Tag: lewis rayson

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 3

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s has continued into Round 3, with the latest weekend of action producing some excellent performances from plenty of 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE

By: Liam Badkin

NORWOOD:

#25 Matt Dnistriansky 

It was another great performance from the Norwood defender in the win. His work deep in the backline was crucial in thwarting countless Rooster attacks. He got many of his disposals deep in defence and was constantly composed and his decision making was key. Often playing off his opponent to attack, the athletic defender took 12 marks, with quite a few intercepts.

Once again tasked with frequently taking kick ins, he seemed not to miss a target as he calmly found teammates when he was under pressure. His form has continued to grow as he has worked his way into the season with each game. Ending the game with 29 disposals (22 kicks and seven handballs) and five rebound 50’s, he was crucially important in his team’s 11-point win.

Others:

Ruckman Damon Pitt played his best game of the season, displaying his ability to essentially act as an extra midfielder. He proved more than capable of winning his own hitouts, finishing with a season high 18, but it was his follow up work that caught the eye. He ended the game with 22 disposals and a game high 10 clearances, often outplaying both on ball brigades. Jack Ianniello excited forward of centre as he kicked 2.2 from 21 disposals. Had he converted the two missed shots, it would’ve capped off an excellent day.

NORTH ADELAIDE:

#12 Hugh Jackson

Continued his fine start to the year, popping up everywhere to find the ball all over the ground. As a midfielder, Jackson basically did it all. He found tough possessions on the deck, maintained his composure to hit targets by foot and was a clear standout on his team. While he may have amassed more disposals in the first two rounds (37 and 33 respectively), in a game where their midfield was often beaten, he can more than hold his head high.

Moving across the ground smoothly, he was a crucial cog in strong play. Finishing with an impressive seven rebound 50’s, his work in the defensive half caught the eye as he worked tirelessly to remove the ball from the backline. His skills on both feet also resulted in four inside 50’s as he connected with leading forwards. His kicks drew his teammates into space as he picked holes in the well organised defence.

The teenager from Crystal Brooke has had a blistering start to the year and this match was no exception. Arguably his side’s best for the day, Jackson finished with 31 disposals, nine marks, four tackles and three clearances.

Others:

Blayne O’Loughlin topped the disposal list for the second game in a row, backing up his 44 touch effort with 32 this week. He also added seven rebound 50’s and was the catalyst for plenty of excellent ball movement forward from the backline.

Tough midfielder Zyton Santillo ended the match with 26 disposals, nine tackles and nine marks in a typically strong performance as he stuffed the stat sheet. Fellow midfielder Harvey Harrison also impressed with 27 disposals and seven clearances. He also missed two shots on goal (one in the second quarter and one in the third quarter) that would’ve added to his day.

 

GLENELG vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

By: Liam Badkin

GLENELG:

#32 Oscar Adams

The team win had plenty of contributors, but none were as influential as the big ruckman. His hit out work is something to be admired as he continuously gave his midfielders first use, allowing them to win the clearances 38-28. Even more impressive was his ball after the ruck contest, finding the ball 24 times.

He bounced back from each contest to either lay a tackle or find the ball himself. His combination with his on ballers was a joy to watch as he stamped his influence on the game with his dominant play. A missed shot on goal in the third quarter would have disappointed, but essentially did everything else to get his team rolling out of the middle.

The ruckman role has developed past just hit-outs, now expected to find their own footy around the ground. Adams fits this bill perfectly, and can also shift to defence, a role he filled in his U16 Glenelg side.

Others:

Dashing defender Lewis Rayson continued his consistent start to the season, finishing with 24 disposals and five tackles. Once again creative with the ball, Rayson’s skills by foot hurt the opposition as he picked holes through defenders with his bullet-like passes.

Ball-winner Harry Tunkin led his team in disposals with 27 for the day. Spending time in the midfield and up forward, his inside work saw him end with a handball happy game, setting up teammates on the outside. Kicked a nice goal late in the second quarter to add to an already impressive game.

Hugh Stagg led the side in clearances finishing with eight to go with 19 disposals and a goal. The big bodied midfielder has plenty of upside and this game should give him confidence going forward.

CENTRAL DISTRICT:

#16 Shay Linke

In a disappointing day for his side, the midfielder never stopped trying, working tirelessly around the ball. The SANFL Academy player has been a standout in his side’s underwhelming start to the year and yesterday continued this trend. In a day where his team was convincingly beaten, Linke fought in the midfield to try and keep his side in the game, finishing with 26 disposals. His ability to find space around the field was great, as his hard running saw him end with eight marks.

Linke also did the defensive work, laying seven solid tackles around stoppages. He was certainly a standout in a side with very little positives for the day.

Others:

Darcy Mcdonald had 14 touches and nine tackles as the Central midfield fought to slow down a dominant midfield performance from the Tigers. Key forward Cody Gilchrist‘s wayward kicking prevented him from a big haul, kicking 1.3 for the day. His marking still impressed, pulling down three contested marks for the day. Had he converted his shots on goal, it may have been a different story for Central.

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS

By: Tom Wyman

SOUTH ADELAIDE:

#21 Matthew Roberts

Roberts has already proven to be a step above the SANFL Under-18 competition, and he was at it again at Noarlunga Oval in Round 3. Despite the Eagles coming away with a 16-point win following a dominant second-half, Roberts was clearly the most dominant midfielder on the park. Starting at the opening centre bounce and alternating up forward with fellow draft hopeful Arlo Draper, Roberts had the ball on a string. Roberts’ work rate from start to finish enabled him to dictate terms for large portions of the contest. He was strong in the coal-face but his running patterns ensured he also won plenty of uncontested possessions. Roberts used the ball neatly with his clean left foot and was also effective with his hands in-tight. His team-lifting goal in the third term was clearly the highlight of the match. Positioned in the forward pocket, he gathered the loose ball, turned sharply onto his trusty left foot, sized up the target and snapped a sensational goal. The classy goal and consistent run and carry efforts were memorable, but Roberts also made an impact defensively, laying eight tackles and dropping back to take a couple of intercept marks. He finished with 37 touches, nine marks, five clearances, eight inside-50s and six rebounds.

#33 Arlo Draper

Although Draper did not find as much of the ball as teammate Roberts, the tall midfielder/forward made a genuine impact whenever he was near it. The Panthers deployed him as the deepest forward at times and he looked threatening when the ball was kicked in his direction. He used his strength and football smarts well one-on-one, nudging his opponent under the ball and taking an uncontested mark to boot South’s first goal of the contest. His clearance-work and ability to read the taps was terrific when moved onto the ball, and his cleanness and sharpness at ground level instigated a number of positive plays for the home side. A clear example of his distribution by hand came when he fired off a quick handball to set-up a Hugo Hoeck goal. Draper collected 22 disposals, five marks, four tackles, four clearances and five inside-50s.

#39 Will Verrall

Bottom-aged ruckman Verrall went head-to-head with Woodville-West Torrens ruckman Zac Phillips in a hard-fought battle between two of the most talented big-men in the competition. Verrall won the first hit-out of the match, tapping it straight to star on-baller Roberts who won the clearance. He was heavily involved around the ground early on and it was encouraging to see him continue to back himself to spot up teammates with precise inside-50 kicks. Verrall’s contested marking was also a real feature of his game. Although Phillips gained the upper hand in-terms of pure hit-out numbers (winning 27 to Verrall’s eight), the Panther tall showed some very promising signs, both in the ruck contest and around the ground. He finished with 12 disposals, four marks, three clearances and a goal.

Others: Consistent wingman Isaac Birt was once again among his sides best performers, running hard up and down the ground to provide an outlet option. He used the ball well and was an important connector between defence and attack, finishing with 19 disposals, ten marks, four inside-50s and three rebounds. Midfielder Cooper Rogers also found plenty of the ball, complementing the likes of Draper and Roberts in the engine room. He gathered 23 disposals, a game-high 12 marks and nine inside-50s in another impressive display.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS:

#17 Lukas Cooke

Cooke dominated proceedings in attack, proving far too good for the Panthers defenders. It was just one of those days for Cooke, who marked everything within his reach. And on the rare occasion in which he didn’t clunk the mark, he brought the ball to ground for the Eagles crumbers to pounce upon. What made Cooke’s performance so good was his ability to convert, oftentimes from long range. His set-shot routine is smooth and it proved ultra effective as he nailed five first half goals. His snap on goal in the dying moments of the first half further demonstrated his exciting mobility and athletic prowess. Cooke handled the ruck duties when the ball was in the Eagles forward 50 and more than held his own against some of the Panthers more physically developed juniors, winning five hit-outs, including a couple directly to advantage. After booting two goals in the opening round and one goal last weekend in the loss to Glenelg, Cooke finished the day down south with seven goals to his name, along with 19 disposals and seven marks (including five contested) in a dominant display which will surely have caught the attention of AFL recruiters.

#24 Zac Phillips

Ruckman Phillips could consider himself a touch unlucky to miss out on being drafted in his first year of eligibility in 2020. However, having re-joined the Eagles under-18 set-up as an over-ager, the towering Yorke Peninsula teenager did his draft chances no harm with a terrific display at Noarlunga. Competing against the Panthers duel-rucks Will Verrall and Heath Treloar, Phillips was influential around the ground, with his hit-out ascendancy, cleanliness below his knees, efficient handball skills and neat kicking the standout features of his game. He moved well around the ground and finished the game with 13 disposals, 27 hit-outs, four marks, three tackles and five inside-50s.

Others: Mattaes Phillipou was everywhere for the Eagles. Although he was slightly inconsistent with his ball use, Phillipou’s stoppage nous and ability to accumulate the ball at-will went a long way towards the Eagles picking up their first win of the season. He finished with a team-high 34 disposals, three marks, three tackles, seven clearances and six inside-50s. Dustin Launer was another Eagle who stood up and performed well against a South Adelaide side with a handful of exciting talents. He gathered 26 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, seven clearances and four rebounds in a well-rounded performance. SANFL State Talent Hub member Jay Watson gathered 16 disposals, seven marks, six inside-50s and a goal, with bottom-ager Adam D’Aloia (22 disposals and a goal) also winning his fair share of the ball through the midfield and in attack.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. STURT 

By: Tom Wyman

WEST ADELAIDE:

#9 Kobe Ryan

Ryan was the clear best-on-ground for West Adelaide as they took control of their clash with Sturt. Despite being a year younger and considerably slimmer than many of his opponents, Ryan’s natural ball-winning abilities, poise with ball in-hand and smart running patterns ensured he found the ball with the ease of a seasoned veteran. Effortlessly classy in his movement and typically clean at ground level, Ryan used the ball to excellent effect for the most part, making smart decisions and then executing well by hand and foot. Although a number of his possessions were uncontested touches with limited pressure, the Bloods clearly have confidence in Ryan’s skillset and decision making capabilities – and for good reason. Deceptively strong above his shoulders, Ryan showed why he is considered among the most talented junior footballers in South Australia with an impressive showing, featuring 31 disposals, four marks, four tackles and seven clearances.

#10 Cade Kennedy

The skipper lead from the front for West Adelaide, setting the tone with his aggressive attack on the ball and line-breaking speed proving too difficult to handle for the Sturt midfielders. Although his ball use was questionable at-times, with a couple of his kicks falling short of their intended targets, Kennedy’s production, constant pressure and zip around the ball provided an important point-of-difference and complemented his fellow on-ballers. The sole top-aged West Adelaide player in the SANFL State Talent Hub, Kennedy concluded the match with 27 disposals, five marks, eight tackles and six inside-50s.

#16 Dylan White

Dylan White was another of the Bloods midfield brigade to run riot at Hisense Stadium. A Renmark product from within the West Adelaide country zone, White had a big impact on the contest in the coal-face, winning his fair share of contested ball but, importantly, spread hard and pushed forward to hit the scoreboard. His long range goal at the five minute mark of the second term extended his sides lead and evidently provided a real moral boost. White accumulated 31 disposals, seven marks, six tackles, four clearances and two goals in what was his best game of the season to-date.

#36 Tyson Coe

Powerful bottom-ager Coe played an instrumental role in the Bloods triumph. Regarded for his contested ball winning and tough in-and-under style, it was Coe’s penetrating foot skills which stood out against the Double Blues. Despite boasting an unconventional kicking action, his left foot found plenty of targets on Saturday afternoon, over both long and shorter distances. Skipper of the Bloods Under-16s side last season and current member of the Under-18 leadership group, Coe booted two first half goals, including a long range attempt from near the 50m line and a set-shot from similar range. Coe seemed to be involved in every scoring play for West Adelaide and has made the step-up to under-18s level with ease over the first few weeks. The damaging midfielder/forward finished the game with 22 disposals, five marks and five inside-50s.

#40 Luke Young

Often the focal point in attack for West Adelaide, key forward Luke Young again played an important role in his sides win. Working well in-tandem with fellow tall Harry Lemmey, Young pushed up the ground as he usually does, allowing Lemmey to play as the deepest forward. Young was typically good in the air, taking a couple of nice grabs but importantly bringing the ball to ground too. The Plympton junior’s field kicking was clean and his goal came via a regulation set-shot in the first term, however Young will have no-doubt liked to have added a couple more majors. Nevertheless, he concluded another solid outing with 18 disposals, six marks and four inside-50s.

Others: Bottom-aged key forward Harry Lemmey showed some glimpses of genuine excitement in attack. A highly athletic prospect with excellent mobility and cleanliness for a big man, Lemmey has a smooth set-shot routine and is a capable overhead mark. However he also showed off his natural talent by booting a fantastic running goal on the stroke of half-time. He finished with nine touches and three goals for the match. Dylan McCormick was effective on the wing and through the midfield, particularly in the games early stages. A neat user of the footy, McCormick finished with 18 disposals, six marks and six inside-50s. Patrick Singleton was another ‘Westies’ junior who found an abundance of the ball, accumulating 28 touches and six marks. His repeat-efforts at ground level to stop a regulation Sturt goal in the second term would have thoroughly impressed the Bloods coaching staff. Jed Obst (21 disposals and ten marks), Charlie Pridham (21 disposals, five tackles and six rebounds) and Jesse Thackeray (21 disposals and nine clearances) were also among the Bloods top performers.

STURT:

#7 Nick Sadler

The bottom-aged utility was used up forward and in attack and had some nice moments which suggests he could be one to watch over the next couple of seasons. His penetrating foot skills stood out again today, hitting most of his targets by foot and also using the ball well by hand. He is a strong tackler and appears to have a few handy attributes. Sadler finished with 15 disposals, three marks and four clearances.

#13 Brad Jefferies

Strongly-built midfielder Brad Jefferies was industrious in his return to under-18s level. Jefferies possesses a booming long kick and used the ball effectively by foot for the most part, working against a talented West Adelaide engine room. Jefferies worked hard for the entirety of the match and, in the absence of regular on-baller Will Spain who gained a call-up to reserves level, was Sturt’s go-to man at stoppages. The Double Blues relied heavily upon his combative style in the coal face and will be relived to have the Onkaparinga product back in the under-18 set-up. He finished the game with a team-high 27 disposals, five marks, three tackles, five clearances and four inside-50s.

#37 Zac Becker

Stationed deep in defence, Zac Becker was arguably Sturt’s best performer. Forced to weather a storm of West Adelaide inside-50s at-times, Becker stood up well under the pressure. He spent some time opposed to West Adelaide centre-half-forward Luke Young in what proved to be an enticing battle between two of the premier key position players in the SANFL under-18 competition. As has been the case all season, Becker was trusted with the kick-in duties – a testament to his excellent foot skills. He often cleared the defensive-50 from a kick-in, using his long and accurate leg. Importantly, Becker made good decisions and was also competitive in the air. Clearly the league’s most prolific rebounder after three rounds of action (averaging over 11 rebounds per game), the SANFL Talent Hub member finished with 20 disposals (all of which were kicks), four marks and 14 rebounds.

Others: With Morgan Ferres lining up in the reserves for the second-straight week, it was up to key forward Felix Packer to fill the void. And he did just that, booting four goals from ten disposals and five marks. An accurate set-shot for goal, Packer’s presence in the air was important for a Double Blues side which managed just 37 inside-50s for the match. Although he didn’t hit the scoreboard, medium forward Jacob Lochowiak played with aggression and intent, collecting 18 disposals, three marks, five tackles and seven inside-50s. On-ballers Jamie Taylor (16 disposals, one goal, four tackles and four clearances) and Jake Aish (15 disposals, four marks, five tackles, three clearances and four inside-50s) again fought hard for the visitors.

Picture credit: Nick Hook Photography

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 2

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s rolled on into Round 2, with the latest weekend of action producing some excellent performances from plenty of 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the second SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

GLENELG vs. WWT EAGLES

By: Liam Badkin

GLENELG:

#32 Oscar Adams

Worked hard through the midfield all day to give his team ascendency. Fought all game in the poor conditions to give his midfielders first use with his hitouts around the ground.

#20 Lewis Rayson

Found plenty of the ball and rarely wasted it. A game-high 29 disposals showcased his creativity with the ball as he set up countless plays with his hard work from half-back. An excellent performance as he continues to impress and demonstrate the quality talent coming out of South Australia.

#5 Hugh Stagg

Didn’t get a heap of the ball, but made the most of it when he did. Kicked a nice goal from a snap in the first quarter to extend his side’s strong lead. Spent time on the ball where he used his big frame to put others in better positions.

#13 Hayden Brokensha

A quieter performance than last week, the hard runner only found the ball eight times but there were still plenty of bright spots. His disposal could’ve been cleaner, but the effort was never in doubt as he looks to build on this performance.

#10 Lachlan Scannell

Another who didn’t accumulate the ball as much as last week, but showed his endeavour and willingness to work hard for his touches. With a solid 15 disposals, Scannell ran tirelessly all day and found himself an integral link up player as his side rebounded the ball out of defensive 50.

EAGLES:

#12 Brayden Calvett

The lethal left footer once again proved his worth to his side. Working around the midfield, he took the game on plenty of times and used his damaging skills to hurt the opposition and incite fantastic ball movement. Missed a shot on goal at the start of the last quarter but would be pleased with his performance overall.

#4 Jase Burgoyne

A handy link-up player who did his best work on the half-forward line. Always crafty, Burgoyne was a key cog in a lot of good Eagles ball movement. Found the ball 23 times and should hold his head high despite the loss. One of his side’s best on the day, and should built into competition well after an interrupted preseason.

#17 Lukas Cooke

A quieter game than last week, Cooke was the victim of the ball not entering his forward 50 enough. It’s hard to judge a key forward on a game where his side is beaten around other areas of the ground. Kicked his sole goal to open the scoring account for the second quarter as he tried to pull his side back into the game. Other than that, lack of opportunities hurt his output.

#2 Jay Watson

Found the footy plenty of times in a game where his side struggled to get their hands on it. Constantly drove the ball forward with his quality kicking skills, and tried until the final bounce to get his side back into the game.

#15 Adam D’Aolia

Another solid performance for the midfielder, as he fought bravely in a losing battle. Was dangerous around the stoppages, where he managed to find a game-high five clearances, despite his forwards not finishing his hard work and being beaten. Also worked his way to six tackles as he forced plenty of stoppages with his ability to stop opponents in their tracks.

 

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. WEST ADELAIDE

By: Liam Badkin

CENTRAL:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

One of his side’s strongest performers on the day, the highly touted mid-forward lived up to the high expectations he has set for himself. Working through the midfield and forward of the ball, Dudley provided a spark on a dour day for his side. His explosiveness was hard to ignore around the contest, as he burst through packs and finished the day with 17 disposals and two goals. His stocks continue to rise.

#37 Cody Gilchrist 

It was a day that could have yielded so much more for the aerial specialist, but his inaccuracy cost him a bag of six as he finished with 1.5. His marking skills were more efficient as he brought down five grabs, with some contested. His ability to set himself up for a scoring opportunity is a real stand out, and if his accuracy can improve, he will be a nightmare for defenders.

#16 Shay Linke 

The SANFL Academy member once again continued his promising start to the year, and demonstrated his ability to win the footy all around the ground. His work around the stoppages was marvellous as he worked his way to 30 disposals and four clearances. His third quarter goal showcased his ability to hit the scoreboard, and he performed strongly on a tough day at the office.

#28 Luca Whitelum 

Backed up last week’s solid showing with another, consistently competing in a losing side. Missed two shots on goal that he could’ve kicked if he had his time over, but never gave up. Another step in the right direction.

WEST ADELAIDE:

#10 Cade Kennedy 

One of his side’s best performers, Kennedy found plenty of the ball and gave opposition coaches headaches as he continued to rack up possessions. His work at the contest was high-level, extracting three clearances, and he hit the scoreboard with a handy second quarter goal, when the opposition were making a strong run. Fantastic.

#36 Tyson Coe

While gathering slightly less of the ball than last week, Coe still showed his talent as a big-bodied midfielder, finding the ball 15 times. His two goals would’ve pleased his coaches as he continues to add strings to his bow.

#54 Harry Lemmey 

The developing key forward continues his improvement with another nice game. The ball movement inside 50 at times suited his skillset as he reeled in five marks. Could’ve finished with five goals but instead settled for 2.3 in an important performance for his side.

#9 Kobe Ryan

A star in the making, Ryan put in a best on ground performance with his outstanding effort in the midfield. Seemingly always around the play, the bottom ager was herculean for his team, winning eight clearances to drive his team forward. His defensive work was just as strong, laying eight tackles as he refused to be beaten by an opponent. Strong in the air and on the ground, he was impossible to stop, as he remarkably went at 90 per cent disposal efficiency from his 33 touches. An outstanding performance.

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORTH ADELAIDE 

By: Tom Wyman

SOUTH ADELAIDE:

#33 Arlo Draper

One of SA’s most highly rated draft prospects, Draper had some nice moments where he appeared a cut above Under 18 level, but didn’t star as the Panthers were beaten by a strong North Adelaide side. Starting at the centre bounce but drifting forward for parts of the match, Draper is a great size for the modern game at 186cm.

His quick snap on goal from the stoppage was soccered through on the goal-line for a major, but highlighted his high-level forward craft. An impressive overall athlete, Draper’s stoppage nous was terrific, reading the taps well and gliding through congestion on a number of occasions. He didn’t attend every stoppage but still won a game-high seven clearances – highlighting his smarts in the midfield. Draper’s hands in-tight were sound and he hit some tricky targets by foot, particularly when looking to centre the ball.

Although the Willunga product didn’t dominate proceedings or find lots of the ball, he had an impact just about every time he touched it. Draper is clearly an aerial threat and his strong midfield craft and ability forward of centre will no doubt have scouts monitoring him closely. He concluded the game with 16 disposals, a goal (10 kicks and six handballs) and four tackles.

Others: 

Angus Bradley was likely best-on-ground for the Panthers. Although South Adelaide were beaten in the midfield, Bradley didn’t back down, winning a team-high 31 disposals (25 kicks and six handballs) to go with seven marks and eight rebound-50s. A kick-first type of player, Bradley used the ball cleanly by foot.

Half-back flanker Lachlan Hayes showed a nice bit of zip from defence. He took the game on wherever he could and appears to be a smart player. He finished with 22 disposals and three rebounds. Key defender Dylan Miller was opposed to talented Roosters forward Isaac Keeler and kept the Adelaide NGA product goalless, after he booted five majors the week before.

Wingman Isaac Birt produced a balanced game, finishing with 19 disposals, six marks, six tackles, three inside-50s and a goal, with fellow midfielder Cooper Rogers (22 disposals, six tackles and three clearances) also busy. Koby Cockshell booted three goals for the home side.

NORTH ADELAIDE:

#4 Isaac Keeler

After kicking five goals in a dominant display against Central District last week, the tall forward was well-held by the South Adelaide backline. The bottom-aged Adelaide NGA product still showed some nice glimpses, with his ability to gain separation on the lead, natural athleticism and impact at ground level all evident.

However, Keeler was slightly off despite the Roosters’ win, dropping a simple chest mark in the opening term and turning the ball over a couple of times by foot. His cleanliness below his knees was a real highlight though. Keeler finished with 11 disposals, three marks, three tackles and a couple of clearances when given a run in the ruck. Expect him to return to the scoresheet against the Redlegs next week.

#12 Hugh Jackson

Jackson has stated the season in dominant fashion and would have to be one of the early favourites to take out the McCallum-Tomkins Medal (SANFL Under 18 best and fairest), after a strong showing against the Panthers. His hands in traffic, on both sides of his body, were not only lightening fast, but they always found their target. Playing as an inside midfielder, Jackson won a lot of his possessions in congestion but, impressively, was still able to hit his targets by foot.

However, like many of his North Adelaide teammates, Jackson has the ability to spread well from the stoppages and get involved in general play, which allows him to best exploit his clean skillset. His running patterns allowed him to get on the end of handball chains and be the one to deliver the ball inside-50. The teenager, from Crystal Brook in the heartland of the Roosters country zone, drew teammates towards him with his kicking and was able to slice through tricky gaps in the play.

He did all the defensive stuff too, laying a game-high ten tackles. He was caught holding the ball a couple of times, however the smooth-mover again looked in complete control, finishing the clash with 33 disposals, five marks, five clearances, five inside 50s. He was unlucky to have a snap at goal hit the post in the fourth quarter too.

#15 Harvey Harrison

Blayne O’Loughlin’s 44-touches are hard to overlook, but the performance of Harrison had a similar influence over the game. Harrison was typically productive around the ground, consistently winning the ball in-tight at the coal-face, but it was his spread from the contest and the run and carry that he provided which proved deadly. Involved in countless handball-chains through the middle of the ground, Harrison was instrumental in turning defensive into attack.

Many players tend to waste their possessions when travelling at full speed, but not Harrison. His delivery by foot was outstanding and his running goal in the third-term triggered a flurry of Roosters majors, however he could have had an even bigger game if he had converted some of his chances in-front of the big sticks (kicking five behinds). The Golden Grove junior looks to have established himself as one of the leading midfielders in the state, after accumulating 64 touches across the first fortnight of action.

A high metres-gained type of midfielder, Harrison finished the round two clash with 31 disposals (21 kicks and ten handballs), four marks, six tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s and a goal. He sits third in the competition for disposals (trailing only teammates Blayne O’Loughlin and Hugh Jackson), equal-fourth for marks and second for clearances – highlighting his well balanced game.

#18 James Willis

Willis returned to the Roosters’ Under 18s set-up and wasted no time in getting involved. He spent time rotating through the midfield and forwardline, where his speed, run-and-carry, and ability to win the contested ball featured prominently. He applied plenty of defensive pressure around the ball and tackled with genuine intent. The SANFL Academy member also bobbed up for two goals late in the game, to go with 18 disposals, three marks, four tackles and five inside 50s.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

The skipper led from the front for the Roosters, setting up the play beautifully from half-back. Another Rooster who is tied to the Adelaide Crows via NGA rules, O’Loughlin had the ball on a string right from the start. Although he did accumulate many of his touches from kick-ins, his skills when exiting the defensive-50 were exceptional. Always calm and composed with ball in hand, the SANFL Academy member was largely pin-point with his disposal by foot, weighing up the situation and thinking his way through things.

O’Loughlin reads the game so well and possesses a rare understanding of how the play appears to be unfolding in-front of him, then consistently makes the right decision and executes by hand or foot. The crafty defender is a deep thinker on the field and is equipped with the skillset to match, but he also showed a willingness to crack in hard for his side and win some contested ball, which will have impressed scouts and recruiters watching on.

O’Loughlin’s footy smarts were again on display when he sprinted 30 metres to plug the gap in-front of a leading South Adelaide forward and prevent a near-certain shot on goal. Blayne finished with a game-high 44 disposals (30 kicks and 14 handballs), nine marks, four tackles and eight rebound 50s in what could well be his best performance at Under 18s level to date.

#29 Zyton Santillo

The speedy Santillo was typically industrious for the red and whites through the midfield and in attack. He had no trouble finding the ball and used it really well. One of several North Adelaide midfielders with some speed and skill, Santillo was precise with his kicking, particularly when heading inside 50, and ran hard both ways. Not unlike Brisbane star Dayne Zorko in the way he moves, Santillo once again showed he is an important cog in what appears to be a very strong Roosters squad, accumulating 31 disposals, seven marks, six tackles, six clearances and six inside 50s in an impressive outing.

Others:

Whilst the North Adelaide midfield unit will receive much of the attention and plaudits for their dominance, defender Lewis Saint played an important role in defence, breaking up several Panthers attacks. Medium-forward Thomas Cusack had a blistering third term, booting four goals in six minutes to break-open the game and more-or-less put the game beyond reach. Elliott McNamara was an important target up forward, finishing with 20 disposals, four marks (including two contested), six tackles and five inside 50s.

 

NORWOOD vs. STURT

By: Tom Wyman

NORWOOD:

#1 Tyson Walls

After making a strong start to the season last weekend, the bottom-aged midfielder was again among the best players on the ground in Norwood’s victory. He spent the game in his customary midfield role, where he won his fair share of contested ball and showed an ability to look for the right options in congestion, rather than blaze away.

He possesses a very quick first couple of steps and, importantly, he used this to advantage, often speeding away from stoppages in his bright yellow boots. A well-balanced midfielder who shares some similarities in playing style to Essendon’s Darcy Parish, Walls’ vision and skill execution were also commendable. He banked himself a well deserved goal in the closing stages of the final term and finished with 24 disposals (19 kicks and five handballs), seven marks, six tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s.

#9 Alastair Lord

The speedy half-back/wingman took a while to get going, but worked into the game nicely and proved to be the most damaging player on the ground after quarter time. Primarily stationed in the defensive 50 but pushing up onto the wings when required, Lord provided plenty of his trademark run-and-carry. For a player of just 177cm, he displayed good strength above his head and took a couple of timely intercept grabs.

Lord’s attacking mindset was clear from the outset, as he looked to break lines with his speed whenever possible. At times, he made things more difficult for himself by running into traffic, however his aggressive mindset was pivotal in the Redlegs 32-point win. In what was a scrappy game for the most part with both sides struggling to execute their skills, Lord’s ball use stood out. He finished with 28 touches (17 kicks and 11 handballs), seven marks and four inside 50s.

#25 Matt Dnistriansky 

The athletic defender was once-again Norwood’s designated kicker down back. Often charged with the kick-in duties, Dnistriansky looked to set up the play with his precise kicking. He has a racking right foot kick and was accurate across long and short distances. He positioned himself well throughout the game, dropping in front of the Sturt forwards to cut off several Double Blues attacks. Although many of his touches were accumulated deep in defence, his clean ball-use was important. Concluded the game with a game-high 29 disposals (24 kicks and five handballs), nine marks and eight rebounds.

Others:

SANFL Academy Hub member Taj Rahui showed a couple of nice glimpses in-tight, with his breakaway speed and agility on show. Connor Kent missed a couple of shots on goal but was prolific, accumulating 27 touches and seven marks. Bottom-aged defender Riley Verrall was inconsistent by foot but found plenty of it and provided some handy rebound across half-back, finishing with 26 disposals, seven marks and seven rebounds.

STURT:

#7 Nick Sadler

Bottom-aged midfielder/forward was one of Sturt’s best performers in what proved to be a scrappy contest at Coopers Stadium. Sadler was unlucky to hit the post with a set-shot from a difficult angle in the first term, but made up for it just moments later by sending a piercing kick through for a major. He went head-to-head with Norwood’s Alastair Lord and held his own, even managing to beat the speedster to the ball on the outer wing on one occasion. He looks to have a long and penetrating kick and appears clean on both sides of the body. He finished with 20 disposals (14 kicks and six marks), six marks, three clearances and six inside 50s.

#11 Will Spain

The inside midfielder didn’t set the world alight but was solid through the engine room. He is one of the best tacklers in the competition and a capable ball winner at stoppages, however Spain also ran some nice patterns which allowed him to pick up uncontested possessions. He worked tirelessly, often going head-to-head with Norwood’s Tyson Walls, and used the ball well by hand. He finished with 19 disposals, four marks, nine tackles and four inside 50s.

Others:

With talented key forward Morgan Ferres not playing, the Double Blues clearly lacked a focal point in attack. Powerful medium-forward Jacob Lochowiak had his moments and competed well. Jake Aish (20 disposals, one goal, six clearances and six inside-50s) found plenty of the footy through the midfield and Jordan Hein (24 disposals and ten rebounds) used it well out of defence. Jamie Taylor kicked a goal and had 20 disposals while the ruck-duo of Hugo Kittle and Jackson Bishop provided the Sturt midfielders with first use, winning 17 and 15 hit-outs respectively. Down back, the clean-kicking Zac Becker (20 disposals, five marks and 15 rebounds) provided some handy rebound from defence.

Image Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 1

STATE league football returned in South Australia on the weekend, with AFL Draft prospects scattered throughout all three grades as they begin their quest for elite level recognition. In the first SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we narrow our focus to the Under 18s competition, where a bunch of promising talents had big games across the four fixtures. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG

By: Tom Wyman

WEST ADELAIDE:

#3 Charlie Pridham

Pridham spent most of the day in the defensive half of the ground as the dedicated kicker down back. He was tasked with kick-in duties early on and his teammates clearly looked for him when exiting defence. Although some of his ball use, particularly early in the game, was not super effective, Pridham exhibited some nice awareness of time and space and appears to understand the game well. The Bloods’ most prolific player, the diminutive Pridham accumulated 32 disposals, five marks, four tackles and a game-high 12 rebound 50s in what was a strong opening effort.

#9 Kobe Ryan

The bottom-aged midfielder showed why he has a big future with a stunning performance in his Under 18 debut. Having spent most of last season playing college football with Sacred Heart, Ryan was in everything early on, winning the opening clearance before following up his kick with a strong tackle. Impossible to miss with his long blonde hair, Ryan consistently showed an ability to be in the right areas at the right time. He looks to be a very natural footballer who can find the ball at will, but also use it creatively. Ryan showed he has several different types of kicks at his disposal too, possessing the capacity to spear one long into the forward 50, chip it into space for a teammate to run onto, or size up a leading teammate with a clever snap. Despite his slim build, Ryan was fantastic in the air and tackled brilliantly at ground level. A textbook tackle on the broadcast wing was another highlight of his game. If his 28 disposals, six tackles and four clearances is anything to go by, the midfielder appears set for a terrific year.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy was one of the Bloods’ best despite his side going down by 26 points. He tried hard all day, cracking in whenever necessary but also having an impact on the outside of the contest. He exhibited quick evasiveness on a couple of occasions and looked threatening at stoppages inside-50.

#36 Tyson Coe

Coe, in-tandem with teammate and schoolmate Kobe Ryan, provided something to look forward to for Bloods fans after a difficult 2020 season for the clubs’ Under 18s. A strong physical specimen despite being a year younger than most others, Coe used his size and strength to advantage in his inside midfield role, winning a game-high seven clearances. He has a well-developed inside game, with his strong tackling, contested ball winning and overhead marking all very sound. His pack mark in the first quarter was indicative of his strength. However, it was his turn of speed from the stoppages which really impressed. Coe possesses a nice burst of power and, although his kicking technique could use some minor refinement, his skills over a variety of distances were predominately effective. One of several talented bottom-agers on show at Hisense Stadium, Coe finished with 24 touches, six marks and five tackles.

#40 Luke Young

The key forward presented up at the footy all day and was also clean when the ball hit the ground. Clearly the number one target in attack for the Bloods, Young brought the ball to ground well whenever he didn’t manage to mark it. He showed great strength to stand up on numerous occasions, both in the air and in general play. His tacking was strong for the entirety of the contest and his leading patterns ensured he was often available as a target down the line. Young kicked two goals, both from close range, and finished the night with 20 touches, 10 marks and four tackles in what was a very strong start to the new season. Expect him to be the focal point in attack for the Bloods throughout the season.

#54 Harry Lemmey

Lemmey kicked the first goal of the game after marking Kobe Ryan’s inside 50 kick. He looks to have a beautiful set shot goalkicking technique. Spending most of the game as a key forward, Lemmey didn’t get a heap of opportunity, with the Bloods’ ball-use going inside 50 not always benefitting his aerial skillset. Regardless, Lemmey appears to have some nice traits and will no doubt take some positives from the Round 1 clash. The bottom-ager finished with nine disposals and five marks to go with his two majors.

Others:

Dylan McCormick did some nice things throughout the game for West Adelaide. He accumulated 16 touches and took seven marks. Adam Bunworth was effective down back, providing six rebounds from his 17 disposals and Harry Barnett fought well in the ruck, finishing with 19 hit-outs.

GLENELG:

#2 Harry Tunkin

After piecing together a strong 2020 season, Tunkin was again impressive in the Tigers’ Round 1 victory. Splitting his time between the forwardline and midfield, Tunkin regularly won first possession at the stoppages he attended. His awareness in-tight, football smarts, vision and ball-use by hand were the primary features of his game. A natural ball-winner, Tunkin regularly found teammates on the outside with clever over-the-back handballs and applied plenty of pressure around the ball carrier. He collected 31 disposals and booted one goal, along with three marks, five tackles and five clearances in what was a strong first-up effort from the Prince Alfred College junior.

#5 Hugh Stagg

Stagg was one of several strong performers for the Tigers. A strong physical presence, Stagg was utilised as a forward but also spent considerable time as a big-bodied on-baller. He displayed great strength above his head in the first quarter, taking the mark and finding key forward Harry McInnes with a well-placed kick which lead to the Bays’ second goal of the match. At times he could have been sharper with his ball use, however the forward-midfielder was a threat for the duration of the contest and applied a heap of intense tackling pressure. Stagg could consider himself unlucky not to have walked away with a couple more goals to his name. He finished with 26 disposals, one goal, five marks, eight tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s.

#13 Hayden Brokensha

Bottom-ager, Brokensha pieced together a reasonably strong game for the Bays Under 18s. The SANFL State Talent Hub member spent a large portion of the game on the wing with stints through the inside of the contest. He worked hard both ways and provided some important run-and-carry between the arcs. His kicking was clean for the most part and he showed an ability to win his own ball when thrown into an inside role. Brokensha accumulated 14 disposals and took six marks in a performance which the midfielder will look to build upon as the season gets rolling.

#16 Harry McInnes

Key forward, McInnes threatened to tear apart the game in the first quarter, bagging two goals within the first seven minutes of the contest. Clearly the most dominant forward on the ground, McInnes’ lead-up work was fantastic as he used his power, size and strength to advantage. However, it was a frustrating night for the PAC product, who converted just two of his eight shots on goal, with a couple of snaps rattling the post. He was super busy around the ground, gathering 19 disposals and five marks in what proved to be a ‘what-if’ game for the big man. Still, his dominance on the lead will cause plenty of headaches for opposition sides this season.

#20 Lewis Rayson

One of the standout South Australian prospects heading into season 2021, Rayson wasted no time in showing recruiters what he can do. Stationed in his customary half-back position, the speedster never backed down from the contest and refused to be beaten, both in the air and once the ball hit the deck. His positioning allowed him to cut off several West Adelaide attacks and from there he used his speed and precise ball-use to damaging effect. In general play, he backed himself to hit targets which few players would dare to attempt. Although his speed, skills and intercept marking down back are the main strengths of his game, it was Rayson’s contested ball work which was particularly impressive against the Bloods. Rayson fought harder than his West Adelaide opponents, willing himself into the contest and refusing to give up the ball. He concluded the game with 31 possessions at a brilliant 94 per cent disposal efficiency, six marks, three tackles and seven inside 50s.

Others:

Jacob Owens was prolific all day, winning 29 disposals, sending the ball inside-50 five times and taking an equal game-high 11 marks. His run-and-carry through the middle of the ground was a highlight. Bottom-ager Archie Lovelock showed a touch of class with ball in hand. He kicked a beautiful snap goal in the second term and looked very much at home at Under 18s level, filling a variety of roles around the ground. He finished with 23 disposals at 70 per cent efficiency and took eight marks. Darcy Gluyas was vital for Glenelg, mopping up plenty of West Adelaide forward entries and marshalling the troops from his half-back role. He gathered 27 disposals and took seven marks. Adelaide father-son prospect Brodie Edwards was typically clean with ball in hand across half-back, operating at 84 per cent efficiency by foot. Harrison Kaesler finished with 26 disposals, ten marks, five inside 50s and four rebounds, while bottom-aged talent Lachlan Scannell also performed well, collecting 20 disposals, six marks and four tackles.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

By: Tom Wyman

NORTH ADELAIDE:

#4 Isaac Keeler

It was the Isaac Keeler show for much of the day at Prospect Oval, with the athletic big man bagging five majors as his side easily accounted for Central District. After featuring in the ruck a few times last season, Keeler spent the whole day in attack and really showcased his elite athleticism. He was able to get separation from his various direct opponents with relative ease, using his natural speed to put distance between the Bulldogs defenders. One of the most exciting young talents in South Australian football, Keeler slotted the opening goal of the day with a beautiful kick from 50 metres out and followed that up 10 minutes later with another long-range effort, this time on the run. He finished with five goals but could have easily added another couple as the forward missed a couple of gettable opportunities. Keeler benefitted from the Roosters’ midfield domination and the Bulldogs simply had no answers for him on the lead. Also extremely threatening once the ball hit the deck, Keeler will have plenty of recruiters and Crows fans excited about his prospects, finishing the game with 12 disposals and six grabs.

#5 Shaun Bennier

One of three Roosters included in the Under 17 SANFL State Talent Hub, Bennier showed flashes of his talents at Prospect Oval. He did his best work coming out of defence, where he managed five rebounds and showed some excellent evasiveness. A good size at 190cm and 80kg, the Ingle Farm product tackled hard and accumulated 19 touches in North’s 49-point triumph.

#12 Hugh Jackson

Isaac Keeler booted five and Harvey Harrison was terrific, but it was the work of Crystal Brook midfielder, Jackson which took centre-stage for the Roosters. Spending all game in the midfield, Jackson was everywhere from start to finish, accumulating the ball at will and combining with the likes of Harrison, James White, Zyton Santillo and Max Blacker to completely dominate the midfield battle. Not only did he find the ball at will, Jackson used it to perfection by hand and foot. Exceptionally clean below his knees, his kicking was a real treat to watch at times. For a tough inside-leaning midfielder, his ability to spot up targets over short and long range and execute both in-tight and in space made it easy for the Roosters forwards to capitalise upon. He switched the play efficiently, hit multiple targets inside 50 and, crucially, looked to spot up teammates out of stoppages where others would have blasted away. He was equally as creative by hand too, consistently hitting targets with crafty handballs, especially at stoppages. Instead of completing simple one-metre handballs in congestion to a teammate under pressure, Jackson evidently looked to pass it to players with some space, a skill which has been mastered by some the best inside midfielders in the game. Jackson was sensational for the Roosters, finishing with 37 disposals, six marks, three tackles, seven clearances and a goal.

#15 Harvey Harrison

Harrison was one of a handful of North Adelaide on-ballers who had a field day in the opening round of the season. Like Hugh Jackson, Harrison was not afraid to back his skills and hit tricky targets, particularly when looking to go inboard. A beautiful kick to the leading Isaac Keeler early-on in the contest was a real highlight of his game. Harrison provided some fantastic run and carry through the midfield and showed some tricks around the ball, including a well-executed pirouette. The midfielder’s work rate was evident, as he tirelessly ran from contest to contest, even as the game was in its dying stages. Some of his clearance work also proved vital. Harrison finished the game with 33 disposals, a game-high 13 marks, seven clearances, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

The North Adelaide captain picked up from where he left off in 2020, after impressing as a bottom-ager for the Roosters last season. O’Loughlin spent the day in the half-back role which he has well-and-truly made his own over the past year or two. The Gepps Cross junior and Adelaide Crows Next Generation Academy prospect, who describes himself as a ‘crafty backman’, was typically cool and calm with ball in-hand. He rarely wasted a possession and plays with such poise and calmness. O’Loughlin has a tremendous ability to sense how much time he has and isn’t afraid to wait until the right option presents itself, rather than kick long in hope. Against the Bulldogs, he also made a couple of strong defensive efforts one-on-one, to compliment his ball-use. Easily one of SA’s most talented prospects, O’Loughlin finished with 29 disposals (including 23 kicks) and seven rebound 50s for the red and whites.

#28 Max Blacker

Bottom-aged midfielder, Blacker was one of the standout performers for the Roosters. The midfielder is one of those players who seems to always be involved and around the footy. He was particularly busy early on as North Adelaide asserted its dominance over the contest in the opening quarter of action. Blacker used the ball well for the majority of the game and was one of several Roosters who consistently delivered the ball on a silver platter to their leading forwards. However, he will likely be peeved with having finished with three behinds. Blacker concluded the game with 21 disposals, three tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s.

#29 Zyton Santillo

Santillo was at his creative best for the Roosters. Part of North’s superb midfield rotation, the zippy Payneham product certainly has some tricks up his sleeve, but wasn’t afraid to crack in and do the hard stuff. He worked tirelessly all game and managed to take an impressive 10 marks. He won three clearances and showed off his neat foot skills to hit-up Charlie Froling on the lead with a perfect pass in the first half. Santillo racked up 25 touches, five marks, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s for the game.

Others:

Exciting forward Kelsey Rypstra produced a very good performance for the victorious Roosters, making the most of his shots on goal to finish with three-straight majors. He also managed 19 disposals and eight marks. Key forward Charlie Froling worked well in tandem with Isaac Keeler and was another beneficiary of the Roosters’ slick ball movement and efficiency going forward. A mobile tall with great hands overhead, Froling nailed three goals and took five marks for the game. Midfielder James White finished the clash with 24 disposals, seven tackles, four clearances and a goal.

CENTRAL DISTRICT:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

The Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect entered the game with high expectations, having been earmarked as a potential draftee for a number of years now. The talented pocket-rocket started the game at the centre bounce and was shifted forward at various stages. Despite being smaller than many of his opponents, Dudley attacked the ball with ferocity and bounced off several would-be tacklers. It was clearly difficult for Dudley to have much impact on the game up forward, given the Bulldogs lacked the polish of the Roosters. He was perhaps unlucky to be caught holding the ball a couple of times, however Dudley applied plenty of pressure of his own through the midfield and in attack, laying seven tackles for the game. He booted a classy goal from the pocket to start the second term to highlight his skills around goal. Dudley finished the game with 18 disposals, seven tackles, two clearances and six inside 50s.

#16 Shay Linke

The Central Districts leader and SANFL Academy member was clearly his side’s best in what proved to be a tricky day for the red, white and blue. Spending most of the game in the midfield, the versatile Linke accumulated a team-high 27 disposals and was particularly effective around the contest, winning four clearances. The top-ager from Tanunda looks a good size at 188cm and, at 75kg, has some growth left in him which will excite recruiters.

#37 Cody Gilchrist 

The big full forward was one of the Bulldogs’ bright spots, booting three goals in attack. Although he missed a number of chances to finish with a bag, Gilchrist provided a presence in the air, hauling in three contested marks for the day and helping set up a couple of Bulldogs majors. Gilchrist looked mobile when the ball hit the deck and did just about all he could, all things considered. He finished with 11 disposals and seven marks.

Others:

Midfielder Luigi Mondello was one of the Bulldogs’ best. He showed some real burst from the contest and wasn’t afraid to take the game on, using his speed to good effect. He kicked two goals from nine disposals. Ruckman Saxon Evans narrowly got the better of North Adelaide big-man Durant Tindale in the ruck contest, finishing with 23 hit-outs to Tindale’s 20. Ruben Carreno managed 23 disposals and six rebounds while Tahjin Krieg competed well, collecting 20 disposals, a team-high eight clearances and seven inside-50s. Finn Read also had some nice moments, booting a goal to go with six marks and 17 touches.

STURT vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS

By: Tom Cheesman

STURT:

#11 Will Spain

A member of the Under 19 State Talent Hub, Spain was fantastic for the Double Blues and will be one of their most reliable performers this season. The midfielder has good aerobic fitness, which enables him to get to plenty of contests and work into defence to help his side’s offensive transition. In Friday’s match, he was also clean below his knees, positioned himself well at stoppages and spread well once his side won the ball. With eight clearances and strong bodywork to make space for other Sturt midfielders, it is evident that Spain has a high football IQ. These attributes, along with his willingness to repeatedly apply tackling pressure, will hold him in good stead this season. The only negative was that he missed a shot at goal in the third term that he should have nailed. Nonetheless, he finished with 29 disposals, eight clearances, four marks and five tackles.

#12 Jamie Taylor

Taylor, a powerful midfielder with a booming left foot kick, was one of Sturt’s most consistent contributors throughout the match. With 30 disposals (the most on the ground), six marks, five clearances and six inside 50s, it was an impressive all-round performance by Taylor. He has the strength to fend off oncoming tackles, crumbs marking contests well, and uses his kicking ability to open up the play. He will be dangerous in combination with Will Spain and Brad Jefferies in the midfield for Sturt this season.

#13 Brad Jefferies

Jefferies is a potential bolter this year and he had a good start to the season against the Eagles. The midfielder stayed composed when tackled, worked hard around the ground and found plenty of the ball. A highlight was a clever forward handball out of a stoppage to teammate Will Spain in the third term that initiated some fast attacking play. He worked forward to kick two majors in the second half, including an important one just before three-quarter time to give Sturt the lead. He finished with 21 disposals, six marks, four tackles and three inside 50s.

#32 Morgan Ferres

A hybrid forward with elite marking capabilities, Ferres was easily the best player on the ground. He kicked six majors to go with 17 disposals, 10 marks (two contested) and two inside 50s. Ferres was the centrepiece of our first Player Focus piece for the year, which took a deep-dive into his Round 1 performance.

Others:

Charlie Fryer (four marks, six tackles, two rebound 50s) was reliable in defence for the hosts, and he produced a couple of incredible highlights for the local crowd. The main ones were a run-down tackle in the first quarter and an unbelievable mark of the year contender at the start of the second term. Mitcham Hawk Kai Tucker (17 disposals, eight marks, six inside 50s) was brilliant all day on a wing, while Felix Packer (three goals) and Nick Sadler (21 disposals, seven clearances) were also strong contributors in the victory.

EAGLES:

#12 Brayden Calvett

Calvett showed how important he is to the Eagles’ Under 18 side in Round 1 with an impressive performance. He rotated between midfield and forward, often playing the sweeper role at centre clearances. This allowed teammates to find Calvett out the back of stoppages and enabled him to utilise his lethal left foot to send the Eagles inside 50. The Eagles love Calvett having the ball around the 50-metre arc, as his ball movement going forward is near elite. This ability was on display frequently throughout the contest, including when he hit Lucas Cooke in the second term to set up a goal, and when he booted a major himself at the start of the third term to give his side the lead. When Calvett took marks in the defensive half, he often looked to switch and open up the play, and his explosiveness when breaking away from stoppages caused plenty of trouble for the opposition. Calvett finished with 22 disposals, five inside 50s, five rebound 50s, four clearances, four tackles, three marks and a goal.

#17 Lukas Cooke

Cooke provided a strong presence for the Eagles up forward. After not getting many opportunities in the first term, Cooke earned a free kick inside 50 but missed the shot on goal. The important thing to come from this was that Cooke did not let the miss sour his confidence. He made a major impact in the second term, kicking back-to-back goals and becoming a key reason why the Eagles got back into the contest. His contested marking was fantastic and he was their most reliable target going forward. He also pushed back to take some intercept marks behind the play, thus showing that he can play a defensive role if need be. The delivery to him wasn’t always great in the second half and, as a forward, he was understandably a bit quieter once Sturt took full control of the game in the final term. He finished with 17 disposals, two goals, 11 marks (two contested), four inside 50s and a tackle.

Others:

Adam D’Aloia (24 disposals, eight tackles, nine clearances) was great in the midfield for the visitors, while Will Pearce (two goals, six marks) and Brock Thomson (20 kicks, eleven rebound 50s) also had good starts to the season.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORWOOD

By: Tom Cheesman

SOUTH ADELAIDE:

#21 Matty Roberts

Roberts is the among the highest rated South Australian midfielders in this year’s draft class, and on Friday at Flinders University Stadium, he showed exactly why that is. He played predominantly as an inside midfielder and eased himself into the contest, collecting several marks around the ground and displaying his quick hands. While he found plenty of ball on the outside, he wasn’t his usual dominant self at the stoppages early in the match. With that said, the last quarter was when he really stepped it up. Norwood were within a goal for most of the final term, and Roberts responded to their efforts by frequently pushing back to help the defence, taking intercept marks and hunting the football at stoppages to get it moving in his team’s direction. Once South earned a seven-point lead with a couple of minutes to go, Roberts pushed forward and kicked the sealing goal with a volley out of mid-air. He finished his well-rounded performance with 25 disposals, eight marks, six clearances, six tackles, six rebound 50s, five inside 50s and a goal.

#33 Arlo Draper

Draper is a member of the Under 19 State Talent Hub and was dominant for the Panthers on Friday, collecting 25 disposals to go with seven marks, six tackles, seven clearances and two inside 50s. While he is extremely versatile and can play any position on the ground, he was predominantly played as a midfielder in this contest. In this role, he proved that he is a class above Under 18 level and certainly can impose his will on a contest at the centre clearances. Draper has great closing speed and spreads well from stoppages, and he provided plenty of exciting link-up play through the middle of the ground. He is also a strong tackler, as demonstrated when he caught Redlegs speedster Archie Richardson holding the ball in the first term. Draper went forward at times, looked dangerous in one-on-one situations and booted two goals in the second half. His second goal was a clever soccered effort off the ground from a forward 50 stoppage, a moment that should feature on his highlight reel come the end of the season.

Others:

Cooper Rogers (15 disposals, four marks, seven tackles) found plenty of the ball early, while Lachlan Hayes (16 disposals, six marks, five rebound 50s) showed great agility in defence by weaving through trouble and using quick hands on multiple occasions. Hugo Hoeck (17 disposals, two goals) and Dylan Brown (13 disposals, one goal) were also lively throughout the match.

NORWOOD:

#1 Tyson Walls

Under-ager, Walls was very impressive for Norwood, their most prominent contributor on the day. He has an electric first couple of steps once he receives the ball, clean hands and a clever sidestep that he used to get past opponents on numerous occasions. This included when he used it on the 50-metre arc to shake off an oncoming tackler and boot Norwood’s first major of the day. Walls is also fantastic at working into space, has a fluent set shot routine and solid foot skills. His delivery inside 50 was effective in most instances, and he booted a nice 40-metre goal in the third term. He finished with 25 disposals, eight inside 50s, four marks, four tackles, three clearances and two goals.

#9 Alastair Lord

Lord, a member of the Under 19 State Talent Hub, was reliable in defence for the Redlegs. He is a crafty half-back flanker that reads the ball well, uses it brilliantly by foot and has an innate ability to get free for uncontested marks. Lord was great at helping his side control possession whenever necessary, an important trait in half-back flankers at all levels of the game. He also made an impact at times coming off the back of the square at centre clearances, and this is something he should look to do more in future contests. He collected a game-high 26 disposals to go with eight marks, four tackles and three rebound 50s.

Others:

The skills of Noah Hyde (14 disposals, five marks, one goal) and Bailey Gal (14 disposals, five marks) were impressive for Norwood, as was the run provided by under-ager Taj Rahui (17 disposals, three tackles). Matthew Dnistriansky (20 disposals, seven marks) was good in defence.

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography

A look ahead: The 21 top prospects for 2021

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

21 in 2021

The top contender:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the mix:

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

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

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

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

South Australia announces 2021 state talent hub

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) yesterday announced its 2021 State Talent Hub, consisting of Under 17 and 18 squads. As the AFL steps away from its national hub-based academies, South Australia has designed its own state program around the two age groups to better prepare talent for next year’s Under 17 and 19 National Championships. The 50-player Academy allows players access to a concentrated high-performance program which is set to commence next month, with another camp due in January next year.

>> SCROLL TO VIEW THE U17 & U18 TALENT HUBS

Among the prominent names in the Under 18 squad is Jason Horne, who has made his claim as the current 2021 number one pick frontrunner. The South Adelaide midfielder has already gained SANFL League experience and shone with his speed and aerial marking. Fellow Panthers Matthew Roberts and Arlo Draper are other high-end prospects to feature, while Norwood premiership player Cooper Murley would also have been one of the first names picked.

There are a few notable players already tied to clubs too, with the likes of Jase Burgoyne (Port Adelaide, father-son), Isaiah Dudley (Adelaide, NGA), and Blayne O’Loughlin (Adelaide, NGA) all earning selection. Jase is the son of Port premiership player Peter, while Dudley is the cousin of Melbourne livewire Kysaiah Pickett, and O’Loughlin is the nephew of Sydney champion Michael.

In the Under-17 crop, Jaiden Magor looms as an early leader having starred in SA the Under 17 Futures game this year. Austin McDonald is another ball winning midfielder at the top end having already established himself as a key cog in Central District’s engine room, while Kobe Ryan is an outside type with terrific run and Westies teammate Tyson Coe featured at the 2019 Under 16s championships as an under-ager. Will Verrall and Isaac Keeler are a couple of exciting, mobile talls, and the latter is tied to Adelaide’s NGA.

2021 South Australia Under 18 State Talent Hub:

Oscar Adams | Glenelg

Zac Becker | Sturt

Cooper Beecken | Glenelg

Jase Burgoyne | Eagles

Brayden Calvett | Eagles

Lukas Cooke | Eagles

Matt Dnistriansky | Norwood

Arlo Draper | South Adelaide

Isaiah Dudley | Central District

Morgan Ferres | Sturt

Cody Gilchrist  | Central District

Jason Horne | South Adelaide

Declan Hortle | Sturt

Jonte Hunter-Price | Eagles

Hugh Jackson | North Adelaide

Cade Kennedy  | West Adelaide

Hugo Kittel | Sturt

Shay Linke  | Central District

Alastair Lord | Norwood

Cooper Murley  | Norwood

Blayne O’Loughlin | North Adelaide

Jarrod Parish | Glenelg

Lewis Rayson | Glenelg

Matt Roberts | South Adelaide

Will Spain | Sturt

Hugh Stagg | Glenelg

Nasiah Wanganeen | Glenelg

Jay Watson | Eagles

Luca Whitelum | Central District

James Willis | North Adelaide

2021 South Australia Under 17 State Talent Hub:

Shaun Bennier | North Adelaide

Max Blacker | North Adelaide

Fraser Bone | West Adelaide

Oliver Britten-Jones | Sturt

Hayden Brokensha | Glenelg

Hunter Carter | Eagles

Tyson Coe | West Adelaide

Adam D’Aloia | Eagles

Isaac Keeler | North Adelaide

Harry Lemmey | West Adelaide

Jaiden Magor | South Adelaide

Austin McDonald | Central District

Taj Rahui | Norwood

Kobe Ryan | West Adelaide

Nick Sadler | Sturt

Lachlan Scannell | Glenelg

Brodie Tuck | Central District

Riley Verrall | Norwood

Will Verrall | South Adelaide

Tyson Walls | Norwood

Featured Image: Jason Horne in action for South Adelaide | Credit: Deb Curtis/SANFL

Resilience through recovery sees Powell reap benefits in SANFL

STURT midfielder Tom Powell has taken the SANFL under-18 competition by the scruff of the neck so far in season 2020. In doing so, the teenager has announced himself as one of South Australia’s most promising draft hopefuls. As of Round 10, the inside midfielder is averaging a competition-high 36 disposals and nine clearances per game, for a Sturt side currently sitting at the top of the Under 18s ladder. Powell’s football journey has followed a traditional pathway, enrolling in Auskick at a young age before eventually joining the underage ranks at the Unley Jets, the same junior club as Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy and Richmond bigman Callum Coleman-Jones.

“I began playing school football when I moved to Scotch College in Year 8 and played right up to Year 12,” Powell said, who first donned the iconic double blue of Sturt at under-13s level. “Playing as a midfielder has always been my best and most preferred position, and I rotate through a high half-forward role each quarter at Sturt which helps build my craft around goals. “I like to think I work hard to find the ball which is maybe why I get a few disposals but the next step for my game is being able to use it better and be more damaging.”

Having finished his schooling at Scotch in 2019, Powell began studying commerce at the University of Adelaide this year. 

“I’m finding university studies slightly more flexible and independent than Year 12, so I think this year especially I’ve found a better balance between my studies and football,” Powell told Draft Central. 

Powell has been a driving force behind the Double Blues’ successes to-date, but it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the on-baller, who was forced to battle through injury last season. 

“I had an issue with my hip last year which hindered my performance a little bit, but I had an operation on it in mid-October last year and it feels as good as new now,” he said.  “I was recovering from surgery throughout the Christmas period and the first two SA Academy Hub camps which was quite challenging. (But) I tried to stay involved and help the team off the field wherever I could and still learnt a lot from the coaches and the other elite players during this time which was very beneficial for me.” 

Powell’s surgery meant he had a disrupted start to preseason training, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, postponing the start of the SANFL season. 

“This allowed me to have a longer preseason from January to March and complete a bit of extra rehab to make sure my hip had great strength and was in prime condition,” he said. 

Powell described himself as “pretty easy going and relaxed” outside of football, but his performances on the field have been anything but.

“I think the key things for me have just been making sure I never miss any training sessions and when I’m training, to do it at full intensity so that I can keep improving,” he said. “Playing with a great team and coaching staff at Sturt has also allowed me to find a bit of form so I’m grateful for that.”

In Sturt’s recent Round 10 victory over West Adelaide, Powell ran amok, amassing a staggering 47 disposals, two goals and ten clearances in a performance which further ignited calls for a League debut. 

“I don’t like to look too far into the future, but I enjoy training with the seniors and hope to get an opportunity at some stage as I know it will help improve my footy, playing against bigger bodies,” Powell said.

The 180cm Powell identified his cleanness at ground level and quick handballing skills as some of the strengths of his game. 

“I’m not a super fast player, so being clean gives me a bit more time to make decisions and get the ball out to my teammates from stoppages,” he said. 

Despite living in South Australia, the teenager has supported the Gold Coast Suns since Gary Ablett signed with the Queensland cluband models his game around Brisbane ball-magnet Lachie Neale and Collingwood superstar Adam Treloar. 

“They use their hands around stoppages really well and I would like to implement a bit more run and carry as well as improving my ability to hit the scoreboard like these players do,” he said. 

Powell has worked hard on his tackling technique throughout the season, after recognising it as an area for improvement ahead of his top-aged season. 

“I also think if I were to increase my offball running and endurance it would make me a better player as a whole and help the team more,” he said.

The midfielder is one of the leading prospects in a talented South Australian crop set to lock-horns with Western Australia in the coming months. 

Riley Thilthorpe is a fantastic player and an especially good leader amongst the SA Hub group and Luke Edwards and Mani Liddy are challenging to match up against in-game and at training,” he said. “I’m quite close with Lewis Rayson (Glenelg), Henry Nelligan (Norwood) and the Sturt boys too,” Powell said. 

Although a date for the AFL Draft is yet to be announced, Powell insists he is taking things one game at a time and only worrying about what he can control.

“If we can hold on and make finals, obviously winning a premiership with my teammates at Under 18s level would be awesome,” Powell said. “I’ve had a couple chats with some (AFL) clubs but they’re mainly just trying to get to know me as a person, so it’s pretty relaxed.”

Having worked hard to overcome his injury concerns, the prolific ball-winner is now reaping the rewards of resilience and persistence. He was among those named to test in the AFL Draft Combine, which will be held on September 30 in South Australia.

>> Tom Powell Draft Watch

Picture: Mel Faull/SANFL

SANFL Round 5 Preview: Sturt and Norwood look for form in big League clash

THERE will be plenty of eyes on this weekend’s action of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition, as a number of teams searching for form face off. We take a look at the big games across the weekend.

Central Districts VS North Adelaide

League:

North Adelaide will make the trip into the outer suburbs to face Central Districts on Saturday afternoon. The Roosters were made to pay for their goal kicking inaccuracies by ladder leader Woodville-West Torrens at Prospect Oval last weekend. Meanwhile at The Parade, despite a spirited fourth quarter comeback, the Bulldogs winless streak continued with a loss to Norwood.

The Roosters depth has been tested over the past few weeks, with injuries to gun recruits Billy Hartung, Cam Hewett and Robbie Young and first choice ruckman James Craig. Midfielder Harrison Magor was called upon to provide engine room assistance, with forward Lee Minervini and speedy utility Keanu Miller also elevated from the reserves to fill the gaps. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, were encouraged by last weekend’s return of star medium forward Justin Hoskin and two-time best and fairest winner Travis Schiller, who reunited with brother Jarrod in the Bulldogs midfield.

With North Adelaide key forward Alex Barns set to miss several weeks with a hand injury and Mitch Harvey required to cover the ruck duties in the absence of Craig, the red and white have been perhaps too reliant upon enigmatic forward Lewis Hender. Hender is a gamebreaker at his best, with his seven straight goals in round one a clear example of his goalkicking talents. The 26-year-old booted just one goal in round two and was held goalless against the Tigers, only to bounce back and nail three majors in last round’s loss, such is his inconsistency. The Bulldogs backline will be wary of Hender’s talents, but have kept him goalless in the past three matches between the sides.

Since returning to Elizabeth, prolific Bulldog James Boyd has formed a strong partnership in the middle alongside Troy Menzel  and the Schiller brothers, however they were simply outclassed by a talented Norwood unit. Although slightly depleted, the Roosters also boast an imposing midfield core, led by tackling machine Campbell Combe. The potential battle between Boyd and North’s Andrew Moore will be interesting, with both able to find the ball with ease. On the outside, classy duo Jarrad Allmond and Harrison Wigg have been excellent for the Roosters across halfback and along with wings.

Bulldogs skipper Luke Habel has been consistent at halfback and John Butcher has provided the side with a genuine leadup option alongside Nick Lange, who is perhaps the Dogs’ most exciting talent. The Roosters smalls were not as dominant against the Eagles, but Kym LeBois and Frank Szekely are just about as dangerous as the league has to offer. The Bulldogs will likely recall Jonathan Marsh after they were comprehensively beaten in the hitouts last weekend.

The Roosters were edged in the clearances last weekend and will be hopeful of regaining some of their injured stars. Central Districts will be looking to capitalise on North’s injury misfortunes, with Hoskin’s return giving the Bulldogs a much needed boost. The teams split their two meetings last year, with the Dogs gaining an early victory but North recording their second win of the year with a victory later in the season.

After booting six goals last weekend, Hoskin will play his 150th SANFL league match against the Roosters, but he may be without Butcher in attack, who suffered a hamstring injury. Karl Finlay, Cam Hewett and James Craig will face fitness tests for the Roosters.

Reserves:

Although the League side may be struggling, the Bulldogs Reserves are flying at the top of the ladder. They smashed the reigning premiers, Norwood, by 88 points at Coopers Stadium last round and will start as favourites against a Roosters side who suffered a narrow loss to the undefeated Eagles.

Under 18s:

At Under 18s level, North Adelaide and Central Districts both sit at one win and three losses after four rounds of action. The potential clash between two of the best midfielders in the competition, Jamison Murphy (North Adelaide) and Lewis Cowham (Central Districts), is set to be a beauty.

 

Glenelg VS Woodville-West Torrens

League:

Since prevailing in two close encounters in rounds one and two, the Bays have suffered consecutive losses to North Adelaide and, most recently, West Adelaide. While the side which won it all last season remains relatively intact, coach Mark Stone will be eager to right the wrongs of the past fortnight. It has been a different story for the Eagles, however, who soared to the top of the ladder after running over the top of the Roosters on Saturday afternoon.

The Bays lost their mojo against an energetic Bloods side chasing their first win in over 12 months, with key defenders Matthew Merrett and Max Proud unable to stop Westies skipper Tom Keough, who booted five goals. This weekend they face another tough challenge in the form of the Hayes brothers, Jack and Nick. The brothers from Red Hill have kicked a combined 13 goals this season and their strong contested marking ability has caused plenty of headaches already.

However small forward James Rowe has perhaps been the most impressive Eagle so far in season 2020. He currently leads the Ken Farmer Medal race after nailing 13 majors in four games, including three bags of three and a tally of four last round. The former Sacred Heart College skipper is arguably the competition’s most dangerous forward, with his elite goal sense and football smarts impressing.

Glenelg have their own dangerous small forward in Darcy Bailey, who was restricted to just five disposals in round four. The Eagles will be hopeful of restricting dangerous Tigers duo Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds, who combined to kick five of Glenelg’s seven goals. However reigning Ken Farmer medallist McBean will be eyeing a bounce back game after he was held to just three touches by the Bloods.

Glenelg were outworked by West Adelaide, loosing the possession battle, clearances and inside 50s. However they boast one of the most talented onball units in the league, including tough nuts Matthew Snook and Bradley Agnew and star Luke Partington. The Eagles lost many key statistical areas, but made the most of their shots on goal, booting ten goals and nine behinds to North’s seven goals and 12 behinds. Jordan Foote will be expected to lead the way in the midfield after he ran wild in a best on ground performance against the Roosters. He brings real energy to the side with his speed around the contest and ability to hit the scoreboard.

Consistent trio Joseph Sinor, Matthew Goldsworthy and Angus Poole have also been vital to the Eagles strong opening month, while youngsters Lachlan Jones, Lachlan McNeil and Jacob Wehr have all performed well since slotting into the senior side. They will be required to stand up again if the Eagles are to topple the reigning premiers away from home.

The Tigers defeated the Eagles in both clashes between the two clubs last season, by 50 points in round six and 15 in round 12. Woodville-West Torrens have really found their grove in the past few weeks but, like all good sides, Glenelg will be expected to respond strongly. The Bays reported no injuries from their loss but Jade Sheedy‘s men may be without captain and defensive general Luke Thompson, who faces a fitness test to prove he has recovered from a thigh complaint. The clash will be Eagle Matthew Goldsworthy‘s 200th match at SANFL league level.

Reserves:

Much like the league battle, the Reserves matchup is also poised to go down to the wire, with both sides yet to drop any points after four rounds of competition. The Eagles have a couple of injury concerns but will have been encouraged by their gritty 17 point win over the Roosters last round, while the Bays continued their strong start with a victory over the Bloods.

Under 18s:

A handful of South Australia’s brightest talents will be on show when the two clubs Under 18s sides clash at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. Jase Burgoyne‘s starred for the Eagles last weekend, winning the round four under 18 MVP nomination. Caleb Poulter has also been in some terrific early season form for Eagles, with draft watchers beginning to sit up and take notice of his talents. Glenelg is undefeated in the Under 18s competition and will be full of confidence after recording a powerful 109 point win over West Adelaide on Saturday evening. Luke PedlarRiley Holder and Lewis Rayson are ones to watch for the yellow and black, alongside a number of other talented juniors.

 

South Adelaide VS West Adelaide

League:

The battle of the feel good stories will be played out at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday afternoon. South Adelaide have made a promising start to the campaign, as they continue their seemingly neverending quest to deliver the club its first league premiership since 1964. Meanwhile in the western suburbs, the Bloods will be full of confidence after knocking off Glenelg to snatch their first victory in over 12 months.

West Adelaide outworked the Bays last round, winning more of the ball around the ground and generally using it more effectively (80 per cent efficiency to Glenelg’s 74 per cent). Their tackling pressure was strong for the entirety of the match and they made the most of their chances in front of goal, finishing with an impressive 71 per cent scoring accuracy. The Bloods also dominated the inside 50s (48 to Glenelg’s 31), clearances (42 to 25) and hitouts (47 to 26).

After Sturt cut the margin just before half time, South Adelaide coach Jarrad Wright will have loved seeing his sides ability to wrestle back the momentum after the long break. Similar to West, the Panthers easily won the inside 50 battle (57 to Sturt’s 32) despite loosing the clearances and hitouts. The blue and white took 71 marks to Sturt’s 35, with key forwards Ben Haren and Sam Overall clunking four contested grabs between them.

Intercept marking machines Tom Highmore and Joseph Haines have been instrumental for the Panthers in the back half. Highmore leads the league for marks (38), with the underrated Haines sitting behind him having taken 33 grabs. The 27-year-old Haines has elevated his game to a whole new level this season, taking intercept marks at will and providing plenty of rebound from half back. He is also averaging 23.3 disposals at an incredible 96 per cent efficiency.

It has taken Highmore just four games of league football to cement his place amongst the league’s best defenders, after crossing over from the NEAFL’s Canberra Demons in the off-season. This round, their sights will be set on cutting off supply to dangerous West Adelaide pair Tom Keough and Riley Thilthorpe. Captain Keough booted five goals to drag his side over the line in round five. Thilthorpe took some time to get involved but worked his way into the contest well, with his run and leap at the contest particularly exciting.

The ever-reliable Joel Cross has been at it again this season and it comes as no surprise to see the two time Magarey medallist averaging 25.8 possessions and 7.3 clearances per game. Matthew Broadbent has been very good since joining the Noarlunga-based Panthers. The former Power defender, who kicked his first goal for the Panthers against Sturt, sits equal fifth with Cross for total disposals, averaging 25.8 per game at 80 per cent efficiency to go with 6.3 marks, 4 tackles and 5.8 clearances.

Like Cross, West Adelaide’s Kaine Stevens has been a consistent SANFL A-grader for a number of years. His toughness around the contest and stoppage-nous have remained impressive throughout what has been a challenging past few years for the club. He will no-doubt be loving the service being provided by ruckman Andre Parrella, who accumulated 43 of West’s 47 hitouts in his return to the side, having missed the round three match. The 204cm giant has not been super effective around the ground, but has dominated the ruck duals, recording 43 taps against Central Districts and Glenelg and 49 against North Adelaide.

He poses a tough matchup for 21-year-old Cameron McGree, in what will be just his tenth game of league football. Draft hopeful Zac Dumesny has enjoyed a consistent start to his first grade career, while the X-factor of Liam Fitt and goal sense of Beau McCreery have been exciting to watch up forward for the Panthers. The likes of former Crows top-up player Jordon Boyle, onballer Brett Turner, defender Elliott Dunkin and forward Lyndon Hupfield have all had positive moments so far in 2020.

South key defender Jake Summerton is set to play his 50th league match this round. The Panthers reported no injuries against Sturt, but could bring back Malcolm Karpany following a back injury. Six players will face tests for West Adelaide, including midfielder Josh Schiller, livewire Gibson Turner, former Tiger Josh Koster and outside midfielder Dallas Willsmore. South Adelaide were victorious in both games against Westies last season, first by 32 points in round six then by 28 points in round eleven. However Bloods coach Gavin Colville will have his side up-and-about following last rounds emotional victory at Hisense Stadium. However South have been excellent this season and will enter the clash as deserved favourites, especially at home.

Reserves:

The Panthers and Bloods Reserves have not performed the way they will have liked so far, with West sitting in sixth spot with one win and South Adelaide stuck down the bottom along with fellow winless side, Norwood. But for one team, victory at Flinders University Stadium could kickstart their season.

Under 18s:

South Adelaide’s Under 18s are loaded with talent, with bottom-agers Matthew Roberts and Jason Horne already amongst the competition’s best midfielders. Skipper Nick Kraemer, exciting wingman or small forward Phoenix Spicer and Arlo Draper are also names to watch. Things have not been so rosy for West, but midfielder Bailey Chamberlain continues to find plenty of the ball through the midfield.

 

Sturt vs Norwood

League:

Many SANFL watchers would have expected better starts from Norwood and Sturt – two clubs that have consistently played finals football across the past few seasons. The Double Blues just edged the winless Bulldogs in the opening round before suffering a heavy loss to the Eagles and just limping over the line against West in round three. Last weekend the Double Blues trailed all day and kicked bellow 50 points for the third time in four matches.

Norwood have had their troubles too, suffering narrow losses to Glenelg and North before copping a 65 point hiding against Woodville-West Torrens. However things are beginning to look up after the talented eastern suburbs side finally earned its first premiership points of the season against the ‘Dogs. With both clubs desperate to keep up with the league leaders given recent revisions of the finals system, this contest is expected to be closely fought.

Norwood proved too good for the Bulldogs last weekend, with their skills clearly a class above at times, finishing with an excellent efficiency of 82 per cent. The small-tall combination of Peter Bampton and Tommy Pinyon worked well for the victorious Redlegs,  with each booting four goals from limited disposals. The Double Blues were smashed around the ground by South, who took 71 marks to Sturt’s 35.

Despite winning the hitouts and clearances, Sturt has struggled to get the ball inside 50, doing so just 31 times compared to the Panthers 57. Up forward, Ash Johnson has kicked six goals, Jake Sutcliffe has nailed five and Josh Hone has booted four. Gun recruit Abe Davis has kicked just one goal after booting 21 in 2019. Sturt will need him to bring more offence to the table against the Redlegs.

Skipper and clearance specialist James Battersby has led from the front despite Sturt’s inconsistencies, with ball magnet Sam Colquhoun and dual Magarey Medalist Zane Kirkwood both producing arguably their best performances of the year against South Adelaide. Norwood’s midfield is also loaded with established talent, headlined by Richard DouglasMitch Grigg and Matthew Panos – all of whom hit the scoreboard in round four and are known goalkickers.

However the ruck battle looms as perhaps the most fascinating, with impressive Sturt youngster Dan Fahey-Sparks set to face the imposing Sam Baulderstone. Fahey-Sparks has recored the most hitouts of anyone so far in 2020, however Baulderstone is just 15 taps behind. Baulderstone’s work around the ground has been particularly impressive, with the 29-year-old averaging 18.8 disposals and 7.8 clearances (ranked third in the competition). Fahey-Sparks has been providing first use to the Double Blues onballers and his field kicking has been clean (70 per cent efficiency compared to Baulderstone’s 58 per cent).

Sturt will have been wrapped with the early season performances of young trio Casey VossTom Lewis and Jed McEntee, who certainly don’t appear to be shy of a tackle. Voss struggled a bit at times against the Panthers, but is averaging 16.8 disposals at 79 per cent efficiency, three clearances and six tackles in an onball role.

Pocket rocket Lewis has enjoyed a wonderful start to his SANFL career, laying an elite 22 tackles in just two games, including an equal game high 14 against South. He tackles and hunts with genuine ferocity, is a capable clearance winner and has terrific athleticism to match. McEntee has also provided plenty of defensive pressure, averaging 5.3 tackles per match. Norwood have already blooded promising teenager Henry Nelligan, who got more involved against Centrals after debuting in tough circumstances the week prior.

Norwood are expected to start as favourites, having beaten Sturt in all three meetings between the two clubs last season, winning by five points in round three, 59 in Round 16 and 14 in the Elimination Final. Aidyn Johnson will play his 50th league match for the Double Blues, who reported a clean slate of injuries in Saturday’s loss. Norwood have an extensive injury list, with several senior players sidelined. However Lewis Johnston has been listed as available after recovering from a quad injury, with Ryan Bastinac also a likely inclusion.

Reserves:

At Reserves level, Sturt finds itself just inside the top four with a two and two record. With both wins coming in the past fortnight, the Double Blues will be looking to keep the Redlegs winless, despite Norwood winning the reserves premiership last season.

Under 18s:

Sturt’s Under 18s have been exciting to watch so far in season 2020, with midfielders Tom Powell and Mani Liddy turning heads and earning some recognition for their domination. Morgan Ferres and Malachy Carruthers have also shown exciting glimpses. Norwood’s under 18s have pieced together three very solid weeks after an opening round loss to Glenelg, with bottom-ager Cooper Murley, smart midfielder Michael Cavallaro and tall forward Finn Heard starring. An in form Norwood could be the side to end Sturt’s winning streak.

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 4

ROUND 4 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 heavy 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.

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.

WWT Eagles vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

WWT Eagles:

#7 Caleb Poulter

Poulter has been one of the more prolific Under 18 players after four rounds, but struggled to make his usual impact on this occasion as his magnet was thrown up and down the team whiteboard. He made a quiet start and never quite got going, but looked dangerous early as he burst through congestion and released some typically shrewd handballs. His kick penetration was still on point, and Poulter managed to contribute some clean touches along the line, but was often blanketed in general play by North Adelaide’s pressure. He had the chance to regain some confidence after earning a holding the ball free kick inside 50, but spurned the set shot wearing only one boot. Having been tried on all three lines, it seems Poulter has the greatest impact as a midfielder who can rotate forward.

#19 Zac Phillips

A big final term capped off Phillips’ day well, able to impact general play more so than he had done previously. The bigman’s vertical leap is his best weapon, especially at centre bounces, and he seems to be growing into his ruck craft around the ground with greater strength and taps to advantage. His kicking, especially under pressure was a touch shaky at times, but the positive of being able to find the ball outweighed that factor.

#25 Henry Smith

The second of WWT’s bigmen, Smith played as a permanent forward and looked the most likely aerial target afield. He started strongly with a nice contested mark in between two opponents, but went on to miss a couple of set shot opportunities in the first term. What was most impressive about Smith, contested marking aside, was his ability to impact the play after aerial contests, with solid tackling efforts and touches at ground level adding a handy dimension to his game. His return obviously did a lot for the Eagles side, despite only booting three behinds from his 10 disposals and five marks (three contested).

#31 Jase Burgoyne

The silky mover is quite obviously cut from the same cloth as his famous father and uncle, and put in another outstanding performance for the Eagles. Another to play more predominantly in a different position, Burgoyne spent a good deal of time through midfield in between his defensive duties, and got involved in the play to rack up 31 disposals. The 2021-eligible father-son prospect is a sound short-range kick and possesses wonderfully clean hands, which he uses to pull in strong marks at the highest point. His vertical leap also helps in that department, with eye-catching agility making him a threat in the air and at ground level.

Others:

Harrison Dawkins put in another terrific shift for WWT, booting two nice goals from his 25 touches and showing nice glimpses of evasion under pressure. His overhead marking was also useful, able to link the play between midfield and the forward 50 well.

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide:

#9 Jamison Murphy

Utilised almost exclusively in the back half, Murphy provided a calming presence to the defence while also competing well for ground balls, and upping the urgency when the game was on the line. Having taken on the kick-in responsibilities, Murphy had to battle the windy conditions early to hit his short-range targets, but would end up looking for longer options as the game wore on – showing good game awareness. A feature of his game was the ability to stand up in tackles, with strength a clear asset for him and composure helping the cause. Part of his impact late in the piece came in his attempts to generate some run from defence, latching onto handball receives and looking to generate some forward momentum. Despite collecting 28 touches, Murphy was unable to drag his side over the line.

#15 William Dowling

The 16-year-old showed great glimpses of his enormous talent, booting four goals from 17 disposals and six marks. While he is still a touch raw and had a couple of costly moments amid the speed of the game, Dowling kept his head up and was able to impact the play when it mattered. His work rate to burst forward from midfield was impressive, and played a big part in helping him register chances on goal. Three of his majors came in the final term as he sparked the Roosters’ forwardline, with the most impressive one an absolute bomb from 50 metres out which just crept over the line. If he can iron out the clangers, Dowling looks a promising prospect for the future.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

It was a patchy display from the Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) hopeful, who looked lively on the ball but could not quite inflict the usual damage – going goalless from his 15 disposals and six marks. Nonetheless, Newchurch was clean in full stride and looked to make things happen with his various twists, turns, and creative passes going forward. He was forced to work up the ground early to find more ball, but had a set shot fall short from 25 metres out once he gained an opportunity inside 50. It didn’t stop the speedy Rooster from linking up well at half-forward, as he gained separation to be the primary marking target as North Adelaide won the centre clearances. Newchurch has a terrific leap and sticky hands on the lead, making it an effective ploy.

#24 Kallis Freer

Freer was one of the most impactful midfielders afield, able to shark a wealth of possessions off the ruck taps and wheel away quickly to get North Adelaide going. He started off with a strong shrug in congestion, but looked far more dangerous on the move at stoppages with his five-step burst and one-grab gathers in traffic breaking the play open. His uncanny knack of being first to the drop of the ball made him the dominant player of the first half, and a series of centre clearance kicks to find Newchurch on the lead made for good viewing. His kicks may have been a little rushed early, but Freer was a strong contributor for the Roosters with 29 disposals, six marks, and eight clearances.

Others:

The defensive combination of Lam Simon and Blayne O’Loughlin continues to prove effective, as both returned solid outings for North Adelaide, but more so in patches compared to previous form. Hugh Jackson added some good depth to the midfield rotation, with Ben Manning another to find both the ball and the goals. Charlie Dowling kicked a couple of outstanding goals, and State Under 16 representative Zyton Santillo was dangerous inside forward 50.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Central District vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

McDonald produced another solid performance in his customary on-ball role. His tackling was a real feature of his game, often wrapping opponents up in textbook manner by pinning their arms, either resulting in a holding-the-ball free kick or forcing a stoppage. When McDonald himself was being tackled, his ability to raise his arms and fire off a handball allowed Central District to retain possession of the ball. His stoppage nous was also evident, with a brilliant piece of roving in the first term particularly noticeable. The bottom-aged McDonald has already assembled a well-rounded game, but should aim to hit the scoreboard more often to increase his overall impact. This is expected to come with added experience at Under 18s level. The Barossa product finished with 19 disposals, three marks, five tackles, and five clearances.

#15 Lewis Cowham

The deputy vice-captain was in everything for the Bulldogs. The midfielder was clearly his side’s best on-baller, winning eight of the ‘Dogs 31 clearances. Not only did he win first possession at several stoppages, but Cowham was also efficient by hand even when under severe pressure, displaying good vision and making the right decisions. His kicking around the ground was also clean and effective. Although he is a clearance specialist and a strong tackler with a sound inside-game, Cowham’s talents are certainly not restricted to the contested stuff. Outside of the stoppages, his tremendous work rate, burst of speed, football smarts and all-round athleticism ensured he was often available as a short hit-up option. His overhead capabilities have been evident throughout the season to date and were again on show against the Redlegs. Despite the Bulldogs’ woes, Cowham has been a star in the midfield and his stocks continue to rise with each outing. He concluded the match with 35 disposals, 11 marks, seven tackles, eight clearances and seven inside-50s.

#26 Shay Linke

Linke again provided plenty of pressure from his midfield role. His taller frame complemented the smaller Cowham and McDonald in the Bulldogs midfield. Although the Tanunda prospect made a couple of mistakes by foot, he competed well at ground level all day, laying a team-high twelve tackles. He had two attempts on goal in the first quarter, including one from 50 metres out, but unfortunately missed both. Linke worked hard around the ground, accumulating 22 disposals and taking seven marks. After breaking into the Bulldogs’ Under 18 side late last season, the midfielder has enjoyed a consistent start to the 2020 campaign, largely thanks to his tackling intensity and exciting athleticism.

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

Draft hopeful, Durdin was once again serviceable for the Bulldogs League side, who slumped to their third loss of the season. Since making his debut at League level last season, the small forward has fitted into the Bulldogs side seamlessly. His ability to push up from the forward line and impact the play through the midfield, where he managed two clearances, was impressive, particularly given the 172cm Durdin was competing against a battle-hardened Norwood side. He kicked one goal in the second term and could well have had added couple more. Nevertheless, it was another strong showing for Durdin, who continues to fight hard against seasoned opposition at senior level.

Others:

The tremendous athleticism of Leek Alleer was clear for all to see against the Redlegs. He spent time up forward and was shifted onto the wing in the third term to provide some much-needed speed. Alleer got his hands on it often when he flew for marks, but they didn’t always stick. However his willingness to get involved on the ground will have impressed the ‘Dogs coaching staff. He finished with 12 disposals, three marks and seven tackles. Tall forward and back-up ruckman Wyatt Ryan produced another strong showing, with his overhead marking and tap-work the highlights. In the rare occasion when he didn’t take the mark, Ryan neutralised the contest and brought the ball to ground. Athletic defender Jacob Fiebiger was also amongst his sides best, finishing with 19 disposals, ten marks and eight rebound-50s.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

The bottom-ager continues to go from strength-to-strength after producing another dominant display at X Convenience Oval on Saturday. Murley spent time on-ball and up forward, and proved why he is so highly-rated at club level. His foot skills were excellent for the majority of the contest and his ability to hit contests at speed, win the contested ball, and dispose of it effectively stood out once again. A perfect example of this was when he won the contested ball at half-forward and accelerated away before pulling the trigger on a perfectly weighted inside 50 kick to a teammate who marked within close range.

Wearing the number one jumper, Murley kicked his first major after his centring ball received a miraculous bounce, ballooning over all sets of hands to open the scoring in the second term. His clean and often perfectly-placed kicking and breakaway pace were on display as the game wore on and in the dying minutes, he slotted his second of the match. Murley finished with 31 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and five inside-50s.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

Cavallaro may not have a lot of size about him, but he is clearly one of the smartest midfielders in the competition. He lined up on the wing for much of the clash and consistently made the right decisions by hand and foot. When under pressure, Cavallaro remained calm and composed and surveyed the field to ensure he took the best option. He also showed great vision throughout the contest and his kicking was largely efficient. He did make an error in the defensive 50, where a wayward kick landed in the hands of a Bulldogs opponent, however the subsequent set-shot missed to the near side. Cavallaro helped the Redlegs gain the upper-hand by nailing a snap at goal in the second term. His game wasn’t all flashy either, with the midfielder/half-back also nailing three strong tackles to go with 27 possessions, two marks and two rebound-50s.

#9 Alastair Lord

Lord’s run and carry from half-back was instrumental to the Redlegs’ victory. He provided consistent rebound from defence, using his line-breaking speed and long kick to turn defence into attack for Norwood. Whenever he received the ball in space, Lord looked to get on his bike immediately, accelerating away from his opponents. Although he did miss a couple of targets by foot, which is excusable given he was often travelling at quite a speed. He also showed plenty of dare with his kicking and executed several high-difficulty kicks throughout the contest. Lord would be one of the leading metres-gained players at Under 18 level and his importance to the Norwood side is obvious. He finished a successful outing with 31 disposals, five marks and two rebound-50s.

#10 Mitchell Trepka

Trepka found an abundance of the football across half-back and through the middle of the ground against the Bulldogs. Trusted with the kick-in duties on several occasions, Trepka’s tireless running between the arcs allowed him to get on the end of a game-high twelve marks. Whilst his link-up work was perhaps most noticeable, the Tea Tree Gully junior was also strong in the contest, winning four clearances and providing a strong presence in contested situations. Trepka finished a well-rounded performance with 34 touches, four clearances, three inside-50s and five rebound-50s.

#17 Daniel Fairbrother

The defender was strong down back all day. His overhead marking was a real feature, with Fairbrother hanging on to a couple of important grabs under pressure in defence. Although his aerial presence was the standout of his game, Fairbrother’s foot skills were also excellent when exiting the defensive 50 and his speed off the mark was encouraging to see from the strongly-built defender. He looks an extremely well-rounded athlete, who has enjoyed a strong start to his third year of SANFL Under 18s football. Fairbrother collected 25 disposals, seven marks and six rebound-50s.

#21 Jack Saunders

Walkerville’s Saunders was yet another Norwood midfielder to produce a strong performance at Elizabeth. The blonde-haired midfielder once again applied an abundance of tackling pressure around the contests, finishing with nine for the match to sit second in the competition for total tackles. Along with his stoppage impact and in-and-under grunt work, Saunders’ ability to provide run and carry and impact the scoreboard also proved damaging. He slotted his first from 35 metres out at the 14-minute mark of the third quarter and nailed another ten minutes later from a similar distance directly in-front. Saunders’ kicking for goal and skills in general play were effective and his vision to spot up several targets from long range was impressive. He concluded the match with 21 disposals, six marks, three clearances and three inside-50s.

#30 Finn Heard

The tall-forward worked his way into the game and was rewarded for his earlier efforts with a couple of late goals. He consistently presented well and his vice-like hands proved to be a problem for his direct opponent. One of Heard’s two last quarter goals came from a 50-metre left-foot bomb which dribbled through and the other was a well-executed snap after he took a goal-line mark. Heard should have booted three goals for the contest, however he hit the wrong side of the ball when attempting a nearly-identical checkside. However his long kicking on either side of the body, contested marking ability and strong leading patterns showed why he is one of the Under 18 competition’s best key forwards.

#55 Henry Nelligan (League)

After making his league debut in the tough loss to Woodville-West Torrens, small forward, Nelligan showed signs of his obvious talent in Saturday’s win over the Bulldogs at Coopers Stadium. He started slowly but worked into the game, finding more of the ball as the game wore on. Norwood coach Jarrad Cotton has shown a willingness to blood the Redlegs youth, with 2019 draftees Dylan Stephens and Cameron Taheny earning consistent league games last season. And Nelligan will no-doubt be learning plenty from playing alongside the likes of Richard Douglas and Mitch Grigg. He accumulated ten disposals, two marks, three tackles and three inside-50s in the Redlegs first victory of the season, with his attack on the ball and tackling pressure evident, despite his smaller stature.

Others: 

Ronald Carbine had some nice moments across half-back. He finished the game with eleven disposals, two marks, three tackles and five rebound-50s. Although Heard was the primary target up forward for the Redlegs Under 18s, Charles Kemp was arguably even more effective in attack on the day. The utilities aerial work was outstanding, clunking three strong contested grabs and eight marks in total. He booted two goals and was also handy at the stoppages, winning three clearances for the Redlegs.

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

Sturt vs. South Adelaide

By: Ed Pascoe

Sturt:

#17 Mani Liddy

A typical performance from Liddy who has been one of the most consistent midfielders in the 18s with his strong clearance work again at the forefront, where he excels better than most. Liddy showed great composure and class around the ball, working hard around the ground to try and link up and show he isn’t just a clearance player. He isn’t super quick but showed some good agility, almost nailing a nice goal keeping cool and composed, Liddy finished the game with 25 disposals, eight tackles and 10 clearances.

#18 Tom Powell

Mr Consistent, Mr Prolific, you could also call him the best young midfielder in South Australia at the moment as he again had a huge game as he continues to catch the eye of scouts. Powell again was a ball magnet both at stoppages and on the outside where he found the ball with ease and again used it cleanly and sharply – especially by hand. Powell’s kicking has been the one area that has only been ok, but he managed to hit a fantastic pass inside 50 in the last quarter and if he can do that more often, he could become an even bigger threat. Powell finished the game with 36 disposals, four tackles and 11 clearances and is showing no signs of letting up this year as he pushes his case to recruiters for this year’s draft.

#32 Morgan Ferres

The talented bottom age key position prospect started the game slowly, but really grew into the game and proved to be the main source of scoring for Sturt once again. Ferres’ game really started to pick up in the second quarter when he had a great chase down tackle on Nicholas Kraemer and would be rewarded on the scoreboard later on, taking a strong contested grab and kicking his first major. Another thing that impressed with Ferres was his ability to get up the ground, take a strong mark on the wing, and quickly wheel and go. Ferres would go on to kick the match winning goal, getting into free space and coolly slotting the set shot. Ferres finished the game with 17 disposals, 10 marks and kicking 5.3. He currently leads the competition for goals, averaging almost four goals a game which is impressive for a bottom-age prospect.

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

South Adelaide:

#9 Jason Horne

A possible top 10 pick in the 2021 draft, Horne continued his strong from through the midfield with another eye-catching performance; showing of his acceleration at stoppages, while his marking around the ground also came into the fold. Horne was a hard player to stop at stoppages with his speed and power being a real difference maker and that power was on show late in the last quarter were he had a nice run on the wing leaving the opposition in his wake. Another thing that separated Horne from other midfielders was his marking ability, able to take strong contested marks which he did on multiple occasions. Horne finished the game with 23 disposals, nine tackles, seven clearances, and one goal in a complete midfield performance.

#21 Matthew Roberts

Another quality bottom-age talent for South Adelaide, Roberts was on fire early on kicking a long range set shot showing off his long left boot. Not long after, he would rove the back of a pack and run into the open goal. Roberts wouldn’t add any more damage to the scoreboard, but his ability through the midfield was again on show, not only using his strong fame to win clearances but also using his smarts and work rate around the ground to provide an outlet. He had a great bit of play crumbing a marking contest, and would later follow that up showing his work rate. Roberts finished the game with 22 disposals, five tackles and two goals as he continues to string together some stellar games.

#35 Nicholas Kraemer

Kraemer loves the tough stuff and showed that again with his tackling ability and willingness to attack the contest hard, using his size at stoppages to his advantage. Kraemer isn’t the flashiest player but he did all the one-percenters well and some of his blocks for teammates really stood out. He had a good last quarter, working well on the outside and keeping composed going forward to hit a nice pass inside 50, showing great composure. Kraemer finished the game with 17 disposals, four clearances and a game-high 10 tackles to set the standard for some of his younger, talented midfielders.

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Glenelg vs. West Adelaide

By: Tom Cheesman

Glenelg:

#2 Nasiah Wanganeen

Wanganeen backed up his strong performance last week with another on Saturday. He made the wing his own, moving the ball forward effectively on several occasions while showcasing his agility and proving very difficult to tackle. He kicked a magnificent goal midway through the third term where he crumbed his own contest, plucked the ball one-handed, broke away from his opponent and then kicked truly. Wanganeen finished with 19 disposals, four marks and a goal.

#10 Ty Murphy

Murphy was one of Glenelg’s most consistent contributors across the four quarters, constantly making his presence felt on the outer wing. He works very hard for his possessions and knows the right positions to lead to at half forward. Murphy never shied away from a contest and always attacked the footy with ferocity. He finished with 25 disposals, six marks and three inside 50s.

#13 Luke Pedlar

The Bloods had no answer for Pedlar, as the big-bodied midfielder used his strength in aerial contests and stoppages to out-body his opponents, get to the ball first and hold strong marks. He controlled his aggression to ensure that while he laid crunching tackles, he did not give away unnecessary free kicks. A strong tackle in the third term was definitely a highlight, and his clearance work was fantastic all day. Pedlar spent time rotating up forward as well, but Glenelg were a better side when he was in the middle. He finished with 23 disposals, seven marks, six tackles and two goals.

#17 Cooper Beecken

Amongst a Bays defence that kept West Adelaide goalless after quarter time, Beecken was definitely a standout. His ball use was fantastic, consistently drilling passes on the 45 to teammates on the lead and he never appeared rushed or frazzled when under pressure. He combined beautifully with runners to halt the Bloods’ forward ball movement and confidence by counter-attacking whenever they got the opportunity. Beecken’s defensive work was also exemplary, as he used his long reach to spoil and intercept on numerous occasions. He finished with 17 disposals, four marks, three rebound 50s and two inside 50s.

#21 Riley Holder

Holder continued his impressive start to the season with another fantastic display against the Bloods. The key forward showed a willingness to work up the ground and help his side transition the ball from defence to attack. He is a brilliant overhead mark, as he reads the flight of the ball to perfection and has strong hands. Holder could have easily kicked a bag, but his kicking was off in front of goal so he finished with 2.4. He also collected 26 disposals, 12 marks (three contested) and six inside 50s.

#22 Lewis Rayson

Rayson was brilliant once again at half-back for Glenelg, gathering 24 disposals, five marks and five rebound 50s. He played the quarter-back style role beautifully as he rarely missed a target and was composed with ball in hand. His run and carry was on show in this game, regularly linking up with teammates to gain meterage and transition the ball forward. Rayson has great agility and uses his side step skilfully to escape congestion. He pushed forward when the result was beyond doubt in the final term to kick two goals.

#28 Hugh Stagg

Stagg was prominent up forward for the Tigers throughout this match. He always provided a strong contest and used his speed to break away from opponents. Just like Holder, his impact would have been even more profound if he had kicked straight in front of goal, as he finished with 3.5. Regardless, he was one of the best forwards on the ground with 28 disposals, eight inside 50s, seven marks and four tackles.

#33 Will Schreiber

Schreiber was very solid in this contest. The 190cm defender used clever footwork in traffic, was smart by hand and used his strength and large frame to shrug off oncoming tacklers. He also has a powerful kick and regularly showed a willingness to open up the game by using the corridor. Schreiber finished with 17 disposals, four marks and four tackles.

Others:

It was a great team performance by Glenelg and every one of the Tigers’ players played a role. Hagan Wright (29 disposals, seven marks) and Henry McAuliffe (23 disposals, two goals) both worked very hard and had a major impact, as did Oscar Clark (21 disposals, one goal). Xavier Robins (23 disposals) was consistent in defence, often using his run and carry to launch his side into attack. Harry Tunkin (15 disposals, five tackles, five inside 50s) was lively at half-forward and showed great awareness throughout the contest.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide:

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

It was a tough day for the Bloods after quarter time, but Chamberlain tried his best to keep them competitive. The AFL Academy Hub member worked hard up and down the wing, using his explosive speed to find the footy and break away from opponents. Chamberlain always attempted to make something happen when clearing congestion rather than blindly bombing the ball forward, which is a good sign in a young player. He finished with 21 disposals, five marks and three tackles.

Others:

There were a couple of other handy performers despite the Bloods’ woes, with Eduard van den Berg collecting a team-high 24 disposals and seven rebound 50s, while Thomas Rundle booted a goal from his 16 disposals and five marks.

>> WEST ADELAIDE 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
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

SANFL weekly wrap: Round 4 – Eagles down Roosters to swoop on top spot

A NEW front-runner has emerged in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), with Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) jumping West Adelaide on Saturday to claim top spot in the League standings. The Eagles and Roosters are joined by South Adelaide as the three teams tied for first at 3-1, with the Panthers claiming their second win on the trot. A three-way arm-wrestle between undefeated sides remains at the Reserves grade, while the Glenelg and Sturt Under 18s are also poised nicely at 4-0 apiece.

>> SCROLL for full results 

North Adelaide vs. WWT Eagles

League – North Adelaide 7.12 (54) def. by WWT Eagles 10.9 (69)
Reserves – North Adelaide 7.7 (49) def. by WWT Eagles 10.6 (66)
Under 18s – WWT Eagles 9.13 (67) def. North Adelaide 8.10 (58)

WWT Eagles enjoyed a fruitful weekend across all grades, completing a three-peat over North Adelaide and crucially, claiming top spot on the League ladder. The Eagles also picked up their first win at Under 18s level to sit just outside the finals placings, while the Reserves are moving along nicely at 4-0 in second place.

The 15-point margin come the end of their League clash may have been the only break WWT led at for the entire contest, but it would have mattered little to supporters as their side finished strongly to secure victory. Small forward James Rowe dealt most of the scoreboard damage with four goals, including two in the all-important final term to prove the difference between the two sides. Lewis Hender snagged three goals for North Adelaide up the other end.

Jordan Foote and Jimmy Toumpas were mega through the middle for WWT, both collecting 34 disposals with the latter also bagging two majors. Youngsters Jacob Wehr (18 disposals, seven rebound 50s), Lachlan Jones (17 disposals, six marks), and Lachlan McNeil (17 disposals, one goal) also continue to thrive. Andrew Moore was the leading inside presence for the Roosters, amassing 33 disposals and nine clearances. Meanwhile, Harrison Wigg (29 disposals, six marks) and Jarred Allmond (25 and 12) covered the ground well.

The Eagles and Roosters are now level at 1-3 in the Under 18s competition, thanks to an even team performance from the latter to edge home on Saturday afternoon. Potential 2021 Port Adelaide father-son Jase Burgoyne was sensational in an altered role, collecting 31 disposals and booting a goal for the victors. Harrison Dawkins (25 disposals, two goals) continued his consistent start to the season, while Caleb Poulter looked dangerous for his 18 touches, and skipper Zac Phillips fared well in the ruck with 31 hitouts. The returning Henry Smith could only manage three behinds.

For North, Kallis Freer (29 disposals) and Jamison Murphy (28) continue to win a heap of ball, combining for 11 clearances and 10 inside 50s. 16-year-old William Dowling impressed with four majors from 17 touches, while Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect Tariek Newchurch was kept goalless in his 15-disposal outing.

West Adelaide vs. Glenelg

League – West Adelaide 10.4 (64) def. Glenelg 7.6 (48)
Reserves – West Adelaide 5.8 (38) def. by Glenelg 9.8 (62)
Under 18s – Glenelg 18.24 (132) def. West Adelaide 3.5 (23)

Tom Keough booted half of Westies’ 10 goals as the Bloods downed reigning League premier, Glenelg on home turf. A four-goal to nil third term set up the hosts’ opening win for the season, as the Tigers managed little in the way of a response thereafter.

The Bloods are now just a point off Glenelg and the finals placings in the top flight, with the Tigers starting to falter in their flag defence. Bays fans would have been buoyed by results across the other grades though, as their side romped to an 109-point triumph in the Under 18s, and a four-goal salute at Reserves level.

Jordon Boyle led all comers on Saturday with 30 disposals, headlined by six clearances. Andrew Bradley earned that title for Glenelg having notched 27 touches, while Chris Curran (25 disposals, 13 marks) and Matthew Snook (24 dispsoals, eight tackles, 10 clearances) worked tirelessly in the losing effort. Magarey Medalist Luke Partington had 23 disposals, and Luke Reynolds snagged three goals.

Keough was remarkably his side’s sole multiple goalkicker, while five other individuals also found the big sticks once each. Gun midfielder Kaine Stevens notched another 24 touches in a well-rounded performance, with the likes of Brett Turner and Patrick Fairlie also playing solid roles in the Bloods’ win.

While Luke Edwards got his chance at Reserves level, the Tigers showcased their depth with a big win over West Adelaide’s Under 18s. Hugh Stagg had a day out with 28 disposals and 3.5 to lead a pack of six Glenelg multiple goalkickers, while Hagan Wright collected 29 touches to lead the ball winning stakes. Riley Holder (26 disposals, two goals), Luke Pedlar (24 and two), and Lewis Rayson (24 and two) were among the many others to impress.

Despite being beaten soundly in each part of the ground, the likes of Eduard van den Berg (24 disposals, eight marks), State Under 18s jet Bailey Chamberlain (22 disposals, four tackles), and Thomas Rundle (16 disposals, five marks, one goal) stood up.

Norwood vs. Central District

League – Norwood 15.14 (104) def. Central District 12.14 (86)
Reserves – Norwood 5.5 (35) def. by Central District 17.21 (123)
Under 18s – Central District 5.6 (36) def. by Norwood 12.8 (80)

Norwood snatched an early lead and never looked back in its maiden League win for the season, downing Central District by an even three goals at Coopers Stadium. Both remain the bottom two sides in the top flight, but the Redlegs now have separation from the winless Bulldogs and are just a game off fourth place.

Changes may be in the works for Round 5 after Centrals cruised to an 88-point Reserves victory to sit pretty atop the ladder at 4-0, but the glory ends there for the ‘Dogs with their Under 18 side languishing at 1-3 in the Under 18s after a second-consecutive heavy loss.

There were still some good signs for the away side at League level, with Justin Hoskin booting a game-high six majors and the enigmatic John Butcher adding three more in an improved scoring effort. The Redlegs still found the edge in that department though, as Tommy Pinyon and Peter Bampton made the most of their combined 16 touches to claim four goals apiece.

Former Adelaide midfielder Richard Douglas showed his class in an absolute blinder, cracking in for 35 disposals, seven marks, seven clearances, and two goals as the best player afield. Mitch Grigg played himself into some better form with 24 touches and a goal, while James Boyd led the way for Centrals with 30 disposals to continue his bright start to the campaign. Troy Menzel had a quiet outing, kept to just 13 disposals and a goal.

A similar story was observed in the Under 18s as Norwood kicked away in an eight goal to three second half, with five Redlegs getting on the board with two majors. Among them, Under 16 All Australian Cooper Murley was again lively with 31 disposals in another display of his class. Mitchell Trepka had a team-high 34 touches, while bottom-age defender Alastair Lord managed 31 and Michael Cavallaro bagged a goal from his 27.

Lewis Cowham again led the way for Central District with 35 disposals, seven tackles, and eight clearances as the prime midfield mover, with Shay Linke‘s 22 disposals the next-best tally. Usual suspect Austin McDonald had it 19 times, while Cooper Kalleske and Wyatt Ryan each found the big sticks among their 18-disposal efforts.

South Adelaide vs. Sturt

League – South Adelaide 10.10 (70) def. Sturt (7.5 (47)
Reserves – South Adelaide 6.7 (43) def. by Sturt 9.11 (65)
Under 18s – Sturt 11.9 (75) def. South Adelaide 11.3 (69)

South Adelaide broke open its tight League tussle with Sturt with a five-goal third term, setting up the Panthers’ 23-point win over Sturt at Flinders University Stadium. Both sides may have been level on wins coming into the round, but South now breaks into the leading pack with another solid win.

The Panthers’ leaders were made to work to get their side on top, with former Port midfielder Matthew Broadbent (32 disposals, one goal) at the forefront. Joel Cross picked up from where he left off with 21 touches and a goal, while gun recruit Thomas Highmore was terrific for his 27 disposals, 12 marks, and five tackles in defence.

James Battersby (29 disposals, 11 clearances, one goal) and Sam Colquhoun (29 disposals, seven clearances) made for ample resistance in Sturt’s midfield, but the Double Blues could not ultimately get the job done. Zane Kirkwood was another to impress with 23 touches, while Ash Johnson joined Souths’ Sam Overall as the only players to bag multiple goals.

If the midfield battle was strong at League level, the Under 18s tussle was just as enjoyable. Prolific ball winner Tom Powell again cracked the 30-disposal mark as the Doubles Blues beat South Adelaide via a late Morgan Ferres goal – his fifth for the game. Partner-in-crime Mani Liddy was also outstanding, notching 25 touches and 10 clearances.

It came against good opposition too, with bottom-age Panthers Jason Horne (23 disposals, nine tackles) and Matthew Roberts (22 disposals, two goals) among the best, with Nicholas Kraemer getting his hands dirty for 10 tackles. Phoenix Spicer again hit the scoreboard, booting two goals in conjunction with three from Liam Hamilton.

In the two sides’ Reserves dig, Sturt again came out on top to slot into fourth at 2-2, with South Adelaide still searching for a win at the level. The Double Blues kicked all of their goals at one end, managing five to nil in the first term and a further four in the third to set up the 22-point win.

SANFL Round 4 Preview: Table-topping clash in League sets up big round of action

ROUND 4 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) will see some quality matchups across the leagues, with a couple teams still looking to assert themselves on the competition while others will look to extend their winning ways.
North Adelaide Vs Woodville-West Torrens
League: Two of the league’s most in-form sides will face off at Prospect Oval on Saturday to open round four of the SANFL Statewide Super League. The Roosters sent a stern message to the rest of the competition when they held on to defeat the reigning premiers, Glenelg, away from home. And after missing the finals last season, the Eagles also appear to have returned to their damaging best after easily accounting for Norwood on Sunday afternoon. With the Roosters and Eagles perched at the pinnacle of the ladder, the rematch of 2018’s infamous ’19th man’ preliminary final is poised to be a beauty.
Usually an efficient side in front of goal, the Roosters were slightly wayward at the Bay, booting 10 goals and 14 behinds. Although accurate themselves, Glenelg were unable to penetrate a dour red and white defence, held together by talls Tanner Smith, Cameron Craig and promising teenager Karl Finlay. The Eagles also had their issues in front of goal at times against Norwood, but bags of three straight goals from key forward Jack Hayes and energetic goal sneak James Rowe helped establish the Eagles impressive margin. North Adelaide and Woodville-West Torrens both won the possession battle against their opponents, largely thanks to the contested ball-winning abilities of their respective midfield units. Although the Tigers recorded more clearances, inside 50s and rebound 50s than the Roosters, the ferocious tacking and relentless pressure applied by Jacob Surjan’s men simply overwhelmed the Tigers. They laid 94 tackles to Glenelg’s 69, led by midfield beast Campbell Combe, who added a further 13 to his league-leading tally. The Eagles also lost many of the key statistical areas, including the clearances, hitouts, rebound 50s and tackles, however Woodville were much more effective going forward, recording 55 inside-50s to Norwood’s 34. Veteran Matthew Goldsworthy was the leader in this regard, pumping it inside 50 on a game-high eight occasions. The Roosters must be wary of his precision with ball in hand, with the 29-year-old travelling at 97 per cent disposal efficiency so far this season. In the ruck, Roosters key forward Mitch Harvey filled in for the injured James Craig and did a tremendous job, winning more hitouts than his Glenelg counterpart, former Docker Jack Hannath. Eagles bigman Jarrad Redden went head-to-head with Norwood giant Sam Baulderstone and, despite being well beaten in the hitouts, was effective around the ground and at the stoppages. Regardless of Craig’s potential return, expect the ruck duel to be hotly contested. Both sides boast potent attacks, capable of compiling goals in quick succession. The Roosters small forward fleet of Kym LeBois, Robbie Young and Frank Szekely is arguably the best in the league. Whilst Lewis Hender struggled to make an impact against his former side, Glenelg, his six goals in round one is proof of his match-winning potential. Whilst for the Eagles, the aforementioned Rowe rarely misses out in front of the goals. His goal sense and crumbing ability is excellent and will require attention from the Roosters defenders. The Hayes brothers have been a staple of the Eagles offence for several years and Jake Von Bertouch‘s recent shift forward has been a success.
Although their start has been impressive, the Roosters injury list is growing with each game. Tall Alex Barns has struggled with various complaints so far this year, while speedster Robbie Young (hamstring) and tough onballer Cam Hewett (foot) are also anticipated to miss some time after sustaining injuries in the win over the Bays. Prized recruit Billy Hartung was a late withdrawal last week with a back complaint. The club has listed his expected return as indefinite. Ruckman James Craig will face a fitness test. In contrast, the Eagles have less than a handful of injury concerns. Louis Sharrad injured his hand against Norwood, but youngster Jake Weidemann is available after recovering from a concussion. It was a tough season for North in 2019 after they started the season on -4 points. However they did manage to beat the Eagles in the final round to ensure they avoided the wooden spoon. The Eagles did, however, gain some revenge by knocking them off in round one by 25 points.
Reserves: North Adelaide’s reserves haven’t quite been as successful as the league side in the first three rounds, but a win over the Redlegs and admirable 16-point loss to Glenelg in recent weeks suggests they aren’t a pushover. However injuries to a host of regular senior players may test their depth at reserves level. The Eagles flexed their muscles against Norwood in the seconds too, recording a comfortable 63-point win to remain undefeated. Woodville-West Torrens will head into this clash as favourites, but expect North to be up for the fight.
Under-18s: The Eagles and Roosters Under-18 sides have made slow starts to their respective campaigns. However they boast some exciting talent, particularly through the midfield. North co-captain Jamison Murphy and exciting forward Tariek Newchurch are the ones to watch in the red and white. And for the Eagles, keep tabs on Power father/son prospect Taj Schofield and 190cm Caleb Poulter, who has certainly turned some heads in the first few weeks of action.
West Adelaide Vs Glenelg
League: West Adelaide will be looking to record their first win of the season when they host Glenelg at Hisense Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Bloods have come tantalisingly close over the past fortnight, drawing with Central Districts before last weekends narrow eight-point defeat to Sturt. But, despite their round three loss to North Adelaide, the Bays remain a formidable side, boasting one of the most talented squads in the league.
Whilst the ‘Westies’ may not possess the depth of talent at the disposal of some of their rivals, they showed admirable fight to steal the lead from Sturt towards the end of the third quarter last weekend. They were out-classed by the Double Blues, who won almost all of the key statistical areas. However coach Gavin Colville would have been pleased with their tackling pressure around the ground, along with the spirited individual efforts of forward Isaac Johnson and talented key position teenager Riley Thilthorpe, who got better as the game wore on. Glenelg also went down with a fight, threatening to snatch victory from the Roosters grasp at ACH Group Stadium. The Tigers were reasonably efficient going forward, kicking 11 goals and five behinds from their 53 inside 50s, however their tackle numbers, unlike West’s, were considerably lower than their opponents. Reigning Ken Farmer Medallist Liam McBean kicked multiple goals for the third straight match and hard-at-it midfielder Matthew Snook was typically industrial for Glenelg.
If they are to stand a chance of claiming victory, West Adelaide simply must restrict the scoreboard impact of McBean, who has taken the league by storm over the past 18 months. West key defenders Josh Ryan or Patrick Levicki loom as likely matchups for the 202cm McBean and fellow forward Luke Reynolds, who has proven to be just as dangerous when at his high-flying best. Interestingly, the Bloods restricted McBean to just one goal in the two games between the clubs last season. The midfield battle will also be a huge test for the inexperienced Bloods, who will likely turn to battle-hardened skipper Kaine Stevens and the 24-year-old Brett Turner in the hope of matching it against Glenelg’s potent onball unit. The aforementioned Snook provides the grunt along with inside partner Brad Agnew, with the likes of Partington and Marlon Motlop able to push forward and impact the scoreboard. New recruit Jack Hannath has been Glenelg’s go-to man in the ruck this year, with McBean occasionally providing a chop-out. West Adelaide’s Andre Parrella endured a monster opening fortnight, accumulating 92 hitouts against North and Central Districts, however he missed the clash with Sturt through illness. Stuart Taverner did a terrific job as his replacement, winning 44 hitouts against the talented Dan Fahey-Sparks. Parrella has been listed as available, however, and will be expected to return to the league side. Thilthorpe and captain Tom Keough are the focal points of the Bloods forwardline and their contrasting playing styles could prove a handful for Glenelg’s skipper Max Proud and second tall Matt Merrett.
The Bays reported no injuries from the loss to North Adelaide, however West’s Dallas Willsmore will face a test to prove he has overcome a groin complaint. The two-sides last met in round 17 of the 2019 season, with Glenelg dominating to record a 75-point win. Although it was tighter earlier in the season, Glenelg still managed to record a 16-point victory.
Reserves: Glenelg’s reserves side remain undefeated after they claimed a 16-point win over North Adelaide. They sit third on the ladder, behind Woodville-West Torrens and Central Districts, who are also yet to drop points in 2020. After opening the season with a win over the Roosters seconds, West Adelaide has suffered back-to-back defeats and will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing showing against the Double Blues. If he retains his place in the reserves side, draft hopeful Cooper Horsnell is one to watch for Glenelg in this encounter.
Under-18s: Much like at reserves level, the Bays Under-18s continue to go from strength-to-strength and are yet to record a loss. They boast a talented squad, headlined by potential Crows father-son Luke Edwards, prolific bottom-ager Lewis Rayson and strong marking key forward Riley Holder. In contrast, the West Under-18s have struggled, however talented midfielders Bailey Chamberlain and Lachlan De Cesare have performed well and mounted strong cases for state selection later in the year.
Norwood Vs Central Districts
League: Norwood will be desperate to get their season back on track when they take on fellow winless side Central Districts at Coopers Stadium in the traditional Saturday afternoon timeslot. While the Redlegs troublesome start to the year has been wildly unexpected, Central Districts fans know their club is going through a rebuilding faze, but will still expect a strong performance against a potentially vulnerable Norwood outfit. If there was ever a chance for the Bulldogs to defeat Norwood away from home, now is the time.
The Redlegs really struggled forward of centre against Woodville-West Torrens, who ran all over the top of Jarrod Cotton’s men, who have been a powerhouse of the competition for several years. Despite the best efforts of former-Crow Richard Douglas, strong tackling midfielder Josh Richards and dominant ruckman Sam Baulderstone, the Redlegs were unable to stop the talented Woodville-West Torrens forward line. Central Districts, on the other hand, fought valiantly against South Adelaide at home, but a one-point third term was never going to be enough to grind out a win. It wasn’t James Boyd‘s fault though, with the veteran midfielder racking up 39 touches, six tackles and five clearances. Luke Habel was steady as always across half-back and Troy Menzel showed glimpses of his obvious talent. Nick Lange had just eight touches but he already looks like a star in the forward line. The Dogs were beaten in the clearances, largely out-worked around the ground and smashed in the inside 50s, but their tackling pressure was noticeable.
Richy Douglas has been impressive for the Redlegs up-forward and certainly doesn’t appear to have slacked-off in the gym since leaving West Lakes. The Bulldog defenders must nullify his ability to accumulate the ball and hit the scoreboard in his natural mid/forward role. Current Central Districts captain Luke Habel or former-skipper Trent Goodram could be tasked with the job on Douglas or dangerous small forward Peter Bampton, whilst key defender Rhett Montgomerie will likely match up on Norwood tall Tommy Pinyon. Despite their winless start, the Redlegs still boast one of the most complete midfields in the competition. Mitch Grigg‘s laser-like leg hasn’t been in full swing yet, but at his best the dual Magarey Medallist can be devastating. Matthew Panos has been one of the league’s best onballers for years while Richards and Matthew Nunn are two of the best up-and-coming midfielders. Boydwas everywhere in the Central Districts midfield, but he will require additional help from the likes of Darcy Pisani and Kyle Presbury if the Dogs are to take it up to the Redlegs. Bulldog ruckman Jonathan Marsh has been impressive early in the season and he currently sits fourth in the league for hitouts. Whilst Marsh may go toe-to-toe with Baulderstone in the hitout numbers, he will need to increase his production around the ground to compete with the Norwood bigman, who is arguably as valuable around the ground as he is at stoppages. The Central Districts forward line revolves around key forward John Butcher, however the exciting and dynamic Nick Lange has added an element of x-factor to the attack, alongside the highly skilful Troy Menzel. Michael Talia may have been given the job of stopping Butcher, but he sustained a hamstring injury in the loss to Woodville-West Torrens. Whilst much of the attention of the Dogs forwards will understandably be focused on kicking a winning score, they must be wary of Norwood’s ability to rebound from defence, spearheaded by Brad McKenzie and Emmauel Irra.
Norwood and Central Districts split their two matches last season, with Norwood taking a narrow three-point victory early in the year before the Dogs bounced back, defeating their eastern suburbs opponents by 19 points in the final minor round clash. The Redlegs suffered injuries to three vital players on the weekend, with Michael Talia (hamstring), Luke Surman (hamstring) and Zac Richards (Quad) all expected to miss varying lengths of time with soft tissue injuries. Meanwhile the Dogs may be without Ryan Llewellyn after he injured his knee. Teenager Henry Nelligan was quiet on debut against the Eagles but Norwood have shown a willingness to play their youth in seasons gone by and he will be better for the experience. The Bulldogs also boast a talented young midfielder/forward of their own in Corey Durdin, who has been given an extended run at league level since debuting last season.
Reserves: Although their league side has struggled, Central Districts have been excellent at reserves level, recording reasonably comfortable victories over Sturt, West Adelaide and most recently, South Adelaide. Expect the club to reward strong form in the reserves by promoting their best performers to the senior side. The Redlegs, who won the reserves premiership last season, sit winless at the foot of the ladder but boast a number of talented players and will be buoyed by a return to The Parade.
Under-18s: The form of Norwood’s Under-18s has been a bright spot during what has been a disappointing start for the club. After a loss to pace-setters Glenelg in the opening round, triumphs over North and the Eagles have lifted them into a finals position. Central Districts were easily beaten by a talented South Adelaide outfit at Noarlunga on the weekend, but on-ballers Lewis Cowham and 16-year-old Austin McDonald have battled strongly. Keep an eye on Redlegs bottom-ager Cooper Murley, who is already finding an abundance of the ball at Under-18s level, as well as key forward Finn Heard and prolific defenders Michael Cavallaro and Matthew Dnistriansky.
South Adelaide Vs Sturt
League: Sturt will make the trip down south to take on the Panthers at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Both sides will likely be pleased with their two wins so far. South Adelaide, who will be without captain Matt Rose for 11 weeks as he recovers from a shoulder injury, bounced back from a close loss to Glenelg in round two to hold off the Bulldogs at Elizabeth on Saturday. Meanwhile the Double Blues, who were comprehensively beaten by the Eagles at Adelaide Oval in two weeks ago, held off a spirited fight from the Bloods.
Despite recording two wins, the Double Blues haven’t been entirely convincing. However they did win most of the key statistical areas against West Adelaide. They were largely clean with their ball use in general play (80 per cent disposal efficiency) and in front of goal, booting eleven goals and six behinds. Nathan Grima’s men outworked the bloods, taking 94 marks to West’s 39. While the clearance and hitout numbers were close, the cream rose to the top, with many of Sturt’s stars producing strong showings, including ball magnet Sam Colquhoun, skipper James Battersby and key defender Sam Wundke. South Adelaide weren’t at their best against Central’s, however encouraging signs from teenagers Zac Dumesny and Beau McCreery will have filled coach Jarrad Wright with optimism. The Panthers midfield won the clearance battle 36 to 28, with Joel Cross and Matthew Broadbent accumulating five and nine respectively. Also pivotal to their victory was the work of Tom Highmore and Joseph Haines down back. Haines was simply everywhere, with his strong aerial presence proving difficult for the Bulldogs to penetrate when going forward. He has come on in leaps and bounds this season and has established himself as one of the league’s best defenders, who also has the capacity to push up onto a wing. Although they could have been more efficient in front of goal, the Panthers controlled proceedings for much of the game and smashed Central’s in the inside 50s.
The Sturt forward line has struggled at times this season, but the talent of Josh Hone, Jake Sutcliffe and Ash Johnson is undeniable. Johnson kicked one goal and five behinds last weekend but looks lively whenever he goes near the ball. The Double Blues must also hold Haines, Highmore and Jake Summerton accountable and prevent them from taking intercept marks across the halfback line. They took a combined 29 marks against the Bulldogs. Sturt’s Mark Evans and Zane Kirkwood regularly rotate through the forward line and present a threat for the likes of Jaidan Kappler and Alex Cailotto. In the midfield, experienced SANFL stars James Battersby (Sturt) and Joel Cross (South Adelaide) may go head-to-head. Both are particularly strong at stoppages and prolific around the ground. Sturt’s Abe Davis will be keen to put in a good performance against his former club. He boasts genuine x-factor with his size, strength and scoreboard impact in the midfield. Youngsters Dumesny, Hayden Sampson and Darnell Tucker have all shown encouraging signs, with the former producing his best league performance to-date against the Bulldogs. The Double Blues also have a couple of handy young talents in Casey Voss, Tom Lewis and Jed McEntee. Lewis had just eight disposals in his league debut, but it was no surprise to see him lay a game high eleven tackles. Voss laid nine himself while McEntee’s defensive pressure was particularly noticeable in the opening fortnight of matches. The ruck battle also appears set to feature a couple of emerging talents, with Sturt duo Dan Fahey-Sparks (22-years-old) and Lachlan Burrows (19-years-old) teaming up against 21-year-old South bigman Cameron McGree. Tall forwards Sam Overall and Ben Haren pose strong aerial threats in the South Adelaide forward line, with the aforementioned McCreery and the explosive Liam Fitt impressing as small/medium-sized types. While Haines was impressive for the Panthers, Sam Wundke also stood out playing a similar role for Sturt, with his rebound and intercept marking ability proving invaluable.
The Double Blues will be without small defender Guy Page (hamstring) and wingman Matthew Crocker (quad) for up to three weeks each but the Panthers could regain Malcolm Karpany, who will face a fitness test to prove he has overcome a back complaint. Sturt won both matchups between the two sides last season, by 22-points in round five and 36 in round 12.
Reserves: Although the Panthers league side appears set to battle it out for a finals spot, the immediate future doesn’t look quite as bright for their reserves, who remain winless after loosing to Central Districts by 71 points. Sturt were also staring down the barrel of a zero and three start to the year, but made light work of West Adelaide on home turf. Draft watchers should keep an eye out for Sturt key defender and Crows NGA prospect James Borlase in this one.
Under-18s: This Under-18s clash is shaping as a ripping contest and features some of the state’s brightest prospects. Sturt has been led to an undefeated start by prolific on-ballers Mani Liddy and Tom Powell, who have both accumulated a heap of the ball early on. South Adelaide bottom-agers Jason Horne and Matthew Roberts also have no issues getting their hands on the ball and already appear a class above Under-18s level. In-form forwards Liam Hamilton (South) and Zabien Parker-Boers (Sturt) also loom large for their respective sides.