Tag: isaiah dudley

2020 SANFL Round 1 preview: Football returns to South Australia

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

Central District V Sturt

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

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

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

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

 

Woodville-West Torrens V South Adelaide

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

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

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

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

 

North Adelaide V West Adelaide

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

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

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

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

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

 

Glenelg V Norwood

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

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

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

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

2020 SANFL club preview: Central District

CENTRAL District is looking to turn around its 2019 fortunes at senior level, where the Bulldogs finished eighth overall. They won five from 18 games, and whilst they won three of their last five to escape the wooden spoon in the League competition, they will be keen to bounce back with a much stronger season in 2020.

>>> CHECK OUT OUR CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

>>> SANFL WOMEN’S CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM UPDATE

LEAGUE/RESERVES:

Central finished in the bottom three of the competition last season, but have been able to snare a massive recruit in former Swan and Blue, Daniel Menzel. Now 28-years-old, the older of the Menzel brothers – joining his brother Troy at the club – will no doubt be one of the more dominant players in the league. He could see time up the ground, but will likely be a contender for the leading goalkicker given his ability to snare goals from just about anywhere. More than anything, it is hoped he can put his repeat injuries behind him and play out a strong season after 80 AFL games.

His brother booted 33 goals in 18 games last season and has returned for another year with the Bulldogs, earning Team of the Year honours in the forward pocket. Troy will enjoy having the extra support at ground level, and the pair will likely be a massive headache for opposition defences.

Among the other players to watch in the side are another pair of brothers in Jarrod and Travis Schiller who went first and second in the Norm Russell Medal – Central’s best and fairest – last year. Jarrod also took out the Most Courageous Player and Most Consistent League Player awards in a dominant season for the run away best and fairest winner. The 25-year-old ticked over 150 games last season and averaged the 25.7 disposals, 4.1 marks, 5.3 tackles, 6.8 clearances, 3.6 inside 50s and 2.3 rebounds in a dominant performance. He was also named in the Team of the Year on the interchange.

The older Schiller brother, Travis is nearing his 100th career SANFL game with just five remaining. A ball magnet who would often suffer leather poisoning, he averaged a whopping 30.1 disposals, 4.7 marks, 4.5 tackles, 6.9 clearances and 3.1 inside 50s in season 2019. His lowest disposal count of the year was 21 such was his consistency, and he averaged the second most disposals of any player in the competition.

The Reserves had more luck than the senior last season, finishing fourth on the table with a 50 per cent win-loss record split thanks to nine wins from 18 games. Smashing Glenelg by 50 points in the elimination final, the Bulldogs went down in a heartbreaking seven-point loss to Woodville-West Torrens in the semi-finals. Not too far away from glory, the Bulldogs could be a contender in the Reserves competition with the added talent brought in to the League side.

UNDER 18S

The Bulldogs have a number of draft prospects who are members of the AFL Academy, with pint-sized mid-forward Corey Durdin leading the way. He might only stand at 172cm and 74kg, but his natural footballing ability, skill and consistency throws back to Caleb Daniel who slid down the draft order but has proved the naysayers wrong with some elite level play at AFL level. Durdin will most likely spend plenty of time in the seniors in the forward half of the ground, and create a formidable trio with the Menzel brothers when in the League team.

Aside from Durdin, the Bulldogs have two other AFL Academy members in the squad with top-ager Lachlan Grubb and bottom-ager Isaiah Dudley also earmarked as draft prospects over the next two seasons. Like Durdin, both are quite small standing at 173cm and 164cm respectively, but both have defied that with some terrific play over the past few years. Grubb is already a ball winning midfielder, whilst Dudley is an absolute danger around goals. If both of them can put up consistent seasons, then watch out.

The Bulldogs finished last on the ladder in the 2019 Under 18s competition, with just three wins from 18 games. With the renewed development of the likes of Dudley and Grubb, they should be better in 2020.

>>> GET TO KNOW CENTRAL DISTRICT UNDER 18S

>>> MARQUEE MATCHUPS: COREY DURDIN VS. BRAEDEN CAMPBELL

Get to know: SANFL U18s – Central District

CENTRAL District’s elite fleet of smalls among its Under 18 ranks was all set to be unleashed on the big stage in 2020, with all three State Hub members – Isaiah Dudley, Corey Durdin, and Lachlan Grubb – making great inroads over the past two seasons. But given the trio and the rest of their Bulldogs teammates will have to wait to get back on the park, we trace back to the South Australian preseason testing day hosted by Rookie Me to get to know them, where Draft Central had a chat to the promising youngsters.

Cousin of recent Melbourne draftee Kysaiah Pickett, Dudley is cut from the same cloth on-field too. An aggressive and clever small forward who can also push hard up the field, the bottom-ager has a great eye for goal and knack of finding the ball. With back-to-back State Under 16 campaigns under his belt, the 165cm prospect is working on his running and looks likely to be considered strongly for a berth in South Australia’s Under 18 squad this year – all things considered.

His partner-in-crime in the State 18s forwardline may well be Durdin, a standout at each level of his junior development having picked up the Kevin Sheehan Medal in 2018 as the Under 16 Division 1 MVP. Durdin also made his League debut for Centrals last year as a bottom-ager, and looks primed to hone a small forward role having already proved himself as a worthy ball winner. With a year of State Under 18s already under his belt, the 172cm gun looks forward to being more of a leader this time around at the national carnival.

The third of the trio is Grubb, who was knocked back from the State Under 16 squad in 2018 but has kept at it to become a member of this year’s hub. Another small type at 175cm, Grubb comes from a great football and athletics pedigree and has already matched his father’s feat of playing at SANFL Reserves level. With that senior experience already made, the speedster also hopes to make moves further afield with a sharpened defensive game as he continues to develop.

Without further ado, find out everything you need to know, to get to know these three exciting youngsters, in their own words on a range of topics relating to the currently postponed season and beyond.


COREY DURDIN ON…

TESTING DAY:

“It hasn’t been too bad. Just getting through and doing my best, that’s all… I’ve done it a few times now and I think the main focus for me is just trying my best and that’s all I can do really.”

THE SA STATE ACADEMY HUB:

“It’s been good. I think last year as a bottom-ager I found myself a lot like a learner, compared to this year I’m a lot more of a teacher and a leader there. That’s probably been the main difference.”

GOALS:

“One of my goals this year is trying to get that vice-captaincy or captaincy in the State (Under) 18s this year… I’m looking to play 12-plus league games and also make the All Australian team.”

SANFL LEAGUE EXPERIENCE:

“It was a great experience, being able to have the opportunity to be coached under Roy Laird. I think the biggest thing I felt was I had to adapt to the bigger bodies – for an example, I couldn’t really wrestle them and out-strength them so I had to use my pace.”

POSITION:

“This year I’m really looking directly on my small forward craft, just my pressure role there with some time in the midfield as well.”

LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING ALONGSIDE…

Durdin – “It’s always been great playing with (Isaiah Dudley) in the 16s and the 18s so yeah, just really keen for this year… Riley Thilthorpe, I think he’s going to be great for us and also Kaine Baldwin coming back from an ACL injury. I think he’s going to be really dominant for us.”

ISAIAH DUDLEY ON…

TESTING DAY:

“It’s been pretty good so far, I’m going all good… (I went well) in the agility, and the 20m sprint, went alright in that too. It’s really to my game because I can zip-zap out of the (contest) and I can use my pace as well.”

GOALS:

“Well, hopefully I can make the Under 18s State squad as an under-ager and play nationals.”

POSITION:

“I’ll play a bit of everywhere and then hopefully improve a bit on my running and find my spot in the midfield.”

SA STATE ACADEMY HUB:

“It’s helped me develop very well, it’s helped me with my running a bit more – I get to push up the ground and push back. It’s been good.”

KYSAIAH PICKETT:

“He’s a good mentor, he’s my cousin. It was good (playing school football with Pickett), I got a lot of feedback from him and he’s a pretty good bloke.”

LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING ALONGSIDE…

“This year hopefully I play with Luke Edwards and Corey Durdin… played a fair bit (with them already).”

LACHLAN GRUBB ON…

TESTING DAY:

“Testing’s been good, obviously we were here at 1:00 and did all the education sessions which were really helpful – about drugs and alcohol, betting, gambling and all that. Now we’ve come into the testing and it’s been a really good day so far.”

STRENGTHS:

“As a small forward, I’m a sprinter as well so definitely the 20m (sprint) and agility really highlight my game. I did well on the agility, did a 7.94 which is my PB (personal best) so I was pretty happy with that.”

IMPROVEMENTS:

“Definitely just more defensive work at the moment, just trying to get my game a bit more defensive because I’m more attacking at the moment. And then just looking to get better in my endurance which the yo-yo test will be a good test for.”

SPRINTING, FAMILY, AND FOOTY:

“I grew up playing at Tea Tree Gully Football Club from about Under 6s so footy’s always been in the blood and around the family – Dad played footy at Norwood up until Ressies. But I’ve been sprinting since I was about 13, my Dad’s uncle David Grubb won the Bay Sheffield back in 1970 so sprinting runs through the family as well.”

SANFL RESERVES EXPERIENCE:

“That was awesome obviously to see Dad do it and then me follow in his footsteps is pretty good. I debuted when I was 16 in the twos and ended up playing six games I think. It was a really good experience because we ended up making finals as well, but got knocked out in the semis.”

SA STATE ACADEMY HUB:

“It’s helped my development massively. Obviously I haven’t always been in the state stuff like all the other boys have, I got knocked back from the 16s. But just used that as motivation to get where I am today, obviously being in the AFL Hub now is just massive for my improvement and I’ve just learned so much so it’s been awesome.”

GOALS:

“Obviously the main one is to get drafted, that’s everyone’s goal. And just to play consistent footy, keep the body healthy, just getting everything right so I can maximise my performance at the highest level.”

LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING ALONGSIDE…

“Boys like Riley Thilthorpe and Kaine Baldwin. They’re pretty impressive, pretty elite with the way they go about their footy. Just being exposed to everyone playing at that level is awesome so I’m just keen to get around all the boys and have a really great year.”

POSITION CHANGES:

“Maybe pushing up on a wing, using my speed to go on the outside and I’m working on my contested game as well, just getting cleaner to maybe push up into the midfield as well.”

SANFL weekend preview: Under 16s to kick off under lights

KEEN onlookers will be offered a glimpse into the future of South Australian football when the SANFL Torrens University Under-16 competition commences tonight. Under Friday night lights, last year’s minor premiers and eventual runners up West Adelaide host North Adelaide at Hisense Arena, whilst 2019 semi-finalists South Adelaide head to Coopers Stadium to clash with the reliable Redlegs.

Following a disappointing 2019 campaign resulting in just one victory, Central District will be aiming to start on a positive note when it does battle with reigning premiers, Glenelg in the third game of the night. The opening round concludes on Saturday morning when Woodville-West Torrens face Sturt at Thebarton Oval. As has been the case in previous years, the eight sides will play each other once, jostling for ladder positions with the top four qualifying for a finals berth. Despite Glenelg having won four straight Under-16 titles, expect the likes of West Adelaide, Norwood and South Adelaide to once again stage promising attempts to dethrone the perennial Bayside juggernaut. The season concludes on Saturday, May 2 with South Australia’s best under-16 talents quickly turning their attention towards the mid-year National Championships. For the first time, each Torrens University Under-16 match will be live streamed via the SANFL Digital Pass.

Central District

The Bulldogs have participated in the Under-16 finals just once across the past five years but will be out to rectify that pattern, with five of their seven matches being home games staged at Elizabeth’s X Convenience Oval. The 2020 Central District side will be without ultra-talented All-Australian small forward Isaiah Dudley, who is likely to front for the Bulldogs at higher levels.

Glenelg

Whilst many key players in the Tigers victorious 2019 squad will naturally progress to Under-18 level, the club will be looking to continue its utter-domination of the Under-16 competition. The Tigers again boast a strong country contingent, with talent hailing from their prolific south-eastern zone likely to once again play a vital role. Coach Scott Uppington has identified the cohesion between the club’s country and metro-based players as a vital component to his sides sustained success. Having been crowned premiers in the previous four seasons, Glenelg will kick off the new decade as the team to beat once again.

North Adelaide

Although the Roosters will play just one match at their Prospect Oval home in 2020 (Round 5 against Norwood), coach Jeff Sochacki will be looking to book a place in the finals for the first time since 2016. Walkerville product Max Blacker featured amongst the best players four times in seven games for the Roosters last season and will be one to watch the progress of, as well as talented teammate Luke Harvey.

Norwood

Preliminary-finalists last year after being taken care of by the Tigers in the 2018 Grand Final, Norwood will be desperate to take the next step this season. Almost always a competitive outfit, the Redlegs will, however, be without All-Australian Cooper Murley. The onballer was the side’s most promising junior talent throughout the 2019 campaign and will now look to break into the Under-18 side.

South Adelaide

South Adelaide’s junior sides have been impressive across the past number of seasons without managing to take the next step. Preliminary-finalists last year, the Panthers succumbed to the eventual premiers by 16 points, ending another solid campaign. South will be without last year’s state Under-16 captain, MVP and All-Australian Jason Horne and prolific goalkicker Matthew Roberts. However the Panthers have a number of talented prospects, headlined by Jaiden Magor, captain of South Australia’s 15 and Under side last season.

Sturt

The Double Blues have missed the finals in the previous two seasons and are scheduled to play just two games at Peter Motley Oval this season. However the side opens its 2020 campaign against the three sides that also failed to qualify for the finals series 12 months ago and undoubtedly have their sights set on a fast start.

West Adelaide

West Adelaide finished as runners-up last year, having concluded the minor season at the pinnacle of the ladder. Strongly-built inside midfielder Tyson Coe, who performed well as a 15-year-old during the 2019 championships, will lead the Bloods in their attempts at gaining revenge. Fellow Sacred Heart scholars Liam Bennetts, Adam Bunworth and Kobe Ryan form the remainder of coach Michael Wakim’s leadership group, alongside Waikerie product Noah Hyde.

Woodville-West Torrens

The Eagles have experienced recent domination of the SANFL Under-18 competition, having won the previous two premierships after finishing runner up to the Redlegs in 2017. However Woodville-West Torrens have failed to qualify for finals at the Under-16 level since being downed by Glenelg in a five-point affair in the 2017 Grand Final. With their Yorke Peninsula country zone proving fruitful, the Eagles have established themselves as one of South Australian football’s best junior sides and will be expected to mount another strong fight under head coach Darren Hams.

Open Schools Cup Grand Final – Henley High School vs. Prince Alfred College

UNDERDOG Prince Alfred College (PAC) exacted revenge for last year’s loss, overcoming Henley High School by eight points in the Open Schools Cup Grand Final on Tuesday night. PAC upped their physicality and pressure game after a scoreless opening term to lead at every other break, chipping away to the 7.7 (49) to 5.11 (41) result.

Henley were dominant early, owning the territory in a scrappy first term but not quite seeing it translate to the scoreboard. State U18 squad member Cooper Horsnell snuck through the opening goal and only major for the first 20 minutes, latching onto the ball at speed close to home and dribbling the tight chance through. With PAC unable to penetrate their forward 50 throughout the term, it seemed they were going to be no match for Henley. That tune quickly changed in the second term as U18 star Kysaiah Pickett snapped home PAC’s first goal just moments after the restart to spark his side, which took the lead via another two majors within 10 minutes. Potential 2020 Adelaide father-son Luke Edwards hit back late in the term for Henley’s sole goal, cutting the margin to a manageable thee points at the main break.

PAC continued to show manic pressure around the ball and terrific intensity in the engine room led by Pickett, hitting a then game-high margin of 11 points in the third quarter after Noah Hannagan had snatched back the lead for Henley. Two sensational goals from Lewis Cowham in the same pocket of the ground ensured Princes remained on top though, providing defining pieces of brilliance inside 50 – the type that wins you grand finals. Trailing by over two goals early in the final term, it was now make or break for Henley, but they couldn’t quite find the big sticks enough from their raft of chances to sneak back in. Lachlan McNeil‘s running goal looked to give them one last sniff, but scoring was hard to come by with every player on the ground flooding Henley’s front half. The result was put beyond reasonable doubt as James Borlase booted home the sealing goal – his second – while Horsnell also added another to pretty up the final score for Henley.

Cowham’s third term burst proved a match-winner for PAC, with Pickett another to provide the same spark when resting forward and U16 pocket rocket Isaiah Dudley outstanding in defence. The combination of Borlase and Luke Pedlar was also handy up forward, while the defensive duo of Hugo Kelly and Jackson Docherty provided a sense of calm in the back half. For Henley, the state squad trio of Edwards, McNeil, and Jackson Mead did most of the grunt work through midfield while adding a touch of class, with the big body of Hannagan suiting the contested game well. Henley’s superior number of State squad members wasn’t enough to drag them over the line though, with the younger and more exuberant Princes side pulling through.

HENLEY HIGH SCHOOL 1.2 | 2.4 | 3.8 | 5.11 (41)
PRINCE ALFRED COLLEGE 0.0 | 3.1 | 5.4 | 7.7 (49)

GOALS:
Henley – C. Horsnell 2, L. Edwards, N. Hannagan, L. McNeil.
PAC – L. Cowham 3, J. Borlase 2, K. Pickett, L. Pedlar.

ADC BEST:
Henley – L. McNeil, Z. Williams, W. Schreiber, J. Mead, L. Edwards, N. Hannagan
PAC – I. Dudley, K. Pickett, L. Cowham, J. Borlase, J. Docherty, H. Kelly

SCOUTING NOTES

*Note – all players included in scouting notes have represented SA at either U16 or U18 level over the past two years.

Henley:

#18 Cooper Horsnell

The small forward came in and out of the game but made his moments count and was clinical close to goal. He booted the first and only goal of the opening term after sharking the ball off hands at pace, while also claiming the last goal of the game with another opportunistic effort.

#22 Luke Young

Looked ominous early with some strong form in the air, leading his opponent to a bunch of contests and taking a couple of nice grabs. Young had a bit of an ‘almost’ opening term, taking a great sliding mark on the 50m arc and having a quickfire shot smothered, but otherwise getting in the thick of things. He would go on to take another solid one-on-one mark up at half-forward, attacking the ball well on the lead.

#23 Luke Edwards

Adelaide fans would want to be keeping the potential father-son’s progress on the down-low, but he keeps on showing good signs of form. Edwards’ quick and clean hands in congestion were outstanding, flicking the ball out effectively to his runners and staying strong through the hips as he did so under tackling pressure. He looked at home through the midfield but also chimed in down back with some rebounding kicks and showed good penetration when going long. One to watch for next year.

#30 Jackson Mead

Was the target of some heavy attention from PAC but still managed to show his class with ball in hand as he moved forward to break the tag. His ability to gather the ball at speed and fire it out quickly was a feature early around half-forward, with his wheeling runs away from congestion later coming into play. One of Mead’s highlights for the night was a lace-out kick to Noah Hannagan on the move in the third term, repeating the feat in the following quarter to find Lachlan McNeil from a stoppage. That left foot is a weapon, and should bring some joy to Port supporters should they pick up the father-son prospect.

#38 Lachlan McNeil

Henley’s best player on the night for me, doing all the tough stuff through midfield and proving superior at the stoppages. McNeil’s reading of the taps often got him to the ball first, but he was also quick to hunt it down as it dropped loose and lay a few good tackles. While he missed a couple of earlier shots at goal, McNeil looked to have made amends with a running goal from range in the final term to lift his side. It wasn’t to be, but his contested work and a brave intercept mark in defensive 50 were acts which set the tone as PAC poured on the pressure.

#74 Josh Morris

The lively forward wasn’t able to find the goals in this outing, but showed why he was a shoe-in for the state squad with his speed and presence inside 50. While he was a touch fumbly with the ball at ground level, Morris got dangerous positions out the back and used his pace to create separation. He won a free kick as he chase the ball back towards goal one-on-one, but missed the set shot chance. Morris also took a nice mark a full stretch and was unlucky to have an on-target shot touched in a game where it just didn’t quite come together for him.

PAC:

#1 Kysaiah Pickett

One of the key reasons for PAC’s turnaround after quarter time, Pickett sparked his side with a classy snap goal to start the second term. His work rate to impact contests at either end from midfield was terrific to see, contributing some flashy touches in congestion and charging away from it with his elite speed and agility. He missed another chance on goal in the second term – this time from a set shot – as well as another snap in the third, but had a profound impact with his deceptive strength around the ball and tone-setting aggression in tackles. Almost provided his usual mark of the year contender with a big leap in the third quarter, but couldn’t quite hold on as he hit the turf.

#2 Isaiah Dudley

Was, alongside Pickett, one of the main reasons for PAC’s lift in intensity after quarter time, proving dominant as a small defender. The diminutive U16 star has unreal strength for a player his size, laying touch on his opponents, tackling hard, and getting in the face of just about anyone who dared. His charging runs and roosts from defensive 50 eased a heap of pressure for PAC, getting to the fall of the ball and ensuring there was a way out. Dudley’s work rate to make repeat runs all the way up to half forward also proved handy in breaking a largely contested game open. While he was found out a couple of times when throwing the ball to boot or looking a touch casual late on, Dudley has enormous talent and is already a key part of the PAC side.

#18 Karl Finlay

Was by no means Finlay’s best game, but the PAC skipper was solid in defence after a slow start. Finlay acted as the defensive sweeper at times, positioning well behind the ball to intercept and pushing it back the other way when in possession. The conditions didn’t aid his usually astute aerial game, but Finlay did well to compete at ground level and provide a cool head in the back half. He was unlucky to give away a free kick against fellow U18 state squad member Josh Morris when chasing him back to goal, making up the difference in pace and not allowing him to get a shot off.

#34 Harry Tunkin

The U16 state representative provided all of the physicality and courage around the ball that he usually would, getting in the thick of the action at the bottom of each pack. Tunkin was aggressive in his attack on the ball, digging in at the stoppages to either lock it in or flick it out to his runners. He made a nice play on the outside too with a pass to assist Lewis Cowham’s third goal in the third term, and can play just about anywhere.

#44 James Borlase

Borlase was terrific in the final term, warming to the contest at just the right time to play a key part in PAC’s win. The key forward led out really strongly and was a reliable target which Princes’ midfielders often looked to with quick kicks, taking the ball well at full flight. He booted two fourth quarter goals; the first coming early after picking off a Henley kick-in, and the second coming from a more conventional leading mark and set shot conversion.

#45 Luke Pedlar

Complimented Borlase well in the forward half, playing a touch more advanced and getting a sniff around the arc. He booted a fantastic set shot from range in the second term as PAC got on a roll, with his routine and kicking from distance a feature. Pedlar was also strong one-on-one and took a couple of nice marks on the move, making him a handful after quarter time.

National Championships: U16 All Australian team announced

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

South Australia [3]:

Isaiah Dudley (Forward Pocket)

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

Jason Horne (Half-Forward)

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

Cooper Murley (Interchange)

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

Vic Country [5]:

Campbell Chesser (Half-Back)

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

Toby Conway (Ruck)

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

Cooper Hamilton (Interchange)

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

Ben Hobbs (Centre)

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

Josh Rachele (Follower)

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

Vic Metro [7]:

Braden Andrews (Interchange)

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

Lachlan Brooks (Interchange)

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

Youseph Dib (Wing)

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

Blake Howes (Half-Forward)

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

Alex Lukic (Full Forward)

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

Josh Sinn (Half-Back, Captain)

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

Tyler Sonsie (Follower)

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

Western Australia [3]:

Rhett Bazzo (Centre Half-Back)

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

Judd McVee (Interchange)

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

Blake Morris (Full Back)

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

Northern Territory [1]:

Brodie Lake (Wing)

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

NSW/ACT [1]:

Sam Stening (Centre Half-Forward)

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

Queensland [2]:

Austin Harris (Back Pocket)

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

Noah McFadyen (Forward Pocket)

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

Tasmania [1]:

Sam Banks (Back Pocket)

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

Remember the Names: Top performers from the U16 National Championships

WITH the 2019 Under 16 National Championships run and done, we cast an eye over some of the names you may well see much more of over the next few seasons leading into their draft year in 2021. Our list includes the Most Valuable Player (MVP) from each side across Division 1 and 2, and is broken up into each squad.

South Australia:

Isaiah Dudley (Central District)
166cm | 66kg | 30/04/2003
Small Forward/Midfielder 

Is an absolute excitement machine with his pace and bottomless bag of tricks, often starting inside forward 50 and then getting involved further afield in general play. Having impressed in last year’s championships as an under-ager with his nous around goal, Dudley enjoyed some added midfield minutes and is a tackling machine. His standout game came in SA’s carnival opener against WA, where he collected 27 disposals and booted four goals with some truly special plays. Given his height, Dudley will probably continue on as a small forward as he heads to senior level, but is arguably as talented as anyone in the crop.

Jason Horne (South Adelaide)
184cm | 75kg | 21/06/2003
Balanced Midfielder

The fearless leader took out SA’s MVP award on the back of three very consistent performances, displaying a great balance of mettle and class on either side of the midfield contest. He proved to be one of the more effective extractors throughout, but also sparked a heap of his side’s attacks as he got on his bike away from congestion and lowered his eyes well to hit targets. Also showed he can cause headaches when resting forward, finding the goals in each game and using his strong hands to compete under high balls. 

Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide)
183cm | 77kg | 5/07/2003
Inside Midfielder

Was one of the most effective inside ball-winners, following on from his form in the 2018 Under 16 carnival where attended centre bounces and attracted the ball at will. Roberts will surely form a formidable midfield partnership with South Adelaide teammate Horne for years to come, with both uncompromising ball-winners who have that added class. One of the more pleasing parts of Roberts’ game is his ability to also accumulate inside forward 50, as shown in his final two games of the carnival. Had a blinder in SA’s loss to Vic Metro with 31 disposals, five marks, four clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal in the wet.

Vic Country:

Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons)
185cm | 78kg | 27/04/2003
Outside Midfielder/Half-Back 

Started the championships with a classy performance on the wing against Vic Metro before later moving to defence to provide that rebounding quality from half-back. The Country co-captain is a damaging user by foot and likes to take the game on to gain significant meterage, weaving his way around the outside and delivering spearing balls forward. Is originally from Lavington but boards at Melbourne Grammar, meaning he will align with the strong Sandringham Dragons program in NAB League, so look out for his set-ups by foot and clean hands in the near future.

Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)
181cm | 75kg | 16/09/2003
Inside Midfielder

Hobbs is an absolute bull through the midfield with unrivaled tenacity and aggression at the stoppages. He wins almost all of his ball himself and thrusts it forward with long kicks, but also grew into the carnival with accumulation around the ground and neat spearing kicks to find shorter targets. Was arguably Country’s second-best player behind Rachele, constantly having 25-plus disposals, double digits in tackles and booting a few goals along the way. 

Josh Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)
179cm | 73kg | 11/04/2003
Midfielder/Forward

Class with a capital ‘C’, the Country co-captain took out the Kevin Sheehan Medal (Division 1 MVP) and his side’s own MVP award with three sensational performances throughout the carnival. His talent can be summed up with one play in Country’s last game against SA, where he instinctively tapped the ball on over his shoulder to Ben Hobbs at full flight who finished the play off with a goal. Does some freakish things and constantly looks a threat around the ball with his agility and ability to break away from congestion, using both to good effect at forward stoppages. Has obvious leadership quality too and really lifted in trying to drag Country over the line in their loss to WA, having 32 disposals, six marks, four breaches of each arc and 0.3. A star in the making.

Vic Metro:

Braden Andrews (Oakleigh Chargers)
187cm | 76kg | 21/02/2003
Midfielder/Utility

Able to play through the midfield and just about anywhere else he is needed, Andrews’ best qualities are his clean hands and cool head. While he was quieter against SA, Andrews proved his class in his other two outings and in particular with his role against Vic Country – where he started forward and found the goals, went on to spark the engine room, and later provided some solidity in defence to help Metro hold on for victory. Is one who has potential to be further unlocked, but has some really nice traits already.

Alex Lukic (Oakleigh Chargers)
194cm | 80kg | 7/01/2003
Key Forward

Started with a bag of four goals against Country and came back from a quiet game in the wet against SA to claim five against WA and round out a promising carnival. Did a lot of his work close to goal and proved efficient when given chances, finishing well with set shots and snaps as he opened up the angles. Also chimed in with a bit of ruckwork, and it will be interesting to see whether Lukic can rip games apart with marking on the lead and in more contested situations as he develops. 

Josh Sinn (Sandringham Dragons)
186cm | 72kg | 28/01/03
Midfielder/Half-Back

Was originally employed off half-back in the first three quarters against Vic Country, but became a permanent midfielder after being thrust into the centre bounces and willing Metro over the line in that game. He skippered his side well over the carnival, adjusting his usually outside game to work in the engine room while still providing his trademark run and damage by foot. May see him ease into NAB League level in the back six, but has proven his midfield quality.

Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges)
181cm | 71kg | 27/01/2003
Balanced Midfielder

The Metro MVP was terrific across all three games, claiming best afield honours in two of them and showing off his versatility in the last with 19 disposals, four clearances, four inside 50s and 4.3 against WA. Is a clean extractor from midfield and oozes class in the way he wheels away from traffic, with the added bonus of being clinical around goal from all angles. Will certainly form a damaging midfield trio for Eastern with Tyreece Leiu and Jake Soligo over the next couple of years.

Western Australia:

Max Chipper (Swan Districts)
180cm | 63kg | 9/09/2003
Wing/Outside Midfielder

Better known as ‘Chip’ out on the field, the Swan Districts product is clean and cool in possession, using the ball neatly on the outside to hit targets at will. Unlike a lot of wingmen, Chipper arguably has a better short-range game and joins in at stoppages once the centre bounces play out. Had a really good start to his carnival against SA and finds the ball in all areas.

Judd McVee (East Fremantle)
179cm | 64kg | 7/08/2003
Midfielder

Judd by name and Judd by nature, McVee has that classic burst from the stoppage and showed he is able to hit the scoreboard across three promising games. Was arguably best afield in the first half against Vic Metro before being clamped, standing up in the absence of Lochlan Paton to finish with 16 disposals, seven clearances, four inside 50s and two goals in a promising showing. Is still quite light-on but is not afraid to get stuck in, giving him that valuable balance in midfield.

Blake Morris (Subiaco)
187cm | 68kg | 11/09/2003
Medium-Tall Defender

The WA MVP was an absolute rock in defence for the Black Ducks, proving an intercept machine in the air and as desperate as anyone at ground level. While he often gives up significant size – as seen when matched up on Country’s 196cm/91kg Josh Rentsch – Morris makes up for it with superior reading of the play, a sizeable leap, and the ability to mop up at the fall of the ball. Will be interesting to see whether he continues to play in the key back role or is freed up on the flanks, with a good knack for rebounding also in his locker.

Northern Territory:

Jason Baird (Palmerston)
185cm | 70kg | 29/12/2003
Midfielder/Defender

Played a key role in the Thunder’s resurgence against NSW/ACT with his accumulation across the ground and ability to push forward. He did not quite have the same impact against Queensland as he was forced to double as a key defender at times given the Maroon’s strength in that area, but battled hard and has some handy versatility.

Brodie Lake (Peel Thunder/Southern Districts)
186cm | 63kg | 16/05/2002
Midfielder/Forward

Collected the NT MVP award for his standout carnival, spending time between midfield and the forward line. Lake played his role well in either position, finding both a good amount of ball and the big sticks – most notably in his game against Division 2 title-winner NSW/ACT where he had 26 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, eight clearances, four inside 50s and two goals. Is a tall and lean midfielder with good hands overhead, so should continue to rotate between roles.

Mark White (Wanderers)
175cm | 65kg | 29/01/2003
General Forward

The tricky forward is a big exponent of taking on the man on the mark, doing it on many an occasion across the carnival to cut distances and get a better look on goal. White is also aggressive around the ball, applying strong pressure albeit while pushing the boundaries. He conveyed a bit of showmanship as he shooshed the Queensland crowd in his final outing and certainly adds a bit of spark when involved in the play.

NSW/ACT:

Joshua Fahey (GWS Giants/Queanbeyan Tigers)
186cm | 77kg | 11/11/2003
General Defender/Midfielder

Fahey is another big character who backs it up with his skill on-field, possessing a cool head and booming left foot which he used to send NSW/ACT forward out of defensive 50 and from midfield. Fahey’s work rate to get on the end of balls and penetrate the attacking 50 was also valuable, and he showed as much with his 24 disposals, six inside 50s and 10 rebound 50s against Tasmania to round out a solid carnival.

Matthew McKenzie (Sydney Swans/St Ives)
182cm | 79kg | 10/10/2003
Midfielder/Forward

Has a deceptively quick first few steps which he used to good effect when running though the midfield, while also providing a strong body at the stoppages. McKenzie racked up a good amount of ball and stayed busy when rotating through the forward 50, showing he can find the goals too. Enjoyed two solid and well-rounded performances in Queensland as one of a few promising St Ives boys.

Sam Stening (GWS Giants/Wagga Swans)
190cm | 72kg | 17/02/2003
Medium-Tall Forward

Stening came to life in an incredible final quarter against NT, while also picking up from where he left off in his next game to fix up some issues in front of goal to slot three majors from 14 disposals and six marks. Is not quite key position height but plays like one, marking well above his head with sticky hands and looking strong at full stretch. Could be a dangerous proposition once he fills out and finds his spot up forward.

Kai Watts (GWS Giants/Inner West Magpies)
178cm | 80kg | 1/02/2003
Forward/Midfielder

The NSW/ACT MVP was a dangerous asset for the Rams, starting forward and moving into the midfield as each game wore on. Watts was not a massive disposal-getter, having between 13-16 in his final two games, but has important touches and makes them count with some good delivery by foot. He gets in good positions close to goal and finds them, as shown in his 16-disposal, two-goal effort against the NT.

Queensland:

Austin Harris (Gold Coast Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin Lions)
175cm | 65kg | 30/04/2003
Defender/Outside Midfielder

Harris’ run and carry was fantastic for Queensland, making him a key contributor on his way to claiming his state’s MVP award. Harris just always found a way to the ball, getting into good areas with a high work rate and pushing forward at every chance. He often finished his runs off with neat kicks and provided a touch of class when in possession.

Daniel Lanthois (Brisbane Lions/Maroochydore)
173cm | 64kg | 12/02/2003
Midfielder

The diminutive and tough ball-winner does just about everything in the engine room, zipping away from stoppages and tackling hard on the rare occasions he doesn’t get his hands on the ball. Lanthois makes up for his lack of size with heart and really digs in around the contest, with one of his better performances coming against Tasmania as he had 18 disposals, 11 tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s.

Noah McFadyen (Brisbane Lions/Wilston Grange)
186cm | 89kg | 18/03/2003
Medium-Tall Forward

Kicked 14 goals in his three games as the leading tall forward in Division 2, with his sheer strength and positioning deep inside attacking 50 granting him most of his goals. McFadyen took full advantage of the much smaller match-ups he faced against NT to boot 8.2 in one of the performances of the carnival, and could well be the next McFadyen for Brisbane fans to keep an eye on after Connor was drafted in 2018. Will be interesting to keep tabs on his growth and whether he hits true key position size, with his set shot routine looking pretty efficient at this stage.

Tasmania:

Samuel Banks (Southern Academy/Clarence)
184cm | 70kg | 2/04/2003
Midfielder/Half-Back

The Alan McLean medallist (Division 2 MVP) has already impressed enough in Tasmanian circles to feature in the state’s Under 18 NAB League side, and showed his class throughout the carnival. Able to play through midfield or more offensively off half-back, Banks has a penetrating kick which he uses to hit targets others wouldn’t dare try to through the corridor. Is also an apt interceptor in the back half, and was terrific in that role against NSW/ACT as he collected 25 disposals, 10 marks, and five rebound 50s.

Baynen Lowe (North-West Academy/Devonport)
176cm | 65kg | 29/07/2003
Midfielder

Another of the raft of diminutive ball-winners, Lowe is a tireless worker who is mostly sighted quickly booting the ball forward from stoppages. The Devonport product wins most of his disposals himself, showing great speed through traffic while also finding his fair share around the ground. Was fantastic for Tasmania alongside Banks as Tasmania’s highest disposal getters.

George McLeod (Southern Academy/North Hobart)
175cm | 61kg | 11/01/2003
Midfielder/Forward

McLeod mixes his time between the midfield and forward half and works hard, pitching in with little bursts of run and important balls into the forward half. Was just behind Banks and Lowe in terms of output but made his own impact across each game, with one of his standout outings coming against NSW/ACT (23 disposals, 11 marks, seven inside 50s, 2.1)

Under 16 National Championships: Division 1 wrap

VIC Metro claimed its first Under-16 National Championships Division 1 title in 10 years, going through the three rounds undefeated as the clear best side. Each other team broke through for a win each in what was an even carnival played in a variety of conditions. We recap how each side fared and shed light on some of the better performers throughout the competition.

South Australia (1-2)

Results:
Rd 1 – South Australia 13.10 (88) def. Western Australia 9.5 (59)
Rd 2 – Vic Metro 5.15 (45) def. South Australia 3.6 (24)
Rd 3 – South Australia 10.3 (63) def. by Vic Country 11.13 (79)

MVP: Jason Thorne (South Adelaide)
Most Goals: Isaiah Dudley (Central District) & Morgan Ferres (Sturt), 5

The defending champions would have come in with high hopes of replicating last year’s run, with that feeling compounded by an impressive 29-point win over Western Australia to open their carnival. One of three members of the 2018 title-winning squad, Isaiah Dudley was the star of that game, picking up 27 disposals and booting four goals, with key forward Morgan Ferres matching the goal feat and skipper Jason Horne a presence through midfield. In similarly wet conditions up in Queensland for Round 2, the Croweaters simply fell short in firepower against eventual champions Vic Metro, going down by 21 points. Matthew Roberts was the star in that game with his 31 disposals, seven inside 50s and one goal, with Thorne putting in a brave captain’s effort despite being in the wars late-on and midfielder Cooper Murley another to impress. The tri-colours would go on to lose again to a Victorian side in Round 3, this time by 16 points in a plucky effort at the Gabba. Thorne rounded out a magnificent championships with 18 disposals, four clearances and two goals, while Harry Tunkin enjoyed some added midfield minutes to match his skipper’s disposal haul to go with eight tackles and four clearances. Lachlan Thomas and Lewis Rayson were others to round out their carnivals on a high note with run and intercepts from defence. One to watch for next year could be Tyson Coe, who ran through the midfield as an under-ager – much like Dudley, Thorne, and Roberts did last year. Overall, it was not quite the championships that the team would have wanted, but they should plenty of promise and will again provide some exciting top-end talent over the next few years.

Vic Country (1-2)

Results:
Rd 1 – Vic Metro 10.7 (67) def. Vic Country 7.7 (49)
Rd 2 – Vic Country 5.12 (42) def. by Western Australia 6.8 (44)
Rd 3 – South Australia 10.3 (63) def. by Vic Country 11.13 (79)

MVP: Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)
Kevin Sheehan Medal: Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)
Most Goals: Judson Clarke (Dandenong Stingrays) & Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels), 3

As we have come to expect, it was a very competitive carnival from the Country side which found itself in winning positions in each of the three games. They fell away in a three-goal loss to their Metro counterparts in Round 1 after leading by no more than two points at each break, with co-captain Campbell Chesser terrific on the outside to compliment the game of inside bull, Ben Hobbs. Judson Clarke also booted three goals in the loss, but it was not enough to see Country over the line. If the final-quarter fade out against Metro hurt, then a two-point loss at the death against WA could have really been a dagger. Despite again leading at the final break and having a wealth of possession in the fourth quarter, a WA goal in the final 30 seconds ensured they snatched the win in muddy conditions at Southport. Co-captain and eventual MVP Joshua Rachele was almost the one to drag his side over the line with his 32 disposals, six marks and 0.3, while Hobbs was just about the muddiest player afield at the final siren after digging in for 29 disposals, 10 tackles and four rebounds. Benjamin Green was another to enjoy the conditions, and Lincoln White very nearly broke the game open with his two third quarter goals. The narrow loss proved not to break the Vics’ spirits though as they bounced back for an impressive 16-point win against SA in Round 3. Rachele again showed his class and provided the highlight of the carnival in his 26-disposal effort, with Hobbs again doing his thing and Tom Brown influential with three goals from half-forward. Charlie Molan, Hugh Hamilton, and Mitchell Moschetti also rounded out strong carnivals, with Country a side that will count itself unlucky not to have come out with greater results. There are a lot of reliable performers in the squad, and they could rise sharply come their Under 18 year given their competitiveness.

Vic Metro (3-0)

Results:
Rd 1 – Vic Metro 10.7 (67) def. Vic Country 7.7 (49)
Rd 2 – Vic Metro 5.15 (45) def. South Australia 3.6 (24)
Rd 3 – Western Australia 8.7 (55) def. by Vic Metro 18.14 (122)

MVP: Tyler Sonsie
Most Goals: Alex Lukic (Oakleigh Chargers), 9 – most overall

The champions and clear-best side over the carnival enjoyed an undefeated campaign, but were made to earn a couple of their wins. Metro’s first Under 16 title win in 10 years started with a three-goal win over Victorian counterparts, Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium. After trailing at each break and by just one point at the last, Metro ran away with four goals to one in the fourth quarter for a strong win. Key forward Alex Lukic positioned well inside 50 to boot his first bag for the carnival (four goals), while skipper Josh Sinn and Braden Andrews proved a match-winners with their position swaps to finish the game, and Tyler Sonsie was another to provide cleanliness through the engine room. The class of Metro was always going to be tested in their next game against SA, especially given the horrendous conditions. Their top-end talent still managed to shine through in the end, enjoying a solid middle period of the game to run out 21-point winners. Lachlan Brooks was best afield with 23 disposals, six clearances and two goals from midfield, crucially combining with Sandringham teammate Blake Howes to boot four of Metro’s five goals. Tyreece Leiu led the disposal count with 24, while Josh Ward‘s clean hands were eye-catching in the wet. The title decider in Round 3 was a tight one up until the final break, with Metro cruising to victory on the back of 12 second-half goals – including seven to nil in the final term. Lukic again kicked a bag with five goals, while Sonsie ripped it up through the midfield and up forward to have 19 disposals, four clearances and 4.3. Youseph Dib again provided a physical presence to have 20 touches, four clearances and a goal, with Zac Taylor electric forward of centre and Josh Goater again popping up with some nice aerial efforts. The talent across the board extends on each line to the likes of Lachlan Rankin, Jake Soligo, Jed Rule, and Jack Rossimel, with the evenness of the team and top-end talent set to rival Metro’s Under 18 squad of 2019 in years to come.

Western Australia (1-2)

Results:
Rd 1 – South Australia 13.10 (88) def. Western Australia 9.5 (59)
Rd 2 – Vic Country 5.12 (42) def. by Western Australia 6.8 (44)
Rd 3 – Western Australia 8.7 (55) def. by Vic Metro 18.14 (122)

MVP: Blake Morris (Subiaco)
Most Goals: Saverio Marafioti (West Perth) & Ethan Regan (East Perth), 3

Results aside, WA was one of the more evenly spread squads over this year’s carnival, with plenty of contributors standing up at different times over the three games. It all seemed to come together in Round 2 as the Black Ducks pulled off a miraculous win over Vic Country with a Luke Polson goal in the dying seconds, getting the better of the Big V by two points on a Southport mud pit. Judd McVee was a standout from midfield, leading the disposal count with 23 to go with seven tackles and a combined seven breaches of each arc, while Mitchell Brown thrived in the conditions for his 17 disposals and six clearances alongside Kade Dittmar (22 touches, nine tackles, and four clearances). Multiple goals from Ethan Regan and Saverio Marafioti boosted their tallies and proved vital in the win, while match-winner Polson had an important 16 disposals and 14 hitouts. Earlier in Round 1, WA had less fruitful outing against SA on home turf in similarly wet conditions, going down by 29 points despite managing their carnival-high total (59). MVP Blake Morris was sensational in that outing with his intercept marking, while Max Chipper was composed on the outside and Zach Fleiner was positive on the rebound. Matthew Johnson and Luke Taylor booted the multiple goals this time out, with Richard Bartlett another effective mover in the forward half. A late-game fade-out put a dampener on what was a really competitive effort against eventual champions, Vic Metro in Round 3 – conceding seven unanswered goals in the final term to go down by 67 points. Earlier, it was again McVee who stood up with his burst from congestion and some busy work going forward, finishing with 16 disposals, seven clearances and two goals. Chipper and Bartlett again impressed to have 23 disposals each, with Jake Littleton and Rhett Bazzo also serviceable. It was a slightly down end to an otherwise solid carnival for WA, and they should again have some eye-catchers capture out attention. One who also warrants a mention is Lochlan Paton, who was sensational through midfield before injuring his hand in Round 2, keep an eye out for his progress.

Scouting notes: U16 Division 1 – Round 3

VIC Metro claimed the Under 16 Division 1 title on the final day of competition having gone through undefeated, with Vic Country’s win over South Australia making it a Victorian double for the day. With the Most Valuable Players (MVP) named for each side and plenty of prospects stepping up, here are our Round 3 scouting notes.

Western Australia vs. Vic Metro
By: Peter Williams

Western Australia:

#4 Richard Farmer

Looked dangerous inside 50 for the West Australian side and used the ball well by foot when in possession. He was able to capitalise on the easiest of goals in the goal square thanks to a handball over the top from Saverio Marafioti. Throughout the match Farmer hunted the ball and the ball carrier with vigour.

#6 Lawson Humphries

Had a great third term where he became a crucial playmaker with quick hands and using clean touches going forward. He set up a number of attacking plays and was able to hit a target in the pocket on his non-preferred under pressure.

#7 Judd McVee

The star of the first half and continued on with a solid third term before being clamped more in the last term, McVee was a clear standout for the West Australian side on the day. He kicked a great goal from an intuitive snap around his body in the first term and has that burst out of stoppages that is eye-catching. He has quick hands and also showed great defensive traits by stopping an attacking play inside 50 with a big tackle. McVee is clean by hand or foot and composed in the midfield, able to dance around his opponents.

#9 Max Chipper

Won a heap of the ball on the day and showed nice vision with ball in hand. Set up their first goal with a nice kick into Rhett Bazo who slotted the goal after a 50m penalty. Had a turnover in the final term, which luckily did not cost his side. As a whole though he worked hard and kept buying in, battling along and won possessions in each third of the ground.

#10 Mitchell Brown

Behind McVee was the other standout in the first half, showing nice work at the stoppages and a long kick that created plays up the field. He was quieter in the second half, but his presence around the clearances early in the match was what kept Western Australia in the game. Brown’s best play came when he sold some candy under pressure dancing one way and then another and managed to get ball to his left foot and find a target down the wing.

#12 Jake Littleton

Worked hard in the forward half to win plenty of quick touches and get it inside 50. Early on he had a scrubber kick but it worked out to gift Saverio Marafioti with a goal. He finished off for himself with a nice kick which bounced through early in the third term, and had a second shot not long after deep in the pocket but it hit the post.

#15 Antonio Dadaliaris

Picked up from where he left off in the last quarter against Country. Had a couple of eye-catching moments, with a brilliant piece of acceleration in the second term where he was able to burst away from opponents in the back pocket, run across the goal face and hit a target on the other side. He also showed quick hands close to the line on a number of occasions, with his athletic traits the most noticeable.

#18 Saverio Marafioti

Was prominent early and fought through to the third term with important moments inside 50. He first showed great vision at half-forward to hit up a target wide across the other side of the ground off a couple of steps, then capitalised with a goal off a quick few steps inside 50. His hard running earned his teammate Richard Farmer a goal in the third term to reduce the deficit to a point and give his side hope of a victory.

#22 Richard Bartlett

Worked well at stoppages and was one of Western Australia’s best across four quarters. He uses his shoulders and hips well to evade tackles and get out of trouble in tight spaces. He looks dangerous whenever he is near the ball and he had a textbook forward stoppage goal, finding a clear path and reading the tap perfectly 30 metres out to snap around his body and add a much needed West Australian goal in the third term.

#30 Rhett Bazzo

Was one of the few West Australian players who stood up in the last term and found himself up forward with a goal in the opening term, then spent the rest of the time in defence. He took some crucial intercept marks and moved well through traffic for a taller player. He was neat with his skills and remained consistent throughout the match.

#42 Blake Morris

The West Australian Most Valuable Player (MVP) stood tall in defence with some nice highlights. He flew high a number of times and once it cost him with his opponent staying down, winning the footy and handballing it off for an easy Vic Metro goal. He did save a goal earlier in the game to cancel out that moment though, getting a hand to it in the goal square to put it over the line. Not as prominent as past games but still a rock in defence and a highly talented medium-tall.

Vic Metro:

#1 Youseph Dib

Whilst he was a bit rushed with his disposal at times, he also had some really classy touches throughout the midfield to win the most disposals of anyone on his side. His ability to get boot to ball, or by hand to his teammates is as quick as anyone going around and he was able to set up a number of goals or scoring plays by kicking inside 50. He always has a crack and tends to kick the ball across his body which usually means he has time and can be more damaging that way.

#2 Zac Taylor

A slippery customer who I described in my notes as “untackleable” because of his ability to slip out of opponents’ grasps. He shrugs the shoulders and swings the hips to evade being brought down, and also has high footy IQ, quick hands and plenty of class with the ball-in-hand. He is clean by hand or foot and sets up attacking players, kicking a goal in the final term to be rewarded for his hard work setting up a goal to Alex Lukic early in the game.

#3 Henry Brown

Showed some nice movement on the outside early to turn away from an opponent and kick inside 50, but also showed a fierce attack on the football to win a crucial one-on-one moments later. He is able to dispose of the ball when under pressure and can stand up in a tackle, also breaking the lines midway through the third term with a nice run down the middle, though his kick inside 50 was intercepted. He then returned the favour the next term, intercepting a kick-out 40m out straight in front and then sent it back over the goal umpire’s hat.

#5 Jake Soligo

Was a prominent player on the wing for Vic Metro, not too dissimilar to Trent Bianco‘s role for the Under 18s side and wearing the same number – it was uncanny. He moves the ball quickly down the wing and has nice touch by hand or foot. He kicked a goal after intercepting a kick-in 45 metres out straight in front and was a big ball winner on the outside.

#8 Lachlan Brooks

Reminded me a bit of Richmond draftee Jack Ross in the way he goes about it. Brooks is strong one-on-one, is hard to bring down with great core strength, and has that power-speed combination that makes him look damaging. He is balanced with ball-in-hand and uses it pretty well. He had a snap in the final term on goal but missed, though he set up a goal for Blake Howes with a nice kick to him in the forward hole in the last term.

#11 Tyler Sonsie

Absolute star. Sonsie looked classy throughout the four quarters and was deserving of the Vic Metro MVP award for his 2019 carnival. He finished the game with four majors, including two when the heat of the game was on and two in the final term stampede. He often pounced on the opportunity for goal with snaps around his body, with three of his four majors coming this way and his fourth after hard running resulted in him booting the ball off the ground in the goal square. He almost had a fifth goal and three in two minutes but his snap pulled to the right. Takes the game on and breaks the lines, and while he made the odd error in doing so, generally was great in his decision making and execution.

#16 Jack Newitt

Showed a piercing, penetrating kick off half-back and down the wing, moving well across the ground to get forward and give off a quick handball during an attacking play. He used the ball well by foot out of defence and showed good composure when needing to get the ball out of the danger zone.

#18 Braden Andrews

Has a set of quick hands in close and was able to extract the ball and get it out to runners, but then had an ability to get to the outside himself. Showed a clean set of heels to an opponent to burn him off and kick, albeit scrappily, to a teammate. Had a snap on goal but was touched on the line.

#19 Blake Howes

Was a strong player inside 50, playing a nice role in tandem with Alex Lukic and Jack Rossimel. Took a number of contested marks and on the lead under pressure, kicking a couple of goals either end of the contest, and missing another which he probably should have kicked. Overall provided good presence inside 50.

#22 Jack Rossimel

Slotted an important goal inside 50 from a tight angle which was impressive, and then flew high on the wing in the second term but could not quite bring it down. Rossimel had a chance for goal in the last quarter with a quick boot to ball but missed to the right, as he did with intercepting a kick 30m out straight in front. Still was important inside 50, and finishing off those couple of misses could have had a big game.

#28 Alex Lukic

Was the dominant forward on the day slotting five majors, and could have had seven with a couple of gettable shots in the last term. He was causing all sorts of headaches for the opposition with his height and size, reaching over the top of his opponents and pinching the ball. He won a couple of free kicks for being infringed, and also set up a goal for Tyler Sonsie in the final term whilst being tackled. Overall an impressive game from the big man.

South Australia vs. Vic Country
By: Michael Alvaro

South Australia:

#5 Isaiah Dudley (Central District)

The excitement machine was down on his usual disposal output (seven), but still managed to find a way to influence the game in his own way. Starting forward and spending most of his time there, Dudley played his usual game of pushing high up the field to impact stoppages between the arcs, but was first thrown into the midfield in the second term. His pressure around the ball was immense, laying a game-high 12 tackles and going hard at each one of them, while also continuing his knack of keeping the ball in dispute. Dudley hit the scoreboard in the final term after some more midfield time, winning a free kick at an inside 50 stoppage and converting the shot well. His agility and composure in his few touches shone through too, and it was a good overall carnival from the Centrals pocket rocket.

#6 Lachlan Thomas (Sturt)

The small defender continued to do what he does best, providing driving rebound from defensive 50 (eight rebounds) and going for pure distance with most of his use by foot. While meterage is usually his game, Thomas also managed to hit a nice target in the second term after intercepting at half-back, pin-pointing the kick towards his defensive corridor. Thomas also won a bit of ball up on the wing as he paced around the defensive half, but won most of his 16 disposals down back and was pretty safe in possession.

#7 Lewis Rayson (Glenelg)

One who stood up well in defence, Rayson caught the eye early on with a couple of solid overhead marks to intercept in the back half. He also made sure to impact aerial contests when marking was not an option, while also following up the spills to move the ball on quickly or lock it in. Rayson’s holding the ball tackle in the third term showed his smarts as his opponent went to take off after marking, and he enjoyed a consistent game across the board with 16 disposals, five marks, five tackles, and five rebound 50s.

#8 Cooper Murley (Norwood)

An important figure in the midfield-forward rotation for SA, Murley made a good start while resting in attack when he found space inside 50, marked, and slotted the set shot from about 40 metres out for his side’s opening goal. He would go on to continue his good form forward of the ball early in the second term as he snapped another goal, almost adding another in the same period of play. He was momentarily moved out onto the wing in the third quarter and dropped an uncontested mark with his first sight of the ball, but recovered really well to clear any danger. Murley would go on to show his well-roundedness, tackling well and providing good bursts from congestion with clearances on the move to push SA inside 50. Ended with 14 disposals, four marks, three clearances, and two goals.

#11 Harry Tunkin (Glenelg)

Tunkin was superb throughout and really seemed to enjoy his minutes in the midfield, getting stuck in to win a good amount of contested ball. He won a hat-trick of centre bounce clearances in the second term with fantastic tenacity, and showed a bit of finesse with a move through traffic to find Cooper Murley forward of the ball and provide a chance at goal. Tunkin continued his form in the third term around the stoppages and did the one-percenters around the ground, applying a particularly good smother on Tyler Sonsie inside defensive 50 to prove as much. His ability to hunt at ground level and win the ball under pressure accounted for many of his 18 disposals, with Tunkin also laying eight tackles in a big shift and spending a bit of time up forward late on.

#17 Matthew Dnistrianksy (Norwood)

Another of the SA defenders who had a solid day out, Dnistriansky was unfazed by a lot of the pressure that came his way. He accumulated across defensive 50 in his usual fashion, providing neat disposals and a solid defensive post on his direct opponent when required. He gave up about 10cm in height when matched up against Josh Rentsch deep inside defensive 50, but took it in his stride and competed well. The Redlegs prospect also fared well with a move up forward in the final term, finding space to mark and converting the shot well. He looked a little frustrated when giving away a free kick to Joshua Rachele late on as he threw the Country co-captain to the ground, but had a solid day with 12 disposals, a couple of rebound 50s and a goal.

#18 Tyson Coe (West Adelaide)

Played a pretty impressive role given he has not even turned 15 yet, unbothered by Country’s physicality in the engine room during his time through the midfield. He popped up early with a nice holding the ball tackle at a defensive 50 stoppage and later scooped up a slick ground ball at speed before bombing inside 50 to find Luke Young, who slotted SA’s third goal. Has some nice traits and should be a key figure next year given he has already been trusted in lining up at the centre bounces.

#19 Jason Thorne (South Adelaide)

The skipper and South Australian MVP was terrific throughout, earning an equal team-high 18 disposals to go with six tackles, four clearances, three inside 50s, three rebounds, and two goals in a dominant display of stoppage work. A good mix of grit and class, Thorne set the tone early with a smother on the defensive arc before contributing another show of strength with a strong mark overhead on the wing. His class shone through in the same term with a clean pick up and kick in one motion to hit an up-field target, with Thorne’s ability to lower his eyes proving damaging. He continued to use the ball well by foot around the ground, and his burst away from congestion sparked many attacks for SA. Thorne’s ability to sum up the situation quickly also translated with his work inside 50, snapping a nice goal in the second quarter and booting another in the following term after pushing hard to find space inside 50 and get the ball back from a teammate he had originally passed to. It was no surprise to see him named MVP in his second Under 16 carnival, as Thorne possesses a well-rounded midfield game.

#20 Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide)

Did not have his usual high-numbers on the back of some added forward time, but still made an impact to finish with 15 disposals, four clearances, and two goals. Was gifted his first goal in the opening stanza after being awarded a 50-metre penalty and added another in the third term with a clinical set shot on the wrong side for a left footer from about 40 metres out. Roberts thought he had another goal in the second quarter after streaming away from a forward 50 stoppage, only to turn around and see the goal umpire signalling a poster as he wheeled around to celebrate. Was still dangerous in his forward stints and attracted the ball, ending a fantastic carnival as arguably SA’s second most valuable player behind South Adelaide teammate, Jason Thorne.

Vic Country:

#2 Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons)

The Melbourne Grammarian from Wodonga-way was a touch quieter than usual with just the nine disposals, but made them count and caught the eye with a couple of exciting plays. His prowess on the outside suited both the conditions and a move to half-back, but it took Chesser a bit of time to build into the game. He showed good composure with ball in hand in his early touches, and started to get going after half time. He looked pretty sore after a brave marking attempt early in the third term, but came back in the following quarter with a couple of bouncing runs from the back half and away from stoppages. Chesser got on his bike well when in space at half-back, looking to attack onto his left boot and move forward quickly. Not his usual self, but certainly showed glimpses.

#3 Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)

There is little doubt over Hobbs’ ball winning capabilities, and he proved as much with another 25 disposals and six clearances in this outing. He is just so aggressive around the ball, willing his way through the contest and latching onto possession at stoppages before quickly getting boot to ball to slam it forward. With his contested game down pat, it was good to see Hobbs win more ball around the ground and use it efficiently by foot, kicking neatly over short distances and proving all-class forward of centre. Hobbs kicked two memorable goals, the first created by an unbelievably timed Joshua Rachele tap-on and snapped home at full speed, and the second slotted home from long range as he got a hand-off through the corridor. Would be a good chance to get a shot with the Rebels as early as this year, and was only second to Rachele for Country during the carnival.

#5 Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power)

Moschetti is one who just seemed to pop up every now and then, quietly accumulating possessions through midfield and in the back half. His first good bit of play came through a clearance on the move in the first term, shifting to defence in the second quarter and taking a relieving mark. He looked calm with his rebounding run, but bordered on casual a couple of times as he mopped up working back and slipped handballs out to teammates with opponents closing in. He was relatively steady for the remainder of the game, reading a tap well in the third term to send Country inside 50 and finishing with 13 disposals, five tackles, and four rebound 50s.

#6 Kai Lohmann (GWV Rebels)

Lohmann came to life in a brilliant final term, getting to just about everything across the back half and hardly putting a food wrong. Earlier, he showed off his crafty outside movement and evasiveness up on the wing shrugging off his opponents and providing driving runs forward. But a move to defensive 50 saw Lohmann contribute his best moments, first taking a brave mark inside defensive 50 and winning key balls at ground level with terrific composure. His influence on the last line was great with a few handy intercept possessions and calm touches to see the ball into touch with opponents circling around goal. Looks a clever prospect with nice athletic traits.

#9 Hugh Hamilton (Bendigo Pioneers)

Rotated between midfield and at both ends, showing good strength in one-on-one situations and also proving dangerous at forward 50 stoppages. Hamilton found the goals early in the second term after latching onto a loose ball and booting home from close range, while also missing a snap in the following quarter from a stoppage close to home. The Bendigo product’s body positioning against direct opponents allowed him to win the ball both in the air and at ground level, and he stood up well in tackles to dish off. Hamilton made a questionable kicking decision when looking to switch across the defensive 50 after a good mark, but was otherwise really solid with 15 disposals, five clearances and a goal.

#11 Connor Macdonald (Dandenong Stingrays)

The Dandenong forward is a constant threat in the forward half with his line-breaking speed and ability to find the goals, putting in another decent showing with 11 disposals and two goals. Tends to show up in patches and with glimpses of promise, which would just about describe his two majors. Macdonald popped up in the second term to convert a relatively straightforward goal in close proximity to the big sticks, and showed off his pace with a terrific goal on the run in full flight to start the final quarter. Is flashy and has class, causing headaches for opposition defenders.

#13 Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)

The 2019 Kevin Sheehan medallist and Country MVP was again sublime, leading all-comers with 26 disposals, three clearances, three inside 50s and a goal. Despite starting in the midfield, Rachele’s looked most lively early inside attacking 50, missing a couple of early snaps on goal with his finishing still the only part of his game somewhat letting him down (1.3). He would soon well and truly make up for those two early behinds though, instinctively tapping over his shoulder to create Ben Hobbs’ first goal in a bit of play that was nothing short of special, showing uncanny presence of mind. Rachele went on to provide spark at the stoppages, winning his share of clearances and keeping his hands up well in congestion. The Country co-captain also showed off his wheels moving forward, continuing to create with a couple of one-two plays moving forward on the outside. He managed to hit the scoreboard in the third term with some good harassment inside 50 to see the ball spill free, latching onto the chance well to convert from close range. He capped off his game with some more crafty stoppage work and a nice kick inside 50 to assist a Tom Brown goal, falling to the ground after the final siren having given his all.

#17 Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels)

Another from what looks to be a strong Rebels crop, Molan accumulated well across the game to finish with 20 disposals, four clearances, three inside 50s, and a goal. His hands out of congestion in a pretty handball-happy outing (13) were a feature, especially as he racked up possessions at stoppages in all areas while running through the midfield. He had a little purple patch with his clearance work in the third term to win a couple from the centre bounces and push Country inside 50, continuing that form in the following quarter. Molan provided a strong body around the contest and is already a good size at 187cm, with the versatility to also have an impact up forward.

#18 Tom Brown (Murray Bushrangers)

Brown was super in the forward half, providing a key link from half forward into Country’s attacking arc with five inside 50s. So often Brown was the player found when his side cleared from the centre bounces, leading up superbly to half-forward and proving to be clean up the ground. It was his work inside the arc that truly made a difference though, finishing with a game-high three goals from his 16 disposals. Brown got going with an early snapped goal before narrowly missing another attempt, going on to get busy with a conversion from a holding the ball free kick, and claiming his third from deep in the 50 in the final term. The Murray forward was very efficient with his production and looks an exciting medium forward prospect.

#27 Josh Rentsch (GWV Rebels)

While it was not exactly a day out for Rentsch in front of goal, he did well to provide a presence inside 50 and follow up well around the ground when rucking. He was again unlucky not to benefit more from his strong lead-up play, copping pretty good heat from his opponents closing behind him and missing his only set shot for the game in the second term. Rentsch did his best to contribute at ground level, following up drops of the ball to dish off handballs to his runners and ending with 13 disposals, four clearances, and 10 hitouts in a solid game.

Scouting notes: U16 Division 1 – Round 2

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


Vic Metro vs. South Australia

Vic Metro:

#1 Youseph Dib (Oakleigh Chargers)

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

#3 Henry Brown (Oakleigh Chargers)

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

#6 Josh Ward (Northern Knights)

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

#8 Lachlan Brooks (Sandringham Dragons)

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

#10 Lachlan Rankin (Oakleigh Chargers)

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

#11 Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges)

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

#13 Lachlan Benton (Sandringham Dragons)

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

#14 Angus McLennan (Sandringham Dragons)

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

#15 Joshua Goater (Calder Cannons)

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

#17 Josh Sinn (Sandringham Dragons)

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

#19 Blake Howes (Sandringham Dragons)

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

#21 Tyreece Leiu (Eastern Ranges)

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

#23 Jed Rule (Oakleigh Chargers)

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


South Australia:

#5 Isaiah Dudley (Central District)

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

#6 Lachlan Thomas (Sturt)

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

#8 Cooper Murley (Norwood)

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

#11 Harry Tunkin (Glenelg)

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

#17 Matthew Dnistriansky (Norwood)

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

#18 Tyson Coe (West Adelaide)

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

#19 Jason Thorne (South Adelaide)

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

#20 Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide)

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

#23 Morgan Ferres (Sturt)

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

Vic Country vs. Western Australia

Vic Country:

#2 Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons)

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

#3 Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)

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

#5 Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power)

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

#8 Cooper Hamilton (Bendigo Pioneers)

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

#9 Hugh Hamilton (Bendigo Pioneers)

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

#10 Benjamin Green (Gippsland Power)

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

#11 Connor Macdonald (Dandenong Stingrays)

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

#13 Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)

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

#16 Lincoln White (Bendigo Pioneers)

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

#27 Josh Rentsch (GWV Rebels)

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


Western Australia:

#7 Judd McVee (East Fremantle)

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

#8 Lochlan Paton (West Perth)

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

#9 Max Chipper (Swan Districts)

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

#10 Mitchell Brown (South Fremantle)

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

#12 Jake Littleton (East Perth)

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

#18 Saverio Marafioti (West Perth)

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

#30 Rhett Bazzo (Swan Districts)

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

#32 Jacob van Rooyen (Claremont)

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

#38 Kade Dittmar (East Perth)

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

#39 Luke Polson (Peel Thunder)

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

#41 Shannon Neale (South Fremantle)

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

#42 Blake Morris (Subiaco)

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