Tag: lachlan thomas

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 13

THE 2021 SANFL Under 18s season continued over the weekend, with the latest round of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 12.7 (79) def. by NORTH ADELAIDE 16.12 (108)

By: Declan Reeve

Central District:

#21 Austin McDonald

McDonald was the major ball winner for Central through the contest, with his balance around the contest particularly impressive, able to win the ball in close or hold out and get a handball receive on the outside, he’d get the ball and spread well from the contest to give himself space to weigh up his options. Often good use by hand, especially in tight, it was McDonald’s kicking that at times let him down, looking rushed even without pressure sometimes; it was obvious when he did take his time the technique was more than good enough to get the ball to the advantage of teammates.

#37 Cody Gilchrist

Playing as the main forward target for Centrals, Gilchrist continued his impressive form in the forward half, getting a return of five goals and two behinds from the standout performance. Gilchrist was dominant aerially and on the lead, able to consistently clunk marks or draw in a free kick from his opponent, the reliability he presented as a target kept Central in the game. With the goals all fairly standard full forward goals, mostly from set shots, it was promising to see that Gilchrist looked to pass off the footy when on tougher angles, and pushed up the ground to be an option higher up and give into the 50, playing an overall selfless game.

OTHERS:

Trent Tattoli (28 disposals and 10 marks) never gave up despite Centrals being behind for so long, with Brodie Tuck (15 disposals, five marks and a goal) also looking good in patches as he did his best to assist Gilchrist as a forward target.

North Adelaide:

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

Playing his usual role in the back line, O’Loughlin brought really dangerous drive out of the defensive half as he pushed up to get handball receives. He was often used when he called for it coming from behind, getting it at top speed and kicking long forward. When he had the opportunity to steady himself, or when he was taking the kick ins, O’Loughlin delivered well to the advantage of his teammates. Managed to sneak forward and kick two goals to round out an impressive performance.

#4 Isaac Keeler

Splitting his time between the forward line and the ruck, Keeler did his best to make every play he was involved in dangerous, even if it meant sacrificing his own stats sheet with a tap to advantage of a teammate, or a give off inside 50. Despite his tall stature, Keeler covers the ground remarkably well, and finds ways to beat opponents with his agility and speed quite often, even after collecting the ball from below his knees he’s able to burst away and pass it off elsewhere. Didn’t have the greatest day in terms of accuracy returning with two goals and three behinds, with his consistency on goal a noted area of improvement.

#51 Angus Tully

Whilst not the tallest player out there, Tully looked strong aerially when required to prove it, with his aerial strength getting him a contested mark in the first quarter and a goal to follow it. He showed a real natural instinct for ground balls as well in the forward half of the ground, able to win them under pressure and dish out a handball, or burst away and kick to leading teammates. Earned his highest goal return of the season so far, accurately putting four goals on the board with no behinds.

OTHERS:

James Willis (34 disposals, three goals and six marks) was as solid a contributor as the Roosters could’ve asked for splitting his time between the midfield and forward-line, with Max Blacker (27 disposals, one goal and six marks) and Zyton Santillo (26 disposals) also registering high returns for their hard work. Despite registering his lowest disposal tally for the season, Hugh Jackson (17 disposals) still had some nice moments.

GLENELG 10.21 (81) def. STURT 5.3 (33)

By: Michael Alvaro

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

A solid body in the Bays midfield, Stagg contributed plenty of work at the coalface with his strength over the ball and ability to dish out handballs under tackling pressure. He would often win possession and be forced to dispose with opponents hanging off him, but backed himself to break clear of congestion with power. He booted his lone goal for the game with a well-steadied finish in the third term, having also registered two behinds and even more opportunities as he looked to manufacture some space.

#11 Jacob Owens

Finishing as the most prolific player afield with 38 disposals, Owens seemed to be everywhere at times on the back of his unrelenting two-way running. That exact trait saw him play the wing role perfectly, breaching either arc consistently while also carrying the ball positively everywhere in between. Whether he was dropping back or driving forward, Owens used the ball relatively neatly, but found less space to operate as the game wore on. Overall, it was an ultra consistent display from the running machine.

#13 Hayden Brokensha

Another Tiger who played his role effectively, Brokensha swept beautifully out of defence and was at the fall of nearly every contest formed in the back half. When not intercepting himself, Brokensha would mop up the spills and chase the loose balls, providing a cool head across Glenelg’s high defensive line. He tended to use the ball well in tough spots and knew when to either hand off under pressure, or release a lateral kick to open the play up.

#20 Lewis Rayson 

Rotating through the midfield and defence, Rayson’s running power and ability to chain possessions saw Glenelg drive forward with force. He used his turn of speed to set off in space after winning ground balls, dishing a handball and working hard to receive the next possession. Rayson also did so when using the ball by foot, targeting shorter options at times to stay involved in the play. His radar was a touch off in the first half, but he steadied after the main break to deliver some cleaner passes inside 50. He pressed up aggressively behind the ball and forced turnovers, even showing his handy vertical leap with an intercept mark during term three. Productive as always, it was another solid 25-disposal outing for Rayson.

#21 Cooper Beecken

Beecken didn’t finish with the formidable numbers of others, but looked sharp as ever on the ball when working it out of defence. He’s a smooth operator across half-back and showed as much on Saturday with clean and composed contributions in tough areas of the ground. His best stint came during term three, where his assured handling and distribution allowed Glenelg to force the turnover and move swiftly into its array of transitions.

#38 Jakob Ryan 

The bottom-ager was exceptional, working high up the ground from his forward post to provide a reliable marking target. Ryan constantly got separation on the lead and presented strongly all the way up to half back, taking clean marks and quickly moving the ball on. He proved a key link in Glenelg’s rebounding play, with his repeatable skill proving hard to stop. A fourth term free kick conversion proved reward for his effort, before pulling up a bit sore in the dying stages. 23 disposals and 10 marks just about does his performance justice.

Others:

Brodie Edwards, Ben Ridgway, and Will Trevena were all productive members of Glenelg’s midfield rotation with over 20 disposals each, while William Watts also got a run in there and snared 3.2 up forward. Harry Tunkin and Hunter Window were good at ground level, as the likes of William Wiseman and Jarrad Parish looked to contribute aerially at either end of the ground.

Sturt:

#5 Jordan Hein

Having gained some experience in the Reserves grade, Hein returned to the Under 18s and had no trouble getting his hands on the ball. He finished as Sturt’s highest disposal getter with 30, including 23 kicks and 10 rebound 50s. Hein worked hard to accumulate from the last line, all the way up to centre half-forward with his running game sending the Double Blues forward with intent. While he looked to get good distance on some kicks, he also saw the ball come straight back in some instances. The zippy mover held a high line and came off it hard to receive off centre bounces, attempting to immediately drive his side into attack with green ball.

#8 Lachlan Thomas

The wingman produced another solid performance for the Double Blues, taking up his usual post and playing the position well. He dropped back to help the defence but tended not to get sucked into the forward arc, or into the contest. Still, Thomas fought for the ball when called upon and took a courageous mark under the high ball in term one. He took up handy positions on the outer and was a positive runner with ball in hand.

#15 Alex Holt

Along with Hein, Holt had plenty to do in defence as Glenelg poured on 31 scoring shots. He was only second to his teammate for disposals, but that haul included a game-high 23 kicks and 15 rebound 50s. Those numbers were slightly inflated by his kick-in duties, but Holt was made to compete on the last line of defence and chimed in with some really nice intercept marks – particularly in term three – before quickly moving the ball on by foot.

Others:

Bottom-ager Nick Sadler did some nice things in his 12-disposal effort from midfield, while the likes of Loch Rawlinson and George Pope also sought to provide some resistance at the source. Another state Under 17s representative in Luca Slade also had his moments and Kai Tucker provided some handy run.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 15.10 (100) def. NORWOOD 9.3 (57)

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#4 Jack Delean

The crafty small forward again got to work and was a menace inside attacking 50 with 4.2 from 15 touches. Delean built into the game steadily and snared three of his four majors after half time, though his first game before the main break from a smart front-and-centre crumb. The bottom-ager proved handy on the lead and converted three set shots with aplomb. His third goal came on the back of a terrific overhead mark against two opponents, defying his size, while the fourth was earned via a free kick as he got busy at a forward 50 stoppage. Undeniable in attack.

#10 Isaac Birt

Birt was again outstanding in his customary wing role, linking South into attack with his work between the arcs. While listed in an outside role, Birt also did the tough stuff with hard tackles, eye-catching spins out of traffic, and solid overhead marks. He brought his usual wingman traits to the fore too, running and delivering forward with intent – backing his pace and skills to do so. He finished with 25 disposals, seven marks, and a combined eight breaches of either arc.

#11 Jaiden Magor

The other major goal-getter on the day, Magor proved a deadeye in front of the big sticks with four six-pointers. Three of his four goals came from set shots, as Magor dealt with tough angles and a variety of distances with aplomb. He was courageous with a couple of his marks going back with the flight and proved powerful over the ball, working hard up the ground before earning his eventual reward inside attacking 50. His last goal came in the third term, as he was gifted the ball by an opponent and did well to snap home quickly on his left foot.

Others:

Midfielder Luke Mitton led all comers with 30 disposals and provided constant effort around the ball for South, supported well by the likes of Angus Bradley and bottom-ager Tom Wheaton. Lachlan Hayes and Cooper Rogers were also productive, while ruck Will Verrall took full toll of a height and leap advantage to finish with 32 hitouts and six clearances.

Norwood:

#2 Tyson Walls

Rotating through both sides of midfield from the forwardline, Walls worked hard to provide the Redlegs with some attacking momentum. He started in the front six and looked to craft ways forward with his speed and agility, searching all the way up to half-back to find the ball and move it on immediately. He was everywhere at times, and it was no surprise to see him finish as Norwood’s top ball winner with 23 disposals. When thrown into the centre bounces, Walls held his own and was tough in tackles against a pretty handy South midfield.

#20 Max Michalanney

The bottom-ager was a constant down back for Norwood, proving particularly influential in the first half with his ability to repel South Adelaide’s attacks. He took on some of the kick-in duties and was generally neat in those situations, but tended to bomb a bit more under pressure in general play. Michalanney did plenty to win the ball back for Norwood though, positioning in all the right spots to either intercept aerially or impact the ground ball. He registered six rebound 50s among his 19 disposals.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Playing in a variety of roles, Dnistriansky was one of the cleaner and more composed ball users for Norwood. He started out on the wing and was thrown into the centre bounces, dropping back well to support the defence in both roles where he picked off safe short options by foot. Dnistriansky was not afraid to look inboard or use either foot, helping steady the Redlegs under pretty substantial pressure. He also moved forward after half time and hit the scoreboard with a well-finished snap goal in the third quarter.

Others:

State Under 17s representative Taj Rahui provided some nice run out of defence, with Will Bowman another to rebound by foot. Will Charlton carried the ball forward well through midfield, while Oskar De Luca snared two goals and looked lively up forward. Starting on the same line, standout top-ager Cooper Murley was injured in his very first involvement, appearing to hurt his shoulder while being tackled.

WEST ADELAIDE 9.3 (57) def. by WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 18.14 (122)

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#9 Kobe Ryan

As a classy fixture in the West Adelaide engine room, Ryan again proved his value not only with ball in hand, but also without it. The bottom-ager notched up 26 disposals, five tackles and seven clearances, showcasing a good balance of inside and outside traits along the way. He looked polished in possession but was also willing to crack in and do the tough stuff when required. Ryan capped his game with a goal from nothing in the third term, barrelled out of a contest from range.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy again stood up to finish as Westies’ main ball winner, managing a team-high 28 disposals and 11 marks in a workmanlike outing. As a near-permanent part of his side’s centre bounce combination, Kennedy was able to burrow in to win his own ball, but was arguably more impactful with his driving plays through the corridor – where he would often mark uncontested, get the legs pumping, and thrust a long ball inside 50. He also looked to chain handballs through the middle and popped up everywhere at times. That included up forward, where he bagged a set shot goal in the opening quarter.

#35 Will Patton

The 2005-born prospect defied his age to provide plenty of solidity down back, proving a cool head in the face of Woodville-West Torrens’ 32 scoring shots. A key feature of Patton’s game was his intercept marking, with the youngster rising high to pluck marks either drifting across, one-on-one, or in the thick of packs. He was as reliable as anyone afield in that department and generally distributed the ball well too, marshalling the play under plenty of pressure.

#51 Harry Barnett

One of the more impressive bigmen afield in context, Barnett had a heck of a job in front of him coming up against the sheer array of Eagles talls. He stood up well, particularly in the first half, showcasing his mobility at 202cm. The state Under 17s representative looked quite polished for his size and was able to earn a few chances on goal before half time. He missed a set shot in the first term, but came back to convert another set shot opportunity in the second after presenting well on the lead. He finished with 12 disposals, six marks and 16 hitouts.

Others:

Jesse Thackeray was a prominent part of the West Adelaide midfield once again with 23 disposals and four clearances, while the likes of Charlie Pridham and Kye Roberts got to work in an under-siege defence. Jed Obst was also handy on the wing on what ended up being a tough day for the Bloods.

WWT Eagles:

#17 Adam D’Aloia

The state Under 17s captain went about his usual ball winning business, finding plenty of it on the inside but also using the ball well for a player of his typing. He finished with 29 disposals, seven clearances and seven inside 50s, lowering his eyes nicely when released and driving inside 50. He was quite a permanent fixture in midfield for the Eagles, proving reliable once again and setting a solid tone to follow.

#20 Lukas Cooke

Cooke is undeniably dangerous with his aerial threat deep inside attacking 50, and the Eagles’ forwardline structure played to his strengths on Saturday. With just 10 disposals and four marks, Cooke registered five scoring shots which included three goals from grabs near the big sticks. He missed a couple more gettable chances, but still made an impact with majors and showcased his clean marking ability.

#21 Mattaes Phillipou

The bottom-ager is truly firming as one to watch for next year, with his athleticism and ability to find the goals again coming to the fore. He took advantage of two Westies defenders slipping over to put through the game’s first goal, and went on to add two more in the final term to cap off a promising outing. Phillipou looked dangerous when working up the ground, linking the play with his marking and pace to be a really productive attacking force. He also got a run in the midfield, where he shows great versatility.

#24 Zac Phillips

The over-aged ruck continues to show nice signs of development, furthering his game past the obvious strength of ruck craft. Phillips worked around the ground well to provide a marking option between the arcs, clunking nine grabs with four of them contested. His overall output of 22 disposals and seven inside 50s would read well for a much smaller player, let alone a player of Phillips’ 201cm frame.

#26 Jordan Lukac

Another of the Eagles’ dangerous talls, Lukac looked at his best when stationed inside 50 where he booted a game-high four goals from seven disposals. Five of his seven touches were scoring shots, but it felt like Lukac impacted more than his numbers would suggest, or perhaps his avenues to goal were just impressive. He showed strong hands on the lead and good athleticism inside 50 at times, especially in snaring his two second half majors. The first saw him cut inside and snap truly from the boundary, while the second was an opportunistic soccer finish in the goalsquare. He tapped well while rolling through the ruck too, playing his role well.

Others:

The Eagles had a plethora of strong contributors, none more so than leading ball winner Dustin Launer (42 disposals, 13 marks, 11 inside 50s, one goal). Blake Hansen (33 disposals) also found plenty of it, while smalls Sam Nicholls and Jay Watson got to work with the latter booting three goals. William Neumann had his moments in midfield too, and Jonte Hunter Price held firm in defence. Early on, Mishai Wollogorang set the game alight with his speed on the rebound.

 

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

Scouting Notes: 2020 South Australian Under 18 All-Stars

THE 2020 South Australian Under 18 All-Stars and Under 17 Futures took to Thebarton Oval on Friday night, performing in their final showcase for the year. While a number of highly touted top-age draft prospects were unable to take the field, other big names were able to show their class. In the main event, Team Grundy defeated Team Hurn 12.18 (90) to 4.12 (36), while Team Smith held on to beat Team Ebert 9.6 (60) to 7.10 (52) in the curtain raiser.

Draft Central Football Editor, Michael Alvaro was on hand to take note of the standout players and familiar names who impressed across both games. For the full teams and replays of either game, click here.

>> Power Rankings: October Update

Under 18 All-Stars – Team Grundy (Red) vs. Team Hurn (Yellow)

Team Grundy:

#4 Jase Burgoyne

One of a half-dozen Team Grundy bottom-agers, the 2021-eligible Port Adelaide father-son prospect showed off some of his best traits in patches. Able to adapt on each line, the smooth moving son of Peter boasts plenty of upside, but remains quite raw and light-on at 184cm/62kg. He was able to show nice agility in traffic and evasive techniques which helped him keep clear of closing opponents. Much of his work was done in general play, but he is known to be a strong accumulator who can utilise his sound short kicking game to help his side maintain possession.

#6 Will Spain

Another bottom-ager on Team Red, Spain popped up with some nice moments throughout the game. The diminutive Sturt midfielder was mostly utilised on the outer, where he was able to get his legs pumping with ball in hand and provide quick linkage between the arcs. He conveyed a good work-rate to get back and take a relieving diving mark inside defensive 50 during the second term, but showed his best form when taking the game on and gaining repeat possessions with his line-breaking run.

#7 Blayne O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin is a 2021-eligible prospect who is sure to provide Adelaide fans with continued hope, given he is tied to the Crows’ Next Generation Academy (NGA). There may not be much of the 172cm defender, but he packs a punch. He was able to compete well in his usual defensive post, proving strong at ground level and rebounding quickly once he had snapped up possession. While stationed a touch deeper than usual, O’Loughlin’s penetration by foot was somewhat replaced by his sound decision making, as he was able to find shorter options. He was even entrusted with the kick-ins at times, much like he has been with North Adelaide.

#8 Henry Nelligan

The 2020 SANFL Under 18s premiership player had a case for being best afield, as his sheer work-rate and ability to accumulate possessions across the ground took full toll. Nelligan is one of the most consistent players among his South Australian peers in terms of pure ball winning; able to win it at ground level, in space around the ground, or even on the lead up forward. His craftiness forward of centre came to the fore, with a beautifully improvised snap to Tom Emmett in the second term making for a nice goal assist. He also had chances to find the goals himself, but saw a set shot and attempt on the run dragged wide, while a quick snap in the final term was rushed over. His second efforts and clear footballing smarts make up a lot for what he lacks in size, and it seems he had a point to prove having missed out on a National Combine invite.

#11 Lachlan Grubb

Perhaps another National Combine omission with a point to prove, Grubb seems to have gained a great deal of confidence having turned out at senior level. The speedy forward brought exactly that to the contest, breaking the lines and proving a menace going inside 50. While he missed multiple chances to get on the scoreboard himself, Grubb assisted goals to Zac Dumesny in the second term and Cooper Horsnell in the fourth, while also unselfishly hitting up Tom Emmett on the fly when he could easily have sunk a shot from 35 metres out. But arguably his biggest play of the night came via a three-bounce dash on the wing during the third term, where he showcased his high-level sprinting ability to burn an opponent and deliver inside 50. A solid outing, he just needs to refine that finishing product.

#12 Daniel Fairbrother

Fairbrother is another Norwood premiership player, and one who has also gained some valuable senior experience. In a defensive role which he looks comfortable in, the top-ager was able to prove his worth with ball in hand on the back of some clean kicks and composed touches. He is the type of player you want to be exiting the defensive 50, and was a strong contributor across half-back.

#15 Max Clifton

Another solid contributor, Clifton popped up with glimpses of his best form in each quarter. In the first term, it was his courage to mark strongly overhead and willingness to move the ball on immediately which stood out. In the second stanza, the midfielder showed nice agility and was difficult to tackle. After half time, he had more of an impact inside attacking 50 with a set shot attempt which went wide, followed by an assist to Nasiah Wanganeen who tapped-in a snap on goal from point-blank range.

#16 Mani Liddy

The hard-nosed Sturt midfielder proved a fast starter, nearly snaring two impressive goals within the opening term. He did manage to claim Team Grundy’s first major, taking advantage from a free kick inside 50 and finishing with aplomb on the checkside. He almost followed it up with a snap moments later, but could not find the same spark as the contest wore on, rotating between the midfield and forwardline.

#17 Cooper Beecken

Arguably the most impressive bottom-ager afield, Beecken is a light and athletic 190cm defender who boasts many similarities to Hawthorn’s Will Day. The Glenelg prospect proved very clean and composed in possession across the back half, chiming in with timely intercept marks and mopping up at ground level. He seems to cover the ground well too, able to float into good positions in the defensive arc and help initiate rebounding forays. Having spent a good chunk of his season turning out for Sacred Heart, Beecken has emerged as an early top 25 prospect ahead of his draft eligible year in 2021.

#20 Zac Dumesny

The highly touted South Adelaide prospect was back to his best in this contest, taking up a spot on the wing and even rotating through the inside at times during the second half. Dumesny’s third quarter was arguably his best; as his clean hands, sharp skills, forward running capacity, and intercept qualities all came to the fore. He got forward well to become an option in said term but hit the post with his 30-metre set shot, and was also sighted marking on the defensive goal line during the following stanza. A typical Dumesny play was evident in the second quarter, as he gathered superbly on the half-volley at pace and flicked out a releasing handball to Caleb Poulter on the run. Top effort overall, one of the best afield.

#21 Riley Holder

Another prospect out of Sacred Heart and Glenelg, Holder proved dangerous inside attacking 50 with his strong aerial marking and sound conversion in front of goal. He booted three majors overall, with all three coming from set shots. Two of them were claimed in the opening term, as Holder’s ability to gain separation on the lead and hold onto marks on the move helped earn those scoring opportunities. He sunk a third after half time by presenting well once again, capping off a handy display up forward.

#22 Nic Couroupis

Couroupis is an over-ager who has flown a little under the radar, but came to prominence with some nice plays in this outing. The strongly-built midfielder spent a lot of time in defence, utilising his overhead marking ability to relieve some contested situations in the back half. He had a nice attacking moment too, with a well-taken mark in the corridor helping him continue his run and provide Tom Emmett with a goal assist just before the half time siren, while his kicking game was also generally sharp.

#33 Caleb Poulter

Far and away the best and most classy player afield, particularly in the first half, Poulter may well have cemented his first round status with this performance. The 192cm midfielder started at the centre bounces and made an impact straight away with a couple of clearances right out of the middle. He was simply cleaner and more effective than any other player, extracting beautifully and hitting a teammate with nearly every disposal. His ability to release long handballs from congestion has always been a key trait, and one particular pass from the centre bounce found Zac Dumesny on the wing, who hardly had to break stride to gather. It is difficult to do justice to his impact in the first half, with his silk and poise on the ball proving a class above the rest. Hardly reliant on pure strength, Poulter proved elusive and athletic in his craft. He was quieter after the main break, but had done plenty to prove his worth beforehand.

#34 Tom Emmett

About a month shy of his 19th birthday, Emmett looks a mature type in terms of his physicality and willingness to compete. At 186cm/86kg, the Sturt forward provided great presence inside 50 and finished with a game-high four goals. He was particularly aggressive at opposition kick-ins, reading the play well to intercept and even snaring a turnover goal that way. His long-range set shot conversion right on the half time siren showed his finishing ability, and some Reserves experience this year seems to have boosted his stock back down at Under 18s level.

Team Hurn:

#3 Corey Durdin

The Central District product found some form in spurts as he returned from repeat hamstring injuries, though it was a tough night to be a Team Hurn forward. As has always been the case with Durdin, his ground level efforts were terrific; not only digging in to win his own ball, but also applying strong tackles, smothers, and attempting to accelerate away. The 173cm prospect moved high up the ground in search of possession and attended some stoppages in general play, before moving into the centre bounces during the final term. He was most prominent during the last quarter, showing good toe away from congestion and finding a couple of teammates inside 50 with neat kicks.

#4 Bailey Chamberlain

Having staked his claim for Westies’ Under 18s as a primary ball winner, Chamberlain showcased his balance with a decent performance on the wing. He played there upon earning a senior call-up and was able to utilise his speed in transition to help link Team Hurn inside attacking 50. He tended to shift into the corridor at times, which proved a dangerous ploy when his teammates found him and he was able to accelerate forward. Chamberlain’s kicking at speed remains a touch scrappy, though back-to-back forward thrusts in the final term proved he is capable of finding his targets, but just needs to do so more consistently.

#7 Xavier Robins

Somewhat of a bolter in this year’s talent pool, Robins comes from good pedigree and possesses some handy weapons at half-back. The dashing defender was in the thick of the action early, mostly sighted attempting to repel Team Grundy’s attacks within the defensive arc, and darting kicks forward. While still a touch light, Robins has great speed and repeatedly worked all the way up to half-forward to move his side into attacking 50. While it didn’t always come off, Robins GPS data should show some solid numbers from those efforts.

#8 Liam Hamilton

It was somewhat of an ‘almost’ performance from Hamilton, who ended up with plenty of chances inside forward 50 but could not quite come away with a major score. The South Adelaide top-ager found the ball in dangerous positions nonetheless and was particularly lively in the second half. Perhaps his biggest stumbling block was the distance many of his shots came from, with some falling short from around 40 metres out, while others went wide either on the run or at a closer range. With a more refined finishing ability, Hamilton could have ended up with a bag of goals.

#9 Tom Powell

It often takes a keen watcher to observed Powell’s true impact in midfield, as many of his disposals are easily missed on the inside. The 2020 McCallum Tomkins Medallist showcased his wonderfully clean and quick hands in congestion, keeping his hands up in tackles and flicking out accurate passes to his runners. He just always seems to be able to get a handball away at the ideal time and is one of the most effective stoppage players in this year’s crop. His biggest impact was arguably felt in the early stages, but he also finished well and was able to accumulate at either end in between.

#11 Tariek Newchurch

Plenty was made of Newchurch’s starting position on the wing for Team Hurn, though he did not quite have the overall impact he would have liked. He was first sighted making a darting run inside attacking 50, not afraid to go backwards to find space before delivering well across the arc. Newchurch then popped up with a couple of nice moments in the second and third terms, forced right into the defensive half to take a strong intercept grab overhead, and tracking back to take another in the following quarter. He looked to move the ball on and generate some attack with his pace, but it was a tough night for the men in yellow. Plenty of Crows fans will be excited to get Newchurch on board as an NGA selection.

#13 Brodie Lake

Lake was arguably his side’s most impressive player and was Team Hurn’s sole goalkicker for the best part of three quarters. The Northern Territory native was outstanding in the first half, booting a couple of classy majors and impacting the play from midfield. While rotating forward, he first latched onto a Luke Edwards kick on the lead and sunk a lovey set shot from 40 metres on a tough angle. His second goal was a party trick, converting a checkside attempt from a fair distance out on the boundary line. He also laid a fantastic tackle in the first term to force a stoppage in his defensive goalsquare, exemplifying his work-rate. Lake faded a touch in the second half, but his early moments would have stuck clear in the memory of onlookers.

#14 Nicholas Kraemer

The big-bodied South Adelaide midfielder had his top-age season interrupted by injury, but has fared well upon his return with plenty of time in defence. That was no different in this game, as Kraemer was able to bring great physicality and cleanliness to an under-siege back six. He was busy to start with and had an impact through midfield, but arguably did his best work down back with intercepts and hard work at ground level. It would not have been easy to compete so consistently given the one-sided nature of the game, but Kraemer stood up and was generally reliable with ball in hand, even from the kick-ins.

#15 Beau McCreery

Team Hurn’s only 19-year-old afield, McCreery provided some good spark for his side working up the field from his forward post. He was even thrown into the midfield during the second half having suffered from a lack of service inside attacking 50. The lively South Adelaide product got involved going forward, and his highlight for the game came via an outstanding run-down tackle in the second term to earn possession back.

#16 Luke Edwards

Edwards is one of the many South Australian prospects to have been highly touted from a long way out, especially given his father-son ties to the Adelaide Crows. He somewhat reverted back to a familiar state-level role in this outing, rotating between the midfield and backline for Team Hurn. He provided Brodie Lake with his side’s first goal in the opening term and was generally safe in his disposal via foot. Having won a clearance or two, most of Edwards’ contributions came in defence as he took the kick-ins and looked to calmly distribute out of the back half. He did run into trouble with a couple of turnovers from defensive 50, but worked to recover the ball and was a solid figure overall.

#24 Nathan Hearing

Fresh off his best afield SANFL Under 18s Grand Final performance, Hearing took on the ruck duties once again at 195cm. He is a competitive unit, able to claim the ball out of the ruck and pump it forward, or compete at ground level to help his midfielders with a physical presence. He missed the chance to cap off his game with a goal in the final term, sending a set shot wide.


Under 17 Futures – Team Ebert (Blue) vs. Team Smith (Yellow)

Team Smith managed to hold off Team Ebert in the Under 17 Futures fixture, with a bunch of promising 2021 and 2022-eligible prospects strutting their stuff at Thebarton Oval. As is often the case in showcase games, particularly at the end of a strenuous season, a raft of players popped up in patches throughout the contest to provide a taste of what’s to come in terms of South Australian talent.

For the Yellow side, Jacob Lochowiak was physical in midfield, while also proving dangerous within the attacking half. Eagles prospect Brayden Calvett had an enthralling battle with Isaac Birt on the wing, as both players showcased their line-breaking speed and forward running. Lachlan Scannell is a prospect to watch for 2022, as he rotated with fellow 16-year-old Kobe Ryan from half-back to the wing. Tyson Coe is another from that crop, and his work in midfield and defence was solid. Tyson Walls was a lively figure up forward, with Harry Tunkin doing some nice early work down back and through midfield. Sturt’s Brad Jefferies was able to find the ball as he moved forward from the middle, while Shaun Bennier was a dangerous figure inside 50 despite some conversion worries. Bigmen Adam Heath and Declan Hortle were also prominent, with the former presenting well from his starting forward post, while the latter booted two majors in his ruck/forward role.

Twin tall forwards Harry McInnes (three goals) and Luca Whitelum (two) were terrific targets for Team Ebert, with Glenelg’s McInnes mostly stationed inside 50 while Whitelum presented up the ground. James Willis‘ acceleration away from congestion was an eye-catching feature through midfield, and he was supported well by classy 16-year-old Jaiden Magor. Another 2004-birth, Austin McDonald also found plenty of the ball, while Isaac Keeler showed some promising athleticism in the ruck. Cade Kennedy was a handy member of the midfield/forward rotation, with Lachlan Thomas a threatening link into attacking 50 along with Blake Hansen.

Featured image: Nicholas Kraemer gets a kick away for Team Hurn | Credit: Mark Brake/AFL Photos

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL – League & Under 18s semi-finals

FINALS time in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18s and League competitions, with a focus on State Academy based talentNational Combine invitees, and others who may push for selection along the line.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

>> Power Rankings: October Edition

LEAGUE

South Adelaide vs. Glenelg

By: Eli Duxson

South Adelaide:

#33 Jason Horne

The 17-year-old was eventually named in the final 22 and returned a serviceable performance of 15 disposals and a goal which all but iced the game. Moving between half-forward and the midfield, he managed to find a bit of the ball between the wings, and surged it forward with his four inside 50s. At times it looked clear that he lacked some body maturity, being pushed around at stoppages, but he also showed the inverse by breaking tackles and displaying strong evasive skills through traffic. Horne was clearly accountable and taking defensive positions around stoppages when playing in the middle, and he was able to take good attacking positions in the forwardline. He took and held front position several times, but also timed his run well to rove the contests from his key forwards. His goal came from holding space and hitting the crumbed ball at the optimal time before finishing neatly. He did not find a lot of space with ball in hand, so majority of his kicks were hacks out of contests, but when he found space, he used it well.

#35 Tom Highmore

It was not a big disposal game for the mature-age combine invitee, but it was a solid display down back which helped his Panthers to a preliminary final berth. His modest 11 disposals were of course coupled with six marks (two contested), as he continued to show his consistency at the contest. His aerial balance highlights his hip and core strength as he tackled hard and well for much of the day. He backed courageously into traffic on a couple of occasions and was also very capable moving the other way through traffic, building good energy through the ball with his size and speed. His strength allowed him to out-body opponents in one-on-one contests, but he also used it to put his body in front of an teammate’s direct marker to free them up for the mark. He will be looking to carry this output as deep into the season as possible to give himself the best run at the draft.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Glenelg:

#23 Callum Park

The smooth-moving and long-sleeve wearing Park played most of the game in defence while spending some stints on the wing in the second half, managing 16 disposals (14 kicks) and seven rebound 50s. The designated kick-out taker used the ball efficiently as he usually does and defended reasonably well, although at times he was caught out of position after turnovers in the back half. His highlight of the day was a massive run out of defence, taking several bounces with no options forward. He ran at least 100-150 metres and managed to find a short target to finish it off. The 19-year-old’s season is over after playing every senior game except for Round 1 and being a reliable performer in the back half for Glenelg.

#27 Luke Parks

Parks did not enjoy the run and jump at the ball that he normally does, playing a stricter defensive role on the last line for Glenelg. Although it was a disappointing day for the reigning premiers, no South Adelaide goals came from his direct opponent, further showing his key position qualities. When he was able to, he attacked the ball hard to clear and he still managed to take four marks, with two of them being intercepts. He spoiled and tackled well, but just did not enjoy the attacking freedom he normally does playing higher up the ground. A sturdy game overall, and a good season from the Swans Academy product.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

WWT Eagles vs. North Adelaide

By: Eli Duxson

Eagles:

#16 James Rowe

The Ken Farmer medallist added to his already impressive tally with two goals to go with 19 disposals and five clearances. With the early North Adelaide domination, Rowe was forced up the ground to impact and continued to rove higher for much of the day. His timing to rove and accelerate was good and while he would have preferred to be in front of goal, he was still making an impact. He took a strong overhead mark from a standing vertical jump in front of goal, and drilled the set shot for his first majors, and his side’s second. His second goal came in the second term after earning a holding the ball free kick and snapping it in from close range. While he did not impact the scoreboard for the rest of the game, he showed healthy aggression at the contest and was able to impact stoppages with his activity.

#28 Jacob Wehr

It was a massive opening quarter for the defender, setting up his team-high disposal count of 23, coupled with 10 rebound 50s. Wehr almost exclusively took the kick-outs for the Eagles but also found the ball in general play. When his opponent pushed up to add the extra number to the stoppage, he sat out the back and was available for a clearing handball or to run past. At defensive 50 stoppages, he also showed that he was a close checker despite being a ball winner. He has good dash, poise, is tidy below his knees, and tackles well. A good game overall for Wehr and he will be important in the Eagles’ chances of playing in the Grand Final.

#34 Lachlan Jones

Hardness at the contest and sturdy defence is what we come to expect from Jones, and he delivered again on the weekend. He managed 19 disposals and 11 rebound 50s and seemed to be around the ball whenever it was in his defensive half. Running up with his opponent, he managed to get up the ground and be an attacking option but used his speed again to ensure he worked back just as hard. He is someone you do not want to deal with in traffic due to his size and strength, but also his intensity and evasive awareness. He continued to put himself into traffic to win the ball or halve a contest all game. In the final quarter, he seemed to be everywhere as he continued to repel the ball. Though the Port Academy product will be hoping he has two games left, performances like the one he put up have been consistent of his season, doing his draft stocks no harm.

#51 Lachlan McNeil

The 19-year-old played mostly on the wing and seems to be a true wing player. He managed 15 disposals and a goal and was disciplined with his positioning all game. He was continually aware of his opponent’s position around stoppages, and when the ball was in dispute, he would get goal side of the contest to be another defender if the opposition got the ball, or be a relieving option if his teammates won it. His attack on the ball was strong, often coming through with good pace. He took a Roosters player out to set the tone early in the second half. Spending some time in the midfield with wet conditions allowed him to display his cleanliness in possession and disposal. Back on the wing in the final quarter, he held his space around the 50-metre line with a deep forward 50 stoppage. The ball was eventually knocked out his way and he weaved through a couple of defenders to slot through a much-needed goal for the Eagles.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

North Adelaide:

#37 Karl Finlay

His defence was not needed for large patches of the game due to his side’s dominance at stages, ending with just the three disposals. He managed a few more thumping spoils, which has been a good aspect of his game for much of the season, but he just was not able to intercept mark like he usually can. This was partly due to the swirly and wet conditions for part of the game, but also the Eagles’ forward entries being more directed, yet scrappy. He took on a tackle in the second quarter in front of goal and was caught holding the ball. The confidence was admirable, but it was perhaps the wrong option. Although he was quiet, it meant his side will play in the final game of the year. It will be interesting to see how he goes.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

UNDER 18s

WWT Eagles vs. South Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

Eagles:

#3 Taj Schofield

The Port Adelaide father-son hopeful produced a mixed bag in his most decent outing; producing some sharp work through traffic, but also scuppering a few of his kicks in the windy conditions. Rotating between the wing and centre bounces, Schofield worked hard both ways to find a good amount of ball, often relieving in the back half while providing a spark in forward transitions. He is often the receiver, but did well to sweep up at ground level and remain aware of his closing opponents throughout the hotly-contested game. The perceived pressure perhaps saw some of his spearing kicks fall short or go wide, though he had no trouble in converting a set shot in the second term for his lone goal of the game. Schofield lifted his output in the final term which was good to see, as the game was well and truly still alive.

#7 Caleb Poulter

Starting out on a wing, which may be a hint at which position he may suit at the next level, Poulter was a handy midfield wildcard for the Eagles once he eventually rotated to the inside. He looked most dangerous forward of centre in the early stages, latching onto long balls forward and pushing towards goal. He would then get his hands dirty at the coalface and showed good strength on many instances to stand up in tackles and flick a handball out, enabling the Eagles to continue their forward momentum. Poulter’s repeat ball winning efforts and kick penetration were important for his side, with his distinct casual style on the ball making him such a stylish player to watch.

#17 Liam Ueding

A rock at the back, Ueding seems to be the perfect player to thrive among the atmosphere of finals football. The bottom-ager competed hard one-on-one and at ground level, but the most eye-catching aspect of his game was observed through various aerial efforts to intercept. Ueding would be seen flying in late to clunk contested marks on numerous occasions, emphatically shutting down South’s attacks and allowing the Eagles to set up a counter attack. While most of his work was done inside defensive 50, the bottom-ager also pressed up the ground to take a handy grab in the corridor during the final term.

#25 Henry Smith

At just about 200cm, Smith is a difficult matchup at the Under 18s level on the pure basis of his height. While stationed up forward, the Eagles bigman was near-impossible to stop when he took front position, with no South Adelaide defender able to reach the same heights as Smith. He used that clear strength to his advantage to take a number of strong marks inside forward 50, while also booting a pair of goals in the first half. Smith spent some time in the ruck too, an area of growth for him, and managed to clunk some relieving marks around the ground.

#28 Nick Mitzithras

Mitzithras has caught the eye of late with his speed and damaging use by foot across half-back, both of which were again useful in this outing. The daring small defender started the game brightly, dashing out of the back half and helping the Eagles generate some forward momentum. His line-breaking ability was a handy asset given the contested nature of the game, though that kind of output wavered as the contest wore on. Although, Mitzithras’ closing speed again came to the fore in the final term, as he hunted down a South Adelaide opponent inside defensive 50.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Another potential Port Adelaide father-son (2021 eligible), Burgoyne has enjoyed a stellar bottom-age season. The versatile midfielder was often seen slipping away and out of congestion at the centre bounces, while also roving the taps beautifully to set him on his way. That roving ability was obvious in the first term as Burgoyne got moving forward with a centre clearance, and provided a daring corridor run to help set up a Max Litster goal. He had a shocking turnover in the final term which led to a Souths goal almost directly from the kickout, but Burgoyne’s disposal by foot was often clean in the short range. He can perhaps work on bombing less by foot, but otherwise has a sound overall game. He capped off his outing with a sealing goal in the final term while resting forward.

Others:

Brock Thomson was another Eagles defender to impress, able to read the ball in flight and fly for intercept marks while also providing a safe outlet in defensive 50. Harrison Dawkins‘ strong hands and sizeable leap were on full show, and the top-ager even pitched in with a couple of very classy goals at crucial moments. Max Litster was another to fare well through midfield, as the cream rose to the top for WWT.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

South Adelaide:

#4 Max Clifton

A perennial forward mover, Clifton was arguably South Adelaide’s best and most consistent player afield. The small midfielder often used his low centre of gravity and breakaway speed to burst clear from the centre, pumping the ball forward on his favoured left foot with terrific penetration. While not all of his booming kicks hit targets in the front half, meterage is often important in finals football and Clifton gained plenty. As the anchor at centre bounces, Clifton would paddle the ball to his advantage if the heat was too close, but also managed to cleanly gather and dispose of it by hand or foot. As his side’s leading ball winner on the day, there is not much more Clifton could have done.

#10 Brayden Cook

This was a rare goalless game from Cook, who was blanketed well by the Eagles defenders throughout. Starting out on the wing, the top-aged draft bolter generated some handy run between the arcs and often sought to play on immediately. While his attacking mindset sometimes worked to bring others into the game and but South into dangerous positions, Cook came undone as the contest drew tighter and he looked to take on too much. In the end, he could not find the same rhythm and transitional creativity as he did in the early stages, and was set upon immediately each time he neared the ball up forward.

#20 Zac Dumesny

Having built a reputation for his class on the ball and efficient disposal, Dumesny had some forgettable moments with turnovers from defence in this outing. Stationed off half-back, the highly-touted prospect took on South Adelaide’s kick-in duties and would often provide a safe outlet inside defensive 50. His use by foot was often sound, but most of his disposals were sent either short or sideways. He began to take the game on with his runs up to the wing, receiving and looking to move the ball forward quickly. That is perhaps where he came unstuck, with a couple of rushed disposals leading to direct chances at goal for WWT. He was utilised a touch further afield in the latter stages, but found most of his possessions in the opening half.

#21 Matthew Roberts

Roberts was on track for a monster day after dominating the first half alongside fellow bottom-ager, Arlo Draper. A midfield staple, Roberts began his accumulative exploits from the get-go, providing a good balance of neat short kicks and long, penetrating balls inside 50. He was the most prolific player afield in the second term, starting with a series of centre clearances and providing a well-weighted pass to Dylan Brown for a goal assist. Roberts was eventually swung forward himself, using his elite work-rate to lead up hard at the ball and snare a pair of goals to keep his side in the hunt. He was a little quieter after half time as the Eagles began to get back on top, but popped up late with a set shot on the wrong side for a left footer which hit the post. Has top 10 potential for 2021.

#33 Arlo Draper

The second of South Adelaide’s damaging bottom-agers, Draper looked like tearing the game apart in the first half. Starting up forward, the athletic youngster read the ball in flight and used his sizeable vertical leap to outdo his opponent one-on-one close to goal. He booted the Panthers’ first goal of the game with a set shot conversion, and took a massive pack mark on the goal line to bag his second in the same term. He was also influential when thrown into the midfield, using his size at the contest and coming away cleanly with slick hands and slippery agility. His bodywork and goal sense again came to the fore as he bagged goals in the second and third terms, and there were a number of times where Draper was able to burn his opponent over the back with full confidence in his pace. A versatile, crafty player with raw talent, he is another who could prove a first round prospect in 2021.

#35 Nicholas Kraemer

The South Adelaide skipper has taken on a variety of roles upon returning to the fold post-injury, and played predominantly in defence during this outing. He often manned Caleb Poulter throughout general play, able to match the dynamic Eagles midfielder for size and strength. Kraemer’s intercept marking also stood out on this occasion, as he read the ball well in flight and marked strongly to relieve pressure inside defensive 50. This was more evident in one-on-one situations, as Kraemer sometimes trailed when packs formed, though his clean hands at ground level allowed him to impact at the fall of the ball. A crucial holding the ball tackle in the third term further showcased his defensive appetite, as he stopped an Eagles fast break in its tracks. It was a solid overall outing for the top-ager, who started the season so promisingly through midfield.

Others:

Jack Flett proved a livewire up forward in the second half, finishing with three goals and loving each of them with some bigtime celebrations. His aerial ability and pace are very handy up either end of the ground. Jaiden Magor sured up his conversion in the second half to snare a couple of very sharp goals from the boundary line, while 16-year-old ruck Will Verrall showed some great signs and Dylan Brown‘s physicality shone through.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Sturt vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

Sturt:

#11 Will Spain

Spain started positively by booting the first goal of the game from a set-shot from just inside 50. As he has all season, the talented bottom-ager battled hard through the midfield, despite his side being comprehensively beaten on the scoreboard as the game wore on. He spent time on the dangerous Henry Nelligan and was able to hold his own and find a bit of the ball on the outside as well as the coal-face. On a tough day for Sturt, Spain was one of their better performers, finishing with 18 disposals, four marks, three tackles and three inside 50s.

#13 Bradley Jefferies

Jefferies, like fellow bottom-ager Will Spain, had his work cut out for him when the Norwood on-ballers began to dominate proceedings. He still found his fare share of the ball at ground level, fighting hard for every possession in and under. Jefferies booted a nice running goal from just inside the 50-metre arc in the third quarter to keep the Double Blues within striking distance, and his kick to the leading Jacob Lochowiak resulted in a shot at goal a couple of minutes later. The midfielder pieced together a nice game and finished the semi-final with 20 disposals and five marks.

#17 Mani Liddy

The ultra-consistent Liddy was again among Sturt’s best despite the frustrating result. As always, his clean hands at ground level and quick and effective handballing were standouts. Liddy was by far Sturt’s best clearance winner for the game, proving a handful at the stoppages all day. He was also effective in general play, particularly early on, displaying great composure in traffic before finding Jacob Ferrari with a short kick inside 50 to set up the Double Blues’ second goal. As the game wore on, his quick hands were integral to Sturt getting the ball going their way. Another highlight of Liddy’s game was his bone-crunching tackle on Norwood on-baller Jack Saunders, which won him a holding the ball free kick. Liddy finished with 22 disposals, five tackles, nine clearances and three inside 50s in what was a gallant display from the inside midfielder.

#18 Tom Powell

After he missed the final minor round game with calf tightness, Powell was a welcome return to the Sturt midfield. His presence was felt immediately, taking a terrific one-on-one mark and kicking long. His shot for goal from long range certainly would have tested the calf but sailed through with ease, albeit for a minor score only. Some of Powell’s shepherding and blocking didn’t register a statistic but proved invaluable in releasing the likes of Liddy, Spain, and Jefferies. Throughout the semi-final, Powell spent some time on close friend Nelligan in a clash between two of the Under 18 competition’s most prolific on-ballers. His kicking has been one of his only knocks so far this season, but his disposal by foot was largely sound on Saturday afternoon. He worked very hard around the ground, was typically clean below his knees, attacked every contest with ferocity and won plenty of contested ball, despite not quite finishing with the numbers we’ve become so accustomed to seeing from Powell. He finished with 18 disposals, nine marks, eight tackles, three clearances and five inside 50s, but expect him to lift his output in next weeks all-important preliminary final.

Others:

George Skeet Manuell held up well in defence when forced to weather an onslaught of Norwood forward entries. He provided some nice rebound when exiting the defensive 50, concluding the game with 18 disposals and a game-high 13 rebounds. The Double Blues lacked a genuine target up forward, but Jacob Lochowiak proved a handy outlet on a couple of occasions. The strongly-built forward showed off his vice-like hands and long right-foot kick and finished the game with 10 disposals, two goals, five marks and five tackles. Ned Walter performed well under-siege in defence and Lachlan Thomas provided an outlet on the outside of the contest. Blake Higgins finished with 15 disposals and six marks and ruckman Declan Hortle won a game-high 22 hit-outs.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

Although in recent weeks Murley hasn’t registered the massive numbers of earlier in the season, he has shown flashes of brilliance with ball in hand which will have AFL recruiters excited. In the first term, it was his clean disposal by hand which stood out. His clean pick-up at ground level at quick handball to Xavier Tranfa led to Norwood’s first goal of the contest. Throughout the game, Murley showed a willingness to use his opposite foot and hit his targets more often than not. He was always on the move at stoppages when around the ball and looked to open up the game on the outside with his elite speed. He finished with 19 disposals, three marks, thee tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s.

#4 Henry Nelligan

Nelligan was once again outstanding for Norwood through the midfield. He was opposed to Tom Powell at various stages and probably ended up on top in that battle. His classy spin through traffic was a highlight in the first term and his use of the ball was clean and effective, by both hand and foot. He was often the first player to get his hands on the ball at stoppages and was quick to find a target in some space. The pocket-rocket has been tremendous since returning to Under 18s level and will be difficult to stop in the Grand Final, set to be played in a fortnight’s time. He finished the contest with a well-rounded stat-line consisting of 25 disposals, five marks, four tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s

#5 Ethan Schwerdt

Schwerdt sprung to life in the third term and was a key reason behind Norwood’s inside 50 dominance. The Double Blues had no answer for his ball-winning around the contest and were unable to prevent him from thrusting Norwood back into attack time-after-time. Schwerdt has become an instrumental component of the highly talented Norwood midfield unit. He was clean at ground level and finished the match with a game-high 27 disposals, three marks and five inside 50s.

#21 Jack Saunders 

Saunders backed up his best-on-ground performance last weekend with another standout showing in Norwood’s big semi-final victory over Sturt at Thebarton Oval. He spent some time off half-back early on, where he was able to use his speed and booming right-foot kick to turn defence into attack. However, he was most effective when moved onto the ball. Saunders provided an instant spark and became the most damaging player on the ground. He attacked every contest at high-speed and ran hard both ways to link up the play between the arcs. He was very clean and precise by foot and backed-himself to hit a couple of difficult targets through the middle of the ground. Saunders will have accumulated an abundance of metres-gained in what was another fantastic performance from the dynamic, hard-running midfielder. He finished with 25 disposals, eight marks, three tackles, three clearances, five inside 50s and three rebound 50s.

#30 Finn Heard

Throughout the season, the Redlegs have proven to be a much better side whenever Heard is in the line-up. The big full forward again showed why he is one of the best tall forwards in SA by producing a strong performance in attack. Although he missed his first two attempts on goal from gettable opportunities, he was on the receiving end of Norwood’s midfield dominance as the ‘Legs began to take over. Heard’s leading patterns generated ample opportunities and his ability to gain separation on the lead was terrific. Heard, who played a stay-at-home role in attack, will have enjoyed being handed two goals from the square in the third term. He finished with five goals and two behinds from four marks and nine disposals.

Others:

Corey Jones-Bobridge was one of his side’s best in the 52-point triumph. He nailed two goals, to go with 17 disposals, five marks, three clearances and three inside 50s. The powerful Xavier Tranfa also did some damage on the scoreboard, booting two goals from his 20 disposals. He also laid four tackles, won four clearances when pushed into the midfield and sent the ball inside-50 on a team-high six occasions. Michael Cavallaro finished with 12 disposals and seven marks, while Harlee Chandler won 20 disposals, five marks, four clearances and four inside 50s. Ruckman Nathan Hearing was a force around the stoppages, winning seven clearances and the booming long kick of Sam Duke proved effective down back.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

Featured Image: Eagles midfielder Taj Schofield evades tacklers | Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 6

ROUND 6 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in. Some sides remained slightly depleted over the weekend with school football making its return.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

South Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#9 Jason Horne

It was another superb performance from Horne, who is currently South Adelaide’s prime mover through midfield. The bottom-ager constantly got first hands on the ball at stoppages, especially early, and used his bursting speed to break forward quickly. Horne’s play of the game came in that exact manner, as he streamed away from a centre bounce and launched home his sole major for the day from 60-metres out. Credit to his enormous work rate, Horne was able to constantly find space around the ground and really hunted the opposition with smothering tackling pressure. 26 disposals and six clearances led another formidable statline for the Under 16 State MVP.

#10 Brayden Cook

One of three Panthers to notch 26 touches, Cook made the wing his own across another consistent outing. He took a bit of time to get going, but kickstarted his day with a strong pack mark and goal late in the first term. That kind of forward running and hardness at the contest made him a constant threat, with some nice accumulative work between the arcs boosting his stats throughout. Cook capped off his day with a second goal, put through from the goalsquare in term four.

#19 Jamison Snelling

One of a couple outstanding 16-year-old prospects in the South Adelaide side, Snelling showed terrific glimpses of his top form to finish with three goals from 21 disposals and seven marks. His first major seemed to come from nowhere, as he benefitted from a turnover just outside the forward arc and slammed the ball home from range. It would set him going, with Snelling rotated through the midfield and forwardline to good effect all day. His form from distance carried on too; finding the big sticks from outside 50 a second time after receiving a hand-off, and finishing smartly on the run from a touch closer in the fourth term to put the cherry on top of a strong performance.

#22 Jack Flett

Flett was arguably the most damaging member of South’s steady back six, providing a cool head on the last line while also attempting to break the lines on the rebound. His left foot would become a weapon, used to attack as he took on some nice cross-field passes and gained serious distance. The short-range game was there too, able to hit up easy outlet kicks to help his side maintain possession. But Fleet’s best moments came on the offensive, with one particular driving run through the corridor sending the Panthers inside 50. His 23 disposals and eight marks were somewhat reflective of South’s high possession defence, but there was enough going the other way to have a big impact.

#27 Will Verrall

The 16-year-old key position prospect has transitioned well into the Under 18 side, and continues to mix it well both up forward and in the ruck. An athletic type, Verrall’s leap was evident early as he rose to take a nice overhead mark inside 50, converting the resultant set shot. A big pack mark later in the opening term gave him a second goal after the siren, and Verrall never looked back. While he could not quite find the goals again, his clean hands at ground level and ability to get involved in chained forward moves made for good viewing.

Others:

A bunch of solid contributors headlined South Adelaide’s win, with electric small forward Phoenix Spicer again looking lively. He added two goals and plenty of speed to the Panthers’ effort from out on the wing, much like Isaac Burt (22 disposals, nine marks). South’s defence was also strong, led by Samuel Hindes‘ 20 disposals, 12 marks, and seven rebound 50s, and consolidated by the safe ball use of Harry Spacie (26 disposals, nine marks).  

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide:

#15 Harvey Harrison

Harrison’s dash and dare from midfield was again a feature for North Adelaide, as he popped up in exciting spurts. After somewhat of a slow start (much like the rest of his side), the bottom-ager clicked into gear as he began to accumulate the ball on the outer of stoppage situations, using his five-step burst to accelerate forward and take the game on. A nice forward run in the third term was a highlight of Harrison’s day, as he finished with 25 disposals, five marks, and five clearances.

#18 James Willis

Another bottom-ager who is thriving for the Roosters upon being granted a touch more midfield responsibility is Willis, who returned 22 disposals, six tackles, and four clearances on a trying day. He too started a little shakily with a shanked kick under little pressure, but soon made up for it with an eye-catching run out of the defensive half. While his outside game would be sound given his speed, Willis looks just as good on the inside where he uses his strength to fend off opponents and bring them down in desperate tackles. That kind of play made him a driving force through midfield, and there is a good base to work off.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin is just so consistent with his work out of defence, and hardly lost a contest when the ball entered his area. Whether it came in aerially or via the carpet, O’Loughlin was constantly able to intercept and mop up across half-back to foil many of South Adelaide’s attacks. There might not be much of him, but the bottom-ager has plenty of impact with clean rebounding kicks on his left side – both short and long in range. He was again the Roosters’ most prolific ball winner with 26 touches, along with seven rebound 50s.

Others:

Midfielder Matthew Borg also managed to rack up 26 disposals, providing a constant stoppage presence as he lined up against Horne more often than not. Kyle Brazell (23 disposals, seven marks) was another to find plenty of the ball, able to drive forward from the wing. Zyton Santillo looks to be filling the role of Tariek Newchurch for North, with his lead-up duties as a small working well to link his side into attacking 50. Shaun Bennier contributed the most in terms of goals, booting 4.4 from 16 disposals and six marks with most of his work done deep.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

WWT Eagles vs. Central District

By: Tom Cheesman

WWT Eagles:

#7 Caleb Poulter

Poulter had another nice game for the Eagles in their victory at X Convenience Oval. He collected 25 disposals, five marks, five inside 50s, three clearances, and a goal while spending time in the midfield and across half-forward. The big-bodied AFL Academy Hub member was clean at stoppages, releasing many teammates into open space with some nice handballs on the up. He played with great physicality at clearances and in marking contests, and his terrific ability overhead was on show. Poulter also found plenty of the ball around the ground, made some nice decisions with ball in hand, and his kicking efficiency was exceptional. One of Poulter’s best traits is that he always follows up his possessions and contests, which is exactly what he did en route to kicking a clever goal in the last quarter.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Bottom-ager Burgoyne produced one of his best performances at Under 18 level on Saturday. He spent more time than usual in the midfield, which led to him being the leading disposal winner on the ground. His acceleration and elite ability to change direction wreaked havoc on the opposition, as they quite simply could not stop him from linking up with teammates through the middle and transitioning the ball forward. Burgoyne is never afraid to take the game on and use the corridor, a trait that is incredibly impressive for such a young player. His teammates try to get the ball in his hands at any cost, demonstrating how much faith they have in his abilities. Increased midfield minutes also allowed Burgoyne to show more of his physicality and tacking pressure, which are elements of his game that have been much more hidden when playing his usual half-back role. He finished with 33 disposals, seven rebound 50s, five clearances, four tackles and a nice set shot goal.

#34 Lachlan Jones (League)

Jones is one of the best South Australian prospects in this year’s draft class, and he showed why he’s rated so highly once again on Saturday. The 185cm youngster has a strong build and is very suited to his role in the ladder-leading Eagles’ backline. Jones matched up on ex-Carlton and Adelaide forward Troy Menzel during the game (when Menzel went forward) and did an excellent job. He pushed Menzel wide on the lead, held his own in one-on-one contests, and read the flight of the ball well when positioned behind the play.

Jones’ marking ability is definitely one of his major strengths, and he took multiple intercept marks in pack situations throughout the game. He has fantastic reach and athletic jumping ability, skills which were both on show in this match as he used this athleticism to spoil his opponents whenever he found himself out of position. It is evident that Jones will be an important member of the Eagles defence at League level all season. The Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy member finished with eight kicks, four marks and three rebound 50s.

#51 Lachlan McNeil (League)

McNeil was outstanding once again for the Eagles. He worked hard around the ground to find plenty of the ball and linked up well with teammates down the wings to transition it forward quickly. The over-ager was also strong defensively, laying three solid tackles –  including a nice run-down effort at the start of the third term. He used the ball effectively, was particularly clean with his hands, and kicked a nice set shot goal from just inside 50 in the first quarter. McNeil finished with 21 disposals, four clearances and four inside 50s.

Others:

Brayden Calvett (four goals) was very lively for the Eagles up forward, while Zeke Scott (20 disposals, eight tackles) was hard at it in the midfield, and Max Litster (25 disposals, eight marks, two goals) had a strong impact.

Jacob Godden (22 disposals, nine inside 50s) was busy at half forward, using his pace to provide an option up the ground and get the ball over the back and into the Eagles’ key forwards.

Port Adelaide father-son prospect Taj Schofield unfortunately suffered a lower leg injury in the opening minute of the game whilst attempting to change direction and did not return.

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

Central District:

#5 Kobe Wilson

Wilson was fantastic on Saturday, running hard up and down the wings to give Centrals supporters some exciting passages of play to watch. He started the game phenomenally, laying two strong tackles over the boundary and setting up the first goal of the game. Wilson has a spearing right-foot kick that is very effective, particularly when kicking short on the 45. He used his electric speed to provide a lot of run-and-carry for his side, and he kicked a well-deserved goal in the final term. Wilson had 13 disposals (all of which were kicks), five marks, five inside 50s and four tackles.

#13 Austin McDonald

McDonald was Central’s best clearance player on the day, collecting 18 disposals, eight clearances, and four inside 50s for his side. He is a very steady player, always composed and willing to wait for the right option to present itself. McDonald regularly provided an effective option for teammates in the corridor and applied relentless pressure on opposition players at stoppages around the ground.

#26 Shay Linke

Linke is in red-hot form for the Bulldogs and impressed on Saturday with another strong performance. He kicked two goals to go with a team-high 29 disposals, ten marks and eight inside 50s. Remarkably, 26 of Linke’s disposals were kicks, showing how much confidence he has in himself to make the right decisions going forward with the ball. He also worked hard at stoppages, earning five clearances for his side.

#27 Leek Alleer

Alleer was one of Central’s best when on the field, regularly providing an option for teammates to switch the play, and using his fantastic athleticism to impact the contest in all areas of the ground. He has a great reach to go with his impressive size, so he was never out-marked and used that reach and some serious closing speed to impact multiple marking contests.

His defensive tackling pressure was also outstanding, highlighted by a strong tackle on the speedy Jay Watson in the first term and then another great tackle in the second term on Zeke Scott. Alleer was involved in an unfortunate incident six minutes into the third term when an Eagles player dived for the ball and accidentally caught Alleer’s leg underneath them in the process. Despite trying to play on with the injury, Alleer soon left the field and did not return to the game. He finished with 15 disposals, five marks, three tackles and three clearances.

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

Although it was another tough day for Central’s forwards, Durdin showed once again many think of him so highly. The 172cm forward has an incredible work ethic and electric pace, applying plenty of pressure on opposition defenders throughout the contest and laying four important tackles. He kicked a clever soccer goal in the second term to get his side back in the contest, but unfortunately that was one of very few chances he got to hit the scoreboard. Durdin also provided a much-needed option for Centrals coming out defence and was always willing to get the ball moving quickly whenever he got the opportunity. He collected 12 disposals and three marks to go with his goal and four tackles.

#52 Lachlan Grubb (League)

Grubb made his SANFL League debut on Saturday and did not look out of place at all. Similarly to Durdin, he spent most of his time at half-forward and always presented well for his teammates. Early in the contest, Grubb settled himself in nicely by finding plenty of the ball and helping his side transition it into their forward 50. He got himself into strong positions, including multiple front and centres where he collected the ball on the run. Grubb also initiated some switches of play and pushed up the ground to apply some strong pressure. He finished with 11 disposals (ten kicks), three marks, two tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s.

Others:

Christopher Tidswell (19 disposals, seven marks, five rebound 50s) was solid through the middle and at half-back for the Bulldogs, using his nice left-foot to launch the Bulldogs into attack on many occasions. He always knew the right time to spread from the contest and did it very well. Finn Reed (16 disposals, six inside 50s, six marks, one goal) was also good, particularly in the second half. Some of his half-volleys were crisp and he attacked the footy with ferocity whenever it came his way.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide vs. Norwood

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

While the Bloods’ woes at Under 18s level continued, Chamberlain remains the shining light and put in another committed display. The lone AFL Academy hub member afield for West Adelaide worked incredibly hard for his side, finishing with a formidable statline which read: 36 disposals, seven marks, eight tackles, eight clearances, five inside 50s, and six rebound 50s. Chamberlain’s trend of getting back to help the defence again came to the fore, as did his bursts from congestion. A few quick steps, and he would gain separation from his Norwood opponents. A real positive in his game was the ability to mix clearing kicks with calm use by hand and shorter-range execution via foot, which adds another dimension to his midfield craft.

#10 Eduard van den Berg

The West Adelaide defender continues to carry a decent workload across the back half, forming his side’s most prevalent form of resistance and rebound. Most of his 26 disposals were kicks, with one of his first coming in the opening term and earning him a terrific goal with little time to think about it. After slotting that major from around 40-metres, van den Berg reverted back to his usual game in mopping up down back, able to rebound effectively even if the ball would repeatedly come straight back his way. He’s a clean and calm user, making him vital to the Bloods’ defensive setup.

Others:

A few of the taller Bloods fared well on Saturday, with ruckman Luke Heitmann often proving too big and strong for his opponents in notching 37 hitouts to go with 11 disposals, six tackles, and two goals. He shared those duties with Thomas Faulkner, who had 25 hitouts, while Thomas Rundle worked hard up the field from half-forward to provide a focal point with eight marks. Nicholas Couroupis and Cade Kennedy combined for 24 disposals, 24 tackles, and two goals from midfield, while Zac Venning ticked over 20 disposals.

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

We’re beginning to run out of superlatives to describe Murley, who continues to impress as Norwood’s prime midfield mover – in his  bottom-age year, no less. He looked busy from the outset and showed his smarts early with some deft inboard kicks, while also getting to all the right spots at the drop of the ball. Not only did Murley use his speed to break away from congestion with ball in hand, but he also followed up his clearance work by chasing his own disposals and getting involved at the next contest. His forward running makes him a constant headache for opposition defenders, though Murley still has a slight tendency to shank one in every few kicks at full flight. He is still so damaging in that area though, and took full toll with 34 disposals, 14 clearances, eight tackles, and six inside 50s.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

The Redlegs wingman again showed his smarts in an assured outing, chaining together some nice forward momentum for his side and constantly crafting a way forward. Cavallaro didn’t let a crunching hit in the opening term deter him, going on to collect 21 disposals and four marks in a solid and well-rounded display. While his ability to create going forward is noticeable, Cavallaro was able to show he is more than just a forward runner by winning his fair share at the contest and at both ends of the field.

#21 Jack Saunders

Saunders has been a mainstay in the Norwood midfield of late and it is little wonder why, as he consistently gets the job done. Second to only Murley in the ball winning stakes once again (24 disposals), Saunders is the no frills type of midfielder that every engine room needs. Most of his touches were simple gather and gives, but they were largely effective. He repeatedly showed a nice burst to get into space after hitting the ball straight-on, and was able to find the ball in all parts of the ground – shown by his clearance numbers and penetration of either arc.

Others:

West Adelaide’s bigmen may have stood tall, but so did Nathan Hearing for Norwood. The ruckman competed well in the air and got involved at ground level with 23 disposals, seven clearances, and seven inside 50s to go with 27 hitouts. There was plenty of scoreboard damage done, mainly via the boot of Samuel Duke (four goals), followed by three from Jackson Murphy and a couple from Marcus Roberts, who also had 19 touches and five clearances.

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

Glenelg vs. Sturt

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#2 Nasiah Wanganeen

Wanganeen showed flashes of his terrific skillset in Glenelg’s loss. A super smooth-mover, he is also a nice size, which allowed him to spend time on the ball, down back, and up forward. He was composed with ball in hand and looked to use his side-step to get around the man on the mark on a couple of instances. Wanganeen booted a goal in the final quarter and certainly possesses some likeable qualities. He finished with 19 disposals, six marks, six tackles, three clearances and three rebound-50s.

#10 Ty Murphy

Murphy was one of the few Tigers to show some real dare with ball in hand. He took the game on by using his speed to break the lines and generate some positive play moving forward. He was assured by foot for the most part and provided plenty of rebound from his role at half-back and on the wing. He laid a strong tackle on Tom Powell, something few have been able to manage in season 2020, and was rewarded with a holding-the-ball free kick. Murphy finished with 19 disposals, six marks, three tackles and six inside-50s.

#19 Jayden Davis 

It was a difficult day for the Tigers, but the performance of Davis will have impressed the Glenelg coaching staff. He was involved in almost every positive passage of play for the Bays and booted the clubs’ first two goals of the contest in the second quarter, thanks to some handy roving. He worked hard around the ground and took a game-high 11 marks, two of which were contested. He also racked up three clearances to go with a team-high 22 touches and four tackles.

Others:

On-baller Hagan Wright was one of Glenelg’s best in a midfield which was comprehensively beaten by a talented Sturt on-ball unit. He could have been more efficient by foot, but tried his guts out between the arcs and finished with 21 disposals, a goal, six marks, eight tackles, four clearances and four rebound-50s. Ruckman Max Fitzgerald produced a handful of effective taps to advantage, while Riley Davis and Joel Virtanen were solid down back, recording five rebound-50s apiece.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

Sturt:

#8 Lachlan Thomas

The speedy wingman ran up and down the ground all day, finding plenty of space and providing a link-up option. He was able to set-up several Double Blues attacks with his breakaway speed and run-and-carry, and looked to move it on quickly whenever possible. His ball use was often damaging and predominately effective, particularly when going forward. Thomas brought plenty of energy to the contest and finished a strong outing with 24 disposals, nine marks, five inside-50s and three rebound-50s.

#11 Will Spain

It was yet another solid outing from Sturt on-baller, Spain. While fellow midfielders Tom Powell and Mani Liddy have received much of the credit for the Double Blues’ excellent start to the season, Spain has been an essential component in the engine room. He was active whenever the ball was in his area, cracking in hard when the ball was there to be won but also applying plenty of defensive pressure whenever Glenelg got their hands on it.

During a dominant first term for the Double Blues, Spain was on the receiving end of a hurried inside-50 and made the most of the opportunity by nailing the subsequent set-shot from straight in front. He was excellent at the stoppages, winning seven clearances for the evening. Although he lacked a bit of polish by foot at-times, Spain attacked every contest with ferocity and showed plenty of strength in-and-under. He finished with 23 disposals, two marks, eight tackles and five inside-50s.

#16 Blake Higgins

On an ‘all played well’ type of evening for Sturt, Higgins was up there with the best. His foot skills were excellent, picking out his teammates with high degree of difficulty kicks on a number of occasions. Higgins was busy all game and, much like teammate Lachlan Thomas, was particularly effective with ball in hand when heading inside-50. Sturt looked to give him the ball to utilise his foot skills as often as possible and he rarely let them down. He also proved effective at the stoppages, winning four clearances to go with his 22 disposals, four marks and five inside-50s.

#17 Mani Liddy

The ever-consistent Liddy was again prominent for the in-form Double Blues. Liddy used his solid frame and obvious strength to fire off a quick handball despite being tackled by a pack of Tigers on several occasions. Liddy again won most of this possessions at the coalface so it was encouraging to see him stream through the middle early and kick long inside-50 in the first term. As he has demonstrated all season, Liddy showed great vision and skill by hand to spot a teammate in some space on the outside of a congested stoppage and get the ball moving Sturt’s way.

Although he missed a couple of targets by foot, Liddy showed off the power in his leg by setting sail on a couple of bombs from around the 50-metre arc. His clever tap on to Tom Powell in the third term didn’t register a stat but it allowed Powell to convert from close range and extend Sturt’s lead. He also set up the opening goal of the game with a neat kick to key forward Tom Emmett. Like most of the Sturt midfielders, Liddy also hit the scoreboard with two goals but also registered three behinds. He concluded the outing with 29 disposals, three marks, four tackles, seven clearances and seven inside-50s.

#18 Tom Powell

If the son-of-a-gun wasn’t already in the first round conversation, he almost certainly will be after another best-on-ground performance against Glenelg. Powell was always on the move at stoppages, either going in hard and winning the contested ball or looking to use his burst of speed to accelerate away from congestion and send it forward. He was regularly at the bottom of packs, wrestling for possession and looking to force out a handball. On the rare occasion when Powell didn’t win the contested ball, he applied plenty of pressure and executed a number of terrific tackles to stop his opponents in their tracks. A holding-the-ball free kick in the centre of ACH Group Stadium was a prime example of his ability to pin opponents arms.

Powell was clean by foot and effective by hand in-tight. He was seemingly involved in every Sturt forward 50 entry and knows exactly where to run to receive the ball, both around the ground and at the stoppages. However, it was his impact on the scoreboard which really elevated his performance. He booted three goals – two from roughly 40-metres out on the run and a third with a snap from close range. He did blaze away a couple of times in front of goal when he could have lowered his eyes, but it was encouraging to see Powell have a big impact on the match in attack. He certainly appears to be the best pure midfield prospect in South Australia and has started the season like a house on fire. Powell gathered another 39 disposals, three marks, six tackles, ten clearances and five inside-50s.

#19 Zabien Parker-Boers

The damaging forward booted four goals in the 100-point win. His ability to keep his feet allowed him to simply out-maneuverer his direct opponent and stream into goal in the first term. Parker-Boers was clean in the air as well, hauling in two contested marks. One of few Double Blues with accuracy in-front of goal, the forward finished with 17 disposals and three marks.

#22 Ned Walter

In his trademark helmet, Walter was rock-solid down back. He took a number of intercept marks by simply reading the flight of the ball better than his Glenelg opponents. At ground level, Walter attacked the contest well and won a couple of contested possessions by going in lower and harder. He was clean and composed by foot and showed intent to bring the ball back into the centre of the ground when appropriate. He found plenty of the ball by involving himself up the ground as well and was rewarded with a goal in the final term. Walter gathered 22 disposals, seven marks, four inside-50s and four rebound-50s.

#29 Tom Emmett

The strong-bodied Emmett was the most dominant forward on the ground for the second-consecutive week. The Double Blues looked for him more often than not when going forward and his ability to win the front-position and create separation on the lead ensured he was rewarded with a plethora of shots on goal. He also took a couple of strong contested marks around the ground to prove he isn’t a one-trick pony. He booted three goals for the match but could have ended with a bag, having recorded four behinds. A highlight was his clinical finish from close to the boundary-line in the second term. Emmett’s field kicking was excellent and his methodical set-shot routine should hold him in good stead going forward. He concluded the evening with 15 disposals and seven marks, two of which were contested.

Others: 

Jordan Opperman took a screamer in the first quarter and, importantly, converted his set-shot from the top of the goal-square. He was another who could have finished with a bag, having booted two goals and five behinds. The forward collected 14 disposals and seven marks (including three contested). Big-man Ethan Cass competed well in the ruck but it was his work around the ground which really stood-out. He was involved in plenty of attacking handball chains and collected a handy four clearances, to go with 19 disposals, seven hit-outs and five inside-50s.

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

SANFL League Player Focus:
Rd 1 – Corey Durdin
Rd 2 – Riley Thilthorpe
Rd 3 – Lachlan Jones

AFL Draft Watch:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Lachlan Jones
Caleb Poulter
Tom Powell
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Marquee Matchups:
Kaine Baldwin vs. Denver Grainger-Barras
Corey Durdin vs. Braeden Campbell
Luke Edwards vs. Connor Downie

>> July Power Rankings | August Power Rankings

>> 2020 South Australian Under 18s Predicted Squad

Under 16 National Championships: Division 1 wrap

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

South Australia (1-2)

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

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

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

Vic Country (1-2)

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

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

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

Vic Metro (3-0)

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

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

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

Western Australia (1-2)

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

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

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

Scouting notes: U16 Division 1 – Round 3

VIC Metro claimed the Under 16 Division 1 title on the final day of competition having gone through undefeated, with Vic Country’s win over South Australia making it a Victorian double for the day. With the Most Valuable Players (MVP) named for each side and plenty of prospects stepping up, here are our Round 3 scouting notes.

Western Australia vs. Vic Metro
By: Peter Williams

Western Australia:

#4 Richard Farmer

Looked dangerous inside 50 for the West Australian side and used the ball well by foot when in possession. He was able to capitalise on the easiest of goals in the goal square thanks to a handball over the top from Saverio Marafioti. Throughout the match Farmer hunted the ball and the ball carrier with vigour.

#6 Lawson Humphries

Had a great third term where he became a crucial playmaker with quick hands and using clean touches going forward. He set up a number of attacking plays and was able to hit a target in the pocket on his non-preferred under pressure.

#7 Judd McVee

The star of the first half and continued on with a solid third term before being clamped more in the last term, McVee was a clear standout for the West Australian side on the day. He kicked a great goal from an intuitive snap around his body in the first term and has that burst out of stoppages that is eye-catching. He has quick hands and also showed great defensive traits by stopping an attacking play inside 50 with a big tackle. McVee is clean by hand or foot and composed in the midfield, able to dance around his opponents.

#9 Max Chipper

Won a heap of the ball on the day and showed nice vision with ball in hand. Set up their first goal with a nice kick into Rhett Bazo who slotted the goal after a 50m penalty. Had a turnover in the final term, which luckily did not cost his side. As a whole though he worked hard and kept buying in, battling along and won possessions in each third of the ground.

#10 Mitchell Brown

Behind McVee was the other standout in the first half, showing nice work at the stoppages and a long kick that created plays up the field. He was quieter in the second half, but his presence around the clearances early in the match was what kept Western Australia in the game. Brown’s best play came when he sold some candy under pressure dancing one way and then another and managed to get ball to his left foot and find a target down the wing.

#12 Jake Littleton

Worked hard in the forward half to win plenty of quick touches and get it inside 50. Early on he had a scrubber kick but it worked out to gift Saverio Marafioti with a goal. He finished off for himself with a nice kick which bounced through early in the third term, and had a second shot not long after deep in the pocket but it hit the post.

#15 Antonio Dadaliaris

Picked up from where he left off in the last quarter against Country. Had a couple of eye-catching moments, with a brilliant piece of acceleration in the second term where he was able to burst away from opponents in the back pocket, run across the goal face and hit a target on the other side. He also showed quick hands close to the line on a number of occasions, with his athletic traits the most noticeable.

#18 Saverio Marafioti

Was prominent early and fought through to the third term with important moments inside 50. He first showed great vision at half-forward to hit up a target wide across the other side of the ground off a couple of steps, then capitalised with a goal off a quick few steps inside 50. His hard running earned his teammate Richard Farmer a goal in the third term to reduce the deficit to a point and give his side hope of a victory.

#22 Richard Bartlett

Worked well at stoppages and was one of Western Australia’s best across four quarters. He uses his shoulders and hips well to evade tackles and get out of trouble in tight spaces. He looks dangerous whenever he is near the ball and he had a textbook forward stoppage goal, finding a clear path and reading the tap perfectly 30 metres out to snap around his body and add a much needed West Australian goal in the third term.

#30 Rhett Bazzo

Was one of the few West Australian players who stood up in the last term and found himself up forward with a goal in the opening term, then spent the rest of the time in defence. He took some crucial intercept marks and moved well through traffic for a taller player. He was neat with his skills and remained consistent throughout the match.

#42 Blake Morris

The West Australian Most Valuable Player (MVP) stood tall in defence with some nice highlights. He flew high a number of times and once it cost him with his opponent staying down, winning the footy and handballing it off for an easy Vic Metro goal. He did save a goal earlier in the game to cancel out that moment though, getting a hand to it in the goal square to put it over the line. Not as prominent as past games but still a rock in defence and a highly talented medium-tall.

Vic Metro:

#1 Youseph Dib

Whilst he was a bit rushed with his disposal at times, he also had some really classy touches throughout the midfield to win the most disposals of anyone on his side. His ability to get boot to ball, or by hand to his teammates is as quick as anyone going around and he was able to set up a number of goals or scoring plays by kicking inside 50. He always has a crack and tends to kick the ball across his body which usually means he has time and can be more damaging that way.

#2 Zac Taylor

A slippery customer who I described in my notes as “untackleable” because of his ability to slip out of opponents’ grasps. He shrugs the shoulders and swings the hips to evade being brought down, and also has high footy IQ, quick hands and plenty of class with the ball-in-hand. He is clean by hand or foot and sets up attacking players, kicking a goal in the final term to be rewarded for his hard work setting up a goal to Alex Lukic early in the game.

#3 Henry Brown

Showed some nice movement on the outside early to turn away from an opponent and kick inside 50, but also showed a fierce attack on the football to win a crucial one-on-one moments later. He is able to dispose of the ball when under pressure and can stand up in a tackle, also breaking the lines midway through the third term with a nice run down the middle, though his kick inside 50 was intercepted. He then returned the favour the next term, intercepting a kick-out 40m out straight in front and then sent it back over the goal umpire’s hat.

#5 Jake Soligo

Was a prominent player on the wing for Vic Metro, not too dissimilar to Trent Bianco‘s role for the Under 18s side and wearing the same number – it was uncanny. He moves the ball quickly down the wing and has nice touch by hand or foot. He kicked a goal after intercepting a kick-in 45 metres out straight in front and was a big ball winner on the outside.

#8 Lachlan Brooks

Reminded me a bit of Richmond draftee Jack Ross in the way he goes about it. Brooks is strong one-on-one, is hard to bring down with great core strength, and has that power-speed combination that makes him look damaging. He is balanced with ball-in-hand and uses it pretty well. He had a snap in the final term on goal but missed, though he set up a goal for Blake Howes with a nice kick to him in the forward hole in the last term.

#11 Tyler Sonsie

Absolute star. Sonsie looked classy throughout the four quarters and was deserving of the Vic Metro MVP award for his 2019 carnival. He finished the game with four majors, including two when the heat of the game was on and two in the final term stampede. He often pounced on the opportunity for goal with snaps around his body, with three of his four majors coming this way and his fourth after hard running resulted in him booting the ball off the ground in the goal square. He almost had a fifth goal and three in two minutes but his snap pulled to the right. Takes the game on and breaks the lines, and while he made the odd error in doing so, generally was great in his decision making and execution.

#16 Jack Newitt

Showed a piercing, penetrating kick off half-back and down the wing, moving well across the ground to get forward and give off a quick handball during an attacking play. He used the ball well by foot out of defence and showed good composure when needing to get the ball out of the danger zone.

#18 Braden Andrews

Has a set of quick hands in close and was able to extract the ball and get it out to runners, but then had an ability to get to the outside himself. Showed a clean set of heels to an opponent to burn him off and kick, albeit scrappily, to a teammate. Had a snap on goal but was touched on the line.

#19 Blake Howes

Was a strong player inside 50, playing a nice role in tandem with Alex Lukic and Jack Rossimel. Took a number of contested marks and on the lead under pressure, kicking a couple of goals either end of the contest, and missing another which he probably should have kicked. Overall provided good presence inside 50.

#22 Jack Rossimel

Slotted an important goal inside 50 from a tight angle which was impressive, and then flew high on the wing in the second term but could not quite bring it down. Rossimel had a chance for goal in the last quarter with a quick boot to ball but missed to the right, as he did with intercepting a kick 30m out straight in front. Still was important inside 50, and finishing off those couple of misses could have had a big game.

#28 Alex Lukic

Was the dominant forward on the day slotting five majors, and could have had seven with a couple of gettable shots in the last term. He was causing all sorts of headaches for the opposition with his height and size, reaching over the top of his opponents and pinching the ball. He won a couple of free kicks for being infringed, and also set up a goal for Tyler Sonsie in the final term whilst being tackled. Overall an impressive game from the big man.

South Australia vs. Vic Country
By: Michael Alvaro

South Australia:

#5 Isaiah Dudley (Central District)

The excitement machine was down on his usual disposal output (seven), but still managed to find a way to influence the game in his own way. Starting forward and spending most of his time there, Dudley played his usual game of pushing high up the field to impact stoppages between the arcs, but was first thrown into the midfield in the second term. His pressure around the ball was immense, laying a game-high 12 tackles and going hard at each one of them, while also continuing his knack of keeping the ball in dispute. Dudley hit the scoreboard in the final term after some more midfield time, winning a free kick at an inside 50 stoppage and converting the shot well. His agility and composure in his few touches shone through too, and it was a good overall carnival from the Centrals pocket rocket.

#6 Lachlan Thomas (Sturt)

The small defender continued to do what he does best, providing driving rebound from defensive 50 (eight rebounds) and going for pure distance with most of his use by foot. While meterage is usually his game, Thomas also managed to hit a nice target in the second term after intercepting at half-back, pin-pointing the kick towards his defensive corridor. Thomas also won a bit of ball up on the wing as he paced around the defensive half, but won most of his 16 disposals down back and was pretty safe in possession.

#7 Lewis Rayson (Glenelg)

One who stood up well in defence, Rayson caught the eye early on with a couple of solid overhead marks to intercept in the back half. He also made sure to impact aerial contests when marking was not an option, while also following up the spills to move the ball on quickly or lock it in. Rayson’s holding the ball tackle in the third term showed his smarts as his opponent went to take off after marking, and he enjoyed a consistent game across the board with 16 disposals, five marks, five tackles, and five rebound 50s.

#8 Cooper Murley (Norwood)

An important figure in the midfield-forward rotation for SA, Murley made a good start while resting in attack when he found space inside 50, marked, and slotted the set shot from about 40 metres out for his side’s opening goal. He would go on to continue his good form forward of the ball early in the second term as he snapped another goal, almost adding another in the same period of play. He was momentarily moved out onto the wing in the third quarter and dropped an uncontested mark with his first sight of the ball, but recovered really well to clear any danger. Murley would go on to show his well-roundedness, tackling well and providing good bursts from congestion with clearances on the move to push SA inside 50. Ended with 14 disposals, four marks, three clearances, and two goals.

#11 Harry Tunkin (Glenelg)

Tunkin was superb throughout and really seemed to enjoy his minutes in the midfield, getting stuck in to win a good amount of contested ball. He won a hat-trick of centre bounce clearances in the second term with fantastic tenacity, and showed a bit of finesse with a move through traffic to find Cooper Murley forward of the ball and provide a chance at goal. Tunkin continued his form in the third term around the stoppages and did the one-percenters around the ground, applying a particularly good smother on Tyler Sonsie inside defensive 50 to prove as much. His ability to hunt at ground level and win the ball under pressure accounted for many of his 18 disposals, with Tunkin also laying eight tackles in a big shift and spending a bit of time up forward late on.

#17 Matthew Dnistrianksy (Norwood)

Another of the SA defenders who had a solid day out, Dnistriansky was unfazed by a lot of the pressure that came his way. He accumulated across defensive 50 in his usual fashion, providing neat disposals and a solid defensive post on his direct opponent when required. He gave up about 10cm in height when matched up against Josh Rentsch deep inside defensive 50, but took it in his stride and competed well. The Redlegs prospect also fared well with a move up forward in the final term, finding space to mark and converting the shot well. He looked a little frustrated when giving away a free kick to Joshua Rachele late on as he threw the Country co-captain to the ground, but had a solid day with 12 disposals, a couple of rebound 50s and a goal.

#18 Tyson Coe (West Adelaide)

Played a pretty impressive role given he has not even turned 15 yet, unbothered by Country’s physicality in the engine room during his time through the midfield. He popped up early with a nice holding the ball tackle at a defensive 50 stoppage and later scooped up a slick ground ball at speed before bombing inside 50 to find Luke Young, who slotted SA’s third goal. Has some nice traits and should be a key figure next year given he has already been trusted in lining up at the centre bounces.

#19 Jason Thorne (South Adelaide)

The skipper and South Australian MVP was terrific throughout, earning an equal team-high 18 disposals to go with six tackles, four clearances, three inside 50s, three rebounds, and two goals in a dominant display of stoppage work. A good mix of grit and class, Thorne set the tone early with a smother on the defensive arc before contributing another show of strength with a strong mark overhead on the wing. His class shone through in the same term with a clean pick up and kick in one motion to hit an up-field target, with Thorne’s ability to lower his eyes proving damaging. He continued to use the ball well by foot around the ground, and his burst away from congestion sparked many attacks for SA. Thorne’s ability to sum up the situation quickly also translated with his work inside 50, snapping a nice goal in the second quarter and booting another in the following term after pushing hard to find space inside 50 and get the ball back from a teammate he had originally passed to. It was no surprise to see him named MVP in his second Under 16 carnival, as Thorne possesses a well-rounded midfield game.

#20 Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide)

Did not have his usual high-numbers on the back of some added forward time, but still made an impact to finish with 15 disposals, four clearances, and two goals. Was gifted his first goal in the opening stanza after being awarded a 50-metre penalty and added another in the third term with a clinical set shot on the wrong side for a left footer from about 40 metres out. Roberts thought he had another goal in the second quarter after streaming away from a forward 50 stoppage, only to turn around and see the goal umpire signalling a poster as he wheeled around to celebrate. Was still dangerous in his forward stints and attracted the ball, ending a fantastic carnival as arguably SA’s second most valuable player behind South Adelaide teammate, Jason Thorne.

Vic Country:

#2 Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons)

The Melbourne Grammarian from Wodonga-way was a touch quieter than usual with just the nine disposals, but made them count and caught the eye with a couple of exciting plays. His prowess on the outside suited both the conditions and a move to half-back, but it took Chesser a bit of time to build into the game. He showed good composure with ball in hand in his early touches, and started to get going after half time. He looked pretty sore after a brave marking attempt early in the third term, but came back in the following quarter with a couple of bouncing runs from the back half and away from stoppages. Chesser got on his bike well when in space at half-back, looking to attack onto his left boot and move forward quickly. Not his usual self, but certainly showed glimpses.

#3 Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)

There is little doubt over Hobbs’ ball winning capabilities, and he proved as much with another 25 disposals and six clearances in this outing. He is just so aggressive around the ball, willing his way through the contest and latching onto possession at stoppages before quickly getting boot to ball to slam it forward. With his contested game down pat, it was good to see Hobbs win more ball around the ground and use it efficiently by foot, kicking neatly over short distances and proving all-class forward of centre. Hobbs kicked two memorable goals, the first created by an unbelievably timed Joshua Rachele tap-on and snapped home at full speed, and the second slotted home from long range as he got a hand-off through the corridor. Would be a good chance to get a shot with the Rebels as early as this year, and was only second to Rachele for Country during the carnival.

#5 Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power)

Moschetti is one who just seemed to pop up every now and then, quietly accumulating possessions through midfield and in the back half. His first good bit of play came through a clearance on the move in the first term, shifting to defence in the second quarter and taking a relieving mark. He looked calm with his rebounding run, but bordered on casual a couple of times as he mopped up working back and slipped handballs out to teammates with opponents closing in. He was relatively steady for the remainder of the game, reading a tap well in the third term to send Country inside 50 and finishing with 13 disposals, five tackles, and four rebound 50s.

#6 Kai Lohmann (GWV Rebels)

Lohmann came to life in a brilliant final term, getting to just about everything across the back half and hardly putting a food wrong. Earlier, he showed off his crafty outside movement and evasiveness up on the wing shrugging off his opponents and providing driving runs forward. But a move to defensive 50 saw Lohmann contribute his best moments, first taking a brave mark inside defensive 50 and winning key balls at ground level with terrific composure. His influence on the last line was great with a few handy intercept possessions and calm touches to see the ball into touch with opponents circling around goal. Looks a clever prospect with nice athletic traits.

#9 Hugh Hamilton (Bendigo Pioneers)

Rotated between midfield and at both ends, showing good strength in one-on-one situations and also proving dangerous at forward 50 stoppages. Hamilton found the goals early in the second term after latching onto a loose ball and booting home from close range, while also missing a snap in the following quarter from a stoppage close to home. The Bendigo product’s body positioning against direct opponents allowed him to win the ball both in the air and at ground level, and he stood up well in tackles to dish off. Hamilton made a questionable kicking decision when looking to switch across the defensive 50 after a good mark, but was otherwise really solid with 15 disposals, five clearances and a goal.

#11 Connor Macdonald (Dandenong Stingrays)

The Dandenong forward is a constant threat in the forward half with his line-breaking speed and ability to find the goals, putting in another decent showing with 11 disposals and two goals. Tends to show up in patches and with glimpses of promise, which would just about describe his two majors. Macdonald popped up in the second term to convert a relatively straightforward goal in close proximity to the big sticks, and showed off his pace with a terrific goal on the run in full flight to start the final quarter. Is flashy and has class, causing headaches for opposition defenders.

#13 Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)

The 2019 Kevin Sheehan medallist and Country MVP was again sublime, leading all-comers with 26 disposals, three clearances, three inside 50s and a goal. Despite starting in the midfield, Rachele’s looked most lively early inside attacking 50, missing a couple of early snaps on goal with his finishing still the only part of his game somewhat letting him down (1.3). He would soon well and truly make up for those two early behinds though, instinctively tapping over his shoulder to create Ben Hobbs’ first goal in a bit of play that was nothing short of special, showing uncanny presence of mind. Rachele went on to provide spark at the stoppages, winning his share of clearances and keeping his hands up well in congestion. The Country co-captain also showed off his wheels moving forward, continuing to create with a couple of one-two plays moving forward on the outside. He managed to hit the scoreboard in the third term with some good harassment inside 50 to see the ball spill free, latching onto the chance well to convert from close range. He capped off his game with some more crafty stoppage work and a nice kick inside 50 to assist a Tom Brown goal, falling to the ground after the final siren having given his all.

#17 Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels)

Another from what looks to be a strong Rebels crop, Molan accumulated well across the game to finish with 20 disposals, four clearances, three inside 50s, and a goal. His hands out of congestion in a pretty handball-happy outing (13) were a feature, especially as he racked up possessions at stoppages in all areas while running through the midfield. He had a little purple patch with his clearance work in the third term to win a couple from the centre bounces and push Country inside 50, continuing that form in the following quarter. Molan provided a strong body around the contest and is already a good size at 187cm, with the versatility to also have an impact up forward.

#18 Tom Brown (Murray Bushrangers)

Brown was super in the forward half, providing a key link from half forward into Country’s attacking arc with five inside 50s. So often Brown was the player found when his side cleared from the centre bounces, leading up superbly to half-forward and proving to be clean up the ground. It was his work inside the arc that truly made a difference though, finishing with a game-high three goals from his 16 disposals. Brown got going with an early snapped goal before narrowly missing another attempt, going on to get busy with a conversion from a holding the ball free kick, and claiming his third from deep in the 50 in the final term. The Murray forward was very efficient with his production and looks an exciting medium forward prospect.

#27 Josh Rentsch (GWV Rebels)

While it was not exactly a day out for Rentsch in front of goal, he did well to provide a presence inside 50 and follow up well around the ground when rucking. He was again unlucky not to benefit more from his strong lead-up play, copping pretty good heat from his opponents closing behind him and missing his only set shot for the game in the second term. Rentsch did his best to contribute at ground level, following up drops of the ball to dish off handballs to his runners and ending with 13 disposals, four clearances, and 10 hitouts in a solid game.

Country finds the answers in entertaining win over South Australia

VIC Country has finished the AFL Under-16 National Championships on a high with a victory over South Australia at The Gabba today. The Country side had several bursts throughout the match which handed them ascendancy, but it took until the final term for the Country side to final shake off the Croweaters. There were six lead changes in the match and the largest lead was just 22 points, but in the end it was Country who saluted in a rather inaccurate 11.13 (79) to 10.3 (63) win.

Vic Country had a lot of the play early inside 50 with three misses in the opening two minutes and a fourth behind a couple of minutes later. Country co-captain Josh Rachele had two of those behinds but was looking busy in the forward half. After five minutes of dominance, Country finally put one through the big sticks with a bouncing goal from a snap off the boot of Murray Bushrangers’ Tom Brown. South Australia’s defence was holding up strong as 14-year-old Tyson Coe laid a terrific tackle to set the tone deep inside 50 and Oscar Adams rebounded to try and clear the danger zone.

For all of Country’s dominance, they had just 1.5 on the board before South Australia’s first meaningful chance with an elite kick from Jason Horne into Cooper Murley who converted the set shot and the Croweaters were back within a kick midway through the first term. Pocket rocket Isaiah Dudley was moving well around the ground for South Australia with some nice touches, while Lachlan Thomas was clean at ground level with a terrific pick-up at half-back. A 50-metre penalty to Matthew Roberts led to a shot on goal from long range and put it straight through the middle and with two great plays in a few minutes, South Australia was in front. A good lead, mark and set shot conversion from Luke Young drove the dagger in a bit further for Country with dead-eye accuracy proving the difference in the term.

But then came the play of the day with an absolute elite tap from Rachele 15m out like a ruckman more so than a leaping forward, calmly palming the ball down to Ben Hobbs who seemed to read the play well before it happened, running onto the tap and putting it through from five metres out to make the margin more representative of the game – just one point separating the side.

Similar to the first term, it did not take long for Vic Country to take ascendancy in the second with Charlie Molan running onto a ball and bursting away to boot one from point blank range and take back the lead for his side. His Greater Western Victoria (GWV) teammate in Hobbs soon had his second moments later, bursting out of a stoppage and slamming home a long-range goal. When Bendigo Pioneers’ Hugh Hamilton converted his first out of nothing, Country were suddenly 17 points up and were having the scoreboard impact they did not manage into the first quarter.

In an eerily similar turn of events to the first, Norwood’s Murley broke the deadlock once again with a handy goal inside 50 for his second. A touch of magic from Dudley to Henry Smith who was backing back to take the grab, but his set shot was stopped on the line by the steady Country defence. After helping Murley to his first in the opening term, Horne pounced on a loose ball and snapped from the pocket to put it straight through the middle and the margin was back to five. Again a meaningful pass inside 50 for South Australia, this time by Brad Jeffries found Young who, while likely would have slotted it from 20m, won a 50m penalty infringement and made it a certainty for his second.

Murley almost had his third later in the quarter but his snap drifted to the right and through for just one behind. Roberts thought he had his second, celebrating a touch too early with a fist pump for what was an impressive behind following his run out of a stoppage and flying shot. South Australia was controlling the ball in its forward half, but just missed a couple of gettable chances and the Country last line was picking off the deep entries inside 50. But the final score of the first half would go to Vic Country with Connor Macdonald running late to the line, beating his direct opponent and soccering it through.

Both sides had flying chances early in the third but only registered behinds. Both teams defences were holding up well with a terrific smother from Harry Tunkin stopping a Vic Country attacking foray. It led to an end-to-end play by the Croweaters as Jay Watson managed to get boot-to-ball as he was dragged down, hitting up the leading Roberts who converted his second major and regain the lead for his side. Both sides were bringing the tackling pressure in the term with just the one goal kicked in the first half of the term, completely different to the first two quarters. Then another nice touch from Brown into teammate Josh Rentsch gave Country a chance, though the big man missed to the left. Another end-to-end play led to Horne kicking long inside 50 then pushing hard to work over his opponent, get free and convert his second from a set shot.

The lead did not hold for long as Country’s defensive pressure inside 50 paid off with Brown refusing to accept an attempted fend-off from his opponent, dragging him down and winning the free to level the scores in the eighteenth minute. Moments later, Country had the lead back as pressure and an awkward bounce against South Australian defender Adams resulted in Rachele pouncing and snapping a goal from 15m out with some class. In the dying moments of the final term, Justin Davies and Blake Scott could have extended the margin for Country, but missed their set shots meaning the side headed into the break leading by eight points. 

With both sides needing an early major after more of an arm-wrestle in the third term, Macdonald broke away from the pack, burst inside 50 and slotted it on the run to extend the lead to 15 less than a minute into the quarter. A few minutes later Country added to their handy buffer with Rachele again in the thick of it. The co-captain twisted one way and spun the other before kicking it deep and on track for goal. It was spoiled in the marking contested but Brown was waiting and he grabbed it cleanly and, in an instant, put ball to boot and added another goal to the Country’s side total making it 22 points, the largest of the game to date.

The next eight minutes were an arm-wrestle with neither team able to score and neither side giving an inch. The ball mostly camped inside South Australia’s forward line, with a goal-saving smother from Kai Lohmann stopping a certain goal, only for a free a moment later in a stoppage to Dudley to hand the Croweaters that desperately needed major. But no sooner as it looked like South Australia had the momentum back, Davies ran onto a Rachele bomb inside 50, shook off his opponent and slammed it home from the square. Matthew Dnistriansky answered the call for his side just when it looked like the game was over with six minutes remaining, finding space and taking a good mark then converting the set shot to cut the deficit to 16 again. It would be the last major of the game however, as Country held firm to win by 16 points in perfect conditions.

Rachele finished the game with a match-high 26 disposals, three clearances, three inside 50s and 1.3, while Rebels duo Hobbs (25 touches, five marks, 10 tackles, eight clearances, six inside 50s and two goals) and Molan (20 disposals, two marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and one goal) were also impressive. Brown was one of the best in the forward half with three goals from his 18 touches, while Sam Breuer was busy with 18 touches, two marks and three rebounds. For South Australia, Horne and Tunkin both finished with 18 disposals and four clearances, combining for 14 tackles and five inside 50s as well. Lewis Rayson (16 disposals, five rebounds, five marks, five tackles and three inside 50s), Lachlan Thomas (16 disposals, eight rebounds) and Jefferies (16 disposals, three marks, two tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s).

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 3.0 | 6.2 | 8.3 | 10.3 (63)
VIC COUNTRY 2.5 | 6.5 | 8.11 | 11.13 (79)

GOALS:

SA: C. Murley 2, L. Young 2, M. Roberts 2, J. Horne 2, I. Dudley, M. Dnistriansky.
VC:  T. Brown 3, B. Hobbs 2, C. Macdonald 2, C. Molan, H. Hamilton, J. Rachele, J. Davies.

ADC BEST:

SA: M. Roberts, C., Murley, J. Horne, H. Tunkin, L. Rayson, L. Thomas
VC: B. Hobbs, T. Brown, J. Rachele, C. Molan, C. Macdonald, S. Breuer

 

Scouting notes: U16 Division 1 – Round 2

VIC Metro and Western Australia both enjoyed impressive wins in a day of hard-fought Under 16 Division 1 contests in extremely trying conditions at Southport. Michael Alvaro was on hand to provide his opinion-based notes on the outstanding players from all four sides.


Vic Metro vs. South Australia

Vic Metro:

#1 Youseph Dib (Oakleigh Chargers)

The Oakleigh product started well, showing off his athleticism and explosiveness in traffic. Despite only being 171cm tall, Dib proved to be one of the stronger players around the contest, converting his ball-prizing will to hard tackles when not in possession. Dib accumulated well in the first half, moving with good agility at stoppages, moving this way and that to make room for clearances (four) and inside 50 balls (three). He almost found the goals with a couple of quick shots early, and had less of an impact after the main break.

#3 Henry Brown (Oakleigh Chargers)

Brown showed a good mix of ball winning in what is usually a mostly outside role on the wing. Like his Chargers teammate Youseph Dib, Brown played the conditions well to thrust the ball forward (four clearances and three inside 50s), with one kick finding Blake Howes inside 50 for his first goal. Brown did the tough stuff well in gathering his 18 disposals and was a solid contributor.

#6 Josh Ward (Northern Knights)

The Northern forward had an outstanding first quarter and was in everything within Metro’s attacking half. He first caught the eye with a spin out of trouble in the opening minutes and was simply cleaner than most others on the field in trying conditions. Ward found most of his 22 disposals early on and looked most dangerous when on the move, almost snapping a first quarter goal with a neat bit of play. He went on to move further afield and find the ball wherever he went, using the ball efficiently by foot with short, sharp kicks.

#8 Lachlan Brooks (Sandringham Dragons)

Arguably best afield, Brooks was another to impress with his clean hands and movement forward. He started with a strong pack mark from a kick-in and by winning possession around the stoppages, but really came to life after the main break with Metro’s only goals for the the second half. Starting in the centre bounce, Brooks won the first clearance of the third term and never looked back, winning six for the game and proving damaging with 20 of his 23 disposals coming by foot. He showed a great first five steps to break away and boot his first goal on the run, adding another in the final term by coming across to intercept a kick-in yet again and slot the resultant shot. Has some good burst and proved a shrewd addition to the Metro midfield.

#10 Lachlan Rankin (Oakleigh Chargers)

You would think that the conditions would not really suit Rankin’s game, but the half-back flanker still managed to show a bit of class. Taking on the designated kicking duties in the back half, Rankin often opted to go long, but also did some nice things in close – with a pretty clever look-away handball over his shoulder in the first term. He’s only slight, but Rankin also did well to win a couple of on-on-one duels and was effective in the air, while proving agile on the ground to get free and release by foot.

#11 Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges)

While Sonsie did not always get his typically damaging running game from stoppages going, he still found a good amount of ball and was efficient with it. He missed a set shot chance early, a checkside in the second term, and had another shot marked on the line, but wasn’t deterred as he went on to chain together some nice handballs in close and get Metro moving out of tight spaces. Sonsie is a real prime mover, so hopefully he can show off his skills in drier conditions later in the carnival, with clean pick-ups and reads off the packs a feature of his game.

#13 Lachlan Benton (Sandringham Dragons)

Benton made himself busy and came into the game with a good patch late in the second term, applying pressure and eventually earning a free kick to slot his lone goal for the game, while also missing another chance on the run shortly after. A dangerous feature in the forward half, Benton also finished the final quarter well with a brave mark on the 50-metre arc and with a clever steal to give Lachlan Brooks a chance on goal. Finished with 16 disposals, four marks, and three inside 50s to go with 1.2.

#14 Angus McLennan (Sandringham Dragons)

A handy point of difference in the Metro back six, McLennan was influential early alongside Lachlan Rankin in moving the ball efficiently from defence. He tends to find a lot of possession inside defensive 50 and shows great composure there, while also showing his aerial prowess with a couple of intercept marks in the second term. McLennan was fantastic in the final term, taking two solid grabs on the last line, outbodying an opponent in the defensive corridor, and getting on his bike to repel SA’s attacks to good effect.

#15 Joshua Goater (Calder Cannons)

This was far and away the best game I have seen from Goater, proving an absolute wall with his superior positioning in the back half. The Cannons product consistently popped up with overhead marks to cut of SA’s long bombs forward as he dominated the area a kick behind the play. He was an attacking rebounder too, moving past opponents and kicking long to keep Metro relevant on the attack for as long as possible. Finished with another big grab in the final term and should thrive in drier conditions and a role he looks comfortable in.

#17 Josh Sinn (Sandringham Dragons)

The skipper battled hard through midfield to pick up a more unassuming 19 disposals than usual, unable to always provide his signature penetration on the outside. Sinn just finds the ball with ease and loves latching onto his left boot, bombing five clearances from congestion and breaching both arcs. He warmed to the contest to have a greater influence as it went on, adapting his game to convert his smart to tighter situations with a couple of clever handballs into space. A solid contributor, but can bring it to the next level.

#19 Blake Howes (Sandringham Dragons)

Howes was by no means one who was dominant throughout the game, but he popped up at the most important time with two goals in the second term to break the game open and put Metro ahead. Howes had an early chance to goal with a soccer from the goalsquare, but came alive with a purple patch that saw him convert a free kick and finish with absolute class on the run shortly after. Looks a pretty raw impact player at this stage, but always seems to find the goals.

#21 Tyreece Leiu (Eastern Ranges)

The strong Ranges midfielder did a lot of the grunt work through the engine room, leading his side for disposals with 24. While he does not always have the flashes of class that the likes of Sonsie and Sinn provide, Leiu thrived in the contested game and was prominent at the coalface. That makes him a good point of difference for Metro, and he should be able to match it with others in the NAB League given his already solid frame.

#23 Jed Rule (Oakleigh Chargers)

Rule is simply one of the better readers of the game in defence and used his nous to snuff out some dangerous SA attacks. He began with a sliding effort to intercept in the first term, backing it up with a more typical aerial clunk in the third and another terrific pack mark in the fourth. He also uses the ball really well for a taller player, making him the kind of modern defender that clubs love. Hardly made a mistake with his 17 disposals and five marks, and was as reliable as anyone.


South Australia:

#5 Isaiah Dudley (Central District)

Constantly looks like the busiest player on the field and was made to work up the field to have an impact. Dudley started with a few small glimpses of his usual self with a holding the ball tackle, high fly for a mark, and some clever touches to keep the ball in dispute. His agility in traffic again caused headaches for his opponents and allowed him to free himself for clean use, proving damaging in general play with repeat efforts in congestion. While he did not find the goals himself, Dudley did his best to create for others and made a sensational pass on the turn to find Jason Horne inside 50 as South Australia looked to charge, while also assisting a Morgan Ferres goal late on with a clever checkside under pressure.

#6 Lachlan Thomas (Sturt)

The conditions did not always allow for Thomas’ usual run and carry out of the defensive 50, but he still managed to breach the arc with almost half (six) of his 14 disposals. He always looked to gain distance when entrusted with the kick-ins, using the new play on rule to good effect and unleashing long kicks. His choice of kicks and opting for distance didn’t always pay off, particularly with a torpedo attempt in the second term, but you can’t fault his effort. Thomas is quick to release and makes his opponents do the same, applying good pressure around the ball in the back half.

#8 Cooper Murley (Norwood)

Murley was a great forward driver for SA through midfield, adding a bit of zip to a tough inside mix. He has the pace to hunt the ball and puts in a heap of efforts until he does just that, breaking with speed and delivering forward well. Murley is still pretty light-on, but showed good tenacity to hold on with his tackles, and took a brave mark in the third term. Was caught out on one occasion when looking to play on quickly, but was otherwise effective in doing so.

#11 Harry Tunkin (Glenelg)

Tunkin is one who makes up for a lack of height with heart, and showed that off the bat with a courageous effort under a high ball to earn a free kick in the opening term. He seems to thrive in contested situations and has a no-nonsense approach, hitting the contest when required and putting his body on the line. Mixed his hard edge with an ability to find the footy, racking up 19 disposals in a solid outing.

#17 Matthew Dnistriansky (Norwood)

A constant in the back half, Dnistriansky did well to remain a composed figure inside defensive 50 across the day. He has the happy knack of clearing his lines by foot, as shown with 14 of his 16 disposals being kicks, and repelled some good looking Metro attacks with apt rebounding.

#18 Tyson Coe (West Adelaide)

One who is actually an under-ager in this year’s competition – much like Roberts, Dudley, and Horne were in 2018 – as a 2004-birth. He still held his own around the stoppages with his decent frame for his age and did not fray from the contest, collecting 14 disposals and laying seven tackles. Should really benefit from the experience and will be one to watch for next year’s carnival if the form of the aforementioned three is anything to go by.

#19 Jason Thorne (South Adelaide)

The skipper put in a brave and workmanlike shift, initially in his usual midfield post and later up either end. He started with good intent, laying a big tackle at one of the earliest stoppages, following up with strong clearance work and ball winning in-close. Thorne showed he has the finesse to match his grunt work, lowering his eyes beautifully to find a teammate going inside 50 in the second term. He went on to spend some time down back after the main break, throwing his weight around down there and rebounding with clearing kicks. He copped a heavy knock in the same term and spend some time on the pine, before getting straight back into the thick of it. He then moved forward and was sensational in SA’s final push, winning a free kick deep to slot his only goal for the game and getting into position twice more to mark inside the arc. Unfortunately could not help his side over the line, but was a top effort.

#20 Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide)

Roberts was arguably the best afield with his 31 disposals, five marks, four clearances, seven inside 50s and one goal. He just seemed to be everywhere and won the ball in all areas of the ground – dominating at stoppages and finding space well forward of centre to make his threat two-pronged. He booted his side’s first goal of the game after clunking a nice mark deep inside 50 and remained relevant when resting forward, continually popping up with marks around half forward to lock the ball in. He may have been playing to the conditions, but many of Roberts’ kicks from the contest went long off a couple of steps, where he would otherwise wheel around further and find a more direct target. Still a dominant game and one who is shaping as South Australia’s most valuable players.

#23 Morgan Ferres (Sturt)

Was far from a massive game from Ferres, but he remained a dangerous prospect for SA up forward and provided a target in tough conditions for key position players. Could have bagged his first goal in the second term after winning a holding free inside 50 but missed the shot, later making up for it with somewhat of a consolation goal via the brilliance of Isaiah Dudley. Has the potential to do more as he has already shown, and should benefit from drier conditions in Round 3.

Vic Country vs. Western Australia

Vic Country:

#2 Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons)

The Country co-captain built into the game slowly but eventually found his rhythm to contribute class and clean use. A usually efficient kick, Chesser unleashed long when on the the move to clear pockets of congestion and opposition set-ups at either end. His run was also effective as a point of difference, baulking an opponent on the way to breaking inside 50 in the second term in a play more suited to dry weather footy. The Melbourne Grammar boarder ended up with a very respectable 21 disposals and two tackles, with his influence felt across the field.

#3 Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)

The hard-nosed midfielder came off the ground as near-on the muddiest player of the lot, such was his desperation to find the footy. Thriving in the conditions with his contested game, Hobbs collected 29 disposals, laid 10 tackles and rebounded four times in what was a workmanlike display, consistent throughout the four quarters. Hobbs will his way to the ball and through traffic time after time, running through whoever was in his way on path to his goal. With his contested game down pat and overhead marking a solid added trait, Hobbs can work on finding better targets in congestion, with much of his disposal at the stoppages being long kicks to no one in particular. Is still such a competitor, and one of Country’s best two or three thus far.

#5 Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power)

The Gippsland product just seems to find the ball unassumingly, collecting 20 disposals and five rebound 50s in another solid shift. Moschetti positioned well behind the ball early to mark on the wing and began to accumulate the ball forward of the defensive 50 arc in the second term. His diving mark to intercept in the following quarter was a highlight, and he consistently has a say in proceedings by getting to as many contests as he can from behind the ball.

#8 Cooper Hamilton (Bendigo Pioneers)

The Pioneers defender provided good spark moving forward, chiming in with a couple of handy plays throughout the day. He started with a slide to win the ball and kick to Ben Hobbs to show good awareness, while going on to influence proceedings in the third term with neat disposal and a nice contested win to rebound from the back half. Hamilton began the final term where he had left off with a brave take under pressure and handball out to Joshua Rachele, finishing with 14 disposals, five tackles and two rebound 50s.

#9 Hugh Hamilton (Bendigo Pioneers)

The more stocky of the two Hamiltons, Hugh made his impact up forward. Was a little shaky early on with a set shot that went out on the full, but had some nice moments in the second term. The first was a strong one-on-one win at half forward, and the second was a really clean pick-up to show his quality under pressure. Hamilton went on to finish with 16 disposals and four inside 50s after a good middle period of the game.

#10 Benjamin Green (Gippsland Power)

Complimented Hobbs well in midfield with his own contested ball winning, and made an immediate impact with the assist for Josh Rentsch’s first goal with a long kick forward. A regular at the centre bounces and stoppages, Green found a decent amount of ball with 18 disposals and three clearances, while also having an influence in his side’s forward movement with six inside 50s. Capped his game with a slow snap that dribbled over the line just in time at the start of the third term and played an important role.

#11 Connor Macdonald (Dandenong Stingrays)

Macdonald was again one of Country’s most damaging forward movers, providing a reliable and creative link into attacking 50 with clean use, while finding a good amount of ball to make an impact. He is zippy when weaving a way through traffic and pops up in little spurts, but his haul of 24 disposals suggests he is finding some solid consistency.

#13 Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)

The Country leader was absolutely outstanding with the game in the balance and very nearly proved to be a match-winner, falling just short with his chances to do so. Rachele was impactful early on with his nous around the contest and presence of mind under pressure, but really came to life in an spurring second half performance. He showed rare vision to give Blake Scott a chance on goal in the opening stages of the third quarter and began to become more prominent as a clearance winner at the centre bounces. His flair began to take over in the following term as he tried to inspire his side, tackling beautifully in the corridor before hitting the post with what could well have been the game-sealing goal. It wasn’t to be, but Rachele had a game-high 32 disposals to go with six marks, four inside 50s, four rebound 50s, and 0.3.

#16 Lincoln White (Bendigo Pioneers)

White was another to spur his teammates on with a very influential purple patch, with most of his impact felt in the third term. The Pioneers product was able to hit the scoreboard in quick succession, first slipping an opponent to finish well and then sharply snatch the ball off hands to finish on the bounce and give a big ‘c’mon’ cry. He almost gifted Judson Clarke another goal straight after, and was a slippery opponent inside 50 for the WA defenders all day with his 21 disposals and three inside 50s.

#27 Josh Rentsch (GWV Rebels)

One of the better big-men on the ground in the early stages, Rentsch looked like one who could break the game open as he bagged two first-quarter goals with some added time deep forward. The Penhurst product was strong one-on-one, marking in the opening five minutes and putting through the resultant shot. He would back it up with a juggled attempt and second conversion later in the term before somewhat fading out of the game. He almost had the chance to produce another couple of shots but had delivery fall just short of him on the lead, instead getting the ball back up to smaller players off the deck. In tough conditions for key position players, Rentsch definitely showed signs.


Western Australia:

#7 Judd McVee (East Fremantle)

Aptly named given the stamp a certain Judd made in WA, McVee was fantastic through midfield and finished with a team-high 23 disposals to go with seven tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and four rebounds. The quick but diminutive mover crashed in to win his own ball and zip away from traffic in the same motion, picking up from where Lochlan Paton left off early on. He was a consistent figure throughout and provided important spark, despite making a couple of turnovers by foot. His best moment was a lightning quick gather on defensive wing in the third term, and he looks an exciting player.

#8 Lochlan Paton (West Perth)

Paton was arguably the best player on the ground up to quarter time, when a hand injury became apparent. He is another midfielder who isn’t massively built, but was so hard at it and won his own ball at will. His evasion in traffic and breaking speed proved troublesome, with his work rate around the stoppages more than handy given the conditions. Hopefully we will get another glimpse of Paton before the carnival ends after his day was cut short, with plenty to like out of his first two outings.

#9 Max Chipper (Swan Districts)

Nicknamed ‘Chip’, the Swan Districts wingman was poised to have a big influence with his poise and class around the ball. Chipper is just so calm and clean in possession, but also proved brave with an intercept play in the second term to cause a turnover. His cool head would help WA prevail in a 3v1 contest, working out what could have been a disaster with a snap over the oncoming Country player to see Saverio Marafioti into an open goal. Finished with 17 disposals and nine tackles in a slightly different role, with much of the play occurring between the arcs.

#10 Mitchell Brown (South Fremantle)

You had to watch closely to truly appreciate Brown’s output, with a lot of his work done in-close as he won 17 disposals, six clearances and four inside 50s. Getting involved as part of WA’s usual midfield group, Brown showed he simply knows how to find the ball and did so with ease throughout the day. He began to find it in more open areas as the game progressed, finding ways to send his side inside 50 while also pitching in up the other end to save a certain Country goal with fantastic desperation alongside Blake Morris in defensive 50. A reliable prospect, and played his role well.

#12 Jake Littleton (East Perth)

The WA outside mover was not always in the game, but seems to chime in with handy touches and neat passages of play. While he is often a handy driver forward off a wing, Littleton showed good work rate to get back and close in on a taller Country opponent in the third term to prevent an easy chance on goal. He did a little bit of everything throughout the game with 15 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, and four rebound 50s, looking very efficient with ball in hand and opting for high percentage short kicks.

#18 Saverio Marafioti (West Perth)

Marafioti is very much a raw prospect, but there is a lot to like about him as an exciting forward. He absolutely burst out of the blocks with an impactful first half, popping up with a couple of touches at half-forward in a good amount of space. He found the goals with a soccered attempt early in the piece, and booted another major after again getting free out the back and latching onto a clever Max Chipper kick. While he faded out of the game a touch and gave away a couple of 50-metre penalties, Marafioti was a key figure in setting up the win early.

#30 Rhett Bazzo (Swan Districts)

The Swan District product proved very effective with his positioning behind the ball and ability to intercept, popping up in the first term with a sliding mark deep inside defensive 50. Bazzo would again position well to cut off another Country kick in the same term, going on to provide some attack with after cutting off the play with long rebounds. He finished with a very serviceable 15 disposals and five marks as a key figure behind the ball.

#32 Jacob van Rooyen (Claremont)

Van Rooyen caught the eye in the opening stages with a strong bit of play to clunk a mark on the second attempt, and he became a useful part of the midfield rotation with his high work rate both ways. The Claremont youngster is already a good size and looks able to play multiple roles, adapting well in this game to have 17 disposals, five marks, nine tackles and a goal – which came in the second term. He tried to cap off his game with another in the last with a torpedo attempt from range after sliding well for a mark, but fell short.

#38 Kade Dittmar (East Perth)

Dittmar was productive around the contests all day, finishing with 22 disposals, nine tackles, four clearances, and four inside 50s as one who pushed forward well from the midfield rotation. He did well to also pull in a couple of marks early on, flying to take one overhead and proving strong to hold another one-on-one. Dittmar had a set shot touched after following up from a short set shot from that second mark, but really got involved forward of centre in a strong second term. Is one who has really grown when donning representative colours.

#39 Luke Polson (Peel Thunder)

One of the heroes of the day, Polson booted the winning goal after earning a holding the ball free kick with just over a minute left in the game – coolly slotting the set shot and celebrating joyously with his teammates. Earlier, he took a solid grab backing up in the first term, but missed a shot gifted to him via a 50-metre penalty in the same play. Playing in defence during the first half, Polson read the ball well in flight to intercept in tandem with Blake Morris before moving into the ruck. He moves like a fourth midfielder in that position at 194cm, following up well at ground level and playing his part. He finished with 16 disposals, 14 hitouts and the winning goal in a great all-round display.

#41 Shannon Neale (South Fremantle)

One of the rotating rucks, Neale was initially slow to build into the game but warrants a mention for standing up in the all-important dying stages. He was frighteningly good at ground level for a 198cm player, scooping the ball up off the deck and dishing off like his outside movers normally would. Neale positioned so well behind the ball to lock it in on two occasions when WA finally got forward in the final term, taking a mark in one of the contests he made. Ended up with a pretty handy stat-line, collecting 12 disposals, five inside 50s and 0.2 while also having five tackles and 13 hitouts.

#42 Blake Morris (Subiaco)

Morris was an absolute wall in defence for the winners, mixing a strong marking ability and superior reading of the play with desperate ground level work to keep Country at bay. He had already showed his knack for marking overhead with a slippery ball, and did so again in this game with four very impressive marks across the day. While he gives up a massive amount of size against key position opponents at 187cm and 68kg, Morris is all heart and makes up for it with his speed and judgement. Once he built confidence, Morris began to attack more with his intercept possessions, but never strayed from his primary role of covering deep in defence. He was so composed on the last line and stopped a couple of certain goals with the sheer will to get back and stall until helped arrived. Super impressive, and looks like a modern prototypical defender who plays well above his height.

Scouting notes: U16 National Championships – Western Australia vs. South Australia

REIGNING Under 16 champions South Australia got their title defence off to a solid start, overcoming Western Australia by 29 points at Subiaco Oval. Below are notes on some of the outstanding players from either side.

Western Australia:

#5 Zach Fliener (West Perth)

Hard to miss under his helmet, Fliener proved a productive part of the WA back six. Looked strong for a smaller player and didn’t shy away from the contest, putting his body in the way to cut off opposition kicks. After showing his solid defensive traits early on, Fliener built the confidence to use his running game to good effect, and often finished with neat use by foot up the ground. Even managed to sneak forward and earn a goal in the final term from a free kick.

#8 Lochlan Paton (West Perth)

Was a pretty permanent fixture in the WA midfield and carried the ball away from congestion well. Got on the end of a couple of neat one-two chains from centre bounces to show good chemistry with his engine room partners, and could have made an even bigger impact with greater kicking penetration. Was still dangerous with his run and carry and accumulated across the day.

#9 Max Chipper (Swan Districts)

A constant on the wing, Chipper looks a really neat and composed user. Often kicked short to high percentage targets and flicked out handballs on the move, seeing a good amount of the ball. Seemed to cover the ground well as he found possession in all areas of the ground, proving an effective link in the chain.

#10 Mitchell Brown (South Fremantle)

Another centre bounce regular, Brown started brightly with the opening clearance of the game. That first bit of play would set the tone for the rest of his game, as the South Fremantle product made most of his impact around the stoppages. Also proved efficient with his long inside 50 entries, finding Luke Taylor in the first term and Lawson Humphries in the second. Brown would go on to find the ball more around the ground as the game wore on, and attacked hard at the contests in wet conditions.

#12 Jake Littleton (East Perth)

Littleton popped up forward of centre with touches in important areas, albeit if they didn’t quite amount to massive scoreboard impact. First caught the eye with a clean pick-up at speed early on, and was one of his side’s main avenues forward with a purple patch of inside 50 entries in the first term. Missed a set shot late in the same quarter on the back of one of WA’s better passages, and had a more quiet end to the game. Looked to be playing off a wing as he found the ball up the ground, but definitely had a greater impact in the front half.

#22 Richard Bartlett (East Fremantle)

One of WA’s more productive forwards despite not finding the goals, Bartlett really impressed with his use by hand – sweeping up spilled balls at half-forward and flicking out to teammates on the move. Does not have a huge frame, but his physicality in the contest was a key part of his style of play, allowing him to position best at the drop of the ball. Bartlett’s highlight for the game was an assist to Matthew Johnson, finding him by hand from a forward 50 stoppage. Also rotated through the midfield in the early stages, but found a home forward of centre.

#27 Matthew Johnson (Subiaco)

A raw midfielder/forward, Johnson was one who showed little flashes of his potential. Is quite tall for a midfielder at his age (187cm) but is still very lean at 65kg, somewhat levelling out his height advantage. Snapped a goal in the second term to set his side on a run of momentum, and later showed good explosive traits with a fend off and burst from congestion.

#31 Luke Taylor (Swan Districts)

The forward target kicked WA’s first goal of the game with a nice set shot finish from the pocket, but missed another chance shortly after. Impressed with his strong hands on the lead on two occasions in the first term, and looked on for a big game. Wasn’t helped by the conditions, but still made an impact by finding his side’s only goal for the third quarter – converting a free kick from a forward 50 stoppage.

#38 Kade Dittmar (East Perth)

Originally a train-on in the WA squad, Dittmar did well to make the most of his opportunity. Has a really solid frame already, and was physical when called upon both in the air and at ground level. Managed to find the ball at both ends, catching the eye in particular with overhead marking in the back half – including two quick ones in the second term. Built into the game well and accumulated across the day, playing the percentages by foot with neat kicking.

#39 Luke Polson (Peel Thunder)

Took on the majority of the ruck duties throughout the day, arguably getting the better of his SA counterparts. Is not the tallest ruck at 194cm, but that didn’t have much of an effect as Polson leapt well and found a way to get first hand on the ball around the ground. Perhaps the best aspect of Polson’s game was his follow-up efforts, finding the ball at ground level and hacking clear for his side. Looks a productive player for his position.

#42 Blake Morris (Subiaco)

A late inclusion to the squad as an over-ager having missed out on selection last year, Morris was arguably WA’s best. The Subiaco product clunked just about everything that came his way in a dominant defensive display. Started with an eye-catching intercept mark in the corridor and never looked back, reeling in a series on overhead grabs from high balls in his defensive 50 to show superior reading of the play. The half-time rain only slowed him slightly, as he came out after the main break with another strong pack mark in the wet. Worked well at ground level too with a goal-saving tackle in the second term, as well as a couple of rebounding attempts. Still looks a raw prospect, and had a bit of a blunder as he marked an Isaiah Dudley shot on his chest just over the goal line, but has great potential.


South Australia:

#2 Zyton Santillo (North Adelaide)

Made a lively start to the game, taking it on with some run and carry from his customary wing position, and even slotting home SA’s second goal of the game with a well converted set shot. Likes to burst past opponents as he gathers the ball, and found it at a good rate throughout the game. Was a little quieter after making his early impression, but remained one of his side’s best.

#3 Jay Watson (Eagles)

Was not initially one who caught the eye, but progressively got better and more involved as time elapsed. Started SA’s late surge in the second term as he announced himself with a set shot goal, and also hit the post in the following term. Was involved in a couple of nice passages for the winners, and got busy in the forward half.

#5 Isaiah Dudley (Central District)

Arguably the best afield, Dudley is full of talent and stands above the rest despite being just 162cm tall. Also caught the eye at last year’s Under 16 carnival with his nous around goal, and produced the same kind of play here with clever touches at ground level and four high quality majors. Looked to make an immediate impact with his first shot coming in the opening minute, but only really started to take over after quarter time. Harassed well inside 50 to give Morgan Ferres his second goal, and played a key part in Harry McInnes’ first with a steal and break through the corridor. Would find the goals himself shortly after with a lovely snap, and made another intercept to slam home a second. Continued on with the first goal of the third term and his fourth in the last, capping off a top-notch display. Has great agility and smarts, definitely one who will garner attention despite his height.

#6 Lachlan Thomas (Sturt)

An effective rebounder from the back half, Thomas swept up well across defensive 50 to accumulate a good amount of ball. Was the designated kicker given his kick-in responsibilities and often looked to take full advantage of being able to play on from them. Showed good composure on the ball and got to the important areas, barely putting a foot wrong throughout the game. Looks to be an important generator of run in a highly competitive SA back six.

#8 Cooper Murley (Norwood)

One of three who most consistently featured at the centre bounces, Murley provided a good point of difference between the midfield trio with some burst and run on the outside. Won an early clearance, but made his first real impact with a goal – collecting the loose ball over the back after initially airing a soccered attempt and converting into an open goal. Went on to win most of his ball on the outer of heavy congestion and moved it forward to good effect.

#10 Jase Burgoyne (Eagles)

A Flying Boomerangs representative last year, Burgoyne is the son of Port Adelaide champion Peter – and looks a mirror imagine of him in his early days. The pacey mover played most of this game in the forward half or on a wing, showing small glimpses of his pedigree. Took a nice one on one mark and moved the ball inside 50 in a lively second quarter, while also missing a casual attempted snap on goal. Was involved early in the third term again with more time forward, and had a particularly impressive pick-up at speed. Showed signs, but not the complete package just yet.

#11 Harry Tunkin (Glenelg)

A tough midfielder/defender, Tunkin looked to have relished the opportunity to get his hands dirty in wet conditions. Attacks the ball hard and remains strong in the contest, while also possessing good breakaway capabilities and a solid core. Really impressed in the second and third terms with his defensive efforts in the back half, while also racking up a good amount of ball and using it well by foot. Showed a good bit of composure in the third term to round two opponents, and also spent some time in the middle.

#14 Arlo Draper (South Adelaide)

Is a tall and lean type, but absolutely threw himself into every contest he could in the back half. Showed great desperation to lock in and win the ball at ground level inside defensive 50, making a heap of contests and helping SA to prize possession back. Also competed well in the air to bring the ball to ground, and was another to show levels of composure with ball in hand.

#17 Matthew Dnistriansky (Norwood)

Had a couple of nice moments during the match, starting with a solid overhead grab in the opening term. Did not have a massive first half, but again showed his worth with a booming kick from defensive wing to find a target forward in the second term. Started to really motor on after half time, staying relevant down back with some solid rebound and by racking up a good amount of ball.

#19 Jason Horne (South Adelaide)

The skipper well and truly led the way from midfield, putting in his fair share of contested work and using the ball well from congestion. Was a regular at the centre bounces, but also rested forward and found a goal in the second term – taking a strong contested mark and converting the resultant shot. Managed to set up Jay Watson’s goal in the same term on the back of a fend-off, but still looked most comfortable in the engine room as his side’s leading ball winner. Horne handed off well to runners tackled hard, working effectively at the stoppages and also proving productive around the ground. Will be a key figure for his side, and is arguably the best of a strong SA midfield core.

#20 Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide)

Back for his second stint in the Under 16 side after impressing last year as an under-ager, Roberts complimented the likes of Horne well in the midfield. The South Adelaide product is another who is strong and wins his fair share of contested ball, but also possesses a decent left foot. Looked particularly good early with an overhead intercept mark forward of the wing, but went on to really shine with his in and under work in the engine room, despite not having huge possession numbers.

#23 Morgan Ferres (Sturt)

Joined Dudley with a game-high four goals, playing deep forward as a slightly undersized lead-up target. Was really dangerous in the opening term, finding a good amount of ball inside 50 and putting through one of his two attempts on goal, reading the ball best off hands. Kicked his second goal in the following term in open play once again, adding two more in the final quarter to seal the game. His third came via another snap, and his fourth was a more conventional set shot. Had a couple of good one on one wins in the air despite his light frame, but was found out a bit more when searching for it up the ground before coming good again when positioned a kick behind the ball on the attacking arc. Definitely looks at home inside forward 50.

Reigning champions again look the team to beat

DEFENDING Under-16 Division 1 champions South Australia got their 2019 campaign off to an ideal start, bettering their Western counterparts by 29 points at Subiaco Oval in a game full of momentum swings.

The tri-colours burst out of the blocks early with consecutive goals to Morgan Ferres, Zyton Santillo, and Cooper Murley helping them to an ominous three-goal break. Their lead was soon to be cut though, as the home side hit back through forward targets Luke Taylor and Jacob van Rooyen to remain within striking distance. The ebbs and flows continued on into the second term, with SA ending the beneficiary of a high-scoring stanza of play – booting six goals to WA’s three to build a 26-point half-time margin. Three quick unanswered goals in the final four minutes of the term compounded the difference, with Jay Watson, skipper Jason Horne, and diminutive forward jet Isaiah Dudley all finding the big sticks late on.

With a downpour of rain continuing on from the half time interval, SA looked primed to hang onto the lead they had established, but WA simply would not go away. A deadlocked third term saw the spoils shared and margin relatively unchanged heading into the fourth quarter, with Dudley and WA’s Taylor each doubling up on their respective goal tallies. With the rain seeming to clear but the ball still wet, the home side made a charge early in the final stanza with another string of three goals – this time through Zach Fliener, Matthew Johnson, and Ethan Regan. Despite the lead being cut to just nine points and the run of play with WA, the visitors’ class shone through the dreariness as they finished strong with three goals of their own to seal a comfortable victory in the end, with a Ferres goal on the siren sealing the deal.

Dudley and Ferres were the stars inside 50 for the winners with four goals apiece, as the former provided intense ground ball threat when rotating forward through the midfield, and the latter more of an aerial option. Dudley’s teammates in last year’s Under 16 squad – Horne and Matthew Roberts – were fantastic through midfield, winning their fair share of contested ball and also featuring forward of centre. Santillo was another to impress with his run and carry from the wing, with Lachlan Thomas and Harry Tunkin reliable outlets down back.

For WA, late squad inclusion Blake Morris was simply outstanding down back – marking just about everything that came his way, especially during a dryer first half. Fliener was another to pop up in the defensive half, donning his helmet and carrying the ball forward to good effect. The likes of Lochlan Paton, Max Chipper, and Mitchell Brown all accumulated well across the game in the Black Swans’ midfield rotation, while Lawson Humphries and Richard Bartlett were dangerous links into the forward 50. Johnson and Taylor were the only multiple goal kickers in an even spread, with van Rooyen a key contributor to also find the goals and Kade Dittmar impressive in all areas of the ground.

With the carnival headed to Queensland for Rounds 2 and 3, next on the agenda for South Australia is a meeting with fellow Round 1 winners, Vic Metro. Meanhwile, Western Australia is set to face Metro’s weekend opponent, Vic Country.


WESTERN AUSTRALIA 2.2 | 5.3 | 6.5 | 9.5 (59)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 3.4 | 9.5 | 10.8 | 13.10 (88)

GOALS:
WA: L. Taylor 2, M. Johnson 2, J. van Rooyen, L. Humphries, R. Farmer, Z. Fliener, E. Regan.
SA: I. Dudley 4, M. Ferres 4, C. Murley, Z. Santillo, J. Horne, J. Watson, H. McInnes.