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A look back – 2020’s AFL Draft cult heroes

WITH a lot less live football to trawl through last year, there was plenty of time for keen draft watchers to think about a range of topics, ideas and categories in regards to the class of 2020. In the build-up to draft day, the Final Siren Podcast team took a look at some of the potential cult heroes who fans would be likely to warm to quickly. Today, we review the list of 10 and delve into some of the hits and misses it has produced thus far.

Podcast link: Click here!

The parameters for last year’s list included a bunch of factors; from each prospects’ style of play, character and work-rate, to their name and look. Below are the lists of five compiled by Draft Central Chief Editor Peter Williams and Draft Editor Michael Alvaro.

Michael Alvaro’s five:

Jack Ginnivan
Bailey Laurie
Nathan O’Driscoll
Caleb Poulter
Maurice Rioli Jnr

Peter Williams’ five:

Jackson Callow
Eddie Ford
Lachlan Jones
Phoenix Spicer
Brandon Walker

In no real surprise to anyone, all 10 players went on to be drafted and seven of them managed to earn AFL debuts this season. Looking back on the selections, the likes of Caleb Poulter, Lachlan Jones, and Maurice Rioli Jnr have already garnered great followings with fans across the footballing world – let alone their own clubs – warming to them quickly.

Along with Poulter, Collingwood supporters were itching to see Jack Ginnivan get a taste of senior action, enjoying his energy and goal sense once that eventually occurred. The vibes are strong at North Melbourne too, with Eddie Ford and Phoenix Spicer impressing, while Brandon Walker has long been a Fremantle fan favourite given his ties to the Dockers’ NGA program.

So, there were some handy choices among the bunch, but also a few oversights. Errol Gulden is arguably the most glaring omission, with plenty to like about the Sydney Swans small – from his page-popping name, to pure class on the ball and incredible first year form.

Fremantle Dockers forward Josh Treacy is another who suits the cult hero mould perfectly. The barrelling bigman has already earned a few nicknames, with ‘The Big Cohuna’ and ‘Cyclone Treacy’ arguably the picks of the bunch. He certainly caught the eye on-field too and loves to throw his weight around – as was also the case at junior level.

Essendon fans didn’t take very long to appreciate top 10 picks Nik Cox and Archie Perkins. Cox, the 200cm ‘unicorn’ who can does pulls off outrageous feats for a player of his stature was an early Rising Star candidate, while Perkins is a stylish type who exudes confidence both on and off the field.

Elsewhere, Adelaide fans were stoked to get James Rowe in the door and the sheer delight he brings as a small forward makes him hard not to like. The mature-age draftee was one of the great stories of last year’s crop and went on to feature heavily in his maiden AFL campaign, providing highlights even neutrals could appreciate.

Image Credit: Paul Kane via AFL Photos

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

REVIEW | 2021 AFL mid-season draft: Club-by-club

THE 2021 AFL mid-season draft saw 22 of a possible 27 players enter the elite level, with previously overlooked talent, mature-agers, and genuine bolters all among those who earned their chance on Wednesday evening. The half-hour virtual event saw picks come in thick and fast, with a few surprises along the way and plenty of feel-good stories. We take a look at each pick and what they may offer to their new clubs.

>> All the picks – round-by-round

Adelaide:

4. Patrick Parnell (Murray Bushrangers)
Small Defender | 4/03/2002 | 176cm | 67kg

Crows fans seemed a little agitated by the selection of another small, running defender, though their club’s policy was to target the best available talent and Parnell was exactly that in their eyes. The zippy Murray Bushrangers top-ager is an aggressive forward runner and uses the ball sharply on both feet. He is still quite light-on but has already gotten a taste of senior footy at VFL and local level, while also turning out in this year’s Victorian Young Guns showcase.

Brisbane:

14. Kalin Lane (Claremont)
Ruck | 5/12/01 | 204cm | 95kg

One of the many rucks taken in this draft, Lane is right at the top end of that list when it comes to rate of development. He shot into contention last year and was part the Claremont side which qualified for the WAFL Colts grand final, before continuing his rise in the Reserves this season and even earning a League berth. Averaging 14 disposals and 29 hitouts per game, Lane has improved his impact around the ground and uses his imposing frame to good effect, while boasting the obvious ruck craft trait. He may be considered a long-term option, but bolsters Brisbane’s tall stocks.

Carlton:

6. Alex Mirkov (Carlton VFL)
Ruck | 17/11/99 | 210cm | 104kg

Mirkov is a prospect who has come from the clouds to land on an AFL list, plucked out of the Blues’ VFL program after just two appearances. The 210cm former volleyballer received a special exemption to be eligible for this draft having not nominated in 2020, and was on the radar of a number of clubs in search of both long-term and immediate ruck depth. Carlton pounced at pick six, and will be happy to fill out their stocks after the loss of Matthew Kreuzer last year, with a raw type who could mould into something special.

20. Jordan Boyd (Footscray VFL)
Small Utility | 22/9/98 | 182cm | 81kg

Carlton is slowly turning its own VFL side into a feeder program, and dipped into the stocks of another club which has done so with great success in the Western Bulldogs. Boyd was their man with the second of a possible three picks, suiting the Blues’ need for some genuine and readymade small depth. The 22-year-old has mostly been pegged as a forward, but could be the small defender or wingman Carlton is in desperate need of to fill out its starting 18. His speed and bullet-like foot skills will likely catch the eye of Blues fans, and their forwards.

25. Pass

Collingwood:

3. Ash Johnson (Sturt)
Forward | 6/10/97 | 193cm | 85kg

Another Halls Creek native with good footballing pedigree, Johnson’s unconventional leap to the bigtime has been as drastic as his vertical feats on-field. The mature-ager should help bolster Collingwood’s struggling forwardline, bringing some excitement with his ability to fly for high marks and kick bags of goals. The Pies were made to act with pick three to land their man, with other clubs circling for the Sturt product.

18. Aiden Begg (Eastern Ranges)
Key Forward/Ruck | 8/10/02 | 197cm | 87kg

Collingwood fans were another somewhat agitated group after this selection, given Begg is currently injured and will play no part in the 2021 season. But rest assured, the Eastern Ranges ruck-forward looms as a promising key position option for the Magpies who lack a pure spearhead that can also give Brodie Grundy a chop-out in the ruck. He competes well and is a handy marking option, but also has the potential to swing back too. In a nostalgic link for Pies fans, he was coached by premiership forward Travis Cloke in the NAB League.

Essendon:

9. Sam Durham (Richmond VFL)
Midfielder | 9/7/01 | 185cm | 75kg

A pick made on upside and right under the noses of Richmond, Durham has some nice traits as a developing midfielder. He may not be thrown into the senior mix right away, but has a good inside-outside balance and offers versatility with his selection. The Murray Bushrangers product has improved steadily since first being overlooked in 2019, utilised on flanks or either side of midfield. He will be a nice point of difference in the Bombers’ midfield mix.

22. Pass

Fremantle:

Nil.

Geelong:

Nil.

Gold Coast:

5. Ned Moyle (Oakleigh Chargers)
Ruck | 15/2/02 | 204cm | 100kg

While the SUNS were prepared to jump on others if Moyle were to be snapped up earlier, they nabbed their man at pick five and got an immediate boost to their ruck stocks. The Oakleigh Chargers bigman has come on leaps and bounds in 2021, earning a VFL berth with Collingwood and holding his own against AFL-listed rucks, before transferring his learnings back to the NAB League in a dominant final outing. He is a competitive type and will throw his frame around, which bodes well for an early senior gig given Gold Coast’s ruck crisis.

19. Pass

Greater Western Sydney:

8. James Peatling (GWS VFL)
Utility | 21/8/00 | 182cm | 80kg

A product of the GIANTS’ Academy, Peatling has been made to wait his turn but finally gets a senior look-in. The 20-year-old has developed in a range of positions; initially offering some drive off half-back and the wing, before being moulded into a pressure forward, and also having the potential to rotate through midfield. Having turned out in the VFL this season, Peatling will inevitably be right at home in the charcoal and orange, adding some handy depth to the GIANTS’ squad.

Hawthorn:

2. Jai Newcombe (Box Hill Hawks)
Inside Midfielder | 8/2/01 | 186cm | 85kg

A big-bodied midfielder out of the Gippsland region, Newcombe has thrived under the tutelage of Sam Mitchell at Box Hill in 2021. Having been cut at the end of preseason by the Power on multiple occasions, Newcombe looked like being one of the more promising over-age prospects in 2020, but instead gets his chance now. He should add some grunt to the Hawks’ engine room with his readymade frame and cannot be faulted for intent. Having been taken on special terms, Newcombe was one of the more intriguing cases leading into the draft.

17. Jackson Callow (Norwood)
Key Forward | 11/6/02 | 195cm | 96kg

Arguably one of the most unlucky players to be overlooked in last year’s intake, Callow trained with the Hawks during preseason and gets his opportunity after some ominous state league form. The Tasmanian shifted to the SANFL and dominated AFL-level opposition at times, with his contested marking the standout feature of his game. Mobility is his biggest knock, but Callow has the strength and aggression to compete at senior level.

Melbourne:

15. Kye Declase (Werribee)
Wing/Defender | 15/10/96 | 195cm | 85kg

Originally a graduate of the Northern Knights, Declase has shown a rapid rate of development since entering the state league and had plenty of work put into him by Melbourne during preseason. He has cut his teeth as an intercept and rebounding defender, but more recently rolled up to the wing and has even impacted in the front half during his VFL tenure. The 24-year-old adds good versatility and depth to Melbourne’s mix, perhaps as a direct replacement for the injured Adam Tomlinson.

24. Daniel Turner (Murray Bushrangers)
Defender | 28/1/02 | 191cm | 79kg

Another promising type out of the Murray Bushrangers, Turner is an intercept defender who thrives aerially and is sound in possession. He featured in this year’s Victorian Young Gun showcase and impressed, improving out of sight in his top-age season and performing well at NAB League level.

North Melbourne:

1. Jacob Edwards (Sandringham Dragons)
Key Forward/Ruck | 22/11/02 | 202cm | 83kg

The chances are, you have already heard of Edwards and everything he has to offer. The 202cm Sandringham Dragons prospect shot onto the radar during preseason and delivered on the hype as the NAB League season came forth. He is wonderfully mobile for his size, kicks well and can dominate aerially, boasting terrific upside as a long-term key position option. Having filled out their midfield stocks last year, the Roos now have a genuine tall gun among their ranks.

16. Charlie Ham (Geelong Falcons)
Small Defender/Midfielder | 11/11/02 | 180cm | 74kg

The brother of Essendon’s Brayden, Ham has followed in his elder sibling’s footsteps by being picked up having initially been overlooked. He is a dashing half-back who can also roll up to the wing, with his speed and precise foot skills key strengths of a promising overall game. While North will likely focus on building its key position brigade, they picked up another small along the way with plenty of upside.

Port Adelaide:

13. Jed McEntee (Sturt)
Small Forward/Midfielder | 15/2/01 | 176cm | 76kg

Port picked up a local talent in McEntee, who now has a good amount of senior experience under his belt having turned out for Sturt’s League side. He is a small forward who can also rotate through midfield, but will likely add a bit of defensive pressure to the front six for Port with his speed and competitiveness. A good point of difference in that mix.

Richmond:

10. Matthew Parker (South Fremantle)
Forward | 25/1/96 | 187cm | 79kg

Let go by St Kilda at the end of last season, Parker gets his second senior chance having once again proven a class above state league level over in Western Australia. He is capable of the mercurial with high flies and eye-catching goals, and will likely take little time to become a fan favourite at Tigerland. The 25-year-old follows in Marlion Pickett’s footsteps, being taken from South Fremantle in the mid-season crop. Could have an immediate impact and also rotates through midfield.

St Kilda:

7. Max Heath (Sandringham Dragons)
Ruck | 24/10/02 | 204cm | 94kg

The Sandringham Dragons ruck has followed a similar path to Edwards, in that he shot to contention with outstanding preseason form and now gets his chance. One key difference is that Heath did so last year, seeing him earn a National Combine invite despite not playing a competitive game in 2020, before being overlooked. He proved his worth in the NAB League this year though and at 204cm, is an aggressive tall who loves to compete and can also provide some fold up forward. He’s a local should thrive under the guidance of Rowan Marshall, whom he moulds his game on.

21. Cooper Sharman (WWT Eagles)
Forward | 25/7/00 | 194cm | 78kg

A bolter who missed out on being drafted in 2019, the Saints continued to track Sharman’s progress and pounced in 2021. The 20-year-old’s football journey has taken him around the country; starting with the GIANTS Academy, then shifting over to Oakleigh in the NAB League, and eventually landing him with Woodville-West Torrens in the SANFL. He is a dead-eye in front of goal and could serve as a quick fix to the Saints woes in that department.

26. Pass

27. Pass

Sydney:

12. Lachlan McAndrew (Sydney VFL)
Ruck | 26/5/00 | 208cm | 93kg

One of the many prospective ruck selections made, McAndrew has only been playing Australian football for two years. The rugby union convert graduated from the Swans Academy and has since passed through their VFL program, turning out twice in 2021 and doing enough to land a senior berth. He is a raw, long-term choice but should add to the strong competition for spots in Sydney’s tall department.

West Coast:

11. Will Collins (Swan Districts)
Defender | 24/5/02 | 185cm | 78kg

Another player who lands at the club he trained at during preseason, Collins has long been on the Eagles’ radar. The Swan Districts defender managed to crack League level this season and has also been rotating through the reserves, showing steady development with his clean ball use and ability to intercept across the defensive line. He suits a need for the Eagles, who also brought in Alex Witherden at the end of 2020.

23. Connor West (West Perth)
Midfielder | 7/5/99 | 183cm | 80kg

Once again dipping into the local talent pool, the Eagles prized a readymade ball winner who could help cover some of their most recent injury losses through midfield. The West Perth product averaged 27 disposals and six tackles per his seven League outings in 2021, with that form enough to warrant selection in the WAFL state side.

Western Bulldogs:

Nil.

Pick-by-pick: 2021 AFL mid-season draft

THE 2021 AFL mid-season draft has been run and done, with the half-hour long virtual event seeing 22 of a possible 27 selections made and plenty of fresh faces enter the elite level. As expected, Sandringham Dragons ruck/forward Jacob Edwards was selected with pick one, among seven top-age players taken straight out of the NAB League system.

Find the full draft order below, and stay tuned to Draft Central for our review of each selection – dropping tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

ROUND 1:

  1. North Melbourne – Jacob Edwards (Sandringham Dragons) | Key Forward/Ruck
  2. Hawthorn – Jai Newcombe (Box Hill Hawks) | Inside Midfielder
  3. Collingwood – Ash Johnson (Sturt) | Forward |
  4. Adelaide – Patrick Parnell (Murray Bushrangers) | Small Defender
  5. Gold Coast – Ned Moyle (Oakleigh Chargers) | Ruck
  6. Carlton – Alex Mirkov (Carlton VFL) | Ruck
  7. St Kilda – Max Heath (Sandringham Dragons) | Ruck/Key Forward
  8. Greater Western Sydney – James Peatling (GIANTS Academy) | Defender
  9. Essendon – Sam Durham (Richmond VFL) | Midfielder
  10. Richmond – Matthew Parker (South Fremantle) | Forward
  11. West Coast – Will Collins (Swan Districts) | Defender
  12. Sydney – Lachlan McAndrew (Sydney VFL) | Ruck
  13. Port Adelaide – Jed McEntee (Sturt) | Forward
  14. Brisbane – Kalin Lane (Claremont) | Ruck
  15. Melbourne –  Kye Declase (Werribee) | Wing/Defender

 

ROUND 2:

  1. North Melbourne – Charlie Ham (Geelong Falcons) | Defender/Midfielder
  2. Hawthorn – Jackson Callow (Norwood) | Key Forward
  3. Collingwood – Aiden Begg (Eastern Ranges) | Key Forward/Ruck
  4. Gold Coast – Pass
  5. Carlton – Jordan Boyd (Footscray VFL) | Small Forward
  6. St Kilda – Cooper Sharman (WWT Eagles) | Forward
  7. Essendon – Pass
  8. West Coast – Connor West (West Perth) | Midfielder
  9. Melbourne – Daniel Turner (Murray Bushrangers) | Defender

 

ROUND 3:

  1. Carlton – Pass
  2. St Kilda – Pass

ROUND 4:

  1. St Kilda – Pass

Image Credit: Steve Tanner/News Corp

PREVIEW | The top 2021 AFL mid-season draft candidates

THE 2021 AFL mid-season draft finally arrives on Wednesday night, with around 15 players expected to find homes at the elite level after weeks of speculation and on-field auditions. A spill of overlooked talents from last year’s draft pool have staked their claims as worthy candidates through the elite talent pathways and state leagues, while mature-agers are also inevitably in the mix. We run you through the most likely draftees across both groups, with an insight into how they play and where they may end up.

THE NAB LEAGUERS

It is well known that Sandringham Dragons ruck-forward Jacob Edwards is likely to be snapped up by North Melbourne with pick one, having burst onto the scene this year. The Mentone Grammar student was pegged as a long-term prospect last year and quickly rose to prominence during pre-season in 2021, showing great signs during the Dragons’ intraclub match.

At 202cm, he is a terrific athlete who not only marks well, but is also quite mobile and offers the dual threat of forward and ruck craft. Edwards averaged 12 disposals, 14 hitouts, and booted five goals across three NAB League appearances this season. He turns 19 in December, so has plenty of development left and could well have been considered a first round chance for the National Draft.

There are plenty of other talls in the mix, with a bunch of clubs scrambling to bolster their ruck and key forward stocks. Oakleigh Chargers ruck Ned Moyle is another who has come on strongly in 2021, improving out of sight to also earn a VFL berth with Collingwood. There, he tussled with AFL-level rucks and showed he was not afraid to compete hard, before transferring his ruck craft learnings back to the NAB League in one final audition before Wednesday. With pick two, Hawthorn could be into Moyle, while Collingwood would also be a fitting home, and Gold Coast is desperate for ruck cover at pick five.

Max Heath, a teammate of Edwards at Sandringham who is also completing his Year 12 studies, will likely also attract a Victorian suitor. He has been linked with St Kilda, a team which potentially has plenty of spots to fill given its growing injury woes. The 204cm ruckman was deemed a chance to go in last year’s National Draft after imposing pre-season performances, but was eventually overlooked and made to prove his worth through the NAB League this year. His aggression and physicality are key strengths at the contest.

A region which could produce multiple mid-season draftees is Murray, with key forward Cameron McLeod, defender Patrick Parnell, and midfielder Zavier Maher all attracting interest. Carlton are said to be into McLeod and Maher, with the latter tied to the Blues’ VFL side having trained there during pre-season. Parnell is a dashing small defender who is being monitored by clubs like GWS, where he turned out for a single VFL outing this year. McLeod has impressed of late with his mobility as a leading target, booting a bag of four goals in his latest NAB League outing. Maher made his return in that same game, winning 30 disposals as an explosive midfielder who just needs to polish his disposal coming away from the contest.

Another top-ager on the Blues’ radar is Noah Gribble, a hard-running wingman who has been ultra consistent upon returning from an ACL tear in 2021. The Geelong Falcons product is one of many in this group to have turned out in the Victorian Young Guns game, and has little trouble finding the ball. His knocks have been speed and disposal in the past, but he is hard to deny as a genuine prospect.

Elsewhere, Cody Raak has been one of the better performed top-agers in the NAB League this season, even making the step up to VFL level for Footscray. He is also a Bulldogs Next Generation Academy (NGA) graduate, but his home side does not currently have a selection available. Raak, and Eastern Ranges forward-midfielder Corey Preston trained at Whitten Oval during pre-season, and while both missed out on a spot then, they could come into consideration for other clubs now.

Like Raak, Luke Cleary is a reliable intercept defender who sweeps across half-back with work both in the air and on the ground. He is likely to have impressed a number of clubs with his ability to set up play from the defence, and also earned a National Combine invite last year before being overlooked.

Also in the mix are Aiden Begg and Liam Podhajski, a couple of fast-developing rucks who can also play at either end of the ground. Begg, of the Eastern Ranges may be considered despite being injured during NAB League duties this year, and may suit a need at either end of the ground. Podhajski has turned out for Calder Cannons and the Northern Bullants, rotating forward through the ruck as a mobile type who can also impact with his marking.

GWS and Richmond could be among the clubs looking at Giants Academy product Tom Green, who recently turned out in charcoal and orange in the NAB League. The brother of Tom also has family ties to Richmond, and is a versatile type who can play as a tall midfielder, or marking forward target. He racked up 25 touches and a goal against the Swans Academy on Sunday.

STATE LEAGUERS

Among the younger crop of state league players in the mix, Tasmanian pair Oliver Davis and Jackson Callow have created plenty of buzz. The former is a ball winning midfielder who returned to his state’s NAB League program in 2021, before jetting off to Adelaide to join the Crows’ reserves side. He could be looked at by either South Australian team, while Callow would be a great fit for Collingwood. The contested marking beast tore apart AFL opposition for Norwood in the SANFL recently, and is a readymade key forward.

Jai Newcombe is one who, after being robbed of an over-age NAB League season last year, has been excellent for Box Hill in the VFL. He is a combative inside midfielder who Gippsland Power staff were very high on, and he has come on well once again to be in the box seat to be taken under special terms by Hawthorn.

Richmond VFL utility Sam Durham is another in the mix, potentially for the Tigers having shown steady development but terrific upside. He featured in the recent Young Guns showcase and built into the contest nicely. The former Murray Bushranger can play on a wing or off half-back, with potential to even run through the engine room as he fills out.

Of the state leaguers who haven’t yet experienced the top flight, Carlton VFL ruck Alex Mirkov is one poised to do so soon. While he has not gained much in the way of on-field exposure, the 210cm ex-volleyballer showcased his potential in two outings for the Blues this season. He could be in for a Navy Blue promotion, but Gold Coast is lurking with a pick beforehand and his upside is clear for others to pounce on.

In a similar vein, Essendon VFL gun Angus Baker could finally earn his own call-up having continued to return terrific state league form. The 2019 NEAFL Rising Star was in contention for a spot at the Bombers during pre-season and continues to knock on the door having been overlooked there. Essendon has covered the running half-back role well, but has a readymade prospect in Baker waiting in the wings.

The likes of Ash Johnson (Sturt, SANFL) and Tyrone Thorne (Peel Thunder, WAFL) are other exciting state leaguers to have thrown their hats in the ring. Johnson is a high-marking forward who hails from the prosperous Halls Creek region and has good ties to the elite level through his pedigree. While small in stature, Thorne has stood out as a zippy midfielder who has the potential to impact as a small forward at AFL level.

Of those who have already been drafted to the AFL level, Wylie Buzza seems destined for another shot. He has been linked with Gold Coast’s pick after Michael Knoll failed a medical at the Suns, with Carlton another potential suitor given the two clubs’ competing interests coming into the intake. Tyson Stengle could land at Richmond once again, with Collingwood also potentially in for the talented small forward.

Another former Crow, Riley Knight has been in terrific SANFL form and has St Kilda taking a look, while former Saint Nathan Freeman is becoming increasingly difficult to deny given his dominant VFL feats. Geelong NGA graduate Blake Schlensog is said to have matured greatly during his time in Western Australia, while Jarrod Garlett has nominated in hopes of finding a home – though neither West Coast or Fremantle have opened up a list spot as of yet.

NEED TO KNOWS

The mid-season draft order will be structured like the National Draft, following the reverse ladder order set at the conclusion of Round 11. 602 players nominated for the draft, with 18 rookie list spots currently available. Clubs have until 5:00pm on Tuesday June 1 to make any changes to their lists, as the draft is set to commence at 7:00pm the following evening in a virtual event.

Below are the current availabilities per the AFL, again, subject to change until 5:00pm on Tuesday June 1.

Adelaide: 1 selection
Brisbane Lions: 0 selections
Carlton: 2 selections
Collingwood: 2 selections
Essendon: 1 Selection
Fremantle: 0 selections
Geelong: 0 selections
Gold Coast: 2 selections
GWS: 1 selection
Hawthorn: 1 selection
Melbourne: 2 selections
North Melbourne: 2 selections
Port Adelaide: 1 selection
Richmond: 1 selection
St Kilda: 1 selection
Sydney: 1 selection
West Coast: 0 selections
Western Bulldogs: 0 selections

Image Credit: Solstice Digital

State leagues wrap: Teams deliver monster scores

WITH another weekend coming to a close, we take a look at what happened in state league football around the country, with plenty of massive scores as teams hit their straps.

Victoria:

The VFL had some big wins around the grounds this weekend, including one outside of Victoria, as the Tigers gave the Lions a belting to the tune of 62 points at the Gabba on Saturday morning. The Tigers booted a whopping nine goals in the first quarter, including three to forward Samson Ryan. The lead would only extend from there as the Tigers cruised to a big win over a helpless Lions side. For the Tigers, Ryan and Callum Coleman-Jones combined for eight goals up forward, tormenting Lions defenders, while Josh Caddy had 38 touches and two snags from the midfield. For the Lions, Tom Joyce and Cam Ellis-Yolman fought hard despite the circumstances.

Moving back to Victoria, North Melbourne had their first win of the season, taking down Essendon by 15 points at Windy Hill on Saturday. The game was thrillingly close for all four quarters, with only five points separating the sides at the final break. The Bombers gained a 12-point lead midway through the fourth quarter thanks to a fifth goal from Bombers forward Patrick Ambrose, but this was short lived. The Roos booted four unanswered goals, and stormed home for their first triumph of the 2021 season. For the victors, ruckman Tristian Xerri was a dominant figure, collecting a game-high 36 disposals to go with nine marks, six tackles and 27 hitouts in a marvellous display. For the Bombers, Ambrose’s five goals up forward were impressive, while ruckman Nick Bryan fought bravely.

Over at Ikon Park, the Hawks delivered a dominant performance, taking home the biggest win of the round as they defeated the Blues by 84 points on Sunday afternoon. The Hawks won all four quarters, doing as they please while the Blues struggled to keep up and constantly found themselves on the back foot. Hawk Vincent Adduci was the star up forward with five goals, while through the midfield, Brayden Kilpatrick found plenty of the ball. For the Blues, midfielder Matthew Kennedy found plenty of the ball on his way to 28 disposals on what was a tough day.

South Australia:

SANFL’s round seven action kicked off on Saturday afternoon, and for the Eagles, it was a perfect start to the weekend. At Hisense Stadium, the Woodville West-Torrens produced a masterful performance, defeating the West Adelaide Bloods by 100 points in a completely one-sided affair. Dominant second and third quarters from the Eagles – booting nine goals in each – put the game well out of reach for the Bloods, as they could not compete with a side that was firing on all cylinders. For the Eagles, Jimmy Toumpas had a bout of leather poisoning, finding the ball 45 times, while Daniel Menzel booted five goals up forward, and could have had plenty more if he had converted his four behinds. For the Bloods, midfielder Kaine Stevens worked his way to 32 disposals.

The Central District Bulldogs held off a brave comeback from the Sturt Sabres to walk away 10-point victors at Unley Oval on Saturday afternoon. The contest looked all but over heading into the final term, with the Bulldogs holding a 28-point lead over their opponents following a couple of one-sided quarters. The Sabres refused to give up, fighting hard in the fourth quarter to bring the margin back down, but ultimately couldn’t complete the fightback. For the Bulldogs, it was midfielder Jarrod Schiller who led the way, finishing the game with 26 touches, 10 tackles and a massive 12 clearances, and provided a strong contest with Sabre Tom Lewis, who had 24 touches, eight tackles and five clearances of his own.

Moving to Coopers Stadium, Norwood was able to overcome inaccuracy to defeat the Adelaide Crows by 48 points on Saturday afternoon. The Redlegs kicked 12.20, showing that the margin could have been a lot worse for the Crows had their opponents found the big sticks more. For the Redlegs, Tasmanian forward Jackson Callow was a victim of inaccurate kicking, booting 3.7 from 24 touches, while veteran Richard Douglas controlled things through the midfield with 31 disposals. For the Crows, youngster Will Hamill was influential with his 30 disposals.

At Alberton Oval, the Port Adelaide Power were able to scrape past the North Adelaide Roosters on their way to an eight-point win on Saturday afternoon. A big final term from both sides looked like the game could go either way, but ultimately, it was the class of the Power that got them over the line, with a late goal to Taj Schofield that sealed the result for his side. For the victors, midfielder, Sam Mayes was instrumental in his side controlling the ball, finishing the match with 32 disposals. For the Roosters, Andrew Moore found plenty of the ball through the middle and floated forward to boot a goal in the third term.

In the final match of the round, Glenelg were able to remain undefeated after seven matches, taking down the South Adelaide Panthers by 40 points at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers delivered a strong first half challenge, but the Tigers were able to find the form that has worked for them all year, as they booted nine goals to three in the second half to walk away winners. For the winners, Matthew Allen and Chris Curran found plenty of the ball, while Liam McBean booted three goals up forward. For the Panthers, Bryce Gibbs was typically strong in the midfield, finding the ball 31 times and booting a goal.

Western Australia:

The WAFL resumed following a week off, and the action started at New Choice Homes Park, with Claremont proving too strong for East Fremantle, storming away 42-point victors on Saturday afternoon. Claremont started the game in dominant fashion, booting six goals to one in the first term, and never slowing down from there on their way to a fifth win for the season. For Claremont, Lachlan Martinis found plenty of the ball as he has done so many times this season, and was well aided by Jye Bolton as the pair racked up 33 disposals each. For East Fremantle, Luke English ended the match with 29 disposals in a promising outing.

At David Grays Arena, West Perth were able to keep their form rolling with a strong 28-point triumph over Peel Thunder on Saturday afternoon. Despite coming into the match with one less win, West Perth were clinical in the premiership quarter, booting four goals to none to find themselves with an eventual match-winning lead. For West Perth, Keegan Knott’s six goals proved vital in the end, while Shane Nelson had 37 touches through the midfield. For Peel Thunder, former Bomber Jackson Merrett displayed his knack for finding the ball, racking up 37 disposals through the middle.

The crowd at Mineral Resources Park were treated to an upset, as Perth knocked off South Fremantle by a margin of 20 points on Saturday afternoon. Despite finding more of the ball as a team, South Fremantle’s inaccuracy kept them out of the hunt in the second half, as Perth were able to take their chances on a consistent basis. For Perth, Kristian Cary booted four crucial goals, while ruckman Christian Eyres impressed. For South Fremantle, Dylan Main was the star with 34 disposals and two goals in an eye-catching performance.

East Perth finally notched their first win of the season, as they took down West Coast by 57 points at Leederville Oval on Saturday afternoon. Both sides entered the clash at 0-5, and East Perth took the opportunity for a first win against a struggling West Coast side. A seven-goal last term cemented the result, while West Coast’s woes continue. For East Perth, Rohan Kerr stuffed the stat sheet with 31 disposals and 12 marks, while Aiden Lynch had 29 touches and a goal. For West Coast, Mark Hutchings fought all day through the midfield, gathering 28 touches.

Subiaco were able to remain in the top two on the ladder with a thrilling win over Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday afternoon. Swan Districts delivered a serious challenge to Subiaco, who were on top of the ladder heading into the clash, but just fell short in the final term. For Subiaco, Gregory Clark was dominant with 30 disposals, 12 tackles, six marks and two goals in a match-winning performance. For Swan Districts, ruckman Corey Gault amassed a whopping 50 hitouts to give his midfielders first use.

Queensland:

There were plenty of big scores from the victorious teams over the QAFL’s eighth round of action. This began at Maroochydore Multisports Complex on Saturday afternoon, as Maroochydore were triumphant over Wilston Grange to the tune of 27 points. A tense clash for the first three quarters, the home side was able to break away in the final term on their way to their fifth win of the season. The match proved to be a shootout, as Maroochydore’s Mitchell Scholard (14 goals in three weeks) and Wilston Grange’s Sam Gribble each booted five goals, but ultimately Scholard got the last laugh with the win.

A massive third term has seen Morningside take home a 27-point win over Palm Beach Currumbin at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday afternoon. Despite trailing by 17 points at half time, Morningside booted eight goals to none in the third term to completely turn the game in their favour, and never looked back from there. For the victors, Darcy Cameron-Reeves claimed best on ground honours, while Thomas Griffiths also impressed. For Palm Beach Currumbin, Corey Joyce’s strong form continued, ending as his side’s best for the second time in three weeks.

Over at Southside Toyota Oval, Mt Gravatt were clinical in their 88-point thrashing of Noosa on Saturday afternoon. With a strong 55-point lead at half time, Mt Gravatt never gave their opponents a hint of a comeback, dominating on all areas of the field as they sent a statement to the rest of the league. For Mt Gravatt, Jonah Licht booted five snags up forward, while teammate Luke O’Sullivan also caught the eye of coaches and spectators. For Noosa, Aaron Laskey battled hard all day despite the heavy loss.

Moving to Totally Workwear Park, Redland-Victoria Point were unable to match the intensity of Surfers Paradise, eventually falling by 17 points on Saturday afternoon. Surfers Paradise set the tone early, taking a three-goal lead into the first break. While their opponents fought valiantly to attempt a comeback, the victors proved too strong. For Surfers Paradise, Harrison Fraser delivered his strongest performance of the year, and would have impressed his coaches. For Redland-Victoria Point, Peter Yagmoor was terrific in a losing side, booting two goals.

The final match of the round saw an upset as Sherwood Districts shocked the league to take down Labrador by 40 points at Sherwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. Booting seven goals in the first quarter, Sherwood Districts dominated all day as Labrador struggled to keep up with the home side. For Sherwood Districts, Thomas Baulch booted six goals up forward, as Labrador defenders tried to find an answer for his clinical play.

Tasmania:

TSL’s eighth round of action kicked off in extraordinary fashion on Friday night, with North Launceston upsetting Launceston with a 15-point triumph at UTAS Stadium. The reigning premiers led at halftime, but were stunned in the second half, as North Launceston simply outplayed them to run away with a fantastic win that would surely give the rest of the league hope. For the victors, Jay Foon was outstanding, booting two goals on his way to a best on ground performance, while Jack Rushton also stood out. For Launceston, Jake Smith fought hard, particularly in the first half.

Over at Blundstone Arena, Clarence were dominant as they took down Lauderdale to the tune of 76 points on Saturday afternoon. The contest was closely battled in the first term, with just eight points separating the sides, before Clarence’s seven-goal second term saw them gain an unassailable lead. For Clarence, Ethan Jackson was terrific all day, while Oliver Preshaw booted three goals. For Lauderdale, skipper Allen Christensen battled hard all day to rally his troops.

The final match of round eight saw a clinical performance from the Tigers, as they smashed North Hobart by 89 points at Kingston Twin Ovals on Saturday afternoon. A seven-goal haul from Tyler Carter was the headline of the day, as he claimed best afield honours for the second week in a row. With fluctuating form over recent weeks, the win will surely inject some life into the Tigers’ season. North Hobart’s Samuel Caswell fought hard all day despite the margin.

Young Guns: 2021 VFL Round 4 – Debutants raise eyebrows

WITH the NAB League in the midst of a month-long break after three full rounds of action, some of Victoria’s most promising Under 19 talent has begun filtering into the Victorian Football League (VFL). A raft of top-age draft prospects have already made their state league debuts, with more to come, while members of all four Northern Academies also got some run in their legs. We take a look at how the prominent 19th-year players performed as they hit the senior football levels. Note, some prospects missed VFL action this week due to the Under 23 Young Guns showcase.

>> SCOUT NOTES: 2021 Victorian Under 23 Young Guns

Geelong kicked off the round in style on Thursday night, with a 45-point win over the Northern Bullants at Marvel Stadium. The Cats unveiled Greater Western Victoria (GWV) midfielder Marcus Herbert on the night, and he fared well in his official debut with 14 disposals, six inside 50s and a goal. The smooth mover also turned out for the Cats against the AFL Academy last month. In the same game, developing ruck-forward Liam Podhajski showed plenty for the Bullants, booting his first state league goal to go with eight touches and 12 hitouts against stiff opposition.

Podhajski, and Collingwood ruck Ned Moyle were due to play in Saturday’s Young Guns showcase before earning VFL selection, with both firming as viable mid-season draft options on June 2. Moyle suited up for his second game in black and white, almost doubling the output from his debut outing. The Oakleigh Chargers product notched 17 disposals, four marks and 19 hitouts, while NAB League teammate and Next Generation Academy prospect Youseph Dib slotted another two goals for the Magpies. Dib’s disposal tally of 12 was also a new personal best across his three VFL performances thus far.

With little to cheer about in the top flight, plenty of North Melbourne fans would have been eager to see how father-son talent Jackson Archer, the son of club great Glenn, fared in his VFL debut. The 18-year-old managed eight touches (seven kicks) and six marks from defence as the Roos went down heavily to Southport, with Archer among four North debutants out of the NAB League. Most of them got among the goals too, with Tasmanian Jye Menzie and Bendigo’s Nathan Kay snaring majors along with second-gamer Oliver Sanders, who also had 16 disposals and four marks. Cooper Smith, another Pioneers product was a standout with 20 touches and nine marks, but could not quite find the big sticks as he registered two behinds.

Elsewhere, the state league debut of top five prospect Tyler Sonsie raised plenty of eyebrows. His class came to the fore despite Box Hill’s loss to Werribee, as the youngster finished with 24 disposals and a couple of very nice goals. Sonsie’s second was the highlight of his game, coming on the run from 50 metres out during the third term as Box Hill mounted a charge. Potential Bulldogs father-son Ewan Macpherson was also a late call-up for Footscray, managing 11 touches and five tackles in his maiden outing – a win against Carlton.

Around the nation, there were a few more debuts and standout performances. Top 10 prospect Matthew Roberts broke through for his first League outing in South Adelaide colours, joining top pick contender Jason Horne in the Panthers side which beat Woodville-West Torrens. Roberts warmed to the occasion nicely with 14 disposals and a goal, while Horne’s consistent start to the 2021 season continued with 17 touches, five clearances and a goal.

Port Adelaide father-son talent Jase Burgoyne was called up for a SANFL League showdown on Saturday, building steadily for 14 touches as the Magpies won out by 14 points. Elsewhere at League level, Tasmanian key forward Jackson Callow returned his best outing for Norwood, booting three goals from eight marks (seven contested) in the Redlegs’ win over Central District. Nasiah Wanganeen and Blayne O’Loughlin also turned out for their respective sides at Reserves level, continuing their promising runs of form.

Over in Western Australia, Matthew Johnson managed six disposals and three marks as Subiaco beat Claremont in his second League appearance. Star key forward Jacob Van Rooyen continues to be rested by Claremont having been diagnosed with glandular fever.

Image Credit: Mike Owen/AFL Photos

State Leagues Wrap: Thrillers across the grounds

STATE league football entertained audiences across the country on the weekend as sides played out some thrilling contests. There were plenty of finals ramifications across the weekend’s results, as the race up the ladder heats up.

Victoria:

The VFL action was limited this weekend with most AFL affiliated sides not competing due to a bye as they look towards the next round of action. The weekend was not completely void of action though, as the Western Bulldogs held off a brave final quarter fightback from Carlton to walk away with a three-goal win at VU Whitten Oval on Sunday afternoon. In an inaccurate day for both sides, the Dogs looked to have the game wrapped up as they headed into the final term with a five-goal lead, after the Blues kicked 2.10 over the first three quarters. The Blues booted 6.1 in the final quarter to give themselves a chance to steal an unlikely victory, but the Bulldogs were able to weather the storm to record their fourth win to shoot up to top spot on the ladder. 2020 number one draft pick and Bulldog Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, possibly the most watched player in the VFL, copped a brutal head knock in the first quarter, ruling him out for the rest of the game. Mitch Wallis continued his strong form of late with 29 disposals and a goal, while ex-Magpie Ben Crocker booted four goals for Carlton.

South Australia:

Round six of SANFL action kicked off with a thriller, as South Adelaide snuck past Woodville-West Torrens by eight points at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval on Saturday afternoon. A three-goal burst from South Adelaide gave them a match-winning lead, as their opponents could not close the gap in time despite their best efforts with a late goal. For the winners, Bryce Gibbs was exceptional with two goals and 21 touches through the midfield as he continues his strong season, while Jake Tarca booted four crucial snags up forward. For the Eagles, James Tsitas and Jack Hayes worked hard through the engine room as you would expect, while Troy Menzel’s four goals kept his side in the hunt.

Central District’s struggles for the season continued as they fell to Norwood by 32 points at X Convenience Oval on Saturday afternoon. Norwood dominated all day, with forwards Cameron Shenton and Jackson Callow combining for seven goals up forward to torment Bulldog defenders all day. Through the middle, Matthew Nunn extracted five clearances, while for the Bulldogs, Travis Schiller and Darcy Pisani combined for 14 clearances as they battled hard to get their side back in the game.

The highly anticipated showdown did not disappoint as Port Adelaide held on to defeat an inaccurate Adelaide by 14 points at Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon. As a curtain raiser for the AFL Showdown, the two sides went to war, and the Power’s first half looked to set up a sizeable win, but a five-goal to one third quarter meant suddenly the game was back on. Adelaide will be rueing a lost opportunity having kicked more scoring shots than their opponents. For the Power, Riley Bonner stood out, booting two goals from 26 disposals in an eye-catching display, while skipper Cam Sutcliffe was typically impressive. For the Crows, Chayce Jones continues to thrive in his new role at half-back, racking up 27 touches.

A monster game from North Adelaide forward Lewis Hender saw the Roosters crush West Adelaide at Prospect Oval on Sunday afternoon in a Mother’s Day clash. Hender booted eight goals in a dominant display, even more impressive is that he only took three marks, kicking plenty of goals from ground level. His midfield teammate Billy Hartung had 33 touches and 10 marks of his own. For West Adelaide, Kaine Stevens fought hard all day to find the ball 28 times, while Thomas Keough kicked three goals.

Glenelg’s undefeated streak suffered the biggest of scares on Sunday afternoon, as they held off a determined Sturt side to take home a four-point triumph at ACH Group Stadium. Luke Reynolds’ third goal of the day came at the 26-minute mark of the final term to put his side in front for the final score of the day. Reynolds combined with teammate Lachie Hosie combined for six goals to provide crucial scoring output for the victors. Through the midfield, the league’s leading ball winner Luke Partington lived up to the title, putting in a best afield performance with his 29 touches. For Sturt, James Battersby led all comers with 35 disposals in a valiant effort.

Western Australia:

Subiaco were able to snatch top spot on the ladder with a 40-point victory over a previously undefeated Claremont side at Leederville Oval on Saturday afternoon. The match was strongly anticipated heading into round six, and Subiaco were able to cause a crucial upset as they outplayed their opponents all day. Nicholas Martin led the way for his side, booting four snags from 20 disposals in an impressive outing, while teammate Lachlan Delahunty racked up 29 touches and 12 hitouts. For Claremont, Lachlan Martinis had 26 touches and Alexander Manuel kicked three goals.

An eight goal first term set up Peel Thunder for a 15-point win over Perth at Mineral Resources Park on Saturday afternoon in front of 1,268 fans. The Thunder were clinical in the first term and despite a spirited effort from Perth to drag themselves back in the game, the margin proved too strong as the victors recorded their third win of the season. For the Thunder, Kristian Cary’s four goals were handy while Jacob Coniglio had 26 nice disposals. For Perth, Tyrone Thorne was exceptional with 29 disposals and two goals.

Fans at Provident Financial Oval on Saturday afternoon were treated to a miraculous comeback, as West Perth came from nowhere to steal a nine-point victory over Swan Districts. West Perth trailed by 15 points heading into the final term, before kicking four unanswered goals to walk away with an impressive win. Shane Nelson was instrumental for the victors, racking up 35 touches and eight tackles. For Swan Districts, ruckman Corey Gault dominated with 26 disposals and 36 hitouts for the day.

East Perth have found themselves still searching for their first win, after falling agonisingly short against South Fremantle, with only seven points separating the sides at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday afternoon. The final quarter saw a slight sniff of a comeback for East Perth, but South Fremantle weathered the storm to walk away with the crucial win. For the winners, Haiden Schloithe continued his outrageous form, finishing the day with 35 disposals and three goals, clearly the best player on the ground, while Aidan Lynch was strong for East Perth with 29 touches of his own.

East Fremantle players celebrated the weekend in ruthless fashion, crushing West Coast by 125 points at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon. The game looked one-sided from the very first bounce, as the victors were able to do as they pleased with little resistance from their opponents. Blaine Boekhorst amassed a whopping 41 touches through the midfield, while Jonathon Marsh booted seven goals in the win. West Coast’s Xavier O’Neil was a bright spot for his side with 34 touches.

Queensland:

Round six of the QAFL started with Surfers Paradise blowing out Noosa to the tune of 70 points at Sir Bruce Small Park on Saturday afternoon. An eight goal second term proved too much for the visitors, as they were convincingly beaten for all four quarters of the match. For Surfers Paradise, Sam Hilton-Joyce booted four goals in a best on ground display, while Noosa’s Riley O’Dwyer impressed in a tough loss.

Moving to Cooke-Murphy Oval, Labrador pulled off an impressive comeback, defeating Mt Gravatt by 25 points thanks to a strong final quarter on Saturday afternoon. Trailing by 22 points at quarter time and nine points at three quarter time, Labrador rallied to kick five unanswered goals in the final term to steal an unlikely win. For the victors, Charlie Lang delivered his best performance of the year and was crucial in bringing his side back into the contest. For Mt Gravatt, Gareth Hunt impressed, particularly in the first three quarters when his side was in control of the contest and can hold his head high.

Morningside snatched a late victory against Redland-Victoria Point by just one point at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday afternoon. Redland-Victoria Point’s Harrison Kerr kicked his third goal of the game with under three minutes to play and put his side only one point down. Morningside led by three goals before their opponents fought hard to take the lead midway through the final term, but ultimately suffered heartbreak. Morningside’s William Pendlebury was exceptional for all four quarters, while Redland-Victoria Point were well led by a strong Matthew Thomson performance.

Maroochydore stamped their authority on the rest of the competition with a dominant 66-point crushing of Sherwood Districts at Sherwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. Maroochydore took the lead early in the first term, and never surrendered it, cruising their way to a nice percentage booster. Benjamin Sloan was impressive in the win, while Mitchell Scholard and Benjamin Thomas combined for eight goals. Riley Greene tried all day for Sherwood Districts.

Broadbeach maintained their title as the competition benchmark with a 54-point triumph over Wilston Grange at Hickey Park on Saturday afternoon. Forward Jordan Moncrieff booted nine goals in a powerful performance to drive his side to victory, as Broadbeach remain undefeated after five games, and will take some beating. Hugh Fidler battled hard for Wilston Grange despite the one-way traffic.

Tasmania:

Launceston remain undefeated after defeating second-placed Clarence at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon. There were questions around whether or not Launceston could hold off the surging Clarence side, but they dominated them all day, keeping them scoreless in the first quarter to take a 37-point lead into the first break. They never looked back and cruised their way to a strong triumph. Jack Tuthill was impressive in the backline, while Jake Hinds did not miss a beat in his return from suspension. Jarrod Harper was Clarence’s best in a tough day at the office.

An eight-goal opening term set up Glenorchy’s big win over North Hobart at North Hobart Oval on Saturday afternoon. Despite breaking their losing streak last week, North Hobart couldn’t convert in front of goal, kicking 3.13 for the day, ruling out any chance of a comeback. Glenorchy’s Daniel Joseph continued his strong run of form with a best on ground performance, while North Hobart’s Hugh Nj Williams fought hard all day despite the loss.

North Launceston a strong scalp for the season, taking down the Tigers at UTAS Stadium by 31 points in the final game of the round on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers started the season in blistering form, but the Bombers proved too strong, running away with a handy win. Bomber Bradley Cox-Goodyer returned to the side to deliver a best afield performance with two goals from the midfield, while Tyler Carter booted three goals for the Tigers.

Picture credit: Cory Sutton

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