Tag: Isaac Wareham

Classic Contests: Rebels come from behind to down Falcons in one-point thriller

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 2 clashes in the NAB League this year between Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Geelong Falcons. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2019, when the sides took to the field at MARS Stadium and had a number of exciting prospects make it an even contest.

GWV REBELS 1.3 | 3.8 | 5.10 | 8.16 (64)
GEELONG FALCONS 2.2 | 4.3 | 9.6 | 9.9 (63)

Round 2 | Sunday, March 31, 2019
MARS Stadium, 1pm

In recent years, Geelong Falcons have had the wood over GWV Rebels, particularly when at full strength, but given the game was at MARS Stadium and the teams were considered pretty even, many attending the game hoped it would live up to expectations. The first half certainly suggested that might be the case and the two eventual top-age draftees in Cooper Stephens and Jay Rantall showed just why they were so highly rated with some terrific performances. For Rantall it was just his second game, while for Stephens it would be his last full game before breaking his leg a week later.

After the Rebels missed a few chances in the first term, Geelong’s Chas Karpala was the first on the board for the match, handing his side an early four-point advantage 14 minutes into the contest. Isaac Wareham quickly responded for the Rebels to get the home side started, before Harry Stubbings again handed his side the lead in the last few minutes for the visitors to head into half-time with a narrow five-point advantage. Inaccuracy was troubling the Rebels with both side booting two goals in the second term, but the Rebels also booting five behinds in the blustery conditions. Rantall broke the ice in the seventh minute mark for the fifth lead change of the match, but Mitchell Langan again found a response for the Falcons, booting back-to-back goals to open up the largest lead of the game – nine points. A late major to James Cleaver who was being tested forward after playing as a defender in his top-age year brought the Rebels to within a point at the main break.

The Falcons put the foot down after half-time thanks to the likes of Stephens, Charlie Lazzaro and Keidan Rayner, whilst Charlie Sprague was having an influence further up the ground in midfield. Max Annandale, Karpala and Jay Dahlhaus – cousin of Luke – all had majors within 10 minutes of time in the third term and opened up a very comfortable 27-point lead. Darcy McEldrew went forward and kicked a crucial major, which was followed up by a goal to clever forward, Izaac Grant before Stephens steadied his side to push the margin back out to 20 at the end of the third term. Little did Falcons fans know, this would be the last major of the game as the Rebels clicked into gear in the final term – not without further inaccuracy – to boot 3.6 to 0.3 and run over the top of Geelong.

Four consecutive behinds for the Rebels in the opening seven minutes threatened to derail the comeback for the home side, before Cleaver’s second released the pressure valve a couple of minutes later. When Mitch Martin kicked truly five minutes later, the margin was less than a kick and it was well and truly game on. Sprague missed a chance midway through the term for the Falcons, as did the Rebels before McEldrew became the saviour in the dying minutes. He converted a goal with a couple of minutes left on the clock to hand his side the lead. A late behind to Charlie Harris brought the margin back to one with 15 seconds on the clock, but the Rebels were able to hold on for a memorable win.

Rantall finished the game as the clear best on ground, racking up 24 touches (15 contested), three marks, six tackles, six clearances, seven inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal in what showed off his elite endurance and burst speed. Fellow Vic Country member, Liam Herbert had 20 disposals, two marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and three rebounds, while Cooper Craig-Peters (19 disposals (17 contested), eight tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds, and Cleaver (17 disposals – 13 contested – two tackles, three inside 50s and two goals) thrived in the less-than-ideal conditions. Riley Polkinghorne worked hard from defence with seven rebounds to go with 15 touches, while Toby Mahony (12 disposals, four clearances), Harry Sharp (15 disposals, four inside 50s and four rebounds) and Connor Hinkley (16 disposals, three marks and three rebounds) all impressed for the Rebels.

Stephens was the standout for the Falcons in midfield alongside Lazzaro, with the pair combining for 54 disposals, seven tackles, nine clearances, five inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal. Rayner racked up 10 rebounds from 25 touches and three inside 50s, while Sprague was equally influential at half-forward thanks to 23 touches and seven inside 50s. Noah Gribble (21 disposals, three marks and five inside 50s) was prominent, while Stephens’ fellow AFL Academy top-age teammate Jesse Clark racked up nine rebounds and 16 disposals,

Neither side would go on to have great seasons, with the Falcons winning just three games and drawing another from 16 outings to finish in the bottom of the table with a heavy Wildcard Round loss to Sandringham Dragons, while GWV Rebels also bowed out at the Wildcard Round stage following a defeat to Western Jets at Box Hill after winning six games throughout the season.

2020 NAB League Boys team preview: GWV Rebels

THE Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels are set to bring a bottom-age heavy list into the 2020 NAB League season, with some fast-developing top-agers and 19-year-olds also in the fold. Talent Manager Phil Partington said his club is “buoyant” about their prospects in the new year despite the current air of uncertainty, with a strong pre-season for all age groups putting the Ballarat-based program in good stead.

“We’ve been really pleased with the way our boys have gone throughout the pre-season,” Partington said. “Certainly our coaches have been really focussing on the fundamentals of the game, the skill development of the game which we’ve seen a marked improvement on in our skillset with the boys. “We’ve performed well over the pre-season trial games and into the practice games so we’re buoyant about how we’ll go this year. “We’ve got a very bottom-age group; we’ve got 50 boys in the squad so basically 18 top-agers this year, four 19-year-olds, and I think it’s 28 bottom-agers, so our bottom-aged boys are really talented across the whole region and we’re looking forward to seeing how they develop throughout the year.”

The Rebels had an impressive nine products turn out at the Under-16 National Championships last year, with a bunch of them injected into the NAB League squad post-carnival to good effect. Among them was Josh Rentsch, a developing tall who, along with Queenslander, Jye Lockett is set to have an impact on the GWV team this season.

“We had eight (16-year-old) players play Vic Country last year and one for Queensland and those boys are ready to go,” Partington said. “Those boys presented themselves really well last year as 16-year-olds in the games they did play so we’re looking forward to seeing how they go. “Young Josh Rentsch is now at boarding school in Ballarat so we’re really pleased to have Josh semi-full-time in our program. “For a young developing tall to be in our backyard and to have a bit more development that we can do with him is good for his development overall.”

“Jye is Tony Lockett‘s nephew and the family have got a really good connection with the North Ballarat Football Club through Tony’s dad and also Jye’s father, Neil. “They’ve sent him down to boarding school to further his studies and have footy opportunities as well so Jye’s been in the program now for the last two years as a 16-year-old with us and now a 17-year-old. “He’s developing quite well over time with us.”

Lockett is a member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy and will represent Queensland or the Allies if selected. He is one of a few familiar names scattered across the Rebels’ list, but Partington insists each prospect merits their own selection.

“We certainly don’t pick players on names, every player in our squad is deserving of their opportunity through their potential and also their development they’ve had through the pre-season, he said. “We want these boys, and the boys want to make their own name in footy going through. “We’ve got Myles McCluggage and young Sam Butler as well – Sam’s the brother of Daniel Butler. “These boys are performing well, we just need them to continue to develop and we don’t want to put too much external pressure on these boys because they are their own player and they’ve got their own traits in how they play.”

Arguably leading the pack of the Rebels’ draft eligible players is their sole 18-year-old Vic Country Hub member, Nick Stevens, who will look to back up a promising 17th year. Partington said the development of returning top-agers and 19-year-olds has been the most pleasing aspect of the program.

“Our talented players are becoming more developed, and our 19-year-olds are developing further through the Geelong VFL program and our alignment with them,” he said. “Nick’s in the AFL Academy, the Vic Country academy. Harry Sharp‘s an elite runner, Harry’s done a lot of things right as a 17-year-old and certainly developed further as an 18-year-old, combining his athletics and football this year. “So we’ve got some nice developing types for our top-age. “The beauty of our program is because we’ve got some boys from all over Western Victoria, (there are) boys who are travelling 3-4 hours to get to training on Thursday night so we see the development for boys that have missed out last year as 17-year-olds that have gone back and played senior football. “I think we’ve had five players that missed our squad as 17-year-olds last year that’ve come into our squad as 18-year-olds this year… so we’re really buoyant that that’s happened.”

Isaac (Wareham), unfortunately we probably wouldn’t be talking about him now if he played the last six games of the year without injury, he missed the last half of the year after the national championships. “He’s born on 24/12 so he’s a very young boy still and only a week from being a NAB League player officially as an 18-year-old this year. “All our 19-year-olds have got special AFL traits about them, but looking to have a bit more consistency in their games. “A lot of those boys have been disadvantaged as well with where they live – one night a week we only see them, compared to some boys in other areas who are two or three nights a week. “Our boys are underdeveloped (in that sense) and being in a Geelong VFL program full-time, we’ve already seen marked improvement in these boys when they’ve come back and played our trial games and we’ll see when the season starts up again they’ll be further developed once they get into it.”

A prime example of what each of the Rebels’ draft hopefuls should be aspiring towards comes from a 2019 graduate who bolted from a long way back in Jay Rantall. As GWV’s sole draftee last year, Partington said one key off-field trait helped him to harness his full potential at the junior level.

“Character and work ethic, that’s the number one driver for boys to make the AFL and Jay had bucketloads of that,” he said. “He’s very determined and he hadn’t been in some of the pathway programs at all because he had his basketball commitments, so he knew he had to improve on parts of his game and his skill assets and he certainly did that in his own time and during training to get himself better.

The Rebels were set to kick off their 2020 NAB League season against Dandenong Stingrays on home turf, but that clash has been pushed back amid competition postponement.

2019 AFL Draft Preview: West Coast Eagles

WEST Coast heads into 2020 as arguably the most balanced list across the competition, with depth across most positions and adding Tim Kelly to a side that was already a premiership contender signals what they might be capable of next year. However everything comes at a cost and grabbing yet another A-grade midfielder has cost them their seat at the draft for the vast majority, placed in the 2019 AFL Draft with picks 46, 91, 108 and 126 – the worst of any club in the competition. The big plus is them not needing a great deal, with only players to replace other ageing talents as the main goal.

CURRENT PICKS: 46, 91, 108, 126.

NEXT GEN ACADEMY/FATHER-SONS – COMBINE INVITES: Nil.

LIST NEEDS:

Overall depth

FIRST PICK OPTIONS:

Coming in at pick 46, it is difficult to determine who might be there by then, and what the Eagles might look at. They might try and add a mature-age prospect to further strengthen their list and bring an immediate player into the fold. Whether that could be a Cole Gerloff or a Frank Anderson to add something in multiple positions, or if they go taller for key utility Joel Ottavi or key forward Jake Riccardi, it is certainly a pick that could go either way. If the Eagles look to youth, the talls available might be Charlie Comben, Callum Jamieson or Nick Bryan who could fill a long-term role as forward-rucks, or going smaller, if Sam Philp is still there they might pounce, or look locally to the likes of Jake Pasini, Riley Garcia, Chad Warner or Trey Ruscoe to fill a need. If high-flying Mitch Georgiades was still on the board, West Coast would have to consider him as a long-term key forward replacement.

LIVE TRADE OPTIONS:

There is not much the Eagles can do other than trade down to try and bridge the gap between their first and second picks. The Eagles could try and swing a deal with next year’s picks but might struggle given their draft placement, and will more likely head to the draft with one or two picks in the third or fourth rounds, which is the downside of being a strong side that has added more class and talent to its list over the off-season.

REMAINING CROP:

As mentioned, the Eagles could well trade down, but if predicting pick 46 was difficult, then 91 or any others the Eagles use are near on impossible. They will just have to assess which players are left by the time their pick rolls around, but be comfortable in knowing the evenness of the draft in the second half means they could get a fourth round value pick in the seventh round. They will have a chance to snap up some players before the rookie draft which is always a bonus, and may well pick up a slider from a player who due to injury or other circumstances might be floating around. Riley Garcia is a local player who while he should be off the board before then, would be one too hard to ignore, while Isaac Wareham is another who could add a long-term need to the team. Ben Sokol is a readymade forward who has been dominant in the WAFL this season, while a sliding injured tall like Jack Bell could potentially fall in their laps. It is difficult to calculate, but the Eagles will at least be able to find some diamonds in the rough despite the late picks.

*Picture credit: Michael Farnell – Sports Imagery Australia

2019 AFL Draft Preview: St Kilda Saints

AFTER a bumper trade period which saw St Kilda bring in a bunch of talent, the Saints are set for a much more subdued draft night. They will open their draft all the way back in Round 3, with just three selections at their disposal but not a massive amount they would be seeking to improve. They have fulfilled a lot of their needs during that trade period and will now likely be a quiet player in the draft, but could deal with a club such as Essendon who has multiple picks in the 60s but will not use them all.

CURRENT PICKS: 51, 82, 100, 118

NOMINATED ACADEMY/FATHER-SONS: Bigoa Nyuon (NGA)

LIST NEEDS:

Long-term ruck depth
Overall depth

FIRST PICK OPTIONS:

Entering the draft all the way back at Pick 51 – which will ultimately become Pick 54 post-bids – is a bizarre position to be in, and is often the approach sides in the premiership window take. But the Saints will back their hand and result of their trade period, with many bases covered and the potential to bring in either project players or readymade mature-agers. They are at the mercy of other clubs’ selections at pick 51, but rucks like Nick Bryan and Callum Jamieson could provide the long-term ruck depth St Kilda looks to be needing as Rowan Marshall matures and Paddy Ryder ages. Flanker types may also interest the Saints as the likes of Jade Gresham, Jack Billings, Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield battle for more midfield minutes, with Brisbane academy product Will Martyn one who could fit the bill along with Louis Butler, Isaac Wareham, Mitch Martin, and Lachlan Williams. Another option might be a versatile tall forward to replace Josh Bruce, such as the dead-eye accurate Cooper Sharman.

LIVE TRADE OPTIONS:

There is not much the Saints have to play with, but they could split pick 51 to give themselves a bit more to work with slightly down the order – such as Essendon with the picks in the 60s. Given they have covered so many bases in the trade period and have immediate cover almost everywhere, it may well be a case of just building that depth.

REMAINING CROP:

Next Generation Academy product Bigoa Nyuon is currently training with the club and could either be taken at pick 82 or in the rookie draft, able to play in each key position post and with good upside as a raw prospect. Mature-agers and real project players come into the fold at the 82-mark, with the Saints lacking any real wriggle room in terms of being able to rely on targeted players still being on the board.

2019 AFL Draft Preview: Fremantle Dockers

HOLDING one of the strongest draft hands heading into the 2019 AFL Draft, Fremantle is in a terrific position to continue its build up the ladder to try and break back into the top eight. The Dockers were strong players in trade week, bringing in Blake Acres and James Aish, while Ed Langdon and Bradley Hill departed the club, all up leaving six spots open on the club’s list. With two top 10 picks and Pick 22 sure to name three quality stars – one of which will be Liam Henry – the Dockers are primed to add some quality talent back on its list. After a host of retirements and delistings as well as the departures, the Dockers could use the draft to pick up some speed and skill around the ground particularly through the middle. A ruck would not go astray with Aaron Sandilands and Scott Jones both departing, while some extra firepower up forward at the feet of the key position players would also be handy.

CURRENT PICKS: 7, 10, 22, 58, 69, 79, 83

NEXT GEN ACADEMY/FATHER-SONS PROSPECTS – COMBINE INVITES: Liam Henry, Isaiah Butters and Leno Thomas (all NGA)

LIST NEEDS:

Outside midfielder with speed and skills
Small/medium forward
Ruck

FIRST PICK OPTIONS:

It is an interesting scenario for Fremantle coming into the draft at Pick 7. It is expected the Dockers should be safe from having to match a bid on Henry at this selection, so they can pick safe in the knowledge he fills a need by himself when he heads there not too long after the selection. Western Australia (WA) Under-18 Championships winning captain and Larke Medallist Deven Robertson might come into the thinking, possessing the speed required but still being predominantly inside. Dylan Stephens fits a perfect need and would be a perfect choice for the Dockers to team up with Henry over a decade on either wing, while one would think Luke Jackson would at least be a fleeting glance with the speed and skill important, but the lack of ruck options in the draft might see the Dockers grab the WA ruck. With Pick 10 so close, it would be ideal if Fremantle can survive to that pick without a bid on Henry which is certainly possible, just not guaranteed.

LIVE TRADE OPTIONS:

Fremantle is one of the favourites to get down and trade on draft night with the Henry bid certainly a talking point. With Tom Green the only likely player to be taken ahead of Henry in terms of Academy selections, and Finn Maginness not far behind, the Dockers might look to trade down from Pick to be able to match Henry while gaining an extra selection. If they know say Carlton at Pick 9 will bid on Henry, they could look to do a deal with the Blues, or potential leapfrog them and talk to Melbourne at Pick 8. Given the Demons’ next pick is 97, it will need to likely involve a selection from next year coming back the other way with the Dockers not going to give up Pick 22 and 10 for 8, while the Demons will not want to drop two places in the top 10 for the bonus of Pick 58. They could also look to package up 10 and 22 for for a couple of picks in the teens, such as Geelong’s 14 and 17, enabling them to match Henry, while upgrading their third selection.

REMAINING CROP:

After Fremantle has decided what to do with Pick 10, and likely have picked up a couple of top-end prospects as well as the incredibly talented Henry, the Dockers have a couple of selections to play with later in the draft. They might eye off local ruck, Callum Jamieson to fill the ruck void if Jackson was off the board by their selection early, or Charlie Comben or Nick Bryan if they have slipped to their Pick 58. Some outside speed and skill that might be available late is the likes of Ben Johnson, Josh Shute or even Isaac Wareham, while to fill roles up forward, Jai Jackson, Callum Park or Josh Morris might fancy them at those selections. Lachlan Williams is another interesting pick that could land somewhere in the back-end of the draft and he fills roles up both ends. They have some decisions to make, but it will be fascinating to watch them.

2019 AFL Draft Preview: Carlton Blues

FOR the first time in a long time, Carlton heads into the draft without a stacked hand, featuring only one in the first round and re-entering in the third with a few later picks. A year on from the much-publicised live trade which saw them land pick nine and Liam Stocker, the Blues have hinted they will go in targeting the best available at each pick despite having some holes to plug.

CURRENT PICKS: 9, 43, 57, 70, 85

NOMINATED ACADEMY/FATHER-SONS: Nil

LIST NEEDS:

Small forward
Midfield depth

FIRST PICK OPTIONS:

The openness of the first round means that the Blues’ current first selection will come largely at the mercy of those with picks before them. The player currently in the frame is big-bodied Bendigo utility Brodie Kemp, who unfortunately will not be available for most of his debut year after tearing his ACL late in the season. While his talent is undeniable and he would provide the perfect midfield fold for Patrick Cripps in the future, Carlton looks to still be at the stage where its high-end picks need to be making an impact straight away given the slow development of previous early selections. Elsewhere, Caleb Serong would be a great choice if he slides to pick nine, able to make an impact up forward or win contested ball through the midfield. The same goes for his Gippsland teammate Sam Flanders, but he may well be off the board and would be more of a forward at AFL level. Lifelong Carlton fan Dylan Stephens is a balanced midfielder with senior experience who fans would welcome with open arms, while the Blues are also said to be considering a bid for Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) member Liam Henry – a lively small forward. Fellow West Australian Luke Jackson is the best ruck in the draft, and would be an ideal replacement for the ageing Matthew Kreuzer if available.

LIVE TRADE OPTIONS:

The Blues could do worse than to split pick nine and pick up players which suit their needs at a more correct value. While they hold pick nine in high regard and have some great options there, exciting small forwards Cody Weightman and Kysaiah Pickett will come into contention with picks amid the teens, and they could even pair their choice with a player like Josh Worrell depending on what they trade for. Miles Bergman is another forward option around the 15-mark, while Dylan Williams and Elijah Taylor would be high-upside choices in the 20s. Given a lack of their own NGA and father-son options, the Blues will not have to stack up on picks, but could rather spurn the plans of others in that department.

REMAINING CROP:

Outside class is an area the Blues could look to prop up with pick 43, with Tasmanian Mitch O’Neill one who may slide and provide terrific value in that range. Midfield depth will be the other priority, with the Sandringham pair Ryan Byrnes and Darcy Chirgwin options around the mark alongside Sam Philp and Daniel Mott. A small forward/midfield like Ned Cahill could also pique Carlton’s interest as a safe choice for his position. The Blues often opt to package or go with project players with their late picks, and GWV trio Toby Mahony, Isaac Wareham, and Mitch Martin are all players with great potential who fit the bill. 194cm midfielder Mahony could be of particular interest, while delisted train-on players Josh Deluca and Lukas Webb could also be taken late or with rookie picks.

NAB League Boys team review: GWV Rebels

AS the NAB League season finals approach, we take a look at the sides that are no longer in contention for the title, checking out their draft prospects, Best and Fairest (BnF) chances, 2020 Draft Crop and a final word on their season. The next side we look at is the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels.

Position: 10th
Wins: 9
Losses: 9
Draws: 0

Points For: 950 (Ranked #9)
Points Against: 1078 (Ranked eq. #11)
Percentage: 88
Points: 24

Top draft prospects:

Jay Rantall

A late bloomer to the sport after focusing on basketball where he made it to international level, Rantall showed he has made the right choice with some of the performances he put out on the park this year. The athletic midfielder has an endurance base that rivals Sam Walsh, and ticks nearly every athletic box there is to tick. On the field, he showed he can wear down opponents and hit the scoreboard regularly, bursting out of stoppages and kicking goals from little time or space. He is still raw compared to other players, but on excitement factor alone he is rated in the first half of the draft, and would make a case for a top 30 selection.

Isaac Wareham

A long-term prospect, Wareham missed the last month due to injury, but showcased what he could do for the Rebels and Vic Country. He is not a huge ball winner, but he has lovely kicking skills and makes the right decisions. He still has areas to work on and his consistency is a big factor that will need developing, but receiving a National Draft Combine invitation is a massive boost in his draft chances. Expect him to be in the late-to-rookie stakes, though players with his skillsets in the past have been known to be plucked out earlier than expected. Has good upside for the future.

Other in the mix:

The two other Rebels who deserve consideration are midfielder-forwards Mitch Martin and Toby Mahony. Both are very different players despite playing similar roles, Martin is that X-factor forward who can win a game off his own boot, while Mahony has a long raking kick that can pinpoint teammates like very few can. Both have had inconsistencies throughout the season and are more long-term prospects, but both have earned draft combine invites and therefore are on the radar.

BnF chances:

While Martin and Mahony will poll well, expect it to be either Cooper Craig-Peters or Riley Polkinghorne who take it out, with both regularly among the best and consistently putting up solid numbers, but also team-orientated performances. Jayden Wright, Jack Tillig and James Cleaver are other players who were regularly standing up – more often than not in the defensive 50 – and will earn plaudits from their coaches.

2020 Draft Crop:

Harry Sharp and Tillig are the two players who are making waves for 2020 in a year that will be better known for its bottom-agers at the Rebels next year. After being a young side in 2018, the Rebels were older in 2019 and will again look to the bottom-agers in 2020. Midfielders Ben Hobbs and Charlie Molan, and key forward Josh Rentsch loom as a 16-year-old trio that will be regularly monitored by the opposition with the first two hoping to hand the latter some opportunities on a silver platter inside 50.

Final word:

The Rebels had an up-and-down year, with their best right up there with the top sides, and their worst among some forgettable performances. They missed out to winning through to the finals this year after a loss last weekend, but they showed some promising signs at times this year and barring a triple-figure loss to Eastern Ranges mid-season, were able to be competitive and not drop as many games with disappointing last quarters which was a step forward.

Victoria leads way with National Combine invitees

VICTORIA has dominated this year’s NAB AFL Draft Combine List, with 44 of the 79 invites hailing from the state, including a remarkable 11 players from Sandringham Dragons. Vic Metro led the way despite finishing on the bottom of the table at the National Under-18 Championships, with 23 players making the list, followed by title runners-up Vic Country (21), while overall winners Western Australia (16), and South Australia (13) both reached double-figure invites. Of the Allied states, Queensland had three nominees, followed by New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) with two, as Northern Territory and Tasmania both had the sole nomination each. Players must have been invited by at least four clubs to receive an invite to the national combine, which will be held from Tuesday, October 1-Friday October 4. The state combine lists are usually released over the next few months.

Among the list are five Northern Academy-aligned players with GWS Academy’s Tom Green and Liam Delahunty, Brisbane Lions’ Noah Cumberland and Will Martyn, and Gold Coast’s Connor Budarick. Also receiving invites are father-son prospects Jackson Mead (Port Adelaide) and Finn Maginness (Hawthorn), and the Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) member Liam Henry.

Sandringham’s haul of 11 players includes Darcy Chirgwin (Vic Country) as well as double-digit Vic Metro representatives, Jack Bell, Miles Bergman, Louis Butler, Ryan Byrnes, Oscar Lewis, Maginness, Jack Mahony, Fischer McAsey, Hugo Ralphsmith and Josh Worrell. Oakleigh Chargers and Gippsland Power was the next most with six apiece, Dandenong Stingrays with five and Bendigo Pioneers with four.

In Western Australia, East Fremantle dominated the 16 nominees, picking up six as Jai Jackson, Luke Jackson, Trent Rivers, Trey Ruscoe, Jeremy Sharp and Chad Warner all named. In South Australia, Woodville-West Torrens had four representatives with Mead, Josh Morris, Kysaiah Pickett and Harry Schoenberg all receiving an invite. Just seven players came from the Allies squad, with Green and Tasmania’s Mitch O’Neill the top prospects.

A couple of players proving that missing out on representative selection is not the end of the AFL Draft dream are Northern Knights’ Sam Philp and Oakleigh Chargers’ Cooper Sharman. Philp has been in great form in the NAB League Boys competition, whilst Sharman has been plucked from under former AFL coach Rodney Eade’s nose to bolt up into draft calculations.

2019 NAB AFL Draft Combine list
NSW/ACT

Liam Delahunty (GWS Academy)
Tom Green (GWS Academy)

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Malcolm Rosas (NT Thunder)

QUEENSLAND

Connor Budarick (Gold Coast Academy)
Noah Cumberland (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Will Martyn (Brisbane Lions Academy)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Will Day (West Adelaide)
Karl Finlay (North Adelaide)
Will Gould (Glenelg)
Dyson Hilder (North Adelaide)
Jackson Mead (Woodville-West Torrens)
Josh Morris (Woodville-West Torrens)
Callum Park (Glenelg)
Kysaiah Pickett (Woodville-West Torrens)
Harry Schoenberg (Woodville-West Torrens)
Josh Shute (Sturt)
Dylan Stephens (Norwood)
Cameron Taheny (Norwood)

TASMANIA

Mitch O’Neill (Tasmania Devils)

VIC COUNTRY

Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers)
Riley Baldi (Gippsland Power)
Ned Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays)
Darcy Chirgwin (Sandringham Dragons)
Jesse Clark (Geelong Falcons)
Charlie Comben (Gippsland Power)
Sam De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays)
Thomson Dow (Bendigo Pioneers)
Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power)
Brodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers)
Flynn Perez (Bendigo Pioneers)
Fraser Phillips (Gippsland Power)
Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels)
Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers)
Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power)
Brock Smith (Gippsland Power)
Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons)
Isaac Wareham (GWV Rebels)
Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays)
Lachlan Williams (Dandenong Stingrays)
Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays)

VIC METRO

Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers)
Jack Bell (Sandringham Dragons)
Miles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons)
Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers)
Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers)
Louis Butler (Sandringham Dragons)
Ryan Byrnes (Sandringham Dragons)
Darcy Cassar (Western Jets)
Josh Honey (Western Jets)
Emerson Jeka (Western Jets)
Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons)
Oscar Lewis (Sandringham Dragons)
Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons)
Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons)
Fischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons)
Daniel Mott (Calder Cannons)
Sam Philp (Northern Knights)
Hugo Ralphsmith (Sandringham Dragons)
Matt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers)
Cooper Sharman (Oakleigh Chargers)
Ryan Sturgess (Northern Knights)
Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers)
Josh Worrell (Sandringham Dragons)

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Riley Garcia (Swan Districts)
Mitch Georgiades (Subiaco)
Liam Henry (Claremont)
Jai Jackson (East Fremantle)
Luke Jackson (East Fremantle)
Callum Jamieson (Claremont)
Ben Johnson (West Perth)
Ronin O’Connor (Claremont)
Jake Pasini (Swan Districts)
Jaxon Prior (West Perth)
Trent Rivers (East Fremantle)
Deven Robertson (Perth)
Trey Ruscoe (East Fremantle)
Jeremy Sharp (East Fremantle)
Elijah Taylor (Perth)
Chad Warner (East Fremantle)

Scouting notes: AFL U18 Championships – Vic Country vs. Western Australia

WESTERN Australia took out the AFL Under-18 National Championships title with a narrow victory over Vic Country thanks to a goal after the siren. We were on hand to note down some of the prominent players, with all notes opinion-based of the individual writer.

Vic Country:

By: Peter Williams

#2 Caleb Serong

Had one of the more quiet halves he has had on the big stage with just four touches in the first half against Western Australia. Visibly frustrated as he came to the bench at one point in the second term, Serong came out with intent in the second half to pick up 12 touches and finish with 16 by the final siren. Only the one effective kick, but buried himself under the packs and won 10 contested possessions and four hardball gets. Not the best game overall, but he was able to inspire his team more in the second half and it was a key reason Country got back in the contest. His overall carnival was superb and he throughly deserved his Country Most Valuable Player (MVP) award and All Australian honours.

#4 Sam Flanders

Was one of the more dominant Vic Country players early, but let himself down by foot in the first half, with four clangers by half-time. He was winning the ball in tight and able to get it out to his teammates and keep it moving, but found himself under pressure when at defensive stoppages and had to throw in on the boot. After half-time he was sharper by foot and ended up with a team-high 24 touches and seven clearances as the dominant inside midfielder on the Country side. He almost had a quarter of his team’s clearances and continued what was a marvellous carnival with an All Australian jumper.

#9 Isaac Wareham

Underrated performance by the GWV Rebels’ midfielder who while he made some mistakes, kept trying to take the game on and would have been high up there with metres gained. He almost created a highlight-reel burst out of the middle at one point but just slipped with a bounce and had to rush to get it out, and on another occasion was sold into trouble by a teammate. As a whole, he was one of the better Country players and he has good vision that sets up teammates laterally and opens up scoring opportunities. He looked most comfortable on the wing and was able to execute the kick inside the corridor, and also provide some opportunities for teammates going forward.

#12 Lachlan Ash

Like many of his teammates, he seemed a tad off in the first half with a couple of clangers – something that no-one associates Ash with given his elite kicking skills. He shook that off in the third term, as he burst off half-back, won a one-on-one against Liam Henry, took on the opposition and then with a dart inside 50 hit-up Brodie Kemp for a goal reminiscent of last week’s match winner against South Australia. His foot skills in the second half were back to what we have come to know from the exciting runner, and he and Hayden Young’s slicing kicks were forcing Western Australia onto the back foot. Finished with a team-high eight rebounds, five more than his next highest teammate.

#13 Jay Rantall

Just kept buzzing around the stoppages and running all day, using quick hands in close and when in space to open up opportunities for teammates. Knowing his own strengths, Rantall executed under pressure handballs to good effect and went in hard to win a team-high amount of hardball gets. He also was able to win a number of important clearances around the ground and had a flying shot on the goal to create something out of nothing, but missed.

#16 Brodie Kemp

Another standout game for Country and continues his ascent up draft boards with some crucial marks inside 50. He booted two goals from four scoring shots, and always threatened to be a danger in the air. One of the few consistent Country performers across the game, Kemp spent a lot of time on the inside and then went forward, winning 11 contested possessions and taking two contested marks. His strength in the air or at ground level was clear, and he was able to pump the ball inside 50 on numerous occasions. While he still made some mistakes by foot, Kemp was another player who took risks and was willing to put it on the line to try and win the championships for Country. A deserving All Australian member.

#17 Hayden Young

When Young hit-up a Western Australian opponent 40m out with a short kick from deep in defence under limited pressure, it was clear Vic County were not on their game early. Similar to Ash, Young and clanger kicks do not belong in the same sentence, and he fixed that in the second half with some terrific long bombs to find teammates in difficult positions but made it look easy with his ability. One kick that exemplified what Young is capable of came in the final term when under pressure he kicked 40m across his body inboard, over a few West Australian opponents to land in the lap of the running Isaac Wareham who did not need to break stride. Also collected an All Australian jumper for his carnival.

#36 Sam De Koning

The tall defender was Country’s best player if you take into account all four quarters. When very few were standing up, he was repelling attacks in the back 50 with strong intercept marks and rebounds out of defence. He came in with timely spoils on the lead and was able to nullify his opponents one-on-one. He also settled down the defence and kicked long out of the back half, though did make mistakes by foot. De Koning was at his best when able to drop back and take a settling mark then set up plays from defence to attack.

Western Australia:

By: Lenny Fogliani

#4 Riley Garcia

Until he injured his knee midway through the first quarter, Garcia was arguably Western Australia’s best player. He provided a heap of energy and zip around the contest and proved to be a damaging link-up player. His final statistics were seven possessions, three clearances and two tackles.

#5 Liam Henry

The Fremantle Next Generation Academy member increased his draft stocks with another exquisite performance. Against the ‘Big V’, Henry racked up 25 possessions, took six marks, recorded five rebounds, laid five tackles and produced four inside 50s. His mercurial ability to weave his way around opposition pressure, before composing himself and finding a team-mate in space, is extraordinary for someone his age.

#7 Nathan O’Driscoll

Another bottom-age prospect, O’Driscoll was brilliant on the half-back line for the Sandgropers. He finished with 21 possessions, six tackles, four marks, four inside 50s and two rebounds, providing good zip on the outside and damaging run forward.

#10 Deven Robertson

The WA Under 18 captain continued his magnificent campaign that saw him win the Larke Medal and the WA U18 MVP. Against Vic Country, he accumulated a game-high 28 possessions, laid eight tackles, won six clearances and recorded six inside 50s to be WA’s best player. His contested possessions and clearance work were outstanding and pivotal for WA’s victory.

#12 Regan Clarke

The match winner – Clarke will go down in WA history after he kicked the winning goal with five seconds to go in the final quarter. After taking the mark, Clarke was able to duly convert his set shot to give WA its first Championships triumph since 2009. But he was also fantastic throughout the game, finishing with 14 possessions, seven marks, three inside 50s and two tackles.

#14 Chad Warner

The Willetton product was busy in the midfield for the Sandgropers, often throwing himself into stoppages to win the contested possession for his team. He finished with 22 possessions, six inside 50s, five tackles, four clearances, and three marks. Warner shares similar traits to West Coast star Jack Redden – both are clearance machines and get the ball going forward for their respective teams.

#17 Jeremy Sharp

The reigning All-Australian put forward his best game for the WA at this year’s Championships. Against Vic Country he finished with 20 possessions, 11 marks, and a goal. His penetrating kicking, line-breaking ability and composure with ball in hand were all on display.

#21 Jake Pasini

The no-nonsense defender produced another solid performance for the Sandgropers. Lined up on Josh Smith, Pasini only gathered seven possessions and took two marks, but restricted Smith to five possessions and no goals.

#32 Luke Jackson

The runner-up in this year’s Larke Medal, Jackson showed why he is considered to be the best ruckman in this year’s draft pool. He accumulated 19 possessions, won 37 hitouts, five clearances, recorded five inside 50s, took three marks and laid two tackles to be one of the most influential players for Western Australia. His follow-up work and ability to cover the ground are elite for a ruckman his age.

#36 Denver Grainger-Barras

The bottom-ager was excellent in defence for the Sandgropers, often thwarting many of Vic Country’s attacking forays. Stationed at centre half-back and opposed to Elijah Hollands, Grainger-Barras accumulated 13 possessions and took eight marks, while Hollands gathered 14 possessions but failed to kick a goal.

Deja vu as Western Australia clinch national title

IT was a case of déjà vu for Western Australia as the same group that beat Country to the National Championship title at Under-16 level with the last kick of the game did exactly the same two years later, winning a thriller by five points.

A Regan Clarke set shot just before the siren cancelled out Ned Cahill’s soccer goal to pinch the lead, with absolute scenes ensuing at Marvel Stadium after what was a rather slow first three quarters.

The visitors started brightly, bossing general play with the ball locked into their forward half and Country unable to create any form of rebound. Arguably the standout of the opening term, Jeremy Sharp started the scoring as he held onto a neat Elijah Taylor pass across the arc and kicked truly, with Callum Jamieson snaring WA’s second as he snatched the ball from Isaac Wareham and dribbled home, while Jai Jackson compounded a dominant first 15 minutes with his own set shot conversion. An injury to Riley Garcia as he fell awkwardly in a marking contest soured the look of the scoreboard, with the Sandgropers breaking to an even three-goal lead. Cahill missed a cut-edge opportunity late in the piece with time added on, opting for a shot with teammates screaming for it inside 50.

The second term started with much of the same, but WA’s Jamieson and Nathan O’Driscoll, and Sharp all missed set shot chances in the first seven minutes. The visitors just seemed to have greater numbers around the ball, with the likes of Liam Henry spreading best to get them moving forward. Meanwhile, Country lacked fluency in all areas as they struggled again to get the ball moving out of defence – as even the likes of Hayden Young and Lachlan Ash found themselves turning the ball over by foot. Logan McDonald snapped the streak of behinds at the fourth and fifth time of asking for WA, slotting a set shot and soccering off the ground to compile the misery for Country. Ned Cahill finally broke through for the home side’s first goal, earning a free kick at the bottom of the pack and making amends for his earlier miss. The struggle continued for them though as they got forward to no avail, with WA’s spare behind the ball proving more than handy as they led by 25 points at the main break.

A typically shrewd Cody Weightman snap early in the third term made it unlikely back-to-back goals for Country for the first time in the game. Their small momentum shift was quelled relatively quickly though as Tyrone Thorne dribble home a nice goal, with deadlock again setting in shortly after. Ash comprehensively burst that bubble with a highlight reel run through the middle and booming kick inside 50 to Brodie Kemp, who duly sent another through the big sticks, and the big-bodied Pioneer backed it up with another mark and goal to cut the margin to 11 points heading into the final break.

A Nicholas Martin overhead grab backing back in the forward pocket was the first highlight of the fourth term, and he cut inboard to find Sharp in worlds of space. The East Fremantle would go on to miss the resultant shot, but Riley Baldi could not quite him pay up the other end – missing from close-range after a 50-metre penalty and Country forward-half possession. Another 50-metre penalty gave Charlie Comben the opportunity to cut the margin to just five points after he marked well in front of Luke Jackson, and he delivered with 10 minutes remaining. Caleb Serong almost put his side in front but saw his shot touched on the line, but Kemp again looked to be the saviour with a big clunk deep in the pocket – only to hit the post with the shot. Henry popped back up with two chances to stick the dagger in Country’s heart but missed both with just five minutes on the clock, but Ned Cahill had no such worries with an opportunistic soccer-goal from the goalsquare to momentarily pinch the lead. A lunging Serong tackle looked a game-winner as WA almost got a shot off, but Clarke’s mark and goal just before the siren ended up being just that in a memorable finish.

After the game, Deven Robertson was announced as Western Australia’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), while Serong was named Vic Country’s top prospect for the carnival.

FINAL SCORES:
VC: 0.3 | 1.4 | 4.6 | 6.10 (46)
WA: 3.3 | 5.5 | 6.5 | 7.9 (51)

GOALS:
VC: N. Cahill 2, B. Kemp 2, C. Weightman, C. Comben
WA: L. McDonald 2, J. Sharp, C. Jamieson, J. Jackson, T. Thorne, R. Clarke

ADC BEST:

VC: S. Flanders, B. Kemp, H. Young, S. De Koning, L. Ash, C. Serong
WA: L. Henry, J. Sharp, D. Robertson, N. O’Driscoll, D. Grainger-Baras, L. Jackson