Tag: charlie pridham

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

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

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

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

DEFENCE

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

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

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

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

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

MIDFIELD

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

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

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

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

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

FORWARD

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

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

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

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

INTERCHANGE

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

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

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

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

Unlucky to miss: 

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

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

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL U18s – Preliminary Final

THE 2021 SANFL Under 18s season moved on into its second week of finals over the weekend, with the latest round of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding AFL Draft prospects. In the latest SANFL Scouting Notes edition, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 17 and 19 representative squad members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 13.15 (93) def. WEST ADELAIDE 9.8 (62)

Woodville-West Torrens:

#4 Jase Burgoyne

The Port Adelaide father-son prospect had a busy start to the game and seemed to be one of the few Eagles midfielders who was able to get his hands on the ball in the first quarter. He showed flashes of class to weave his way in and out of traffic, then put the on afterburners a couple of times to stream away from the opposition. Burgoyne’s run-and-carry would continue to be an important factor for the Eagles as the game wore on. He ran into a vacant goalsquare to boot his side’s third goal of the game in the second term, after shifting from the middle to the forwardline. He had another couple of shots on goal from difficult angles which missed. Burgoyne wasn’t at his most productive against the Bloods, but his class and willingness to carry the ball was important, particularly when the Eagles were up against it early on. He finished with 20 disposals, two marks, four clearances and five rebounds.

#6 Dustin Launer

The consistent Eagle was again one of his side’s best in their hard-fought preliminary final win over the Bloods. One of the first Woodville-West Torrens players who looked to take the game on with run and skill after being comprehensively beaten early on, Launer’s outside work was important. A highly versatile player whose skillset has seen him spend time across half-back and on-ball throughout the year, Launer was stationed on the wing for the Eagles’ cut-throat final. He wasn’t overly dominant, but offered composure and calmness with ball in-hand. Launer concluded the game with 23 disposals and five marks.

#8 Brock Thomson

Thomson stood tall down back all day for the Eagles and played a critical role in his sides come-from-behind triumph. The Eagles defence was bombarded in the first term as the West Adelaide on-ballers dominated proceedings, but Thomson kept his cool when others succumbed to the early heat. The kick-in specialist was composed with the ball and made the right decisions for his team, rarely wasting a disposal. His intelligent kick into the centre from full back lead to a Jordan Lukac mark and goal to spark the Eagles. Thomson read the play well, taking a terrific intercept mark in front of the Bloods tall forwards in the third term. The small defender has produced a terrific season down back and he was again outstanding for the Eagles in the preliminary final, amassing 26 disposals, five marks, three inside 50s and six rebounds.

#11 Charlie Blair

Blair played an important hand in the Eagles’ win. Doing some of his best work in the air across half-forward, but also pushing into the midfield to lend a hand, Blair gave the Eagles the ideal start after quarter time by booting an early goal. He added another within a minute of the half time siren to further energise his side. Blair looked dangerous inside 50, taking a solid contested grab on the cusp of three-quarter time and nailing a team lifting-goal after the siren. He managed 20 disposals, three goals, six marks (four contested) and three inside 50s.

#16 Will Pearce

Pearce overcame a slow start to the match to play a major role in the second half. He crashed some packs and provided a strong contest, but remained almost unsighted in the game’s early stages. The Under 18s leading goalkicker snapped his first major at the 20-minute mark of the third term and started to get more opportunities in the attacking half of the ground. Pearce’s ball use on his left-foot was effective, however he was caught out when forced to use his non-dominant right on a couple of occasions. He booted a settling goal in the fourth term and will enter the grand final off the back of a resilient performance which saw him finish with 12 disposals, two goals, four marks (two contested), three tackles and six inside 50s.

#17 Mattaes Phillipou

Phillipou started the game up forward and was quiet early on, with the ball barely entering the Eagles forward half. However, when introduced into the midfield he had an immediate impact, winning a couple of quick clearances to get things rolling for his side. Phillipou’s natural smarts and intelligent positioning saw him finish with a game-high six clearances, with his clean hands in-tight a feature. Whilst he has shown match-winning capabilities up forward throughout the season to date, Phillipou’s strong work in the engine room against the Bloods will fill him with plenty of confidence ahead of the Grand Final next weekend. Phillipou ended the game with 20 disposals, three marks, six clearances and six inside 50s.

#20 Lukas Cooke

Tall forward, Cooke was the shining light for the Eagles in the first term, presenting well and marking everything above his head. Not dissimilar to Harry Lemmey at the other end, Cooke’s reach allowed him to gain separation on the lead then extend his long arms and take a couple of impressive marks down the line. An early set shot faded badly but landed in Charlie Blair’s lap, who should have converted. His work rate up and down the wings was admirable, despite Cooke fading out of the game as Jordan Lukac became the number one target in attack. Nevertheless, it was a good performance from Cooke, who finished with 16 touches, six marks (four contested) and four inside 50s.

#21 Adam D’Aloia

After playing in the Reserves last weekend, bottom-aged midfielder D’Aloia returned to the Eagles’ Under 18 side for the preliminary final. In the first quarter he had his legs taken out from under him and was certainly winded. To his credit, he bounced straight back up and got back to business. He had a couple of quick shots at goal inside 50 which fell just short, displaying good stoppage nous. D’Aloia’s quick hands in-tight were a highlight, with the midfielder’s decision making and vision on show. The SA Under 17 skipper managed 15 disposals, three marks and three tackles.

#26 Jordan Lukac

The Eagles skipper produced a standout second half to will his team over the line at Thebarton Oval. Lukac, like many of his teammates, struggled to get involved in the early part of the game, but a move into the ruck saw him pick up a couple of possessions. As the Eagles started to win the clearances and move the ball with speed and precision, Lukac’s raw athleticism and sheer size worried the Bloods backline. His hands were vice-like all day and his reach prompted the Bloods defenders to chop his arms, tug, hold and do just about anything in their power to take away Lukac’s aerial dominance. It was to no avail, with the SA Under 19 representative reaping the rewards of slick inside 50 ball use. Although he missed a couple of set shot kicks from gettable distances, Lukac’s routine was sound and his kicking solid. Along with 5.4 on the scoreboard, Lukac won 12 disposals, five marks and seven hit-outs.

Others: 

Ruckman Zac Phillips was forced to compete against a number of opponents on the day and battled hard. He took a couple of grabs around the ground, finishing with 13 disposals, five marks and 16 hit-outs. Will Neumann played a valuable role on the day and was particularly impressive with his defensive work, collecting 15 disposals, five marks, three tackles and four rebounds. Charlie Adams booted the Eagles’ second goal after spoiling inside 50. He finished with a team-high 26 disposals, three marks, five tackles, three clearances and five rebounds.

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

Although his side’s season drew to a close on Saturday afternoon, small defender Pridham capped off a terrific campaign with another serviceable performance for the Bloods. Typically busy across West Adelaide’s defensive lines, Pridham was involved early, using the ball with precision and assuredness. Always measured and in control, Pridham’s ability to provide relentless rebound, as he has done all season long, proved invaluable. He finished the game with 27 disposals, four marks and 10 rebounds.

#9 Kobe Ryan

Talented midfielder, Ryan produced a terrific display in what could be the final game of his bottom-aged season. Ryan started at the centre bounce, throwing himself at the contested ball despite his slim build. The running patterns of the Sacred Heart College and Plympton Football Club product were terrific, with Ryan always providing a short hit-up option. He used the ball well, rarely wasting a possession and making smart decisions. He worked hard up and down the ground throughout the match, with a couple of important possessions in the defensive 50 highlighting his willingness to run both ways. Westies’ best on-baller, and arguably the best midfielder on the ground, Ryan gathered a game-high 28 disposals, five marks, three tackles, three clearances and six inside 50s.

#10 Cade Kennedy

The West Adelaide skipper tried his heart out, setting the tone early with his strong attack on the ball and terrific spread from the contest. He had a shot for goal early in the second term which hit the post and would have given West a sizeable lead after a strong first quarter. Kennedy fought hard in congestion, but it was his run-and-carry through the middle which stood out. His core strength allowed him to shrug off a number of tacklers on the run. Kennedy could have lowered his eyes to hit up some shorter targets by foot on a couple of occasions, but his ball use was clean for the most part. The midfielder’s gut running was noticeable, even as the game wore on and others began to tire. Kennedy finished with 22 disposals, eight marks, four tackles and three inside 50s for the match.

#16 Dylan White

White was integral to the Bloods fast start and continued to play an important role despite West Adelaide loosing momentum as the match wore on. An early shot on goal failed to register a score, but White was rewarded moments later with a holding-the-ball free kick following a textbook tackle. His set shot, however, only managed a minor score. White’s work rate across half-forward provided the likes of Pridham, Kennedy and Ryan with an effective outlet option across the flanks. His ball-use was largely clean and his clean hands on the lead were important. Certainly one of the Bloods best, White finished with 26 disposals, 10 marks, four tackles and four inside 50s.

#33 Jesse Thackeray

Thackeray started the match with a bang, sending the Bloods inside 50 with back-to-back centre clearances – both leading to goals. His combative work in-tight would continue to be a feature of his game as the match wore on. Thackeray, who has had a terrific season across the midfield and half-forward lines, tackled well and should have added a goal to his name if he composed himself and converted a snap. In a modest, well-rounded display, Thackeray worked hard to finish with 22 disposals, eight marks, three tackles, four clearances and four inside 50s.

#36 Tyson Coe

Following a best-on-ground performance in last week’s elimination final victory over South Adelaide, Coe again stood up in the Bloods’ engine room. He brought some genuine physicality and intent to the contest, attacking the contest at pace, winning plenty of contested ball and relentlessly scrapping way at ground level. Coe’s vision and accuracy by hand was important in the clinches, as was his clearance-winning at stoppages. He finished the game with 23 disposals, five marks and a team-high five clearances.

#54 Harry Lemmey

The Bloods were well beaten in the end, despite coming out all-guns blazing, but centre half-forward Lemmey was dominant from start to finish. He got straight into the action, playing in front and capitalising on a quick centre bounce clearance to mark and boot the game’s first goal, giving the Bloods the dream start. His explosiveness on the lead was genuinely exciting to watch as the game wore on, with Lemmey easily gaining separation on his leads and extending his hands to make it virtually impossible for the Eagles’ defence to spoil. He timed his leads to perfection, and on the rare occasion he didn’t take the mark, Lemmey was freakishly clean at ground level and precise by hand. He had a number of set shots throughout the game, several coming from difficult angles beyond the 50m arc. Lemmey had no trouble making the distance either, with his smooth set shot routine easily clearing the goal line. He finished with 3.2, but Lemmey’s dominance went beyond the stats sheet, with his presence and impact on the game terrific for a 17-year-old key forward. He finished with 20 disposals, 12 marks and four inside 50s.

Others: 

Medium-forward Luke Young managed just nine disposals but finished with four goals to compliment Harry Barnett and Lemmey in attack. He presented well and was strong overhead. Key utility Barnett was impressive, with his skills, evasiveness and follow-up work notable for a player of his height. Fellow talls Tom Scully and Oscar Steene had their moments, particularly early on, rotating between full-forward and the ruck. Will Patton (13 disposals and three marks) was effective in defence, while wingman Jed Obst gathered 14 disposals, seven marks and five inside 50s.

Image Credit: Russell Millard/The Advertiser

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 16

THE 2021 SANFL Under 18s season continued over the weekend, with the latest round of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 17 and 19 representative squad member and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

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

By: Michael Alvaro

Sturt:

#12 Jamie Taylor

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

#28 George Pope

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

Others:

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

Woodville-West Torrens:

#8 Brock Thomson

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

#9 Jase Burgoyne

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

#14 Blake Hansen

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

#17 Mattaes Phillipou

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

Others:

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#14 Thomas Clements

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

#17 Tahjin Krieg

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

#38 Brodie Tuck

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

Others:

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

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

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

#17 Corey Brougham

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

#21 Cooper Beecken

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

#36 Darcy Porter

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

Others:

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#12 Hugh Jackson

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

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

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

#26 Kelsey Rypstra

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

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

South Adelaide:

#3 Luke Mitton

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

#4 Jack Delean

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

#8 Cooper Rogers

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

#10 Isaac Birt

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

#39 Will Verrall

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

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

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

#10 Cade Kennedy

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

#33 Jesse Thackeray

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

#45 Oscar Steene

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

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

Norwood:

#15 Riley Verrall

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

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

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

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

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 15

THE 2021 SANFL Under 18s season continued over the weekend, with the latest round of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 17 and 19 representative squad member and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

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

By: Tom Wyman

Norwood:

#10 Taj Rahui

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

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

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

Others:

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

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

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

#6 Darcy Gluyas

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

#21 Cooper Beecken

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

Others:

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

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

Woodville-West Torrens:

#9 Jase Burgoyne 

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

#14 Blake Hansen 

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

#16 Will Pearce

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

#17 Mattaes Phillipou 

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

Others:

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

North Adelaide:

#4 Isaac Keeler

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

#12 Hugh Jackson 

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

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin 

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

Others:

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide:

#3 Luke Mitton

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

#4 Jack Delean

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

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

#8 Cooper Rogers

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

#10 Isaac Birt

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

Others:

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

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

Central District:

#10 Dylan Wall

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

#17 Tahjin Krieg

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

#38 Brodie Tuck

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

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

#10 Cade Kennedy 

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

#37 Tom Scully 

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

#45 Oscar Steene

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

Others:

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

Sturt:

#12 Jamie Taylor 

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

#25 Kade Harvey 

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

Others:

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

Image Credit: North Adelaide FC via Facebook

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 13

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

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

By: Declan Reeve

Central District:

#21 Austin McDonald

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

#37 Cody Gilchrist

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

OTHERS:

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

North Adelaide:

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

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

#4 Isaac Keeler

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

#51 Angus Tully

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

OTHERS:

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

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

#11 Jacob Owens

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

#13 Hayden Brokensha

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

#20 Lewis Rayson 

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

#21 Cooper Beecken

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

#38 Jakob Ryan 

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

Others:

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

Sturt:

#5 Jordan Hein

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

#8 Lachlan Thomas

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

#15 Alex Holt

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

Others:

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#4 Jack Delean

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

#10 Isaac Birt

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

#11 Jaiden Magor

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

Others:

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

Norwood:

#2 Tyson Walls

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

#20 Max Michalanney

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

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

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

Others:

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#9 Kobe Ryan

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

#10 Cade Kennedy

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

#35 Will Patton

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

#51 Harry Barnett

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

Others:

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

WWT Eagles:

#17 Adam D’Aloia

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

#20 Lukas Cooke

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

#21 Mattaes Phillipou

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

#24 Zac Phillips

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

#26 Jordan Lukac

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

Others:

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

 

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 11

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s continued over the weekend with Round 11, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. This week a number of key talents were out due to the AFL Under 17s Championships game against Western Australia, but plenty of others stepped up. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

norwood 14.16 (100) def. Central districts 10.7 (67)

By: Tom Wyman

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

After accumulating plenty of the ball in his return to Under 18s level last weekend, classy midfielder Cooper Murley didn’t have as much of an impact against the Bulldogs. Murley started in the centre bounce and showed good stoppage nous, anticipation and football smarts throughout the game. He positioned himself well and got on the move at stoppages where possible to make best use of his breakaway speed. He read the taps well and was particularly clean with his disposal by hand. The Tea Tree Gully junior showed brilliant commitment to fly into oncoming traffic in a marking contest, however his courageous work was undone by a free kick being paid against his teammate. Murley tackled particularly well and seems to have a good technique. His skills in general play were fine without being of great damage, however he let himself down in front of goal, hitting the post twice within a minute via a set shot and quick snap. He also missed his third attempt at goal for the quarter, a running attempt which he would usually slot. Murley concluded the outing with 20 disposals, two marks, six tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s.

#11 Connor Kent

Redlegs ball magnet Connor Kent was clearly the most prolific player on the ground in Norwood’s 33-point win over Central Districts at The Parade. The left-footed onballer produced a well-balanced performance to guide the Redlegs to their first win since Round 3. Kent won plenty of contested ball in tight, but it was his ability to spread from the contest and work hard to accumulate the footy around the ground which made him so effective. He was composed in traffic and used the ball fairly well. Despite not seeming to boast great speed, Kent provided plenty of run and carry throughout the contest. At times he was in charge of the kick in duties, where he was able to showcase his long foot skills. He booted three goals for the game – the best being a terrific 40-metre effort off one step in the first term. Among the top ball-winners in the competition, Kent finished with a round-high 38 disposals, five marks, six tackles, five clearances, three inside 50s and eight rebounds.

Others: Midfielder Benjamin Belperio won his fair share of contested ball for the Redlegs. He demonstrated good strength in close and was effective at stoppages, finishing with 20 disposals, seven marks, four clearances and five inside 50s. In attack, Jett Boxer was the go-to man, nailing three goals. Also booting three behinds, he accumulated 20 disposals, four marks and three inside 50s. Wilson McShane (21 disposals and five marks) and Peter Minervini (18 disposals, three marks and four clearances) were among Norwood’s top disposal winners and ruckman Aidan Lake (17 disposals, five marks, five tackles, 12 hit-outs and five clearances) competed gallantly against dominant Centrals bigman Saxon Evans.

Central District:

#9 Trent Tattoli

The performance of Angle Vale teenager Trent Tattoli was the shining light for Central Districts, despite the clubs defeat. Captain of the Bulldogs Under 16 side who competed earlier in the year, Tattoli lined up on the wing in his first Under 18s game for the club. He looked up to the level from the get-go, finding plenty of the ball on the outside. His ball drop and kicking action is unconventional and many of his kicks lacked penetration, however they often reached their desired target regardless. Tattoli’s poise and composure with ball in hand was impressive, given he is two years younger than many of his teammates and opponents. Tattoli put the Bulldogs in front in the second quarter after pouncing on the crumbs. It marked a terrific second term for Tattoli, who was deployed in more of an inside/outside role rather than as a pure wingman. A hard worker who not only runs hard, but works into logical spaces on the field, Tattoli finished the game as the Bulldogs leading possession winner, gathering 24 touches, ten marks, five clearances and four inside 50s in what was a terrific start to his Under 18s career.

#29 Saxon Evans

The Bulldogs were often outclassed by Norwood, but ruckman Saxon Evans provided his midfielders with first use for much of the day. Clearly the competitions leading hit-out ruckman, Evans’ leap and overall athleticism proved a real handful for the Norwood talls. He would often get his hands on the ball first by simply leaping over his direct opponent, as he has done all season. He slotted an important set shot goal on the half-time siren to put Central Districts ahead at the main break. Evans was strong in the air without being a dominant marking force, hauling in two contested grabs, and worked well around the ground to involve himself in general play. He finished with 18 disposals, five marks, 38 hit-outs, three tackles and five clearances.

#37 Cody Gilchrist

Athletic full-forward Cody Gilchrist threatened to tear apart the game in its early stages. Operating out of the square, Gilchrist looked damaging on the lead, where he used his speed and long reach to good effect. Gilchrist simply outsized and outmuscled his opponent for much of the contest, however his workrate and leading patterns up forward ensured he was the most threatening forward on the ground. He had an inconsistent day in front of the big sticks, missing some very gettable opportunities whilst nailing others. The 198cm Gilchrist finished the game with 20 disposals, seven marks (three contested), six hit-outs and two goals (three behinds) in an encouraging showing.

Others: Bulldogs midfielders Luigi Mondello and Tahjin Krieg produced workmanlike performances, accumulating 17 and 14 disposals respectively. Tackling machine Tomas Hahn was typically combative in-and-under, winning 14 possessions and laying 12 tackles while also booting a goal. Adam Deakin was strong in the air down back and also provided some serviceable rebound, finishing with 21 disposals, six marks and 11 rebounds. Fellow defender Jake Grubb played his best game at Under 18s level, collecting 18 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and four rebounds and showing some nice signs.

STURT 5.11 (41) DEF. BY SOUTH ADELAIDE 14.15 (99)

By: Liam Badkin

Sturt:

#10 Jake Aish

The clearance machine was once again his side’s best player, battling hard in the engine room in what was a tough day for the Sabres. Aish’s toughness was on full display as he found more than his fair share of contested possession on the ground and fed it out to his teammates in ideal positions. Once again could have used slightly more composure and execution when on the outside of the contest, but fought tooth and nail to make life easier for his fellow midfielders. Finished the contest with 20 disposals, seven tackles, four clearances, seven inside 50s and even hit the scoreboard and although his inaccuracy cost him a big day on the stat sheet, his 2.2 input was big, given his side’s low scoring result for the afternoon.

#17 Mitch Felton

Backing up last week’s stellar performance, the speedy defender was another bright spot on a tough day for Sturt. The ball was often hammered into South Adelaide’s forward line, so Felton constantly found himself around the ball, and always looked to clear the ball from the backline with his classy ball use and damaging pace. Took a pair of contested marks deep in defence, on his way to 23 touches, five tackles and a whopping 13 rebound 50s as he battled all day to try and give his side some desperately needed run.

South Adelaide:

#10 Isaac Birt

The versatile wingman was once again eye-catching in South Adelaide’s 58-point triumph over the Sabres over the weekend. Burt found plenty of space to use his signature run-and-dash along the wing, providing his side with bursting pace along with reliable delivery to teammates, whether it was by hand or foot. Continuously peppered the ball inside 50, giving his teammates ample opportunity to score, and frequently his work resulted in a goal for his side. Can be proud of his 20 disposals and five mark outing.

#33 Arlo Draper

The midfielder picked up right where he left off, delivering yet another best-on-ground performance from the midfield, where his side had dominance for virtually all four quarters. Worked hard around the contest to fight for the contested possessions, and often proved too strong for his Sabre opponents, who could only watch as the South Adelaide midfielder burst away from stoppages with ease. A second quarter goal was simply reward for effort, as Draper’s strong work around the stoppage was translated to the scoreboard. Finished with 30 disposals (20 kicks), four marks, five tackles, nine clearances and seven inside 50s in a dominant performance.

Others:

Up forward, it was the trio of Hugo Hoeck (four goals), Dylan Brown (three goals) and Tom Schirmer (three goals) who could not be stopped, frequently sharing the opportunities amongst each other, while down back, Lachlan Hayes frequently removed the ball from the defensive arc, finishing the game with 10 rebound 50s from his 29 disposals.

GLENELG 9.10 (64) DEF. BY WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS EAGLES 11.9 (75)

By: Liam Badkin

Glenelg:

#20 Lewis Rayson

Rayson continued his consistent form, working tirelessly around the ground to finish as one of his side’s strongest performers. His midfield minutes continue to grow on a weekly basis and so too his confidence, emerging as one of the competition’s cleanest midfielders with his disposal efficiency and lack of fumbling around the ball. While his statistics were down on last round, Rayson’s impact remained the same as he constantly thwarted opposition attacks with his intercept marking, and his pace once again broke the game open when given the opportunity. Rayson finished with 21 disposals and eight marks in a performance that will be sure to impress scouters.

Others:

Benjamin Ridgeway was another strong performer through the middle, pouring in 20 disposals and a goal to form a dangerous combination with Rayson, while up forward Corey Brougham took advantage of the speedy ball movement to hit the scoreboard for two goals and two behinds to lead his team in scoring.

WWT Eagles:

#9 Jase Burgoyne

The Port Adelaide father-son prospect delivered one of his strongest performances of the 2021 season, keeping the ball on a string through the midfield and slicing the opposition open with his run-and-carry from the stoppage. His ability to find a target forward of the ball was also to be admired, and an impressive third quarter goal was the icing on the cake. Burgoyne finished the match with 26 disposals in a performance that will please both Eagles and Power fans going forward.

#24 Zac Phillips

The talented ruckman got the better of his Glenelg opponent throughout the match, delivering ascendancy in the air, and then following up his work when the ball hit the ground, a trait that is almost necessary in today’s game. Phillips pulled down multiple pack marks when the ball was forced down the line by either side, grabbing the ball from seemingly impossible positions. His mobility on the ground and athleticism in the air continue to amaze, and the impressive youngster finished with 17 disposals and 22 hitouts.

Others:

Tough midfielder Sam Nicholls was powerful through the stoppages, finishing with 20 touches, 11 crunching tackles and a goal, while Dustin Launer was outstanding in an attacking midfielder role, racking up 21 touches to go with three goals.

North Adelaide 15.8 (98) def. West Adelaide 10.3 (63)

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#12 Hugh Jackson

If there was one area in which Hugh Jackson could improve upon this season, it has been his scoreboard impact. Having booted just three goals up until Round 11, Jackson doubled his season tally by booting three majors in the Roosters triumph. It didn’t start perfectly for Jackson though, with the ball magnet missing a regulation set shot from close range. However he bounced back in style, proving elusive around stoppages in particular. A silky mover, he used the ball well with that damaging left foot and was very clean at ground level. His highlight for the day was undoubtedly his long range running goal from just beyond the 50 metre arc which never looked like missing. Jackson concluded another fruitful outing with 32 disposals, six marks, four tackles, seven clearances and seven inside 50s.

#18 James Willis

Talented Roosters Hugh Jackson, Blayne O’Loughlin and Harvey Harrison have all had their moments in the limelight this season, and on Saturday afternoon it was midfielder James Willis’ time to shine. Recognised as one of the best junior onballers in the state, Willis was dominant against West Adelaide. He started the game by laying a terrific smother, then later ran down a West Adelaide opponent with a strong tackle. These defensive efforts have been a hallmark of Willis’ game throughout the past couple of seasons, and they shone through at Prospect Oval. Willis spent most of the game in the midfield and was effective on the inside and the outside, winning some contested ball and also using his explosiveness to damaging effect when given a pocket of time and space. He also used the ball well, even whilst travelling at top speed. A dynamic prospect, Willis used his stiff arm a couple of times, demonstrating the power and strength he plays with. He finished as the Roosters leading ball winner, gathering 34 touches along with seven marks, six tackles, six clearances, eight inside 50s and three rebounds.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

Half-back Blayne O’Loughlin again found an abundance of the ball in his customary role as an attacking defender. He worked very hard between the arcs to provide an outlet option. The Roosters looked to give him the ball whenever possible and the Crows Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect provided plenty of bounce from the backline. His kicking was slightly off at various stages throughout the contest, with a number of his kicks falling short of their intended target. Nevertheless, O’Loughlin’s relentless run and carry, vision and composure proved invaluable to North Adelaide. He finished with 31 disposals, five marks, three tackles, three clearances, five inside 50s and six rebounds.

Others: Reliable onballer Harvey Harrison again had his hands on the ball all day, accumulating 32 disposals to go with five marks, six tackles, six clearances and four inside 50s. His fast and clean handball skills were of particular note. Zyton Santillo had another strong game, laying ten tackles and using the ball well. The clever half-forward/wingman also managed 21 disposals, three clearances, five inside 50s and a classy goal. His fellow wingman Sam McTaggart also impressed, gathering 26 disposals, seven marks and a goal of his own. Up forward, Oliver Dignan booted four majors and Jack Hodges performed well in the absence of Isaac Keeler, booting three goals and amassing 22 disposals and seven inside 50s.

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

Charlie Pridham has become one of the most consistent rebounding defenders in the competition and he again amassed plenty of the football on Prospect Oval. Clearly West’s most reliable ball user when transitioning from defence, Pridham didn’t take many risks by foot, and as a result wasn’t overly damaging. However he was clean and composed and always seemed to be there to mop up for the Bloods. The under 18 competition’s leading rebounder, Pridham finished with 33 touches (including 28 kicks), nine marks and ten rebounds.

#33 Jesse Thackeray

Jesse Thackeray was rewarded for his consistent season by being selected in South Australia’s phase one Under 19 National Championships squad. In 2021, the midfielder/forward has stepped up in the absence of talented bottom-aged duo Tyson Coe and Kobe Ryan, who have spent much of the season playing school football. Thackeray snapped a brilliant goal from the pocket shortly after a lengthy delay due to a serious injury to teammate Mitch Hahn. Despite the Roosters dominating the midfield battle, Thackeray tried hard and added another goal with a quick-fire shot in traffic. He finished with 29 disposals, three marks, six clearances and four inside 50s.

#45 Oscar Steene

Ruckman Oscar Steene was one of five West Adelaide juniors to make the initial state Under 19 squad ahead of the National Championships, set to take place in July and September. The 199cm tall was among the Bloods best performers despite his sides 35-point defeat to North Adelaide. Steene went head-to-head with Rooster tall Oliver Moors for the majority of the game, and the pair fought an enticing battle. Steene used his mobility and leap to get his hands on the ball, but was pushed aside relatively easily at times. He didn’t have a big impact on the game aerially, however Steene’s skills in general play were clean and his willingness to impact the game at ground level was evident. He finished with 14 touches, four tackles, 27 hit-outs and three clearances.

Others: Speedy midfielders Dylan McCormick (20 disposals, six tackles, six clearances and six inside 50s) and Hugh Desira (19 disposals, three marks, four clearances and three inside 50s) provided some run on the outside but also did their bit on the inside in the absence of hard-nosed skipper Cade Kennedy, who earned himself a call up to the reserves. Mobile medium forward Luke Young added two goals to his season tally and Ben Burbridge (20 disposals, five marks, six tackles and four clearances) was effective in the middle.

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 9

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide

#10 Isaac Birt

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

#38 Tom Schirmer

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

#39 Will Verrall

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

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

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

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

#10 Cade Kennedy

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

Others:

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

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

By: Liam Badkin

Sturt:

#5 Jordan Hein

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

Others:

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

North Adelaide:

#12 Hugh Jackson

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

#18 James Willis

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

Others:

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

Woodville-West Torrens:

#5 Brayden Calvett

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

#6 Dustin Launer

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

#9 Jase Burgoyne

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

#21 Mattaes Phillipou

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

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

Central District:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

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

#21 Austin McDonald

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

Others:

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

GLENELG 15.12 (102) defeated NORWOOD 3.5 (23)

By: Liam Badkin

Glenelg:

#6 Darcy Gluyas

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

#12 Brodie Edwards

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

Others:

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

Norwood:

#11 Connor Kent

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

Image Credit: Port Adelaide FC

SANFL U18 Scouting Notes – Round 8

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

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

#6 Darcy Gluyas

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

#12 Brodie Edwards

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

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

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

 

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

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

#10 Cade Kennedy

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

#13 Hugh Desira

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

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

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

Sturt

#12 Jamie Taylor

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

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

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

 

North Adelaide

#3 Adam Heath

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

#4 Isaac Keeler

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

#12 Hugh Jackson

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

#15 Harvey Harrison 

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

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

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

#26 Kelsey Rypstra

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

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

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

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

By: Liam Badkin

Central Districts:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

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

#21 Austin McDonald

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

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

 

South Adelaide:

#4 Jack Dealan

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

#10 Isaac Birt

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

#33 Will Verrall

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

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

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

By: Liam Badkin

Norwood:

#11 Connor Kent

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

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

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

Woodville West Torrens:

#16 Will Pearce

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

#18 William Neumann

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

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 7

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#4 Isaac Keeler

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

#12 Hugh Jackson

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

#15 Harvey Harrison

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

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

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

Others:

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

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

Norwood:

#11 Connor Kent

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

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

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

Others: 

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

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

#17 Corey Brougham

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

#20 Lewis Rayson

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

Others: 

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

South Adelaide:

#4 Jack Delean

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

#10 Isaac Birt

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

#39 Will Verrall

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

Others:

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

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

#7 Austin Poulton

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

#21 Austin McDonald

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

#29 Saxon Evans

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

#38 Brodie Tuck

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

Others:

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

Sturt:

#8 Lachie Thomas

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

#12 Jamie Taylor

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

#20 Jaymes Tragakis

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

Others:

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

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

By: Tom Cheesman

Eagles:

#16 Will Pearce

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

#18 William Neumann

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

Others:

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

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

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

#10 Cade Kennedy

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

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

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

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

Others:

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

Image Credit: Hannah Howard / SANFL

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 6

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s rolled on into Round 6, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

STURT 5.7 (37) def. by GLENELG 16.20 (116)

By: Tom Wyman

STURT:

#10 Jake Aish

The Sturt midfielders were soundly beaten by the high-flying Tigers, but Aish was clearly Sturt’s best through the engine room. The number one clearance player on the ground, Aish spent the game cracking in hard at ground level, where he won his fair share of contested ball. When the heavens opened and the game turned into a stoppage-fest, Aish adapted well, with his strong inside game suited to the slippery conditions. His clearance ability was particularly important when the game became one of yardage. Although he lacked some polish when in space on the outside, Aish can hold his head high despite the lop-sided result, finishing with 24 disposals, six tackles, eleven clearances, nine inside 50s and five rebound 50s.

#17 Mitch Felton

With the ball seemingly living in the Glenelg forward half of the ground for much of the clash, Felton was never far from the action in defence. Charged with the kick-in duties in the first half, Felton was one of few Double Blues who regularly looked to take the game on, attacking each contest at speed and looking to utilise his clean, long foot skills out of defence. He took a couple of important intercept marks by positioning himself well down back. In the second half, Felton appeared to take on a more close-checking role, spending some time on Glenelg spearhead Corey Brougham. Clearly among Sturt’s best, Felton accumulated a team-high 29 touches (including 26 kicks), five marks, five tackles and 13 rebounds.

#25 Kade Harvey

Playing a similar role to the aforementioned Felton, Sturt’s Harvey was also in-and-around the action from start to finish. Harvey’s aerial ability was a real feature of his game, with the defender’s intercept marking particularly impressive. Although some poor kicking let him down at various stages, Harvey was often under the pump, especially when the rain set in. Sharing the kick-ins with Felton, Harvey generated some meaningful drive from the half-back line and finished with a game-high 14 rebounds from defence.

Others: 

Midfielder George Pope fought hard in the loss, winning nine clearances for the Double Blues along with 15 disposals. Edward Davies and Blake Fidge both applied plenty of pressure, laying seven and six tackles respectively. In attack, Chad Baulderstone and Nathan Houston were Sturt’s only multiple goalkickers, while Dylan Thredgold was strong in the ruck, winning 25 hitouts.

GLENELG:

#5 Hugh Stagg

Stagg produced another impressive performance in the yellow and black. With his explosiveness and ability to break tackles up there with the best in the state, the talented forward/midfielder wasted no time getting involved. Possessing one-touch cleanliness at ground level and the ability to brush off opponents with relative ease, Stagg appeared unstoppable at times. His kicking was inconsistent, with some hitting their desired target and others being chopped off or falling short, however Stagg produced another very strong showing. He concluded the contest with 24 disposals, two marks, nine inside 50s and a goal.

#12 Brodie Edwards

Edwards, the youngest son of Adelaide Crows legend Tyson, was typically classy for the Bays. The bottom-ager lined up in defence but was soon moved into the midfield. In both positions, he displayed calmness under pressure and made the most of his possessions. One of a long list of Tigers with the capacity to play a variety of roles across the field, Edwards finished the game with 19 touches, three marks, six tackles and three inside 50s in a solid showing.

#20 Lewis Rayson

The ever-consistent Rayson once again had a significant say over proceedings at Unley Oval. Spending time through the midfield and down back, Rayson was able to break lines with his dash and cut through the Sturt defence with his precise foot skills. Although his football smarts, skills and speed will stand out to recruiters, Rayson certainly cracks in hard when unleashed in the middle and showed he is a capable contested ball winner. When allowed to drift back a kick behind the play, Rayson took intercept after intercept, positioning himself to perfection and using it well for the most part. Certainly one of the most exciting South Australian draft prospects, Rayson continued his sensational start to the year by gathering 35 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and five clearances in the 79-point triumph.

#31 William Watts

Strongly-built utility, Watts put on a clinic for Glenelg, dominating proceedings in the midfield and up forward. Watts used his strength to damaging effect through the guts, where his contested ball winning and cleanliness by hand proved the catalyst for several Bays forward movements. Given the Tigers’ excellent depth through the midfield, Watts was often rotated through the forwardline and proved hard to contain. His vice-like hands on the lead ensured Watts became a genuine focal point in attack. Watts’ bigger frame was ideally suited to the slippery conditions of the clash, with his contested ball winning capacity and stoppage nous proving important. In a best-on-ground showing, Watts finished with 36 disposals, 10 marks, three tackles, eight clearances and a goal.

Others: 

Glenelg’s outstanding depth was on full display at Unley Oval, with 14 players accumulating 15 or more disposals. Darcy Gluyas was important in the middle and up forward, looking particularly threatening in attack as the rain fell. His classy snap goal was a highlight, however he probably should have finished with a couple more to his name. He finished with 30 disposals, four marks, three tackles and five inside-50s. Darcy Porter was excellent up forward, booting two goals (and three behinds) to go with 29 touches and four clearances. Hunter Window was busy and his effectiveness by hand stood out. He finished with 30 disposals, four marks, six tackles, six clearances and 12 inside 50s. Harrison Kaesler won 23 touches of his own, while forward Corey Brougham made the most of his limited opportunities, nailing three goals from six disposals.

NORTH ADELAIDE 8.12 (60) drew w/ WWT EAGLES 8.12 (60)

By: Tom Wyman

NORTH ADELAIDE:

#4 Isaac Keeler

After an impressive showing in the ruck last weekend against the Tigers, Keeler was moved back into the forwardline for the Roosters’ encounter with Woodville-West Torrens. Although he still did much of the ruckwork in the forward half of the ground, the talented bottom-ager struggled to get his hands on the football early on, with North bigman Adam Heath being the primary target in attack. He showed glimpses of elite athleticism and cleanliness below his knees, however it was a largely frustrating day for the South Augusta product. But, as all good players do, Keeler stood up when it mattered most, flying high for a mark-of-the-year contender with a couple of minutes left on the clock before calmly slotting the subsequent set shot to level the scores. Recruiters will certainly have enjoyed his clutch grab when the game was on the line. Keeler finished the game with 14 disposals, four marks, six hitouts and a goal.

#12 Hugh Jackson

It was quite simply the Hugh Jackson show on Saturday afternoon at Prospect Oval, with the balanced midfielder having it on a string. He spent much of the first term stationed down back, where he was able to set up the play with his deadly left foot. His skillset is well suited to a role as a ‘kicker’ down back, however, with the Roosters needing a lift around the ball, Jackson was soon thrown into the middle and dictated terms from then on. As has been on display all throughout the season, Jackson’s quick-give handballing was elite, as was his vision, ability to win the ball at ground level, and burst of acceleration. Jackson always seems to free his hands, even while being tackled, allowing him to pass it off despite the mounting pressure. His extraction work and stoppage smarts were excellent, but when allowed time and space, Jackson really made the Eagles pay, hitting targets by foot with ease over a variety of distances. Even when he was rested up forward, Jackson still couldn’t get away from the action, getting on the end of a spearing inside-50 ball from Isaac Keeler. His couple of misses in front of goal were just about the only blemish in what was a complete performance from the ball magnet, who finished with 41 disposals, nine marks and eight clearances.

#15 Harvey Harrison

After struggling slightly against the Tigers, Harrison was back to his prolific best in the Roosters’ draw with the Eagles. Once again, his eye-catching run-and-carry really opened up the ground and provided a point-of-difference through the middle. His foot skills on the run were excellent and, albeit for a rare miscued bounce, Harrison rarely wasted a possession. His ability to win the footy at the coalface and apply pressure around the ball is well complimented by his speed and composure. Harrison concluded the game with 24 disposals, five marks, six tackles and three clearances.

Others:

Defender Shaun Bennier stood tall for the Roosters, putting a stop to several inside 50s. Tough and courageous in the air, Bennier was strong overhead, hauling in four contested marks, but also provided plenty of rebound. Crafty midfielder Zyton Santillo had some excellent moments, with the speedster providing some energy through the middle. Using the ball well, he finished with 22 touches, five marks, four tackles and four clearances.

Providing serviceable support for Jackson and Harrison through the midfield, Kelsey Rypstra won 23 possessions and booted a goal while James White gathered 18 disposals and sent the ball inside 50 four times. Up forward, Adam Heath booted the first goal of the match and also snagged an important major late in the contest, finishing with three maximums. His presence up forward proved important for the red and whites. Ruckman Oliver Moors competed well against Eagle big-man Zac Phillipswinning 18 hitouts to go with eight touches and four marks.

EAGLES:

#4 Jack Murphy

Murphy was one of the Eagles’ best performers at Prospect Oval. A natural ball-winner with a clean kicking action, Murphy used the ball well on the outside and also showed an ability to win his own ball in-and-under. He finished the game with an impressive 30 disposals, three marks and three inside 50s.

#5 Brayden Calvett

Calvett provided the Eagles with some run-and-carry from defence. Pushing into the midfield as the game wore on, Calvett used the ball well by foot and booted a nice goal late in the final term, but will likely rue his three behinds. The hard-working Calvett finished with 26 disposals, two marks, two tackles and four inside 50s.

#24 Zac Phillips

Ruckman, Phillips was the dominant bigman on the park for much of the contest. He regularly provided the Eagles on-ballers with first-use (Eagles won the hit-outs 30-20), but it was his work away from the stoppages which impressed. Phillips clunked several big pack marks, despite flying from three-deep at times. Showing handy athleticism and mobility for a player of his size, Phillips looked to play on wherever possible and generally used the ball well.

Others:

With Port Adelaide father/son prospect Jase Burgoyne playing League football for the Magpies, William Neumann and Dustin Launer stood up for Woodville-West Torrens. Neumann, the Eagles leading possession winner, showed excellent work rate up around the ground. He finished with 31 disposals and 11 marks, while Launer gathered 29 possessions, four marks, six clearances and four rebounds. Up forward, Will Pearce booted three majors and also gathered 19 disposals. At the other end of the ground, Jonte Hunter-Price was solid in defence, taking a couple of important overhead grabs.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 8.5 (53) def. by WEST ADELAIDE 8.6 (54)

By: Tom Cheesman

SOUTH ADELAIDE:

#10 Isaac Birt

Birt was one of South Adelaide’s best players on Saturday with 27 disposals, six inside 50s, four clearances, four marks and a goal. His second half was particularly outstanding, as he provided some important run-and-carry down the wing and used his pace to break the game open. Despite the slippery conditions, Birt always picked up the ball cleanly and found targets by hand and foot with ease. He also used the corridor well and followed up his possessions to ensure that the ball kept moving forward. Midway through the final term, Birt kicked a brilliant goal from 40 metres out off a couple of steps to give his side the lead. Unfortunately for Panthers fans, their side could not hold on and went down by one point.

#33 Arlo Draper

Draper continued his impressive start to 2021 with another good performance for South. He was very active at clearances, as he worked hard to win the contested ball and applied some strong pressure on the opposition. Draper had 24 kicks and just three handballs, showing that he played to the slippery conditions well. Gaining ground (especially from clearances) is an important part of wet weather footy, so Draper got the ball on the boot as often as possible to move it into his side’s forward half. With that said, Draper also showed more composure with ball in hand than most other players on the field. Most players were just bombing the ball down the line, whereas Draper took that extra second to look inside and find a target in the corridor on several occasions. Draper finished with 27 touches, nine clearances, five tackles, three inside 50s and an important goal that levelled the scores going into the final break.

#37 Kyle Marshall

Marshall was impressive for the Panthers on Saturday, providing a strong marking target for them when they exited their defensive 50. He continually led up hard at the footy, made a contest and (at least) brought the ball to ground for his teammates. He tried to be too cute with his possessions at times in the slippery conditions, but his decision making with ball in hand improved as the game wore on. Marshall finished with 12 disposals, four hitouts, three tackles, two marks, two clearances and two inside 50s for the day.

#39 Will Verrall

Verrall was South’s best performer on Saturday. He toiled away in the ruck all day, winning the majority of the hitouts and giving his midfielders first use at the stoppages. Verrall has good chemistry with Draper and Luke Mitton, and these three combined for 24 clearances between them. This was a major reason why their side won the clearance battle 41 to 29. Verrall used his huge frame to position himself well in ruck contests, and he often provided a good marking target for his teammates kicking down the line. A strong intercept mark in the last quarter when scores were tied was another individual highlight. He finished with 21 disposals, 37 hitouts, six marks (two contested), five tackles and five clearances.

Others:

Nathan Hicks (15 disposals, six tackles, one goal) was good for the Panthers up forward, as he applied consistent frontal pressure and used the ball well going inside 50. Luke Mitton (23 disposals, 10 clearances, six tackles) was crafty at the stoppages, while Dylan Brown (20 disposals, seven inside 50s, six tackles) initiated some important passages of play in the forward half.

WEST ADELAIDE:

#3 Charlie Pridham

Pridham did some good things in the defensive half for the Bloods. He was a ball magnet, earning 35 disposals to go with seven rebound 50s, five tackles and four marks for the day. His ball use was great most of the time, he never fumbled and he linked up well with teammates when bringing the ball out of defence. Pridham’s ability to choose the right option was important too, as he helped his side control possession with some short passes in defence whenever the Panthers appeared to be gaining the momentum. He also attacked the ball hard throughout the match, particularly loose balls that he sprinted to in defensive 50. One negative was that he gave away some unnecessary free kicks in the defensive half, which he can work on going forward.

#7 Ben Burbridge

Burbridge was West’s most prominent midfielder in this clash. He was tough at the contest, always in and under, found plenty of the ball around the ground and used it well whenever he got it. His quick hands to release his teammates into open space were outstanding, and this is undoubtedly a feature of his game. Burbridge took some important marks too, both when receiving from teammates and when intercepting the opposition’s kicks. His pressure was relentless, highlighted when he applied a great tackle on Draper in second term to cause a turnover. He finished with 25 disposals, six tackles, five marks and four inside 50s.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy is a bull for the Bloods and he thrived in the slippery conditions on Saturday. He works harder around the ground than most at Under 18s level, and as much was evident in this match through the amount of contests he was able to get to despite spending much of his time in a half-forward role. Kennedy does the little things well, such as blocks and smothers to help his teammates out around the ball. Although he missed a shot on goal that he should have nailed in the opening term, he made up for it in second quarter with a crisp snap to put his side 20 points up. Kennedy finished with 16 disposals, seven tackles and five inside 50s.

#13 Hugh Desira

Desira was fantastic for the Bloods in the first half of this match. He kicked West’s first goal of the game early, using the wet conditions well to skid the ball through with a nice kick around his body. After that, Desira frequently used his electric pace and ability to kick on both feet to break the game open and get the ball moving forward with speed. The wingman always competes in the air despite lacking in size, and he has quick hands that he uses to release teammates into space on the outside of contests. Although he drifted out of the game a bit in the second half, Desira still finished with 17 disposals (15 kicks), five marks, five tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s and a goal.

#53 David Midwinter

Key defender, Midwinter was a brick wall in defence, frequently using his size and strength to spoil his opponents and repel South’s persistent attacks going forward. He has clean hands, is agile for his size and uses the ball quite well by foot. With five minutes remaining and scores level, Midwinter won a huge one-on-one contest deep inside West’s defensive 50 by out-bodying his opponent, taking the ball cleanly off the ground and finding a teammate with a quick handball. Many defenders would panic in this situation, but Midwinter stayed composed under the high ball, did not give away a free kick and was able to release the pressure by winning the contest and without conceding a behind. This was one of many instances where Midwinter’s composure was important for the Bloods.

Others:

Jesse Thackeray (20 disposals, six marks, five clearances) worked hard in the midfield, Kade Harkins (16 disposals, six rebound 50s) was reliable down back and Jaeden Watts (two goals, five tackles) was dynamic up forward. Dylan McCormick (nine disposals, three marks) applied some outstanding pressure throughout the day and finished with a whopping 16 tackles.

NORWOOD 7.2 (44) def. by CENTRAL DISTRICT 11.16 (82)

By: Tom Cheesman

NORWOOD:

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

While it has been a tough few weeks for Norwood in the Under 18s, Dnistriansky has maintained consistency and been a shining light in defence. His defensive work is reliable, his composure under pressure is outstanding and his kicks rarely miss a target. Some of his kicking in this contest was exceptional, including one bullet pass from full back (in the wet) that found Corey Jones-Bobridge inside the centre square in the third term. As usual, he facilitated many switches of play and created plenty of run and link up out of defence. Dnistriansky had a nice moment in the second quarter when, after biding his time, he ran past a teammate that was lining up for a set shot, received the handball and booted an important goal from outside 50. As poor as the defending was from the Bulldogs in this instance, it was great awareness from Dnistriansky to see the opening and take full advantage with his booming right foot kick. Although Dnistriansky made a couple of uncharacteristic errors by hand, overall it was another strong performance from the defender.

Others:

Given Centrals won the inside 50 count 58 to 25, it was a very tough day to be a Redlegs defender. Despite this, Oliver Stenchlik (21 disposals, four rebound 50s, two tackles), Riley Verrall (21 disposals, seven rebound 50s, five tackles) and Taj Rahui (12 disposals, six tackles, two clearances, one goal) fought hard and did well to help keep the margin to under 40 points. Connor Kent (29 disposals, nine tackles, seven marks) worked hard as well.

CENTRAL DISTRICT:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

Rotating between midfield and forward, Dudley was one of the Bulldogs’ best contributors. The Adelaide Crows NGA prospect was brilliant whenever he went near the ball, providing a major spark and using his skills to open up the play for his side. He is so clean below his knees, very creative and a fantastic decision maker. His high football IQ was on display in several instances, including a moment in the first quarter when he twist and turned around multiple Redlegs players before executing a beautiful long handball inside to find Finn Reed. Dudley used his pace to his advantage in this match by applying constant pressure all over the ground and using his low centre of gravity to gather the ball without fumbling. Although he is probably going to be a small forward in the long-term as he moves up the grades, he was more prolific in the midfield throughout this contest. His tackling pressure in the centre square was relentless, as demonstrated when he caught two Norwood players holding the ball at seperate contests within a one-minute period in the second term. Dudley kicked a well-deserved goal in the closing minutes from a set shot after crumbing a marking contest at pace and earning a free kick for a high tackle. He finished with 27 disposals, nine tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s to go with his goal.

#15 Finn Reed

Read was another fantastic midfielder for the Bulldogs in their first Under 18 victory of the season. He showed good pace, tackled strongly and provided plenty of link up play through the middle of the ground. A powerful intercept mark he took in defensive 50 at the 12-minute mark of the opening term helped set the tone for his side. Although he missed a couple of shots at goal, he launched the ball inside 50 on eight occasions and had multiple other score involvements. He finished with 24 touches, eight tackles, eight inside 50s, five marks and two clearances.

#34 Darcy McDonald

McDonald was a standout for Centrals. Playing predominantly as an inside midfielder, he collected 20 disposals to go with a tremendous 12 tackles, four inside 50s and three clearances. As his statline suggests, his tackling pressure and willingness to hunt down opposition players was outstanding, but this was not the only feature of his game. McDonald is a good size, silky mover and won plenty of contested ball. He had arguably the moment of the match in the third term when, in the wet, he scooped the ball up one-handed, sold some candy to get past an oncoming tackler and then delivered the ball inside 50. There were many times in this match where McDonald won his own ball and used his agility to escape a stoppage with ease before releasing a teammate on the outside. The challenge for McDonald now is to produce this level of play on a consistent basis.

Others:

Saxon Evans (37 hitouts, 12 disposals, one goal) and Brodie Tuck (13 hitouts, 15 disposals, two goals) dominated in the ruck and gave their inside midfielders first use. Tomas Hahn (22 disposals, 11 tackles, eight clearances) was another prominent Bulldog midfielder and kicked a glorious goal on the outside of his boot in the third term.

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography