Tag: Liam Delahunty

2019 AFL Draft Preview: GWS GIANTS

GWS GIANTS do not need to do too much or address gaping holes in their list given the current group brought them to a grand final and have been thereabouts for a number of years now. They will add elite talent Tom Green to the list with the first pick, as well as another top five player after trading Pick 6 up to Pick 4. Liam Delahunty is another player they would consider adding later on in the draft – though with the recent live trade, any bid that comes in before picks worth zero points they cannot match. General depth and perhaps an additional ruck for long-term development might be a good option to pair with Kieren Briggs given Shane Mumford has a year left and Dawson Simpson has retired.

CURRENT PICKS: 4, 40, 59, 60, 80, 94

NOMINATED ACADEMY/FATHER-SONS: Tom Green, Liam Delahunty

LIST NEEDS:

Inside midfielder
Ruck
General depth

FIRST PICK OPTIONS:

After pulling the trigger to leapfrog the Crows and Swans, GWS is set to be able to add two elite talents in this year’s draft thanks to securing Pick 4. With Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson off the board, it means Melbourne will likely pick between Luke Jackson and Hayden Young. The GIANTS should opt for the other with the selection though the likes of Lachlan Ash, Sam Flanders and Caleb Serong are also around the mark, meaning there are plenty of options available to them.

LIVE TRADE OPTIONS:

The GIANTS are pretty hamstrung when it comes to live trading having already traded Pick 6 and next year’s first rounder for Pick 4. Rules state they cannot trade next year’s picks because the first rounder is gone, so the only option is downtrading Pick 40 before the Green bid to try and reduce the deficit. Regardless there will be a deficit and the GIANTS will have to manage it carefully next year.

REMAINING CROP:

It is no surprise that the obvious name here is Green. The sublime pure inside midfielder could be a walk-up starter in Round 1 next year given his readymade ability and frame that would match it with most AFL midfielders. At 190cm, Green has the height as well as the size to play inside from early on and the GIANTS will not think twice about matching him. The Swans are the most likely to place a bid on Green at Pick 5, with that to remove all the picks from this draft and go into heavy deficit next draft. The GIANTS must select at least three players in the 2019 edition, so pick 80 will still be live given it is worth zero points. It will be tough to work out who might be there for that selection, but perhaps there could be someone like a Riley Baldi or Callum Jamieson if he slid that far. They will likely have to look at mature-age prospects and perhaps picking up Canberra Demons’ Angus Baker – who has had quite a bit of interest – as someone who can come straight into the side.

2019 AFL Draft Preview: Essendon Bombers

ESSENDON heads into the 2019 AFL National Draft with a couple of solid picks in the second round, but nothing that will net the club an immediate solution. The Bombers have some flexibility when it comes to live trading both through the second and fourth rounds potentially, with two clumps of picks together for their selections. Despite having a couple of players potentially leaving the club over the off-season, those trades did not occur and they remain relatively intact from their finals season this year and will be hoping to finally break the winless finals drought in 2020.

CURRENT PICKS: 31, 33, 61, 64, 65

NOMINATED ACADEMY/FATHER-SONS: Nil.

LIST NEEDS:

Inside Midfielder with skill
Outside Midfielder
Key forward
Goal kicking pressure forwards

FIRST PICK OPTIONS:

The Bombers enter the draft at Pick 31, and will have two selections within three picks in order to likely pick up a couple of midfielders, or a midfielder and a forward. Ideally, an inside midfielder with some pace like Jay Rantall or Sam Philp if available would be perfect for the Bombers, or they might look to a Hugo Ralphsmith to add both the midfield and forward elements to their side. Thomson Dow is another name Bombers fans might want to keep in mind, while if any of Elijah Taylor or Cameron Taheny slide, you would expect Essendon would want to secure them into the forward line. Similar to Collingwood, Essendon is in a bit of no-man’s land for talls, with really Harrison Jones or Jake Riccardi the two possible selections, though Jones may be off the board.

LIVE TRADE OPTIONS:

The Bombers could package up their two picks in the 30s for one in the 20s, whether that be North Melbourne’s 26 or 27, Sydney’s 25 or Geelong’s 24, or they could trade down their Pick 33 to try and grab a couple of Richmond’s three picks between 38 and 41. It does feel like they need to do something on the night to put themselves in contention with many of the names raised above a worry to be off the board.

REMAINING CROP:

Ideally Essendon fans would want to walk away from the draft with at least one tall, particularly forward. Charlie Comben can play both ruck or forward, but is rated in between the two clumps of picks, while Mitch Georgiades, Cooper Sharman and Liam Delahunty are others who have athletic talent in different ways. Emerson Jeka is another name the Bombers might consider, but like the others is likely to fill somewhere in between the clumps of picks which means they might opt to do some live trading. From the non-talls perspective, Ronin O’Connor, Jai Jackson and Darcy Chirgwin are others who provide great pressure in different areas of the ground, while Lachlan Stapleton or Josh D’Intinosante could be great late pick-ups that provide that forward pressure and ability to play through the midfield.

Draft Central Power Rankings: November 2019 – 60-41

AS the 2019 AFL National Draft is just around the corner, we work up to the November 27-28 event with a three-part Power Rankings series, counting down our top 60 players heading into the AFL Draft. We have not taken into account any draft selections or club needs, it is purely our opinion. Furthermore, given the evenness of the draft, there were plenty of unlucky players on the cusp of making it into the top 60. This edition looks at those players we have ranked 60-41.

#60 Lachlan Stapleton
Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
14/04/2001 | 179cm | 73kg

The only State Draft Combine player in our Power Rankings, the Eastern Ranges ball magnet has been one of the more consistent players this year. One of the few unlucky not to get a National Draft Combine invite, Stapleton has plenty of tricks despite his size, and can win the ball inside or out. In season 2019, Stapleton averaged 22.3 disposals, 2.5 marks, 5.2 clearances, 4.5 inside 50s and 7.1 tackles from 13 games, predominantly playing an inside role. His hands in close were very good, with athletic traits that are handy but could still improve such as his in-game acceleration – clocking a sub-three second 20m sprint at the State Combine, and his kicking consistency. A rough chance still, but should have done enough to find a place on an AFL list.

#59 Ryan Byrnes
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
03/05/2001 | 182cm | 84kg

Mr Consistent, Sandringham’s fearless captain has been as reliable as just about anyone in the NAB League this season. Byrnes can play inside or out, wins the ball out of a stoppage and has a trademark five-step burst to create separation from his opponent and send the ball inside 50 to leading teammates. His kicking could certainly sharpen up, but he can use either foot which makes him more of an asset, and while he is shorter compared to some inside midfielders, he has the readymade frame to compete at senior level. Almost missed out on a bottom-age year at Sandringham and has been a workhorse to put himself in a position where he could be drafted. Just a no-fuss footballer who leads by actions and will be a popular player at a club should he be selected.

#58 Emerson Jeka
Western Jets/Vic Metro | Key Forward/Defender
18/09/2001 | 198cm | 90kg

On upside, Jeka is a lot higher, but it is just piecing all of his traits together for some consistency. He is an elite contested mark, is virtually an eight-second flat agility test and near three seconds 20m sprint candidate. This athleticism is something rare in players of his size, but the inconsistencies of the past few years, as well as finding his best position – between forward and back – means he is still a raw prospect who has to develop. Given his traits, if he can be put to work and learn off a more aggressive mentor at an AFL club, then he will add more to his game. He has the physicality to really worry opposition defenders when leading out, it is just showing it on a more consistent basis. His best is winning a game off his own boot, but it just happens in seldom, so the best is yet to come from the Western Jets tall.

#57 Louis Butler
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Defender
25/04/2001 | 185cm | 74kg

An interesting prospect, Butler at his best can be a damaging half-back who floats through the middle and wins plenty of the ball. When it comes to off-field testing, Butler’s numbers do not jump off a page. But when it comes to in-game work, he moves well and has the smarts to evade opponents with ball-in-hand and open up space for his teammates. He seems a confidence player, because when he starts hitting targets, he can hardly miss, but when he sprays the odd kick early, he can be a bit more error prone throughout the game. Showed plenty throughout his school footballing, and finished the NAB League season averaging 23 disposals and three rebounds a game.

#56 Josh Shute
Sturt/South Australia | Outside Midfielder
28/03/2001 | 187cm | 74kg

A lightly built, but talented outside midfielder with some good size, Shute is the stereotypical winger who likes to run and create from the back half going forward. Shute has nice foot skills with a touch of class, as well as a high work rate that sees him push up and down the ground. His endurance could still improve, as could his impact per possession, and while standing at 73kg, Shute could add size to his frame. Overall though, Shute has a nice outside game from which clubs can work with, and is one of the more prominent wingers available in the AFL Draft crop. He could go higher than this based on his ball use and outside run, but is still a developing talent.

#55 Flynn Perez
Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country | Outside Midfielder
25/08/2001 | 188cm | 81kg

One of the players hardest to rate this year, Perez has missed his entire top-age season after injuring his knee late last year at a Vic Country camp. From what he showed as a bottom-ager, Perez has some neat outside traits, and class when in close. He moves well and is a creator for his team, it is just about getting some consistency in both his disposal and game. At 188cm, Perez is a nice height for a midfielder, and when adding in his athleticism, the Bendigo Pioneers’ midfielder is unlikely to be forgotten by an AFL club come November.

#54 Nick Bryan
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Ruck
22/10/2001 | 202cm | 87kg

Considered a potential first rounder at the start of the year, Bryan has slipped down the order after an inconsistent year. He had a good finals series, particularly in the last couple of games which gave recruiters another glimpse at the highly athletic ruck. While he is far from the finished product, it is hard to imagine he will be overlooked based on his sub three-second 20m sprint and his size at 202cm makes him a valuable commodity. While he might not have the consistency of some of the other talls higher on the list, he has plenty of upside and a club could certainly find a need for Bryan should they be on the lookout for another ruck.

#53 Josh Honey
Western Jets/Vic Metro | Mid/Forward
17/10/2001 | 185cm | 82kg

Another player with great upside, Honey has the versatility to rotate between midfield and forward, and is an athlete to-boot. Honey was one of the more impressive performers at the National Draft Combine, clocking up times of 2.97 seconds (20m sprint) and 8.10 seconds (agility test). His consistency can be a worry at times, particularly when it comes to influence throughout long periods in games, with his accumulation lower than most other comparable players – 16.1 disposals per game. But when on his game, Honey has that hurt factor about him, with his clean hands and defensive pressure – 4.6 tackles per game – a feature, as well as his ability to hit the scoreboard regularly, contributing 12 goals in 14 games at NAB League level, and two from two at the Under-18 National Championships.

#52 Jake Pasini
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Key Defender
06/02/2001 | 193cm | 82kg

A really consistent and reliable defender, Pasini is a player who could step up and play from early on in his career. At 193cm, Pasini is a little undersized to match up against the bigger-bodied key forwards, so will likely fill out as a running defender who takes a third tall, or could play on smaller players if need be. He has the skill level to be that offensive running back, and he reads the ball in flight really well. Averaging 18.3 disposals and 4.1 marks at WAFL Colts level from seven games, Pasini also got a call-up to both the Reserves and League sides for Swan Districts where he did not look out of place in two and one games respectively. After playing for Western Australia at the Under-18 Championships as a bottom-ager, Pasini returned as a top-ager and again was able to provide a steadying influence, picking up his rebound numbers to average two per game.

#51 Mitch Georgiades
Subiaco/Western Australia | Tall Forward
28/09/2001 | 192cm | 87kg

Similar to Perez, Georgiades is one who is hard to read where he goes. On talent, he could be a top 30 pick, but the fact a quad injury has kept him out of action throughout his entire top-age year would be a concern. He is too talented and has too much upside to not be looked at, and with his vertical leap (85cm running) and acceleration (2.925 seconds 20m sprint), Georgiades is a headache for any defender. Once the air space is clear and there is a body in front of him, expect the high-flying forward to sit on their head and bring the ball down. While he has not been able to show any improvements this year due to injury, he could also improve his defensive attributes, with few tackles despite his obvious athletic talent. In terms of what he offers offensively however, Georgiades can be a dominant goal kicker both in the air and at ground level and be that X-factor that sets him aside from other tall forwards in this draft.

#50 Charlie Comben
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Forward/Ruck
20/07/2001 | 199cm | 84kg

A versatile player who could well end up as a key forward and second ruck, Comben is capable of playing either role to a high standard. His ruck craft itself is good, and his second efforts at ground level such as laying a follow-up tackle or providing a block or shepherd is impressive. He can float forward and lead out of the goalsquare with sticky hands and an ability to crash a pack if needed. He has had his fair share of injuries over the journey so is arguably a tad behind on his development. But the fact he has come such a long way in his top-age year means Comben has plenty of upside for the future and is one who clubs can look to for the long term if they are after a bigger body up forward who can play that second ruck role to a t. Could be the second ruck picked in the AFL Draft, depending on how clubs view his progress against Bryan’s and what they are looking for, but we have him here due to his versatility and greater consistency over the season, as well as impact at the Under-18 National Championships for Vic Country.

#49 Liam Delahunty
GWS GIANTS/Allies | Forward/Defender
13/02/2001 | 192cm | 91kg

A member of the GWS GIANTS Academy, where Delahunty ends up on draft night will be interesting considering the GIANTS’ picks in this year’s draft. With Pick 6 likely to be Tom Green, Delahunty could be matched with one of the later picks, potentially 59 or 60. If the GIANTS choose to trade up to grab a second elite talent to avoid using Pick 6 on Green, then matching Green with their few picks, they might struggle to match a bid. Either way, Delahunty has shown enough to suggest a club could use a player of his services, with his kicking ability and reliability up forward – or in defence at times. He is a strong mark and covers the ground well, and while he is undersized, he could develop into a midfielder with time if required, and given his smarts could be very handy there. He could improve his accumulation numbers from ground level with the majority of his touches coming from marks. Once he develops that area of his game, he can have an equal impact at ground level as he can in the air.

#48 Karl Finlay
North Adelaide/South Australia | Tall Defender
14/07/2001 | 193m | 90kg

The Under 16s Most Valuable Player (MVP) winner from the championships two years ago, Finlay has remained consistent across all areas. While his ground balls and decision making at times could improve, his work without the ball is top notch, able to intercept at will across half-back. He will likely play as that third tall defender, and has superb agility for a player of his size, and captained his school, Prince Alfred College (PAC) during the season. He reads the play well and is a dominant one-on-one player who could play from early on in his career if given the chance, but still has those areas to work on and will undoubtedly do so. A potent defensive weapon, Finlay might be the awkward size at 192cm, but he is a two-way player, nullifying an opponent and creating drive from half-back.

#47 Noah Cumberland
Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies | Forward
15/03/2001 | 183cm | 79kg

A player we at Draft Central are a fan of, Cumberland has some seriously great athletic traits. In particular his break-neck speed coming off a flank or charging down the ground, recording a 2.931-second 20m sprint and 8.208-second agility test at the National Draft Combine. Tied to the Lions’ Academy, Cumberland could well be the first Lion bid on in the AFL Draft, and his versatility and high upside would be something attractive to the club and other clubs. He is a great pressure player as well, with his aggression at both the ball and opponent, and with ball-in-hand or without. He averaged almost five tackles a game at the championships, and while he will want to lift his accumulation and kicking consistency – he averaged just the 11 touches per game – he has some great traits from which a club can develop.

#46 Brock Smith
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Defender
13/03/2001 | 189cm | 82kg

As reliable and competitive as they come, Smith is a defender who can play both offensive and defensive roles, and almost always achieve the team requirement of him by the end of the game. Rarely having a game where he does not in some part contribute, Smith will attack contests without fear for his own safety, and also provide rebound out of the back half. He ticks a lot of boxes across the board, and while he could improve his speed, and add more dimensions to his game up the ground, his flexibility to play against taller or smaller opponents is a bonus. His one-on-one strength helps him take on the stronger players, while his competitive nature helps him challenge those with greater athletic traits. His rebounding and intercept marking, as well as his penetrating kick are other features of his game, and he is a player who will be loved by teammates, but bemoaned by opposition players.

#45 Dyson Hilder
North Adelaide/South Australia | Key Defender
31/03/2001 | 196cm | 91kg

There are not too many readymade key defenders in this AFL Draft, which makes Hilder a unique prospect for clubs. If an AFL club is contending and needs a key position player who is more prepared to tackle senior footy earlier in his career, then Hilder looms as a value mid-draft option. While he is not as agile as some others, and could work on his ground ball craft, Hilder is strong in the air, and composed with ball-in-hand in defence. Much like his North Adelaide teammate Finlay, Hilder has experienced all three levels of SANFL football this year, with eight games at Reserves level his predominant grade. He was as reliable as they came for South Australia at the national carnival, and is a nullifying defender who can take an opposition forward out of the game, averaging almost five marks from 12.5 disposals per game at the championships.

#44 Cooper Sharman
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Tall Forward
25/07/2000 | 192cm | 79kg

Another player who is difficult to rate and could go anywhere from 30 to 60 is Sharman, who had plenty of highlights this year since joining the Oakleigh Chargers program. Having made the move from New South Wales to Victoria and playing out at Balwyn, Sharman burst onto the scene with a few hauls of goals, including four against Eastern Ranges in a tight game. His goal kicking accuracy and marking is quite impressive, and while he has to build his endurance and other areas of his game to be more of a complete package, Sharman has that upside which clubs will hope to harness. For a player of his size with his smarts and X-factor, Sharman could play that third tall role inside 50 and with his athleticism, he is able to play as a leading forward out of the square.

#43 Jack Mahony
Sandringham Dragons | Small Midfielder/Forward
12/11/2001 | 178cm | 72kg

A smart player who knows how to find the ball and use it delicately to hit targets over short distances like very few can, Mahony is a bit of a unique option as a small utility. Predominantly used in the forward half, Mahony is still light, but can compete with players in contested situations, and with his footy IQ and creativity, Mahony rarely makes too many mistakes by hand or foot. In saying that, his size will always come into question as a sub-180cm player, with Mahony lacking that explosiveness that others have playing a similar role. He will likely become that half-forward who can rotate through the middle, mainly because of his ability to pinpoint players inside 50 with sharp 45-degree kicks in between a host of opponents. Importantly, Mahony does not try and go for too much outside his limitations and therefore is highly influential with the game he employs.

#42 Trey Ruscoe
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Tall Defender
03/11/2001 | 192cm | 87kg

A bit undersized to be a key defender at the elite level, Trey Ruscoe has proven to be a player who can easily play that role in the WAFL Colts, and while that is against lighter bodies, he will be challenged to do so against bigger-bodied forwards. In saying that, Ruscoe has great strength and the skills to also play as a running half-back. He has spent time in the midfield which is an area he can further develop and potentially become a readymade inside midfielder who can have an influence around the stoppages. Ruscoe is ultra-competitive and positions himself well in the defensive 50, but could play a midfield-defence hybrid role with his running capacity and versatility to play either position.

#41 Darcy Chirgwin
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
25/07/2001 | 191cm | 80kg

A good sized inside midfielder who might be somewhat underrated compared to his peers due to injury issues that ruled him out of early season games then was injured in the opening quarter of his Under-18 Championships match. What he offers to a club is a big body with an appetite for winning the ball in the contest. His disposal (24.7), clearance (5.2) and tackling (7.9) numbers are right up there with the best, and his defensive approach to the game will certainly win him over at AFL level. His outside game and athleticism could do with some work, as could his ability to hit the scoreboard, but lock him in to be a inside midfielder who can provide a presence around the stoppages, especially once he has added more size to his frame in the coming years.

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.