Tag: josh deluca

Thirteen players offered AFL chance in Mid-Season Draft

LAST night saw the first AFL Mid-Season Draft in 25 years, with 13 players previously overlooked in last year’s AFL Draft – and many more for some – finding homes, including four former AFL-listed players. We review each pick and take a look at who your club picked up.

PICK 1 | Carlton | Josh Deluca (Subiaco)

The former Fremantle player received a second chance when the Blues called out his name first in the draft. Since returning to the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Deluca has become a premier midfielder, winning the Simpson Medal for Best on Ground in the WAFL’s clash with the SANFL earlier in the month. Deluca adds a stronger body to Carlton’s midfield and is one player that could slot in almost immediately to the side, also having speed in his repertoire which will provide nice highlights for Carlton fans, and also great support for Patrick Cripps.

PICK 2 | Gold Coast | Mitch Riordan (Dandenong Stingrays)

The Dandenong Stingrays premiership co-captain gets his chance after an injury-riddled 2018 year. Riordan came back as an overager for the Stingrays in 2019, and has averaged 19.7 disposals, 3.5 marks and 4.7 tackles per game – all career best in the NAB League. His six games in 2019 already matched his total from last year, and he is more readymade than many 19-year-old prospects would be, joining premiership teammate Sam Fletcher at the SUNS who was also picked up post-draft. For SUNS fans, Riordan has elite agility clocking up 7.93 seconds in the agility test at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day.

PICK 3 | Melbourne | Kyle Dunkley (Gippsland Power)

Much like Riordan, Kyle Dunkley returned to the NAB League as an overager following an injury-riddled top-age year for Oakleigh Chargers. Hailing from Gippsland, Dunkley returned to the Power without school commitments now, and immediately made an impact as the clear standout 19-year-old prospect. His average disposal count rose from 13.0 to 18.5, and laid almost four more tackles per game this year. More importantly, Dunkley has played a key role in the midfield rather than as a medium forward, and has nice power in the way that he plays. He joins brother Josh in the AFL, and like Riordan is more of a readymade prospect than other 19-year-olds.

PICK 4 | Sydney | Michael Knoll (South Adelaide)

The premier ruckman outside the AFL arguably in the entire country, Michael Knoll was a surprise selection by the Swans considering the amount of pure rucks they have on their list. But with Sam Naismith injured and Callum Sinclair needing support, Knoll fills a need as a readymade ruck who the Swans can call upon if needed. The unlucky Panthers lose their ruck after also losing Keegan Brooksby and then Hayden McLean – who was recruited to replace Brooksby – to the AFL system. Another readymade player.

PICK 5 | North Melbourne | Lachlan Hosie (Glenelg)

It takes a special player to be leading the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) goalkicking tally, and that is exactly what Lachlan Hosie has done so far this season. The 22-year-old 189cm forward has booted 21 goals in eight games so far in 2019, averaging 2.6 goals per game. North Melbourne has been craving an extra marking forward, with Kangaroos fans likely to be pleased with the selection. Along with his goals, Hosie has averaged 14.5 disposals and 5.6 marks, while also getting up the ground and producing 2.5 inside 50s per game.

PICK 6 | Western Bulldogs | Ryan Gardner (Footscray VFL)

The key position utility has been impressive in his Victorian Football League (VFL) stint with Footscray this year, earning a second chance at the top level after a brief chance with Geelong as a teenager. Still only 21, Gardner has plenty of football left in him, and showed at state level he can play up either end. At AFL level, Gardner has been touted as a Tom Boyd replacement, and given he has already been a part of the Bulldogs’ system, he will not need to adjust to any game plans or tactics like at other clubs.

PICK 7 | Essendon | Will Snelling (West Adelaide)

Essendon were touted to pick up Michael Knoll given they lost Sam Draper and Joe Daniher to long-term injuries, but with Knoll off the board, they opted for fellow South Australian Will Snelling who fills the hole left by the injured Devon Smith. Snelling, like Gardner and Deluca, has also had a stint at AFL level, playing one game with Port Adelaide before being delisted last year. In his seven games thus far, Snelling has averaged 29.7 disposals – ranked in the top 10 in the SANFL League competition – as well as 9.6 tackles, 5.7 marks and 2.7 inside 50s.

PICK 8 | St Kilda | Jack Mayo (Subiaco)

One of the more unlucky players to miss out last year on being drafted, the WAFL Colts leading goalkicker has been one of the more dominant goalkickers in Western Australia over the journey. Mayo missed out on playing National Under 18 Championships, but booted 50 goals across 21 games in the Colts competition and has since transitioned between Reserves and Seniors this year in a strong Subiaco side. He has still managed to average two goals per game at Reserves level, and with Paddy McCartin now out long-term, Mayo provides another forward option for the Saints. In terms of his athletic traits, Mayo has elite speed for a tall (2.95 seconds) and elite vertical jump (84cm running jump) which he recorded at last year’s Western Australia state combine.

PICK 9 | Port Adelaide | Cam Sutcliffe (Port Adelaide Magpies)

Cam Sutcliffe became the fourth former AFL player to receive a lifeline in the Mid-Season Draft, and the second to be plucked out by the side he spent time in the Reserves with this year. After being delisted by Fremantle at the end of last year following 104 games and 18 goals, the 27-year-old offers another readymade option for the Power. In 2019, Sutcliffe has averaged 18.7 disposals at an elite disposal efficiency of 88 per cent, as well as 3.7 clearances and 3.5 tackles, more than enough for Port Adelaide to throw him an AFL lifeline.

PICK 10 | Hawthorn | Pass

PICK 11 | Fremantle | Dillon O’Reilly (East Fremantle)

The son of former Docker, Blue and Cat Stephen, Dillon O’Reilly was a key position player for Western Australia at the National Under 18 Championships, playing forward and through the ruck for the Sandgropers. In 2017 he booted 46 goals as a bottom-ager in the WAFL Colts, making his debut for the East Fremantle League side last year, booting three goals in two games. He has managed two games at League level so far this season, and is a tall option who can play anywhere Fremantle require him to in the future. Like Mayo, was one of a number of tall prospects overlooked last year, but has finally grabbed his chance and will now be able to follow in his dad’s footsteps.

PICK 12 | Adelaide | Pass

PICK 13 | Richmond | Marlion Pickett (South Fremantle)

A broken finger that will keep Marlion Pickett out for a couple of months did not deter Richmond from reading out his name at the Mid-Season Draft. The Tigers were keen to add an extra midfielder to their list, and Pickett is considered one of the top state league talents running around. He has only managed the two games this year, including the weekend’s match where he re-injured his finger, but last year managed 21.8 disposals as well as just under five marks and five tackles per game. He has that hard inside edge as well as class, and while he is 27 years old, Pickett will step into the line-up once fit. A great selection for a team in its premiership window.

PICK 14 | Collingwood | John Noble (West Adelaide)

Collingwood also picked up a readymade midfielder, that being South Australia’s John Noble, who was one of the best in the SANFL’s win over the WAFL earlier this year. Noble possesses a rare combination of speed and endurance which attracted the Pies to the 22-year-old, and while the choice of a midfielder would have surprised plenty of Pies fans, Noble provides extra depth for a side that has been tested with injuries this year. More importantly, being 22, Noble is a player who is a late bloomer with plenty of development left. Expect him to be one who catches the eye for Collingwood’s VFL side until he is set to challenge for a role in the AFL side.

PICK 15 | Gold Coast | Pass

PICK 16 | Sydney | Cody Hirst (Eastern Ranges)

The king of agility earned a place on Sydney’s list as the last pick in the Mid-Season Draft. Despite missing almost an entire season through injury, Hirst did not lose his agility at the Rookie Me Combine last year, breaking Stephen Hill’s AFL record twice – consecutively. After being a pressure forward previously, Hirst moved up to a wing this season and the role paid dividends, winning more of the ball and being able to use his athletic traits to hurt opposition sides in transition. He is one of the more long-term prospects, weighing in at barely 70kg, but he has the athleticism and versatility to make a strong go of the top level.

PICK 17 | Western Bulldogs | Pass

PICK 18 | Essendon | Pass

Scouting notes: WAFL vs. SANFL State Game

IN the latest instalment of the Hayden Bunton Jnr Cup between Western Australia and South Australia, the Croweaters defeated the Sandgropers by seven points at Optus Stadium. There was a host of potential mature-age draft prospects putting their hands up for AFL selection for both sides.

Below were the best AFL draft prospects in the game:

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

#4 Haiden Schloithe
The 2017 Sandover Medallist was excellent on the wing for the Sandgropers with 14 possessions, six marks, four tackles, four inside 50s, and two goals. Often the link-up player for Western Australia, Schloithe was the catalyst for many of WA’s attacking forays.

#9 Josh Deluca
The former Fremantle rookie produced another outstanding performance that could see him picked up in the AFL’s Mid-Season draft. Against South Australia, Deluca accumulated 29 possessions, laid seven tackles, took six marks, recorded four inside 50s and kicked a goal to be a deserving winner of the Simpson Medal.

#12 Michael Sinclair
Stationed in defence, Sinclair was superb for the Sandgropers, often intercepting South Australia’s attacking forays. He accumulated 16 possessions, took five marks and laid four tackles to showcase why he is one of the best defensive prospects for this year’s AFL Draft.

#15 Michael Bennell
The Albany product demonstrated why he is considered to be one of the most dangerous forwards in this year’s WAFL competition. He booted three goals (and two behinds) from just eight possessions but also laid a team-high nine tackles.

#16 Jye Bolton
The dual Sandover Medallist put in a dazzling performance that should make recruiters consider drafting him. He accumulated 28 possessions, took five marks, recorded four inside 50s, and laid three tackles to be one of WA’s best.

#23 Ben Sokol
In his first State game, Sokol emphatically confirmed why he is considered to be one of the best big-game performers in this year’s WAFL competition. He booted four goals (three behinds) from 13 possessions and 11 marks.

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

#1 John Noble
Stationed on the wing, Noble was excellent for South Australia providing speed and class throughout the match. He finished with 24 possessions, five marks, five rebounding 50s, four inside 50s, and four tackles.

#3 William Snelling
The former Port Adelaide player illustrated why he is deserving of another chance at AFL level, with a classy performance against the Sandgropers. He accumulated 19 possessions, laid eight tackles and kicked a goal.

#7 Aidan Tropiano
The 2015 Sandover Medallist was sensational against his native state. He collected a team-high 28 possessions, laid a game-high 11 tackles and recorded four inside 50s to be an influential figure for the Croweaters’ victory.

#15 Jonathon Beech
Playing at centre half-forward, Beech always offered a presence in the attacking half. He gathered 11 possessions, took three marks (one contested), and booted four goals to be one of the best players for South Australia.

#23 Jordan Foote
The former Sydney Swans Academy product was brilliant for South Australia with 24 possessions, six marks, three inside 50s, three rebounding 50s, two tackles and two goals. With such performances, Foote could be headed for a second chance at AFL level.

#33 Michael Knoll
The former basketballer was a deserving winner of the Foss Williams Medal (South Australia’s Best on Ground medal) in the Croweater’s victory over the Sandgropers. He finished with 15 possessions, 31 hitouts, five marks, four tackles and three inside 50s.

Western Australia weekly wrap: Demons upset reigning premiers; Tigers finally roar

ROUND three of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) had it all – with comebacks, beltings, and upsets showcasing the unpredictable nature of season 2018.

In the biggest surprise of all, reigning premier Peel Thunder succumbed to last year’s wooden spoon winners Perth 11.13 (79) to 12.13 (85) in Mandurah. The Thunder were challenged from the outset, as the Demons applied ferocious forward half pressure to lead by a goal at quarter and half time. Led by former St Kilda player Spencer White, who was phenomenal with five goals, the third quarter saw the Demons make their break, booting seven majors to two as they headed to the final change with a 38-point lead. However, the Thunder switched on and goals to Shane Kersten and Gerard Ugle saw the Mandurah side get within six points as only minutes remained. Yet, the Demons held on to prevail and register their first win of 2018. For the Demons, another former Saints player Clinton Jones was a workhorse with 35 disposals, while new recruit and former Essendon player Ben Howlett led the way for the Thunder with 33 disposals.

Claremont staged a thrilling victory over East Fremantle, with midfielder Keifer Yu booting a goal on the full-time siren to give the Tigers a 12.11 (83) to 11.13 (79) win at Claremont Oval. The Tigers found themselves in early trouble as they trailed by 27 points deep in the second quarter. However, a four goal performance from forward Alex Manuel helped steady Claremont, as they re-took the lead heading into the final quarter. Despite four goals from former Collingwood rookie Jack Perham helping the Sharks to a winning position, Yu’s mark and consequent goal sunk the East Fremantle side at the very last gasp. Souring the win for Claremont was a knee injury to club favourite Kane Mitchell, who took no further part in the game after half time.

Subiaco sent a clear message to the rest of the competition after a thumping win over Swan Districts. In a battle of the only two undefeated teams so far in 2018, the Lions roared with a 21.12 (140) to 6.8 (44) victory. The Black and Whites got off to an ideal start, leading by two goals at quarter time in what looked to be an even tussle. However, Subiaco held the Swans scoreless in the second quarter, while kicking six goals of their own to turn the match on its head. After half-time, matters worsened for Swan Districts, with the Lions piling on 12 goals to one. For Subiaco, forwards Ben Sokol and Bradley Stevenson had a field day with four goals each, while Christopher Phelan and Josh Deluca both had 32 and 31 disposal games respectively. A two-goal and 20-disposal game for Rhys Palmer provided the only real highlight for the Black and Whites in what was a bitter defeat at Leederville Oval.

In a tight affair at Arena Joondalup, West Perth could not hold off a fast finishing South Fremantle, losing 13.10 (88) to 15.6 (96). After the Falcons exploded with a five goal to one first quarter, the Bulldogs fought back to remarkably take a one-point lead at half time. The third quarter proved a tight tussle, as goal for goal blows saw West Perth take a slender one goal lead at three quarter time. In the final quarter however, the Bulldogs took control as Hayden Schloithe dominated the midfield battle with 28 disposals, while also hitting the scoreboard with four goals. As South Fremantle put on a four goals to one final quarter, it was only fitting that Schloithe convert the match sealing goal in the dying moments of the game. Shane Nelson was phenomenal in the Falcons loss with 41 disposals, while young forward Tyler Keitel showed great signs with three goals.

Western Australia weekly wrap: Swan Districts topples Peel; Subiaco asserts its dominance

ROUND Two of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) saw two teams continue their unbeaten start to the season. Subiaco, the 2017 runners-up hold top spot on the ladder after a comfortable 58-point win, while Swan Districts toppled reining premier Peel Thunder, emerging as a possible dark horse for this year’s finals race.

The Lions travelled down to Fremantle Oval to take on South Fremantle in a rematch of last year’s preliminary final. The first half proved an even tussle, with only two goals separating the sides at half time. However, Subiaco unleashed a 11 goal to four second half to run away 18.12 (120) to 6.8 (62) winners. For the Lions, former Fremantle Docker Josh Deluca collected a game high 33 disposals, while small forward Ben Sokol finished with an impressive five goals. Reigning Sandover Medallist Hayden Schloithe finished with 26 disposals and ruckman Brock Higgins was named the South’s best player with 30 hitouts and 18 disposals.

In one of the round’s surprise results, Swan Districts overcame Fremantle affiliated powerhouse Peel Thunder 15.12 (102) to 13.10 (88). The Thunder held a one-goal lead at the final break, but the Black and Whites produced a six goals to three fourth quarter to storm home with a 14-point win. Midfielder Jarrad Blight was influential for the Swans with 24 disposals, while forward William Reidy was superb with four goals. For the Thunder, overlooked Docker Danyle Pearce produced an exceptional game collecting 40 disposals, with fellow Docker Darcy Tucker collecting 34 touches and former Essendon forward Leroy Jetta kicked two goals.

In a tight affair at East Fremantle Oval, the Sharks led at every change and proved too strong for Perth winning 13.9 (87) to 11.14 (80). For East Fremantle, former Geelong rookie Cameron Eardley was a standout, collecting a game high 38 disposals, while forward Ryan Ambrose contributed with three goals. Ruckman Christian Eyres was named Perth’s best after collecting 28 hitouts, six marks and 16 disposals, while livewire Cody Ninyette kicked three for the Demons.

In the final game of the round, the Perth Derby ended in a shellacking, with the West Coast affiliated East Perth 17.10 (112) trouncing cross town rivals West Perth 7.12 (54). After a disappointing performance in round one, the Royals switched on and booted 14 goals after quarter time to record their first win of 2018, while condemning the Falcons to their first loss. Eagles midfielder Luke Partington was fantastic with 33 disposals, while 2017 first round draft pick Jarrod Brander was dominant down forward, clunking 10 marks and kicking three goals. In a dim day for the Falcons, three time best and fairest winner Shane Nelson was a shining light with 36 disposals, while Trent Manzone collected 26 disposals and two goals.

Western Australia weekly wrap: WAFL teams recruit big for 2018

SEVERAL West Australian Football League (WAFL) clubs have recruited former AFL-listed players in a bid to end Peel Thunder’s two-year premiership winning era.

Headlining a raft of signings for 2018 are former Carlton players Rhys Palmer and Blaine Boekhorst. Delisted after playing only one game for the Blues, Palmer will look to re-launch his footballing career with Swan Districts as an inside midfielder, with the Black Ducks seeking to improve on their fourth-place finish in 2017.

In a coincidental twist, Boekhorst turned his back on former-club Swan Districts, instead signing with Palmer’s original club, East Fremantle. Boekhorst’s 25-game AFL career ended in disappointment after the former first round draft pick was unable to win another contract despite impressing in his final two games of 2017. The speedy 24 year-old will add fantastic depth to a Sharks’ midfield that is in desperate need of quality ball users.

Subiaco has also recruited strongly by adding two former Fremantle Dockers in ruckman Zac Clarke and inside midfielder Josh Deluca. Clarke, who played 101 games at AFL level, will add a wealth of experience to the Lions’ midfield brigade, with coach Jarrad Schofield hoping that Clarke’s 203cm height and athletic prowess will give the Lion’s midfield first use. A premiership player with the Lions in 2014 before being drafted, Deluca will compliment the Lions’ contested ball winning mentality in their push for a third successive grand final.

Peel Thunder have pulled off a remarkable off season signing by luring former Essendon midfielder Ben Howlett. A former best and fairest winner at club, Howlett is a handy addition to the two-time reigning premier’s already impressive list, with the Fremantle-aligned side looking to draw on all of Howlett’s 124 games of AFL experience.

East Perth have secured former Collingwood premiership player and West Coast half-back Sharrod Wellingham. After a 171 game career (92 with Collingwood and 79 with West Coast), the Royals will look to use Wellingham’s great ball use and leadership skills in continuing their alignment with the Eagles.

Former Fremantle midfielder Nick Suban won’t be leaving Fremantle Oval after signing with South Fremantle. The former North Ballarat Rebel has opted against returning to his home state, joining last year’s runner-up minor premiers. Suban will be a welcome replacement for the Bulldogs after star midfielder Tim Kelly was snapped up by Geelong in the recent AFL National Draft.

Ex-Fremantle forward Shane Yarran has also been sighted at Subiaco training recently, but is yet to officially sign following release from his six-month jail sentence.

Other notable signings:

East Fremantle: Jarrad Jansen (Brisbane Lions), Cameron Loersch (Gold Coast Suns), Jordan Snadden (West Coast Eagles), Jonathan Griffin (Fremantle Dockers)

East Perth: Tom Gorter (West Coast Eagles)

Perth: Matthew Taylor (North Melbourne)