Tag: Corey Durdin

Scouting Notes: 2020 South Australian Under 18 All-Stars

THE 2020 South Australian Under 18 All-Stars and Under 17 Futures took to Thebarton Oval on Friday night, performing in their final showcase for the year. While a number of highly touted top-age draft prospects were unable to take the field, other big names were able to show their class. In the main event, Team Grundy defeated Team Hurn 12.18 (90) to 4.12 (36), while Team Smith held on to beat Team Ebert 9.6 (60) to 7.10 (52) in the curtain raiser.

Draft Central Football Editor, Michael Alvaro was on hand to take note of the standout players and familiar names who impressed across both games. For the full teams and replays of either game, click here.

>> Power Rankings: October Update

Under 18 All-Stars – Team Grundy (Red) vs. Team Hurn (Yellow)

Team Grundy:

#4 Jase Burgoyne

One of a half-dozen Team Grundy bottom-agers, the 2021-eligible Port Adelaide father-son prospect showed off some of his best traits in patches. Able to adapt on each line, the smooth moving son of Peter boasts plenty of upside, but remains quite raw and light-on at 184cm/62kg. He was able to show nice agility in traffic and evasive techniques which helped him keep clear of closing opponents. Much of his work was done in general play, but he is known to be a strong accumulator who can utilise his sound short kicking game to help his side maintain possession.

#6 Will Spain

Another bottom-ager on Team Red, Spain popped up with some nice moments throughout the game. The diminutive Sturt midfielder was mostly utilised on the outer, where he was able to get his legs pumping with ball in hand and provide quick linkage between the arcs. He conveyed a good work-rate to get back and take a relieving diving mark inside defensive 50 during the second term, but showed his best form when taking the game on and gaining repeat possessions with his line-breaking run.

#7 Blayne O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin is a 2021-eligible prospect who is sure to provide Adelaide fans with continued hope, given he is tied to the Crows’ Next Generation Academy (NGA). There may not be much of the 172cm defender, but he packs a punch. He was able to compete well in his usual defensive post, proving strong at ground level and rebounding quickly once he had snapped up possession. While stationed a touch deeper than usual, O’Loughlin’s penetration by foot was somewhat replaced by his sound decision making, as he was able to find shorter options. He was even entrusted with the kick-ins at times, much like he has been with North Adelaide.

#8 Henry Nelligan

The 2020 SANFL Under 18s premiership player had a case for being best afield, as his sheer work-rate and ability to accumulate possessions across the ground took full toll. Nelligan is one of the most consistent players among his South Australian peers in terms of pure ball winning; able to win it at ground level, in space around the ground, or even on the lead up forward. His craftiness forward of centre came to the fore, with a beautifully improvised snap to Tom Emmett in the second term making for a nice goal assist. He also had chances to find the goals himself, but saw a set shot and attempt on the run dragged wide, while a quick snap in the final term was rushed over. His second efforts and clear footballing smarts make up a lot for what he lacks in size, and it seems he had a point to prove having missed out on a National Combine invite.

#11 Lachlan Grubb

Perhaps another National Combine omission with a point to prove, Grubb seems to have gained a great deal of confidence having turned out at senior level. The speedy forward brought exactly that to the contest, breaking the lines and proving a menace going inside 50. While he missed multiple chances to get on the scoreboard himself, Grubb assisted goals to Zac Dumesny in the second term and Cooper Horsnell in the fourth, while also unselfishly hitting up Tom Emmett on the fly when he could easily have sunk a shot from 35 metres out. But arguably his biggest play of the night came via a three-bounce dash on the wing during the third term, where he showcased his high-level sprinting ability to burn an opponent and deliver inside 50. A solid outing, he just needs to refine that finishing product.

#12 Daniel Fairbrother

Fairbrother is another Norwood premiership player, and one who has also gained some valuable senior experience. In a defensive role which he looks comfortable in, the top-ager was able to prove his worth with ball in hand on the back of some clean kicks and composed touches. He is the type of player you want to be exiting the defensive 50, and was a strong contributor across half-back.

#15 Max Clifton

Another solid contributor, Clifton popped up with glimpses of his best form in each quarter. In the first term, it was his courage to mark strongly overhead and willingness to move the ball on immediately which stood out. In the second stanza, the midfielder showed nice agility and was difficult to tackle. After half time, he had more of an impact inside attacking 50 with a set shot attempt which went wide, followed by an assist to Nasiah Wanganeen who tapped-in a snap on goal from point-blank range.

#16 Mani Liddy

The hard-nosed Sturt midfielder proved a fast starter, nearly snaring two impressive goals within the opening term. He did manage to claim Team Grundy’s first major, taking advantage from a free kick inside 50 and finishing with aplomb on the checkside. He almost followed it up with a snap moments later, but could not find the same spark as the contest wore on, rotating between the midfield and forwardline.

#17 Cooper Beecken

Arguably the most impressive bottom-ager afield, Beecken is a light and athletic 190cm defender who boasts many similarities to Hawthorn’s Will Day. The Glenelg prospect proved very clean and composed in possession across the back half, chiming in with timely intercept marks and mopping up at ground level. He seems to cover the ground well too, able to float into good positions in the defensive arc and help initiate rebounding forays. Having spent a good chunk of his season turning out for Sacred Heart, Beecken has emerged as an early top 25 prospect ahead of his draft eligible year in 2021.

#20 Zac Dumesny

The highly touted South Adelaide prospect was back to his best in this contest, taking up a spot on the wing and even rotating through the inside at times during the second half. Dumesny’s third quarter was arguably his best; as his clean hands, sharp skills, forward running capacity, and intercept qualities all came to the fore. He got forward well to become an option in said term but hit the post with his 30-metre set shot, and was also sighted marking on the defensive goal line during the following stanza. A typical Dumesny play was evident in the second quarter, as he gathered superbly on the half-volley at pace and flicked out a releasing handball to Caleb Poulter on the run. Top effort overall, one of the best afield.

#21 Riley Holder

Another prospect out of Sacred Heart and Glenelg, Holder proved dangerous inside attacking 50 with his strong aerial marking and sound conversion in front of goal. He booted three majors overall, with all three coming from set shots. Two of them were claimed in the opening term, as Holder’s ability to gain separation on the lead and hold onto marks on the move helped earn those scoring opportunities. He sunk a third after half time by presenting well once again, capping off a handy display up forward.

#22 Nic Couroupis

Couroupis is an over-ager who has flown a little under the radar, but came to prominence with some nice plays in this outing. The strongly-built midfielder spent a lot of time in defence, utilising his overhead marking ability to relieve some contested situations in the back half. He had a nice attacking moment too, with a well-taken mark in the corridor helping him continue his run and provide Tom Emmett with a goal assist just before the half time siren, while his kicking game was also generally sharp.

#33 Caleb Poulter

Far and away the best and most classy player afield, particularly in the first half, Poulter may well have cemented his first round status with this performance. The 192cm midfielder started at the centre bounces and made an impact straight away with a couple of clearances right out of the middle. He was simply cleaner and more effective than any other player, extracting beautifully and hitting a teammate with nearly every disposal. His ability to release long handballs from congestion has always been a key trait, and one particular pass from the centre bounce found Zac Dumesny on the wing, who hardly had to break stride to gather. It is difficult to do justice to his impact in the first half, with his silk and poise on the ball proving a class above the rest. Hardly reliant on pure strength, Poulter proved elusive and athletic in his craft. He was quieter after the main break, but had done plenty to prove his worth beforehand.

#34 Tom Emmett

About a month shy of his 19th birthday, Emmett looks a mature type in terms of his physicality and willingness to compete. At 186cm/86kg, the Sturt forward provided great presence inside 50 and finished with a game-high four goals. He was particularly aggressive at opposition kick-ins, reading the play well to intercept and even snaring a turnover goal that way. His long-range set shot conversion right on the half time siren showed his finishing ability, and some Reserves experience this year seems to have boosted his stock back down at Under 18s level.

Team Hurn:

#3 Corey Durdin

The Central District product found some form in spurts as he returned from repeat hamstring injuries, though it was a tough night to be a Team Hurn forward. As has always been the case with Durdin, his ground level efforts were terrific; not only digging in to win his own ball, but also applying strong tackles, smothers, and attempting to accelerate away. The 173cm prospect moved high up the ground in search of possession and attended some stoppages in general play, before moving into the centre bounces during the final term. He was most prominent during the last quarter, showing good toe away from congestion and finding a couple of teammates inside 50 with neat kicks.

#4 Bailey Chamberlain

Having staked his claim for Westies’ Under 18s as a primary ball winner, Chamberlain showcased his balance with a decent performance on the wing. He played there upon earning a senior call-up and was able to utilise his speed in transition to help link Team Hurn inside attacking 50. He tended to shift into the corridor at times, which proved a dangerous ploy when his teammates found him and he was able to accelerate forward. Chamberlain’s kicking at speed remains a touch scrappy, though back-to-back forward thrusts in the final term proved he is capable of finding his targets, but just needs to do so more consistently.

#7 Xavier Robins

Somewhat of a bolter in this year’s talent pool, Robins comes from good pedigree and possesses some handy weapons at half-back. The dashing defender was in the thick of the action early, mostly sighted attempting to repel Team Grundy’s attacks within the defensive arc, and darting kicks forward. While still a touch light, Robins has great speed and repeatedly worked all the way up to half-forward to move his side into attacking 50. While it didn’t always come off, Robins GPS data should show some solid numbers from those efforts.

#8 Liam Hamilton

It was somewhat of an ‘almost’ performance from Hamilton, who ended up with plenty of chances inside forward 50 but could not quite come away with a major score. The South Adelaide top-ager found the ball in dangerous positions nonetheless and was particularly lively in the second half. Perhaps his biggest stumbling block was the distance many of his shots came from, with some falling short from around 40 metres out, while others went wide either on the run or at a closer range. With a more refined finishing ability, Hamilton could have ended up with a bag of goals.

#9 Tom Powell

It often takes a keen watcher to observed Powell’s true impact in midfield, as many of his disposals are easily missed on the inside. The 2020 McCallum Tomkins Medallist showcased his wonderfully clean and quick hands in congestion, keeping his hands up in tackles and flicking out accurate passes to his runners. He just always seems to be able to get a handball away at the ideal time and is one of the most effective stoppage players in this year’s crop. His biggest impact was arguably felt in the early stages, but he also finished well and was able to accumulate at either end in between.

#11 Tariek Newchurch

Plenty was made of Newchurch’s starting position on the wing for Team Hurn, though he did not quite have the overall impact he would have liked. He was first sighted making a darting run inside attacking 50, not afraid to go backwards to find space before delivering well across the arc. Newchurch then popped up with a couple of nice moments in the second and third terms, forced right into the defensive half to take a strong intercept grab overhead, and tracking back to take another in the following quarter. He looked to move the ball on and generate some attack with his pace, but it was a tough night for the men in yellow. Plenty of Crows fans will be excited to get Newchurch on board as an NGA selection.

#13 Brodie Lake

Lake was arguably his side’s most impressive player and was Team Hurn’s sole goalkicker for the best part of three quarters. The Northern Territory native was outstanding in the first half, booting a couple of classy majors and impacting the play from midfield. While rotating forward, he first latched onto a Luke Edwards kick on the lead and sunk a lovey set shot from 40 metres on a tough angle. His second goal was a party trick, converting a checkside attempt from a fair distance out on the boundary line. He also laid a fantastic tackle in the first term to force a stoppage in his defensive goalsquare, exemplifying his work-rate. Lake faded a touch in the second half, but his early moments would have stuck clear in the memory of onlookers.

#14 Nicholas Kraemer

The big-bodied South Adelaide midfielder had his top-age season interrupted by injury, but has fared well upon his return with plenty of time in defence. That was no different in this game, as Kraemer was able to bring great physicality and cleanliness to an under-siege back six. He was busy to start with and had an impact through midfield, but arguably did his best work down back with intercepts and hard work at ground level. It would not have been easy to compete so consistently given the one-sided nature of the game, but Kraemer stood up and was generally reliable with ball in hand, even from the kick-ins.

#15 Beau McCreery

Team Hurn’s only 19-year-old afield, McCreery provided some good spark for his side working up the field from his forward post. He was even thrown into the midfield during the second half having suffered from a lack of service inside attacking 50. The lively South Adelaide product got involved going forward, and his highlight for the game came via an outstanding run-down tackle in the second term to earn possession back.

#16 Luke Edwards

Edwards is one of the many South Australian prospects to have been highly touted from a long way out, especially given his father-son ties to the Adelaide Crows. He somewhat reverted back to a familiar state-level role in this outing, rotating between the midfield and backline for Team Hurn. He provided Brodie Lake with his side’s first goal in the opening term and was generally safe in his disposal via foot. Having won a clearance or two, most of Edwards’ contributions came in defence as he took the kick-ins and looked to calmly distribute out of the back half. He did run into trouble with a couple of turnovers from defensive 50, but worked to recover the ball and was a solid figure overall.

#24 Nathan Hearing

Fresh off his best afield SANFL Under 18s Grand Final performance, Hearing took on the ruck duties once again at 195cm. He is a competitive unit, able to claim the ball out of the ruck and pump it forward, or compete at ground level to help his midfielders with a physical presence. He missed the chance to cap off his game with a goal in the final term, sending a set shot wide.


Under 17 Futures – Team Ebert (Blue) vs. Team Smith (Yellow)

Team Smith managed to hold off Team Ebert in the Under 17 Futures fixture, with a bunch of promising 2021 and 2022-eligible prospects strutting their stuff at Thebarton Oval. As is often the case in showcase games, particularly at the end of a strenuous season, a raft of players popped up in patches throughout the contest to provide a taste of what’s to come in terms of South Australian talent.

For the Yellow side, Jacob Lochowiak was physical in midfield, while also proving dangerous within the attacking half. Eagles prospect Brayden Calvett had an enthralling battle with Isaac Birt on the wing, as both players showcased their line-breaking speed and forward running. Lachlan Scannell is a prospect to watch for 2022, as he rotated with fellow 16-year-old Kobe Ryan from half-back to the wing. Tyson Coe is another from that crop, and his work in midfield and defence was solid. Tyson Walls was a lively figure up forward, with Harry Tunkin doing some nice early work down back and through midfield. Sturt’s Brad Jefferies was able to find the ball as he moved forward from the middle, while Shaun Bennier was a dangerous figure inside 50 despite some conversion worries. Bigmen Adam Heath and Declan Hortle were also prominent, with the former presenting well from his starting forward post, while the latter booted two majors in his ruck/forward role.

Twin tall forwards Harry McInnes (three goals) and Luca Whitelum (two) were terrific targets for Team Ebert, with Glenelg’s McInnes mostly stationed inside 50 while Whitelum presented up the ground. James Willis‘ acceleration away from congestion was an eye-catching feature through midfield, and he was supported well by classy 16-year-old Jaiden Magor. Another 2004-birth, Austin McDonald also found plenty of the ball, while Isaac Keeler showed some promising athleticism in the ruck. Cade Kennedy was a handy member of the midfield/forward rotation, with Lachlan Thomas a threatening link into attacking 50 along with Blake Hansen.

Featured image: Nicholas Kraemer gets a kick away for Team Hurn | Credit: Mark Brake/AFL Photos

Out to impress: SANFL Preliminary Finals

BOTTOM-AGED superstar Jason Horne will take to Adelaide Oval when his Panthers clash with Woodville-West Torrens for a place in the SANFL Grand Final. The 17-year-old, who kicked the sealer for South Adelaide in their semi-final win last weekend, has been named on the bench for the Sunday afternoon match.

Canberra-born key defender Tom Highmore will once again be expected to handle one of the oppositions key forwards – a task he has excelled in throughout his first season at SANFL level. Victorian import Daly Andrews has been named on the half-back flank, after he gathered 17 disposals and three marks in the victory over Glenelg.

Meanwhile, Eagles teenager Ben Jungfer is in line to return to the senior side after being included on the extended interchange bench. If dashing defender Rhyan Mansell is unable to recover from his concussion sustained in the semi-final loss to North Adelaide, Jungfer looms as a likely inclusion. The aggressive tackler made his League debut earlier in the season and immediately looked at home at the level. Eagle forward Sam Lowson has also been named on the extended bench and is a chance to rejoin Ken Farmer Medalist James Rowe in attack.

Central Districts draft hopeful Corey Durdin has been named in the reserves for the Bulldogs’ semi-final clash with the Roosters. Durdin will be a valuable inclusion, after having missed several games this season with hamstring issues, which also prevented the forward from testing at the recent draft combine. He will be joined by Lachlan Grubb, who has been a regular in the reserves throughout the year.

At under-18s level, Sturt has named a strong side for their encounter with Woodville-West Torrens. Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect James Borlase has been named on the half-forward flank for the Double Blues and looms as a potential match-winner. Malachy Carruthers will look to generate plenty of drive from half-back and midfield trio Tom Powell, Mani Liddy and Will Spain will need to perform strongly if Sturt is to keep their season alive, following a disappointing loss to Norwood last weekend.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have named a settled side for the clash, after recording a narrow and controversial victory over South Adelaide last weekend. Tall forward Henry Smith will look to be a focal point at centre-half-forward, with the likes of Taj Schofield and Jack Wheare also out to impress in the must-win clash. In the middle, Zac Phillips will lead the ruck division, with Jase Burgoyne, Max Lister and Caleb Poulter looking to gain the upper hand in the contest.

FIXTURES

League:

Woodville-West Torrens vs. South Adelaide | Sunday October 11, 3:15pm @ Adelaide Oval

Reserves:

Central Districts vs. North Adelaide | Sunday October 11, 12:15pm @ Adelaide Oval

Under-18s:

Sturt vs. Woodville-West Torrens | Saturday October 10, 11:30am @ Thebarton Oval

Draft Central Power Rankings: October 2020

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

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #1

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #2

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

September Ranking: #3

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

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus | Player Focus

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

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

September Ranking: #4

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #5

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #6

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

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

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

September Ranking: #7

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #8

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #10

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #11

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #9

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #12

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #13

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #15

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #14

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

September Ranking: #16

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

>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #17

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

September Ranking: #20

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #23

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #19

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #18

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #21

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #22

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

>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: NR

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

>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #25

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

>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #24

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

>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: NR

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League.

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

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

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

September Ranking: NR

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

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

September Ranking: NR

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

>> Draft Watch

IN THE MIX:

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

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

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

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

Out to impress: SANFL Round 12 Preview

POTENTIAL top ten draft pick Riley Thilthorpe will return to the West Adelaide league side for their Round 12 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Friday night clash with South Adelaide. The athletic big man has been named at full forward, after spending a fortnight on the sidelines with a minor groin injury. Thilthorpe could be joined in the senior side by fellow draft hopeful and Roxby Downs product Bailey Chamberlain, who earned a spot on the extended bench. The prolific midfielder has progressed through the SANFL ranks this season, performing well for West Adelaide’s under-18s and impressing at reserves level more recently.

Bottom-aged sensation Jason Horne has retained his spot in South Adelaide’s senior side as they look to consolidate their place inside the top four. The Panthers will also welcome back impressive key defender Tom Highmore, who returns from an ankle injury. The Canberra product proved a revelation down back for the Noarlunga side prior to his injury setback, and was rewarded with a national combine invite.

A couple of versatile draft hopefuls will go head-to-head when the Bloods and Panthers reserves sides lock horns on Friday evening. West’s Jye Sinderberry makes the step up from under-18s level, while South welcome back Zac Dumesny from an ankle complaint. Panthers wingman Phoenix Spicer and defender Harry Spacie will also front-up for the reserves, having both performed well since joining the ranks.

At under-18s level, Edward van den Berg will once again lead the Bloods under-18s, alongside talented bottom-agers Luke Young and Cade Kennedy. Draft bolter Brayden Cook has been named on the wing, Max Clifton and Arlo Draper in the centre, SA Academy member Nick Kraemer at centre-half-forward and Liam Hamilton on the forward flank for the blue and white.

Norwood defender Daniel Fairbrother will once again assume his defensive-50 role for the Redlegs when they take on eastern suburbs rivals Sturt under the Coopers Stadium lights. However Double Blues defender and potential Adelaide academy selection James Borlase will miss the clash due to school football commitments with Prince Alfred College. Nineteen-year-old Oliver Grivell will line up at full-forward for Sturt.

Norwood duo Jack Saunders and Michael Cavallaro will play reserves again, after both proving a class above under-18s level earlier in the season. Speedy backman Lachlan Falco has also been elevated to the Redleges reserves. Double Blues key forward Tom Emmett will also front-up for the seconds and be expected to provide a presence in attack.

All eyes will be on the midfield battle at under-18s level when the competitions two top sides meet. Close mates Tom Powell (Sturt) and Henry Nelligan (Norwood) could go head-to-head in what would be a tantalising duel, with the duo being amongst the states most prolific onballers. Crucially, Powell and Nelligan have also shown glimpses of their talent up forward. Sturt’s Mani Liddy and Norwood bottom-ager Cooper Murley will also do battle in the centre when the two clubs lock horns. Norwood will also be bolstered by the return of Ben Ianniello after he spent several weeks in the reserves.

The Eagles are now well and truly premiership favourites after the league side knocked off second placed North Adelaide last round. Power academy prospect Lachie Jones played a major role in the victory, providing toughness and athleticism down back in tandem with Tassie product Rhyan Mansell. Skilful utility Caleb Poulter has been eyeing off a league debut in the back half of the season, but has been made to bide his time in the reserves. The Bays reserves suffered a disappointing loss to West Adelaide at home last round, but likely Crows father-son Luke Edwards and diminutive midfielder/small forward Cooper Horsnell were amongst the side’s better players.

Eagles bigmen Henry Smith (centre-half-forward) and Zac Phillips (ruckman) could cause significant issues for the Bays as they alternate from roles up forward and on the ball. Reliable midfielder Max Lister has provided excellent support to Power father-son prospects Taj Schofield and Jase Burgoyne and will be hoping to make things difficult for Bays midfielders Kye Dean and Hagan Wright, who will both spend time in the middle.

North Adelaide will switch key defenders for their clash with Central Districts. Dyson Hilder is set to replace Karl Finlay in the Roosters league side. Unfortunately, Bulldogs forward Corey Durdin will spend the remainder of the season on the sidelines after he re-injured his hamstring early in the ‘Dogs win over Norwood last round. Victorian Jack Toner has been named on the interchange for Central Districts.

Central Districts forward Lachlan Grubb will line up in the reserves alongside NT import Brodie Lake. The Bulldogs under-18s will start as underdogs against a strong Roosters core led by forward Leo Coates and inside midfielders James Willis and Matthew BorgTariek Newchurch has been named in his customary forward pocket role, with Lam Simon selected at centre-half-back alongside the skilful Blayne O’Loughlin. Impressive 16-year-old Austin McDonald will be relied upon to do much of the heavy lifting in the midfield for Centrals, despite his inferior age.

FIXTURES

League:

West Adelaide vs. South Adelaide | Friday September 11, 7:20pm @ Hisense Stadium
Norwood vs. Sturt | Friday September 11, 7:40pm @ Coopers Stadium
Woodville-West Torrens vs. Glenelg | Saturday September 12, 1:45pm @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval
North Adelaide vs. Central Districts | Sunday September 12, 2:10pm @ Prospect Oval

Reserves:

West Adelaide vs. South Adelaide | Friday September 11, 4:50pm @ Hisense Stadium
Norwood vs. Sturt | Friday September 11, 5pm @ Coopers Stadium
Woodville-West Torrens vs. Glenelg | Saturday September 12, 11:10am @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval
North Adelaide vs. Central Districts | Sunday September 12, 11:30am @ Prospect Oval

Under-18s:

Central Districts vs. North Adelaide | Saturday September 12, 11:30am @ X Convenience Oval
Sturt vs. Norwood | Saturday September 12, 11:30am @ Peter Motley Oval
South Adelaide vs. West Adelaide | Saturday September 12, 11:30am @ Flinders University Stadium
Glenelg vs. Woodville-West Torrens | Saturday September 12, 11:30am @ ACH Group Stadium

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL – Round 11

ROUND 11 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talent, National Combine invitees, and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in.

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

>> Power Rankings: September Edition

Glenelg vs. West Adelaide

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#8 Hagan Wright

The consistent Wright was once again among Glenelg’s best players in the Tigers’ victory. Wright was typically prolific around the ground and in the contest, showing some great polish by foot for most of the day. The midfielder weaved through traffic nicely on a number of occasions and continues to compile a strong season in a number of roles for the yellow and black. He formed a strong partnership with fellow on-baller Kye Dean, with the pair helping the Bays finish plus-20 in clearances. Wright’s tireless work rate and two-way running was represented by his four inside 50s and five rebounds. He finished the contest with 31 disposals, three marks, two tackles and eight clearances.

#9 Kye Dean

The strong-bodied inside midfielder was terrific for Glenelg in pristine conditions at ACH Group Stadium. He worked hard for all four quarters and set the tone from the get-go with his fearless attack on the football, contested ball winning, and stoppage nous. Dean was active at stoppages, constantly on the move and battling to get to the front position. Although his work in the coal-face was most recognisable, he was also able to have an impact going forward, providing the Glenelg forwards with six inside 50s in a strong outing from the 18-year-old. Dean finished with an equal game-high 31 disposals, five marks, four tackles, eight clearances and six inside 50s.

#19 Jayden Davis

The bottom-aged Davis continued his impressive season at Tigerland with another encouraging performance on Saturday. A versatile prospect, his work rate around the ground enabled him to collect an equal game-high nine marks and have an impact across all zones of the field. Davis has demonstrated his abilities in front of goal on numerous occasions this year, and added another two to his season tally. A natural ball-winner, Davis worked himself into excellent positions around the ground to gather 28 disposals and five inside 50s. Having established himself at Under 18s level this season, expect Davis to continue to grow into one of South Australia’s most promising talents.

#23 Callum Park (League) 

In his distinct long-sleeves, Park showcased his neat skillset and athleticism from his role in defence. The teenager accumulated eight rebounds in the Tigers’ big win, setting up several scoring opportunities with his vision and skill execution from the defensive half. Although slight in build, Park is a nice size and is one of a handful of mature-aged South Australians to cement their spots at League level in 2020.

#27 Luke Parks (League)

The talented Sydney Swans Academy graduate spent a considerable amount of time down in the rooms with what appeared to be a finger dislocation or hand injury. However, he returned to the field and was still able to have an impact on the game from defence, taking six grabs. One of the SANFL’s best markers, Parks has attracted some attention after making an eye-catching start to his senior football career in South Australia.

Others:

Under 18s bigman Sam Potter was clearly the dominant ruckman on the ground, accumulating 12 possessions and 31 hit-outs. Up forward, Calvin Perks certainly made the most of his touches, booting six goals and one behind from just seven disposals. He also provided a chop-out in the ruck for the aforementioned Potter, winning eleven hit-outs. William Watts was another Tiger to find plenty of the ball, concluding the successful outing with 27 disposals, six marks, four tackles and three clearances. In the Reserves, Luke Edwards kicked the first goal of the match and looked comfortable upon his return from concussion.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

West Adelaide:

#4 Cade Kennedy

The West Adelaide bottom-ager produced another promising showing through the midfield. Despite his side being comprehensively beaten in the contest, Kennedy refused to back down and also showed some nice skills away from the congestion. His high work rate between the arcs was again impressive, as was his kicking on both sides of his body. Kennedy has strung a couple of nice games together for the Bloods over the past month and will look to carry this late-season momentum into his draft-eligible campaign in 2021. Kennedy finished with 18 disposals, four marks, five tackles and seven inside 50s and was one of few Bloods to generate some offensive spark through the centre of the ground.

#10 Eduard Van den berg

The reliable Van den berg refused to back down even when his side was struggling to keep up with the accurate Bays. West Adelaide’s leading ball winner, Van den berg spent time down back and also pushed up into the midfield at various stages, and was able to have an impact in both roles. He provided some valuable rebound from defence (five rebound 50s) and finished the game with 20 disposals, six marks and five tackles.

#20 Luke Young

The strongly-built key forward tried his best to will his side over the line, booting three goals straight in the first half to keep the Bloods in the contest. The West Adelaide midfielders looked for him up forward whenever possible and he provided a strong presence in attack. He took seven marks for the contest and appeared threatening whenever the ball was in his vicinity. Despite the Bloods slumping to their tenth loss of the campaign, the bottom-aged centre half-forward will certainly have taken plenty of confidence from his performance at the Bay. He finished with 17 disposals and five inside 50s.

#24 Jye Sinderberry

It was a difficult day for the West Adelaide defenders, but key defender Sinderberry was one of the Bloods’ best performers. One of twenty South Australians invited to the draft combine, Sinderberry’s overhead marking strength was once again on display as he hauled in five grabs, including a strong contested pack clunk. He distributed the ball well by foot for the majority of the contest and demonstrated why recruiters see plenty of upside in the number 24, despite being a few centimetres short of the traditional key position height. Sinderberry finished with 19 disposals and three rebound 50s.

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

Norwood vs. Central District

By: Eli Duxson

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

It was a monster game from Murley as he ended up with 40 disposals, three goals, five clearances, and 11 inside 50s. His acceleration and agility with ball in hand was impressive and he looked so elusive to his opposition, but it was his groundwork that was equally impressive. A one-touch player, Murley so often reeled in innate one-handed gathers pulling away from his body which he made look so easy under pressure. His first goal came in the second quarter with a left foot snap, looking very comfortable on either side of his body.

His second half highlighted his lethal outside ability as his speed and efficient ball use allowed him to be very damaging in his forward half, as he was often doing as he liked. Rotating through the forward line in the final quarter snagged him another two goals; one snapped on his right boot after repeat efforts, and the other a set shot from just inside 50 on a slight angle. If he was not hurting you enough on the inside, his spread and speed on the outside definitely was. Murley’s inside to outside blend was very well done, and his stats show he was dominant all game.

#5 Henry Nelligan

Not to be outdone was the compact Nelligan and his whopping 47 disposals, three goals, 10 marks, seven tackles, and eight clearances. He imposed himself on the game with a mammoth first term which saw him have three shots on goal and cover almost every inch of the ground. His big tank allowed him to be at almost every stoppage where he used his strength and acceleration to be lively and often the most damaging. When he was not plugging holes in his defensive 50 and being a part of every Redlegs midfield play, he was resting forward and looking just as dangerous. Whether it was slotting a set shot from 45 metres or being front and centre at a contest, you could not help but feel like he was going to do something.

The second half saw him maintain his play, allowing him to show off his ability on either side of his body and just how strong he is through his core and hips – looking difficult to tackle. He kicked another long set shot in the third quarter and crumbed a contest in the fourth to kick his third goal from the goalsquare to truly round out his incredible day out. In what looked like a direct rotation with Murley, he loomed just as dangerously up forward as he did in the guts and basked in what was a dominant day for both him and Norwood.

#9 Riley Verrall

With just 11 scoring shots coming from 26 Glenelg inside 50s in a big win for Norwood, the numbers would suggest that Verrall had a decent day out in the defensive half. His 21 disposals and seven marks only confirm that as he looked clean with his gathers below the knees and disposal with either hand or foot. He also showed a strong ability to intercept mark, using his body well in several marking contests.

His athleticism and physicality were good and was very reliable in one-on-one contests. His teammates appeared to trust him around the ball as they often backed him in to win the contest and be there for the handball receive. A solid defender who gathered plenty of his own ball but did appear on his own on a couple of occasions in his defensive 50. It did not hurt Norwood on the scoreboard though, so ended as a very solid performance from Verrall.

#38 Cole Gerloff (League)

Gerloff was a bit quiet in the first half and did not start the game as he would have liked, giving away a downfield free kick which led to a Bulldogs goal. Rotating between the midfield and half-forward, he showed a strong tackling ability and physical presence, but barring the one clearance, he was not overly damaging with ball in hand.

His second half turned that around as he managed two shots on goal in the third quarter. The first one saw him do well to manufacture a snap out of a forward 50 throw-in, which he could not quite work back to score. The second one saw him take a gutsy mark falling back into the contest and after being well held for much of the game, he hit the scoreboard after drilling the set shot from just inside 50. Proving this was no fluke, he continued to take another two contested marks, showing strength and resilience after copping a swipe to the head. He was busy in the final quarter and looked good at stoppages when on the move and though he does not have blistering pace, he works hard and gets in and under.

Others:

There were many contributions in the big Under 18s win for the Redlegs, but Nathan Hearing’s game was outstanding. The ruckman looked to be athletic for his size, immovable at the contest, a serial one-percenter enthusiast, and very good at following up his work in the ruck. He found his way to 21 hit outs, 23 disposals, seven inside 50s, and five clearances. Billy Haebich also found plenty of it with 24 disposals while Tom McDonald and Nathan Maunder each kicked three goals.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

Central District:

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

It was not a good day for Durdin as he appears to have re-injured his hamstring early in the game having just returned from a stint on the sidelines. After earning an invite to the draft combine during the week, he managed just one disposal before the injury and is expected to miss three weeks of action – putting him in a race against time to play again this season.

Others:

There were not many standouts for the Bulldogs in the heavy defeat in the Under 18s. Matthew Borlace managed 25 disposals in the busy backline, being entrusted with the kick-out duties, while Brodie Tuck was equally as busy with 21 disposals and 11 rebound 50s. Luigi Mondello looked lively and threatening with his speed and zip, but looked to lack effort in the contest at times. He finished with 15 disposals and two behinds. Michael De Jonge was also serviceable with 15 disposals and 12 tackles. NT prospect Brodie Lake made his Reserves debut, booting a goal in the Bulldogs’ big win.

>> MORE CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

South Adelaide vs. Sturt

By: Peter Williams

South Adelaide:

#10 Brayden Cook

Cook almost proved a match-winner for the Panthers when he went forward to boot two final term goals early in the period, contributing to his side kicking five consecutive goals and hitting the front. He also missed a couple of chances, but his work one-on-one work was great and his leading quite proficient as well. Had he truly converted the couple of behinds in that final term – finishing with 2.3 for the entire game – he could have had an even bigger day out. Nonetheless, he still finished with the 20 touches and nine marks, looking unstoppable on the lead. His vision is superb, taking the chance to hit up a teammate on the 45-degree kick 30-metres out rather than blazing away from a long-range goal in the opening term. He has high level footy smarts, and while there are still areas to work on, he has some serious quality traits.

#33 Arlo Draper

Pencil in the name to remember for next year because Draper was best on ground as a bottom-ager. He finished with an impressive 29 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, 10 clearances and eight inside 50s, but every time he went near it he managed to gain ground and looked like bringing a teammate into the game. He kicked the easiest of goals from the goalsquare late in the first term, and while he had been solid in the first three quarters, he almost hauled the Panthers across the line in the final term. He had five consecutive clearances from stoppages he attended through the final period, of which a couple led to goals and another couple led to scoring opportunities. He exits the stoppage around the back to get onto his right and has a long kick that can penetrate defensive zones. Hard not to notice him when he stands up in the biggest moments of the game.

#33 Jason Horne (League)

The bottom-ager looked classy at the level and while he did not win a heap of the footy, he did enough to show why he is already in contention for the number one pick next year. Kicking a goal midway through the final term to put his side back in front, he took a great mark close to the boundary line in the second term and kicked right to the danger spot with a booming kick. He then only narrowly missed a shot not long after as it hit the post from 50-metres out. He made good decisions with ball-in-hand and whilst a quick snap early in the third drifted way wide, he showed his toughness in the opening 10 seconds of the final term where he copped front-on contact and was down for a while but got back up and played out the match to finish with 10 disposals, three marks, three tackles and a goal.

#45 Daly Andrews (League)

Was able to show his trademark speed along the outside and use his raking boot to advantage to break down the opposition defensive zone. He played predominantly off a wing to try and break the lines, and he did so in the third term when he ran from the defensive side of the wing to half-forward and kick inside 50. He might have occasionally had a few loopy high kicks that were rushed, but he did his job through his run-and-carry, and was not afraid to take the game on.

Others:

Sam Hinders and Jayden Little both had the 24 touches, whilst combining for 20 marks and 14 rebound 50s holding up the fort in defence. Max Clifton buzzed around the ground working hard for 22 disposals, four marks, three tackles and three clearances, while Dylan Brown racked up seven clearances from his 17 disposals, three marks and three tackles.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Sturt:

#17 Mani Liddy

Did not have the same influence as the week before with just one clearance – after 10 against West Adelaide – but still worked hard across the four quarters. He won the ball in each third, and more importantly was able to get free and impact the scoreboard as well. He finished with a couple of goals, including one after an intercept mark where his kick from 50-metres sailed home in the opening term. He showed quick hands around the stoppage and was able to give it off to Tom Powell who kicked a great goal on the run in the third term, with Liddy having a chance at a third goal with a dribble shot but it missed in the opening minute of the final quarter.

#18 Tom Powell

Much like Liddy, did not have the same impact as the week before, but still racked up the pill 27 times and had 10 clearances. His third term goal was a ripper on the run, and his strength around the stoppages was still evident. What Powell does so well is his clean hands at ground level, showing an elite pick-up off the deck to bounce off an opponent and handball to a free teammate on the wing. In that instant, he assessed what he needed to do and made a great decision by hand and used his vision well. His pressure in the second term allowed a teammate to kick a goal, keeping the ball in play deep in attack. His work rate never wavered and he was able to hit up a teammate leading out from goal in the third term.

#27 Ned Grieve

Really impressed me playing in defence after a quieter outing last week. The intercept defender had 23 disposals, 10 marks and a couple of rebounds, often being a rock on the last line. He took a number of crucial one-on-one marks in the second term, and was responsible for switching play out of the back half, showing great composure and being a key player for the Double Blues in the win.

#2 Tom Lewis (League)

Put in a tireless effort around the ground and was often found firing out quick handballs to teammates and standing up in tackles. Lewis has a neat sidestep that can wrong foot opponents, which he did on a number of occasions whilst under pressure to kick long inside 50. After helping set up teammates, Lewis fittingly got on the end of the sealer, kicking a great goal in the 17th minute of the final term out of nothing to ice the game.

#17 Jed McEntee (League)

Not as prolific as past weeks, but just so strong around the stoppages. He made a few mistakes – such as being pinged for holding the ball or dropping a mark – but his effort was there throughout four quarters. His strength when being tackled sees him often getting his hands free, and his tackling pressure itself is a feature of his game. In a tight match, his equal game-high 10 tackles were superb. A low bullet pass to half-forward in the third term was also eye-catching.

#29 James Borlase (League)

Much like McEntee was not as prolific as the week before when he shone on debut. What stood out was his ability to pick himself up after an early mistake – he dropped an uncontested mark leading to a South goal – to remain composed under pressure coming out of the back 50. Some of his kicks were superb, with one elite kick coming in the third term off the back of a one-on-one intercept mark to hit up McEntee in the middle on that 45-degree angle. He read the ball flight in the final term to take a strong mark 20 metres out from defensive goal, and showed great pressure to force a turnover just moments earlier.

#46 Jack Henderson (League)

Was one of the best afield for his work across four quarters, always looking lively and dangerous with ball-in-hand. He had a shot on goal in the opening term but it was touched across the line, before going on to set up a number of goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates. He copped contact in the second term on the wing but bounced straight back up with a good inside 50 to Ash Johnson for a goal, and then did it again by taking the game on in the third term and hitting up a leading Oliver Grivell. He got his reward for effort with a goal of his own to put the icing on the cake with a snap around the body in the 27th minute of the final term.

Others:

Lachlan Thomas found plenty of the ball racking up 22 touches and eight marks on the outside, while Ethan Field had the two clearances to go with 21 disposals and eight marks. Jacob Ferrari provided good support through the ruck picking up 16 disposals, five marks, 13 hitouts, four tackles, three clearances and a goal, whilst Jordan Opperman booted 3.2 from 13 touches and five marks.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

North Adelaide vs. WWT Eagles

By: Michael Alvaro

North Adelaide:

#18 James Willis

The bottom-ager built brilliantly into the game, generating some terrific drive for North Adelaide from midfield. He looked lively early in the forward half, but was also sighted digging in up the other end as the Roosters tried to turn the tide in their favour. Willis’ pace and dare through the middle really came to the fore after half time, as he willed his side forward with bursting runs and strong play at the contest, while also doing his bit defensively with some terrific tackling pressure. His attack-minded approach in transition and ability to chain possessions with repeat running proved key for the Roosters, even if he spurned a few kicks. The 180cm prospect finished with 22 disposals and six tackles in an impactful display.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

This game was another instance where Newchurch proved that he does not need a whole lot of opportunities to make his mark on the contest. The Adelaide Crows NGA hopeful popped up in spurts throughout the game, starting up forward but attending the stoppages further afield in general play. His lightning quick first five steps and overall evasive technique allowed him to weave out of congestion, with clean hands making his work all the more easy. He hit the scoreboard after half time having drifted a touch, gathering off hands and snapping a clever goal over his shoulder in the third term. Newchurch’s second goal was just as impressive, as he again gained separation at the fall of the ball, wheeled onto his right side, and slammed the ball home. He did miss a couple of late chances to seal the game, but got in the right places. His impact is always high, but consistency is a lingering area of improvement.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

Another Crows NGA prospect, O’Loughlin was busy as ever in his defensive post. The bottom-ager provided a terrific balance of offensive and defensive work to the back six, sweeping up the loose balls and rebounding with speed. A pleasing part of his game was the ability to sense when to run off through the corridor for a handball receive, bringing that speed and his kicking prowess to the fore on the break. While he was well held at times and saw a few clearing kicks come straight back, O’Loughlin lifted when it mattered and showed good urgency late in the game with his ability to penetrate off half-back. He finished with a game-high 28 disposals – 23 of which were kicks.

#29 Zyton Santillo

Santillo was one of the best players afield, employed as somewhat of a sub-180cm centre half-forward. The diminutive mover presented brilliantly all day for the Roosters, hitting up full-chested at everything his midfielders sent forward. The bottom-ager was also able to mop up at ground level when the delivery was not so flash, zipping his way through traffic and onto his favoured side to hit targets inside 50. An Under 16 state representative last year, there is plenty to like about Santillo as a small forward who gets busy. His tackling pressure was also on point, and he capped off his 22-disposal performance with a goal in the third term.

Others:

Matthew Borg and Jayden Davison were the other midfield mainstays, finding a good amount of ball each with 27 and 24 disposals respectively. Borg often looked to burst away and help the Roosters break forward, while Davison accumulated well through the corridor and booted a classy goal. They were supported well by ruckman Isaac Keeler, who contributed 21 disposals and six clearances. Kyle Brazell and Lam Simon had their shining moments, while Kane Flanagan and Tyler McKenzie battled brilliantly down back against good opposition.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

WWT Eagles:

#3 Taj Schofield

It was an up-and-down day from the Port Adelaide father-son prospect, who was often in the game but struggled to have his usual impact. Stationed out on the wing once again, Schofield did well to sense which direction the ball was headed from the centre bounces, running hard both ways to either create an outlet or impact the next contest. He was a touch fumbly under pressure at ground level and tended to air his kicks a little on the break, but is usually quite sharp in those areas. Schofield had a couple of chances to hit the scoreboard in the second half, coming closest with a free kick which cannoned into the post. 16 disposals and five inside 50s was his final stat-line, a good base to improve upon.

#19 Zachary Phillips

It has not always been his major strength this season, but some of Phillips’ ruckwork on this occasion was unbelievably good. In what seemed to be a series of set plays, the 200cm bigman was constantly able to find his midfielders on the move at centre bounces and stoppages, palming down deft touches into the perfect space. North Adelaide caught onto a few of the said plays, but that was not before he sent just about every one of his midfielders on their way with well-directed hits. Phillips also spent a good deal of time up forward, stationed deep inside attacking 50. He used his height to advantage, particularly late when he snagged his second goal after marking over the top of his smaller opponent in the goalsquare. That major gave the Eagles a sniff, but they ultimately fell short. 30 hitouts for Phillips in the end, many of which were to advantage.

#25 Henry Smith

The second of Woodville-West Torrens’ 200cm prospects, Smith rotated between the forwardline and ruck to good effect. He showed some of the upside which earned him a national combine invite, following up well at stoppages while also faring well aerially as expected. Smith was another to use his height to advantage, clunking some big pack marks both around the ground and inside forward 50 against multiple opponents. Remarkably, all five of his marks were contested. While perhaps more of a lead-up forward prospect, Smith’s ruck craft was reasonably sound as he finished the game with 15 disposals, 15 hitouts, and fourth-term a goal.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Burgoyne simply continues to win mountains of possessions for the Eagles, rotating beautifully through midfield from defence. The potential 2021 Port Adelaide father-son prospect constantly looked to break forward off half-back, sweeping up the loose ball and even chaining some running bounces. The bottom-ager put his usually sharp short-range kicking to one side on this occasion, more often opting to kick long down the line and gain meterage in the heat of the contest. In midfield, he benefitted from the ruckwork of Zac Phillips to break forward with speed, and was one of many Eagles to up the intensity when the game was up for grabs late. Burgoyne finished with a team-high 27 disposals and eight clearances, while penetrating either arc four times apiece.

Others:

Harrison Dawkins showed good strength through midfield and was impactful in the dying stages, managing 24 disposals and six inside 50s for the Eagles. Max Litster was busy early en route to 21 touches and six inside 50s, while Jordan Kasianowicz provided a good link forward for his side. Kasianowicz also sunk a pair of long-range majors, capping off a terrific outing. Brock Thomson was another to impress down back, while Jack Wheare booted three goals in a strong showing up forward.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

Featured image: Callum Park in action for Glenelg | Source: Gordon Anderson/SANFL

Draft Central Power Rankings: September 2020

THE VERDICT is in after another terrific month of football from the latest crop of budding AFL draftees. Victorian prospects remain starved of action, but the best and brightest from around the nation have been stamping their claims, making for some interesting movers and sliders. In Draft Central‘s third Power Rankings edition for 2020, we extend our list out to 25 names, with key adjustments made to our initial July and August analyses. A certain West Australian key forward continues to rise steeply, while the Northern Territory gains a representative in the extended cut. All that, and more in our September Power Rankings update.

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

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

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

August Ranking: #1

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

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

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

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

August Ranking: #2

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#3 Logan McDonald
Perth/Western Australia | Key Position Forward
4/04/2002 | 196cm | 85kg

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

August Ranking: #9

Last Month: McDonald has been arguably the most consistent key position performer of all the players on this list; at the highest possible level, no less. He now sits second in the WAFL League goalkicking charts, having booted 13 goals across his five August/September outings. He boasts 20 goals in seven games overall, and has not yet failed to kick multiple goals. Even if he is having a quiet patch, McDonald has been able to make an impact and take full toll with what the Perth midfielders deliver his way. He will continue to provide a focal point as the Demons push for finals, with his conversion from range, marking on the lead, and one-on-one work deep inside 50 all excellent for his age.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

#4 Denver Grainger-Barras
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Key Position Defender
14/04/2002 | 195cm | 78kg

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

August Ranking: #4

Last Month: Another consistent performer, Grainger-Barras is still capable of delivering some ‘wow’ moments. Most recently, he produced a starring second half against McDonald and the Perth Demons, bouncing back from a lacklustre opening half to help Swan Districts power to victory. While he is still quite light for a key position prospect, Grainger-Barras showed he is not afraid to wear contact on that day, leaping for some incredible intercept marks while directly opposed to his State Under 18s teammate. He may get knocked around a touch, but loves a bit of niggle and stands up against mature bodies. Over the past month, the 18-year-old averaged 11.6 disposals and 5.2 marks per his five games, good enough to hold his spot.

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

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

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

August Ranking: #3

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#6 Riley Thilthorpe
West Adelaide/South Australia | Ruck/Key Position Forward
7/07/2002 | 200cm | 99kg

In a welcome change from last year’s crop, key position prospects will be in abundance at the top end. Thilthorpe is one of them, an athletic ruck/forward who possesses enormous running capacity and can dominate the airways. In his ruck duties, the 200cm West Adelaide product plays more like a fourth midfielder, able to follow up at ground level and cover the ground like a small. He has been utilised in a more forward-oriented role for the Bloods at SANFL League level though, with his goalkicking attributes and diverse skillset already making him a handful for senior players with more mature bodies. Ask any of the South Australian Under 18s who they are most looking forward to playing alongside in 2020, and Thilthorpe is among them. Jot the name down, he should be among those you are most looking forward to watching, too.

August Ranking: #5

Last Month: West Adelaide has managed Thilthorpe over the last two weeks as he nurses a groin complaint, bringing an end to his streak of nine-straight League appearances since Round 1. The bigman had been enjoying some time in a variety of roles; from his usual key forward post, to some added responsibility in the ruck rotation, and even venturing up onto a wing. In his four August outings, Thilthorpe was kept goalless thrice, averaging 11.8 disposals, four marks, and over 12 hitouts to be squeezed just outside of the top five. He still has runs on the board and hopefully gets back into the swing of things to finish off the SANFL season.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

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

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

August Ranking: #6

Last Month: Campbell returned to AFL Sydney Premier Division football this past weekend for Pennant Hills, booting a goal in the Demons’ 80-point victory over East Coast. That came after he turned out twice for the Sydney Swans Academy, helping his side claim Academy Series points over the GWS GIANTS Academy on both occasions. He looked a class above in those outings, able to win the ball at will through midfield, while showcasing his versatility and remaining a goalkicking threat going forward.

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

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

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

August Ranking: #7

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

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

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

August Ranking: #8

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

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

#10 Lachlan Jones
WWT Eagles/South Australia | General Defender
9/04/2002 | 185cm | 89kg

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

August Ranking: #12

Last Month: Jones remains the sole South Australian Under 18 on this list to have turned out at League level for every round this season, as he goes from strength to strength. The Eagles are in the box seat to take out the minor premiership, with the Port Adelaide NGA prospect an established part of the side’s defence in a variety of roles. In his six outings since August 1, Jones has averaged 11.5 disposals, 3.5 marks, and four rebound 50s, returning to his best with 16 touches and eight rebounds against North Adelaide in Round 11. He has consistently been able to intercept, play both tall and small, and rebound effectively against mature bodies, bumping him up to #10.

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

#11 Nathan O’Driscoll 
Perth/Western Australia | Midfielder/Defender
17/05/2002 | 187cm | 76kg

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

August Ranking: #13

Last Month: After his third and final Colts outing in early-August, O’Driscoll earned a Reserves berth in Round 5, before being immediately promoted to the League side. After a steady debut, O’Driscoll has racked up 20 and 15 disposals over the last fortnight, benefitting from being allowed an extended run through midfield. The 18-year-old has showcased his toughness and hard-running ability at senior level, leaving nothing left in the tank. He works hard for his possessions and is equally as relevant in his defensive duties for the most part. There has been some conjecture about his range, we feel his current form and future scope lands him just outside the top 10.

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

#12 Alex Davies
Gold Coast SUNS/Allies | Inside Midfielder
18/03/2002 | 191cm | 85kg

A second Northern Academy prospect and the first Queenslander on this list, Davies is one of the more highly touted big-bodied midfielders of his cohort. Standing at 191cm and filling out to 85kg, the SUNS Academy hopeful boasts the ideal size to not only dominate his junior competitors, but more importantly make an immediate impact at the next level. He has been his state’s prime ball winner for some time and thrives on racking up high contested numbers, but has also displayed terrific poise in traffic and adds releasing handballs to his thumping kicks away from the stoppages. He ran out for four of Gold Coast’s NAB League outings as a bottom-ager, and should prove a key figure among the Allies squad in 2020.

August Ranking: #10

Last Month: Davies was set to line up for the Gold Coast SUNS in August’s Academy Series, but suffered an elbow injury which ruled him out of action early in the month. He faces a race against the clock to return in time for Broadbeach’s upcoming QAFL finals campaign, which begins next week for the minor premiers.

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

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

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

August Ranking: #11

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

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

#14 Kaine Baldwin
Glenelg/South Australia | Key Position Forward
30/05/2002 | 193cm | 92kg

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

August Ranking: #14

Last Month: Inactive due to recovery from long-term knee injury, but earned a National Combine invite for September 30.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

August Ranking: #15

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#16 Heath Chapman
West Perth/Western Australia | Key Position Defender
31/01/2002 | 193cm | 81kg

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

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: Chapman is the only new player inside this month’s top 20, rising all the way up to #16 on the back of some impressive form. From Rounds 3 to 6 in the WAFL Colts, Chapman averaged a remarkable 25.8 disposals and 8.8 marks down back, enough to earn him a League debut this past weekend. The 18-year-old reeled in five marks among his 11 touches, making for a promising start to life at senior level. With the ability to mark and use the ball so efficiently for his size, Chapman is a player with plenty of desirable traits. West Perth is in the finals race, so hopefully Chapman can hold his League spot and impress under post-season pressure.

>> Draft Watch

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

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

August Ranking: #17

Last Month: Henry ran out for St Joseph’s all the way back in the first week of August, battling both with and against plenty of his Geelong Falcons teammates. The 187cm prospect booted two goals for Joey’s against Geelong College in a more forward-oriented role, and was also named among his side’s best players. He has since been inactive due to fixture cancellations and a lack of NAB League football.

>> Feature
>> Marquee Matchup

#18 Tom Powell
Sturt/South Australia | Midfielder
2/03/2002 | 180cm | 73kg

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

August Ranking: #18

Last Month: Powell was teased with senior selection after amassing a whopping 47 disposals, 10 clearances, and two goals in Round 10, but continues to plug away at Under 18s level. It is there where the prolific midfielder has averaged nearly 36 disposals and nine clearances across his last five games, remaining atop the charts in both areas despite missing out in Round 9. The Double Blues maestro has also added goals to his game, booting seven from midfield in the last month. His numbers stack up as well as anyone in the draft pool, but whether he can maintain that output at senior level obviously remains to be seen.

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

#19 Zane Trew
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder
26/04/2002 | 186cm | 78kg

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

August Ranking: #16

Last Month: Another prospect who has flirted with senior promotion, Trew only really finds himself sliding down a few spots due to others’ promotions. Barring an injury-stricken outing at the start of August, the Swan Districts product has been at his ball winning best. Having returned from his lay-off due to concussion, Trew has averaged 27 disposals across his last three WAFL Colts outings. A senior berth may prove tough to crack given the Swans’ winning effort last time out, with only one more game in any grade possible due as the regular season comes to a close this week – Swan Districts have also not made finals in any competition. He did earn a National Combine invite though, and will have the opportunity to impress in Western Australia’s All-Star fixture pegged for October.

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

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

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

August Ranking: #19

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

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

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

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

August Ranking: #20

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#22 Jack Carroll
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Midfielder/Defender
20/12/2002 | 188cm | 79kg

Another entirely fresh face on our list, Carroll’s name is unearthed due to our expansion to an order of 25. That is not to say that he would not have featured otherwise, with the East Fremantle product a player who has plenty of first round suitors. Coming into his top-age season, Carroll was pegged as a classy outside midfielder or half-back who moved well and used the ball efficiently by foot. But after nearly a full season of WAFL Colts football through midfield, the 188cm prospect has also shown his worth inside the engine room. Carroll measures up at a good height and while he may be a touch light around the contest, he uses his high-level agility and poise to weave through traffic before effectively disposing of the ball. A versatile talent with good upside, Carroll is destined to rise even further.

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: This week will serve as Carroll’s last chance to earn senior selection before finals, though East Fremantle is only really in that frame across the Reserves and Colts grades. He would inevitably come into consideration after an outstanding performance against Claremont in Round 7, collecting 31 disposals and booting two goals as the Sharks knocked off their highly-fancied opponents. In five games over the past month, Carroll has averaged 23.4 disposals to put himself right among the top 20 mix. For us, he remains just outside it for now at #22, but has all the class to move on up.

>> Draft Watch

#23 Caleb Poulter
WWT Eagles/South Australia | Midfielder/Forward
12/10/2002 | 190cm | 79kg

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

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: Poulter earned a call-up to the Eagles’ Reserves side in Round 10, booting a goal on debut and retaining his spot in the latest weekend of action. The League side will be tough to crack given its success this season, but the 190cm prospect will be keen to join fellow top-age gun, Lachlan Jones in the lineup. Prior to his promotion, Poulter averaged a tick under 28 disposals in his four Under 18s outings across August, generating plenty of forward momentum and hitting the scoreboard in two of those games. In that time, Poulter gained a big tick for his consistency and has found the ball in all areas of the ground, highlighting his versatility in production.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch

#24 Brandon Walker
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Half-Back
17/10/2002 | 184cm | 75kg

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

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: Walker returns to our rankings as we expand the list, and has produced a solid month of football. The Dockers NGA hopeful has averaged bang-on 20 touches and over six marks across five games in August/September, with 74 per cent of his disposals in that time released via foot. These numbers are quite good for a prospect of his type, who pops up rather than accumulates. His marking ability, combined with speed and poise across the ground makes him a dual-pronged defensive outlet with plenty of weapons. While he is able to impact further afield and even find the goals, we feel Walker has showcased his best form at half-back.

>> Draft Watch

#25 Joel Jeffrey
NT Thunder/Allies | Utility
12/03/2002 | 192cm | 78kg

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

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: After a long waiting period since his last NTFL outing in February, Jeffrey returned to action with the Gold Coast SUNS as part of August’s Academy Series. He took part in game two against the Brisbane Lions Academy, and built into the contest well after a steady start. Having initially lined up down back, where he looks a touch more impactful as he drifts across to intercept, Jeffrey was swung forward in the second half and booted a goal. He looked lively with his turn of speed and athleticism, despite some scratchy moments early on.

>> Draft Watch

IN THE MIX:

It is no secret now that South Australian Brayden Cook is bolting into top 25 calculations, as the South Adelaide wingman/forward continues to impress at Under 18s level. He remains just outside our rankings as others have more runs on the board, but another month of similar form would make him hard to ignore.

Errol Gulden has been in serious form in the AFL Sydney Premier Division, with 10 goals in his last three games – including a bag of six – putting him in the mix. West Australians Joel Western (Fremantle NGA) and Isiah Winder have also caught the eye, as the former made his return from injury, while the latter again earned a spot at League level for Peel Thunder.

Of the most unlucky Victorians to miss due to a lack of action, Bailey Laurie has previously featured in our top 20, while Hawthorn NGA prospect and Eastern Ranges captain Connor Downie is also one to consider. Sandringham Dragons bigman Max Heath is a ruck prospect who lingers around the mark, along with Essendon NGA defender Cody Brand. Jake Bowey and Eddie Ford also boast top 25 potential.

Back across in South Australia, small forward Corey Durdin made a short lived return from injury this week at SANFL League level, while Luke Edwards got back on the park in the Reserves. Zac Dumesny is still recovering from an ankle complaint, and all three are around the 30-35 range in our eyes.

All four Tasmania Academy hub members earned National Combine invites. Jackson Callow has been unleashed in a slightly different role down back, increasing his stocks of late in the TSL, with Oliver Davis proving consistent, and Patrick Walker continuing to show promising upside across half-back and on the wing.

Young gun focus: SANFL Round 11 wrap

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

>> SCROLL for full results 

Central District vs. Norwood

League: Central District 15.8 (98) def. Norwood 13.7 (85)
Reserves:
Central District 15.11 (101) def. Norwood 5.4 (34)
Under 18s:
Central District 4.7 (31) def. by Norwood 17.16 (118)

Central District pulled off a terrific upset win over Norwood at League level, though both sides were hit by casualties throughout. Of draft relevance, Bulldogs small forward Corey Durdin would only manage one touch before again going off injured in his return game. Dandenong Stingrays graduate Jack Toner impressed again with 16 disposals and a goal in Centrals’ triumph, while Isaac Saywell (14 disposals, five marks) showed promise and 18-year-old Daniel Fairbrother (11 disposals) retained his spot. The result sees Central District move off the bottom of the ladder, while delivering a big blow to Norwood’s finals hopes.

At Reserves level, goalsneak Nicholas Lange booted two majors as the Bulldogs earned a 10th win for the season to remain atop the two’s ladder. NT draft prospect Brodie Lake also found the big sticks in his debut outing, while fellow Under 18 Lachlan Grubb was another to contribute to the Dogs’ victory. For Norwood, crafty junior Michael Cavallaro was one of just two goalkickers, while Jack Saunders and Jack Heard were named among the Redlegs’ best players.

The absence of Lake, and 16-year-old Austin McDonald among others proved too much for Centrals’ Under 18s to cover, as they went down by 87 points to the ladder-leading Redlegs. Matthew Borlace (25 disposals) and Brodie Tuck (11 rebound 50s) were kept busy among an under-siege defence, as Henry Nelligan and Cooper Murley ran riot for the victors. Both accumulated over 40 disposals and booted three goals apiece as the clear best two players afield.

Sturt vs. South Adelaide

League: Sturt 11.14 (80) def. South Adelaide 7.5 (47)
Reserves:
Sturt 9.9 (63) def. by South Adelaide 10.8 (68)
Under 18s:
Sturt 11.10 (76) def. South Adelaide 10.7 (67)

Sturt blew the League finals race wide open with a crucial win over South Adelaide on Saturday, giving the Double Blues a sniff at top four qualification. Among the youngsters afield, Tom Lewis worked hard for 19 disposals, 11 tackles, and a goal, while Casey Voss managed 16 touches, and Adelaide NGA hopeful James Borlase was retained in the lineup. Victorian Daly Andrews (17 disposals) was again prevalent for South, while 17-year-old Jason Horne booted a goal from his 10 touches.

The Panthers got one back in the Reserves in a fighting upset, with recent National Combine invitee Phoenix Spicer named among the best for his two-goal effort. Defensive duo Jack Flett and Harry Spacie also made their Ressies debuts in the win. For Sturt, another Under 18 prospect in Tom Emmett booted two majors as one of the Double Blues’ better contributors, while Josh Shute managed one.

Sturt also took out a win with big finals ramifications in the Under 18s, with Tom Powell (27 disposals, nine clearances, one goal) and Mani Liddy (22 disposals, two goals) again among the numbers. Ned Grieve also chimed in nicely with 10 marks. Arlo Draper continues his strong form through midfield, adding 29 disposals, 10 clearances, and a goal to his name. Draft bolter Brayden Cook was good for 2.3 from 20 disposals, while Max Clifton pumped forward for nine inside 50s.

Glenelg vs. West Adelaide

League: Glenelg 21.9 (135) def. West Adelaide 8.13 (61)
Reserves:
Glenelg 7.9 (51) def. West Adelaide 11.11 (77)
Under 18s:
Glenelg 16.3 (99) def. West Adelaide 13.7 (85)

Reigning League premier Glenelg flexed its muscle to all but seal a finals berth for 2020, consigning West Adelaide to the bottom of the ladder spot. 19-year-old Callum Park was again impressive with 16 disposals, eight rebound 50s and a goal from defence. 15 of his touches were kicks. Luke Parks was another to stand up in patches, taking six marks in his eight-disposal effort. Lachlan Squire worked back into form with 17 disposals for Westies, while recent National Combine invitee Mitchell Duval found it 13 times with four marks.

There was plenty of young and Under 18 talent running around in the Reserves clash. Most notably, Luke Edwards returned to action, running out alongside older brother, Jackson as the Bays went down. The solidly built 18-year-old found the goals, as did teammates Ty Murphy and Mitch Martin. Bailey Chamberlain, who missed out on a combine invite, also booted a major and was named among the Bloods’ best players.

The Under 18s played out a high-scoring contest, with 19-year-old tall Calvin Perks bagging a game-high six goals to lead the Tigers to victory. Kye Dean and Hagan Wright were unsurprisingly the leading ball winners with 31 touches apiece, while bottom-ager Jayden Davis snared a couple of majors from his 28 disposals. Luke Young managed three goals as the most potent West Adelaide forward, while Jye Sinderberry had 19 disposals and five marks up the other end. Cade Kennedy (18 disposals, seven inside 50s) was also valuable.

WWT Eagles vs. North Adelaide

League: WWT Eagles 10.9 (69) def. North Adelaide 6.8 (44)
Reserves:
WWT Eagles 9.7 (61) def. by North Adelaide 9.18 (72)
Under 18s:
WWT Eagles 11.11 (77) def. by North Adelaide 12.9 (81)

The ladder leading Eagles bounced back to winning ways against North Adelaide, moving clear once again to lay one hand on the minor premiership. James Rowe was kept to just one goal, but the Eagles had plenty of firepower, while the likes of Rhyan Mansell (22 disposals, seven rebound 50s) and Port NGA prospect Lachlan Jones (16 disposals, eight rebound 50s) generated plenty of drive out of defence. VFL recruit Sam Lowson managed 10 touches on his SANFL League debut.

North pegged one back in the Reserves, helped by key defender Dyson Hilder’s best-afield display. He could be in line to join partner-in-crime Karl Finlay at League level. Under 18 gun Caleb Poulter enjoyed his second Reserves outing for the Eagles, but could not pull his side over the line.

The Roosters also crowed at Under 18 level, as Blayne O’Loughlin (28 disposals) and Matthew Borg (27) found plenty of the ball. Adelaide NGA prospect Tariek Newchurch also bagged two goals in the win. For the Eagles, Jase Burgoyne was again huge with eight clearances from his 27 disposals, while bigmen Henry Smith (15 disposals, 15 hitouts, one goal) and Zac Phillips (11 disposals, 30 hitouts, 2 goals) were also impactful.

Featured Image: Jason Horne celebrates a goal for South Adelaide | Source: Cory Sutton/SANFL

Out to impress: SANFL Round 11 Preview

ROUND 11 of the South Australian Football League (SANFL) is set to see a number of youngsters take the field to ply their trade for their respective teams across the weekend as Draft Central brings to you a new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game. In this edition, we zone in on the talented youngsters taking the field across all three major divisions.

Sturt midfielder Tom Powell could get his first opportunity to impress at League level after he was named on the extended bench for the Double Blues’ Saturday afternoon clash with South Adelaide. After battling with injury for parts of 2019, Powell has dominated the under-18 competition this season, averaging 36 disposals and nine clearances per game. He will be hoping to join fellow draft hopeful James Borlase in the senior side, after the Crows Academy prospect retained his spot in the line-up.

Talented Panthers utility Zac Dumesny and key defender Tom Highmore will spend at least another week on the sidelines as they recover from ankle injuries. Bottom-ager Jason Horne will feature in the South Adelaide league side once again, after he was named on the half-forward flank, whilst wingman Daly Andrews will play his third game for the club after crossing from Victoria.

Strongly built defender Harry Spacie, clean-kicking half-back Jack Flett and speedster Phoenix Spicer have all been named in South’s reserves side to face the Double Blues at Peter Motley Oval. At under-18s level, Mani Liddy and Will Spain are once again set to lead the Sturt onball brigade against the likes of South Adelaide’s Max CliftonArlo Draper and Brayden Cook.

Central Districts will be bolstered by the return of 18-year-old Corey Durdin after proving his fitness during the week. Durdin last played in the clubs Round 8 meeting with Sturt, where he suffered a hamstring strain. Wingman Jack Toner has kept his spot in the Bulldogs league side, along with goal-sneak Jordan O’Brien, who is set to join Durdin up forward. Norwood defender Daniel Fairbrother will be looking to build upon his impressive League debut, after being named on the interchange bench for the Round 11 clash.

Bulldog Lachlan Grubb will be joined at reserves level by Brodie Lake, who has been elevated after performing well for the under-18s since crossing from the Northern Territory. The talented duo will take on fellow teenagers Michael CavallaroJack Saunders and Ben Ianniello, who have been included in Norwood’s reserves side.

At under-18 level, Norwood will be hoping for big games from ever reliable midfielders Cooper Murley and Henry Nelligan. After racing out of the blocks and emerging as the team to beat in the under-18s, the Redlegs have lost their last two matches and will be looking to get back onto the winners list when they host a Central Districts side led by impressive 16-year-old onballer Austin McDonald.

Promising defender Luke Parks and his namesake Callum Park are both set to play vital roles in defence for Glenelg when they host West Adelaide. However they will not be faced with the challenge of nullifying Bloods tall Riley Thilthorpe, with the talented draft prospect set to spend another week on the sidelines as the club manages his workload.

A couple of Henley High School products will take to the ACH Group Stadium turf when the reserves kick off proceedings early on Saturday afternoon. West midfielder Bailey Chamberlain could line-up on potential Crows father-son prospect Luke Edwards, who returns to action after missing several weeks through concussion. Bloods defender Jye Sinderberry and Tigers forward Cooper Horsnell are also set to play reserves for their respective sides.

With Brodie Edwards named in the under-18 side, the Edwards-clan have a son playing for Glenelg across all three levels this weekend. Edwards and the likes of Hagan Wright and Kye Dean will be looking to put an end to Glenelg’s run of five consecutive losses when they take on the Bloods, led by Edward van den Berg and Luke Young.

The Roosters and Eagles will meet on Sunday afternoon in a top-of-the-table clash. Potential first round draft pick and Port Adelaide academy prospect Lachlan Jones will again suit up at league level, having impressed all season with his speed, leap and physical presence across half-back. Rhyan Mansell and Lachlan McNeil have become integral components of the Eagles side this season down back and in the midfield respectively. Roosters tall defender Karl Finlay has been equally as important for North Adelaide, often tasked with handling the oppositions best forward.

Eagle Caleb Poulter retains his spot in the reserves after making the step up last weekend. The usual suspects will take their place on the field for two of the under-18 competition’s in-form sides. The Roosters, fresh off a big win over Glenelg, will be looking to get the ball into the hands of skilful Adelaide academy prospects Tariek Newchurch and Blayne O’Loughlin, with Matthew Borg and James Willis set to handle the grunt work in the midfield. Port Adelaide have a couple of prospects in this clash too, in the form of Eagle midfielders Jase Burgoyne and Taj Schofield. The tall duo of Zac Phillips and Henry Smith could also cause some problems for the North Adelaide defenders.

FIXTURES

League:

Central Districts vs. Norwood | Saturday September 5, 2:10pm @ X Convenience Oval
Sturt vs. South Adelaide | Saturday September 5, 2:10pm @ Peter Motley Oval
Glenelg vs. West Adelaide | Saturday September 5, 4:10pm @ ACH Group Stadium
Woodville-West Torrens vs. North Adelaide | Sunday September 6, 2:45pm @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Reserves:

Central Districts vs. Norwood | Saturday September 5, 11:30am @ X Convenience Oval
Sturt vs. South Adelaide | Saturday September 5, 11:30am @ Peter Motley Oval
Glenelg vs. West Adelaide | Saturday September 5, 1:30pm @ ACH Group Stadium
Woodville-West Torrens vs. North Adelaide | Sunday September 6, 12pm @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Under-18s:

Glenelg vs. West Adelaide | Saturday September 5, 11:05am @ ACH Group Stadium
Norwood vs. Central Districts | Saturday September 5, 11:30am @ Coopers Stadium
South Adelaide vs. Sturt | Saturday September 5, 11:30am @ Flinders University Stadium
North Adelaide vs. Woodville-West Torrens | Saturday September 5, 11:30am @ Prospect Oval

Out to impress: SANFL Round 10 preview

HEADING into South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Round 10, Draft Central brings to you a new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game. In our first edition, we zone in on the talented youngsters taking the field across all three major divisions.

Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect Lachlan Jones will once again suit-up for the Eagles league side when they travel to Cooper Stadium to face Norwood under Friday night lights. The talented 18-year-old is yet to miss a game this season and has played an integral role down back for the first placed Eagles. He is joined in defence by Tasmanian Rhyan Mansell, with 19-year-old Lachlan McNeil named on the wing.

Intercept-marking machine Daniel Fairbrother has been named on the extended bench for the Redlegs league side, after impressing in the under-18s and reserves throughout the year. Midfielder Jack Saunders and small defender Michael Cavallaro both retained their spots in the reserves side for the round ten clash, alongside the athletic Benjamin Ianniello. Potential first round draftee Caleb Poulter will make the step up to Woodville-West Torrens’ reserves side, after displaying plenty of skill, athleticism and versatility with the under-18s.

The in-form Woodville-West Torrens take on the ladder-leading Norwood in the first of an under-18s double-header on Saturday afternoon at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. Prolific inside midfielder Max Lister has combined well with the outside class of Taj Schofield and bottom-ager Jase Burgoyne through the Eagles engine-room. Tall forward Henry Smith will again be the focal point in attack, with fellow AFL Academy member Zac Phillips set to resume his lead ruck role. His duel with Norwood ruckman Nathan Hearing is set to be closely fought, with the likes of bottom-ager Cooper Murley and ball magnet Henry Nelligan hoping to feed off his tap-work.

In the other Friday night game, West Adelaide’s senior side will be desperate to bounce back against Sturt, following last round’s lacklustre loss to previously winless Central Districts. Riley Thilthorpe has earned a week off, after playing all nine matches for the Bloods league side so far in 2020. Meanwhile, Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect James Borlase is set to make his league debut for Sturt after plying his trade at reserves level for the first half of the year. The defender has been named at half-back for the Hisense Stadium clash.

Bloods ball magnet Bailey Chamberlain will play reserves again this week, after proving a touch-above under-18s level earlier in the season. He is one of several South Australian draft prospects who will be eager to make their league debuts before the SANFL season draws to a close.

The Double Blues under-18s will welcome back prolific midfielder Tom Powell with open arms after he missed the club’s round nine match. An on-baller in the Lachie Neale mould, Powell has been the in-form player of the under-18 competition and leads the league in disposals and clearances. He has been named in his customary on-ball role and will be supported by fellow AFL Academy member Mani Liddy and promising bottom-ager Will Spain. Tom Emmett will return to the side to provide a target in attack.

The Bloods under-18s have had a difficult season, but Jye Sinderberry has shown why he is a chance to be drafted. Edward Van den Berg will join him down back after showing some encouraging signs throughout the season to-date.

The Bulldogs will be full of confidence when they head down south to do battle with the Panthers, after breaking their winless-streak last round. Pocket-rocket Corey Durdin will miss at least another week after he sustained a hamstring injury in Round 8. Talented Panthers utility Zac Dumesny will also be missing in action as he recovers from an ankle injury. However bottom-aged sensation Jason Horne is set to play his fourth league game in a row for South Adelaide, after being named on the interchange bench. The ‘Dogs also boast a number of promising talents, including Jordan O’Brien, who will be looking to continue his promising form at senior level up forward. The league clash will also feature a couple of Victorians in Bulldog Jack Toner and Panther Daly Andrews. Both have made encouraging starts to their senior careers across the border.

Lachlan Grubb will have his sights set on a return to the league side when he fronts-up for Central Districts reserves. South Adelaide have handed reserves berths to a couple of their brightest stars in bottom-aged key defender Harry Spacie and flashy wingman Phoenix Spicer. Although polar opposites in their playing styles, expect both player to have an immediate impact in the second-tier competition.

In the under-18s, South Adelaide draft bolter Brayden Cook will likely attract plenty of attention from the Bulldogs defenders, who will be well-aware of his match-winning capabilities up forward and on the wing. Bottom-ager Arlo Draper has been named in the forward pocket, alongside Liam Hamilton and young tall Will Verrall. NT native Brodie Lake will play his fourth under-18s game in the red, white and blue, while fellow Territorian Jonty Patrick will be looking to provide a spark up forward. 16-year-old Austin McDonald will again carry much of the midfield responsibilities for Centrals.

The Roosters senior side will be looking to continue their winning ways when they host Glenelg at Prospect Oval. North Adelaide’s 19-year-old key defender Karl Finlay was terrific in his return from injury last round, blanketing Norwood big-man Tommy Pinyon. His partner in crime Dyson Hilder will line up in the reserves side, along with fellow 19-year-old Harrison Magor. Both will be eager to stake their claims for a return to senior level. Luke Edwards will miss another week after he suffered a concussion in his league debut against Central Districts.

Glenelg’s under-18s will be led by skilful half-back Hagan Wright and the strongly built on-baller Kye Dean. Meanwhile, the Roosters will once again be bolstered by the presence of three Adelaide Next Generation prospects in exciting forward Tariek Newchurch, classy bottom-aged defender Blayne O’Loughlin and athletic backman Lam SimonLeo Coates, who won the SANFL Under-18 MVP award for his performance last round, has been named at centre-half-forward, with James Willis, Kyle Brazell and Matthew Borg set to anchor the red and white midfield unit.

FIXTURES

League:

West Adelaide vs. Sturt | Friday August 28, 7:20pm @ Hisense Stadium
Norwood vs. Woodville-West Torrens | Friday August 28, 7:40pm @ Coopers Stadium
South Adelaide vs. Central Districts | Saturday August 29, 2:10pm @ Flinders University Stadium
North Adelaide vs. Glenelg | Sunday August 30, 2:10pm @ Prospect Oval

Reserves:

West Adelaide vs. Sturt | Friday August 28, 4:50pm @ Hisense Stadium
Norwood vs. Woodville-West Torrens | Friday August 28, 5pm @ Coopers Stadium
South Adelaide vs. Central Districts | Saturday August 29, 11:30am @ Flinders University Stadium
North Adelaide vs. Glenelg | Sunday August 30, 11:30am @ Prospect Oval

Under-18s:

Woodville-West Torrens vs. Norwood | Saturday August 29, 11am @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval
Glenelg vs. North Adelaide | Saturday August 29, 11:30am @ ACH Group Stadium
Central Districts vs. South Adelaide | Saturday August 29, 11:30am @ X Convenience Oval
Sturt vs. West Adelaide | Sunday August 29, 1:25pm @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Young gun focus: SANFL Round 9 wrap

WITH young guns impressing at state league level around the nation, we narrow our focus for this week’s South Australian National Football League (SANFL) wrap to the performances of youth throughout all three grades. There is plenty to unpack in our first altered edition, with a late change seeing West Adelaide blood its latest League debutant, while the top two Under 18s sides suffered defeat on an action-packed super Saturday.

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North Adelaide vs. Norwood

League: North Adelaide 15.13 (103) def. Norwood 8.3 (51)
Reserves:
North Adelaide 10.20 (80) def. Norwood 4.10 (34)
Under 18s:
Norwood 6.9 (45) def. by North Adelaide 7.9 (51)

2019 State Under 18s representative Karl Finlay returned to the League fold for North Adelaide, as the Roosters continued their fine season with a 52-point win over the Redlegs. The key defender notched seven disposals and two marks, with usual partner-in-crime Dyson Hilder unable to make the cut on an extended bench this week.

Under 18s aside, much of Norwood’s young brigade was showcase in the Reserves, as the likes of Michael Cavallaro, Jack Saunders, Daniel Fairbrother, and Ben Ianniello all made the step up. Henry Nelligan, who made his League debut in 2020 racked up a game-high 34 disposals in the Redlegs’ Under 18s loss, highlighting his quality.

Cooper Murley, Bailey Gal, and Billy Haebich all clicked over the 25-disposal mark for Norwood in the same game, while Tom Michalanney and Marcus Roberts both had it 17 times as they push for a senior promotion. Talls Nathan Hearing (20 disposals, 29 hitouts) and Samuel Duke (19 disposals, one goal) were also impactful.

Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) hopeful Tariek Newchurch was another star returnee, finishing with 11 disposals, three tackles, and three inside 50s after booting an early goal. Big Leo Coates was his side’s top ball getter with 31 disposals and nine inside 50s up forward, while Matthew Borg (25 disposals, two goals), Blayne O’Loughlin (26 disposals, seven rebound 50s), and Kyle Brazell (29 disposals, 10 marks) all continued their good form.

Central District vs. West Adelaide

League: Central District 10.13 (73) def. West Adelaide 8.3 (51)
Reserves:
Central District 15.11 (98) def. West Adelaide 6.6 (42)
Under 18s:
West Adelaide 7.11 (53) def. Central District 7.5 (47)

It may have come about via a late change, but GWS GIANTS Academy product Lachlan Squire made no doubt about his League credentials with 19 disposals, five marks, and five clearances on debut. The Queanbeyan native had been cutting his teeth in the Reserves grade and was named as a League emergency over the last few weeks, but made the most of his opportunity upon finally breaking through.

Leading Westies draft prospect Riley Thilthorpe played alongside Squire in the top flight, but had one of his quieter outings with six disposals, nine hitouts, and a goal. Fellow state academy member Bailey Chamberlain may be next in line for a senior berth having made the step up to Reserves footy, with Nicholas Couroupis another junior to have earned a promotion on the weekend.

For Centrals, Lachlan Grubb will hope to return having moved back down to the two’s, while Corey Durdin is set to miss at least another week with a hamstring injury. In the meantime, Victorian Jack Toner has fared well for the Bulldogs in their absence, notching 21 disposals and a goal in Centrals’ first League win for the year.

At Under 18s level, the Bloods pulled off their own maiden win for 2020. Dylan White was prominent with 30 disposals, while Luke Young booted two goals from his 27 touches and nine marks for the victors. Cooper Gilbert (eight clearances, 10 inside 50s) was again terrific at the contest, while Jye Sinderberry (23 disposals, six marks) made a triumphant return down back and Luke Heitmann booted three goals up the other end.

The Bulldogs had their two-game winning streak snapped, but NT recruit Brodie Lake again impressed through midfield with 30 disposals, 12 marks, and five clearances. His work both inside and on the spread was terrific. As per usual, Austin McDonald was again a mainstay through the engine room with 28 touches, while bigman Wyatt Ryan contributed 20 disposals, 21 hitouts, and a goal, and Matthew Borlace continued his solid form.

Glenelg vs. South Adelaide

League: Glenelg 8.2 (50) def. by South Adelaide 13.13 (91)
Reserves:
Glenelg 13.4 (82) def. South Adelaide 7.10 (52)
Under 18s:
South Adelaide 10.8 (68) def. Glenelg 7.3 (45)

Western Jets graduate Daly Andrews collected 18 disposals on his SANFL League debut for South Adelaide, as the Panthers earned an important win over Glenelg to jump the Bays in third spot. Capable of playing inside and outside, Andrews also won four clearances and booted a goal as he pushes his case to be drafted. 17-year-old Jason Horne did his 2021 prospects no harm either, gathering 10 disposals and laying five tackles in the win.

Callum Park and Luke Parks are others looking to stake their draft claims after also missing out last year, notching 12 and 11 disposals respectively. Jackson Edwards had 10 touches on his League return, while Brady Searle will have to wait a touch longer to enter the fold, and Luke Edwards will anticipate a return from injury. Victorian and Mitch Martin is another around the mark.

The Panthers also won out in the Under 18s grade, with Max Clifton (28 disposals, nine inside 50s) and Arlo Draper (26 disposals, 11 clearances) enjoying their time through midfield. Jayden Little and Harry Spacie also found plenty of the ball, while draft bolter Brayden Cook (23 disposals, 10 marks, one goal) was again impressive alongside Liam Hamilton (20 disposals, one goal). Liam Nye booted an equal game-high three goals.

Matching that goal feat was Glenelg’s Jayden Davis, who continues to prove his side’s most productive performer. Davis also had 24 disposals, which was beaten out only by teammates Hagan Wright (30 disposals) and Kye Dean (27) in the Bays’ loss.

WWT Eagles vs. Sturt

League: WWT 11.6 (72) def. Sturt 5.5 (35)
Reserves:
WWT 3.8 (26) def. by Sturt 5.9 (39)
Under 18s:
Sturt 9.4 (58) def. by WWT 11.17 (83)

League ladder leader Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) continues to soar in 2020, with plenty of contribution coming from its young stars. 2019 State Academy member Lachlan McNeil (pictured) was again productive with a team-high 23 disposals and six clearances, leading the way in his side’s big win. Tasmanian recruit Rhyan Mansell (16 disposals, six marks) continues to impress in defence, while Port Adelaide NGA prospect Lachlan Jones and 2019 Eagles Under 18 skipper Zane Williams had relatively quiet outings. It was the latter’s debut.

Casey Voss and Jed McEntee continue to make the grade for Sturt, with Voss adding another 20 disposals to his tally, and McEntee 13 upon surviving the extended bench. Tom Emmett made the step up to Reserves level for Sturt, while mature-age draft hopeful Sam Lowson made his first appearance in South Australia, running out for the Eagles’ Reserves having made the switch over from VFL side, Coburg.

In the Under 18s, Will Spain (31 disposals, one goal) and Mani Liddy (29 disposals, two goals) stood up in the absence of Tom Powell, but the Double Blues still went down by 25 points. Jase Burgoyne and Caleb Poulter cracked the 30-disposal mark for WWT, while Max Litster (26 disposals, three goals) had a day out. Taj Schofield also fared well upon his return with 20 touches and a goal.

Featured Image: Hannah Howard/SANFL