Tag: Liam Delahunty

Victoria leads way with National Combine invitees

VICTORIA has dominated this year’s NAB AFL Draft Combine List, with 44 of the 79 invites hailing from the state, including a remarkable 11 players from Sandringham Dragons. Vic Metro led the way despite finishing on the bottom of the table at the National Under-18 Championships, with 23 players making the list, followed by title runners-up Vic Country (21), while overall winners Western Australia (16), and South Australia (13) both reached double-figure invites. Of the Allied states, Queensland had three nominees, followed by New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) with two, as Northern Territory and Tasmania both had the sole nomination each. Players must have been invited by at least four clubs to receive an invite to the national combine, which will be held from Tuesday, October 1-Friday October 4. The state combine lists are usually released over the next few months.

Among the list are five Northern Academy-aligned players with GWS Academy’s Tom Green and Liam Delahunty, Brisbane Lions’ Noah Cumberland and Will Martyn, and Gold Coast’s Connor Budarick. Also receiving invites are father-son prospects Jackson Mead (Port Adelaide) and Finn Maginness (Hawthorn), and the Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) member Liam Henry.

Sandringham’s haul of 11 players includes Darcy Chirgwin (Vic Country) as well as double-digit Vic Metro representatives, Jack Bell, Miles Bergman, Louis Butler, Ryan Byrnes, Oscar Lewis, Maginness, Jack Mahony, Fischer McAsey, Hugo Ralphsmith and Josh Worrell. Oakleigh Chargers and Gippsland Power was the next most with six apiece, Dandenong Stingrays with five and Bendigo Pioneers with four.

In Western Australia, East Fremantle dominated the 16 nominees, picking up six as Jai Jackson, Luke Jackson, Trent Rivers, Trey Ruscoe, Jeremy Sharp and Chad Warner all named. In South Australia, Woodville-West Torrens had four representatives with Mead, Josh Morris, Kysaiah Pickett and Harry Schoenberg all receiving an invite. Just seven players came from the Allies squad, with Green and Tasmania’s Mitch O’Neill the top prospects.

A couple of players proving that missing out on representative selection is not the end of the AFL Draft dream are Northern Knights’ Sam Philp and Oakleigh Chargers’ Cooper Sharman. Philp has been in great form in the NAB League Boys competition, whilst Sharman has been plucked from under former AFL coach Rodney Eade’s nose to bolt up into draft calculations.

2019 NAB AFL Draft Combine list
NSW/ACT

Liam Delahunty (GWS Academy)
Tom Green (GWS Academy)

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Malcolm Rosas (NT Thunder)

QUEENSLAND

Connor Budarick (Gold Coast Academy)
Noah Cumberland (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Will Martyn (Brisbane Lions Academy)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Will Day (West Adelaide)
Karl Finlay (North Adelaide)
Will Gould (Glenelg)
Dyson Hilder (North Adelaide)
Jackson Mead (Woodville-West Torrens)
Josh Morris (Woodville-West Torrens)
Callum Park (Glenelg)
Kysaiah Pickett (Woodville-West Torrens)
Harry Schoenberg (Woodville-West Torrens)
Josh Shute (Sturt)
Dylan Stephens (Norwood)
Cameron Taheny (Norwood)

TASMANIA

Mitch O’Neill (Tasmania Devils)

VIC COUNTRY

Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers)
Riley Baldi (Gippsland Power)
Ned Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays)
Darcy Chirgwin (Sandringham Dragons)
Jesse Clark (Geelong Falcons)
Charlie Comben (Gippsland Power)
Sam De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays)
Thomson Dow (Bendigo Pioneers)
Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power)
Brodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers)
Flynn Perez (Bendigo Pioneers)
Fraser Phillips (Gippsland Power)
Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels)
Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers)
Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power)
Brock Smith (Gippsland Power)
Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons)
Isaac Wareham (GWV Rebels)
Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays)
Lachlan Williams (Dandenong Stingrays)
Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays)

VIC METRO

Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers)
Jack Bell (Sandringham Dragons)
Miles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons)
Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers)
Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers)
Louis Butler (Sandringham Dragons)
Ryan Byrnes (Sandringham Dragons)
Darcy Cassar (Western Jets)
Josh Honey (Western Jets)
Emerson Jeka (Western Jets)
Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons)
Oscar Lewis (Sandringham Dragons)
Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons)
Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons)
Fischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons)
Daniel Mott (Calder Cannons)
Sam Philp (Northern Knights)
Hugo Ralphsmith (Sandringham Dragons)
Matt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers)
Cooper Sharman (Oakleigh Chargers)
Ryan Sturgess (Northern Knights)
Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers)
Josh Worrell (Sandringham Dragons)

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Riley Garcia (Swan Districts)
Mitch Georgiades (Subiaco)
Liam Henry (Claremont)
Jai Jackson (East Fremantle)
Luke Jackson (East Fremantle)
Callum Jamieson (Claremont)
Ben Johnson (West Perth)
Ronin O’Connor (Claremont)
Jake Pasini (Swan Districts)
Jaxon Prior (West Perth)
Trent Rivers (East Fremantle)
Deven Robertson (Perth)
Trey Ruscoe (East Fremantle)
Jeremy Sharp (East Fremantle)
Elijah Taylor (Perth)
Chad Warner (East Fremantle)

Scouting notes: AFL U18 Championships – Vic Metro vs. Allies

VIC Metro’s Under 18 carnival came to an end on Friday with a tight loss at the hands of a much-improved Allies side. We were on hand in Geelong to take note of how the outstanding players from both sides fared, with opinion-based notes that of the individual writer.

Vic Metro

By: Peter Williams

#1 Jack Mahony

A standout player for Metro across the game, setting up a number of goals for his teammates, then finishing off with three of his own – two of which came in the final term to help his side charge back into it. He almost had a fourth but it dropped short and his final kick of the day almost found its way into the hands of Emerson Jeka to win the game but was spoiled away. He had a fairly complete game with great defensive pressure and rarely missing a target forward of centre with neat kicks across his body, well placed to the advantage of his teammates. Mahony was also clean above his head and hard to stop.

#5 Trent Bianco

Composed with ball-in-hand, Bianco looked very classy coming off half-back and along the wing, and was able to use it well by hand or foot. He was the player often benefiting from extras heading into stoppages, with teammates getting it out to him and he was able to move the ball well in transition. He did so under pressure in the back half, and showed a great second effort when losing a marking contest, he got up and smothered a ball to win it back and kick forward. Had a chance for a goal by playing on and putting it through in the third term, but was forced to take the set shot and it fell short.

#11 Matt Rowell

Was again one of Metro’s best even if he was contained (by his standards) after quarter time. His first quarter was outstanding, which included eight disposals, three clearances and a goal, but the Allies midfield made sure to put more work into him after the first term. He used the ball well and was able to get it out to teammates running out the outside. Rowell is great one-on-one and the goal he did kick he managed to do so while being run down from behind. The confidence he exhibited was terrific as he glanced behind him, saw an opponent and backed himself to take him on. He has such clean hands and always keeps battling on across four quarters.

#13 Daniel Mott

Had a big first half and was working hard not only offensively, but defensively as well. He managed to tackle Tom Green and lock the ball away by holding an arm with great technique. He showed clean hands in close and worked hard to get to the right positions. Had a quiet third term, but picked up again in the last quarter.

#22 Miles Bergman

Took a good mark on the lead early in the game and put it to the danger zone for Harrison Jones to mark in a pack and goal to level the scores in the first term. He had a long range shot early in the second and it was perfect off the boot to sail through the middle. Bergman covered the ground well, winning the ball in all thirds of the ground to took a strong intercept mark inside 50, and also had the crowd up on their feet when he flew high on the interchange side of the ground but could not quite bring it down.

#23 Dylan Williams

Booted the one goal and could have had a couple more. He set up the first shot of the game to Emerson Jeka in the opening term, then in the second quarter took a good mark on the lead straight in front and launched it from 50m to go through. He had a chance on the wrong side for a left footer and it pushed to the right for a behind, having a second shot after the three quarter time siren but also missed that. Looked dangerous on the lead throughout.

#24 Noah Anderson

Almost the opposite to his partner-in-crime Rowell, having a very quiet first term – just two touches – before really starting to work his way into the contest. He was strong at ground level and laid multiple tackles with great second and third efforts.On one occasion he read the tap perfectly and booted the ball straight out of the middle with a long clearance kick inside 50. He even showed a bit of audacity in the final term, selling some candy, realising he had no leads on offer, bought some time with more candy then put it to Ryan Sturgess in teh pocket who kicked the goal to put Metro in front late. Another consistent performer who can be pleased with a terrific carnival.

#25 Finn Maginness

One of Metro’s best working hard on the inside and then getting it done on the outside with some dangerous kicks inside 50. Had a long range shot in the second term but missed to the right, and his best highlight came from a dance around an opponent in the middle in that last quarter, sidestepped another and kicked perfectly to Emerson Jeka inside 50.

#29 Fischer McAsey

Has enjoyed a ripping carnival and Friday’s game was no different with another impactful performance in defence. Time and time again he intercepted the ball and rebounded out of the back half, dropping into the hole perfectly. He saved a certain Tom Green goal early with a good mark in the goalsquare, and held his line well in the defence, winning the ball and

#36 Emerson Jeka

Presented well throughout the match inside 50, and could have had three goals to his named but just finished with the one. He missed one narrowly and the other shanked a bit, but never gave up with his work rate. His goal came from a set shot 30m out in the third term, and he was often spotted pushing up to the wing at times.

#39 Jack Bell

Got involved throughout and while he sold a teammate into trouble with a poor handball early, he showed some nice skills by foot, setting up Emerson Jeka for a third term goal by having the nous to move the ball quickly and get it to his teammates’ advantage. Later in the game he dropped behind the ball and was able to use his height to win the ball and move it forward.


Allies:

By: Michael Alvaro

#1 Errol Gulden

Swans fans will be pretty pleased with what their 2020 Academy prospect has shown to date, and this was another great performance on the big stage. Playing off the half-forward flank and up onto a wing, Gulden was a constant threat moving forward when wheeling around onto his trusty left boot. He always looked to create and showed crafty vision with his passes inside 50 to find teammates on multiple occasions. Gulden was as clean as anyone at ground level and it proved a telling trait as he delivered so effectively in space around the arc. Gulden’s willingness to opt for high-risk/high-reward kicks and ability to make them work more often than not made him a game-changer, topping off his contribution with two goals in the third term. His first was a real highlight, turning his opponent with great agility and finishing clinically on the left from just inside 50. One of the best for next year’s crop.

#2 Hewago Paul Oea

The Suns Academy product did some nice things throughout the game, underlining why he is better known as ‘Ace’. He started brightly to get on the scoreboard early with a goal out the back – assisted by the other dangerous forward he would often link up with, Malcolm Rosas Jnr. Tended to flow in and out of the game, but would pop up with good bits of pressure and crafty touches in close to break congestion open and move forward. One of his better plays was finding fellow Sun Josh Gore inside 50 to notch a goal assist, and he looked like breaking towards an open forward line on a few occasions to no avail.

#4 Malcolm Rosas Jnr

Is as silky as they come in the forward half and could do nothing wrong in the latter part of the opening term. The Darwin product roamed the half forward line when the ball was up field, and did well to make himself dangerous when it entered the Allies attacking 50. Rosas’ first goal off hands showed that, but his second was even better as he slammed home a classy left foot finish on the move from just inside the arc. Was a little quieter as the game went on, but applied good pressure throughout and looked likely when the ball edged over the back. Starting to build more consistency.

#16 Ben Jungfer

Was one who at the start of the championships looked to be a depth selection in a talented midfield bunch, but proved to be much more than that as a constant at the stoppages. Jungfer complimented Tom Green beautifully at the centre bounces, doubling the Allies’ contested ball-winning threat and getting stuck in well to prize six clearances. Did a lot of the dirtywork throughout the day to flick the ball out to his runners, and looked strong over it when tackled. Not many frills about his game, but is a reliable accumulator in the middle.

#21 Luke Parks

Looks to be adapting well to being freed from having to play above his height, and proved a solid defensive contributor in this game. Found a good amount of ball and used it well in repelling out of defensive 50, with his rebounding starting to shine through. His best moment came with a terrific gather on the half-volley at pace through the corridor, followed by a kick forward which led to a goal for Swans Academy teammate Errol Gulden in the third term.

#22 Tom Green

Was far and away the Allies’ best, with a game-high 33 disposals 13 more than his next best teammate. Green put in a mountain of work at the stoppages as we’ve come to expect, and proved difficult to tackle as he broke through hoards of opponents at times. Is a real leader in his actions, but also proved vocal with an audible call under a high ball in the first term. Had a couple of shots on goal early with one snap missing and another which he launched from 40 meters falling short, but eventually hit the scoreboard with a clutch set shot conversion in the third term. That side of his game was great to see, and he seemed to be kicking more while showing he can cover the ground really well for an inside midfielder. Also showed terrific spatial awareness with his use by hands with a couple of nice passes over his shoulder, and has great IQ in tight. Absolutely did his top 10 chances no harm with a more well-rounded display.

#24 Joel Jeffrey

The bottom-aged NT utility is capable of playing up either end, but looks really useful down back as a good reader of the ball in flight. Jeffrey leapt really well under high balls towards his own defensive 50 and stood strong as packs formed in his area, showing he wasn’t afraid of the inevitable contact. Looked better as the game went on and proved solid in the second half as Metro looked to charge with some one-on-one wins.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Another who can play at both ends, but looked much more at home in his outing down back in this game. By no means finds massive amounts of ball, but did what was required of him – often times deep inside defensive 50. Showed his overhead prowess as he leapt to clunk a high ball with opponents nearby, and was composed again later on as he saw the ball into touch. With more time in defence, Delahunty could be an effective intercept type, but looks just as good one-on-one with his closing speed and ability to spoil from behind.

#31 Hamish Ellem

Was super impressive early on – proving too big, strong, and smart for his opponents one-out deep inside attacking 50. Booted the first goal of the game with a snap, but caught the eye more with a couple of solid one-on-one grabs and some mobile follow-up work. Made space to be found on the lead as the game wore on, but looks to have some room for improvement in his set shot goalkicking as he could have finished with three or four goals. Had no such issues in general play though, slotting another snap with an unlikely effort from the boundary in the third term. Is somewhat of an in-between size, and has traits to play both as a second tall or as a smaller type given his work at ground level.

#37 Josh Gore

Just always seems to find the goals and this game was no different as Gore slotted three from his seven disposals. Managed to convert in each term after quarter-time, including the Allies’ sole goal in the second after following up a bellied snap to win a holding the ball free kick. Suns teammate Hewago Paul Oea handed him a second goal after finding him in the pocket, with Gore again finding space deep inside 50 to mark in the last and convert a third set shot to put the Allies back in front. Ended up being a game-winner with his clinical finishing, but can add more to his overall game.

#46 Noah Cumberland

Cumberland was ultra impressive in a final term effort which went a long way to helping the Allies hold on to victory. The Lions Academy member’s intensity and strength around the contest was outstanding, truly setting the tone for his teammates with efforts that coaches would love. Playing mostly forward, Cumberland’s impact early was mainly seen in small bursts with big fend offs and aggressive runs forward – although he bit off a little more than he bargained for when he took on Metro speedster, Lachie Potter. Cumberland provided real drive going forward, but also won the ball well with clever body positioning in-close to protect the drop zone and set a solid base. His overhead mark and pass to Tom Green in the fourth quarter was excellent, but his game-winning tackle to lock the ball up even later on was even better to see. Can add some polish, but is a real raw competitor.

Scouting notes: AFL U18s – Allies vs. Vic Country

VIC Country continued its ominous start to the AFL Under 18 National Championships, backing up its Victorian derby win with a 18.8 (116) to 2.7 (19) trouncing of the Allies. Below were the standout players from either side.

Allies:

By: Ed Pascoe

#3 Connor Budarick

Budarick started the game in defence, providing good run and loved to attack using his dash. He had a great bit of play in the second quarter intercepting at speed and kicking well on his opposite foot. Budarick was later moved into the midfield where he looked to have more impact, winning more of the ball and providing speed and toughness at stoppages. He showed his usual defensive capabilities with a great chase on Country speedster Brady Rowles, as well as his attacking game with a good burst away and dash on the wing. Budarick finished the game with 15 disposals and five tackles.

#9 Mitch O’Neill

O’Neill was the standout player for the Allies with his run and creativity on the wing a real feature. O’Neill started the game quietly but really got going in the second half, starting the third quarter in great fashion – involved in a chain from half-back, winning three possessions with the final one a nice long kick inside 50. O’Neill also showed his courage in the last quarter sitting in the hole in defence and getting crunched from behind where he would win the free kick. The Tasmanian was fantastic on the wing with his composure, run and ball use, finishing the game with a team-high 26 disposals and eight marks.

#15 Will Martyn

Martyn was a busy player through the midfield winning the hard ball but also working hard on transition to either take marks or be a part of a chain of handballs through the middle. He showed good composure with ball in hand and had a good bit of play in the first quarter, showing his nice movement under pressure. He had a chance to hit the scoreboard but wouldn’t quite make the distance with a set shot at goal. Martyn finished the game with 16 disposals and five clearances.

#22 Tom Green

Green was a real force at the stoppages, winning the ball at will. He attacked the ball at stoppages and was very clean getting his arms up quickly to ride the tackle and get a handball out, he had a great chain in the second quarter, winning a clearance and then getting the ball back in the handball chain and released a good long handball and this really showed his work rate in being able to continue attacking after winning a clearance. Green didn’t get a lot of the ball but played a lone hand as the Allies’ only big bodied inside midfielder. Green finished the game with 18 disposals and nine clearances, showing his dominance at stoppages.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Delahunty had a rough time as the Allies’ number one target up forward especially with the poor supply, but he worked into the game and still did some nice things – including a nice contested mark in the second quarter that would only lead to a behind. Delahunty looked at his best in the last quarter going for a nice run and showing his power, but would miss an opposite foot snap at goal on the run – although he would later set up a goal for his team with a nice handpass to teammate Noah Cumberland. Delahunty was moved to defence late in the game where he might find himself more often for the rest of the championships.

Vic Country:

By: Craig Byrnes

#2 Caleb Serong

The Country co-skipper started on fire for the second week running, beginning at the centre bounces before moving forward. He was involved early around the contest and had a long set shot on goal that resulted in a goal to Weightman. When set inside 50, he took a brilliant one on one contested mark, before turning and kicking an excellent long range goal. He was involved again shortly after, taking an intercept mark inside 50 and making the Allies pay. He was clean around the ground and defensively relevant without the ball, highlighted by a holding the ball free kick in the defensive 50 which was uncharacteristically turned over on exit. Took a heavy head knock in a marking contest against Nick Murray in the last, which earned a 50 metre penalty and he converted a third goal. It was another productive outing, finishing with 22 disposals on top of the three goals.

#3 Cody Weightman

After producing moments of brilliance against Metro at the MCG last week, his effort against the Allies was far more complete, ending the day as one of the most influential on the field. The performance started with a quality snapped finish in the first term and he continued winning the footy by presenting high on the lead, which included a spectacular diving effort. He earned a free kick in the second quarter which he converted, before finishing the day with two in the fourth quarter for a nice haul of four goals. Despite lacking some stature, his hands and exciting leap make him such a dangerous prospect aerially.

#6 Riley Baldi

The inside midfielder has always been a ball magnet for Gippsland Power and he took his prolific ways to Tasmania on Sunday to be one of Vic Country’s best. He didn’t start at the opening centre bounces, but pushed up to the contest to lay a heavy tackle on Tom Green early. Once at the stoppages his hands were sharp and effective, but it was on the outside where he was consistently able to find space and provide an option on transition with an incredible 13 marks. What he lacks in acceleration, he makes up for with smarts and often buys himself time with evasive tricks. Baldi was the equal leading ball winner on the day, gathering 29 disposals.

#7 Mitch Martin

Spent a majority of his time forward like last week and while he didn’t win huge numbers, Martin was good enough to take advantage of Vic Country’s dominance and hit the scoreboard. He has a real touch of class and doesn’t need the big disposal tallies, starting with a lovely set shot in the second term. His best moment came when he gathered a ball inside 50, spun in a tackle and dribble kicked a skilful goal. Another converted set shot saw him kick a third goal, a solid outing in anyone’s language.

#12 Lachie Ash

With his co-captain Serong, Ash set the tone for a big day in the first term by collecting 12 disposals up to the first break. He basically did as he pleased behind the ball, intercepting, rebounding and the scoreboard soon offered flexibility for him to take on risky but demanding kicks to advantage. He had some smart defensive moments too, spoiling a one on one contest while out of position, before winning the ground ball and earning a free kick. He just took the game on whenever the opportunity presented and while he got a little cute on occasions, the good well and truly outweighed any turnovers. He finished with 29 class disposals to be in the best on ground discussions.

#16 Brodie Kemp

Many expected to see Kemp play as a big bodied midfielder during this competition, but with Vic Country lacking tall defensive options, the Geelong Grammar scholar has played defensive 50 in a position that is very familiar. He complemented Ash and Young perfectly, holding his position when required, but coming off his man and impacting the aerial contest when the opportunity presented. While he occasionally used a fist, by the end of the day he was reading the play so well that he was in position to take nearly every mark in his area. His hands and skills were good and he’d also take the game on when space opened up ahead.

#17 Hayden Young

Young wasn’t as prominent as against Metro the week before, but the intercepting half back was still very, very good. He got going in the second term with multiple intercept moments, highlighted by a one on one contest against the much bigger Conroy where he used his body to perfection to win the ball and begin an end to end chain that resulted in a goal. He flies for his marks and takes on his kicks, making him arguably the best offensive weapon in this year’s draft despite playing behind the footy.

#18 Brady Rowles

I feel the Bendigo wingman is flying under the radar from a draft perspective. While he doesn’t win mountains of the ball, he is a metres gained footballer who has an electric turn of speed. He is a nice size at 188cm and capable of quickly getting the ball in dangerous positions. He had multiple carrying efforts against the Allies, the best coming in the second term when bouncing out of D50 at top speed to hit a target lace out up the ground. He is good overhead too, taking a strong one on one contested mark in the first term. He could tidy up his decision making on occasions, but I feel the attributes are there to create genuine interest.

#29 Lachlan Williams

The Rays’ utility did not get an opportunity to play on the MCG last week, but made the most of his chance in Tasmania with a strong performance on the wing. He looked calm and composed whenever the footy got in his hands, as shown when he converted a lovely set shot in the second term. Most of his footy was won on the outside, but he is certainly capable at the contest, especially aerially. He is one you always have to check twice on the team sheet, as he looks and plays taller than his 182cm, 76kg frame suggests. Williams finished the game as one of the highest ball winners with 20 possessions and looks to have cemented a spot in the side.

WA and Allies ready for battle against Vics

WHILE the Vic Country-Vic Metro clash commenced the national championships last week, Round 1 officially begins this weekend as the same sides face off against the Allies and Western Australia respectively. Metro’s search for its first win will continue on Saturday at Lathlain Park in Western Australia, while the Allies will hope to bring a halt to Country’s momentum when they clash at UTAS Stadium in Launceston on Sunday.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA vs. VIC METRO
Lathlain Park – Saturday June 8, 10:00am

An exciting West Australian team hosts Vic Metro in the first of Round 1’s fixtures, looking to inflict further pain on the highly-fancied Victorians after they had no answers for their Country counterparts last week.

The Black Swans come in with a relatively small line-up, with their starting key position posts filled by players no taller than 192cm – barring the 198cm Luke Jackson at ruck. Speed will obviously be a key to their game, as they undoubtedly will look to emulate the pressure that Vic Country put on Metro to shut down their run and classy ball movers. Look for the likes of in-form East Fremantle products Trent Rivers and Jeremy Sharp to find plenty of the ball in linking up between half-back and the wing, with Rivers a chance to join skipper Deven Robertson – the nephew of Eagles champion Darren Glass – in the engine room to provide some physicality. X-factor will come from the likes of Jarvis Pina off half back, as well as Fremantle NGA prospect Liam Henry up the other end, who booted four goals in his last WAFL Colts outing.

The battle between Jackson and Metro’s Nick Bryan is arguably the most exciting of all across the field, as the two are currently the consensus leading ruck prospects. Bryan remains part of the all-Oakleigh followers line, with star Chargers Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell set to resume their partnership through the middle. The exclusion of Northern’s Adam Carafa is the only real change to the Metro midfield, but he does not necessarily have a like-for-like replacement amongst the five changes. Mitch Mellis earns his spot on the back of a 39-disposal performance, and will likely take Carafa’s place in the midfield/forward rotation, with outside mover Oscar Lewis also coming in for Josh Honey. Lewis’ Sandringham teammate Corey Watts will sure up the Metro defensive stocks in a key post, while James Ross also slots into the back six with Eastern teammate Connor Downie and Ryan Sturgess going the other way. Jack Bell is the other relatively straight-forward swap, coming in for fellow Dragons tall, Andrew Courtney.

It will be interesting to see whether this West Australian side can shut down Metro’s obvious outside class for a second week running, but the Victorians’ strength on paper suggests they will be hard to deny more than once. A sured-up defence will help their cause, and they have plenty of prospects who will be looking to rectify last week’s effort. For WA, their prime movers will look to announce themselves to the rest of the nation, and they will no doubt bring some excitement to this stage with plenty of flair.

Western Australia:

B: 20. Jaxon Prior – 21. Jake Pasini – 13. Ben Johnson
HB: 11. Jarvis Pina – 26. Trey Ruscoe – 35. Trent Rivers
C: 12. Regan Clarke – 10. Deven Robertson (C) – 17. Jeremy Sharp
HF: 34. Ryan Bennell – 19. Elijah Taylor – 3. Tyrone Thorne
F: 5. Liam Henry – 23. Nicholas Martin – 39. Callum Jamieson
R: 32. Luke Jackson – 14. Chad Warner – 4. Riley Garcia
Int: 36. Denver Grainger-Barras, 7. Nathan O’Driscoll, 28. Ryan Hudson, 24. Ronin O’Connor, 18. Jai Jackson, 27. Jack Buller, 6. Cameron Anderson

Vic Metro:

B: 38. Brodie Newman – 33. Corey Watts – 14. James Ross
HB: 15. Louis Butler – 29. Fischer McAsey – 5. Trent Bianco
C: 31. Joshua Worrell – 25. Finn Maginness – 22. Miles Bergman
HF: 16. Darcy Cassar – 30. Harrison Jones – 1. Jack Mahony
F: 2. Mitch Mellis – 34. Charlie Dean – 23. Dylan Williams
R: 40. Nick Bryan – 24. Noah Anderson (C) – 11. Matthew Rowell
Int: 39. Jack Bell, 27. Oscar Lewis, 13. Daniel Mott, 18. Lachlan Potter, 21. Hugo Ralphsmith
Emg: 26. Ryan Sturgess, 19. Josh Honey

In: Corey Watts (Sandringham), James Ross (Eastern), Mitch Mellis (Eastern), Jack Bell (Sandringham), Oscar Lewis (Sandringham)
Out: Ryan Sturgess (Northern – rotated), Josh Honey (Western – rotated), Adam Carafa (Northern – rotated), Andrew Courtney (Sandringham – rotated), Connor Downie (Eastern – rotated)


ALLIES vs. VIC COUNTRY
UTAS Stadium – Sunday June 9, 12:30pm

Vic Country will be looking to back up an incredible opening win over their Metro counterparts when they travel to Launceston to face the Allies.

The allied forces of each Northern academy and Tasmania are set to provide some stiff competition though, with a balanced midfield mix, zippy outside movers, and a couple of dynamic talls making up the 23. GWS inside gun Tom Green is set to lead the midfield brigade, with Brisbane skipper Will Martyn providing a mix of inside and outside traits, while Tasmania’s Mitch O’Neill looks set to feature on the outside. Diminutive Gold Coast leader Connor Budarick is the other who may feature through the midfield, but will get a shot on the flanks at either end first. Liam Delahunty and Hamish Ellem should create a formidable all-NSW key forward pairing, with both more than capable overhead and always a threat in front of goal. The Allies’ outside running types in the form of Sydney bottom-age pair Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden will also be key, while the Devils have a couple of bottom-aged representatives of their own; with Oliver Davis thrust onto a forward flank from midfield, and Sam Collins one to watch off half-back. There is one noticable absentee, with Hewago Paul Oea set to miss through injury – but the likes of Bruce Reville and Malcolm Rosas Jnr should provide enough cover.

While the versatility and run that the Allies side will bring should prove a handful, Country have already shown they can shut down such a style of play. Brodie Kemp firmed as an early candidate to tackle Green in the midfield but has been named in defence, with Gippsland pair Sam Flanders and Caleb Serong set to take on that load instead alongside Thomson Dow. Look for the damaging half-back pairing of Lachlan Ash and Hayden Young to again dominate, with Jesse Clark also set to take on an important role as Brock Smith comes out of the back six through injury. Lachlan Williams comes in to add even more speed on the outside for Country, joined by Cam Wild and Toby Mahony – who will both most likely spend time between the forward line and midfield. It will be a tough ask for Josh Smith and Charlie Comben to back up their performances, but they will again be key as the most likely Country talls going forward.

This should be a tight one, and if Country’s first performance is anything to go by, they will be more than up for it. The gelling of a talented Allies side will be key to the contest, and Tom Green looms as a crucial figure with Country lacking like-for-like answers. All will be revealed on Sunday though, with many looking forward to a hot contest.

Allies:

B: 21. Luke Parks – 49. Nicholas Murray – 8. Tom Griffiths
HB: 3. Connor Budarick – 27. Josh Rayner – 5. Braeden Campbell
C: 20. Matt McGrory – 15. Will Martyn – 9. Mitch O’Neill
HF: 7. Oliver Davis – 26. Liam Delahunty – 17. Bruce Reville
F: 14. Will Chandler – 31. Hamish Ellem – 46. Noah Cumberland
R: 30. Samson Ryan – 22. Tom Green – 36. Sam Thorne
Int:13. Jackson Barling, 29. Matt Conroy, 1. Errol Gulden, 19. Sam Collins, 4. Malcolm Rosas Jnr

Vic Country:

B: 10. Harrison Pepper – 36. Sam De Koning – 26. Jesse Clark
HB: 17. Hayden Young – 16. Brodie Kemp – 12. Lachlan Ash (C)
C: 29. Lachlan Williams – 2. Caleb Serong (C) – 18. Brady Rowles
HF: 3. Cody Weightman – 20. Elijah Hollands – 1. Ned Cahill
F: 19. Fraser Phillips – 39. Joshua Smith – 6. Riley Baldi
R: 40. Charlie Comben – 4. Sam Flanders – 8. Thomson Dow
Int: 7. Mitchell Martin, 35. Toby Mahony, 13. Jay Rantall, 15. Ryan Sparkes, 5. Cameron Wild
Emg: 32. Benjamin Worme, 38. Henry Walsh

In: Lachlan Williams (Dandenong), Toby Mahony (GWV), Cam Wild (Murray)
Out: Ben Worme (Bendigo – rotated), Brock Smith (Gippsland – injured), Bigoa Nyuon (Dandenong – rotated)

AFL Under 18 National Championships preview: Allies

THERE is a lot to like about the 50-man Allies squad, with plenty of talent from each academy expected to lock horns with the best from around the nation. Potential first round selections are set to fill out the engine room – with a certain inside bull leading the way – as well as plenty of spark on the outside and inside 50. While their key position stocks are less rich, the Allies have a dynamic set of talls which will be utilised in a number of roles.

Key Players:

#3 Connor Budarick
Gold Coast Suns Academy | Midfielder/Small Forward
4/06/01 | 175cm | 72kg

The Suns Academy skipper is also their leading prospect, mixing ball-finding ability around the ground with dangerous forward craft. Averaged 25.2 disposals, 6.2 marks, 8.2 tackles, and 5.8 inside 50s in five consistent NAB League games, but has a handy knack for finding the goals and should spend some time up forward considering the Allies’ midfield strength. Quick and agile, watch for Budarick’s tenacity and skill in traffic.

#9 Mitchell O’Neill
Tasmania Devils | Balanced Midfielder
21/02/01 | 181cm | 70kg

The leading Tassie Devil has had an interrupted season to date on the back of injury, but reminded everyone of his class in the U18 Academy’s showcase game against Casey. Has all the skill to provide damage on the outside, but also cracks in hard to win contested ball despite his 70kg frame. One of the more balanced prospects, look for O’Neill to really run into form during the championships.

#15 Will Martyn
Brisbane Lions Academy | Midfielder
29/03/01 | 183cm | 73kg

Martyn is one who can find the ball at will in all areas of the ground, and had over 30 disposals in four of his five NAB League outings. The Lions Academy skipper has a nice balance of inside and outside capabilities, but look in particular for the way he spreads and takes high numbers of uncontested marks away from the coalface. Can be iffy by foot at times, but usually drives forward well and can also double as an option inside 50.

#21 Luke Parks
Sydney Swans Academy | Defender
18/04/01 | 188cm | 80kg

Parks is a consistent defender who plays above his height, often taking up the centre half-back post for the Swans Academy. He may be given a touch more freedom to play as an intercepting or lock-down defender at the carnival with a few different key position options available to the Allies side. Is a competitor above all else, so look for Parks to bring the heat.

#22 Tom Green
GWS GIANTS Academy | Inside Midfielder
23/01/01 | 188cm | 85kg

The most outstanding top-end talent in the Allies squad, Green is a contested ball machine. The GIANTS Academy prospect averaged a whopping 33 disposals over his four NAB League outings, and led the competition for contested possessions and clearances over that time. While it is not a massive part of his game, Green also found the goals twice and can use his big frame forward of centre, but will be the key cog in Allies’ engine room.

 

X-Factor:

#2 Hewago Paul Oea
Gold Coast Suns Academy | Forward/Outside Midfielder
13/11/01 | 174cm | 65kg

The Allies’ ‘Ace’ in the pack, Oea is an excitement machine at full flight. Earned a NEAFL Rising Star nomination after also showing a bit over five NAB League outings – averaging 17 disposals, six inside 50s and one goal per game. Look for him to escape over the back with pure pace and show his smarts around goal, with the potential to also move through the midfield.

#4 Malcolm Rosas Jnr
Northern Territory Thunder | Forward/Midfielder
27/06/01 | 175cm | 70kg

The sole Northern Territory prospect listed here, Rosas is full of potential. Showed a lot of that in the Under-18 Academy showcase game against Casey, and also contributed a solid 21-disposal, two-goal outing against Northern Knights in one of his two NAB League appearances. Is silky smooth and clean at ground level, while possessing great goal sense. Can drift in and out of games, but will no doubt catch the eye.

#26 Liam Delahunty
GWS GIANTS Academy | Key Position Utility
13/02/01 | 192cm | 90kg

Delahunty is a versatile tall who has really excelled in the forward half this year for the GIANTS. He converted well to find the goals in each of his five NAB League appearances, but a lot of Delahunty’s X-factor comes in his high marking and ability to be used up the ground. Is not quite key position height, but may well lock down the centre half-forward post.

#37 Joshua Gore
Gold Coast Suns Academy | Small Forward
29/05/01 | 177cm | 75kg

Gore was a permanent forward fixture for Gold Coast in the NAB League, and has now transitioned well into NEAFL football – starring with two goals in the final minute of the Suns’ game against Aspley to snatch a win. Does not need many opportunities to make an impact, and is usually clinical on his left peg. Seldom fails to at least score, and should provide some spark deep inside 50 for the Allies.

 

Up and comers:

#1 Errol Gulden
Sydney Swans Academy | Outside Midfielder
18/07/02 | 172cm | 68kg

One of the leading bottom-age players across the country, Gulden is the reigning NSW/ACT U16 MVP. Playing mostly on the wing, Gulden provides real speed and class on the outside, while also having a real knack for finding the goals – as he did in all three of his NAB League appearances. Gulden also averaged 27.3 disposals and eight inside 50s across those games, and should be a damaging player for the Allies.

#5 Braeden Campbell
Sydney Swans Academy | Forward/Outside Midfielder
2/04/02 | 178cm | 71kg

Another Swans Academy member who features heavily on the outside and finds the goals, Campbell also likes to crack in despite his smaller frame. Will provide spark on the opposite wing or forward flank to Gulden, and claimed two bags of over three goals from 15.8 disposals in his four NAB League games.

#7 Oliver Davis
Tasmania Devils | Midfielder
18/07/02 | 180cm | 69kg

Davis is already a massive ball winner at NAB League level, and has been a key part of Tasmania’s midfield thus far. Part of a talented bottom-age Tassie quartet which should get some game time, watch for Davis’ long roosts forward from congestion on the back of real smarts in contested areas.

#28 Jackson Callow
Tasmania Devils | Key Forward
6/11/02 | 192cm | 88kg

The Tasmanian key forward has already shown his ability to rip a game open, with two bags of four and one bag of five goals so far in the NAB League. When he isn’t putting goals on the board, Callow keeps in the game with smart leads up the ground and backs it with his strong hands overhead – making him a dynamic prospect. Will be a key part of the Allies side up forward, with the ability to also go back.

 

AFL U18s Fixtures:
vs. Vic Country @ UTAS Stadium, Sunday June 9, 12:30pm
vs. Western Australia @ Alberton Oval, Saturday June 22, 10:30am
vs. Vic Metro @ GMHBA Stadium, Friday June 28, 10:30am
vs. South Australia @ Marvel Stadium, Wednesday July 3, 4:40pm

 

Summary:

Much of the Allies’ talent lies in the engine room, with the likes of Tom Green, Mitch O’Neill, Will Martyn, and Connor Budarick all set to provide different mixes of midfield skills. The way in which those players, all from varying academies, mix will be an interesting proposition, with no one academy dominating the squad. The bottom-age talent in the squad should also make a real impact, with Swans pair Errol Gulden and Braeden Campbell likely to line up on opposite wings, while Oliver Davis will add to the midfield grouping and Jackson Callow looks set to lead the key position prospects. Callow will be aided well by versatile talls like Liam Delahunty, while Luke Parks and Josh Rayner could well play above their size in order to fill a need there. A mosquito fleet of forward runners will also provide great excitement, and the experience many academy prospects have of playing against bigger bodies will put them in good stead to provide a good mix of physicality and class. Expect the Allies to give it a good crack, with enough talent to upset the top sides at their best.

20 players to watch ahead of the National Under 18 Championships

FOLLOWING up from the Draft Central May Power Rankings earlier in the month, we have listed 20 players to watch who are either in great form, have shown promising signs for the future, or who might be injured and have been highly touted prospects in the past. It is by no means a ranked or conclusive list, more a list of a further 20 names to keep an eye out for as the season goes on – and there are many more as well.

Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

Right up there in contention for the top ruck prospect in the draft with Western Australia’s Luke Jackson, Bryan has shot up the draft boards over the past 12 months, being included in the AFL Academy side which took on Casey Demons at the MCG earlier this year. He could be the fifth Oakleigh Chargers player in the top 30, and has great athletic talents and plenty of upside. Showed elite acceleration with 2.91 seconds in the 20m sprint and a 78cm running vertical jump.

Ned Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)

The midfielder/forward is so dangerous because he could be playing predominantly on a wing, but runs hard forward and knows where the goals are. On more than one occasion he has booted multiple majors after starting in the midfield, and can play as a small forward. Has a touch of class about him and also has the defensive attributes to boot.

Darcy Cassar (Western Jets/Vic Metro)

Had a massive game in Round 8 with 41 disposals, and has been fairly consistent in a new role at half-back. Last year Cassar played along a wing and half-forward, but the inconsistencies he had there have seemed to ironed out playing behind the ball. He knows how to get to the right positions, puts the ball into damaging places and can take the game on with power. Great endurance as well with a 21.2 yo-yo test in the pre-season.

Will Day (West Adelaide/South Australia)

Has been a quiet achiever playing between West Adelaide and returning to school footy last weekend. Is a skilful user of the ball who can use his left or right side to dispose of it coming off half-back. Day can play forward as well, being a versatile player and one to watch.

Charlie Dean (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

More of a natural footballer rather than an athlete, Dean works hard on searching leads up the ground, but when inside 50, his leading pattens and marking is a highlight. He keeps his set shot routine relatively simple and gets results, and prior to heading to school football, was leading the NAB League Boys goalkicking. The top key forward prospect in the draft.

Liam Delahunty (GIANTS Academy/Allies)

Seems to be sliding under the radar, which will please the GWS GIANTS with so much focus on the sheer ball-winning ability of Tom Green. Delahunty has some nice traits and can play up either end, but is settled in attack. His statistics of 12.6 disposals, 5.6 marks and 2.2 goals from the Academy Series is nothing to scoff at, and while he wins a lot of his possessions on the lead, he continually presents and hits the scoreboard.

Thomson Dow (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)

Might not come with the wraps of his brother Paddy, but Thomson Dow showed some great signs in a winning Bendigo Pioneers outfit before heading off to school football. Athletically he has a great leap, is agile and has a good endurance base which makes him a solid all-round prospect. A big year in school football and championships could see him be a draft bolter late in the year.

Emerson Jeka (Western Jets/Vic Metro)

Unfortunately suffered a knee injury on the MCG when the AFL Academy took on Casey Demons, coming off the back of some good football. Consistency has always been the question mark with the Jets tall, but the last quarter in the trial game for Vic Metro was a joy to behold as he almost won the game off his own boot. Not far away from returning and will be hoping to make an impact in the championships. Great athleticism for his size.

Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

The quiet achiever who has put in a big pre-season has a great vertical leap and a good endurance base. Maginness has flown under the radar in a highly talented Sandringham Dragons outfit, but still averaged 20 disposals and five tackles per game before his school football commitments. His role at the championships will be interesting, but he can use the ball and given the evenness of the Dragons squad, would not be a surprise to see him challenging for one of the first picked from there despite missing out on the AFL Academy.

Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

Has spent time in the midfield for the Dragons, but is most damaging inside 50 with reading of the play away from stoppages and goal sense. Not the quickest player, but has terrific agility and elite endurance which makes him wear down his opponents and slip from their grasp. As a sub-180cm talent, expect Mahony to be more of a small forward at the next level, and he has the ability to make it in that position.

Will Martyn (Brisbane Lions/Allies)

A natural ball winner, Martyn stood out in the Brisbane Lions Academy side, and expect him to likely be the Lions’ first played bid on. He has strength at ground level or above his head, and can hit the scoreboard with a booming kick when forward. His field kicking can be errant at times, which is an area to clean up, but he is certainly one that the Lions – and other clubs – will be keeping an eye on this season.

Daniel Mott (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)

The Calder Cannons ball winner has been in good form of late, winning more contested ball than previously and is building that side of his game. He has terrific kicking skills when having time and space, and with the strength of Metro’s inside midfield brigade, the likes of Mott will benefit on the outside. Mott has clean hands and reads the stoppages well.

Jed McEntee (Sturt/South Australia)

A small uncompromising player who loves the contest, he is a natural inside midfielder who has had to play in other positions to show off his versatility. McEntee is one of South Australia’s more underrated prospects and has averaged 18.6 disposals, 3.6 clearances and 6.4 tackles thus far in season 2019. Will play a big role at the championships and has elite acceleration and agility which makes him so damaging around stoppages.

Josh Morris (WWT Eagles/South Australia)

The goalkicking sensation from Woodville-West Torrens has booted a remarkable 28.4 in just five games in the SANFL Under 18s, with no less than five majors per game. He has only reached double-figure possessions once in his six games, playing as a stay-at-home forward, but his speed off the mark has helped him win the ball and then his accurate set shot goalkicking has been consistent.

Fraser Phillips (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)

The exciting half-forward is a natural footballer who plays on instincts in the forward half. He has struggled with consistency at times, but has built up some great former for Gippsland over the past month and will take that form into the Under 18 Championships. Phillips roams up the ground for his football, but can also play inside 50, with great goal sense and smarts. Has plenty of scope for the future and while quite raw, has potential to play midfield if required.

Kysaiah Pickett (WWT Eagles/South Australia)

Electrifying and exciting, Pickett is the nephew of Port Adelaide premiership star Byron, and has some freakish abilities around goal. He is an ever-present danger to defenders, and has shown a capability to play midfield as well, with elite agility of 7.88 seconds in pre-season. He also has a terrific vertical jump, and although is just a touch over 170cm, is good in the air for his size. Will be a small forward at the next level, and one who will come with a healthy highlight reel, having already booted six goals in a SANFL Reserves game last month.

Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)

If there was one player who has opened eyes with his ability to win the ball this season then it is certainly Rantall, averaging 26.6 disposals per game, and if you ignore the 14-disposal effort against Gold Coast SUNS Academy, then that is up to 28.7 per game from six matches. Rantall’s elite endurance – and by elite we are talking Sam Walsh/Bailey Smith territory – helps the Australian basketballer to burn off any opponent who comes his way over the four quarters. He can drift forward and kick goals, and is best when having no time and just playing off instinct. His kicking can be hit and miss, but when inside 50 can kick some terrific goals, and play inside or outside through the midfield, with lightning quick hands.

Trent Rivers (East Fremantle/Western Australia)

A good size at 189cm and 84kg, Rivers is a consistent player through the midfield, and has averaged 26.75 disposals and 5.75 marks this season in the WAFL Colts. While Jeremy Sharp and Luke Jackson get plenty of attention given their championships last year, Rivers is putting together a case to be the first or second selected from East Fremantle. A player to watch for the Sandgropers at the championships. A natural leader who thrives on the contested ball.

Deven Robertson (Perth/Western Australia)

Played all four National Under 18 Championship games for Western Australia last year as a bottom-ager, averaging 13.5 disposals and 6.5 tackles. Has had some massive ball-winning games at WAFL Colts level, including a 37-possession game against Claremont this season. Loves the contested ball and is another strong leader at the level. Potentially a first half of the draft prospect.

Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)

Another Stingrays player who has flown under the radar, and does more than statistics will ever show. Weightman has a penetrating kick and is damaging inside 50. He can play through the midfield, but coming out of the square he looks dangerous and has terrific endurance which works over his opposition defenders. Just a player with plenty of tricks and one to watch over the coming months.

2019 Draft Central Academy Team of the Series

SYDNEY Swans Academy has dominated our 2019 Draft Central Academy Team of the Series, with eight players inside the 24-man squad – one third of the side. While the Swans did not win the overall Division 2 Under 18 Championships, they did show off their depth, and had eight players who made our Team of the Week three or more times. The squad is comprised of 22 players who made our Team of the Week’s at least three times, with two players – Samson Ryan and Corey Joyce – making it twice, but were the top performers of those players with two nominations. Those who also had two nominations and narrowly missed out were Northern Territory’s Beau O’Connell, GWS GIANTS’ Hamish Grant, Brisbane Lions Academy’s Tom Wischnat and Gold Coast SUNS’ Jack Johnston and Hewago Paul Oea, while overage twins Matthew and Stephen Cumming also received two nominations.

Sydney’s representation sees the Swans have three players in defence, with Max Geddes, Jacob Dol and Luke Parks making up the back six, while Sam Thorne slots into midfield, forwards Hamish Ellem and Braeden Campbell sit inside 50, and Errol Gulden – who missed a couple of games – and Aidan Watling – are also in the team. Thorne and Dol were the top representatives for the Swans with four of a possible five nominations.

Gold Coast SUNS Academy won the title, and had four players make the side, with the even spread of players making it difficult to select just a few. Connor Budarick, Ashton Crossley and Josh Gore all easily qualify for the side with four nominations, while Joyce was one of three Suns to receive two, and was named on the bench.

Brisbane Lions Academy had the equal second most nominations of all sides with five, as Tom Griffiths and Will Martyn receiving four nominations, and Noah Cumberland and Bruce Reville having the three. Ryan’s work in the ruck throughout the series, along with his two nominations, was enough to see him fill the starting ruck position. He got the nod ahead of the two Cumming’s whose teammates, Ben Jungfer and Joel Jeffrey both made the side, while O’Connell was the unluckiest not to squeeze into the team.

Jungfer was one of just two players to be nominated every single week, joining GWS GIANTS’ Jeromy Lucas as five-time nominees and thus the pair are co-captains in the hypothetical team. Also in the team are GIANTS’ Thomas Green and Nick Murray who received four nominations apiece, while Liam Delahunty and James Peatling made it in for their three nominations each.

Allies announce 50-player squad for national championships

THE Allies have today announced the 50-player squad to take to the National Under 18 Championships following the conclusion of the NAB League Boys competition which gave the Allies teams a chance to test themselves against Victorian opponents ahead of the championships next month. Of the sides, Sydney Swans Academy had the most representatives with 10, while the two Queensland Academies had eight apiece as did Tasmania Devils. GWS GIANTS Academy and the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) region – comprised of Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers – had six each, while Northern Territory had the four.

Among the names to watch are potential first round picks, Connor Budarick (Gold Coast), Mitch O’Neill (Tasmania) and Tom Green (GWS GIANTS), while the likes of Malcolm Rosas Jr (Northern Territory) and Hewago Paul Oea (Gold Coast) will provide excitement inside 50. The team will have some serious talent in the key position posts, with Liam Delahunty (GWS GIANTS), Jackson Callow (Tasmania) and Hamish Ellem (Sydney) among those talls vying for the spot, while Kobe Tozer has been named in the squad and will aim to return after some bad luck with injury. Both Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers have three players in the side, with the first game to commence in Launceston on June 9.

Brisbane Lions Academy: [8]
Tom Griffiths (Maroochydore)
Will Martyn (Aspley)
Bruce Reville (Western Magpies/Maryborough)
Saxon Crozier (Wests)
Samson Ryan (Toowoomba)
Kobe Tozer (Aspley/Bribie Island)
Noah Cumberland (Maroochydore)
Nikolas Haberer (Sandgate/Caloundra)

Gold Coast SUNS Academy: [8]
Hewago Paul Oea (PNG/Broadbeach)
Connor Buderick (Labrador)
Ashton Crossley (Burleigh/Palm Beach Currumbin)
Alex Davies (Cairns Hawks)
Jack Johnston (Palm Beach Currumbin)
Matt Conroy (Hermit Park Townsville/Broadbeach)
Joshua Gore (Southport/Broadbeach)
Dirk Koenan (Palm Beach Currumbin)

GWS GIANTS Academy: [6]
Liam Delahunty (Coolamon)
Tom Green (Marist)
Jeromy Lucas (Northern Jets)
Matt McGrory (Gungahlin)
Nicholas Murray (Wangaratta Rovers)
James Peatling (Pennant Hills)

NSW/ACT: [6]
Charlie Byrne (Murray Bushrangers)
Will Chandler (Murray Bushrangers)
Jake Dick-O’Flaherty (Bendigo Pioneers)
Logan Fitzgerald (Bendigo Pioneers)
Ben Kelly (Murray Bushrangers)
Will Shaw (Bendigo Pioneers)

Northern Territory Academy: [4]
Malcolm Rosas Jnr (Darwin)
Ben Jungfer (Waratah)
Joel Jeffrey (Wanderers)
Beau O’Connell (Wanderers)

Sydney Swans Academy: [10]
Jackson Barling (Willoughby Mosman)
Braeden Campbell (Westbrook)
Hamish Ellem (Manly Warringah)
Samuel Gaden (Easts Bulldogs)
Max Geddes (Easts Bulldogs)
Errol Gulden (Maroubra)
Ky McGrath (Warners Bay)
Luke Parks (North Shore)
Josh Rayner (North Shore)
Sam Thorne (Figtree Kangaroos)

Tasmania Devils: [8]
Hamish Allan (North Hobart)
Jackson Callow (North Launceston)
Sam Collins (North Hobart)
Jared Dakin (Launceston)
Oliver Davis (Clarence)
Mitch O’Neill (North Hobart)
Matt McGuinness (Lauderdale)
Will Peppin (North Hobart)

Allies Under 18 Championships fixture:

vs. Vic Country – Launceston, June 9
vs. Western Australia – Alberton Oval, June 22
vs. Vic Metro – GMHBA Stadium, June 28
vs. South Australia – Marvel Stadium, July 3

Team of the Week: Academy Series – Round 6

GWS GIANTS Academy and Gold Coast Suns Academy had a couple of impressive wins on the weekend, and the pair was rewarded by having a combined 11 players in the Draft Central Academy Series Team of the Week for Round 6. The GIANTS had six players in the team and the SUNS had five, the same amount as narrow losers, Sydney Swans Academy. Brisbane Lions were overwhelmed by Dandenong Stingrays, while Northern Territory went down to Northern Knights, and both sides had four players in our Team of the Week.

The GIANTS had plenty of contributors in their win over Murray Bushrangers, with midfielders, Tom Green and Jeromy Lucas making the starting side, as did forwards, Liam Delahunty and Harry Grant. Lucas Conlan and Ed Perryman also made the side after impressive efforts and made their way onto the four-player bench. The SUNS’ nominees are spread across the ground as well, with Team of the Week regulars, Connor Budarick and Ashton Crossley named through half-back and the middle, while Hewago Paul Oea makes the team again for his work up forward. Speaking of forwards, Josh Gore and Max Pescud also made the team for their efforts around the big sticks.

Despite a loss, Sydney still had plenty of contributors, three of which came in the back half as Max Geddes, Jacob Dol and Luke Parks all slotted into the defensive structure of our team. Errol Gulden found his place on the wing again, while Aidan Watling also made the 24-player squad. Brisbane Lions’ heavy loss to Dandenong did not stop them having four representatives in the team, with defender Tom Griffiths, forward Noah Cumberland, ruck Samson Ryan and midfielder Will Martyn squeezing into the team. Northern Territory also had four players in the team, with Ben Jungfer and Joel Jeffrey made it once again, while Malcolm Rosas Jr was superb alongside Shawn Foster in the front half of the ground.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 6

ROUND 6 was the last chance for many to get a close look at Northern Academy products, as all five academies this week bowed out of NAB League action. With eight games to cast eyes on, here are our scouting notes on players from Victoria Metro and Country squad lists, as well as those pointed out by respective talent managers. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

 

TASMANIA DEVILS 8.7 (55) defeated by OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 8.8 (56)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Tasmania:

#2 Oliver Burrows-Cheng

Burrows-Cheng remained one of the hard hitters for the day. Continually went to Trent Bianco at the contest and minimised where he could, often affecting the stoppage. In the second, he laid an important tackle on Bianco as he moved inside 50, forcing a turnover and counter-attack which should have resulted in a goal. His presence on the ball was subdued but he tackled with intent (nine) and brought continual pressure to the ball carrier.

#4 Will Peppin

Peppin impressed at the hard ball and brought strength to the stoppages, bullying his way to the footy and keeping his feet at the ground ball. He remained clean by hand and dominated the clinch, fending and breaking tackles, keeping hands free and holding his feet. His work rate and courage were standouts across four quarters, as was his work going inside 50.

#7 Matthew McGuiness

McGuiness was pivotal at both ends, reading the flight of the footy better than most. He kicked the Devils’ first with an impressive left-foot punt and affected more with vision and elite movement. He was dropped back in the third to bolster Tasmania’s fractured defence, out-reading and reacting before his opponents.

#13 Sam Collins

Providing excellent coverage in the back half, Collins intercepted well and rebounded effectively out of defence (nine rebounds). His marking was a feature, clunking nine and prevailing in the contest. Collins continually beat his opponents, attacked the footy and accelerated well out the backline. On the day he did not record a handball but had 18 kicks, proving quick and effective in clearing danger. In all, an athletic and reliable footballer with a good attitude for the game.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow proved damaging in the forward half across four quarters. He led hard at the footy and out-bodied his opponents in marking contests. He brought speed to the ground ball and proved deceptively nimble for his size. He kicked one goal for the day and affected many more, bringing outstanding goal sense to his forward outfit.

 

Oakleigh:

#1 Lucas Westwood

In his first game for the year, Westwood impressed with a classy four-quarter performance. He kicked his first following a high tackle free with an unusually low kick at goal. He continuously exploded with the footy, tackled hard and maintained involvement on both ends of the ground, measuring his kicks effectively and creating space.

#5 Trent Bianco

The captain was prolific for four quarters, leading his side with outstanding accumulation (42 disposals) and great running. He excelled in the stoppage despite the occasional tag, was the priority target for the tap down, and injected class and agility moving through traffic. His attitude was standout, demanding the ball as he led the kicker and breaking lines through well-measured passes and hard running. He caused plenty of trouble with flair through congestion and excelled with presence and elite awareness, wrapping up opponents (nine tackles) when the ball strayed from his path.

#27 Josh May

May’s composure with the pill was standout. The tall continually took the footy out the back and swept the midfield with pinpoint kicking – an action which likely won Oakleigh the game in the final minutes. He hands off well under pressure and glides from traffic which assists his exceptional ball use. In the third, his efforts converted a goal when he brought an exiting kick to ground, followed up and chipped to the lead despite fierce pressure. An important defensive unit and incredibly mobile with good size, May remained in everything and was second only to Bianco.

#47 Nick Balderanos

A good mover through traffic and present through stoppage work. Balderanos’ hands were consistently clean and his vision freeing the footy, elite. He earned two free kicks for his work rate and got very involved in forward chains. Seemed to play his role well.

#65 Thomas Lovell

Lovell demonstrated outstanding forward craft for four quarters. He showed strength in the marking contest and brought clean hands to the ball. Leading the board, Lovell kicked four goals despite the low scoring, including a beauty off the deck which stole a win from the home side. He also proved athletic in the ruck (six hit-outs).

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 11.11 (77) defeated by GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 12.16 (88)
By: Scott Dougan

 

Murray:

#5 Cam Wild

Wild was one of his teams’ best midfielders, with the hard-running midfielder finding plenty of the pill. He always found a way to stay involved in the contest and he did his best to have an impact defensively. His effective clearance work and ball use was noticeable throughout the match. Wild had 27 disposals and four tackles.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Chalcraft was quiet early but it was not long before he got more involved, with the fierce competitor setting up teammate Lachlan Ash for the Bushrangers’ first goal of the second term. Even though he didn’t have the biggest game stat-wise, he was always dangerous when he was around the ball because of his defensive pressure. Chalcraft finished with 14 disposals and two goals.

#12 Lachlan Ash

Ash provided some speed and run and carry across half-back and on the wing for his team. His ball use was extremely useful and effective. Ash was the perfect player to deliver the ball inside 50, which he did successfully on numerous occasions. He drifted forward at stages throughout the match and even kicked a goal of his own in the first half. He finished with a team-high 27 disposals, a really good game.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Boyer spent plenty of minutes up forward and was very lively when he was around the ball. He was one of his team’s most dangerous players, hitting the scoreboard plenty of times in the match. His class, speed, and ball use stood out as usual. Boyer booted three goals and had 22 disposals.

 

GWS:

#17 Jeromy Lucas

Lucas played through the Giants midfield and stood out with his composure with ball in hand. He always took his time before making a decision and at most times, he made the correct one. He won a lot of his possessions on the outside of the contest, where he was able to have the biggest impact. Lucas kicked a brilliant, long goal in the third term which put his team four goals in front.

#25 Thomas Green

Green was prolific around stoppages and in contested situations. He won first possession constantly and always disposed of the ball effectively. He found space in congestion and was able to use his acceleration to escape his opponents. What stood out most was Green’s ability to lower his eyes after bursting out of a stoppage. Most players would just bang the ball forward as far as possible, but Green took the time to find a teammate in space or on the lead. Green finished the match with a whopping 37 disposals, five tackles, and one goal.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Delahunty was able to create some separation from his opponent, Ethan Baxter throughout the first half. He was very good on the lead and he marked the ball strongly. He kicked his first major of the day in the second term when he kicked an eye-catching snap from 30 metres out. Delahunty had a very good game, finishing with 21 disposals, seven marks, and one goal.

#28 Matt McGrory

McGrory stayed involved throughout all four quarters and played pretty well. His rebounding out of the defensive 50 was superb and he consistently did his best to provide as much run and carry as possible for his team. In the second term, McGrory caught the eye when he won two vital one-on-one contests against highly rated Bushranger, Lachlan Ash.

 

CALDER CANNONS 7.10 (52) defeated BENDIGO PIONEERS 5.6 (36)
By: Taylah Melki

 

Calder:

#1 Daniel Mott

Always around the contest and working hard to win the ball, won a good clearance and used the ball well given the conditions. Kicked a good goal in the opening term and had good clean hands to move the ball forward multiple times throughout the game. Quick use of the ball, clever with ball in hand and constantly looking to attack the ball. Clever use of the body to try and out position his opponent and was a real ball magnet as the game went on. He ran hard and really made his presence felt around the ground. Mott used his good spatial awareness to hit up teammates on the lead by hand.  

#38 Brodie Newman

Newman was a commanding presence across the ground, taking a good mark in the opening term and had strong hands given the wet weather. He consistently contested hard in the air to punch or mark the ball and used his body well to try and gain better position. He provided good voice on the field to offer advice and applied strong defensive pressure in the back half. He got in good position and often out bodied his opponent to win the ball or take a mark. He was equally as strong up forward with his marking ability but missed a shot in front of goal in the fourth but his efforts throughout the game were impressive.  

 

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

Worked hard to try and win the ball for his side and good hands under pressure. He used clever running patterns to create space and was solid in the contest not afraid to get involved and apply strong physical pressure. He laid a couple of crucial tackles to hold the game up and really lifted in the third term. Conforti almost took a huge mark getting high and juggling the ball but just dropped it coming down but his effort was impressive. He positioned well across the ground to judge the play, had good general footy smarts and used his quick hands and good spatial awareness to know where the pressure is coming from.

#11 Aaron Gundry

Good lead up at the footy, and strong hands but missed a goal in the opening term on a tricky angle. Gundry worked hard in the ruck and tried use his read of the flight of the ball to his advantage. He was often out bodied by his bigger framed opponent but still played his role and won a few hit outs to his side’s advantage.

#20 James Schischka 

Laid some really good strong tackles throughout the game to stop and hold up the play of the Cannons. Schischka displayed his ability to read the play getting a deflection and then do the follow up his work at ground level. Good careful kicking action to dish off to a teammate leading up at him and had clean hands out of congestion. He laid a good smother in the third term and tracked the ball well at ground level to pick the ball up. His ability to read his opponent and get into the right positions was impressive racking up three marks in the third term alone showing his strength and control of the ball.

#21 Riley Wilson 

Good read of the footy and was involved early at the contest to dish out a handball to a teammate passing by. He had relatively clean hands and played on quickly to propel the ball forward. Wilson showcased his good vision and intent to keep the ball moving but had a rush of blood and missed a running shot at goal in the second quarter. his defensive work was solid with a really impressive smother mid jump in the third term.

 

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 14.11 (95) defeated GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 12.9 (81)
By: Sophie Taylor

 

Gold Coast Suns:

#1 Hewago Paul Oea

Had some solid moments, creating entries inside 50 but not forcing the footy. A great mover in traffic, Oea showcased his ability to weave in and out of players and good vision of where the ball was in order to play to his advantage. Oea’s smooth movement led to a great chase, tackle and entry inside 50, while also contributing two goals; the first a great snap on goal in the middle of a scrap, while the second helped keep the Suns on track after an intercept mark in the final quarter. Finished with 19 touches, five inside 50s, three marks and three tackles for a solid day out

#5 Connor Budarick

Some great work off the ball and pressure on the play saw Budarick have a solid match, doing his bit to settle the play and carry the ball forward. Took some solid marks to send the ball back forward, finishing the match with 23 disposals, eight marks and seven inside 50s.

#22 Alex Davies

Davies used his height to his advantage, providing a good option in pack scenarios and showing some good movement in space and shepherd around stoppages. Put pressure on ground ball and crumbers, credit to his clever use of space and ability to barrel through a pack. Had only the 12 touches, three marks and two tackles, but his bodywork off the ball was solid.

#28 Ashton Crossley

Crossley put his two-way running on show, highlighting his solid run and carry. Good thinking to open up space and ability to take the ball and run with it, playing to his own advantage. Put in the hard yards at the centre bounce, creating some great clearances through the midfield. With 19 disposals to his name along with two marks and two tackles, Crossley had a good hitout overall.

#31 Jack Johnston

Johnston showcased some of his speed and ability to separate from his opposition, creating options and putting himself in a good defensive position to receive the footy and clear it out to options further up the field. Johnston was another player who didn’t have too much of the footy, however was still able to put pressure on the ball.

 

GWV Rebels:

#3 Toby Mahony

Solid clean hands, good ability to clear ball into space and picking up four marks for his efforts downfield. Showed some smart ball placement inside 50 – had the right idea but not always executed the way he would have liked given at times there were no clean options forward to receive the footy and mark for an opportunity on goal. Mahony was a solid option inside 50, as well as providing a great shepherd to give teammates a clear opportunity to receive the footy and run the ball through the midfield.

#7 Mitch Martin

Martin had a good game, picking up 15 touches and showing his strong marking ability with five. Had some good composure at key moments to clear the ball out and even got an opportunity forward to kick a goal, slotting one through midway through the second. Also showed some good game smarts when going for the ball, knowing where to place self to intercept mark and feed back through the midfield.

#9 Isaac Wareham

Great pressure on ball, created some turnovers credit to his intensity on the ball receiver. Had a really great moment in the final quarter when he showcased his closing speed as he ran down Gold Coast speedster, Oea. Kicked two goals to keep the Rebels in the fight while also picking up five marks.

#13 Jay Rantall

Some good movement and moments across the field but had some rough patches unaware of player movement around him and was tackled on a few occasions. Great movement off the ball to keep footy in play. Was held well by his opposition, finishing with only the 14 touches and five inside 50s, while also rendered to his first match of the season without a score on the board.

 

GEELONG FALCONS 12.12 (84) defeated SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 7.11 (53)
By: Joe Lee

 

Geelong:

#37 Oliver Henry

The classy and smooth moving forward was dangerous all day and provided an omnipotent headache for Swans defenders. Played out of the goal square, Henry was often outnumbered in marking contests but managed to at least halve them or win them on multiple occasions. Had 13 touches, five marks and 4.2, the only knock on Henry’s game was missing a couple of easy opportunities earlier on in the piece. Plays taller than his size and was outstanding for Geelong, particularly in the second half which saw him score three of his four goals.

#40 Jesse Clark

Was Geelong’s best player along with Oliver Henry, integral in intercepting Sydney’s forward forays whilst also setting up offensive strikes with his effective disposal. Playing on Harry McGuire for most of the day, Clark beat his opponent one on one through his superior body-work, positioning and overall reading of the play. Had 10 rebound 50’s, seven marks and 24 disposals, Clark was consistently reliable throughout the whole game and his leadership in setting up the Geelong defensive structure should not be underplayed. Hardly missed a target by foot all day and was almost best on ground.

#46 Henry Walsh
The Geelong ruckman and brother of Carlton young gun Sam, had a quiet day, recording just five disposals. Whilst his work around the ground needs improvement, Geelong won the hitout count 48 to 37, with Walsh recording 24 of them. Was played behind the ball at times but struggled to make an impact on the game outside of his ruck-work.

 

Sydney:

#2 Hamish Ellem

The Swans spearhead struggled for most of the game, recording only seven disposals and a goal. Missed a couple of easy shots, including one that was 20m out directly in-front after he worked hard leading up to the ball carrier. Only had two touches in the first half when the game was particularly tight, and had three free kicks against. Does follow up his work well and possesses athletic traits, as displayed early in the third quarter when he collected the ball on the wing and ran to within range but missed the shot.

#3 Luke Parks

The close-checking intercept defender was solid for the Swans, intercepting a couple of Geelong’s entries and was rarely beaten one on one. Recorded 17 touches, four rebounds and four marks, Parks needed to be more attacking with his disposal, often just kicking it long to a contest. Athletic and moves well, Parks has good closing speed and was reliable for the Swans.

#7 Braeden Campbell

The tough and evasive midfielder-forward was Sydney’s best player all day. Consistently lifted when the Swans needed to and was part of the reason the Swans came close in the third quarter. Played predominantly midfield and on the wing all day, Campbell recorded eight tackles and nine inside 50s, showing he has both offensive and defensive traits in his well-rounded game. Has a damaging and raking left boot and could’ve had a day out if not for wayward goalkicking. Had 24 touches, 1.2 and three rebound 50’s, workin around the ground tirelessly in an outstanding all-round game.

#23 Errol Gulden

The small midfielder was serviceable for the Swans but was down on his usual numbers, recording just 22 touches and a goal for the day. Still had seven inside 50s and two rebound 50s but was not as noticeable as he normally is. Was instrumental in Sydney’s fightback in the third quarter, being more damaging and clean with his kicking but was overall well held for most of the game by the Geelong midfielders.

#39 Josh Rayner

The key position swingman was reasonably quiet this week, particularly in the second half, having just four disposals. Worked hard defensively with six tackles but gave away a few undisciplined frees, including one 50m penalty for not giving the ball back on the full, resulting in a Geelong goal right on three-quarter time. Held Max Annandale to four touches and won most one-on-ones but also had some poor moments. Overall, Rayner had 14 touches and five marks and was swung forward later in the piece but had little influence on the game.

 

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 3.11 (29) defeated by DANDENONG STINGRAYS 14.16 (100)
By: Shyam Raj Bali

 

Brisbane:

#11 Will Martyn

Martyn again led the Lions and tried hard all day. He offered plenty of end to end run for his team and was a big reason Brisbane stayed in the game for as long as they did. Martyn had lots of possessions rebounding out of the defensive 50 and sending his team into attack. His highlight for the day was a really classy moment in the third where he gathered a contested ball, spun and had a shot from 50 but unfortunately couldn’t get it on target. Had a game high 32 disposals to go with four marks and five tackles to be the lions best.

#12 Saxon Crozier

Bottom-ager Crozier battled well throughout the day. He had a few flashes of brilliance (only 16 until November) across half-back where he took the game on and provided some spark. His best five minutes came at the start of the second quarter where he was involved in about four passages of play in the opening minutes of the quarter both rebounding and laying a good tackle. Unfortunately his kicking let him down a little late in the game. Crozier finished with 15 disposals, four marks and three tackles.

#18 Bruce Reville

Reville’s eye catching run and smooth moving was on display early as he had several positions through the middle and HF sending his team into attack. The way he covers the ground and almost effortlessly catches up to/get away from opponents is very impressive. As like other games in the year he was quieter in the second half, finishing with 19 classy touches.

#19 Tom Griffiths

Griffiths was serviceable playing through the midfield and half-back. His best passage of play was in the second quarter, he took on a few players and seemed to run himself into trouble before managing to slip a tackle, lower his eyes and hit a target. He took a few kick outs in the second half also, playing on and hitting team mates across the defensive 50. Finished with 16 disposals but did not see as many midfield minutes as normal.

 

Dandenong:

#2 Hayden Young

Young’s run of big numbers continued, posting 28 disposals. Most of his work was done at the bottom of packs or around the defensive 50 as he often found space and repelled Brisbane attacks. Although he had the equal most possessions for Dandenong, he did not have a huge lot of highlights and was unassuming, gathering his possessions without fuss.

#11 Ned Cahill

Cahill had a really consistent game playing well for all four quarters and finishing with 21 disposals, nine marks and four tackles. He always did the team thing setting up team mates in better positions and lowering his eyes to hit targets inside 50. His individual highlight came in the third, where he was outnumbered two to one and forced a turnover, gathered the loose ball and goaled form 45.

#20 Sam De Koning

De Koning was a rock in defence, although it must be said that he had a relatively easy day after half time. He started well taking contested marks (three in the first quarter) and rebounding strongly to help start Dandenong attacks. Finished with 17 touches and seven marks.

#24 Bigoa Nyuon

Nyuon was well beaten early by Samson Ryan in the ruck as he struggled to find his timing for jumping at the taps. He also struggled around the ground with his light frame as Ryan managed to out position and out body him at most contests. In the second half he seemed to improve this a fair bit and ended up fixing his timing, and using his great leap to effect. When he played in defence he also had a few good instances of leaving his man to come up to the ball and cut off Brisbane attacking plays. He finished with 14 hitouts and 12 touches.

#44 Cody Weightman

Cody played well and showed his smarts around goal kicking 3.2 for the day. He could’ve had a big day out, but often did the team thing setting up team mates or putting team mates into better positions. Was always a threat when he was near the ball and he always made it feel like something would happen. He ended the game well kicking 2.2 in the last quarter to go with his one from earlier in the game.

#50 Lachlan Williams

Williams had a serviceable day playing most of his game across half back. He intercepted well and also hit targets throughout the day both coming out of the defensive 50 and moving the ball into the forward 50. Finished with a serviceable 16 disposals (14 kicks) and six marks.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 12.9 (81) defeated EASTERN RANGES 11.5 (71)
By: Michael Alvaro

 

Gippsland:

#4 Sam Flanders

Starting in the midfield, Flanders built into the game nicely. The powerful utility showed a good knack for being able to collect the ball at speed, using his clean hands to gather and move the ball on in no-time. While some of his handballs early on hit no one in particular and simply cleared opponents, Flanders usually distributed well when he opted not to boot forward a clearance himself. Rotating forward, Flanders converted a set shot goal after marking on the lead with his first look inside 50, and later on proved instrumental in the Power win while playing deep. Intercepted a kick-in and booted a clutch second goal to cap off his solid outing.

#6 Riley Baldi

Baldi continued his eye-catching form after a return from injury, accumulating at a good rate throughout the day. An ever-present at centre bounces, Baldi acted as the anchor at stoppages and won his fair share of clearances. He worked hard around the ground to dish out a few neat kicks, but sometimes lacked effectiveness when going forward by foot. Baldi was terrific nonetheless and showed outstanding composure on the ball – particularly in a passage of three possessions during the opening term which he ended by shrugging an opponent with ease and booting laterally.

#12 Brock Smith

In one of his better games, period, Smith did enough to earn a Draft Central player of the week nomination. The Gippsland skipper was his solid self in defence, but stood out with a range of intercept marks and effective rebounding kicks. Calm in possession, Smith was entrusted with kick-in duties and pushed up into the middle of the ground to provide real drive forward. His aerial prowess under long and high balls also showed in other ways, as Smith surprisingly contested some a few ruck contests in defensive 50.

#15 Ryan Sparkes

An effective outside user, Sparkes continues to find the ball with ease and provide a good link forward. Often receiving from Smith, Sparkes utilised his skipper’s silver service to become a threat in space, while also proving calm in traffic when the ball was in dispute. Building a nice season.

#19 Fraser Phillips

In perhaps his best game to date, Phillips was able to show off all the traits that make him a promising talent. He was clean and effective inside forward 50, using the ball neatly on his left peg and proving efficient in front of goal. While he looks awkward in style at times, it all just seems to work for Phillips, and his long reach helped him to reel in the ball impressively. His best moment came in the first quarter after being caught holding the ball, where Phillips in-turn wrapped up his opponent as he tried to step around him on the mark to earn an easy set shot chance. Putting two other goals on the board, Phillips provided some crucial spark to Gippsland’s forward set-up.

#37 Harrison Pepper

Pepper loves the contest, and looked strong in contested situations once again. While he started shakily with a loose handball to hand Eastern the ball, he built into the game nicely. Rotating between the forward line and midfield with Flanders, Pepper provided the same extractor-type role with quick hands out while standing up in tackles. Took a nice contested mark while protecting the drop of the ball in the second term which caught the eye.

 

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

Stapleton took up his usual role as one of Eastern’s better midfield accumulators, extracting from the stoppages and then buzzing around the ground to find the ball. He mops up well at ground level, quickly disposing of the ball and sending the Ranges forward. Really came into the game in the second term with his service around the ground, and put up his usually high numbers.

#11 Mitch Mellis

While he had his fair share of the ball, Mellis did not look as damaging as he usually is. He swept the ball up well on the outside despite some fumbles, and was typically good in tight spaces – always finding a way out of trouble when hemmed in. Usually tackles well, but copped a huge fend-off early on, however showed he was not deterred when he took in a nice mark looking over his shoulder shortly after.

#18 Billy McCormack

Played a monster role in the ruck, slowly building in confidence after converting an early set shot and going out of his way to throw his body around. McCormack used that same physicality in the ruck around the ground, and really crashed into his opponent at the centre bounces. A low disposal game, but played an important role and managed to find the goals a second time.

#21 James Ross

Ross once again showed his leadership skills, standing up for his troops and taking on the responsibility of being the designated kicker out of defence. Took a nice one-on-one intercept mark on defensive 50 in the second quarter and looked to move the ball straight on – like he often does. Did the little things well in a lower-output game, and is proving to be consistent.

#22 Bailey White

White is one who is starting to catch the eye, backing up a four-goal performance in his first game with another three here. He looks a natural forward, always aware of where the goals are, ever the opportunist, and clinical when given the chance. Not a big winner of the ball, but could have had it a lot more if he hung on to some of his overhead attempts. He read the flight well to mark deep inside 50 for his second goal, and could be one to watch.

#23 Zak Pretty

Pretty has been in terrific form and was once again right in the thick of it early. Laid a nice holding the ball tackle in the opening exchange, and while he wins a lot of ball at the coal face, was most noticeable when retrieving it on hard lateral spreads. Missed a couple of kicks going forward on the run, but otherwise provided good drive from midfield.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 15.8 (98) defeated NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER ACADEMY 9.6 (60)
By: Scott Dougan

 

Northern:

#1 Lachlan Potter

Potter seemed to have no direct opponent all day, and he took full advantage of that. He won plenty of the ball and he did not waste a possession. His electric speed and agility was obvious, with the hard running midfielder burning many of the Thunder players on the day. He played across half-back and was able to create many effective passages of play. His kicking had plenty of penetration behind it, which helped him boot the ball effectively over a long distance. He had 24 disposals for the match.

#4 Jackson Davies

Davies had a massive second term, booting two very important goals for his team. His ball use was exceptional and his decision making when he had the ball was really good. He was also very composed with ball in hand and made sure he took his time before making decisions. Impressive.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

D’Intinosante came to life in the second half and had a really big impact on the game. In the third term, D’Intinosante would bring the ball to the ground in a one-on-one contest, gather the ball cleanly and then blind turn his opponent, before running into an open goal. He was very unselfish on the day and could’ve ended up with more goals, but he always put his team first and made sure he made the correct and smartest decisions. He finished with a game-high two goals and 11 marks.

#7 Ryan Gardner

Gardner was ultra-impressive through the Knights midfield. He had plenty of disposals and used the ball well on both feet. He played predominately on the outside but was able to win the contested ball when needed. Gardner was a key player in the Knights victory, collecting 22 disposals (16 kicks).

#11 Ryan Sturgess

Sturgess was rock-solid down back for the Knights, making it very difficult for the Thunder to score. He read the play well and was able to take a handful of intercept marks – showing off his sticky hands. He would also provide some run-and-carry out of the backline, putting his efficient ball skills to good use. Sturgess had 21 disposals (19 kicks) and 8 marks.

 

Northern Territory:

#8 Malcolm Rosas Jr

Rosas spent plenty of minutes up forward and through the midfield. He worked tirelessly and was always involved, especially in the third term when he gathered plenty of possessions. His burst of speed and agility was on full display, with the classy midfielder able to escape his opponents’ attempted tackles. One of his best passages of play came in the third term when he made up a lot of ground to lay a ripping tackle on Josh D’Intinosante. Rosas knew where the big sticks were, hitting the scoreboard multiple times.

#19 Ben Jungfer

Jungfer’s work rate and clearance work was a real standout for the Thunder. He was able to win first possession around stoppages many times and he disposed of the ball effectively to his teammates on the outside. Jungfer used the ball well most times, moving the ball forward as often as he could. He finished with 22 disposals and six tackles.

#24 Joel Jeffery

Jeffery played in the defensive half and his rebounding definitely caught the eye. He turned the ball over a couple of times, but I liked that he wanted to take risks with ball in hand, rather than playing it safe. He read the play well and took some nice intercept marks in the second half. He finished with eight rebound 50s – a game-high.