Tag: kysaiah pickett

2019 AFL Draft Focus – Round 17: Green stars, Rivers comes up clutch as Demons stay alive

THE NUMBER of recruits from the 2019 AFL Draft to run out for their respective teams on the weekend spilled back into double digits, despite a few youngsters being squeezed out of senior selection. There was plenty to take out of Round 16 for the class of 2019, with a bunch of up-and-comers continuing to stamp their mark on the competition. We take a look at how the best handful of them performed.

STAR OF THE ROUND: Tom Green (GWS)
STATS: 30 disposals (22 handballs), 2 marks, 3 tackles, 4 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 6 score involvements, 1 goal assist

It is hard to believe that Green has only managed five AFL outings in his debut season, but he again made the most of some movement among the GWS midfield. Last year’s number 10 pick racked up a game-high 30 disposals, dominating at the coalface with 21 contested possessions and four clearances. His extraction work in-close was on point, and Green looks as comfortable as any first year inside midfielder in recent memory. His 191cm/89kg frame aids that, but the GIANTS Academy graduate proved he is more than just a brute with his game on the weekend.

Noah Anderson (Gold Coast)
20 disposals, 2 marks, 4 tackles, 4 clearances, 7 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 481 metres gained, 2 score involvements

Another high-end draft pick, Anderson continues to thrive despite somewhat of a taper in Gold Coast’s form late in season 2020. Having cut his teeth on the outside, the Oakleigh Chargers product has transitioned well to a more inside-oriented role in the back half of his debut campaign. It is a position where Anderson’s penetrative kick and forward thinking comes to the fore, as he sets his side on the front foot from midfield. Anderson also got his hands on the ball plenty of times once again, just reaching the 20-disposal mark and allowing the SUNS to enter dangerous areas.

Kysaiah Pickett (Melbourne)
15 disposals, 4 marks, 1 tackle, 1 clearance, 1 inside 50, 1 rebound 50, 7 score involvements, 1 goal, 3 behinds

Pickett has been ultra impressive in his maiden senior campaign, and again proved a thorn in the opposition’s side in Round 17. The Demons sought a small forward with their selection of Pickett, but have received much more than tackling pressure and goal nous, as the South Australian also continues to prove his class with ball in hand further afield. He is often as creative and productive forward of centre as any player afield, but his radar was a touch off in front of the big sticks as he managed 1.3. The all-action prospect will undoubtedly put bums on seats in future.

Trent Rivers (Melbourne)
16 disposals (75% efficiency), 2 marks, 3 tackles, 2 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 3 score involvements, 2 goals

The hero of an astonishing Melbourne triumph, Rivers is beginning to flourish in more advanced roles among the Dees’ set-up. A slider in last year’s draft, the West Australian is proving those who overlooked him wrong as one of the more seamless draftees to make the AFL transition. His ability to run, gun, and penetrate from behind the ball is already a known quantity, but add some scoreboard impact and midfield minutes from his latest outing, and you have a player with serious upside. His clutch goal late in the piece sealed Melbourne’s win, keeping its finals hopes alive with one round remaining.

Harry Schoenberg (Adelaide)
21 disposals (76% efficiency), 4 marks, 5 tackles, 3 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 2 score involvements

Adelaide pulled off a third-consecutive win over the weekend, booting Carlton out of finals contention and sending off Bryce Gibbs in style against his old side. The rebuild has proven long and strenuous throughout 2020, but the green shoots are beginning to appear, with the likes of Schoenberg reaping the benefits of added exposure at AFL level. Accustomed to contesting against mature bodies, the South Australian was productive both on the inside and outside of midfield. His clean hands and disposal, combined with solid defensive output at the contest make for a well rounded midfield package, which he again proved to be in his seventh senior game.

Others in action:

Brad Close (Geelong)
Keidean Coleman (Brisbane)
Will Day (Hawthorn)
Michael Frederick (Fremantle)
Mitch Hibberd (Essendon)
Finn Maginness (Hawthorn)
Flynn Perez (North Melbourne)
Caleb Serong (Fremantle)

Featured image: Melbourne’s Trent Rivers celebrates | Michael Klein/News Corp

Draft Central All-Star Team: Woodville-West Torrens Eagles

WOODVILLE-WEST Torrens Eagles are the final team in our All-Star Team of the AFL Draft era. The Eagles have a strong spine and plenty of speedy types as well as those who can hit the scoreboard regularly.

THE TEAM:

Matthew Pavlich, Michael Long, Brian Lake and Scott Camporeale are the headline acts in what is a formidable Eagles side. The side is loaded with tall talent and the height up forward would prove a nightmare for opposition defenders. Several players should consider themselves unlucky to miss out on selection in this strong Woodville-West Torrens lineup.

DEFENCE: 

Three-time Hawthorn premiership player and 2013 Norm Smith Medalist Lake was an obvious inclusion at full-back – a position he excelled in for the Hawks after spending eleven years at the Bulldogs. Lake was named an All-Australian on two occasions and won the best and fairest award in 2007 during his time at Whitten Oval. Nathan Bock was selected as his key position partner in defence, although the former Crow and Sun was also capable in attack. He had a terrific year in 2008, winning All Australian selection at centre-half-back and taking out the Malcolm Blight Medal as Adelaide’s best and fairest.

Fellow tall defender and former Tiger Paul Bulluss also earned a spot, having played 97 AFL games in the yellow and black. Current Crow Brodie Smith provides plenty of line-breaking run and carry from half-back and possesses one of the most lethal kicks in the competition. Former Power defender Matthew Broadbent takes out the other flank position and, like Smith, would provide plenty of rebound from half-back. The lock-down role would be handled by the 176cm Steven Sziller, who played 118 games with St. Kilda and 38 with Richmond. Former Crow, Ken McGregor is a player who can come off the bench and provide height at either end.

MIDFIELD:

The Woodville-West Torrens midfield is dominated by a a nice blend of speed and skill, as well as hardness. In the centre circle is Yorke Peninsula boy, Bernie Vince. Boasting excellent foot skills and an ability to impact the scoreboard, Vince played 129 matches with Adelaide and 100 with the Demons, winning best and fairest awards at both clubs. Vince did some of his best work as a tagger at Melbourne. Carlton champion Camporeale was a star on the wing in the navy blue before switching to cross-town rivals Essendon later in his career but has been ‘pushed’ into the centre given the two wingman in the side. A genuine goal kicker, ‘Campo’ booted 205 majors in 252 games, won a premiership in 1995 and was a best and fairest and All Australian in 2000. Strong-bodied on-baller Shayne Breuer also earned selection in the midfield rotation and will forever be known for kicking Port Adelaide’s first AFL goal, while Luke Dunstan rounds out the midfield rotation off the bench.

Both Essendon star Long and predominantly Melbourne – with a stint at Fitzroy – talent Steven Stretch run off the wings. Long won a Norm Smith Medal in the first of two flags and also made the All-Australian side twice, while Stretch won a best and fairest at the Dees. Coming off the bench, current Roo Jared Polec can fill a role on the wing, with his high metres-gained playing style suiting an outside role. Ruckman Sam Jacobs was a revelation in the tri-colours after being traded by the Blues. He played 184 games with Adelaide, was named in the All Australian squad of 40 on three occasions and is waiting to come off the bench to rotate with Matt Rendell. The Fitzroy ruck earned two All-Australian honours and two best and fairests to grab the starting position. Robert Shirley made a career on tagging for the Crows. A reliable on-baller responsible for shutting down the opposition’s best midfielder, Shirley played 151 AFL games and will rotate through the middle.

FORWARD:

Footballing legend Pavlich is the undisputed go-to man up forward. After being drafted in 1999, ‘Pav’ booted 700 goals in 353 AFL games for Fremantle and earned 126 Brownlow votes. A six-time All-Australian and six-time best and fairest winner, Pavlich was a shining light for the Dockers despite the club struggling for much of his career. High-flying former Crow Brett Burton provides a handy decoy option for Pavlich, but was an excellent key forward in his own right. He kicked 264 goals and took a plethora of spectacular grabs during his 177 games at West Lakes. Kent Kingsley is named at full-forward, having nailed an impressive 239 majors in 125 games, 110 of which came with Geelong.

Jay Schulz was also a regulation selection, having played 194 games and kicked 333 goals. Although the forward-line features four talls, they each possess different skill-sets and complement each other with different playing styles. Providing some much-needed speed at ground level is two-time premiership winning small forward Matthew Stokes. Although Glenn Freeborn played in a variety of positions, he was selected on a half-forward flank, having booted three goals for the triumphant Kangaroos in the 1996 Grand Final. Both McGregor and Rhett Biglands could rotate off the bench here, while Biglands could be the third ruck option for the Eagles as well.

DEPTH:

In terms of players just on the cusp of making selection, Scott McMahon (124 games) has the most games of those missing out, while Cameron Sutcliffe (109) and Paul Stewart (101) also reached the ton but just missed out on making it. In more recent times, Brennan Cox and Jack Lukosius are giving fans plenty to enjoy and no doubt in a few years will force their way into this side. Others who made their debuts this year include Kysaiah Pickett, Josh Morris, Harry Schoenberg and Andrew McPherson, with a number of other talents running around out of the Eagles’ program.

2019 AFL Draft Focus – Round 11: Flanders debuts, Pickett shows his class

THE NUMBER of recruits from the 2019 AFL Draft to run out for their respective teams on the weekend again spilled into double digits, despite a few youngsters being squeezed out of senior selection. There was plenty to take out of Round 11 for the class of 2019, with a bunch of up-and-comers continuing to stamp their mark on the competition, and Sam Flanders making his debut. We take a look at how the best handful of them performed.

STAR OF THE ROUND: Kysaiah Pickett (Melbourne)
STATS: 12 disposals, 8 contested possessions, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 1 clearance, 3 inside 50s, 6 score involvements, 1 goal, 1 goal assist

While his nous around goal has been evident since his first showings at the elite level, Pickett’s ability to act as the key link in Melbourne’s forward transitions came to the fore on Sunday. The diminutive South Australian is as creative as they come, using his speed, agility, vision, and elite disposal all at once to help the Demons remain potent on the attack. He isn’t shy to a high-flying mark, but Pickett’s work at ground level was exceptional in his side’s win over North Melbourne, and really gave the Demons a spark. He brings life to each possession chain he impacts, and should easily maintain his spot if he can consistently produce this kind of output.

Noah Anderson (Gold Coast)
15 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles, 4 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 4 score involvements

With good mate Matt Rowell taking notes on the sidelines, Anderson has quietly gone about perhaps putting together the finest debut season of anyone this year. It has hardly been surprising given he was the number two pick, but Anderson continues to impact games and find plenty of the ball. He gets involved in transition while stationed on the wing, and has also chimed in with some work on the inside. His disposal may be a little rushed and raw at times, but Anderson is capable of gaining good meterage and getting creative in the forward half. He somehow seems to be flying under the radar.

Will Day (Hawthorn)
18 disposals, 89% disposal efficiency, 4 marks, 1 clearance, 2 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s, 3 score involvements

Another youngster who has been a real asset for his side since debuting is Day, who arguably looks as comfortable at the level as anyone in his draft class. He has shown to be reliable on the ball with terrific decision making, efficiency, and penetration by foot, while also doubling his impact with intercept marking in defence. The South Australian is the type of player you trust in possession when breaking forward, or even under pressure on the last line. Developing more of a one-on-one, defensive game will be the next step in his development at half-back.

Trey Ruscoe (Collingwood)
6 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles, 1 inside 50, 3 score involvements, 2 goals

His stats may not again tell the full story, but Ruscoe has hit the ground running upon earning a berth at AFL level. The 192cm utility has found a home up forward, where he pops up in important passages of play. The Magpies may have coasted home in the end, but Ruscoe’s two goals came at crucial junctures in the contest, and helped his side get on top of a plucky Adelaide outfit. Those majors came back-to-back in the third term, and boy did he love his handywork.

Caleb Serong (Fremantle)
20 disposals, 10 contested possessions, 1 mark, 4 tackles, 6 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 2 score involvements, 1 goal assist

Serong looks every bit the 200-game player that Fremantle would have signed up for having taken him with pick eight in last year’s draft. Much like Rowell at the beginning of the season, the Gippsland Power graduate has hardly looked out of place in the cut and thrust of midfield, with his contested game again shining against the Hawks. Not only did Serong extract, but he also continued to provide some real drive going forward for the Dockers, contributing plenty with his 20 disposals. Sharpening up his ball use to hit targets a touch more consistently, especially under pressure, will take him to the next level.

Others in action:

Connor Budarick (Gold Coast)
Brad Close (Geelong)
Sam Flanders (Gold Coast)
Michael Frederick (Fremantle)
Mitch Georgiades (Port Adelaide)
Luke Jackson (Melbourne)
Jack Mahony (North Melbourne)
Fischer McAsey (Adelaide)
Trent Rivers (Melbourne)
Harry Schoenberg (Adelaide)

2019 AFL Draft Focus – Round 8: Serong thrives in the Danger zone

18 RECRUITS from the 2019 AFL National Draft ran out for their respective teams on the weekend, with many of them enjoying their moments in the sun. There was plenty to take out of Round 8 for the class of 2019, as a bunch of talented youngsters retained their spots at the elite level and are continuing to stamp their mark on the competition. We take a look at how the best handful of them performed.

STAR OF THE ROUND: Caleb Serong (Fremantle)
STATS: 22 disposals, 2 marks, 7 tackles, 3 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 337 metres gained, 1 goal

A few weeks back we saw Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield enter training to the backdrop of Kenny Loggins’ 1986 tune, Danger Zone. Clearly unawed, Caleb Serong showed on Monday that he does not care for such pomposity, nor wilt to the challenge of shutting out one of the game’s elites. The heart-and-soul midfielder was superb amid horrendous conditions, tasked with following the 2016 Brownlow Medalist, and keeping him to 18 disposals. While he competed with the Cats champ both physically and in the air, Serong also found 22 touches of his own and thrived on the tough stuff to lay seven tackles. To cap off a breakout display, the Gippsland Power graduate slotted home a pin-point goal on his left side to drag Fremantle past what would have been a record low score. He will undoubtedly be in line for a Rising Star nomination this week, and it is no wonder Dockers fans have quickly warmed to him.

Ned Cahill (Essendon)
7 disposals, 4 contested possessions, 1 mark, 5 score involvements, 1 goal assist, 2 goals

You would have already seen the cliched Cahill comparison after Essendon’s Ned soccered home his first league goal on the weekend, and the youngster’s two second half snags proved vital in the Bombers’ narrow win over Adelaide. The small forward’s stats may not flatter, but the energy he brings to what has previously been a stagnant Essendon lineup is noticeable. Cahill played his role to a tee in his second outing, popping up to hit the scoreboard and looking lively deep inside attacking 50.

Brad Close (Geelong)
14 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 1 inside 50, 6 score involvements, 1 goal assist, 1 goal

The mature-age recruit was another small forward to have posed plenty of threats on the weekend, and joined the first goal club in Geelong’s rain-effected win over Fremantle. Despite the conditions, Close was able to find space inside attacking 50 and got his debut off to the perfect start with a well hit set shot conversion. The Glenelg product was one of the Cats’ most menacing forward options, constantly getting to the drop of the ball and getting involved in his side’s attacking forays. Add four tackles to the mix, and it was a pretty well-rounded maiden outing in the long-sleeved number 45 jumper.

Will Day (Hawthorn)
10 disposals, 4 marks, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 1 score involvement

It was another lacklustre performance from the Hawks overall, but Day continues to show glimpses of his enormous upside nonetheless. Stationed in the defensive half for most of the match, Day seemed to read the play well and chimed in with some important intercept possessions. His marking overhead was sound, and he also provided a safe outlet under pressure on the rebound. While some turnovers (four) crept into his game in the face of the Swans’ ground level pressure, Day has already shown he is a capable user by foot. He seems a safe bet to remain in the Hawthorn lineup as the kids start to get an extended run.

Mitch Georgiades (Port Adelaide)
7 disposals, 7 contested possessions, 100% DE, 3 marks (2 contested), 3 inside 50s, 5 score involvements, 1 goal assist, 1 goal

Back in the side in a big way, Georgiades continues to justify the faith shown in him after Port Adelaide used a first round pick to secure his services. The West Australian only stands at 192cm, but makes up the difference with a terrific vertical leap and pace on the lead. His hands were strong upon presentation on the weekend, clunking two contested marks as he provided a key link into attacking 50 for the Power. While his ability to create and get involved in attacking passages made him a solid part of his side’s structure, Georgiades crucially got on the board himself with a goal in the second term.

Others in action:

Noah Anderson (Gold Coast)
Lachlan Ash (GWS)
Connor Budarick (Gold Coast)
Michael Frederick (Fremantle)
Will Hamill (Adelaide)
Mitch Hibberd (Essendon)
Luke Jackson (Melbourne)
Jack Mahony (North Melbourne)
Fischer McAsey (Adelaide)
Josh Morris (Hawthorn)
Kysaiah Pickett (Melbourne)
Dylan Stephens (Sydney)
Elijah Taylor (Sydney)
Cody Weightman (Western Bulldogs)

2019 AFL Draft Focus – Round 7: Derbies, speckies, and worldie first goals

16 RECRUITS from the 2019 AFL National Draft have already run out for their respective teams on the weekend, with a further two set to take the field tonight. There was plenty to take out of Round 7 for the class of 2019, as a bunch of talented youngsters retained their spots at the elite level and are now stamping their mark on the competition, while others impressed on their debuts. We take a look at how the best handful of them performed.

STAR OF THE ROUND: Noah Anderson (Gold Coast)
STATS: 15 disposals (12 kicks), 5 marks, 3 tackles, 2 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 7 score involvements, 1 goal

It isn’t the first time a 2019 SUNS draftee has taken out back-to-back star of the week nods, and Anderson has somehow flown a little under the radar in his development at AFL level. Last year’s second pick enjoyed arguably his most impactful outing in Gold Coast’s win over Sydney on Saturday, working hard both ways on the outer to win the ball in important areas, and provide a creative outlet going forward. He showed good awareness and work rate to sneak over the back for a goal, and was involved in seven all up, with his kicking game and ability to gain meterage now coming to the fore.

Will Day (Hawthorn)
19 disposals (74% DE), 8 marks, 3 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s, 3 score involvements

Day has slotted seamlessly into the Hawthorn setup, providing a safe outlet in the back half with his sound kicking game and ability to rack up uncontested ball. He may have turned the ball over eight times, but went at a solid rate of efficiency overall among his 19 disposals, and put the ball into important areas. He may have benefitted from a few short lateral and backwards kicks, but Day managed to penetrate both arcs and gained good ground for the Hawks in their loss to Melbourne. The next step will be finding a contested edge and improving his defensive game.

Michael Frederick (Fremantle)
10 disposals (80%DE), 3 marks, 4 inside 50s, 2 score involvements, 1 goal

There is plenty to like about Frederick, who made his AFL debut in a one-sided Western Derby. While the running went well and truly against his side, the South Australian showcased his phenomenal speed and was arguably one of the most dangerous Fremantle forwards throughout the contest. Frederick, aptly nicknamed ‘Rick’, managed to get on the board with his maiden elite level goal and looked to have an impact with each disposal, making for a promising start to his fledgeling career.

Luke Jackson (Melbourne)
14 disposals, 3 marks (2 contested), 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 1 clearance, 3 hitouts, 4 score involvements, 1 goal

Last year’s third pick made his first appearance back in the Melbourne side since his Round 2 debut, and looks to be gaining confidence. Jackson was another to boot his maiden AFL goal, starting as a key forward and rotating through the ruck to give Max Gawn a chop-out. The athletic tall continued to present well and clunked two contested grabs, making for a small glimpse into what he may produce in future. His ability to impact in general play was also evident, and will be a serious asset for Melbourne for years to come.

Cody Weightman (Western Bulldogs)
9 disposals, 3 marks, 1 inside 50, 4 score involvements, 2 goals

Another to join the first goal club was Weightman, with the electric small forward able to flush his first kick at the AFL level straight through the big sticks – from the boundary line, no less. But his first highlight came just moments before the successful conversion, with the Dandenong Stingrays graduate rising to take an eye-catching contested mark over his teammate. The stats may not flatter him, but Weightman was a dangerous figure around the ball and made the most of his touches, adding another goal and certainly catching the attention of those watching with his raw athleticism and skill.

Others in action:

Lachlan Ash (GWS)
Connor Budarick (Gold Coast)
Ryan Byrnes* (St Kilda)
Ned Cahill (Essendon)
Mitchell Hibberd (Essendon)
Jack Mahony (North Melbourne)
Fischer McAsey* (Adelaide)
Josh Morris (Hawthorn)
Kysaiah Pickett (Melbourne)
Caleb Serong (Fremantle)
Dylan Stephens (Sydney)
Elijah Taylor (Sydney)
Chad Warner (Sydney)

* – denotes yet to play.

2019 AFL Draft Focus – Round 5: Pick one down, but draftees fly high

11 RECRUITS from the 2019 AFL National Draft ran out for their respective teams on the weekend, and we take a look at how the best handful of them performed. Top pick Matt Rowell may have been rubbed out early with a dislocated shoulder, but there was plenty to take out of Round 5 for the class of 2019 as plenty of talented youngsters retained their spots at the elite level. For the first time this year, none of the weekend’s debutants came from the most recent draft, but there promises to be plenty to come.

STAR OF THE ROUND: Hayden Young (Fremantle)

STATS: 15 disposals (10 kicks), 6 marks, 2 rebound 50s, 73% disposal efficiency

The stats may not overly flatter him, but Young is building nicely into is AFL career having returned another strong performance in Fremantle’s first win for 2020. Stationed in his usual defensive post, Young delivered 12 of his 15 disposals from the back half and did so with accuracy. His intercept marking ability is also coming to the fore as he gains in confidence, able to read the ball well in flight and have a crack backing into traffic. At four games into his elite level venture, the Dandenong Stingrays graduate is beginning to bring his best traits forward and has cemented his spot in the Dockers’ side.

Noah Anderson (Gold Coast SUNS)

18 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles, 1 clearance, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 2 score involvements

As good mate, Rowell went down, Anderson stepped up to deliver one of his better performances across his first five career games. Continuing in his role on the wing, Anderson got involved in the contest and managed to find the ball in important areas while also fulfilling his defensive duties with 11 pressure acts. The former Oakleigh Charger may have turned the ball over six times amid the heat of the contest, but has impactful touches and has the potential to have a big say once all the factors in his game click.

Lachlan Ash (GWS GIANTS)

15 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles, 1 clearance, 2 inside 50s, 2 score involvements

Ash is another who is beginning to click into gear having been granted ample opportunity upon his AFL berth, and he was among the GIANTS’ top 10 disposal winners in their win against Hawthorn on Sunday. Moving along the line from defence to the wing, Ash was able to penetrate the forward 50 in transition to show a glimpse of his attacking quality, while also providing a safe outlet in the back half. He won half of his possessions in contested situations too, displaying a good appetite for the contest and the rigours of the elite level.

Tom Green (GWS GIANTS)

14 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 2 clearances, 3 score involvements

Right behind Ash in terms of disposals was GIANTS Academy graduate, Green with 14. After a breakout game in Round 4 saw him earn a Rising Star nomination, the big-bodied midfielder continued on his ball winning ways to contribute some solid numbers to GWS’ Sunday salute. The GIANTS’ coaching staff has shown great faith in Green in allowing him to run through midfield, attending centre bounces where he thrives on the contested side of the game. He’s another who looks to be locking down a spot, and is providing ample cover some some absent GWS stars.

Caleb Serong (Fremantle)

10 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 2 clearances, 1 inside 50, 1 rebound 50, 2 score involvements, 1 goal assist

Following the example set by former Vic Country teammate, Young is Serong, who also played his part in Fremantle’s opening win for season 2020. The diminutive Gippsland Power product is another who has been thrust right into the engine room action at times, holding his own against big-bodied opposition and remaining relevant going both ways. He is proving more comfortable with ball in hand as time goes on, and it is positive that he manages to find it in the first place.

Others in action:

Connor Budarick (Gold Coast)
Jack Mahony (North Melbourne)
Sam Philp (Carlton)
Kysaiah Pickett (Melbourne)
Trent Rivers (Melbourne)
Matt Rowell (Gold Coast)

2019 AFL Draft Focus – Round 4: Green shoots appear for GWS gun

13 RECRUITS from the 2019 AFL National Draft ran out for their respective teams on the weekend, and we take a look at how the best handful of them performed. From a Gold Coast trio who continue to flourish, to a number of other high picks who earned their spots, the draft class of 2019 is already showing promising signs for the future. There were a total of four debutants from last year’s cohort in Round 4, with others either holding their spots or returning to the line-up.

STAR OF THE ROUND: Tom Green (GWS GIANTS)

STATS: 18 disposals, 12 contested possessions, 72% disposal efficiency, 2 marks, 7 clearances, 1 inside 50, 2 rebound 50s, 6 score involvements, 1 goal

In a low-disposal game, Green was among the GIANTS’ top five ball winners as they snuck home to a thrilling win over Collingwood on home turf. Thrust straight back into the midfield fold, the GWS Academy graduate looked at home in his second AFL outing, getting stuck straight in with the tough stuff to notch 12 contested possessions and seven clearances. Last year’s number 10 draft pick was also able to boot his first goal at the elite level, and an important one at that given the final score.

Louis Butler (Western Bulldogs)

14 disposals (11 kicks), 2 marks, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 4 score involvements

A Thursday night debut saw Butler collect 14 disposals in his usual defensive role, slotting in well across half-back and generating some decent forward momentum. While he kicked well below his usual rate at 21 per cent efficiency, the Sandringham Dragons product put the ball in dangerous areas, breaching either arc five times and having a hand in four score involvements as the Bulldogs downed Sydney.

Kysaiah Pickett (Melbourne)

10 disposals, 9 contested possessions, 3 tackles, 3 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 4 score involvements

After serving an avoidable suspension, Pickett returned to the Demons’ fold and was one of his side’s more lively forward 50 options. He was often Melbourne’s most dangerous outlet at the fall of the ball, wreaking havoc with his ability to hit the contest at full pace and extract, while also doing all the right things defensively. He may have hit five turnovers and could not quite find the goals, but you knew something was about to happen when Pickett neared the ball, and he brings a different dimension to the Melbourne team.

Matt Rowell (Gold Coast SUNS)

20 disposals, 1 mark, 5 tackles, 7 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 6 score involvements, 2 goals

Rowell may finally have been knocked off his ‘Star of the Round‘ perch, but still put in a performance worthy of the honour in his fourth AFL appearance. The Oakleigh Chargers graduate clicked over the 20 disposal mark once again and added another two goals to his haul, while proving a key cog in the SUNS’ engine room operations. Not many draftees have been able to match the grunt work of Rowell, who continues to put up fantastic tackle and clearance numbers to prove his two-way relevance.

Hayden Young (Fremantle)

15 disposals (12 kicks), 6 marks, 4 tackles, 1 clearance, 2 inside 50s, 7 rebound 50s, 1 goal assist

Having kept his spot in the 0-4 Fremantle side, Young repaid the faith this week with arguably his best performance in three games at the elite level. Stationed in his usual half-back post, the 19-year-old provided a great glimpse of his damaging left-foot kick with a spearing goal assist pass as he cut through the corridor, while also contributing seven rebound 50s. As he adjusts to the pace and pressure of the AFL, Young has been able to better showcase his offensive game and join in the play going both ways.

Others in action:

Lachlan Ash (GWS GIANTS)
Noah Anderson (Gold Coast SUNS)
Connor Budarick (Gold Coast SUNS)
Caleb Serong (Fremantle)
Sam Philp (Carlton)
Fischer McAsey (Adelaide)
Trent Rivers (Melbourne)
Jack Mahony (North Melbourne)

2020 SANFL season preview: Can the Bays go back-to-back?

LAST year saw a drought-breaking year in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) with Glenelg taking home its first League premiership since 1986. The Tigers were able to bounce back from a loss earlier in the finals series to take out Port Adelaide in the grand final last year. The result also meant seven of the eight non-AFL affiliated clubs have won SANFL titles this turn of the century with only South Adelaide (1964) holding a drought longer than a decade from those sides. We take a look at the eight sides in contention for the 2020 SANFL premiership in order of ladder position last year (minus Adelaide and Port Adelaide).

GLENELG

Finished: Premiers
Wins: 13
Draws: 2
Losses: 3
Best & Fairest: Jesse White
Leading Goalkicker: Liam McBean & Luke Reynolds (53)

The reigning premiers return to the competition as deserving favourites in the new year, as the likes of Margarey Medallist Luke Partington and reigning leading goalkickers, Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds back in the yellow and black.

Over the off-season, the Bays have been able to bring in some young talent including former Crow Jackson Edwards who returns to South Australia, ex-Sydney Academy talent Luke Parks, and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels forward, Mitch Martin. Unfortunately young star Kaine Baldwin will miss the season through another anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. However, the Tigers have every reason to be buoyant about the season ahead.

After all, their list of ex-AFL talent is quite impressive, with names such as Cory Gregson and Billy Stretch alongside Luke Edwards. Expect the Tigers to be the team to beat in 2020.

STURT

Finished: 4th
Wins: 11
Draws: 0
Losses: 7
Best & Fairest: Sam Colquhoun
Leading Goalkicker: Josh Hone (35)

The Double Blues will be confident of a rise up the ladder in 2020 with a couple of handy pickups including talented high-flyer Jordan Houlahan who returns from the AFL, as well as another ex-Cat and Crow, Dean Gore.

Tom Lewis will provide some extra youth and inside hardness alongside the likes of outside movers, Josh Shute and Mihail Lochowiak who have been impressive in past years. Sam Colquhoun has been a star of the competition of late, and with last year’s leading goalkicker Josh Hone also coming back for 2020, Sturt will be competitive once again.

They have a lost a fair chunk of talent over the off-season including ex-AFL talent Danyle Pearce who opted to retire alongside four others including Jack Stephens and Fraser Evans. The Double Blues will likely need to time to adjust in the season.

NORWOOD

Finished: 5th
Wins: 11
Draws: 7
Losses: 0
Best & Fairest: Brad McKenzie
Leading Goalkicker: Peter Bampton (31)

The experience of the Redlegs after a grand final appearance the year before did not end up helping them get past the first week of finals in 2019. They have some serious big names on their list from best and fairest winner Brad McKenzie, to the likes of form AFL-listed talents Dom Barry, Lewis Johnston and Mitch Grigg.

A 2020 recruit in Daniel Johnston will help add some extra height to the side, and provide some firepower alongside the likes of Matthew Panos and Peter Bampton up forward. The biggest inclusion is former Crow, Richard Douglas, who should immediately be in the top five players across the league, whilst another ex-AFL talent in Ryan Bastinac announced yesterday that he would be joining the Redlegs after initially pulling out of the league due to commitments.

If the inclusions are anything to go by, Norwood will be the biggest threat to Glenelg’s crown and could well go all the way if their players remain fit throughout the season.

SOUTH ADELAIDE

Finished: 6th
Wins: 9
Draws: 2
Losses: 7
Best & Fairest: Joel Cross
Leading Goalkicker: Joel Cross (26)

All eyes will be on the Panthers in season 2020 as they try and crack into the top four on the back of some savvy recruiting. Former AFL talent, Matthew Broadbent will help South Adelaide to try and mount a case to rise up the ladder.

Along with the experienced duo, Canberra’s Tom Highmore and Sydney Swans Academy’s Ky McGrath were both vying for draft selection last year, and will be among those looking to take over from a number of Double Blues stars who have left the club. With Brad Crabb and Nick Liddle both exiting, Mark Noble joining his brother in Victoria and Emmanuel Ira also on the out, the main role of the recruits will be to support Joel Cross with some extra depth through the team.

Cross won both the leading goalkicker and best and fairest award last season, and with a young side that has a number of South Australians coming through the state team, the Panthers would be keen to bring through their next crop of players.

WWT EAGLES

Finished: 7th
Wins: 8
Draws: 0
Losses: 10
Best & Fairest: Jordan Foote
Leading Goalkicker: James Rowe (35)

The Under 18s premiers have now lost their array of young talent to the AFL, with the likes of Kysaiah Pickett, Jackson Mead and Harry Schoenberg among those who landed on AFL lists last year. They have brought in Kai Pudney and Mitch Mead from Port Adelaide’s SANFL side, whilst the big recruit might be Liam Buxton from Casey Demons.

It will be an interesting season for the Eagles who have some genuine elite talents through the side, including best and fairest winner Jordan Foote – an ex-AFL talent himself – and small forward James Rowe who made the transition to senior footy seamlessly.

They should be among the mid-table log-jam of teams to battle for a top four place, and with the senior experience still on the list after a seventh placed finish last year, they could well get it done whilst other teams are still trying to gel.

CENTRAL DISTRICT

Finished: 8th
Wins: 5
Draws: 0
Losses: 13
Best & Fairest: Jarrod Schiller
Leading Goalkicker: Troy Menzel (33)

One of the potential bigger improvers in season 2020, Central District has acquired the services of a second Menzel brother with Dan joining Troy at the Bulldogs. Troy was huge last season winning the leading goalkicker award and now the double trouble of the goalsneaks will make life difficult for the opposition. The big question mark will be losing the Neagle trio in Jydon, Jaxon and Matthew back to Wodonga.

Through the midfield, the other brother combination in Jarrod and Travis Schiller will be tough to combat again, whilst former Tiger, Ben Nason has crossed from Woodville-West Torrens. The Bulldogs have also brought in some big ball winners from Victoria, with Murray Bushrangers’ Cam Wild and Dandenong Stingrays’ Jack Toner joining the club along with former Stingrays’ goalsneak Jai Nanscawen for the 2020 season.

Given the talent on the list and two less sides, it would be a near-certainty that the Bulldogs reach the finals.

NORTH ADELAIDE

Finished: 9th
Wins: 4
Draws: 1
Losses: 13
Best & Fairest: Aidan Tropiano
Leading Goalkicker: Lewis Hinder (28)

The ninth placed Roosters have added some extra firepower in 2020 with the recruitment of former Adelaide and Gold Coast ball-winner Harrison Wigg and ex-Hawk and Roo, Billy Hartung. Along with another ex-AFL player in Andrew Moore, and hopefully a full season out of former Port Adelaide goalsneak Jake Neade, and the Roosters will look to rise up the ladder again.

Last year’s reigning premiers were always going to have a tough season after starting on negative points due to the 19th man saga, and losing a number of players to AFL level. They have gained one back in Robbie Young returning to the club. Unlucky overagers not to be drafted last year, Karl Finlay and Dyson Hilder are back again and provide some height in the defensive end.

The recruits will need to take over from Aidan Tropiano who has headed west this season. The Roosters will rise up and expect them to contend for finals again.

WEST ADELAIDE

Finished: 10th
Wins: 2
Draws: 0
Losses: 16
Best & Fairest: Logan Hill
Leading Goalkicker: Jono Beech (21)

The only way is up for the Bloods and with a number of solid recruits alongside the potential number one AFL Draft pick, West Adelaide has what it takes to get off the bottom of the ladder. Riley Thilthorpe will be a much talked about name this year and the talented tall will get plenty of time in the League side in 2020.

The Bloods have also recruited a couple of over-agers and former Sydney Swans Academy members Hamish Ellem and Kyle Martin to provide some strength in attack. With Bailey Chamberlain another talented top-age teenager in the line-up, it will take some of the pressure off the likes of 2019 best and fairest winner, Logan Hill, as well as ex-Hawk Dallas Willsmore.

No doubt it will still be a tough year for the senior side with so many huge recruits to a number of other sides, but the youth in the team will give the Bloods great depth and help out across the board. They will need to overcome the losses of Jono Beech and Chris Schmidt this season who were both huge contributors to the team.

Draft Central predictions:

Premiers: Norwood
Runners-Up: Glenelg
Big Improver: North Adelaide

AFL Round 1 rewind: The dozen debutants

THE AFL is a week away from kicking off against after a long couple of months. For a dozen players who made their unusual, but highly memorable debuts in Round 1 of the AFL Premiership season, we look back at how each of them performed in their respectively games with some impressive efforts.

Note: One asterisk indicates a second-year AFL player, two asterisks indicates third-year AFL player

TOP PICK: Sam Sturt (Fremantle)*

Stats: 10 disposals, 3 marks, 3 goals, 2 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 100 SuperCoach

The Round 1 Rising Star was sensational in Fremantle narrow six-point loss against Essendon. The Dockers were unlucky not to get the win as they booted four goals to one in the final term only to fall short on the road against the unpredictable Bombers. With plenty of fresh faces, Sturt was the surprise packet with the 2018 National Draft bolter booting three goals from 10 disposals and notching up a SuperCoach century on debut. He ran at 90 per cent efficiency and had seven score involvements, so was just as capable of sharing it around as others.

RUNNER-UP: Mitch Georgiades (Port Adelaide)

Stats: 11 disposals, 3 marks, 2 goals, 2 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 clangers, 78 SuperCoach

There must be something about raw but talented forwards, because Mitch Georgiades’ performance on debut was sublime for the high-flying forward. He missed the entire 2019 season with a quad injury and was a bolter in the 2019 AFL National Draft, but very few would have predicted a Round 1 debut. But that is exactly what happened and he showed he was far from making up the numbers with the West Australian booting two goals from 11 disposals, three marks and three inside 50s, and running at an efficiency of 73 per cent.

Podium: Matt Rowell (Gold Coast)

Stats: 19 disposals, 1 mark, 4 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 4 clearances, 3 clangers, 2 rebounds, 80 SuperCoach

From a couple of surprise packets to a player no one would be remotely surprised with the numbers he picked up, as the number one pick seamlessly slotted into the AFL’s bottom side. He racked up 19 disposals – the most of any debutant in Round 1 – and had the equal third most of any Suns player. Despite running at a tough 57.9 per cent contested rate, Rowell still finished with 74 per cent disposal efficiency, and had four clearances and three intercept possessions.

Others:

Fischer McAsey (Adelaide)
Stats: 5 disposals, 1 mark, 1 inside 50, 1 clearance, 16 SuperCoach

The Adelaide key position player was able to slot into the team in Round 1 as the Crows had to restructure their key talls in the absence of Alex Keath. He showed some promising signs, and while still made the odd mistake, was able to play a difficult role in a tight game.

Deven Robertson (Brisbane)
Stats: 7 disposals, 3 tackles, 1 clanger, 47 SuperCoach

Unlike the other players on this list, Robertson was a late call-up to make his debut, coming in for Grant Birchall. He still played 72 minutes and showed the fierce intent he did at Under 18s level to lay three tackles and win seven disposals.

Tyler Brown (Collingwood)**
Stats: 15 disposals, 3 tackles, 1 goal assist, 1 clearance, 1 inside 50, 2 clanger, 64 SuperCoach

A starring role early for the Magpies that even saw the debutant hand off a goal to his brother Callum in Collingwood’s first half onslaught against the Western Bulldogs. While he slowed in the second half, he still had the 15 disposals and 64 SuperCoach points and showed the silky smooth moves that he did at Under 18s level, three years into his AFL career.

Noah Anderson (Gold Coast)
Stats: 12 disposals, 2 marks, 1 inside 50, 2 clangers, 2 rebounds, 42 SuperCoach

The second pick in the 2019 National Draft held his own in a disappointing loss to Port Adelaide. He predominantly played off half-back and roamed up the ground on occasions, winning some touches on the wing. He finished with a debutant-high 246 metres gained in Round 1 which was the most impressive aspect of his debut.

Connor Budarick (Gold Coast)
Stats: 8 disposals, 3 tackles, 1 inside 50, 3 rebounds, 44 SuperCoach

The slick ball user ran at 75 per cent efficiency, and while it was always going to be interesting to see where Stuart Dew utilised him, Budarick played 100 per cent of his footy in the defensive half. He was able to finish with four intercept possessions and three rebounds on debut, an impressive performance from the utility.

Tom Green (GWS)
Stats: 6 disposals, 1 mark, 2 tackles, 1 goal assist, 2 clearances, 1 clanger, 41 SuperCoach

Tasting victory on debut against the Cats, Green was not afraid to force his way in and win the contested ball. He only had the six tackles, but the bulk of his time on-field was in the centre, and he had 83 per cent disposal efficiency, as well as a couple of clearances against an experienced midfield.

Toby Bedford (Melbourne)*
Stats: 8 disposals, 1 mark, 2 tackles, 1 goal assist, 2 inside 50s, 2 clangers, 39 SuperCoach

The former Dandenong Stingrays player earned a spot in the team after a year in the VFL, and he finished with 75 per cent efficiency off eight touches. He also laid two tackles, two inside 50s and set up a goal to end the match with a solid debut effort despite Melbourne’s loss to the Eagles.

Kysaiah Pickett (Melbourne)
Stats: 11 disposals, 1 mark, 2 goals, 2 behinds, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s, 1 clearance, 4 clangers, 57 SuperCoach

He always had the X-factor and talent down pat, and he showed some exciting glimpses on the big stage in the west against the 2018 premiers. He had 11 disposals and a debutant second-high 228 metres gained, showing he was not afraid to take the game on. He made a few mistakes with four clangers, but considering what he offered and the benefits he brought, it is better to see him taking those risks.

Ben Cavarra (Western Bulldogs)*
Stats: 3 disposals, 1 mark, 1 goal, 1 behind, 1 tackle, 1 inside 50, 1 clearance, 1 rebound, 32 SuperCoach

When it came to feel-good stories, very few could top Ben Cavarra who joined the first-kick, first-goal club when he was awarded a free kick inside 50, and kicked truly at the 20-minute mark of the second term to give the Dogs back-to-back goals for the first time. He might not have won much of it, but with one of the lowest inside 50 counts of all-time, even All-Australian forwards would have struggled inside 50 on that night.

Get to know: SANFL U18s – Central District

CENTRAL District’s elite fleet of smalls among its Under 18 ranks was all set to be unleashed on the big stage in 2020, with all three State Hub members – Isaiah Dudley, Corey Durdin, and Lachlan Grubb – making great inroads over the past two seasons. But given the trio and the rest of their Bulldogs teammates will have to wait to get back on the park, we trace back to the South Australian preseason testing day hosted by Rookie Me to get to know them, where Draft Central had a chat to the promising youngsters.

Cousin of recent Melbourne draftee Kysaiah Pickett, Dudley is cut from the same cloth on-field too. An aggressive and clever small forward who can also push hard up the field, the bottom-ager has a great eye for goal and knack of finding the ball. With back-to-back State Under 16 campaigns under his belt, the 165cm prospect is working on his running and looks likely to be considered strongly for a berth in South Australia’s Under 18 squad this year – all things considered.

His partner-in-crime in the State 18s forwardline may well be Durdin, a standout at each level of his junior development having picked up the Kevin Sheehan Medal in 2018 as the Under 16 Division 1 MVP. Durdin also made his League debut for Centrals last year as a bottom-ager, and looks primed to hone a small forward role having already proved himself as a worthy ball winner. With a year of State Under 18s already under his belt, the 172cm gun looks forward to being more of a leader this time around at the national carnival.

The third of the trio is Grubb, who was knocked back from the State Under 16 squad in 2018 but has kept at it to become a member of this year’s hub. Another small type at 175cm, Grubb comes from a great football and athletics pedigree and has already matched his father’s feat of playing at SANFL Reserves level. With that senior experience already made, the speedster also hopes to make moves further afield with a sharpened defensive game as he continues to develop.

Without further ado, find out everything you need to know, to get to know these three exciting youngsters, in their own words on a range of topics relating to the currently postponed season and beyond.


COREY DURDIN ON…

TESTING DAY:

“It hasn’t been too bad. Just getting through and doing my best, that’s all… I’ve done it a few times now and I think the main focus for me is just trying my best and that’s all I can do really.”

THE SA STATE ACADEMY HUB:

“It’s been good. I think last year as a bottom-ager I found myself a lot like a learner, compared to this year I’m a lot more of a teacher and a leader there. That’s probably been the main difference.”

GOALS:

“One of my goals this year is trying to get that vice-captaincy or captaincy in the State (Under) 18s this year… I’m looking to play 12-plus league games and also make the All Australian team.”

SANFL LEAGUE EXPERIENCE:

“It was a great experience, being able to have the opportunity to be coached under Roy Laird. I think the biggest thing I felt was I had to adapt to the bigger bodies – for an example, I couldn’t really wrestle them and out-strength them so I had to use my pace.”

POSITION:

“This year I’m really looking directly on my small forward craft, just my pressure role there with some time in the midfield as well.”

LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING ALONGSIDE…

Durdin – “It’s always been great playing with (Isaiah Dudley) in the 16s and the 18s so yeah, just really keen for this year… Riley Thilthorpe, I think he’s going to be great for us and also Kaine Baldwin coming back from an ACL injury. I think he’s going to be really dominant for us.”

ISAIAH DUDLEY ON…

TESTING DAY:

“It’s been pretty good so far, I’m going all good… (I went well) in the agility, and the 20m sprint, went alright in that too. It’s really to my game because I can zip-zap out of the (contest) and I can use my pace as well.”

GOALS:

“Well, hopefully I can make the Under 18s State squad as an under-ager and play nationals.”

POSITION:

“I’ll play a bit of everywhere and then hopefully improve a bit on my running and find my spot in the midfield.”

SA STATE ACADEMY HUB:

“It’s helped me develop very well, it’s helped me with my running a bit more – I get to push up the ground and push back. It’s been good.”

KYSAIAH PICKETT:

“He’s a good mentor, he’s my cousin. It was good (playing school football with Pickett), I got a lot of feedback from him and he’s a pretty good bloke.”

LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING ALONGSIDE…

“This year hopefully I play with Luke Edwards and Corey Durdin… played a fair bit (with them already).”

LACHLAN GRUBB ON…

TESTING DAY:

“Testing’s been good, obviously we were here at 1:00 and did all the education sessions which were really helpful – about drugs and alcohol, betting, gambling and all that. Now we’ve come into the testing and it’s been a really good day so far.”

STRENGTHS:

“As a small forward, I’m a sprinter as well so definitely the 20m (sprint) and agility really highlight my game. I did well on the agility, did a 7.94 which is my PB (personal best) so I was pretty happy with that.”

IMPROVEMENTS:

“Definitely just more defensive work at the moment, just trying to get my game a bit more defensive because I’m more attacking at the moment. And then just looking to get better in my endurance which the yo-yo test will be a good test for.”

SPRINTING, FAMILY, AND FOOTY:

“I grew up playing at Tea Tree Gully Football Club from about Under 6s so footy’s always been in the blood and around the family – Dad played footy at Norwood up until Ressies. But I’ve been sprinting since I was about 13, my Dad’s uncle David Grubb won the Bay Sheffield back in 1970 so sprinting runs through the family as well.”

SANFL RESERVES EXPERIENCE:

“That was awesome obviously to see Dad do it and then me follow in his footsteps is pretty good. I debuted when I was 16 in the twos and ended up playing six games I think. It was a really good experience because we ended up making finals as well, but got knocked out in the semis.”

SA STATE ACADEMY HUB:

“It’s helped my development massively. Obviously I haven’t always been in the state stuff like all the other boys have, I got knocked back from the 16s. But just used that as motivation to get where I am today, obviously being in the AFL Hub now is just massive for my improvement and I’ve just learned so much so it’s been awesome.”

GOALS:

“Obviously the main one is to get drafted, that’s everyone’s goal. And just to play consistent footy, keep the body healthy, just getting everything right so I can maximise my performance at the highest level.”

LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING ALONGSIDE…

“Boys like Riley Thilthorpe and Kaine Baldwin. They’re pretty impressive, pretty elite with the way they go about their footy. Just being exposed to everyone playing at that level is awesome so I’m just keen to get around all the boys and have a really great year.”

POSITION CHANGES:

“Maybe pushing up on a wing, using my speed to go on the outside and I’m working on my contested game as well, just getting cleaner to maybe push up into the midfield as well.”