Tag: Joel Western

WAFL Colts Weekly Wrap: Round 3 – East Fremantle gets on the board

IN Round 3 of the 2020 Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition, there were a host of great individual and team performances alike.

This round saw East Fremantle (8.10.58) defeat East Perth (7.5.47), Claremont (16.12.108) beat South Fremantle (2.5.17), West Perth (19.10.124) win against Peel (7.4.46), and Subiaco (17.8.110) secure victory over Swan Districts (6.9.45).

Perth was the club that had the bye this weekend.

Read below to see the results of round three and to see the best players.

EAST PERTH 7.5 (47) def. EAST FREMANTLE 8.10 (58)

East Fremantle recorded its first victory of the 2020 Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition, after defeating East Perth by 11 points at Leederville Oval.

East Fremantle’s captain Keanu Haddow inspired the Sharks to victory with 28 possessions and nine marks. Jack Carroll (22 possessions, four inside 50s, four tackles), Edward Curley (22 possessions, one goal), Jed Hagan (18 possessions, eight marks, eight tackles, four inside 50s), Finn Gorringe (15 possessions, seven tackles, one goal), Bailey Hodge (15 possessions, one goal), Judd McVee (11 possessions, three inside 50s), and Brandon Walker (22 possessions, one goal) were all outstanding for the Sharks.

Dunsborough product Jack Hindle was named East Perth’s best after he finished with 19 possessions, three marks, three tackles and a goal. He was well supported by Joshua Hubbard (27 possessions, seven tackles, five inside 50s), Luke Lombardi (24 possessions, three tackles), Jy Thompson (20 possessions), Riley May (11 possessions, six marks) and Zac Dronow (20 possessions, six marks).

Chris Walker (East Fremantle) and Kade Dittmar (East Perth) were among the notable absentees.

SOUTH FREMANTLE 2.5 (17) def. by CLAREMONT 16.12 (108)

Claremont continued its unbeaten start to the season with another convincing victory, this time a 91-point drubbing of South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Cameron Anderson, a member of the 2019 WA U18s State Academy, was Claremont’s best player with 21 possessions, 12 tackles, eight inside 50s and a goal. Logan Young (17 possessions, seven tackles), Jake Willson (17 possessions, seven inside 50s, five tackles), Sam Alvarez (18 possessions, five marks, five tackles, one goal), Logan Guelfi (17 possessions, nine tackles, two goals), Jacob Van Rooyen (15 possessions, five marks, three goals) and Kalin Lane (15 possessions, 20 hit-outs) were all brilliant for the reigning premiers.

For the Bulldogs, Jaxon Bellchambers competed strongly all day to finish with 26 possessions, nine marks, eight tackles, four inside 50s and one goal. Shannon Neale (nine possessions, 20 hit-outs), Solomon James (17 possessions, 14 hit-outs, four inside 50s, three marks), Adam Correia (22 possessions, six marks, four inside 50s), Riley Colborne (10 possessions, five marks), and Toby Dodds (19 possessions, seven marks) competed solidly for the Bulldogs.

Claremont’s Joel Western did not play in the game due to a hamstring injury sustained last week.

PEEL THUNDER 7.4 (46) def. by WEST PERTH 19.10 (124)

West Perth remains undefeated in 2020 after a strong 78-point victory over Peel Thunder at David Grays Arena.

Heath Chapman (27 possessions, 11 marks) and Michael Mallard (15 possessions, 32 hit-outs) led the way for the Falcons. Corey Rundle (14 possessions, six marks, seven goals), Darcy Dixon (11 possessions, four goals), Logan Foley (18 possessions, eight hit-outs, seven marks, two goals), Callum Johnson (32 possessions, five tackles, four marks, three inside 50s, one goal), and Rohan Scurria (27 possessions, seven marks) were key contributors to the Falcons’ victory.

Bodie Kitchingham (25 possessions, five marks, five tackles, one goal), Jack Walsh (25 possessions, seven tackles), Tyler Nesbitt (16 possessions), Luke Polson (16 possessions, five marks) and David Yaccob (16 possessions, six marks) contributed valiantly all day for the Thunder.

Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder) and Kellen Johnson (West Perth) did not play, with the former called up for his League debut.

SWAN DISTRICTS 6.9 (45) def. by SUBIACO 17.8 (110)

Subiaco secured its first victory of the 2020 Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition with a resounding 65-point victory over Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval.

Subiaco’s Vice Captain Lachlan Vanirsen was at the forefront for the Lions, leading the way with 24 possessions, six marks and six tackles.

Jed Kemp (19 possessions, eight tackles, four marks, four inside 50s), Matthew Johnson (15 possessions, one goal), Ezekiel Bolton (15 possessions, one goal), and Blake Morris (11 possessions, three marks) were all pivotal for the Lions’ victory. Up forward, Sandon Page (10 possessions, five goals) and Jaxon Bilchuris (12 possessions, seven marks, four goals) proved to be a handful for the Swans’ defenders.

Ayden Cartwright was Swan Districts’ best player with 24 possessions, eight marks, and a goal. Ashley Brockbernd (19 possessions, eight tackles), Kade Screaigh (18 possessions, six tackles), Jamieson Ugle (16 possessions, five tackles, one goal), Ty Sears (15 possessions, six marks, six inside 50s), Dylan Brockbernd (15 possessions, five inside 50s) and William Collins (14 possessions, three tackles) tried hard all day.

Draft Central Power Rankings: August 2020

BUDDING AFL Draft prospects from around the nation have stamped their claims over the last month with football returning across multiple states, making for a top-end list boasting plenty of movers and sliders. In Draft Central‘s second Power Rankings edition for 2020, we again stick to a list of 20 with only a few adjustments made to our initial July rankings. A certain West Australian key forward has pushed into the top 10, while a couple of South Australian midfielders have bolted in from the clouds to also warrant a spot each. All that, and more in our August Power Rankings update.

Note, the list is ordered purely on our opinion and each players’ ability, not taking into account any AFL clubs’ lists or needs.

#1 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Country | Key Position Forward
4/04/2002 | 194cm | 84kg

Western Bulldogs fans may not entirely enjoy seeing Next Generation Academy (NGA) product, Ugle-Hagan perched atop the tree given the hefty price that comes with it, but should be buoyed by their club having first dibs on such a remarkable talent. The 194cm key position forward has been compared to champion goalkicker Lance Franklin for his athleticism and left-foot kick, but he plays a little differently. Ugle-Hagan’s pace off the lead and sticky hands overhead set him apart, while elite scores in each of the preseason testing events make him an irresistible prospect alone. He is the consensus number one choice at this point, having delivered on the hype as he moved to the Oakleigh region via a scholarship with Scotch College.

July Ranking: #1

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#2 Elijah Hollands
Murray Bushrangers/Vic County | Forward/Midfielder
25/04/2002 | 188cm | 80kg

Hollands’ placing in these rankings will inevitably prove one of the hardest to call throughout the year, given he is set to sit out the entire 2020 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). At this point though, he has done more than enough to warrant top five status at the least, and finds a place in second spot once again. While his knack for producing game-defining periods has most significantly been achieved forward of centre, Hollands has the size and skill to warrant his goal of earning more midfield minutes. With clean hands, athleticism, and a booming boot which often finds the goals, Hollands is all you could ever want from a high-ceiling prospect. Not playing shouldn’t hurt his value too much, but it would have been nice to see him get an uninterrupted crack at NAB League level having finished his schooling at Caulfield Grammar.

July Ranking: #2

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and long-term knee injury.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#3 Will Phillips
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
22/05/2002 | 179cm | 78kg

We have all marvelled at how well Oakleigh graduates Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson have adapted to life in the AFL, and Phillips could be the next Charger in line to do just that having leant on the pair during his bottom-aged campaign. Like Rowell, Phillips is a sub-180cm prospect who consistently finds plenty of the ball and possesses great leadership qualities. He is a well-balanced midfielder too, having plied his trade at times on the outside for Oakleigh en route to premiership glory. Phillips seems to thrive on the inside though, with his hardness and ability to weave through traffic making him an invaluable stoppage asset. The Caulfield Grammar student will juggle APS football and NAB League duties in 2020, while standing as a clear leadership candidate for Vic Metro come national carnival time.

July Ranking: #3

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#4 Denver Grainger-Barras
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Key Position Defender
14/04/2002 | 195cm | 78kg

Another tall amongst the top five, and a versatile one at that. While he is definitely most comfortable and renowned as a key position defender, the Swan Districts hopeful’s versatility lies in the roles he play inside defensive 50. Credit to his athleticism and slender frame, he is able to keep up with medium types at ground level, while also showing form as a lockdown type on the opposition’s best big forward, or as an intercept marking outlet. Grainger-Barras is a cool head in possession too, boasting a sound kick for his size and composure beyond his years. That same level-headedness and footballing IQ makes him a sound reader of the play from the back, and the leading option of his position.

July Ranking: #5

Last Month: Grainger-Barras has picked up right from where he left off in 2019, slotting back into Swan Districts’ League side after making his senior debut last year. Across the first three rounds, he has averaged 9.3 disposals, 4.3 marks, and 2.3 tackles from half-back, with his most recent outing earning him best afield honours against Subiaco. The promising defender is so assured in the air and reads the game better than most, though can work on finding more of the ball to make even better use of his smarts and composure.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#5 Riley Thilthorpe
West Adelaide/South Australia | Ruck/Key Position Forward
7/07/2002 | 200cm | 99kg

In a welcome change from last year’s crop, key position prospects will be in abundance at the top end. Thilthorpe is one of them, an athletic ruck/forward who possesses enormous running capacity and can dominate the airways. In his ruck duties, the 200cm West Adelaide product plays more like a fourth midfielder, able to follow up at ground level and cover the ground like a small. He has been utilised in a more forward-oriented role for the Bloods at SANFL League level though, with his goalkicking attributes and diverse skillset already making him a handful for senior players with more mature bodies. Ask any of the South Australian Under 18s who they are most looking forward to playing alongside in 2020, and Thilthorpe is among them. Jot the name down, he should be among those you are most looking forward to watching, too.

July Ranking: #4

Last Month: Another key position player who is thriving at senior level, Thilthorpe has become a consistent figure up forward for West Adelaide’s League side. He has booted four goals across his six games thus far, finding the big sticks in half of his outings. The area Thilthorpe has impressed most in is his marking, having shown a terrific forward 50 presence and the ability to use his reach to take the ball at its highest point. He is difficult to stop when doing so, and doubles his threat with good ground level efforts. Yet to take a game by the scruff of its neck, though that may prove difficult as the Bloods sit at 1-4-1.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

#6 Braeden Campbell
Sydney Swans Academy/Allies | Balanced Midfielder/Forward
4/02/2002 | 181cm | 72kg

While he has again been squeezed out to number six, Campbell is a player likely to sit among the top five come season’s end. Uncertainty lingers over how much exposure NSW/ACT athletes will be able to gain in 2020 given the NEAFL’s scrapping and a shortened NAB League competition, but one must only watch last year’s Under 17 Futures All-Star showcase to be reminded of Campbell’s talent. He was best-afield in that game, with electrifying speed, hardness at the ball, and a booming left-foot kick catching the eye of all who bore witness. The Swans Academy product is also apt in the short range as well, and has the invaluable ability to impact games in multiple positions. Whether it be on the inside, outside, or forward of centre, Campbell is a match-winner and should cost the Swans a pretty penny in terms of draft points.

July Ranking: #6

Last Month: Like many of the Swans Academy prospects, Campbell has been plying his trade in the AFL Sydney Premier Division, running out for the Pennant Hill Demons over the last three weeks. He booted six goals in his first two appearances and was named in the best both times.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#7 Tanner Bruhn
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
27/05/2002 | 182cm | 73kg

Class with a capital ‘C’ is what Bruhn has been described as, despite his limited on-field opportunities of late. The Geelong Falcons midfielder burst onto the scene as Vic Country’s Under 16 MVP in 2018, but injuries have cruelled him since; having initially required knee surgery after a 2019 preseason incident, and undergone a follow-up procedure that would have had him in doubt to feature early this year. He still managed to add two NAB League outings to his resume towards the end of last season, showcasing his terrific stoppage craft with clean hands and wonderful movement around the ball. Should he enjoy an extended run and put his best form on display, Bruhn could well push to be the premier midfielder of this year’s bunch.

July Ranking: #7

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#8 Nikolas Cox
Northern Knights/Vic Metro | Key Position Defender/Utility
15/01/2002 | 199cm | 82kg

A 199cm player who can run, kick on both sides, and play just about anywhere? It sounds too good to be true, but that is exactly what Cox brings to the table as his region’s most outstanding draft candidate. Cox cut his teeth as a tall wingman and key position swingman in 2019, juggling his time between school football, 10 NAB League outings, and a berth in the Under 18 Vic Metro squad as a bottom-ager. In 2020, the Northern Knights co-captain is set to develop as a centre-half back, with his athleticism and versatility in the role lending to the fact he has an enormous ceiling. He is also set to be a prime candidate to lead Vic Metro should the national carnival swing around, lauded for his professionalism and the example he sets via training standards.

July Ranking: #8

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and AGSV Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#9 Logan McDonald
Perth/Western Australia | Key Position Forward
4/04/2002 | 196cm | 85kg

A dominant key position forward with terrific endurance is McDonald, who adds to the strong tall and West Australian representation on this list. The high-marking spearhead ran out for his state thrice during last year’s Under 18 National Championships, averaging a goal per game and impressing with his ability to clunk marks leading up the ground. He has terrific hands on the lead and usually has no trouble finding the big sticks, while his high-level endurance confirms his status as a true, modern-day centre half-forward. Having grown and filled out to a more conventional key position size, expect McDonald to better showcase his game-winning ability from forward of centre – something which earned him All-Australian honours as an Under 16s player.

July Ranking: #20

Last Month: McDonald is the big riser this month having put his name in lights at WAFL League level. The 196cm key position forward put on a show in his senior debut with 16 disposals, four marks, and three goals, before going one-better in Round 2 to boot four majors from 15 disposals and seven marks. His marking strength both on the lead and one-on-one has been exceptional, as has his finishing. After a bye in Round 3, expect McDonald to continue to rise.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

#10 Alex Davies
Gold Coast SUNS/Allies | Inside Midfielder
18/03/2002 | 191cm | 85kg

A second Northern Academy prospect and first Queenslander on the list, Davies is one of the more highly touted big-bodied midfielders of his cohort. Standing at 191cm and filling out to 85kg, the SUNS Academy hopeful boasts the ideal size to not only dominate his junior competitors, but more importantly make an immediate impact at the next level. He has been his state’s prime ball winner for some time and thrives on racking up high contested numbers, but has also displayed terrific poise in traffic and adds releasing handballs to his thumping kicks away from the stoppages. He ran out for four of Gold Coast’s NAB League outings as a bottom-ager, and should prove a key figure among the Allies squad in 2020.

July Ranking: #9

Last Month: Davies has managed to squeeze a QAFL game into his schedule, appearing for the Broadbeach Cats a fortnight ago and booting a goal in their 57-point win over Mt Gravatt.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#11 Reef McInnes
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder
12/12/2002 | 192cm | 84kg

Just slipping outside the top 10 due to McDonald’s rise is another inside midfielder and a second NGA product tied to both the Scotch College and Oakleigh Chargers systems. Attached to Collingwood, McInnes is set to be yet another in the production line of academy and father-son prospects made available to the Magpies, and looms as a first round candidate. While he was pushed out to the forward line in Oakleigh’s stacked premiership side, McInnes is a bull on the inside who can dominate at stoppages. He is hardly the typical slow, strength-dependant type either, able to lean on his agility and awareness to effectively extract from midfield. The versatility he was made to learn as a bottom-ager adds another string to his bow, with goals a valuable part of his game in 2019.

July Ranking: #10

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#12 Lachlan Jones
WWT Eagles/South Australia | General Defender
9/04/2002 | 185cm | 89kg

Yet another NGA prospect, Jones is tied to Port Adelaide and features quite highly on this list. His big frame has seen him adjust well to the rigours of SANFL League football, running out against mature bodies for both of the Eagles’ opening two fixtures in the grade. As a general defender, Jones possesses obvious hardness at the ball and can compete both aerially and at ground level, remaining relevant going both ways too. His skills are also a big asset, able to spear passes to high percentage options while also breaking games open with his long-range efforts. Jones may well be one to push further up the list as he progresses in 2020, with some solid traits which point to a quick transition into the next level.

July Ranking: #17

Last Month: Another SANFL League representative, Jones’ form has been enough to warrant a decent rise up our board. The solidly-built defender has cemented his spot at senior level, running out in all six of WWT’s fixtures thus far. While he has returned a few down games of under 10 disposals, Jones’ best is first round quality and indicative of a readymade player. Port fans and staff alike may want to downplay his value, but he looms as a prospect just outside of the top 10 range.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

#13 Nathan O’Driscoll 
Perth/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder/Defender
17/05/2002 | 187cm | 76kg

One of Western Australia’s leading prospect’s is O’Driscoll, a hard-at-it inside midfielder who can also double as a damaging half-back or wingman. The 187cm Perth Demons product was a standout at Colts level last year, while also breaking through for three outings in the Black Ducks’ Under 18 National Championships campaign as a bottom-ager. Having learnt off the likes of former Perth teammate and Brisbane draftee, Deven Robertson, O’Driscoll is primed to become a permanent midfield fixture haven already proven his ball winning capabilities. His penetrating boot and speed-endurance mix make him a prospect with many desirable traits, not to mention his older sister Emma, is already plying her trade at AFLW level for Fremantle.

July Ranking: #13

Last Month: O’Driscoll has been plying his trade at WAFL Colts level, featuring in Rounds 1 and 2 before a bye most recently. He has been named as the Demons’ starting centre half-forward, but after a steady opening performance, looks to have returned to his usual form through midfield with 25 disposals, six marks, and five tackles in Round 2. Enough to hold his spot.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#14 Kaine Baldwin
Glenelg/South Australia | Key Position Forward
30/05/2002 | 193cm | 92kg

The news of Baldwin’s second ACL tear in as many years – albeit partial this time – was shattering. It means the promising 193cm forward will miss out on yet another season of football after earning All Australian honours at Under 16s level in 2018, and a crack at the SANFL Reserves grade as a bottom-ager. In our eyes, he remains a first round prospect on talent alone, and looked poised to really crack on in 2020 after his initial recovery. He was a handy preseason testing performer, with good returns in the vertical jumps and yo-yo test conveying Baldwin’s ability to crash packs and clunk big contested marks, while also harnessing that aerial dominance in his work up the ground.

July Ranking: #11

Last Month: Inactive due to long-term knee injury.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#15 Zach Reid
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Key Position Defender/Utility
2/03/2002 | 202cm | 82kg

A versatile tall who could push for top 10 status, Reid returned a consistent output during his bottom-age season as a key member of Gippsland’s spine. He was tried up either end and through the ruck across 15 NAB League outings, but looked most comfortable down back and should find a home there once again in 2020. At 202cm, Reid is filling out nicely and can utilise that added strength to compete better one-on-one against big key forwards. He is a terrific judge of the ball in flight and positions intelligently, not just relying on his height to compete aerially. Reid is also both a sound handler and user of the ball for his size, providing a cool head in rebounding transitions.

July Ranking: #12

Last Month: While the competition has now been suspended, Reid managed to fit in three outings for Leongatha in the Gippsland League. He was named among the best for his two goals in the Parrots’ Round 2 win over Moe, and looks to be shuffling around to a few different positions as he has done previously. Hardly a slide, others in more competitive interstate leagues have just gone ahead of him.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#16 Zane Trew
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder
26/04/2002 | 186cm | 78kg

Trew is one of many top-end prospects who have had to battle injury throughout their bottom-age seasons, but he looks primed to bounce back well in 2020. Hailing from the talent-stacked Swan Districts program, Trew is a classy inside midfielder who can rack up plenty of ball in style, backed by his 40-disposal effort in last year’s WAFL Colts competition. While he was limited to just three outings and missed Under 18 selection for WA, the 186cm prospect should not be forgotten in first round discussions. Trew is a handball-happy extractor, able to flick out releasing touches to his runners, but he is just as effective by foot with clean skills at short range and penetration when required. Should be a lock for the WA engine room this season.

July Ranking: #16

Last Month: The Swan Districts midfielder has already matched his games tally from 2019, but had his most recent WAFL Colts outing cut short through injury. The bye comes at a good time for Trew as he works to wear off his concussion, but he has otherwise fared well in the junior competition. Across Rounds 1 and 2, Trew averaged 28 disposals, three marks, and five tackles in displays consistent enough to see him hold down the number 16 ranking.

>> Draft Diary 1 | 2
>> Marquee Matchup

#17 Oliver Henry
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Medium Utility
29/07/2002 | 187cm | 77kg

Another brother-of who should feature at the top end of this year’s rankings is Henry, the younger sibling of Geelong Cats defender, Jack. The Geelong Falcons product has top 10 potential, able to play up either end of the ground and pull down big marks. While he looks most comfortable up forward as a high-flying third tall type, Henry is just as capable down back where his aerial prowess translates to intercept value. At 187cm, he plays above his size through sheer athleticism and reading of the play, with the potential to also move up onto a wing. Should he finally be allowed back onto the park in 2020, expect Henry to be one who could rise quite steeply given his enormous upside and versatility.

July Ranking: NR

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and school football.

>> Feature
>> Marquee Matchup

#18 Tom Powell
Sturt/South Australia | Midfielder
2/03/2002 | 180cm | 73kg

There are few more consistent ball winners than Powell, who has put an interrupted bottom-age season behind him to emerge as arguably Sturt’s most promising draft prospect. The Double Blues standout simply finds the ball at will, able to get his side going on the front foot from midfield with clever positioning, movement, and extraction. He may be a touch handball happy, but is an elite exponent of that tool and is beginning to mix in his kicking to have an even greater impact on games. At his best, Powell is nothing short of dominant, though goals and a greater run-and-carry game would make him a complete midfielder – think Lachie Neale‘s development.

July Ranking: NR

Last Month: As by far the most prolific Under 18s ball winner in South Australia, and potentially the entire country, Powell is proving impossible to ignore at this stage. He leads the competition for total disposals, clearances, and inside 50s after six rounds, averaging 37.2, 9.2, and 6.8 in those respective categories. Having also added goals to his arsenal most recently, Powell continues to add strings to his bow. Gaining much-deserved recognition after an injury-riddled 2019 campaign.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch

#19 Archie Perkins
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Forward/Midfielder
26/03/2002 | 186cm | 77kg

Perhaps a slightly speculative choice of ranking at this stage, but Perkins has all the makings of a special talent. Having caught the eye as a forward and outside midfielder in 2019, the Sandringham Dragons standout is poised to spend more time on the inside as a top-ager, with just the right size and some incredible athletic attributes to aid his transition. Perkins boasts a monster vertical leap, covers 20 metres in less than three seconds, and is brilliantly agile, making for an ideal athletic base. His finishing touch is an area he can refine, but the 186cm prospect is no stranger to finding the goals and can be a real game changer when required. Damage or impact is a key trait which is often hard to measure, but Perkins ranks highly in that department.

July Ranking: #18

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#20 Finlay Macrae
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
13/03/2002 | 184cm | 75kg

You may recognise the name and yes, Finlay is the brother of Western Bulldogs midfielder, Jack. They are quite clearly cut from the same cloth, with the younger Macrae possessing a similar ball winning appetite and class on the ball to his established older sibling. The 184cm Charger also boasts a terrific balance in his traits, able to impact the play moving forward with sound decision making and precise execution via foot, on top of his obvious exploits in extraction. While he is not overly quick, Macrae’s evasiveness comes through agility and awareness, which should be on full show as he prepares to feature prominently for Oakleigh, Xavier College, and Vic Metro in 2020.

July Ranking: #14

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

IN THE MIX:

Off the bat, Caleb Poulter and Heath Chapman are essentially number 21 and 22 on our list, making them the hardest to leave out of the top 20. Both have enjoyed impactful starts to their respective seasons; with Poulter a midfielder who packs presence in the SANFL Under 18s, and Chapman an intercept defender who has roamed further afield in the WAFL Colts. They are both terrific sizes, and have a range of weapons at their disposal.

Bailey Laurie and Brandon Walker are the two who slid out of the 20 from July’s rankings. It has been no real fault of their own, with the inactive Laurie a victim of others’ rises, while Walker has made a solid start to his WAFL Colts campaign but is ultimately just squeezed out.

Walker’s fellow Fremantle Next Generation Academy member, Joel Western has enjoyed a terrific start to the year to come into contention, but missed last weekend’s action through injury. Isiah Winder is another on the rise having earned his WAFL League debut for Peel Thunder, so keep an eye out for his name in future. Midfielder/half-back Jack Carroll is also in form, along with left-field ruck hopeful, Kalin Lane, but both are still just outside this kind of range.

The likes of Corey Durdin and Zac Dumesny linger around the top 30 for some given their SANFL League form, while Tariek Newchurch could be a first round smokey, but can work on becoming a more consistent threat. He and Jamison Murphy have been prominent for North Adelaide, while Bailey Chamberlain and Mani Liddy are hard to ignore at SANFL Under 18s level. Potential Adelaide father-son Luke Edwards also earned a SANFL Reserves call-up this month.

Down in Tasmania, Jackson Callow and Oliver Davis have made promising starts to their TSL campaigns. Of those who are around the mark, but cannot currently stake their claims due to a lack of top-level competition are Connor Downie, Eddie Ford, Jake Bowey, Sam Berry, and ruck bolter Max Heath. NT Thunder utility Joel Jeffrey has top 25 potential, as does Sydney Academy prospect Errol Gulden.

If you like the content that Draft Central provides and don’t want to miss any of it, then sign up to our subscriber list where you can be emailed out the latest AFL Draft Guide or sport-specific magazines, as well as the option to sign up to a monthly newsletter. Fill in the form below to subscribe and be notified!

WAFL weekend preview: Round 3 – Undefeated Bulldogs and Tigers battle for League supremacy

ROUND 3 of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) is set to bounce down on Saturday, promising to deliver another high-level weekend of action.

Reining League premier, Subiaco reenters the fray after a week off, still searching for its first win in 2020 alongside the struggling Swan Districts. A clash between two of the three remaining undefeated sides headlines the round, as South Fremantle and Claremont prepare for battle in a top-of-the-table belter.

Four seperate venues will again be utilised, with the Reserves and Colts kicking off all bar one of the triple-headed contests. We break down each matchup across the three grades.

>> SCROLL for full fixtures and teams

PREVIEWS AND FIXTURES

Swan Districts vs. Subiaco

League: Saturday August 1, 12:40pm @ Steel Blue Oval
Reserves: Saturday August 1, 9:30am @ Steel Blue Oval
Colts: Sunday August 2, 2:00pm @ Steel Blue Oval

Two sides searching for a win at League level are set to go head-to-head on Saturday. Remarkably, the clash is between last year’s wooden spooner, and the reigning premier. Swan Districts will again have its hands full when Subiaco rolls into town, as the Lions look to emphatically put a shock Round 1 loss behind them.

The Swans have brought about four changes, with 2019 best and fairest winner George Hampson among them and slotting straight into the midfield group alongside boom recruits, Frank Anderson and Sam Fisher. Andrew Doyle is set to make his debut amid three changes for Subiaco, as the Lions look to avoid consecutive defeats. In 10-straight wins over Swan Districts, Subiaco’s average winning margin has been 55 points.

At Reserves level, the Lions will be looking to build on a Round 1 victory, while the Black Ducks’ search for an opening win extends down to the second grade and the Colts competition. Young Swans gun Zane Trew is one to watch, and may climb the grades akin to fellow Under 18 Denver Grainger-Barras, while a bunch of young Lions have also impressed despite early losses.

East Perth vs. East Fremantle

League: Saturday August 1, 2:30pm @ Leederville Oval
Reserves: Saturday August 1, 12:00pm @ Leederville Oval
Colts: Saturday August 1, 9:30am @ Leederville Oval

East Fremantle will hope to build on its Round 2 League victory, and opening win for the year when it travels to face East Perth at Leederville Oval. The Sharks have had the wood over their Royal adversaries of late, toppling them in their last two meetings at the level. East Perth is 0-1 in 2020 having lost last weekend to Perth.

While skipper and former West Coast Eagle Patrick McGinnity will be a glaring absentee through injury, the Royals are set to maintain some level of AFL experience with Nick Robertson named to make his East Perth debut. The former Brisbane Lions enforcer has been named on an extended bench alongside the likes of Ajang Ajang. Nick Kommer is poised to break back into the winning East Fremantle side, among four players looking for a League berth this time out.

The Sharks’ twos and Colts are both still searching for opening wins, with the Reserves remaining 0-1 after a bye in Round 2, while the Colts have struggled to score despite boasting a talent-rich squad. 2019 Under 16 All Australian Judd McVee will only add to that, making for a formidable midfield partnership with Finn Gorringe, and Jack Carroll on the outer.

Colts leader Adam Boules will hope to continue his hot form from last week to help East Perth notch a second win for the season. The Royals’ reserves are also 1-0 after two rounds having beaten Perth in their maiden outing for the 2020 campaign.

Peel Thunder vs. West Perth

League: Saturday August 1, 2:30pm @ David Grays Arena
Reserves: Bye
Colts: Saturday August 1, 12:00pm @ David Grays Arena

Peel Thunder will turn to its depth in hopes of turning around a difficult start to the WAFL League season. The Thunder host West Perth (1-1) at David Grays Oval on Saturday, with the Falcons coming in off a loss to South Fremantle. A feature of West Perth’s League form thus far has been its low-scoring nature, averaging just 41.5 points for, and 40 against.

The Thunder’s youthful exuberance may override that factor, with youngsters Isiah Winder and Zach Rankin coming into the team alongside Brad McGowan. Winder has earned his League debut after terrific performances at Colts level, averaging 28 disposals and a goal across his two outings. Ben Hancock will also celebrate his 100th game. West Perth’s Victorian recruit Matty Lloyd, the brother of Sydney’s Jake, is another set for a shot at the senior level. He makes up one of two changes for his new team.

In the Reserves grade, West Perth can only hope to hold onto top spot as the bye round swings its way, given Peel is not fielding a secondary side this year. The Falcons’ Colts are also 2-0 and top of the ladder, compared to the 1-1 Thunder coming off a Grand Final appearance. Peel will miss Winder and Rankin, but can look towards the likes of David Yaccob, Jonathon Ietto, and Luke Polson for some inspiration. West Perth’s Heath Chapman remains the one to watch for his side, along with Michael Mallard and Callum Johnson.

South Fremantle vs. Claremont

League: Saturday August 1, 3:05pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Reserves: Saturday August 1, 12:30pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Colts: Saturday August 1, 10:00am @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval

Arguably the game of the round will be left for last as table toppers South Fremantle and Claremont go to battle for League supremacy. The pair makes up two of the three undefeated sides left in the competition, with the Bulldogs’ superior percentage of 298 putting them comfortably ahead of Claremont and Perth.

As if they needed the boost, last year’s runners-up are set to regain Haiden Schloithe for the clash, who comes in as one of two changes for Souths. Claremont has opted to make just one change to the side which beat Swan Districts last week, with Anthony Davis coming in for Ben Edwards.

Claremont’s Colts are also 2-0 and sitting in second after two strong rounds of action, but may have to continue this weekend without top prospect, Joel Western after he appeared to be injured last time out. South Fremantle suffered its first Colts and Reserves defeats last week at the hands of West Perth, so face a tough ask in bouncing right back. Claremont’s reserves also sit at 1-1, but edge the Bulldogs for fourth spot and will look to built on last week’s win over Swan Districts.

FULL LEAGUE TEAMS

Scouting Notes: 2020 WAFL Colts Round 2 – Claremont vs Swan Districts

IN Round 2 of the Simply Energy WAFL Colts Competition, Claremont continued its premiership defence with a convincing 87-point victory over Swan Districts at Revo Fitness Stadium. Below were the most notable players. There were also plenty of standout performers around the grounds, SCROLL to read about how the remaining talent fared.

FEATURED GAME:
Claremont vs. Swan Districts

By: Lenny Fogliani

Claremont:

#2 Logan Young

The son of AFL player manager Colin Young, Logan was exceptional in the midfield for the Tigers. He finished with an equal game-high 31 possessions, six inside 50s, four marks and four tackles in a powerful display.

#3 Zac Mainwaring

The son of the late Chris Mainwaring, Zac was lively in the forward half for the Tigers, creating plenty of goal scoring opportunities for his team. He finished with 12 possessions, five marks, four inside 50s, three tackles and two goals. The highlight of his game came late in the third quarter, when he took a sensational one-handed mark.

#4 Jake Willson

The Wembley Downs Junior was powerful in the midfield, winning 17 possessions, laying six tackles, taking two marks and recording two inside 50s.

#10 Joel Western

The Fremantle Dockers’ Next Generation Academy (NGA) member went off with what looked like a hamstring injury. Before departing the field, Western racked up 14 possessions, recorded four inside 50s and laid two tackles in a dazzling display. His desire to take the game on was a real feature of his shortened outing.

#11 Jacquin Ciminata

The Marist junior was electrifying in the forward half for Claremont. He finished with 19 possessions, eight tackles, five marks and four goals. The highlight of his game came in the first quarter, when he took a strong mark inside 50, before duly converting his set shot.

#13 Sam Alvarez

The Fremantle Dockers’ NGA member was excellent on the wing for Claremont with 19 possessions and two goals. The highlight of his game came in the third quarter, when he snapped through his first goal.

#20 Logan Guelfi

The younger brother of Essendon’s Matt Guelfi, Logan was always dangerous for the Tigers. He accumulated 16 possessions, recorded seven inside 50s, laid five tackles, took three marks and kicked a goal. He kicked the opening goal of the game. Another highlight of his game came in the third quarter, when he produced a spear kick across his body to Mainwaring inside 50.

#28 Kalin Lane

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.

Swan Districts:

#2 Ayden Cartwright

The 2018 WA U16s State Academy member battled manfully in the midfield for the Swans, finishing with 31 possessions, eight marks, five tackles and a goal. In the final quarter, he was able to take a solid mark inside 50, before duly converting his set shot.

#8 Zane Trew

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.

#10 Ty Sears

Playing off the half-back line, the South Bunbury product battled valiantly in defence for Swan Districts. He gathered 15 possessions, took three marks and laid two tackles as he tried to kickstart the Swans’ attacking drives.

Around the grounds:

By: Michael Alvaro

For the second week running, all eyes were on Perth key forward Logan McDonald, as he soared to the top of the WAFL League goalkicking charts with a bag of four goals. The 196cm prospect was dominant in the air and strong close to goal, but it was his accuracy which helped the Demons most in their 21-point win over East Perth. Denver Grainger-Barras also turned out at League level, taking four marks in his 10-disposal effort against Claremont.

Back in the Colts grade, Callum Johnson was again a prolific ball winner for West Perth as the Falcons downed South Fremantle, collecting an equal game-high 28 touches, while also booting three behinds. Brady Alvaro (23 disposals) and Lochlan Paton (21) both continued their strong starts to the season, while leading draft prospect Heath Chapman also had it 21 times and reeled in six marks. Michael Mallard sent another reminded of his talents with 18 disposals, 10 marks, and 30 hitouts from the ruck.

Oscar Armstrong and Toby Dodds both had 28 disposals for the Bulldogs, and also combined for a total of 13 marks. Jaxon Bellchambers worked hard to rack up 12 of his own among 27 touches, with Adam Correia pitching in for 25 disposals. None of the South Freo players were able to bag multiple goals in the 28-point loss.

Peel Thunder doubled East Fremantle’s score to take out a 36-point victory, with exciting prospect Isiah Winder continuing his push for senior selection. He gathered a game-high 26 disposals, including five marks, three inside 50s, and two goals in a brilliant display of his skills. Zach Rankin also snared two majors from his 24 touches, while David Yaccob was again solid with 22 disposals and seven marks, and Jonathon Ietto found both the goals and a solid amount of ball.

There is always some prolific, top-end talent among the Sharks’ lineup, and Finn Gorringe was again among the best as he and Joshua Browne collected a team-high 24 disposals each. Bailey Hodge was good for a goal from his 18 uses of the ball, while Jack Carroll laid six tackles and pumped the ball inside 50 four times amid his 17-disposal effort. Fremantle NGA prospect Brandon Walker had 16 disposals (14 kicks) in the defeat.

The round’s final Colts fixture saw East Perth come away with a 22-point win over Perth, beating out some outstanding individual performers on the Demons’ side. Among them, Connor McPartland again led all comers with 29 disposals and seven inside 50s, while AFL Academy jet Nathan O’Driscoll looks back near his best with 25 touches, six marks, and five tackles. Harry Quartermaine added three goals to his seven from last week, while Jaiden Hunter palmed down 33 hitouts.

For the Royals, Joshua Clements booted a game-high four goals from eight disposals, as three other teammates managed two majors apiece – most notably, Jayden Peak and Sokaa Soka, who also notched 15 disposals. Adam Boules led the ball winning stakes with 28 disposals, followed closely by Luke Lombardi‘s 24.

>> WAFL League Player Focus: Logan McDonald

>> 2020 Western Australia Under 18s Squad Prediction
>> July 2020 Power Rankings

Draft Diaries:
Zane Trew – Edition 1 | Edition 2
Jack Allen – Edition 1

AFL Draft Watch:
Heath Chapman
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Brandon Walker
Joel Western
Isiah Winder

Marquee Matchups:
Kaine Baldwin vs. Denver Grainger-Barras
Oliver Davis vs. Zane Trew
Elijah Hollands vs. Nathan O’Driscoll

2020 AFL Draft Positional Analysis: Small and Medium Utilities

UTILITIES; the jacks of all trades, the players who can thrive up either end of the ground, or adapt to whichever role the team requires. One thing that remains consistent among this lot is versatility, and while not all of them currently have the opportunity to show their worth on the field, exposed form and long preseasons for most allow for a window into how the current stocks stack up.

In ramping up our 2020 AFL Draft analysis, Draft Central continues its line-by-line positional breakdowns, moving on to the best small and medium utilities. The following list features pocket profiles of top-age (2002-born) prospects who are part of their respective AFL Academy hubs, while also touching on some names who missed out last year, or may feature on another list.

Without further ado, get to know some of the premier utilities who are eligible to be drafted in 2020.

Note: The list is ordered alphabetically, not by any form of ranking.

Tahj Abberley
Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies
180cm | 70kg

One of the leading Lions Academy prospects, Abberley provides a perfect starting point for this list. While the diminutive Queenslander will most likely look to use his sharp foot skills and decision making off half-back this year, he has previously thrived on both sides of midfield and through the forward rotation. While most small midfielders with good pace and agility tend to find their way into that goalsneak or pressure forward role, Abberley’s points of difference on the ball allow him to be utilised just about anywhere. Having been a constant in the Queensland junior representative setup and played all five NAB League games for the Lions last year, Abberley was set for a big top-age campaign prior to the interruptions.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

Clayton Gay
Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country
183cm | 77kg

Gay was a mainstay in Dandenong’s side as a bottom-ager in 2019, running out for 17 games and showing glimpses of his talent. He is another who may find a home down back in 2020, but has shown his nous up the other end already with his 13 NAB League goals last year. His reading of the play is sound, and Gay is able to break open games in small spurts. Though he can still work on his consistency and athletic base, Gay remains one of his region’s most exciting prospects who already has good runs on the board. His natural talent is enough to suggest he has plenty to offer.

>> Feature

Zac Dumesny
South Adelaide/South Australia
187cm | 79kg

One of the many South Australian Under 18s to be plying their trade at SANFL League level already is Dumesny, and he has transitioned rather seamlessly to senior football. The South Adelaide product is a good size at 187cm, able to provide that intercept quality with his vertical leap across the backline, while also utilising his clean hands and skills up on a wing. Dumesny has been working on being a touch more physical at the contest, but is all-class on the ball and will be pushing into top 25 considerations if his form persists.

>> Q&A

Oliver Henry
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country
187cm | 77kg 

The younger brother of Geelong Cats defender, Jack, Henry is an eye-catching prospect who brings terrific aerial prowess to either end of the field. Despite standing at just under the 190cm range, Henry has been utilised in a second or third tall role at times for the Falcons, with his athleticism and sticky hands allowing him to reel in fantastic marks. He averaged over a goal per his 15 NAB League games last year to prove his forward threat, but also fared well down back with his clean rebounding skills and intercepting ability. Having also been used up on a wing in his Australian Under 17 outing, Henry is a true all-rounder.

>> Feature
>> Marquee Matchup

Joel Jeffrey
NT Thunder/Allies
189cm | 74kg

Arguably the Northern Territory’s best draft prospect for 2020 is Jeffrey, who looks destined to end up at the Gold Coast SUNS given their new concessions. The son of NT great, Russell, Jeffrey was poised to make the move over to Queensland this season before the global pandemic intervened. The high-flying prospect already has senior experience having turned out for Wanderers in the NTFL, booting 29 goals in 13 games. His ability to find the goals from ground level balls or on the end of big marks makes him a player fans will come to watch, but he is just as effective in defence.

Will Schreiber
Glenelg/South Australia
190cm | 82kg

Schreiber has made a solid start to the SANFL season at Under 18 level, running out for Glenelg across the first four rounds. While he has been continually trialled as a big-bodied midfielder and can get his hands on the ball at centre bounces, Schreiber arguably looks most comfortable down back where he can utilise his marking ability and calm distribution by foot. Like many talented hopefuls scattered across the Tigers’ Under 18 side, Schreiber has proven versatile and has been a key part of their 4-0 start to the 2020 campaign.

Marc Sheather
Sydney Swans Academy/Allies
185cm | 84kg

Like just about every player on this list, Sheather has been utilised in a range of roles, swinging up either end of the ground and doing so to good effect. He first caught the eye at Under 16 level with his strong marking power deep forward for NSW/ACT, but has since looked terrific as a medium defender for the Rams and Swans Academy. He is a prospect who plays above his height, credit to a readymade frame and terrific athleticism, but also does the job at ground level with his useful disposal by foot both in general play and from the kick-ins. Sheather may be flying under the radar given the Swans’ notable Academy talent, but is a promising player in his own right.

Joel Western
Claremont/Western Australia
172cm | 68kg

Western kicked off his WAFL Colts campaign in style, returning a best afield performance with 29 disposals and a goal. Having already experienced premiership success at the level and been a part of the State Under 18 setup, Western is a well-known prospect with stacks of potential. Fremantle will get first dibs on Western through its NGA, and Dockers fans can look forward to seeing his great evasiveness, freakish skills, and speed in a variety of roles going forward. While he has found a home through midfield at Colts level, Western can also play off half-back and push forward well. Players of his size will always have a lingering knock on them, but Western has the elite athleticism and skill to go far.

>> Draft Watch

Positional Analysis: Inside Midfielders | Outside Midfielders | Key Position Defenders | Key Position Forwards

July 2020 Power Rankings

>> CATCH UP ON OUR OTHER SERIES

Squad Predictions:
Allies
South Australia
Vic Country
Vic Metro
Western Australia

Features
AFL Draft Watch

Preseason Testing Analysis:
Jumps
Speed
Agility
Endurance

Caught the Eye: 2020 SANFL Under 18s Round 4/WAFL Colts Round 1

WHILE the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) rolled onto Round 4 of its 2020 competition, the West Australian Football League (WAFL) made its return over the weekend, with a bunch of young stars running out across both states. In a first for the Caught the Eye series, we compile the best performances from two competitions; highlighting the Round 4 SANFL Under 18 standouts, and those who put their name in lights in the WAFL Colts Round 1 featured fixture. For extended profiles on each player, click on their names highlighted in red.

>> FULL SANFL U18s Scouting Notes
>> FULL WAFL Colts Scouting Notes

SANFL UNDER 18s

WWT Eagles vs. North Adelaide

Henry Smith
WWT Eagles | Key Position Forward/Ruck
202cm | 82kg

Stats: 10 disposals | 5 marks (3 contested) | 6 tackles | 8 hitouts | 2 inside 50s | 3 behinds

Our scouts said: “The second of WWT’s bigmen, Smith played as a permanent forward and looked the most likely aerial target afield… what was most impressive about Smith, contested marking aside, was his ability to impact the play after aerial contests, with solid tackling efforts and touches at ground level adding a handy dimension to his game.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: It was great to see Smith return to action for the first time in 2020, and he definitely played a key role in getting the Eagles over the line for their first win. Along with skipper Zac Phillips, Smith is hard to stop at full flight when he is allowed to get a good jump at the ball up forward, and provides the added bonus of being able to ruck inside 50. With his ability to impact the play at ground level, Smith may well be one to keep tabs on in the coming weeks.

William Dowling
North Adelaide | Midfielder/Forward

Stats: 17 disposals (14 kicks) | 6 marks | 3 tackles | 2 clearances | 4 inside 50s | 4 goals

Our scouts said: “While he is still a touch raw and had a couple of costly moments amid the speed of the game, Dowling kept his head up and was able to impact the play when it mattered. His work rate to burst forward from midfield was impressive, and played a big part in helping him register chances on goal.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: There have been a few 16-year-old jets to make an immediate impact on the Under 18s competition, and Dowling put his name in lights as the most recent to do so. The Roosters midfielder had a terrific final term where he looked the most likely outlet up forward, booting three goals to cap off his promising debut. The signs are certainly there, and if he can sure up his kicking under pressure and more consistently showcase his talent, he will be a real asset for North Adelaide going forward.

Central District vs. Norwood

Shay Linke
Central District | Midfielder/Forward
189cm | 76kg

Stats: 22 disposals | 7 marks | 12 tackles | 2 clearances | 3 inside 50s | 2 rebound 50s | 2 behinds

Our scouts said: “Linke again provided plenty of pressure from his midfield role. His taller frame complemented the smaller (Lewis) Cowham and (Austin) McDonald in the Bulldogs midfield. Although the Tanunda prospect made a couple of mistakes by foot, he competed well at ground level all day.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: The tall midfielder has been a rather consistent figure for the Bulldogs and while he was unable to properly impact the scoreboard on this occasion, his usual ability to find both the ball and the goals is a desirable trait. Though he is outside the state academy bubble, Linke’s frame and upside suggest he could break through in his top-age season if form persists.

Henry Nelligan (League)
Norwood | Small Forward
170cm | 69kg

Stats: 10 disposals (6 kicks) | 2 marks (1 contested) | 3 tackles | 3 inside 50s

Our scouts said: “He started slowly but worked into the game, finding more of the ball as the game wore on… with his attack on the ball and tackling pressure evident, despite his smaller stature.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: After earning his way to a League berth via the Reserves, it has been a difficult start to life at the top level for Nelligan. Despite that, the diminutive forward looks to be adapting to the level well after two weeks, having found more of the ball and maintained his pressure output against the Bulldogs. Norwood has been known to give chances to its best junior talent, and Nelligan will surely benefit from the experience massively in his top-age campaign.

Sturt vs. South Adelaide

Morgan Ferres
Sturt | Key Position Forward
188cm | 80kg

Stats: 17 disposals | 10 marks (6 contested) | 3 tackles | 3 inside 50s | 5 goals | 3 behinds

Our scouts said: “The talented bottom-age key position prospect started the game slowly, but really grew into the contest and proved to be the main source of scoring for Sturt once again… Ferres would go on to kick the match winning goal, getting into free space and coolly slotting the set shot.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: This kid really is one to watch. Standing at 188cm, Ferres plays more like a key position forward with his strength in one-on-one situations deep, and ability to kick big bags of goals. But that is not the extent of his talent, with the Double Blues bigman also able to push further afield to impact with his marking power, and possessing terrific all-round athleticism for his size. He was just as effective for SA at Under 16 State level, and is often too far developed for his junior opponents. He leads the competition goalkicking charts with 15, and still has a year left to improve.

Matthew Roberts
South Adelaide | Midfielder/Forward
183cm | 76kg

Stats: 22 disposals | 3 marks | 5 tackles | 3 clearances | 3 inside 50s | 2 goals

Our scouts said: “Roberts was on fire early… his ability through the midfield was again on show, not only using his strong fame to win clearances but also using his smarts and work rate around the ground to provide an outlet.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: The Panthers’ midfield is so well balanced and talented, with Roberts a key part of the mix. While his nous around the contest allows him to extract his own ball, he is just as damaging on the outside where he can better size-up the situation. Add to that Roberts’ scoreboard impact, and you have a great midfielder/forward package. He’ll be hard to stop alongside Jason Horne this season, and in 2021.

Glenelg vs. West Adelaide

Luke Pedlar
Glenelg | Inside Midfielder/Forward

Stats: 24 disposals | 7 marks | 6 tackles | 3 clearances | 1 inside 50 | 1 rebound 50 | 2 goals

Our scouts said: “The Bloods had no answer for Pedlar, as the big-bodied midfielder used his strength in aerial contests and stoppages to out-body his opponents, get to the ball first and hold strong marks. He controlled his aggression to ensure that while he laid crunching tackles, he did not give away unnecessary free kicks.” – Tom Cheesman

Verdict: There were a host of Tigers who could have snatched this spot for their performances over the weekend, but Pedlar has simply done it best, for longer. The explosive midfielder does not just use his strength to overwhelm opponents, but is quick and aggressive in his forward bursts. His penetrating left boot could do with some refining in the short range, but Pedlar is also able to use it to hit the scoreboard, making it a real asset. Presence is always a key factor when analysing a player, and Pedlar definitely has it.

Bailey Chamberlain
West Adelaide | Balanced Midfielder
179cm | 70kg

Stats: 22 disposals | 5 marks | 4 tackles | 1 clearance | 3 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “It was a tough day for the Bloods after quarter time, but Chamberlain tried his best to keep them competitive. The AFL Academy Hub member worked hard up and down the wing, using his explosive speed to find the footy and break away from opponents.” – Tom Cheesman

Verdict: Chamberlain is definitely the Bloods’ best Under 18s player at the moment, and has had to improvise in order to help his team out. He has been sighted a touch more running back to defence and on the outer in recent weeks, though arguably his best value can be seen on-ball. His ability to help calm the back half shows real leadership, though it is a struggle for him at times to extract on the inside amid heavy attention, and with a relatively small midfield brigade in tow.

>> AFL Draft Watch: Bailey Chamberlain

WAFL COLTS

Subiaco vs. Claremont

Matthew Johnson
Subiaco | Inside Midfielder
192cm | 80kg

Stats: 24 disposals | 6 marks | 4 tackles | 7 inside 50s | 1 goal

Our scouts said: “The North Beach junior was outstanding through midfield for Subiaco. Playing as the centreman, Johnson racked up 24 disposals, recorded a game-high seven inside 50s, took six marks, laid four tackles, and kicked a goal in a powerful performance.” – Lenny Fogliani

Verdict: Johnson is a real prospect at 192cm, having grown even more after an Under 16s season which saw him represent his state. His size and aggression around the ball make for the right stuff as an inside type, and he certainly looked the part for Subiaco on the weekend. Johnson’s ability to pump the ball forward, move forward himself, and find the ball are all promising traits. One to watch for next year.

Joel Western
Claremont | Small Utility
172cm | 68kg

Stats: 29 disposals | 4 marks | 4 tackles | 3 inside 50s | 1 goal

Our scouts said: “Arguably the best player on the ground, Western showed why he is one of the players to watch out for in this year’s WAFL Colts competition. He finished with a game-high 29 disposals, four marks, four tackles, three inside 50s, and a goal. His desire to take the game on with his speed and skill execution went a long way towards Claremont winning the game.” – Lenny Fogliani

Verdict: Western picked up right from where he left off in last year’s premiership-winning Colts side, this time taking the reigns as Claremont’s primary ball winner. Proving us wrong, the Fremantle NGA prospect looked terrific through midfield and looks as if he could find a home there despite his 172cm frame. Freakish skills, clean hands, and evasive awareness make him a difficult player to stop, and he was a key player for the Tigers this time out. Creeping up to the top 25 range.

>> AFL Draft Watch: Joel Western

>> July 2020 Power Rankings

Scouting Notes: 2020 WAFL Colts Round 1 – Subiaco vs Claremont

IN Round 1 of the Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition, Claremont started its premiership defence with a solid 13-point victory over Subiaco at Leederville Oval. There were a number of players who stood out for both clubs in our featured game, below were the most notable.

>> SCROLL for around the ground standouts

FEATURED GAME:
Subiaco vs. Claremont 

By: Lenny Fogliani

Subiaco:

#2 Jed Kemp

The nephew of West Coast great Dean Kemp, Jed was dynamic in the midfield and up forward for the Lions. He finished with 21 disposals, seven marks, three tackles, three inside 50s, and a goal in a dazzling display. His composure, decision-making and skills under serious duress were outstanding for someone his age.

#12 Matthew Johnson

The North Beach junior was outstanding through midfield for Subiaco. Playing as the centreman, Johnson racked up 24 disposals, recorded a game-high seven inside 50s, took six marks, laid four tackles, and kicked a goal in a powerful performance.

#13 Lachlan Vanirsen

A member of Subiaco’s Leadership group, Vanirsen tried his utmost to inspire the Lions to victory. He finished with a team-high 25 disposals, seven marks, six tackles, four inside 50s, and a goal in an inspiring performance. The highlight of his performance came in the third quarter when he kicked a running goal from 50 metres out to bring the Lions within 15 points of Claremont.

#34 Ezekiel Bolton

A cousin of Richmond premiership player Shai Bolton, Ezekiel was lively in the forward half for Subiaco. He gathered 11 disposals, laid four tackles, recorded four inside 50s, and kicked a goal.

Claremont:

#2 Logan Young

The son of AFL Player Manager Colin Young, Young was outstanding in the midfield for the Tigers. He was a bull on the inside, winning 22 disposals and laying a game-high 12 tackles in a powerful performance.

#3 Zac Mainwaring

The son of the late Chris Mainwaring, Zac was terrific for the Tigers playing across the half-forward line. He finished with 15 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s, three tackles, and two goals in a phenomenal display. He set the tone early for his team, winning several holding-the-ball decisions after applying great defensive pressure.

#6 Cameron Anderson

The 2019 WA U18s State Academy member was dynamic on the wing for Claremont, finishing with 17 disposals, five marks, three tackles, two inside 50s, and a goal.

#10 Joel Western

Arguably the best player on the ground, Western showed why he is one of the players to watch out for in this year’s WAFL Colts competition. He finished with a game-high 29 disposals, four marks, four tackles, three inside 50s, and a goal. His desire to take the game on with his speed and skill execution went a long way towards Claremont winning the game.

>> AFL Draft Watch: Joel Western

#23 Jacob Van Rooyen

The Wembley Downs Junior was a powerful presence in the forward line for Claremont, as he always presented a target for his midfielders to kick to. Playing at centre half-forward, Van Rooyen finished with 15 possessions, five inside 50s, four marks, two tackles, and a goal.

Around the grounds:

By: Michael Alvaro

Leading 2020 AFL Draft prospects Logan McDonald and Denver Grainger-Barras made their mark at League level, with the former booting three goals on debut. McDonald was terrific up forward for Perth in the Demons’ 10-point win over Peel, booting an equal game-high three goals from 16 disposals and four marks. Up the other end and for Swan Districts, Grainger-Barras took five marks in his eight-disposal effort.

Back in the Colts grade, South Fremantle edged passed the highly fancied East Fremantle Sharks with a consistent team performance. Jacob Plunkett booted three goals for the Bulldogs, while Oscar Armstrong and Clayton Riley both managed a team-high 19 disposals. Shannon Neale was also terrific with 15 disposals, seven marks, 15 hitouts, and a goal. For the Sharks, Finn Gorringe and Jack Carroll each managed 26 touches, followed by Chris Walker‘s 22. His twin brother, Brandon was kept to 14 disposals and five inside 50s.

Callum Johnson was terrific for West Perth in its big win over Swan Districts, amassing a game-high 34 disposals, including eight marks, eight tackles, and five inside 50s. Lochlan Paton was the Falcons’ next best with 24 touches, while bigman Michael Mallard was dominant with 20 disposals, five marks, and 33 hitouts. Among the academy prospects, Heath Chapman had 15 disposals in a revised role for West Perth, while Zane Trew (25 disposals, five tackles), Ty Sears (24 disposals, seven marks), and Rhett Bazzo (17 disposals, 11 marks) were solid in a losing effort for Swan Districts.

The final Colts fixture for the weekend saw Perth scrape over the line by five points against Peel, thanks largely to seven goals from Harry Quartermaine. He and Jack Evans (three goals) combined for all 10 of the Demons’ majors in a remarkable display, while Conor McPartland managed three behinds from his mammoth 40 disposals, eight tackles, and eight inside 50s. Nathan O’Driscoll was utilised in a revised role, laying six tackles and taking five marks from his 13 touches, while Zac Sanderson and Zak Meloncelli both cracked the 20-disposal mark.

There were no such goal exploits for the Thunder, though Jonathon Ietto snagged two majors. Leading prospect Isiah Winder accumulated a team-high 32 disposals to go with seven marks and seven tackles, with Zach Rankin and Bodie Kitchingman the next best on 21 touches apiece. State Academy prospects Luke Polson (18 disposals, three marks) and Tyler Nesbitt (16 disposals, five tackles) were also solid.

>> 2020 Western Australia Under 18s Squad Prediction
>> July 2020 Power Rankings

Draft Diaries:
Zane Trew – Edition 1 | Edition 2
Jack Allen – Edition 1

AFL Draft Watch:
Heath Chapman
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Brandon Walker
Joel Western

Marquee Matchups:
Kaine Baldwin vs. Denver Grainger-Barras
Oliver Davis vs. Zane Trew
Elijah Hollands vs. Nathan O’Driscoll

WAFL weekend preview: Round 1 – State League football returns in the West

STATE League football officially returns to the West on Saturday as Round 1 of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) bounces down across all levels. Having taken the field in preseason scratch matches over the past fortnight, teams will finally get the chance to play for premiership points in 2020, while a bunch of fresh faces will be looking to begin life in the WAFL on the right note. Four different venues will be used across a super Saturday of action, hosting the first set of fixtures for each grade, with Reserves and Colts games jerking the curtain for League showcases in most cases.

>> SCROLL down for Rd 1 fixtures

Peel Thunder and Perth will play off in the technical League season opener, with the first bounce set for 2:00pm at David Grays Arena. Hayden Ballantyne and Josh Bootsma are among the familiar faces set to return to the top level for Peel, who will again be led out by Ben Howlett. The Thunder’s depth will be tested by a lack of Fremantle-listed players, but young Thunder products like Tyrone Thorne and Ryan Bennell should inject some flair to the lineup.

Speaking of youth, 2020 AFL Draft hopeful Logan McDonald is set to feature up forward for Perth, joined by fellow 2019 State Under 18s squad member Regan Clarke, and the debuting Kieran Delahunty. Skipper Corey Yeo looms as a major absentee, but the likes of Chris Masten and Brady Gray should provide plenty of top-level class. Nathan O’Driscoll will be one to watch at Colts level, as will Isiah Winder for Peel.

Moving on to the 2:30 League starts, and reigning premier Subiaco will look to kick off its flag defence in style against Claremont at Leederville Oval. The Lions carry over a 14-game winning run from 2019, as well as a nine-game streak over their traditional rivals – nearing a 74-year-old record. While the Tigers will again be lead into battle by Kane Mitchell, potential injury blows to Jye Bolton and star recruit Ryan Nyhuis threaten to unravel their season opener before it even begins.

Stalwart defender Jordan Lockyer is set to play his 100th League game, while Nicholas Martin, Will Hickmott and Andy Doyle are all in line to make their debuts for Subiaco having been named among the extended squad. Reigning Sandover Medalist Lachlan Delahunty and leading goalkicker Ben Sokol have both been named among the forward six, just two of the big names among Subiaco’s stacked lineup.

It may be the Tigers who hold the edge at Colts level though, as the likes of Joel Western and Kalin Lane are set to star, with the latter poised to take on 197cm 19-year-old Zac Caulfield in the ruck. Draft Central will provide scouting notes on this, our featured Colts game of the week.

A bunch of exciting ins will help Swan Districts go a long way to improving on its last-place League finish in 2019, but West Perth stands in the Black Ducks’ way at Steel Blue Oval, fresh off a finals campaign. Leading West Australian draft prospect Denver Grainger-Barras has been named at half-back for his second top level outing, while Victorian recruits Frank Anderson, Sam Fisher, and Deven Costigan are all set to feature having made the move from VFL unit, Northern Blues. Anderson and Fisher should thrive under the ruck craft of Corey Gault, as co-captains Tony Notte and Matt Riggio look to drive marked improvement from their side.

West Perth skipper Aaron Black has been named at the heart of the Falcons’ lineup, with much of the ball winning responsibilities falling on his shoulders, and those of midfield partner Shane Nelson. Reigning club champion Tyler Keitel will again play a key role as he continues to develop, and should thrive off the delivery of the aforementioned pair. Heath Chapman is the Falcons’ leading Colts prospect, but will have his hands full should the likes of Zane Trew, Ty Sears, and Rhett Bazzo all feature at the level, and not for the Reserves.

The Round 1 milestones continue as South and East Fremantle cap off the opening weekend’s League fixtures, with Bulldogs champion Haiden Schloithe penciled in for game 150. The inclusion of Ben Rioli will bring back some great memories and continue a rich history for his family at Souths, while the likes of John Levien, Jimmy Miller, Kye Barker, and Travis Abbott are others in line to make their debuts.

For the Sharks, boom recruit Cody Leggett slots straight in at half-back having made the much-publicised move over from Perth. Brodie Riach and Jordan Mills are others who may debut for East Fremantle, with reigning best and fairest Matthew Jupp named despite an interrupted preseason. 2019 leading goalkicker Luke Strnadica is also back, set to play a big role in the relatively inexperienced side led by bigman, Jonathon Griffin.

While last year’s second-placed League side will fancy itself against its rivals improvements, the Sharks may have the edge at Colts level. Twin Fremantle NGA prospects Brandon and Chris Walker have both been named in the East Fremantle side, along with State Academy hub members Finn Gorringe, and Jack Carroll. Luke Polson is one of the Bulldogs’ leading talents, although they may crucially be without midfield/forward gun Ira Jetta for this clash.

WAFL ROUND 1 FIXTURES

League:

Peel Thunder vs. Perth | David Grays Arena | 2:00pm
Subiaco vs. Claremont | Leederville Oval | 2:30pm
Swan Districts vs. West Perth | Steel Blue Oval | 2:30pm
South Fremantle vs. East Fremantle | Fremantle Community Bank Oval | 2:35pm

Reserves:

South Fremantle vs. East Fremantle | Fremantle Community Bank Oval | 12:00pm
Subiaco vs. Claremont | Leederville Oval | 12:00pm
Swan Districts vs. West Perth | Steel Blue Oval | 12:00pm

Colts:

South Fremantle vs. East Fremantle | Fremantle Community Bank Oval | 9:30am
Subiaco vs. Claremont | Leederville Oval | 9:30am*
Swan Districts vs. West Perth | Steel Blue Oval | 9:30am
Peel Thunder vs. Perth | David Crays Arena | 4:30pm

* – denotes Draft Central featured Colts game of the round

2020 WAFL Club Preview: Claremont

CLAREMONT will be looking to continue its strong form across all West Australian Football League (WAFL) levels as action returns this month, boasting strong squads in each grade. Fourth and third-place finishes over the past two seasons at League level are under Claremont’s belt, but its mission to go at least one better than 2019’s preliminary final berth starts with the huge task of combating reigning premier, Subiaco.

The Reserves side will be made to wait eight rounds before attempting to exact revenge on West Perth, after the Falcons downed them by a goal in last year’s Grand Final – despite having clinched the minor premiership with just one loss to their record. At the junior grade, the Tigers’ Under 18s will hope to defend their 2019 crown, and boast three talented AFL Academy hub members, including Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) hopeful, Joel Western.

Preseason scratch matches have thrown up a mixed bag of results for the Tigers, with the League outfit the only side to scrounge a win. They beat East Fremantle by a goal having made the most of their chances inside attacking 50, while the Reserves went down by 28 points to the Sharks’ 2’s, and the Under 18s got within two points of knocking off South Fremantle. West Perth will be the Tigers’ final preseason opponent across each level, set to face off on July 11 in each club’s last hit-out before season proper kicks off on July 18.

Skipper and fan favourite Kane Mitchell is set to lead the Tigers’ League charge, fresh off a best and fairest winning campaign and backed by the likes of two-time Sandover Medalist Jye Bolton, Declan Mountford, and Tom Curren. Mitchell and Mountford will be joined among the leadership ranks by Anton Hamp (co-vice-captain), and Hayden Busher and Ryan Lim, completing a five-man group. It is that hardened midfield core which is set to help the Tigers thrive in their pursuit for WAFL glory, aided by the ruck craft of 202cm bigman Jeremy Goddard, and the addition of delisted Docker, Ryan Nyhuis.

A blow for the club on the eve of the season has been a serious knee injury to defender, Jack Beeck, who will miss the entire year as a result. But his absence and some list movement at the end of last will see opportunities arise for young players, with the likes of Jack Buller and Tom Baldwin set to enter the senior bracket from Colts level. Cal England and Jake Anderson are also among the promising types who look likely to develop well with some more experience in 2020, while Alex Manuel is a player who may feature having missed a large chunk of 2019.

Western is the clear leader among the Under 18 crop, and will be hoping to impress enough to warrant selection by Fremantle, or a bid from elsewhere come draft time. The mercurial 172cm hopeful is a freak athlete, and ranked among the top 10 for Western Australia in all three vertical jump tests, as well as third in the 20-metre sprint. Able to play off flanks at either end of the field or run through the engine room, Western is a terrific prospect and among those who will be looking to lead Claremont to back-to-back premierships.

A 202cm ruck Kalin Lane is another who is likely to feature among the state side, and he is a terrific story as somewhat of a latecomer to the sport – or at least this level. He featured among the yearly academy intake despite running out for just one Colts game in 2019, and is joined in the hub by bottom-ager, Jacob van Rooyen.

With some good talent coming from the ground, up and established leaders set to continue their search for WAFL gold at senior level, fans will be feeling good about where Claremont sits coming into season 2020.

2020 AFL Draft Positional Analysis: Outside Midfielders

DASHING, daring outside midfielders are becoming increasingly important amid the current trend of contested, scrum-like styles of play, able to break the lines and change the course of games in a flash. Among this year’s crop lies a versatile bunch of outside types who can double in different positions, and while not all of them currently have the opportunity to show their worth on the field, exposed form and long preseasons for most allow for a window into how the current stocks stack up.

In ramping up our 2020 AFL Draft analysis, Draft Central continues its line-by-line positional breakdowns, moving on to the best outside midfielders. The following list features pocket profiles of top-age (2002-born) prospects who are part of their respective AFL Academy hubs, while also touching on some names who missed out last year, or may feature on another list.

Without further ado, get to know some of the premier outside midfielders who are eligible to be drafted in 2020.

Note: The list is ordered alphabetically, not by any form of ranking.

Jake Bowey
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
174cm | 66kg

Starting small, Bowey kicks off this list as one of the prospects who may sneak into top 20 calculations on draft boards, with plenty of desirable attributes to outweigh his 174cm/66kg frame. The Sandringham Dragons product is hard at it, able to take the ball cleanly and burst through congestion with his high-level speed and agility. He featured in 16 NAB League games last year stationed on his customary wing position, but is quite apt forward of centre and could even utilise his sharp foot skills off half-back.

>> Q&A
>> Marquee Matchup

Jack Carroll
East Fremantle/Western Australia
188cm | 79kg

Another in the line of East Fremantle Under 18 prospects is Carroll, who comes in at a good size to compete across a range of positions. The West Australian’s precision kicking makes him damaging on the outside, while courage in the air and intercept marking prowess make him a half-back option. The 188cm prospect can also roll through midfield, but has quality traits on the outer and will more likely find a spot there should state representative duties come calling.

Saxon Crozier
Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies
189cm | 80kg

Crozier has been one of Queensland’s most highly touted 2020 prospects for a while now, and has cut his teeth as an out-and-out outside midfielder thus far. The tall, rangy Brisbane Academy product has filled out of late and has eyes on securing an inside role, but has arguably shown his best form to date on the wing. Crozier’s running capacity and ability to hurt the opposition when given time and space suit the outside role, and he has also adapted his skills to run off flanks at either end of the ground. He will be a leader among the talented Brisbane crop, and should prove a handy addition to the Allies squad.

>> Q&A

Connor Downie
Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro
185cm | 83kg

The Hawthorn Next Generation Academy (NGA) candidate may have eyes on more minutes on the inside, and boasts the ideal size for it, but is so good running on the outer that we simply had to include him in this list. Downie is set to skipper the Eastern Ranges side which lost in last year’s NAB League decider, with the experience of 14 games and a Vic Metro Under 18 outing under his belt. While he is not overwhelmingly quick, Downie loves to get the ball moving and finishes his line-breaking runs with penetrating left-foot bombs. His skills can be adapted to a half-back role, and he is no stranger to finding the big sticks, either.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

Errol Gulden
Sydney Swans Academy/Allies
172cm | 68kg

Search the definition for pocket rocket and a picture of Gulden is what you are likely to find. The nippy Swans Academy hopeful does not let his size get in the way of making a big impact; as his smarts, agility, and ability to chain possessions allow him to carve up the opposition on the outside. While he could also be considered a small or half-forward, Gulden is just as capable of wreaking havoc from the wing and enjoys getting into space. He won the Under 16 Division 2 MVP in 2018, appeared four times for the Allies as a bottom-ager, and has already played senior footy. Look out.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

Brodie Lake
Peel Thunder/NT Thunder Academy/Allies
186cm | 70kg

One of the Northern Territory’s brightest draft prospects this year is Lake, a tall midfielder who boasts great versatility and running power. He has twice featured in the Thunder’s Under 16 squad, taking out last year’s MVP award for his service through midfield and in defence. Lake has also plied his trade for Peel Thunder and at senior level for Southern Districts in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL), lauded for his coachability, skills, and work rate. He will be one to keep an eye out for come the national carnival, and will be eligible to be taken by Gold Coast given its alignment to the Darwin academy zone.

Carter Michael
Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies
188cm | 74kg

A second Queenslander on this list, Michael may well find himself lined up on the opposite wing to fellow Brisbane Academy product, Crozier when it comes time to run out for the Allies. The 188cm prospect is a silky mover through traffic who boasts a penetrating left foot kick, and he may well be one to juggle time between inside and outside roles throughout the year, depending on which team he represents. He already has experience on the inside for the Lions at Under 18 level and is a leader among that group, but may be pushed out to the wing for the Allies where he can make an impact with his sharp decision making.

>> Q&A

Tom Powell
Sturt/South Australia
180cm | 73kg

Powell made an immediate impact upon his return to SANFL Under 18s action last week, collecting 34 disposals in Sturt’s Round 1 win over Central District. The speedy midfielder actually has quite a nice balance of traits given his mix of athleticism and ball winning ability, but may find his way into the South Australian lineup on the outside where his explosive burst will come in handy. It is pleasing to see Powell back on the park after an unlucky run with injuries in 2019, and he should quickly rise in stocks should his form persist.

>> Q&A

Taj Schofield
WWT Eagles/South Australia
178cm | 72kg

The son of Port Adelaide premiership player, Jarrad, Schofield is another South Australian prospect to have battled injury as a bottom-ager, but he is primed to make an impact in 2020. Power fans will be keeping a close eye on the 2020 father-son candidate, who is incredibly classy on the outside with eye-catching agility and short-range kicking. Schofield has been working on his inside craft, too, and featured among the Eagles’ Under 18 centre bounce quartet in Round 1 after starting up forward. The small prospect was named in the 2018 Under 16 All Australian side, where he represented Western Australia before making the move to SA.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

OTHERS TO CONSIDER

There are plenty of other prospects who could fit into the outside midfielder category, but are more effective in other roles from out perspective. Among them, the elite trio of Will Phillips, Tanner Bruhn, and Braeden Campbell are all players we deem to be of the balanced midfielder variety, along with the likes of Finlay Macrae and Bailey Chamberlain. Corey Durdin is one who would be considered more of an inside type, and we see him as a small forward in the long run in any case.

Speaking of, Sam Conforti will make the same transition for Bendigo, while West Australian pair Ira Jetta and Joel Western can roll through multiple positions, including on the outside, but look more suited to flank or pocket roles. Glenelg small Cooper Horsnell also has eyes on a role further afield, but remains in the small forward category.

There are a raft of defenders who move up the ground well and may, in future, be considered outside midfielders. NAB Leaguers Charlie Byrne and Nick Stevens have the ability to roll further afield, but seem to prefer their half-back posts, while Tasmanian academy pair Sam Collins and Patrick Walker are in a similar boat. Queenslander Tahj Abberley is one who can play just about anywhere but has been billed as a small defender, and we like Ty Sears as a running half-back, too.

In the utility category comes the likes of Zac Dumesny and Campbell Edwardes. Dumesny made his SANFL League debut in 2020 and can operate on the wing or up forward, but looks like developing into a third tall in defence. Edwardes is as versatile as they come and is yet to lock down a specific role despite looking comfortable on the outside.

Of course, anyone else we may have missed could also appear in our previous analysis on inside midfielders.

Positional Analysis: Inside MidfieldersKey Position Forwards

>> CATCH UP ON OUR OTHER SERIES

Squad Predictions:
Allies
South Australia
Vic Country
Vic Metro
Western Australia

Features
AFL Draft Watch

Preseason Testing Analysis:
Jumps
Speed
Agility
Endurance