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2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 1 – South Fremantle vs. West Perth

THE 2021 WAFL Colts competition got underway on the weekend, with the four fixtures providing some fairly competitive action. It took little time for much of the West Australian Under 19 talent pool to shake off the cobwebs in Round 1, and fans were treated to high-scoring games with end-to-end forays and even a bit of spirit.

Our featured match of the round, played between South Fremantle and West Perth, exemplified everything good about the opening weekend of football. In a contest littered with momentum shifts and fast-paced transitional play, the Bulldogs came out on top by 14 points 15.11 (101) to 13.9 (87) in warm conditions at Fremantle Oval on Saturday morning.

We take you through some of the top performers from either side in our Scouting Notes. Please note, they are the opinion of the individual scout.

SCOUTING NOTES

SOUTH FREMANTLE vs. WEST PERTH

By: Michael Alvaro

South Fremantle:

#9 Julian Hultan

Hultan was a sensation in the attacking half for South Fremantle, finishing with half-a-dozen goals and proving a handful for opposition defenders. While not an overly tall player at 182cm, Hultan defied his listing to play like a key forward at times with the way he commanded space and worked strongly in the air. He opened his account with an opportunistic goal from nothing in the first term and added another in the second, but was sighted contributing more work up the ground before the main break. Afterwards, his forward craft came to the fore inside 50 with some really crafty goals. His composure and willingness to compete at ground level proved the theme for two third term goals, while contested marking became his MO in the fourth with another two majors. Overall, it was a memorable day for the 18-year-old.

#18 Aaron Drage

A key part of the Bulldogs’ strong midfield rotation, Drage won his fair share of ball on the inside early and did not mind getting nice and physical with the opposition. He looked to send the ball forward quickly from congestion with some hurried kicks away at stoppages, but also remained strong under tackling pressure to dish out by hand. As the game wore on, Drage also worked up to either end of the ground and was competitive in his efforts to ensure South could hold on for victory.

#20 Caleb Stephens

Stephens was South’s leading ball winner on the day with 22 disposals and provided some real drive from midfield with a game-high seven inside 50 entries. He looked to set the tone by wheeling and going quickly, while also working to string together some nice handball chains as South broke forward. Stephens almost troubled the scorers in the third term but pulled a snap wide, though his long kick to Lochlan Bloomer ended in a goal assist during the same stanza. He also ran hard back to defence in the fourth quarter after South was beaten in the middle, providing a clutch intercept at the death.

#21 Angus Fraser

Another of the Bulldogs to play a key hand in midfield, Fraser provided a handy point of difference with his willingness to stay on the move once in possession at the contest. He was not as overtly dominant as a pure ball winner, but did some nice things with ball in hand and most importantly, impacted the scoreboard. Fraser’s first major came from a crafty and clean finish at a forward 50 stoppage, showcasing his quick thinking. His second was a set shot conversion on the end of a 50-metre penalty, having initially cut across to turn the ball over inside attacking 50.

#37 Jesse Motlop

The Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) member and son of Daniel was lively in South’s win, rotating through midfield from up forward. He bookended his game inside the attacking 50 and constantly looked to create forward of centre, showing great confidence to take on opponents and baulk his way into open spaces. He first hit the scoreboard with some quick work over the back in term two, putting boot to ball with composure to snap through a classy goal. His second major was the highlight of the day through, as Motlop initiated a give-and-go hemmed in on the boundary, before cutting inside and snapping home once again. He is still a raw type who looks more comfortable up forward, but has rare instincts and constantly backs himself to make something happen.

Others:

Lochlan Bloomer was another South Freo forward to shine, taking his chances well for three goals on the back of some lively work inside 50. Liam Brandis and Ira Jetta were others to provide some spark in the front half, while Lachlan Turley played a key role down back and Toby Dodds‘ work on the rebound was terrific. Another Fremantle NGA prospect, Riley Colborne also showed promise on the wing.


West Perth:

#3 Zac Fleiner

Difficult to miss under his brightly-coloured helmet, Fleiner also has an eye-catching style of play. The run-and-gun defender loves to break the lines out of defence and strung together a number of passages with multiple running bounces. He is a kick-first kind of talent and often sent forward short, darting passes, but can refine some of his work at full tilt. His first term goal was one of the moments of the day, as Fleiner finished from long range on his favoured left foot having taken a couple of bounces and good meterage. While lightly built, another pleasing aspect of Fleiner’s play was his intensity and courage to work back defensively; flying for intercept marks and doing some dirtywork at ground level.

#4 Luke Reilly

Reilly was one who worked well into the game and began to show his best traits once he built up a full head of steam. His first good bit of play came in the second term, with a spearing pass to assist Jack De Marte’s goal. The nippy midfielder looked smooth on the ball and often looked to dart into open space before delivering forward passes by foot. He set the tone for West Perth’s ball movement with a relentless willingness to move it on quickly, constantly looking to move with intent. Reilly seemed to lift in the final term and kicked a goal on the run having taken the advantage from a free kick.

#8 Lochlan Paton

Paton is a player with a lot of class and while he was not overly prolific with 15 disposals, his high level was evident in nearly every possession. He started a little shakily with a poor kick across defensive 50, but redeemed himself with some nice moments in the first quarter. A couple of important defensive efforts led to goals for West Perth in term two; with the first being a smother as South Fremantle looked to break out of defence, and the second a terrific holding the ball tackle which had the same effect. Paton seemed to have more time on the ball than most others and showed off with some nice spins to break out of congestion cleanly. If he can begin to accumulate better and string together such moments more consistently, he could quickly rise in 2021.

#24 Jack De Marte

Leading all comers on the day with 23 disposals (20 kicks), De Marte was one of the more busy players out there. He built into the contest well and began to take hold after quarter time, propping nicely in congestion to get an open kick away and even sneaking forward to snare a goal in term two. His kicking became neater as the game wore on and he was one of the key West Perth players to lift when the game was on the line late. One particularly clutch play saw him lay a tackle and then deliver inside 50 for a Saverio Marafioti goal.

#28 Zarne Robis

Robis was clearly West Perth’s premier forward on the day and finished with four goals in a highly promising display. He took a bit of luck to get going, but exemplified the Falcons’ ability to be efficient inside 50 with two snap goals in the first term. Later, he would showcase his smooth set shot routine to complete the four-goal haul and catch the eye of many onlookers. At 191cm, the 19-year-old is not exactly key position size, but rather dynamic and versatile in the role he plays up forward.

Others:

Cooper Blackburn showed plenty of dash coming out of defence for the Falcons, while Saverio Marafioti‘s raw talent came to the fore up forward with bull-like attack and real penetration in his play. Kane Bevan‘s transition to a key forward role yielded one goal, as Liam McWha and Riley Sprigg battled well in the ruck. Harrison Baxter was also handy in the front half and Jordan Berry had his moments.

Image Credit: AFLNT Media

Out to impress: WAFL Round 8 preview

YOUNG talent continues to turn heads at state league level around the nation, and it has been no different across all three WAFL grades upon the competition’s resumption in 2020. As we roll into Round 8, Draft Central continues its new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game. In our latest edition, Perth is set to blood another Colts standout, while a first round AFL Draft candidate has finally been named in West Perth’s League side.

>> SCROLL for fixtures and League teams

19-year-old midfielder Conor McPartland is set to become the latest Perth product to earn a League debut, named in the forward pocket among the Demons’ side to face Swan Districts. A prolific ball winner, McPartland required just one Reserves outing to earn a second promotion, having averaged 33 disposals across his five Colts games this year.

He joins fellow Colts talents Nathan O’Driscoll and Logan McDonald in the lineup, as well as Regan Clarke. After a terrific 20-disposal display last time out, O’Driscoll has been pegged for even more midfield minutes, while keen draft watchers will undoubtedly have their eyes peeled for the seemingly inevitable McDonald-versus-Denver Grainger-Barras matchup.

Grainger-Barras lines up for his seventh League appearance in 2020, set to grace the backline alongside Nathan Ireland. A trio of youngsters make up the Swans’ inclusions; as Thomas Edwards readies for his top flight debut, while Lachlan Riley makes his first League outing for the year, and Tarir Bayok reenters the fold. Draft hopefuls Zane Trew and Ty Sears have again been teased with promotion to the Reserves, while bottom-agers Rhett Bazzo and Max Chipper are again absent in the Colts grade.

Leading West Perth draft prospect Heath Chapman is another young gun preparing to make his League debut, after finally earning the call-up ahead of this weekend’s action. The 193cm defender has proven a class above at Colts level, averaging 23 disposals and over seven marks per his six games. Should be he let off the hook as a third tall in defence, expect his intercept marking and exceptional skills by foot to come to the fore.

Tristan Hobley, who made his League debut in Round 7, remains in the Falcons’ side, while Claremont prepares to unearth some fresh faces of its own. 18-year-old Max Spyvee comes in for his maiden top flight berth, while Anthony Davis and Tyron Smallwood make their respective returns for the Tigers. Jack Buller has been named as an emergency after impressing in the Reserves. Speaking of, Tyron Hindmarsh and Callum Johnson are set to remain in said grade alongside Victorian Matty Lloyd, while Kellen Johnson is a possible Colts inclusion pending recovery from his wrist injury.

Another Round 7 first-gamer, Liam Hickmott remains in Subiaco’s side as the Lions do battle with East Fremantle, with brother Wil named as an emergency. 19-year-old forward Nicholas Martin also holds onto his spot despite his first goalless outing for the year. Jai Jackson is another 19-year-old knocking on the League door, while Jacob Miller and Ben Reid find themselves back in the Reserves as Subiaco’s two outs.

Brynn Teakle comes in for his first taste of League footy for 2020 as part of at least one East Fremantle change, with another four players added to the Sharks’ extended bench. The 202cm 20-year-old is set to slot in up forward, while Durak Tucker plies his trade down back once again. AFL Academy guns Jack Carroll, Finn Gorringe, and Brandon Walker all seem close to promotions, while bottom-ager Judd McVee looks like being a key out for the Colts.

Much like the aforementioned Sharks trio, Jack Cooley and Harley Sparks are a couple of East Perth youngsters on the cusp of League berths. They are both poised to continue their push in the Reserves though, as they Royals take on South Fremantle on Saturday. The undefeated, ladder-leading Bulldogs have made four changes, with 22-year-old Jacob Warne making a one-and-done League outing as he comes back out of the side.

Manfred Kelly remains in the Reserves for South while Ira Jetta looks like missing another round of Colts action, much like Kade Dittmar for East Perth.

FIXTURES

League:

Subiaco vs. East Fremantle | Saturday September 5, 2:30pm @ Leederville Oval
Claremont vs. West Perth | Saturday September 5, 2:30pm @ Revo Fitness Stadium
South Fremantle vs. East Perth | Saturday September 5, 2:35pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Swan Districts vs. Perth | Saturday September 5, 3:05pm @ Steel Blue Oval

Reserves:

Subiaco vs. East Fremantle | Saturday September 5, 12:00pm @ Leederville Oval
Claremont vs. West Perth | Saturday September 5, 12:00pm @ Revo Fitness Stadium
South Fremantle vs. East Perth | Saturday September 5, 12:00pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Swan Districts vs. Perth | Saturday September 5, 12:20pm @ Steel Blue Oval

Colts:

Subiaco vs. East Fremantle | Saturday September 5, 9:30am @ Leederville Oval
Claremont vs. West Perth | Saturday September 5, 9:30am @ Revo Fitness Stadium
South Fremantle vs. East Perth | Saturday September 5, 9:30am @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Swan Districts vs. Perth | Saturday September 5, 9:500am @ Steel Blue Oval

Bye: Peel Thunder

LEAGUE TEAMS

Featured Image: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

WAFL Colts Round 5 MOTR: South Fremantle vs. Swan Districts

THIS week’s WAFL Colts match of the round was played between South Fremantle and Swan Districts, with the Bulldogs edging home by 10 points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval. West Australian correspondent Lenny Fogliani was on hand to deliver a match report and scouting notes on the most outstanding players.

>> SCROLL for scouting notes

MATCH REPORT:

In Round 5 of the Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition, South Fremantle overcame Swan Districts by 10 points in a thrilling contest at Fremantle Community Bank Oval. The result sees the Bulldogs climb to fifth on the Simply Energy WAFL Colts Ladder, while the Swans suffered their fourth consecutive loss.

South Fremantle’s Jaxon Bellchambers earned best afield honours with 19 possessions, 10 tackles, five marks, three inside 50s and a goal. He was well supported by the likes of Shannon Neale (15 possessions, 21 hit-outs, four marks, three inside 50s), Aiden Hall (20 possessions, seven marks, four tackles, four inside 50s), Aaron Drage (19 possessions, one goal), and Angus Fraser (17 possessions, one goal).

South Bunbury product Ty Sears was the Swans’ best with 21 possessions, six inside 50s, three tackles and a goal. Ayden Cartwright (29 possessions, four marks, four tackles, three inside 50s), Kade Screaigh (17 possessions, six tackles), Jamison Ugle (16 possessions), and William Collins (15 possessions, six tackles) competed strongly for the Swans.

Draft hopefuls Ira Jetta (South Fremantle), Jesse Motlop (South Fremantle), Denver Grainger-Barras (Swan Districts) and Zane Trew (Swan Districts) did not play due to injury and League commitments.

The first goal of the game came in the fourth minute of the opening quarter, when Neale speared a pass to Jacob Plunkett, who duly converted his set shot from a difficult angle. Dylan Brockbernd was able to cleanly gather the ball out of a pack, before snapping through the Swans’ first goal of the game. Moments later, Luke Taylor took a fantastic pack mark, before nailing his set shot. In the dying stages of the quarter, Morgan Bropho kicked a goal for the Bulldogs.

In the opening stages of the second quarter, South Fremantle’s Drage took a strong mark inside attacking 50, before slotting his first goal of the game. Soon after, Taylor took a strong one-on-one mark, before scoring the instant reply for the Swans. Before the end of the half, Brockbernd snapped through his second goal to give the Swans a 17-point lead at half-time.

After the main break, Jermaine Pickett weaved his way through traffic before spotting up Bellchambers in the forward pocket. Bellchambers went back and converted his set shot from a tight angle. Sears produced a moment of magic for the Swans, when he gathered the ball on the defensive side of the wing, took two bounces before nailing a great running goal from 50 metres out. Ethyn Kane, soon after, kicked another goal for the Swans.

Angus Fraser then snapped through his first WAFL Colts career goal, and all of his South Fremantle team-mates got around him. After receiving a bullet pass from Pickett, Baxter Jones kicked his first goal of the game. In the final stages of the third quarter, Pickett was able to find Plunkett inside 50, who kicked the goal that brought the Bulldogs within four points of the Swans.

In the final quarter, Julian Hulten and Jones kicked goals for the Bulldogs which ultimately secured them the victory over the Swans.

Next week, Swan Districts hosts Peel Thunder at Steel Blue Oval, while South Fremantle has the bye.

SCOUTING NOTES:

SOUTH FREMANTLE:

#1 Aiden Hall

The Kwinana product was magnificent on the half-back line for South Fremantle, often intercepting the Swans’ attacking entries, before rebounding the ball out of defence with class. He accumulated a team-high 20 possessions, grabbed seven marks, laid four tackles and recorded four inside 50s.

#5 Jaxon Bellchambers

The 2018 WA U16s State Academy member was excellent on the wing for the Bulldogs, providing a great link-up between defence and offence. He finished with 19 possessions, a game-high 10 tackles, five marks, three inside 50s and a goal in a strong outing.

#16 Jacob Plunkett

The 17-year-old was at his imposing best for South Fremantle, finishing with 10 possessions, four marks, four tackles, and two goals. He kicked the opening goal of the game, when he converted his set shot from a difficult angle in the fourth minute of the first quarter. He also kicked an important goal just before three-quarter time that brought the Bulldogs to within four points of the Swans.

#18 Aaron Drage

In his first game of the season for the Bulldogs, Drage was excellent; gathering 19 possessions, recording four inside 50s, taking three marks, laying four tackles and kicking a goal. The highlight of his game came early in the second quarter when he took a strong mark inside 50, before duly converting his set shot.

#19 Shannon Neale

The 2020 WA State-Based AFL Academy member showed why he is one of the premier ruck-forwards in the Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition. Neale finished with 15 possessions, 21 hit-outs, four marks, and three inside 50s.

#39 Jermaine Pickett

The Kwinana product showed flashes of brilliance that would excite the Bulldogs’ faithful. He only gathered eight possessions, but Pickett also recorded three inside 50s and three goal assists. The highlight of his game came early in the third quarter, when he weaved his way through congestion before chipping the ball to Bellchambers, who kicked a goal. He also set up goals for Jones and Plunkett with bullet-like passes.

SWAN DISTRICTS:

#2 Ayden Cartwright

The Kalamunda junior continued his exceptional season with another polished performance for the Swans. He finished with 29 possessions, four marks, four tackles and three inside 50s.

#3 Kade Screaigh

The Swan View Football Club product was solid for Swan Districts, playing primarily on the wing. He accumulated 17 possessions, laid six tackles, took three marks and recorded two inside 50s.

#10 Ty Sears

The 2020 WA State-Based AFL Academy member was excellent for the Swans, playing as the rover. He finished with 21 possessions, a game-high six inside 50s, three tackles and a goal. The highlight of his game came in the third quarter, when he gathered the ball on the defensive side of the wing, before running off, taking two bounces, and drilling a great running goal from 50 metres out.

#35 William Collins

Playing at centre half-back, Collins was rock solid for the Swans, showing why he is one of the better defenders in the WAFL Colts competition. He accumulated 15 possessions, laid six tackles and recorded three inside 50s.

#58 Ashley Brockbernd

The 2017 WA U16s State Academy member was solid for the Swans, playing as the ruck-rover. He finished with 15 possessions, five tackles, four marks and two inside 50s.

#60 Dylan Brockbernd

The 2017 WA U16s State Academy member was lively on the half-forward line for Swan Districts. He accumulated 14 possessions, laid four tackles, recorded three inside 50s and kicked two goals. He kicked the Swans’ opening goal of the game, when he cleanly picked up a chaos ball out of a stoppage before snapping through the goal.

WAFL Colts Weekly Wrap: Round 5 – Falcons continue to soar

IN Round 5 of the Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition, there was a host of great individual and team performances alike.

This round saw South Fremantle 9.8 (62) overcome Swan Districts 6.16 (52), West Perth 17.10 (112) beat Perth 5.4 (34), Claremont 12.6 (78) defeat East Perth 5.8 (38), and Subiaco 22.8 (140) outclass Peel 7.7 (49). East Fremantle was the club that had the bye this weekend.

Read below to catch up on the Round 5 results, as well as the best players.

ROUND 5 RECAP

SOUTH FREMANTLE 9.8 (62) def. SWAN DISTRICTS 6.16 (52)

South Fremantle returned to the winners list, after overcoming Swan Districts by 10 points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

2018 WA U16s State Academy member Jaxon Bellchambers starred for the Bulldogs, finishing with 19 possessions, 10 tackles, five marks, three inside 50s and a goal. Shannon Neale (15 possessions, 21 hit-outs, four marks, three inside 50s), Aiden Hall (20 possessions, seven marks, four tackles, four inside 50s), Adam Correia (17 possessions, five marks), and Aaron Drage (19 possessions, one goal) were all influential for the Bulldogs.

For the Swans, Ty Sears (21 possessions, six inside 50s, three tackles, one goal) and William Collins (15 possessions, six tackles, three inside 50s) improved their draft prospects with strong outings. Ayden Cartwright (29 possessions, four marks, four tackles, three inside 50s), Kade Screaigh (17 possessions, six tackles), Jamieson Ugle (16 possessions), Ashley Brockbernd (15 possessions, five tackles, four marks) and Dylan Brockbernd (14 possessions, four tackles, one goal) all competed strongly for the Swans.

South Fremantle’s Ira Jetta and Jesse Motlop (PSA Football) did not play, while Swan Districts’ Denver Grainger-Barras (WAFL League) and Zane Trew (concussion) were also absent.

PERTH DEMONS 5.4 (34) def. by WEST PERTH 17.10 (112)

West Perth continued to show why it is considered to be one of the premiership favourites, after thumping Perth by 78 points at Mineral Resources Park.

Callum Johnson continued his stunning season with another dazzling performance that saw him finish with 33 possessions, eight marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and two goals. Heath Chapman (28 possessions, seven marks, four inside 50s, three tackles), Michael Mallard (11 possessions, 26 hit-outs), Corey Rundle (11 possessions, five marks, five goals), Luke Reilly (27 possessions, six marks, six tackles, three inside 50s, two goals), and Brady Alvaro (18 possessions) were all exceptional for the Falcons.

For the Demons, Conor McPartland (33 possessions, six tackles, six inside 50s, one goal), Zac Sanderson (26 possessions, nine tackles), Zak Meloncelli (22 possessions), and Jaiden Hunter (15 possessions, 37 hit-outs) battle hard in the heavy loss.

The Demons were without Logan McDonald (WAFL League), and Nathan O’Driscoll (WAFL Reserves), while the Falcons were without the injured Kellen Johnson (hand) and Logan Foley (knee).

EAST PERTH 5.8 (38) def. by CLAREMONT 12.6 (78)

Claremont is still undefeated in 2020, after beating East Perth by 40 points at Leederville Oval.

Logan Guelfi, the younger brother of Essendon’s Matthew, starred for the Tigers with 22 possessions, six inside 50s, five tackles, four marks and two goals. Samuel Alvarez (25 possessions, four tackles, three inside 50s, two marks), Logan Young (22 possessions, one goal), Dylan Mulligan (11 possessions, five goals), Jake Willson (21 possessions, five inside 50s), Kalin Lane (23 hit-outs), and Kai Harwood (20 possessions, six inside 50s) were all influential for Claremont.

Jye Amiss led the way for East Perth with 15 possessions, six marks and three goals. He was aided by Riley May (13 possessions, five marks, five tackles), Josh Hubbard (21 possessions, five marks, five inside 50s, four tackles, one goal), Jake Littleton (14 possessions, nine tackles), and Zac Dronow (17 possessions, eight marks).

The Tigers were without Joel Western (hamstring), Sam Gelavis (PSA), Kieran Kavanagh (knee), Harry Saggers (knee), Max Mumme (PSA) and Jacquin Ciminata (leg). The Royals were missing Adam Boules (elbow), Steele Cahill (ankle), Jack Hindle (leg) and Kade Dittmar (back).

PEEL THUNDER 7.7 (49) def. by SUBIACO 22.8 (140)

Subiaco flexed its muscles as a finals contending team, after trouncing Peel Thunder by 91 points at David Grays Arena.

Lachlan McKay was best afield for the Lions with 17 possessions, six marks and six goals. Sandon Page (15 possessions, four marks, five goals), Matthew Johnson (18 possessions, three marks), Jed Kemp (21 possessions, four tackles, three inside 50s), Jai Jackson (21 possessions, two goals), Blake Morris (10 possessions, three marks, one goal), Ezekiel Bolton (15 possessions, four tackles, four inside 50s), and Tyler Brockman (12 possessions, eight tackles, three goals) were all influential for the Lions.

Peel’s Isiah Winder continued his excellent season with another strong outing, finishing with 27 possessions, eight marks, and four tackles. Luke Polson (15 possessions, five marks), and David Yaccob (17 possessions, four marks) also competed hard for the Thunder.

Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper/The Sunday Times

WAFL weekend preview: Round 1 – State League football returns in the West

STATE League football officially returns to the West on Saturday as Round 1 of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) bounces down across all levels. Having taken the field in preseason scratch matches over the past fortnight, teams will finally get the chance to play for premiership points in 2020, while a bunch of fresh faces will be looking to begin life in the WAFL on the right note. Four different venues will be used across a super Saturday of action, hosting the first set of fixtures for each grade, with Reserves and Colts games jerking the curtain for League showcases in most cases.

>> SCROLL down for Rd 1 fixtures

Peel Thunder and Perth will play off in the technical League season opener, with the first bounce set for 2:00pm at David Grays Arena. Hayden Ballantyne and Josh Bootsma are among the familiar faces set to return to the top level for Peel, who will again be led out by Ben Howlett. The Thunder’s depth will be tested by a lack of Fremantle-listed players, but young Thunder products like Tyrone Thorne and Ryan Bennell should inject some flair to the lineup.

Speaking of youth, 2020 AFL Draft hopeful Logan McDonald is set to feature up forward for Perth, joined by fellow 2019 State Under 18s squad member Regan Clarke, and the debuting Kieran Delahunty. Skipper Corey Yeo looms as a major absentee, but the likes of Chris Masten and Brady Gray should provide plenty of top-level class. Nathan O’Driscoll will be one to watch at Colts level, as will Isiah Winder for Peel.

Moving on to the 2:30 League starts, and reigning premier Subiaco will look to kick off its flag defence in style against Claremont at Leederville Oval. The Lions carry over a 14-game winning run from 2019, as well as a nine-game streak over their traditional rivals – nearing a 74-year-old record. While the Tigers will again be lead into battle by Kane Mitchell, potential injury blows to Jye Bolton and star recruit Ryan Nyhuis threaten to unravel their season opener before it even begins.

Stalwart defender Jordan Lockyer is set to play his 100th League game, while Nicholas Martin, Will Hickmott and Andy Doyle are all in line to make their debuts for Subiaco having been named among the extended squad. Reigning Sandover Medalist Lachlan Delahunty and leading goalkicker Ben Sokol have both been named among the forward six, just two of the big names among Subiaco’s stacked lineup.

It may be the Tigers who hold the edge at Colts level though, as the likes of Joel Western and Kalin Lane are set to star, with the latter poised to take on 197cm 19-year-old Zac Caulfield in the ruck. Draft Central will provide scouting notes on this, our featured Colts game of the week.

A bunch of exciting ins will help Swan Districts go a long way to improving on its last-place League finish in 2019, but West Perth stands in the Black Ducks’ way at Steel Blue Oval, fresh off a finals campaign. Leading West Australian draft prospect Denver Grainger-Barras has been named at half-back for his second top level outing, while Victorian recruits Frank Anderson, Sam Fisher, and Deven Costigan are all set to feature having made the move from VFL unit, Northern Blues. Anderson and Fisher should thrive under the ruck craft of Corey Gault, as co-captains Tony Notte and Matt Riggio look to drive marked improvement from their side.

West Perth skipper Aaron Black has been named at the heart of the Falcons’ lineup, with much of the ball winning responsibilities falling on his shoulders, and those of midfield partner Shane Nelson. Reigning club champion Tyler Keitel will again play a key role as he continues to develop, and should thrive off the delivery of the aforementioned pair. Heath Chapman is the Falcons’ leading Colts prospect, but will have his hands full should the likes of Zane Trew, Ty Sears, and Rhett Bazzo all feature at the level, and not for the Reserves.

The Round 1 milestones continue as South and East Fremantle cap off the opening weekend’s League fixtures, with Bulldogs champion Haiden Schloithe penciled in for game 150. The inclusion of Ben Rioli will bring back some great memories and continue a rich history for his family at Souths, while the likes of John Levien, Jimmy Miller, Kye Barker, and Travis Abbott are others in line to make their debuts.

For the Sharks, boom recruit Cody Leggett slots straight in at half-back having made the much-publicised move over from Perth. Brodie Riach and Jordan Mills are others who may debut for East Fremantle, with reigning best and fairest Matthew Jupp named despite an interrupted preseason. 2019 leading goalkicker Luke Strnadica is also back, set to play a big role in the relatively inexperienced side led by bigman, Jonathon Griffin.

While last year’s second-placed League side will fancy itself against its rivals improvements, the Sharks may have the edge at Colts level. Twin Fremantle NGA prospects Brandon and Chris Walker have both been named in the East Fremantle side, along with State Academy hub members Finn Gorringe, and Jack Carroll. Luke Polson is one of the Bulldogs’ leading talents, although they may crucially be without midfield/forward gun Ira Jetta for this clash.

WAFL ROUND 1 FIXTURES

League:

Peel Thunder vs. Perth | David Grays Arena | 2:00pm
Subiaco vs. Claremont | Leederville Oval | 2:30pm
Swan Districts vs. West Perth | Steel Blue Oval | 2:30pm
South Fremantle vs. East Fremantle | Fremantle Community Bank Oval | 2:35pm

Reserves:

South Fremantle vs. East Fremantle | Fremantle Community Bank Oval | 12:00pm
Subiaco vs. Claremont | Leederville Oval | 12:00pm
Swan Districts vs. West Perth | Steel Blue Oval | 12:00pm

Colts:

South Fremantle vs. East Fremantle | Fremantle Community Bank Oval | 9:30am
Subiaco vs. Claremont | Leederville Oval | 9:30am*
Swan Districts vs. West Perth | Steel Blue Oval | 9:30am
Peel Thunder vs. Perth | David Crays Arena | 4:30pm

* – denotes Draft Central featured Colts game of the round

Picture: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

2020 WAFL Club Preview: South Fremantle

THE SECOND best side of the last five years, and last year’s runner-up, South Fremantle will be looking to finally emerge from Subiaco’s shadow in 2020. Despite consistently finishing in the top two or three spots on the West Australian Football League (WAFL) ladder, Souths are looking to take the next step after a maiden Grand Final appearance since their 2009 premiership, last season. The Bulldogs look to have added further talent to their already strong list and look poised to present the biggest threat to Subi’s dominance yet again.

South Fremantle have added some big names this off-season, and there is perhaps none bigger in the game than Rioli. Ben Rioli will be the latest to come down and join the Red-V to play WAFL football following brothers Shannon and Dean, father Sebastian and uncle Maurice. If he can have anywhere near that impact he’ll be a huge weapon off half back. They’ll also benefit from the return of former number four AFL Draft pick Jarrod Pickett after his stints at GWS and Carlton.

Locally the Bulldogs have snagged Perth goalkicker Cody Ninyette, however the livewire forward could be subject to availability issues this season due to work commitments. The return of defender Steve Edwards from Albany, who had a very successful stint at the club between 2017 and 2019, is also sure to delight Souths fans. The Southerners will be disappointed to lose Sean Bewick, Adam McIntosh and Adam Verrier this season, with all three deciding to retire from League football.

The above recruits will be key in determining whether the club can make up the 96-point difference between them and the reigning premiers demonstrated on Grand Final day. They’ll join established stars such as perennial Sandover Medal contender Haiden Schloithe and star forward Mason Shaw in shaping the Bulldogs’ fortunes this season. Other key players at coach Todd Curley’s disposal include former Docker Nick Suban, captain Dylan Main, and Kade Stewart.

The Bulldogs had a disappointing season in the two’s last year, with an eighth-place finish the result of just five wins. That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of talent in the Reserves side to draw upon with talented young players such as Kyle Hamersley, Matthew Ward, and Zane Sumich all plying their trade in the seconds last season. Curley will be hoping players of their like will be able to make the step up and apply real pressure for League positions.

The young Bulldogs also didn’t hit the heights of their senior counterparts last season with a last-placed finish last year. Even still players such as Manfred Kelly, Jack Musika and Toby McQuilkin put up solid numbers and have been added to the senior squad this year. No Southerners were part of the WA under 18s team last season but in AFL Academy members Mitchell Brown, Ira Jetta and Shannon Neale, they’ll be hoping that changes. A two-point scratch match win against reigning premiers Claremont shows promising signs for the coming season.

South Fremantle still look the most likely to end Subiaco’s stranglehold at the top of the ladder this season and will be hoping that the class in their squad filters down throughout the grades. Better seasons this year in both the Colts and Reserves would be a strong indicator that League success is not far around the corner. A first round derby against East Fremantle will be a good indication if this classy squad is ready for the pressure of a condensed season and the intensity of finals.

Picture: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

2020 AFL Draft Positional Analysis: Outside Midfielders

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

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

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

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

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

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

>> Q&A
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

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

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

>> Q&A

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

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

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

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

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

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

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

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

>> Q&A

Tom Powell
Sturt/South Australia
180cm | 73kg

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

>> Q&A

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

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

OTHERS TO CONSIDER

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

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

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

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

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

Positional Analysis: Inside MidfieldersKey Position Forwards

>> CATCH UP ON OUR OTHER SERIES

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

Features
AFL Draft Watch

Preseason Testing Analysis:
Jumps
Speed
Agility
Endurance

Squad predictions: 2020 Western 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 carnival likely to take place in October. In the meantime, Draft Central takes a look at how each regional squad may line up should the championships come around, but with a few stipulations in place. We began with our Vic Metro, Vic Country, and South Australian squad predictions, and today we take a look at Western Australia’s (WA) 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
  • The inclusion of bottom-agers (2003-born) in the hub, and top-agers outside it is limited to three spots in the starting 18
  • 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 fourth squad prediction, with WA’s talent broken down line-by-line.

* – denotes bottom-aged
** – denotes 19-yo

DEFENCE

FB – Blake Morris (Subiaco), Denver Grainger-Barras (Swan Districts), Rhett Bazzo* (Swan Districts)
HB – Brandon Walker (East Fremantle), Heath Chapman (West Perth), Ty Sears (Swan Districts)

The West Australian spine is one of the few to boast genuine talls in most key position posts, starting with Denver Grainger-Barras and Heath Chapman in defence. Both are terrific in the air and provide good versatility as talls, able to shut down opponents, impact the play aerially, and use the ball soundly out of defensive 50.

Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect Brandon Walker‘s name will quickly be placed on the team sheet, with Ty Sears an agile outside mover who takes up the opposite half-back flank in our side. Making it three Swan Districts products in the back six is Rhett Bazzo, joined by WA’s 2019 Under 16 MVP, Blake Morris on the last line.

Both are good competitors in the air; with Bazzo a potential key position prospect at 194cm as a bottom-ager, while Morris is a late bloomer who can intercept with his high marking and shrewd reading of the play. The defence has a bit of everything, and should compete well on all levels with Grainger-Barras the centrepiece and leading draft prospect.


MIDFIELD

C – Jack Carroll (East Fremantle), Zane Trew (Swan Districts), Judd McVee* (East Fremantle)
FOL – Kalin Lane** (Claremont), Nathan O’Driscoll (Perth), Finn Gorringe (East Fremantle)

A trio of tough, big-bodied ball winners look likely to attend the centre bounces for WA, with Nathan O’Driscoll (187cm), Zane Trew (186cm), and Finn Gorringe (183cm) all inside types who can crack in and win the hard ball. O’Driscoll is a thumping left-foot kick and capable marker who may also feature across half-back, while Trew is perhaps an even better disposer by foot who also earned Under 16 All Australian honours in 2018.

Palming down to them could well be a true bolter in Kalin Lane, who featured in the 2020 AFL Academy intake despite only playing one WAFL Colts game for Claremont. The 202cm big-man is also the sole 19-year-old to feature in the side, and should be aided well by a couple of other talls in terms of ruck duties.

On the outside, Jack Carroll adds to the high-level kicking abilities to make it three East Fremantle prospects among the midfield group. He displayed his class in last year’s Under 17 All Stars showcase, and is joined on the opposite wing by Judd McVee, a bottom-aged small who has that classic burst out of the stoppages and may feature on the inside.


FORWARD

HF – Joel Western (Claremont), Shannon Neale (South Fremantle), Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder)
FF – Owen Dann (East Fremantle), Logan McDonald (Perth), Ira Jetta (South Fremantle)

There is plenty of versatility among the proposed West Australian forward group, with two genuine talls again slotting into key position spots, while each of the smaller options can also rotate through different roles. Among them, Joel Western is an exciting prospect who is part of Fremantle’s NGA and can rotate through the midfield, credit to his freakish skills and evasiveness.

Ira Jetta is another small who can also double as a midfielder at the Under 18 level, but has terrific goal sense and fills a spot up forward here. Owen Dann takes up the other pocket but can be thrown into defence, while Peel Thunder’s Isiah Winder slots in at half-forward – a player who catches the eye, and yet another sub-180cm mover who can shuffle further afield.

Logan McDonald is one of the leading key position prospects in the national talent pool and is simply a lock at full forward, having already represented the Black Ducks at Under 18 level in 2019. His athleticism, clean hands, and contested marking will put WA in good stead and he has grown to true key position height at 195cm. Shannon Neale, another late bloomer will rotate between the ruck and forwardline, able to compete in the air while also possessing good athletic traits at 200cm.

The flexibility of the side as a whole is stamped with that of the forward six here, with each player both versatile in their respective positions while being able to double in separate roles. With a couple of solid talls to help the smalls crumb, this group could also produce a handy highlight reel.


INTERCHANGE

INT – Luke Polson* (Peel Thunder), Kade Dittmar* (East Perth), Kellen Johnson (West Perth), Tyler Nesbitt (Peel Thunder)

A pair of bottom-agers head our interchange, which was a typically difficult one to whittle down. Luke Polson is a 195cm ruck/forward who can provide depth on either line, while Kade Dittmar is a hard-working and physical midfielder with a booming kick and the ability to play elsewhere if required. Polson’s Peel Thunder teammate Tyler Nesbitt rounds out the 22 alongside fellow top-age academy member Kellen Johnson, both medium-sized prospects who may feature at either end of the ground.


SQUAD DEPTH

There is a good amount of bottom-age depth in the West Australian ranks, and some top-agers outside of the AFL Academy bubble who could push their case for selection. Jack Hindle is the only top-age academy member to miss out on our 22, but will likely rotate through the side. Chris Walker, the twin brother of Brandon is another who may be thereabouts, while Jamison Ugle is a speedy type who could garner attention along with Subiaco’s Tyler Brockman as forward options. Talented 199cm ruck/forward Michael Mallard had a decent Under 16 campaign for WA, and is already a known quantity if selectors are looking for even more key position depth.

In terms of those eligible for the 2021 draft who feature in the academy hub, Max Chipper is a classy midfielder from the stacked Swan Districts squad. Matthew Johnson is a tall but raw prospect who can also play forward, and Mitchell Brown is another midfield option who may put his hand up. Rounding out the crop is Claremont’s Jacob van Rooyen and Richard Bartlett, both of whom featured for the Black Ducks in last year’s Under 16 national carnival.

Picture: Michael Farnell – Sports Imagery Australia

>> READ UP ON THE 2020 WA U18s:
>> 2019 WAFL Colts Content

AFL Draft Watch:

Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll

Marquee Matchups:

Denver Grainger-Barras vs. Kaine Baldwin

Positional Analysis:

Key Forwards

Scouting notes: WAFL Colts – Claremont vs. South Fremantle

IN Round 19 of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Colts competition, Claremont defeated South Fremantle by 78 points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Despite missing talented prospects Cameron Anderson, Isaiah Butters, Jye Clark, Liam Henry, Callum Jamieson and Ronin O’Connor, the Tigers flexed their muscles against a sorry Bulldogs outfit to secure a home final.

It is worth noting that the Bulldogs were missing Darryl Anderson, Ben Pears, and Robbie Woods.

Below were the best players in the game.

SOUTH FREMANTLE

#1 Jack Musika

The 2017 WA U16s State Academy member showed that he could be considered one of the better forward-midfield players in this year’s WAFL Colts competition. Against the Tigers, Musika collected 16 possessions, laid five tackles, took four marks, recorded two inside 50s and kicked a goal playing as a half-forward flanker. The highlight of his game came in the first quarter when he was able to gather the ball cleanly between multiple players, and then checkside the ball through for a goal.

#3 Jarrod Salmeri

The Boddington product was solid off the half-back line for the Bulldogs, trying his utmost to repel Claremont’s repeated forward entries. In the process he accumulated 13 possessions, took three marks and laid two tackles, trying to intercept the attacking forays, and also tried to provide adequate rebound from the Bulldogs’ defensive half.

#6 Manfred Kelly

The Fremantle Next-Generation Academy member continued his strong season for the Bulldogs with another solid performance. Against Claremont, Kelly accumulated a team-high 19 possessions, laid five tackles, recorded a team-high five inside 50s and took three marks to be one of the few South Fremantle players to hold their heads up after the game.

#27 Eric Botha

The Booragoon junior tried his heart out for the Bulldogs but it was to no avail. He finished with 18 possessions, seven tackles, six marks and four inside 50s to be one of the better players for South Fremantle.

#42 Nathan Spooner

The Wagin product was outstanding in the ruck for the Bulldogs, toiling hard in an entertaining duel with Steven Miller. Against the Tigers, Spooner gathered a team-high 19 possessions, won 18 hit-outs, took a game-high nine marks, recorded four inside 50s and laid two tackles as he tried to will his team into the contest.

#49 Ira Jetta

Before going off with a shoulder injury early in the third quarter, Jetta showed enough to suggest that he could be considered a gun prospect for WA at next year’s AFL U18s Championships. He finished with 13 possessions, five inside 50s and three tackles, as he rotated between the midfield and the forward line. His neat skills combined with his speed make him a damaging player.

CLAREMONT

#3 Leno Thomas

The Fremantle Next Generation Academy member showed he has all the traits to become a very good player at the next level with an accomplished performance. Playing as a half-back flanker, Thomas intercepted many of the Bulldogs’ attempts, rebounded with class and used his speed and skill to penetrate the Bulldogs’ defensive zone. A highlight of his game came in the first quarter when he intercepted a South Fremantle attack, played on immediately and found Charlie Malone inside attacking 50. His final stats were 19 possessions and five marks.

#8 Jack Buller

Playing as the centre half-back, Buller was pivotal to the Tigers’ mauling of the Bulldogs. He set up behind the play exceptionally well, helped organise his team-mates, was aggressive with his attack on the ball and man, was strong in the aerial contests, and read the play well to position himself in the right spots. He limited his direct opponent, Jacob Plunkett, to just two possessions and a goal, while he finished with 11 possessions and five tackles.

#11 Kade Lines

The Marist Junior was excellent through the midfield for the Tigers, applying plenty of pressure around the contest and helping set up a host of attacking forays. He gathered 21 possessions, laid six tackles, recorded four inside 50s and took two marks in a dazzling display.

#12 Joel Western

The bottom-age prospect who is also a member of the Fremantle Next-Generation Academy, Western was exceptional against South Fremantle. He finished with 26 possessions, four inside 50s, three tackles, two marks and a goal in a dazzling display. The real feature of his game was his desire to use his pace to burn off his opponents and to help set up many of the Tigers’ attacking moves. Western is shaping up to be one of WA’s better prospects in next year’s AFL Draft.

#14 Jack Cooley

The 2016 WA U15s State Schoolboys’ representative continued his fine season with the Tigers with another dominant outing. He accumulated a game-high 28 possessions, laid seven tackles, recorded five inside 50s and kicked two goals to arguably be best afield. His ability to stand up in a tackle before getting the ball to a team-mate on the outside was very good for someone his age. Could potentially be a gem for a club that picks him up late in the National Draft or as a rookie.

#21 Louis Passera

The 19-year-old was excellent off the wing for the visitors using his speed and skill to carve up the Bulldogs’ defensive zones. He accumulated 14 possessions, took five marks and kicked two goals in a powerful performance.

#27 Charlie Malone

The Scarborough junior showed why he is one of the better small forwards in this year’s WAFL Colts competition with another dazzling performance. Against the Bulldogs, Malone collected 17 possessions, grabbed five marks, laid four tackles, recorded four inside 50s and kicked four goals to be the most damaging player on the ground. His leading patterns, particularly in the first half, were excellent for someone his age.

#32 Logan Young

The 17-year-old showed he could be a potential inside midfield prospect for next year’s AFL draft with a solid performance against South Fremantle. He finished with 15 possessions, eight tackles, three inside 50s and two goals to be one of the more damaging players on the ground.

#36 Steven Miller

The Wembley Amateur produced the best performance of his short career to date for the Tigers. Against the Bulldogs, Miller gathered 14 possessions, won a game-high 29 hit-outs, laid five tackles and recorded two inside 50s to be the best big man on the ground. His ruck craft, mobility around the ground and his competitiveness all stood out in his performance.

WAFL Colts weekly wrap: Peel clinches minor premiership in style

THERE was a taste of Spring in the air as the teams made their way out onto the playing arenas for Round 18 of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Colts. While the top five had been decided, there was no shortage of tricky tests, with a team who will not be playing in September claiming another big scalp.

WAFL Colts Round 18

Peel Thunder 14.10 (94) def. South Fremantle 3.5 (23)

Peel Thunder will finish the home and away season as minor premiers after ruthlessly dispatching of South Fremantle to the tune of 71 points at Fremantle Oval on Saturday.

South Fremantle had been the master of this fixture in recent seasons, but Peel were more interested in the present as they looked to seal top position and move the Bulldogs one step closer to collecting the unwanted wooden spoon.

The opening half was a illustration of dominance as the visitors kicked eight goals to two behinds to take a 52-point lead into the half time break. Peel had six individual goalkickers for half with Tyrone Thorne and bottom ager Jaxon Pitts leading the way with two goals each.

Peel once again managed to keep their opponents goalless while adding another two goals to their tally in the third term. The final quarter was by far the best quarter of the game with both sides going goal for goal. While Peel ended up winning the term, it was good to see the Bulldogs show some fight despite being outclassed throughout the contest. The general stats were pretty close when you consider what the final margin was. The deciding factor was that Peel were able to hit the scoreboard on a frequent basis and amassed 24 scoring shots to just eight by South Fremantle.

Peel are well worth the honour of premiership favourites heading into September having been the best team in the competition in the second half of the season. Once again it was a even spread of contributors for Peel led by Thorne who amassed 25 disposals, seven tackles four inside 50s and five goals. Jack Sears was a major winner with 28 along with five inside 50s while Zachary Rankin was a hard worker all game with 21 disposals, eight tackles and six inside 50s. Meanwhile as it has been for most of the campaign, it was left to far too few for the Bulldogs. The trio of Ira Jetta (27 disposals, eight inside 50s and one goal), Jack Musika (25 disposals, six inside 50s and five tackles) and Manfred Kelly(21 disposals, eight tackles and five inside 50s) were very dependable yet again.

East Fremantle 9.12 (66) def. East Perth 5.8 (38)

The recent giant-killing ways of East Fremantle continued on Saturday as they knocked off yet another finals bound side their fourth in succession – this time it was East Perth to the tune of 28 points at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday morning.

The resurgent Sharks carried their recent fine form into the first half of this contest, building a 25-point lead at the long break. The load was shared with five individual goalkickers and the home teams defence was also more than filling their end of the bargain by restricting the Royals to just four scoring shots for the first 50 minutes of action. East Fremantle increased their lead in the third term, kicking two goals to nil leaving the visitors marooned on just one goal for the first three terms.

The visitors who had a lot riding on this encounter having come into it in second place needed to respond to regain a sense of confidence. To their credit, East Perth won the fourth quarter by four goals to two, but the damage had well and truly been done before then. In a quirky statistic, there was no multiple goalkickers on the day with 14 players each kicking one major. The Royals slipped to third and would be hoping for a Subiaco win later in the day against Swan Districts to hold onto that position.

Luke Jackson gave another showing of his all-round talents with 24 disposals, 27 hit-\outs and a goal. Chad Warner was terrific throughout the four quarters with 30 disposals and six tackles, while Trent Rivers picked up 25 disposals, six inside 50s and four marks. For the Royals, Adam Boules continued his terrific season with 31 disposals, six marks and six tackles while Harley Sparks found life tougher on the back of his 47 disposal showing, this week collecting 22 touches and eight marks.

Claremont 11.8 (74) def. West Perth 8.9 (57)

Claremont reclaimed second position on the ladder after a composed 17-point win against West Perth at Claremont Oval on Saturday morning.

After a entertaining first quarter of action with seven goals scored between the two Premiership contenders, Claremont opened up a handy break in the second term kicking three goals to nil and led by 22 points at the long break. Benjamin Elliott kicked his third goal early in the second half to give the home team a five goal margin. While the Falcons were getting the ball into their forward 50, the conversion was certainly lacking.

The difference was that the Tigers were more clinical and managed to increase their lead to 33 points at three quarter time. The Falcons certainly upped their intensity in the early stages of the fourth term with four of the opening five goals of and cutting the margin to 10 points. However, as what so often happens when a team makes a big run, they end up running out of steam and the Tigers were able to steady and clinch a very important victory.

Kade Lines was a key figure in the end result for the Tigers with four goals to go along with 13 disposals and five inside 50s. Jack Cooley had 24 disposals and five tackles and four inside 50s while Joel Western had 23 and three marks. The loss was the third in succession for the Falcons and while at one point seemed a likely prospect to seal a double chance, the Falcons seem likely to face a do or die clash in the first week of the finals. The prolific duo of Tyron Hindmarsh and Koopah Todd each collected 28 disposals and laid five tackles each for the Falcons.

Subiaco 12.8 (80) vs Swan Districts 8.8 (56)

Subiaco were the second team to put a dent in the double chance hopes of a finals bound team when the Lions defeated Swan Districts by 24 points at Kalgoorlie on Saturday evening. After a tight opening half, the Lions booted seven goals to five to gain some separation on their opponents and guarantee a big win with the season winding down.