans in a curtain raiser to the 2019 AFL Draft Final. Last year Oakleigh Chargers’ Matt Rowell was named best on ground in the Under-17 All Stars game and has emerged as the front runner for pick one in this year’s draft. The game pits the 48 highest rated available players against each other in mixed teams named after AFL stars, Nick Dal Santo and Jonathan Brown. Coached by fellow former AFL players, NAB AFL Academy Head Coach Luke Power (Team Brown) and Vic Country Under-18 coach Leigh Brown (Team Dal Santo), the players will get a taste of what their future could hold before the elite level’s most prestigious match of the season.

Among the names who have already shown promising signs throughout either the AFL Under-16 Championships or AFL Under-18 Championships over the past few years, are Oakleigh Chargers pair Will Phillips and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, West Adelaide’s Riley Thilthorpe and Glenelg’s Luke Edwards, Murray Bushrangers’ Elijah Hollands and Sydney Swans Academy’s Braeden Campbell who represent Team Brown. For Team Dal Santo, Central District’s Corey Durdin, North Launceston’s Jackson Callow, Geelong Falcons’ Tanner Bruhn, Sydney Swans Academy’s Errol Gulden, Perth’s Nathan O’Driscoll and Northern Territory’s Brodie Lake.

In terms of state-by-state representation, Victoria leads the way with 21 players – 11 for Vic Metro and 10 for Vic Country – ahead of South Australia and Western Australia (both nine). Queensland (four) has the most of the Allied states, with NSW/ACT (three) and Tasmania and Northern Territory (two each). Indidivdual clubs with multiple players are Geelong Falcons and Oakleigh Chargers (four each), while Brisbane Lions Academy, Woodville-West Torrens, Sandringham Dragons and Perth all have three representatives.

Team Brown:

Jake Bowey (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
Braeden Campbell (Sydney Swans/NSW-ACT)
Taj Schofield (WWT Eagles/South Australia)
Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
Blake Coleman (Brisbane Lions/Queensland)
Will Phillips (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
Brandon Walker (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
Connor Downie (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
Eddie Ford (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
Saxon Crozier (Brisbane Lions/Queensland)
Luke Edwards (Glenelg/South Australia)
Sam Collins (North Hobart/Tasmania)
Elijah Hollands (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
Blake Morris (Subiaco/Western Australia)
Joel Jeffrey (Wanderers/Northern Territory)
James Borlase (Sturt/South Australia)
Nick Stevens (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
Reef McInnes (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
Josh Treacy (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
Logan McDonald (Perth/Western Australia)
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Country)
Riley Thilthorpe (West Adelaide/South Australia)
Shannon Neale (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
Zach Reid (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)

Team Dal Santo:

Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans/NSW-ACT)
Joel Western (Claremont/Western Australia)
Corey Durdin (Central District/South Australia)
Wil Parker (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
Finlay Macrae (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
Tanner Bruhn (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
Zavier Maher (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
Nathan O’Driscoll (Perth/Western Australia)
Zac Dumesny (South Adelaide/South Australia)
Archie Perkins (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
Jack Carroll (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
Lachlan Jones (WWT Eagles/South Australia)
Oliver Henry (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
Carter Michael (Brisbane Lions/Queensland)
Brodie Lake (Southern Districts/Northern Territory)
Alex Davies (Gold Coast SUNS/Queensland)
Josh Green (GWS GIANTS/NSW-ACT)
Heath Chapman (West Perth/Western Australia)
Jackson Callow (North Launceston/Tasmania)
Ollie Lord (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
Cody Brand (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
Nikolas Cox (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
Henry Walsh (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
Henry Smith (WWT Eagles/South Australia)

Scouting notes: U17 Futures

BOTH Victorian teams toppled Queensland and NSW/ACT respectively by over four goals at Ikon Park on Sunday, with a range of conditions testing the talent on show. Our writers cast an eye over each fixture, taking opinion-based notes on the outstanding players from either side.

Vic Country vs. NSW/ACT

Vic Country:
By: Ed Pascoe

#2 Deakyn Smith

Smith was an absolute handful up forward with his speed and overhead marking far too good to stop. Smith got better and better as the game went on and his combination of speed and aerial ability made him a difficult matchup. He kicked two goals with his first coming after a very strong mark and his second spinning and showing his class to kick a nice goal. His marking and ball use were a real highlight and he finished the game with 14 disposals, eight marks and two goals to be his side’s most dangerous player forward of centre.

#6 Seamus Mitchell

Mitchell was a very crafty and nimble small forward showing great speed, skill and agility with ball in hand and he certainly had some eye catching movements. Mitchell showed plenty of run and he had one nice bit of play where he followed up his good run with a nice kick inside 50 and his setups for his teammates made him one of his team’s better creative players going to goal. His only goal came from a mark and set shot and he only gathered the 11 disposals but his impact was more than what the stats show.

#7 Sam Berry

Berry was his team’s standout player wit his grunt work in the middle setting the tone for the day. His work rate with and without the ball was impressive and that carried on for the four quarters. He would also hit the scoreboard with his goal coming from reading the play to mark 40 metres out to slot the nice goal. His clearance work was great but it was also his skill with ball in hand that stood out, and despite looking like the type to just win the hard ball and bomb it, he actually took the time to hit his targets on both feet. His only real blemish was an ambitious kick in the corridor on his opposite foot. Berry finished the game with 23 disposals, six tackles, six clearances and a goal in a complete performance through the midfield.

#8 Zavier Maher

Maher combined well with fellow midfielder Sam Berry to not only win plenty of the ball but also offer something a little different with his ability to get forward and take the game on. Maher covered plenty of ground and played a good mix to win his own ball but also work hard to get around the ground on the outside which showed with his seven marks, three rebound 50s and seven inside 50s. The inside 50s in particular especially late in the game stood out where he often hit his targets and lowered the eyes. Maher had 20 disposals, six tackles and five inside 50s in a well-rounded game through the midfield.

#13 Dominic Bedendo

Bedendo was one of Country’s most dangerous forwards with his ability to get into good spots inside 50 and get himself into scoring situations while also setting up others with good vision. His first and only goal came in the first quarter with a set shot from 50 metres, he showed great movement and marking ability and would take another two marks inside 50 but missed both set shots. Bedendo had a chance early to pass to a teammate but missed a shot, but he would later show better teamwork with an unselfish kick to the hotspot when caught on the boundary. Bedendo has a light frame but is a nice height at 185cm and looks a prospect in the forward half as he finished the game with nine disposals, six marks and kicking 1.3 so he could have been more damaging.

NSW/ACT:
By: Michael Alvaro

#3 Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans Academy/Maroubra)

Came back into the side after missing the annual clash against Queensland on the Gold Coast, shaking off some early cobwebs to showcase his talent. Positioned on his customary wing, Gulden continually used his innate ability to find space of the outside to send the Rams forward, getting on the move and piercing some classy passes along the line. The leading Swans Academy prospect was usually composed with ball in hand, using his agility to prop into space and find a target as he lowered his eyes – a valuable point of difference to many U18 players. While he was almost found out with some kicks across attacking 50 and passes which proved a little too cute, Gulden’s skills were typically fantastic and he makes the play come alive.

#13 Pierce Roseby (Sydney Swans/Willoughby Mosman Swans)

It was another workmanlike shift from the small midfielder, who proved ferocious around the ball going both ways. Roseby was a constant through the Rams’ engine room, winning most of his 17 disposals himself and getting to the ball first to earn six free kicks with some brave contested work. That work culminated in seven clearances to go with seven tackles, showcasing Roseby’s work rate and tenacity at the stoppages. He did well to break forward and find the goals in the second term with a nicely finished snap, but missed a later opportunity on the back of a 50m penalty.

#15 Braeden Campbell (Sydney Swans/Westbrook)

Another of the diminutive Swans Academy fleet, Campbell has a great mix of inside and outside skills. His passing going forward was excellent, hitting targets on the move from midfield in each quarter with some good range. Campbell’s ability to weave or break away from congestion proved handy in a hard-fought midfield battle – especially at centre bounces – with his hard tackling (seven) another feature. The Westbrook product capped off an excellent game with two final quarter goals; the first coming after a clean pick up at pace and clinical finish, while the second was a more straightforward set shot conversion.

#26 Marco Rossmann (Sydney Swans/East Sydney Bulldogs)

Playing mostly forward with some of NSW/ACT’s prime movers back in the side, Rossmann was a reliable target leading up to the arc. He only stands at 181cm, but was great in the air with his springy leap and strong hands overhead helping him to clunk five marks from 12 disposals. Much of Rossmann’s ability to find space up the ground came on the back of clever reading of the play, and he also popped up inside 50 for a couple of chances on goal. The first was a miss from the impossible angle in the second term, with a later set shot failing to find the target.

#39 Marc Sheather (Sydney Swans/Terrigal Avoca JAFL)

A versatile prospect, Sheather assumed his usual role down back to start and proved to be a calming influence. He constantly got in the road of Vic Country’s attacks, snapping the ball up in the air and off the deck while following up with some efficient rebound. He would go on to prove his work rate with some of his acts up the ground, continuing his runs up the field and laying a shrewd holding-the-ball tackle just outside of defensive 50. A move into the midfield proved slightly less fruitful, but Sheather’s solid frame makes him a dangerous figure in there.

Vic Metro vs. Queensland

Vic Metro:
By: Michael Alvaro

#1 Lucas Failli (Western Jets)

A typical small forward, Failli caused headaches inside 50 and created good opportunities for Metro. He started off with some work further afield, pumping a couple of penetrating kicks into the forward arc and finding a teammate with one of them, while going back for repeat efforts at ground level and converting a free kick opportunity in a busy first half. Failli continued to show good desperation at the fall of the ball, proving agile and clean once he had scooped it up and capping his day with a second goal over the back in the final term.

#6 Jackson Cardillo (Calder Cannons)

Having shown his aggression and ball winning ability on the inside in his NAB League outings, Cardillo spent most of his time on the wing in this game. His forward running proved effective, hitting up Reef McInnes inside 50 in the first term and moving up towards attacking 50 with intent. After lacking oomph on a snap attempt in the second term, Cardillo made amends with a nice set shot finish after the half time siren for his only goal of the game. He would go on to miss another chance on the run when he had a touch more time to find the intended target, and attended the centre bounces late on.

#9 Finlay Macrae (Oakleigh Chargers)

Best afield for mine, the brother of Bulldogs star Jack showed off his pedigree with a game-high 34 disposals – 10 more than anyone else – six marks, five clearances, eight inside 50s and a goal. Macrae built into the game nicely, starting with some clean and effective accumulative touches before really having an impact in the second half. He lifted again in the fourth term, hitting the scoreboard with a classy finish from 45m while also assisting goals to Ollie Lord and Jack Diedrich to cap off a fantastic display.

#10 Connor Downie (Eastern Ranges)

Skipper for the day, Downie was the only player afield to have also featured in the U18 carnival. The Ranges gun swapped time between the wing and midfield, having an impact going forward with raking left boot and clunking a strong mark on forward wing under heat. While he didn’t score from his own attempt on goal in the second term, Downie created two opportunities for others with beautiful delivery into forward 50 after moving into the midfield. Is already well built for midfield minutes but looks pretty comfortable on the outside.

#11 Archie Perkins (Sandringham Dragons)

Perkins was another to move through the midfield-forward rotation, catching the eye with some strong and agile bursts through traffic which he finished with smart kicks inside 50. The powerful Sandringham product went on to have an impact around the ball with more midfield time after the main break, slamming forward five clearances and standing up in tackles to dish the ball out from congestion. Sprayed a tough chance on goal on the move, with that area of his game one to work on as he gets in dangerous positions.

#17 Liam McMahon (Northern Knights)

The dynamic tall didn’t find a mountain of the ball but looked lively up forward early on. McMahon put through the first goal of the game with a textbook set shot after plucking the ball at its highest point on the lead. He would go on to add another major in similar fashion during the second term, with strong hands overhead and a lovely kicking action his clear strengths. McMahon was thrown back in the second half where he provided some nice rebound and made some attacking kick-ins work.

#21 Reef McInnes (Oakleigh Chargers)

The Collingwood NGA prospect looks to be another great find for the Magpies, and he had some sort of start to the game. McInnes was strong from the get-go, winning the very first clearance and working hard to impact a number of contests around the ground – he was involved in just about everything. His clean hands, strength in the contest, and tackling made him the dominant inside midfielder, but his spread and props in traffic bode well for a well-balanced game. McInnes was a little quieter as the game wore on, but racked up 24 disposals, nine tackles, six clearances, and four inside 50s.

Queensland:
By: Ed Pascoe

#9 Blake Coleman

Coleman was one of Queensland’s most dangerous players up forward with his skill and composure a real standout in the wet conditions. Coleman although standing at 180cm played more of a half forward lead up role with his marking overhead a real feature with how clean it was, especially in the wet conditions later in the game. Coleman wad classy with ball in hand and rarely wasted a possession. His class around goal was also a feature kicking two goals with his best coming in the last quarter, going for a nice run before steadying himself to kick a classy goal. Coleman finished the game with 13 disposals, four marks, five tackles and two goals.

#12 Max Pescud

Pescud despite his light frame had a real impact on the game kicking two goals and showing his class and composure up the field as well. Pescud was the lightest player on the ground at 60kg and started the game playing more of an outside role using his speed and clean hands on the wings before going forward to kick his two goals and then go into the stoppages in the last quarter to show he could play a range of roles. Pescud finished the game with 16 disposals, six marks, five tackles and two goals to be one of his team’s best players both with and without the ball.

#22 Carter Michael

Michael wasn’t hard to pick out with his bright blonde hair but it was more so his ability to win the football that stood out, playing as a tall midfielder he showed a good mix of inside and outside game being a consistent player over four quarters. Michael would often use his long left foot to his advantage, hitting targets both long and short but it was his long kicks that did the most damage. Michael showed good skill by hand and foot and didn’t waste many possessions as he finished with 21 disposals, six tackles and four clearances.

#24 Saxon Crozier

Queensland had no shortage of tall midfielders and Crozier standing at 189cm showed plenty both inside and outside the contest but mostly did his damage on the outside with his reading of the play and ability to get forward of centre. Crozier was often classy with ball in hand making good decisions and moving well in traffic and he really stood out with his kicking inside 50 in the last quarter with a good run and long kick inside 50 and not long after would show his ability to hot short targets with a nice kick lowering the eyes. Crozier finished the game with 17 disposals, five tackles and six inside 50s.

#26 Alex Davies

The tallest of Queensland’s big midfielders standing at 190cm, he was a strong player around stoppages going in hard to win clearances but also working hard around the ground to be an option. Davies showed good attack on the ball but he also showed his ability to pressure and give multiple efforts through the midfield, and had a good bit of play in the first quarter with a great second effort smother. Davies finished the game with 15 disposals and was his team’s leading clearance player with five.

Vic Metro U17s outgun Queensland in the wet

VIC METRO U17s overcame some early woes in front of goal to topple Queensland 10.11 (71) to 6.7 (43) in trying second half conditions at Ikon Park on Sunday.

After a slow, stalemate opening term which saw goals go to Metro’s Liam McMahon and Queensland’s Blake Coleman, the Victorians began to look like breaking the game open. But the visitors were keen to make the trip a fruitful one, sticking with Metro and going goal for goal in a six-goal second term full of little momentum swings. While Queensland seemed to have few answers to Metro’s dominant midfield, they kept touch heading into the main break by making the most of their forward 50 entries and holding up down back at the fall of the ball.

That theme proved consistent through the third term, with the hosts breaking away ever so slightly on the back of two goals (Ollie Lord and Lochlan Jenkins) to one (Max Pescud), making the most of their sole extra scoring shot. Metro’s 11-point three quarter time lead looked a handy one with the rain bucketing down and fog descending on North Carlton, but it would shortly clear over the break to give the Maroons a fighting chance. That was quickly taken from them though, with the winners piling on four goals to Queensland’s one to cruise home 28 points to the good.

Collingwood NGA prospect Reef McInnes made a dominant start for Metro, finishing with 24 disposals and six clearances to be second only to Finlay Macrae – the brother of Bulldogs’ Jack – who had 34 disposals, five clearances, eight inside 50s and a goal to be best afield. Sandringham pair Darby Hipwell (22 disposals, three inside 50s) and Archie Perkins (21 disposals, five clearances, five inside 50s) provided good fold rotating through the midfield and forward line, while Jackson Cardillo (18 disposals, one goal) and Connor Downie (20 disposals, four inside 50s) were influential on the outside.

For the Maroons, Carter Michael led the ball-winners with 21 disposals to go with his four clearances and four inside 50s, with Saxon Crozier (17 disposals, six inside 50s) lifting after half time, while Gold Coast academy pair Ethan Hunt (17 disposals, four tackles) and Alex Davies (15 disposals, five clearances) dug in well. Up forward, Coleman finished his chances beautifully to boot two goals from 13 disposals, with Pescud (16 disposals, six marks, five tackles) another to provide some spark in the forward half.

The top-end talent from either side can now look forward to the possibility of featuring in the U17 Futures All Stars showcase match on Grand Final day.

VIC METRO 1.5 | 4.8 | 6.10 | 10.11 (71)
QUEENSLAND 1.2 | 4.3 | 5.5 | 6.7 (43)

GOALS
Vic Metro: L. McMahon 2, O. Lord 2, L. Failli 2, F. Macrae, J. Cardillo, L. Jenkins, J. Diedrich.
Queensland: B. Coleman 2, M. Pescud 2, C. Bulley 2.

ADC BEST
Vic Metro: F. Macrae, R. McInnes, C. Downie, A. Perkins, J. Cardillo, L. McMahon
Queensland: B. Coleman, M. Pescud, S. Crozier, C. Michael, E. Hunt, A. Davies