Tag: Luke Edwards

Daicos, Edwards among 150 players named in 2020 AFL Academy Squads

ONE-hundred and fifty of the top identified 2020 and 2021 AFL Draft talents have been named in the NAB AFL Academy Squads today. The program sees players from across each state and territory take part in high performance camps focusing on players’ on and off-field education throughout the month of December.

In what has been touted as a highly compromised draft in the sense that plenty of players are already attached to AFL clubs via either father-son or Next Generation Academy (NGA) and Northern Academies, there is plenty to like from all club supporters for not only next year’s draft, but the following year as well. Among the names over the next two years, Nick Daicos (Peter – 2021), Luke Edwards (Tyson) and Taj Schofield (Jarrod) are potential father-son selections, while Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (Western Bulldogs), Reef McInnes (Collingwood), Coby Brand (Essendon), Connor Downie (Hawthorn), James Borlase (Adelaide) and Joel Western (Fremantle) are among some of the NGA prospects.

AFL National Talent Pathways Manager Marcus Ashcroft said it is an exciting time for the country’s best young talent.

“The new approach to the national NAB AFL Academy, introduced for the first time in 2018, will again ensure more of our most talented players have access to AFL facilities, while receiving the best quality coaching, high performance and well-being services in the country,” he said. “Importantly these players will spend more time in their home states, with year-round first-class support that will enhance their opportunity to perform at an elite level. “I congratulate all players who have been named in their NAB AFL Academy Squads today and I look forward to watching their development over the next few years.”

All five NAB AFL Academy Squads will come together for camps in the final month of the year as below:

Vic Country
Sunday, December 15 – Thursday, December 19.

Vic Metro
Sunday, December 15 – Friday, December 20.

South Australia
Friday, November 29 – Tuesday, December 3.

Western Australia
Monday, December 9 – Friday, December 13.

Allies (training at AFL clubs)
Monday, November 18 – Friday, December 20.

A select few of Under-17 and Under-18 players will also have the opportunity to attend national camps, with activities that include:

– NAB AFL Under-17 Futures players to spend a week at an AFL club (December 2019)
– The best 24 Under-18 players to represent Australia against VFL opposition (April 2020)
– The best 24 Under-17 players to represent Australia against New Zealand (April 2020)
– NAB AFL Under-17 Futures Game (2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final Day)

Of the 150 players named, the Oakleigh Chargers lead all-comers across the country with a total of 11 players named, followed by Geelong Falcons and Sandringham Dragons with eight each. Murray Bushrangers have seven players in the Academy squads, while the top represented sides from the Allies (Brisbane Lions Academy), South Australia (Glenelg) and Western Australia (East Fremantle) all have six.

The full list of NAB AFL Academy members are below:

ALLIES:

Brisbane Lions Academy: [6]

Tahj Abberley
Jack Briskey
Blake Coleman
Saxon Crozier
Noah McFadyen
Carter Michael

Gold Coast SUNS Academy: [5]

Alex Davies
Aidan Fyfe
Jack Johnston
Rhys Nicholls
Ryan Pickering

GWS GIANTS Academy: [4]

Jack Driscoll
Josh Fahey
Josh Green
Sam Stening

Murray Bushrangers: [2]

Charlie Byrne
Ryan Eyers

Sydney Swans Academy: [5]

Braeden Campbell
Errol Gulden
Kye Pfrengle
Marco Rossman
Mark Sheather

Tasmania: [5]

Sam Banks
Jackson Callow
Sam Collins
Oliver Davis
Patrick Walker

SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

Central District: [3]

Isaiah Dudley
Corey Durdin
Lachlan Grubb

Glenelg: [6]

Kaine Baldwin
Luke Edwards
Riley Holder
Cooper Horsnell
Lewis Rayson
Will Schreiber

North Adelaide: [2]

Jamison Murphy
Tariek Newchurch

Norwood: [3]

Ned Carey
Cooper Murley
Henry Nelligan

South Adelaide: [5]

Arlo Draper
Zac Dumesny
Jason Horne
Nicholas Kraemer
Matthew Roberts

Sturt: [3]

James Borlase
Mani Liddy
Tom Powell

West Adelaide: [3]

Bailey Chamberlain
Jye Sinderberry
Riley Thilthorpe

Woodville-West Torrens: [5]

Lachlan Jones
Zac Phillips
Caleb Poulter
Taj Schofield
Henry Smith

VIC COUNTRY:

Bendigo Pioneers: [5]

Sam Conforti
Jack Ginnivan
Cooper Hamilton
Seamus Mitchell
Josh Treacy

Dandenong Stingrays: [2]

Will Bravo
Clayton Gay

Geelong Falcons: [8]

Tanner Bruhn
Toby Conway
Cameron Fleeton
Noah Gadsby
Noah Gribble
Oliver Henry
Charlie Lazzaro
Henry Walsh

Gippsland Power: [3]

Ryan Angwin
Sam Berry
Zach Reid

GWV Rebels: [5]

Joshua Gibcus
Ben Hobbs
Charlie Molan
Josh Rentsch
Nick Stevens

Murray Bushrangers: [5+2]

Dominic Bedendo
Tom Brown
Elijah Hollands
Zavier Maher
Joshua Rachele

Oakleigh Chargers: [1]

Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Sandringham Dragons: [1]

Campbell Chesser

VIC METRO:

Calder Cannons: [4]

Cody Brand
Jackson Cardillo
Campbell Edwardes
Joshua Eyre

Eastern Ranges: [5]

Joshua Clarke
Jack Diedrich
Connor Downie
Wil Parker
Tyler Sonsie

Northern Knights: [2]

Nikolas Cox
Liam McMahon

Oakleigh Chargers: [10+1]

Braden Andrews
Nicholas Daicos
Youseph Dib
Bailey Laurie
Alex Lukic
Finlay Macrae
Reef McInnes
Will Phillips
Conor Stone
Samuel Tucker

Sandringham Dragons: [7+1]

Jake Bowey
Lachlan Brooks
Blake Howes
Ollie Lord
Archie Perkins
Josh Sinn
Dante Visentini

Western Jets: [2]

Eddie Ford
Cody Raak

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

Claremont: [3]

Kalin Lane
Jacob Van Rooyen
Joel Western

East Fremantle: [6]

Richard Bartlett
Jack Carfoll
Owan Dann
Finn Gorringe
Judd McVee
Brandon Walker

East Perth: [2]

Kade Dittmar
Jack Hindle

Peel Thunder: [3]

Tyler Nesbitt
Luke Polson
Isiah Winder

Perth: [2]

Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll

South Fremantle: [3]

Mitchell Brown
Ira Jetta
Shannon Neale

Subiaco: [2]

Matthew Johnson
Blake Morris

Swan Districts: [5]

Rhett Bazzo
Max Chipper
Denver Grainger-Barras
Ty Sears
Zane Trew

West Perth: [2]

Heath Chapman
Kellen Johnson

Scouting notes: Under-17 Futures

TEAM BROWN romped home by 47 points in the Under-17 Futures showpiece game on grand final day on the MCG, with a number of prospects putting their hands up for top-end selection at this early stage. With recruiters watching on, we also cast an eye over the game to bring you our opinion-based scouting notes on every player afield.

Team Brown (Black)

By: Peter Williams (#1-8) and Michael Alvaro (#16-36)

#1 Jake Bowey (Sandringham Dragons)

One of Team Brown’s best players on the day with his run and neat kicking skills throughout. His day started with some great running power and vision to get the ball into the hands of Eddie Ford for an early goal, and then produced a lovely kick at full speed through the middle to Blake Coleman. He used the ball well time and time again, winning a fair bit of it on the wing and half-back, but also setting up plays going forward, including a late game interception at half-forward and tight kick into Ford in the pocket. His hands in close and ability to find space, as well as his footy IQ is great. Even took a very nice high mark early in the fourth term and played on straight away to keep the ball moving.

#2 Braeden Campbell (Sydney Swans Academy)

Deservingly Best on Ground and it was easy to see why. He rarely wasted it and his left foot was a treat. On a day where the skill level was hit and miss, Campbell seemed to turn everything he touched to gold with his three majors from 14 disposals. The Sydney Swans Academy member had a couple of early touches then got his team on the board running out of a stoppage and launching from 40m on the left to sail it home. He kicked a second early in the third with a lovely left foot snap on the boundary, then made it two in a short space of time with a ripping goal from 55m on the run. At times he did a bit too much, such as being pinged for holding the ball by Henry Walsh in the second term, but his dare and run was something to admire and by taking on the game, he set up scoring opportunities to Reef McInnes and Joel Jeffrey late in the game, and even had a chance himself with a snap which bounced towards goal but was kept in, only for teammates to finish off the job with a major.

#3 Taj Schofield (Woodville-West Torrens)

Was not the biggest ball winner, but felt after a quiet first half, he had some really nice plays in the second half. He took the game on from half-back and set up an end-to-end goal which lead to a massive Braeden Campbell goal early in the third. Schofield showed clean hands at ground level and hit the ball at full speed to deliver a pinpoint pass into Saxon Crozier, but rushed a kick shortly after trying to get to James Borlase at half-forward and it was intercepted. Had a highlight play early in the fourth term by spinning out of an opponent’s grasp and producing a neat kick forward.

#4 Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons)

Needs to work on his ground balls further, but battled hard throughout the four quarters. Got going more as the game went on, kicking an important set shot early in the third term to get Team Brown going again. He won a lot of his touches under pressure in close but turned over some of his kicks, however produced a hard body at the coalface.

#5 Blake Coleman (Brisbane Lions Academy)

Lively to say the least. He is one of those players you would come to the football to see. Laid a terrific couple of tackles to set the tone early in the game, with his second being a big run-down tackle and win a free straight in front of goal. He converted that and continued to look dangerous, taking a mark outside 50 but his delivery inside was a scrubber kick to the pocket. It was one of his only poor kicks going inside, because he seemed to hit-up targets well throughout, setting up Braeden Campbell for a goal with the one-two at half-forward and produced a very nice kick into Reef McInnes inside 50 in the third term. He was able to win the ball at a stoppage in the midfield to show his midfield potential, then finished the game on a high note by selling candy to Wil Parker in the goalsquare and booting it from point blank range.

#6 Will Phillips (Oakleigh Chargers)

Just a tackling machine who keeps on battling hard. Philips is a work horse who continues to dig in and win the ball and do all the team things to support his teammates. He laid a massive 14 tackles for the game while winning another 20-plus disposals. One of the better inside midfield options heading into next year, he is strong at the stoppages and can spread to the outside to win it as well and set up teammates. He kicked a goal in the third term by winning the ball from a stoppage, fending off an opponent and snapping it off his right at the top of the square. He then set up Joel Jeffrey with a goal thanks to a very nice kick inside 50.

#8 Eddie Ford (Western Jets)

Started the game with a bang, picking up eight touches and booting two goals in an eye-opening first term. He had his hands on it early leading outside 50, then kick a great running goal on the right from 40m out. His second goal came when Ford read the tap perfectly, pushed off his opponent in Errol Gulden and chucked it on his boot for it to sail through. It showed his high-level footy IQ and goal sense all in one play. He was still very busy throughout the game with some nice touches, though his first term was his standout. Had a shot from 45m on the run in the third term but it sprayed to the left. His best is very good.

#16 Connor Downie (Eastern Ranges)

Gave a glimpse into his role for next year with a mix of time between his usual wing/half-back position, and in the midfield. Downie’s willingness to get on his bike at every opportunity and move the ball forward was a feature, fitting the metres-gained role well on the outside. He would often dish off on the move and continue his run to get it back, ending his move with a long kick forward on his customary left side. May well continue his shift towards a more inside role and has the size to do so, but arguably looked more damaging on the outer as he has been all year.

#17 Saxon Crozier (Brisbane Lions Academy)

Crozier was one of many high-level outside runners for Team Brown, looking to find space and break forward on the ball. One of his first ominous looking runs was cut short by a nice run-down tackle, but Crozier was not to be deterred and found a good amount of possessions from half-back to the wing. He worked up the ground in the third term to mark on the 50 arc, but missed the resultant set shot. It was a standard performance from the Lions Academy member, who will look to develop from simply being a linker between the arcs.

#18 Luke Edwards (Glenelg)

The potential Adelaide father-son has composure beyond his years and looks a versatile type. Starting in his usual half-back role, Edwards showed great composure in his disposal coming out of defence and worked hard to impact the play further afield once he had released the ball himself. His intercept marking game was also sound, reading the ball well in flight to get in the right position on defensive wing. He is the accumulating type in the backline, but looks a different player once thrown into the midfield with his strong hands and frame allowing him to play that inside game. His smart handballs out of congestion were terrific in the second half, especially at centre bounces, and he would benefit from spending more time there.

#19 Sam Collins (Tasmania)

It was a more handball happy game from the damaging rebounder, who swept up the loose balls well on the outside all day. He was clever with his flicks out of congestion and into space, but also brought his kicking into the frame with a couple of long roosts down the line to send Team Brown forward. Collins got back well to cover the defence, as shown by a run-down tackle in the first term, while also directing traffic as his teammates moved the ball on. Will be one of the Devils’ top prospects in 2020, and is a good interceptor on his day as well.

#20 Elijah Hollands (Murray Bushrangers)

It was a very near-complete performance from the Team Brown captain, who booted two classy goals in his time between the midfield and forward line. His work rate in the engine room was top notch, digging in to win the ball himself and tackling hard going the other way with the opposition breaking. Hollands also impacted the centre bounces from his starting position on the wing early on, proving clean and composed when the footy was hot. His first goal was a typical one, propping after he collected the loose ball and snapping home. The second was a show-stopper, slamming the ball through the big sticks from 55m out off a couple of steps. Is one of the leading prospects at this early stage, and narrowly missed out on best afield honours.

#21 Blake Morris (Subiaco)

After what was a shaky start with Morris looking a touch lost in defence, the recent WA Under-16 MVP began to show off some of his best traits. His best moment in the first half was a courageous double-effort going back with the flight of the ball, but Morris’ best came to the fore after the main break. He gained confidence with ball in hand, finding Riley Thilthorpe inside 50 with a lace out kick and going on to use it well on the last line. While Morris was unable to showcase his theatrical aerial prowess as a whole, he almost pulled down a huge mark in the centre square, but landed heavily for his troubles. Looks raw at this stage but can be very exciting.

#22 Joel Jeffrey (Northern Territory)

Jeffrey is an excitement machine up either end with his marking and running abilities and proved as much in this game. He started down back and positioned well behind the ball to snap up much of what came his way. Jeffrey’s one-on-one marking was sound too, which is a handy addition to his eye-catching outside play. While his forward run and long kicks helped him impact the play past the wing, Jeffrey was moved up the other end more permanently to good effect with two goals in the second half. The Wanderers’ product snuck out the back well on both occasions, marking inside 50 and slotting home with a lovely set shot action.

#23 James Borlase (Sturt)

Borlase is in the rare position of being a player whose father played more than 250 games for Port Adelaide, while also being an Adelaide Crows academy member, and he may cost either club a pretty penny at this stage. Drifting across the defensive 50, Borlase took a couple of strong intercept marks in the third term and chased the ball up well at ground level. He is that in-between size – not quite having key-position height but possessing a strong frame – and can play both tall and small roles. While his marking game was strong, Borlase had a couple of less comfortable moments on the ground, getting caught holding the ball on two occasions despite a solid overall game.

#24 Nick Stevens (GWV Rebels)

The classy mover looked at home across half back, competing well and getting the ball moving along the line. He took some time to build into the game and had his best moments during the second and third terms with shows of clever use by both hand and foot. His mix of competitiveness and class came to the fore, winning his own ball one-on-one but doing so with quick gathers and flashy spins. Unfortunately had a horror kick across goal in the final term which cost his side a goal, but was otherwise a valuable member of the back six.

#25 Reef McInnes (Oakleigh Chargers)

McInnes continues to step up in showcase games and did so here with a solid display of ball winning across the day. Starting in midfield, McInnes proved he was more than an inside workhorse with his poise on the ball and decision making when hemmed in. He has that surprising agility at times – much like GWS Academy product Tom Green and Carlton’s Patrick Cripps – which helps to get him out of trouble on top of his strength in the tackle. He went on to become influential up forward, finding separation on the lead and almost pulling in some strong marks. It proved a shrewd move, as McInnes booted two goals; the first coming from a 50m penalty, and the second shortly after with a classy snap from the tightest of angles. The Pies have yet another promising NGA product on their hands.

#31 Josh Treacy (Bendigo Pioneers)

It was a quiet outing from the physical Pioneers forward, who chimed in with a few neat touches. One of his first was a typical lead-up mark on the wing, and he followed that up in the last term with a strong pack mark inside 50 which led to his sole goal of the game. In between those moments was a take out of the ruck which led to a Will Phillips goal, highlighting Treacy’s potential to impact the play inside 50.

#32 Logan McDonald (Perth)

McDonald looked like becoming an ominous target early as he bolted out of the goalsquare on the lead and snapped up the ball well at ground level. He was the deepest tall inside 50 in the first term but could not quite put it all together, going on to work up the ground and link into the arc. Has great athleticism and showed he can kick well too, finding fellow Black Duck, Shannon Neale inside 50.

#33 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (Oakleigh Chargers)

It was a promising display from the Bulldogs NGA product played out of position for the most part at centre half-back. He started off on his usual leads up forward but soon slotted in behind the ball and did well to leap at whatever came his way. He was terrific at the drop of the ball in the third term with his athleticism, and would have been a really effective player had he stuck more of his kicks on the run. That is the area of his game he seems to be working on, so expect to see some improvement heading into his top-age year after some inconsistencies here. Almost found the goals too with a se shot on the half time siren.

#34 Riley Thilthorpe (West Adelaide)

The promising tall is solidly built but has the look of a raw and rangy ruckman as a clearly more athletic type. While he was beaten in the ruck contests at times, Thilthorpe worked well around the ground to showed clean hands and ball use. He spent most of his time up forward after quarter time, hitting the post after a nice piece of agility to gather and find space to let fly deep inside 50. He had a similar moment leading up with a midfielder-like gather and give to Connor Downie, but could not quite get down to a couple of half-volleys later on. Thilthorpe showed glimpses of his high-end talent, and is certainly one to watch if he can showcase his marking game more often.

#35 Shannon Neale (South Fremantle)

Like Morris, Neale played in this year’s Under-16 carnival as an over-ager and impressed enough to get the nod here. An athletic ruckman, the South Fremantle product took over those duties for most of the day and positioned well for ball-ups and throw-ins. It was that positioning which allowed him to palm down to Eddie Ford for his second goal from a forward 50 stoppage in the first term, showing a good bit of combination. Neale went on to rest forward and found the ball up on the arc, kicking well for his size – except for a set shot which fell short, but fortunately led to a Reef McInnes goal. Is a likely type as a late bloomer.

#36 Zach Reid (Gippsland Power)

While he spent a bit of time in the ruck, Reid’s best work is arguably always done down back and he proved that again here. He was composed with ball in hand and dished off to his runners well, while also kicking capably on the last line. He capped his game with a strong pack mark in the third term and got involved well in Team Brown’s rebounding efforts.

Team Dal Santo (White)

By: Peter Williams (#1-10) and Ed Pascoe (#16-37)

#1 Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans Academy)

His side’s best despite the loss, and the Sydney Swans fans would be pumped to see both him and Campbell playing well on the MCG. After a quieter first term by his standards often opposed to Ford at stoppages, he really got going and was crucial in getting his side back into the contest in the second term. Kicked the easiest of goals over the back in the second term running into the square with space behind him, and looked composed in his movements in close. He sidesteps opponents with ease and gets his hands free time and time again, showing good core strength to stand up in tackles. Just a really clean player who when he gets going adds that touch of class to any side and is hard to stop.

#2 Joel Western (Claremont)

The West Australian was one of Team Dal Santo’s better players on the day, showing good composure at half-back under pressure. He did go forward at times but looked more rushed going inside 50 with the odd turnover from a quick snap. He had a shot on goal but the kick went out on the full, and spent the second half in the defensive half of the ground, being a reliable player who picked up a number of touches back there trying to settle his team down.

#3 Corey Durdin (Central District)

The pocket rocket had some highlight plays to suggest he can be a damaging player when he is on, and generally used it pretty well despite not racking up a heap of it. He has that great burst of speed that can burn off opponents and showed it early running down the middle but unfortunately only had a one-on-three option to kick to, which he did pretty well to put it to his teammate’s advantage to at least nullify the contest. He almost kicked a dribbler goal late in the first term but just missed, then made up for it with a great outside-of-the-boot goal two minutes into the second term. Was quieter in the second half as Team Brown controlled possession in the front half, but the forward still had a lovely straight kick down the middle, and had a scoring chance in the final term but it hit the woodwork.

#4 Wil Parker (Eastern Ranges)

A quiet game by Parker after a big NAB League Grand Final the weekend before, and the increased pressure showed despite his best efforts. His first kick was perfect at half-back taking the risk with a pinpoint dagger to a teammate under pressure with centimetre perfect accuracy, but his risks also came unstuck by trying to get the ball in-board, but was intercepted by opposition players reading the play well, and then tried to use his jets to run down the middle, but was caught in doing so. An exciting player who is not afraid to take the game on, but it is a high-risk, high-reward style of play.

#5 Finlay Macrae (Oakleigh Chargers)

A solid game by the NAB League premiership player who was busy in all thirds of the ground. He used it well in the back half early in the match, seeming composed for his side and just settling down and releasing the pressure valve with safe kicks in defensive 50. When he went further up the ground he was able to set up his team going inside 50, winning more of the ball as the game went on. Macrae showed good hands under pressure in defence, but will thrive in the midfield next season.

#6 Tanner Bruhn (Geelong Falcons)

Quiet game in realistically what was his third elite level game since a long-term injury. He showed good strength early to get a handball away whilst being tackled in the middle, and had a shot on goal in the opening term but was run down inside 50 by Sam Collins before he could.

#7 Zavier Maher (Murray Bushrangers)

Was one of the better Team Dal Santo players and when with time and space, knows how to use it. He was continually running along the wing pumping it inside 50, setting up scoring opportunities for his teammates. He got the ball to Oliver henry inside 50 and hit up Nathan O’Driscoll at half-forward, then had a couple of scoring chances himself with a bounding shot late in the second term and later on a flying shot on the goal but just missed both. When under pressure he rushed his kicks at time to try and get it forward, but was generally eye-catching and showed good strength around the stoppages.

#8 Nathan O’Driscoll (Perth)

Spread well to win the ball in all thirds of the ground and found plenty of it, particularly early. He took a strong mark at half-forward in the first term and then won a lot of his touches at half-back as the game turned against his side. He would play the defensive side of the wing to mop up and kick long, providing a release option for his side going forward.

#9 Zac Dumesny (South Adelaide)

Did not win a heap of it but was fairly economical with his ball use. He had a quick handball whilst being tackled at half-forward, but was not so lucky when he tried to play on in a similar spot and was run down by Reef McInnes. Managed to hit-up Zavier Maher and Joel Western on the wing coming off half-back with neat passes in the second half as well.

#10 Jack Carroll (East Fremantle)

A quiet start but worked into it with a strong mark at half-back late in the second term and opened the game right up. Had a courageous marking attempt to spoil it away in the middle of the ground against Eddie Ford, then played in the forward half of the ground with midfield minutes in the second half. He fired a no-look handball out to space late in the third term for a teammate to run onto at the centre stoppage, then proceeded to find plenty of the ball through the middle. He finished the game with a nice kick off the left on the run for a consolation goal midway through the last quarter.

#16 Archie Perkins (Sandringham Dragons)

The talented Sandringham Dragons prospect had a quiet game but still showed some of his skill with a nice baulk deep in defence showing good composure in the first quarter when Team Brown was making a charge. Perkins has plenty of talent is a player to watch next year especially in the forward half.

#17 Lachlan Jones (Woodville-West Torrens)

The strong bodied Jones is a Port Adelaide NGA prospect who has had a good year for Woodville-West Torrens, looking most at home in defence. He was strong over the ball and made good decisions with ball in hand.

#18 Oliver Henry (Geelong Falcons)

The talented Geelong Falcon who is the younger brother of rising Cats’ defender Jack Henry showed plenty of his talent in what was a hard day for the Team Dal Santo forwards. He was still able to catch the eye; he hit the scoreboard in the last quarter with a quality intercept mark in the goal square showing his speed and quick decision making. Henry was strong overhead and clean at ground level but he also did the what was required defensively as well with some good tackles and smothers, he looks to be one of the most dangerous forward prospects in the 2020 draft.

#19 Carter Michael (Brisbane Lions Academy)

The Brisbane Lions academy prospect showed his class on the wing moving well through traffic and sending the ball well inside 50 on his long left boot. What also impressed was his strong marking ability and he looks a good prospect as a tall wingman and was hard not top notice with the blonde hair and the way he moved through congestion to deliver the ball.

#20 Brodie Lake (Northern Territory/Peel Thunder)

The Peel Thunder prospect did not get a lot of the ball but he still caught the eye with some nice plays where he got to showcase his athleticism. Lake impressed down back with his kicking and speed and willingness to attack the contest. With his willingness to use his speed to both run with the ball and spoil he looks like the type of defender who can play on talls and smalls while also providing rebound.

#21 Alex Davies (Gold Coast SUNS Academy)

The Gold Coast academy prospect was one of Team Dal Santo’s better performers going through the midfield and winning plenty of the ball especially early. He is a nice size as a modern day tall midfielder and he had no trouble winning first possession and dishing it out to his runners. He kicked a lovely goal in the last quarter under pressure he was able to cleanly pickup and quickly kick a nice running goal.

#22 Heath Chapman (West Perth)

The talented Chapman has had a strong year for his club West Perth and playing as a tall defender for Team Dal Santo he did some nice things especially late in the game. Chapman had a good couple of minutes taking a strong intercept mark before the ball came back in once again where he span out of trouble, showing his athleticism.

#31 Josh Green (GWS GIANTS Academy)

Green is a solid and strong player already and you could see it in the way he played. The Giants academy player and younger brother of Top 10 prospect for this year Tom Green shares a lot of physical traits with his brother but is more of a key position type with his strong body and marking ability. He converted a nice goal after a fantastic chase down tackle in the last quarter.

#32 Jackson Callow (Tasmania)

The strong bodied key position forward had a solid game showing he didn’t just rely on his size to take marks to kick his goals as he gathered a loose ball and kicked a lovely snap goal in the second quarter. He was moved to defence in the second half and looked better as the game went on taking a nice intercept mark in the last quarter, Callow looks to be the leading Tasmanian prospect for the 2020 draft.

#33 Ollie Lord (Sandringham Dragons)

Lord did not get a lot of supply playing as a key forward for Team Dal Santo but the Sandringham prospect still showed some nice things. Lord showed good athleticism and looked comfortable with ball in hand up the ground in transition showing he isn’t just a forward half player, laid a good tackle in the first quarter as well showing good aggression.

#34 Cody Brand (Calder Cannons)

Brand played his usual role that he did for Calder Cannons all year playing a dour role down back. The Essendon NGA prospect took a few nice intercept marks showing he was not afraid to come off his opponent and his long kicking was always an asset. Brand also showed he was good at ground level as well with a nice trap to pickup the ball in defence under heavy pressure and clear the ball out of the area.

#36 Henry Walsh (Geelong Falcons)

The brother of 2018 Number 1 pick Sam Walsh played well in the ruck and was not afraid to give a good contest. The Falcon’s decision making with the ball was slow early but he did not let that get him down kicking a goal roving a contest right on the line which was odd for a ruckman to do to say the least. Walsh had a nice moment in the last quarter roving his own hitout and sending the ball long inside 50.

#37 Henry Smith (Woodville-West Torrens)

The other big Henry to ruck for Team Dal Santo – Smith actually showed more up forward with a strong contested mark and set shot goal in the first quarter. The Woodville-West Torrens prospect, as good as he looked overhead, also had a great pickup in the middle of the ground which was excellent for a 200-plus cm player and if he could improve his aggression in general he could prove to be a hard player to stop at the next level.

Next year’s stars to strut stuff on AFL Grand Final Day

NEXT year’s top draft prospects will once again get the chance to impress recruiters and stand out in front of AFL fans in a curtain raiser to the 2019 AFL Draft Final. Last year Oakleigh Chargers’ Matt Rowell was named best on ground in the Under-17 All Stars game and has emerged as the front runner for pick one in this year’s draft. The game pits the 48 highest rated available players against each other in mixed teams named after AFL stars, Nick Dal Santo and Jonathan Brown. Coached by fellow former AFL players, NAB AFL Academy Head Coach Luke Power (Team Brown) and Vic Country Under-18 coach Leigh Brown (Team Dal Santo), the players will get a taste of what their future could hold before the elite level’s most prestigious match of the season.

Among the names who have already shown promising signs throughout either the AFL Under-16 Championships or AFL Under-18 Championships over the past few years, are Oakleigh Chargers pair Will Phillips and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, West Adelaide’s Riley Thilthorpe and Glenelg’s Luke Edwards, Murray Bushrangers’ Elijah Hollands and Sydney Swans Academy’s Braeden Campbell who represent Team Brown. For Team Dal Santo, Central District’s Corey Durdin, North Launceston’s Jackson Callow, Geelong Falcons’ Tanner Bruhn, Sydney Swans Academy’s Errol Gulden, Perth’s Nathan O’Driscoll and Northern Territory’s Brodie Lake.

In terms of state-by-state representation, Victoria leads the way with 21 players – 11 for Vic Metro and 10 for Vic Country – ahead of South Australia and Western Australia (both nine). Queensland (four) has the most of the Allied states, with NSW/ACT (three) and Tasmania and Northern Territory (two each). Indidivdual clubs with multiple players are Geelong Falcons and Oakleigh Chargers (four each), while Brisbane Lions Academy, Woodville-West Torrens, Sandringham Dragons and Perth all have three representatives.

Team Brown:

Jake Bowey (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
Braeden Campbell (Sydney Swans/NSW-ACT)
Taj Schofield (WWT Eagles/South Australia)
Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
Blake Coleman (Brisbane Lions/Queensland)
Will Phillips (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
Brandon Walker (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
Connor Downie (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
Eddie Ford (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
Saxon Crozier (Brisbane Lions/Queensland)
Luke Edwards (Glenelg/South Australia)
Sam Collins (North Hobart/Tasmania)
Elijah Hollands (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
Blake Morris (Subiaco/Western Australia)
Joel Jeffrey (Wanderers/Northern Territory)
James Borlase (Sturt/South Australia)
Nick Stevens (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
Reef McInnes (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
Josh Treacy (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
Logan McDonald (Perth/Western Australia)
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Country)
Riley Thilthorpe (West Adelaide/South Australia)
Shannon Neale (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
Zach Reid (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)

Team Dal Santo:

Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans/NSW-ACT)
Joel Western (Claremont/Western Australia)
Corey Durdin (Central District/South Australia)
Wil Parker (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
Finlay Macrae (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
Tanner Bruhn (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
Zavier Maher (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
Nathan O’Driscoll (Perth/Western Australia)
Zac Dumesny (South Adelaide/South Australia)
Archie Perkins (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
Jack Carroll (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
Lachlan Jones (WWT Eagles/South Australia)
Oliver Henry (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
Carter Michael (Brisbane Lions/Queensland)
Brodie Lake (Southern Districts/Northern Territory)
Alex Davies (Gold Coast SUNS/Queensland)
Josh Green (GWS GIANTS/NSW-ACT)
Heath Chapman (West Perth/Western Australia)
Jackson Callow (North Launceston/Tasmania)
Ollie Lord (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
Cody Brand (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
Nikolas Cox (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
Henry Walsh (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
Henry Smith (WWT Eagles/South Australia)

South Australian weekly wrap: Final round of action wraps up

ANOTHER season is done and dusted in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) with five teams eliminated from the League title race, including reigning premiers North Adelaide. Glenelg finished on top despite losing its final game, with Port Adelaide and Adelaide not far behind, and Sturt and Norwood rounding out the top five.

LEAGUE:

West Adelaide 6.14 (50) defeated by Norwood 10.8 (68)

Norwood bounced back from poor form of late to record a three-goal victory over an inaccurate West Adelaide at City Mazda Stadium. The Redlegs booted 10.8 to the Bloods’ 6.14 to run out 18-point winners and secure fifth spot on the table. Lewis Johnston had 29 touches, 12 marks, two clearances and two tackles, while Bradley McKenzie helped himself to 25 disposals and 11 marks. Under-18 draft prospect Dylan Stephens had another prominent game in the seniors with 22 disposals, six marks, three clearances and two goals. For the Bloods, Dallas Willsmore (29 touches, 16 marks) and Patrick Fairlie (29 disposals, 10 marks, four clearances and three tackles) produced good numbers, with Kaine Stevens and Christopher Schmidt reaching 30 disposals apiece in the loss.

North Adelaide 10.10 (70) defeated Woodville-West Torrens 8.9 (57)

North Adelaide avoided the wooden spoon with a nice 13-point win at home to finish off the season. The side was pillaged by AFL clubs at last year’s AFL National Draft, and had to overcome a points penalty for the 19th man issue in last year’s finals series, but have now jumped past the Bulldogs to avoid last place on the table. Aidan Tropiano had 29 disposals, 10 clearances, five marks and six tackles in the win, while Jarred Allmond (27 disposals, 14 marks, three clearances and three goals) and Tanner Smith (24 disposals, 11 marks and two tackles) were busy. For the Eagles, Jack Hayes finished with 22 touches, nine marks, four tackles, two clearances and a goal, while Scott Lewis was the other player to reach 20 touches with exactly that, as well as three marks, seven clearances, six tackles and a goal.

Sturt 11.11 (77) defeated Glenelg 9.11 (65)

Despite finishing on top of the table, Glenelg showed there is still much work to go, succumbing in a shock loss to Sturt by two goals. The Tigers booted five goals to three in the final term but the damage was done, already having the minor premiership sewn up, but head into the finals on the back of a loss. Sam Colquhoun (36 disposals, five marks, five clearances and eight tackles) did as he pleased for the Double Blues, while Fraser Evans (25 disposals, 10 marks and a goal) and Matthew Crocker (26 disposals, six marks, four clearances and three tackles) were also prominent. For the Tigers, Under-18 state captain Will Gould racked up 27 disposals and five marks, while Luke Partington finished with 28 disposals, two marks, five clearances and five tackles.

Central District 8.11 (59) defeated by Port Adelaide 22.17 (149)

Port Adelaide made a statement to the rest of the competition to finish inside the top two courtesy of a massive 90-point belting of Central District. Billy Frampton slammed home seven goals from 11 scoring shots, while Tobin Cox nailed five from seven and also took nine marks for his 17 touches. Jack Trengove (34 disposals, 11 marks and five tackles) and Sam Mayes (34 disposals, eight marks, eight clearances and five tackles) both booted goals, as did Zak Butters (27 disposals, eight marks, three clearances and four tackles). It was a disappointing result for the Bulldogs, with Jydon Neagle (18 disposals, seven marks and four goals) and Jarrod Schiller (24 disposals, nine clearances, four tackles and a goal) a couple of players who stood up in the heavy defeat.

South Adelaide 12.11 (83) defeated Adelaide 12.4 (76)

Adelaide suffered a shock loss to Sturt on the eve of finals, going down by seven points in a tight clash. Patrick Wilson was enormous for the Crows with 31 disposals, 10 marks, eight clearances, nine tackles and a goal, while Myles Poholke (26 disposals, six marks, seven clearances and three tackles) and Lachlan Sholl (21 disposals, four marks and four tackles) were also prominent. For South, Joseph Haines and Nicholas Liddle both shared in 31 touches in the win, while Samuel Overall booted 3.3 from 14 disposals and four marks. Matthew Rose (27 disposals, five clearances) and Joel Cross (24 disposals, five clearances and a goal) were other Panthers who stood out.

RESERVES:

West Adelaide 10.5 (65) defeated by Norwood 13.10 (88)

Norwood did what it had to do against West Adelaide, recording a 23-point win over the Bloods to finish the season on top of the Reserves table. Lachlan Pascoe (18 disposals, seven marks, three clearances, nine tackles and three goals) and Luke Surman (25 touches, eight marks, 11 clearances and four tackles) were both prominent, while Sam Barnett slotted four goals from 18 touches and 11 marks. For the Bloods, Sam May (28 disposals, seven marks, 10 clearances and seven tackles) and Will Day (26 disposals, eight marks, three tackles and a goal) both had big days out.

South Adelaide 16.4 (100) defeated Central District 9.10 (64)

It was not enough to make finals, but South Adelaide upset Central District to finish its season on the right note. The Panthers trailed by 19 points at half-time in a game that could have been much worse had it not been for the Bulldogs’ inaccuracy of 7.7 to the Panthers’ 5.0. The home side then piled on 11.4 to 2.3 after half-time to run away with the contest by 36 points. Luke Bogle picked up 29 disposals, five marks, six clearances, eight tackles and two goals, while Mark Noble helped himself to a game-high 33 disposals, eight marks, seven clearances and three tackles. Brett Kennedy and Cameron McGree shared in seven goals for the Panthers in the win. For Central, Ari Rigney had 24 touches, four marks, five clearances and a goal, while Isaya McKenzie picked up 26 disposals, six clearances and nine tackles, while Jordan O’Brien booted a goal and laid 12 tackles from 17 touches and five clearances.

Sturt 9.13 (67) defeated Glenelg 7.15 (57)

Sturt wrapped up its season with a narrow 10-point win over Glenelg, surviving a five goals to one final term from the Tigers to get home in a thriller. Potential Brisbane father-son prospect Casey Voss had a mammoth defensive effort with 23 disposals, 14 tackles, 10 marks and a goal in the win, while Hugo Munn worked hard up the ground for 26 touches, four marks, six clearances, 10 tackles and a goal. Joel Thiele (27 disposals, 13 marks, five clearances and nine tackles) and Adam Trenorden (26 disposals, four marks, six clearances, 10 tackles and a goal) were also busy. Josh Koster (28 disposals, four marks, eight clearances and three tackles) and Ben Sawford (25 disposals, two marks, eight clearances and three tackles) stood up for the Tigers in defeat.

North Adelaide 5.8 (38) defeated by Woodville-West Torrens 19.12 (126)

Woodville-West Torrens proved far too good for North Adelaide, smashing the Roosters by 88 points in the clash at Prospect Oval. Under-18 talent Josh Morris had a day out despite inaccuracy, booting five goals and four behinds from 12 disposals and five marks, while Jake Comitogianni (28 disposals, five marks and three tackles) and Jackson Mead (27 disposals, six marks, four clearances and two tackles) were massive. The Reserves side was stacked with potential draft prospects including Harry Schoenberg (22 disposals, eight clearances and a goal) and Lachlan McNeil (15 disposals, three marks, three clearances, seven tackles and a goal), while Harrison Morgan booted four goals from 10 touches and five marks. For North Adelaide, they had three big ball winners with Dylan Aldridge (31 disposals, nine marks and six clearances), James Schwarz (31 touches, three marks, seven clearances and six tackles) and Max Lower (28 disposals, seven marks, six clearances and three tackles) all finding plenty of the football.

UNDER 18S:

Glenelg 17.6 (108) defeated Sturt 10.9 (69)

Glenelg had an all-important win over bottom two side Sturt to book its finals place in 2019. The Tigers had a huge middle two quarters when they piled on 12 goals to one and effectively end the game from there. Potential Adelaide father-son, Luke Edwards had 17 disposals and booted four goals, while Sam Liambis (30 touches, eight marks, six clearances and a goal) and Adam Beaumont (27 disposals, six marks, six clearances, three tackles and a goal) found plenty of the football. For the Double Blues, Mani Liddy (25 disposals, three marks, seven clearances and eight tackles) was strong in midfield, while William Crane (21 disposals, five marks, four clearances, five tackles and two goals) hit the scoreboard.

Central District 3.3 (21) defeated by South Adelaide 11.14 (80)

South Adelaide produced a commanding 59-point win over wooden spooners Central District, never looking like losing as they had 11 scoring shots to one in the first term and went on with it from there. South Australian Under-18 key forward Daniel Sladojevic continued his strong form, booting five goals from 17 touches and six marks, while Tyler Oliver had 21 disposals, five marks, five clearances and four tackles. Samuel Falland (21 disposals, eight marks, two clearances and four tackles) impressed for Centrals, as did Rhys Cannizzaro (14 disposals, three marks, three clearances and nine tackles).

Woodville-West Torrens 11.8 (74) defeated North Adelaide 9.11 (65)

The Eagles knocked North Adelaide out of finals contention and finished on a strong note ahead of the post-season series, doing enough to enjoy a tight nine-point win. Luke Barnett had a game-high 30 touches as well as four marks, 10 clearances, eight tackles and a goal. Eagles teammates, Caleb Poulter (21 disposals, six marks, seven clearances and five tackles), Taj Schofield (18 disposals, five marks, four clearances, eight tackles and a goal) and Lachlan Hoile (25 disposals, six marks and three tackles) were also prominent. Charlie Dinning (29 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, four tackles and two goals) and Harrison Magor (29 dispsoals, five marks, nine clearances and six tackles were the two standouts in the losing Roosters’ side.

Norwood 7.16 (58) defeated by West Adelaide 11.9 (75)

West Adelaide locked up second spot with a crucial 17-point win over Norwood. Joel Groom had a big day out with 24 disposals, six marks, six clearances, eight tackles and a goal, while Mackenzie Nield (24 disposals, seven marks, four clearances, five tackles and two goals) and Beau Nunan (four goals) were busy in the victory. For the Redlegs, Xavier Tranfa was their best with 24 disposals, five marks, nine clearances, four tackles and a goal, while Daniel Fairbrother (19 disposals, seven marks) and Tristan Binder (11 disposals, three goals) also stood tall in defeat.

Open Schools Cup Grand Final – Henley High School vs. Prince Alfred College

UNDERDOG Prince Alfred College (PAC) exacted revenge for last year’s loss, overcoming Henley High School by eight points in the Open Schools Cup Grand Final on Tuesday night. PAC upped their physicality and pressure game after a scoreless opening term to lead at every other break, chipping away to the 7.7 (49) to 5.11 (41) result.

Henley were dominant early, owning the territory in a scrappy first term but not quite seeing it translate to the scoreboard. State U18 squad member Cooper Horsnell snuck through the opening goal and only major for the first 20 minutes, latching onto the ball at speed close to home and dribbling the tight chance through. With PAC unable to penetrate their forward 50 throughout the term, it seemed they were going to be no match for Henley. That tune quickly changed in the second term as U18 star Kysaiah Pickett snapped home PAC’s first goal just moments after the restart to spark his side, which took the lead via another two majors within 10 minutes. Potential 2020 Adelaide father-son Luke Edwards hit back late in the term for Henley’s sole goal, cutting the margin to a manageable thee points at the main break.

PAC continued to show manic pressure around the ball and terrific intensity in the engine room led by Pickett, hitting a then game-high margin of 11 points in the third quarter after Noah Hannagan had snatched back the lead for Henley. Two sensational goals from Lewis Cowham in the same pocket of the ground ensured Princes remained on top though, providing defining pieces of brilliance inside 50 – the type that wins you grand finals. Trailing by over two goals early in the final term, it was now make or break for Henley, but they couldn’t quite find the big sticks enough from their raft of chances to sneak back in. Lachlan McNeil‘s running goal looked to give them one last sniff, but scoring was hard to come by with every player on the ground flooding Henley’s front half. The result was put beyond reasonable doubt as James Borlase booted home the sealing goal – his second – while Horsnell also added another to pretty up the final score for Henley.

Cowham’s third term burst proved a match-winner for PAC, with Pickett another to provide the same spark when resting forward and U16 pocket rocket Isaiah Dudley outstanding in defence. The combination of Borlase and Luke Pedlar was also handy up forward, while the defensive duo of Hugo Kelly and Jackson Docherty provided a sense of calm in the back half. For Henley, the state squad trio of Edwards, McNeil, and Jackson Mead did most of the grunt work through midfield while adding a touch of class, with the big body of Hannagan suiting the contested game well. Henley’s superior number of State squad members wasn’t enough to drag them over the line though, with the younger and more exuberant Princes side pulling through.

HENLEY HIGH SCHOOL 1.2 | 2.4 | 3.8 | 5.11 (41)
PRINCE ALFRED COLLEGE 0.0 | 3.1 | 5.4 | 7.7 (49)

GOALS:
Henley – C. Horsnell 2, L. Edwards, N. Hannagan, L. McNeil.
PAC – L. Cowham 3, J. Borlase 2, K. Pickett, L. Pedlar.

ADC BEST:
Henley – L. McNeil, Z. Williams, W. Schreiber, J. Mead, L. Edwards, N. Hannagan
PAC – I. Dudley, K. Pickett, L. Cowham, J. Borlase, J. Docherty, H. Kelly

SCOUTING NOTES

*Note – all players included in scouting notes have represented SA at either U16 or U18 level over the past two years.

Henley:

#18 Cooper Horsnell

The small forward came in and out of the game but made his moments count and was clinical close to goal. He booted the first and only goal of the opening term after sharking the ball off hands at pace, while also claiming the last goal of the game with another opportunistic effort.

#22 Luke Young

Looked ominous early with some strong form in the air, leading his opponent to a bunch of contests and taking a couple of nice grabs. Young had a bit of an ‘almost’ opening term, taking a great sliding mark on the 50m arc and having a quickfire shot smothered, but otherwise getting in the thick of things. He would go on to take another solid one-on-one mark up at half-forward, attacking the ball well on the lead.

#23 Luke Edwards

Adelaide fans would want to be keeping the potential father-son’s progress on the down-low, but he keeps on showing good signs of form. Edwards’ quick and clean hands in congestion were outstanding, flicking the ball out effectively to his runners and staying strong through the hips as he did so under tackling pressure. He looked at home through the midfield but also chimed in down back with some rebounding kicks and showed good penetration when going long. One to watch for next year.

#30 Jackson Mead

Was the target of some heavy attention from PAC but still managed to show his class with ball in hand as he moved forward to break the tag. His ability to gather the ball at speed and fire it out quickly was a feature early around half-forward, with his wheeling runs away from congestion later coming into play. One of Mead’s highlights for the night was a lace-out kick to Noah Hannagan on the move in the third term, repeating the feat in the following quarter to find Lachlan McNeil from a stoppage. That left foot is a weapon, and should bring some joy to Port supporters should they pick up the father-son prospect.

#38 Lachlan McNeil

Henley’s best player on the night for me, doing all the tough stuff through midfield and proving superior at the stoppages. McNeil’s reading of the taps often got him to the ball first, but he was also quick to hunt it down as it dropped loose and lay a few good tackles. While he missed a couple of earlier shots at goal, McNeil looked to have made amends with a running goal from range in the final term to lift his side. It wasn’t to be, but his contested work and a brave intercept mark in defensive 50 were acts which set the tone as PAC poured on the pressure.

#74 Josh Morris

The lively forward wasn’t able to find the goals in this outing, but showed why he was a shoe-in for the state squad with his speed and presence inside 50. While he was a touch fumbly with the ball at ground level, Morris got dangerous positions out the back and used his pace to create separation. He won a free kick as he chase the ball back towards goal one-on-one, but missed the set shot chance. Morris also took a nice mark a full stretch and was unlucky to have an on-target shot touched in a game where it just didn’t quite come together for him.

PAC:

#1 Kysaiah Pickett

One of the key reasons for PAC’s turnaround after quarter time, Pickett sparked his side with a classy snap goal to start the second term. His work rate to impact contests at either end from midfield was terrific to see, contributing some flashy touches in congestion and charging away from it with his elite speed and agility. He missed another chance on goal in the second term – this time from a set shot – as well as another snap in the third, but had a profound impact with his deceptive strength around the ball and tone-setting aggression in tackles. Almost provided his usual mark of the year contender with a big leap in the third quarter, but couldn’t quite hold on as he hit the turf.

#2 Isaiah Dudley

Was, alongside Pickett, one of the main reasons for PAC’s lift in intensity after quarter time, proving dominant as a small defender. The diminutive U16 star has unreal strength for a player his size, laying touch on his opponents, tackling hard, and getting in the face of just about anyone who dared. His charging runs and roosts from defensive 50 eased a heap of pressure for PAC, getting to the fall of the ball and ensuring there was a way out. Dudley’s work rate to make repeat runs all the way up to half forward also proved handy in breaking a largely contested game open. While he was found out a couple of times when throwing the ball to boot or looking a touch casual late on, Dudley has enormous talent and is already a key part of the PAC side.

#18 Karl Finlay

Was by no means Finlay’s best game, but the PAC skipper was solid in defence after a slow start. Finlay acted as the defensive sweeper at times, positioning well behind the ball to intercept and pushing it back the other way when in possession. The conditions didn’t aid his usually astute aerial game, but Finlay did well to compete at ground level and provide a cool head in the back half. He was unlucky to give away a free kick against fellow U18 state squad member Josh Morris when chasing him back to goal, making up the difference in pace and not allowing him to get a shot off.

#34 Harry Tunkin

The U16 state representative provided all of the physicality and courage around the ball that he usually would, getting in the thick of the action at the bottom of each pack. Tunkin was aggressive in his attack on the ball, digging in at the stoppages to either lock it in or flick it out to his runners. He made a nice play on the outside too with a pass to assist Lewis Cowham’s third goal in the third term, and can play just about anywhere.

#44 James Borlase

Borlase was terrific in the final term, warming to the contest at just the right time to play a key part in PAC’s win. The key forward led out really strongly and was a reliable target which Princes’ midfielders often looked to with quick kicks, taking the ball well at full flight. He booted two fourth quarter goals; the first coming early after picking off a Henley kick-in, and the second coming from a more conventional leading mark and set shot conversion.

#45 Luke Pedlar

Complimented Borlase well in the forward half, playing a touch more advanced and getting a sniff around the arc. He booted a fantastic set shot from range in the second term as PAC got on a roll, with his routine and kicking from distance a feature. Pedlar was also strong one-on-one and took a couple of nice marks on the move, making him a handful after quarter time.

South Australia weekly wrap: Glenelg clear on top as Double Blues edge closer

GLENELG has moved a step closer to securing the minor premiership after downing Adelaide in a thrilling top-of-the-table contest, while Sturt moved to within a point of the top two with victory over the Eagles. We recap all the results across the three levels of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL).

SANFL LEAGUE:

West Adelaide 10.2 (62) defeated by Central District 11.11 (77)

Central District moved further ahead of the bottom two sides with a 15-point win over West Adelaide. Jarrod and Travis Schiller were dominant for Central District, combining for 57 disposals, 10 marks, 18 clearances, 11 tackles and two goals, while Troy Menzel booted four goals from 18 disposals, six marks, three clearances and three tackles. For West Adelaide, Christopher Schmidt had 34 disposals, 10 clearances, four tackles and three marks in the win, while Kaine Stevens (31 disposals, five marks, five clearances, four tackles and a goal) and Murray Waite (28 disposals, three clearances and six tackles) also produced big numbers. Bottom-age talent Riley Thilthorpe picked up 15 disposals and had eight marks and two goals in the Bloods’ loss.

Glenelg 15.6 (96) defeated Adelaide 14.10 (94)

Glenelg has all but sealed the minor premiership after downing Adelaide by two points in a thriller at ACH Group Stadium. The Crows had some pretty impressive names in the line-up and hit back in the final term booting the only three goals of the game, but a seven goals to three third term was the difference for the Tigers. Luke Partington‘s continued good form saw him rack up 31 disposals, seven marks, three clearances, seven tackles and a goal, while Luke Reynolds and Liam McBean both booted four goals. South Australian Under-18 state captain Will Gould had 12 disposals and five rebounds in the narrow win. For Adelaide, Bryce Gibbs had the ball on a string with 40 disposals, eight marks, 11 clearances and 10 tackles, while Richard Douglas booted three goals from 34 disposals and 11 marks. Sam Jacobs (13 disposals, 28 hitouts, four marks and two goals had a good battle with former Sydney and Collingwood forward/ruck Jesse White (14 disposals, five marks, 32 hitouts and a goal). Up forward, Eddie Betts put his best foot forward with four goals from 14 touches, two goals and three tackles.

Norwood 22.11 (143) defeated North Adelaide 10.12 (72)

Norwood dominated North Adelaide in a thumping 71-point win which included 15 second-half goals to storm to a massive victory. Sam Baulderstone picked up 28 disposals, 11 marks and six clearances in the win, while Matthew Panos (22 disposals, 10 marks and five clearances) and Anthony Wilson (11 disposals, two marks) both booted five majors in a big day out up forward. Top AFL Draft hopefuls Dylan Stephens (26 disposals, four marks, eight tackles, three clearances and a goal) and Cameron Taheny (10 disposals, one mark and five tackles) continue to feature for the League side. For North Adelaide, Thomas Schwarz had 30 disposals, four marks, six tackles, eight clearances and a goal, while Jarred Allmond (23 disposals, nine marks) and Campbell Combe (30 disposals, four marks, eight clearances and three tackles) were busy.

South Adelaide 10.11 (71) defeated by Port Adelaide 15.9 (99)

Port Adelaide have held firm on a top four spot, downing South Adelaide by 28 points at Flinders University Stadium. AFL-listed players Jack Trengove (25 disposals, eight marks, five tackles and two goals), Peter Ladhams (22 disposals, four marks, 21 hitouts, seven clearances, three tackles and three goals), Sam Hayes (20 disposals, 10 marks, 19 hitouts and a goal) and Willem Drew (26 disposals, seven marks, six clearances and four tackles) all pressed for a call-up to the senior side. The Panthers’ Matthew Rose (30 disposals, seven marks, nine tackles and two clearances), Joel Cross (24 disposals, seven marks, four clearances and a goal) and Abe Davis (19 disposals, five marks and three goals) all tried hard.

Woodville-West Torrens 8.13 (61) defeated by Sturt 13.8 (86)

Sturt drew to within a point of the top two after a strong 25-point win over Woodville-West Torrens at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. Sam Colquhoun continued his ripping form this season with 31 disposals, nine marks, five clearances and nine tackles, while Zane Kirkwood finished with 29 disposals, six marks and seven clearances, and Steven Slimming had 23 disposals, five marks, five clearances and four tackles. James Battersby was a key at the stoppages, picking up 12 clearances – five more than anyone else on the field – as well as 27 disposals, three marks and three tackles. For the home side, Nicholas Hayes had 24 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and a goal, while Jordan Foote helped himself to 28 disposals, nine marks, four clearances and four tackles.

RESERVES:

Glenelg 8.4 (52) defeated by South Adelaide 12.15 (87)

A six goals to one final quarter has seen cellar dwellers South Adelaide cause a remarkable 35-point upset win over Glenelg. The Panthers had booted an inaccurate 6.14 to 7.3 at the final break, leading by just five points despite double the scoring shots. They settled in the final term to find their kicking boots and slot 6.1 to Glenelg’s 1.1. Luke Bogle (21 disposals, five marks, four clearances, seven tackles and three goals), Hayden Sampson (34 disposals, four marks, three clearances and two tackles), Tate Coleman (20 disposals, seven marks, three tackles and a goal) and Jesse McKinnon (18 disposals, three marks, 11 clearances and five tackles) were all among the strong performers for South Adelaide. For Glenelg, Ben Sawford owned the stoppages with 16 clearances to accompany his 32 disposals and eight tackles, while Sam Davies had 24 touches and nine marks, and draft hopeful Callum Park finished with 18 disposals, seven marks and three tackles.

West Adelaide 8.6 (54) defeated by Central District 11.12 (78)

Central District has kept in touch with the top two by defeating West Adelaide in a four-goal win. Isaya McKenzie was the star for the Bulldogs, booting three goals whilst having an impact around the ground with 26 disposals, nine marks, six clearances and two tackles, while Oliver Shaw (21 disposals, nine marks) and Corey Durdin (18 disposals, eight marks) were among South Australian representatives who found their fair share of the footy. Patrick Fairlie was the clear best on ground despite being on the losing side, racking up a massive 35 disposals, 10 clearances, 12 tackles and seven marks for the Westies, while Scott Bentley (25 disposals, eight clearances, nine tackles and four marks) and Ethan Moore (32 disposals, six marks, three clearances and a goal) were other key contributors.

Norwood 12.9 (81) defeated North Adelaide 7.12 (54)

Norwood continued their dominant season with another win, this time over bottom two side North Adelaide by 27 points at Coopers Stadium. Jack Heard had a team-high 25 disposals, four marks and three tackles, while Mac Bower and Sam Buckham (nine clearances) both had 23 disposals in the victory. For the Roosters, James Schwarz had 27 disposals, five marks, seven clearances and seven tackles, while Brayden Kirk had 23 disposals, 10 marks, two clearances and three tackles.

Woodville-West Torrens 11.5 (71) defeated by Sturt 11.7 (73)

Second placed Sturt has stolen the points from the jaws of defeat in the final 10 minutes, winning by just two points against a brave Eagles’ outfit. The Eagles led by 16 points at the 15-minute mark of the final term, before three consecutive goals to the visitors – the last one at the 21-minute mark put them in front by two to steal the win. It was the first time since the first term that Sturt had lead in the game. Mihail Lochowiak was the difference for the Double Blues, booting an accurate five-straight goals from 12 disposals and three marks, while Edward Allen racked up an equal game-high 29 touches to go with three marks, seven clearances, six tackles and a goal. Father-son prospect Casey Voss had 26 disposals, four marks, eight clearances and three tackles, whilst South Australian Under-18 representative Josh Shute picked up 25 disposals and eight marks in the win. For the Eagles. Jake Comitogianni had 29 disposals, six marks, four clearances and three tackles, while Lachlan McNeil was strong on the inside with seven clearances from 17 disposals.

UNDER 18S:

Norwood 13.8 (86) defeated North Adelaide 11.7 (73)

Norwood won a crucial game over North Adelaide after trailing at quarter time and sitting level at the final break. The Redlegs booted six goals to four in the final term, extending the margin to as much as 26 points early in the quarter before the Roosters hit back to get within seven in the last few minutes before the home team settled. Cooper Murley enjoyed a big day out with 31 disposals, six marks, eight clearances, three tackles and three goals, while Sam Morris laid 11 tackles to go with his 18 touches, seven marks and five clearances. Tristan Binder was also strong in front of goal for the winners, booting three majors, whilst Elliott McNamara (18 disposals, four marks, four clearances, four tackles and three goals) was the main source of goals for the Roosters. Harrison Magor was North Adelaide’s best with a massive 34 disposals, five marks, seven clearances and a goal, while Josh Hart had an eye-opening 55 hitouts to accompany his 17 disposals, three marks, six clearances and three tackles working hard through the ruck.

West Adelaide 14.7 (91) defeated Central District 5.8 (38)

West Adelaide has stormed away from Central District to post a large 53-point victory at City Mazda Stadium, booting 11 goals to three after quarter time. Jason Westley (33 disposals, eight marks, 14 clearances, two tackles and two goals) was a clear best on ground for the Bloods, well assisted by Aryan Sareen (33 disposals, nine marks) and Bailey Boughen (22 disposals, nine marks, six clearances and two tackles). For the Bulldogs, Jakob Thomson had 28 touches and 12 marks, while Tyrone Milera looked classy with 21 disposals, three marks, five clearances and seven tackles.

Woodville-West Torrens 17.12 (114) defeated Sturt 1.6 (12)

The top-of-the-table Eagles showed no mercy in a 102-point belting of lowly Sturt. The Eagles booted the last 12 goals of the game in the massive 29 scoring shots to seven win, restricting the Double Blues to just the one major – in the first term – and two behinds in the second half. Lachlan Hoile picked up a game-high 35 disposals as well as five marks, three clearances and three tackles, while Lachlan Jones was not far behind with 31 disposals, six marks, six clearances and four tackles. Bottom-age father-son prospect, Taj Schofield was also productive for the Eagles, racking up eight clearances to go with his 29 touches, while Zane Williams piled on four goals to go with his 24 disposals, four marks, four clearances and six tackles in the win. For Sturt, William Britten-Jones had 29 disposals, 11 marks, seven clearances and two tackles, while Heath Wingard helped himself to 28 disposals and 11 marks.

South Adelaide 18.15 (123) defeated Glenelg 9.6 (60)

A massive six-goal game from South Australian Under-18 state squad key forward Daniel Sladojevic has helped South Adelaide run away with a 63-point victory over Glenelg to snatch fourth spot from the Tigers. Sladojevic racked up 15 disposals, eight marks and 6.2 as well as six tackles in the big win. Jason Horne (28 disposals, seven clearances and two goals) and Damon Freitag (16 disposals, four marks and two goals) also hit the scoreboard multiple times for the Panthers. Tex Dowdell did his best with 23 disposals, eight marks, 10 tackles and two clearances in the loss, while talented bottom-ager Luke Edwards was strong with 21 touches, six marks, three clearances and four tackles, and Austin Kitschke booted four goals from 11 disposals and seven marks.

South Australian weekly wrap: Glenelg pounces as Roosters win battle of the birds

A MASSIVE shake-up in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) League competition saw Adelaide lose to last placed North Adelaide, while Glenelg took full advantage of the upset, downing Port Adelaide to move outright top of the table. With the top-age Under 18s stars back in the sides for a second week, there were plenty of standouts across the board.

SANFL LEAGUE:

North Adelaide 12.13 (85) defeated Adelaide 7.17 (59)

Last placed North Adelaide stunned second placed Adelaide in a 26-point victory despite just one more scoring shot. The Crows will rue their inaccuracy of just seven goals from 24 scoring shots, while Lewis Hender was on target for the Roosters, booting four goals from six shots, while Lee Minervini (three goals) and Mitchell Harvey (two) also hit the scoreboard. Alex Spina was one of three players to record more than 30 disposals for the Roosters in an eye-opening win. For the Crows, Patrick Wilson (32 disposals, 11 marks, five clearances, three inside 50s, three rebounds, three tackles and a goal) was best, while Sam Jacobs (21 disposals, seven marks, 28 hitouts and seven clearances) and Bryce Gibbs (24 disposals, six clearances, six tackles and a goal) showed their experience at state league level.

Norwood 15.13 (103) defeated South Adelaide 7.6 (58)

Norwood moved two games clear of South Adelaide inside the top five after an important 45-point victory over the Panthers. Lewis Johnston racked up 34 touches, four marks, five clearances, five inside 50s, nine rebounds and a goal, while Matthew Nunn booted four goals from 27 disposals, four marks, four clearances, seven inside 50s and nine tackles. Sam Baulderstone was dominant in the ruck with 46 hitouts from 20 disposals, while Matthew Panos had 27 disposals, five marks and seven tackles. Under-18 highly rated prospects Dylan Stephens (17 disposals, four marks, 11 tackles, four clearances and two goals) and Cameron Taheny (seven disposals, three marks and two inside 50s) had mixed impacts. Abe Davis stood out for the losing side with 32 disposals, four marks, seven clearances, five tackles, four inside 50s and six rebounds, while Matthew Rose had 27 disposals, seven marks, seven tackles and five rebounds.

Woodville-West Torrens 11.9 (75) defeated Central District 15.8 (98)

Central District moved to outright eighth on the ladder with an upset win over Woodville-West Torrens. Booting five of the last six goals, the visitors ran away with the contest after an early scare. Travis and Jarrod Schiller found plenty of the ball combining for 58 disposals, seven marks, 14 clearances, 12 tackles, nine inside 50s and two goals, while Fraser Fort slotted three majors from 18 disposals and five marks. For the losers, Joseph Sinor (31 disposals, six rebounds) and Angus Poole (30 disposals, eight inside 50s) were prominent, while Jackson Mead made his League debut and recorded 10 disposals, four marks and two tackles.

Port Adelaide 8.9 (57) defeated by Glenelg 12.9 (81)

Glenelg consolidated top spot with an impressive win over finals-bound Port Adelaide by four goals. Luke Partington was a ball magnet with 34 touches, seven marks, six tackles, four clearances and three rebounds, while Matthew Snook had 32 touches, three marks, six clearances and six tackles. Marlon Motlop booted two goals from 26 touches, four marks and five tackles, while Under-18 state captain Will Gould managed 18 disposals, four marks and eight rebounds out of defence. For Port Adelaide, Willem Drew put his hand up for a senior call-up thanks to 31 touches, four clearances and seven tackles, while Paddy Ryder showed promising signs with 15 touches, 24 hitouts and a goal.

Sturt 17.10 (112) defeated West Adelaide 8.2 (50)

Sturt took full advantage of a Port Adelaide loss to move into third spot on the table with a comfortable 62-point win over West Adelaide. Sam Colquhoun had 39 disposals, 12 marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and six rebounds, while James Battersby was dominant at the clearances with 13, as well as 35 touches, six marks, four inside 50s and six tackles. Kaine Stevens had a team-high 29 disposals, four marks, five tackles and four clearances for the Westies, while Chris Schmidt helped himself to 28 disposals, three marks, seven clearances and three tackles.

RESERVES:

North Adelaide 5.11 (41) defeated by Glenelg 8.15 (63)

Glenelg kept in touch with the top five with an important victory over seventh placed North Adelaide. Ben Sawford led the way for the Tigers, racking up 31 touches, five marks, eight clearances, six tackles and six inside 50s, while Todd Slade had 25 disposals, six marks, four tackles, six rebounds and two clearances. South Australian Under-18 state member Declan Carmody had 14 disposals, three marks, two tackles and a goal in the win. For the Roosters, Dyson Hilder stood tall in defence with 10 touches, four marks and three rebounds, while Jack Blair dominated in the ruck with 51 hitouts from 11 disposals. James Schwarz was the dominant ball winner however, amassing 31 disposals, six marks, seven clearances, six tackles and four rebounds.

Norwood 12.8 (80) defeated South Adelaide 9.11 (65)

Top-of-the-table Norwood continued on its merry way but surprisingly found itself in a tight tussle with cellar dwellers, South Adelaide. Jed Spence picked up 27 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, 11 tackles and a goal, while Jack Heard (25 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and six rebounds) and Isaac Saywell (24 disposals, eight marks and four tackles) were also impressive. For South Adelaide, Hayden Sampson recorded 25 disposals, six marks, four clearances and four tackles, while Tate Coleman helped himself to 19 touches, five marks, four rebounds and three inside 50s.

Woodville-West Torrens 12.17 (89) defeated Central District 7.3 (45)

A massive upset played out in this game, with the Eagles toppling the second placed Central District to run away 44-point victors. The two highest scoring teams were relatively well restricted, with the Eagles snapping a four-game losing streak with the win. Sam Rowland had the ball on a string with 35 touches, five marks, six tackles, seven clearances and six inside 50s, while Jordan West had 27 disposals, 27 hitouts, nine clearances and three inside 50s. Lachlan McNeil (23 disposals, three marks, four clearances, five inside 50s, seven tackles and a goal), Harry Schoenberg (17 disposals, seven marks, three tackles and a goal) and Kysaiah Pickett (15 disposals, four marks, five tackles and two goals) were among the top-age talent running around for the Eagles. For Central District, Rhett Montgomerie had 30 disposals, eight marks and seven rebounds, while Dylan Weaver (30 disposals, four marks and 10 rebounds) was also strong out of defence.

Sturt 17.8 (110) defeated West Adelaide 8.5 (53)

A lazy nine goals to Mihail Lochowiak has helped Sturt run over West Adelaide to the tune of 57 points. A member of South Australia’s Under-18 title winning side last year, Lochowiak was dominant inside 50 with 17 disposals, seven marks – five contested – and six tackles to go with his 9.1. Casey Voss continued his good form with 21 disposals, five marks, four clearances, six inside 50s, six tackles and a goal, while Jed McEntee had 20 disposals, four marks, six clearances and five tackles. Connor Fairlie was the clear dominant ball winner on the ground, racking up 33 touches, 11 marks, three clearances and four inside 50s for the Bloods, while Jonti Inglis had 22 disposals, eight marks, four rebounds and a goal. Highly rated top-age prospect Will Day had 15 disposals, four marks and four tackles in the loss.

UNDER 18s:

Sturt 6.19 (55) defeated West Adelaide 11.8 (74)

West Adelaide kept in touch with top spot thanks to a solid 19-point win over bottom two side Sturt. The Westies had even contributors across the board with Aryan Sareen picking up 24 disposals, six marks and 10 rebounds coming out of defence, while Mackenzie Nield (23 disposals, five marks, five clearances, six inside 50s and two goals) and Joel Groom (21 disposals, three marks, six clearances and a goal) were others who found plenty of the footy. For Sturt, Charlie Allan found plenty of the ball with 26 disposals, seven clearances, nine tackles, six inside 50s and a goal, while Hudson Laycock and Mani Liddy both picked up 24 disposals in a losing side.

Central District 1.8 (14) defeated by Woodville-West Torrens 18.15 (123)

In a win about as comprehensive as it gets, Woodville-West Torrens obliterated Central District in a top-versus-bottom showdown. The Eagles were far too strong, piling on 18 goals from 33 scoring shots to the home side’s one from nine. Lachlan Jones (31 disposals, four marks, seven inside 50s, four rebounds and four tackles) and Lachlan Hoile (30 disposals, eight marks, six clearances, four inside 50s, seven rebounds and a goal) were the two big ball winners, while potential Port Adelaide father-son Taj Schofield had 23 disposals, two marks, four inside 50s, four clearances and two goals in the win. Harrison Dawkins (two goals from 20 touches) and Dale Pearce (four goals from 14 disposals) were key goalkickers on the day. For the losers, Lachlan Grubb (28 touches, seven marks and 10 rebounds) and Samuel Falland (23 disposals, seven marks and nine rebounds) tried hard in defence.

North Adelaide 15.11 (101) defeated Glenelg 11.11 (77)

North Adelaide held off Glenelg to record a 24-point win and retain third spot. The Tigers hit the front at the seven minute mark of the final quarter, before North Adelaide piled on six consecutive goals to put the result beyond doubt. Harrison Magor was prominent in the midfield for the Roosters, booting three goals to accompany his 29 touches, four marks, seven clearances, six inside 50s, two rebounds and 10 tackles, while Tariek Newchurch had a day out in front of goal, slotting seven goals from eight scoring shots. Potential Adelaide father-son bottom-age prospect Luke Edwards showed he will not be in the Under 18s for much longer, racking up 32 disposals, seven marks, nine clearances, 10 inside 50s, 11 tackles and a goal in a dominant performance. Cooper Horsnell had 18 touches, three marks, seven tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s, while Luke Pedlar booted four majors in a losing side.

South Adelaide 18.12 (120) defeated Norwood 4.4 (28)

South Adelaide gained a much needed win over Norwood to move two wins clear of the Redlegs just outside the top four, but the manner in which they did it – a 92-point shellacking was particularly impressive. South Australian Under 18s key forward Daniel Sladojevic had a big, albeit inaccurate day in front of goal, booting 4.4 from 15 touches and five marks, while fellow tall Damon Freitag booted two majors from 17 touches and 40 hitouts. Bottom-ager Zachary Dumesny had 16 disposals, six marks, three inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal, while for the Redlegs, Matthew Dnistriansky returned from his Under 16s duties to be among the best with 21 touches, nine marks, three tackles, three clearances, two inside 50s and four rebounds. Henry Nelligan (21 disposals, four marks, nine clearances, 15 tackles, three inside 50s, four rebounds and two goals) was the standout in the heavy loss.

Scouting notes: AFL U18 Championships – South Australia vs. Allies

SOUTH Australia held firm late-on to finish off its national carnival with a 17-point win over the Allies at Marvel Stadium on Wednesday. Michael Alvaro was on hand to note down some of the prominent players, with all notes opinion-based of the individual writer.

South Australia:

#1 Kysaiah Pickett

The exciting Eagles product proved his worth once again after missing SA’s last game through suspension, collecting 22 disposals and booting a goal. While he is an obvious threat at ground level with his pace and clean hands, Pickett also has good spring and competed well above his head when required. He started well with a ground ball get against three opponents in the first term, wheeling away from them and shooting the ball inboard to Callum Park. Despite spending a lot of time up on the wing, Pickett snared a goal deep inside 50 in the second term with an easy finish into the open goal on the run. It always felt like he was about to do something special when near the ball, and he did as much with a high-flying mark on the wing in the same quarter. Was otherwise a pretty typical display from Pickett, zipping around to mop up at ground level and proving a tackling menace at both ends.

#3 Corey Durdin

Was by no means a big game from the bottom-ager in terms of his disposal output (just seven), but he continues to show little bursts of form in a forward role. There isn’t much of him at 173cm, but Durdin cracks in against bigger bodies and tackles hard – boding well for his inside midfield craft. Showed his class with a snapped goal from a forward stoppage in the first quarter, and caught the eye with a clean pick up and spin on defensive wing in the following term. Should enjoy more midfield time in his top-age year.

#7 Dylan Stephens

The classy mover arguably left his best championships performance for last, racking up a game-high 33 disposals – including nine clearances. Stephens worked tirelessly through midfield for SA, winning the ball in all areas of the ground and proving clinical by foot on his left side. He looked dangerous early when breaking forward, getting hand-offs in areas where he could unleash a long-range shot on goal, despite not quite finding them. While a lot of his best work was done when breaking away from congestion, Stephens also showed an ability to win his fair share of inside ball. His typically pin-point kicking was somewhat compensated as he threw the ball on his boot quickly on occasion in those situations, which is a rare area he can polish up on. Much of his game was one of accumulation, but Stephens’ cleverness shone through at times, with a tap over his opponent and gather on the run at defensive 50 proving shrewd, and his agility in traffic outstanding throughout.

#8 Jed McEntee

Looks to have a really nice mix of class and grit, doing some clever things on the outside while digging in desperately to win the ball at ground level. Had more impact than his stats suggest, and first came into the game with a big tackle on the wing in the opening term. McEntee went on to pop up with little bursts of agility through traffic up the ground, while also running hard forward to mark inside 50 on two occasions, but missing both set shots. He made good on that with his involvement in Jackson Mead’s third quarter goal, diving to get a hand on the ball as an opponent looked to pick it up, winning it, standing up to burst through would-be tacklers and flicking out to Kysaiah Pickett, who moved it on to Mead for a terrific team goal from nothing.

#9 Cameron Taheny

Looked dangerous in the opening stages, showing his typically strong hands overhead and darting a neat kick laterally in his first influential play of note. The dangerous forward spent a lot of time up the ground on a wing, but still proved worthy inside attacking 50 with a slow dribbled goal from a turnover in the first term. Tended to opt for a lot of space on the attacking side when matched up on Mitch O’Neill up the ground, and it allowed him to find over half of his 21 disposals uncontested. It clearly worked in his favour as Taheny used his skills and the time afforded to make a couple of darting hit-up passes toward the forward 50 arc in the third term. A good day for the dynamic SA prospect.

#10 Joshua Shute

Shute managed to accumulate 21 disposals as one of SA’s better outside movers on his customary wing. While his running game was not as obvious as in his other carnival outings, Shute showed good pace when called upon and worked hard to penetrate the arcs at either end by foot. Is one whose stocks have risen after some solid representative action, and has noticeable traits as a rangy outsider.

#12 Will Day

Put in another slick display off half-back, building into the game with a purple patch in the second term. Is a good height while being quite light on, but still held up well in contests to add to his more prevalent outside traits. Only had the two rebound 50s but made some typically neat kicks as he won the ball up the ground. Half-backs are dime a dozen, but Day is starting to set himself apart.

#15 Harry Schoenberg

Was arguably one of the biggest improvers across the national championships, finishing off an outstanding carnival with 27 disposals to earn his state’s MVP award and be named All Australian. Plays a more unheralded role given the class of his centre bounce partners, but well and truly did it all from midfield with five marks, five clearances, four tackles, and a goal. That goal came on the run from range in the second term to spark South Australia’s dominance, and Schoenberg enjoyed a short game of kick to kick with Will Day later in the quarter to pad his stats. He almost snared another goal on the fly in the third term but missed, but just seems to win the ball wherever he goes. Hands out and kicks forward well, making him a rounded midfield prospect.

#18 Jackson Mead

Another strong showing from the potential Port Adelaide father-son, and he started beautifully with a couple of spearing hits through the corridor to find teammates leading up to the forward 50 arc. Mead would go on to rack up the ball well and continued to push forward in damaging fashion on the outside when allowed the time and space. Showed a bit of cheek to throw the ball at his opponent as he was shoved out of bounds, and capped a solid game with his neat checkside goal in the third term. Mead used his frame to win the ball between the arcs, but bit off a bit too much when moving through congestion as he was caught holding the ball just before his goal. Rightly earned All Australian honours, but Port fans will want to keep that on the down-low.

#19 Luke Edwards

One of few bottom-agers in the SA squad but was again impressive in spurts, making him a leading father-son prospect (Adelaide) for next year. Found a spot in the back six throughout the carnival, but will become a good midfielder in time with his clean hands and strong frame. Edwards had a shaky moment early with a pretty bad turnover by foot on defensive wing, but would make amends later in the game with some clean gathers off the deck and improved composure inside defensive 50 as the game wore on. Also had a nice bit of play when recovering from a spilt mark, putting in a quick first few steps to get away from danger. Has a handy bit of versatility and will have impressed many.

#20 Lachlan McNeil

Another less heralded midfielder pre-championships, McNeil was again one of his side’s leading ball winners as a hard-working cog on the inside of SA’s engine room. His impact is not always noticeable, but McNeil’s touches and tackles at the stoppages proved vital in allowing the likes of Stephens to work the ball forward in space. Can work on polishing up his disposal at times, shown by a kick and handball under pressure in the final term, but is a great role player in the midfield mix.

#24 Will Gould

The two-time All Australian defender is an absolute unit, and used his frame to good effect throughout the game. You just always feel nervous for his opponents as he closes in, exemplified best as he threw his body around early and laid a crunching bump on the much smaller Errol Gulden later in the third term, who he has 30kg on. On top of his physicality, Gould is also surprisingly damaging by foot – playing as one of SA’s designated kickers from defence. Given his ability to stand up in tackles, Gould is often cool in a crisis and has the confidence to take the game on by playing on from kick-ins. He did so in the second term, and got busy in the following quarter inside defensive 50 with some neat touches to keep his side composed. He hits the ball hard from that centre half-back position, and that boded well for his 10 rebound 50s from 25 disposals. His ability to play tall became obvious with a couple of marking efforts from the side too, and he looks a dynamic prospect.

#33 Dyson Hilder

Was swung forward in this game and while Hilder did not find whole lot of the ball (eight disposals, two marks), he still had some nice moments with efforts in the air. He was unlucky not to claim a couple more marks in the second term, flying well for one on the forward 50 arc and having one taken away from him with a free kick inside 50. He did manage to hold on for a mark in the final quarter among a decent pack, booting his only goal for the game with the resultant set shot. Enjoyed a promising carnival, formerly forming a solid partnership with Karl Finlay down back.

#35 Karl Finlay

Assumed his usual role as the leading key defender for SA, and did so to great effect to be one of his side’s best in the first half. Only had the four marks from his 11 disposals but it seemed like he had more, starting with a strong take going back on the defensive arc. Finlay followed it up with a couple of spoils in aerial contests in defence and up on the wing, putting in similar efforts in the second quarter. His attack on the ball and consequential rebound on the fly was excellent for a player of his size, and he could be that intercepting defender at the next level – rather than a key position back.

Allies:

#1 Errol Gulden

The bottom-aged Sydney Academy member was again impressive, buzzing around the forward half and proving damaging as he wheeled craftily onto his left side. He started in ideal fashion with a well-read crumb off hands inside 50 and clinical finish for his side’s first and only goal in the opening term. While his spearing passes on the left look good when they come off, Gulden has a tendency to look for those low-percentage kicks across the 50 arc and did turn one over in this game. Can pick his shots better, but is so damaging when he hits them and you would not want to smother his natural talent. Finished with 14 disposals (12 uncontested).

#2 Hewago Paul Oea

The Papua New Guinea-born forward made his usual impact, but also did well to find more disposals than his carnival average (15). His defensive pressure and damage on the outside was terrific, while also flicking out effective handballs when under a touch more pressure. Better known as ‘Ace’, much of the Suns Academy member’s best work was done over the back when streaming forward, sending the ball inside 50 on five occasions and finding Noah Cumberland well to supply him with one of his two goals.

#3 Connor Budarick

Named All Australian in the back pocket, Budarick’s Academy Series MVP award was largely earned for his work through the midfield, and his handball-heavy 21 disposals ensured a solid end to his national carnival. The Suns Academy skipper continued to do the dirty work as the anchor at centre bounces, laying eight tackles and winning over half of his possessions in contested situations despite only standing at 175cm. He is all heart, but has the speed and finishing qualities up forward to make him even more desirable for the Suns. Found the goals with the first major of the second half after cleaning up from Tom Griffiths’ tackle on Will Gould.

#4 Malcolm Rosas Jnr

Rosas continued his electric end to the national championships, combining harmoniously with the Allies’ brigade of zippy smalls to give the opposition defenders headaches. While there is not much of him, the Darwin product has a good knack of prizing the ball free with opponents around, but works even better in space and has the speed to find it. Was one of the more influential Allies with his 15 disposals and three inside 50s, and could have had an even better game with better finishing. Still managed to post two goals after his first-half woes in front of the big sticks and offers some real silk forward of centre.

#9 Mitch O’Neill

The hard-nosed Tasmanian earned second All Australian honours with another solid outing, collecting a respectable 16 disposals on the wing. He often started with a fair bit of separation from his opponent when the centre bounces went up, and it showed as he found a touch more uncontested ball than usual. Did not have as profound an impact as he has shown he can over the last two games with his role on the outer of midfield, but always manages to attract the ball and works hard both ways to help out his defenders and provide for forwards.

#12 Ashton Crossley

The Lions Academy member is a contested ball beast, complimenting fellow big-bodied midfielder Tom Green well at the stoppages to have arguably his best game for the carnival. Is a handball-happy kind of player in his extraction role, and that was no different in this game with his 16 handballs from 22 disposals – with six clearances to boot. Played his role well and provided a physical edge, but can work on polishing up his disposal and running game.

#16 Ben Jungfer

Another inside type in the Allies midfield, Jungfer was slightly down on his usual disposal output with 10. Still fulfilled his role of prizing the ball free and winning it at the coalface, with eight of his possessions contested and three of them ending in clearances. Just gets the ball going forward when allowed to throw it on the boot, and got it moving inside 50 when he could.

#20 Matt McGrory

Was one who stepped up in patches and looked to have built into the game nicely after a relatively quiet opening. Is usually employed out on the wing, but had a couple of good moments under pressure with kicks going inside 50 and showed glimpses of his class that had been more few and far between in previous outings. Showed some promise with his 14 disposals and consolation goal in the final term.

#22 Tom Green

Again led the way for his side as their leading ball-winner (23 disposals, 18 contested possessions, six clearances), bossing stoppage proceedings but having less impact around the ground than he did in his previous outing. Used his big frame to stand up in tackles and keep the ball alive in typical fashion, while laying seven of his own on South Australia’s nippier midfield types. Rightly earned All Australian honours and pushed his case well for top 10 selection come the end of the year as the pool’s leading inside midfielder.

#46 Noah Cumberland

Cumberland just continues to get better and found form at the right time during the carnival. Loves to kick long down the line and get his side going with some rugby-like dash, but was caught out for running too far early on as he tucked the ball under his arm. While he shows moments of his rawness, Cumberland also proved classy with his two goals, and particularly with his nicely weighted set shot in the third term. Had 18 impactful disposals, four tackles and four inside 50s as one of his side’s best. Will be an interesting prospect for the Lions to consider going forward.

Scouting notes: AFL U18 Championships – Vic Country vs. South Australia

VIC Country kept its perfect 2019 National Championships record in tact with a heart-stopping one-point win over South Australia at on Sunday. We were on hand at GMHBA Stadium to note the standouts from either side – and there were plenty – with the opinion-based notes that of each individual writer.

Vic Country:
By: Michael Alvaro

#2 Caleb Serong

Again led from the front for Country, posting fantastic numbers as a constant in the midfield. Serong showcased his inside qualities, making up for a lack of height with his clear strength and intensity around the ball to prize out 10 clearances in all areas of the ground. Given over half of his possessions were contested, Serong’s kicking was compensated at times with some clearing balls skidding along the turf and others ending in turnovers or throw-ins. Still has obvious class though and looks neat with more high percentage kicks, but had a bit of a down day in that area. That still doesn’t take away from his outstanding performance, and he could have ended up with a couple of goals to cap off the display had quick snaps had he put away some his quick chances. Just works so hard and looks tireless, making him a reliable commodity with good versatility.

#3 Cody Weightman

The livewire Stingrays small forward was electric once again for Country, posting his second four-goal haul of the carnival. He is just so dynamic inside 50, hunting the ball and his opponents at ground level, while also flying hight to compound the threats he presented. Weightman’s desperation showed, as he was simply more hungry for the ball in an aerial duel against three opponents in the first term, bringing it to ground. His first goal came with a straightforward mark on the lead and set shot conversion, backing it up with a more typical finish over the back just before the quarter time siren to have two early on. While he looked most likely inside 50, Weightman did well to also find the ball up the ground as the game progressed, but ran forward hard to get free once again. He snared a third goal in the second term with a clever steal in the goalsquare, and added a fourth after half time with a left-footed snap, while also almost producing another highlight as he smothered and hit the post with the ball he won in the final term. Really rising among the small forward stocks.

#4 Sam Flanders

Was brilliant again through the midfield alongside partner-in-crime, Caleb Serong. Has real athleticism and burst at the stoppages to go with his clean hands, allowing him to provide real drive going forward – as shown in his 10 inside 50 entries. Spent some time forward where he looked just as comfortable, using his sizeable leap to mark well overhead and get to a number of contests. A finished product was the only thing lacking for Flanders in those stints, but he did find the goals in the final term with a neat checkside conversion from his holding the ball free kick. Has really adapted well to his midfield minutes and it looks a primary role for him now, with so many weapons to turn to athletically and skill-wise.

#6 Riley Baldi

Was not as prolific in terms of ball-winning as he has been lately, but still made a steady contribution when running through the engine room. Is a hard worker at the stoppages with his willingness to run both ways – tackling well when he isn’t scooting away with ball in hand and onto his left foot. Initially caught the eye with a tackling effort on the wing to earn a free kick, and then started the second half brightly with the first clearance as he moved into the centre bounce. Continued to accumulate from there, and popped up again in the final quarter with a precise kick inside 50 to find Lachie Williams – which is something he seems to have added to his arsenal.

#9 Isaac Wareham

The Rebels defender proved to be a shrewd inclusion for Country, adding to the class across their back six despite not being a huge ball winner. Wareham’s point of difference to his aerially-apt teammates is his ground-level game, mopping the ball up well with clean hands and flicking it on quickly to alleviate any previous danger. Had some nice moments in the final term as he came into the game with some dashing bursts forward, proving an effective mover of the ball out of the defensive half and one-touch below his knees.

#12 Lachlan Ash

It was a typical day out for the Country co-captain, gaining serious meterage with his line-breaking speed and elite kicking skills. Ash’s impact early on came in the air with superior reading of the ball in flight to intercept, recovering well on one occasion as he spilt the mark to move forward. He had a hand in Cody Weightman’s late goal in the first term with a run from half back, which proved a sign of things to come. Ash would go on to accumulate well across half back – positioning smartly, swooping on ground balls, and zipping through traffic at speed to release long balls into Country’s attacking half. His previous work culminated in a couple of unreal plays in the final term, with the first a three-bounce run which he couldn’t quite finish off from 50m. The second proved a game-winner, as Ash backed himself to take on an opponent on defensive wing, burn him off through the corridor and deliver a pin-point pass to Brodie Kemp inside 50 with two opponents closing fast. Ash’s ability to take on such responsibility and create the chance was incredibly impressive, and makes him a real leader.

#13 Jay Rantall

Was one who popped up in patches throughout the game despite consistently featuring at stoppages, catching the eye most as he broke from congestion. Is really starting to come into his own in the midfield, with a strong athletic base boding well for his breakaway traits and bursts forward. The kick on the end of such plays was the only slight issue with Rantall’s game, spearing a couple of stray passes going inside 50 despite looking stylish while delivering at full stride. One of those kicks across the 50 arc ended up coming off as Cody Weightman found the goals, and Rantall almost booted his own major in the third term on the run. Has so much upside and a wealth of nice traits, making him a prospect who is easy on the eye but still developing.

#16 Brodie Kemp

Was the hero of the day, slotting an ice-cool set shot with the last kick of the game to give Country a miraculous win. While Kemp’s strong overhead mark and clinical conversion was the talking point at the final siren, he had already proved his worth earlier in the day. The big-bodied Bendigo product finally enjoyed an extended run through the midfield and was even used forward on the back of his strong overhead capabilities, amassing 27 disposals, seven marks, five clearances, and four inside 50s. Kemp’s cleanliness in snapping up the ball and using it by foot made him so effective early on as he accumulated strongly, working well at stoppages and linking into the forward arc in general play. He just seemed to get into the right spots and made the most of each touch, exemplified best with his game-winning play. Will be moving up draft boards on the back of his versatility and one-touch ability, and will look to finish off the carnival strongly on Wednesday.

#17 Hayden Young

Was one of Young’s quieter games given the lofty standard he has already set, but he still managed to get his rebound game going and won a good amount of ball. The Stingrays product positioned well inside defensive 50 to get on the last line, and worked hard to find space after delivering kick-ins. His kicking game is usually arguably the best of anyone in this year’s draft pool, but Young tended to more often play the percentages with his long-range kicks down the line or into space – showing good decision making but not necessarily always hitting a direct target. You always sensed that Young was hanging around when a Country player marked at half forward, wanting the hand-off to launch a bomb towards goal. He managed to get a couple, but they didn’t quite come off with one shot being smothered straight off the boot. A solid outing, and hardly made a mistake as per usual.

#24 Brock Smith

Smith was ultra-impressive deep inside defensive 50, intercepting well in the air with good judgement while also mopping up the ground balls. He hardly loses a one-on-one, backing up much of the niggle he engages in with his direct opponents as a typical defender. Smith was also composed in possession, using the ball efficiently by foot from defensive 50 and just seems to be a really calm outlet for whichever side he plays in. An important part of a very talented Country back six, providing physical presence and good defensive traits on top of his skill.

#36 Sam De Koning

De Koning was fantastic in the air as a permanent key defender, leaping to intercept almost everything that came his way – whether it was through strong marking or an assured fist. The dynamic tall was as competitive as I’ve seen throughout his top-age year, closing quickly on opponents and leaping well to get to contests he had no right to. Looks to have finally found his position having been tried up forward and through the ruck, with his reading of the play and athleticism making him one of the more exciting key defenders this year.

#40 Charlie Comben

Took on his usual duties in the ruck, winning a game-high 22 hitouts. Comben has been somewhat of a surprise packet during the carnival, and continued his form with some solid contested marks and competitive follow-up work. Showed his marking traits off early with a nice overhead clunk on the lead up to his forward 50, followed by another up the other end from a kick-in. With his aerial prowess in mind, Comben also positoned a kick behind the play on his forward 50 arc for the rushed rebound kick, despite it not coming off on numerous occasions. Capped off a decent day with a terrific chase on Corey Durdin to halt an exciting run and effect the bottom-ager’s shot on goal.

South Australia:
By: Craig Byrnes

#7 Dylan Stephens

A solid outing by the highly rated wingman, who did most of his good work on the outside of the contest. He has some class with the footy and can move through congestion with ease. He was able to run and carry forward of centre, particularly early, highlighted by a brilliant goal in the first term which he calmly slotted after running and bouncing at speed. He has some genuine composure, but perhaps tries to take on to much by foot on occasions and was one of many victims of the skinny GMHBA Stadium boundaries throughout the day by kicking it out on the full in the third term. Stephens finished the day with 20 disposals.

#10 Josh Shute

Another South Australian wingman with some impressive outside tricks who is a lovely modern size at 187cm. Shute caught the eye early with an outstanding smother in the first term which he followed up to collect and kick inside 50 to a dangerous position. He is a one touch player and clean under pressure, but the attribute that’s really exciting is his willingness to take on his opponent. He had multiple moments throughout the day where he’d use a simple side step or candy sell to make the opposition over commit and he was off in no time. He worked hard to create an option in space too, taking 10 marks. While he still has some work defensively, Shute’s 19 disposals had impact.

#12 Will Day

Despite a light 70kg frame, Day is a real goer who will throw his body toward the ball in any situation. He started really well, attacking the in dispute footy and rebounding with penetration. He is equally capable in the air as he is on the ground, creating the flexibility to play on different sized players in the back half. His seven rebound 50s were an equal match high, but he also managed to link further up the ground and find the ball forward of centre. A rangy type who is really starting to win some admirers, he ended the day with 24 disposals.

#15 Harry Schoenberg

This guy is having an outstanding individual tournament and is flying under the radar to an extent. He set the tone for South Australia in the first term, winning 12 disposals and while 10 were handballs, his touches were relevant. He is really clean inside and has sharp hands, perfectly shown in the first term when he executed a fast link up escape in the defensive 50. He is quicker than he looks and possesses some explosive attributes to evade tackles, giving a “don’t argue” fend and hip flick in the term third to get away from an opponent. He finished the day with a team high 32 disposals and six clearances to again be one of South Australia’s better performers.

#18 Jackson Mead

The Port Adelaide father/son prospect produced a real eye catching match, getting involved during defining moments and lifting when the game was on the line. He was clean on the inside and influential on the spread, showcasing both elements in the first half when he won a clearance, carried the ball and superbly hit a target inside 50. He ran both ways, helping the defensive unit when he could and getting in dangerous positions in the front half. He went up a gear in the final term kicking two goals, the first a superb bending snapped finish that got the South Australians up and about. 22 disposals, four clearances and scoreboard impact meant that Mead was arguably one of the most influential players on the day.

#19 Luke Edwards

The son of former Adelaide champion Tyson, Luke is a potential father/son option for next year, but speculation continues to grow that he may opt to nominate for the open draft. With plenty to play out until then, the talented bottom ager is currently playing some outstanding footy and looking like being one of the better 2020 prospects. He again found himself behind the ball on Friday, intercepting, rebounding and often starting dangerous scoring chains. He took an excellent intercept mark in the third term which set up a goal for his team at a vital time. Edward’s ended the game with 23 disposals and is looking more comfortable with every game.

#20 Lachlan McNeil

An inside midfielder who does a lot of heavy work at ground contests, both offensively and defensively. He puts his head over the ball and fights, ensuring that he has a physical impact with or without the ball. While he isn’t the prettiest player in the South Australian side, you know what you are going to get and I suspect Tony Bamford would lock him in to complete his role successfully every game. He is solid overhead too, taking an excellent mark under pressure in the defensive 50 during the tense third term. A solid return again, finishing the game with 23 disposals, six tackles and three clearances.

#24 Will Gould

The intercept defender with the thick set and booming right foot is well on track to become a dual All Australian, after producing a near best on ground performance against Vic Country. It is the first time I’ve seen him live and boy does he provide a physical, almost scary presence when the ball is in his area. He controlled the back half with his ability to read the play and make smart decisions to pick the ball off at will to win 26 disposals. In the second term he competed for a difficult aerial contest and despite being out of position, won the ground ball to highlight his determination. Gould had some huge moments in defence during that manic fourth term, but with the game on the line he managed to win the ball forward of centre and give South Australia the lead with a brilliant running goal from just inside the arc in the final minutes. Vic Country ultimately got that goal back to win, but Gould gave recruiters the best evidence possible that he is a big moment star.

#33 Dyson Hilder

Another South Australian defender who had a large say, the 196cm key position player continues to gain fans with his consistent performances. While he dropped a mark he would usually take in the first term, he barely made another error for the rest of the day. He reads the drop of the ball so quickly, often coming off his man or using excellent body work to protect the position he wants to be. He out bodied the much heavier Josh Smith on multiple occasions and was so calm in difficult situations late in the game. He took some great intercept marks when his side really needed it and made great decisions by foot too. You get the feeling he is one of the best KPDs available in 2019.

#35 Karl Finlay

The South Australian defensive unit is really well credentialed and Finlay was another to impress at GMHBA Stadium on Friday afternoon. Finlay is a little shorter than your modern key position type at 192cm, but he has the flexibility to play on smaller players and is loves to have a say aerially. He really lifted in the second half, taking multiple contested intercept marks and complimented, Gould, Hilder, Edwards, Day and the like perfectly. He flies under the radar a tad like a few South Australians, but he just continues to tick so many boxes.

Country gets home with last kick of the day

A BRODIE Kemp goal in the dying seconds has helped Vic Country remain alive in the AFL Under 18 National Championships competition, defeating South Australia by a solitary point and ending their opponent’s dream of back-to-back national titles. While Country went into the match undefeated and South Australia at 1-1 after dropping a game to Vic Metro, Country needed to win otherwise there was danger of losing the title under the head-to-head rule. It was a see-sawing contest that looked to be in South Australia’s clutches at one stage, particularly when Croweaters’ captain Will Gould had enough of the arm-wrestle and burst off half-back, charged down the middle to half-forward and launched a ripping goal in the dying minutes to put the visitors in front. It took an equally special play from the Country side – starting with Harrison Pepper at half-back winning a crucial contest, to the slick Lachlan Ash in the midfield, pin-pointing an elite kick forward which saw Kemp lunge in from the side and hold it. Taking time off the clock with the set shot, the fate of Vic Country’s title hopes effectively rested on the kick, which Kemp duly delivered from about 50m and saw the home side get up 9.9 (63) to 9.8 (62).

Earlier, South Australia’s top-10 hopeful Dylan Stephens got his side off to the perfect start with a terrific running goal to get the visiting fans up and about in the opening term. The red-hot form of Cody Weightman continued with the exciting Dandenong Stingrays’ forward looking dangerous every time he went near it, combining well with fellow Stingray, Ned Cahill inside 50, and capitalising with two majors. The Gippsland Power brigade of Caleb Serong, Sam Flanders and Brock Smith were superb in the opening term, combining for 24 disposals, while Ash was already having an impact through his slick kicking. Harry Schoenberg‘s ripping form at the carnival continued, extracting the ball from the inside and getting it out, picking up a game-high 12 disposals in the first quarter, while Gould and Jackson Mead were able to execute well with nine touches a piece.

The second term saw South Australia start with more flair as bottom-age talent Corey Durdin and Josh Morris booted goals to help the Croweaters to a little break. Once again, it was the likes of Flanders and Serong who answered the call, with Flanders picking up 11 disposals in the term, and missing a great chance at goal, while Serong was dominating around the stoppages with six clearances to his name by the main break – three more than any other player on the field. Weightman was again causing headaches when he converted his third, while Cahill and potential top five pick next year, Elijah Hollands got in on the party with majors. Country had all the momentum heading into the break, while Schoenberg (19 disposals, three clearances) was a standout for the South Australians, as was Gould and Will Day.

The third quarter saw South Australia again get back on top before Country reeled them in with a late goal, as Durdin booted his second, and Jordan O’Brien and Daniel Sladojevic also converted majors, with Josh Smith‘s late goal crucial for the one side to remain in touch at the final break, just one point behind. Another 10 disposals to Serong in the term saw the Power midfielder looking towards his biggest numbers, while Kemp and Hayden Young were having impact around the ground, particularly coming off half-back. Sam De Koning‘s defensive work outside the stats sheet – including spoils and blocks – were as important as his intercept marking, while up the other end, South Australian tall duo of Dyson Hilder and Karl Finlay were intercepting everything that came their way. It allowed Gould to run off and create passages of play up the ground, while bottom-ager Luke Edwards showed his class as one of the bigger ball winners on the day, and Lachlan McNeil was crucial with quick hands in congestion, as Josh Shute was caused all sorts of issues along the wing.

The final quarter was a nail-biting contest that looked to be going one way then the other, and after an arm-wrestle for the majority, the last few minutes were electrifying. Both sides found their range with Country booting 3.3 to South Australia’s 3.1 after having kicked a combined 12.13 in the first three quarters. Mead had a huge last quarter in the forward half, converting two goals to keep his side in it. The passage of play that saw Gould launch from 50 had the visiting fans up and about with the captain mobbed by teammates believing that had won with only a couple of minutes left. South Australia were able to do the majority of the attacking for the last couple of minutes, with Pepper’s ability to get it to Ash who had the audacity to sidestep and opponent, buy himself time and deliver under pressure to a perfect position for Kemp being the difference. With the weight of his state on his shoulders, Kemp would have received a big tick from recruiters to take all the time off the clock then go back and nail the set shot to help Country to victory, with the siren going before another meaningful possession could occur.

Serong was best on ground for his 33 disposals, nine marks, nine tackles, 10 clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds, while Flanders finished with 28 touches, seven marks, four tackles, three clearances, 10 inside 50s and one goal. Kemp’s heroics were far from the only impact he had for the day, racking up 27 disposals, seven marks, five clearances, four inside 50s and that memorable goal, while Ash had 19 disposals, four marks, six inside 50s and three rebounds, working well with Young (18 disposals, three marks, two inside 50s and seven rebounds), and Weightman finished with four goals for the second time this carnival. For South Australia, Schoenberg racked up another 32 disposals, five marks, six clearances, three tackles and three rebounds, while Gould had 26 disposals, five marks, three clearances, four inside 50s, five rebounds and that long range goal. Day helped himself to 24 disposals, five marks and seven rebounds in a promising performance off half-back, while Edwards (23 disposals, five marks, three rebounds), McNeil (23 disposals, three marks, six tackles, three clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds), Mead (22 disposals, three marks, four clearances, four rebounds and his two last quarter goals) and Hilder (15 disposals, seven marks and seven rebounds) were all strong among others in an even contribution for the visitors.

Vic Country now plays Western Australia for the title in the first game at Marvel Stadium on Wednesday, while South Australia wraps up its carnival with the game against the Allies after that.

VIC COUNTRY 2.2 | 5.3 | 6.6 | 9.9 (63)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 1.3 | 3.6 | 6.7 | 9.8 (62)

GOALS:

Vic Country: Weightman 4, Flanders, Kemp, Cahill, J. Smith, Hollands.
South Australia: Mead 2, Durdin 2, Gould, Stephens, O’Brien, Sladojevic, Morris.

ADC BEST:

Vic Country: Serong, Flanders, Kemp, Weightman, Ash, De Koning
South Australia: Gould, Schoenberg, Hilder, Day, Mead, McNeil