Tag: jahmal stretch

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Finals Week 1 – Claremont vs. East Perth

CLAREMONT will face off against WAFL Colts minor premier Swan Districts for the second time in three weeks, after downing East Perth by 41 points in week one of the 2021 finals series. The Tigers were inaccurate early on but found their groove and snared crucial goals at the end of the first two terms to restore leads. A five-goal third quarter then helped Claremont break the contest open, before running out comfortable victors with another four majors in the final stanza.

We highlight a few of the top performers from either side in our Scouting Notes with a particular focus on state representatives, before taking a look around the grounds and up the grades.

>> Player Focus: Angus Sheldrick (Claremont)

SCOUTING NOTES

Claremont 13.9 (87) def. East Perth 6.10 (46)

Claremont:

#17 Hugh Davies

His final stats of seven disposals and two marks hardly do justice to the role Davies played in defence, with the bottom-ager making several important plays on the last line. He looked composed in a series of crises, able to work things out across defensive 50 and apply ample pressure on East Perth’s forwards when the ball hit the deck. In the air, he rose for some timely spoils and was desperate enough to keep the play alive with little margin for error.

#22 Sam Gilbey

Another bottom-aged defender who hardly garnered massive stats (six disposals, two marks, one goal), Gilbey still managed to show glimpses of his massively promising skillset on Saturday. Both of his marks were lovely intercepts up the ground, which he used to move the ball on quickly heading inside attacking 50. On the first occasion, Gilbey showed off his impressive left-foot kick with a booming goal just before quarter time, seeing Claremont regain the lead. He competed well to turn the ball over and pressed a high line, before being used further afield in the final term and even shaving the post with another shot on goal.

#27 Angus Sheldrick

Arguably the best player afield, Sheldrick got to work early and put in an absolute shift out of Claremont’s engine room. While able to win the contested ball with his strength and grit, Sheldrick also displayed a phenomenal work-rate to get his legs pumping with some green ball and find possessions around the ground. He helped drive the Tigers forward and despite lacking a finishing touch at times, put the ball into dangerous spots. He was in the wars during term three with a head knock and big hit from Jye Amiss, but got back to work to finish with a game-high 24 disposals, 12 tackles, and five inside 50s to go with a first term goal.

#29 Jahmal Stretch

The crafty small forward is one who has the ability to light up any passage of play, and certainly did that with his 10 disposals, three marks and two goals. An early rush of blood saw him burn a teammate over the top when running into an open goal, but Stretch built into his best work by hitting the ball at speed and springing up for marks inside 50. His first goal came shortly after a set shot fell short, and he added another in term four with a quick snap which showcased his high level goal sense. With terrific pressure acts and sparks of individual brilliance, Stretch continues to be an eye-catching goalsneak.

#32 Jacob van Rooyen

He doesn’t need too many chances to make a real impact, and that is exactly what van Rooyen did during a three-goal third quarter. The strong-bodied key forward helped Claremont kick away with majors at the beginning, middle and end of term three after a relatively quiet first half. His fundamental strengths were solid throughout without much opportunity, but came to the fore during said period with a couple of strong pack marks and set shot conversions. While only earning a modest seven disposals, he made them count with four marks and those three majors to go with some imposing pressure acts.

#35 Luke Brown

Another bottom-ager who managed to show glimpses of potential, Brown finished up with a couple of really handy goals from his five touches. The 199cm ruck-forward first got his hands on the ball through sheer reach in the ruck, before booting those two majors in the second half. The first was a terrific bit of improvisation, as the bigman volleyed the ball home off a deep spillage. His second goal was also manufactured off a pack, as Brown gathered and quickly snapped the ball through to show great skill for a player of his size.

Others:

Claremont had a bunch of solid contributors on each line, starting with the likes of Talon Delacey (19 disposals, five inside 50s) and Kendyll Blurton (15 disposals, five tackles) in midfield. Arthur Jones was again productive on the wing with 17 touches and five inside 50s, while Campbell Rogers played a key hand down back. Speaking of, Sean Williams’ effort to keep leading goalkicker Jye Amiss scoreless was outstanding, as was Peter Coles’ three-goal haul at the other end. In the way of state squad members, Under 17 prospects Edward Allan (wing) and Will Bailey (forward/wing) had their moments, and top-age tall Eric Benning missed with a calf complaint.

East Perth:

#4 Ethan Regan

The West Coast NGA candidate started in midfield, with the East Perth coaches perhaps looking for him to make an early statement with his size and explosiveness. That did not quite eventuate, but Regan built into the game well from his usual high half-forward post. His kick penetration lead directly to goals on two occasions, as Regan linked East Perth from beyond the attacking arc into more dangerous positions.

#7 Jye Amiss

Having built a remarkable streak of kicking multiple goals in all of his previous WAFL Colts and state Under 19 outings, Amiss was finally shut-out on Saturday. The West Australian spearhead was hardly given an inch inside attacking 50 and did not always receive the best delivery in any case. Most of his work was done further afield, where he ventured on searching leads and showed some really nice moments of poise to hit targets on the way back to goal. He later showed signs of a confidence dip with a couple of dropped marks, perhaps the product of perceived pressure having been under the pump all game.

#9 Kade Dittmar

A strong figure in the East Perth midfield, Dittmar offered plenty of his usual power and contested ball winning prowess on Saturday. His physicality on the inside was evident, as he looked to bustle through tackles and apply some punishing ones of his own. While Dittmar gained a good amount of distance on his clearances, with eight of his 15 disposals sent inside 50, he tended to dump kick at times and couldn’t quite hit the target with a couple of attempts on goal. Still, his intent matched the finals atmosphere.

#11 James Tunstill

Tunstill was one who started the game brightly, producing some eye-catching moments in midfield and rotating forward to snare a first term goal. He was prominent at ground level, collecting the ball cleanly and finding ways to slip or spin to the outer where he could gain a bit more meterage. His goal came from a set shot after marking well overhead, converting the chance well from 40m. Tunstill finished up with 14 disposals and three inside 50s, marking a solid return after his promising opening.

#26 Kaden Harbour

Another who was productive in spurts, Harbour brought good intent and effort to the finals contest. He chased up loose balls and worked up the ground for his side, with one play seeing him break at pace with two running bounces before kicking inside 50. The small forward produced another great inside 50 foray in term three which was not finished off, and his closest attempt on goal hit the post with a snap from the pocket.

#34 Jedd Busslinger

Hardly overawed by the finals occasion as a bottom-ager, Busslinger saved his side’s blushes several times on the last line of defence. The 195cm prospect proved difficult to beat both aerially and at ground level, showing great composure to mop up under pressure and move the ball on cleanly. He was never rushed despite the heavy pressure at times, and proved his commitment with a goal-saving mark which saw him thud into the goal post. Busslinger was swung forward in term four, and finished with four marks from his nine disposals.

Others:

No East Perth player notched over 20 touches on Saturday, but speedy midfielder Jayden Peak was the closest with 18. His run-and-carry proved productive, as did the skills of wingman Oscar Armstrong (13 disposals), who kicked a fantastic long-range goal in term three. Kalani Brooks was another to step up in midfield with 16 disposals and five tackles, while state Under 17 squad member Jordyn Baker showed a bit with nine disposals up on the wing.

AROUND THE GROUNDS:

In the other colts final, East Fremantle advanced in Sunday’s knockout bout against West Perth, downing the Falcons by 29 points after trailing narrowly at the first break. The Sharks, bolstered by an array of quality state squad members, soon clicked into gear and manufactured nearly double the Falcons’ scoring shots (20-11).

It was unsurprising to see Josh Browne top the disposal charts once again, racking up a game-high 32 to go with six inside 50s and a goal. Fellow draft combine invitee Corey Warner and bottom-ager Jed Hagan supported him well, while Melbourne father-son candidate Taj Woewodin also found plenty of the ball. In-form tall Josh Cripps kicked a goal from 19 touches, and Jackson McManus – the nephew of Shaun – snagged a game-high three majors.

A pair of promising bottom-agers fared well for the Falcons, as Kane Bevan notched 31 disposals and six marks, while defender Griff Julian clunked eight grabs among his 23 touches. Luke Michael matched the latter’s marking feats, and Lochlan Paton got his hands dirty with 12 tackles to go with 18 disposals.

There was not as much action to speak of in a draft sense up the grades, but classy midfielder Matthew Johnson caught the eye with a team-high 23 disposals, nine marks and one goal in Subiaco’s finals win over West Perth. At League level, Jesse Motlop bagged a goal from 11 touches as South Fremantle held on in a one-point thriller against Claremont.

Featured Image: The 2021 WA Under 19s squad huddles before facing SA | Credit: WAFL via Twitter

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 22 – Claremont vs. Swan Districts

WAFL Colts minor premier Swan Districts earned a remarkable nine-point comeback victory over Claremont in Saturday morning’s top-of-the-table clash, proving the perfect sighter for finals. The Tigers lead at every break and dominated play in the first half, but two late goals in the second term gave the Swans a sniff. Having wrestled back some momentum but fallen even further back by three quarter time, Swans pounced in term four with five goals to one to cap off a stunning home-and-away campaign. We take a look at a few of the top performers from either side in our Scouting Notes, and take a look around the grounds.

SCOUTING NOTES

Claremont 7.13 (55) def. by Swan Districts 9.10 (64)

Claremont:

#22 Sam Gilbey

One of the most promising West Australian bottom-agers, Gilbey returned a positive performance in just his sixth Colts game for the season. The 185cm defender boasts a few handy weapons, headlined by his penetrating left-foot kick. He hit targets over long distances both on the rebound and going inside attacking 50, weaponising that side of his game in addition to some handy intercept marks. Gilbey finished the game with 21 disposals (15 kicks), four marks and four inside 50s.

#29 Jahmal Stretch

While he only registered nine disposals, Stretch made a big impact on the contest with six tackles and 2.3 as Claremont’s most likely small forward. The National Combine invitee loves to leap at the ball and very nearly pulled in some eye-catching grabs, with his two marks for the day coming at full stretch overhead. The electric Halls Creek native also impacted at ground level, hitting the ball at pace and taking it cleanly, before dishing off to bring others into the play or manufacturing his own shots on goal. His majors came in the second and third term, and could easily have been more as he hit the post twice.

#32 Jacob van Rooyen

Stationed back in his usual key forward post, van Rooyen looked in ominous touch early on. He took a couple of marks inside 50 and began to cause a bit of panic for Swans defenders, attracting a holding free kick for his first goal. The 194cm bigman made it two in a term when he won a wrestle to mark one-on-one, converting another set shot. He would go on to work further up the ground and while his marking influence was quelled, van Rooyen contributed one-percenters like blocks on fast breaks, unrewarded chases, and plenty of follow-up pressure after flying for marks. A quiet second half saw him finish with two goals from seven disposals and four marks.

#36 Eric Benning

One who warmed to the contest and built his impact over time, Benning popped up with some nice moments as a ruck-forward rotation. He began to get his hitout game going in the second term, palming some nice balls down to his midfielders’ advantage and carrying that trend forward. The Fremantle NGA prospect also won his own clearances and a few of them ended up producing marks inside 50. Benning managed 12 disposals, 19 hitouts and six inside 50s for the day.

Others:

Midfield pair Jacquin Ciminata (26 disposals, eight inside 50s, one goal) and Kendyll Blurton (23, five, one) both helped Claremont get on top early with their momentum from the middle, while Arthur Jones (21 disposals, eight inside 50s) was dynamic on the outside. Kieran Kavanagh also got his hands dirty, as Max Mumme flashed forward and bottom-ager Luke Brown took a couple of nice grabs with his long reach.

Swan Districts:

#2 Max Chipper

The Swan Districts accumulator was at it again on Saturday, picking up an unassuming 26 disposals and six marks from the engine room. Chipper showcased his running capacity throughout the day as he often dropped back to help move the ball out of defence, proving neat with his disposal despite relaxing on a few kicks. His consistent output has been terrific on both sides of midfield this season.

#8 Elijah Hewett

Another impressive bottom-ager, Hewett made a genuine impact on the game with his work from midfield. The 182cm prospect has a mature built for his age and used every bit of it to power out of congestion, either with a turn of speed or by dishing off in tackles. He started brightly with nine touches in the first term and went on to collect 24 for the match, also adding a goal in term three. He could have had another in the fourth, but instead made his mark with his intent to move the ball on quickly even if his kicks did not always hit the target.

#20 Bryce Watson

The fast rising defender showcased some of his best traits off half-back once again, racking up a game-high 28 disposals (21 kicks) and five marks. Watson was constantly there to mop up the ground balls, but also set up rebounds by positioning for intercept marks and spoils in the air. He often remained calm under pressure and spun nicely out of trouble, kicking to advantage up the field when moving at pace. While he grubbed a couple of kicks, Watson won some key possessions and ensured plenty of play went through him out of the backline.

#32 Tyrell Metcalf

Swan Districts’ main source of goals throughout the season ended up being a match winner on Saturday, booting 2.3 from 13 disposals and seven marks – including the one to put his side in front. Both of Metcalf’s goals came from set shots and he had a great knack of getting free inside 50, but was also made to work up the ground with few looks in the first half. He could have ended up with a bag if not for some inaccuracy, as he constantly looked to make things happen. Metcalf may well miss some finals action after a very ordinary act at three quarter time, and a few undisciplined moments were the only real blights on an otherwise exciting performance.

#38 Darcy Jones

The zippy bottom-ager again produced some really productive spurts on the wing, speeding his way forward with sharp skills. Jones was dangerous on fast breaks, using his pace to burn opponents behind him, before baulking the ones in front and making something happen inside 50. He was clean at ground level and went on one particularly swift running bounce foray, which we are sure to see more of in future.

Others:

Along with Watson, Lawson Humphries proved a reliable rebounder with his 23 disposals and eight marks from defence, doing most of his work by foot. Ben Hewett notched 18 disposals from midfield, while Angus Laurisson (14 disposals, five marks) played a key role on van Rooyen in defence after quarter time. Elsewhere, Kobe Farmer formed a handy partnership with Metcalf up forward, and 2005-born talent Riley Hardeman popped up with some eye-catching moments off the wing.

AROUND THE GROUNDS

Peel Thunder won out by 15 points against Subiaco in a battle between seventh and eighth, adding a consolation sixth win to their season tally. The Thunder trailed at the final break and had less of the ball overall, but created 51 inside 50s to 22 to overwhelm the Lions at the death. Michael Sellwood racked up a game-high 28 touches for the victors, while draft combine addition Luke Polson booted 2.2 from 17 touches. Bottom-ager Jacob Evitt was again productive for Subi, snaring a goal from his 22 touches.

An eight-goal to nil opening term set the tone for West Perth’s 102-point beatdown of Perth, who finished the season last at 0-16. The Falcons dominated with 126 more disposals and 31 more inside 50s, culminating in 32 scoring shots to five in the run-in to finals. Jack De Marte (30 disposals) lead all comers, while the likes of Darcy Dixon, Kane Bevan, Luke Michael, and Lochlan Paton were the other Falcons to find plenty of ball in an even team spread.

East Fremantle was another side to show ominous form on the eve of finals, besting fellow top five contender East Perth by 31 points. State Under 19s pair Josh Browne and Corey Warner both racked up over 30 touches, while recent draft combine additions Taj Woewodin and Josh Cripps each booted two goals in big performances. Promising tall Jack Williams also snared three goals for the Sharks. James Tunstill lead the Royals’ disposal count with 26 as Kade Dittmar managed 17, and Jye Amiss registered a steady 2.2 in the defeat.

Up the grades, Peel Thunder utility Brady Hough was exceptional on League debut with 22 disposals, nine marks and a goal playing off half-back and the wing. Over-age defender Jack Avery rounded out a solid season with Perth, while Jesse Motlop proved his worth in South Fremantle’s side ahead of finals with 2.2 from 13 disposals.

Image Credit: Swan Districts Football Club

In the Mix: How the WA/SA U19 extended squad members fared this week

WHILE 46 of the best AFL Draft prospects out of West and South Australia took the field in Saturday’s Under 19 National Championships bout, there were a bunch of extended squad members who were forced out either through injury or the inevitable selection squeeze. We take a look at how they fared this week in their respective WAFL and SANFL grades in a special edition of In the Mix.

>> Scouting Notes: All 46 players – WA vs. SA U19s

Western Australia:

Two of Western Australia’s three squad emergencies were in action for East Perth on Saturday, as the Royals beat Subiaco quite comfortably while Jahmal Stretch‘s Claremont had the bye. Up forward, speedy small Kaden Harbour was dangerous around goal with 1.3 from 12 disposals and four marks, while bottom-ager Jedd Busslinger clunked four marks from 13 touches at the other end.

In the same game, extended squad member Oscar Armstrong (21 disposals, seven marks, one goal) also extended his consistent run of form for the Royals, as the electric Richard Farmer (26 disposals, six marks, seven inside 50s, 1.3) was arguably Subiaco’s best player in the 51-point loss.

Elsewhere, late squad addition Joshua Cripps, the brother of Carlton co-captain Patrick, was a key cog in East Fremantle’s 21-point win over West Perth. The ruck-forward contributed 20 disposals, five marks, 16 hit-outs and three goals in the victory, including two in the final term to help his Sharks kick away. He also formed a nice partnership with Ed Curley, who notched 16 touches and laid eight tackles with a bit of speed and class in the front half.

Perhaps one of the picks of the lot in Round 21 of the WAFL Colts competition was Luke Polson, who dominated up forward as Peel Thunder downed Perth by 38 points. The mobile big man clunked seven marks and registered 3.6 from his 15 disposals, marking a promising return to the level. He had previously been trialled down back with the state side, but was squeezed out given WA’s wealth of tall options.

There were a bunch of injury casualties which also impacted selection, none more so than the late out of state vice-captain Neil Erasmus. The Subiaco midfielder couldn’t quite get up from a corked thigh which flared up during the week, and was replaced by Max Chipper in the side. The losses of Jaiden Hunter (elbow) and Kellen Johnson (ankle), and Jarrad McIlvinney also made for some improvisation to the defence. Speaking of, West Perth rebounder Zac Fleiner was touch-and-go for a return, but again just missed out.

South Australia:

Like Western Australia, one of South Australia’s three state Under 19 emergencies (Shay Linke) had the bye this week, while the other two got some run in their legs. Harvey Harrison was one, and he was in fine form for North Adelaide’s Under 18s with 34 disposals, seven marks, and 10 clearances as the Roosters beat Sturt. Luca Whitelum was the other, claiming 25 touches and seven marks in Central District’s Under 18s loss to Woodville-West Torrens.

In the same game as Whitelum, big man Saxon Evans fared well aerially with four marks and 32 hitouts. A couple of Norwood prospects who are working their way back to form off recent injuries also turned out at SANFL Under 18s level. Top-age tall Ned Carey managed 10 disposals, 23 hitouts and a goal, while Alastair Lord (21 disposals, 1.2) showed plenty of his trademark dash rotating through midfield and defence, as Norwood was defeated by Glenelg.

Fellow Redleg Henry Nelligan was one who played up, turning out in the League grade. He contributed 18 disposals, five tackles and a goal as Norwood claimed an important win over North Adelaide. Another to taste senior action was Woodville-West Torrens’ Brayden Calvett, who managed 14 touches, six marks and two goals in the Eagles’ Reserves win over Sturt.

Among those unavailable for selection, Cooper Murley (collarbone) was arguably South Australia’s most glaring injury omission. Explosive North Adelaide midfielder James Willis (ankle) has also spent time on the sidelines, while the likes of Will Spain, Zac Phillips, and Dayne McGary were others who did not hit the field this past weekend.

Featured Image: Brayden Calvett gets a kick away for Woodville-West Torrens | Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

TEAMS | 2021 AFLU19s – Western Australia vs. South Australia

THE 2021 AFL Under 19 National Championships have finally arrived, with Western Australia set to take on South Australia at Lathlain Park on Saturday afternoon. The highly anticipated clash was initially delayed in its original Sunday slot, but is back on after eased border restrictions. The Croweaters will thus travel West, led by pick one contender Jason Horne-Francis, who lines up in midfield alongside deputy Mani Liddy and South Adelaide teammate Matthew Roberts.

Western Australia will be skippered by East Fremantle top-ager Finn Gorringe, who takes his place in defence while vice-captain Josh Browne prepares for an epic engine room battle. Fellow deputy Neil Erasmus will miss due to a bad corky, replaced by running machine Max Chipper. There are few real surprises across either line-up, though the hosts’ tall forward riches sees Jacob van Rooyen starting in defence. The Black Ducks are stacked in midfield too, with first round prospect Matthew Johnson squeezed out to a forward flank.

The South Australians boast a good mix of speed and class, with the likes of Port Adelaide father-son prospect Jase Burgoyne, Glenelg wingman Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, and top 10 candidate Arlo Draper among those to watch in the tricolours. Central District League representative Shay Linke was unlucky to miss the SA interchange, while electric Claremont small Jahmal Stretch would have narrowly missed the cut for WA. Both have been named as emergencies.

The action begins at 1:00pm local time, with both sides inevitably itching to get a proper taste of representative action. All 2021 National Championship fixtures are set to be broadcasted. Stay tuned to Draft Central over the next few days, as we’ll have a wrap of the game and Scouting Notes on every player to come on Monday.

>> PREVIEW: Where it’s won – WA vs. SA U19s

2021 AFL U19 National Championships

Western Australia vs. South Australia
Saturday August 28, 1:00pm AWST
Lathlain Park

FINAL SQUADS

Western Australia:

B: F. Gorringe, J. Avery, B. Watson
HB: R. Bazzo, J. van Rooyen, J. Hagan
C: C. Warner, G. Sheldrick, T. Woewodin
HF: M. Johnson, J. Williams, L. Paton
F: E. Benning, J. Amiss, J. Motlop
R: J. South, J. Tunstill, K. Dittmar

Int: J. Browne, B. Hough, J. McVee, E. Regan, M. Chipper
Emg: J. Busslinger, M. Chipper, K. Harbour, J. Stretch

South Australia:

B: M. Litster, Z. Becker, B. O’Loughlin
HB: C. Beecken, O. Adams, J. Burgoyne
C: I. Birt, M. Roberts, N. Wanganeen-Milera
HF: A. Draper, M. Ferres, L. Grubb
F: H. Stagg, J. Lukac, I. Dudley
R: O. Steene, J. Horne-Francis, M. Liddy

Int: L. Cooke, H. Jackson, C. Kennedy, J. Owens, L. Rayson
Emg: H. Harrison, S. Linke, L. Whitelum

Featured Image: (Left to right) West Australian leaders Josh Browne, Finn Gorringe, and Neil Erasmus | Credit: WAFL via Twitter

Where it’s won: Western Australia vs. South Australia Under 19s

THE 2021 AFL Under 19 National Championships are poised to go ahead in some form on Saturday afternoon, as Western Australia hosts South Australia at Mineral Resources Oval. While the clash, originally scheduled for Sunday, was postponed in the wake of state border closures, eased restrictions will allow the South Australian squad to travel without the need to quarantine.

With extended squads already announced for both states and plenty of stars among them, keen draft watchers will already have a good idea of who to watch in the highly-anticipated fixture. With those players in mind, we take a look at where the game will likely be won, and a few of the marquee match-ups poised to light up the big stage. Stay tuned, as both sides will be revealed tomorrow.

>> Squad Previews: South Australia | Western Australia

WHERE IT’S WON

The Midfield Battle

Both engine rooms match up quite well, with some of the premier players from either side set to feature at the centre bounces. All eyes will be on pick one candidate Jason Horne-Francis, who skippers the South Australian squad and will likely anchor the Croweaters’ midfield alongside top-age deputy, Mani Liddy. Add Matthew Roberts into the starting mix, and SA has a strong, reliable mix of ball winners.

That trio is matched well by WA’s likely lot, set to feature Subiaco pair Neil Erasmus and Matthew Johnson along with East Perth battering ram, Kade Dittmar. The trio has some serious size about it, measuring up at an average of 188cm compared to the 183cm stature of SA’s group. That may be levelled out by the physicality of Horne-Francis and Liddy, with Roberts and Johnson the types who will respectively look to thrive off that inside battle.

In terms of depth, both teams bat pretty deep. SA will look to rotate recent League debutant and top 10 prospect Arlo Draper from the front six, along with Glenelg bull Hugh Stagg. Classy Port Adelaide father-son candidate Jase Burgoyne is another viable option from half-back, along with the likes of Hugh Jackson, Cade Kennedy, and Shay Linke off the bench. On the outside are a couple of pure wingmen in Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera and Isaac Birt, who provide some class and running power to further the team’s balance.

Western Australia’s depth is equally formidable. Corey Warner, the brother of Sydney’s Chad, and East Fremantle teammate Josh Browne would fancy starting spots, with the former also a capable wingman. The strong-bodied Angus Sheldrick has proved his worth as a mid-forward rotation piece, while James Tunstill is another East Perth ball winner who may feature, and Melbourne father-son hopeful Taj Woewodin can chip in from half-back. On the outer, Max Chipper is a running machine, while Brady Hough and Lochlan Paton have the versatility to contribute in multiple roles.

With a handy balance of inside grunt, class, and outside run, both midfields will be quite obviously central to their sides’ fortunes. WA’s representatives have already gotten a taste of how they may work together in a number of trial games, and while the SA squad will share plenty of familiarity, they may have some catching up to do. Having two leaders at the source certainly helps, though.

The Talls

Plenty has been made about Western Australia’s array of tall forward options, with the Black Ducks boasting a true embarrassment of riches in said department. Leading WAFL Colts goalkicker Jye Amiss is an absolute deadeye and doesn’t need too many opportunities to impact with multiple goals, while versatile East Fremantle tall Jack Williams thrives aerially and looks a likely centre half-forward/ruck candidate.

Having been thrown into defence during WA’s trial games, Jacob van Rooyen booted 11.5 in his last two Colts outings, while Claremont teammate Eric Benning has also shown his developing forward craft of late and could pinch-hit from the ruck. The Black Ducks are not as strong at the other end of the ground, but Swan Districts standout Rhett Bazzo is a classy intercept-marker who should organise the fort well and Jack Avery can play above his 190cm standing. 195cm bottom-ager Jedd Busslinger may also feature.

South Australia’s starting key defenders, Zac Becker and Oscar Adams will certainly have their hands full. The former reads the play well and is built nicely at 92kg, but the latter will have plenty to do aerially at 198cm, while Cooper Beecken (191cm) may have to play slightly above his size. The Croweaters have some height and power of their own at the other end, with Jordan Lukac and Morgan Ferres strong starting pair supported by Lukas Cooke and Luca Whitelum off the bench.

We may well see some big bags of goals kicked given how well both sides stack up in attack compared to defence, at least in the tall department. With 2021 looming as largely a midfielder’s draft at the top end, opportunity awaits for the talls who can step up on the big stage and potentially shoot into top 15 contention.

The Smalls

With so many bigmen taking the field, the smalls will be equally important in helping capitalise on contest spills in attack or mopping up down back. South Australia will gain a good mix of speed and smarts from Central District pair Lachlan Grubb and Isaiah Dudley up forward, while the likes of Blayne O’Loughlin and Lewis Rayson are serious rebounders in defence. Rayson may also roll up to a wing, while O’Loughlin can play forward or impact in midfield at 171cm.

WA has some dangerous small forwards to watch, headlined by Fremantle NGA prospect Jesse Motlop. Along with Claremont’s Jahmal Stretch and East Fremantle’s Kaden Harbour, there is some serious skill, speed and smarts at the feet of WA’s talls. Down back, Swan Districts defender Bryce Watson has impressed of late, while Finn Gorringe would provide some physicality to go with the class of fellow Sharks, Jed Hagan and Judd McVee.

Whichever set of smalls can better capitalise on the work of their talls will contribute greatly to opening the game up and releasing a bit of pressure off the bigmen. With such a focus on the talls and midfielders, these are the types who may pop up in important moments or have an impact after flying under the radar.

Featured Image: Western Australia’s Matthew Johnson (left) and South Australia’s Jason Horne-Francis in AFL Academy colours | Credit: Michael Klein/Herald Sun

2021 AFL Draft Combine list released

THE list of 2021 AFL Draft Combine invitees was released on Monday, with 90 of the country’s brightest prospects selected to show their athletic wares next month. The list will be extended to 120, with 60 of that total allotment set to attend the National Combine on September 29-30 at Marvel Stadium. The remaining 60 invitees will participate in state-based testing days held around Australia.

>> Top 25: August Power Rankings update

Among the initial 90 invitees is an even spread of talent from each National Championships region. With Victoria supplying around half of the usual draft intake each year, 41 of the state’s best prospects (19 country, 22 metro) earned invites. 11 of the 13 included Allies squad members also turned out at NAB League level, giving the competition strong representation.

The West and South Australian crops look strong as ever, with both states producing 18 players to the initial intake. Among them is pick one candidate Jason Horne-Francis, who features alongside South Adelaide teammates and fellow first round fancies, Arlo Draper and Matthew Roberts. Subiaco pair Neil Erasmus and Matthew Johnson lead the WA contingent, along with a raft of key position options.

>> Indicative draft order: Who’s in the top 10 mix?

There aren’t too many surprises among the allotted crew, with only one player chosen outside of the Under 19 realm and 87 of the chosen 90 born in 2003. 20-year-old Central District key defender Leek Alleer is the lone ‘mature’ ager, while Eastern Ranges’ Corey Preston and Giants Academy member Harrison Grintell are the only 19th-year players in the mix.

For the most part, players have been selected directly from the representative squads put together ahead of this year’s National Championships, which continue to be postponed. Tasmanian Will Splann is one who came from outside the Allies squad, while Northern Knights pair Anthony Caminiti (tall forward) and Ned Long (midfielder) did not feature for Vic Metro after trials – though, the latter was injured.

Nick Daicos is a pick one contender

Nineteen players are club-tied, split between father-sons, Northern Academy products, and Next Generation Academy (NGA) hopefuls. Oakleigh Chargers teammates Nick Daicos (Collingwood) and Sam Darcy (Western Bulldogs) are father-son candidates who could yield bids within the top two picks, while Jase Burgoyne (Port Adelaide) will likely end up at Alberton outside of the first round.

Giants Academy standout Josh Fahey headlines the Northern Academy input, along with fellow AFL Academy member Austin Harris (Gold Coast). Top 10 candidate Mac Andrew looks set to be the sole NGA product taken before pick 20, but there is plenty of talent clubs will have exclusive access to.

Among them is rising St Kilda-tied pair Mitchito Owens and Marcus Windhager, who impressed enough to earn Vic Metro selection. Over in WA, ruck/forward Eric Benning (Fremantle) and athletic utility Ethan Regan (West Coast) have risen into contention, and the has been conjecture over Jesse Motlop, who also features as a Dockers NGA selection but will only land there past pick 40.

2021 AFL DRAFT COMBINE LIST

NSW-ACT:

Angus Anderson – Sydney Swans Academy
Ryan Eyers – Murray Bushrangers
Josh Fahey – GWS Academy
Harrison Grintell – GWS Academy
Patrick Voss – Oakleigh Chargers/GWS Academy

Northern Territory:

Andy Moniz-Wakefield – NT Thunder
Ned Stevens – NT Thunder/Gold Coast Academy

Queensland:

Will Bella – Gold Coast Academy
Austin Harris – Gold Coast Academy
Bodhi Uwland – Gold Coast Academy

South Australia:

Leek Alleer – Central District
Cooper Beecken – Glenelg
Isaac Birt – South Adelaide
Jase Burgoyne – Woodville-West Torrens
Lukas Cooke – Woodville-West Torrens
Arlo Draper – South Adelaide
Morgan Ferres – Sturt
Jason Horne-Francis – South Adelaide
Hugh Jackson – North Adelaide
Shay Linke – Central District
Cooper Murley – Norwood
Blayne O’Loughlin – North Adelaide
Lewis Rayson – Glenelg
Matthew Roberts – South Adelaide
Hugh Stagg – Glenelg
Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera – Glenelg
Luca Whitelum – Central District
James Willis – North Adelaide

Tasmania:

Sam Banks – Clarence
Baker Smith – Clarence
Will Splann – North Hobart

Vic Country:

Mac Andrew – Dandenong Stingrays
Jamieson Ballantyne – Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Miller Bergman – Dandenong Stingrays
Tom Brown – Murray Bushrangers
Sam Butler – Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Campbell Chesser – Sandringham Dragons
Judson Clarke – Dandenong Stingrays
Toby Conway – Geelong Falcons
Josh Gibcus – Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Cooper Hamilton – Bendigo Pioneers
Ben Hobbs – Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Mitch Knevitt – Geelong Falcons
Kai Lohmann – Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Connor Macdonald – Dandenong Stingrays
Charlie Molan – Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Josh Rachele – Murray Bushrangers
Josh Rentsch – Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Jai Serong – Gippsland Power
Hamish Sinnott – Greater Western Victoria Rebels

Vic Metro:

Finn Callaghan – Sandringham Dragons
Anthony Caminiti – Northern Knights
Paul Curtis – Western Jets
Nick Daicos – Oakleigh Chargers
Sam Darcy – Oakleigh Chargers
Youseph Dib – Oakleigh Chargers
Josh Goater – Calder Cannons
Blake Howes – Sandringham Dragons
Tyreece Leiu – Eastern Ranges
Ned Long – Northern Knights
Mitchito Owens – Sandringham Dragons
Corey Preston – Eastern Ranges
Lachlan Rankin – Oakleigh Chargers
Josh Sinn – Sandringham Dragons
Jake Soligo – Eastern Ranges
Tyler Sonsie – Eastern Ranges
Zac Taylor – Calder Cannons
Dante Visentini – Sandringham Dragons
Josh Ward – Northern Knights
Darcy Wilmot – Northern Knights
Marcus Windhager – Sandringham Dragons
Karl Worner – Oakleigh Chargers

Western Australia:

Jye Amiss – East Perth
Rhett Bazzo – Swan Districts
Eric Benning – Claremont
Josh Browne – East Fremantle
Kade Dittmar – East Perth
Neil Erasmus – Subiaco
Brady Hough – Peel Thunder
Matthew Johnson – Subiaco
Jesse Motlop – South Fremantle
Lochlan Paton – West Perth
Ethan Regan – East Perth
Angus Sheldrick – Claremont
Jahmal Stretch – Claremont
James Tunstill – East Perth
Jacob van Rooyen – Claremont
Corey Warner – East Fremantle
Bryce Watson – Swan Districts
Jack Williams – East Fremantle

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 18 – Claremont vs. Subiaco

CLAREMONT extended its WAFL Colts winning streak to nine games in Round 18, after thumping an undermanned Subiaco to the tune of 68 points at Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday morning. The Tigers were in ominous form from the first bounce, and all but wrapped up the result by half time having poured on 17 scoring shots to set up a remarkable 52-1 lead at the main break.

Subiaco fought to make for a more competitive game thereafter, booting two goals in each of the closing terms with the Lions’ first majors coming at nearly 15 minutes into the third quarter. The percentage-booster sees Claremont sit pretty in second with a game to both first and third, while Subiaco’s premiership defence may require swift saving as the Lions are currently poised in seventh after three-straight losses.

We take a look at a few of the top performers from either side in our Scouting Notes, and go around the grounds with some of the other outstanding Colts performances out of Round 18.

SCOUTING NOTES

Claremont 13.16 (94) def. Subiaco 4.2 (26)

Claremont:

#27 Angus Sheldrick

Having played a starring role in Western Australia’s Under 19 trial games, Sheldrick transferred that form into his latest Colts outing. The strong-bodied midfielder was typically prominent at the coalface, cracking in to win his own ball and making repeat efforts in tight scrambles. He found plenty of the pill and complemented his inside game well by finding a bit of green ball on the outer, bursting forward and delivering punchy kicks into attack. While his execution was sometimes inconsistent, you couldn’t fault Sheldrick’s work rate as he collected a game-high 28 disposals.

#29 Jahmal Stretch

Another who really boosted his stocks in representative colours, Stretch plays the small forward role so well. He again proved a dynamic part of Claremont’s balanced front six, creating a wealth of opportunities and diverse avenues to goal. His forward pressure caused spills and chaos around goal, his speed off the mark saw him get off the leash when leading, and his evasiveness caused plenty of headaches for Subiaco’s defence. Stretch also poses a marking threat with his leap, and nabbed his lone goal of the game by lurking at the back of a contest and judging the ball well to mark overhead in the goalsquare. He had a couple of long-range set shots fall short and was unselfish enough to give a couple off, too.

#32 Jacob van Rooyen

After a foray to defence while pressing his claims in the state squad, van Rooyen looked back to his ominous best up forward on Saturday. The bullocking key position prospect was an imposing force in the early stages, launching himself into marking contests and taking opponents with him. His strength drew panic from defenders in one-on-one situations, where van Rooyen would protect the drop zone and take marks despite being fouled from every angle. At ground level, he made things happen with punishing tackles and fend-offs, bullying the undermanned opposition at times. After attending a single centre bounce and working well up the ground, van Rooyen was stationed deeper to cap a fine game which yielded 22 disposals, nine marks, and six goals. He looks far too developed to be playing Colts footy, at least when he shows this sort of form and confidence.

#35 Luke Brown

From a matured tall prospect to one with plenty of development left, Brown continues to show glimpses of his potential. The raw 199cm talent rotated between the ruck and key forward posts on Saturday and earned plenty of chances to impress with his 10 disposals, five hit-outs and four scoring shots. While the bottom-ager snapped home a terrific goal in the second term, he put another three chances wide and showed his rawness with a couple of dropped marks inside attacking 50. But with his height, reach and overall upside as a tall, Brown still has plenty of time to fill out and refine his skills at the WAFL Colts grade.

#36 Eric Benning

Playing almost exclusively as a key forward this time out, Benning was on fire with four goals and arguably the best highlights package of anyone afield. He looked unbelievably confident, proving difficult to spot on the lead and plying his trade both in the air and at ground level. The Fremantle NGA prospect presented strongly inside 50 and got separation with his turn of speed, while using that same trait to apply good forward pressure. His best goal came after smothering a kick-in before mopping up and snapping home, but Benning also finished from the pocket and via a 45m set shot. He made good on terrific service and has shown a steep rate of development in recent weeks to give the Dockers – and other recruitment teams – something to think about.

Subiaco:

#12 Jacob Evitt

Arguably Subiaco’s best and most damaging player on a tough day, Evitt produced a good amount of drive from midfield. The bottom-ager is built well for a smaller prospect and showcased his handy turn of speed, helping the Lions move to the outer and break forward with intent. Evitt backed his pace and was able to generate more run as the game wore on, while also hitting the scoreboard with two excellent second half goals. His first major came on the back of pure gut running, as the 17-year-old streamed through midfield to deliver a long kick forward, before getting the ball back and slotting it home from just inside 50. His second was converted closer to the big sticks, as he crumbed a long ball to the hot spot and snapped through on his left foot.

#21 Jed Kemp

Kemp was up against it given Claremont’s depth and strength in midfield, but did well to finish the game as his side’s most consistent ball winner with 27 disposals. He worked into the game but was made to think quickly, bombing clearing balls forward and flicking away handballs under heavy pressure at the contest. His best moments came in the final term; finding a bit of space and showing poise to hit Evitt inside 50, before staying down as Claremont defenders flew to swoop on the ground ball and nab a goal late in the piece.

AROUND THE GROUNDS

Swan Districts continues to soar atop the WAFL Colts ladder after defeating Peel Thunder by 38 points, proving more productive forward of centre with double the scoring shots in a 12.14 (86) to 7.6 (48) victory. After streaming ahead with eight goals to one in the first half, they proved too good to topple thereafter.

Max Chipper was back to his accumulating best with 39 disposals and eight marks for the Swans, as Noah Hannan also ticked up over 30 touches to go with six marks and five inside 50s. Tyrell Metcalf snared three goals for the second week running, while in-form midfielder Ben Hewett managed two. State Under 19s defender Rhett Bazzo showcased his aerial game with eight marks.

Joel Rush was Peel’s sole multiple goalkicker with two, as the likes of Scott Tuia and Byron Finch also hit the scoreboard to complement their 20 disposals apiece. State Under 19s utility Brady Hough notched a team-high 33 touches, while Luke Polson found it 13 times after making his League debut last week.

East Fremantle moved up into fourth place with a crucial win over South Fremantle, leading at every break in the 50-point triumph. The Sharks were served well by returning stars; namely Taj Woewodin (25 disposals, six inside 50s), Jed Hagan (20 disposals, one goal) and Jack Williams (17 disposals, seven marks, 5.3). Joshua Cripps, the brother of Carlton’s Patrick, was also prominent with 23 touches and three goals. For South, Chase Bourne and Caleb Stephens flew the flag as the only Bulldogs to register over 20 disposals.

Meanwhile, East Perth consolidated its standing in third with a 91-point thumping of Perth. Midfielders Oscar Armstrong and Kade Dittmar both snared two goals from over 20 disposals each, but Royals spearhead Jye Amiss was the star of the show. The rising key forward booted six majors from 18 disposals and 11 marks, bringing his season goal tally up to 47 from 11 games. On a tough day for the winless Demons, no player registered over 13 possessions.

Plenty of prospects were also away on PSA duties, while a few also played up the grades. Perth’s Jack Avery continued his good form with 20 disposals and six marks in Perth’s League loss to East Perth, while bigman Jake South (13 disposals, 14 hit-outs) and highly-touted midfielder Matthew Johnson (seven disposals) suited up for Subiaco’s reserves in a 28-point loss to Claremont.

Image Credit: Claremont Football Club

Ones to Watch: The draft prospect bottleneck brimming with talent

WHILE the top end of the 2021 AFL Draft pool is shaping up nicely despite constant injuries to gun players, unexpected season intermissions, and the absence of an Under 19 National Championships, a massive bottleneck remains just outside of first round contention. Draft Central released its August Power Rankings update on Monday, which ranked the nation’s 25 best prospects, but had about 40 in contention for said honours.

With such an even crop forming around the 20-35 mark, we nominate a player from each national carnival region who could soon rise up the ranks to feature in future rankings, while also highlighting a bunch of other players to watch as regular season fixtures wind down. Some of the talents listed below were also spoken about in the latest Final Siren Podcast episode, where the Draft Central crew fielded your questions.

VICTORIA

Potential Riser: 

Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons)
31/01/2003 | 180cm/74kg | Midfielder

Arguably the 26th player in our August Rankings, Taylor may have already made a case for pushing into the top 25 come September’s edition. The small midfielder boasts excellent skills, vision, and decision making, which is exactly what you want from a player who finds the ball as much as he does. At 180cm, Taylor can also double as a pressure forward and utilise those reliable skills in the front half, but has really found a home as Calder’s primary ball winner of late. Over his last three NAB League outings, the 18-year-old has averaged 34 disposals, seven marks and six tackles en route to taking out the Round 15 Player of the Week. He is one of the form players of the draft pool right now, and is proving difficult to deny.

Ones to Watch:

There are plenty of Victorians in the mix as usual, with most already sneaking into the top 25 – like Tom Brown, Sam Butler, and Judson Clarke this past month. Arguably the next biggest riser has been St Kilda Next Generation Academy (NGA) hopeful Mitch Owens, a winger from the stacked Sandringham Dragons regions. The 190cm gloved goer has done plenty of growing over the last year and was a late call-up to last month’s Vic Metro side. He took his chance well, and was in fine form for the Dragons with 25 disposals, six marks, and seven tackles in their most recent outing.

Fellow Sandringham wingman Blake Howes has previously featured in our rankings and remains around the mark, with his athleticism and versatility boding well for a talent with incredible upside. Having rolled up to the wing from his usual forward post in 2021, the 190cm Vic Metro representative has added strings to his bow and booted two goals from 20 touches in his latest NAB League appearance.

Connor Macdonald and Jake Soligo are a couple of small midfielders with handy turns of speed who have no trouble finding the ball, and can also roll forward to impact the scoreboard. Collingwood NGA prospect Youseph Dib is another in that small category at 174cm, but has a mature body which stood up to the rigours of VFL football earlier in the year. He has stood up in midfield recently with his strength and speed around the contest, but is also able to play pressure roles at either end of the ground. Oakleigh teammate Lachlan Rankin is another to monitor; offering versatility, natural smarts, and clean skills in a range of roles.

At the taller end of the midfield scale, Geelong Falcons ball winner Mitch Knevitt has consistently been a standout for his region at the coalface. While he has plenty of room left for improvement, clubs will likely look at his speed, contested work and 193cm frame as traits which point towards workable upside. Fellow big-bodied mid Ned Long has been sidelined of late, but was in promising form at the start of the NAB League season.

There are a couple of defenders who have also impressed throughout the year to prove their potential, in Justin Davies and Oscar Morrison. Both represented Vic Country and have nice combinations of tall and small traits at just under 195cm. Meanwhile, Morrison’s Geelong Falcons teammate Toby Conway has firmed as one of the premier rucks available, standing at over 200cm with handy craft in that department and evolving influence around the ground.

Dandenong Stingrays midfielder Connor Macdonald

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Potential Riser:

Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (Glenelg)
22/02/2003 | 188cm/70kg | Wing

A smooth-moving wingman with elite pedigree, Wanganeen-Milera is among one of the more eye-catching South Australian prospects. The nephew of Essendon and Port Adelaide champion, Gavin, he caught the eye last year with his speed and dare on the outer for Glenelg’s Under 18s, and has since plied his trade in the senior grades. After 11 Reserves outings, the 18-year-old earned a League berth with the Bays this season and was even a late addition to the AFL Academy squad in April. His skill and poise on the ball made him a standout in South Australia’s Under 19 trial game last month, and with his collection of high-level attributes as a tall and raw wingman, Wanganeen-Milera is certainly on the rise.

Ones to Watch:

After being considered among the top 10-20 prospects coming into 2021, Norwood midfielder-forward Cooper Murley was squeezed out of out latest top 25. It’s through no real fault of his own though, with the productive attacking runner first missing out on AFL Academy duties due to an ankle injury in April, before suffering a collarbone injury in the opening minutes of a SANFL Under 18s outing last month. With an extended run and some more senior action, he can quickly improve his stocks.

A trio of club-linked prospects have put themselves in contention with sustained form in 2021, particularly at Under 18s level. Port Adelaide father-son prospect Jase Burgoyne is quite highly regarded in his state, with versatility and clean foot skills among his best traits. While he is quite light-on, he enjoyed a steady three-game stint with Port’s SANFL outfit this season and has no trouble finding the ball.

Adelaide NGA products Blayne O’Loughlin and Isaiah Dudley are crafty smalls who will also come into consideration, and both have even managed to crack the Reserves grade. North Adelaide leader O’Loughlin is the nephew of Michael and loves to generate defensive rebound with his speed and kicking, while Centrals’ speedster Dudley also has good pedigree, with his high-level footy smarts boding well for a future in the small forward role.

North Adelaide midfielders Hugh Jackson and James Willis have both thrown their hats in the ring as potential bolters, but offer quite different strengths. Jackson has clearly been the SANFL Under 18s’ top ball winner with an average of 31.7, while also leading the league for handballs and inside 50s. He has a handy turn of speed, as does the explosive Willis. While a touch more raw in his finished product, Willis certainly catches the eye with his power and agility in the engine room.

State Under 16 and Under 19 teammates Lewis Rayson and Morgan Ferres continue to be thereabouts too. Rayson’s drive and kick penetration on the outer has proven a consistent feature of his game, while Ferres booted 13 goals from a whopping 21 scoring shots in his two SANFL Under 18s outings this season. Both have earned Reserves berths, while Centrals midfielder-forward Shay Linke has broken through to the top flight this year and showed some promise.

Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera in SA colours | Image Credit: AFL Photos

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Potential Riser:

Jesse Motlop (South Fremantle)
23/11/03 | 176cm/74kg | Small Forward

Fremantle staff and fans alike will be cursing a technicality in the NGA rules which may see Motlop snatched from their grasp. NGA products from metro regions in South and Western Australia are only eligible to join their aligned clubs with a bid past pick 40, and Motlop has certainly staked his claim to be taken well within that range. The speedy small forward has a terrific eye for goal and applies valuable pressure, which he showed in his WAFL League debut for South Fremantle last month. The son of former Port and North Melbourne forward, Daniel, has also featured at PSA level for Aquinas College and led the competition’s goalkicking as a Year 11 last year. He can also roll into midfield but will likely pique the most interest with his work inside attacking 50.

Ones to Watch:

Twin talls Jacob van Rooyen and Rhett Bazzo were highly touted coming into the season and while they have shown glimpses of top 25 potential thus far, may have fallen just outside that range. Claremont’s van Rooyen is a noted key forward who has shown his versatility this year with time in midfield and more recently, down back. A glandular fever diagnosis halted his initial run at League level. Bazzo, an Under 16 All Australian defender, has arced back to his intercept-marking roots of late after being trialled up forward earlier in the year. Both are AFL Academy members and will be key state Under 19s figures.

Among the recent League debutants are Corey Warner and Luke Polson, who are quite different prospects. Warner, the brother of Sydney’s Chad, is a real goer out on the wing while Polson is a mobile and versatile tall talent who is not afraid to run with the ball. Along with this pair, one of the state’s biggest risers has been West Coast NGA product Ethan Regan, out of East Perth. At 189cm, he is an explosive unit with terrific aerial prowess and the ability to cover good ground in transition.

It would be remiss not to mention some of WA’s top performers in the recent state Under 19s hitouts. Big-bodied midfielders Kade Dittmar and Angus Sheldrick have been superb across the three games, while Dittmar’s Royals teammate James Tunstill is a promising type. The likes of Jahmal Stretch and Kaden Harbour are lively small forwards entering the conversation, while Taj Woewodin should have Melbourne’s attention as a potential father-son pick-up. Meanwhile Lochlan Paton and Brady Hough have been solid across a few different roles for the Black Ducks.

Jesse Motlop celebrates a goal on his League debut | Image Credit: South Fremantle/WAFL

ALLIES

Potential Riser:

Sam Banks (Tasmania Devils)
2/04/2003 | 187cm/73kg | Half-Back

Banks has long been on the radar as Tasmania’s standout draft prospect for 2021, having taken out Under 16 Division 2 MVP honours in 2019. He also made eight appearances for the Devils’ NAB League side in the same year and has turned out in the TSL for Clarence. While he was sighted up on a wing and through midfield in the past, Banks has played almost exclusively in defence this season upon battling injury. A broken wrist saw him miss out on representing the AFL Academy in April, but the 18-year-old made his NAB League return in Round 11 and has looked promising with his rebound running and skills by foot across half-back. He could be in for a boost with an extended run and some more showings of his potential in roles further afield.

Ones to Watch:

Banks’ fellow Tasmanians Oliver Davis and Sam Collins have gotten back on the horse after being overlooked last year. Hard-nosed midfielder Davis attracted mid-season draft interest and is currently part of Adelaide’s reserves squad, while Collins has moved up to Victoria and linked with reigning NAB League premier, Oakleigh Chargers, where he has featured in midfield upon returning from injury. Forward Jye Menzie is another in the top-age category, and recently snared a bag of goals in the Devils’ Under 17 vs. Under 19 clash.

There are plenty of Northern Academy prospects who their respective clubs will look at closely. Brisbane has seen the likes of Saxon Crozier, Tahj Abberley, Toby Triffett, Charlie Bowes, and Will Tasker take strides at state league level this year, having all remained in the Lions’ system as 19-year-old talents. Gold Coast has more 2003-born talents in the pipeline, including AFL Academy member Austin Harris. He, too has gained VFL experience along with defender Bodhi Uwland and twin talls Will Bella and Jack Johnston.

Elsewhere, Giants Academy member Josh Green (brother of Tom) trained with Richmond during preseason and may still have some interest, while Murray Bushrangers prospects Charlie Byrne and Cameron McLeod were among those to have some interest at the next level – both during preseason and in this year’s mid-season intake.

Sam Banks in action for Clarence | Image Credit: Solstice Digital

Scouting Notes: WA Under 19s vs. East Perth

THE WEST Australian Under 19s squad made good on another opportunity to gel, this time by trumping East Perth by 42 points on Saturday. Magnets were shuffled and top prospect Neil Erasmus made his return from a quad injury in the 16.6 (102) to 9.6 (60) win, which came against a Royals line-up consisting of Colts and Reserves players.

While usual forward Jacob van Rooyen showed promise in defence, the Black Ducks’ stocks were dealt a blow with talls Jarrad McIlvinney (concussion) and Rhett Bazzo (ankle) failing to run out the game. There were plenty of impressive performances nonetheless, which we outline in the latest edition of Scouting Notes.

WA U19s 5.2 | 8.5 | 12.6 | 16.6 (102)
EAST PERTH 1.0 | 4.2 | 6.4 | 9.6 (60)

GOALS:

WA U19s: L. Polson 4, J. Amiss 3, J. Stretch 3, L. Paton 2, R. Farmer 2, K. Harbour, A. Sheldrick
East Perth: C. Sparks 2, T. Graham 2, J. Hubbard, S. Kuek, M. Thomas, J. Cahill, R. Cox

WA UNDER 19s:

#7 Angus Sheldrick (Claremont)
7/11/2003 | 179cm/88kg | Inside Midfielder

A strong performer all year for Claremont and Christ Church Grammar, the hard-nosed midfielder did what he does best – winning plenty of the ball through the midfield and using his strength and smarts at stoppages, while also accumulating around the ground. Although not known for his speed, he had a great passage of play after first winning a clearance, then finding his way on the end of the passage by burning an opponent into goal, but just missing the shot. Sheldrick would finally nail a goal from a free kick after showing his strong play to take on tacklers, which he did all game. He proved difficult to tackle, while also being a strong tackler in his own right.

#8 Jahmal Stretch (Claremont)
16/01/2003 | 181cm/62kg | Small Forward

The Halls Creek product plying his trade at Claremont isn’t eligible for Fremantle under their NGA, so he will be available to every team in the 2021 National Draft and is certainly catching the eye with every passing game with his clear talent and smooth movement. Stretch nailed three goals; his first came from a running passage in the second quarter, before nailing a set shot after an impressive mark going back with the flight. His final goal was a lovely gather and snap goal in the third quarter. Stretch was able to hit the scoreboard but also set up others goals with his clean hands and skills inside 50.

#13 Bryce Watson (Swan Districts)
28/01/2003 | 182cm/71kg | Defender

The smoothing moving defender from Swan Districts showed plenty of class and athleticism, proving a strong defender while also offering plenty of composure and skill with ball in hand. Watson has a good leap and often did well to spoil from behind. When he got front position he attacked the contests hard and cleanly, with a nice passage of play in the second quarter highlighting this as Watson gathered and spun, although his kick was ultimately smothered. While his kicking wasn’t as sound in the second half, he still looked composed and clean from half-back and with continued games like this, he will announce himself as one of the better draft options as a small defender.

#21 Neil Erasmus (Subiaco)
2/12/2003 | 188cm/80kg | Midfielder

Despite a slow start, Erasmus had a huge game playing through the midfield coming off an injury. The Subiaco and Hale prospect was a smooth mover in the midfield, with his composure with ball in hand and skills by hand and foot a real step above. Erasmus showed shades of Brisbane young gun Hugh McCluggage with his work-rate around the ground and composure to hit all his targets despite the pressure, with is kicking on either foot a real feature. Erasmus was great in chaining disposals with some nice marks at half-back and then working up the ground to get involved multiple times in the same chain. Although he seems more suited to the outside, he showed good clearance work in the last quarter and as a player at 188cm with good marking overhead, Erasmus is looking a very complete prospect.

#23 Matthew Johnson (Subiaco)
16/03/2003 | 192cm/82kg | Midfielder

Although not as strong as in last week’s game, Johnson was solid through the midfield working well with his fellow on-ballers. Spreading well from the contest, the Subiaco midfielder standing at 192cm didn’t play the traditional big-bodied midfield role, leaving that to the likes of Sheldrick and Dittmar with Johnson helping out with his clean hands in the midfield chains. Johnson was very steady with his disposal for the most part and a long creative handball in the last quarter showcased his vision and smarts under pressure.

#30 Jye Amiss (East Perth)
31/07/2003 | 195cm/85kg | Key Forward

The East Perth key forward just continues to find the goals with ease, adding another three majors to his long tally of goals kicked this year. Amiss was hard to stop in the air, with his first goal coming in the first quarter – using his body well to protect the ball drop and mark. Amiss’ next two goals were more stock standard, with a nice lead up mark and set shot later in the opening term, and his third goal coming in the third quarter via a routine set shot from 50m. Amiss has a lovely set shot action with his only blemishes coming from shots in general play. Although he needs to do more outside 50, he took a nice contested mark in third quarter outside 50, showing he can be a good target up the ground.

Image Credit: @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

Scouting Notes: Western Australia U17 vs. U19 trial game

THE NEXT generation of West Australian talent took centre stage on Saturday, as the Under 17 and Under 19 state squads went head-to-head in Claremont. As expected, the elder and more developed Under 19s took out a one-sided victory, 17.13 (115) to 4.9 (33), but prospects from both sides were able to showcase high-level potential. We highlight some of the top performers in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

Note, Neil Erasmus, Josh Browne, Jaiden Hunter (injured), Jack Avery, Corey Warner, and Jesse Motlop (League commitments) were all unavailable for the clash. Rucks Jake South and Eric Benning also swapped to play a half for either side.

WA U17s 1.2 | 1.5 | 4.7 | 4.9 (33)
WA U19s 4.4 | 9.6 | 14.9 | 17.13 (115)

GOALS:

U17s: J. South, D. Curtin, E. Hewitt, J. Baker
U19s: J. Stretch 3, J. Amiss 3, J. Williams 2, A. Sheldrick 2, K. Dittmar 2, J. van Rooyen, M. Johnson, L. Polson, E. Regan, K. Harbour

BEST:

U17s: E. Hewitt, S. Gilbey, D. Jones, E. Allan, D. Curtin, J. Cleaver
U19s: K. Dittmar, M. Johnson, E. Regan, J. Stretch, J. Tunstill, A. Sheldrick

WA UNDER 17s (YELLOW):

By: Ed Pascoe

#1 Darcy Jones (Swan Districts)
3/04/2004 | 173cm/60kg | Midfielder

Jones didn’t play against South Australia in West Australia’s first 17s hitout, but proved he would have been a handy edition to the side as the creative small midfielder showed plenty with his clean hands and ability to find the football despite his size. Obvious comparisons could be made with Bulldogs star Caleb Daniel, who is another helmet wearing little star, although Jones’ disposal wasn’t to that high level. He still won plenty of the ball inside and outside the contest, and looked composed and clean when in possession.

#9 Elijah Hewett (Swan Districts)
27/05/2004 | 182cm/80kg | Midfielder

A tough customer and arguably best on ground for the 17s side, Hewett was a contested beast in the midfield, winning plenty of hard ball and releasing his runners well. Playing against some very solidly built midfielders in the 19s side, Hewett more than held his own in terms of contested ball winning and skill. He was a tough player to take down with his agility and ability to fend off with ease, and was rewarded with a lovely running goal after escaping congestion to dish off before working hard to get on the end of it and kick a long bomb from 50m in the third quarter. The solid midfielder continues to show he is one of the better midfield prospects for Western Australia in the 2022 draft.

#14 Sam Gilbey (Claremont)
14/05/2004 | 185cm/67kg | Defender

The smooth moving left-footed defender draws comparisons to a former Essendon star in Adam Ramanauskas, with his speed and agility to go with his class and skill by foot, making him one of the leading defensive prospects for the 2022 draft. Gilbey took a little bit of time to get into the game but once he did he got to show his quality, with his kicking and athleticism from the back half really catching the eye both offensively and defensively. A great run through the middle taking a bounce in the last quarter highlighted why he is such an exciting young talent, with the dangerous combination of speed and class.

#20 Jack Cleaver (East Fremantle)
22/05/2004 | 187cm/83kg | Midfielder

The tough left-footed midfielder has leadership written all over him and with his stronger body and smarts, he has shown over a few games now that he could play a range of positions. Cleaver didn’t get a huge amount of the ball but still showed plenty of his better traits with some nice bodywork and clean hands at stoppages, and an impressive mark in the second quarter which showed his strength overhead. Cleaver has proven to be one of WA’s leading draft prospects this season and will certainly feature again when the 17s championships continue later in the year.

#25 Edward Allan (Claremont)
26/05/2004 | 191cm/77kg | Wing

Missing the first game against South Australia like Jones, Allan showed he could have been a handy addition himself by winning plenty of the ball on the wing and proving to be a great link up option with his smarts and skills. A taller wingman at 191cm, he showed he could use that height to advantage, taking a very nice intercept mark down back in the first quarter to show he could work both ways as well. With solid skills and smarts, the Claremont prospect will look to stamp his place in the side when the championships conclude later in the year.

#30 Daniel Curtin (Claremont)
8/03/2005 | 190cm/86kg | Tall Defender/Forward

A standout in Western Australia’s first game of the Under 17 championships against South Australia, the medium sized key position player looked solid in his preferred role against the 19s down back in the first half, before getting a change of pace playing forward in the second half and showing some great versatility. It wasn’t the standout game like his first for the 17s, but he still managed to show his when class kicking a goal up forward. Although laconic in his approach, he was composed and strong with ball in hand and showed great bodywork against the bigger 19s key defenders.

WA UNDER 19s (BLACK):

By: Michael Alvaro

#2 Jed Hagan (East Fremantle)
15/10/2004 | 174cm/71kg | Small Defender

The sole bottom-ager afield for the Under 19s, Hagan proved once again he is up to the level with an assured game from defence. While capable of rolling through midfield, the East Fremantle product took a back seat to allow draft eligible prospects to shine, but performed his role well. Hagan’s clean skills played perfectly into his side’s style, with his short kicking game seeing the Under 19s transition efficiently. He was even entrusted with the kick-in duties, which he looked comfortable with.

#7 Angus Sheldrick (Claremont)
7/11/2003 | 179cm/88kg | Inside Midfielder/Forward

Rotating between the midfield and forwardline, Sheldrick played a key hand in his side’s midfield domination in the first half. The strong bodied ball winner wasn’t afraid to bustle through traffic and got his hands dirty at the contest, doing his best to break clear with little room to move. The second quarter was his best, as Sheldrick worked his opponent over to repeatedly get loose inside 50 and boot two goals. Both came via set shots, and Sheldrick even showcased some solid overhead marking on a couple of occasions later on.

#8 Jahmal Stretch (Claremont)
16/01/2003 | 181cm/62kg | Small Forward

A raw and exciting small forward, Stretch provided some spark for the Under 19s with his pace and pressure. He was gifted a good start by Jacob van Rooyen, who cut off an errant kick-in and handed him a goal over the top, but Stretch crafted his own chances as the game wore on. The Claremont talent took a nice two-grab mark at full stretch in the second term to convert another major, before adding a third in the following period from the same method. Stretch hit the post with a dribbler and put a couple more shots out on the full, but was certainly amongst the action inside 50. He capped his game with a spring-heeled fly and mark from the back just before the final siren.

#19 Kade Dittmar (East Perth)
14/01/2003 | 185cm/86kg | Inside Midfielder

Arguably the best player afield, Dittmar brought his bash-and-crash style to the midfield battle, but also added some more refined work in his disposal going forward. As expected of the big-bodied East Perth ball winner, he used his strength over the ball and burst out of packs at will, proving difficult to combat on the inside. He spread forward nicely too, breaking inside 50 to take a mark and goal in the first quarter, before bombing a long goal from the arc in term four. Dittmar also had a hand in multiple other goals, steadying to spear passes forward, hitting targets cleanly to really balance his game.

#20 James Tunstill (East Perth) 
18/07/2003 | 185cm/76kg | Midfielder

Waxing with East Perth teammate Dittmar in midfield, Tunstill found plenty of possessions and impressed with his ability to burst onto the outer. His turn of speed was a key feature while getting first hands to the ball, as Tunstill broke tackles and move the ball on effectively from the engine room. With the likes of Neil Erasmus and Josh Browne still to return for WA, Tunstill is one who may have just caused selectors the right kind of selection headache.

#23 Matthew Johnson (Subiaco)
16/03/2003 | 192cm/82kg | Midfielder

Johnson showed his class on Saturday and was the most polished player afield, looking smooth as ever in midfield. The first round prospect benefitted from others’ hard work at the coalface, proving a point of difference with his cleanliness and poise in possession. He often propped in traffic, drew opponents, and found teammates with aplomb by hand, seemingly unfazed by oncoming pressure. His kicking was also terrific, making for a really well-rounded game in the middle. Johnson hit the scoreboard too by taking a clean half-volley and snapping the ball home during term two.

#25 Ethan Regan (East Perth)
9/04/2003 | 189cm/80kg | Forward

The West Coast NGA talent enjoyed a few really promising purple patches, where he looked dangerous as the Under 19s headed into attack. One of Regan’s first acts was a crucial mark in the corridor, showcasing his explosiveness and aerial ability to make a risky kick look good. That same leap and reach was on show in a couple more instances, and while he was often an effective link inside 50, Regan also got forward himself for some chances on goal. He ended with just one major, from a set shot in the third quarter.

#29 Jacob van Rooyen (Claremont)
16/04/2003 | 193cm/91kg | Key Forward/Defender

On what ended up being an indifferent day for van Rooyen, he spent the first half up forward before behind shifted to defence. After handing one off, missing a sitter from the open goalsquare and spurning a set shot, the Claremont key forward got on the board in term two having used his body well in a marking contest. van Rooyen’s second efforts and ability to break tackles translated well in defence, as he had a couple of tough one-on-one moments but recovered to apply pressure and help relieve any danger.

#30 Jye Amiss (East Perth)
31/07/2003 | 195cm/85kg | Key Forward

Amiss simply doesn’t miss out and that was no different on Saturday, as the WAFL Colts leading goalkicker snared three majors for the Under 19s. All three of them came after half time, as Amiss benefitted from a personnel shift in the front six. He showcased his improving ground level game with a good crumb and snap in term three, before getting on the lead for another major in the same quarter. While most of his best work was done inside attacking 50, Amiss also took a couple of strong grabs presenting further afield. He looks a lock for WA’s starting forwardline.

#32 Luke Polson (Peel Thunder)
10/04/2003 | 196cm/94kg | Key Defender/Forward

Another tall who spent time at both ends of the ground, Polson earned another big tick for his versatility. He started in defence and displayed great mobility, enjoying his time in possession and looking to make things happen in transition. While that led to a few odd decisions in his disposal, Polson carried the ball well and stood up strongly in tackles. When shifted forward, he used that same strength when presenting as a leading target up the ground. The Peel Thunder prospect also slotted a nice goal on the fly during term three to further prove his dynamism.

#36 Rhett Bazzo (Swan Districts)
17/10/2003 | 195cm/79kg | Key Defender

While not an overly prolific outing for Bazzo, the Swan Districts swingman was able to bring forward some of his best traits in defence. He looked composed on the ball and distributed it nicely by foot, choosing the right options when there was nothing to kick to down the line. He also rose for a couple of nice intercepts across the defensive 50, but generally did not have too much to do down back with the Under 19s dominant for large stints of the game.

#43 Jack Williams (East Fremantle)
1/12/2003 | 194cm/95kg | Key Forward/Ruck

Williams looked ominous early as he snagged two goals in the opening term, coming from a mixed bag of opportunities. The standout East Fremantle tall used his size and reach in aerial contests and followed up well on a few instances, but was caught out for a lack of speed in others. He also pinch-hit in the ruck and was solid with his bodywork, but arguably looked more productive in attack. Williams could have finished with a couple more majors if not for inaccuracy, missing a pair of long set shots in the final term with a heavy ball.

Image Credit: @WAFLOfficial via Twitter