Tag: Lachlan Murphy

Keeping Tabs – Season Review: Part 1

TO finish off what has been a huge year for first-year players, we take a look at some of the top performers from each AFL club now the season is done and dusted. In today’s piece we look at the first nine clubs, from Adelaide through to GWS GIANTS, with the remaining nine clubs to come next week.


Darcy Fogarty

The Crows were thrilled, perhaps even surprised, when their boy from south-east SA was still available to the Crows at pick 12 of the 2017 National Draft. Debuting in round one, Fogarty’s first kick was a beautiful set-shot goal – a theme Crows fans would soon become accustom to. He averaged 8.4 disposals (5.7 kicks and 2.7 handballs at 68 per cent disposal efficiency), 3.2 marks and two tackles for the year, also managing nine goals (just three behinds) in his ten matches. Fogarty played predominately as the third Adelaide tall forward, alongside the well-established Josh Jenkins and Taylor Walker, laying out plenty of fierce bumps – not a common thing for a draftee. No doubt “Fog” will have learnt plenty in his first season at AFL level. His main focus for the pre-season will be to again improve his tank, allowing him to spend more time on ground. However his ferocious attack on the football, beautiful foot skills and brute strength should see Darcy become a focal point of the Crows forward line for the next 10 years.

Lachlan Murphy

One of the success stories in a lean year for the Crows was the birth of Lachie Murphy. Fans of the TAC Cup may remember him fronting up for the Northern Knights back in 2016. Not being picked up in the draft, Murphy moved to Adelaide to play with the clubs SANFL side and was rewarded for his strong form with a rookie selection. The energetic small forward brought with him manic pressure, speed and an eye for the goals in his 11 games, in which he managed 12 goals and an average of 3.7 tackles and 8.7 disposals. “Murph” will look to maintain his place in the competitive Adelaide side as they aim to bounce back in 2019.



Cameron Rayner

The number one draft pick always has a certain level of expectation associated with them, however being up at Brisbane, away from the media bubble of Melbourne, would have no-doubt helped Cam Rayner settle into life in the AFL. Utilised as a medium forward with stints in the middle, he played all 22 games for the club, averaging 13.5 disposals (73 per cent disposal efficiency), 3.5 marks, 20 goals (14 behinds), 1.7 clearances, 2.4 tackles and 2.5 inside-50s. His ability to launch for pack grabs was exciting for Lions fans. Like many draftees, he will look to build up endurance in his second pre-season.

Zac Bailey

The skilful small forward/balanced midfielder fronted up for 12 senior games games, averaging 13.5 disposals (74 per cent disposal efficiency), three marks, 2.3 tackles. Next season, competition for selection will be as tough as it has been in a long time at the Gabba, particularly given the likely inclusions of Lachie Neale and Lincoln McCarthy. However rest assured Zac Bailey remains well within the clubs plans for the future as the look to return to the glistening heights of the early 2000s.



Paddy Dow

It was a tough year for the Blues, however the encouraging performances of prized draft pick Paddy Dow gave fans a glimpse into the future. Playing a solid amount of midfield minutes in his 20 games, Dow averaged 14.2 disposals (67 per cent efficiency), two marks, seven goals, 2.6 clearances, 3.2 tackles and 2.6 inside 50s. Perhaps most impressive was his smarts around the stoppages for such a young player. There’s no-doubt Carlton will look to form their midfield core around Dow, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Patrick Cripps and potentially number one pick Sam Walsh as the continue to rebuild.

Lochie O’Brien

The top 10 draft selection spent the year playing across half-back where he was able to show off his classy foot skills and speed. O’Brien was given plenty of opportunity, playing 18 matches, where he averaged 14 disposals (at 71 per cent efficiency), 222 metres gained, 4.4 marks and 2.1 rebounds. His best game came in the final round in what proved to be a hefty loss to Adelaide. Here, O’Brien accumulated 22 disposals, sent the ball inside-50 on six occasions and took four marks.



Jaidyn Stephenson

The deserved Rising Star winner, Jaidyn Stephenson played a full-forward-type role for the Grand Finalists, which often allowed him to get out the back, beat his opponent one-on-one and speed away using his rapid pace to advantage. “Stevo” kicked a super impressive 38 goals in his 26 games, including two in the first quarter of the Grand Final, to go with an average of 12.3 disposals, 3.9 marks and 5.2 score involvements in what was a remarkable season. May spend more time on the wing next season where his blistering speed and athleticism will once again be expected to excite ‘Pies fans.

Brody Mihocek

Mihocek’s story is one of the best of the year. Rookie drafted as a mature aged recruit from Port Melbourne in the VFL, Mihocek came in as one of the best tall defenders in the state leagues, but was moved forward to fill a need for the Magpies. He crucially provided a decoy for tall teammate Mason Cox, with his ability to get off the chain and take a stack of marks important. Averaged nearly 2 goals per game, 11.6 disposals (73 per cent efficiency), 4.9 marks (1.4 contested) and 5.6 score involvements. With the Pies in pursuit of some tall timber, it remains to be seen where Mihocek will be played in coming seasons.



Matt Guelfi

Essendon’s mature-aged recruit from WAFL side Claremont, Matt Guelfi came into the Bombers lineup and filled a variety of roles, showing off his strong versatility in his 15 senior games. He held his own at the highest level of football, averaging 15.1 disposals, 3.3 marks, one clearance, 3.1 tackles and also kicking five goals. In the WAFL his stoppage nous and contested ball winning were strengths, so it will be interesting to see whether he is able to push for more midfield minutes in 2019.



Andrew Brayshaw

The high draft pick managed to play 17 games in his debut season in the west. He spent a large chunk of time in the midfield alongside stars Lachie Neale and Nat Fyfe, from whom he will have learnt plenty. Averaged an impressive 15.9 disposals (69 per cent efficiency), 2.9 marks, 1.5 clearances and 4.4 tackles with his ready-made frame and willing attitude ensuring a strong start to life at the highest level for the brother of Angus and Hamish. However his season came to an early end when he was unfortunately on the receiving end of the now infamous Andrew Gaff uppercut, perhaps stealing the limelight from what was a sturdy start to his career.

Adam Cerra

Adam Cerra, the second of Fremantle’s 2017 first round picks, showed moments of absolute class off half-back. After debuting in round two, Cerra went on to play all remaining games for an average of 13.7 disposals (71 per cent efficiency), 3.3 marks and 3.4 tackles. Despite his precise foot skills and polish, Cerra showed he was not afraid of cracking in hard. Could potentially spend more time in the middle given the impending departure of Lachie Neale. The former Eastern Ranges midfielder looks destined to become one of the leagues most damaging onballers.



Tim Kelly

Tim Kelly produced one of the greatest debut seasons ever seen at AFL level. He slotted into the star-studded Geelong midfield with ease, complimenting the likes of Dangerfield and Ablett. A key aspect of his game was the ability to push forward and hit the scoreboard, allowing the coaching staff to play one of their star on-ballers up forward for stints. His work at the coal face was super impressive, extracting the ball and evading would-be tacklers with class. Playing ever game for his side, Kelly averaged 22.9 disposals, 368 metres gained, 3.3 marks, 4.2 clearances, 3.5 tackles and kicked 24 goals. Additionally, the former WAFL star sent the ball inside 50 on an average of four times per game. Could not as for much more.

Lachlan Fogarty

Lachie Fogarty, Geelong’s first selection in the 2017 National Draft, came over the Cats from the Western Jets regarded as one of the better midfielders in the draft. Yet due to the Cats strong onball brigade, he was limited to a forward line role where Fogarty’s renowned tackling created plenty of forward pressure. Averaged 13.3 disposals and 3.5 tackles, but will aim to sharpen up his kicking in-front of and around goals, with a scoring accuracy of just 24 per cent. However he will have been pleased to have played 15 games for the finalists.


Gold Coast

Charlie Ballard

The athletic South Australian utility came from the clouds to be drafted in the third round of last years National Draft. Given his light-frame, the former Sacred Heart College student will be rapt to have broken through for 11 games, debuting against the Bulldogs in Bendigo. He was never going to set the world on fire with his statistics, but showed plenty of promise, particularly in the air, taking 39 grabs for the season (average of 3.5 per game). Was utilised down back and up forward, although those who have seen him play at school and club level with Sturt know of the X-factor he provides on the wing. Gold Coast will be patient.

Brayden Crossley

The big ruckman certainly has some spunk about him with his slick hair and mustache. A member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy, Crossley played 10 senior games for the battling club, averaging six hit-outs and 9.4 disposals (at 69 per cent disposal efficiency). Isn’t one to shy away from the hard stuff, averaging more contested than uncontested possessions and laying 22 tackles on the whole. Will need time to learn but is developing nicely and already has a strong frame.


Greater Western Sydney

Aiden Bonar

Having played just the four games for the Dandenong Stingrays in 2017, due to an ACL injury, Bonar managed a further four games this season, albeit at senior level in a strong GWS side. His supreme athleticism, explosiveness and acceleration were evident, as was his tackling intensity. The tall midfielder/third tall forward averaged 10.5 touches at a neat 71 per cent efficiency, to go with three marks, 4.5 tackles and a total of five goals. He shapes as being a star of the game, with his size and strength making him hard to contain at the stoppages. Will only improve as he increases his endurance.

Sam Taylor

Taylor, a key component to the Western Australian under-18 Championships side last year, played eight games for Greater Western Sydney in what was yet another injury-riddled season. He averaged just the 8.9 disposals per game, however it was his clean ball use out of the defensive-50 which really caught the eye. Given his foot skills were regarded by some as an area in need of improvement, he and the Giants will be pleased with a disposal efficiency of 80 per cent. Looks set to be a key defensive prospect the club can rely upon.

Keeping Tabs: Standout players from Round 17

IT IS not often that we have such a large list of defensive performers in the list, but after this round, we could be looking at the future All-Australian backline. It seems the debutants have embraced extra responsibilities with teams experimenting with positions. The bar has been raised, but the players just keep on coming. The race to the Rising Star award is close and will be hard to call at the end of the season.

Cam Rayner

The wait is finally over – this is Cam Rayner. The last three rounds, with a confident Lions, has redefined our expectations of the number one pick as he lifts to a new level with each round. Blessed with a stronger team than what we saw at the beginning of the season, Rayner is getting his chance to run free. His 19 possessions at a 74 per cent disposal efficiency alone could have been enough to earn him a spot here, but Rayner decided he’d top his game off with three goals and 11 score involvements as well. Rayner played a huge impact, finishing with two rebound 50s, two inside 50s, two clearances, two tackles and two one percenters. He gained 462 metres for the game, and only fell short by two points to Eric Hipwood on the goal front. Anywhere and everywhere, this kid dominates and could be aiming for his Rising Star award as we close out the season.

Sam Taylor

Earning a Rising Star nomination for his performance out the backline, Taylor showed off a football sense well beyond his years. With quite possibly the defensive equivalent of a bag of goals, Taylor finished the match with eight intercept possessions, five tackles, eight one percenters, all while minimising his turnovers. Despite only 13 touches, Taylor managed to take seven in a contest with each having a considerable impact. He also had three rebound 50’s, three score involvements and one clearance. While a lot of debutantes had stellar defensive performances this weekend, Taylor’s stood out due to his mistake minimisation, percentage of important possessions and work off the ball. Quite often the success of players is measured through a player’s offensive presence. People love goals, but when a player steps up and bares a responsibly Taylor had against the Tigers, it needs to be recognised and rewarded. We could be seeing a future All-Australian backman in the making.

Matt Guelfi

The hungry, high-pressure player frightened across the ground, making his opponents earn every inch of the football.  With 17 disposals, eight contested with an 82 per cent disposal efficiency, Guelfi may have been unlucky not to earn a Rising Star nomination. Though his performance didn’t end there, collecting six interceptions, seven score involvements, two clearances, six one percenters and two goals. His efforts were especially useful down back. He snagged five tackles, 16 pressure acts, two rebound 50’s and five marks. Guelfi is steadily developing into a talented, pressure midfielder and could receive a nomination soon if he continues to star like this. Pretty good for pick 76.

Charlie Spargo

Melbourne returned to their goal-front domination this round with Spargo sharing in the fun. Kicking two goals, with eight score involvements and one goal assist, the young Dee was immense in their victory of the Dogs. A careful read on the high ball and an uncanny crumbing ability, turned his opponents inside out as he kicked and affected goals. Melbourne have recruited two amazing forward players in Spargo and Fritsch, and while different footballers in front of goal, complement each other all the same. Spargo also laid an impressive seven tackles for the day with 21 pressure acts. A glimpse at the next best small forward in the competition it might seem.

Bailey Banfield

Like Taylor, Banfield was a pivotal defensive presence for the Dockers, yet to be recognised. Though low on the goal front despite playing up forward, Banfield’s pressure has been nothing short of astonishing. For the game, he recorded 41 pressure acts – the highest across the round, and laid nine tackles. He recorded 12 contested possessions with his 18 touches, six clearances, two inside 50s, two rebound 50s, five score involvements and three intercept possessions. Though messy with the ball at times (56 per cent disposal efficiency), Banfield played a unique role for his side with a commanding presence around the ball. With some tidier skill work, Banfield should easily earn himself a Rising Star nomination.

Lachlan Murphy

Despite his low disposal efficiency of 55 per cent, Murphy put on a stellar performance for his side. Noting his 23 pressure acts and clear presence up forward, it is no surprise Murphy kicked three goals for the game. He laid three tackles (two inside 50) and had a hand in five of Adelaide’s scores. A solid contender with seven contested possessions, a contested mark and three tackles. Murphy is eager to leave his mark on the game and has done just that in Round 17.

Tim Kelly

Though unable to win the Rising Star award due to his age, talks have begun as to whether Kelly will make All-Australian selection. The Western Australian sensation loves to decorate his stat sheet and his performance against the Crows was no different. With 29 disposals and 15 contested possessions, Kelly dominated around the bounce having seven clearances. He kicked his fourteenth goal for the season, had five score involvements with one goal assist and three inside 50s. I think All-Australian talks are completely justified at this point in the season. Kelly not only dominates the game, but does it on a team with Patrick Dangerfield, Gary Ablett and Joel Selwood, blending in with the future hall of famers like he is one.

Aaron Naughton

If we are acknowledging standout defensive performances, I would be amiss if I glossed over Naughton’s performance against the Dees. With 94 per cent disposal efficiency off his game spent cleaning up messes in the backline, Naughton brought clean hands and careful positioning to the ball, collecting nine intercept possessions and ten one percenters. His game finished with 18 possessions with six contested, four marks and four rebounds. When you’re up against the best attacking side in the competition, it is no easy task defending, especially in your first year, but Naughton had a fair crack. If it wasn’t for five turnovers, lower efficiency, and less spread across his stats, Naughton could have taken home a nomination.

Colin O’Riordan

Despite North’s heavy hitters in Majak Daw, Ben Brown and Jack Ziebell, O’Riordan’s 10 intercept possessions, eight marks and 17 pressure acts kept Sydney’s walls from crashing down. He had plenty of defensive efforts with five tackles and five rebounds. His disposal efficiency rested at 79 per cent,  with 19 disposals staying clean and composed despite an aggressive offensive. All his time spent resting in the Swan’s back half, O’Riordan showed he can take the big responsibilities and stood up for the Swans

Bayley Fritsch

Though only kicking two behinds, Fritsch’s disposal efficiency of 78 was a standout with his 18 possessions. Entering unfamiliar territory, Fritsch played most of his football in Melbourne’s defensive half, collecting eight intercept possessions, three tackles and three one percenters. His impressive hands were on display with his six marks (one contested), chopping off the Bulldog’s transition with his impressive overhead ability. Consistently clean, he also had three inside 50s, five score involvements and one goal assist. Fritsch added to an already impressive resume with this performance, showing that his goals don’t define his football.

Luke Davies-Uniacke

After a lengthy stay in the VFL, Luke Davies-Uniacke (LDU) got the call up for the Kangaroos, starting his game in the centre. Initially playing on Josh Kennedy, LDU showed a composure unlike anything we’d seen in previous rounds despite the obvious mismatch. The open field offered up after the Sydney skipper was forced from the ground might have done wonders for the Dandenong boy’s game. With an 88 percent disposal efficiency, seven contested and 11 uncontested possessions, he starred around the stoppages with three clearances and one out of the centre. He often grabbed first hands to the loose ball and switched well to break Sydney’s lines. He laid five tackles with 14 pressure acts, bringing more hunger later in the game after an effective first half. While not overly impressive in his VFL performances, LDU stood up for the big stage with three inside 50s, five score involvements and one goal assist. He brought his mental game with him and cleaned up where he was lacking early in the season.


South Australian weekly wrap: SA talent on show at AFL level

IT has been an exciting few weeks for South Australian football, with former-SANFL prospects across the AFL grasping their opportunities throughout the preseason.

With a host of players scattered throughout all AFL clubs as both rookies and senior listed players, we will undoubtedly get to catch a glimpse of more local talent at the highest level this year.

AFLX Series:

Most AFL teams selected a mixture of youth and experience in this format, and it was exciting to see some quick, high scoring footy. SA players to catch the eye over the spread of games were Adelaide Crows duo Lachlan Murphy and Patrick Wilson, who both cut their teeth at SANFL level and stepped up in the AFL environment.  

2017 Fremantle draftees Stefan Giro and Mitch Crowden had their opportunity and showed they were ready. Giro was a standout and rewarded with a position in Fremantle’s JLT season opener.

Ex-Glenelg boys Dom Barry and Willie Rioli showed they will be dangerous around goal for their teams. Brisbane also blooded some youngsters with highly rated 2017 Prince Alfred College student Zac Bailey impressing, along with Brisbane rookie Mitchell Hinge being up to the task. Former Sturt and Mitcham Hawk Lewis Young was among the best for the Bulldogs, and Nick Holman slotted in well for Gold Coast.

JLT Series:

The first set of JLT Community Series games saw more SA talent on show. Former Glenelg and Sacred Heart College Alex Neal-Bullen looks set to take his game to a new level with a great hit-out for Melbourne.

Pick 12 from the 2017 National Draft, Darcy Fogarty, got a taste of AFL with the Crows and was rewarded with a goal. Stefan Giro continued to stake his claim for round one selection with alongside SA boy Brennan Cox at the Dockers. Ex-North Adelaide junior ruckman Peter Ladhams managed to get some minutes in for Port Adelaide.

With the remainder of JLT games this weekend we hope to see more young SA talent on show.

SANFL Trial Games:

All players returned to their SANFL clubs with some U16 and U18 internal trial games held over the week. Formal trial games for U18, Reserves and League sides are coming up and that will give more opportunity to see this year’s crop of potential SA draft picks on show.

Full schedule of trial games can be found here.

SANFL Clubs Voice Concern:

SANFL clubs have today bound together to issue a statement regarding gaming machine revenue amidst the upcoming State election.

In response to talk of introducing maximum one dollar bets and seven-year gaming machine licences, the clubs stated that such laws would “effectively be killing SANFL clubs”, placing extreme demand on club volunteers.

While the statement avoided directly naming which parties or politicians would enforced the new rules, it implored supporters to “vote wisely” when at polling booths. 

With waning membership figures and sponsorship money, as much as 50 per cent of annual revenue comes from gaming machines, making them crucial to each club’s viability.

A major concern voiced through the statement was that reduced revenue would bring an end to many SA football programs; including junior programs in local and regional areas, elite pathway programs, and the expansion of the female game.

The clubs sought to stress that they provide a “highly regulated gaming environment” and that they hold Club Safe accreditation, which they say allows them to minimise harm from public gaming.

The State election is set to be held on Saturday, March 17, two weeks before the start of the SANFL season.

Draftees named for AFLX

TWENTY-one draftees from the 2017 National Draft will get an early taste of senior football in the AFL’s newest competition – AFLX. Among them are three former Sandringham Dragons, two Bendigo Pioneers and two Eastern Ranges, while Lachlan Fogarty (Western Jets), Gryan Miers (Geelong Falcons) and Jack Petruccelle (Northeren Knights) are the sole players named from their TAC Cup sides.

The tournament begins on Thursday night with six sides – Adelaide, Collingwood, Fremantle, Geelong, Port Adelaide and West Coast – playing shortened 20-minute matches in a round robin format in two pools from which the winner of each pool advances to the grand final at the end of the night. Two further AFLX round robins will be played on Friday and Saturday night respectively.

Played at Hindmarsh Stadium in South Australia, former Sturt players Patrick Wilson (Adelaide) and Mitchell Crowden (Fremantle) have been named, as have Jackson Edwards (Glenelg now Adelaide), Stefan Giro (Norwood now Fremantle), Dom Barry (Glenelg now Port Adelaide) and Lachlan Murphy (Adelaide SANFL now Adelaide). Mature-ager Tim Kelly (South Fremantle now Geelong), Bailey Banfield (Claremont now Fremantle), Brayden Ainsworth (Subiaco now West Coast), Jake Patmore (Claremont now Port Adelaide) and Ryan Burrows (South Fremantle now West Coast) are the West Australians involved.

Along with the thrill that comes with representing an AFL club, there is the potential for a number of former teammates to face off on the elite stage. Former Sandringham Dragons Nathan Murphy and Hamish Brayshaw could go head to head when the Magpies face the Eagles, while Brayshaw could also face off against his brother Andrew if both West Coast and Fremantle make the grand final. Glenelg pair Jackson Edwards and Dom Barry could go head-to-head if the South Australian sides make the grand final, as could Eastern Ranges’ exports Jaidyn Stephenson and his former captain Joel Garner if the Magpies meet the Power in the decider. Other former teammates that could face off include Patrick Wilson and Mitchell Crowden (Sturt), Tim Kelly and Ryan Burrows (South Fremantle), and Kane Farrell and Jarrod Brander (Bendigo Pioneers).

The AFLX competition is played on a ground with dimensions of between 100-120m in length and 60-70m in width, with four posts at each end and two 40m arcs. Each team will consist of 10 players per game – seven on the field and three on the bench – and there are no restrictions on rotations. No marks will be paid on backwards kicks (except in the forward 40m area) and the last touch out of bounds is a free kick. Kick-ins will occur after each score – even goals – while at least two players from each team must start each quarter inside each 40m arc and any deliberate rushed behinds will result in a free shot to the opposition team from the forward 40m arc resulting in a potential 10-point goal.

The full list of draftees named for the first night for the AFLX competition is:

Adelaide: Patrick Wilson (Sturt), Lachlan Murphy (Adelaide SANFL), Jackson Edwards (Glenelg)

Collingwood: Jaidyn Stephenson (Eastern Ranges), Nathan Murphy (Sandringham Dragons)

Fremantle: Andrew Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons), Mitchell Crowden (Sturt), Bailey Banfield (Claremont), Stefan Giro (Norwood)

Geelong: Lachlan Fogarty (Western Jets), Tim Kelly (South Fremantle), Gryan Miers (Geelong Falcons)

Port Adelaide: Kane Farrell (Bendigo Pioneers), Jake Patmore (Claremont), Joel Garner (Eastern Ranges), Dom Barry (Glenelg)

West Coast: Jarrod Brander (Bendigo Pioneers), Brayden Ainsworth (Subiaco), Jack Petruccelle (Northern Knights), Hamish Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons), Ryan Burrows (South Fremantle)


6.10pm – Port Adelaide v Geelong
6.38pm – Adelaide v Collingwood
7.06pm – Geelong v Fremantle
7.34pm – West Coast v Adelaide
8.02pm – Fremantle v Port Adelaide
8.30pm – Collingwood v West Coast
9.03pm – Grand Final

Crowden, Murphy lead top performers in SANFL

With round one of the SANFL Competition beginning last weekend, 2017 draft talent was on show at League, Reserves and U18 Level. We take a look at who the top performers were across the grades:


Mitch Crowden (Sturt) and Alex Martini (Glenelg) debuted against AFL reserves sides. In Sturt’s two-point loss to the Crows, Crowden played midfield minutes, worked himself into the game in the second half and showed some class passages of play in winning the ball and hitting targets resulting in goals. Crowden also laid 12 tackles in a great defensive performance. Martini’s Glenelg defeated Port Adelaide by 17 points with a solid 16 disposals and one goal. Both teams play each other next round and the Good Friday game will be another talent showcase. Former TAC Cup & Northern Knights player Lachlan Murphy (Adelaide) also fitted in well in his first taste of senior football. Murphy racked up 18 disposals and six rebound-50s in a promising effort using his classy left foot, including an outstanding mark captured below. Murphy has also been nominated for the Round One SANFL Breakthrough Player award.

HUGE leap from debutant Lachie Murphy in yesterday’s @SANFL win! ?

More SANFL highlights: https://t.co/EijSvlOLcq #weflyasone pic.twitter.com/vsVm56vn2N

— Adelaide Crows (@Adelaide_FC) April 10, 2017



Classy Brad McCarthy (Glenelg) had 15 disposals and one goal and was named in best players. Stefan Giro (Norwood) continues his form with a dominant 27 disposals and two goals to be named second best in his teams 91-point victory over North Adelaide. Lachlan Pascoe also named in Norwood’s best players with his 20 disposals showed some return to from after three early league games in 2016. Isaac Hewson and Brodie Carroll also got plenty of the ball for Norwood with 16 disposals each.


Notable performances for the round included Adam Trenorden leading Sturt to victory over Glenelg with a dominating performance 31 disposals, 13 marks and 10 tackles, which saw him earn the Round One Under 18 MVP. Also to note the 19 tackles by Sturt underager Tom Lewis to go with his 20 disposals and 1 goal. Norwood’s Zac Bailey was named best with 29 disposals, backing up his form for Northern Territory in the Div 2 Academy Series (in Adelaide at boarding school at Prince Alfred College). North forward Hugo Barry (a late to football – soccer convert), returning from injury was lively kicking 3.2. South Adelaide underager and son of Clay – Hayden Sampson was named best for South in their win over West Adelaide with his 22 disposals. And son of former Crow Stephen – Jimmy Rowe impacted with 30 disposals and a goal, and Jake Weideman with 24 disposals and a goal played their part in the Eagles victory over Centrals.


Scouting notes: TAC Cup bottom four round


Northern Knights 11.12 (78) def Western Jets 10.4 (64)

Josh Poulter’s scouting notes:

Northern Knights

#4 – Chas Roberts

Spent the majority of the game in the ruck for the Knights with a strong work-rate and second efforts being notable. Roberts looked like he easily outmuscled both Walters and McGregor at the ruck contest, and followed up well on the ground by getting on hands and knees finishing the game with 19 disposals and 28 hitouts. Took a few marks along the line to bail out the Knights as well on occasion. It is a shame we won’t see him in the finals to see if he can boost his draft stocks even more.

#6 – Patrick Naish

Naish was by far and away the best player on the ground in the first half of the game. The potential Richmond father-son was the go to player for the Knights in all areas of the ground. Ball use was good overall but at times it cost the Knights on the rebound, especially by foot. Faded out in the second half but did bob up at times, but mainly put his stamp on the game in the first two quarters.

#9 – Lachlan Murphy

At all clearance opportunities, Murphy was the go-to player for Knights, sharking from the ruck contests multiple times. Set the Knights up going out of the contest, showing he can win a great mix of inside and outside football and using his already developed frame collecting 30 disposals.

#12 – Patrick Lipinski

Going into the game, there was hope Lipinski would continue his rich vein of form in the midfield, but mainly played the key pillar up forward alongside Clancy Bland. Showed his athleticism and leap many times, and finished off the game with 3 goals. With every game his stock his rising and this one was no different.

#47 – Joel Naylor

Impressed in the first-half with his dash and ball-use out the backline, being able to run off-his opponent deep in defence and set of Knights into attack. He copped a heavy knock in the 3rd quarter which forced him off the ground, but came back on for the 4th quarter and was put up forward where he kicked 3 goals.

Western Jets

#5 – Luke Hitch

Consistent as ever in defence, continued on his great year by being the hard-nosed shut-down defender that he is. Was able to beat his direct opponent on many occasions and also then go to win the ball with his second efforts and clear the 50 for Jets. His tackling again was also his highlight with many strong tackles.

#7 – Nicholas Buykx

Was by far and away the best Jets midfielder for the day, leading by example in tight and also on the outside. Tackling was a highlight and his leadership around the ground was also evident as well. Ball use was average, but also showed dash at times along the wing.

#39 – Harrison Bult

Showed his versatility throughout the day, playing everywhere and even had a short stint in the ruck. His exquisite kicking skills were also a highlight, both from kicking out of full-back and in general play. Also went into the forward line in the last quarter and kicked a goal from nearly 50m out.

#44 – Oscar Junker

Easily the best player on the ground, and his performance was nearly a match-winning one for the Jets. Kicked 3 goals in the 2nd quarter and also pinch-hit in the midfield at times. Played both at Full-Forward and at Centre-Half Forward but didn’t look lost in either and was the target going inside 50 most of the time whilst being the X-Factor in the game.

#48 – Brock McGregor

Battled hard and had handled most of the ruck duties alongside Darren Walters. Much like opponent Chas Roberts, showed great work rate around the ground and was a strong target. Showed great hands on the ground and also great evasiveness able to get his hands free and get past a few tacklers. Though he at times did try to do much with the ball, he was generally very good. Won the Jets’ match ball for their best player on the ground on the day.

Gippsland Power 17.16 (118) def Bendigo Pioneers 12.5 (77)

Peter Williams’ scouting notes:

Bendigo Pioneers

#1 – Joe Atley

Typical working class effort from Atley. Won a bit more outside ball than usual and kicked a great running goal bouncing off an opponent to steady and snap. Just a consistent performer who is a no-fuss footballer. Doesn’t have the X-factor of other players, but just goes everything right and is a good team player who never panics.

#2 – Kane Farrell

Was good early, but like many Pioneers went quiet after half-time. Kicked an impressive running goal in the first term and has a bit of pace about him. Small midfielder who can move forward and snag a couple.

#6 – Lochie O’Brien

Stood out with his clever ball use on his left foot and moving in transition from half-back to half-forward. Kicked a couple of goals early and helped the Pioneers get off to a great start.

#8 – Paddy Dow

Good overhead for his size and can roost it from 50 if required. Another good bottom-ager who is coming along nicely for the Pioneers. Is a player to watch next season.

#9 – Laine Fitzgerald

Has no problem finding the footy and getting out of tight situations. Can find a small gap and work with it to clear it from congestion. Undersized, but works hard in the midfield.

#13 – Jarrod Brander

Good contested mark and nice mover for a big bloke. Reads the play well and kicked a couple of goals. Still a bottom-ager and I imagine he will want to bulk up a bit, but a good athletic forward who can clunk marks.

Gippsland Power

#2 – Nick Hogan

Tenacious small forward who can play up the ground and is dangerous around goals. Really quick and evasive, kicked a couple of impressive goals, including one from long range. Doesn’t find a heap of it compared to others, but is a very reliable kick for goal.

#5 – Ben Ainsworth

A class above. While everyone else was missing targets both in play and for goal, Ainsworth was a dead-eye, never looking like missing, kicking both on the run and from set shots. Plenty of X-factor and strong in the contest, the forward cum-inside midfielder just wins the footy and fires out quick handballs. Isn’t afraid to demand the ball if he feels he can deliver for his team. Collected plenty of the ball in the final term when the game was done and dusted. Finished the match with 33 disposals and 10 marks.

#15 – Cody Henness

Really like his closing speed. Twice he caught a Pioneers defender cold with a brilliant run down tackle. He hit the post with his first set shot, but nailed his second opportunity. Strikes me as that defensive forward who kicks a couple of goals a game in the Tyson Goldsack style.

#20 – Nathan Voss

Played forward and his biggest highlight was goal of the year. Tight up against the pocket under pressure, he somehow snapped an inside out banana goal and could hardly believe it himself. Did his chances no harm with a few majors and provided pressure inside 50.

#22 – Josh Patullo

Big bodied ruck/forward who shared the ruck duties throughout the game. Took an impressive mark and really imposes himself on the contest. Not overly mobile like other rucks, Patullo still covers ground well, and can influence up forward. Really influenced at the forward stoppages with his hitouts to advantage.

#30 – Jai Rout

Don’t mind Rout as a prospect, he has a long kick and played that high half forward role. Was among the Power players who stood up in the third term, kicking a couple of goals and assisting in a few more. Didn’t find a heap of it and went in and out of the contest like others, but looked good in that purple patch.

#32 – Kade Renooy

Seems to find a lot of the ball without being noticed, but today he was instrumental in turning the game in the Power’s favour. When they needed a goal, he bobbed up with two in the third term, kicking two in a row to push the margin from three points to 15 and the Pioneers never came back from that.

Top talent on offer in bottom four final show

Northern Knights midfielder Lachlan Murphy has flown under the radar in 2016.
Northern Knights midfielder Lachlan Murphy has flown under the radar in 2016.

WHILE they might not have made finals, the unique last round will give players of bottom four sides a chance to impress in front of recruiters at Ikon Park.

It is a first for 2016, allowing TAC Cup finalists to have a week’s bye in between the final round of the regular season and the first week of finals.

The top eight was decided a fortnight ago and with that, came the two matches to be played out this weekend.

Given the Pioneers and Jets clashed in round 16 and the Knights and Power just last week, it made sense to switch the match-ups around so the Knights played the Jets and the Power faced the Pioneers.

Despite four points not being on the line, it is one last match for these young men who may never play with any of their teammates again and move on to AFL, state leagues or local leagues to continue their football.

Northern Knights vs. Western Jets

Northern Knights are a hard working team that is well disciplined and seemingly in the contest more often than not, fading away in the last quarter to lose by more than they should. Western Jets have some sensational games and some poor games, and it has become quite obvious that the difficulties of trying to pick when they will win or lose is similar to that of Richmond or Collingwood.

SHAKING AND SPEARING THE COMPETITION: An insight into the Northern Knights

In this match there are plenty of versatile midfielders to watch out for that could stake their claim in the National AFL Draft later this year. For the Knights, Mason Blakey and Luke Bunker are the inside grunt workers, often pushing back behind the ball to try to keep the team in possession. The two most damaging players for Northern are Matthew Signorello and Lachlan Murphy, both for different reasons.

NK - Matthew Signorello 2
Northern Knights midfielder Matthew Signorello

Signorello has the acceleration that just burns an opponent off racing out of a contest, and he can impact the scoreboard as well. Signorello though will miss the class with a shoulder injury but has showed enough signs at school and TAC Cup level that he may be drafted. Murphy is more of a half-back that can play on the inside, who has a penetrating left boot that really stands out at this level. Jake Bradley is an over-ager that Carlton fans will be keen to watch, with the son of Craig doing some nice things, however is more of a rookie prospect than anything else.


Western’s highest draft hope is Daniel Venables, a potential first rounder and likely top 30 pick. The inside midfielder/forward is a tireless worker who is strong one-on-one and can be a dominant force up forward. Venables will miss the clash through injury and is unlikely to play in the All Star match later in the season. Inconsistency can plague Venables at times, but he’s still a very valuable player who will no doubt find an AFL home in November.

Otherwise, the Jets have Brodie Romensky, Oscar Junker and Judah Dundon that will be on recruiters’ watch lists. Romensky finds the ball at will, often from a half-back flank and can be a link-up player in Western’s chain of possession. Junker and Dundon do not find as much of the football, but generally use it well and can break a game open with quick handballs or forward thrusts. Dundon misses the clash with a leg issue, but the Jets are hopeful he’ll be back for testing in October. One name quietly going about his business is Brock McGregor. The Jets ruckman is one of a handful of rucks that could be drafted later in the year, and will be keen to impress this weekend.

Gippsland Power vs. Bendigo Pioneers

Gippsland versus Bendigo is less likely to produce as many draftees as the other match. The Power have one genuine star first round pick in Ben Ainsworth, while the Pioneers have top 40 prospects Kobe Mutch and Joe Atley.

Mutch hasn’t played much TAC Cup football of late with injury and once again has been ruled out of this weekend’s game. Atley last month tried his hand in the VFL for Geelong, booting two goals and collecting 16 disposals on debut. Kayle Kirby is another who got a taste of VFL football last week, but the goal sneak Pioneer did not just taste it, he lapped it up. Kirby booted five goals in Richmond’s upset win over Sandringham and really threw his name out there to be considered in November. Kirby once again will be with the Tigers on the weekend, missing the final clash of the season for the Pioneers.


For those who do not know much about Mutch or Atley, Mutch is a balanced midfielder who finds a truck load of possessions and is a solid all-round prospect. While he could kick a few more goals, Mutch works hard defensively and is a very solid kick of the football. Atley is an inside midfield beast who can win the footy on the outside too, and is the brother of North Melbourne’s Shaun.

Bendigo Pioneers midfielder Joe Atley in action for Vic Country in the 2016 Under 18 Championships.
Bendigo Pioneers midfielder Joe Atley in action for Vic Country in the 2016 Under 18 Championships.

The other Bendigo Pioneer who has some clubs interested is Cooper Jones, a developing tall forward who is a late to rookie prospect. The Pioneers have largely played a young side throughout 2016 and the signs that players such as Lochie O’Brien and Jarrod Brander have shown throughout the year, will give them hope for a better 2017.

For the Power, Ainsworth is clearly the standout player, with a possible top 10 selection to be used on the half forward. He has the potential to kick plenty of goals and has a strong body to win the ball at the coal face. A booming kick and plenty of confident, he is a likely type that most clubs will consider.

Other than Ainsworth, Sean Masterson and Will Leslie have a few clubs poking around. Masterson is a versatile player who has played mainly in defence but can play forward if required. Leslie is a midfielder who does not win a lot of the football, but has stood up while Ainsworth missed due to representative duties and suspension.

Lively forward Nathan Voss is another who may catch the eye of clubs. Voss booted 3.3 last weekend against Northern and had three score assists bringing plenty of energy inside 50 for the Power.

Overall, this game is likely to be about the potential top end talent and if any diamonds in the rough emerge from the match.

Shaking and Spearing the Competition

NK - Mason Blakey

IT has been a tough couple of years for the Northern Knights in the TAC Cup. Yet despite only amassing seven wins in the past 24 months, coach Andrew Shakespeare has lead the development of some top-end talent, with five draftees last year and the possibility of another three or four this year.

Sitting down for a chat with ‘Shakes’ after a tough 47-point home loss at the hands of Gippsland, it is not hard to become engrossed in his coaching philosophy and just why talent keeps pouring out of the Knights’ system.
Boasting the likes of top-10 hopeful Ben Ainsworth, the Power outclassed Northern all day, but not all was lost.

When asked if he gave the players a spray after the match, Shakespeare said there was more to TAC Cup football than wins and losses.
“No, no,” he said. “They know, it’s more about letting them learn. They know.”

Andrew Shakespeare speaks to his players during round 7 of the TAC Cup. (Photo by Rob Prezioso/AFL Media)
Andrew Shakespeare speaks to his players during round 7 of the TAC Cup. (Photo by Rob Prezioso/AFL Media)

Shakespeare’s methods are carefully guided by the fine line between highlighting the importance of winning in junior competition, and the importance of player development. Above all, a “need to compete” drives the Knights philosophy.

“Regardless of game situation… we want to make sure we’re competing,” Shakespeare said. “The two can go hand-in-hand; development and success aren’t necessarily separated.”
“We really try and push success but we also try to push the little wins. “So, when we see players change their actions, develop a new skill, show that their kicking’s improved, their ability to think… the little wins along the way are things we can show them, ways they’re getting better.”

The little wins have come against the tide of many challenges the side has faced throughout the year – from an undersized squad, to the disruption of school footy. The gap in elite talent from last year to now is also a factor, with the side struggling to match-up without the class of Jade Gresham, Brayden Fiorini, Tyrone Leonardis, and Darcy MacPherson in 2015’s pool.

“In terms of top-end talent, we haven’t had as much so it’s been a challenging year in terms of getting players to play against what is the best underage competition in Australia,” Shakespeare said.
“We’ve constantly been challenged in terms of height, we haven’t had key-position players so we’ve played players undersized at both ends of the ground.”

Northern Knights midfielder Matthew Signorello has found plenty of the ball at TAC Cup level in 2016.

A limited talent pool also affects the squad on match-day. With stars like Luke Bunker and Lachlan Murphy often tied-up in school footy duties with Ivanhoe Grammar, the team often lacked flexibility. Last quarter blow-outs have plagued the team all season as a result.

“It’s disappointing for the players that they’re not getting reward for effort,” Shakespeare said. “One of the things we’ve found this year is that when it does come down to that last quarter, we’ve found it really difficult to change our side.
“We’re very limited in how we can create a different structure on the field and I think eventually, the better sides get you when you’re putting the same thing out there.”

Results aside, Shakespeare has a very clear focus on getting the best out of his players, and seeing them flourish in higher systems is rewarding. From stars like Marcus Bontempelli, to rookie choices like Jayden Short and father/sons like Dylan Buckley, all kinds of talent has been nurtured and recognised with Shakespeare at the club.

“You have great pleasure in seeing that happen,” the Knights coach said. “I think when you look across the league, the Northern Knights have had a really proud history in contributing players at that level.
“If these boys have the passion and love of the game, that’s the real point of the TAC Cup – develop players and see them grow to be the best they can be.”

The Knights will round off their season against the Western Jets at Ikon Park, but Shakespeare says he will keep his eye on the action come finals, and obviously draft time.

“Over the next few weeks for me, I see this as an opportunity to continue to learn so hopefully I’ll get down and go into some of the coaching rooms with the other teams and watch what they do.”

To conclude, Shakespeare provided a his thoughts on a number of Knights players that could find AFL clubs at the end of the year:

Luke Bunker – “Luke has had a stellar year really in terms of his TAC Cup and his national input. He won the coach’s award, which is really prestigious… he continues to find ways to get better. We’re keen on him starting to work the outside and put scoreboard pressure on by kicking goals. I really think he could slip into an AFL system and provide long-term service because of his durability.”

Patrick Lipinski – “Clearly has some outstanding talents in his ball-winning ability and his ability to distribute the ball to space… he has really good hands, very good decision maker and he’ll be one I think to really continue to develop and play a role at AFL.”

Lachlan Murphy – “Rejected time and time again at the next level, but continues to shine. His football speaks for itself – if you want a player to give you effort, Lachie is just that one to continue to stand up.”

Matthew Signorello – “Matthew, again, had opportunity at the nationals but didn’t make the final team but didn’t want to let that stand in his way, came back here and has just played stellar football. He’s starting to mark the ball inside forward-50 and kick goals. We know he can win the football, unfortunately his season’s over with a shoulder injury but hopefully he’s done enough to get the opportunity at the next level.”

Mason Blakey – “Terrific player. Really creative, good hands, good kick, good decision maker. Played at nationals, came back to us as captain and has just continued to play really good football. I hear already he’s made an impact, kicked a goal in his first VFL game so he’s another one that given the opportunity, can play at that next level for sure.”

Weekend That Was – Round 16

GF - James Worpel
Geelong Falcons bottom ager James Worpel

NAILBITERS, fast starts and big individual performances featured in round 16 of the TAC Cup.

In the first game of the round, Oakleigh Chargers pulled off a stunning upset over Sandringham Dragons.

The Chargers booted the first eight goals, eventually running out winners by 55-points.

The loss sees the Dragons slip outside the top four, with the Dragons needing results to go their way to gain a double chance.

Chargers 19-year-old Lachlan Walker helped himself to 29 disposals and 10 inside-50s, while bottom-ager Jack Higgins (25 disposals) chipped the ball around and found targets at close range. Small forward Dion Johnstone also booted five goals.

For the Dragons, Andrew McGrath collected 27 disposals, finishing with a strong last quarter while Tim Taranto had 25 disposals and 10 tackles willing his side to turn around the dismal performance after quarter time.

Hybrid defender Jack Scrimshaw found the ball 25 times, but had a handful of clangers by foot in what was a disappointing day for the Dragons.

Up at Eureka Stadium, the North Ballarat Rebels recovered from a slow start to defeat the Northern Knights.

The Rebels led by four-points going into the final term, but kicked away with nine goals to two, running out winners by 50-points.

Hugh McCluggage did his No.1 draft pick chances no harm, with 25 disposals and four goals. Cedric Cox spent more time through the midfield, resulting in his highest disposal number for the season with 24 disposals and six inside-50s.

Jarrod Berry is starting to return to the form that everyone had hoped earlier in the season, with 18 disposals and three goals (including two in the final term), whilst Rebels small Jermaine Jones kicked a bag of five goals.

Matthew Signorello (30 disposals) was one of the few strong performers for the Knights, while midfielders Luke Bunker and Lachlan Murphy both found the football with 25 disposals each.

Out at Morwell, Ben Ainsworth nearly pulled Gippsland Power over the line against Eastern Ranges.

Although the Ranges took home the chocolates by 16-points, the Power came home with a bang outscoring the Ranges but it wasn’t enough.

Ainsworth was best afield for Power, with 34 disposals and three goals in his best performances for the season. Defender Sean Masterson put together one of his better games for the season, with 16 disposals and seven marks.

Collingwood Father/Son hopeful Callum Brown had 32 disposals in the midfield for Eastern, with fellow Vic Metro teammates Dylan Clarke (30 disposals, eight marks and nine tackles) and Jordan Gallucci (21 disposals and seven tackles) also playing their part in the victory.

At RAMS Arena, Geelong Falcons retained top spot with an easy 90-point victory against Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup Radio match of the week.

Bottom-aged midfielders James Worpel (27 disposals and two goals) and Cassidy Parish (26 disposals and nine clearances) were the stars for the Falcons, while Jackson McLachlan booted four first half goals.

Only Ben Ronke (22 disposals and three goals) could break the 20 disposal barrier for the Cannons in what was a disappointing day for them. Noah Balta continued his good form from the Vic Metro trial a week ago, with four goals from four kicks.

The final match on Saturday saw a large contingent of recruiters flock to Shepley Oval to see a thriller, which saw Dandenong Stingrays defeat Murray Bushrangers by a solitary point.

The scores seesawed all the way through the final term, but it was Hunter Clark‘s goal that saw them take the lead with a minute remaining.

Stingrays small Dan Allsop was lively around goal, booting two goals while fellow small Sam Fowler had 26 disposals in one of his better games of the season playing across half forward.

Bushranger tall utility Zach Sproule held Josh Battle to a single goal, but Battle appeared to be plagued from a calf injury which he sustained in the opening quarter.

Will Brodie was Murray’s best with 26 disposals and eight tackles, winning a multitude of clearances throughout the day.

Bottom-ager Charlie Spargo collected 20 disposals and kicked two goals in an impressive display for the GWS academy member. Todd Marshall also booted three goals, all of which came from under 20 metres out.

The final match saw Western Jets lead from start to finish defeating Bendigo Pioneers by 32-points.

Isaac Miller was the Pioneers best with 29 disposals, nine marks and six tackles while Kayle Kirby kicked four goals for the home side.

Jets Bottom-ager Lachlan Fogarty collected 29 disposals, but it was Cameron Rayner who stole the show with a seven goal haul.

Rayner dominated inside 50 and looked set to hit double figures with seven goals at three-quarter time, but he could only muster a solitary point in the final term.

All-Stars picked for AFL Draft Central mock match

Allies - Todd Marshall

EVERY year as the AFL season comes to a close, potential future stars names are raised as to which players can help put clubs on the path to a premiership. But where do these players fit in a 22?

Yesterday, the AFL announced that the very best Under 18s talent will play off against each other at Punt Rd End on Grand Final Eve.

The two teams will be picked by the AFL and will be named after AFL legends Chris Judd and Michael O’Loughlin.


AFL Draft Central’s Matt Balmer & Peter Williams have taken the role as selectors and picked their very own teams.

Note: Only Under 18 players were considered, meaning that no 19-year-olds or mature agers feature in the pairs squad of 25 players.

Players such as Jy Simpkin & Alex Witherden were also not considered due to injury.

Selection order:

Pick 1: Peter Williams (PW)
Todd Marshall
Key Position Forward (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
08/10/1998 | 198cm | 87kg

While I do not think Marshall will go pick one in the National AFL Draft, when starting from scratch you always pick a big man over a small man, and Marshall is the best big man in the draft. A key forward who leaps at the ball taking big marks and kicking clutch goals, he is the man you want standing at full-forward in a best 22 competition.

Pick 2: Matt Balmer (MB)
Hugh McCluggage
Balanced Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
03/03/1998 | 185cm | 75kg

It’s hard to turn down arguably the best player in the draft pool with my first pick. McCluggage applies like Scott Pendlebury in traffic, making everything appear in slow motion. Also uses his quick hands or his right boot to clear the ball from contest ball situations. He’s a man I couldn’t turn down with my first pick and is right in the mix for pick one overall in the National AFL Draft.

Pick 3: MB
Jack Bowes
Balanced Midfielder (Cairns/Queensland)
26/01/1998 | 187cm | 78kg

Jack Bowes is only narrowly behind McCluggage in my view as the best player in the draft pool. A silky smooth midfielder by trade, he moves well through traffic and doesn’t waste too many of his disposals. Also hitting the scoreboard recently for Gold Coast in the NEAFL.

Pick 4: PW
Andrew McGrath
Small Defender/Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
02/06/1998 | 179cm | 75kg

I pride my team on two things: speed and footskills and Andrew McGrath has both. A talented midfielder who has primarily played as a half-back rebounding defender, McGrath is an excitement machine who just makes things happen. While he is sub-180cm, he makes up for it with his disposal and ability to burn opponents.

Pick 5; PW
Harry Perryman
Outside Midfielder (Collingullie-GP/NSW-ACT)
19/12/1998 | 184cm | 75kg

If foot skills are a premium, Perryman is a player that delivers in spades. Not a huge ball winner compared to other top 10 picks, Perryman rarely wastes a disposal and just glides around, making the right decisions more often than not.

Pick 6: MB
Jack Scrimshaw
General Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
04/09/1998 | 193cm | 80kg

A hybrid defender who will fit in well across the half back flank. Nice long left boot and has the ability to push further up the ground on the wing. His disposal efficiency is great and makes good decisions, so far he appears to be over his injury issues which plagued him earlier in the season.

Pick 7: MB
Patrick Kerr
Key Position Forward (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
31/07/1998 | 194cm | 93kg

In my eyes, the second best key forward behind Todd Marshall. I’m a big fan of Kerr and when he’s on, he’s hard to stop. Kerr speaks extremely well and he’ll be leading the forward line for my side. His strong overhead mark and speed over 10 metres makes him hard to stop one-on-one.

Pick 8: PW
Will Brodie
Inside Midfielder (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
23/08/1998 | 189cm | 82kg

To pick up Will Brodie at pick eight is daylight robbery. Brodie is in contention for the number one pick and is the clear standout inside midfielder. At 189cm and 82kg, he is ready made to play round one if needed. An absolute bull, he is a steal here and is very welcome to be the leader in the midfield.

Pick 9: PW
Harrison Macreadie
Key Position Defender (Henty/NSW-ACT)
11/04/1998 | 196cm | 89kg

Harrison Macreadie has had a quieter back-half of the year and certainly in the National Championships, but he is all class. At 196cm, he is athletic, a strong mark and versatile around the ground. He could play on a wing if required, but he will line-up for my team at centre half-back making it a “delicious” half-back line filled with precise kickers.

Pick 10: MB
Sam Petrevski-Seton
Balanced Midfielder (Claremont/Western Australia)
19/02/1998 | 181cm | 76kg

Touted as a possible number one draft pick earlier in the season, I’m extremely pleased to pick Petrevski-Seton here. He’s comfortable to turn on either sides of his body to dispose of the ball and has a touch of x-factor about him. Ball winning numbers have been strong since returning to the WAFL.

Pick 11: MB
Tim Taranto
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
28/01/1998 | 186cm | 82kg

The second St Kevin’s College lad in my side. Taranto hasn’t put a foot wrong in the last two months and continues to improve as the year goes on. He’s very good in traffic, aided from a basketball background and can hit the scoreboard when needed. A great overhead mark also helps him win one-on-one and he’s one player that I’m happy is in my side.

Pick 12: PW
Griffin Logue
Key Position Defender (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
13/04/1998 | 193cm | 92kg

There are not too many prime key defenders in this draft, and I have snared the top two. Logue is smaller than Macreadie, but good one-on-one and is more of that intercept mark, lockdown KPD rather than the creative Macreadie type. In saying that, he impressed at the National Championships and could be moulded into a number of different defensive roles at AFL level.

Pick 13: PW
Josh Battle
Key Position Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
01/09/1998 | 192cm | 90kg

There’s no secret I’m a Josh Battle fan and he just adds a point of difference to any forward line. While he will not become a number one forward at AFL level, he is strong overhead, a super high footy IQ and a reliable set shot. In my opinion the second best tall forward behind Marshall, handing my team the two best KPF and two best KPD.

Pick 14: MB
Ben Ainsworth
Small Forward (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
10/02/1998 | 179cm | 74kg

Every side needs a crafty small forward and that’s exactly what Ben Ainsworth can be. A great overhead mark for his size and can change the game in a blink of an eye. Also has the ability to push into the midfield, but will prove his most valuable inside 50 where he’s a tough match up for any opponent.

Pick 15: MB
Josh Rotham
Medium Defender (West Perth/Western Australia)
25/02/1998 | 192cm | 79kg

Having missed out on arguably the two best tall defenders (Logue & Macreadie) we’ll take Josh Rotham in the back pocket. Rotham can play both tall and small, but looks most at home rebounding the ball out of defence. Did play as a tall in defence against VFL sides earlier in the year but will fit in well in defence.

Pick 16: PW
Alex Villis
Outside Midfielder (Norwood/South Australia)
20/08/1998 | 182cm | 70kg

Footskills and speed. I’ve said it earlier and I’ll say it again. Villis has both and is the best South Australian in the draft crop. With most of the other South Australian midfielders working on the inside, Villis finds space and chops teams up when going forward. Fantastic user of the ball and will be deadly on my wing.

Pick 17: PW
Will Setterfield
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/NSW-ACT)
05/02/1998 | 190cm | 79kg

With so many talented inside midfielders in this draft, I deliberately left my second inside mid until now. Having committed daylight robbery with Brodie at pick eight, Setterfield is a very good pick up at 17. A big lad, Setterfield will win the hard ball and is a solid user of the footy too.

Pick 18: MB
Zachary Sproule
Key Position Forward (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
12/05/1998 | 197cm | 84kg

Happy to partner Pat Kerr with Zach Sproule inside 50. Sproule plays in the Nick Riewoldt mould getting up the ground on long leads and will test his opposite number as to whether they can go the distance around the ground. A large chunk of his marks are up the ground, but has enough tricks inside 50 to hit the scoreboard when he hasn’t worked up the ground.

Pick 19: MB
Brad Scheer
Inside Midfielder (Palm Beach/Queensland)
31/08/1998 | 184cm | 83kg

Strong hardnosed inside midfielder will slot into a midfield well that already boasts names such as McCluggage and Bowes. Scheer is a good clearance winner and shoud be able to help the ball move forward. His numbers of late in the NEAFL have been outstanding.

Pick 20: PW
Oliver Florent
Balanced Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
22/07/1998 | 183cm | 74kg

Arguably the last of the top 25 outside midfielders, Florent is another classy ball user who can win his own ball too. A medium midfielder, Florent does not win a ton of the ball like his teammates, but uses it well and makes the right decisions by hand or foot.

Pick 21: PW
Jordan Gallucci
Medium Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/05/1998 | 183cm | 75kg

Jordan Gallucci was probably my favourite player coming into this year to watch, but he has been below his standards albeit for a game or two. I’m tipping he will bounce back for the finals and hopefully find his deadly kicking game again, something that has unfortunately disappeared in his top-age year. A back pocket for my side.

Pick 22: MB
Sam Walker
Medium Defender (Glenelg/South Australia)
16/03/1998 | 187cm | 80kg

Rebounding defender who will join Scrimshaw as the second left footer off half back for my team. A good ball user, Walker hits targets at will. Could be the game where he really pushes his name up rankings.

Pick 23: MB
Jack Maibaum
Key Position Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
27/03/1998 | 193cm | 90kg

All-Australian defender slots in at Centre Half Back for my side. A true shut down defender who was a strong performer for Vic Metro in the Under 18 Championships. Solid in one-on-one contests and one that probably hasn’t got enough credits for his season.

Pick 24: PW
Daniel Venables
General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
19/11/1998 | 186cm | 81kg

Daniel Venables is a tough inside midfielder who spends more time forward than most others in this crop. He hits the scoreboard consistently and is strong overhead. Had a few niggling injuries earlier in the year, but will rotate through the midfield in my team.

Pick 25: PW
Kobe Mutch
Balanced Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/NSW-ACT)
18/03/1998 | 184cm | 79kg

Kobe Mutch is a huge ball winner who has tasted a fair bit of NEAFL action lately and therefore missed out on games in the TAC Cup. A midfielder who can play inside or out, he will work well with the other midfielders on my team, primarily playing an inside role, shoveling it out to the silky outside players.

Pick 26: MB
Declan Watson
Key Position Defender (Aspley/Queensland)
17/09/1998 | 194cm | 80kg

Two Key Defenders in two picks. I’m looking for Watson to match up on Todd Marshall. A good kick for a player his size and was entrusted with the kick out duties for Queensland in the Division Two championships earlier in the season. My highest rated Brisbane Lions academy member, one to watch.

Pick 27: MB
Jonty Scharenberg
Inside Midfielder (Glenelg/South Australia)
28/08/1998 | 186cm | 80kg

Elite clearance player and an elite tackler according to Champion Data statistics. His clean hands is a real strength at the stoppages and can clear the ball well through those means. Not blessed with elite pace but will find the ball at Under 18 level.

Pick 28: PW
Jacob Allison
Utility (Aspley/Queensland)
16/04/1998 | 194cm | 79kg

It is hard to believe this bloke is a midfielder. At 194cm, he is taller than two of my key position players, but Jacob Allison is the new prototype midfielder. A big bodied mid who primarily plays outside similar to Marcus Bontempelli. Once he develops an inside game further he will be a beast.

Pick 29: PW
Jarrod Berry
Medium Defender (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
05/02/1998 | 191cm | 80kg

We are getting to the stage of the draft where it comes down to preferences and I do not mind Jarrod Berry. He could tighten up his foot skills a little, but he has strong leadership, good in the air and pretty mobile, there is plenty to work with in the 191cm medium defender. Can also play midfield or forward too which helps.

Pick 30: MB
Shai Bolton
Outside Midfielder (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
08/12/1998 | 177cm | 67kg

If you’re looking for some spark in your side, Shai Bolton is your man. Elite speed and agility means he can get around his opponents at will. Needs to work on his consistency, but he can flash in a game and change it with a snap of the fingers.

Pick 31: MB
Ryan Garthwaite
Key Position Defender (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
30/06/1998 | 192cm | 84kg

Another tall we’ve managed to slot into the backline. A few injuries have kept him sidelined at stages this year but his work one-on-one has been very good. Fits in as a back pocket, but might be best suited to play on the last line of defence.

Pick 32: PW
Sam Fowler
Small Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
02/11/1998 | 169cm | 66kg

As the only prospect in the draft that is smaller than me (quite a feat), it is hard not to pick him. A genuine crumber nicknamed “the Rat”, Fowler has been winning plenty of ball lately and developing his game further. Do not be put off by his height, he is a talented prospect.

Pick 33: PW
Josh Daicos
Small Forward (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
26/11/1998 | 178cm | 69kg

While this pick is a little high to take Daicos, with the midfield filled and defence looking good, we are now drafting for holes required and Daicos fits the bill as a small forward. Classy and knows where the goals are, the son of the Macedonian Marvel has plenty of improvement for when he arrives at the Holden Centre.

Pick 34: MB
Max Lynch
Ruckman (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
12/09/1998 | 200cm | 96kg

The first ruckman taken and it’s NSW/ACT tall Max Lynch. I wasn’t a huge fan earlier in the season, but the ‘raw’ Lynch looks better with each game I see him. Lynch grew up playing soccer as a goalkeeper, but has slotted into the ruck for the Bushrangers throughout most of the season.

Pick 35: MB
Myles Poholke
General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
10/07/1998 | 184cm | 84kg

Was very happy to nab Poholke here. A strong body around the contest who certainly knows where the goals are. Continues to play well for the Stingrays and someone I’d expect to grab 20 disposals and kick two goals in my side.

Pick 36: PW
Sean Darcy
Ruckman (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
12/06/1998 | 201cm | 113kg

Who needs to move when you have others that do it for you? That is my motto with this pick as quite simply I had to pick the best ruck available. A monster at 113kg, Darcy will smash any other player his age in the hitouts, but given his frame it is no surprise mobility is his biggest deficiency. A strong contested grab and solid kick for a big bloke, he is the best ruck available at this pick.

Pick 37: PW
Reece Piper
Small Defender (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
30/12/1998 | 177cm | 75kg

I have only seen Reece a few times, but like his style and is a unique pick for my first bench place. I enjoy versatility in my team and he would relieve Jordan Gallucci or Andy McGrath, enabling them to play forward of the ball or through the middle. Has a few tricks for a smaller player and you can rely on him kicking out of the defensive 50.

Pick 38: MB
Lachlan Murphy
Small Defender/Inside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Country)
04/12/1998 | 173cm | 74kg

One of the few selected for our “All Stars” match who didn’t score a national combine invite. Alas- I’ve been a big fan of Murphy’s work in the last month and a bit, whether it be at school or TAC Cup level. A nice left foot, who makes the ball spin perfectly off his boot each time he kicks it. Despite his size, he has rolled through the inside midfield- But looks best at home across half back. Begins on the bench, but can play anywhere.

Lachlan Murphy representing the Northern Knights in 2016. (Photo by Rob Prezioso/AFL Media)
Lachlan Murphy representing the Northern Knights in 2016. (Photo by Rob Prezioso/AFL Media)

Pick 39: MB
Jack Graham
Inside Midfielder (North Adelaide/South Australia)
25/02/1998 | 183cm | 83kg

The Larke Medalist for the best player in the Under 18 champs, finds a spot in my team. You could question why he isn’t in the starting 22, but his kicking needs some work to avoid bombing it out of a contest. Graham is one of multiple inside midfielders in the draft and should rotate on the ball in our match.

Pick 40: PW
Josh Williams
Outside Midfielder (Surfers Paradise/Queensland)
12/06/1998 | 189cm | 69kg

Skill and speed. Always circling back to those two factors and Williams has both. While he might not be put in the same boat as McGrath or Perryman, he is lightning quick and disposes of the ball cleanly. A future Gold Coast midfielder with a top surname.

Pick 41: PW
Dylan Clarke
Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
06/09/1998 | 187cm | 85kg

Brother of Ryan, Dylan Clarke is another bull who just attacks contests fearlessly. We have enough elite kicks of the footy, and Clarke will help us get it out to them. Buries himself under packs and will be an asset coming off the bench.

Pick 42: MB
Zac Fisher
Inside Midfielder (Perth/Western Australia)
15/06/1998 | 175cm | 61kg

Inside midfielder who had a huge game against the Allies (In the video below). Performing well since the champs over in Western Australia, using his left boot well. If he had an extra 5-10cms, you could make a real case that he’d be talked about much more than he is currently.

Pick 43: MB
Peter Ladhams
Ruckman (Norwood/South Australia)
14/01/1998 | 202cm | 95kg

Could he be the second ‘two metre Peter’ in the AFL? Ladhams work is solid and his ability to find the football around the ground gives him the nod over other suitors. Should complement Max Lynch well.

Pick 44: PW
Callum Brown
Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
27/04/1998 | 177cm | 69kg

Nuggety little midfielder who has developed his game massively since moving into the midfield from the forward pocket. Not the cleanest of skills, but you cannot fault his effort or intensity and when forward 50 tackles are ever so important, Brown provides them and four quarter intensity.

Pick 45: PW
Harry Morrison
Medium Defender (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
12/11/1998 | 182cm | 73kg

Harry Morrison is the forgotten man. After missing the bulk of the season through injury, he is likely to pick up and be a factor in the finals series for the Murray Bushrangers. A strong grab and rebounding defender, Morrison can play on a wing, adding to his versatility.

Harry Morrison in action for the Murray Bushrangers in the 2015 TAC Cup Finals. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images).
Harry Morrison in action for the Murray Bushrangers in the 2015 TAC Cup Finals. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images).

Pick 46: MB
Jordan Ridley
Tall Utility (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
20/10/1998 | 192cm | 79kg

A tall utility who has caught my eye last year playing forward for Oakleigh. This season he’s more filled in wherever the Chargers have required him and I think he could become a really good swingman. Usually a reliable kick on his right foot, he isn’t afraid to get up the ground further when needed.

Pick 47: MB
Esava Ratugolea
Key Position Forward (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
24/07/1998 | 194cm | 95kg

Exciting tall Ratugolea jumped into consideration after an eight-goal haul against Bendigo. Ratugolea will be off to the National Combine and it will be intriguing to see how he tests. Will play as a third tall forward and may pinch hit in the ruck when needed for my side.


Pick 48: PW
Luke Bunker
Inside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
12/06/1998 | 185cm | 78kg

Another inside midfielder of good size who is often underrated in this draft crop. Will work well with Clarke, Brodie and Setterfield through the midfield and is another versatile player to round out the team.

Pick 49: PW
Joshua Begley
Medium Forward/Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
03/07/1998 | 187cm | 87kg

Every team needs a bit of X-factor and the unknown and this kid certainly is that. From kicking bags to racking up the ball in the middle, Begley has gone from strength to strength this year. A very good size at 187cm and 87kg, and will take the last spot on my team.

Josh Begley in action for the Ranges v Knights. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Media).
Josh Begley in action for the Ranges v Knights. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Media).

Pick 50: MB
Brandan Parfitt
Inside Midfielder (Nightcliff/Northern Territory)
27/04/1998 | 179cm | 78kg

With the final pick in the draft, I’ll take Brandan Parfitt. He’s been reasonably quiet this year, but I thought he begun the season well against VFL opposition for the AFL Academy. Can play multiple roles which makes him appealing for the final player on the list of 25.

Full teams:

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 12.50.02 PM

Last word: I am really pleased with my team as I feel I have the two best key position defenders, two best key position forwards, and a tantalising half-back line. With foot skills and speed a premium in my team, we would be able to move it at a frantic pace, get it forward and if our strong contested marking forwards don’t snare it, our crumbers will. A good mix of versatile players, many of whom will forge solid AFL careers.

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 12.50.15 PM

Last word: I’m really pleased with the quality midfielders we’ve been able to score. I feel we’ve got enough depth with talls at both ends and two quality ruck combinations. A few left footed defenders coming out of defence might see us play a game plan similar to Hawthorn has in the past- Hopefully that is a sign of sure success for my side.

It should be noted too that there are many quality players not selected. For teams to remain balanced, we wanted to ensure that our sides were realistic and we weren’t left with 15 inside midfielders each. With a large contingent of inside midfielders in the 2016 draft pool, some unfortunately missed out on gaining selection.

Let us know you’re thoughts on who would win on Twitter, @AFLDraftCentral