ALL eyes this week were on the huge Schools Championship clash with big draft names on show. Across the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) levels, young talent continued to make key contributions to their sides. As the minor rounds wind down for some clubs, the finals for others will be a great opportunity for elite talent to show what they can do under pressure and on a bigger stage.
South Australian Schools Knockout Championship – Prince Alfred College vs. Henley High School
By: David Chapman
In a repeat of last year’s final, the two teams came together after similar pathways. Prince Alfred College (PAC) finished top of the College Footy competition and that gave them the path straight to the final. Henley defeated Rostrevor (second in College footy) in the preliminary final after winning the Public Schools number one ranking.
In a slight surprise, Henley started Jack Lukosius at centre-half back, and with PAC’s Will Gould in the backline as well, we missed out on the match up of two Under 18 All Australians. However it was Lukosius that had more of the impact, repelling PAC attacks at will and running off his player to create an extra into attack. His highlight was probably the run off half-back along the wing in the second quarter and then a 50m bullet pass to Izak Rankine that would not have gotten three metres off the ground, such was its perfection. In a tough and entertaining match at half time Henley had scored three goals to PAC’s one.
Rankine’s touches were effective and he was always dangerous, and while the PAC defenders did well to quell his usual magic, the class of his disposals was telling. Jackson Mead was also a real threat up forward and Henley captain Beau Nunan was again instrumental in and around the packs and in the second half in particular showed real on field leadership. Henley’s Will Schreiber was hard at the footy and contest all game and a valued contributor to the winners. Yet ultimately it was the depth of the Henley squad which outshone PAC and saw them with the 6.10 (46) to 2.9 (21) victory.
For PAC, it was the two Under 17s in Karl Findlay and Kozzie Pickett that were best. Finlay playing centre-half back took a number of contested intercepts marks, and his disposal by foot was excellent. He would have to be in consideration for higher honours next year. Meanwhile Pickett was creative flying high at marks and duking opponents, almost impossible to tackle and when he was closed on, was able to stiff arm his opponent and then offload. Also scary was his ability to hit the contest and the opponent and this was on show with a couple of his bumps that shook the grandstand. Captain Tom Sparrow tried hard all night to drag his team back into the contest, but needed a bit more assistance through the middle. Will Gould went forward in the second half but PAC couldn’t get the ball in often enough, and they didn’t grab their chances in front of the goals either missing many set shots on goal.
Last year we saw 2017 draftees Zac Bailey (Brisbane) and Jackson Edwards (Crows) play in this game. There were a few more from the game that should see their named called out in November.
Jack Lukosius ended up with the Colin Steinert Medal for best on ground and Henley celebrated for the first time in 38 years
By: Jamie Morgan
A bit quieter week at League level, with only a handful of top-end talent taking the field. Connor Rozee again hit the scoreboard with one goal and 14 disposals for North in their narrow loss to League Leader, Norwood. Izak Rankine clocked up 16 disposals in the Bloods’ loss to Sturt, while big man Hugo Munn again booted a goal for the Double Blues playing key position, along with three contested marks.
The young Centrals trio of Jackson Hately, Jez McLennan and Aaron Nietschke were all solid contributors in their team’s win over Port Adelaide Magpies. Hately was very impressive finishing with two goals and helping steady his team in the last quarter.
At South in their one goal win over the Eagles, forward and overager Nathan Krueger’s season continued well with another three goals and five marks.
Sturt showed real guts in their two point victory over West Adelaide, once again the form and improvement in Casey Voss (son of Michael) is something that has to attract interest. His best on ground performance for the Blues was done with 20 possessions at 85% efficiency, combing for seven clearances and 14 tackles along with Tom Lewis.
Panthers Hayden Sampson was again a contributor finishing with one goal and 17 disposals to be in the best.
Sturt defeated West Adelaide and again key midfielder Jed McEntee was dominant for the Double Blues in a strong inside performance. West Adelaide pair William Gutsche and Jye Sinderberry continue to be key contributors for the Bloods and both have shown great improvement over the year.
South over ran Glenelg by 15 points in a tight game. Strong performances came from South and ex Sacred Heart Collegian Tate Lovering again leading the way, along with forwards Damon Freitag and Daniel Sladojevic. Glenelg leader Finn Betterman was hard in the contest showed with eight clearances and Henley High’s Tex Dowdell finished with a game high 26 disposals.
The Eagles overcame Centrals by 12 points, and it was a case of huge disposal numbers for Kai Pudney (42 disposals) and Jackson Mead (31 disposals) that helped their team over the line
Norwood rolled out their best team with a huge 76-point win over North. With a host of their top end talent back it was an easy victory for the Redlegs with Jacob Collins and Jacob Kennerly really damaging and key mid Kade Chandler best with three goals from 22 disposals.
The last round of U18 footy occurs this week with three teams all vying for finals spots, so it will be an interesting end to the season. All school football is now complete for most schools and SANFL clubs will get the majority of their College talent back for the finals series.