Tag: cooper hamilton

National Championships: U16 All Australian team announced

WITH the Under 16 Division 1 and 2 championships run and done after three exciting rounds, the representative All Australian team has been announced. We take a look at the squad members in a state-by-state breakdown, with Division 1 winners Vic Metro boasting the most representatives (seven), followed by Vic Country’s five and Western Australia and South Australia’s three apiece.

South Australia [3]:

Isaiah Dudley (Forward Pocket)

The exciting small forward also doubles as a midfielder, and enjoyed a carnival full of highlights. Put his incredible goal sense, manic pressure, and knack for snaring the ball all together in SA’s Round 1 win, booting four goals from 27 disposals.

Jason Horne (Half-Forward)

The SA skipper and MVP, Horne is as tough as they come and led from the front for the Croweaters. Does it all at the coalface and keeps busy when forward, with his standout game coming against Vic Country in Round 2 as he collected 18 disposals and booted two goals.

Cooper Murley (Interchange)

Murley provided a nice point of difference through the hard-nosed SA midfield, often seen breaking quickly from congestion and delivering forward. Like many of his midfield mates, Murley showed good versatility to also make an impact when tried in the attacking set-up.

Vic Country [5]:

Campbell Chesser (Half-Back)

The Country co-skipper has line-breaking speed to go with a penetrating boot, making him a meterage machine on the outside. Started on the wing and moved to the back six, with his best game coming against Vic Metro in Round 1.

Toby Conway (Ruck)

A very raw tall prospect who nailed down the ruck spot for Country to allow some of his side’s other big-men to roam forward. Made some impressive taps with soft hands and used the ball well when following up at ground level, building as the carnival wore on.

Cooper Hamilton (Interchange)

Not to be mistaken for twin brother, Hugh, Hamilton is a tough defender who hits the ball hard and gets pumping quickly to advance forward. Thrived in tough conditions in Round 2 against Western Australia and gets stuck in.

Ben Hobbs (Centre)

A contested ball magnet, Hobbs was one of the most consistent midfielders throughout the carnival. Was terrific across all three games, winning high numbers and gradually building to find the ball around the ground with spearing kicks and deceptive speed.

Josh Rachele (Follower)

The standout player of the carnival, Rachele stood up when it mattered for Vic Country – shown best with his 32-disposal outing in a losing effort against WA. Won the Kevin Sheehan Medal as Division 1 MVP to go with his Country MVP award, and will make his NAB League debut this weekend.

Vic Metro [7]:

Braden Andrews (Interchange)

One who was utilised on each line for Metro, using his composure, clean hands and ball use to good effect wherever he was required. Had a great game against Country in Round 1 where he helped his side over the line with a move to defence.

Lachlan Brooks (Interchange)

Had a standout game in the wet against SA in Round 2, collecting 23 disposals, six clearances, and two goals. Provides hard attack on the ball and is clean on the breakaway, while also being able to clutch it up when forward.

Youseph Dib (Wing)

Is aligned to Collingwood as an NGA member, and has a haircut to rival the Magpies’ 2018 NGA draftee, Isaac Quaynor. Is small, but strong in the contest and stayed relevant going both ways with big tackles and zippy bursts forward.

Blake Howes (Half-Forward)

The clinical medium forward did not need many chances to make an impact, and found the goals when it mattered. Is quite slim but stands up well overhead, and showed off his array of skills against SA with two crucial goals to break the game open in Metro’s win.

Alex Lukic (Full Forward)

Lead the Division 1 goal kicking with nine goals on the back of two big bags. Did a lot of his work inside 50 and close to goal, finishing beautifully to boot 5.2 against SA in Round 3, and four goals against Vic Country to open his campaign.

Josh Sinn (Half-Back, Captain)

A damaging mover, Sinn showcased his balance of inside and outside traits as he moved from a lock at half-back to a midfield role. Skippered the title-winning Metro side well, and will surely form a dangerous partnership with Campbell Chesser for Sandringham as rebounding defenders.

Tyler Sonsie (Follower)

The Metro MVP is just so classy and broke away from stoppages with ease. He used the ball cleverly under pressure, while also proving he can double as a forward with his 19 disposals and 4.3 against WA in Round 3. Will be another to make his NAB League debut straight off the bat.

Western Australia [3]:

Rhett Bazzo (Centre Half-Back)

One of the WA defenders who plays slightly above his height, Bazzo was fantastic in the air and used the ball well by foot when required. Has a good mix of tall and small traits, with his athleticism boding well for form in both positions.

Judd McVee (Interchange)

Was outstanding in the first half of WA’s Round 3 loss to Vic Metro, finishing with 16 disposals, seven clearances and two goals. Caught the eye with his incredible burst from the centre bounces, and loves a goal from range.

Blake Morris (Full Back)

Gave up height and weight against key position opponents on several occasions throughout the carnival, but fully made up for it with some fantastic work in the air and desperation at ground level. Reads the ball better than most and intercepted just about everything as WA’s MVP.

Northern Territory [1]:

Brodie Lake (Wing)

The sole NT representative in the squad, Lake was solid in a variety of roles. He proved a handy link on the outside, consistent ball-winner on the inside and effective forward, with the Thunder MVP collecting 26 disposals, eight clearances and two goals against NSW/ACT.

NSW/ACT [1]:

Sam Stening (Centre Half-Forward)

Was so influential in the final quarter against NT and backed it up with three goals against Tasmania, with his overhead marking a feature. Stening leads up effectively and is constantly involved in scores for his side, with his reach making him hard to stop.

Queensland [2]:

Austin Harris (Back Pocket)

Was a busy forward mover from defence and through midfield for Queensland, winning the Maroons’ MVP award. Breaks the lines with good speed and is a neat user on his left foot, while also having the capacity to hit targets at long-range too.

Noah McFadyen (Forward Pocket)

The brother of 2018 Brisbane draftee, Connor, McFadyen is a similar type and booted 14 goals as the standout forward in Division 2. Saved his best game for last against NT, booting 8.2 with shrewd positioning, strong marking and cool finishing helping him along the way.

Tasmania [1]:

Sam Banks (Back Pocket)

One who has already impressed enough to feature in Tasmania’s U18 NAB League side, Banks was most effective across half-back and an interceptor and damaging rebounder. Makes some great passes through the corridor, and can also run through midfield. Took out the Division 2 MVP.

Scouting notes: U16 Division 1 – Round 2

VIC Metro and Western Australia both enjoyed impressive wins in a day of hard-fought Under 16 Division 1 contests in extremely trying conditions at Southport. Michael Alvaro was on hand to provide his opinion-based notes on the outstanding players from all four sides.


Vic Metro vs. South Australia

Vic Metro:

#1 Youseph Dib (Oakleigh Chargers)

The Oakleigh product started well, showing off his athleticism and explosiveness in traffic. Despite only being 171cm tall, Dib proved to be one of the stronger players around the contest, converting his ball-prizing will to hard tackles when not in possession. Dib accumulated well in the first half, moving with good agility at stoppages, moving this way and that to make room for clearances (four) and inside 50 balls (three). He almost found the goals with a couple of quick shots early, and had less of an impact after the main break.

#3 Henry Brown (Oakleigh Chargers)

Brown showed a good mix of ball winning in what is usually a mostly outside role on the wing. Like his Chargers teammate Youseph Dib, Brown played the conditions well to thrust the ball forward (four clearances and three inside 50s), with one kick finding Blake Howes inside 50 for his first goal. Brown did the tough stuff well in gathering his 18 disposals and was a solid contributor.

#6 Josh Ward (Northern Knights)

The Northern forward had an outstanding first quarter and was in everything within Metro’s attacking half. He first caught the eye with a spin out of trouble in the opening minutes and was simply cleaner than most others on the field in trying conditions. Ward found most of his 22 disposals early on and looked most dangerous when on the move, almost snapping a first quarter goal with a neat bit of play. He went on to move further afield and find the ball wherever he went, using the ball efficiently by foot with short, sharp kicks.

#8 Lachlan Brooks (Sandringham Dragons)

Arguably best afield, Brooks was another to impress with his clean hands and movement forward. He started with a strong pack mark from a kick-in and by winning possession around the stoppages, but really came to life after the main break with Metro’s only goals for the the second half. Starting in the centre bounce, Brooks won the first clearance of the third term and never looked back, winning six for the game and proving damaging with 20 of his 23 disposals coming by foot. He showed a great first five steps to break away and boot his first goal on the run, adding another in the final term by coming across to intercept a kick-in yet again and slot the resultant shot. Has some good burst and proved a shrewd addition to the Metro midfield.

#10 Lachlan Rankin (Oakleigh Chargers)

You would think that the conditions would not really suit Rankin’s game, but the half-back flanker still managed to show a bit of class. Taking on the designated kicking duties in the back half, Rankin often opted to go long, but also did some nice things in close – with a pretty clever look-away handball over his shoulder in the first term. He’s only slight, but Rankin also did well to win a couple of on-on-one duels and was effective in the air, while proving agile on the ground to get free and release by foot.

#11 Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges)

While Sonsie did not always get his typically damaging running game from stoppages going, he still found a good amount of ball and was efficient with it. He missed a set shot chance early, a checkside in the second term, and had another shot marked on the line, but wasn’t deterred as he went on to chain together some nice handballs in close and get Metro moving out of tight spaces. Sonsie is a real prime mover, so hopefully he can show off his skills in drier conditions later in the carnival, with clean pick-ups and reads off the packs a feature of his game.

#13 Lachlan Benton (Sandringham Dragons)

Benton made himself busy and came into the game with a good patch late in the second term, applying pressure and eventually earning a free kick to slot his lone goal for the game, while also missing another chance on the run shortly after. A dangerous feature in the forward half, Benton also finished the final quarter well with a brave mark on the 50-metre arc and with a clever steal to give Lachlan Brooks a chance on goal. Finished with 16 disposals, four marks, and three inside 50s to go with 1.2.

#14 Angus McLennan (Sandringham Dragons)

A handy point of difference in the Metro back six, McLennan was influential early alongside Lachlan Rankin in moving the ball efficiently from defence. He tends to find a lot of possession inside defensive 50 and shows great composure there, while also showing his aerial prowess with a couple of intercept marks in the second term. McLennan was fantastic in the final term, taking two solid grabs on the last line, outbodying an opponent in the defensive corridor, and getting on his bike to repel SA’s attacks to good effect.

#15 Joshua Goater (Calder Cannons)

This was far and away the best game I have seen from Goater, proving an absolute wall with his superior positioning in the back half. The Cannons product consistently popped up with overhead marks to cut of SA’s long bombs forward as he dominated the area a kick behind the play. He was an attacking rebounder too, moving past opponents and kicking long to keep Metro relevant on the attack for as long as possible. Finished with another big grab in the final term and should thrive in drier conditions and a role he looks comfortable in.

#17 Josh Sinn (Sandringham Dragons)

The skipper battled hard through midfield to pick up a more unassuming 19 disposals than usual, unable to always provide his signature penetration on the outside. Sinn just finds the ball with ease and loves latching onto his left boot, bombing five clearances from congestion and breaching both arcs. He warmed to the contest to have a greater influence as it went on, adapting his game to convert his smart to tighter situations with a couple of clever handballs into space. A solid contributor, but can bring it to the next level.

#19 Blake Howes (Sandringham Dragons)

Howes was by no means one who was dominant throughout the game, but he popped up at the most important time with two goals in the second term to break the game open and put Metro ahead. Howes had an early chance to goal with a soccer from the goalsquare, but came alive with a purple patch that saw him convert a free kick and finish with absolute class on the run shortly after. Looks a pretty raw impact player at this stage, but always seems to find the goals.

#21 Tyreece Leiu (Eastern Ranges)

The strong Ranges midfielder did a lot of the grunt work through the engine room, leading his side for disposals with 24. While he does not always have the flashes of class that the likes of Sonsie and Sinn provide, Leiu thrived in the contested game and was prominent at the coalface. That makes him a good point of difference for Metro, and he should be able to match it with others in the NAB League given his already solid frame.

#23 Jed Rule (Oakleigh Chargers)

Rule is simply one of the better readers of the game in defence and used his nous to snuff out some dangerous SA attacks. He began with a sliding effort to intercept in the first term, backing it up with a more typical aerial clunk in the third and another terrific pack mark in the fourth. He also uses the ball really well for a taller player, making him the kind of modern defender that clubs love. Hardly made a mistake with his 17 disposals and five marks, and was as reliable as anyone.


South Australia:

#5 Isaiah Dudley (Central District)

Constantly looks like the busiest player on the field and was made to work up the field to have an impact. Dudley started with a few small glimpses of his usual self with a holding the ball tackle, high fly for a mark, and some clever touches to keep the ball in dispute. His agility in traffic again caused headaches for his opponents and allowed him to free himself for clean use, proving damaging in general play with repeat efforts in congestion. While he did not find the goals himself, Dudley did his best to create for others and made a sensational pass on the turn to find Jason Horne inside 50 as South Australia looked to charge, while also assisting a Morgan Ferres goal late on with a clever checkside under pressure.

#6 Lachlan Thomas (Sturt)

The conditions did not always allow for Thomas’ usual run and carry out of the defensive 50, but he still managed to breach the arc with almost half (six) of his 14 disposals. He always looked to gain distance when entrusted with the kick-ins, using the new play on rule to good effect and unleashing long kicks. His choice of kicks and opting for distance didn’t always pay off, particularly with a torpedo attempt in the second term, but you can’t fault his effort. Thomas is quick to release and makes his opponents do the same, applying good pressure around the ball in the back half.

#8 Cooper Murley (Norwood)

Murley was a great forward driver for SA through midfield, adding a bit of zip to a tough inside mix. He has the pace to hunt the ball and puts in a heap of efforts until he does just that, breaking with speed and delivering forward well. Murley is still pretty light-on, but showed good tenacity to hold on with his tackles, and took a brave mark in the third term. Was caught out on one occasion when looking to play on quickly, but was otherwise effective in doing so.

#11 Harry Tunkin (Glenelg)

Tunkin is one who makes up for a lack of height with heart, and showed that off the bat with a courageous effort under a high ball to earn a free kick in the opening term. He seems to thrive in contested situations and has a no-nonsense approach, hitting the contest when required and putting his body on the line. Mixed his hard edge with an ability to find the footy, racking up 19 disposals in a solid outing.

#17 Matthew Dnistriansky (Norwood)

A constant in the back half, Dnistriansky did well to remain a composed figure inside defensive 50 across the day. He has the happy knack of clearing his lines by foot, as shown with 14 of his 16 disposals being kicks, and repelled some good looking Metro attacks with apt rebounding.

#18 Tyson Coe (West Adelaide)

One who is actually an under-ager in this year’s competition – much like Roberts, Dudley, and Horne were in 2018 – as a 2004-birth. He still held his own around the stoppages with his decent frame for his age and did not fray from the contest, collecting 14 disposals and laying seven tackles. Should really benefit from the experience and will be one to watch for next year’s carnival if the form of the aforementioned three is anything to go by.

#19 Jason Thorne (South Adelaide)

The skipper put in a brave and workmanlike shift, initially in his usual midfield post and later up either end. He started with good intent, laying a big tackle at one of the earliest stoppages, following up with strong clearance work and ball winning in-close. Thorne showed he has the finesse to match his grunt work, lowering his eyes beautifully to find a teammate going inside 50 in the second term. He went on to spend some time down back after the main break, throwing his weight around down there and rebounding with clearing kicks. He copped a heavy knock in the same term and spend some time on the pine, before getting straight back into the thick of it. He then moved forward and was sensational in SA’s final push, winning a free kick deep to slot his only goal for the game and getting into position twice more to mark inside the arc. Unfortunately could not help his side over the line, but was a top effort.

#20 Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide)

Roberts was arguably the best afield with his 31 disposals, five marks, four clearances, seven inside 50s and one goal. He just seemed to be everywhere and won the ball in all areas of the ground – dominating at stoppages and finding space well forward of centre to make his threat two-pronged. He booted his side’s first goal of the game after clunking a nice mark deep inside 50 and remained relevant when resting forward, continually popping up with marks around half forward to lock the ball in. He may have been playing to the conditions, but many of Roberts’ kicks from the contest went long off a couple of steps, where he would otherwise wheel around further and find a more direct target. Still a dominant game and one who is shaping as South Australia’s most valuable players.

#23 Morgan Ferres (Sturt)

Was far from a massive game from Ferres, but he remained a dangerous prospect for SA up forward and provided a target in tough conditions for key position players. Could have bagged his first goal in the second term after winning a holding free inside 50 but missed the shot, later making up for it with somewhat of a consolation goal via the brilliance of Isaiah Dudley. Has the potential to do more as he has already shown, and should benefit from drier conditions in Round 3.

Vic Country vs. Western Australia

Vic Country:

#2 Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons)

The Country co-captain built into the game slowly but eventually found his rhythm to contribute class and clean use. A usually efficient kick, Chesser unleashed long when on the the move to clear pockets of congestion and opposition set-ups at either end. His run was also effective as a point of difference, baulking an opponent on the way to breaking inside 50 in the second term in a play more suited to dry weather footy. The Melbourne Grammar boarder ended up with a very respectable 21 disposals and two tackles, with his influence felt across the field.

#3 Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)

The hard-nosed midfielder came off the ground as near-on the muddiest player of the lot, such was his desperation to find the footy. Thriving in the conditions with his contested game, Hobbs collected 29 disposals, laid 10 tackles and rebounded four times in what was a workmanlike display, consistent throughout the four quarters. Hobbs will his way to the ball and through traffic time after time, running through whoever was in his way on path to his goal. With his contested game down pat and overhead marking a solid added trait, Hobbs can work on finding better targets in congestion, with much of his disposal at the stoppages being long kicks to no one in particular. Is still such a competitor, and one of Country’s best two or three thus far.

#5 Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power)

The Gippsland product just seems to find the ball unassumingly, collecting 20 disposals and five rebound 50s in another solid shift. Moschetti positioned well behind the ball early to mark on the wing and began to accumulate the ball forward of the defensive 50 arc in the second term. His diving mark to intercept in the following quarter was a highlight, and he consistently has a say in proceedings by getting to as many contests as he can from behind the ball.

#8 Cooper Hamilton (Bendigo Pioneers)

The Pioneers defender provided good spark moving forward, chiming in with a couple of handy plays throughout the day. He started with a slide to win the ball and kick to Ben Hobbs to show good awareness, while going on to influence proceedings in the third term with neat disposal and a nice contested win to rebound from the back half. Hamilton began the final term where he had left off with a brave take under pressure and handball out to Joshua Rachele, finishing with 14 disposals, five tackles and two rebound 50s.

#9 Hugh Hamilton (Bendigo Pioneers)

The more stocky of the two Hamiltons, Hugh made his impact up forward. Was a little shaky early on with a set shot that went out on the full, but had some nice moments in the second term. The first was a strong one-on-one win at half forward, and the second was a really clean pick-up to show his quality under pressure. Hamilton went on to finish with 16 disposals and four inside 50s after a good middle period of the game.

#10 Benjamin Green (Gippsland Power)

Complimented Hobbs well in midfield with his own contested ball winning, and made an immediate impact with the assist for Josh Rentsch’s first goal with a long kick forward. A regular at the centre bounces and stoppages, Green found a decent amount of ball with 18 disposals and three clearances, while also having an influence in his side’s forward movement with six inside 50s. Capped his game with a slow snap that dribbled over the line just in time at the start of the third term and played an important role.

#11 Connor Macdonald (Dandenong Stingrays)

Macdonald was again one of Country’s most damaging forward movers, providing a reliable and creative link into attacking 50 with clean use, while finding a good amount of ball to make an impact. He is zippy when weaving a way through traffic and pops up in little spurts, but his haul of 24 disposals suggests he is finding some solid consistency.

#13 Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)

The Country leader was absolutely outstanding with the game in the balance and very nearly proved to be a match-winner, falling just short with his chances to do so. Rachele was impactful early on with his nous around the contest and presence of mind under pressure, but really came to life in an spurring second half performance. He showed rare vision to give Blake Scott a chance on goal in the opening stages of the third quarter and began to become more prominent as a clearance winner at the centre bounces. His flair began to take over in the following term as he tried to inspire his side, tackling beautifully in the corridor before hitting the post with what could well have been the game-sealing goal. It wasn’t to be, but Rachele had a game-high 32 disposals to go with six marks, four inside 50s, four rebound 50s, and 0.3.

#16 Lincoln White (Bendigo Pioneers)

White was another to spur his teammates on with a very influential purple patch, with most of his impact felt in the third term. The Pioneers product was able to hit the scoreboard in quick succession, first slipping an opponent to finish well and then sharply snatch the ball off hands to finish on the bounce and give a big ‘c’mon’ cry. He almost gifted Judson Clarke another goal straight after, and was a slippery opponent inside 50 for the WA defenders all day with his 21 disposals and three inside 50s.

#27 Josh Rentsch (GWV Rebels)

One of the better big-men on the ground in the early stages, Rentsch looked like one who could break the game open as he bagged two first-quarter goals with some added time deep forward. The Penhurst product was strong one-on-one, marking in the opening five minutes and putting through the resultant shot. He would back it up with a juggled attempt and second conversion later in the term before somewhat fading out of the game. He almost had the chance to produce another couple of shots but had delivery fall just short of him on the lead, instead getting the ball back up to smaller players off the deck. In tough conditions for key position players, Rentsch definitely showed signs.


Western Australia:

#7 Judd McVee (East Fremantle)

Aptly named given the stamp a certain Judd made in WA, McVee was fantastic through midfield and finished with a team-high 23 disposals to go with seven tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and four rebounds. The quick but diminutive mover crashed in to win his own ball and zip away from traffic in the same motion, picking up from where Lochlan Paton left off early on. He was a consistent figure throughout and provided important spark, despite making a couple of turnovers by foot. His best moment was a lightning quick gather on defensive wing in the third term, and he looks an exciting player.

#8 Lochlan Paton (West Perth)

Paton was arguably the best player on the ground up to quarter time, when a hand injury became apparent. He is another midfielder who isn’t massively built, but was so hard at it and won his own ball at will. His evasion in traffic and breaking speed proved troublesome, with his work rate around the stoppages more than handy given the conditions. Hopefully we will get another glimpse of Paton before the carnival ends after his day was cut short, with plenty to like out of his first two outings.

#9 Max Chipper (Swan Districts)

Nicknamed ‘Chip’, the Swan Districts wingman was poised to have a big influence with his poise and class around the ball. Chipper is just so calm and clean in possession, but also proved brave with an intercept play in the second term to cause a turnover. His cool head would help WA prevail in a 3v1 contest, working out what could have been a disaster with a snap over the oncoming Country player to see Saverio Marafioti into an open goal. Finished with 17 disposals and nine tackles in a slightly different role, with much of the play occurring between the arcs.

#10 Mitchell Brown (South Fremantle)

You had to watch closely to truly appreciate Brown’s output, with a lot of his work done in-close as he won 17 disposals, six clearances and four inside 50s. Getting involved as part of WA’s usual midfield group, Brown showed he simply knows how to find the ball and did so with ease throughout the day. He began to find it in more open areas as the game progressed, finding ways to send his side inside 50 while also pitching in up the other end to save a certain Country goal with fantastic desperation alongside Blake Morris in defensive 50. A reliable prospect, and played his role well.

#12 Jake Littleton (East Perth)

The WA outside mover was not always in the game, but seems to chime in with handy touches and neat passages of play. While he is often a handy driver forward off a wing, Littleton showed good work rate to get back and close in on a taller Country opponent in the third term to prevent an easy chance on goal. He did a little bit of everything throughout the game with 15 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, and four rebound 50s, looking very efficient with ball in hand and opting for high percentage short kicks.

#18 Saverio Marafioti (West Perth)

Marafioti is very much a raw prospect, but there is a lot to like about him as an exciting forward. He absolutely burst out of the blocks with an impactful first half, popping up with a couple of touches at half-forward in a good amount of space. He found the goals with a soccered attempt early in the piece, and booted another major after again getting free out the back and latching onto a clever Max Chipper kick. While he faded out of the game a touch and gave away a couple of 50-metre penalties, Marafioti was a key figure in setting up the win early.

#30 Rhett Bazzo (Swan Districts)

The Swan District product proved very effective with his positioning behind the ball and ability to intercept, popping up in the first term with a sliding mark deep inside defensive 50. Bazzo would again position well to cut off another Country kick in the same term, going on to provide some attack with after cutting off the play with long rebounds. He finished with a very serviceable 15 disposals and five marks as a key figure behind the ball.

#32 Jacob van Rooyen (Claremont)

Van Rooyen caught the eye in the opening stages with a strong bit of play to clunk a mark on the second attempt, and he became a useful part of the midfield rotation with his high work rate both ways. The Claremont youngster is already a good size and looks able to play multiple roles, adapting well in this game to have 17 disposals, five marks, nine tackles and a goal – which came in the second term. He tried to cap off his game with another in the last with a torpedo attempt from range after sliding well for a mark, but fell short.

#38 Kade Dittmar (East Perth)

Dittmar was productive around the contests all day, finishing with 22 disposals, nine tackles, four clearances, and four inside 50s as one who pushed forward well from the midfield rotation. He did well to also pull in a couple of marks early on, flying to take one overhead and proving strong to hold another one-on-one. Dittmar had a set shot touched after following up from a short set shot from that second mark, but really got involved forward of centre in a strong second term. Is one who has really grown when donning representative colours.

#39 Luke Polson (Peel Thunder)

One of the heroes of the day, Polson booted the winning goal after earning a holding the ball free kick with just over a minute left in the game – coolly slotting the set shot and celebrating joyously with his teammates. Earlier, he took a solid grab backing up in the first term, but missed a shot gifted to him via a 50-metre penalty in the same play. Playing in defence during the first half, Polson read the ball well in flight to intercept in tandem with Blake Morris before moving into the ruck. He moves like a fourth midfielder in that position at 194cm, following up well at ground level and playing his part. He finished with 16 disposals, 14 hitouts and the winning goal in a great all-round display.

#41 Shannon Neale (South Fremantle)

One of the rotating rucks, Neale was initially slow to build into the game but warrants a mention for standing up in the all-important dying stages. He was frighteningly good at ground level for a 198cm player, scooping the ball up off the deck and dishing off like his outside movers normally would. Neale positioned so well behind the ball to lock it in on two occasions when WA finally got forward in the final term, taking a mark in one of the contests he made. Ended up with a pretty handy stat-line, collecting 12 disposals, five inside 50s and 0.2 while also having five tackles and 13 hitouts.

#42 Blake Morris (Subiaco)

Morris was an absolute wall in defence for the winners, mixing a strong marking ability and superior reading of the play with desperate ground level work to keep Country at bay. He had already showed his knack for marking overhead with a slippery ball, and did so again in this game with four very impressive marks across the day. While he gives up a massive amount of size against key position opponents at 187cm and 68kg, Morris is all heart and makes up for it with his speed and judgement. Once he built confidence, Morris began to attack more with his intercept possessions, but never strayed from his primary role of covering deep in defence. He was so composed on the last line and stopped a couple of certain goals with the sheer will to get back and stall until helped arrived. Super impressive, and looks like a modern prototypical defender who plays well above his height.

Scouting notes: U16 National Championships – Vic Country vs. Vic Metro

VIC Metro outlasted their Country counterparts to open their Under 16 Division 1 campaign with a three-goal win. Michael Alvaro was on hand at GMHBA Stadium to take note of the outstanding players from either side in another edition of scouting notes.

Vic Country:

#1 Judson Clarke (Dandenong Stingrays)

Was one of Country’s main threats in front of goal, proving both opportunistic and clinical. Booted the first goal of the game with a straightforward set shot, but his second goal in the same term caught the eye – snatching the ball off hands at pace deep inside the forward 50 and streaming into an open goal. Added a third with another set shot in the final term to give Country one last shot, and had a good overall day forward of centre.

#2 Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons)

The co-captain was one of his side’s best, making the wing opposite the Kardinia Park coaches box his own. Chesser ran well both ways, but looked particularly damaging when going forward with time and space. Looks a pretty complete player, clean below his knees and even more solid overhead – reaching for a couple of strong clunks early on to also show some good spring. Chesser further showed his ability to read the ball in flight with a defensive 50 intercept in the second term, and was soon seen impacting up the other end with a kick inside forward 50 to Hugh Hamilton, and another to Judson Clarke. Had his own chance to hit the scoreboard with a set shot, but fell short. A good outing, and definitely one to watch.

#3 Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)

Hobbs was again the clear best for Country, stepping up with his relentless attack at the stoppages and phenomenal ball winning ability. Won the first clearance of the game from the opening centre bounce, and continued on in the same vein throughout the game with a ton of contested ball wins. Is just a bull in congestion, but also showed his ability to find other ways to prize the ball with a strong one on one mark in the second term. Added class to his obvious grunt with a precise set shot goal from 40 meters out on the boundary to spark his side, and followed up to win the clearance from the resultant centre bounce. Hobbs also speared a nice pass inside 50 to give Oskar Faulkhead his first goal in the third term. Has obvious leadership capacities in his actions, and tried all day to both niggle his opponents and drag Country over the line.

#4 Oskar Faulkhead (Bendigo Pioneers)

The zippy forward came to life in the third quarter, converting two set shots to help Country to its one-point lead at the final break. The first opportunity came from a neat Ben Hobbs pass into the pocket, but Faulkhead had to work a bit more for his second shot as he managed to control a shanked ball forward from Connor Macdonald. Would win the ball high up from half forward as the game went on and looked well skilled, playing a key role in keeping Country within striking distance.

#8 Cooper Hamilton (Bendigo Pioneers)

Did not have a massive game in terms of disposal output, but well and truly caught the eye with two cracking attacks on the ball. The first came in the opening term with an opponent coming the other way, but his effort on defensive wing to win the ball at pace with three Metro players looming was simply outstanding. Showed good strength and breakaway pace in congestion, and looks a player you want on your side when it matters.

#9 Hugh Hamilton (Bendigo Pioneers)

Was a solid performer throughout the day, starting forward but making more of an impact through midfield. Hamilton dug in at the stoppages, often locking the ball or his opponent up. Had the chance to hit the scoreboard in the second term after Campbell Chesser hit him up, but missed with the shot. Was more of a constant at the centre bounces in the second half, with his strong build putting him in good stead for contested situations.

#10 Benjamin Green (Gippsland Power)

Has a trim that greats of the 1980s would be proud of, but Green lets his football do the talking for the most part. Aesthetic frills aside, the Power product has a more no-nonsense approach with his contested style, using his strength to stand up in tackles and flick the ball out. Seems to attract the ball, albeit if he looked to be slightly down on his usual disposal output, and won it more around the ground. Showed good courage in the final term to compete against Metro big-man Alex Lukic in the air, and clearly thrives in the contest.

#11 Connor Macdonald (Dandenong Stingrays)

Macdonald showed glimpses of his best traits throughout the day, and was most involved during the third term on the outside. Provided some exciting run forward, weaving his way through traffic and finishing with a kick, but was perhaps more effective when smartly handing off laterally around the forward 50. Had a neat passage of play with Charlie Molan to set up Oskar Faulkhead’s second goal, and is a handy link in the chain.

#13 Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)

The Country leader was his usual self in the midfield and forward line, always looking like he could produce something special. Had some quick snaps on goal fall short or go wide throughout the game, and things could have gone his way on another day. While Rachele wins the contested ball well, he looks even more damaging when receiving by hand and bursting forward – as seen in the second term with a one-two play down the wing. Took an outstanding pack mark in the fourth quarter to showcase his strong hands and leap, and was one of Country’s better contributors without being totally dominant.

#17 Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels)

Molan built into the game well to make his impact felt, mixing his time between half forward and the midfield. Missed an early set shot chance after finding space inside forward 50 and has a slightly awkward kicking action, but did well to win a centre bounce clearance later. Proved his ability to work both ways, running forward with a handy handball passage in the third term to create a goal, and later running back to chase down Metro skipper Josh Sinn in a fantastic effort in the corridor. Is quite a tall midfielder for this level at 187cm, and looks to be learning quickly.

#25 Justin Davies (Dandenong Stingrays)

The dynamic big man is a great reader of the ball in flight, and attacked it hard despite not always being able to reign in the mark. Spent time through the ruck after starting forward, and competed well there but his best move came with a goal from nothing in the first quarter as Country broke away. Not a big performance, but one to watch.

#27 Josh Rentsch (GWV Rebels)

Played the same rotation as Davies, and is another tall who moves extremely well for his size. Looked particularly lively early with a couple of solid overhead marks forward of centre, and would go on to make an impact through the ruck. Popped up again in the second term with an impressive weave through opponents before letting fly with a shot that was only just touched. Just does things that a player of his size shouldn’t, making him a dangerous prospect at this level.


Vic Metro:

#1 Youseph Dib (Oakleigh Chargers)

The diminutive Metro vice-captain would have to be one of the pound-for-pound strongest players across both sides, injecting a good amount of physicality into the game despite standing at 171cm. Plays like a bigger-bodied prospect in the midfield and forward half, leaping for overhead marks, bursting out of congestion, and tackling hard. Showcased his marking prowess early with a gutsy effort in the second term taken on his chest, and went on to lay two massive tackles on Country stars Campbell Chesser and Ben Hobbs in a couple of terrific second efforts. Despite his unexpected exploits, also has the typical traits of a smaller player with cleanliness at ground level and good speed. Was moved into the centre bounces in the final term after spending most of the day on the outside, and made a difference.

#5 Jake Soligo (Eastern Ranges)

Started in the midfield but despite winning a couple of clearances, looked much better on the wing later on. Runs smartly over the back to set his side up going inside 50, and did so most effectively in the second and third terms. Set up Jack Rossimel for his second goal with a long kick inside the arc, and could be an important forward mover for Metro if he continues to play on the outside.

#7 Darcy Wilmot (Northern Knights)

Was originally named as an emergency in the Metro squad, but took the starting opportunity well. Part of the wing/forward rotation, Wilmot got involved early by using his strong hands and build in the contest – marking overhead and winning contested ground balls. Broke forward to good effect but missed a chance to goal on the run in the second term, and would eventually fade out of the game somewhat. Popped back up with another strong overhead marking attempt, and isn’t afraid of the contest.

#10 Lachlan Rankin (Oakleigh Chargers)

Accumulated at a good rate across the day off half back, seeming to always be in space and providing an outlet to break forward. Did so with his usual kicking game, but proved a touch inconsistent by foot with a few turnovers – although they didn’t prove to be too costly. Also marks well above his head and is clean, but was able to do so at will given the space he afforded himself. A damaging outside player, Rankin continues to see plenty of the ball.

#11 Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges)

One of Metro’s best as a constant through the midfield, catching the eye with repeated bursts around the back of stoppages to kick his side forward. Showed good composure with ball in hand, breaking away with a quick first five steps and making good decisions in the extra space he had afforded himself. While he began to become more involved forward of centre in the second term with a shot on the run, Sonsie went on to accumulate up the other end early in the following term to show he can win the ball wherever it may go. Got involved forward again with a clinical snapped finish to start the final term, and has fantastic agility and awareness.

#13 Lachlan Benton (Sandringham Dragons)

A zippy mover off half-back, Benton provided a good point of difference in a very aerial-dominant Metro back six. Was not afraid to take on opponents and take the game on, but still played within his limits and got the ball off in time. Got involved well moving forward along the wing, and caught the eye with a well taken chest marking with the ball coming over his shoulder – as well as with his bright red boots.

#15 Joshua Goater (Calder Cannons)

Another player who showed patches of good play, Goater did enough to catch the eye. Played mostly on the wing and up forward, and was presented a set shot chance by Cannons teammate Jack Newitt in the second term which he could not convert. Took a nice overhead grab on the wing in the final term, but had his best moment in the same term with phenomenal vision to break open the play and find Tyler Sonsie with a handball, who snapped a goal.

#16 Jack Newitt (Calder Cannons)

Was not Newitt’s best game, but played his role well and looked a threat inside the forward 50. Kicked Metro’s first goal of the game with a set shot conversion, and had another early scoring chance on the run which he missed to the near side. Newitt would go on to make a greater impact later on with assist-driven plays – finding Calder teammate Joshua Goater in the third term to hand him a set shot opportunity, and looking to create from the flank and pocket he called home for most of the day.

#17 Josh Sinn (Sandringham Dragons)

Looked in ominous form early as he intercepted a couple of high balls with clean overhead marks in his usual half back position, which he would follow up with a hard chase-down effort. Oozes obvious class and has a damaging left boot, but showed his hard edge with a contested win where he rode a head-on bump well to hold onto the ground ball and move forward. Was entrusted with kick-in duties, and worked hard to follow up short passes to provide the next option, which was great to see. Is a real 100-metre player when he combines his penetrating kick with run and carry, doing so particularly well through the corridor with one ending in a short shot on goal. Was caught unawares by Charlie Molan in the final term on one of those runs, but it didn’t affect him too much as he made an impact with a move into the middle. Has some real eye-catching traits and looked a class above at times.

#18 Braden Andrews (Oakleigh Chargers)

Made use of on each line, Andrews was a relevant player throughout. Spent some time forward early on, and almost hit the scoreboard after rounding an opponent but missing the shot. Looked good with a more permanent move into the middle after half time, but perhaps played his best team role as he was shifted into defence to close out the game. Andrews would show off his clean hands and cool head to provide an extra bit of solidity in the back six, while also moving forward well as he did with a take-on of Joshua Rachele. Finds the ball well, and could be an important figure for Metro given the versatility he showed.

#19 Blake Howes (Sandringham Dragons)

Howes came in and out of the game with some nice flashes of form, looking most likely when used out on the wing. Is quite slight at 68kg so suits the outside in that sense, but also has the agility and take-on capabilities to make him a dangerous forward mover. Booted a couple of decent balls inside 50 during the third term, where he was most effective.

#22 Jack Rossimel (Northern Knights)

The dangerous forward was again utilised deep inside attacking 50, providing a target for long kicks into his area. Looked primed for a decent game after clunking a fantastic contested mark in the goalsquare and converting the resultant shot, but only managed to find the goals once more with another set shot conversion in the third term. Just seems to always find a way to the big sticks, and almost managed to soccer home a major in an opportunistic effort, but did not have too much else to do for the game.

#23 Jed Rule (Oakleigh Chargers)

Was set to form a formidable defensive partnership with skipper Josh Sinn given both players’ aerial prowess, and showed signs of his outstanding reading of the play. Took a nice intercept mark on defensive wing to cut off a decent Country attack in the second term, and that sort of play formed the crux of his usual play. Was solid defensively too, but did not have a massive amount to do.

#28 Alex Lukic (Oakleigh Chargers)

Ended up being the most effective player inside 50, booting a game-high four goals. Was sighted at both ends, but really made his mark forward of centre with clever positioning and astute finishing. His first goal came from close range – which would become a theme – in the opening term, going on to kick a similar goal over the back for Metro’s only second-quarter major, and later the seal the game with two crucial six-pointers in the final term. Took a nice overhead mark deep inside 50 for his third goal, and got out the back again for his fourth. Loves a loud ‘c’mon’ after finding the big sticks, and moves well for a taller player.