Tag: judd mcvee

2021 West Australian Under 19 squad announced

THE 2021 West Australian Under 19 squad was announced on Wednesday, with 33 players making the cut to represent their state at the upcoming National Championships. Selected to compete in games against South Australia (July 31) and the Allies (August 7), the squad features players ranging from their 19th year, to a gun 16-year-old who is also among the state’s Under 17 set-up.

The Black Ducks promise to be competitive at this year’s carnival, boasting a strong core of versatile key position prospects and dynamic midfield mix. AFL Academy members Rhett Bazzo (Swan Districts), Jacob van Rooyen (Claremont), and Jack Williams (East Fremantle) are among the best talls available in this year’s draft crop, while Subiaco pair Matthew Johnson and Neil Erasmus are set to wax in midfield having also represented the national Under 19 Academy.

Fans of AFL clubs will also have specific players to keep an eye on, with father-son and Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospects littered through the side. Exciting small forward/midfielder Jesse Motlop (son of Daniel) comes under Fremantle’s academy umbrella, while explosive East Perth mover Ethan Regan is one for Eagles. Melbourne also has a father-son in the mix, with Taj Woewodin (son of Shane) a promising midfield option.

East Fremantle produced the most members (eight) this time around, as the WAFL club continues to prove a strong breeding ground for draft eligible talent. East Perth is the next best with six players involved, including Regan and leading Colts goalkicker Jye Amiss (25 goals). There is plenty of competition for spots up forward, with swingman Bazzo likely to revert to a defensive post along with versatile 19-year-old Jaiden Hunter (Perth).

Hunter is one of a few top-agers to have earned League berths in 2021 after being overlooked at last year’s draft, with Perth teammate Jack Avery in that same boat, alongside midfielder-turned-defender Finn Gorringe (East Fremantle) and ruckman Jake South (Subiaco). Meanwhile, 18th-year talents van Rooyen and Johnson also broke through for their senior debuts before returning to the Colts grade.

After hitouts against South Australia and the Allies, WA is scheduled to take on Vic Country and Vic Metro in Victoria on September 24 and 29, to round out the National Championships.

Below is a preview of how the West Australian team may look, in a line-up put together by Draft Central analyst Ed Pascoe. Scroll further to see the full squad.

FB: Jack Avery (P) – Rhett Bazzo (SD) – Finn Gorringe (EF)
HB: Jed Hagan (EF) – Jaiden Hunter (P) – Judd McVee (EF)
C: Corey Warner (EF) – Matthew Johnson (S) – Max Chipper (SD)
HF: Ethan Regan (EP) – Jacob van Rooyen (C) – Neil Erasmus (S)
FF: Jye Amiss (EP) – Jack Williams (EF) – Jesse Motlop (SF)
FOL: Jake South (S) – Josh Browne (EF) – Kade Dittmar (EP)

INT: Zac Fleiner (WP), Kaden Harbour (EP), Brady Hough (PT), Lochlan Paton (WP), Luke Polson (PT), James Tunstill (EP)

EMG: Oscar Armstrong (EP), Eric Benning (C), Ed Curley (EF), Richard Farmer (S), Jarrod McIlvinney (PT), Angus Sheldrick (C), Jahmal Stretch (C), Bryce Watson (SD), Taj Woewodin (EF)

FULL SQUAD:

Image Credit: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos

A look ahead: The 21 top prospects for 2021

WHILE we are only a day removed from the 2020 AFL National Draft, Draft Central is already looking forward to the next crop of elite level hopefuls. This year’s AFL Draft Guide featured 21 of the best top-age prospects eligible to be drafted in 2021, providing pocket profiles and an insight into what to expect from a upcoming bumper crop. Clubs have already been jostling for position among next year’s order, as plenty of players do the same at the top end with their on-field efforts. We have already identified an early frontrunner, with a familiar father-son name not far off and plenty of variety in terms of representatives from each state and territory.

21 in 2021

The top contender:

Jason Horne (South Adelaide/South Australia)
21/06/2003 | 182cm/75kg
Inside Midfielder/Forward

Horne is the current frontrunner among next year’s crop after returning a sensational season of football. Having already established himself among South Adelaide’s Under 18 setup, he quickly came to dominate this year’s proceedings and earned a call-up to the senior side. He adapted well to the speed of the game playing mostly as a forward, soaring for high marks and backing his speed across the ground. The 2019 SA Under 16 MVP has very few weaknesses, but plenty of weapons at his disposal.

Braden Andrews (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
21/02/2003 | 189cm/83kg
Midfielder/Utility

Somewhat a jack of all trades, Andrews plugged gaps on each line for Vic Metro at last year’s Under 16 championships; showing clean hands, a cool head, and match-winning abilities. Rates highly for upside.

Samuel Banks (Clarence/Tasmania)
2/04/2003 | 186cm/72kg
Midfielder/Half-Back

Arguably Tasmania’s leading 2021 prospect, Banks was the Under 16 Division 2 MVP last year and has already turned out for the Tasmania Devils Under 18 side. The balanced midfielder/half-back has also played senior football for Clarence, showing plenty of class while disposing by foot.

Rhett Bazzo (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
17/10/2003 | 194cm/74kg
Tall Defender

One of Western Australia’s top talents heading into 2021, Bazzo is a versatile defender renowned for his intercept marking ability. He could well blaze a trail similar to that of fellow Swan Districts product, Denver Grainger-Barras having established himself among the Colts side and in the PSA competition this year.

Cooper Beecken (Glenelg/South Australia)
24/02/2003 | 188cm/72kg
Defender

A tall and rangy defender, Beecken staked his claim as a potential high-end prospect for 2021 with a promising showing in this year’s Under 18 All-Stars game. It capped off a solid season overall for the 17-year-old, who holds similarities to Will Day with his stature, marking and kicking abilities.

Lachlan Brooks (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
1/02/2003 | 179cm/75kg
Inside Midfielder

Brooks earned Under 16 All Australian honours after an outstanding carnival for Vic Metro where he showcased great grit and ball winning ability at the contest. He was looking to make his way into Sandringham’s side as a small defender this year, while also playing midfield for Brighton Grammar.

Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Country)
27/04/2003 | 185cm/79kg
Half-Back/Wing

Hailing from Murray’s region, Chesser boards at Melbourne Grammar and is set to represent Sandringham during his NAB League stints. He is a rebounding half-back who can also provide dash off the wing, boasting great speed and a wicked boot on the outer.

Nick Daicos (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
01/03/2003 | 183cm/72kg
Balanced Midfielder

He has only just entered the Oakleigh Chargers system, but Daicos is already well-known not only for his exploits with Carey Grammar in the APS competition, but also for his ties to Collingwood as a father-son prospect. He has terrific skills and ironically supports Carlton. Already a top five chance.

Arlo Draper (South Adelaide/South Australia)
30/01/2003 | 185cm/71kg
Midfielder/Forward

A smooth-moving type with plenty of upside, Draper returned a fantastic bottom-age season with South Adelaide to prove on of South Australia’s brightest 2021 candidates. He wins a good amount of contested ball while also providing marking and goal threats up forward.

Joshua Fahey (Gold Coast Academy/NSW/ACT)
11/11/2003 | 186cm/76kg
Half-Back/Outside Midfielder

While formerly tied to the GWS Academy, Fahey represented that of the Gold Coast Suns this year and showed fine form. He is a damaging rebound defender who gains plenty of meterage with his daring dash and raking left boot.

Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
15/09/2003 | 182cm/76kg
Inside Midfielder

There are few others who show quite the appetite Hobbs does for the contest, and soggy conditions at last year’s Under 16 championships saw him thrive. Having since made his NAB League debut, Hobbs continues to pump the ball forward and tackle hard at the coalface.

Matthew Johnson (Subiaco/Western Australia)
16/03/2003 | 192cm/80kg
Inside Midfielder

Subiaco Colts premiership player, Johnson developed well in 2020 to become one of his state’s leading midfielders. He has a terrific balance of aggression and class, able to win his own ball and carve ways around his opponents on the exit. Has great upside as a raw, tall ball winner.

Alex Lukic (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
7/01/2003 | 195cm/86kg
Key Forward

Lukic is an athletic tall forward who fares particularly well close to goal. After leading the Under 16 Division 1 goalkicking with nine majors, he made his NAB League debut in a stacked Oakleigh side and showed plenty of promise. Has good speed and can compete at ground level.

Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
23/01/2003 | 186cm/78kg
Midfielder/Utility

A hard-working midfielder who can play a role on each line, Molan brings a true team-first attitude. He made his NAB League debut last year and has some good upside given his size and versatility. One who you can rely on to compete.

Cooper Murley (Norwood/South Australia)
20/06/2003 | 177cm/66kg
Small Midfielder/Forward

Part of Norwood’s Under 18 premiership side, Murley already looks a class above the grade. His speed out of congestion, repeat forward running, and excellent skills made for scintillating viewing in 2020, making him a prime prospect for next year. Still has some filling out to do.

Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushranger/Vic Country)
11/04/2003 | 179cm/77kg
Small Midfielder/Forward

Rachele rightly took out the Division 1 and Vic Country MVP awards at last year’s Under 16 carnival, putting him firmly in the pick one race. He went on to average two goals per his four NAB League games, bringing plenty of x-factor up forward and spark through midfield.

Lewis Rayson (Glenelg/South Australia)
14/01/2003 | 181cm/64kg
Half-Back

A small defender who impacts in a big way, Rayson provides plenty of drive from half-back. His ability to read the play and break forward quickly in transition is a real asset, capped off by damaging use by foot.

Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide/South Australia)
31/07/2003 | 183cm/76kg
Midfielder/Forward

Roberts is a standout wherever he plays and dominated both the school football and SANFL Under 18 scenes at times in 2020. He is capable of racking up huge numbers through sheer work-rate and competitiveness, while also posing a scoring threat when resting up forward.

Josh Sinn (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
28/01/03 | 186cm/72kg
Half-Back/Midfielder

Was captain of Vic Metro’s carnival-winning Under 16 side in 2019 and adapted well between multiple roles. Originally employed as a half-back for his run and damaging use by foot, Sinn also thrived in midfield and somewhat of a wildcard. Has plenty of desirable traits and potential.

Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
27/01/2003 | 181cm/74kg
Midfielder/Forward

Another who has plenty of runs on the board already, Sonsie is silky smooth on the ball through midfield and dangerous around goal. He made his NAB League debut for minor premiers, Eastern Ranges after winning Vic Metro’s Under 16 MVP award.

Jacob Van Rooyen (Claremont/Western Australia)
16/04/2003 | 194cm/88kg
Key Forward

A dominant key forward with terrific aerial presence, Van Rooyen is one of the leading prospects in his position for 2021. He booted 19 goals in 10 WAFL Colts games this season, finding the big sticks at least once in each outing.

In the mix:

In such a promising crop, there are plenty of names who could have easily squeezed into the initial list. From a Victorian perspective, the likes of Lachlan Rankin and Youseph Dib are two exciting talents from the Oakleigh Chargers who featured strongly in the Metro Under 16 squad. Dib is tied to Collingwood as an NGA and plies his trade both inside, on the wing, or up forward, while Rankin is a classy user off half-back. Blake Howes was another standout on the Metro end and has great upside as a high-marking, athletic forward.

South Australians have benefitted greatly from a full state league season, albeit improvised. Morgan Ferres is a tall forward with terrific athleticism and the ability to dominate at centre half-forward. Nasiah Wanganeen and Jase Burgoyne were others to show plenty in the SANFL Under 18s this year, with the latter the son of Peter Burgoyne and thus tied to Port Adelaide as a father-son. Isaiah Dudley, the cousin of Kysaiah Pickett also has links to a club already in Adelaide. He is small, but has plenty of talent and should not be forgotten after an injury-riddled year.

West Australian prospects also benefitted from a season of football, with the likes of Lochlan Paton and Judd McVee both getting some Under 18 midfield minutes. Paton is a solid mover who can roam forward, while McVee is an explosive stoppage player who can also move on the outer. Joshua Browne is another name right up there after his efforts for East Fremantle in 2020, with Max Chipper another to keep in mind as a clean outside user.

Featured Image: Jason Horne is our top pick for 2021 | Credit: Deb Curtis/SANFL

Out to impress: WAFL Round 8 preview

YOUNG talent continues to turn heads at state league level around the nation, and it has been no different across all three WAFL grades upon the competition’s resumption in 2020. As we roll into Round 8, Draft Central continues its new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game. In our latest edition, Perth is set to blood another Colts standout, while a first round AFL Draft candidate has finally been named in West Perth’s League side.

>> SCROLL for fixtures and League teams

19-year-old midfielder Conor McPartland is set to become the latest Perth product to earn a League debut, named in the forward pocket among the Demons’ side to face Swan Districts. A prolific ball winner, McPartland required just one Reserves outing to earn a second promotion, having averaged 33 disposals across his five Colts games this year.

He joins fellow Colts talents Nathan O’Driscoll and Logan McDonald in the lineup, as well as Regan Clarke. After a terrific 20-disposal display last time out, O’Driscoll has been pegged for even more midfield minutes, while keen draft watchers will undoubtedly have their eyes peeled for the seemingly inevitable McDonald-versus-Denver Grainger-Barras matchup.

Grainger-Barras lines up for his seventh League appearance in 2020, set to grace the backline alongside Nathan Ireland. A trio of youngsters make up the Swans’ inclusions; as Thomas Edwards readies for his top flight debut, while Lachlan Riley makes his first League outing for the year, and Tarir Bayok reenters the fold. Draft hopefuls Zane Trew and Ty Sears have again been teased with promotion to the Reserves, while bottom-agers Rhett Bazzo and Max Chipper are again absent in the Colts grade.

Leading West Perth draft prospect Heath Chapman is another young gun preparing to make his League debut, after finally earning the call-up ahead of this weekend’s action. The 193cm defender has proven a class above at Colts level, averaging 23 disposals and over seven marks per his six games. Should be he let off the hook as a third tall in defence, expect his intercept marking and exceptional skills by foot to come to the fore.

Tristan Hobley, who made his League debut in Round 7, remains in the Falcons’ side, while Claremont prepares to unearth some fresh faces of its own. 18-year-old Max Spyvee comes in for his maiden top flight berth, while Anthony Davis and Tyron Smallwood make their respective returns for the Tigers. Jack Buller has been named as an emergency after impressing in the Reserves. Speaking of, Tyron Hindmarsh and Callum Johnson are set to remain in said grade alongside Victorian Matty Lloyd, while Kellen Johnson is a possible Colts inclusion pending recovery from his wrist injury.

Another Round 7 first-gamer, Liam Hickmott remains in Subiaco’s side as the Lions do battle with East Fremantle, with brother Wil named as an emergency. 19-year-old forward Nicholas Martin also holds onto his spot despite his first goalless outing for the year. Jai Jackson is another 19-year-old knocking on the League door, while Jacob Miller and Ben Reid find themselves back in the Reserves as Subiaco’s two outs.

Brynn Teakle comes in for his first taste of League footy for 2020 as part of at least one East Fremantle change, with another four players added to the Sharks’ extended bench. The 202cm 20-year-old is set to slot in up forward, while Durak Tucker plies his trade down back once again. AFL Academy guns Jack Carroll, Finn Gorringe, and Brandon Walker all seem close to promotions, while bottom-ager Judd McVee looks like being a key out for the Colts.

Much like the aforementioned Sharks trio, Jack Cooley and Harley Sparks are a couple of East Perth youngsters on the cusp of League berths. They are both poised to continue their push in the Reserves though, as they Royals take on South Fremantle on Saturday. The undefeated, ladder-leading Bulldogs have made four changes, with 22-year-old Jacob Warne making a one-and-done League outing as he comes back out of the side.

Manfred Kelly remains in the Reserves for South while Ira Jetta looks like missing another round of Colts action, much like Kade Dittmar for East Perth.

FIXTURES

League:

Subiaco vs. East Fremantle | Saturday September 5, 2:30pm @ Leederville Oval
Claremont vs. West Perth | Saturday September 5, 2:30pm @ Revo Fitness Stadium
South Fremantle vs. East Perth | Saturday September 5, 2:35pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Swan Districts vs. Perth | Saturday September 5, 3:05pm @ Steel Blue Oval

Reserves:

Subiaco vs. East Fremantle | Saturday September 5, 12:00pm @ Leederville Oval
Claremont vs. West Perth | Saturday September 5, 12:00pm @ Revo Fitness Stadium
South Fremantle vs. East Perth | Saturday September 5, 12:00pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Swan Districts vs. Perth | Saturday September 5, 12:20pm @ Steel Blue Oval

Colts:

Subiaco vs. East Fremantle | Saturday September 5, 9:30am @ Leederville Oval
Claremont vs. West Perth | Saturday September 5, 9:30am @ Revo Fitness Stadium
South Fremantle vs. East Perth | Saturday September 5, 9:30am @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Swan Districts vs. Perth | Saturday September 5, 9:500am @ Steel Blue Oval

Bye: Peel Thunder

LEAGUE TEAMS

Featured Image: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

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.

Picture: Daniel Wilkins/The Sunday Times

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

2020 WAFL Club Preview: East Fremantle

WHILE East Fremantle has proven somewhat of a footy factory over the past few years, the Sharks have not quite been able to translate their junior production line to senior success in the West Australian Football League (WAFL). Coming off an eighth place finish at League level in 2019 and five seasons without finals, Bill Monaghan‘s troops will be looking to improve on their five-win campaign last time out.

The Reserves side fared much better as the sole Sharks unit to make finals, finishing fourth on the back of a positive 9-7 record. An exciting finals run ensued, before East Perth ended any hope of a 2’s flag at the preliminary final stage. Despite having a massive five players drafted last year from its Colts squad, including third pick Luke Jackson, the Sharks could only muster a seventh place finish in the junior grade at 6-10, with disruptions to the immense top-end talent proving costly.

If preseason form is anything to go by, there should be some improvement from the Sharks in 2020, with the League boys pushing 2019 finalist Claremont to within a goal, while the Reserves got one over the Tigers’ 2’s to the tune of 28 points. All three levels will run out for their final preseason dig on Saturday, July 11, set to measure themselves against the strong Subiaco squads before taking on South Fremantle the following week in Round 1.

Bigman Jonathon Griffin will again lead the Sharks out in 2020, flanked by last year’s leading goalkicker and fellow former Docker, Luke Strnadica. 2019 club champion Matthew Jupp will look to back up his outstanding year in the blue and white, while the likes of Jarrad JansenBlaine Boekhorst, and Cameron Eardley are also set play key roles once again.

The Sharks won out in the tug-of-war for former Perth utility Cody Leggett, who looked like being left in limbo for some time as the Demons initially denied his transfer request. He’ll add some great depth and experience to the squad, while a couple of former AFL additions also make for promising progression.

Former Sydney rookie Durak Tucker enters the ranks on his return to WA as a talented defender, while developing former West Coast rookie Brodie Riach also joins the club. Jordan Mills is another handy addition to the defensive setup having crossed from West Perth, completing a list of four solid inclusions. The Sharks also lost some personnel post-2019, with 10-year veteran Jack Perham calling time on his career, while James Harrold and Joe Hebiton will pursue interstate opportunities.

The Colts squad is, to no one’s surprise, stacked with draftable talent, led by Fremantle Next Generation Academy prospect, Brandon Walker. The smooth moving medium defender/midfielder boasts terrific athleticism and sharp skills, and his twin brother Christopher is also set to line up for the Sharks once again.

Jack Carroll is another sharp user of the ball, able to play off half-back or through midfield, while inside type Finn Gorringe will be one to operate the engine room. He’ll be aided by bottom-age gun Judd McVee, while fellow AFL Academy hub members Richard Bartlett and Owen Dann can fulfil roles up either end of the ground. Young talent from last year’s crop includes Jai Jackson, Reuben McGuire, and Max Murphy, who should all push for senior selection in 2020.

With another promising batch of juniors and some handy inclusions to the senior ranks, the Sharks will be able to ease the pressure on their experienced leaders and push for marked improvement across each level.

Picture: WAFL

Squad predictions: 2020 Western Australia Under 18s

THE annual Under 18 National Championships may be the only chance we get to catch a glimpse of the class of 2020 before draft day, with carnival likely to take place in October. In the meantime, Draft Central takes a look at how each regional squad may line up should the championships come around, but with a few stipulations in place. We began with our Vic Metro, Vic Country, and South Australian squad predictions, and today we take a look at Western Australia’s (WA) potential line-up.

GUIDELINES:

  • Top-agers (2002-born) have been prioritised due to the limited season and exposure
  • Of those, AFL Academy Hub members also gain priority for the starting squad
  • The inclusion of bottom-agers (2003-born) in the hub, and top-agers outside it is limited to three spots in the starting 18
  • 19-year-old inclusions are also limited, having already staked their claims in previous years

A lot may change between now and when the squad will be announced, and it should be noted that players with known long-term injuries will not be picked here. Of course, the sides may vary greatly as players look to shift and develop in different positions, but each member has been selected based on the roles they have previously played. Given only previous form, preseason testing and scratch matches are what we have to go off, bolters are also difficult to gauge at this point.

Players named as depth outside of the initial squad below are inevitably options who will rotate through the side, and it is impossible to fit all the options within a list of 22. But without further ado, let’s get stuck into the fourth squad prediction, with WA’s talent broken down line-by-line.

* – denotes bottom-aged
** – denotes 19-yo

DEFENCE

FB – Blake Morris (Subiaco), Denver Grainger-Barras (Swan Districts), Rhett Bazzo* (Swan Districts)
HB – Brandon Walker (East Fremantle), Heath Chapman (West Perth), Ty Sears (Swan Districts)

The West Australian spine is one of the few to boast genuine talls in most key position posts, starting with Denver Grainger-Barras and Heath Chapman in defence. Both are terrific in the air and provide good versatility as talls, able to shut down opponents, impact the play aerially, and use the ball soundly out of defensive 50.

Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect Brandon Walker‘s name will quickly be placed on the team sheet, with Ty Sears an agile outside mover who takes up the opposite half-back flank in our side. Making it three Swan Districts products in the back six is Rhett Bazzo, joined by WA’s 2019 Under 16 MVP, Blake Morris on the last line.

Both are good competitors in the air; with Bazzo a potential key position prospect at 194cm as a bottom-ager, while Morris is a late bloomer who can intercept with his high marking and shrewd reading of the play. The defence has a bit of everything, and should compete well on all levels with Grainger-Barras the centrepiece and leading draft prospect.


MIDFIELD

C – Jack Carroll (East Fremantle), Zane Trew (Swan Districts), Judd McVee* (East Fremantle)
FOL – Kalin Lane** (Claremont), Nathan O’Driscoll (Perth), Finn Gorringe (East Fremantle)

A trio of tough, big-bodied ball winners look likely to attend the centre bounces for WA, with Nathan O’Driscoll (187cm), Zane Trew (186cm), and Finn Gorringe (183cm) all inside types who can crack in and win the hard ball. O’Driscoll is a thumping left-foot kick and capable marker who may also feature across half-back, while Trew is perhaps an even better disposer by foot who also earned Under 16 All Australian honours in 2018.

Palming down to them could well be a true bolter in Kalin Lane, who featured in the 2020 AFL Academy intake despite only playing one WAFL Colts game for Claremont. The 202cm big-man is also the sole 19-year-old to feature in the side, and should be aided well by a couple of other talls in terms of ruck duties.

On the outside, Jack Carroll adds to the high-level kicking abilities to make it three East Fremantle prospects among the midfield group. He displayed his class in last year’s Under 17 All Stars showcase, and is joined on the opposite wing by Judd McVee, a bottom-aged small who has that classic burst out of the stoppages and may feature on the inside.


FORWARD

HF – Joel Western (Claremont), Shannon Neale (South Fremantle), Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder)
FF – Owen Dann (East Fremantle), Logan McDonald (Perth), Ira Jetta (South Fremantle)

There is plenty of versatility among the proposed West Australian forward group, with two genuine talls again slotting into key position spots, while each of the smaller options can also rotate through different roles. Among them, Joel Western is an exciting prospect who is part of Fremantle’s NGA and can rotate through the midfield, credit to his freakish skills and evasiveness.

Ira Jetta is another small who can also double as a midfielder at the Under 18 level, but has terrific goal sense and fills a spot up forward here. Owen Dann takes up the other pocket but can be thrown into defence, while Peel Thunder’s Isiah Winder slots in at half-forward – a player who catches the eye, and yet another sub-180cm mover who can shuffle further afield.

Logan McDonald is one of the leading key position prospects in the national talent pool and is simply a lock at full forward, having already represented the Black Ducks at Under 18 level in 2019. His athleticism, clean hands, and contested marking will put WA in good stead and he has grown to true key position height at 195cm. Shannon Neale, another late bloomer will rotate between the ruck and forwardline, able to compete in the air while also possessing good athletic traits at 200cm.

The flexibility of the side as a whole is stamped with that of the forward six here, with each player both versatile in their respective positions while being able to double in separate roles. With a couple of solid talls to help the smalls crumb, this group could also produce a handy highlight reel.


INTERCHANGE

INT – Luke Polson* (Peel Thunder), Kade Dittmar* (East Perth), Kellen Johnson (West Perth), Tyler Nesbitt (Peel Thunder)

A pair of bottom-agers head our interchange, which was a typically difficult one to whittle down. Luke Polson is a 195cm ruck/forward who can provide depth on either line, while Kade Dittmar is a hard-working and physical midfielder with a booming kick and the ability to play elsewhere if required. Polson’s Peel Thunder teammate Tyler Nesbitt rounds out the 22 alongside fellow top-age academy member Kellen Johnson, both medium-sized prospects who may feature at either end of the ground.


SQUAD DEPTH

There is a good amount of bottom-age depth in the West Australian ranks, and some top-agers outside of the AFL Academy bubble who could push their case for selection. Jack Hindle is the only top-age academy member to miss out on our 22, but will likely rotate through the side. Chris Walker, the twin brother of Brandon is another who may be thereabouts, while Jamison Ugle is a speedy type who could garner attention along with Subiaco’s Tyler Brockman as forward options. Talented 199cm ruck/forward Michael Mallard had a decent Under 16 campaign for WA, and is already a known quantity if selectors are looking for even more key position depth.

In terms of those eligible for the 2021 draft who feature in the academy hub, Max Chipper is a classy midfielder from the stacked Swan Districts squad. Matthew Johnson is a tall but raw prospect who can also play forward, and Mitchell Brown is another midfield option who may put his hand up. Rounding out the crop is Claremont’s Jacob van Rooyen and Richard Bartlett, both of whom featured for the Black Ducks in last year’s Under 16 national carnival.

Picture: Michael Farnell – Sports Imagery Australia

>> READ UP ON THE 2020 WA U18s:
>> 2019 WAFL Colts Content

AFL Draft Watch:

Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll

Marquee Matchups:

Denver Grainger-Barras vs. Kaine Baldwin

Positional Analysis:

Key Forwards

National Championships: U16 All Australian team announced

WITH the Under 16 Division 1 and 2 championships run and done after three exciting rounds, the representative All Australian team has been announced. We take a look at the squad members in a state-by-state breakdown, with Division 1 winners Vic Metro boasting the most representatives (seven), followed by Vic Country’s five and Western Australia and South Australia’s three apiece.

South Australia [3]:

Isaiah Dudley (Forward Pocket)

The exciting small forward also doubles as a midfielder, and enjoyed a carnival full of highlights. Put his incredible goal sense, manic pressure, and knack for snaring the ball all together in SA’s Round 1 win, booting four goals from 27 disposals.

Jason Horne (Half-Forward)

The SA skipper and MVP, Horne is as tough as they come and led from the front for the Croweaters. Does it all at the coalface and keeps busy when forward, with his standout game coming against Vic Country in Round 2 as he collected 18 disposals and booted two goals.

Cooper Murley (Interchange)

Murley provided a nice point of difference through the hard-nosed SA midfield, often seen breaking quickly from congestion and delivering forward. Like many of his midfield mates, Murley showed good versatility to also make an impact when tried in the attacking set-up.

Vic Country [5]:

Campbell Chesser (Half-Back)

The Country co-skipper has line-breaking speed to go with a penetrating boot, making him a meterage machine on the outside. Started on the wing and moved to the back six, with his best game coming against Vic Metro in Round 1.

Toby Conway (Ruck)

A very raw tall prospect who nailed down the ruck spot for Country to allow some of his side’s other big-men to roam forward. Made some impressive taps with soft hands and used the ball well when following up at ground level, building as the carnival wore on.

Cooper Hamilton (Interchange)

Not to be mistaken for twin brother, Hugh, Hamilton is a tough defender who hits the ball hard and gets pumping quickly to advance forward. Thrived in tough conditions in Round 2 against Western Australia and gets stuck in.

Ben Hobbs (Centre)

A contested ball magnet, Hobbs was one of the most consistent midfielders throughout the carnival. Was terrific across all three games, winning high numbers and gradually building to find the ball around the ground with spearing kicks and deceptive speed.

Josh Rachele (Follower)

The standout player of the carnival, Rachele stood up when it mattered for Vic Country – shown best with his 32-disposal outing in a losing effort against WA. Won the Kevin Sheehan Medal as Division 1 MVP to go with his Country MVP award, and will make his NAB League debut this weekend.

Vic Metro [7]:

Braden Andrews (Interchange)

One who was utilised on each line for Metro, using his composure, clean hands and ball use to good effect wherever he was required. Had a great game against Country in Round 1 where he helped his side over the line with a move to defence.

Lachlan Brooks (Interchange)

Had a standout game in the wet against SA in Round 2, collecting 23 disposals, six clearances, and two goals. Provides hard attack on the ball and is clean on the breakaway, while also being able to clutch it up when forward.

Youseph Dib (Wing)

Is aligned to Collingwood as an NGA member, and has a haircut to rival the Magpies’ 2018 NGA draftee, Isaac Quaynor. Is small, but strong in the contest and stayed relevant going both ways with big tackles and zippy bursts forward.

Blake Howes (Half-Forward)

The clinical medium forward did not need many chances to make an impact, and found the goals when it mattered. Is quite slim but stands up well overhead, and showed off his array of skills against SA with two crucial goals to break the game open in Metro’s win.

Alex Lukic (Full Forward)

Lead the Division 1 goal kicking with nine goals on the back of two big bags. Did a lot of his work inside 50 and close to goal, finishing beautifully to boot 5.2 against SA in Round 3, and four goals against Vic Country to open his campaign.

Josh Sinn (Half-Back, Captain)

A damaging mover, Sinn showcased his balance of inside and outside traits as he moved from a lock at half-back to a midfield role. Skippered the title-winning Metro side well, and will surely form a dangerous partnership with Campbell Chesser for Sandringham as rebounding defenders.

Tyler Sonsie (Follower)

The Metro MVP is just so classy and broke away from stoppages with ease. He used the ball cleverly under pressure, while also proving he can double as a forward with his 19 disposals and 4.3 against WA in Round 3. Will be another to make his NAB League debut straight off the bat.

Western Australia [3]:

Rhett Bazzo (Centre Half-Back)

One of the WA defenders who plays slightly above his height, Bazzo was fantastic in the air and used the ball well by foot when required. Has a good mix of tall and small traits, with his athleticism boding well for form in both positions.

Judd McVee (Interchange)

Was outstanding in the first half of WA’s Round 3 loss to Vic Metro, finishing with 16 disposals, seven clearances and two goals. Caught the eye with his incredible burst from the centre bounces, and loves a goal from range.

Blake Morris (Full Back)

Gave up height and weight against key position opponents on several occasions throughout the carnival, but fully made up for it with some fantastic work in the air and desperation at ground level. Reads the ball better than most and intercepted just about everything as WA’s MVP.

Northern Territory [1]:

Brodie Lake (Wing)

The sole NT representative in the squad, Lake was solid in a variety of roles. He proved a handy link on the outside, consistent ball-winner on the inside and effective forward, with the Thunder MVP collecting 26 disposals, eight clearances and two goals against NSW/ACT.

NSW/ACT [1]:

Sam Stening (Centre Half-Forward)

Was so influential in the final quarter against NT and backed it up with three goals against Tasmania, with his overhead marking a feature. Stening leads up effectively and is constantly involved in scores for his side, with his reach making him hard to stop.

Queensland [2]:

Austin Harris (Back Pocket)

Was a busy forward mover from defence and through midfield for Queensland, winning the Maroons’ MVP award. Breaks the lines with good speed and is a neat user on his left foot, while also having the capacity to hit targets at long-range too.

Noah McFadyen (Forward Pocket)

The brother of 2018 Brisbane draftee, Connor, McFadyen is a similar type and booted 14 goals as the standout forward in Division 2. Saved his best game for last against NT, booting 8.2 with shrewd positioning, strong marking and cool finishing helping him along the way.

Tasmania [1]:

Sam Banks (Back Pocket)

One who has already impressed enough to feature in Tasmania’s U18 NAB League side, Banks was most effective across half-back and an interceptor and damaging rebounder. Makes some great passes through the corridor, and can also run through midfield. Took out the Division 2 MVP.

Remember the Names: Top performers from the U16 National Championships

WITH the 2019 Under 16 National Championships run and done, we cast an eye over some of the names you may well see much more of over the next few seasons leading into their draft year in 2021. Our list includes the Most Valuable Player (MVP) from each side across Division 1 and 2, and is broken up into each squad.

South Australia:

Isaiah Dudley (Central District)
166cm | 66kg | 30/04/2003
Small Forward/Midfielder 

Is an absolute excitement machine with his pace and bottomless bag of tricks, often starting inside forward 50 and then getting involved further afield in general play. Having impressed in last year’s championships as an under-ager with his nous around goal, Dudley enjoyed some added midfield minutes and is a tackling machine. His standout game came in SA’s carnival opener against WA, where he collected 27 disposals and booted four goals with some truly special plays. Given his height, Dudley will probably continue on as a small forward as he heads to senior level, but is arguably as talented as anyone in the crop.

Jason Horne (South Adelaide)
184cm | 75kg | 21/06/2003
Balanced Midfielder

The fearless leader took out SA’s MVP award on the back of three very consistent performances, displaying a great balance of mettle and class on either side of the midfield contest. He proved to be one of the more effective extractors throughout, but also sparked a heap of his side’s attacks as he got on his bike away from congestion and lowered his eyes well to hit targets. Also showed he can cause headaches when resting forward, finding the goals in each game and using his strong hands to compete under high balls. 

Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide)
183cm | 77kg | 5/07/2003
Inside Midfielder

Was one of the most effective inside ball-winners, following on from his form in the 2018 Under 16 carnival where attended centre bounces and attracted the ball at will. Roberts will surely form a formidable midfield partnership with South Adelaide teammate Horne for years to come, with both uncompromising ball-winners who have that added class. One of the more pleasing parts of Roberts’ game is his ability to also accumulate inside forward 50, as shown in his final two games of the carnival. Had a blinder in SA’s loss to Vic Metro with 31 disposals, five marks, four clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal in the wet.

Vic Country:

Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons)
185cm | 78kg | 27/04/2003
Outside Midfielder/Half-Back 

Started the championships with a classy performance on the wing against Vic Metro before later moving to defence to provide that rebounding quality from half-back. The Country co-captain is a damaging user by foot and likes to take the game on to gain significant meterage, weaving his way around the outside and delivering spearing balls forward. Is originally from Lavington but boards at Melbourne Grammar, meaning he will align with the strong Sandringham Dragons program in NAB League, so look out for his set-ups by foot and clean hands in the near future.

Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)
181cm | 75kg | 16/09/2003
Inside Midfielder

Hobbs is an absolute bull through the midfield with unrivaled tenacity and aggression at the stoppages. He wins almost all of his ball himself and thrusts it forward with long kicks, but also grew into the carnival with accumulation around the ground and neat spearing kicks to find shorter targets. Was arguably Country’s second-best player behind Rachele, constantly having 25-plus disposals, double digits in tackles and booting a few goals along the way. 

Josh Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)
179cm | 73kg | 11/04/2003
Midfielder/Forward

Class with a capital ‘C’, the Country co-captain took out the Kevin Sheehan Medal (Division 1 MVP) and his side’s own MVP award with three sensational performances throughout the carnival. His talent can be summed up with one play in Country’s last game against SA, where he instinctively tapped the ball on over his shoulder to Ben Hobbs at full flight who finished the play off with a goal. Does some freakish things and constantly looks a threat around the ball with his agility and ability to break away from congestion, using both to good effect at forward stoppages. Has obvious leadership quality too and really lifted in trying to drag Country over the line in their loss to WA, having 32 disposals, six marks, four breaches of each arc and 0.3. A star in the making.

Vic Metro:

Braden Andrews (Oakleigh Chargers)
187cm | 76kg | 21/02/2003
Midfielder/Utility

Able to play through the midfield and just about anywhere else he is needed, Andrews’ best qualities are his clean hands and cool head. While he was quieter against SA, Andrews proved his class in his other two outings and in particular with his role against Vic Country – where he started forward and found the goals, went on to spark the engine room, and later provided some solidity in defence to help Metro hold on for victory. Is one who has potential to be further unlocked, but has some really nice traits already.

Alex Lukic (Oakleigh Chargers)
194cm | 80kg | 7/01/2003
Key Forward

Started with a bag of four goals against Country and came back from a quiet game in the wet against SA to claim five against WA and round out a promising carnival. Did a lot of his work close to goal and proved efficient when given chances, finishing well with set shots and snaps as he opened up the angles. Also chimed in with a bit of ruckwork, and it will be interesting to see whether Lukic can rip games apart with marking on the lead and in more contested situations as he develops. 

Josh Sinn (Sandringham Dragons)
186cm | 72kg | 28/01/03
Midfielder/Half-Back

Was originally employed off half-back in the first three quarters against Vic Country, but became a permanent midfielder after being thrust into the centre bounces and willing Metro over the line in that game. He skippered his side well over the carnival, adjusting his usually outside game to work in the engine room while still providing his trademark run and damage by foot. May see him ease into NAB League level in the back six, but has proven his midfield quality.

Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges)
181cm | 71kg | 27/01/2003
Balanced Midfielder

The Metro MVP was terrific across all three games, claiming best afield honours in two of them and showing off his versatility in the last with 19 disposals, four clearances, four inside 50s and 4.3 against WA. Is a clean extractor from midfield and oozes class in the way he wheels away from traffic, with the added bonus of being clinical around goal from all angles. Will certainly form a damaging midfield trio for Eastern with Tyreece Leiu and Jake Soligo over the next couple of years.

Western Australia:

Max Chipper (Swan Districts)
180cm | 63kg | 9/09/2003
Wing/Outside Midfielder

Better known as ‘Chip’ out on the field, the Swan Districts product is clean and cool in possession, using the ball neatly on the outside to hit targets at will. Unlike a lot of wingmen, Chipper arguably has a better short-range game and joins in at stoppages once the centre bounces play out. Had a really good start to his carnival against SA and finds the ball in all areas.

Judd McVee (East Fremantle)
179cm | 64kg | 7/08/2003
Midfielder

Judd by name and Judd by nature, McVee has that classic burst from the stoppage and showed he is able to hit the scoreboard across three promising games. Was arguably best afield in the first half against Vic Metro before being clamped, standing up in the absence of Lochlan Paton to finish with 16 disposals, seven clearances, four inside 50s and two goals in a promising showing. Is still quite light-on but is not afraid to get stuck in, giving him that valuable balance in midfield.

Blake Morris (Subiaco)
187cm | 68kg | 11/09/2003
Medium-Tall Defender

The WA MVP was an absolute rock in defence for the Black Ducks, proving an intercept machine in the air and as desperate as anyone at ground level. While he often gives up significant size – as seen when matched up on Country’s 196cm/91kg Josh Rentsch – Morris makes up for it with superior reading of the play, a sizeable leap, and the ability to mop up at the fall of the ball. Will be interesting to see whether he continues to play in the key back role or is freed up on the flanks, with a good knack for rebounding also in his locker.

Northern Territory:

Jason Baird (Palmerston)
185cm | 70kg | 29/12/2003
Midfielder/Defender

Played a key role in the Thunder’s resurgence against NSW/ACT with his accumulation across the ground and ability to push forward. He did not quite have the same impact against Queensland as he was forced to double as a key defender at times given the Maroon’s strength in that area, but battled hard and has some handy versatility.

Brodie Lake (Peel Thunder/Southern Districts)
186cm | 63kg | 16/05/2002
Midfielder/Forward

Collected the NT MVP award for his standout carnival, spending time between midfield and the forward line. Lake played his role well in either position, finding both a good amount of ball and the big sticks – most notably in his game against Division 2 title-winner NSW/ACT where he had 26 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, eight clearances, four inside 50s and two goals. Is a tall and lean midfielder with good hands overhead, so should continue to rotate between roles.

Mark White (Wanderers)
175cm | 65kg | 29/01/2003
General Forward

The tricky forward is a big exponent of taking on the man on the mark, doing it on many an occasion across the carnival to cut distances and get a better look on goal. White is also aggressive around the ball, applying strong pressure albeit while pushing the boundaries. He conveyed a bit of showmanship as he shooshed the Queensland crowd in his final outing and certainly adds a bit of spark when involved in the play.

NSW/ACT:

Joshua Fahey (GWS Giants/Queanbeyan Tigers)
186cm | 77kg | 11/11/2003
General Defender/Midfielder

Fahey is another big character who backs it up with his skill on-field, possessing a cool head and booming left foot which he used to send NSW/ACT forward out of defensive 50 and from midfield. Fahey’s work rate to get on the end of balls and penetrate the attacking 50 was also valuable, and he showed as much with his 24 disposals, six inside 50s and 10 rebound 50s against Tasmania to round out a solid carnival.

Matthew McKenzie (Sydney Swans/St Ives)
182cm | 79kg | 10/10/2003
Midfielder/Forward

Has a deceptively quick first few steps which he used to good effect when running though the midfield, while also providing a strong body at the stoppages. McKenzie racked up a good amount of ball and stayed busy when rotating through the forward 50, showing he can find the goals too. Enjoyed two solid and well-rounded performances in Queensland as one of a few promising St Ives boys.

Sam Stening (GWS Giants/Wagga Swans)
190cm | 72kg | 17/02/2003
Medium-Tall Forward

Stening came to life in an incredible final quarter against NT, while also picking up from where he left off in his next game to fix up some issues in front of goal to slot three majors from 14 disposals and six marks. Is not quite key position height but plays like one, marking well above his head with sticky hands and looking strong at full stretch. Could be a dangerous proposition once he fills out and finds his spot up forward.

Kai Watts (GWS Giants/Inner West Magpies)
178cm | 80kg | 1/02/2003
Forward/Midfielder

The NSW/ACT MVP was a dangerous asset for the Rams, starting forward and moving into the midfield as each game wore on. Watts was not a massive disposal-getter, having between 13-16 in his final two games, but has important touches and makes them count with some good delivery by foot. He gets in good positions close to goal and finds them, as shown in his 16-disposal, two-goal effort against the NT.

Queensland:

Austin Harris (Gold Coast Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin Lions)
175cm | 65kg | 30/04/2003
Defender/Outside Midfielder

Harris’ run and carry was fantastic for Queensland, making him a key contributor on his way to claiming his state’s MVP award. Harris just always found a way to the ball, getting into good areas with a high work rate and pushing forward at every chance. He often finished his runs off with neat kicks and provided a touch of class when in possession.

Daniel Lanthois (Brisbane Lions/Maroochydore)
173cm | 64kg | 12/02/2003
Midfielder

The diminutive and tough ball-winner does just about everything in the engine room, zipping away from stoppages and tackling hard on the rare occasions he doesn’t get his hands on the ball. Lanthois makes up for his lack of size with heart and really digs in around the contest, with one of his better performances coming against Tasmania as he had 18 disposals, 11 tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s.

Noah McFadyen (Brisbane Lions/Wilston Grange)
186cm | 89kg | 18/03/2003
Medium-Tall Forward

Kicked 14 goals in his three games as the leading tall forward in Division 2, with his sheer strength and positioning deep inside attacking 50 granting him most of his goals. McFadyen took full advantage of the much smaller match-ups he faced against NT to boot 8.2 in one of the performances of the carnival, and could well be the next McFadyen for Brisbane fans to keep an eye on after Connor was drafted in 2018. Will be interesting to keep tabs on his growth and whether he hits true key position size, with his set shot routine looking pretty efficient at this stage.

Tasmania:

Samuel Banks (Southern Academy/Clarence)
184cm | 70kg | 2/04/2003
Midfielder/Half-Back

The Alan McLean medallist (Division 2 MVP) has already impressed enough in Tasmanian circles to feature in the state’s Under 18 NAB League side, and showed his class throughout the carnival. Able to play through midfield or more offensively off half-back, Banks has a penetrating kick which he uses to hit targets others wouldn’t dare try to through the corridor. Is also an apt interceptor in the back half, and was terrific in that role against NSW/ACT as he collected 25 disposals, 10 marks, and five rebound 50s.

Baynen Lowe (North-West Academy/Devonport)
176cm | 65kg | 29/07/2003
Midfielder

Another of the raft of diminutive ball-winners, Lowe is a tireless worker who is mostly sighted quickly booting the ball forward from stoppages. The Devonport product wins most of his disposals himself, showing great speed through traffic while also finding his fair share around the ground. Was fantastic for Tasmania alongside Banks as Tasmania’s highest disposal getters.

George McLeod (Southern Academy/North Hobart)
175cm | 61kg | 11/01/2003
Midfielder/Forward

McLeod mixes his time between the midfield and forward half and works hard, pitching in with little bursts of run and important balls into the forward half. Was just behind Banks and Lowe in terms of output but made his own impact across each game, with one of his standout outings coming against NSW/ACT (23 disposals, 11 marks, seven inside 50s, 2.1)

Under 16 National Championships: Division 1 wrap

VIC Metro claimed its first Under-16 National Championships Division 1 title in 10 years, going through the three rounds undefeated as the clear best side. Each other team broke through for a win each in what was an even carnival played in a variety of conditions. We recap how each side fared and shed light on some of the better performers throughout the competition.

South Australia (1-2)

Results:
Rd 1 – South Australia 13.10 (88) def. Western Australia 9.5 (59)
Rd 2 – Vic Metro 5.15 (45) def. South Australia 3.6 (24)
Rd 3 – South Australia 10.3 (63) def. by Vic Country 11.13 (79)

MVP: Jason Thorne (South Adelaide)
Most Goals: Isaiah Dudley (Central District) & Morgan Ferres (Sturt), 5

The defending champions would have come in with high hopes of replicating last year’s run, with that feeling compounded by an impressive 29-point win over Western Australia to open their carnival. One of three members of the 2018 title-winning squad, Isaiah Dudley was the star of that game, picking up 27 disposals and booting four goals, with key forward Morgan Ferres matching the goal feat and skipper Jason Horne a presence through midfield. In similarly wet conditions up in Queensland for Round 2, the Croweaters simply fell short in firepower against eventual champions Vic Metro, going down by 21 points. Matthew Roberts was the star in that game with his 31 disposals, seven inside 50s and one goal, with Thorne putting in a brave captain’s effort despite being in the wars late-on and midfielder Cooper Murley another to impress. The tri-colours would go on to lose again to a Victorian side in Round 3, this time by 16 points in a plucky effort at the Gabba. Thorne rounded out a magnificent championships with 18 disposals, four clearances and two goals, while Harry Tunkin enjoyed some added midfield minutes to match his skipper’s disposal haul to go with eight tackles and four clearances. Lachlan Thomas and Lewis Rayson were others to round out their carnivals on a high note with run and intercepts from defence. One to watch for next year could be Tyson Coe, who ran through the midfield as an under-ager – much like Dudley, Thorne, and Roberts did last year. Overall, it was not quite the championships that the team would have wanted, but they should plenty of promise and will again provide some exciting top-end talent over the next few years.

Vic Country (1-2)

Results:
Rd 1 – Vic Metro 10.7 (67) def. Vic Country 7.7 (49)
Rd 2 – Vic Country 5.12 (42) def. by Western Australia 6.8 (44)
Rd 3 – South Australia 10.3 (63) def. by Vic Country 11.13 (79)

MVP: Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)
Kevin Sheehan Medal: Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)
Most Goals: Judson Clarke (Dandenong Stingrays) & Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels), 3

As we have come to expect, it was a very competitive carnival from the Country side which found itself in winning positions in each of the three games. They fell away in a three-goal loss to their Metro counterparts in Round 1 after leading by no more than two points at each break, with co-captain Campbell Chesser terrific on the outside to compliment the game of inside bull, Ben Hobbs. Judson Clarke also booted three goals in the loss, but it was not enough to see Country over the line. If the final-quarter fade out against Metro hurt, then a two-point loss at the death against WA could have really been a dagger. Despite again leading at the final break and having a wealth of possession in the fourth quarter, a WA goal in the final 30 seconds ensured they snatched the win in muddy conditions at Southport. Co-captain and eventual MVP Joshua Rachele was almost the one to drag his side over the line with his 32 disposals, six marks and 0.3, while Hobbs was just about the muddiest player afield at the final siren after digging in for 29 disposals, 10 tackles and four rebounds. Benjamin Green was another to enjoy the conditions, and Lincoln White very nearly broke the game open with his two third quarter goals. The narrow loss proved not to break the Vics’ spirits though as they bounced back for an impressive 16-point win against SA in Round 3. Rachele again showed his class and provided the highlight of the carnival in his 26-disposal effort, with Hobbs again doing his thing and Tom Brown influential with three goals from half-forward. Charlie Molan, Hugh Hamilton, and Mitchell Moschetti also rounded out strong carnivals, with Country a side that will count itself unlucky not to have come out with greater results. There are a lot of reliable performers in the squad, and they could rise sharply come their Under 18 year given their competitiveness.

Vic Metro (3-0)

Results:
Rd 1 – Vic Metro 10.7 (67) def. Vic Country 7.7 (49)
Rd 2 – Vic Metro 5.15 (45) def. South Australia 3.6 (24)
Rd 3 – Western Australia 8.7 (55) def. by Vic Metro 18.14 (122)

MVP: Tyler Sonsie
Most Goals: Alex Lukic (Oakleigh Chargers), 9 – most overall

The champions and clear-best side over the carnival enjoyed an undefeated campaign, but were made to earn a couple of their wins. Metro’s first Under 16 title win in 10 years started with a three-goal win over Victorian counterparts, Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium. After trailing at each break and by just one point at the last, Metro ran away with four goals to one in the fourth quarter for a strong win. Key forward Alex Lukic positioned well inside 50 to boot his first bag for the carnival (four goals), while skipper Josh Sinn and Braden Andrews proved a match-winners with their position swaps to finish the game, and Tyler Sonsie was another to provide cleanliness through the engine room. The class of Metro was always going to be tested in their next game against SA, especially given the horrendous conditions. Their top-end talent still managed to shine through in the end, enjoying a solid middle period of the game to run out 21-point winners. Lachlan Brooks was best afield with 23 disposals, six clearances and two goals from midfield, crucially combining with Sandringham teammate Blake Howes to boot four of Metro’s five goals. Tyreece Leiu led the disposal count with 24, while Josh Ward‘s clean hands were eye-catching in the wet. The title decider in Round 3 was a tight one up until the final break, with Metro cruising to victory on the back of 12 second-half goals – including seven to nil in the final term. Lukic again kicked a bag with five goals, while Sonsie ripped it up through the midfield and up forward to have 19 disposals, four clearances and 4.3. Youseph Dib again provided a physical presence to have 20 touches, four clearances and a goal, with Zac Taylor electric forward of centre and Josh Goater again popping up with some nice aerial efforts. The talent across the board extends on each line to the likes of Lachlan Rankin, Jake Soligo, Jed Rule, and Jack Rossimel, with the evenness of the team and top-end talent set to rival Metro’s Under 18 squad of 2019 in years to come.

Western Australia (1-2)

Results:
Rd 1 – South Australia 13.10 (88) def. Western Australia 9.5 (59)
Rd 2 – Vic Country 5.12 (42) def. by Western Australia 6.8 (44)
Rd 3 – Western Australia 8.7 (55) def. by Vic Metro 18.14 (122)

MVP: Blake Morris (Subiaco)
Most Goals: Saverio Marafioti (West Perth) & Ethan Regan (East Perth), 3

Results aside, WA was one of the more evenly spread squads over this year’s carnival, with plenty of contributors standing up at different times over the three games. It all seemed to come together in Round 2 as the Black Ducks pulled off a miraculous win over Vic Country with a Luke Polson goal in the dying seconds, getting the better of the Big V by two points on a Southport mud pit. Judd McVee was a standout from midfield, leading the disposal count with 23 to go with seven tackles and a combined seven breaches of each arc, while Mitchell Brown thrived in the conditions for his 17 disposals and six clearances alongside Kade Dittmar (22 touches, nine tackles, and four clearances). Multiple goals from Ethan Regan and Saverio Marafioti boosted their tallies and proved vital in the win, while match-winner Polson had an important 16 disposals and 14 hitouts. Earlier in Round 1, WA had less fruitful outing against SA on home turf in similarly wet conditions, going down by 29 points despite managing their carnival-high total (59). MVP Blake Morris was sensational in that outing with his intercept marking, while Max Chipper was composed on the outside and Zach Fleiner was positive on the rebound. Matthew Johnson and Luke Taylor booted the multiple goals this time out, with Richard Bartlett another effective mover in the forward half. A late-game fade-out put a dampener on what was a really competitive effort against eventual champions, Vic Metro in Round 3 – conceding seven unanswered goals in the final term to go down by 67 points. Earlier, it was again McVee who stood up with his burst from congestion and some busy work going forward, finishing with 16 disposals, seven clearances and two goals. Chipper and Bartlett again impressed to have 23 disposals each, with Jake Littleton and Rhett Bazzo also serviceable. It was a slightly down end to an otherwise solid carnival for WA, and they should again have some eye-catchers capture out attention. One who also warrants a mention is Lochlan Paton, who was sensational through midfield before injuring his hand in Round 2, keep an eye out for his progress.