Tag: jack avery

State leagues wrap: Victorian footy returns as TSL produced trio of beltings

WHILST South Australia took another week off from its state league action, most of the other major state leagues took place, with the Victorian Football League (VFL) joining the respective leagues in Tasmania and Western Australia. Though it was not without some controversy, with a snap lockdown in south east Queensland impacting the QAFL, and even calling off one VFL game based in the state at quarter time.

New South Wales/Queensland/Victoria (VFL):

It was a fitting return to action in the VFL for the 2021 season, with two games postponed and a third also called off after just one quarter of action. Gold Coast Suns were leading Southport Sharks 1.2 (8) to 1.0 (6) when the players were told to stop due to the state lockdown, while Aspley’s clash with Essendon, and Brisbane Lions’ match with Sydney Swans were also put on the back burner. It was ironically the complete opposite of the previous week when only Queensland games could be played and Victorian matches were postponed.

Of those games underway, it was hard to go past the thriller that was Coburg and Williamstown at Piranha Park on Sunday. In what was an entertaining contest, a six goals to one third term in favour of the Seagulls had the visitors up by 24 points at the final break, and seemingly home. Coburg had other ideas, as the Lions roared home to kick the next six goals and hit the front to lead by nine points with 10 minutes remaining. The Seagulls dug deep and kicked the last two goals of the game – after only kicking one behind in the first 18 minutes of the quarter – to steal the lead in a memorable last quarter. Mitch Hibberd continued his terrific form with another 35 disposals, nine more than any other player on the field. Nick Mellington (26 disposals and a goal) and Teia Miles (25 disposals and seven marks) were also lively, while ex-Bomber Noah Gown kicked 2.1 from 16 disposals and six marks in a promising display, one of four Seagulls to kick multiple goals. For the Lions, Charlie Thompson kicked 2.2 from 20 touches and three marks, as some former Northern Knights dominated the disposals. Marcus Lentini (25 disposals), Luke Bunker (24) and Tom McKenzie (23) all had some big days out.

Most of the other games were fairly big wins to the victors, with four of the remaining six games decided by 30 points or more. North Melbourne’s recent form continued with a 17-point win over last placed Port Melbourne, getting up 11.11 (77) to 8.12 (60). Harry Jones racked up 31 disposals and kicked a goal, as Charlie Lazzaro (26 disposals, five tackles and a goal) did his chances of a recall no harm. Chris Jansen (31 disposals, six marks and four tackles) and the ever-reliable Eli Templeton (30 disposals, four marks, seven tackles and 2.2) suffered leather poisoning as the Borough came close to a second win, but not quite close enough. Richmond also posted a 16-point victory over Frankston as the Dolphins form of late continues to slide after their fast start to the season. Patrick Naish had a game-high 32 disposals, as well as five marks, six tackles and a goal, with Derek Eggmolesse-Smith (29 disposals, five marks), Riley Collier-Dawkins (26 disposals, three tackles) and Will Martyn (26 disposals, nine marks and five tackles) all letting the Tigers’ selection committee know they are ready to step up. Nathan Freeman (31 disposals, nine marks) and Josh Newman (30 disposals, six marks and eight tackles) were again the best for the Bayside team.

In other results, the Western Bulldogs just somehow found a way to win, conceding six goals to zero in the opening quarter against Casey Demons, to kick 16 of the next 20 majors and storm to a 37-point win to remain undefeated in the 2021 season. Rhylee West (27 disposals, nine tackles and three goals) and Ben Cavarra (21 disposals, six tackles and three goals) both dominated, while Dees’ veteran Nathan Jones kicked 1.3 from 29 disposals, four marks and four tackles. In a similar comeback, Box Hill Hawks were held goalless in the opening term against a red-hot Collingwood outfit, and after hitting the front to lead by seven points at the final break, Box Hill piled on 9.2 to 0.0 to run away with an eye-opening 63-point win and remain in the top four. Fergus Greene, Emerson Jeka and Jackson Callow all combined for 11.6 and 19 marks, while Tom Wilson tried hard for the Magpies with 27 disposals, five marks, four tackles and a goal.

Meanwhile Carlton leapfrogged Sandringham with its fourth win of the season, defeating the Zebras by 39 points at Sandringham, as James Parsons and Sam Petrevski-Seton lit it up with 30 touches each, and Lachie Fogarty laid 12 tackles to go with 27 disposals and six marks, though three behinds, Jack Bytel (28 disposals, seven marks and 11 tackles) was the best for the Zebras. In the other match, Werribee took home the points on the road against Northern Bullants, with an 8.5 to 1.1 final term to reverse a 16-point deficit at the final break to turn it into a five-goal victory. Tom Gribble (36 disposals, six marks and nine tackles) and Matt Hanson (32 disposals, three marks, five tackles and a goal) were lively as Hudson Garoni booted 3.6 from 19 touches and 10 marks up forward for the winners. Will Mitchell had 31 touches and eight tackles for the Bullants, with eight more touches than any other teammate, while Paul Ahern slotted 4.1.

Tasmania (TSL):

There was nothing close about the Tasmania State League (TSL) action in Round 18, as the three winners completely dismantled their opposition. With the sides missing a number of their young up-and-comers due to the Tasmania Devils Under 19s and Under 17s exhibition clash on Sunday, it was up to the more experienced players to get it done. Third placed Clarence had the bye, but the other top four sides – Launceston, North Launceston and Tigers – showed no mercy in their victories, combining for a mind-boggling 275 points.

The “close” game of the weekend was the Battle of the Bombers, with North Launceston triumphing 18.7 (125) to 6.5 (41). In what was a fairly comprehensive first three quarters, the home side led by 31 points at the main break, having missed their chances in the third, before piling on a whopping 10.5 to 2.0 in the last quarter to run away with the 64-point victory. Brad Cox-Goodyer slammed home five majors, with Zach Burt and Jack Avent slotting three goals apiece, while Jay Foon and Judah Edmunds were also named among the best. Allen Christensen was the sole multiple goalkicker for Lauderdale, working hard all game, as Josh McGuinness and Luke Paton were also named among the best.

In a top-against-bottom clash with Launceston heading in 13-1 and North Hobart 1-13, it was never expected to be much of a contest, but few could have predicted the 121-point shellacking that the Blues handed out. Keeping the Demons to just one goal in the first three quarters – whilst booting 18 majors from 32 scoring shots – Launceston led by 114 points, though to North Hobart’s credit the Demons rallied in the last to only concede three more goals and kick two themselves for a 21.18 (144) to 3.5 (23) final scoreline. Jake Hinds kicked five goals in a best on ground performance, but what made the game so unique was the fact that the Blues only had four multiple goal kickers, and 14 individual goalkickers. Alex Wright, Cody Thorp and Fletcher Seymour were deemed the best in a strong performance. Jack McCulloch and Bailey Walker were the best for the Demons in a performance they would rather forget.

The game predicted to be the closest of the round turned into a fizzer, as fourth placed Tigers trounced sixth placed Glenorchy at Twin Ovals to the tune of 90 points. The Kingborough-based outfit piled on 12 goals to four in the first half, and then 11 goals to four in the second half, to fall short of bringing up the ton. Will Campbell and Max Collidge both slotted four goals apiece to be among the best on the ground, with Marcus Gardner (one goal) and ex-Carlton player Sam Duigan (three) also lively. Callen Daly (three goals) and Brayden Webb (two) were the multiple goalkickers for the Magpies, with Harrison Gunther (one) named best-on in the losing side.

Western Australia (WAFL):

In Western Australia, Subiaco took full advantage of a Claremont loss to go outright top on the WAFL ladder, as West Coast grabbed its fourth win of the season with victory in the bottom two clash against Perth, and East Perth leapfrogged Peel Thunder with the unlikely win over the Tigers in Round 17 of the League competition.

East Perth’s seven-point upset over Claremont was the biggest result of the round, as they nervously held on in the lat term after leading by 15 points at the final break, to record a 12.6 (78) to 10.11 (71) victory. Jackson Ramsay had 31 disposals, eight tackles and two goals, and the Royals player was only bettered by Claremont ball magnet Jye Bolton (41 disposals, five marks, eight inside 50s and three tackles). Former Carlton talents Rohan Kerr (22 disposals, eight marks and one goal) and Angus Schumacher (26 disposals, six marks and three inside 50s) were lively for the Royals, as Bailey Rogers (29 disposals, three marks, three tackles and two goals) and Ben Edwards (27 disposals, four tackles, seven inside 50s and one goal) were important for the Tigers.

West Perth put up a fight against ladder leaders Subiaco, but conceded six gaols to two in the opening half to trailed by 30 points at half-time. They tried to fight back in the second half, but ultimately could not get over the line, going down by 20 points, 10.12 (72) to 8.4 (52). Greg Clark had a team-high 29 disposals for the Lions, as Harrison Marsh (28 disposals, seven mars, five tackles, five inside 50s and a goal) was busy, as was Nick Martin (21 disposals, 10 marks, three inside 50s and two goals). Shane Nelson tried to haul his team across the line with a match-high 34 disposals, as well as four marks and seven tackles, as former Roo and Cat, Aaron Black had 26 touches, four marks and seven tackles.

Meanwhile other top three side South Fremantle showed no mercy in a dominant 116-point thrashing of Peel Thunder. The Bulldogs slammed home a ridiculous 13.2 to 1.2 in the first half to lead by 72 points at the main break. They still managed nine goals after half-time, getting up 22.9 (141) to 3.7 (25). Haiden Schloithe (42 disposals, seven marks, seven inside 50s, three tackles and two goals) unsurprisingly led the way for the Bulldogs, as Jacob Dragovich and Tom Blechynden both had 30 touches. Ex-AFL talents Mason Shaw and Blake Schlensog shared in five goals apiece, as well as 30 disposals and 17 marks. Tyrone Thorne was one of the shining lights for Peel Thunder, picking up 25 disposals, five marks, three inside 50s and a goal.

In the remaining two games, East Fremantle won a low-scoring slot against Swan Districts to the tune of seven points, while West Coast dominated Perth by 56 points in a rare big victory for the AFL-aligned club. The Sharks kept their finals hopes alive with the win over the fifth placed Swans, moving to within 12 points of finals, but not able to make a mistake on the run home. Luke English (25 disposals, four tackles, three inside 50s and a goal) and Luke Strnadica (19 disposals, seven marks, 39 hitouts and three inside 50s) were impressive for the Sharks. Sam Fisher (27 disposals, three marks, seven inside 50s and a goal) and Jesse Turner (26 disposals, four marks, four tackles, four inside 50s and a goal) topped the charts for the Swans. Alex Witherden (40 disposals, 11 marks and seven inside 50s) suffered leather poisoning in the Eagles big win, with Jarrod Brander (33 disposals, 13 marks, two tackles and thee inside 50s) also putting his hand up for a recall. Jack Avery (26 disposals, 11 marks and three tackles) was the top disposal winner for the Bombers.

Picture credit: AFL Photos

2021 WAFL Colts: Round 16 weekend wrap

STATE Under 17 talent returned to the WAFL Colts competition in Round 16, contributing to four enthralling fixtures which shook up the race for finals. Three sides are now tied on five wins as they vie for the all-important fifth spot with under a month of regular season action left to play out. Swan Districts remains the team to beat after another impressive victory, while East Perth had the bye, though a select Royals team took on the state’s Under 19 side.

We recap all the action and outstanding performances in our weekly wrap, while also taking a look around the grounds at youngsters who impressed in senior grades.

>> Scouting Notes: WA U19s vs. East Perth

SWAN DISTRICTS 3.2 | 4.9 | 9.10 | 15.14 (104)
PERTH 2.1 | 4.1 | 4.1 | 4.1 (25)

Swan Districts continues to soar atop the WAFL Colts ladder after securing its 10th win of the season, downing Perth by 79 points in a top-versus-bottom clash. The Swans led by just eight points at half time, but kicked away with 11 majors thereafter while keeping the Demons scoreless.

Swans dominated possession with a total 326 disposals to Perth’s 182, headlined by ball winners Ben Hewett and Noah Hannah (both 32 disposals and one goal). Darcy Jones and Elijah Hewett were others to stand up in the win, while Braydon Fawcett and Ethyn Kane both booted a game-high three majors. Ben Weymouth was the lone Demon to tick up over 20 touches with his 23 and 17 tackles, but his side was comfortably outplayed in the second half.

GOALS:

Swans: E. Kane 3, B. Fawcett 3, A. Brock 2, J. Middleton, B. Hewett, A. Cartwright, B. Jones, B. Morris, N. Hannan, M. Watson
Perth: M. Hall 2, T. Henry, R. Seubert

WEST PERTH 2.2 | 6.2 | 7.5 | 13.6 (84)
PEEL THUNDER 2.2 | 5.4 | 8.7 | 10.9 (69)

West Perth continued its ascent back towards the top five with a 15-point win over Peel Thunder, meaning they head the trailing pack in what is becoming a hotly contested finals race. In a tight affair, the final margin was the largest of any break, with the Falcons made to overturn an eight-point deficit at three quarter time.

Versatile bottom-ager Kane Bevan was best afield with 25 disposals and seven marks, supported well by the likes of Luke Reilly and Jack DeMarte. Goalkickers Zarne Robis (three goals) and Saverio Marafioti (two) also had their moments in the win. For Peel, bigman Jackson Broadbent put in a monster effort with 21 touches and 36 hitouts, heading the Thunder’s disposal tally alongside small midfielder Scott Tuia. Cooper Osbourne also snared two majors from his six marks and five scoring shots in attack.

GOALS:

West Perth: Z. Robis 3, S. Marafioti 2, B. Sherwood 2, R. Gallen 2, L. Reilly, D. Dixon, J. DeMarte, J. Scaife
Peel Thunder: C. Osborne 2, B. Offer 2, S. Tuia, J. Klepzig, C. Carbone, H. Thomas, T. Salter, L. Taylor

CLAREMONT 5.1 | 6.3 | 7.6 | 10.7 (67)
EAST FREMANTLE 3.0 | 3.2 | 6.3 | 8.4 (52)

Claremont remains in the hunt for top spot after continuing its winning streak via a 15-point triumph over East Fremantle. In what was the only meeting between two top five sides for the weekend, the Tigers led at every break and consistently answered the Sharks’ surges with too much firepower moving forward

Tyreice Brown was terrific for the victors with 19 disposals, six marks and 4.2, while Talon Delacey had a game-high 25 touches and Max Mumme provided plenty of drive with his 24. Dylan Mulligan also took on some added responsibility well, finishing with 24 disposals, 23 hitouts and two goals. Samuel Otto notched a team-high 21 disposals for East Fremantle, followed closely by Luke Yeo (20, eight tackles) as the Sharks slipped down to fifth.

GOALS:

Claremont: T. Brown 4, D. Mulligan 2, C. Bristow 2, C. Jackman, X. Brenton-Reed
East Fremantle: S. Otto 2, K. Mcmillan 2, J. Baverstock, N. Phillips, K. Denney, J. Cripps

SUBIACO 1.1 | 4.5 | 7.6 | 9.10 (64)
SOUTH FREMANTLE 5.3 | 5.4 | 7.7 | 9.11 (65)

Subiaco slipped out of the top five after going down by a single point to South Fremantle in the round’s final fixture. A five-goal to one opening term from the Bulldogs proved crucial, as they were made to hold on amid Subiaco’s charge and only just managed to maintain their one-point lead from three quarter time, to the final siren.

Caleb Stephens again led the way for South with 22 disposals, joined by Tyler Piazzola on that figure, as Chase Bourne snared two goals from his 17 touches. Meanwhile, Jed Kemp racked up 36 disposals for Subi, with Jacob Evitt (25 disposals, five marks) another strong contributor.

GOALS:

Subiaco: L. Collard 3, C. Henderson 2, J. Evitt, D. O’Dea, B. Corderoy, J. Tholstrup
South Fremantle: C. Bourne 2, M. Bropho 2, L. Bloomer, J. Hulten, H. Elphick, C. Stephens, T. Jacques

UP THE GRADES:

While much of Western Australia’s top Under 19 talent donned representative colours this past weekend, there remained a handful of state squad members who instead ran out at League level. All five played in losses, starting with East Fremantle pair Corey Warner and Finn Gorringe. Warner’s level of consistency has been terrific in the senior grade, and he picked up another 15 disposals while also booting his first League goal. Gorringe had it 12 times, continuing his steady form in the top flight.

19-year-old Perth defender Jack Avery played his sixth senior game for the Demons and had his moments with 11 disposals and three marks. South Fremantle and Fremantle NGA small forward Jesse Motlop also popped up in spurts, laying five tackles and booting a goal among his handful of possessions. The state Under 19 squad will play against a select Perth squad this coming weekend, though all of the above players will turn out for their clubs should League selection again come knocking.

Image Credit: Brian Conduit via West Perth FC

2021 WAFL Colts: Round 15 weekend wrap

WHILE a bunch of Western Australia’s best talent went head-to-head in Saturday’s Under 17 vs. Under 19 trial game, the WAFL Colts competition rolled on into Round 15 over the weekend. Swan Districts swooped on a ninth win to continue its reign atop the table, while West Perth closed the gap on fifth with an upset win over East Fremantle.

We recap all the action and outstanding performances in our weekly wrap, while also taking a look around the grounds at youngsters who impressed in senior grades.

>> Scouting Notes: WA U17s vs. U19s

PEEL THUNDER 1.1 | 3.5 | 4.5 | 6.8 (44)
CLAREMONT 4.3 | 7.5 | 8.13 | 10.13 (73)

Claremont continues to hunt the top two sides after defeating Peel Thunder by 29 points last Friday night, 10.13 (73) to 6.8 (44). The Tigers shot out of the blocks with four goals to one in the opening term, holding at least a 20-point buffer at each break in what was a strong victory.

Kendyll Blurton’s fine form continued, as he notched a game-high 29 disposals to go with six inside 50s for the winners. Talon Delacey was again his partner in crime with 26 touches and five tackles, while Max Mumme had it 20 times and kicked a goal in his second game back at the level.

For Peel, Aquinas College midfielder Michael Sellwood returned well from a finger injury and PSA duties, collecting a team-high 23 disposals and five inside 50s to go with a goal. The versatile Cooper Osbourne managed 21 touches, while small midfielder Scott Tuia finished with 16.

GOALS:

Peel: B. Finch, M. Sellwood, T. Salter, J. McLellan, L. Taylor, B. Offer
Claremont: H. Cole 3, P. Kitchener, D. Mulligan 2, M. Mumme, R. Charles, J. Sukuroski

PERTH 3.2 | 4.2 | 6.3 | 6.6 (42)
EAST PERTH 2.3 | 5.8 | 6.10 | 8.16 (64)

While plenty of stars were impressing in the weekend’s state trial game, East Perth did enough to beat Perth by 22 points in Saturday morning’s opening fixture, winning 8.16 (64) to 6.6 (42).

Kalani Brooks took over the Royals’ midfield and dominated with 44 disposals, seven tackles and 1.3, supported well by Jayden Peak (33 disposals, 11 inside 50s) and Jake Littleton (21 disposals, seven inside 50s, one goal) on the outer.

Perth had a couple of shining lights in its 11th loss, as Damian Sinclair notched a team-high 29 disposals, while Harry Quartermaine took 12 marks among his 26 touches. Aiden O’Driscoll, the brother of Fremantle’s Emma and Nathan was the game’s sole multiple goal kicker, snaring two in his fourth outing at 16-years-old.

GOALS:

Perth: A. O’ Driscoll 2, A. Luers, J. Evans, O. Zolnier-Owens, B. Weymouth
East Perth: M. Williams, T. Druzianich, T. Graham, J. Chadwick, J. Littleton, K. Brooks, G. Ryan, B. Cubahiro

WEST PERTH 2.2 | 4.6 | 5.7 | 11.9 (75)
EAST FREMANTLE 1.0 | 3.3 | 6.8 | 8.8 (56)

West Perth closed the gap on the top five, drawing to within a game of the leading pack with a 19-point upset win over East Fremantle, coming from behind at the final break to get up 11.9 (75) to 8.8 (56).

Luke Michael led all comers with 31 disposals and 14 marks for the Falcons in his best showing for the season, while Luke Reilly (28 disposals, nine tackles) and Darcy Dixon (21 disposals, 1.3) also got busy in the win. Rucking against stiff opposition, Riley Sprigg showed promising signs with 15 touches and 32 hitouts.

Kobe McMillan was the Sharks’ ruck, returning from Reserves duties to share the role with Joshua Cripps. Their top ball winners were Jake Urquhart (29 disposals) and Samuel Emery (28), while Fremantle NGA hopeful Richard Bartlett was amongst the goalkickers.

GOALS:

West Perth: Z. Robis 3, S. Marafioti 2, L. Reilly, L. Homsany, D. Dixon, J. DeMarte, R. Gallen, N. Farrow
East Fremantle: T. Foss 2, B. Parasiliti, L. Gangemi, R. Bartlett, T. Giles, K. McMillan, J. Feist

SWAN DISTRICTS 3.1 | 4.6 | 7.11 | 11.13 (79)
SOUTH FREMANTLE 1.2 | 1.3 | 2.4 | 4.6 (30)

A seven-goal second half has helped Swan Districts claim a 49-point victory over South Fremantle, winning 11.13 (79) to 4.6 (30) to remain top of the WAFL Colts ladder after 15 rounds – with a game in hand, no less.

Ben Hewett was terrific for the victors, posting 27 touches and six marks, while Noah Hannan (31 disposals) led all comers and Ayden Cartwright (25 disposals, two goals) was again impressive among a formidable Swans team effort.

Meanwhile, Caleb Stephens continues to shine for South after his 35 disposals and two goals, supported by Caden Turnbull (27 disposals, eight marks) this time out with pressure mounting on the Bulldogs’ fifth-place standing.

GOALS:

Swan Districts: J. Middleton, J. Sullivan, B. Morris, A. Cartwright 2, J. Ugle, J. Eastough, T. Sears
South Fremantle: C. Stephens 2, L. Brandis, J. Hulten

UP THE GRADES:

Fremantle NGA prospect Jesse Motlop, the son of Daniel, made his League debut with South Fremantle on Saturday, booting two goals from 13 disposals as his Bulldogs beat Swan Districts. If not for his top flight berth, the exciting forward would have run out for the Under 19s state squad on the same day.

Likewise, Perth defender Jack Avery and East Fremantle’s Corey Warner also prioritised League duties. Avery had 20 touches as Perth went down to East Perth, while Warner had it 14 times as the Sharks went down to West Perth. 19th-year state squad member Finn Gorringe was also afield, managing 16 disposals and five marks.

A few of WA’s most highly touted talent also missed Saturday’s trial game through injury, headlined by Subiaco midfielder Neil Erasmus. Prolific East Fremantle midfielder Josh Browne and versatile Perth tall Jaiden Hunter were also in that boat. The former two should be available for the Under 19s carnival-opener against South Australia on August 7.

At Reserves level, Deklyn Grocott (Perth) and Tyrell Metcalf (Swan Districts) were among those to continue their step-ups into senior grades. The former managed 14 disposals in Perth’s win over East Perth, while the latter had 13 touches as Swans went down to South Fremantle.

Image Credit: Phil Elliott & Justin Elliott (Pixell Photography) via East Fremantle FC

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 11 – Swan Districts vs. West Perth

SWAN Districts moved to the top of the WAFL Colts ladder on Saturday morning with an imposing 51-point win over West Perth at Steel Blue Oval. The Swans were tested early, but overcame the Falcons’ pressure game to break down the walls of their defence, booting four goals to nil in a defining third quarter. The victors’ midfield mix and small forwards eventually took a toll, bringing a touch of class to the scrappy encounter and deservedly improving to 7-1 on the season.

We take a look at a few of the top performers from either side in our Scouting Notes, and go around the grounds with some of the other outstanding Colts performances out of Round 11.

SCOUTING NOTES

Swan Districts 12.14 (86) def. West Perth 5.5 (35)

Swan Districts:

#3 Max Chipper

Usually a player who can accumulate possessions around the ground, Chipper found a lot of his 24 disposals at the stoppages on Saturday. As a constant in midfield for the Swans, his key method during the first half was to dish out quick handballs from the clinches, with a lot of work done under pressure. While he was a touch rushed at times, Chipper managed to better utilise his running power after half time as the game opened up and he was afforded more time and space. It was not the Swans midfielder’s most dominant outing, but he managed to tick over the numbers and get involved when called upon.

#10 Benjamin Hewett

Another of the Swans’ midfield mainstays, Hewett was a lot more kick friendly and won plenty of the ball with a total of 25 disposals and five marks. He struggled at times in the first half with cleanly exiting the contest, but managed to find more space to smoothly run and carry as the game wore on. Hewett also impacted while resting forward, booting two goals. His first came in the second term, sliding for a mark before quickly wheeling around to slot the goal, and his second came during the following period with a nice steady and finish on the move.

#15 Ayden Cartwright

Among the Swans’ starting centre bounce mix, Cartwright started the game on the right foot by winning the opening clearance. He was often quite clean with his handling under pressure and that factor helped him contribute an equal game-high 26 disposals. He managed to sneak forward and snare an opportunistic soccer goal in the second term, before dropping back and helping the Swans chain some rebounding passages together in the latter stages of the game.

#32 Tyrell Metcalf

Initially stationed up forward, Metcalf proved a dangerous member of the attacking 50 with his speed and willingness to create openings around goal. He was then thrown into the centre bounces and was able to contribute to transitional passages in general play, again using his run to chain possessions together. Metcalf slammed home a terrific long goal in the second quarter after baulking an opponent, and got a much easier one in the third as he broke over the back.

West Perth:

#12 Darcy Dixon

Somewhat of a burst player in the West Perth lineup, Dixon was able to showcase his explosiveness and attacking intent throughout this outing. He rotated through midfield from the forwardline and looked powerful at the contest, looking to bustle clear with strength and pump his side forward with long kicks. While some of his handling and ball use was impacted by pressure, Dixon was able to get good separation when stationed inside 50. He marked on the lead twice during term three, but could not make good on the resultant shots, finishing with 19 disposals, five marks, five inside 50s, and two behinds.

#32 Nate Dimanlig

One of the many West Perth defenders who absorbed a heap of pressure, Dimanlig was a solid presence among the under-siege Falcons backline. He was a reliable outlet when his side looked to work openings out of defensive 50, contributing to the kick-mark play and using the ball relatively cleanly in a no fuss kind of manner. Dimanlig also showed promising intercept ability, spoiling and marking against his direct opponent or when manning territory. He finished with good numbers of 19 disposals and seven marks.

AROUND THE GROUNDS:

The round’s only other Colts clash saw East Fremantle comfortably get past Perth, defeating the Demons by 91 points at Mineral Resources Park. The Sharks piled on 10 goals to two after half time to consolidate the win, with a number of big names faring well.

Atop the list, Josh Browne continued his dominant form with a game-high 38 disposals and three goals, while Corey Warner (28 disposals, two goals), Taj Woewodin (28 disposals, six inside 50s), and Jack Williams (22 disposals, eight marks, 21 hitouts, two goals) were also terrific in the win. Josh Cripps, the brother of Carlton co-captain Patrick, managed six touches on his Colts debut.

In the League clash between those two sides, also won by the Sharks, a couple of Under 19 state squad members showed their wares. Jack Avery was kept busy in Perth colours, claiming seven marks among his 18 disposals, while Finn Gorringe had 10 touches for the Sharks.

Image Credit: Brian Conduit/West Perth FC

2021 West Australian Under 19 squad announced

THE 2021 West Australian Under 19 squad was announced on Wednesday, with 33 players making the cut to represent their state at the upcoming National Championships. Selected to compete in games against South Australia (July 31) and the Allies (August 7), the squad features players ranging from their 19th year, to a gun 16-year-old who is also among the state’s Under 17 set-up.

The Black Ducks promise to be competitive at this year’s carnival, boasting a strong core of versatile key position prospects and dynamic midfield mix. AFL Academy members Rhett Bazzo (Swan Districts), Jacob van Rooyen (Claremont), and Jack Williams (East Fremantle) are among the best talls available in this year’s draft crop, while Subiaco pair Matthew Johnson and Neil Erasmus are set to wax in midfield having also represented the national Under 19 Academy.

Fans of AFL clubs will also have specific players to keep an eye on, with father-son and Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospects littered through the side. Exciting small forward/midfielder Jesse Motlop (son of Daniel) comes under Fremantle’s academy umbrella, while explosive East Perth mover Ethan Regan is one for Eagles. Melbourne also has a father-son in the mix, with Taj Woewodin (son of Shane) a promising midfield option.

East Fremantle produced the most members (eight) this time around, as the WAFL club continues to prove a strong breeding ground for draft eligible talent. East Perth is the next best with six players involved, including Regan and leading Colts goalkicker Jye Amiss (25 goals). There is plenty of competition for spots up forward, with swingman Bazzo likely to revert to a defensive post along with versatile 19-year-old Jaiden Hunter (Perth).

Hunter is one of a few top-agers to have earned League berths in 2021 after being overlooked at last year’s draft, with Perth teammate Jack Avery in that same boat, alongside midfielder-turned-defender Finn Gorringe (East Fremantle) and ruckman Jake South (Subiaco). Meanwhile, 18th-year talents van Rooyen and Johnson also broke through for their senior debuts before returning to the Colts grade.

After hitouts against South Australia and the Allies, WA is scheduled to take on Vic Country and Vic Metro in Victoria on September 24 and 29, to round out the National Championships.

Below is a preview of how the West Australian team may look, in a line-up put together by Draft Central analyst Ed Pascoe. Scroll further to see the full squad.

FB: Jack Avery (P) – Rhett Bazzo (SD) – Finn Gorringe (EF)
HB: Jed Hagan (EF) – Jaiden Hunter (P) – Judd McVee (EF)
C: Corey Warner (EF) – Matthew Johnson (S) – Max Chipper (SD)
HF: Ethan Regan (EP) – Jacob van Rooyen (C) – Neil Erasmus (S)
FF: Jye Amiss (EP) – Jack Williams (EF) – Jesse Motlop (SF)
FOL: Jake South (S) – Josh Browne (EF) – Kade Dittmar (EP)

INT: Zac Fleiner (WP), Kaden Harbour (EP), Brady Hough (PT), Lochlan Paton (WP), Luke Polson (PT), James Tunstill (EP)

EMG: Oscar Armstrong (EP), Eric Benning (C), Ed Curley (EF), Richard Farmer (S), Jarrod McIlvinney (PT), Angus Sheldrick (C), Jahmal Stretch (C), Bryce Watson (SD), Taj Woewodin (EF)

FULL SQUAD:

Image Credit: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos

2021 WAFL Colts: Round 6 weekend wrap

THE 2021 WAFL Colts season rolled on into Round 6 on the weekend, with the four fixtures split evenly across Saturday and Sunday. On the latter day at Leederville Oval, both games were decided by less than two goals as Subiaco took out a grand final rematch over Claremont, and East Perth strengthened its position atop the table. We recap all the action and highlight the outstanding players in our weekly wrap.

WEST PERTH 3.0 | 4.3 | 7.4 | 8.5 (53)
SWAN DISTRICTS 4.3 | 6.5 | 7.7 | 10.7 (67)

Swan Districts moved up to second on the WAFL Colts table with a 14-point win over West Perth on Saturday, with a pair of midfielders enjoying a day out for either side. Swans running machine Max Chipper racked up 34 disposals and booted three goals in a best afield performance, as Falcons jet Luke Reilly followed closely with 32 touches and two majors. The latter also laid 10 tackles, a feat matched by prolific Swans midfielder Benjamin Hewett.

Key defender-turned-forward Rhett Bazzo also made a rare outing for Swan Districts during the PSA season, but was held goalless by Nat Dimanlig. The West Perth utility was forced into an improvised defensive role for this clash, and came up trumps despite his side’s loss. Lochlan Paton proved another to stand up for the Falcons, notching 26 disposals while again finding the goals. Speaking of, Zarne Robis finished as West’s only other multiple goalkicker, as Swans’ Noah Hannan also booted two majors.

GOALS:

West Perth: L. Reilly 2, Z. Robis 2, L. Paton, D. Dixon, I. Demarte, T. Ross
Swan Districts: M. Chipper 3, N. Hannan 2, B. Jones, B. Fawcett, L. Taylor, T. Metcalf, D. Jones

PERTH 1.2 | 3.2 | 3.4 | 7.5 (47)
PEEL THUNDER 2.1 | 4.3 | 7.4 | 10.6 (66)

Peel Thunder came out on top in the battle of winless sides on Saturday, defeating Perth by 19 points at Mineral Resources Park. Top Peel draft prospect Luke Polson showed his versatility with a massive 28 disposals and six marks, while also booting a goal in the win. Teammate Bodie Kitchingham led all comers alongside Perth rebound machine Jack Avery, as both players notched over 20 kicks each in their 31-disposal performances.

Harry Quartermaine (five goals) and Deklyn Grocott (25 disposals, two goals) scrounged all of Perth’s major scores, proving integral as the Demons fought to stay in the contest. Brady Hough was Peel’s lone multiple goalkicker, snaring three from 23 touches as he showcased a high amount of class through midfield. Ethan Donaghy also ticked over 20 disposals and found the big sticks for Peel, as Menno Inverarity (22 disposals) continues to prove prolific for Perth.

GOALS:

Perth: H. Quartermaine 5, D. Grocott 2
Peel: B. Hough 3, K. Levitt, J. Klepzig, E. Donaghy, R. Vidovich, J. Edwards, C. Bourke, L. Polson

SUBIACO 1.3 | 6.4 | 11.5 | 11.7 (73)
CLAREMONT 4.2 | 7.3 | 8.5 | 10.7 (67)

Reigning premier Subiaco took out Sunday afternoon’s grand final rematch, holding on to knock off Claremont by six points in a thriller at Leederville Oval. The result sees the teams essentially switch places, with Subiaco sneaking into the top five and the Tigers sliding down to sixth. Jacob Evitt and Jed Kemp highlighted their ball winning strength, leading all comers with 28 disposals apiece as the former also snared two goals. Talon Delacey was Claremont’s prime move, winning 26 touches and booting a major in typically eye-catching fashion.

Marking defender Blake Morris showcased his intercept and rebounding qualities with a game-high six marks among his 19 disposals, proving composed across half-back for the victors. Meanwhile, debutant Koltyn Tholstrup thrust his name into the spotlight with three goals, with the 15-year-old a lively forward not eligible to be drafted until 2023. Tyzreise Clark also snared a pair for Subiaco, as two Tigers matched that feat to top the Claremont scoresheet.

GOALS:

Subiaco: K. Tholstrup 3, J. Evitt 2, T. Clark 2, J. Quarrell, C. Dean, E. Bolton, B. Corderoy
Claremont: J. Farquharson 2, P. Coles 2, K. Blurton, T. Delacey, B. Ramshaw, D. Mulligan, J. Stretch, L. Tangney

SOUTH FREMANTLE 2.1 | 4.3 | 8.5 | 10.5 (65)
EAST PERTH 3.2 | 6.3 | 8.5 | 11.7 (73)

In the round’s final fixture, East Perth moved clear atop the WAFL Colts table with an eight-point win over South Fremantle at Leederville Oval, capping off an enthralling double-header. Jake Littleton (23 disposals) and Jayden Peak (20) joined Bulldogs ball winner Caleb Stephens as the only players to tick over 20 touches, with Peak also registering a major in the win. Teammate Oscar Armstrong (18 disposals, one goal) was in a similar boat, while Ethan Regan impressed with 10 marks.

Jye Amiss was typically reliable in front of the big sticks for the Royals, booting a game-high three goals. Meanwhile, Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) small forward Chase Bourne finished among a quartet of Bulldogs to snag two goals, as South fell just short of a fourth victory.

GOALS:

South Fremantle: L. Brandis 2, J. Plunkett 2, H. Elphick 2, C. Bourne 2, A. Fraser, K. Foster
East Perth: J. Amiss 3, T. Graham 2, J. Chadwick 2, J. Peak, O. Armstrong, J. Tunstill, S. Soka

Image Credit: Brian Conduit via West Perth Football Club

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 5 – East Perth vs. Swan Districts

AFTER an unforeseen week away due to West Australian lockdown, the WAFL Colts returned on the weekend for Round 5. The latest featured game saw East Perth take on Swan Districts at Leederville Oval on Saturday morning, with the Royals running away 34-point victors to remain top of the table.

A fast start saw the hosts look like beating their opponents black and blue, booting four goals to nil in the opening term. But Swans wrestled back some momentum and territory during the second and third quarters, answering each Royal run to remain just within striking distance at both of those breaks.

But a powerhouse final period saw East Perth pick up its third victory of the 2021 season, bookending the game nicely with a further five goals to put some meat onto the bones of its winning margin. Boasting a terrific conversion rate, the Royals won out 13.5 (83) to Swans’ 7.7 (49), with both sides now losing players to the Public Schools Association (PSA) competition.

SCOUTING NOTES

East Perth:

#4 Ethan Regan

The West Coast Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect showcased some exciting traits in the forward half, starting brightly and capping off his game with a couple of nice moments. Regan got amongst it early through sheer work rate, impacting ground level contests and applying good defensive pressure. He cut across to take a nice intercept mark inside forward 50 in term one, which saw him kick his sole goal of the game. Regan’s speed and skill would later come to the fore as he combined well with Jye Amiss, streaming forward and hitting targets by foot. Late in the piece, he popped up with a pair of eye-catching overhead marks on the move, reaching the ball at its highest point.

#7 Jye Amiss

Another who started brightly for the Royals, Amiss snared three of his four goals by 4:30 into the second quarter. Stationed almost exclusively inside attacking 50, the promising key forward had two goals on the board in a flash through terrific forward craft, quick reactions and innate goal sense. He is said to have improved his ground level work this year, and it showed in those moments. An in-the-back free kick during term two gifted Amiss his third major, while number four came in the final quarter after a mark on the lead. Goalkicking exploits aside, Amiss also had a nice moment in the third term as he desperately ran down an opponent, holding the ball.

#9 Kade Dittmar

While he was a force for most of the game, Dittmar really came to prominence during a powerhouse final quarter. His explosive ability from the centre bounces was evident, as well as his power running through the middle of the ground. Dittmar would be seen getting first hands on the ball, breaking away to bomb inside 50, and following up his kicks all in the same chain. His ability to stand up under opposition heat, fend off, and dish out was also noticeable in the earlier stages, before Swan Districts’ midfield got on top in term two. Still, Dittmar was able to impact through the middle and was very clean with his shorter-range disposal by foot – especially for such a bullocking inside type. Considering his primary role, he seems quite well balanced.

#26 Kaden Harbour

Harbour is a handy small forward who also rotates through midfield, providing a good amount of spark wherever he goes. He arguably looked most comfortable inside attacking 50 during this outing, where he was able to snap up a couple of goals and take eye-catching aerial marks. After an indifferent opening half, Harbour began to better impact as the contest wore on, helping East Perth break clear at the start of the third quarter with two goals in quick succession. The first came from a big contested mark close to goal, where Harbour rose from the back, while the second was a quick snap just as deep as he arrived first to the spillage. Known for his high flying, he’s difficult to miss in full flight.

Others:

Jake Littleton was in plenty early on for East Perth, operating on a wing and catching the eye under his helmet. Through midfield, James Tunstill found plenty of the ball, as Jayden Peak provided a bit of spark moving forward. The raw talent of Sokaa Soka, another West Coast NGA talent, became more prominent as the game wore on, while Luke Lombardi did some nice things exiting out of defence.

Swan Districts:

#2 Max Chipper

A permanent fixture in Swan Districts’ midfield, Chipper ended as his side’s most prolific ball winner and did so with plenty of quick-minded plays. Reasonably clean at ground level, the diminutive mover is not the most quick or agile out of congestion, but makes up for it with good vision and decision making on the ball. He tended to air his kicks a touch but generally hit targets and backed himself to do so heading into potentially risky areas. After a slow start, he worked into the game well during the second term and nearly nabbed a goal on the run from long range. After a solid outing in the black and white, Chipper appeared to limp off late in the final quarter after miscuing a kick.

#23 Luke Taylor

Potentially the most impressive player afield, Taylor proved his pedigree with a three-goal haul full of promise. The brother of GWS defender Sam, Taylor is a raw key forward with equally good potential in the air. While it was not always rewarded, Taylor’s work up the ground and ability to provide a contest allowed the Swans a chance to chain up play forward of centre. He brought the ball to ground on multiple occasions and had a few almost-marks, which he should begin to hold as he grows. Taylor kicked his first goal in the second quarter, using his reach to pluck a high ball in the goalsquare before duly converting. His clever leading patterns saw him gain separation and become an inside 50 target during the third term, which led to goal number two. Capping off his day, Taylor was gifted a third major via a 50-metre penalty, proving a handy reward for effort.

Others:

19-year-old Ty Sears had some nice moments running off half-back and the wing, without always possessing the finished product he would desire. Ben Hewett and Noah Hannan were both productive in midfield, while West Coast NGA talent Lawson Humphries stood up in defence. Up the other end of the ground, Bryce Watson popped up for a couple of handy goals, as Darcy Jones showed good promise and zip at ground level and Tyrell Metcalf got busy.

AROUND THE GROUNDS:

Headlining the news around Western Australia’s latest draft crop this week was the League debut of Matthew Johnson. Fresh off a solid showing for the AFL Academy, the tall Subiaco midfielder notched 11 disposals and five tackles as the Lions went down to South Fremantle. Elsewhere, star key forward Jacob Van Rooyen is being rested by Claremont after his glandular fever diagnosis, as reported by the West Australian’s Jordan McArdle. The start of the PSA season has also seen a raft of players become unavailable for WAFL Colts selection.

Back in the Colts competition, East Fremantle found a way to edge Perth in their clash on Saturday morning. Key forward Jack Williams again played a starring role with four goals, as Josh Browne (35 disposals) had the ball on a string in midfield and Melbourne father-son prospect Taj Woewodin (27 disposals) continued his good form. Jack Avery was a Goliath-like in Perth’s defence with 41 touches and 13 marks, as Zak Meloncelli proved his class having dropped back down to Colts level from the Reserves grade.

West Perth notched its first win of the season with a 23-point triumph over Claremont, with gun midfielder Lochlan Paton again finding plenty of the ball. He racked up 27 disposals and nine marks after managing 28 touches last round, while Zac Fleiner (26 disposals), Jordan Berry (10 marks), and Zarne Robis (four goals) all contributed in different ways for the victors. Talon Delacey delivered 20 of his 27 disposals by foot for Claremont, as Kendyll Blurton showed plenty more promise for 24 touches and six inside 50s.

South Fremantle became the third team to land on three wins as the Bulldogs beat Subiaco by eight points, with Liam Brandis and Jacob Plunkett combining for seven goals. Caleb Stephens (29 disposals, nine marks) was also fantastic in the win, as Fremantle NGA talent Ashwin Malik more than held his own in defence. Fellow NGA prospect Jesse Motlop kicked a goal from his 10 touches. Meanwhile, Jacob Evitt (18 disposals, two goals) and Blake Morris (13 disposals, seven marks) were solid for Subiaco.

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 3 – Claremont vs. Perth

THE 2021 WAFL Colts competition rolled on into Round 3 over the weekend, with the four fixtures providing some fairly competitive action. The West Australian Under 19s talent continues to build into the new campaign, with Claremont and Perth both enjoying spurts of momentum in our featured match of the round, on Saturday morning.

After being blown out of the water by Swan Districts in Round 2, the Demons came out with hellish intentions and dominated the opening exchanges. The Tigers fought back valiantly though and got back to within striking distance at half time, before mounting a heap of pressure thereafter and eventually running out comfortable 43-point winners, 12.13 (85) to 6.6 (42).

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


SCOUTING NOTES

CLAREMONT vs. PERTH

By: Michael Alvaro

Claremont:

#1 Arthur Jones

The speedy small is only light, but electric at full flight. He was initially a little fumbly at ground level and could not quite find clear passage out of traffic, but looked ominous once he worked onto the outer and was able to break the lines in a more linear manner. Having been sighted a lot in the back half during the opening half, Jones worked well at half-forward thereafter with good attacking run through the corridor. He finished nicely for his only goal of the game during term three after composing himself inside 50, capping off a promising 16-disposal display.

#2 Max Mumme

Mumme was Claremont’s second-most prolific ball winner on the day with 19 touches, and his drive from midfield was important as the Tigers took over after quarter time. His burst with the ball and repeat efforts in congestion made for some exciting passages forward, allowing his side to quickly gain momentum. He booted a goal late in the second term and proved a factor at ground level with hard tackles, despite showing raw disposal at times.

#5 Kendyll Blurton

One who has enjoyed a move into the midfield, Blurton was super classy on the ball and showcased great speed away from congestion. The Fremantle NGA prospect popped up in eye-catching bursts, often zipping away having sharked the ball cleanly, and dashing towards Claremont’s attacking 50. He did well to stay on the move and generate some energy in the engine room, with his spread to the attacking half also quite aggressive at times. Blurton also got on the board with Claremont’s first goal, finishing nicely from a snap in the second quarter.

#27 Gus Sheldrick

A necessary point of difference in Claremont’s midfield mix, Sheldrick was the contested bull for his side on Saturday. He finished well clear as the Tigers’ top ball winner with 28 disposals, contributing plenty of hard work at the stoppages while also accumulating touches around the ground. Sheldrick also showed good courage with a mark going back with the flight and proved the kind of player Claremont needed to set the tone after being well down at quarter time.

#31 Edward Allan 

A tall and rangy wingman who likes to attack with his forward run, Allan became more productive as the contest wore on. He showed good spacial awareness in the second term to mop up a loose ball and handball over his shoulder, before applying a shepherd to send his teammate away safely. Allan’s most impactful plays came after half time though, as he began to provide run-and-carry in the attacking half and put the ball into dangerous areas by foot. One transitional passage saw him incite a handball chain on the outer, before delivering well to Joshua Ledger inside 50. The son of former Hawthorn and Fremantle player, Ben, capped off his game with a set shot goal in the final quarter. He is not father-son eligible for either AFL club.

#35 Luke Brown

Arguably the standout forward afield, Brown was able to gain good confidence having been gifted two of his total four goals. The Under 17 state squad member first got on the board in term two after a Perth defender tapped straight to him, allowing for a straightforward snap conversion on the run. He was most dangerous during the following period though, making good on the quality service which came his way for two set shot majors, before snapping up a second gift as Perth again turned the ball straight over inside defensive 50. Having impacted the scoreboard, Brown went on to showcase more of his marking prowess leading up the ground in the latter stages, but at 200cm, has plenty of filling out to do as he develops. To his credit, he took his chances well and grew throughout the game.

Others:

Ben Ramshaw was one a reliable figure down back for the Tigers, notching 18 disposals and four marks. Tall defender Hugh Davies fared well in a tough job and even took on some of the kick-in duties. Another defensive standout was Samuel Gilbey, who provided daring dash and nice aerial plays from his post. In the ruck, Fremantle NGA Eric Benning highlighted his athleticism and ability to follow up at ground level, finishing with 14 disposals, 18 hitouts, and five marks. The Tigers were also serviced well by some exciting smalls and wrestled back momentum brilliantly.

Perth:

#11 Harry Quartermaine

The focal point of Perth’s attack, Quartermaine started brightly as the Demons got on top and finished with quite respectable numbers of 18 disposals, nine marks, and three goals. While not the tallest key forward in the competition, Quartermaine is able to compete aerially with his combination of strength and general forward nous. Time and time again, he gained massive separation from his direct opponent to mark on the lead, which was the method of attack for all three of his goals. If not for some inaccurate kicking and shots falling short, the Demons forward could well have finished with a bag, but that was not to be.

#14 Jack Avery

Undoubtedly the best player afield, Avery was also the most prolific by far as he gathered a whopping 39 disposals (29 kicks) and seven marks. The former Claremont defender swept up almost everything which came his way, reading the play better than anyone else to hit ground balls first and also inflict his usual intercept marking play. He pressed up aggressively in the first half to form a formidable wall at halfway, before later reverting to more work deep inside his own 50-metre arc. As the designated kicker from defence, Avery distributed mostly by foot and was usually reliable in that space, though saw plenty of balls come straight back his way as Claremont piled on late pressure. Still, Avery showed plenty in an under-siege position and looked primed to step up for a senior berth in quick time.

#19 Menno Inverarity 

One of Perth’s best midfielders on the day, Inverarity racked up 24 touches and worked hard for eight marks, while also laying nine tackles. He boosted his numbers well by doing some solid contributions on the inside, while also getting involved in handball chains and consistently working to provide an outlet option. His work rate got him a goal in the first term, the first of the day as he was left unattended inside 50. Inverarity accumulated up and down the ground, cleanly moving the ball on to his teammates with many touches which would often go unnoticed. He was also able to bring teammates into the play and proved productive overall.

Others:

Deklyn Grocott finished with 21 disposals and six inside 50s as one of Perth’s key drivers of the ball, while Angus Luers showed plenty of promise with his 17 touches and six marks, capped by a goal. Jarrod Sturch worked for 27 hitouts in the ruck, as Jack Evans showed good signs in midfield and Daniel Hill was lively up forward.

Image Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

From the clouds: This year’s biggest AFL Draft bolters

EACH year a great deal of AFL Draft intrigue surrounds the prospects who seemingly come from the clouds to land on clubs’ radars. Labelled the bolters, these players are the ones who enjoy steep rises as top-agers to trade obscurity for potential stardom. Last year we saw Will Day, Mitch Georgiades, and Sam Philp taken in round one, Sam Sturt was famously snapped up with Pick 17 the year before, Gold Coast pulled a surprise with Wil Powell in 2017 and well, you get the gist.

In taking a look at the potential bolters in this year’s crop, we are not just talking about players like Logan McDonald or Archie Perkins, who have risen from first round projection to possible top five status. Instead, we will take you through the names from around the nation who have come from greater obscurity to enter the draft frame at differing points. Some will feature at the top end, others might just scrape in at the back, but they all share the common story of coming from a long way back to gain recognition from AFL club recruiters.

Full profiles for all the players mentioned below can be found in our AFL Draft Guide, which is free to download.

THE BOLTERS

STATE BY STATE

South Australia:

South Australia not only lays claim to arguably the biggest bolter of the lot this year, but potentially the biggest overall list of players who suit the category. Headlining the crop is of course South Adelaide wingman/forward Brayden Cook, who went from battling for gametime as a bottom-ager to earning a Reserves call-up early in 2020 and averaging two goals per game in the Under 18s. His nous close to goal and overhead marking ability proved to be game-winning traits for the Panthers this year, propelling Cook into first round contention.

Likely joining him in the top 25 are gun midfielders Tom Powell and Caleb Poulter, who were two of the most consistent ball winners in this year’s SANFL Under 18s. Powell is one of the finest exponents of the handball to come through the junior ranks and proved impossible to ignore on pure numbers in 2020. He was highly rated internally but hardly got the opportunity to show his wares in 2019, suffering multiple injury setbacks and having hip surgery in his bottom-age campaign. Poulter is somewhat of a late bloomer who has enormous upside and great presence on the field as a tall midfielder. His range of weapons include a raking left peg, clean hands, and the ability to play inside, out, and up forward.

Other top-agers in the extended conversation include Luke Pedlar, Malachy Carruthers, Phoenix Spicer, and Xavier Robins. All four earned national draft combine invites after promising seasons, with Pedlar one who has also recently garnered first round interest. The tough and explosive midfielder was a leader among the Glenelg and Prince Alfred College squads this year, before injury cut his campaign short. Defenders Carruthers and Robins both impressed during the school football season before returning to SANFL competitions, while Spicer caught the eye with his dash and x-factor playing on a wing for South Adelaide.

Last but not least are the mature-agers. Mitch Duval and Tom Highmore both earned draft combine invites and were the only prospects over 19 years of age to do so this year. Both read the play beautifully across half-back, mark well, and provide value on the rebound. Premiership Eagles James Rowe and Jacob Wehr will also attract interest. Rowe is a small forward with excellent smarts and natural ability, while Wehr is a rebounding defender with class who was struggling for Reserves games not too long ago.

Victoria:

Despite not getting the chance to put in a full top-age season, there are a bunch of Victorians that have put their hands up for draft bolter status with impressive preseason showings and testing performances. Hulking Sandringham Dragons ruck Max Heath is near the top of the pile after returning dominant trial games. He took on some stern advice after his bottom-age year and came back a different player, throwing his weight around as an aggressive tall who can impose himself on the contest.

Northern Knights product Liam Kolar is in a similar boat after his preseason efforts, making for a steep rise having come from a soccer and athletics background. The raw tall debuted late last year for the Knights but seemed to have hit new heights in 2020 with his speed-endurance mix and rate of development impressing onlookers all the way back in March. Matt Allison and Fraser Rosman are other dynamic talls with great athleticism and upside who have entered the conversation.

Sandringham not only lays claim to Heath in the bolter category, but has also seen the likes of Luke Cleary, Max Holmes, and Lachlan Carrigan burst onto the scene. All three come in at over 189cm and can play in multiple roles. Holmes is the son of Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Lee Naylor, while Carrigan’s genetics have seen him benefit from a massive growth spurt which has coincided with his overall footballing development as a wingman.

One who has come from arguably the furthest back is Corey Preston, who earned a draft combine invite this year despite not having yet made his NAB League debut. The 180cm Eastern Ranges graduate is a midfielder/forward with nice athletic traits. Speaking of, Oakleigh’s Conor Stone has really cemented himself among the top-end group of late. He booted five goals on his NAB League debut last year and was part of the Chargers’ premiership side.

Among the ranks in country regions, Geelong’s stacked top-age cohort includes the likes of Blake Reid and Charlie Ham. Reid did some impressive things last year as the Falcons struggled to string results together, while Ham is a late bloomer much like elder brother, Brayden of Essendon. Both players earned combine invites and performed well, just like new 2km time trial record holder Harry Sharp. The former steeplechaser was primed for a big year after showing nice glimpses as a hard working wingman/small forward for Greater Western Victoria.

Western Australia:

Much like the South Australian crop, those from the West have benefitted greatly from being able to prove their worth on-field in a compromised year. Even before then, 204cm Claremont ruck Kalin Lane loomed as a massive bolter in 2020 after being included in the West Australian academy hub. It came after just one bottom-age appearance and he repaid the faith with an outstanding top-age campaign at Colts level.

Isiah Winder also hit great heights this year and was a standout combine tester come season’s end. He earned plenty of plaudits for his breakout performance in last year’s WAFL Colts Grand Final and has since transitioned from a small forward role to impact through midfield and even earn a League debut with Peel Thunder. Along with Lane, he is a developmental option with plenty of desirable traits for his role.

Among the smokies to have come on strongly are Tyler Brockman and Jaiden Hunter. Brockman is an exciting small forward/midfielder with great speed and goal sense, while Hunter is a tall usually accustomed to key defensive duties, but made to take on Perth’s primary ruck role at 194cm. His athleticism and mobility are outstanding. Claremont pair Jack Avery and Logan Young also enjoyed stellar campaigns in 2020, with Avery a promising intercept defender, and Young a reliable midfield ball winner.

Featured Image: South Adelaide bolter Brayden Cook gets a kick away | Credit: Nick Hook/SANFL

Match Report: 2020 WAFL Colts Grand Final – Lions claim fourth Colts flag

SUBIACO secured its fourth WAFL Colts premiership after defeating Claremont by 59 points in Sunday’s one-sided Grand Final at Fremantle Oval. Jack Clarke Medallist Lachlan Venirsen won the Mel Whinnen Medal after he finished with 32 possessions, 11 marks, five tackles and a goal, boosting his draft stocks.

The opening quarter proved to be an even contest. It took until the fifth minute for the opening goal of the game. Jake Willson was able to spear a pass to Jacob Van Rooyen inside Claremont’s attacking 50, before Van Rooyen went back and converted the opening goal of the game. Minutes later, Neil Erasmus was able to break through a forward 50 stoppage and slammed home the Lions’ first goal of the game.

In the fourteenth minute, Jacquin Ciminata snapped through a goal for the Tigers. In the twenty-second minute, Lachlan Henderson was able to break through a tackle and kicked a goal for the Lions. Soon after, Subiaco’s Connor Faraone was able to run into an open goal. Just before quarter-time, Willson was awarded a free kick for being taken too high. He went back and nailed the goal from 50 metres out to reduce the margin to just one point at quarter-time.

The Lions were on fire in the second quarter, with Erasmus, Jaxon Bilchuris and Matthew Johnson all kicking goals for Subiaco. In the 17th minute, Claremont’s Ben Ramshaw was able to take solid one-on-one mark inside the Tigers’ attacking 50. He went back and kicked a goal from a tight angle, to get the Tigers to within 15 points at half time.

After the main break, Joshua Moses roved a pack expertly, shrugged off a tackle and snapped through another goal for the Lions in the third minute. Moments later, Claremont’s Kieran Gowdie took a strong contested mark inside 50. He went back and nailed the goal. Erasmus booted two consecutive goals for the Lions soon after. In the 15th minute, Trey Kennedy got the ball inside 50, and Tyler Brockman took a strong contested one-on-one mark. Brockman went back and nailed the goal. Before three quarter time, Sandon Page kicked two consecutive goals for Subiaco, to give the Lions a 45-point lead at the final break.

In the last quarter, Connor Patterson, Jack Gouge and Lachlan McKay all kicked goals for Subiaco, while Gowdie kicked one goal for the Tigers.

Along with best afield Vanirsen, Johnson (21 possessions, six tackles, one goal), Patterson (20 possessions, one goal), Blake Morris (16 possessions, eight marks), and Erasmus (13 possessions, four goals) were prominent for the Lions.

For Claremont, Jack Avery fought hard with 33 possessions, seven marks and four tackles. Skipper Joel Western (25 possessions), Van Rooyen (17 possessions, one goal) and Logan Young (17 possessions, six tackles) also competed strongly for the Tigers.

FINAL SCORE

CLAREMONT | 3.2 | 4.3 | 5.5 | 6.7 (43)
SUBIACO | 3.3 | 6.6 | 12.8 | 15.12 (102)

GOALKICKERS

Claremont: Gowdie 2, Ciminata, Ramshaw, Van Rooyen, Willson
Subiaco: Erasmus 4, Page 2, Bilchuris, Brockman, Faraone, Gouge, Henderson, Johnson, McKay, Patterson, Vanirsen

BEST

Claremont: Avery, Gowdie, Lane, Van Rooyen, Western, Willson, Young
Subiaco: Brockman, Erasmus, Henderson, Johnson, McGowan, Morris, Page, Patterson, Vanirsen

Mel Whinnen Medal: Lachlan Vanirsen (Subiaco)

Featured Image: Subiaco celebrates its 2020 WAFL Colts premiership | Credit: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter