Tag: jackson callow

State Leagues wrap: Easter Weekend opens seasons

STATE league men’s football returned across the weekend, with the SANFL, WAFL and TSL all back to full-strength competitions, whilst a standalone fixture in the QAFL went ahead despite some concerns, ahead of a blockbuster Round 2 next weekend.

QUEENSLAND:

Noosa Tigers had a promising return to the QAFL in the standalone Round 1 match despite going down in defeat, as Wilston Grange got up by one-point in a thriller. The league newcomers fought it out after being down by 14 points at the final break to boot 7.3 to 4.8 in the final term after a sluggish start, but it would not be enough in the 7.14 (56) to 8.7 (55) loss. Hugh Fidler and Max Hewett both booted two goals for the Gorillas, while Aaron Wilson starred with four majors for the Tigers. Corey Lobb (Noosa) ad Errin Wasley-Black (Wilston Grange) were their respective sides’ top players.

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

In the SANFL, all eyes were on Pick 1 contender Jason Horne, as he ran out for South Adelaide against the Crows’ reserves. The teenage talent racked up 19 disposals, six marks, four tackles and four clearances in the win, whilst it was ex-Crow Bryce Gibbs who stole the show with a match-winning 36 disposals, six marks and five clearances. Ex-Lion Sam Skinner had 17 disposals and booted two goals in the win, whilst Liam Fitt (four goals) was the busiest inside 50. Joel Cross (28 disposals, seven marks) and Hayden Sampson (25 disposals, 12 marks and one goal) were other to win plenty of the football in a massive 61-point smashing, while Crows’ reserves talent Hamish Latchford stepped up with 31 disposals, 12 marks and two clearances. Jackson Hately (25 disposals, 10 marks and two clearances) was the eye-catching one, as young talls Josh Worrell (20 disposals, five marks), Darcy Fogarty (14 disposals, three marks) and Fischer McAsey (14 disposals, six marks) also played.

It was not much better news for Port Adelaide’s reserves who also went down, losing to Norwood by 45 points. Father-son prospect Taj Schofield racked up 22 disposals, three marks and booted a goal, while Sam Mayes (28 disposals, seven clearances) and Jarrod Lienert (26 disposals, seven tackles) also worked hard. Matthew Nunn was unstoppable for the Redlegs with 39 disposals, five marks, 11 tackles and five clearances, whilst ex-Crow recruit Richard Douglas did as he pleased with 26 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, four clearances and a goal. Ex-Cat Jacob Kennerley also impressed with 24 disposals, five marks and six tackles, whilst ex-Hawk Paul Puopolo booted 2.3 from 19 disposals and three marks. Draft hopeful Jackson Callow booted 2.2 from 11 disposals and five marks on his SANFL debut, working well with Dom Barry (21 disposals, five marks and three goals) inside 50.

In the tightest game of the weekend, Central District toppled North Adelaide by nine points, in what saw 20 goals kicked in the first half. Whilst only nine more were kicked in the second half, the Bulldogs got up thanks to four goals from Justin Hoskin and Aiden Grace. Ethan East also slotted two goals, while ex-Oakleigh premiership player Thomas Graham kicked a goal from eight touches and two marks on his League debut. Ex-GWS GIANTS Academy member Harry Grant was also lively with 25 disposals, seven marks and six clearances, as Kyle Presbury (26 disposals, 13 marks), Brendan Dew (24 disposals, six marks) and Travis Schiller (24 disposals, six marks) were among eight players to reach 20-plus disposals. For North Adelaide, reigning Margarey Medallist Campbell Combe had 26 disposals, eight clearances and five tackles, while Jarred Allmond (31 disposals, six marks) and Aaron Young (15 disposals, four goals) were also impressive.

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles easily accounted for Sturt thanks to a massive seven goals to one final term to run away with the contest by 46 points in the end. The Menzel brothers booted seven goals between them, as Troy (four goals) and Daniel (three) had days out in their new colours. James Tsitas (29 disposals, three clearances and four tackles) and Riley Knight (26 disposals, seven clearances, six tackles and a goal) were both lively, as was ex-Bomber Kobe Mutch on debut with 21 disposals and nine marks. For Sturt, Tom Lewis was hard as usual around the stoppages on his way to 19 disposals and eight clearances, teaming up well with James Battersby (21 disposals, five clearances), while Casey Voss (20 disposals, six marks) and Josh Shute (17 disposals, 10 marks) were busy once again on the outside.

In the final game, Glenelg knocked off West Adelaide by 11 points, with Michael Virgin (32 disposals, 11 marks) and Luke Partington (31 disposals, five clearances) both racking up the ball. Matthew Allen (28 disposals, 11 marks and a goal) and Darcy Bailey (28 disposals, seven marks, six clearances, six tackles and two goals) were sensational, while Callum Park (26 disposals, six marks) and Matthew Snook (29 disposals, eight clearances) also found plenty of it. In the loss, Isaac Johnson slotted 3.3 from 23 touches and five marks, while Kieran Lovell‘s SANFL debut was a success with 22 disposals, five marks, four clearances and four tackles. Ex-Gold Coast Academy goalsneak Josh Gore kicked a goal from nine touches and impressively made 10 tackles in the loss, while Jonathon Beech was also good with two goals from 13 disposals and seven marks.

 

TASMANIA:

Reigning premiers Launceston kicked off its season with a big win over rivals North Launceston in a grand final rematch, defeating the Northern Bombers by 55 points at UTAS Stadium. Dylan Riley (three goals) and Jake Hinds (two) stepped up to the plate once again in the big win, as Michael Musicka and Cody Thorp slotted multiple goals as well. For the Bombers, Brad Cox-Goodyer was the standout, as Ollie Sanders kicked a goal and was amongst the best for the losers, one of a number of youngsters running through the team, while Thomas Bennett was also impressive.

Meanwhile the Tigers got off to the perfect start, holding their nerve against North Hobart in an 11-point victory. They led by 35 points at half-time, and whilst they still kicked the 13 scoring shots in the second half, only managed the 4.9, compared to the Demons’ 9.3. The Kingborough-based side had done enough though to win 10.18 (78) to 10.7 (67), with 19-year-old Zach Adams booting a goal and named best on ground. Max Collidge and Riley Ashlin were also impressive, whilst for the Demons, Jack Sandric was best-on with a goal, while Jye Menzie was among the young brigade who slotted a major.

In the other match of Round 1, Lauderdale also held on against a fast-finishing Clarence. Allen Christensen was the headline recruit, booting three first half goals to do all the damage as the Bombers led by 29 points at the final break. They only managed one behind in the last term as the Roos stormed home with 3.5 of their own, only to fall seven points short. Aside from Christensen, reigning league best and fairest Sam Siggins was named among the best with Nat Franklin. For the Roos, Ollie Davis continued his form from his draft year with a best on ground effort, as Ethan Jackson and Darcy Gardner were other youngsters to step up, while Josh Green slotted four goals in the loss.

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

The WAFL kicked off its season with some high-scoring thrillers, as every winner hit triple-digits, including a whopping 242 points combined between Claremont and Swan Districts. Every team scored at least 74 points, with the greatest margin being 32, during East Fremantle’s victory over Peel Thunder. In that match, Josh Schoenfeld brought his own football to Western Australia, with ex-Gold Coast Sun racking up 41 disposals, nine marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and four rebounds in a whopping effort on debut for the Sharks. Ex-Blue Blaine Boekhorst had 26 touches, two marks and kicked a goal in the win, whilst ex-Saint and Pie Jonothan Marsh had 21 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and 2.1. It was the effort of Dillon O’Reilly looking to force his way back to the elite level with three goals from 14 touches, five marks and two tackles. For Peel, it was Sam Sturt who demanded a recall to the AFL with five goals from 12 disposals and four marks, while Joel Western had 13 touches, four marks and kicked a goal.

In other matches, East Perth’s Nick Robertson made a promising debut with 30 disposals, four marks and a goal returning from Brisbane, while another ex-AFL talent in Jackson Ramsay had 29 touches, five marks, seven inside 50s and a goal in a huge day out. Lachlan Delahunty racked up 23 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and three tackles for the winning side, as captain Leigh Kitchell drove the team through a massive 29 touches, 11 inside 50s and five tackles. Ben Sokol, Michael Braut and Aaron Heal all slotted three goals. Perth got past West Coast reserves in a 13-point outing despite nine goals between Isiah Winder and Nathan Vardy. Winder had five snags from 18 touches and five marks, while Vardy had a whopping 35 hitouts, 15 disposals and three marks to go with 4.1. Ex-Eagle Chris Masten racked it up against his old side with 29 touches, five marks and seven inside 50s, whilst ex-Saint Doulton Langlands (20 touches, four marks, three inside 50s and two goals), ex-Docker Brady Gray (27 disposals, eight marks and six inside 50s) and ex-Pie Josh Smith (23 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50s and a goal) all had big performances.

Meanwhile South Fremantle accounted for West Perth with Haiden Schloithe and Matt Parker having days out. Schloithe racked up his usual 30 touches, and had seven tackles, six inside 50s and two goals, while Parker had 26 touches, two marks five tackles and 11 inside 50s. Brandon Donaldson booted two goals from 25 touches and three marks in the win, whilst four West Perth players racked up 30-plus disposals. Aaron Black (36 disposals), Trent Manzone (35), Shane Nelson (34) and Blake Wilhelm (30) had leather poisoning with their ball-winning efforts, but it would not be enough to drag their sides across the line. Tyler Keitel and Keegan Knott both slotted four goals, whilst Cody Ninyette and Mason Shaw combined for nine majors in the win. Finally Claremont won by 24 points over Swan Districts in a 38-goal extravaganza. Alexander Manuel and Isaac Barton booted four and three goals apiece for the Tigers in the win, but it was top-age draft talent Jacob Van Rooyen who caught the eye with 12 disposals, four marks and 2.2 at senior level. Thomas Edwards (four goals) and Jesse Palmer (three) were both lively inside 50 for the Swans, whilst Sam Fisher (33 disposals, seven tackles, five inside 50s and three rebound 50s) and Jesse Turner (34 disposals, 11 marks, four inside 50s and four rebound 50s) were the best in the loss. Jye Bolton suffered leather poisoning with a massive 39 touches, six marks, five tackles, six inside 50s and a goal, marginally ahead of teammates Bailey Rogers (36 disposals, one goal) and Ryan Lim (34 disposals, one goal).

 

Picture credit: David Mariuz / SANFL

State Leagues preview: Opening rounds kick-off across the country

IN a Draft Central first, we have streamlined a look across the nation with a number of state leagues returning to action over the Easter long weekend. Competitions in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland all kick-off over the weekend and we preview them all in one convenient preview. At the time of publishing, only the South Australian and Tasmanian teams were out, with our West Australian and Queensland previews to come.

South Australia:

The much anticipated South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition kicks off starting tonight in a huge opening long weekend of action.

Tasmanian key forward Jackson Callow will be one to watch for Norwood tonight as they host Port Adelaide returning to the competition after a year off due to the COVID-19 restrictions regarding AFL non-selected players in state leagues. With ex-Geelong talent Jacob Kennerley and ex-Swans tall Michael Knoll returning to Coopers Stadium, the home team will be hard to beat. For Port fans, they will get a glimpse at recent draftees, father-son prospect Taj Schofield and key forward Ollie Lord, whilst the likes of Dylan Williams and Joel Garner are also named in there.

Speaking of ex-AFL talent, South Adelaide has bolstered its list with no bigger name than ex-Crow and Blue, Bryce Gibbs joining the Panthers. He joins ex-Cat Jake Tarca and ex-Lion Sam Skinner, whilst former State Under 18s player Damon Frietag has also joined the cause, Potential number one pick Jason Horne is the player many will turn in to watch, named on the bench to start 2021. Their opponents Adelaide is in the same boat to the Port Magpies, returning to the competition for 2021. Next-Generation Academy (NGA) member Tariek Newchurch is an exciting talent to watch named off half-back, with AFL-listed Crows Jackson Hately, Riley Thilthorpe and Fischer McAsey alongside another NGA draftee in James Borlase. Thilthorpe being named on a wing will be an interesting one to watch, showing off the 200cm key position player’s versatility.

Looking to the other Good Friday clash between Central District and North Adelaide, GWS GIANTS’ Academy member Harry Grant has crossed to the Dogs, with Tom Graham stepping up to League level after plying his trade with the Reserves following a 2019 premiership with Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB League. Tasmanian Aiden Grace arrives from Glenorchy, whilst the Bulldogs brother-duo of Travis and Jarrod Schiller will find plenty of the ball. Lachlan Grubb and Lewis Cowham are among the ones to watch in the Reserves side. For North Adelaide, reigning Margarey Medallist Campbell Combe will look to get his season off to a perfect start, with ex-Power and Suns talent Aaron Young joining the team, and former Under 18s state representative Dyson Hilder at full-forward.

In a mid-afternoon game at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval, the Eagles will unveil ex-Crow Riley Knight, as well as former Central talents Daniel and Troy Menzel for their clash against Sturt. James Tsitas has remained in South Australia rather than head back to the VFL, while Kobe Mutch will complete a dominant midfield hoping to get back on an AFL list after his time at Essendon. Ex-Crow Patrick Wilson will don the Double Blues colours in 2021 and is straight into the midfield, with former Under 18s state representative Josh Shute also in the side for his League debut. Jordan Houlahan and Zane Kirkwood will once again be keen players for the visitors.

In the final game of the round, Glenelg hosts West Adelaide tomorrow evening. The Tigers have brought in two ex-AFL talents in former Swan Toby Pink, and North Melbourne tall Sam Durdin. Both will provide great versatility around the ground, and back-to-back leading goalkicker Liam McBean will start off another season back at full-forward. Margarey Medallist from a couple of seasons ago Luke Partington will return again for the Bays, as Cooper Horsnell could be among a number of junior players to step up to League level in Round 1. For West Adelaide, Kieren Lovell has joined the side after a stint with Tigers in the TSL last season, while Tom Murphy has been named in the side after his stint with North Melbourne. Josh Gore will be a very handy goalkicker inside 50, while over-age draft prospect Jye Sindeberry has been named at centre half-back for the match.

 

TASMANIA:

Looking down on the Apple Isle, the youth of the competition will be reduced when Tasmania Devils enter the NAB League competition after it was cancelled in 2020. Nonetheless, there are still some good young talents to keep an eye on, and established players who will stand up.

North Hobart kicks off its campaign against Tigers in what should be a fascinating contest. Youngsters Jye Menzie and George McLeod are among the ones to watch for the Demons, as they hope to topple a Tigers side that has lost key ball winner, Kieren Lovell to the SANFL. Lachlan Gadomski remains an important tall for the Tigers, with Sam Duigan a key inclusion for the Kingborough-based side.

In a massive 2020 Tasmanian State League Grand Final rematch, the two Launceston sides go head-to-head with North Launceston up against reigning premiers, Launceston. Young midfielder Ollie Sanders will play a crucial role on the inside, with plenty of chances over the off-season for the Northern Bombers, though Jay Foon and Brad Cox-Goodyer remain among the top players in the side, and Angus Jeffries another teenager to keep an eye on in 2021. Launceston will have its forward line combination of Jay Blackberry and Dylan Riley, as Jake Hinds will line-up again in midfield for the team.

The other match for the weekend is Lauderdale up against Clarence. The Bombers will welcome Allen Christensen to the side, with the ex-AFL livewire named in the middle, team up with Sam Siggins in there. Clarence have a ton of youth on display, led by last year’s Rising Star in Ollie Davis back again, alongside Ethan Jackson, Darcy Gardner and Noah Holmes among others looking for a good 2021 season in the red and white.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

Peel Thunder vs. East Fremantle
Subiaco vs. East Perth
Perth vs. West Coast
South Fremantle vs. West Perth
Swan Districts vs. Claremont

QUEENSLAND:

Noosa Tigers vs. Wilston Grange Gorillas

Just the one match this weekend in a standalone clash between new Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) newcomers Noosa Tigers, and Wilston Grange Gorillas. The match, set to be played at Rococo Oval in Noosa, will have a 2pm start if it goes ahead. With much uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak in Queensland, there is yet to be confirmation the match will go ahead. The teams are also yet to be named due to the uncertainty around the outbreak.

Picture credit: Solstice Digital

2020 AFL Draft Fallout: Bolters and Sliders

THE DUST has settled on another AFL Draft after the rookie intake was completed this morning; leaving keen watchers, fans, and analysts to pick up the pieces and make something of what was a rollercoaster event which seemed to drag on for an eternity. Like any other intake, the 2020 version was littered with sliders and bolters, so we take a look at some of the names which perhaps ended up with surprising numbers left next to them by night’s end.

Full draft profiles on each prospect mentioned below can be found in our AFL Draft Guide.

THE BOLTERS:

While already pegged as a top five selection, Will Phillips somewhat bolted into North Melbourne’s considerations at pick three, throwing as spanner in the works among the top 10. But arguably the biggest first round bolters were selected right after that mark, with Adelaide pouncing on Luke Pedlar at pick 11. The explosive midfielder has battled injuries over the last two seasons but showed great quality on-field when given the opportunity, proving a key cog for Glenelg and Prince Alfred College, the latter of which he captained.

GWS snapped up a couple of Victorians they were keen on in Conor Stone (pick 15) and Ryan Angwin (18), with Collingwood also said to be in the market for Stone. The Oakleigh Chargers product is a medium forward with great goal sense who can also run off the wing with elite running capacity. Angwin, who has drawn comparisons to Xavier Duursma is a different type of wingman with plenty of raw potential. He has filled out nicely and attacks the ball with vigour despite his light frame, while also boasting nice athletic traits.

Geelong traded up twice to snap up Max Holmes at pick 20, who proved one of the biggest late bolters among round one. Holmes’ running capacity appealed to many clubs around the mark, with the Cats pouncing before the likes of Melbourne and St Kilda. At pick 24, Collingwood snuck in a Blake Coleman bid, which was threatened even earlier before trading out for Adelaide to select Brayden Cook, who came from nowhere to be considered a massive first round chance this year. Rounding out the early surprises, Matt Allison was snapped up by St Kilda at number 26, with some other clubs lurking for a dynamic tall around that mark.

The second round was headlined by a few neat risers, including Seamus Mitchell at pick 29 to Hawthorn. He is a pacy small forward with good x-factor, similar to West Australian Tyler Brockman who landed at the Hawks in the following round. Collingwood secured a need in Liam McMahon, who could develop into the long-term key forward option fans have been crying out for. Shannon Neale was off the board at 33, shipped off to Geelong as a prospect who could follow a path similar to Mark Blicavs. Richmond pulled a cheeky bid on Essendon NGA Josh Eyre before taking Samson Ryan from nowhere at pick 40, a developing ruck who is a couple of years on from his top-aged peers.

Looking at the Rookie Draft, Jack Saunders was one of the big surprises as Hawthorn snapped him up with the fourth selection. The South Australian is a hard outside runner who provides long-term cover in that role for the Hawks, who are bringing in some good youth. Isaac Chugg was another choice to attract some attention as Collingwood pounced on the athletic Tasmanian. He looms as a developable half-back or wingman with raw pace.

THE SLIDERS:

A couple of slight sliders emerged early, with the dominoes falling after North Melbourne opted to snare Phillips with pick three. Elijah Hollands, who was widely predicted to be taken there, fell to Gold Coast at number seven and was the Suns’ sole National Draft selection. Tanner Bruhn was one pegged for top 10 status but ended up just escaping that range. It hardly took long for GWS to snap up the classy midfielder at pick 12, before the Giants opted to secure a couple of sliders almost immediately after.

Oliver Henry was another linked with one of Essendon’s three top 10 picks, but the dynamic swingman slid to Collingwood’s pick 17. He looms as a terrific replacement for Jaidyn Stephenson in the Pies’ forwardline. Collingwood NGA Reef McInnes was one who would have tempted clubs in the 8-12 range, but the Magpies were able to maximise their hand after he dropped late into the first round. At pick 23, he was a quickly matched bid for Collingwood, who will likely give him some early exposure around the ground before being thrust into midfield.

Outside of the early proceedings, Jack Carroll proved one of the steals of the draft as Carlton took little time in taking him off the board with pick 41. The classy West Australian was said to have first round suitors, but adds some terrific late value for the Blues as a balanced kind of midfielder who uses the ball excellently and has promising athleticism. Similarly, Eddie Ford was a steal for North Melbourne all the way down at pick 56. He is one who cut his teeth as a high-flying medium forward but has eye on long-term midfield development and brings good variety to the Roos’ overall draft haul. Fremantle would also be laughing with its two NGA products in Brandon Walker and Joel Western only attracting bids in the 50s. Both looked a class above at Colts level this year and have some seriously impressive athletic attributes across the board.

Inside midfielder Zane Trew was a surprise slider into the rookie draft but was given his chance by local side, West Coast, while Jack Ginnivan found his way to Collingwood as yet another shrewd Victorian pick for the Pies. Plenty of talls missed out altogether, with key forwards Kaine Baldwin and Jackson Callow among the most unlucky, while Zavier Maher and Liam Kolar were a couple of potential bolters who did not find a suitor.

Featured Image: Collingwood’s Victorian 2020 AFL Draft haul | Credit: Collingwood FC

Overlooked – The prospects hoping for a Rookie Draft lifeline

AS was predicted come the end of the 2020 AFL Draft, there are plenty of hard luck stories to go with all the feel-good aspects of such an event. But plenty more opportunities lie ahead for overlooked prospects to scrape into the elite grade and make their dreams a reality. Fresh off a National Draft which lasted an eternity, we take a look at the top young talents who were stiff to miss out on finding a home last night, but will be hoping for a lifeline in today’s Rookie intake. Note: We have not included Next-Generation Academy or Northern Academy prospects who could be selected outside the traditional format.

Below are pocket profiles of 11 players who may remain in the mix, with full profiles available in our AFL Draft Guide.

Kaine Baldwin
Glenelg/South Australia | Key Forward
30/05/2002 | 193cm | 90kg

Baldwin was one of the more understandable sliders among this year’s pool given the fact that he has missed two full seasons of football with consecutive ACL tears. But the South Australian forward has previously shown signs of top 20 talent with dominant contested marking and great presence in the forward half. His capacity to get up the ground and impose himself on the contest is another key trait, which clubs looking for a developmental key forward may look fondly upon.

What he offers: Contested marking
The knock: Durability and mobility after consecutive ACL tears

Jackson Callow
Tasmania Devils/Allies | Key Forward
11/06/2002 | 194cm | 101kg

The Tasmanian was linked with a few clubs in need of key position depth across the draft, but was ultimately passed on at each stage of a brutally shallow intake. He could provide massive value for one of those clubs in a rookie spot; with his senior experience, readymade body, aggression, and natural ability all appealing traits. Callow is another strong contested marker and while he is known as a goalkicker, was also swung down back at times this year to further test his versatility.

What he offers: Contested marking
The knock: Mobility

Oliver Davis
Tasmania Devils/Allies | Inside Midfielder
18/07/2002 | 182cm | 75kg

Another Tasmanian in the mix given no prospects were taken from the Apple Isle, you know exactly what to expect from Davis each week. He is a reliable inside midfielder who has no trouble finding the ball and thrives in contested situations. Having taken out this year’s TSL Rising Star award while turning out for Clarence, Davis has proven his credentials over the course of a full senior season and could be a solid choice for midfield depth.

What he offers: Consistency
The knock: Hurt factor

Zac Dumesny
South Adelaide/South Australia | Medium Utility
26/04/2002 | 187cm | 80kg

One of the most highly touted prospects on this list for some time, Dumesny was pegged as one of his state’s premier draft chances coming into the year. Injury interrupted what was a promising start to his campaign at SANFL League level, but the utility came back strongly towards the end of the Under 18s season. His clean skills, reading of the play aerially, and versatility all make for desirable attributes which he was able to showcase consistently across different levels.

What he offers: Versatility
The knock: Athleticism

Jack Ginnivan
Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country | Forward/Midfielder
19/12/2002 | 183cm | 77kg

A real character out of the Bendigo Pioneers, Ginnivan is a talent rated highly by many. His chances in the National Draft were inevitably hampered by being robbed of a top-age season, though the hard-running midfielder/forward showed plenty of promise as a bottom-ager. He could still find a home with clubs always on the look out for smaller types who are creative and can use the ball effectively in the front half.

What he offers: Forward run
The knock: Midfield development

Max Heath
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Ruck/Key Forward
24/10/2002 | 203cm | 94kg

A ruckman who came from the clouds to land on the draft radar, but one which clubs were not brave enough to snap up within the National Draft. Heath was a massive improver during preseason, proving a force in trial games both in the ruck and up forward. He was pegged as the first choice Vic Metro ruck and even touted as a top 30 talent by some, so should be a great option for clubs after a developable tall.

What he offers: Competitiveness
The knock: Lack of exposure over a full season

Liam Kolar
Northern Knights/Vic Metro | Tall Forward/Utility
23/04/2002 | 195cm | 82kg

Another bolter in the mix, Kolar’s raw athleticism and speed-endurance mix had him pegged for big things at this year’s draft. Adelaide was said to be the major club of interest, so he may be snapped up quickly among the rookie intake given the Crows boast pick one and are impartial to a Knights talent. He debuted late in last year’s NAB League season and showed off some nice versatility, but really shone during this preseason to put himself in contention.

What he offers: Athleticism
The knock: Rawness

Kalin Lane
Claremont/Western Australia | Ruck
5/12/2001 | 204cm | 96kg

Lane was a surprise inclusion in this year’s WA state academy after managing just one WAFL Colts outing as a top-ager in 2019, but fully repaid the faith with a terrific season for Claremont. He has filled out nicely and is perhaps a touch further along that others on this list given he is a 19-year-old, with his ruck craft and steep rate of improvement key to his overall chances. At 204cm, he has the potential to be an imposing ruck force with his coverage of the ground and follow-up efforts.

What he offers: Ruck craft, upside
The knock: Football development

Zavier Maher
Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
5/05/2002 | 184cm | 83kg

One who was said to have attracted interest within the top 25, Maher slid all the way out of that range and now into rookie contention. He has some in-vogue traits as a midfielder, with his explosive turn of speed used to break quickly from congestion once he gains a clean handle on the ball. His athletic base is strong but disposal on the move is one of the areas he is working on.

What he offers: Explosiveness
The knock: Kicking at pace

Zane Trew
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder
26/04/2002 | 185cm | 80kg

Trew was among our own top 30 ranks for much of the year, but copped a fair whack from WA state academy coach Peter Sumich in the lead up to the draft and has slid way past his value. He is a clean extractor and terrific exponent of the handball who finds plenty of it, but has had his troubles with injury and thus, consistency over a full season throughout his journey. Would be a bargain for his natural ability alone.

What he offers: Clean extraction
The knock: Durability

Henry Walsh
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Ruck
27/06/2002 | 203cm | 87kg

Often billed with the ‘brother of Sam‘ tag, Walsh is a much different prospect to his elder sibling. The raw 203cm ruck is competitive at ground level but is working on his running and sustained impact around the ground to better suit the modern game. He has good potential and obviously comes from handy pedigree, so may warrant a shot.

What he offers: Competitiveness
The knock: Mobility

Featured Image: Tasmanian Jackson Callow will be hoping for an AFL Draft lifeline | Credit: Solstice Digital

Value picks: This year’s potential AFL Draft sliders

YESTERDAY, we took a look at this year’s bolters – the players who have come from seemingly nowhere to put their names in lights as genuine draft chances. Now, we turn our attention to the potential sliders – those who have long been highly touted but for one reason or another, might find themselves sliding down draft boards. It is not necessarily a negative, with sliders like James Worpel, Jack Graham, Curtis Taylor, and Trent Rivers all making good impressions early in their AFL careers. Among one of the most even drafts in recent memory, there are bound to be a bunch of prospects who end up providing great value despite falling down the order, proving many a doubter wrong.

You can find full draft profiles for all the players mentioned in our 2020 AFL Draft Guide.

ALLIES:

The Allied states and territories (Northern Territory, NSW/ACT, Queensland, Tasmania) are difficult to pin down for sliders, given the Northern Academies remove a bunch of prospects from the open draft. Nonetheless, there are some well known Tasmanian talents who could turn out to be handy late pick ups, among others.

Oliver Davis and Sam Collins were both named in the 2018 Under 16 All Australian side and had been pegged as ones to watch from an early age. They have since gone on to play regular NAB League football for Tasmania and proved key figures in their respective senior TSL sides this year. Davis is a reliable inside midfielder who has no trouble finding the ball, which helped him take out the 2020 TSL Rising Star award. Collins is a medium defender who can play above his size, soaring well to intercept while also providing good value on the rebound with his damaging left boot.

Fellow Tasmanian Jackson Callow could also be considered in this category as he has blazed a similar trail, but he is equally as likely to attract interest in the second round for any clubs keen on a readymade key position talent. One academy talent who has long been billed as one of his state’s brightest is Saxon Crozier, who is tied to the Brisbane Lions. He is a tall outside midfielder with good potential and a raking kick, but Brisbane have a bunch of academy products to keep tabs on. Thus, another club could snap him, Carter Michael, or a number of other aligned players up. That includes Brodie Lake, who Gold Coast lays claim to. The Suns have not yet committed to the Northern Territory native, but his versatility and athleticism point towards great upside at a gettable late range.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

Having been able to put together a near-full season of football, South Australia boasts arguably the deepest talent pool outside of Victoria, which typically provides over 50 per cent of drafted players. This batch of Croweaters also took out the Under 16 National Championships back in 2018, which marked a sign of just how good the upcoming talent would be. MVP of that carnival was Corey Durdin, a tenacious ground level player who racked up plenty of ball and impressed with his turn of speed. Having reached such lofty heights, Durdin was very quickly given opportunities at SANFL League level and has adjusted his game to transition from midfield work to becoming a small forward. That role is said to suit his 173cm frame better, but he still holds great value and senior experience as a potential late pick.

Among the decent list of early standouts also lies Zac Dumesny and Luke Edwards. While neither are particularly athletic types, they are both natural footballers who managed to crack the senior grade in 2020. Dumesny is a medium utility with quick and clean skills who is often utilised on a wing or half-back flank. Edwards is more of an inside type who rotates either forward or back into defence from midfield, and much has been talked about the Glenelg product given Adelaide refrained from committing to him as a father-son nominee in the National Draft. Opportunities may still present for the pair though, who were recognised as top talents early in their junior careers.

Others in a similar boat include Taj Schofield and Kaine Baldwin. Like Edwards, Schofield is father-son eligible and has garnered attention for much of his journey throughout the state pathways. He was poised to prove his top 30 potential in a more inside-leaning role this year, but remains arguably more comfortable on a wing or at half-forward with his silky skills and agility. Port Adelaide will hope the Woodville-West Torrens product slips through to the Rookie Draft. Baldwin looms as one of the hard luck stories of the draft given the early potential he showed, but was subsequently hampered by consecutive ACL tears. Despite not playing any competitive football for two seasons, he could be one to repay a club’s faith ten-fold if he can get on the park, with contested marking a truly dominant part of his game.

VICTORIA:

It is difficult to put a finger on just which Victorian prospects might slide, purely because none of them were able to add to their resumes as top-agers. Still, there are some who perhaps do not get the amount of plaudits they deserve – starting with Gippsland’s Sam Berry. The hard-working midfield bull addressed the stigma, in his own words, that he is slow at this week’s Victorian training session, but is rated by some clubs as a top 25 talent. His performances as a bottom-ager and high-level endurance will appeal to those clubs, who may either pounce early or trust that they can get him with a slightly later pick.

Clayton Gay was identified early as a prospect with good natural abilities, but was looking to iron out his consistency in 2020 as a key member of Dandenong’s side. His clean hands versatility to play up either end bode well for steep future development. Calder’s Jackson Cardillo is one who was recognised with selection in Vic Metro’s Under 17 side and the 2020 state academy hub intake, but did not earn a combine invite. He is a lively midfielder/forward with terrific, explosive athletic traits and plenty of room to grow.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

While Western Australia is another state to have put together a state league season, there are slightly less prospects in the slider category given how many of their highly rated talents have gone on to meet expectations. That is not to say the players mentioned here have not done so, but they could perhaps slide under the radar. Zane Trew seems to be the one most suited to this listing, a player who was well poised to push for top 25 status at the start of the year, but suffered injury setbacks and could not quite find the consistency required. He is a ball winning inside midfielder who uses the ball effortlessly by hand. Nathan O’Driscoll is rated as a top 10 talent by some clubs, but may instead find a home late in the first round or among round two. His upside includes a phenomenal work-rate and the balance to play both inside and out of midfield.

Featured Image: South Adelaide’s Zac Dumesny is a potential draft slider | Credit: Nick Hook/SANFL

EXPLAINER | Pocket Podcast: Potential AFL Draft cult heroes

OVER the past few weeks, Draft Central launched its brand new series of pocket podcasts, a collection of short-form discussions which narrow in on a range of topics heading into the 2020 AFL Draft. In the next edition, Chief Editor Peter Williams again sat down with AFL Draft Editor Michael Alvaro, this time to discuss some of the potential cult heroes available among this year’s crop.

These are the players who fans will likely warm to in quick time for a variety of reasons; whether it be their style of play, character, work-rate, or overall look. 10 names were thrown out as ones to watch for supporters with each club’s newest intake arriving shortly, as our editors put forward five of their favourite prospects each who just have something about them. If any of them land on your clubs’ list, be sure to remember the name.

To listen to the discussion in full, click here.

There lies a good variety of styles among the 10 players in question; ranging from small forwards, to midfielders, and key position brutes. Maurice Rioli Jnr and Brandon Walker, who are tied to Richmond and Fremantle respectively will already have their fans given that factor, but can win over plenty more with their exciting styles of play. Rioli is a punishing tackler with innate goal sense, while Walker’s athleticism and attacking brand from half-back are easy on the eye.

Speaking of, Caleb Poulter will be hard to miss with his bright boots and flowing mullet, much like fellow Woodville-West Torrens product Lachlan Jones. The latter also has ties to an AFL club (Port Adelaide) and will likely yield a bid within the top 15. Eddie Ford is another with one of those hairdos all the kids seem to be sporting these days, and could well become the next ‘Eddie’ to wow crowds with his knack for taking a hanger.

You may ask ‘what’s in a name?’ and we say plenty if Phoenix Spicer has anything to do with it. Bailey Laurie‘s nickname ‘Bill’ should also play into his popularity, though he is said to have no trouble in that department among his teammates. Nathan O’Driscoll and Jack Ginnivan are other great characters who could both end up in the top 30. The former is a hard runner whose defensive efforts should also appeal to fans. Rounding out the list is Jackson Callow, a big-bodied key forward who can clunk huge contested marks and promises to provide great presence out on the field.

Featured Image: Perth’s Nathan O’Driscoll celebrates some silverware | Credit: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

EXPLAINER | Pocket Podcast: The best readymade prospects

OVER the past few weeks, Draft Central launched its brand new series of pocket podcasts, a collection of short-form discussions which narrow in on a range of topics heading into the 2020 AFL Draft. In the next edition, Chief Editor Peter Williams again sat down with AFL Draft Editor Michael Alvaro to compare and contrast the best readymade prospects available in this year’s AFL Draft pool.

These are the players which clubs will hope can make an immediate impact at AFL level upon being drafted, possessing just the right balance of athletic traits and natural footballing nous to hit the ground running in Round 1. Clubs in the premiership window could be among those to look for talents in that mould, whether it be mature-bodied players, or those who are mature-age. This year’s intake will be of particular interest in this department given about half of the crop has not gained any top-age exposure. It begs the question, will clubs then prioritise state league talents who are proven quantities?

To listen to the discussion in full, click here.

Below are some of the players which headed discussions, split into their positions:
Click on their names highlighted in red for full draft profiles.

Key Forwards:
Logan McDonald – Was a standout key forward throughout the full WAFL League season, showcasing terrific forward craft and providing constant scoreboard impact. Has the endurance and one-on-one game to play Round 1.
Jackson Callow – A big-bodied key forward who thrived at senior TSL level, Callow is one of the best pure contested marks in this year’s crop. Has some aspects to work on, but is ready to go in terms of his frame.

Key Defenders:
Denver Grainger-Barras – Another top five prospect who played a full season of senior football, Grainger-Barras is a lean type but has the kind of athleticism and competitiveness to make an impact at the elite level. An intercept marking machine.
Heath Chapman – Chapman earned a League berth for West Perth late in the season, but proved a class above Colts level. He is also aerially gifted but has a high-level endurance base and the scope to adapt to a number of roles across the backline.
James Borlase – The Adelaide NGA prospect has developed at a steep rate to become a genuine draft candidate in 2020, partly due to the presence he has on-field with such a mature frame and sound reading of the play. Also broke the senior ranks for Sturt.

Small-Medium Forwards:
James Rowe – Has arguably come back stronger after earning a state combine invite last year, topping the SANFL goalkicking charts with elite-level smarts and natural ability inside 50. He is a mature-age candidate at 21-years-old and could immediately assume a small forward role.
Errol Gulden – There is not much of him at 175cm/75kg, but Gulden has prospered to prove a game winner at each level he has played. One of two Swans Academy members pressing for first round honours come draft time.

General Defenders:
Lachlan Jones – Jones cuts a mean figure in defence and plays in a similar manner, providing great physicality and versatility across the back half. The Port NGA member can play tall and small, faring well aerially while also carving up the opposition on the rebound.
Tom Highmore – Another mature-age prospect, Highmore is a high marking intercept defender who transitioned seamlessly from the NEAFL, to SANFL football this year. He has the body and senior experience to be a serious impact player early on.
Mitch Duval – Duval has come from a long way back to come into draft contention this year. The 23-year-old West Adelaide defender is another interceptor and earned a National Combine invite for his form in 2020.

Midfielders:
Will Phillips – Arguably the best pure midfielder available in this year’s draft, Phillips looks a nailed-on 200-gamer from the outset. He cut his teeth at the centre bounces alongside Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson last year, playing part in Oakleigh’s NAB League premiership.
Alex Davies – Tied to the SUNS Academy, Davies will be pre-listed by Gold Coast and effectively cost nothing. He’s a tall, big-bodied type who wins plenty of contested ball and is quite poised in congestion.
Oliver Davis – One of the best Tasmanians available, Davis won the TSL Rising Star award in 2020 and made its Team of the Year as one of the competition’s premier inside midfielders. You know what to expect from Davis and he has no trouble finding the ball.

>> Power Rankings: November Update

Past Episodes:

Best players under 175cm
Best midfielders over 190cm
Logan McDonald vs. Jamarra Ugle-Hagan
Best academy and father-son hauls
Brayden Cook vs. Conor Stone
Key defenders kicking comparison
Offence from defence
Denver Grainger-Barras vs. Heath Chapman
The top non-aligned midfielders

Launceston claims TSL flag with impressive win in the wet

ONE of the better deciding games of football you are likely to see anywhere captivated fans all the way through the final quarter where Launceston kicked away to run out 13-point winners against their Northern rivals North Launceston. The Blues completed the perfect day winning flags in the development league and the women’s league, triumphing to win their first flag since 2011 and  stopped a fourth straight premiership to the Bombers in the process. It was the first time these familiar foes have met in a grand final since 1985 and they duly delivered the anticipated intense contest. Jobi Harper was awarded the Darrell Baldock medal as the best player on the ground for his grunt work through the midfield and his two goals.

Light drizzle started with the first siren as it came and went for much of the game, leaving a greasy surface for the four quarters as North Launceston kicked with a slight breeze advantage to start the game. After some scrappy repeat stoppages, the Bombers managed a clean breakaway and with their first inside 50 of the game they scored a goal from a Jack Rushton soccer off the ground. North managed the next centre clearance and squeezed the Blues for territory with manic defensive pressure highlighted by a Josh Ponting smother.

The rest of the first quarter was played mostly between the arcs as even though Launceston managed to find the corridor frequently, they were unable to capitalise on the scoreboard going scoreless to the Bombers’ 1.2. (8). With the wet surface affecting clean disposal, the contest was physical with plenty of niggle including a cut to the head for ruckman Alex Lee. It all blew up as players were going to their huddles as fiery spot fires popped up after a couple of altercations with every player involved. Passion and feeling in spades which would carry through the rest of the contest.

The rain started to fall heavier to begin the second quarter as Launceston needed to respond, and that they did. A defensive-50 transition required just two kicks to find Jay Blackberry who sidestepped his way into an open goal to kick his side’s first. As the Bombers did after their first goal, the Blues got the very next centre clearance but instead managed to goal on the back of some Fletcher Seymour dash.

A 15-minute stalemate was broken as Hudson medallist Dylan Riley scored from directly in front after a Blackberry intercept just past half forward. With the Bombers only managing minor scores, the Blues enjoyed a seven-point lead at the main break.

North Launceston’s third quarters have been the best in the league all season and they were on display again as Tom Bennett slotted a goal from a free kick less than a minute in. A huge Rushton chase down tackle stopped an almost certain Launceston goal as the momentum started to tip in their favour. Bradley Cox-Goodyer’s raking left boot drilled a 50-metre set shot which gave them a goal buffer 20 minutes into the term. Harper and the Blues were having none of that as he finessed a check side in from 25 metres out on the boundary to bring it back to a one-point margin after the siren.

With the barest of separations, Launceston kicking with the slight wind advantage, and everything to play for, it was game on. The game started to open up, but it was North Launceston who struck first with a Jackson Callow kick off the ground going through. Playing coach Taylor Whitford had an opportunity to put the Bombers up two goals before the shot fell short into the breeze. Up the other end, Riley bodied Corey Nankervis in the one-on-one contest and snapped it through to bring the game back. It was goal for goal as Bennett replied with his second, and some Riley brilliance led to a second Blackberry goal.

With very little separating the two sides, it was going to take something special to give either side a two-score lead, and that is what they got. Harper plucked the ball out of the ruck contest at the top of the goal square and banged it through, an exclamation point to what was already a good day for him. With a seven-point lead 18 minutes into the final quarter, one more goal would seal it. Youngster Jared Dakin delivered the icing goal from the goal square as Launceston would become the 2020 premiers winning 8.4 (52) to North’s 5.9 (39).

Blackberry, Riley, and Michael Musicka starred alongside Harper, as Jamieson House and Jacob Boyd were instrumental down back for the Blues. The Bombers’ midfield brigade of Cox-Goodyer, Whitford, Ponting, and Lee were among their side’s best, while 17-year-old Baynen Lowe provided important contests around the ground.

NORTH LAUNCESTON 1.2 | 1.6 | 3.8 | 5.9 (39)
LAUNCESTON 0.0 | 3.1 | 4.1 | 8.4 (52)

GOALS:

North: T. Bennett 2, J. Rushton, B. Cox-Goodyer, J. Callow.
Launceston: J. Harper 2, D. Riley 2, J. Blackberry 2, F. Seymour, J. Dakin.

BEST:

North: B. Cox-Goodyer, B. Lowe, T. Donnelly, T. Whitford, J. Ponting, A. Lee
Launceston: J. Harper, M. Musicka, T. Jones, D. Riley, F. Seymour, J. House

SCOUTING NOTES

North Launceston

#16 Ollie Sanders

Sanders could not manage to get into the game in the first half playing between half-forward and wing but provided some good pressure in the second half. He halved a crucial contest through relentless pressure and was more active around contests, roving and disposing of it cleanly on one occasion.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow made his way into the final 22 after being named on the extended bench as he seemed unhindered by the ankle injury he sustained which had the potential to rule him out for the season. Like he did for most of the year, he played a half at either end of the ground, tasked with the Mitch Thorp matchup early. He was not afraid to push Thorp back and put his solid frame to good use in the contest. He kept him goalless, but a turnover from a poor kick in the back half resulted in a Launceston goal. Moving to the other end of the ground he was a physical presence more than anything. House ensured he worked for his touches and made Callow worry about him more than his own game, often only engaging body rather than leading at the ball carrier. Even though he struggled to find space, he kicked a goal at a crucial time in the final quarter.

#64 Baynen Lowe

The 17-year-old Devonport product played mostly through the middle of the ground, starting on the wing before rotating through the centre bounces in the second half. Lowe’s physicality and pressure stood out as he showed good speed and defensive qualities, highlighted by a smother and a chase down tackle. His poise with ball in hand was impressive and even despite the slippery conditions, he showed good cleanliness in tight. A nice snap to set up a shot on goal was indicative of his sound decision-making as he was named second best in his side for his efforts.

Launceston

#20 Jared Dakin

After playing on Whitford the last time these teams met there was feeling the same would happen again. Although he did not play a strict run with role, he played defensive at stoppages on Ponting much like his role last week. When play unravelled he managed to get to most contests and look for his own ball, earning a couple of clearances and showing strength to get a handball out. A quiet second half saw him kick the one goal, but it was the final one for his side as he capped off an impressive season.

#30 Isaac Chugg

Chugg assumed his natural half-back role and was serviceable in his side’s triumph. He was trusted with the kickout duties at times, but it was his run out of the back half which was is main mode of operation all game. Numerous times he ran past for the handball to rebound, but most impressively he did not just blaze away long. He found shorter and better targets. He did lose his direct opponent in traffic who goaled in the final quarter but nonetheless, a solid game.

Picture: Solstice Digital & Photography

TSL Grand Final preview: Launceston vs. North Launceston

IT is a double-Launceston derby in the Tasmanian State League (TSL) with both Launceston and North Launceston facing off at UTAS Stadium in the seniors and Development League Grand Finals. The senior decider kicks off at 2.30pm following the Development and Women’s Grand Finals earlier in the day.

The reigning premiers North Launceston have a number of young prospects to watch out for across both grades, with Ollie Sanders in great form for the red and black. He has that touch of class and a beautiful left foot which can set up his more experienced teammates inside 50. While he missed out on getting a Draft Combine invite this year, he looms as one who will only get better over the next few years and could benefit as an over-ager next season.

Another North Launceston prospect named in the starting 22 is Baynen Lowe. The Devonport youngster with the fiery red hair is a tackling machine and one not to be messed with when the ball is in his zone. Possessing some nice speed and an ability to corral opponents, the bottom-ager still has another year to go before he is draft eligible. There is not much of the 174cm, 70kg small forward, but he certainly packs a punch.

For Launceston, the only player in the game with an AFL Draft Combine invite is Jared Dakin who has been a Mr Fix It all season. He can play on-ball, up forward or even in defence, where he has been named at half-back. Dakin has been tasked with a number of run-with roles this season and he has nullified key opponents. Interestingly enough, the last time these teams played, Dakin was sent to creative defender Jay Foon and did a good job early before being loosened and seeing Foon get off the chain.

Another top-age talent who has caught the eye as a potential late developer is Isaac Chugg. An elite athlete, he has enjoyed a role change from the wing to half-back where he has been able to show off his run and carry down the ground. Still building a more consistent game, he is one who will only get better with more experience.

One player who has been named as an emergency that is the biggest AFL Draft prospect in the game is Jackson Callow. Seemingly ruled out of contention weeks ago after badly hurting his ankles in an awkward landing, he has been named as an emergency the last couple of weeks. Whilst unlikely to be risked, it does allow the talented key position player to front up for the Development side if he is fit enough to play.

From a more senior perspective, both sides have a number of players in the TSL Team of the Year. North Launceston leads all-comers with a massive six players earning the honour. Ruck Alex Lee and full-back Corey Nankervis have key positions, whilst the left side of the field is all red and black thanks to playing coach Taylor Whitford, dynamic midfielder-forward Brad Cox-Goodyer, and the exciting Foon all named there. On the other wing, Josh Ponting‘s terrific season was rewarded with a starting spot.

For Launceston, competition leading goalkicker Dylan Riley made the forward pocket, with other dangerous forward, Jake Hinds inside 50. Up the other end is Jacob Boyd in a back pocket, whilst Jay Blackberry was named on the interchange. In a prestigious moment for the Blues, they also have the coach and captain of the team, with playing-coach Mitch Thorp leading the side, and Jobi Harper in the centre and named as hypothetical captain. It shows just how much talent is on display in the senior game.

Looking over the Development squads, North Launceston could have a few players to consider over the next couple of years. Top-ager Angus Jefferies impressed at school football this year and is a natural ball-winner. He only stands at a light 177cm and 70kg, but has elite endurance and will run all day. Bottom-age Bombers teammate Ryan Whitney is still building areas of his game, but he has some nice athletic traits to-boot.

Launceston also has a host of would-be Tasmanian Devils players who tested in the preseason for the squad coming into 2020 NAB League Boys season. Three top-agers – Kye Chilcott, Alex Davies and Jayden Hinds – have all been named in the side, whilst the likes of Zach Morris, Sam Foley and Denzel McLean are bottom-agers who will run out for the Blues. They are names to keep an eye on for next year, with Foley impressing in defence for St Patrick’s this year, whilst Morris is a classy forward who always looks lively.

North Launceston head in as favourites in the senior game, whilst Launceston has the depth at the Development level to be the nominal favourites there in what should be a couple of ripping contests.

Picture: Andrew Woodgate

TSL weekend preview: Semi finals – Youngsters loom as Northern Bombers’ finals wildcard

FINALS time has hit the Tasmanian State League (TSL), with two Saturday semi finals set to decide this year’s grand finalists. Minor premier, North Launceston takes on fourth-placed Clarence at UTAS Stadium, while Launceston (2nd, 9-3) meets with Lauderdale (3rd, 7-5) at Windsor Park, with both games bounce down at 2pm. We take a look at where some of the best Tasmanian youth prospects will line up this weekend, as the final four is trimmed to two.

>> SCROLL for full fixtures and teams

North Launceston could have a finals wildcard or two up its sleeve, with a couple of young Tasmania Devils guns entering the fold at team selection. The Northern Bombers have slotted bottom-ager Baynen Lowe straight back into the starting lineup at half-forward, with the diminutive ball winner set to provide a spark inside attacking 50. Oliver Sanders, who found the goals last week comes in on the bench, while bigman Jackson Callow looms as a massive returnee having been named as an emergency.

After edging out North Hobart to secure a finals spot, Clarence boasts arguably the competition’s best group of Under 18s, all of whom will be keen to impact on the big stage. Oliver Davis, Samuel Lewis-Johnson, and Sam Banks were all named among the Roos’ best last time out, while Noah Holmes and Darcy Gardner hit the scoreboard. Davis remains a crucial cog at the heart of midfield alongside Gardner and Ethan Jackson, while Banks will again provide class off half-back. Jacques Barwick and Lachlan Borsboom have been squeezed out to the emergency spots.

Clarence has given the highly-fancied Bombers side a good run on two occasions this season, going down by a combined 24 points in their Round 4 and 10 meetings. While the minor premiers have proven dominant in 2020, they cannot take anything for granted given the ruthless nature of this year’s knockout finals format.

In the weekend’s other fixture, Launceston and Lauderdale also duke it out for a spot in the Grand Final, with their head-to-head ledger sitting even at one win apiece in 2020. The Blues come in fresh off a bye, while Lauderdale will hope for an improved performance after sneaking home by just three points against Tigers in Round 13.

After being named among the best in Launceston’s last outing, Jared Dakin again takes up his spot in the side across half-back, while fellow Tasmania Devils representative Isaac Chugg has been named on the bench. Dakin’s work rate and toughness should suit the rigours of finals football, while Chugg’s speed could prove handy in helping break the game open. Meanwhile, Samuel Foley comes out of the side after a sole senior outing. For Lauderdale, Sam Tilley again lines up inside forward 50, while Oscar Shaw takes up his spot in defence. Tilley was among the Bombers’ best last week, so should prove a dangerous outlet.

>> FULL TSL SEMI FINALS TEAMS

Fixtures:

Saturday, October 10:

North Launceston vs. Clarence | 2:00pm @ UTAS Stadium

Launceston vs. Lauderdale | 2:00pm @ Windsor Park

Featured Image: North Launceston’s Baynen Lowe | Credit: Simon Sturzaker/The Advocate