Tag: jason horne

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 7

ROUND 7 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in. Some sides remained slightly depleted over the weekend with school football making its return.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

WWT Eagles vs. West Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

WWT:

#7 Caleb Poulter

Despite spending the majority of his time running through midfield, Poulter accumulated most of his possessions on the outside. It beggars belief that he was able to find so much space around the ground, racking up 27 disposals and eight marks – largely uncontested in open play. He still showed glimpses of his contested work and the ability to flick out long, releasing handballs, while also looking to get on the move at stoppages as the Eagles’ anchor. One of the main restrictions on Poulter’s impact was his tendency to bomb the ball long looking for distance, rather than a specific target. While his penetration is usually effective, it worked against him at times as his kicks played right into West Adelaide’s defensive setup.

#9 Max Litster

Litster was a key cog in the Eagles’ midfield throughout the game, getting his hands dirty with 26 disposals and seven clearances. He dug in hard to win a bunch of ball at the centre bounces early on, which seemed to inject him with a deal of confidence as he continued to pop up with eye-catching efforts. He blazed away with a few kicks in the first half, but began to adjust in the second half with bursts away from congestion before delivering the ball forward. Litster’s strength and subtle turn of speed came to the fore, and he was a solid contributor for his side.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

The 2021 Port Adelaide father-son candidate returned monster numbers as he rotated through the defence and midfield, collecting a game-high 37 disposals, five clearances, nine rebound 50s, and a goal. While his stats were padded slightly by taking on the kick-in duties, Burgoyne had no trouble in finding his own ball in all areas of the ground. He looked dangerous in his forward movement, hitting the ball at speed and getting creative with his disposal on the up-take. His ability to chain possessions and provide a clean touch at the contest was noticeable, as was his knack of knowing exactly where the play was moving. Burgoyne looks a likely type for next year’s draft.

Others:

If not for inaccuracy in front of goal, big Henry Smith would have enjoyed a very good outing up forward, but instead booted 1.3 from his nine disposals, while Zac Phillips won 24 hitouts in the ruck. Harrison Dawkins was his usual self through the midfield and forwardline, collecting 23 disposals and booting a goal, while Jay Watson (two goals) and Jacob Godden (one) looked dangerous at ground level. Will Neumann was another to impress in patches, showing good physicality in his 11-disposal performance, which included four clearances and eight tackles.

>> WWT EAGLES CONTENT

West Adelaide:

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

While the pure numbers of 34 disposals, six clearances, and four inside 50s read incredibly well by anyone’s standards, Chamberlain still endured a tough night against solid opposition. He quite obviously has no trouble finding the ball and was constantly around the action, but it was more a case of struggling to generate any serious drive for the Bloods with his disposal – particularly in the first half. He would often find himself stuck with no support around him, by no fault of his own, or having to bomb long to a contest. He seemed to use his speed more effectively after half time to break away from congestion and deliver forward, though. There is always room for improvement, but Chamberlain is very much still West Adelaide’s primary ball winner.

#7 Cooper Gilbert

Gilbert was a positive mover through the Westies midfield, providing a physical edge at the contest while also remaining accountable. He may not have won mountains of the ball with 15 disposals and three clearances, but made his presence felt with solid defensive pressure and six strong tackles. He was one of the West Adelaide players to have run out the game strongly, and supply much-needed support to the likes of Chamberlain at the fall of the ball.

#12 Zac Venning

The West Adelaide defence was under siege after quarter time, and Venning was part of the commendable resistance. He took on some of the kick-in duties and was quite sound in his disposal by foot, while also chiming in with some much-needed intercept possessions both in the air and at ground level. While his sweeping role across the back half was largely an accumulative one, his 22 disposals and seven rebound 50s were all important to the Bloods’ cause.

Others:

Eduard van den Berg continued his solid form down back with another 27 disposals and nine rebound 50s, supported well by Kane Sherlock (18 disposals, seven tackles). Luke Young impressed up the other end with three goals from 17 touches, seemingly enjoying his own handiwork.

>> WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

North Adelaide vs. Sturt

By: Michael Alvaro

North Adelaide

#9 Jamison Murphy

It was a successful return to SANFL Under 18s action for Murphy, who slotted straight back into his role rotating through the midfield from half-back. He is not particularly quick, but just seems a level above in terms of his awareness, able to assess his options and run a full measure before delivering the ball cleanly by foot. Murphy was clean and composed on the last line, adding some sweeping defensive duties to his safe use of the ball going forward. He would later move into the midfield to good effect, even bombing home a 50-metre set shot in the second term. There are hardly any frills in Murphy’s game, but you know what you’re going to get with his hard work, strength, and efficient style.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

Newchurch was North Adelaide’s other AFL Academy hub member to return to SANFL Under 18s duties, and again showed glimpses of his raw talent. The Adelaide Crows NGA hopeful has terrific agility and evasiveness, and constantly utilised that aspect of his game on Saturday. He was often sighted running hard up the ground to find the ball and create a spark for the Roosters with inboard kicks, while also getting busy close to goal. Newchurch’s ability to collect the ball from forward 50 stoppages at speed was outstanding, and almost earned him a goal on multiple occasions. While the pop in his set shots came under question early on, Newchurch eventually found the big sticks with a nice snap in the second term.

#24 Kallis Freer

The Roosters’ most prolific ball winner on the day (28 disposals, five clearances), Freer was terrific after steadily building into the contest. He formed a terrific combination with Matthew Borg at the stoppages, often receiving the first handball out of traffic and bursting forward with speed and strength. That was before he went on to win a mountain of his own ball, providing great drive and accumulating well around the ground. His second term goal on the fly was his highlight of the day, and he even set one up for Zyton Santillo in the third.

Others:

Borg was again terrific from midfield with 26 disposals, seven clearances, and a goal. His ability to get first hands on the ball worked to release his outside runners well. The tall and small defensive duo of Lam Simon (21 disposals, 10 marks) and Blayne O’Loughlin (25 disposals, eight rebound 50s) again worked wonders, with Simon intercepting well in the air, while O’Loughlin buzzed away at ground level. Santillo was also an effective link heading forward, with his defensive pressure and handy aerial work helping him to 17 disposals and a goal.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Sturt:

#11 Will Spain

While his touches may not always be as noticeable as those of his midfield peers, Spain is such an important part of the Double Blues’ midfield setup. With Tom Powell spending a touch more time away from the centre bounces and stoppages, the diminutive ball winner was able to dig in and get first hands on the pill in heavy congestion. His feeding handballs made it easier for others to pump the ball forward, and set the tone for Sturt’s midfield edge. He is still a bottom-ager, so has plenty of time to continue to develop, and the work rate seems to be there already.

#17 Mani Liddy

Liddy arguably took over as Sturt’s prime mover through midfield on this occasion, and ended up as his side’s top ball winner with 30 disposals and seven clearances. His strength at the contest was outstanding, and there were countless times where he was able to either shrug off would-be tacklers with strength, or use his core to stand up and flick the ball out. Liddy’s releasing handballs were effective early, and he began to kick more as the game wore on – particularly long. While his tendency to try to fend off tacklers got him in trouble in the third term and may have the same effect at the elite level, Liddy still provides great ball winning quality and smarts through midfield.

#18 Tom Powell

If 27 disposals and 10 clearances makes up your quietest outing in weeks, then you know you’re going alright. Powell may have spent a good amount of time up forward for Sturt across this outing, but made his midfield minutes count when thrown back into the engine room. He worked into the game well after quarter time, again showcasing his composure on the ball with some terrific decision making by hand in traffic. Powell was as clean as ever and worked around the ground well to rack up some uncontested possessions, utilising sharp short-range kicks to help the Double Blues move into attack. He clearly looked more comfortable in midfield, and made a good impact as Sturt ran over the top of North Adelaide in the final term.

Others:

William Staples made his mark early with a couple of opportunistic goals, while Blake Higgins was another to start brightly, finding a good amount of space on the wing to finish with 23 disposals and 10 marks. William Taylor saw plenty of the ball down back (17 disposals, nine rebound 50s), while Tom Emmett‘s late goals up the other end proved crucial to the Double Blues’ win.

>> STURT CONTENT

Glenelg vs. Central District

By: Tom Cheesman (U18s) & Peter Williams (League)

Glenelg:

#10 Ty Murphy

Murphy worked hard up and down the outer wing for Glenelg, collecting 16 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and a goal in the draw. He has outstanding speed and used this asset to break away from opponents and get the ball moving quickly. A highlight was in the third term when he produced a clean pick-up to intercept the ball and goal from about 40 metres out on the run.

#11 Harry McInnes

Tall forward McInnes had a day he will never forget. He produced a brilliant first half, kicking three goals and impacting the contest whenever the ball went forward, whether it be through score involvements or forward pressure. He always led well at the ball carrier and showed great agility for his size when the ball hit the deck. In the second half, he kicked two more goals and had a chance to win the Bays the game with a set shot for goal after the siren (who trailed by one point at the time). Although he missed to the left, there is no way Glenelg would have scraped through with a draw without McInnes’ fantastic performance. He finished with 13 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and 5.4.

#16 Maxwell Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald played at centre-half back and showed that this position suits him to a T. The youngster read the ball brilliantly from one or two kicks behind the play and took multiple intercept marks with strong hands. Fitzgerald’s work rate was exceptional for a big man and his kick was also very reliable, hitting the majority of his targets when moving the ball forward. He finished with 15 disposals, seven marks, five rebound 50s and three tackles.

#20 Bailey Durant

Durant was positioned at half-back alongside Fitzgerald and put together arguably his best performance for the season. He came off the back of the square with pace at numerous centre bounces and impacted the contests. He was composed with ball in hand and was willing to push up the ground to launch the ball into the Bays’ attack. Durant finished with 18 disposals, four marks, four tackles and four inside 50s.

#27 Luke Parks (League)

A player I rated last season playing for Sydney Swans Academy, it was great to see him continuing the form he has already set himself this season. He looks comfortable at senior level, able to control the airways, not panic with ball-in-hand on the last line, and use the ball effectively going long down the line, or in switching the play. He took a whopping 10 marks – four contested – and was a real thorn in the Bulldogs’ side with his ability to get into the right position and outmark his direct opponent. He did not have as many touches as he has had in previous weeks, but he earned them all, finishing with 14 disposals, four tackles, two clearances and two rebounds. As an over-ager he looks to have ticked the box to compete against quality senior players in one of the top state leagues in the country, so certainly deserves a look-in this year.

#30 Luke Edwards (League)

Making his debut in the League side, Edwards did not look out of place having the chance to run out alongside his brother, Jackson. He was busy early with a goal assist midway through the term thanks to a clever kick across his body. It almost looked like it was going to bounce through, but sat up and Matthew Snook had the nice cherry pick on the goal line to make it a certainty. He provided an option at half-back and played the safe option with his ball use, but it was his defensive pressure and willingness to crack in that caught the eye. Having second and third efforts at the contest, and refusing to give in, Edwards finished with a really solid, 10 disposals, three marks and five tackles, whilst also recording a behind.

Others:

Riley Davis (20 disposals, two goals) worked tirelessly for the Bays and kicked an important clutch goal from a set shot. Connor Drum (16 disposals, two goals) was accurate in front of goal while Jarman Sigal (17 disposals, 14 hitouts, seven tackles) used his athleticism to impact contests in the ruck and around the ground.

>> GLENELG CONTENT

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

McDonald had another strong game for the Bulldogs. In what turned out to be a scrappy affair, the youngster was a quite simply a class above. He worked hard at stoppages, ran back to help his defence whenever required and kicked to his teammates’ advantage when moving the ball forward. McDonald clearly tried to make his team go more central with their ball movement by frequently presenting for the switch in the centre square to open up both sides of the ground. He filled the stats sheet with 24 disposals, eight clearances, seven tackles, six marks, six inside 50s and five rebound 50s.

#15 Lewis Cowham

Cowham returned to the Under 18 side for this clash against Glenelg and was arguably the best performer on the ground. He hunted the ball relentlessly at stoppages, was smart by hand and took multiple intercept marks because of how well he positioned himself around the ground. Cowham demonstrated the ability to use both sides of his body by foot and linked up well with other midfielders in transition. He finished with 24 disposals, seven tackles, six marks and five clearances.

#32 Saxon Evans

Evans was one of Central’s standout performers in this outing. He played in the ruck and up forward, switching with fellow big man Wyatt Ryan. While he was fantastic in the ruck with 32 hitouts, Evans was incredibly potent up forward, kicking four majors for the day. He played in front at most forward 50 contests which allowed him to use his size and mark quick entries out of the middle. Evans also has a nice set shot for goal, highlighted when he slotted a difficult kick from the 50-metre arc on a tight angle in the first term.

#39 Wyatt Ryan

As mentioned above, Ryan shared the ruck duties with Evans and was also very impressive in this contest. He provided a great option for the Bulldogs coming out of defence, taking numerous strong marks on the wings above his head in contested situations. He then gave quick handballs to runners that were coming in waves to break through the Tigers’ defensive setup and launch deep into attack. Ryan finished with 17 disposals, 11 hitouts, eight marks (four contested) and a goal.

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

A really clean prospect whose work at ground level is superb. He does not fumble too many ground balls, and he just knows how to rove a marking contest with ease. He had an early chance in the match by doing just that and kicking towards goal but went across the face and stayed in. Throughout the first half he looked really busy and was winning a fair chunk of the ball in the opening term, even pushing up to half-back at one stage. He hit up Troy Menzel inside 50 midway through the term, and almost had a mark close to goal at the 17-minute stage but it slipped through his hands. He did a lot of running up the ground to win the ball through midfield and even at half-back in the second term. He had a chance on goal again in that quarter, showing clean hands out of the stoppage and receiving the ball back, but rushed a little and his kick went across to the right. He finally got on the end of one in the third term kicking a major on the run from 35m. While his second half was not as huge numbers wise as his first, he continued to look dangerous whenever the ball was in his area. Durdin ended with 11 disposals – 10 kicks – two marks, two tackles, an impressive five inside 50s and a goal.

#32 Jack Toner (League)

The ex-Dandenong Stingrays ball magnet continued his work at Under 18s level last year to have no issues whatsoever getting to the right spots in his third League game for the year. Handed the responsibility of kickouts more often than not, Toner would look to run-and-gun out of defence. At times the pace caught up with him and he would have to rush or was run down, but when he was able to execute cleanly, the Bulldogs looked a lot more damaging. He showed off a raking long boot and even pushed up to half-forward at one stage, showing quick hands and an ability ti move the ball in transition. He started a scoring chain for Central midway through the second term, and beat his season-high from last week with an extra disposal to have 21 touches, three marks, five rebounds, two clearances and two inside 50s in a promising display.

#52 Lachlan Grubb (League)

Didn’t win a heap of it, but was not afraid of the contest and used the ball well when he did get it. In just his second League match, he showed clean hands when he had it, and spread to the flanks and up to the wing when required to be lively. He often looked for the short pass, but he also had the athleticism to worry opponents into rushing at times, and finished with nine disposals, four marks and a tackle in the loss.

Others:

Christopher Tidswell (12 kicks) worked hard once again in defence, displaying some nice run and link-up with teammates. Kobe Wilson (18 disposals, five marks) used his pace to impress down the wing and kicked an outstanding running goal (after a fantastic crumb from Lowan Welch) to put his side in front at the 25-minute mark of the final term. Finn Reed (nine disposals, four inside 50s, one goal) was lively up forward.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

South Adelaide vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide:

#4 Max Clifton

Max Clifton fought hard in the midfield all day against a talented Norwood on-ball unit. His long left-boot stood out, launching several bombs down the line and also nailing a goal on the run from beyond the arc early in the second term. Clifton’s disposal by foot would continue to be a feature of his game from that point on, with his ability to execute a difficult kick and find Brayden Cook on his own deep inside-50 another excellent example. He finished the match with 16 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three clearances and five inside-50s.

#10 Brayden Cook

Medium forward Brayden Cook has shown some glimpses of his talent already this season, but his four goal effort against the Redlegs will have really turned some heads. He slotted his first goal from a regulation set-shot after floating across the pack to take a nice mark. Later, Cook swooped at the back of a marking contest and gathered the loose ball cleanly before accelerating away and kicking long for a teammate to run onto and goal from the square. Later in the final term he showed excellent hustle to force a turnover, gather the loose ball and complete a clean pass to Clifton, who then returned the favour by finding him all alone inside-50, where he booted his fourth. Cook’s cleanness by foot, aerial prowess and speed at ground level was exciting to watch and he finished the day with 16 disposals (15 kicks), eight marks (three contested) and four inside-50s.

#23 Phoenix Spicer

Spicer added some real excitement to the game with his speed and ability to break the lines. He embarked on several long runs on both wings and would have accumulated plenty of metres gained. Although his disposal whilst travelling at speed wasn’t always effective, there’s no denying his outside talent and ability to break open a game with his electric leg speed. He concluded the match with 17 disposals, four tackles and a game-high nine inside-50s.

#27 Will Verrall

South’s 16-year-old tall shared the ruck duties with Heath Treloar and also spent some time up forward. Despite his age, Verrall looked at home at under-18s level, with his athleticism a real positive. He moves extremely well for a big man and took a big contested mark early in the game to get the Panthers rolling. Verrall finished with eight disposals, three marks and 18 hitouts and looks to be one to watch evolve at under-18s level across the next couple of years.

#33 Jason Horne (League)

At just 17 years of age, Jason Horne made his league debut on Sunday afternoon at Coopers Stadium. He spent the entire match in the forward line, often opposed to Emmanuel Irra, and didn’t look out of place from the moment he entered the field, winning himself a holding the ball free kick in the opening minutes. He provided some run and carry on a couple of occasions and was strong in the air when he needed to be. Aside from a poor forward-50 entry in the second term, Horne’s foot skills were solid. He spotted a teammate inside-50 who kicked a much needed goal for the Panthers later in the game. He wasn’t provided with lots of opportunities, but certainly showed some encouraging early signs. He finished with nine disposals, three marks, two tackles and three inside-50s.

Others: 

Ruckman Heath Treloar performed well and provided the South Adelaide midfielders with a plethora of taps to advantage. He played a vital role in South’s second quarter revival and finished the match with eight disposals and seven tackles to go with a game-high 24 hitouts. Jayden Little had a couple of nice moments across half-back and through the midfield. He collected 15 disposals, five marks, three clearances and five rebound-50s. Left-footer Jack Flett was another to impress across half-back. He found plenty of the footy and set-up much of the Panthers rebound from the back-half. Flett finished with a team-high 20 disposals and eight marks (two contested). Although slight in his build, midfielder Luke Mitton had his moments in attack and on the ball, headlined by a breakaway clearance in the first term. He finished with 12 disposals, five tackles and six clearances and was one of the Panthers best. Key defender Harry Spacie was trusted with the kick-ins and was one of South’s better players in a high-scoring opening term. He took a couple of strong contested marks and accumulated 20 disposals and seven rebound-50s.

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

Bottom-ager Cooper Murley continues to shine at under-18 level after another excellent showing in the red and blue at Flinders University Stadium. The silky smooth midfielder/forward was never flat-footed at stoppages and looked to get on his bike early in the hope of receiving the ball in a dangerous position, which he was successful in doing on multiple occasions. His running patterns and ability to accelerate away from his opponents allowed him to accumulate plenty of the ball. Murley’s ability to remain composed and hit his targets by foot whilst running at high speed is a trait which not many can master, particularly at his age. He kicked a classy goal on the run from a tricky angle late in the first term to extend the Redlegs sizeable lead, but it was his involvement at one particular centre bounce which would have really excited AFL scouts. His direct opponent didn’t go body-on-body at the centre bounce and allowed him some space, which Murley took full advantage of. He accelerated away from the pack, gathered the ball at speed then turned and hit ruckman Nathan Hearing all alone across the other side of the stoppage with his left foot. He is simply too quick and skilful to be allowed any space to operate in. Although the flashy stuff was eye-catching, Murley also tackled hard and took three terrific marks whilst facing the opposite direction by simply reading it better than his Panthers opponent. The exciting talent finished with a game-high 31 disposals, seven marks, six tackles, four clearances and six inside-50s.

#5 Henry Nelligan

Nelligan returned to under-18s level after stints with the league and reserves sides and was typically industrial around the ball. He spent time up forward but was most effective as an inside midfielder. Regularly the last player to stand up after a contest, Nelligan won plenty of contested ball and was the leading clearance player on the ground with eight. He tackled strongly and with intensity and booted two goals from set-shots inside-50. A significant proportion of his kicks were hurried snaps out of congestion but in general play his skills were relatively clean. He finished with 24 disposals, two marks and ten tackles.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

Cavallaro’s skills with ball in hand, football smarts and composure were all prominent in the win over the Panthers. He was instrumental in Norwood’s third goal, kicking long to the goal square where teammate James Warton marked and converted the subsequent set-shot. It was encouraging to see Cavallaro back his foot skills and look to hit several in-board targets. Although he spends most of his time on the wing and across half-back, ‘Cav’ showed he is capable of winning his own ball by cracking in hard when it was his turn to go. Wherever possible, he lowered his eyes and surveyed his options instead of taking the simple option and kicking long down the line. Cavallaro’s vision to spot a teammate in space at the other side of a stoppage helped get the ball moving Norwood’s way and quick handballing was superb once again. He capped off another strong outing with a goal from right on the 50 metre arc in the third term. Cavallaro finished with 19 disposals, five marks and four inside-50s.

#17 Daniel Fairbrother

The intercept-marking machine was at it again across half-back for the ‘legs. Fairbrother’s ability to read the play downfield and position himself to cut off opposition forward entries has been vital to Norwood’s terrific start to the season. He was strong in the air, but at ground level he provided some meaningful rebound from the back-50 and didn’t shy away from any contest. Although many of his kicks were short and relatively low percentage, his foot skills were sound for the majority of the clash and helped construct several attacking passages. Fairbrother finished with 23 disposals, nine marks (three contested) and seven rebound-50s.

#21 Jack Saunders

It was another strong showing from consistent midfielder Jack Saunders. He spent some time on the inside but earned most of his possessions on the outside of the contest and in open space, where he was able to use his excellent acceleration to provide run and carry between the arcs. Although his ability to accumulate the football week-in, week-out is impressive, question marks loom over Saunders’ disposal by foot, which has been up and down so far in 2020. However he was largely sound by foot against the Panthers and delivered a couple of beautiful kicks inside-50 to leading teammates. His goal off only a couple of steps from right-on the 50 metre line in the third term was a real highlight and his ability to impact the scoreboard has proven invaluable for Norwood. The blonde-haired on-baller finished with 24 disposals, eight marks, four tackles and six inside-50s.

Others:

Taj Rahul performed well in his half-back role. He used his speed and long foot skills to generate rebound from the Redlegs defensive-50. His attack on the ball was also encouraging to see. He collected 12 disposals, four marks, three tackles and four rebound-50s. Key forward Finn Heard was once again the focal point of the Norwood forward line. He consistently gained separation from his direct opponent on the lead and converted all-bar-one of his chances to finish with three goals. Ruckman Nathan Hearing had a couple of Panthers opponents to contest against at Noarlunga. He won a couple of nice taps to advantage but it was his excellent work at ground level which really stood out, particularly for a player of his size. One of the best big men in the SANFL under-18 competition, Hearing picked up 19 disposals, six clearances and four inside-50s to go with his 16 hitouts.

>> NORWOOD CONTENT

SANFL weekly wrap: Round 7 – Race for the last finals spot hots up

ROUND 7 of the SANFL saw the League finals race hot up, as Norwood triumphed over South Adelaide to create a mid-table bottleneck. Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) continues to lead the way in the top grade and remain undefeated at Reserves level, while Sturt and Norwood have broken clear atop of the Under U18s standings. Read all about that, and more in our wrap of the action.

>> SCROLL for full results 

WWT Eagles vs. West Adelaide

League: WWT Eagles 11.2 (78) def. West Adelaide 4.6 (30)
Reserves: WWT Eagles 16.15 (111) def. West Adelaide 3.5 (23)
Under 18s: West Adelaide 6.8 (44) def. by WWT Eagles 8.17 (65)

The Eagles picked up a hat-trick of wins over West Adelaide on the weekend, headlined by senior performances which kept them top of the tree. Their 48-point League drubbing was earned in a seven-goal to one second half, while the Reserves hardly looked challenged en route to a 88-point triumph. At an undefeated 7-0, the Eagles remain a game clear atop the two’s ladder and are nothing short of a finals lock. Westies’ haul of just two wins across the three grades stands, as they sit bottom in the Reserves and Under 18s competitions.

James Rowe and Tristan Carcuro did the damage in the Eagles’ League victory with four goals each, while Jack Hayes was again dynamic with 24 disposals and eight marks. Remarkably, Nick Hayes booted six behinds from his 16 disposals and 12 marks. Christopher Hall (24 disposals), Jimmy Toumpas (23), and Joseph Sinor (21, one goal) found plenty of the ball.

Speaking of, Kaine Stevens racked up a game-high 30 touches for the Bloods, followed closely by Aaron Anderson. Riley Thilthorpe took on the ruck duties, winning 18 hitouts to go with 14 disposals and six marks, while Brett Turner (22 disposals, one goal) and Patrick Fairlie (22 disposals, five clearances) benefitted from his ruckwork.

Jase Burgoyne continues to thrive at Under 18s level for the Eagles, accumulating a game-high 37 touches in his side’s win. He starred as part of the midfield rotation alongside Caleb Poulter (27 disposals, eight marks), Max Litster (26 disposals, seven clearances), and Harrison Dawkins (23 disposals, one goal).

It was a familiar story for the Bloods as Bailey Chamberlain boasted the highest numbers (34 disposals, six clearances), while the defensive trio of Eduard van den Berg, Zac Venning, and Kane Sherlock combined for 22 rebound 50s. Luke Young also chimed in with three goals up forward.

Central District vs. Glenelg

League: Central District 11.5 (71) def. by Glenelg 15.14 (104)
Reserves: Central District 18.5 (113) def. Glenelg 11.10 (76)
Under 18s: Glenelg 13.9 (87) drew w/ Central District 13.9 (87)

Central Districts’ Under 18s became the second Bulldogs outfit to play in a draw this season, after proving unable to separate from the Bays after four hard-fought quarters. Centrals’ Reserves had no trouble bouncing back from last week’s defeat to go 6-1 in second place, but the Tigers were again victorious at League level as they continue to push for a top four spot.

Luke Edwards made his League debut in the Bays’ fourth win, running out alongside older brother, Jackson as both notched just over double digits for disposals. In another game which opened up after half time, Liam McBean managed to add four goals to his formidable season tally, while Luke Partington claimed two from his team-high 31 disposals. Matthew Snook also found the big sticks with one of his 29 touches.

Travis Schiller was busy all day for the Bulldogs, accumulating 39 disposals, nine clearances, and seven inside 50s, while James Boyd and Troy Menzel also cracked the 30-disposal mark. Victorian Jack Toner continued his solid start to SANFL League life with 20 touches, while Justin Hoskin and Murray Stephenson both bagged a couple of goals each.

Controversy clouded what was a ripping game of Under 18s football, which ended in a draw between two well-matched sides. Centrals looked to have done just enough as Kobe Wilson slotted home a goal in the final minute to reclaim the lead, only for a Harry McInnes behind after the siren (and nearly 27 minutes played) to level up the scores. The Bulldogs led by as much as four goals in the third term, before Glenelg went a kick away from pulling off the miracle comeback.

McInnes played a key role with 5.4 from his 12 disposals, while Riley Davis booted two from a team-high 20 touches. Lewis Cowham slotted back into the Centrals side to notch a game-high 24 disposals alongside Austin McDonald, while Saxon Evans snagged four majors from 18 disposals and seven marks, with 32 hitouts adding to his big performance.

North Adelaide vs. Sturt

League: North Adelaide 8.14 (62) def. Sturt 6.7 (43)
Reserves: North Adelaide 5.4 (34) def. by Sturt 18.10 (118)
Under 18s: North Adelaide 10.9 (69) def. by Sturt 12.6 (78)

North Adelaide remains level on points with League table toppers, WWT on the back of a 19-point win over Sturt. On trend with the previous two games, the Roosters broke the contest open after half time with seven goals to Sturt’s two, after the sides managed just a goal each in the opening half. The Double Blues gained redemption with wins in the other two grades though, remaining a finals threat in the Reserves, and climbing to the top of the Under 18s ladder.

Harrison Wigg (31 disposals) led a trio of key Roosters ball winners, with Cameron Craig and Andrew Moore both finding 29 touches of their own. Robert Young (three goals) and Kym Lebois (two) were North’s lone multiple goalkickers, while Harry Morrison was one of two Sturt players to bag a couple of majors. James Battersby maintained his consistent run for Sturt with 32 disposals, while Abe Davis racked up 31 and Sam Colquhoun, 28. Young guns Casey Voss and Jed McEntee also continue to impress.

Will Spain provided good fold through midfield for the likes of Tom Powell and Mani Liddy as Sturt’s Under 18s got back on top at the right time to secure a sixth win for the year. All three players picked up over 20 disposals, while Tom Emmett kicked three goals.

Kallis Freer made an emphatic return for North with a team-high 28 disposals, while Matthew Borg and Kyle Brazell both managed 26 touches and a goal each. Jamison Murphy and Tariek Newchurch were others to return and find the goals, with diminutive defender Blayne O’Loughlin putting in another terrific shift in the back half with 25 disposals and eight rebound 50s.

Norwood vs. South Adelaide

League: Norwood 10.10 (70) def. South Adelaide 9.12 (66)
Reserves: Norwood 3.8 (26) def. by South Adelaide 15.16 (106)
Under 18s: South Adelaide 12.4 (76) def. by Norwood 15.10 (100)

Norwood’s League side sent a message to its fellow finals contenders, downing South Adelaide by four points in a thrilling contest. The Redlegs stormed back ahead at the end of the third term and managed to hold on throughout the fourth to ensure both sides came out of the clash with 4-3 records. The Panthers Reserves got one back with an 80-point smashing on the road, but their Under 18s fell by 24 points as they both look to get a proper grip on a finals spot.

17-year-old Jason Horne made his League debut for South and looked to have kept up with the pace of the game, with his toughness on show amid a nine-disposal effort. Joseph Haines (25 disposals, eight rebound 50s) and Matthew Broadbent (22 disposals, one goal) were again influential for Souths, while Liam Fitt contributed three goals. Sam Baulderstone was mega for Norwood, amassing 23 disposals, 10 clearances, four marks, 42 hitouts, and a goal in his side’s win. Matthew Nunn and Richard Douglas again ticked over 25 disposals, with Matthew Panos and Mitch Grigg also influential.

Brayden Cook has been garnering attention at Under 18s level, and again caught the eye with four goals from 16 touches for the Panthers. Jack Flett and Harry Spacie (both 20 disposals) were again kept busy in the Souths defence, as Norwood pulled away late for the win. Henry Nelligan stood out in his first game at the level for 2020, booting two goals from 24 disposals and laying 10 tackles. Jack Saunders also managed 24 touches, while Cooper Murley continues to shine having notched a game-high 31 disposals to go with seven marks, six inside 50s, and a goal.

SANFL Round 7 Preview: Huge round set to separate top from bottom

ROUND 7 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) is set to be an interesting one, with some tight matchups and plenty of critical injury outs this round. North Adelaide will hope to continue its winning ways against an improved Norwood outfit at League level, with the Panthers in danger of losing their top three position if the Redlegs can run away with a fourth win on the trot, while ladder leaders Woodville-West Torrens Under-18s will hope for another straight win.

Woodville-West Torrens vs. West Adelaide

League: The Eagles and Bloods will meet at Maughan Oval Avenue on Saturday afternoon in a battle for western suburbs bragging rights. However the two sides find themselves in drastically different situations following six rounds of action. The Eagles continue to set the pace at the top of the SANFL Statewide Super League Ladder after knocking off the Bulldogs on home soil. Meanwhile, West Adelaide suffered a heavy loss at the hands of a rapidly-improving Redlegs side.

The Bloods were competitive early against the Redlegs, booting two of the first three goals. But it was all one-way traffic from then on, with Norwood running out victors by 67 points. West Adelaide were comprehensively beaten in almost all major statistics but most alarming was their inability to get their hands on the footy in the midfield. With Andre Parrella sidelined, 18-year-old Riley Thilthorpe was given the daunting task of competing against Norwood’s Sam Baulderstone. He fought hard and showed some promising signs but the Bloods midfield lost the clearances 41-15 and inside 50s 58-41. No team could expect to be competitive when being dominated in such a lopsided fashion. However it was a different story for the Eagles, whose workmanlike midfield proved far too strong for an inexperienced Bulldogs lineup. They won the clearances 44-24 and inside 50s 48-41 and controlled the match from the get-go. The Bloods used the ball well when they managed to get their hands on it, kicking at 83 per cent efficiency, but struggled without the presence of three of their most important players in lead ruckman Parrella (calf), promising backman Elliott Dunkin (wrist) and key defender Josh Ryan (shoulder). Even though the Eagles controlled much of the play, they laid more tackles than the Bulldogs – a testament to the hard-working, in-and-under nature of their settled side.

Perhaps most encouraging for Woodville-West Torrens coach Jade Sheedy is that his side ground out the win without much influence from damaging small forward James Rowe, who was restricted to just one third quarter goal from six disposals. Defender turned forward Jake Von Bertouch stood up and added three more goals to his impressive season tally, while Jack Hayes controlled the airways in a best on ground performance which included 28 disposals, two goals, 14 marks (four of which were contested) and seven inside50s. Hayes is the leading contested marker in the competition and Von Bertouch sits in a close second. Although the Eagles boast a threatening forward line, the Bloods possess a handy one-two punch of their own with skipper Tom Keough combining in attack with Thilthorpe. The usual suspects fought hard for the Bloods despite the unpleasant result, with Kaine Stevens and Jordon Boyle typically prolific. The midfield duo have been excellent for West Adelaide and will again be relied upon to carry much of the on-ball unit against the likes Jordan Foote, Angus Poole, Joseph Sinor and Jimmy Toumpas. The Eagles ruck combination of Jack Hayes and Jarrad Redden has been extremely effective so far this season, with both players providing good use to the midfielders at their feet while also winning several clearances themselves. While on the topic of clearances, this match features a number of strong stoppage specialists, including Blood Brett Turner and Eagle ‘Joey’ Sinor, who thrived off Redden’s tap-work to accumulate 13 clearances against the ‘Dogs.

Unfortunately for West Adelaide coach Gavin Colville, Parrella (1-2 weeks), Dunkin (3-4 weeks), Ryan (3-4 weeks) and Josh Schiller (4-6 weeks) will all miss several weeks through injury. The Eagles reported no new injuries from last weekend. One of the Bloods two wins in 2019 came against the Eagles in round four. They were victorious by 37 points that day but went down by 60 points when the two clubs faced off in Round 10. Needless to say, the Eagles will come into this clash brimming with confidence, having yet to drop points since their round one loss to the Panthers. Despite starting as underdogs, the Bloods will be hoping to improve on their disappointing round six showing.

Reserves: The form of the Bloods and Eagles reserves sides has been similar to that of their league counterparts in 2020. The Eagles reserves sit at the top of the ladder and remain the only undefeated side across all three tiers of SANFL football after six weeks of action, following a heart-stopping one-point win over the Bulldogs last weekend. West Adelaide sit in seventh place after recording their fifth consecutive loss of the campaign against Norwood.

Under-18s: The Eagles and Bloods under-18s sides both currently sit outside of the top four but, however this clash will still feature a number of talented juniors. West Adelaide ball-magnet Bailey Chamberlain was again terrific in the Bloods engine room despite the loss to Norwood on Saturday evening, while fellow AFL Academy Hub members Caleb Poulter and Henry Smith were amongst the Eagles best in their win over Central Districts.

 

Central Districts vs. Glenelg

League: Glenelg will travel north to face the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon. The reigning premiers returned to their winning ways with an 18-point victory over Sturt at Brighton Road on Saturday, after loosing their previous three matches. In contrast, Central Districts’ winless woes continued with a 30-point loss to the ladder leading Eagles.

The Bulldogs failed to score in the first quarter at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. And despite mounting a four goal to one second term comeback, the damage had already been done. Whereas the Tigers were able to keep the Double Blues goalless in the opening quarter and capitalise upon a strong defensive start by taking a 21-point lead into the first break. The Bulldogs were comprehensively beaten by the Eagles in almost all the major statistical areas. Although they were able to generate some run across half-back at times, Centrals were unable to get their hands on the ball through the middle and failed to apply any significant scoreboard pressure. Interestingly, the Tigers midfield lost the hit-outs, clearances and inside-50s but won the possession battle and, unlike the Double Blues, made the most of their shots on goal, which proved to be the defining factor in the Sunday afternoon clash. To their credit, the Bulldogs have fought hard throughout the year but appear to lack the star quality possessed by their rivals, particularly through the middle of the ground. Glenelg, in comparison, boast class on nearly every line, headlined by league leading goal-kicker Liam McBean and tough in-and-under onballers Matthew Snook and Bradley Agnew.

James Boyd leads all comers in terms of disposals and has played somewhat of a lone hand in the engine room throughout the year. Despite Boyd’s ability to accumulate disposals at will, he needs more support from Travis and Jarrod Schiller if the Bulldogs are to match it with the Tigers in the contested ball. The aforementioned duo of Snook and Agnew have been ultra consistent throughout the opening six rounds, winning an abundance of clearances and applying plenty of tackling pressure. Both sit inside the top ten in the league for these categories. Up forward, the potent combination of McBean and Luke Reynolds have combined for 33 goals between them in just six matches. The Dogs backline struggled to nullify Eagles talls Jack Hayes and Jake Von Bertouch and will again face an uphill battle to restrict the aerial dominance of the Tigers duo. It has been a tough year so far, but despite their struggles, coach Jeff Andrews will urge his chargers to focus open the positives. Troy Menzel has shown flashes of his obvious talent and booted two goals last round. Small forward Lachlan Grubb recently joined fellow teenagers Corey Durdin and Jordan O’Brien in the senior side and all three have looked comfortable at the level. The coaching staff have also shown plenty of faith in young ruckman Brody Thompson, who managed 21 hit-outs against veteran Jarrad Redden, while the return of Justin Hoskin has provided the inexperienced Dogs with some much needed leadership. Rhett Montgomerie is already amongst the leagues best contested markers in just his

Glenelg reported no new injuries from their league clash, however the Bulldogs will be hopeful of regaining former skipper Trent Goodrem and key position duo John Butcher and Ryan Falkenberg, all of whom have been listed as a test. The Bays defeated the Bulldogs twice on their way to the flag last season and will be expected to take the two points in this clash. However a youthful Central Districts side will be hoping a first win of 2020 is just around the corner.

Reserves: The Bulldogs league side suffered their first loss of the season last weekend but remain well on track to qualifying for a finals berth. Although the Tigers have suffered back-to-back losses, this clash could have several repercussions come finals time.

Under-18s: The Tigers under-18s have struggled after loosing several of their best players due to the return of the school football competition. However the work of midfielder Hagan Wright hasn’t gone unnoticed. Central Districts have also been affected, with Prince Alfred College midfielder Lewis Cowham missing from the side for the past two weeks. Fellow on-baller Shay Linke has stepped up his absence, alongside Austin McDonald. The athletic Leek Alleer is another one to watch in the red, white and blue.

 

North Adelaide vs. Sturt

League: North Adelaide will look to consolidate their position in the top four when they host Sturt at their Prospect Oval home. After three consecutive defeats, the Double Blues sit sixth on the ladder and must start stringing some wins together if they are to push for a finals spot.

The Roosters midfield was significantly bolstered during a busy off-season with the signings of Billy HartungAndrew Moore and Cam Hewett. Although Hartung and Hewett have spent some time on the sidelines, when up and running they are amongst the best on-ballers in the competition. The Roosters recorded less disposals and marks than the Panthers, but it was the engine room which really helped the red and white get on top. They finished plus-28 in tackles, plus-5 in the hit-outs, narrowly won the clearance battle and concluded the game up plus-12 for inside-50s. Led by skipper James Battersby, Sturt’s on-ball quality is well-known by SANFL watchers, particularly given the clubs success in recent years. Although perhaps down on their output of seasons gone by, the Double Blues midfield remains capable of matching it with the best. Despite losing the key disposal statistics, they won the hit-outs, clearances and inside-50s against Glenelg but failed to capitalise on the scoreboard, booting eight goals and 16 behinds at ACH Group Stadium. In fairness, seven of these behinds were rushed. The result, an 18-point loss, could well have gone Sturt’s way if they converted their multitude of opportunities in front of goal.

Has anyone taken bigger strides in season 2020 than Roosters hard-nut Campbell Combe? The inside midfielder laid another 16 tackles in round six, nine more than co-captains Moore and Tom Schwarz, who laid seven apiece. Combe averaged 20 disposals, five clearances and 5.7 tackles in 18 games last season, but is travelling at 22 touches, almost seven clearances and a league-leading 11.3 tackles in his six games so far in 2020. After cementing his spot last year, Combe has now become one of the league’s best in-and-under midfielders and complements the Roosters outside types such as Robbie Young and Jarrad Allmond. The Double Blues recruited Abe Davis in the hope he could play a similar role as a big-bodied midfielder and he took some positive steps last round, racking up 26 touches and six clearances. The aforementioned Battersby and prolific Sam Colquhoun are both terrific stoppage players and will make for an interesting on-ball battle. Roosters half-back Harrison Wigg has been providing excellent drive from defence with his damaging left-foot, but Sturt’s Sam Wundke still sits at the top of the league when it comes to rebound-50s. It will be a battle between youth and experience when Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks meets Rooster James Craig in the ruck. Although Craig may out-duel him in the contest, expect Fahey-Sparks to work hard around the ground. He is averaging five more disposals than Craig and booted two goals in the loss to the Tigers. In attack, Lewis Hender has been terrific for North, booting 15 goals. Small forward Kym LeBois has contributed eleven of his own and the tall duo of Mitch Harvey and Keenan Ramsey have booted a combined 13. Sturt has kicked the least amount of points of any side in 2020, and will be expected to rely upon their midfielders to push forward and impact the scoreboard.

The Double Blues will be without Tom Lewis and Ash Johnson who sustained ankle injuries in the reserves, while Rory Illman will also spend some time in the recovery room, nursing a hamstring complaint. North still boasts a lengthy injury list but will be hoping Elliott Chalmers can recover from his hip concern. Sturt took care of the Roosters in both encounters last season but both clubs will field significantly different sides this time around.

Reserves: Sturt are flying at reserves level and have won four on the trot after knocking off the Bays away from home last weekend. The Roosters kept themselves in the hunt with an important win over the Panthers but still sit two wins and percentage behind fourth place.

Under-18s: Sturt’s under-18s were outstanding against the Tigers on Sunday evening and will enter the clash with North Adelaide as favourites. Tom Powell has been the league’s best performed player to-date and forms one-third of Sturt’s terrific midfield trio, along with Mani Liddy and Will Spain. North were beaten by the Panthers at Noarlunga in round six, but keep an eye on Shaun Bennier after he booted four goals.

 

Norwood vs. South Adelaide

League: The Panthers will head east to take on Norwood at the Parade in the match of the round. South Adelaide have made a consistent start to the season and remain on track in their quest to win the club its first flag since 1964. Things weren’t so convincing early on for the Redlegs, who suffered two close losses in the opening fortnight and were soundly beaten by the Eagles at Woodville. However since then, Norwood have charged into the top four and look more like the well-balanced outfit we’ve come to expect.

The Redlegs made light work of the Bloods at Hisense Arena and it all started in the middle. The ‘Legs boast arguably the best midfield unit in the competition so it was no surprise to see them dominate the hitouts, clearances and inside-50s. Their ability to win the contested ball allowed them to control much of the game and finish with a remarkable 107 more disposals than their opponents. Jarrad Cotton‘s men were also clean both in general play and in front of goal, finishing with 83 per cent kicking efficiency and 66 per cent scoring efficiency, and took 163 marks to West’s 115. The Panthers, on the other hand, took a lead into quarter time and outscored the Roosters in a tense final term, but were ultimately downed in a hard-fought encounter at Prospect Oval. South won the disposals battle and finished plus-17 for marks, but the Roosters midfield proved too good in the end. The midfield battle will once again play a major role in deciding Sunday afternoon’s clash.

The defensive duo of Joseph Haines and Tom Highmore have been the glue of the South Adelaide side in 2020. Both marking machines, they also accumulate plenty of the football whilst providing rebound from the defensive 50. The 27-year-old Haines is averaging 8.5 marks and 22 disposals at 94 per cent kicking efficiency, whilst Canberra product Highmore is averaging 9.3 marks to go with 22 touches at 81 per cent. Their ability to win the ball in the air but then distribute it cleanly has been instrumental to South’s early success. However Norwood key forward Tommy Pinyon will enter the clash in good form, having clunked a couple of contested grabs and nailed three goals last weekend. Joel Cross, Matthew Broadbent and Ben Heaslip have been excellent in the Panthers engine room, while 20-year-old Hayden Sampson and draft hopeful Zac Dumesny have both made successful contributions in their respective roles at league level. However the Redlegs onball unit is as formidable as they come. The likes of Matt PanosRichard Douglas and Mitch Grigg are all dominant ball-winners but, more importantly, hit the scoreboard on a consistent basis. The trio combined for no less than nine goals against the Bloods and simply must be denied opportunities in front of goal. They are all expected to feature prominently come Magarey Medal night too. The clean-kicking Lewis Johnston is a weapon wherever deployed and Matthew Nunn slotted back into the side seamlessly, accumulating 33 disposals and six clearances. Add former-Kangaroo and Lion Ryan Bastinac into the mix and you have yourself a seriously threatening midfield which has just started to click in recent weeks. Of course, it helps when Sam Baulderstone provides you with first-use in the middle then acts as another midfielder with his clearance-winning capacity and work rate around the ground. He will pose a challenge for Panthers ruckman Cameron McGree, however the 21-year-old is improving each game. South Adelaide teenager Beau McCreery has impressed up forward and is leading the clubs goal-kicking so far, having booted ten majors in six games.

Panthers speedster Malcolm Karpany will spend another stint on the sidelines after injuring his calf, but South will be hoping dynamic forward Liam Fitt is indeed declared fit after sustaining a shoulder injury. The Redlegs reported no new injuries but several senior players remain sidelined. Norwood got the better of the Panthers on both occasions last season, but South Adelaide appear to be an improved outfit in 2020 and will be looking to get themselves back onto the winners list immediately.

Reserves: The Panthers and Redlegs reserves sides achieved their first victories of 2020 over the past fortnight but face an uphill battle to qualify for the finals, given the six-point (three-win) gap between themselves and the fourth-placed Bays. Regardless, one club will be feeling more confident of grabbing a place after this match-up.

Under-18s: Given the form of Norwood and South Adelaide’s under-18 sides, this clash should be entertaining. But it shapes as being all about the 17-year-olds. Panthers bottom-ager Jason Horne has taken the competition by storm in 2020 and appears destined to be an early selection in next years draft. He has led the Panthers to a four and two start to the season and could go head-to-head in the midfield with fellow bottom-ager Cooper Murley, who has also been ultra impressive in his own right. Keep an eye on these two going forward as they prepare to lead South Australia’s 2021 draft crop.

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 6

ROUND 6 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in. Some sides remained slightly depleted over the weekend with school football making its return.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

South Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#9 Jason Horne

It was another superb performance from Horne, who is currently South Adelaide’s prime mover through midfield. The bottom-ager constantly got first hands on the ball at stoppages, especially early, and used his bursting speed to break forward quickly. Horne’s play of the game came in that exact manner, as he streamed away from a centre bounce and launched home his sole major for the day from 60-metres out. Credit to his enormous work rate, Horne was able to constantly find space around the ground and really hunted the opposition with smothering tackling pressure. 26 disposals and six clearances led another formidable statline for the Under 16 State MVP.

#10 Brayden Cook

One of three Panthers to notch 26 touches, Cook made the wing his own across another consistent outing. He took a bit of time to get going, but kickstarted his day with a strong pack mark and goal late in the first term. That kind of forward running and hardness at the contest made him a constant threat, with some nice accumulative work between the arcs boosting his stats throughout. Cook capped off his day with a second goal, put through from the goalsquare in term four.

#19 Jamison Snelling

One of a couple outstanding 16-year-old prospects in the South Adelaide side, Snelling showed terrific glimpses of his top form to finish with three goals from 21 disposals and seven marks. His first major seemed to come from nowhere, as he benefitted from a turnover just outside the forward arc and slammed the ball home from range. It would set him going, with Snelling rotated through the midfield and forwardline to good effect all day. His form from distance carried on too; finding the big sticks from outside 50 a second time after receiving a hand-off, and finishing smartly on the run from a touch closer in the fourth term to put the cherry on top of a strong performance.

#22 Jack Flett

Flett was arguably the most damaging member of South’s steady back six, providing a cool head on the last line while also attempting to break the lines on the rebound. His left foot would become a weapon, used to attack as he took on some nice cross-field passes and gained serious distance. The short-range game was there too, able to hit up easy outlet kicks to help his side maintain possession. But Fleet’s best moments came on the offensive, with one particular driving run through the corridor sending the Panthers inside 50. His 23 disposals and eight marks were somewhat reflective of South’s high possession defence, but there was enough going the other way to have a big impact.

#27 Will Verrall

The 16-year-old key position prospect has transitioned well into the Under 18 side, and continues to mix it well both up forward and in the ruck. An athletic type, Verrall’s leap was evident early as he rose to take a nice overhead mark inside 50, converting the resultant set shot. A big pack mark later in the opening term gave him a second goal after the siren, and Verrall never looked back. While he could not quite find the goals again, his clean hands at ground level and ability to get involved in chained forward moves made for good viewing.

Others:

A bunch of solid contributors headlined South Adelaide’s win, with electric small forward Phoenix Spicer again looking lively. He added two goals and plenty of speed to the Panthers’ effort from out on the wing, much like Isaac Burt (22 disposals, nine marks). South’s defence was also strong, led by Samuel Hindes‘ 20 disposals, 12 marks, and seven rebound 50s, and consolidated by the safe ball use of Harry Spacie (26 disposals, nine marks).  

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide:

#15 Harvey Harrison

Harrison’s dash and dare from midfield was again a feature for North Adelaide, as he popped up in exciting spurts. After somewhat of a slow start (much like the rest of his side), the bottom-ager clicked into gear as he began to accumulate the ball on the outer of stoppage situations, using his five-step burst to accelerate forward and take the game on. A nice forward run in the third term was a highlight of Harrison’s day, as he finished with 25 disposals, five marks, and five clearances.

#18 James Willis

Another bottom-ager who is thriving for the Roosters upon being granted a touch more midfield responsibility is Willis, who returned 22 disposals, six tackles, and four clearances on a trying day. He too started a little shakily with a shanked kick under little pressure, but soon made up for it with an eye-catching run out of the defensive half. While his outside game would be sound given his speed, Willis looks just as good on the inside where he uses his strength to fend off opponents and bring them down in desperate tackles. That kind of play made him a driving force through midfield, and there is a good base to work off.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin is just so consistent with his work out of defence, and hardly lost a contest when the ball entered his area. Whether it came in aerially or via the carpet, O’Loughlin was constantly able to intercept and mop up across half-back to foil many of South Adelaide’s attacks. There might not be much of him, but the bottom-ager has plenty of impact with clean rebounding kicks on his left side – both short and long in range. He was again the Roosters’ most prolific ball winner with 26 touches, along with seven rebound 50s.

Others:

Midfielder Matthew Borg also managed to rack up 26 disposals, providing a constant stoppage presence as he lined up against Horne more often than not. Kyle Brazell (23 disposals, seven marks) was another to find plenty of the ball, able to drive forward from the wing. Zyton Santillo looks to be filling the role of Tariek Newchurch for North, with his lead-up duties as a small working well to link his side into attacking 50. Shaun Bennier contributed the most in terms of goals, booting 4.4 from 16 disposals and six marks with most of his work done deep.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

WWT Eagles vs. Central District

By: Tom Cheesman

WWT Eagles:

#7 Caleb Poulter

Poulter had another nice game for the Eagles in their victory at X Convenience Oval. He collected 25 disposals, five marks, five inside 50s, three clearances, and a goal while spending time in the midfield and across half-forward. The big-bodied AFL Academy Hub member was clean at stoppages, releasing many teammates into open space with some nice handballs on the up. He played with great physicality at clearances and in marking contests, and his terrific ability overhead was on show. Poulter also found plenty of the ball around the ground, made some nice decisions with ball in hand, and his kicking efficiency was exceptional. One of Poulter’s best traits is that he always follows up his possessions and contests, which is exactly what he did en route to kicking a clever goal in the last quarter.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Bottom-ager Burgoyne produced one of his best performances at Under 18 level on Saturday. He spent more time than usual in the midfield, which led to him being the leading disposal winner on the ground. His acceleration and elite ability to change direction wreaked havoc on the opposition, as they quite simply could not stop him from linking up with teammates through the middle and transitioning the ball forward. Burgoyne is never afraid to take the game on and use the corridor, a trait that is incredibly impressive for such a young player. His teammates try to get the ball in his hands at any cost, demonstrating how much faith they have in his abilities. Increased midfield minutes also allowed Burgoyne to show more of his physicality and tacking pressure, which are elements of his game that have been much more hidden when playing his usual half-back role. He finished with 33 disposals, seven rebound 50s, five clearances, four tackles and a nice set shot goal.

#34 Lachlan Jones (League)

Jones is one of the best South Australian prospects in this year’s draft class, and he showed why he’s rated so highly once again on Saturday. The 185cm youngster has a strong build and is very suited to his role in the ladder-leading Eagles’ backline. Jones matched up on ex-Carlton and Adelaide forward Troy Menzel during the game (when Menzel went forward) and did an excellent job. He pushed Menzel wide on the lead, held his own in one-on-one contests, and read the flight of the ball well when positioned behind the play.

Jones’ marking ability is definitely one of his major strengths, and he took multiple intercept marks in pack situations throughout the game. He has fantastic reach and athletic jumping ability, skills which were both on show in this match as he used this athleticism to spoil his opponents whenever he found himself out of position. It is evident that Jones will be an important member of the Eagles defence at League level all season. The Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy member finished with eight kicks, four marks and three rebound 50s.

#51 Lachlan McNeil (League)

McNeil was outstanding once again for the Eagles. He worked hard around the ground to find plenty of the ball and linked up well with teammates down the wings to transition it forward quickly. The over-ager was also strong defensively, laying three solid tackles –  including a nice run-down effort at the start of the third term. He used the ball effectively, was particularly clean with his hands, and kicked a nice set shot goal from just inside 50 in the first quarter. McNeil finished with 21 disposals, four clearances and four inside 50s.

Others:

Brayden Calvett (four goals) was very lively for the Eagles up forward, while Zeke Scott (20 disposals, eight tackles) was hard at it in the midfield, and Max Litster (25 disposals, eight marks, two goals) had a strong impact.

Jacob Godden (22 disposals, nine inside 50s) was busy at half forward, using his pace to provide an option up the ground and get the ball over the back and into the Eagles’ key forwards.

Port Adelaide father-son prospect Taj Schofield unfortunately suffered a lower leg injury in the opening minute of the game whilst attempting to change direction and did not return.

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

Central District:

#5 Kobe Wilson

Wilson was fantastic on Saturday, running hard up and down the wings to give Centrals supporters some exciting passages of play to watch. He started the game phenomenally, laying two strong tackles over the boundary and setting up the first goal of the game. Wilson has a spearing right-foot kick that is very effective, particularly when kicking short on the 45. He used his electric speed to provide a lot of run-and-carry for his side, and he kicked a well-deserved goal in the final term. Wilson had 13 disposals (all of which were kicks), five marks, five inside 50s and four tackles.

#13 Austin McDonald

McDonald was Central’s best clearance player on the day, collecting 18 disposals, eight clearances, and four inside 50s for his side. He is a very steady player, always composed and willing to wait for the right option to present itself. McDonald regularly provided an effective option for teammates in the corridor and applied relentless pressure on opposition players at stoppages around the ground.

#26 Shay Linke

Linke is in red-hot form for the Bulldogs and impressed on Saturday with another strong performance. He kicked two goals to go with a team-high 29 disposals, ten marks and eight inside 50s. Remarkably, 26 of Linke’s disposals were kicks, showing how much confidence he has in himself to make the right decisions going forward with the ball. He also worked hard at stoppages, earning five clearances for his side.

#27 Leek Alleer

Alleer was one of Central’s best when on the field, regularly providing an option for teammates to switch the play, and using his fantastic athleticism to impact the contest in all areas of the ground. He has a great reach to go with his impressive size, so he was never out-marked and used that reach and some serious closing speed to impact multiple marking contests.

His defensive tackling pressure was also outstanding, highlighted by a strong tackle on the speedy Jay Watson in the first term and then another great tackle in the second term on Zeke Scott. Alleer was involved in an unfortunate incident six minutes into the third term when an Eagles player dived for the ball and accidentally caught Alleer’s leg underneath them in the process. Despite trying to play on with the injury, Alleer soon left the field and did not return to the game. He finished with 15 disposals, five marks, three tackles and three clearances.

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

Although it was another tough day for Central’s forwards, Durdin showed once again many think of him so highly. The 172cm forward has an incredible work ethic and electric pace, applying plenty of pressure on opposition defenders throughout the contest and laying four important tackles. He kicked a clever soccer goal in the second term to get his side back in the contest, but unfortunately that was one of very few chances he got to hit the scoreboard. Durdin also provided a much-needed option for Centrals coming out defence and was always willing to get the ball moving quickly whenever he got the opportunity. He collected 12 disposals and three marks to go with his goal and four tackles.

#52 Lachlan Grubb (League)

Grubb made his SANFL League debut on Saturday and did not look out of place at all. Similarly to Durdin, he spent most of his time at half-forward and always presented well for his teammates. Early in the contest, Grubb settled himself in nicely by finding plenty of the ball and helping his side transition it into their forward 50. He got himself into strong positions, including multiple front and centres where he collected the ball on the run. Grubb also initiated some switches of play and pushed up the ground to apply some strong pressure. He finished with 11 disposals (ten kicks), three marks, two tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s.

Others:

Christopher Tidswell (19 disposals, seven marks, five rebound 50s) was solid through the middle and at half-back for the Bulldogs, using his nice left-foot to launch the Bulldogs into attack on many occasions. He always knew the right time to spread from the contest and did it very well. Finn Reed (16 disposals, six inside 50s, six marks, one goal) was also good, particularly in the second half. Some of his half-volleys were crisp and he attacked the footy with ferocity whenever it came his way.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide vs. Norwood

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

While the Bloods’ woes at Under 18s level continued, Chamberlain remains the shining light and put in another committed display. The lone AFL Academy hub member afield for West Adelaide worked incredibly hard for his side, finishing with a formidable statline which read: 36 disposals, seven marks, eight tackles, eight clearances, five inside 50s, and six rebound 50s. Chamberlain’s trend of getting back to help the defence again came to the fore, as did his bursts from congestion. A few quick steps, and he would gain separation from his Norwood opponents. A real positive in his game was the ability to mix clearing kicks with calm use by hand and shorter-range execution via foot, which adds another dimension to his midfield craft.

#10 Eduard van den Berg

The West Adelaide defender continues to carry a decent workload across the back half, forming his side’s most prevalent form of resistance and rebound. Most of his 26 disposals were kicks, with one of his first coming in the opening term and earning him a terrific goal with little time to think about it. After slotting that major from around 40-metres, van den Berg reverted back to his usual game in mopping up down back, able to rebound effectively even if the ball would repeatedly come straight back his way. He’s a clean and calm user, making him vital to the Bloods’ defensive setup.

Others:

A few of the taller Bloods fared well on Saturday, with ruckman Luke Heitmann often proving too big and strong for his opponents in notching 37 hitouts to go with 11 disposals, six tackles, and two goals. He shared those duties with Thomas Faulkner, who had 25 hitouts, while Thomas Rundle worked hard up the field from half-forward to provide a focal point with eight marks. Nicholas Couroupis and Cade Kennedy combined for 24 disposals, 24 tackles, and two goals from midfield, while Zac Venning ticked over 20 disposals.

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

We’re beginning to run out of superlatives to describe Murley, who continues to impress as Norwood’s prime midfield mover – in his  bottom-age year, no less. He looked busy from the outset and showed his smarts early with some deft inboard kicks, while also getting to all the right spots at the drop of the ball. Not only did Murley use his speed to break away from congestion with ball in hand, but he also followed up his clearance work by chasing his own disposals and getting involved at the next contest. His forward running makes him a constant headache for opposition defenders, though Murley still has a slight tendency to shank one in every few kicks at full flight. He is still so damaging in that area though, and took full toll with 34 disposals, 14 clearances, eight tackles, and six inside 50s.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

The Redlegs wingman again showed his smarts in an assured outing, chaining together some nice forward momentum for his side and constantly crafting a way forward. Cavallaro didn’t let a crunching hit in the opening term deter him, going on to collect 21 disposals and four marks in a solid and well-rounded display. While his ability to create going forward is noticeable, Cavallaro was able to show he is more than just a forward runner by winning his fair share at the contest and at both ends of the field.

#21 Jack Saunders

Saunders has been a mainstay in the Norwood midfield of late and it is little wonder why, as he consistently gets the job done. Second to only Murley in the ball winning stakes once again (24 disposals), Saunders is the no frills type of midfielder that every engine room needs. Most of his touches were simple gather and gives, but they were largely effective. He repeatedly showed a nice burst to get into space after hitting the ball straight-on, and was able to find the ball in all parts of the ground – shown by his clearance numbers and penetration of either arc.

Others:

West Adelaide’s bigmen may have stood tall, but so did Nathan Hearing for Norwood. The ruckman competed well in the air and got involved at ground level with 23 disposals, seven clearances, and seven inside 50s to go with 27 hitouts. There was plenty of scoreboard damage done, mainly via the boot of Samuel Duke (four goals), followed by three from Jackson Murphy and a couple from Marcus Roberts, who also had 19 touches and five clearances.

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

Glenelg vs. Sturt

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#2 Nasiah Wanganeen

Wanganeen showed flashes of his terrific skillset in Glenelg’s loss. A super smooth-mover, he is also a nice size, which allowed him to spend time on the ball, down back, and up forward. He was composed with ball in hand and looked to use his side-step to get around the man on the mark on a couple of instances. Wanganeen booted a goal in the final quarter and certainly possesses some likeable qualities. He finished with 19 disposals, six marks, six tackles, three clearances and three rebound-50s.

#10 Ty Murphy

Murphy was one of the few Tigers to show some real dare with ball in hand. He took the game on by using his speed to break the lines and generate some positive play moving forward. He was assured by foot for the most part and provided plenty of rebound from his role at half-back and on the wing. He laid a strong tackle on Tom Powell, something few have been able to manage in season 2020, and was rewarded with a holding-the-ball free kick. Murphy finished with 19 disposals, six marks, three tackles and six inside-50s.

#19 Jayden Davis 

It was a difficult day for the Tigers, but the performance of Davis will have impressed the Glenelg coaching staff. He was involved in almost every positive passage of play for the Bays and booted the clubs’ first two goals of the contest in the second quarter, thanks to some handy roving. He worked hard around the ground and took a game-high 11 marks, two of which were contested. He also racked up three clearances to go with a team-high 22 touches and four tackles.

Others:

On-baller Hagan Wright was one of Glenelg’s best in a midfield which was comprehensively beaten by a talented Sturt on-ball unit. He could have been more efficient by foot, but tried his guts out between the arcs and finished with 21 disposals, a goal, six marks, eight tackles, four clearances and four rebound-50s. Ruckman Max Fitzgerald produced a handful of effective taps to advantage, while Riley Davis and Joel Virtanen were solid down back, recording five rebound-50s apiece.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

Sturt:

#8 Lachlan Thomas

The speedy wingman ran up and down the ground all day, finding plenty of space and providing a link-up option. He was able to set-up several Double Blues attacks with his breakaway speed and run-and-carry, and looked to move it on quickly whenever possible. His ball use was often damaging and predominately effective, particularly when going forward. Thomas brought plenty of energy to the contest and finished a strong outing with 24 disposals, nine marks, five inside-50s and three rebound-50s.

#11 Will Spain

It was yet another solid outing from Sturt on-baller, Spain. While fellow midfielders Tom Powell and Mani Liddy have received much of the credit for the Double Blues’ excellent start to the season, Spain has been an essential component in the engine room. He was active whenever the ball was in his area, cracking in hard when the ball was there to be won but also applying plenty of defensive pressure whenever Glenelg got their hands on it.

During a dominant first term for the Double Blues, Spain was on the receiving end of a hurried inside-50 and made the most of the opportunity by nailing the subsequent set-shot from straight in front. He was excellent at the stoppages, winning seven clearances for the evening. Although he lacked a bit of polish by foot at-times, Spain attacked every contest with ferocity and showed plenty of strength in-and-under. He finished with 23 disposals, two marks, eight tackles and five inside-50s.

#16 Blake Higgins

On an ‘all played well’ type of evening for Sturt, Higgins was up there with the best. His foot skills were excellent, picking out his teammates with high degree of difficulty kicks on a number of occasions. Higgins was busy all game and, much like teammate Lachlan Thomas, was particularly effective with ball in hand when heading inside-50. Sturt looked to give him the ball to utilise his foot skills as often as possible and he rarely let them down. He also proved effective at the stoppages, winning four clearances to go with his 22 disposals, four marks and five inside-50s.

#17 Mani Liddy

The ever-consistent Liddy was again prominent for the in-form Double Blues. Liddy used his solid frame and obvious strength to fire off a quick handball despite being tackled by a pack of Tigers on several occasions. Liddy again won most of this possessions at the coalface so it was encouraging to see him stream through the middle early and kick long inside-50 in the first term. As he has demonstrated all season, Liddy showed great vision and skill by hand to spot a teammate in some space on the outside of a congested stoppage and get the ball moving Sturt’s way.

Although he missed a couple of targets by foot, Liddy showed off the power in his leg by setting sail on a couple of bombs from around the 50-metre arc. His clever tap on to Tom Powell in the third term didn’t register a stat but it allowed Powell to convert from close range and extend Sturt’s lead. He also set up the opening goal of the game with a neat kick to key forward Tom Emmett. Like most of the Sturt midfielders, Liddy also hit the scoreboard with two goals but also registered three behinds. He concluded the outing with 29 disposals, three marks, four tackles, seven clearances and seven inside-50s.

#18 Tom Powell

If the son-of-a-gun wasn’t already in the first round conversation, he almost certainly will be after another best-on-ground performance against Glenelg. Powell was always on the move at stoppages, either going in hard and winning the contested ball or looking to use his burst of speed to accelerate away from congestion and send it forward. He was regularly at the bottom of packs, wrestling for possession and looking to force out a handball. On the rare occasion when Powell didn’t win the contested ball, he applied plenty of pressure and executed a number of terrific tackles to stop his opponents in their tracks. A holding-the-ball free kick in the centre of ACH Group Stadium was a prime example of his ability to pin opponents arms.

Powell was clean by foot and effective by hand in-tight. He was seemingly involved in every Sturt forward 50 entry and knows exactly where to run to receive the ball, both around the ground and at the stoppages. However, it was his impact on the scoreboard which really elevated his performance. He booted three goals – two from roughly 40-metres out on the run and a third with a snap from close range. He did blaze away a couple of times in front of goal when he could have lowered his eyes, but it was encouraging to see Powell have a big impact on the match in attack. He certainly appears to be the best pure midfield prospect in South Australia and has started the season like a house on fire. Powell gathered another 39 disposals, three marks, six tackles, ten clearances and five inside-50s.

#19 Zabien Parker-Boers

The damaging forward booted four goals in the 100-point win. His ability to keep his feet allowed him to simply out-maneuverer his direct opponent and stream into goal in the first term. Parker-Boers was clean in the air as well, hauling in two contested marks. One of few Double Blues with accuracy in-front of goal, the forward finished with 17 disposals and three marks.

#22 Ned Walter

In his trademark helmet, Walter was rock-solid down back. He took a number of intercept marks by simply reading the flight of the ball better than his Glenelg opponents. At ground level, Walter attacked the contest well and won a couple of contested possessions by going in lower and harder. He was clean and composed by foot and showed intent to bring the ball back into the centre of the ground when appropriate. He found plenty of the ball by involving himself up the ground as well and was rewarded with a goal in the final term. Walter gathered 22 disposals, seven marks, four inside-50s and four rebound-50s.

#29 Tom Emmett

The strong-bodied Emmett was the most dominant forward on the ground for the second-consecutive week. The Double Blues looked for him more often than not when going forward and his ability to win the front-position and create separation on the lead ensured he was rewarded with a plethora of shots on goal. He also took a couple of strong contested marks around the ground to prove he isn’t a one-trick pony. He booted three goals for the match but could have ended with a bag, having recorded four behinds. A highlight was his clinical finish from close to the boundary-line in the second term. Emmett’s field kicking was excellent and his methodical set-shot routine should hold him in good stead going forward. He concluded the evening with 15 disposals and seven marks, two of which were contested.

Others: 

Jordan Opperman took a screamer in the first quarter and, importantly, converted his set-shot from the top of the goal-square. He was another who could have finished with a bag, having booted two goals and five behinds. The forward collected 14 disposals and seven marks (including three contested). Big-man Ethan Cass competed well in the ruck but it was his work around the ground which really stood-out. He was involved in plenty of attacking handball chains and collected a handy four clearances, to go with 19 disposals, seven hit-outs and five inside-50s.

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

SANFL League Player Focus:
Rd 1 – Corey Durdin
Rd 2 – Riley Thilthorpe
Rd 3 – Lachlan Jones

AFL Draft Watch:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Lachlan Jones
Caleb Poulter
Tom Powell
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Marquee Matchups:
Kaine Baldwin vs. Denver Grainger-Barras
Corey Durdin vs. Braeden Campbell
Luke Edwards vs. Connor Downie

>> July Power Rankings | August Power Rankings

>> 2020 South Australian Under 18s Predicted Squad

SANFL weekly wrap: Round 6 – Roosters down Panthers to keep touch with Eagles

ROUND 6 of the SANFL was an important one for teams at the pointy end of the League standings, with North Adelaide crucially downing South Adelaide to jump the Panthers for second spot. Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) continues to set the pace, having flexed its muscle against the winless Central District. The Eagles also find themselves atop the Reserves ladder, joining Norwood this week as the only two clubs to achieve wins across each grade. We recap the action from all four triple-headers.

>> SCROLL for full results 

WWT Eagles vs. Central District

League: WWT Eagles 11.13 (79) def. Central District 7.7 (49)
Reserves: WWT Eagles 10.7 (67) def. Central District 10.6 (66)
Under 18s: Central District 7.15 (57) def. by WWT Eagles 15.13 (103)

WWT’s trio of wins over the Bulldogs counted for a lot in the senior grades, with the Eagles flying ahead atop the League and Reserve ladders. Jack Hayes was the League star this week with 28 disposals, 14 marks, and two goals in a mammoth effort, beaten out only by teammate Joseph Sinor (29 disposals) and Centrals’ James Boyd (31) in the ball winning stakes as a bigman. State Under 18 gun Lachlan Grubb had 11 touches on debut for the Bulldogs.

While a five-goal to nil head start in the opening term was reigned back by the Bulldogs, WWT was in control throughout to come away 30-point winners. The Eagles’ Reserves now stand alone as the sole undefeated side left in the grade, having ended Central District’s five-game winning streak in a one-point thriller. A far more straightforward victory capped off the three-peat at Under 18s level, with the Eagles running out 46-point winners.

Brayden Calvett booted 4.4 from 19 disposals in a big effort for the victors, while the likes of Jase Burgoyne (31 disposals, one goal), Max Lister (25 and two), and Caleb Poulter (25 and one) all hit the scoreboard in big ball winning displays. Henry Smith was also good for two goals from his 13 disposals and seven marks. For Centrals, Shay Linke played somewhat of a lone hand; with his 29 disposals 10 more than the next best Bulldog, and his two majors ensuring he would finish as his side’s lone multiple goalkicker.

West Adelaide vs. Norwood

League: West Adelaide 8.9 (57) def. by Norwood 19.10 (124)
Reserves: West Adelaide 5.9 (39) def. by Norwood 13.7 (85)
Under 18s: West Adelaide 9.4 (58) def. by Norwood 14.12 (96)

Norwood became the second of two clubs to pull off a straight sets weekend, trumping West Adelaide in all three grades – on the road, no less. The Redlegs look to be putting it together at League level, with their 67-point thrashing of the Bloods making for three wins on the trot. A positive weekend was also had for the Reserves as they picked up their first win, while the Under 18s moved into second in extending West Adelaide’s winless run to the tune of 38 points.

Plenty of Redlegs saw a heap of the ball in their League outing, with Richard Douglas (35 disposals) leading a pack of four more teammates to crack the 30-mark, including Mitch Grigg (32 disposals, two goals) and Lewis Johnston (34 disposals, one goal). Johnston and Brad McKenzie combined for 32 marks, while Matthew Panos (27 disposals, four goals) and Ryan Bastinac (29 and two) only extended the list of outstanding individual performers for Norwood.

Kaine Stevens again led the way for Westies with 31 touches, while Murray Waite was dangerous up forward with two majors. The Bloods’ League and Reserves sides remain second-last with one win in each competition, but are firmly planted to the bottom at Under 18s level at 0-6.

Bailey Chamberlain was again a shining light for the Bloods in the junior grade, collecting a game-high 36 disposals, seven marks, seven clearances, five inside 50s, and six rebound 50s in a lone-handed display. Cooper Murley was not far behind for Norwood with 14 clearances from his 34 disposals, while Samuel Duke (four goals), Jackson Murphy (three), and Marcus Roberts (two) were among those to do most of the scoreboard damage.

North Adelaide vs. South Adelaide

League: North Adelaide 9.12 (66) def. South Adelaide 8.10 (58)
Reserves: North Adelaide 11.8 (74) def. South Adelaide 8.9 (57)
Under 18s: South Adelaide 14.9 (93) def. North Adelaide 7.13 (55)

North Adelaide completed the senior double over its Southern counterpart on Saturday, with the League points most significantly ensuring the Roosters remain level with frontrunners, WWT. After sneaking ahead at half time, North looked to be cruising in the run home, but were made to earn the win after a late surge from the Panthers. Holding firm, the Roosters came out eight-point winners.

Andrew Moore was instrumental in the victory, booting three important goals from his 25 disposals. Harrison Wigg just beat him out with 28 touches, while Lewis Hender (three goals) and Mitchell Harvey (two) were lively inside forward 50. Thomas Highmore was typically stoic in defence for Souths, clunking seven marks among a team-high 26 disposals. Matthew Broadbent wasn’t far behind with 24, and Joel Cross came to life in the second half to finish with 20 disposals and a goal.

The Roosters’ Reserves also came away with the chocolates in their hitout, getting up by 17 points, but South Adelaide got one back in the Under 18s with a 38-point triumph. Both sides sit just outside the top four at Reserves level, while South’s 4-2 Under 18s record sees them placed firmly in the finals race.

Brayden Cook (26 disposals, two goals), Jason Horne (25 and one), and Jamison Snelling (21 and three) were among the many outstanding performers for Souths, finding both the ball and the big sticks. Shaun Bennier booted four goals for North as their only multiple goalkicker, while Matthew Borg and Blayne O’Loughlin had 26 touches apiece, followed closely by Harvey Harrison.

Glenelg vs. Sturt

League: Glenelg 12.10 (82) def. Sturt 8.16 (64)
Reserves: Glenelg 8.5 (53) def. by Sturt 12.9 (81)
Under 18s: Glenelg 5.2 (32) def. by Sturt 18.24 (132)

Glenelg’s League flag unveiling spurred the Bays on to a fighting 18-point win over Sturt in Sunday’s lone fixture, helping them improve to 3-3. A plucky Sturt outfit pushed them all the way, but the Tigers were able to hold on as they look to push back into the top four. The Double Blues got the wood over their weekend adversaries in the Reserves and Under 18s though, with the juniors’ 100-point win a particular highlight.

Liam McBean‘s five League goals again spearheaded Glenelg’s effort, as Matthew Snook continued his rich vein of form with 29 a game-high disposals. The usual suspects – James Battersby (28 disposals, 11 clearances), Sam Colquhoun (28 and seven), Abe Davis (26 and six) – all stood up again despite being on the wrong side of the result.

One of the best individual performances again belonged to Tom Powell in the Under 18s, as he dominated for 39 disposals and three goals. Mani Liddy (29 disposals, two goals) also made an impact, while Zabien Parker-Boers booted four goals and Tom Emmett, three. Jayden Davis and Hagan Wright combined to lead Glenelg’s ball winning effort, with the former also adding two goals to his side’s cause.

SANFL Round Six Preview

ROUND 6 of the South Australia National Football League (SANFL) is set to be a big one, with a couple of huge match-ups. Three League teams still sit at the top of the ladder on just the one loss apiece, with North Adelaide and South Adelaide set to do their bet to knock the other off their perch this round when they go head to head.

Woodville-West Torrens VS Central Districts

League: Central Districts will attempt to secure a major upset when they travel to Maughan Thiem Kia Oval to face the high-flying Eagles on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles are yet to drop any points since their round one defeat to South Adelaide, recording comfortable wins over North and Glenelg in recent weeks. However it has been a different story for the Bulldogs, who have fought valiantly but ultimately remain winless, with a draw against the Bloods their only points of the season.

Woodville-West Torrens went into the clash with Glenelg without skipper Luke Thompson and veteran onballer Matthew Goldsworthy, but it didn’t worry Jade Sheedy‘s men, who lead for most of the day down at the Bay, recording a 20-point win to remain on top of the ladder. The Eagles lost the possession battle and recorded less marks and handballs than the reigning premiers, however they managed to get on top in the middle, largely thanks to the domination of ruckman Jarrad Redden. The Bulldogs have had their issues in the ruck, with young Berri bigman Brody Thompson given the responsibility of leading the ruck division for the past fortnight. The Central Districts midfield has struggled so far in season 2020, with James Boyd playing a lone-hand at times. The former Eagle has been finding the ball with ease since returning to Elizabeth and currently leads the league for disposals, recording 21-more than second-placed Tiger Matthew Snook. Importantly, Boyd has also been using it effectively, travelling at 89 per cent efficiency. In contrast, the Eagles midfield has been very strong, led by Jordan FooteJimmy Toumpas and Joseph Sinor. The Bulldogs, who lost the clearances 26-29 against North, will require strong showings from the Schiller brothers, Jarrod and Travis, in support of Boyd if they are to match it with the Eagles onballers.

As they have for much of the season, the Bulldogs battled hard early on against North, taking leads into the quarter time and half-time breaks. However the Roosters class shone through in the second half. Central Districts worked hard around the ground, taking 112 marks to North’s 73, but teenagers Corey Durdin and Jordan O’Brien were the only multiple goal kickers for the ‘Dogs, who struggled up forward without the lead up presence of John Butcher. Since bursting onto the scene with six goals in his first three games of league football, Nick Lange is yet to hit the scoreboard and must step up for Jeff Andrews‘ side. In contrast, the Eagles have been extremely potent in attack, with small forward James Rowe seemingly unstoppable. Rowe, the league’s leading goal kicker, has booted at least three goals in all five matches so far. He has been deadly accurate in front of the sticks too, nailing 17 majors and just four behinds. Jake Von Bertouch has relished the move forward and has ten goals to his name, while the aerial prowess of the Hayes brothers will concern the Bulldogs talls. Both are averaging 5.2 marks per game and have each kicked seven goals in 2020, with Jack also providing serviceable relief for Redden in the ruck. Down back, Centrals duo Trent Goodrem and Luke Habel have been largely composed despite facing a barrage of opposition inside 50s. For the Eagles, Tasmanian recruit Ryan Mansell has impressed with his run and carry from defence.

Woodville-West Torrens are averaging the most points for per game (86) and lowest points against (57) and will start as the clear favourites against the Bulldogs. However the sides split their two meetings last season, with the Eagles winning by 29 points in round nine but Central Districts taking out the round 14 clash by 23 points. The Bulldogs could be without Goodrem and Kyle Jenner after they sustained groin and knee injuries respectively, while Eagles midfielder Jesse Lonergan has been listed as available after overcoming an adductor complaint.

Reserves: Whilst the league clash is tipped to be a one-sided affair, the reserves battle is shaping as a nail-biter, with both sides undefeated through five matches. The Bulldogs have been very strong in the second tier competition and defeated the Roosters by 20 points last week, while the Eagles easily accounted for Glenelg, recording a 43-point win.

Under-18s: The Eagles sent a stern warning to the under-18 competition when the beat a previously undefeated Glenelg side by 71 points on Saturday. Although the Bays were missing a number of their best players, talented Eagles trio Caleb PoulterJase Burgoyne and Taj Schofield dominated proceedings. In the absence of prolific onballer Lewis Cowham, the Bulldogs were strong early against the Roosters but ultimately fell well short. Shay Linke and Austin McDonald are names to watch through the middle, while the athletic Leek Alleer also continues to improve and can be utilised in a variety of roles.

 

West Adelaide VS Norwood

League: Norwood will make the trip across town to face the Bloods at Hisense Stadium in the traditional Saturday afternoon timeslot. The Redlegs have been far from convincing but are beginning to get their mojo back after recording back-to-back wins over Central Districts and Sturt. West, who slumped to their third loss of the season at the weekend, will return to the friendly confines of their Richmond-based home for just the second time in season 2020.

The Bloods booted four goals to zero in the final quarter at Noarlunga, but the damage had already been done. However their was plenty of upside for coach Gavin Colville. The Bloods recorded more disposals, kicks, handballs and marks than the Panthers and were also more efficient with ball in hand, recording an 80 disposal efficiency to South’s 71 per cent. Andre Parrella provided first-use for the Bloods onball brigade, but they failed to make the most of the advantage, loosing the clearances (38-36) and inside-50s (49-30). Norwood trailed for most of the day away from home against Sturt, who jumped out of the blocks, kicking seven first term goals to three. However the Redlegs dominated much of the second half, off the back of strong performances from some of their big names. Jarrod Cotton‘s kick-mark gameplan proved effective, with Norwood recording 105 marks to Sturt’s 57. The ruck duel between Parrella and Norwood’s Sam Baulderstone will be critical. Baulderstone has been the best ruckman in the competition for a number of years now and dominated Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks on Sunday afternoon, with Norwood winning 63 hitouts to Sturt’s 23. Baulderstone is averaging 18 disposals, 40 hitouts and 7 clearances per game and his work both in the ruck and around the ground has been enormous. Parrella has played one less game but been a colossus in the ruck, averaging 44 taps but just 6.5 disposals. He will need to increase his work around the ground to nullify the influence of the Redlegs big man, but may have an edge at stoppages.

So far in 2020, West Adelaide will have been impressed by the efforts of recruit Jordon Boyle, who leads the club for disposals (averaging 24.8 disposals at 88 per cent efficiency) and has complimented the likes of Brett Turner and tough veteran Kaine Stevens. Tall forward/ruckman Riley Thilthorpe continues to show glimpses of his prodigious talent, while medium defender Elliott Dunkin and former Double Blue Ed Allen have also been solid. Filling his customary midfield/forward role, Norwood’s Richard Douglas has been excellent since joining the SANFL competition from the Crows. The old firm of Matthew PanosMitch Grigg and Lewis Johnston were all good in the win over Sturt and will be relied upon to help continue the Redlegs 2020 resurrection. The forward-line partnership of Tommy Pinyon and Peter Bampton has also started to get rolling in the past two rounds. Norwood will enter this clash as favourites, but West will be keen to reward their loyal fans with a second Hisense Stadium win. The ‘Legs won both matchups last season, but the gap between the two clubs appears to have closed in season 2020, such is the evenness of the SANFL competition. West’s Logan Hill (calf) and Josh Ryan (shoulder) are likely to miss the clash, while Norwood will be chomping at the bit to regain young gun Matthew Nunn, who has been listed as available after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Reserves: Norwood’s reserves woes continued on the weekend after a 46-point loss to Sturt. The Redlegs remain winless, despite having won the reserves flag last season. West Adelaide were also comfortably defeated by the Panthers and sit just one spot above Norwood. This might not be the prettiest game of football, but it is, however, poised to be a close one.

Under-18s: Things look more positive for the Redlegs under-18s, who knocked off the previously undefeated Double Blues at Peter Motley Oval on Saturday afternoon. Midfielders Cooper Murley, Michael Cavallaro and Jack Saunders have been amongst the leagues best onballers so far this season and all sit in the top ten for disposals. It has been tough going for the winless Bloods, but midfielder Bailey Chamberlain has been very impressive, accumulating plenty of the pill across the midfield.

 

North Adelaide VS South Adelaide

League: North will meet South at Prospect Oval on Saturday afternoon, with both sides eager to extend their winning ways. The Roosters and Panthers sit at the top of the SANFL Statewide Super League ladder alongside Woodville-West Torrens, with the clubs recording four wins and one loss in their opening five matches.

After the Eagles ended North Adelaide’s winning start to the season in round four, the Roosters bounced back with a victory over Central Districts at Elizabeth. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The Roosters were outplayed in the first half by the Bulldogs but responded to a Jacob Surjan spray at the main break and came out with fire in the belly. It was quite the opposite for South Adelaide, who dominated the first half but were held goalless in the fourth quarter. Both sides found less of the ball than their respective opponents on the weekend, however the Roosters strong tackling has been a real feature this season, finishing the clash with the ‘Dogs up plus-8 in this regard. Inside midfielder Campbell Combe laid nine of them on his own and currently leads the league for tackles. Tom Schwarz stole the show in the midfield for the red and whites, accumulating the ball at will and booting two goals. It has been no surprise to see Joel Cross lead the South Adelaide midfield, alongside Matthew Broadbent, with both able to find the ball with ease and impact at the stoppages. Expect Rooster James Craig to look to capitalise on his experience advantage over South’s Cameron McGree and provide first use to his midfielders. Roosters forwards Mitch Harvey (4) and Keenan Ramsey (3) booted seven goals between them at Elizabeth but will face more difficult opposition this week. South Adelaide’s intercept king Joseph Haines has been terrific this season, while recruit Tom Highmore leads the league for marks, having hauled in 11 against the Bloods, four of which were contested. Haines has accumulated the most kicks of anyone so far and is trusted with setting up much of the Panthers rebound. The Roosters must be cautious with their delivery inside-50, with Highmore and Haines looming large across the backline.

Luckily for the Roosters, they posses a potent small forward brigade and are capable of kicking a winning score without neccessarily requiring heavy scoreboard impact from Ramsey or Harvey. Kym LeBois has been particularly exciting for North and the enigmatic Lewis Hender is certainly capable of tearing open a game. Smalls Eamon Wilkinson and Beau McCreery lead the Panthers goal-kicking, with both booting eight major so far in 2020. Liam Fitt and Hayden Sampson are also regular scorers, while Alex Cailotto and Sam Overall provide the height in attack. Draft hopeful Zac Dumesny has also hit the scoreboard in recent weeks and continues to rise up the power rankings following a smooth start to his senior football career.

The Panthers won both games against the Roosters last season, however the 2020 version of North Adelaide has proven to be significantly stronger than the side which finished ninth. The Roosters injury list continues to expand, with small defender Mitch Clisby expected to be sidelined for up to one month with a hamstring issues. However the club could regain teenage defender Karl Finlay, speedster Robbie Young and inside midfielder Cameron Hewett, who have all been listed as a test. South Adelaide reported a clean bill of health from their round five match. With both sides appearing likely to finish in a finals spot, this clash could prove vital come the pointy end of the season.

Reserves: Although the Panthers and Roosters have been successful at league level, their reserves sides have managed just one win apiece. South lifted themselves off the bottom with a win over the Bloods last round, but North slumped to its third loss in as many weeks, unable to knock off the undefeated ‘Dogs.

Under-18s: The Panthers under-18s will get an opportunity to string together their first consecutive wins this season when they host North Adelaide at Flinders University Stadium. Bottom-aged Panther Jason Horne is already attracting plenty of attention in South Australia and looms as a likely top selection in next years draft, with the Roosters no doubt mindful of his stoppage nous, goal kicking abilities and overhead marking potential. The red and whites will, however, enter this contest with confidence, having recorded a comprehensive victory over Centrals on Saturday.

 

Glenelg VS Sturt

League: The Tigers and Double Blues were both finalists last season but already find themselves two wins behind the ladder leaders in season 2020. The Bays won two close encounters in the first fortnight of action, but have since failed to find the scintillating from which saw them win it all last season. It’s been a similar story for Sturt, who won two of their opening three matches but have since recorded losses to Norwood and South Adelaide. This clash provides both sides with the opportunity to seperate themselves from the cluster of sides congregated in the middle of the table.

Sturt dominated the first half against the Redlegs on Sunday afternoon but were outclassed after the main break and ultimately went down by 15-points. The Double Blues lost several key statistical indicators against Norwood, but accumulated 20 more handballs than the ‘Legs. Perhaps a more direct, kick-first approach would have led to increased efficiency going forward. However there were still some encouraging signs. Despite being smashed in the ruck contests (28 hit-outs to 63) by Sam Baulderstone, the Sturt midfield finished plus-4 in clearances and broke even for inside-50s. Further positives included the increased output from forwards Jake Sutcliffe and Abe Davis, who kicked three and two goals respectively. The latter also spent some time in the ruck, such is his handy size and versatility. The Tigers, on the other hand, mounted a late comeback but were unable to match it with the in form Eagles, who lead for almost all of the day. Similar to Sturt, the Bays won the clearances and inside 50s despite being comprehensively beaten in the hitouts. The number one problem facing Sturt coach Nathan Grima is stopping Glenelg key forward Liam McBean. He booted five goals in the loss to Woodville-West Torrens and is undoubtedly the leagues most dangerous big man. But they can’t put all their eggs in the McBean basket, with Luke Reynolds also possessing match-winning capabilities as a high x-factor medium-tall.

The midfield battle is one which appears likely to have a heavy influence on the outcome of this clash. Sturt skipper James Battersby has been excellent all season and he will again be required to lead by example against a tough Glenelg midfield. Sam Colquhoun and Zane Kirkwood must also lift their output if Sturt are to match it with the yellow and black. Although very different in their playing styles, Andrew Bradley and Matthew Snook are amongst the most prolific ball winners in the competition and Luke Partington is always a threat in and around the stoppages and also up forward.

The clubs split their two meetings last year, but both were close contests. Glenelg won by nine points in round four but the Double Blues hit back later in the year, notching up a 12-point victory in the final round of the home and away season. Young Sturt ruckman Lachlan Burrows is expected to miss three weeks with a groin injury, while Glenelg’s Matthew Merrett is also set to miss some time with an ankle complaint.

Reserves: Sturt and Glenelg have been strong at reserves level this season. The Double Blues sit inside the top four having won their past three matches, including a 46-point triumph over their red-legged, eastern suburbs rivals last round. The Bays were undefeated prior to their round five clash, but were downed by an Eagles side brimming with confidence following strong starts across all three grades.

Under-18s: The league and reserves match-ups should be closely fought battles and its no different at under-18s level. Both sides suffered their first losses of the season last weekend and will be eager to bounce back. Sturt midfielder Tom Powell has been the competitions best performed player to date and is certainly one to watch. The Bays will be looking to regain a handful of their top players, after they missed the round five clash with the Eagles.

Caught the Eye: 2020 SANFL Under 18s Round 5/WAFL Colts Round 2

THE TOP junior prospects from South Australia and Western Australia continue to shine, with a number of standouts emerging in Round 5 of the SANFL Under 18s, and Round 2 of the WAFL Colts. In continuing with our expanded Caught the Eye series, we have compiled a list of the best and most promising performers from across the weekend, with a representative from all eight SANFL clubs, and one each from the two sides involved in our featured WAFL fixture. For extended profiles on each AFL Academy member listed, click on their names highlighted in red.

>> FULL SANFL U18s Scouting Notes (Round 5)
>> FULL WAFL Colts Scouting Notes (Round 2)

SANFL UNDER 18s

Sturt vs. Norwood

Tom Powell
Sturt | Midfielder
2/03/2002 | 180cm | 73kg

Stats: 40 disposals, 4 marks, 6 tackles, 8 clearances, 10 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “Powell was again excellent in the engine room for Sturt. In the first half, when the game was largely fought in close quarters, Powell won plenty of contested ball and used his lightning-fast hands to get things moving for the Double Blues. However, when the game opened up after the main break, Powell was able to accumulate the ball on the outside at will.”– Tom Wyman

Verdict: The Double Blues standout is becoming hard to ignore in terms of top 25 calculations, making him a real benefactor of simply being able to get out on the park in 2020. Another 40 touches has him well clear atop the SANFL Under 18s disposal charts, with his knack for extracting big numbers now more than just a good habit. Powell is as consistent as anyone in the draft pool at the moment, though he can work on making a more profound and regular impact via foot to round off his game and ensure each disposal hurts the opposition. His handballing is elite, nonetheless.

>> AFL Draft Watch

Cooper Murley
Norwood | Midfielder/Forward
20/06/2003 | 177cm | 66kg

Stats: 28 disposals, 7 marks, 5 tackles, 3 clearances, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said: It was yet another terrific outing for (the) talented bottom-ager… His speed, ability to hit the scoreboard, efficiency by hand and foot, and line-breaking carry make for a nice array of strengths, and all were on-show throughout the clash.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: He may not have been Norwood’s highest ball winner this time, but the lightly-built midfielder/forward is the Redlegs’ most damaging prospect. It’s easy to forget that he is a bottom-ager too, with at least another year in the Under 18s system to come. Like a couple of others on this list, Murley’s ability to find both the ball and the goals makes him a dual threat, and he is a player who can carve up the opposition with real pace and dare. His kicking on the end of it sharp too, and becoming more consistent with experience.

North Adelaide vs. Central District

James Willis
North Adelaide | Midfielder
7/10/2003 | 180cm | 73kg

Stats: 19 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 6 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: There were periods in the third term where Willis looked like tearing the game apart. The dynamic midfielder showed he can do it all in his on-ball role; accumulating around the ground early, winning his own ball, bursting away with strength, and adding deft agile movement in congestion.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Willis was one of a few North Adelaide bottom-agers to thrive in the absence of State Under 18 Academy members Jamison Murphy and Tariek Newchurch. Given some added responsibility through midfield, Willis was able to use his speed to wheel and go at every opportunity, while also exploding from congestion with an interchangeable combination of strength and agility. He worked hard for his disposals and even showed willingness going the other way with a desperate lunging tackle to catch his opponent cold. Could be one to keep an eye on for next year.

Leek Alleer
Central District | Utility
196cm | 84kg

Stats: 18 disposals, 7 marks (2 contested), 3 tackles, 4 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “Alleer has been tried in a few different roles this season, and found his spot on a wing in this particular outing… His strong verticals allowed him to get a hand in and intercept balls he had no right to, while a couple of highlight reel overhead marks also caught the eye.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Alleer has been terrific in patches thus far, with little glimpses of rare athleticism coming to the fore across his four Under 18s outings. He looms as a modern day kind of prospect as a 196cm wingman. but while his size screams readymade, his game is still quite raw. The 18-year-old has the potential to dominate down the line and has also shown good signs as a key forward. It’s his vertical leap and ability to take the ball at its highest point which catches the eye most significantly, as proven by a couple of screamer overhead marks on the weekend.

WWT Eagles vs. Glenelg

William Neumann
WWT Eagles | Forward/Midfielder
3/07/2003 | 184cm | 79kg

Stats: 21 disposals, 6 marks (1 contested), 1 clearance, 4 inside 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said: “Another bottom-age Eagles prospect to have stood out is Neumann… His second efforts were a feature early as he hunted the ball, able to smother and aggressively bump his opponents off the ball to cause chaos inside 50.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Neumann was deemed by the Eagles to have been their best player on the weekend, and it is easy to see why given the endeavour he showed. In just his second game of Under 18s football, the forward showed terrific strength and courage at the contest; able to win his own ball, take strong marks, and perhaps most crucially, hit the scoreboard. His impact was profound among a highly talented Eagles side, making for a solid platform to build upon.

Nasiah Wanganeen
Glenelg | Wing/Forward
22/02/2003 | 187cm | 69kg

Stats: 15 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said: “Wanganeen is a player who makes things happen, having an impact with every possession. He contributed a few nice touches early as he kicked into gear with his smooth movement, and his use by foot going forward proved damaging.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: While it was a tough day for the Tigers with a heap of star names out of the side, it only allowed players like Wanganeen to shine even brighter. Having played most of his footy out on a wing thus far, the smooth moving bottom-ager got around the ground well and proved a key threat going forward. While he may scupper a kick here or there and not be the most consistent of players out there, Wanganeen has the ability to pop up with flashes of brilliance. He really looks the part with his speed and agility, and has time now to refine his game heading into his all-important draft year.

South Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

Jason Horne
South Adelaide | Midfielder/Forward
21/06/2003 | 182cm | 75kg

Stats: 31 disposals, 11 marks (4 contested), 2 tackles, 7 clearances, 6 inside 50s, 3 goals

Our scouts said: “Horne continued his outstanding start to the season with another best on ground performance against the Bloods. It was his first game without partner-in-crime Matty Roberts for the season, and Horne put on an absolute show in his absence. He kicked three goals, including a goal of the year contender in the third quarter when he picked up the ball cleanly outside 50, took three bounces, sold candy to three different opponents, and then finished with a goal from 40 metres out.” – Tom Cheesman

Verdict: Horne put in one of the performances of the season for South Adelaide, only further pushing his case to be the number one prospect for next year’s draft. Last year’s State Under 16 MVP has very few weaknesses, but his strengths present in bucketloads. He is a natural leader who kicks well, can mark overhead, win his own ball, and find the goals. Get used to seeing his third term goal in highlight reels going forward, and expect Horne to take the reigns as the Panthers’ prime mover with some of his fellow midfield stars shifting in and out of the side.

Nicholas Couroupis
West Adelaide | Midfielder

Stats: 25 disposals, 6 marks (4 contested), 3 tackles, 5 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said: “Couroupis was outstanding for the Bloods, arguably their best performer on the day. The midfielder was aggressive at the ball and at his opponents throughout the game, and his marking ability was definitely a highlight.” – Tom Cheesman

Verdict: It was somewhat of a breakout performance for Couroupis, and his lift in output could be a timely one for the struggling Bloods midfield. Having also turned out for the Henley Sports Academy during the week, the Year 12 student should have his hands full with plenty more opportunities to impress. Midfielders with points of difference are always important, and Couroupis’ ability to mark overhead was good to see. It should put him in good stead for a more consistent output.

WAFL COLTS

Claremont vs. Swan Districts

Kalin Lane
Claremont | Ruck
5/12/2001 | 202cm | 90kg

Stats: 16 disposals, 4 marks, 3 inside 50s, 29 hitouts

Our scouts said: “The Denmark-Walpole product showed why he is considered to be one of the leading ruck prospects from Western Australia this season with a strong performance against Swan Districts. He finished with 16 possessions, 29 hit-outs, four marks and three inside 50s. For a ruckman, he covered the ground well, often positioning himself just behind the play to halt any attacking momentum the Swans had.” – Lenny Fogliani

Verdict: In a draft pool which boast a few promising key position prospects at the top end, Lane looms as a real chance to break into contention amid just his second season of Colts football. He is far from a mere beanpole ruck at 202cm, with the over-ager’s solid frame allowing him to make a seamless transition to the next level of competition in Western Australia. Lane’s athletic base also allows him to move around the ground well and have a real presence at each level of the contest, so he could be one to watch with a few more eye-catching outings like this.

Zane Trew
Swan Districts | Inside Midfielder
26/04/2002 | 187cm | 78kg

Stats: 31 disposals, 3 marks, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s

Our scouts said: “The Hills Rangers junior showed why he is one of the leading inside midfield prospects in this year’s AFL draft pool. He accumulated 31 possessions, laid five tackles, grabbed three marks and recorded three inside 50s in a powerful display. His composure, and decision-making around the stoppages was impressive for someone his age. When he got the ball on the outside, he constantly hit his intended target.” – Lenny Fogliani

Verdict: Trew showed his class once again on the weekend with another outstanding performance for the struggling Swans side. He had no trouble finding the ball with an equal team-high in disposals, and continues to prove he is one of the finest exponents of the handball in this year’s draft crop. While he is a touch handball happy, Trew also kicks well and could benefit from using that weapon a touch more, though who are we to tell him to do any different. His form has been terrific, and he is a real difference maker, right in the first round mix as it stands.

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 5

ROUND 5 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in. Some sides were slightly depleted over the weekend with school football making its return.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

Sturt vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

Sturt:

#17 Mani Liddy

The consistent midfielder again found plenty of the ball in Sturt’s loss to Norwood. Although he may lack a yard of pace at times, Liddy was clean by hand and smart at the stoppages, as he has been all season. Whilst under pressure in congestion, he displayed a combination of skill and vision on a number of occasions to locate a teammate in space rather than hack the ball forward by foot. Along with his customary midfield responsibilities, Liddy also spent some time up forward and finished the game with 27 disposals, four marks, two tackles, five clearances and five inside 50s.

#18 Tom Powell

Powell was again excellent in the engine room for Sturt. In the first half, when the game was largely fought in close quarters, Powell won plenty of contested ball and used his lightning-fast hands to get things moving for the Double Blues. However, when the game opened up after the main break, Powell was able to accumulate the ball on the outside at will, while using his foot skills and burst of speed to link up the play and orchestrate a multitude of inside 50s.

Not all of his touches were super damaging, however Powell’s stoppage craft, contested ball winning, and work rate ensured he was easily the most effective player on the field wearing the iconic double blue. Powell concluded another highly-productive outing with 38 disposals, four marks, five tackles, nine clearances and ten inside 50s. He has been the SANFL Under 18 competition’s most prolific midfielder over the opening set of games and will no-doubt have caught the eye of club recruiters. If he can have more of an impact on the scoreboard and clean up some of his disposal by foot, there’s no reason why Powell can’t rise to be an early selection come draft-time.

#29 Tom Emmett

Despite Sturt’s defeat, Emmett booted four of Sturt’s six goals and looked the most threatening forward on the ground for much of the contest. He nailed Sturt’s first for the game with a set shot from 45-metres out and booted the Double Blues’ second early in the second term. Emmett squeezed home his third goal whilst being slung in a tackle and later showed excellent composure on the run to thread through a major from a difficult angle in the forward pocket. A later set shot at goal from 50 metres out ultimately missed to the near side but sailed through at above goal-post height, suggesting he possesses a long leg. Emmett finished with 17 disposals, four goals and two behinds, five marks, four tackles and five inside 50s.

Others: Playing in the midfield alongside Liddy and Powell, Will Spain had a few nice moments, particularly when he weaved through traffic at half-forward and dished off a nice handball to a teammate in a pocket of space. His disposal by foot was inconsistent, however he certainly has some evasiveness, a nice side-step and can find the ball. Spain finished with 22 disposals, nine marks, six tackles and three clearances. Forward Zabien Parker-Boers booted two goals from eight touches, Blake Higgins accumulated 20 possessions, and Ned Grieve had 19 disposals and took seven marks.

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

It was yet another terrific outing for talented bottom-ager, Murley. In the first term, Murley received a one-two with a teammate and used the pocket of space to run and carry before delivering a beautiful right-foot kick to the advantage of a leading forward. His speed, ability to hit the scoreboard, efficiency by hand and foot, and line-breaking carry make for a nice array of strengths, and all were on-show throughout the clash.

Murley also judged the flight of the ball better than anyone else on a couple of occasions; the first coming from a long, cross-field kick to the forward flank, and the second an intercept mark in defence. He was lively around the ball and showed a willingness to use his speed and skills to take the game on through the middle. Murley kicked two classy goals from close-range in the final term to seal Norwood’s win and cap off another excellent outing for the 17-year-old, who continues to find the ball with ease at Under 18s level. He finished with a well-rounded stat line of 27 disposals, two goals, seven marks, three tackles, three clearances and six inside 50s.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

Wingman, Cavallaro beautifully complimented the toughness of the inside midfielders by providing class and efficiency on the outside. Cavallaro showed off his agility and spacial awareness to evade a Liddy tackle close to the boundary and spot up a teammate down the line with a measured pass. His composure in traffic allowed him to slow down the play and make the right decisions. Whilst his ability to hit targets by foot from a variety of angles and distances was a feature of his game, Cavallaro refrained from blazing away down the line when a simple handball to a loose teammate was all that was required.

Whether he was mopping up in defence or involved in a fast break, Cavallaro remained calm, made the right decisions and crucially, executed well most of the time. His excellent footy smarts were highlighted on the outer wing, when instead of gaining possession in a two-on-two situation, his clever tap back to a teammate allowed the Redlegs to stream forward. Another highlight was the desperation he showed in a chain of play along the boundary line, where Cavallaro kept the ball in play and eventually gave off a handball while on his hands and knees, resulting in a Louis Joseph goal moments later.

That level of work rate and desperation would have really pleased the Redlegs’ coaching staff. Although his lack of size may prove a concern for recruiters, Cavallaro is a pure footballer who possesses elite decision-making skills and has consistently looked the most composed player on the field throughout the season to date. He finished with 31 disposals and nine marks.

#17 Daniel Fairbrother

Fairbrother was a rock down back for the Redlegs. He looked physically bigger and stronger than many of the Sturt forwards and used his size to advantage in several marking contests. Fairbrother provided plenty of rebound from half-back and was assured by foot. The number 17 has a very deliberate and measured kicking action and shared the kick-in duties with fellow defender Benjamin Ianiello. He took a number of important intercept marks and found plenty of the ball, finishing with 28 disposals, six marks and six rebound 50s.

#21 Jack Saunders

The blonde-haired midfielder Saunders produced a number of eye-catching moments in the red and the blue. His run and carry through the middle of Peter Motley Oval was a real feature. He was willing to take the game on whenever he found himself in space and often got on the his bike to receive a handball in an attacking chain. Saunders competed strongly, with a highlight being a perfectly-executed tackle to win himself a holding-the-ball free kick. He possesses a great stiff-arm and is able to win the ball around the ground as well as at the coal face.

Saunders was inconsistent by foot, missing a few targets but also nailing a couple of excellent passes to the advantage of his teammates, including a nicely-weighted ball to William Warrick, who gathered and kicked the goal from 45-metres out. These inconsistencies are understandable given he had 27 kicks on the day. The on-baller continues to elevate his status with each passing game and finished with 34 disposals, four marks, five tackles, six clearances, seven inside-50s, and five rebound-50s in a well-rounded showing. His hard two-way running, balance of inside and outside ball-winning, run and carry, and burst of pace will certainly have caught the eye of recruiting staff.

Others:

Ruckman Nathan Hearing wasted no time in imposing himself on the contest, laying a strong tackle at the opening centre bounce. He was heavily involved around the ground, clunking a number of strong marks, and was willing to bite-off several in-board kicks. Hearing gathered 20 disposals, five marks, five tackles, 16 hitouts, seven clearances and a goal in a strong performance.

Rangey defender Ianniello slotted back into the Under 18s lineup seamlessly. He provided run and carry from the backline and showed some real dare. Although he missed a couple of targets by foot, Ianniello boasts a long left-foot. He produced a strong outing, collecting 27 disposals, eight marks, four inside 50s and four rebound 50s. Billy Haebich also found plenty of the ball, finishing with 23 disposals, five marks and four inside 50s.

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide vs. Central District

By: Michael Alvaro

North Adelaide:

#3 Adam Heath

One of many bottom-age prospects to step up over the weekend for North Adelaide was Heath, a mobile 191cm prospect who competes well in the air and at ground level. He was particularly impressive during the first half, presenting strongly on the lead and hitting the scoreboard with a set shot in the second term. Heath had a real presence inside 50 and was hard to miss with his flowing blonde mullet. He faded a touch in the latter stages, but still showed promise to finish with 19 disposals, five marks, and a goal.

#15 Harvey Harrison

Harrison played a key role in generating some run through the Roosters’ midfield, and did so with his dare in taking the game on. He carved up the corridor with pace and looked sharp with his delivery by foot, while also showing no fear in looking for kicks inboard while on the outer. Harrison won a few nice clearances and applied solid pressure around the ball, with his busy approach to the game a handy asset to North’s cause. He finished with 21 disposals, seven tackles, and five clearances.

#18 James Willis

There were periods in the third term where Willis looked like tearing the game apart. The dynamic midfielder showed he can do it all in his on-ball role; accumulating around the ground early, winning his own ball, bursting away with strength, and adding deft agile movement in congestion. His explosiveness came into play as the game wore on, able to break lines and take the game on going forward. The bottom-ager put in a couple of outstanding efforts in the third quarter; first pulling down a desperate tackle at half-forward which led to a Charlie Dowling goal, and then creating a spillage with his courageous aerial contest to give the Roosters another chance on goal. A great return to action.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

The Adelaide NGA prospect is the type of player you want in possession coming out of defence, with his speed and sharp use by foot making for lightning-fast transitional play. O’Loughlin was lively in the first half, getting involved in just about every contest around North’s defensive territory and swooping on a great number of ground balls. His pace and clean hands allow him to dominate at ground level, with his creative instincts kicking in once the opportunity to rebound presents. The clever bottom-ager faded a touch after half time, but bobbed up with a couple of nice line-breaking plays late on.

Others:

Another standout in defence was Lam Simon, who enjoyed some solid aerial tussles while providing effective rebound once the ball hit the deck. Matthew Borg found plenty of the ball through midfield and was able to hit targets going forward, with Kyle Brazell also moving well in transition. The latter would also find the goals himself, while also competing well overhead. Charlie Dowling was a constant forward threat, making the most of his opportunities to boot four goals. He was a solid target all day alongside Leo Coates, who kicked two goals and took seven marks.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

The 16-year-old just has a happy knack of finding the footy, and was able to do so again with 21 disposals as a constant centre bounce attendee. While McDonald was a touch fumbly at times and ineffective by foot in terms of true damage, he showed plenty of good signs in his midfield craft. He pumped forward a couple of nice centre clearances on the move, with his first coming in the opening term from a slick shark off the tap. McDonald continues to succeed in a tough role, and will shine over the next couple of years as he builds size and confidence.

#26 Shay Linke

Another midfielder who spent plenty of time at the stoppages, Linke ended up as Centrals’ leading ball winner with 22 touches, 10 marks, and five clearances. The tall bottom-age prospect managed to get his hands on the ball in good areas amid heavy congestion, while also working well around the ground to pop up as an outlet. He put in a couple of strong tackling efforts and wasn’t afraid to get stuck in at ground level, able to thrust the ball forward. He capped off his day with a nice snap goal from distance, aided by a couple of lucky bounces.

#27 Leek Alleer

Alleer has been tried in a few different roles this season, and found his spot on a wing throughout this particular outing. The tall and athletic prospect did well to help out his defence in the early goings, but looked most dangerous when able to get a proper leap at the ball on the outer. His strong verticals allowed him to get a hand in and intercept balls he had no right to, while a couple of strong overhead marks also caught the eye. Alleer was calm in possession and used the ball well by hand, finishing the game with 18 disposals and seven marks.

Others:

Cody Gilchrist enjoyed a terrific start to proceedings, proving too strong deep inside 50 to boot the Bulldogs’ first three goals. Wyatt Ryan gave his all throughout the day in a range of roles, most significantly up forward as a strong lead-up target. Jordan Tippins showed a heap of class on the ball in his 18-disposal effort, with a good balance of inside and outside traits highlighting his game. Christopher Tidswell came into the game late with some dash from defence, while 16-year-old Brodie Tuck looms as one to watch having reeled in some assured intercept marks.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

WWT Eagles vs. Glenelg

By: Michael Alvaro

WWT Eagles:

#3 Taj Schofield

It was a typically classy display from Schofield, who had a solid impact through midfield and also managed to find the goals. His ability to shark the ball from taps at stoppages or from ground ball spillages is exceptional, and helped him to generate some forward momentum for the Eagles. He was on fire early in the second term as a couple of clean gathers led to snapped goals, and a clever tap at the following centre bounce allowed a teammate to be released forward. Schofield’s agility and turn of pace made him almost impossible to tackle, with that trademark evasiveness through traffic really catching the eye. His repeat running was positive to see, as was his impact forward of centre to finish with 18 disposals, eight tackles, and two goals.

#7 Caleb Poulter

Poulter just has such a remarkable presence on the field, and he is impossible to miss when the ball enters his area. Starting in midfield, his clearance work was sound and he got to work with some brilliant handballs out of congestion, showcasing his rare vision. Throughout the game there were bursts through traffic, strong overhead grabs, and some crunching tackles to stop Glenelg’s counter attacks in their tracks. Despite copping a knock in the third term, Poulter remained involved. He did not quite manage to find the goals, but that was not for a lack of trying – even from distance. His kick penetration is obviously great, but he can sure up his short-range game a touch to prevent simply blazing away.

#19 Zac Phillips

The Eagles bigman did well to get involved around the ground, adding to the value of his enormous leap in the ruck and ability to take marks up forward. His ruck craft looks promising in terms of taps to advantage, and it played a key part in WWT’s midfield dominance. Phillips was a solid option in all areas and while he can refine his disposal and decision making, it was great to see him rack up a few touches.

#25 Henry Smith

Again starting as the Eagles’ primary target up forward, Smith showed nice glimpses of his best form with strong marks, taking the ball at its highest point. He looked ominous on the lead at times and is difficult to defend at the Under 18 level on account of his height and reach on the lead. With good delivery, he was granted goalkicking opportunities but failed to make the most of his set shots. By the fourth quarter, his confidence may have been a little shot as he opted to kick inboard from 20-metres out, which got him a goal assist nonetheless.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

The 2021-eligible Port Adelaide father-son prospect continues to go from strength to strength for WWT, able to play off each line. He again spent some time through midfield, but looks much more lively in open play and even proved dangerous as a forward option. Burgoyne’s ability to chain up and deliver neat kicks is exceptional, with his class on the ball truly evident. He managed to snare two goals; the first being a nice finish on the run during the second quarter, and the second a set shot conversion in term three. He could have added another couple if he had finished a little tidier.

#37 William Neumann

Another bottom-age Eagles prospect to have stood out is Neumann, who produced a few outstanding bits of play in the forward half. His second efforts were a feature early as he hunted the ball, able to smother and aggressively bump his opponents off the ball to cause chaos inside 50. He took a strong pack mark in the second term and duly converted the shot for his first goal, before adding another in the following stanza. One of his best plays was a clean half-volley pick up and spearing ball inside 50, with another his weave through three defenders to hand off a goal assist. One to watch.

Others:

There were plenty of contributors for the Eagles, who benefitted greatly from Jack Wheare‘s efficiency inside forward 50. He finished with a game-high four goals, while Jay Watson bagged three in a hot first term. Zeke Scott made a terrific start through midfield, while Max Lister was consistent throughout, and Liam Ueding returned another big shift inside defensive 50. Brayden Calvett‘s 22 touches from the wing also stood out.

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

Glenelg:

#2 Nasiah Wanganeen

Wanganeen is a player who makes things happen, having an impact with every possession. He contributed a few nice touches early as he kicked into gear with his smooth movement, and his use by foot going forward proved damaging. The bottom-ager hit up Kye Dean on the fly in the second term, and had a hand in Riley Davis’ third term goal as he won a one-on-one on the wing and burst forward at breakneck speed. His lone goal for the game also came in the third period, capping off another promising outing.

#8 Hagan Wright

On a tough day for Glenelg’s midfield, Wright had his moments. His work rate going both ways and ability to simply get his hands on the ball helped him have an impact, with some nice side-steps and booming kicks inside 50 proving his points of difference. Repeat efforts and aggressive forward movement is his game, and he tried his best to generate some momentum for the Tigers.

#9 Kye Dean

Arguably Glenelg’s most consistent midfielder on the day, Dean racked up 25 disposals and five clearances from the engine room. The top-ager’s booming left foot proved an asset when allowed the time to charge his kicks, and his explosiveness in congestion came to the fore as he got going. Dean also impacted the game up forward, finding the space to become a marking option but spurning a couple of shots on goal. He did manage to split the big sticks on one occasion though, after holding onto a double-grabber deep inside attacking 50 and slotting the resultant shot.

Others:

There was quite an even spread of Tigers who stood up at different times throughout the contest, but unfortunately for not long enough in the big loss. William Watts proved the most prolific ball winner with 31 touches in his dual-role between the defence and midfield, while Riley Drum provided a cool head down back early on before swinging forward late. Jayden Davis was another to play on multiple lines, racking up 24 disposals and seven marks before sneaking forward to claim a fourth term major. Harrison Kaesler was also lively in an under-siege defence, providing some run with his 19 disposals.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

South Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

By: Tom Cheesman

South Adelaide:

#18 Zac Dumesny (League)

Dumesny was great for the Panthers, collecting 19 disposals, five marks, three inside 50s, and two rebound 50s. He played predominantly at half-back and on the wing, and at 187cm he is a great size for these positions. Dumesny started the game with a nice intercept mark deep in defence, which was one of many strong marks he took throughout the match. He never juggles his marks, thus making him a difficult player for the opposition to spoil.

In one-on-one contests he always positioned himself well and was never out-marked. Down the wings he linked up with teammates to carry the ball forward and get multiple score involvements. His teammates trust him with ball in hand too, as his kick is extremely reliable and he barely missed a target all day. Dumesny looks at home at League level which is a great sign for him ahead of this year’s AFL Draft.

#4 Max Clifton

Clifton had a fantastic day for the Panthers, collecting 22 disposals, five inside 50s, four marks, and three tackles in their victory. His booming left-foot kick stood out, as he hit targets both long and short on a consistent basis. He was strong at stoppages, read the play well, and got himself into the right positions around the ground. Clifton’s defensive running was also impressive, highlighted when he courageously ran back with the flight to enact an outstanding spoil in the third term.

#9 Jason Horne

Horne continued his outstanding start to the season with another best on ground performance against the Bloods. It was his first game without partner-in-crime Matty Roberts for the season, and Horne put on an absolute show in his absence. He kicked three goals, including a goal of the year contender in the third quarter when he picked up the ball cleanly outside 50, took three bounces, sold candy to three different opponents, and then finished with a goal from 40 metres out. If you have not seen it yet, I urge you to check it out because it showed how talented this youngster is and the sheer confidence he has in his ability.

Horne’s body-work at stoppages was exceptional, as was his work rate around the ground. He took numerous intercept marks and was always composed with ball in hand, barely missing a target all day. Horne finished with 31 disposals (24 kicks), 11 marks (four contested), seven clearances and six inside 50s to go with his three goals. He is firming as one of the best AFL draft prospects going into 2021.

#10 Brayden Cook

Cook has been a shining light for the Panthers’ Under 18 side so far this season and had another impressive showing on Saturday. He collected 19 disposals, nine marks, eight inside 50s, and two goals playing on the wing. His aerial ability is fantastic, as he frequently uses his strong vertical leap to meet the ball at its highest point and give his opponent little-to-no chance at spoiling. He did well to push forward and impact the scoreboard in this contest as well, which should be an important feature of his game in the years to come.

#33 Arlo Draper

Draper was brilliant at half-back, finishing with 17 disposals and six marks. It was clear that he is a smart footballer, as he took numerous intercept marks and linked up with teammates to quickly transition the ball forward. He was clean under pressure when others were panicking, and his ball use by foot was sublime. Draper has electric pace and used this trait whenever required throughout the contest. His defensive work was also fantastic, highlighted by a clever smother in the first term.

Others:

Will Verrall was impressive in the ruck for the Panthers, showing agility for his size and pushing forward to kick two goals. Liam Hamilton (26 disposals, 16 marks) worked hard and found plenty of the ball once again, while Phoenix Spicer (20 disposals, one goal) was an excitement machine in the second half. Samuel Hindes (19 disposals, eight marks) was strong deep in defence.

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide:

#18 Riley Thilthorpe (League)

Thilthorpe had another impressive performance on Saturday and showed why he is one of the leading prospects for the 2020 AFL Draft. He spent most of his time up forward but pinch-hit in the ruck whenever required. The 200cm youngster was fantastic in the air, always providing a contest and at least bringing the ball to ground.

His teammates’ delivery forward to him did not make his life easy in the first three quarters, but this improved late in the game. He capitalised on this by taking two strong pack marks in the final term, including one at the top of the goal square which resulted in a goal. Thilthorpe’s athleticism was on display, as he frequently used his great fitness level to push up the ground and create an option for his teammates coming out of defence. He was clean with the ball and showed poise in congestion for a big man, using his long reach to get his arms free and feed outside runners on multiple occasions.

Thilthorpe was also unselfish up forward, highlighted when he set up a goal by finding teammate Brett Turner in a better position late in the third term when he could have easily gone back and kicked the set shot himself. He earned free kicks in marking contests because he received so much attention from opposition defenders, and he was not afraid to use his left foot when required. Thilthorpe finished with 15 disposals, five marks (three contested), six hitouts, two tackles and a goal.

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

Chamberlain continues to shine despite West Adelaide’s struggles in the Under 18s, collecting 35 disposals, nine clearances and six rebound 50s. He seldom got knocked off the ball easily and regularly used his burst of speed to break away from opponents and weave past oncoming tacklers. His quick hands were fantastic at stoppages and his work rate around the ground was exceptional. However, his kicking was a bit inconsistent in this contest.

#7 Cooper Gilbert

Gilbert played in defence for the Bloods and showed some very promising signs. He was always clean with ball in hand and was very effective by foot, using his strong right-foot kick to launch his side out of defence on numerous occasions. The Bloods looked the most dangerous going forward when Gilbert went central and took the game on. It would be great to see Gilbert back himself and do this more throughout matches in the future. He finished with 18 disposals and six rebound 50s.

#21 Nicholas Couroupis

Couroupis was outstanding for the Bloods, arguably their best performer on the day. The midfielder was aggressive at the ball and at his opponents throughout the game, and his marking ability was definitely a highlight. He took six marks (four contested) including a brilliant pack grab in the opening term. Couroupis regularly provided an option for the Bloods coming out of defence and was strong at stoppages against a talented Panthers midfield. He finished with 25 disposals, five clearances, three tackles and a 55-metre goal from a set shot.

Others:

Thomas Faulkner (10 disposals, 15 hitouts) showed some impressive signs in the ruck, while Cade Kennedy (22 disposals) and Eduard Van Den Burg (25 disposals) worked hard to find plenty of the ball.

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

SANFL League Player Focus:
Rd 1 – Corey Durdin
Rd 2 – Riley Thilthorpe
Rd 3 – Lachlan Jones

AFL Draft Watch:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Lachlan Jones
Tom Powell
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Marquee Matchups:
Kaine Baldwin vs. Denver Grainger-Barras
Corey Durdin vs. Braeden Campbell
Luke Edwards vs. Connor Downie

>> July Power Rankings

SANFL weekly wrap: Round 5 – League top three go two games clear

THREE teams are sitting pretty atop the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) League ladder at 4-1 after five rounds, with North and South Adelaide behind Woodville-West Torrens by percentage alone. The trailing pack, which includes reigning premier, Glenelg and Round 5 winner, Norwood find themselves two games adrift – a crucial buffer amid the improvised season schedule. The Eagles and Panthers were the only two clubs to go undefeated across all three grades, placing them firmly in finals calculations at this early stage.

>> SCROLL for full results 

Glenelg vs. WWT Eagles

League: Glenelg 12.11 (83) def. by WWT Eagles 16.7 (103)
Reserves: Glenelg 6.7 (43) def. by WWT Eagles 13.8 (86)
Under 18s: WWT Eagles 18.16 (124) def. Glenelg 8.5 (53)

Eagles held on for a well-earned 20-point win over Glenelg at League level, capping off a hat-trick of wins over the Tigers for the round. The visitors led by 40 points at half time, and had extended the buffer out to 45 during the third term, but were reigned in by a valiant Glenelg outfit which the Eagles looking a little nervy heading into the final stages.

While the likes of Andrew Bradley (35 disposals, 10 marks), Matthew Snook (31 disposals, 12 clearances, one goal), and Liam McBean returned stellar individual performances for the Tigers, it was the even spread of WWT contributors which proved the defining factor. Joseph Sinor and Jordan Foote led the disposal count with 23 and 21 respectively, while young guns Lachlan McNeil and Rhyan Mansell played their roles well. Lachlan Jones had his hands full with McBean in defence, while James Rowe and Jake von Bertouch both booted four goals up the other end.

The Reserves and Under 18s would follow suit, with a raft of juniors shining through on a super Saturday. Jack Wheare (four goals) and Jay Watson (three) led a brigade of six Eagles multiple goalkickers, with the highly-fancied Taj Schofield and Jase Burgoyne among them. Caleb Poulter was the leading ball winner with 24 touches, outdone only by Glenelg’s William Watts (31 disposals) and Kye Dean (25). William Neumann and Harrison Dawkins were among others to fare well in the Eagles’ winning effort.

Having suffered their first Reserves defeat, the Tigers trail the undefeated Eagles and Central District in third, but remain top of the Under 18s table despite another maiden loss. WWT has risen to fifth in the junior grade, one game out of the finals spots.

South Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

League: South Adelaide 12.7 (79) def. West Adelaide 9.5 (59)
Reserves: South Adelaide 15.11 (101) def. West Adelaide 7.3 (45)
Under 18s: West Adelaide 5.12 (42) def. by South Adelaide 12.16 (88)

South Adelaide cruised home to a 20-point win over West Adelaide to remain in the hunt for top spot, blitzing the Bloods with 12 goals to five across the first three terms – including seven of the first eight majors. While Westies improved in the final stanza with four consolation goals, the damage was already done. The Reserves and Under 18s made it a three-peat for Souths, notching wins to the tune of 56 and 46 points respectively.

Joel Cross again lead all comers for the Panthers’, amassing 26 disposals, five tackles, and six clearances. Joseph Haines (20 disposals) and Thomas Highmore (23 disposals, 11 marks) continued their strong runs of form, while State Under 18 gun Zac Dumesny also stood up with 19 touches. Up forward, Eamon Wilkinson booted a game-high three goals from six touches. Jordan Boyle (26 disposals) and Kaine Stevens (25) led the way for the Bloods from the engine room, with Brett Turner‘s two majors a key spark for his side’s late form, while Dallas Willsmore made a solid return to action.

At Under 18s level, Bailey Chamberlain continued his prolific start to the season with 35 touches for West, but it was Jason Horne who stole the show with 31 disposals and three goals. The Bloods found plenty of the ball, with the likes of Nicholas Couroupis, Eduard van den Berg, Dylan White, and Cade Kennedy cracking 20 disposals, but the Panthers’ midfielders simply had more impact with their possessions. Among them, Liam Hamilton was solid with 26 disposals, while Max Clifton had 22, and Phoenix Spicer and Brayden Cook both found the goals.

South Adelaide now jumps ahead of West via percentage in the Reserves standings despite both sides boasting 1-4 records, while the winless Bloods’ Under 18s remain planted to the bottom as the Panthers soar into the finals placings.

Central District vs. North Adelaide

League: Central District 9.8 (62) def. by North Adelaide 14.8 (92)
Reserves: Central District 11.10 (76) def. North Adelaide 8.8 (56)
Under 18s: North Adelaide 12.13 (85) def. Central District 7.5 (47)

Central District again fell short of its first League win for the year, going down by 30 points to North Adelaide on Saturday. Despite leading at half time, the Bulldogs’ lead was quickly overturned as the Roosters booted nine goals to three after the main break to claim victory. While North’s Under 18s also got up, it wasn’t all bad news for Dogs fans as their side held on to go 5-0 at Reserves level.

Leading League disposal getter James Boyd added another 38 to his mammoth tally for the Bulldogs, just two clear of North’s Thomas Schwarz on 36. Mitchell Harvey‘s four goals came at the ideal time for the Roosters, helping steer them ahead in the third term as the visitors appeared to have all the answers. Keenan Ramsay (three goals) and Kym Lebois (two) were also potent, while Andrew Moore and Jarred Allmond made for a productive inside/outside combination. Luke Habel collected 26 touches for Centrals, followed by Trent Goodrem and Jarrod Schiller (both 22). State Under 18s small Corey Durdin snagged two goals from 15 disposals.

The Roosters’ Under 18s were able to kick away in their outing, with Charlie Dowling booting four goals in a promising display. Leo Coates and Zyton Santillo also found the big sticks on multiple occasions, while Kyle Brazell snared a major from his 24 disposals. Blayne O’Loughlin led all comers from defence with 27 touches, as Matthew Borg (25, 11 tackles) trailed closely. Shay Linke (22 disposals, one goal) and Austin McDonald (21, nine clearances) were again instrumental for the Bulldogs, while Leek Alleer continues to show promise, clunking seven marks in his 18-disposal effort.

Centrals now trail North by a game in the Under 18 grade, sitting at 1-4 in seventh spot. The Reserves are holding up hope for the club with their blistering form to sit top, but a winless League side will be hoping for a swift turnaround during the mid-season period.

Sturt vs. Norwood

League: Sturt 10.13 (73) def. by Norwood 13.10 (88)
Reserves: Sturt 11.14 (80) def. Norwood 5.4 (34)
Under 18s: Sturt 6.10 (46) def. by Norwood 10.12 (72)

Sturt and Norwood competed in the competition’s sole Sunday fixtures, sharing the spoils as the Redlegs claimed a road League win, while the Double Blues got one back at Reserves level. On Saturday, Norwood’s Under 18s also claimed a win, sending the Redlegs to third and level on points with first. The Norwood Reserves are still winless though, and both sides side just outside the top four in the League grade.

There were plenty of big performers as the two senior teams did battle, with Mitchell Grigg slamming home two goals from 27 touches, while Ryan Bastinac marked a successful senior dig with 23 touches and a goal, and Matthew Panos booted two from his 22 touches. For Sturt, James Battersby led all comers with 27 disposals and nine clearances, with Sam Colquhoun trailing on 24, and Joshua Hone bagging three majors from 20 disposals. Jake Sutcliffe and Tom Pinyon also kicked three goals for either side as the Redlegs clawed back from being jumped at the gun.

Sturt’s Tom Powell was again the standout at Under 18s level, this time spilling over the 40-disposal mark and claiming nine clearances in a losing effort. Jack Saunders (34 disposals, six clearances) and Cooper Murley (28 disposals, two goals) were impactful from midfield for Norwood, while Michael Cavallaro (32 disposals), Daniel Fairbrother (29), and Benjamin Ianniello (27) all found plenty of the ball. Mani Liddy and Will Spain did the same for Sturt once again, while Tom Emmett claimed a game-high four goals.

SANFL Round 5 Preview: Sturt and Norwood look for form in big League clash

THERE will be plenty of eyes on this weekend’s action of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition, as a number of teams searching for form face off. We take a look at the big games across the weekend.

Central Districts VS North Adelaide

League:

North Adelaide will make the trip into the outer suburbs to face Central Districts on Saturday afternoon. The Roosters were made to pay for their goal kicking inaccuracies by ladder leader Woodville-West Torrens at Prospect Oval last weekend. Meanwhile at The Parade, despite a spirited fourth quarter comeback, the Bulldogs winless streak continued with a loss to Norwood.

The Roosters depth has been tested over the past few weeks, with injuries to gun recruits Billy Hartung, Cam Hewett and Robbie Young and first choice ruckman James Craig. Midfielder Harrison Magor was called upon to provide engine room assistance, with forward Lee Minervini and speedy utility Keanu Miller also elevated from the reserves to fill the gaps. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, were encouraged by last weekend’s return of star medium forward Justin Hoskin and two-time best and fairest winner Travis Schiller, who reunited with brother Jarrod in the Bulldogs midfield.

With North Adelaide key forward Alex Barns set to miss several weeks with a hand injury and Mitch Harvey required to cover the ruck duties in the absence of Craig, the red and white have been perhaps too reliant upon enigmatic forward Lewis Hender. Hender is a gamebreaker at his best, with his seven straight goals in round one a clear example of his goalkicking talents. The 26-year-old booted just one goal in round two and was held goalless against the Tigers, only to bounce back and nail three majors in last round’s loss, such is his inconsistency. The Bulldogs backline will be wary of Hender’s talents, but have kept him goalless in the past three matches between the sides.

Since returning to Elizabeth, prolific Bulldog James Boyd has formed a strong partnership in the middle alongside Troy Menzel  and the Schiller brothers, however they were simply outclassed by a talented Norwood unit. Although slightly depleted, the Roosters also boast an imposing midfield core, led by tackling machine Campbell Combe. The potential battle between Boyd and North’s Andrew Moore will be interesting, with both able to find the ball with ease. On the outside, classy duo Jarrad Allmond and Harrison Wigg have been excellent for the Roosters across halfback and along with wings.

Bulldogs skipper Luke Habel has been consistent at halfback and John Butcher has provided the side with a genuine leadup option alongside Nick Lange, who is perhaps the Dogs’ most exciting talent. The Roosters smalls were not as dominant against the Eagles, but Kym LeBois and Frank Szekely are just about as dangerous as the league has to offer. The Bulldogs will likely recall Jonathan Marsh after they were comprehensively beaten in the hitouts last weekend.

The Roosters were edged in the clearances last weekend and will be hopeful of regaining some of their injured stars. Central Districts will be looking to capitalise on North’s injury misfortunes, with Hoskin’s return giving the Bulldogs a much needed boost. The teams split their two meetings last year, with the Dogs gaining an early victory but North recording their second win of the year with a victory later in the season.

After booting six goals last weekend, Hoskin will play his 150th SANFL league match against the Roosters, but he may be without Butcher in attack, who suffered a hamstring injury. Karl Finlay, Cam Hewett and James Craig will face fitness tests for the Roosters.

Reserves:

Although the League side may be struggling, the Bulldogs Reserves are flying at the top of the ladder. They smashed the reigning premiers, Norwood, by 88 points at Coopers Stadium last round and will start as favourites against a Roosters side who suffered a narrow loss to the undefeated Eagles.

Under 18s:

At Under 18s level, North Adelaide and Central Districts both sit at one win and three losses after four rounds of action. The potential clash between two of the best midfielders in the competition, Jamison Murphy (North Adelaide) and Lewis Cowham (Central Districts), is set to be a beauty.

 

Glenelg VS Woodville-West Torrens

League:

Since prevailing in two close encounters in rounds one and two, the Bays have suffered consecutive losses to North Adelaide and, most recently, West Adelaide. While the side which won it all last season remains relatively intact, coach Mark Stone will be eager to right the wrongs of the past fortnight. It has been a different story for the Eagles, however, who soared to the top of the ladder after running over the top of the Roosters on Saturday afternoon.

The Bays lost their mojo against an energetic Bloods side chasing their first win in over 12 months, with key defenders Matthew Merrett and Max Proud unable to stop Westies skipper Tom Keough, who booted five goals. This weekend they face another tough challenge in the form of the Hayes brothers, Jack and Nick. The brothers from Red Hill have kicked a combined 13 goals this season and their strong contested marking ability has caused plenty of headaches already.

However small forward James Rowe has perhaps been the most impressive Eagle so far in season 2020. He currently leads the Ken Farmer Medal race after nailing 13 majors in four games, including three bags of three and a tally of four last round. The former Sacred Heart College skipper is arguably the competition’s most dangerous forward, with his elite goal sense and football smarts impressing.

Glenelg have their own dangerous small forward in Darcy Bailey, who was restricted to just five disposals in round four. The Eagles will be hopeful of restricting dangerous Tigers duo Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds, who combined to kick five of Glenelg’s seven goals. However reigning Ken Farmer medallist McBean will be eyeing a bounce back game after he was held to just three touches by the Bloods.

Glenelg were outworked by West Adelaide, loosing the possession battle, clearances and inside 50s. However they boast one of the most talented onball units in the league, including tough nuts Matthew Snook and Bradley Agnew and star Luke Partington. The Eagles lost many key statistical areas, but made the most of their shots on goal, booting ten goals and nine behinds to North’s seven goals and 12 behinds. Jordan Foote will be expected to lead the way in the midfield after he ran wild in a best on ground performance against the Roosters. He brings real energy to the side with his speed around the contest and ability to hit the scoreboard.

Consistent trio Joseph Sinor, Matthew Goldsworthy and Angus Poole have also been vital to the Eagles strong opening month, while youngsters Lachlan Jones, Lachlan McNeil and Jacob Wehr have all performed well since slotting into the senior side. They will be required to stand up again if the Eagles are to topple the reigning premiers away from home.

The Tigers defeated the Eagles in both clashes between the two clubs last season, by 50 points in round six and 15 in round 12. Woodville-West Torrens have really found their grove in the past few weeks but, like all good sides, Glenelg will be expected to respond strongly. The Bays reported no injuries from their loss but Jade Sheedy‘s men may be without captain and defensive general Luke Thompson, who faces a fitness test to prove he has recovered from a thigh complaint. The clash will be Eagle Matthew Goldsworthy‘s 200th match at SANFL league level.

Reserves:

Much like the league battle, the Reserves matchup is also poised to go down to the wire, with both sides yet to drop any points after four rounds of competition. The Eagles have a couple of injury concerns but will have been encouraged by their gritty 17 point win over the Roosters last round, while the Bays continued their strong start with a victory over the Bloods.

Under 18s:

A handful of South Australia’s brightest talents will be on show when the two clubs Under 18s sides clash at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. Jase Burgoyne‘s starred for the Eagles last weekend, winning the round four under 18 MVP nomination. Caleb Poulter has also been in some terrific early season form for Eagles, with draft watchers beginning to sit up and take notice of his talents. Glenelg is undefeated in the Under 18s competition and will be full of confidence after recording a powerful 109 point win over West Adelaide on Saturday evening. Luke PedlarRiley Holder and Lewis Rayson are ones to watch for the yellow and black, alongside a number of other talented juniors.

 

South Adelaide VS West Adelaide

League:

The battle of the feel good stories will be played out at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday afternoon. South Adelaide have made a promising start to the campaign, as they continue their seemingly neverending quest to deliver the club its first league premiership since 1964. Meanwhile in the western suburbs, the Bloods will be full of confidence after knocking off Glenelg to snatch their first victory in over 12 months.

West Adelaide outworked the Bays last round, winning more of the ball around the ground and generally using it more effectively (80 per cent efficiency to Glenelg’s 74 per cent). Their tackling pressure was strong for the entirety of the match and they made the most of their chances in front of goal, finishing with an impressive 71 per cent scoring accuracy. The Bloods also dominated the inside 50s (48 to Glenelg’s 31), clearances (42 to 25) and hitouts (47 to 26).

After Sturt cut the margin just before half time, South Adelaide coach Jarrad Wright will have loved seeing his sides ability to wrestle back the momentum after the long break. Similar to West, the Panthers easily won the inside 50 battle (57 to Sturt’s 32) despite loosing the clearances and hitouts. The blue and white took 71 marks to Sturt’s 35, with key forwards Ben Haren and Sam Overall clunking four contested grabs between them.

Intercept marking machines Tom Highmore and Joseph Haines have been instrumental for the Panthers in the back half. Highmore leads the league for marks (38), with the underrated Haines sitting behind him having taken 33 grabs. The 27-year-old Haines has elevated his game to a whole new level this season, taking intercept marks at will and providing plenty of rebound from half back. He is also averaging 23.3 disposals at an incredible 96 per cent efficiency.

It has taken Highmore just four games of league football to cement his place amongst the league’s best defenders, after crossing over from the NEAFL’s Canberra Demons in the off-season. This round, their sights will be set on cutting off supply to dangerous West Adelaide pair Tom Keough and Riley Thilthorpe. Captain Keough booted five goals to drag his side over the line in round five. Thilthorpe took some time to get involved but worked his way into the contest well, with his run and leap at the contest particularly exciting.

The ever-reliable Joel Cross has been at it again this season and it comes as no surprise to see the two time Magarey medallist averaging 25.8 possessions and 7.3 clearances per game. Matthew Broadbent has been very good since joining the Noarlunga-based Panthers. The former Power defender, who kicked his first goal for the Panthers against Sturt, sits equal fifth with Cross for total disposals, averaging 25.8 per game at 80 per cent efficiency to go with 6.3 marks, 4 tackles and 5.8 clearances.

Like Cross, West Adelaide’s Kaine Stevens has been a consistent SANFL A-grader for a number of years. His toughness around the contest and stoppage-nous have remained impressive throughout what has been a challenging past few years for the club. He will no-doubt be loving the service being provided by ruckman Andre Parrella, who accumulated 43 of West’s 47 hitouts in his return to the side, having missed the round three match. The 204cm giant has not been super effective around the ground, but has dominated the ruck duals, recording 43 taps against Central Districts and Glenelg and 49 against North Adelaide.

He poses a tough matchup for 21-year-old Cameron McGree, in what will be just his tenth game of league football. Draft hopeful Zac Dumesny has enjoyed a consistent start to his first grade career, while the X-factor of Liam Fitt and goal sense of Beau McCreery have been exciting to watch up forward for the Panthers. The likes of former Crows top-up player Jordon Boyle, onballer Brett Turner, defender Elliott Dunkin and forward Lyndon Hupfield have all had positive moments so far in 2020.

South key defender Jake Summerton is set to play his 50th league match this round. The Panthers reported no injuries against Sturt, but could bring back Malcolm Karpany following a back injury. Six players will face tests for West Adelaide, including midfielder Josh Schiller, livewire Gibson Turner, former Tiger Josh Koster and outside midfielder Dallas Willsmore. South Adelaide were victorious in both games against Westies last season, first by 32 points in round six then by 28 points in round eleven. However Bloods coach Gavin Colville will have his side up-and-about following last rounds emotional victory at Hisense Stadium. However South have been excellent this season and will enter the clash as deserved favourites, especially at home.

Reserves:

The Panthers and Bloods Reserves have not performed the way they will have liked so far, with West sitting in sixth spot with one win and South Adelaide stuck down the bottom along with fellow winless side, Norwood. But for one team, victory at Flinders University Stadium could kickstart their season.

Under 18s:

South Adelaide’s Under 18s are loaded with talent, with bottom-agers Matthew Roberts and Jason Horne already amongst the competition’s best midfielders. Skipper Nick Kraemer, exciting wingman or small forward Phoenix Spicer and Arlo Draper are also names to watch. Things have not been so rosy for West, but midfielder Bailey Chamberlain continues to find plenty of the ball through the midfield.

 

Sturt vs Norwood

League:

Many SANFL watchers would have expected better starts from Norwood and Sturt – two clubs that have consistently played finals football across the past few seasons. The Double Blues just edged the winless Bulldogs in the opening round before suffering a heavy loss to the Eagles and just limping over the line against West in round three. Last weekend the Double Blues trailed all day and kicked bellow 50 points for the third time in four matches.

Norwood have had their troubles too, suffering narrow losses to Glenelg and North before copping a 65 point hiding against Woodville-West Torrens. However things are beginning to look up after the talented eastern suburbs side finally earned its first premiership points of the season against the ‘Dogs. With both clubs desperate to keep up with the league leaders given recent revisions of the finals system, this contest is expected to be closely fought.

Norwood proved too good for the Bulldogs last weekend, with their skills clearly a class above at times, finishing with an excellent efficiency of 82 per cent. The small-tall combination of Peter Bampton and Tommy Pinyon worked well for the victorious Redlegs,  with each booting four goals from limited disposals. The Double Blues were smashed around the ground by South, who took 71 marks to Sturt’s 35.

Despite winning the hitouts and clearances, Sturt has struggled to get the ball inside 50, doing so just 31 times compared to the Panthers 57. Up forward, Ash Johnson has kicked six goals, Jake Sutcliffe has nailed five and Josh Hone has booted four. Gun recruit Abe Davis has kicked just one goal after booting 21 in 2019. Sturt will need him to bring more offence to the table against the Redlegs.

Skipper and clearance specialist James Battersby has led from the front despite Sturt’s inconsistencies, with ball magnet Sam Colquhoun and dual Magarey Medalist Zane Kirkwood both producing arguably their best performances of the year against South Adelaide. Norwood’s midfield is also loaded with established talent, headlined by Richard DouglasMitch Grigg and Matthew Panos – all of whom hit the scoreboard in round four and are known goalkickers.

However the ruck battle looms as perhaps the most fascinating, with impressive Sturt youngster Dan Fahey-Sparks set to face the imposing Sam Baulderstone. Fahey-Sparks has recored the most hitouts of anyone so far in 2020, however Baulderstone is just 15 taps behind. Baulderstone’s work around the ground has been particularly impressive, with the 29-year-old averaging 18.8 disposals and 7.8 clearances (ranked third in the competition). Fahey-Sparks has been providing first use to the Double Blues onballers and his field kicking has been clean (70 per cent efficiency compared to Baulderstone’s 58 per cent).

Sturt will have been wrapped with the early season performances of young trio Casey VossTom Lewis and Jed McEntee, who certainly don’t appear to be shy of a tackle. Voss struggled a bit at times against the Panthers, but is averaging 16.8 disposals at 79 per cent efficiency, three clearances and six tackles in an onball role.

Pocket rocket Lewis has enjoyed a wonderful start to his SANFL career, laying an elite 22 tackles in just two games, including an equal game high 14 against South. He tackles and hunts with genuine ferocity, is a capable clearance winner and has terrific athleticism to match. McEntee has also provided plenty of defensive pressure, averaging 5.3 tackles per match. Norwood have already blooded promising teenager Henry Nelligan, who got more involved against Centrals after debuting in tough circumstances the week prior.

Norwood are expected to start as favourites, having beaten Sturt in all three meetings between the two clubs last season, winning by five points in round three, 59 in Round 16 and 14 in the Elimination Final. Aidyn Johnson will play his 50th league match for the Double Blues, who reported a clean slate of injuries in Saturday’s loss. Norwood have an extensive injury list, with several senior players sidelined. However Lewis Johnston has been listed as available after recovering from a quad injury, with Ryan Bastinac also a likely inclusion.

Reserves:

At Reserves level, Sturt finds itself just inside the top four with a two and two record. With both wins coming in the past fortnight, the Double Blues will be looking to keep the Redlegs winless, despite Norwood winning the reserves premiership last season.

Under 18s:

Sturt’s Under 18s have been exciting to watch so far in season 2020, with midfielders Tom Powell and Mani Liddy turning heads and earning some recognition for their domination. Morgan Ferres and Malachy Carruthers have also shown exciting glimpses. Norwood’s under 18s have pieced together three very solid weeks after an opening round loss to Glenelg, with bottom-ager Cooper Murley, smart midfielder Michael Cavallaro and tall forward Finn Heard starring. An in form Norwood could be the side to end Sturt’s winning streak.