Tag: henry smith

2020 SANFL Round 1 preview: Football returns to South Australia

AFTER weeks of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the season 2020 of the SANFL Statewide Super League will officially kick-off proceedings on Saturday. With Port Adelaide and Adelaide unable to compete, the league’s eight remaining clubs will play rounds one and two in the form of double-headers at the Adelaide Oval, across two weekends. Further fixtures are set to be released at a later date.

Central District V Sturt

Central District will be eager to unveil prized-recruit Daniel Menzel when the Bulldogs lock horns with the Double Blues on Saturday afternoon. Sturt were victorious in both encounters between the two-clubs last season but bid farewell to a continent of premiership players in the off-season. Former AFL-listed trio Abe Davis, Aidyn Johnson and Dean Gore were recruited to bolster the clubs forward and midfield stocks. Centrals finished eighth in 2019 for the second-consecutive season, despite having won three of their final five matches, whilst Sturt reached another SANFL finals series but exited following an elimination final defeat at the hands of Norwood.

As is so often the case, the midfield will likely be where this game is won. Sturt has built a formidable on-ball unit, led by the prolific Sam Colquhoun, brilliant Zane Kirkwood, skipper and clearance king James Battersby and former Cat-turned-Crow Gore. For the ‘Dogs, Travis and Jarrod Schiller, will again be heavily relied upon in the engine-room, having finished second and seventh for disposals last season, respectively. The brothers were prolific, consistent and as industrial as ever in the midfield last season and will again be expected to do much of the heavy lifting, alongside retuning premiership-winning on-baller James Boyd.

Clean-kicking captain Luke Habel, the reliable Justin Hoskin and former-skipper Trent Goodrem will also be integral to their sides success in 2020. The Central District backline will be kept busy attempting to contain lively forwards Josh Hone and Mark Evans, who booted 32 and 30 goals last season, respectively. Meanwhile, with key defensive duo Jack Stephens and Fraser Evans announcing their retirements, the Double Blues will usher-in a new era in the backline, but may have their work cut-out for them by the potent Menzel-brothers.

Central District and Sturt will do battle in the reserves competition at X-Convenience Oval on Sunday. The Bulldogs seconds managed nine wins last season to finish fourth and will benefit from a number of new signings, whilst Sturt were one of the leagues best, finishing the year with 12 wins. Draft hopefuls Corey Durdin (Central District) and James Borlase (Sturt) may feature for their respective clubs at reserves level. Later that afternoon, the under-18s will face-off. Both underage-sides struggled last season, with Centrals finishing last and Sturt seventh. Look out for Bulldogs small forward Isaiah Dudley and midfielder Lachlan Grubb and, for Sturt, on-ballers Mani Liddy and Tom Powell.

 

Woodville-West Torrens V South Adelaide

In the second game of a Saturday double-header, Woodville-West Torrens take on South Adelaide. Both sides narrowly missed out on finals berths last season, with the Eagles loosing four of their final five matches and South pondering what could have been after recording a pair of draws earlier on in the year. The Eagles claimed victory over the Panthers twice in 2019, by 42-points in round 8 and 3-points later in round 13. But South likely enter this clash as favourites, despite losing star Abe Davis to Sturt.

The Panthers recruited well in the off-season, signing long-kicking, former-Power half-backman Matthew Broadbent and promising midfielder James Rose from Sydney. However Rose will not take part in the Statewide Super League season. Although the Eagles didn’t land a big-name recruit, their depth will be bolstered by the return of hard-running wingman Kai Pudney and signing of Rhyan Mansell from North Launceston.

South co-captains Joel Cross and Matthew Rose are amongst the leagues best on-ballers and will go head-to-head with former-AFL listed midfielders Jordan Foote and Jesse Lonergan. Foote, in-particular, has emerged as arguably Woodville-West Torrens most valuable player after winning the best and fairest award in 2019. He averaged 24.7 disposals (at 84% efficiency), 4.6 marks and 6 tackles. The Panthers defensive unit, led by Broadbent and Joseph Haines must nullify the impact of dangerous tall-forward Jack Hayes and lively small James Rowe, who combined to boot 60 goals in 2019.

The two clubs will face each other in the under-18s on late Sunday morning at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval, with the reserves to follow in the afternoon. The Eagles and Panthers have been two of the best sides in the underage competition previous years and their round one encounter is likely to be a close-one, with both sides featuring potential draftees, including South’s Zac Dumesny, Nick Kraemer and bottom-agers Jason Horne and Matthew RobertsTaj Schofield, Henry Smith and Lachlan Jones are likely types from the Eagles.

 

North Adelaide V West Adelaide

‘Westies’ and the Roosters will kick-off proceedings on Sunday, with both sides undoubtedly eager to bounce-back after disappointing 2019 campaigns. Having been forced to start last season with -4 premiership points, North Adelaide will be grateful to commence the new season on a level playing-field under recently-appointed senior coach Jacob Surjan. The Bloods ended the season on the bottom of the ladder but will no-doubt be eyeing off a scalp first up, having defeated the Roosters by two-points in round 13 last season for one of their only two victories.

West bid farewell to loyal veterans Chris Schmidt and Jono Beech but gained Sam Davidson and Jordon Boyle in the off-season. The Roosters were exceptionally busy in the signing-department, landing former-Hawk Billy Hartung, tough on-baller Andrew Moore, classy backman Harrison Wigg and regaining small forwards Robbie Young and Kym LeBois from St.Kilda and Carlton. Alongside their flashy recruits, Tom Schwarz, Jarrod Almond and co. are expected to get the red and white over this line in this encounter, but battle-hardened Bloods midfielders Tom Keough and Kaine Stevens will do their best to inspire West.

Stevens was once-again brilliant last season, averaging 27 disposals (at 88 per cent efficiency), 5.2 clearances and 4.8 tackles. Matchups against dangerous Roosters forwards Keenan Ramsey, Mitch Harvey and Alex Barns may prove critical to the end result. Watch-out for exciting young West Adelaide ruckman Riley Thilthorpe, who looks a likely first-round draftee.

The league and under-18 sides from North Adelaide and West Adelaide will meet on Saturday at Prospect Oval. Like their respective league sides, the Roosters and Bloods reserves struggled last season, finishing in the bottom-two spots. However, North Adelaide, in particular, will be hoping an increase in depth via strong recruiting can lift them to the heights of 2018.

West’s under 18s side was strong last season, recording 12 wins but failed to make the grand final. Watch for medium-forward Jye Sinderberry and wingman Bailey Chamberlain for the Bloods. Under-16s skipper Tyson Coe may also break-through for an under-18s game after the competition was cancelled for the year. Jamison Murphy and Tariek Newchurch are likely to feature prominently for the Roosters at either level.

 

Glenelg V Norwood

In what has been marketed as the game of the round, reigning premiers Glenelg face Norwood to close-out the opening weekend. Both sides are tipped to feature prominently come the pointy-end of the season. The clubs split their two contests in 2019, with Norwood claiming a narrow five-point victory in round one before Glenelg earned-back bragging rights with a dominant 46-point win in round 13. This match is brimming with talent across all zones of the ground, after both clubs added further to their talent in the off-season. In the heart of the midfield, reigning Magarey Medallist Luke Partington will be joined by tough-duo Jonty Scharenberg and Matthew Snook, classy wingman Marlon Motlop and recruits Billy Stretch and Jackson Edwards.

They will compete all-night against stars Lewis JohnstonMitch Grigg and Matthew Panos, reigning best and fairest winner Brad McKenzie, impressive youngster Cole Gerloff and experienced new signings Richard Douglas and Ryan Bastinac. The midfield-battle will be hotly contested and looms as the key to victory in this matchup. Following Jesse White’s retirement, the Bays big-men will be up-against-it, battling dominant ruckman Sam Baulderstone.

In attack, Glenelg will be looking to lace-out Ken Farmer medalist Liam McBean, x-factor medium-forward Luke Reynolds and newcomer Matthew Allen, whilst Peter Bampton and Dom Barry will again be the focal points in attack for the Redlegs. Captain Max Proud is set to anchor the Bays defence once-again, whilst Norwood look to cover the departures of retired defenders Jace Bode and Alex Georgiou.

The Redlegs ended a 21-year drought when they defeated Woodville-West Torrens to claim the 2019 Reserves premiership. They should be around mark again whilst the Tigers will be looking to improve upon a fifth-placed finish. The clubs face each other in the lower grades on Saturday at ACH Group Stadium. Glenelg’s Lewis Rayson and Cooper Horsnell are ones to watch at under-18s level, along with Norwood’s Henry NelliganNed Carey and Cooper Murley.

2020 SANFL Club Preview: Woodville-West Torrens Eagles

ANOTHER side seeking redemption in 2020 will be Woodville-West Torrens (WWT), led by incoming coach Jade Sheedy and new standalone skipper Luke Thompson after an unexpected SANFL League finals miss in 2019. The Eagles boast plenty of depth and some youngsters ready to crack the senior grades, with their committed leaders also among the best in the competition. We take you through the ins, outs, and important players at WWT this season.

>> CHECK OUT OUR WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

LEAGUE/ RESERVES:

The Eagles’ Reserves and Under 18s may have both made their way to grand final berths in 2019, but the League side missed finals with a negative record (8-10) in its last campaign, and will be keen to jump straight back into the top five. With a coach set to make his senior debut in the role and a new-look leadership group to boot, supporters should be confident of seeing a rise in their sides’ stocks in 2020. WWT is often lauded for its strong depth and junior program, with a bunch of talent again set to emerge after six players moved on to AFL lists last year.

An original list of seven recruits has been adjusted to six on the eve of the season, with Victorian bigman Liam Buxton opting to remain in his home state amid the current climate. A powerful key forward and ruck option, the former Casey Demon was set to provide a crucial outlet for star goalkicker Jack Hayes, who may also rotate through the ruck this season.

Another player set to be challenged in terms of roles is 2019 leading goalkicker James Rowe, who seems poised to spend a touch more time through midfield after catching the eye of AFL recruiters and earning a state combine invite. Rowe was named in last year’s SANFL team of the year alongside former Sydney Swan Jordan Foote, who is also the Eagles’ reigning club champion. The duo is set to run through the engine room alongside the enforcing figure of Jesse Lonergan, who will be third in line as a leader behind Thompson and Joseph Sinor.

In terms of those already within the ranks who could act as new recruits are Jimmy Toumpas and 2019 Under 18 state representative Lachlan McNeil. Toumpas battled injury throughout his return season to WWT last year, running out six times at League level, while McNeil is a ball winning midfielder who notched 13 Reserves appearances in 2019. Jamie Coff could be another youngster to make the step-up to League football alongside McNeil as a key position option. Fan favourite Jared Petrenko could also feature late in the year, but in not fully committed to playing as of yet having discussed the possibility of returning in a mentor role.

Adding to the youthful depth of the squad are a range of fresh recruits, with the return of Eagles junior Kai Pudney also a welcome addition. Pudney spent just one year on Port Adelaide’s rookie list before making his way back to Woodville Oval. Rhyan Mansell, the cousin of North Melbourne youngster Tarryn Thomas makes his way over from Tasmania with plenty of hype, while Pierce Seymour is an incoming versatile defender who made his League debut for Adelaide last year. Damien Hill, Jake Johansen, and Mitch Mead round out the inclusions.

On the flip-side, no less than 15 players have left the Eagles with six of them moving up to AFL level. The good news is that WWT lost only two players to rival SANFL clubs, but the bad news is that one of them is James Boyd, who heads to Central District alongside Bulldogs junior Ben Nason. 200-gamer Scott Lewis‘ loss will be felt as one of two retirees, with bigman/reality TV star Seb Guilhaus also ending his time in the league. Brothers Jack and Cooper Gaffney will return to the local level, along with a trio of other fringe squad members.

With a solid and experienced core, strength through midfield, and a notable spine, WWT should be a side to jump straight back into the finals race. As will be touched on below, the beauty of the squad is that there will be a number of emerging talents hungry to make an impact in the senior grades, and juniors primed to flourish as they continue to develop. With strong results at Reserves and Under 18 level, the League team should prosper in 2020.

UNDER 18s:

After taking home both the minor and post-season premierships in 2019, expectations will be high on the Eagles’ typically strong Under 18 group. Another five prospects feature in the State Academy hub, led by the likes of Taj Schofield and Lachlan Jones, who are Port Adelaide father-son and Next Generation Academy hopefuls respectively. Schofield is a classy small midfielder who will look to transition into an inside role, while Jones is a well-built defender whose readymade frame may well see him feature early at League level. Jase Burgoyne is another who will hope to end up at Alberton as a 2021-eligible father-son candidate – the son of Peter and brother of Trent.

Twin talls Zac Phillips and Henry Smith are both promising and raw types, with Phillips more of a key position forward, while Smith thrives in the ruck. Caleb Poulter is the fifth hub member, a versatile type who is somewhat of a late bloomer having represented South Australia at Under 16 level in 2019 as an over-ager. It will be difficult for the Eagles to top last year’s effort, but the core of players is there and should shine if not snatched up by the senior sides.

>> GET TO KNOW: WWT Eagles Under 18s
>> DRAFT WATCH: Taj Schofield

>> 2020 South Australia Under 18 Squad Prediction

Squad predictions: 2020 South Australia Under 18s

THE annual Under 18 National Championships may be the only chance we get to catch a glimpse of the class of 2020 before draft day, with a decision on the recommencement of competition pushed back to at least September. In the meantime, Draft Central takes a look at how each regional squad may line up should the carnival come around, but with a few stipulations in place. Last week we began with our Vic Metro and Vic Country predictions, and today we take a look at South Australia’s (SA) potential line-up.

GUIDELINES:

  • Top-agers (2002-born) have been prioritised due to the limited season and exposure
  • Of those, AFL Academy Hub members also gain priority for the starting squad
  • Bottom-agers (2003-born) in the hub, and top-agers outside it are limited to a total of three spots
  • 19-year-old inclusions are also limited, having already staked their claims in previous years

A lot may change between now and when the squad will be announced, and it should be noted that players with known long-term injuries will not be picked here. Of course, the sides may vary greatly as players look to shift and develop in different positions, but each member has been selected based on the roles they have previously played. Given only previous form, preseason testing and scratch matches are what we have to go off, bolters are also difficult to gauge at this point.

Players named as depth outside of the initial squad below are inevitably options who will rotate through the side, and it is impossible to fit all the options within a list of 22. But without further ado, let’s get stuck into the third squad prediction, with SA’s talent broken down line-by-line.

* – denotes bottom-aged

DEFENCE

FB – Lachlan Jones, James Borlase, Isaiah Dudley*
HB – Will Schreiber, Jye Sinderberry, Zac Dumesny

Height looms as somewhat of an issue in our proposed defence, with versatile utility James Borlase the tallest of the lot at 189cm, joined in a key position post by the 188cm Jye Sinderberry. But that is not to say the chosen six lack in marking power or strength, with South Adelaide’s Zac Dumesny a capable interceptor, while Lachlan Jones adds a good amount of grunt with his 184cm/88kg frame.

Glenelg’s Will Schreiber adds to the back six’s solidity, while diminutive bottom-ager Isaiah Dudley can fill a pocket at either end on account of his ground level pressure. Should the SA coaches look toward a more conventional key position structure, Riley Thilthorpe is a tall option who can play just about anywhere, but will more likely be used as a ruck/forward. Luke Edwards is another half-back option having played there during last year’s Under 18s carnival.

MIDFIELD

C – Bailey Chamberlain, Luke Edwards, Tom Powell
FOL – Riley Thilthorpe, Jamison Murphy, Taj Schofield

The Croweaters lay claim to one of the stronger and more diverse midfield groups, and we are excited about how this one stacks up. It was tough to whittle down the options, but the balance of this six looks about right.

On the outside, Bailey Chamberlain and Tom Powell provide some real dash and athleticism, and will also be able to rotate through the centre bounces with their speed/agility combination. There may be a slight query on Powell’s endurance coming off spates of long-term injuries, but he was impressive during preseason testing.

Forming the centre bounce core is arguably a group of four midfielders, with Thilthorpe a dynamic ruck option who fares just as well at ground level. While he may feature as a key forward or utility at times as he improves his ruck craft, the range of other options in that department means he can be utilised around the ground.

A couple of potential father-sons make their move into the middle, with Edwards a big-bodied inside type who compliments the smooth moving Taj Schofield very well. Edwards, who is also a very capable defender is a must in the midfield given Jamison Murphy and the remaining candidates stand no taller than 180cm. Murphy’s hard-at-it style means he should have no troubles on the inside though, and provides a great story as a former Australian Under-17 cricket captain.

FORWARD

HF – Tariek Newchurch, Kaine Baldwin, Jason Horne*
FF – Corey Durdin, Henry Smith, Lachlan Grubb

There are a couple of players who are simply essential choices in the final team; with Under 16 Division 1 MVP Corey Durdin slotting into a pocket, and returning key forward Kaine Baldwin a lock across half-forward. It was tempting to slot Thilthorpe in at centre-half forward, but Baldwin is just as capable there at 193cm and 91kg.

172cm pocket-rocket, Durdin is a terrific midfielder at Under 18s level, but is sure to find a home as a small forward at the next level – as justified by his form in said position for Central Districts’ League side. Baldwin has not played any footy for over a year due to an ACL tear, but is a contested marking phenom who can also roam further afield.

He will likely be joined up the spine by Henry Smith, a raw tall option who marks the ball at its highest point at over 200cm. At his feet and alongside Durdin in our side is Lachlan Grubb, another who has entered the senior realm for Centrals’ Reserves side. He is an impressive athlete, much like silky Adelaide NGA prospect Tariek Newchurch. Last year’s State Under 16s captain and MVP Jason Horne rounds out the six, a player already accustomed to playing above his age group and one who may also feature through midfield.

INTERCHANGE

INT – Caleb Poulter, Mani Liddy, Nicholas Kraemer, Ned Carey

This was a very difficult bench to select with a bunch of line-calls, as will become obvious with the depth listed below. Ned Carey features as the lone key position option, able to fulfil a ruck-oriented role alongside the likes of Thilthorpe and Smith while resting forward.

Caleb Poulter is a dynamic option who could well have made it onto the half-forward flank, much like how Nicholas Kraemer could enter the midfield fray and Mani Liddy could be utilised on either of the said lines. Kraemer is one who can add some strength through the engine room, while Liddy could feature there too having previously been pushed out to the flanks.

TOP-AGE DEPTH

A pair of smalls who will likely rotate through the squad include Henry Nelligan and Cooper Horsnell. Nelligan is a midfielder who is never far away from the action, able to find the ball with ease at 170cm. Horsnell is the more forward-inclined of the two, able to find the goals while adding the string of wing play to his bow.

Another 200cm key position option, Zac Phillips is from the Woodville-West Torrens program and could get a look-in as ruck or key forward depth. An impressive utility who may also come into consideration is Riley Holder, who posted very impressive numbers for Glenelg in a range of roles at 190cm.

Aside from the Academy-listed top-agers mentioned above, Glenelg quartet Kye DeanLuke Pedlar, Jordan Moore, and Reid Kuller are names who have floated around the system, while Bulldogs pair Samuel Falland and Lewis Cowham may also be thereabouts, along with Norwood tall Sam Duke and West Adelaide’s Harvey Bock. There are of course, many others who will come under consideration, but the Academy group is quite strong and difficult to look past.

THE BOTTOM-AGERS

The top-agers for 2020 set the benchmark with a national carnival win in their Under 16s year, and while last year’s 16s crop could not achieve the same feat, there are certainly some bright talents who will feature in the future.

Cooper Murley and Matthew Roberts were equally difficult omissions from the starting squad given our stipulation of three bottom-agers, maximum, and a decent midfield core. An Under-16 All-Australian last year alongside Horne and Dudley, Murley is a highly talented small midfielder who can also move forward, while Roberts has similar versatility as a 182cm midfielder.

Arlo Draper and Lewis Rayson are another two bottom-aged prospects among the Academy ranks, and could both make a case for breaking into the side. Athletic tall forward Morgan Ferres could come into consideration among the key position ranks, though the stocks are already quite full in that department.

Harry Tunkin is a Prince Alfred College and Glenelg product who impressed at Under 16 level, while Port Adelaide father-son hopeful Jase Burgoyne is also coming through the ranks and could feature at some point before his top-age year.

>> SANFL U18 CLUB PAGES:

Central District // Preseason interviews
Glenelg // Preseason interviews
North Adelaide // Preseason interviews
Norwood // Preseason interviews
South Adelaide // Preseason interviews
Sturt // Preseason interviews
West Adelaide // Preseason interviews
WWT Eagles // Preseason interviews

>> SANFL U18 PLAYER FEATURES:

AFL Draft Watch:

Kaine Baldwin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Marquee Matchups:

Durdin vs. Campbell

2020 AFL Draft Positional Analysis: Key Forwards

FOLLOWING a draft class somewhat short on pure key position forward options comes a cohort which has already shown promise in that exact area. Though they may not currently have the opportunity to show their worth on the field, exposed form and long preseasons for most allow for a window into how the current stocks stack up.

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

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

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

Kaine Baldwin (Glenelg/South Australia)
193cm | 91kg

A rare case in that he may well find his way into draft contention despite not playing any football for two seasons. Baldwin had cracked the SANFL Reserves level for Glenelg after an outstanding Under 16 national carnival, but unfortunately went down with an untimely ACL injury in 2019. A year of recovery has him ready to go though, and a 20.8 yo-yo test score in preseason suggests he is building back the running ability that sets him apart. Baldwin’s contested marking is also eye-catching, utilising his strong frame to split packs. He comes in lightly below true key position height, so is also working on moving further afield.

>> DRAFT WATCH: Kaine Baldwin


Jackson Callow (Tasmania/Allies)

193cm | 95kg

A traditional, hulking key forward who thrives on the physical aspect of the game. Callow was a standout for Tasmania at Under 16 level, and more recently in the NAB League having booted 24 goals from 14 games for the Devils in 2019. At 95kg, he is well built and hardly beaten one-on-one, but also has the clean hands and speed to mark strongly at full tilt. Callow has garnered heavy opposition attention thus far as Tasmania’s spearhead, but does not hold back on the aggression to shake it off. He can work on sometimes reigning that aspect of his game in, while also sharpening his consistency in front of goal.

>> MARQUEE MATCHUP: Callow vs. Fleeton


Josh Eyre (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)

197cm | 85kg

Eyre is an Essendon Next Generation Academy (NGA) member who is still quite raw, but has some terrific attributes. Having endured his share of injuries across the last two seasons, Eyre has grown to a more traditional key position height and is filling out nicely. Those extra centimetres and an added five kilograms since the start of last year point towards Eyre featuring as a centre half-forward in 2020, though he is able to play up either end or even on a wing. An exciting one for Bombers fans, who have some worthy academy talents coming through the ranks.

>> Q&A: Josh Eyre


Ollie Lord (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

195cm | 83kg

The Sandringham product came on strongly last season, featuring across five games for Sandringham in between his Geelong Grammar commitments, while also running out for Vic Metro’s Under 17 side. Lord is an athletic tall who sits at the precipice of true key position size, with his leap and high marking the most prominent features of his game. Still very much a developing type, the 18-year-old did well to crack into Sandringham’s side last year given its plethora of tall options. Trained at Melbourne during the off-season, and should make up part of Vic Metro’s spine in 2020.

>> Q&A: Ollie Lord


Logan McDonald (Perth/Western Australia)

195cm | 85kg

Another standout from the 2018 Under 16 carnival, McDonald has since shown plenty of the same potential having represented the Black Ducks at Under 18 level in 2019 as a bottom-ager. The Perth product has grown to key position size over the past year, and is one of the leading candidates in his role on the back of his ability to cover the ground well, clunk strong marks on the lead, and most importantly, find the goals. Has great endurance for a player of his size, notching a score of 21.3 on the preseason yo-yo test.

>> DRAFT WATCH: Logan McDonald


Liam McMahon (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)

193cm | 80kg

A developing forward who shot into calculations for representative honours, McMahon is perhaps a prospect who finds himself measuring up at an in-between size. While he certainly plays like a key forward with his terrific leap and sticky hands on the lead, McMahon does not have the height or weight of some of the other forwards on this list – perhaps suiting more of a third tall option at the elite level. Still, he averaged almost a goal per game over 15 NAB League outings in 2019 and should be another to feature in Vic Metro’s starting side.

>> FEATURE: Liam McMahon


Riley Thilthorpe (West Adelaide/South Australia)

200cm | 98kg

One of the most exciting draft prospects and a candidate to be taken first off the board is West Adelaide’s Thilthorpe, who mixes his time between the ruck and centre half-forward. The South Australian already has experience at SANFL League level and at 200cm and 98kg, is a readymade key position player. Thilthorpe’s running capacity is elite for a player of his size, with his aerial presence and impact around the ground also desirable assets. He could develop into a modern day ruck who plays like a fourth midfielder, or become a swingman given his high ceiling.

>> GET TO KNOW: West Adelaide U18s


Josh Treacy (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)

193cm | 95kg

Another more traditional key forward is Treacy, one of Bendigo’s leading prospects. The well built centre half-forward is not afraid to throw his weight around and is aggressive both in his leading and ground-level presence. While that aggression can sometimes land him in trouble, the 193cm Pioneer has shown there is more to his game. Speaking of, Treacy was spotted at a few centre bounces last year, so may even be poised for a move up the ground given he lacks the height of others in this category.

>> FEATURE: Josh Treacy


Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Country)

194cm | 83kg

Arguably the most talked about draft prospect to this point has been Ugle-Hagan, a candidate to join the exclusive number one pick list, and a Western Bulldogs NGA product. The Warrnambool native formerly represented the Greater Western Victoria region, but has since relocated to Oakleigh’s zone given he boards at Scotch College. Ugle-Hagan is remarkably athletic, testing well across all areas during pre-season and proving just why he is near-unbeatable at full flight. His breakaway speed on the lead and high marking are outstanding, though Ugle-Hagan will be working on his field kicking and consistency in front of goal. Has also played in defence at times, but looks most comfortable up forward.

>> DRAFT WATCH: Jamarra Ugle-Hagan


OTHERS TO CONSIDER

Among the others to consider are a good number of prospects who missed out on being drafted last year as top-agers, and 2020-eligible players who may well find their way onto other lists – position-wise.

Sandringham over-ager Felix Flockart is a mobile 200cm bolter who can play forward or through the ruck, and will be one to watch when/if football returns having impressed during pre-season.

Another in that category is Northern’s Liam Kolar, who has transferred some elite traits from an athletics and soccer background. The 194cm Knight has a high-level mix of speed and endurance, and looks promising with his lead-up work from the forward 50.

The likes of West Australian Shannon Neale, South Australia’s Zac Phillips, Ned Carey, and Henry Smith, and Victorian Jack Diedrich also came into consideration, but should feature on the list of rucks to later be analysed.

Dynamic NT Thunder Academy jet Joel Jeffrey can fulfil the high marking forward role, but is a touch undersized to be considered key position at this stage, while James Borlase and Sam Tucker are tall utilities who may feature more as defenders.

In terms of other 19-year-olds, Kobe Tozer is a likely type whose development has been restricted by injury, while 2019 Allies representative Liam Delahunty may look to stake his claim having crossed to Victoria from the GWS GIANTS Academy.

NAB Leaguers Jamieson Rossiter and Kyle Yorke are others who may get a second look as over-agers, while Charlie Dean is another who was poised to return in between VFL duties – though he may be utilised up the other end.

Scouting notes: Under-17 Futures

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

Team Brown (Black)

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

#1 Jake Bowey (Sandringham Dragons)

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

#2 Braeden Campbell (Sydney Swans Academy)

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

#3 Taj Schofield (Woodville-West Torrens)

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

#4 Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons)

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

#5 Blake Coleman (Brisbane Lions Academy)

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

#6 Will Phillips (Oakleigh Chargers)

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

#8 Eddie Ford (Western Jets)

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

#16 Connor Downie (Eastern Ranges)

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

#17 Saxon Crozier (Brisbane Lions Academy)

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

#18 Luke Edwards (Glenelg)

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

#19 Sam Collins (Tasmania)

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

#20 Elijah Hollands (Murray Bushrangers)

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

#21 Blake Morris (Subiaco)

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

#22 Joel Jeffrey (Northern Territory)

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

#23 James Borlase (Sturt)

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

#24 Nick Stevens (GWV Rebels)

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

#25 Reef McInnes (Oakleigh Chargers)

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

#31 Josh Treacy (Bendigo Pioneers)

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

#32 Logan McDonald (Perth)

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

#33 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (Oakleigh Chargers)

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

#34 Riley Thilthorpe (West Adelaide)

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

#35 Shannon Neale (South Fremantle)

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

#36 Zach Reid (Gippsland Power)

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

Team Dal Santo (White)

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

#1 Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans Academy)

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

#2 Joel Western (Claremont)

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

#3 Corey Durdin (Central District)

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

#4 Wil Parker (Eastern Ranges)

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

#5 Finlay Macrae (Oakleigh Chargers)

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

#6 Tanner Bruhn (Geelong Falcons)

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

#7 Zavier Maher (Murray Bushrangers)

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

#8 Nathan O’Driscoll (Perth)

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

#9 Zac Dumesny (South Adelaide)

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

#10 Jack Carroll (East Fremantle)

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

#16 Archie Perkins (Sandringham Dragons)

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

#17 Lachlan Jones (Woodville-West Torrens)

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

#18 Oliver Henry (Geelong Falcons)

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

#19 Carter Michael (Brisbane Lions Academy)

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

#20 Brodie Lake (Northern Territory/Peel Thunder)

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

#21 Alex Davies (Gold Coast SUNS Academy)

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

#22 Heath Chapman (West Perth)

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

#31 Josh Green (GWS GIANTS Academy)

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

#32 Jackson Callow (Tasmania)

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

#33 Ollie Lord (Sandringham Dragons)

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

#34 Cody Brand (Calder Cannons)

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

#36 Henry Walsh (Geelong Falcons)

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

#37 Henry Smith (Woodville-West Torrens)

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

Team Brown reigns supreme in Under 17s Future game

THE top talents in next year’s AFL Draft crop stepped up in Team Brown’s thumping 47-point win over Team Dal Santo in the Under-17 All Stars game at the MCG. Despite a close first half, Team Brown ran away with it in the second and did not look back making the most of their opportunities with Sydney Swans Academy prospect Braeden Campbell awarded Best on Ground for his efforts following his 14 disposals and three goals.

Team Brown started with a massive flurry of goals, prompting some onlookers to no doubt wonder whether the game would end up a blowout. Campbell was prolific in the opening couple of minutes winning a number of touches and kicking a great goal on his left out of a stoppage to open the account. It was fitting in a day where the big, big sound from the west of the town was MCG-bound, it was Western Jets’ excitement machine Eddie Ford who got going early, receiving a handball from Jake Bowey, with Ford booting a second later on from a stoppage close to goal. In between Ford’s two majors, Blake Coleman laid a massive tackle close to goal running down an opponent and then converting the set shot. With Team Brown 24 points ahead, Team Dal Santo finally clicked into gear with Henry Smith booting a much need goal for the white side. When Henry Walsh received a gift off a marking contest and put it through, the goal was paid and by quarter time, the margin was back to 11. Ford was the most prominent in the opening term with the eight touches and two goals, while Will Phillips’ work on the inside for Brown was superb to rack up seven, while for Dal Santo, Alex Davies and Nathan O’Driscoll both had six apiece.

The second term continued on from the momentum flow that Team Dal Santo had built late in the first, with pocket rocket Corey Durdin snapping on the outside of his boot for the first. Shortly after, Errol Gulden ran onto the easiest of loose balls thanks to a brilliant double-tap from Ollie Lord. When Jackson Callow used his strength and smarts to recover in a marking contest and snap around his body, Team Dal Santo were suddenly seven points in front. Facing a deficit and the game starting to get away from them, Team Brown got up and about with Riley Thilthorpe snapping around his body using his terrific athleticism for a big man, but just hit the post, with Reef McInnes doing the same thing from a set shot. Soon Elijah Hollands broke the drought with a goal in the nineteenth minute mark to end the five consecutive goals added by Team Dal Santo courtesy of a great snap close to goal. Jamarra Ugle-Hagan marked in space and had a kick after the half-time siren to put his side in front, but his long-range drifted to the right. Team Dal Santo headed into the break with a two-point lead, turning a 24-point deficit midway into the first term around. Davies and Ford both headed into the break with 13 touches apiece, while Hollands (eight that term) and Finlay Macrae (seven that term) really lifted. Meanwhile O’Driscoll and Phillips were busy once again for their respective sides.

Up by two points at half-time, Team Dal Santo worked hard to regain some composure but simply could not match Team Brown who went on a scoring spree. Team Brown worked the ball down the field with ease opening up space with consecutive handballs and overlap run with a clever inboard kick landing in the hands of Noah Gribble who made no mistake slotting it through the big sticks and handing his side the lead. Team Brown continued to mount pressure locking the ball inside their forward 50 with Campbell getting on the end of it and banging it through the goals off a step around the body. Phillip worked in overdrive to win the ball at the coalface and while also showcasing his physical presence with his strong tackles and smothering defensive pressure to try and shut down options. Campbell provided plenty of excitement throughout the third term dashing through the middle of the ground, off loading and then receiving the footy just outside 50 to ping it through the goals for his second in the term. Gulden worked relentlessly down in defence trying to propel the ball out of defensive 50 but it was not enough to stop the flow of Team Brown. Hollands flexed his muscles with a thumping goal from beyond 50 to push his side 23 points in front then backing it up, winning the clearance and pummelling the ball forward to provide another opportunity inside 50 with Phillips the beneficiary with a snap around the body. Joel Jeffrey continued to pile on the pain for Team Dal Santo adding another goal to the tally while Joel Western stood up under pressure for Team Dal Santo working hard to move the ball out of defence.

With one quarter to go Team Brown seemed to have the ball on a string and continue their forward momentum. McInnes released a centring ball in the forward 50 with Coleman selling a bit of candy and running into an open goal square for his second major for the game. Oliver Henry showcased his class to read the flight of the ball and take a strong intercept mark deep inside Team Dal Santo’s forward 50 and slot the first goal of the second half for his side. Bowey (22 disposals) got up high taking a huge mark on the wing and using it cleanly with McInnes reaping the rewards and bagging another goal, the talented forward relished the extra space sliding out the back and adding another major to cap off an impressive display. Team Brown displayed class and composure moving the ball down the field with ease starting with Campbell down back breaking through the midfield and releasing a neat kick to Phillips (21 disposals, 14 tackles) who then hit up Jeffery lace out to establish a commanding lead. Despite the mounting Team Brown pressure Jack Carroll did not let up slotting a nice goal to reduce the lead and show some fight for the team in white. Josh Treacy showed his class with a strong grab deep inside 50 and made no mistake putting through his first goal for the game. Team Brown seemed to have an answer for everything combatting Team Dal Santo’s every move with class, precision and composure. Davies manoeuvred his way in the forward 50 to break free of the tackle and snag a goal for Team Dal Santo which was quickly followed by a Joshua Green goal to reduce the margin back to 41 points. But, unfortunately it was a little too late for Team Dal Santo with the game all but done and dusted credit to a third quarter blitz from Team Brown.

Campbell was one of a number of standout players on the day, with Team Brown captain Hollands having a big day through the midfield with 24 touches, five clearances, four inside 50s and two goals, while Ford finished the day with 20 touches to go with his first quarter goals. Phillips (14 tackles) was remarkable defensively to go with his 21 touches, while Bowey picked up 22 in a strong effort. Gulden stood tall for the losing side to give Swans’ fans plenty to smile about with a goal from 19 disposals and six inside 50s, while Alex Davies had 18 touches on the day. Zavier Maher was also productive through midfield, as was Macrae, and Western in defence.

TEAM BROWN 4.0 | 5.2 | 11.5 |16.6 (102)
TEAM DAL SANTO 2.1 | 5.4 | 5.5 | 9.7 (55)

Brown: B. Campbell 3, E. Hollands 2, E.Ford 2, R. McInnes 2, B. Coleman 2, J. Jeffrey 2, N. Gribble, W. Phillips, J. Treacy.
Dal Santo: H. Smith, H. Walsh, C. Durdin, E. Gulden, J. Callow, O. Henry, J. Carroll, A. Davies, J. Green.

ADC BEST:

Brown: B. Campbell, E. Hollands, W. Phillips, E. Ford, C. Downie, R. McInnes.
Dal Santo: E. Gulden, A. Davies, Z. Maher, C. Durdin, J. Western, F. Macrae.

SANFL weekly wrap: Eagles claim Under-18 premiership

WOODVILLE-WEST Torrens is celebrating an Under 18s premiership after downing South Adelaide in the decider on the weekend, while the Eagles’ reserves have a chance at glory after downing Sturt, while Glenelg will face Port Adelaide in the League Grand Final.

UNDER 18S:

Woodville-West Torrens 12.11 (83) defeated South Adelaide 9.6 (60)

Woodville-West Torrens completed a dominant SANFL Under 18s season with a commanding 23-point win over South Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on the weekend. The Panthers started strongly to boot the first two goals of the game within three and a half minutes, but then the Eagles piled on five goals to one to end the term with a 13-point quarter time break. It was much of the same in the second term as the Eagles added three goals to one and blew the margin out to 28 points with danger signs beginning to show for the Panthers. After a slow start to the third term, South piled on three consecutive goals to 10 points nearing the end of the quarter, before a couple of crucial majors to the Eagles put the margin back out to 22. Daniel Sladojevic stepped up with two last quarter goals for the Panthers, but could not bridge the gap greater than 15 points as the Eagles held firm to run out 12.11 (83) to 9.6 (60) winners. Michael Frederick picked up 21 disposals and had nine marks (three contested), nine inside 50s and one goal to win the Alan Stewart Medal for best on ground, while Luke Barnett had 20 touches, two marks, five clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds. Bottom-age talents Lachlan Jones (18 disposals, four marks and eight rebounds) and Taj Schofield (18 disposals, three marks, five tackles and three inside 50s) were also impressive, while Zane Williams and Josh Morris combined for five goals in the victory. Henry Smith worked hard throughout the contest with 18 hitouts from 13 touches, four marks, three clearances and a goal. For the Panthers, Zac Dumesny had 21 disposals, five marks, three clearances, three inside 50s and four rebounds, while Jason Horne booted a goal from 17 touches, seven clearances and seven tackles. Sladojevic and Beau McCreery both booted multiple goals with two apiece, while Damon Freitag was dominant in the ruck on his way to 36 hitouts from 11 touches, two marks, three clearances and three tackles.

LEAGUE:

Glenelg 16.9 (105) defeated Adelaide 11.12 (78)

Glenelg has bounced back from its agonisingly close loss to Port Adelaide to secure victory over Adelaide and earn a second crack at the Magpies in the decider. The Tigers were dominant from the first bounce, piling on four consecutive goals to open the game, before the Crows hit back with two of their own to cut the quarter time deficit to 13 points. Glenelg extended its lead to 17 points midway through the second term, making the most of their two scoring opportunities with 2.0 to Adelaide’s 1.4. The Crows soon found their range though, remarkably piling on four consecutive goals to hit the front by eight points at the main break. Glenelg drew level nine minutes into the third term, but a quick answer from Paul Hunter saw the Crows regain a six point advantage. From there it was all Glenelg as the Tigers slammed home five goals to end the term and the first three of the final quarter to blow out the margin to 34 points and all but secure the victory. The teams went goal-for-goal from then, but it was too little too late as Luke Reynolds had a day out with five majors, while Liam McBean booted four of his own with the two forwards dominating everything up front. Margarey Medallist Luke Partington did not let his win get in the way of team success, racking up 28 touches, three marks, eight tackles, five inside 50s and a goal in the Tigers’ victory. Bradley Agnew (27 disposals, eight clearances, 10 tackles and four inside 50s) and Andrew Bradley (23 disposals, five marks, four clearances and two rebounds) were also prolific, while top draft prospect Will Gould had 10 rebounds and four marks to go with his 19 touches in defence. For the Crows, it was Patrick Wilson who found plenty of the pill with 29 touches, four marks, seven clearances, three rebounds, two inside 50s and three tackles, while Lachlan Sholl was also impressive with 24 disposals, three marks, three inside 50s and two rebounds. Hunter was hard working in the ruck with 24 hitouts and five tackles, while Ned McHenry laid seven tackles from 18 touches and five marks in defeat.

RESERVES:

Sturt 6.9 (45) defeated by Woodville-West Torrens 14.7 (91)

A dominant start from Woodville-West Torrens gave the Eagles a chance at premiership glory, turning the tables on Sturt, the side that beat them a fortnight ago. The Eagles booted four opening quarter goals, and the first five of the match with the Double Blues adding just four behinds in that time. Sturt got back into the contest with five of the next six goals of the game, with James Richards and Thomas Condon both booting two majors, drawing within a point of the Eagles at the 19-minute mark of the third term. The catch-up was all the Double Blues had left however, as Jake Weidemann and Harrison Morgan went on a goal scoring spree, piling on the next five goals, while South Australian Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the Under-18 Championships, Harry Schoenberg booted his second of the contest to end the contest with a 39-point lead. The Eagles were far from done however, with Casey Voss booting a consolation goal for Sturt before the Eagles added another couple of late ones to run away 46-point winners. Schoenberg was prominent in midfield with six clearances from 21 touches, two marks, three inside 50s and two goals, joined onball by Jackson Mead (19 touches, five inside 50s, two marks, three clearances and two rebounds), and Jack Gaffney (12 touches, five clearances and nine tackles). Jake Westbrook and Connor McLeod had a combined 33 disposals and 10 rebounds, while exciting forward Kysaiah Pickett booted 1.2, and Morgan and Weidemann combined for seven majors on the day. For the Double Blues, Edward Allen racked up 27 touches, five marks and seven clearances, one of Sturt’s big ball winners with Joel Thiele (26 touches, seven marks, four clearances, three inside 50s, four tackles and two rebounds) and Casey Voss (25 touches, seven marks, five tackles, eight inside 50s and a goal). Other South Australian Under-18 players who stood up were Josh Shute (18 touches, four marks and four inside 50s) and Oliver Grivell (17 disposals, six marks, four rebounds and three tackles).

South Australian weekly wrap: Redlegs stay in title hunt as Magpies fly high

THE first week of South Australian National Football League (SANFL) finals action is in the books, with Norwood remaining alive and Port Adelaide Magpies moving through to face Glenelg next week for a spot in the decider.

LEAGUE:

Sturt 15.6 (96) defeated by Norwood 16.14 (110)

Norwood has kept its 2019 premiership hopes alive with a strong 14-point victory over Sturt. The Redlegs did not make the most of their scoring chances in the first term, booting two goals from six scoring shots, before piling on five goals to three to extend the lead to 14 by half-time. A high-scoring third term resulted in Norwood booting six goals to four to create some separation with a 30-point advantage at the final break. Sturt came home with a tailwind booting six goals to three in the last quarter, but fell short to go down 16.14 (110) to 15.6 (96) by the final siren. Dom Barry was influential with 28 disposals, five marks, three clearances, four tackles and 3.3, joined among the bests with Lewis Johnston (28 disposals, nine marks, three clearances and one goal) and Cole Gerloff (25 disposals, five marks, five clearances and four tackles). Top Under-18 draft talent Dylan Stephens had 14 touches, two marks, two clearances, three tackles and kicked a terrific goal, while Anthony Wilson and Brady Dawe added three goals each. For the Double Blues, Jake Sutcliffe had a day out up forward with 4.2 from 13 touches and six marks, joined on the goalkickers list by Joshua Hone (three goals). Sam Colquhoun was the dominant ball winner, picking up 34 disposals, 11 marks, six clearances and nine tackles, while James Battersby (22 disposals, four marks, nine clearances, six tackles and a goal) and Danyle Pearce (21 disposals, seven marks and two clearances) were also impressive.

Port Adelaide 12.13 (85) defeated Adelaide 8.7 (55)

Port Adelaide Magpies have enjoyed a 30-point win over their AFL Reserve counterparts in Adelaide Crows, booting six goals to four in both halves to secure the win. Neither team could be split in the first term with three goals on the board each, but a three goals to one second quarter opened the game up for the Magpies, before Adelaide hit back with three goals to one of their own in the third term to cut the deficit to just three at the final break, A dominant five goals to one final term resulted in the Magpies running away with the contest, 12.13 (85) to 8.7 (55) at Adelaide Oval. While both South Australian sides are out of finals for the AFL, a number of AFL-listed players still impressed. Willem Drew (32 disposals, four marks, seven clearances and eight tackles), Jack Trengove (29 disposals, seven marks), Cam Sutcliffe (28 disposals, four marks, seven tackles and five clearances), Joe Atley (28 disposals, four marks, 10 clearances and three tackles) and Trent McKenzie (27 disposals, 11 marks) all racked up big numbers for the Magpies, while Peter Ladhams booted two goals – one of which was a ripper – from 23 touches, six clearances, four marks and 23 hitouts). For the Crows, Lachlan Sholl (24 disposals, six marks ad three clearances) impressed, as the retiring Andy Otten also had a team-high 24 touches to go with his five marks and seven rebounds. Alongside him in defence was Pierce Seymour with 22 disposals, four marks, two tackles and seven rebounds), while Matthew Wright (20 disposals, nine marks and three tackles) was also strong.

RESERVES:

Sturt 11.9 (75) defeated Woodville-West Torrens 8.10 (58)

Second placed Sturt has earned the right to face top-of-the-table Norwood next week after downing Woodville-West Torrens in their qualifying final clash. The Eagles started strongly to booted three goals to two in the first term, though missing multiple opportunities to only head in with an 11-point lead. Both sides booted a goal in the second term but it was the Double Blues’ turn to be plagued with inaccuracy, booting five behinds from six scoring shots as the Eagles lead by eight points at the main break. A dominant third term saw Sturt boot seven goals to three and head into the final change with a 16-point lead before holding on in a arm-wrestle of a last quarter with both sides booting two goals and securing the 11.9 (75) to 8.10 (58) victory. Overage key forward Hugo Munn was impressive for the Double Blues, picking up 20 disposals, three marks, four clearances and five tackles, while fellow over-ager and father-son prospect Casey Voss had 19 touches, three marks, two clearances, six tackles and a goal. Joel Thiele had 15 touches, five marks, five clearances and nine tackles, while James Richards and Mihail Lochowiak both booted three goals in the win. Adam Trenorden (16 disposals, two marks, six clearances and 10 tackles) and Josh Shute (15 disposals, seven marks) were others who stood tall. For the Eagles, Ben Nason had a game-high 22 disposals, as well as five marks, two clearances and four tackles, while Jake Comitogianni helped himself to 20 disposals, four marks, two clearances and a tackle. Up forward, Harrison Morgan booted three goals from 12 touches, while Josh Morris kicked 2.2 from four kicks. Other names who played from South Australia’s Under 18s side were Kysaiah Pickett (11 disposals, one goal) and Harry Schoenberg (16 disposals, three clearances and three tackles).

Central District 11.12 (78) defeated Glenelg 3.10 (28)

Central District put Glenelg to the sword in the side’s elimination final at Peter Motley Oval, running away 50-point winners. The Bulldogs booted seven goals to one in the first half, and kept their opponents to just three goals for the game, as the Tigers’ inaccuracy of 10 behinds from 13 scoring shot proved an issue. In a remarkable game, Glenelg actually dominated possession with 56 per cent, also having 62 more touches and 45 more marks, but it was the tackling pressure of the Bulldogs (90-62) that helped Central District get the win. Isaya McKenzie (19 disposals, three marks, three clearances, eight tackles and a goal) and Ari Rigney (17 disposals, 12 tackles and a goal) were among the top possession winners for the Bulldogs, as Jordan O’Brien held that title with 22 disposals, seven clearances and seven tackles in a best-on performance. Fellow South Australian Under-18 representative Oliver Shaw (18 disposals, four marks and three tackles) also had a strong game, while bottom-age talent Corey Durdin booted two goals from 10 touches and nine tackles up forward. For Glenelg, it was Callum Park who stood tall with 20 touches, 12 marks, three tackles and a goal, while a host of teammates picked up big numbers. Ben Sawford had a game-high 27 touches, five marks, two clearances, four tackles but an inaccurate three behinds, while Reid Kuller (25 disposals, six clearances and eight tackles) and Sam Davis (22 disposals, seven marks, five clearances and two tackles).

UNDER 18S:

South Adelaide 13.10 (88) defeated Glenelg 10.3 (63)

South Adelaide kept its season alive in the Under 18s competition with a dominant first term all but ending Glenelg’s hope of an unlikely flag from fourth spot. The Panthers piled on 7.3 to 0.0 in the first term in a complete obliteration, before the Tigers booted six goals to one in the second term to suddenly draw within 15 points at the half. South Adelaide took control again in the third term with four goals to one and opened up a 38-point advantage, with Glenelg flying home with three goals to one, but not enough to overcome the 25-point final siren margin. Nicholas Kraemer picked up 23 disposals, nine marks, six clearances, seven tackles and a goal for the Panthers, while Damon Freitag (21 disposals, five marks, eight clearances and four tackles) and Zac Dumesny (20 disposals, seven marks) were also among the high possession winners. The Panthers had no shortage of players who hit the scoreboard however, with Tyler Oliver (three goals), Daniel Sladojevic (two) and Beau McCreery (two) also having impressive matches. For the Tigers, Kye Dean had a big game with 24 touches, two marks, five clearances, seven tackles and a goal, while Josh Slade (16 touches, four marks, five tackles and two goals) also impressed. Austin Kitschke and Cooper Horsnell both booted multiple goals in defeat, while Luke Pedlar (17 disposals, six clearances) and Will Schreiber (17 disposals, six clearances) were also consistent despite the loss.

Woodville-West Torrens 14.8 (92) defeated West Adelaide 10.6 (66)

Woodville-West Torrens has advanced through to the 2019 SANFL Under 18s Grand Final after downing West Adelaide by 26 points at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval on Saturday. The Eagles trailed by three points at the first break, but soon got on top, booting four goals to two in the second term to open up a 13-point advantage at the main break. A six goals to four second half – in which the Eagles booted an extra goal compared to their rivals in each quarter – saw them record a handy 14.8 (92) to 10.6 (66) win. Michael Frederick was the top player for the Eagles with 21 disposals, five marks, two tackles, two clearances and three majors, while Henry Smith (11 disposals, three marks, five clearances, 11 hitouts, nine tackles and a goal) was strong in the ruck. Zane Williams also hit the scoreboard with three majors from 16 touches and three marks, while Luke Barnett (22 disposals, seven clearances and six tackles was strong through the middle. Northern Territory representative Ben Jungfer had the 19 disposals, four clearances and four tackles in the win, while a couple of potential father-sons in Taj Schofield (21 disposals, three tackles) ad Jase Burgoyne (15 disposals, one goal) also contributed. For the losers, potential 2020 number one draft pick Riley Thilthorpe racked up 24 disposals, nine marks, two clearances, eight tackles and a goal, while top-age draft prospect Will Day managed 20 disposals, nine marks and five rebounds in the loss. For others, the consistent Joel Groom had 27 disposals, nine clearances, eight tackles and four marks in a mammoth effort, while Bailey Chamberlain also racked up the clearances with 19 touches, nine clearances and six tackles.

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

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

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

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

Team Brown:

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

Team Dal Santo:

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

Country finds the answers in entertaining win over South Australia

VIC Country has finished the AFL Under-16 National Championships on a high with a victory over South Australia at The Gabba today. The Country side had several bursts throughout the match which handed them ascendancy, but it took until the final term for the Country side to final shake off the Croweaters. There were six lead changes in the match and the largest lead was just 22 points, but in the end it was Country who saluted in a rather inaccurate 11.13 (79) to 10.3 (63) win.

Vic Country had a lot of the play early inside 50 with three misses in the opening two minutes and a fourth behind a couple of minutes later. Country co-captain Josh Rachele had two of those behinds but was looking busy in the forward half. After five minutes of dominance, Country finally put one through the big sticks with a bouncing goal from a snap off the boot of Murray Bushrangers’ Tom Brown. South Australia’s defence was holding up strong as 14-year-old Tyson Coe laid a terrific tackle to set the tone deep inside 50 and Oscar Adams rebounded to try and clear the danger zone.

For all of Country’s dominance, they had just 1.5 on the board before South Australia’s first meaningful chance with an elite kick from Jason Horne into Cooper Murley who converted the set shot and the Croweaters were back within a kick midway through the first term. Pocket rocket Isaiah Dudley was moving well around the ground for South Australia with some nice touches, while Lachlan Thomas was clean at ground level with a terrific pick-up at half-back. A 50-metre penalty to Matthew Roberts led to a shot on goal from long range and put it straight through the middle and with two great plays in a few minutes, South Australia was in front. A good lead, mark and set shot conversion from Luke Young drove the dagger in a bit further for Country with dead-eye accuracy proving the difference in the term.

But then came the play of the day with an absolute elite tap from Rachele 15m out like a ruckman more so than a leaping forward, calmly palming the ball down to Ben Hobbs who seemed to read the play well before it happened, running onto the tap and putting it through from five metres out to make the margin more representative of the game – just one point separating the side.

Similar to the first term, it did not take long for Vic Country to take ascendancy in the second with Charlie Molan running onto a ball and bursting away to boot one from point blank range and take back the lead for his side. His Greater Western Victoria (GWV) teammate in Hobbs soon had his second moments later, bursting out of a stoppage and slamming home a long-range goal. When Bendigo Pioneers’ Hugh Hamilton converted his first out of nothing, Country were suddenly 17 points up and were having the scoreboard impact they did not manage into the first quarter.

In an eerily similar turn of events to the first, Norwood’s Murley broke the deadlock once again with a handy goal inside 50 for his second. A touch of magic from Dudley to Henry Smith who was backing back to take the grab, but his set shot was stopped on the line by the steady Country defence. After helping Murley to his first in the opening term, Horne pounced on a loose ball and snapped from the pocket to put it straight through the middle and the margin was back to five. Again a meaningful pass inside 50 for South Australia, this time by Brad Jeffries found Young who, while likely would have slotted it from 20m, won a 50m penalty infringement and made it a certainty for his second.

Murley almost had his third later in the quarter but his snap drifted to the right and through for just one behind. Roberts thought he had his second, celebrating a touch too early with a fist pump for what was an impressive behind following his run out of a stoppage and flying shot. South Australia was controlling the ball in its forward half, but just missed a couple of gettable chances and the Country last line was picking off the deep entries inside 50. But the final score of the first half would go to Vic Country with Connor Macdonald running late to the line, beating his direct opponent and soccering it through.

Both sides had flying chances early in the third but only registered behinds. Both teams defences were holding up well with a terrific smother from Harry Tunkin stopping a Vic Country attacking foray. It led to an end-to-end play by the Croweaters as Jay Watson managed to get boot-to-ball as he was dragged down, hitting up the leading Roberts who converted his second major and regain the lead for his side. Both sides were bringing the tackling pressure in the term with just the one goal kicked in the first half of the term, completely different to the first two quarters. Then another nice touch from Brown into teammate Josh Rentsch gave Country a chance, though the big man missed to the left. Another end-to-end play led to Horne kicking long inside 50 then pushing hard to work over his opponent, get free and convert his second from a set shot.

The lead did not hold for long as Country’s defensive pressure inside 50 paid off with Brown refusing to accept an attempted fend-off from his opponent, dragging him down and winning the free to level the scores in the eighteenth minute. Moments later, Country had the lead back as pressure and an awkward bounce against South Australian defender Adams resulted in Rachele pouncing and snapping a goal from 15m out with some class. In the dying moments of the final term, Justin Davies and Blake Scott could have extended the margin for Country, but missed their set shots meaning the side headed into the break leading by eight points. 

With both sides needing an early major after more of an arm-wrestle in the third term, Macdonald broke away from the pack, burst inside 50 and slotted it on the run to extend the lead to 15 less than a minute into the quarter. A few minutes later Country added to their handy buffer with Rachele again in the thick of it. The co-captain twisted one way and spun the other before kicking it deep and on track for goal. It was spoiled in the marking contested but Brown was waiting and he grabbed it cleanly and, in an instant, put ball to boot and added another goal to the Country’s side total making it 22 points, the largest of the game to date.

The next eight minutes were an arm-wrestle with neither team able to score and neither side giving an inch. The ball mostly camped inside South Australia’s forward line, with a goal-saving smother from Kai Lohmann stopping a certain goal, only for a free a moment later in a stoppage to Dudley to hand the Croweaters that desperately needed major. But no sooner as it looked like South Australia had the momentum back, Davies ran onto a Rachele bomb inside 50, shook off his opponent and slammed it home from the square. Matthew Dnistriansky answered the call for his side just when it looked like the game was over with six minutes remaining, finding space and taking a good mark then converting the set shot to cut the deficit to 16 again. It would be the last major of the game however, as Country held firm to win by 16 points in perfect conditions.

Rachele finished the game with a match-high 26 disposals, three clearances, three inside 50s and 1.3, while Rebels duo Hobbs (25 touches, five marks, 10 tackles, eight clearances, six inside 50s and two goals) and Molan (20 disposals, two marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and one goal) were also impressive. Brown was one of the best in the forward half with three goals from his 18 touches, while Sam Breuer was busy with 18 touches, two marks and three rebounds. For South Australia, Horne and Tunkin both finished with 18 disposals and four clearances, combining for 14 tackles and five inside 50s as well. Lewis Rayson (16 disposals, five rebounds, five marks, five tackles and three inside 50s), Lachlan Thomas (16 disposals, eight rebounds) and Jefferies (16 disposals, three marks, two tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s).

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 3.0 | 6.2 | 8.3 | 10.3 (63)
VIC COUNTRY 2.5 | 6.5 | 8.11 | 11.13 (79)

GOALS:

SA: C. Murley 2, L. Young 2, M. Roberts 2, J. Horne 2, I. Dudley, M. Dnistriansky.
VC:  T. Brown 3, B. Hobbs 2, C. Macdonald 2, C. Molan, H. Hamilton, J. Rachele, J. Davies.

ADC BEST:

SA: M. Roberts, C., Murley, J. Horne, H. Tunkin, L. Rayson, L. Thomas
VC: B. Hobbs, T. Brown, J. Rachele, C. Molan, C. Macdonald, S. Breuer