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Draft Central Power Rankings: October 2020

COMBINES, All-Star showcases, and state league finals have brought new life to the 2020 AFL Draft scene, as budding prospects around the nation look to prove their worth ahead of that one day in (likely) early-December. Victorian talents remain in the unknown, but feature aplenty in our list which has undergone a series of minor shuffles. In Draft Central’s latest Power Rankings, the form guide has shot out to 30 names; compared to 25 in our September analysis, and 20 in both August and July.

Among the fresh faces, a South Australian bolter enters the top 25, while two Fremantle Next-Generation Academy (NGA) prospects make their way onto the board alongside a highly-touted Sydney Swans Academy gun. All that, and more in our October Power Rankings update.

Note, the list is ordered purely on our opinion and each players’ ability, not taking into account any AFL clubs’ lists or needs.

#1 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Country | Key Position Forward
4/04/2002 | 194cm | 84kg

Western Bulldogs fans may not entirely enjoy seeing Next Generation Academy (NGA) product, Ugle-Hagan perched atop the tree given the hefty price that comes with it, but should be buoyed by their club having first dibs on such a remarkable talent. The 194cm key position forward has been compared to champion goalkicker Lance Franklin for his athleticism and left-foot kick, but he plays a little differently. Ugle-Hagan’s pace off the lead and sticky hands overhead set him apart, while elite scores in each of the preseason testing events make him an irresistible prospect alone. He is the consensus number one choice at this point, having delivered on the hype as he moved to the Oakleigh region via a scholarship with Scotch College.

September Ranking: #1

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#2 Elijah Hollands
Murray Bushrangers/Vic County | Forward/Midfielder
25/04/2002 | 188cm | 80kg

Hollands’ placing in these rankings will inevitably prove one of the hardest to call throughout the year, given he is set to sit out the entire 2020 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). At this point though, he has done more than enough to warrant top five status at the least, and finds a place in second spot once again. While his knack for producing game-defining periods has most significantly been achieved forward of centre, Hollands has the size and skill to warrant his goal of earning more midfield minutes. With clean hands, athleticism, and a booming boot which often finds the goals, Hollands is all you could ever want from a high-ceiling prospect. Not playing shouldn’t hurt his value too much, but it would have been nice to see him get an uninterrupted crack at NAB League level having finished his schooling at Caulfield Grammar.

September Ranking: #2

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League, and recovery from long-term knee injury.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#3 Logan McDonald
Perth/Western Australia | Key Position Forward
4/04/2002 | 196cm | 86kg

A dominant key position forward with terrific endurance is McDonald, who adds to the strong tall and West Australian representation on this list. The high-marking spearhead ran out for his state thrice during last year’s Under 18 National Championships, averaging a goal per game and impressing with his ability to clunk marks leading up the ground. He has terrific hands on the lead and usually has no trouble finding the big sticks, while his high-level endurance confirms his status as a true, modern-day centre half-forward. Having grown and filled out to a more conventional key position size, McDonald has showcased his game-winning ability from forward of centre in 2020 – something which earned him All-Australian honours as an Under 16s player.

September Ranking: #3

Last Month: McDonald showed off his endurance at last week’s West Australian combine, scoring third in the 2km time trial. On-field, the key forward capped off his season by helping Perth qualify for the WAFL League finals for the first time in over 20 years, but was kept goalless in the Demons’ week one loss. He booted one major the week before, and managed three against Swan Districts before Denver Grainger-Barras was switched onto him.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus | Player Focus

#4 Denver Grainger-Barras
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Key Position Defender
14/04/2002 | 194cm | 78kg

Another tall amongst the top five, and a versatile one at that. While he is definitely most comfortable and renowned as a key position defender, the Swan Districts hopeful’s versatility lies in the varying roles he play inside defensive 50. Credit to his athleticism and slender frame, he is able to keep up with medium types at ground level, while also showing form as a lockdown type on the opposition’s best big forward, or as an intercept marking outlet. Grainger-Barras is a cool head in possession too, boasting a sound kick for his size and composure beyond his years. That same level-headedness and footballing IQ makes him a sound reader of the play from the back, and the leading option in his position.

September Ranking: #4

Last Month: Grainger-Barras was another to showcase his high-level athleticism at the West Australian combine; scoring third in the running vertical jump (left), fifth in the 20-metre sprint, and second in the agility test. After a terrific outing against Logan McDonald’s Perth, the prolific defender rounded out his season with just six disposals and two marks as Swan Districts failed to make finals.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus | Player Focus

#5 Will Phillips
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
22/05/2002 | 179cm | 78kg

We all marvelled at how well Oakleigh graduates Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson have adapted to life in the AFL, and Phillips could be the next Charger in line to do just that having leant on the pair during his bottom-aged campaign. Like Rowell, Phillips is a sub-180cm prospect who consistently finds plenty of the ball and possesses great leadership qualities. He is a well-balanced midfielder too, having plied his trade at times on the outside for Oakleigh en route to premiership glory. Phillips seems to thrive on the inside though, with his hardness and ability to weave through traffic making him an invaluable stoppage asset. The Caulfield Grammar student was set to juggle APS football and NAB League duties in 2020, while standing as a clear leadership candidate for Vic Metro come national carnival time – all before the pandemic hit.

September Ranking: #5

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#6 Riley Thilthorpe
West Adelaide/South Australia | Ruck/Key Position Forward
7/07/2002 | 201cm | 100kg

In a welcome change from last year’s crop, key position prospects will be in abundance at the top end. Thilthorpe is one of them, an athletic ruck/forward who possesses enormous running capacity and can dominate the airways. In his ruck duties, the 201cm West Adelaide product plays more like a fourth midfielder, able to follow up at ground level and cover the ground like a small. He has been utilised in a more forward-oriented role for the Bloods at SANFL League level though, with his goalkicking attributes and diverse skillset already making him a handful for senior players with more mature bodies. Ask any of the South Australian Under 18s who they have most been looking forward to playing alongside in 2020, and Thilthorpe is among them. Jot the name down, he should be among those you are most looking forward to watching, too.

September Ranking: #6

Last Month: The West Adelaide bigman has battled through injury trouble over the last month, unable to get back on the park at SANFL League level despite being named. A niggling groin injury also kept him from testing at the South Australian combine.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

#7 Braeden Campbell
Sydney Swans Academy/Allies | Balanced Midfielder/Forward
4/02/2002 | 181cm | 72kg

While he has again been squeezed out to number seven, Campbell is a player who could potentially sit among the top five come season’s end. Uncertainty lingers over how much exposure NSW/ACT athletes will be able to gain in 2020 given the NEAFL and NAB League scrappings, but one must only watch last year’s Under 17 Futures All-Star showcase to be reminded of Campbell’s talent. He was best-afield in that game, with electrifying speed, hardness at the ball, and a booming left-foot kick catching the eye of all who bore witness. The Swans Academy product is also apt in the short range as well, and has the invaluable ability to impact games in multiple positions. Whether it be on the inside, outside, or forward of centre, Campbell is a match-winner and should cost the Swans a pretty penny in terms of draft points.

September Ranking: #7

Last Month: The exciting Swans Academy prospect booted a goal in each of his three AFL Sydney Premier Division outings for Pennant Hills in September. The Demons won two of those games, but lost most recently in their lone finals dig against St George. The NSW/ACT combine on October 25 will be Campbell’s next point of call.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus

#8 Tanner Bruhn
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
27/05/2002 | 182cm | 73kg

Class with a capital ‘C’ is what Bruhn has been described as, despite his limited on-field opportunities of late. The Geelong Falcons midfielder burst onto the scene as Vic Country’s Under 16 MVP in 2018, but injuries have cruelled him since; having initially required knee surgery after a 2019 preseason incident, and undergone a follow-up procedure that would have had him in doubt to feature early this year. He still managed to add two NAB League outings to his resume towards the end of last season, showcasing his terrific stoppage craft with clean hands and wonderful movement around the ball. Should he eventually enjoy an extended run and put his best form on display, Bruhn could well push to be the premier midfielder of this year’s bunch.

September Ranking: #8

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#9 Lachlan Jones
WWT Eagles/South Australia | General Defender
9/04/2002 | 186cm | 89kg

Yet another NGA prospect, Jones is tied to Port Adelaide and features quite highly on this list. His big frame has seen him adjust well to the rigours of SANFL League football, running out against mature bodies in nearly all of the Eagles’ fixtures thus far. As a general defender, Jones possesses obvious hardness at the ball and can compete both aerially and at ground level, remaining relevant going both ways too. His skills are also a big asset, able to spear passes to high percentage options while also breaking games open with his long-range efforts. Jones may well be one to push further up the list as he progresses in 2020, with some solid traits which point to a quick transition into the next level.

September Ranking: #10

Last Month: Jones is another to have missed some football over the past month, but thankfully not much. An ankle injury kept him from testing at the recent South Australian combine, and also saw him miss Round 14 in the SANFL. After some hit-and-miss form, the big-bodied defender returned in week one of the finals with 19 disposals and 11 rebound 50s as his Eagles went down to North Adelaide.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus Round 3 | Round 8

#10 Nathan O’Driscoll 
Perth/Western Australia | Midfielder/Defender
17/05/2002 | 187cm | 78kg

One of Western Australia’s leading prospects is O’Driscoll, a hard-at-it inside midfielder who can also double as a damaging half-back or wingman. The 187cm Perth Demons product was a standout at Colts level last year, while also breaking through for three outings in the Black Ducks’ Under 18 National Championships campaign as a bottom-ager. Having learnt off the likes of former Perth teammate and Brisbane draftee, Deven Robertson, O’Driscoll is primed to become a permanent midfield fixture having already proven his ball winning capabilities. His penetrating boot and speed-endurance mix make him a prospect with many desirable traits, not to mention his older sister, Emma is already plying her trade at AFLW level for Fremantle.

September Ranking: #11

Last Month: O’Driscoll finished off his top-age campaign as a regular fixture in Perth’s League midfield. While a disposal average of 11 over his last three games does not jump off the page, O’Driscoll looked composed on the ball and was able to impact defensively as well. He runs all day, and proved as much my finishing second in WA’s 2km time trial. He also came runner-up in the 20-metre sprint, while taking out the agility test. He boasts an impressive speed-endurance mix through midfield.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus

#11 Nikolas Cox
Northern Knights/Vic Metro | Key Position Defender/Utility
15/01/2002 | 199cm | 82kg

A 199cm player who can run, kick on both sides, and play just about anywhere? It sounds too good to be true, but that is exactly what Cox brings to the table as his region’s most outstanding draft candidate. Cox cut his teeth as a tall wingman and key position swingman in 2019, juggling his time between school football, 10 NAB League outings, and a berth in the Under 18 Vic Metro squad as a bottom-ager. In 2020, the Northern Knights co-captain was set to develop as a centre-half back, with his athleticism and versatility in the role lending to the fact he has an enormous ceiling. He was also set to be a prime candidate to lead Vic Metro this year, lauded for his professionalism and the example he sets via training standards.

September Ranking: #9

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and AGSV Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#12 Alex Davies
Gold Coast SUNS/Allies | Inside Midfielder
18/03/2002 | 192cm | 85kg

A second Northern Academy prospect and the first Queenslander on this list, Davies is one of the more highly touted big-bodied midfielders of his cohort. Standing at 192cm and filling out to 85kg, the SUNS Academy hopeful boasts the ideal size to not only dominate his junior competitors, but more importantly make an immediate impact at the next level. He has been his state’s prime ball winner for some time and thrives on racking up high contested numbers, but has also displayed terrific poise in traffic and adds releasing handballs to his thumping kicks away from the stoppages. He ran out for four of Gold Coast’s NAB League outings as a bottom-ager, and looked set to prove lynchpin among the Allies squad in 2020.

September Ranking: #12

Last Month: Davies has been inactive due to an elbow injury sustained in August, missing out on Broadbeach’s run to the QAFL Seniors Grand Final.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#13 Reef McInnes
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder
12/12/2002 | 192cm | 84kg

Sitting outside the top 10 due to others’ rises is another inside midfielder and a second NGA product from both the Scotch College and Oakleigh Chargers systems. Attached to Collingwood, McInnes is set to be yet another in the production line of academy and father-son prospects made available to the Magpies, and looms as a first round candidate. While he was pushed out to the forward line in Oakleigh’s stacked premiership side, McInnes is a bull on the inside who can dominate at stoppages. He is hardly the typical slow, strength-dependant type either, able to lean on his agility and awareness to effectively extract from midfield. The versatility he was made to learn as a bottom-ager adds another string to his bow, with goals a valuable part of his game in 2019.

September Ranking: #13

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#14 Zach Reid
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Key Position Defender/Utility
2/03/2002 | 202cm | 82kg

A versatile tall who could push for top 10 status, Reid returned a consistent output during his bottom-age season as a key member of Gippsland’s spine. He was tried up either end and through the ruck across 15 NAB League outings, but looked most comfortable down back and should find a home there once again in 2020. At 202cm, Reid is filling out nicely and can utilise that added strength to compete better one-on-one against big key forwards. He is a terrific judge of the ball in flight and positions intelligently, not just relying on his height to compete aerially. Reid is also both a sound handler and user of the ball for his size, providing a cool head in rebounding transitions.

September Ranking: #15

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and Gippsland Football League.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#15 Kaine Baldwin
Glenelg/South Australia | Key Position Forward
30/05/2002 | 193cm | 90kg

The news of Baldwin’s second ACL tear in as many years – albeit partial this time – was shattering. It means the promising 193cm forward will miss out on yet another season of football after earning All Australian honours at Under 16s level in 2018, and a crack at the SANFL Reserves grade as a bottom-ager. In our eyes, he remains a first round prospect on talent alone, and looked poised to really crack on in 2020 after his initial recovery. He was a handy preseason testing performer, with good returns in the vertical jumps and yo-yo test conveying Baldwin’s ability to crash packs and clunk big contested marks, while also harnessing that aerial dominance in his work up the ground.

September Ranking: #14

Last Month: Inactive due to recovery from long-term knee injury. Earned a National Combine invite for September 30 but did not participate.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#16 Heath Chapman
West Perth/Western Australia | Key Position Defender
31/01/2002 | 192cm | 81kg

A player who has risen into top 20 calculations, Chapman is a key position defender with many points of difference. Having cut his teeth in the role during his bottom-age year, the 193cm prospect has been able to roll off as a third tall down back for West Perth in 2020, utilising his shrewd reading of the play and athleticism to provide dominant intercept marking prowess. His ability to open up the play in transition with long, rebounding kicks is Chapman’s other key strength, making him a versatile defensive outlet who finds plenty of the ball. Given his size and athletic attributes, that third tall prototype seems his most likely avenue to the elite level, though he is just as capable competing as a more traditional key position player.

September Ranking: #16

Last Month: Chapman earned a League call-up in Round 8, but saw his senior stint prove one-and-done after 11 disposals against Claremont. He made a terrific return to the Colts level with 24 disposals and eight marks against eventual premier Subiaco, before managing 16 disposals and six marks amid tough conditions as the Falcons went down to East Fremantle in a preliminary final. He was an impressive performer at the combine too, faring well in the 2km time trial.

>> Draft Watch

#17 Oliver Henry
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Medium Utility
29/07/2002 | 187cm | 77kg

A brother-of who could eventually feature at the top end of this year’s rankings is Henry, the younger sibling of Geelong Cats defender, Jack. The Geelong Falcons product has top 10 potential, able to play up either end of the ground and pull down big marks. While he looks most comfortable up forward as a high-flying third tall type, Henry is just as capable down back where his aerial prowess translates to intercept value. At 187cm, he plays above his size through sheer athleticism and reading of the play, with the potential to also move up onto a wing. If Victorian prospects had been allowed back onto the park in 2020, Henry would likely have been one to rise quite steeply given his enormous upside and versatility.

September Ranking: #17

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League, local, and school football.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#18 Archie Perkins
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Forward/Midfielder
26/03/2002 | 186cm | 77kg

Perkins has all the makings of a special talent. Having caught the eye as a forward and outside midfielder in 2019, the Sandringham Dragons standout was poised to spend more time on the inside as a top-ager, with just the right size and some incredible athletic attributes to aid his transition. Perkins boasts a monster vertical leap, covers 20 metres in less than three seconds, and is brilliantly agile, making for an ideal athletic base. His finishing touch is an area he can refine, but the 186cm prospect is no stranger to finding the goals and can be a real game changer when required. Damage or impact is a key trait which is often hard to measure, but Perkins ranks highly in that department.

September Ranking: #20

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#19 Caleb Poulter
WWT Eagles/South Australia | Midfielder/Forward
12/10/2002 | 192cm | 79kg

One of this year’s brightest bolters, Poulter has rocketed up draft boards after an eye-catching start to his top-age season. The big-bodied midfielder brings a serious presence through midfield, able to win plenty of the ball himself while also hunting the opposition with tackling pressure. Add to his midfield craft the ability to take big marks overhead, hit the scoreboard with his penetrating left boot, and utilise his terrific athletic base, and you have a prospect who can wreak absolute havoc at his best. With some senior football also under his belt in 2020, Poulter has stood up and been noticed quickly. It has been a steep rise since his Under 16 carnival in South Australian colours last year.

September Ranking: #23

Last Month: Poulter’s stocks have risen not only on the back of a Reserves call-up and some solid form, but also due to his outstanding combine results. The tall midfielder came fourth in South Australia’s 20-metre sprint, second in the running vertical jump (right), and fifth in the 2km time trial. On-field, he managed four Reserves outings before returning to the Under 18s with a bang, booting two goals from 18 disposals. He also managed 20 touches in the Eagles’ finals win over South Adelaide, most recently. Poulter has spent a bit of time on a wing, and boasts great versatility in the sense that he can also roam forward or impact on the inside.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch

#20 Zane Trew
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder
26/04/2002 | 185cm | 80kg

Trew is one of many top-end prospects who have had to battle injury throughout their bottom-age seasons, but he looks primed to bounce back well in 2020. Hailing from the talent-stacked Swan Districts program, Trew is a classy inside midfielder who can rack up plenty of ball in style, backed by his 40-disposal effort in last year’s WAFL Colts competition. While he was limited to just three outings and missed Under 18 selection for WA, the 186cm prospect should not be forgotten in first round discussions. Trew is a handball-happy extractor, able to flick out releasing touches to his runners, but he is just as effective by foot with clean skills at short range and penetration when required. Should be a lock for the WA engine room this season with representative games ahead.

September Ranking: #19

Last Month: Despite Swan Districts’ inability to make finals, Trew finished his WAFL Colts campaign on a high. The inside midfielder was seemingly teased with a senior call-up, but instead racked up 22 and 32 disposals in his final two Colts appearances. He also laid a combined 19 tackles in those games, and took part in the West Australian draft combine. Trew achieved a much more consistent run this season, despite some slight injury troubles.

>> Draft Watch
>> Draft Diary 1 | 2
>> Marquee Matchup

#21 Tom Powell
Sturt/South Australia | Midfielder
2/03/2002 | 183cm | 74kg

There are few more consistent ball winners than Powell, who has put an interrupted bottom-age season behind him to emerge as arguably Sturt’s most promising draft prospect. The Double Blues standout simply finds the ball at will, able to get his side going on the front foot from midfield with clever positioning, movement, and extraction. He may be a touch handball happy, but is an elite exponent of that tool and is beginning to mix in his kicking to have an even greater impact on games. At his best, Powell is nothing short of dominant, though goals and a greater run-and-carry game would make him a complete midfielder – think Lachie Neale‘s development.

September Ranking: #18

Last Month: Calf tightness restricted Powell in light of the recent South Australian combine, and he seemed to carry the same niggle into his latest game. The midfielder returned a rare performance of under 20 disposals in Sturt’s semi final loss to Norwood, but averaged 31.7 disposals and 8.3 clearances across his other three September appearances. It will take something big to keep him down for a second week, as he looks to help the Double Blues qualify for an Under 18s Grand Final.

>> Feature (April) | (September)
>> Draft Watch

#22 Finlay Macrae
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
13/03/2002 | 184cm | 75kg

You may recognise the name and yes, Finlay is the half-brother of Western Bulldogs midfielder, Jack. They are quite clearly cut from the same cloth, with the younger Macrae possessing a similar ball winning appetite and class on the ball to his established older sibling. The 184cm Charger also boasts a terrific balance in his traits, able to impact the play moving forward with sound decision making and precise execution via foot, on top of his obvious exploits in extraction. While he is not overly quick, Macrae’s evasiveness comes through agility and awareness, which would have been on full show as he prepared to feature prominently for Oakleigh, Xavier College, and Vic Metro in 2020.

September Ranking: #21

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#23 Jack Carroll
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Midfielder/Defender
20/12/2002 | 187cm | 76kg

A fresh face to last month’s expanded list, Carroll has plenty of first round suitors. Coming into his top-age season, Carroll was pegged as a classy outside midfielder or half-back who moved well and used the ball efficiently by foot. But after nearly a full season of WAFL Colts football through midfield, the 187cm prospect has also shown his worth inside the engine room. Carroll measures up at a good height and while he may be a touch light around the contest, he uses his high-level agility and poise to weave through traffic before effectively disposing of the ball. A versatile talent with good upside, Carroll is destined to rise even further.

September Ranking: #22

Last Month: Carroll’s season ended after he suffered a broken wrist in Round 8 of the WAFL Colts, having run out the game against Subiaco to collect 18 disposals. He still managed to test at the West Australian combine, achieving second place in the standing vertical jump, and fifth in the running jumps off either foot. He faces a race against time to play in the upcoming All-Star fixtures.

>> Draft Watch

#24 Brayden Cook
South Adelaide/South Australia | Wing/Forward
18/07/2002 | 189cm | 82kg

Search for the 2020 AFL Draft bolter, and Cook’s name is likely the one you’ll find top of any list. The South Adelaide prospects has come from the clouds to not only put himself within draft contention, but right up into top 25 calculations. Plying his trade either up on a wing or inside forward 50, Cook is a game-winner who is capable of kicking bags of goals and taking eye-catching marks. His size allows him to not just rely on his vertical leap, but also out-work his opponents one-on-one, with his terrific goal sense often helping finish the job. Having put his name on the map, the wingman/forward can now look forward to featuring among his state’s All-Star showcase.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Cook enhanced his draft stocks with some handy combine results; coming fifth in the 20-metre sprint, fourth in the standing vertical jump, and fifth again in the running vertical jump (right). Most recently, he was kept goalless as South Adelaide bowed out of the Under 18s finals race, though Cook has proven his worth with a bag of five goals this month, and two majors in every other effort.

>> Draft Watch

#25 Joel Jeffrey
NT Thunder/Allies | Utility
12/03/2002 | 192cm | 80kg

The sole representative from the Northern Territory in our top 25, Jeffrey is arguably the region’s most promising draft prospect this year. Having grown to 192cm, Jeffrey is a true swingman who can dominate aerially up either end. His reading of the ball in flight is exceptional, and his sticky hands do the rest of the work as he pulls down big marks. The son of NT legend Russell Jeffrey, Joel comes from good pedigree and is terrifically athletic for his size; boasting speed to burn, a sizeable leap, and clean hands at ground level. Having gained senior football experience with Wanderers in the NTFL, Jeffrey was set to move to Queensland this year given his ties to the Gold Coast SUNS via their access to the Darwin zone. The move was ultimately put on hold due to the current pandemic, but Jeffrey looks likely to end up in the Sunshine State come season’s end.

September Ranking: #25

Last Month: The NT native took part in the recent Queensland combine, while also starring in the NT All-Stars game with three goals. He was utilised as a lead-up forward in that outing, the position he is said to prefer, although he is arguably just as good as an interceptor down back.

>> Draft Watch

#26 Brandon Walker
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Half-Back
17/10/2002 | 183cm | 75kg

Introducing one of the smoothest movers of the potential 2020 AFL draft cohort, who is tied to Fremantle’s NGA. Dockers fans will be desperate to downplay Walker’s potential, with elite speed, agility, and vertical leaps combined with clean skills to make up the East Fremantle prospect’s game. He looks a damaging outlet off half-back with his line-breaking ability and precision via foot, while also providing solid defensive cover credit to eye-catching aerial feats and reading of the play. Walker can also move through midfield, adding another string to his bow as he develops. His twin brother, Chris joins him at East Fremantle and in the Dockers Academy.

September Ranking: #24

Last Month: A sore foot post WAFL Colts finals football kept Walker from performing at the WA combine, though he has shown some handy form on-field. The defender averaged 18 disposals over his last four games, and managed 15 in East Fremantle’s preliminary final loss to Subiaco. He has been named at centre half-back most weeks, but loves to break the lines and deliver forward. He’ll be a half-back at the next level.

>> Draft Watch

#27 Bailey Laurie
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Forward/Midfielder
24/03/2002 | 178cm | 76kg

Another member of Oakleigh’s talent-rich 2019 premiership side, Laurie also features highly in our estimations. The small forward/midfielder is a livewire, and can take games away from the opposition quickly as a high-impact player. His forward running and wonderful agility make for some highlight-reel snippets, consisting of line-breaking bursts and baulks which make his opponents look silly. The Caulfield Grammar student is a great character and a teammate who others love to play alongside, adding a different element to his on-field prowess.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#28 Eddie Ford
Western Jets/Vic Metro | Medium Forward/Midfielder
21/06/2002 | 186cm | 80kg

If you’re after one of the best Under 18s highlight packages among this year’s crop, then look no further than Western’s Ford. The Jets’ leading prospect is capable of taking high marks, booting long goals, and bursting forward to break the lines with his explosive athleticism and speed. Having cut his teeth as a medium forward, the 186cm Victorian has recently requested tape of Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe as he looks to sharpen his midfield craft. He certainly has the size and athletic profile to make the transition, and would have done so with some time on the park as a top-ager. You may remember his Under 17 Futures All-Stars performance from last year, which is what he can produce at his best. Consistency will be key.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#29 Errol Gulden
Sydney Swans Academy/Allies | Small Forward/Midfielder
18/07/2002 | 172cm | 68kg

Seemingly joined at the hip with fellow Swans Academy gun Braeden Campbell throughout their journey to the bigtime, Gulden has long been a highly-touted prospect. The small utility broke through to claim the Division 2 MVP award at the 2018 Under 16 National Championships, racking up mountains of the ball and kicking bags of goals. Since, he has carried such form into his outings with the Swans Academy, while also playing senior footy in the AFL Sydney Premier Division, and representing the Allies Under 18s last year. The crafty mover is small, but holds his own and is as naturally talent a prospect as there is this year.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Gulden’s month began brightly with two goals, and second-best afield honours as his AFL Sydney Premier Division side beat the Inner West Magpies. He returned against the North Shore Bombers but was held goalless, with a Grand Final appearance against Sydney University and the NSW/ACT combine his next points of call.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#30 Joel Western
Claremont/Western Australia | Small Midfielder/Forward
12/10/2002 | 172cm | 68kg

Fremantle’s NGA talent program has proven one of the more successful producers of AFL-level players since its inception, and Western is one of a few highly touted prospects set to take the next step in 2020. The Claremont captain took his side to a second consecutive WAFL Colts Grand Final after last year’s premiership triumph, overcoming some early injury concerns to run out an outstanding season. The small midfielder is all-class through the engine room, able to zip out of traffic and deliver the ball forward with freakish skill. As will be expected at the elite level, Western is also capable of playing up forward and even across half-back, making him a player with plenty of upside for Dockers fans to look forward to.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Claremont’s Colts Grand Final commitments saw Western become unavailable for the WA combine, though it mattered little given his on-field performance. Playing predominantly through midfield, Western raised his stocks with a consistent end to the year, averaging 23 disposals across his last three games. He stands up in big games and can find the goals, making for a couple more handy points of difference.

>> Draft Watch

IN THE MIX:

The recent combines and finals football has brought out the best in a lot of players, who may be flirting with top 30-40 contention. Adelaide NGA hopeful James Borlase was recently best afield for Prince Alfred College in the SA All Schools Cup Grand Final, while Port father-son prospect Taj Schofield lit up the South Australian combine. Zac Dumesny made a solid return from injury in the SANFL Under 18s, as did Luke Edwards in the Reserves. The likes of Corey Durdin and Luke Pedlar remain sidelined, however.

Over in WA, Isiah Winder was another to test well in his state’s combine, while Subiaco’s Lachlan Vanirsen and Claremont’s Jack Avery have shot into draft contention on the back of fantastic finals series. Vanirsen took out the Jack Clarke Medal and was also named best afield in the WAFL Colts Grand Final, which the Lions won.

Brodie Lake‘s impressive All-Stars outing and combine results will have Gold Coast fans smiling, as the NT native falls under their Darwin zoning. Brisbane Academy members Blake Coleman and Saxon Crozier recently helped Morningside upset Broadbeach in the QAFL Seniors Grand Final, while Tasmanian Jackson Callow was in a rich vein of form before being injured.

Victorians Connor Downie, Jake Bowey, Max Heath, and Cody Brand are among those also around the mark.

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

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

Central Districts VS North Adelaide

League:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reserves:

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

Under 18s:

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

 

Glenelg VS Woodville-West Torrens

League:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reserves:

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

Under 18s:

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

 

South Adelaide VS West Adelaide

League:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reserves:

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

Under 18s:

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

 

Sturt vs Norwood

League:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reserves:

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

Under 18s:

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

Caught the Eye: 2020 SANFL Under 18s Round 4/WAFL Colts Round 1

WHILE the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) rolled onto Round 4 of its 2020 competition, the West Australian Football League (WAFL) made its return over the weekend, with a bunch of young stars running out across both states. In a first for the Caught the Eye series, we compile the best performances from two competitions; highlighting the Round 4 SANFL Under 18 standouts, and those who put their name in lights in the WAFL Colts Round 1 featured fixture. For extended profiles on each player, click on their names highlighted in red.

>> FULL SANFL U18s Scouting Notes
>> FULL WAFL Colts Scouting Notes

SANFL UNDER 18s

WWT Eagles vs. North Adelaide

Henry Smith
WWT Eagles | Key Position Forward/Ruck
202cm | 82kg

Stats: 10 disposals | 5 marks (3 contested) | 6 tackles | 8 hitouts | 2 inside 50s | 3 behinds

Our scouts said: “The second of WWT’s bigmen, Smith played as a permanent forward and looked the most likely aerial target afield… what was most impressive about Smith, contested marking aside, was his ability to impact the play after aerial contests, with solid tackling efforts and touches at ground level adding a handy dimension to his game.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: It was great to see Smith return to action for the first time in 2020, and he definitely played a key role in getting the Eagles over the line for their first win. Along with skipper Zac Phillips, Smith is hard to stop at full flight when he is allowed to get a good jump at the ball up forward, and provides the added bonus of being able to ruck inside 50. With his ability to impact the play at ground level, Smith may well be one to keep tabs on in the coming weeks.

William Dowling
North Adelaide | Midfielder/Forward

Stats: 17 disposals (14 kicks) | 6 marks | 3 tackles | 2 clearances | 4 inside 50s | 4 goals

Our scouts said: “While he is still a touch raw and had a couple of costly moments amid the speed of the game, Dowling kept his head up and was able to impact the play when it mattered. His work rate to burst forward from midfield was impressive, and played a big part in helping him register chances on goal.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: There have been a few 16-year-old jets to make an immediate impact on the Under 18s competition, and Dowling put his name in lights as the most recent to do so. The Roosters midfielder had a terrific final term where he looked the most likely outlet up forward, booting three goals to cap off his promising debut. The signs are certainly there, and if he can sure up his kicking under pressure and more consistently showcase his talent, he will be a real asset for North Adelaide going forward.

Central District vs. Norwood

Shay Linke
Central District | Midfielder/Forward
189cm | 76kg

Stats: 22 disposals | 7 marks | 12 tackles | 2 clearances | 3 inside 50s | 2 rebound 50s | 2 behinds

Our scouts said: “Linke again provided plenty of pressure from his midfield role. His taller frame complemented the smaller (Lewis) Cowham and (Austin) McDonald in the Bulldogs midfield. Although the Tanunda prospect made a couple of mistakes by foot, he competed well at ground level all day.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: The tall midfielder has been a rather consistent figure for the Bulldogs and while he was unable to properly impact the scoreboard on this occasion, his usual ability to find both the ball and the goals is a desirable trait. Though he is outside the state academy bubble, Linke’s frame and upside suggest he could break through in his top-age season if form persists.

Henry Nelligan (League)
Norwood | Small Forward
170cm | 69kg

Stats: 10 disposals (6 kicks) | 2 marks (1 contested) | 3 tackles | 3 inside 50s

Our scouts said: “He started slowly but worked into the game, finding more of the ball as the game wore on… with his attack on the ball and tackling pressure evident, despite his smaller stature.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: After earning his way to a League berth via the Reserves, it has been a difficult start to life at the top level for Nelligan. Despite that, the diminutive forward looks to be adapting to the level well after two weeks, having found more of the ball and maintained his pressure output against the Bulldogs. Norwood has been known to give chances to its best junior talent, and Nelligan will surely benefit from the experience massively in his top-age campaign.

Sturt vs. South Adelaide

Morgan Ferres
Sturt | Key Position Forward
188cm | 80kg

Stats: 17 disposals | 10 marks (6 contested) | 3 tackles | 3 inside 50s | 5 goals | 3 behinds

Our scouts said: “The talented bottom-age key position prospect started the game slowly, but really grew into the contest and proved to be the main source of scoring for Sturt once again… Ferres would go on to kick the match winning goal, getting into free space and coolly slotting the set shot.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: This kid really is one to watch. Standing at 188cm, Ferres plays more like a key position forward with his strength in one-on-one situations deep, and ability to kick big bags of goals. But that is not the extent of his talent, with the Double Blues bigman also able to push further afield to impact with his marking power, and possessing terrific all-round athleticism for his size. He was just as effective for SA at Under 16 State level, and is often too far developed for his junior opponents. He leads the competition goalkicking charts with 15, and still has a year left to improve.

Matthew Roberts
South Adelaide | Midfielder/Forward
183cm | 76kg

Stats: 22 disposals | 3 marks | 5 tackles | 3 clearances | 3 inside 50s | 2 goals

Our scouts said: “Roberts was on fire early… his ability through the midfield was again on show, not only using his strong fame to win clearances but also using his smarts and work rate around the ground to provide an outlet.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: The Panthers’ midfield is so well balanced and talented, with Roberts a key part of the mix. While his nous around the contest allows him to extract his own ball, he is just as damaging on the outside where he can better size-up the situation. Add to that Roberts’ scoreboard impact, and you have a great midfielder/forward package. He’ll be hard to stop alongside Jason Horne this season, and in 2021.

Glenelg vs. West Adelaide

Luke Pedlar
Glenelg | Inside Midfielder/Forward

Stats: 24 disposals | 7 marks | 6 tackles | 3 clearances | 1 inside 50 | 1 rebound 50 | 2 goals

Our scouts said: “The Bloods had no answer for Pedlar, as the big-bodied midfielder used his strength in aerial contests and stoppages to out-body his opponents, get to the ball first and hold strong marks. He controlled his aggression to ensure that while he laid crunching tackles, he did not give away unnecessary free kicks.” – Tom Cheesman

Verdict: There were a host of Tigers who could have snatched this spot for their performances over the weekend, but Pedlar has simply done it best, for longer. The explosive midfielder does not just use his strength to overwhelm opponents, but is quick and aggressive in his forward bursts. His penetrating left boot could do with some refining in the short range, but Pedlar is also able to use it to hit the scoreboard, making it a real asset. Presence is always a key factor when analysing a player, and Pedlar definitely has it.

Bailey Chamberlain
West Adelaide | Balanced Midfielder
179cm | 70kg

Stats: 22 disposals | 5 marks | 4 tackles | 1 clearance | 3 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “It was a tough day for the Bloods after quarter time, but Chamberlain tried his best to keep them competitive. The AFL Academy Hub member worked hard up and down the wing, using his explosive speed to find the footy and break away from opponents.” – Tom Cheesman

Verdict: Chamberlain is definitely the Bloods’ best Under 18s player at the moment, and has had to improvise in order to help his team out. He has been sighted a touch more running back to defence and on the outer in recent weeks, though arguably his best value can be seen on-ball. His ability to help calm the back half shows real leadership, though it is a struggle for him at times to extract on the inside amid heavy attention, and with a relatively small midfield brigade in tow.

>> AFL Draft Watch: Bailey Chamberlain

WAFL COLTS

Subiaco vs. Claremont

Matthew Johnson
Subiaco | Inside Midfielder
192cm | 80kg

Stats: 24 disposals | 6 marks | 4 tackles | 7 inside 50s | 1 goal

Our scouts said: “The North Beach junior was outstanding through midfield for Subiaco. Playing as the centreman, Johnson racked up 24 disposals, recorded a game-high seven inside 50s, took six marks, laid four tackles, and kicked a goal in a powerful performance.” – Lenny Fogliani

Verdict: Johnson is a real prospect at 192cm, having grown even more after an Under 16s season which saw him represent his state. His size and aggression around the ball make for the right stuff as an inside type, and he certainly looked the part for Subiaco on the weekend. Johnson’s ability to pump the ball forward, move forward himself, and find the ball are all promising traits. One to watch for next year.

Joel Western
Claremont | Small Utility
172cm | 68kg

Stats: 29 disposals | 4 marks | 4 tackles | 3 inside 50s | 1 goal

Our scouts said: “Arguably the best player on the ground, Western showed why he is one of the players to watch out for in this year’s WAFL Colts competition. He finished with a game-high 29 disposals, four marks, four tackles, three inside 50s, and a goal. His desire to take the game on with his speed and skill execution went a long way towards Claremont winning the game.” – Lenny Fogliani

Verdict: Western picked up right from where he left off in last year’s premiership-winning Colts side, this time taking the reigns as Claremont’s primary ball winner. Proving us wrong, the Fremantle NGA prospect looked terrific through midfield and looks as if he could find a home there despite his 172cm frame. Freakish skills, clean hands, and evasive awareness make him a difficult player to stop, and he was a key player for the Tigers this time out. Creeping up to the top 25 range.

>> AFL Draft Watch: Joel Western

Picture: Jackson Flindell/The Sunday Times/SANFL

>> July 2020 Power Rankings

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 4

ROUND 4 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a heavy focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in.

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

WWT Eagles vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

WWT Eagles:

#7 Caleb Poulter

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

#19 Zac Phillips

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

#25 Henry Smith

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

#31 Jase Burgoyne

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

Others:

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

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide:

#9 Jamison Murphy

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

#15 William Dowling

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

#21 Tariek Newchurch

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

#24 Kallis Freer

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

Others:

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

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Central District vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

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

#15 Lewis Cowham

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

#26 Shay Linke

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

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

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

Others:

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

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

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

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

#6 Michael Cavallaro

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

#9 Alastair Lord

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

#10 Mitchell Trepka

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

#17 Daniel Fairbrother

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

#21 Jack Saunders

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

#30 Finn Heard

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

#55 Henry Nelligan (League)

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

Others: 

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

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

Sturt vs. South Adelaide

By: Ed Pascoe

Sturt:

#17 Mani Liddy

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

#18 Tom Powell

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

#32 Morgan Ferres

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

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

South Adelaide:

#9 Jason Horne

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

#21 Matthew Roberts

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

#35 Nicholas Kraemer

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

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Glenelg vs. West Adelaide

By: Tom Cheesman

Glenelg:

#2 Nasiah Wanganeen

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

#10 Ty Murphy

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

#13 Luke Pedlar

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

#17 Cooper Beecken

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

#21 Riley Holder

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

#22 Lewis Rayson

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

#28 Hugh Stagg

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

#33 Will Schreiber

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

Others:

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

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide:

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

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

Others:

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

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

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

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

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

>> July Power Rankings

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

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

>> SCROLL for full results 

North Adelaide vs. WWT Eagles

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

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

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

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

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

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

West Adelaide vs. Glenelg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Norwood vs. Central District

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South Adelaide vs. Sturt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 3

ROUND 3 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we turned our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a heavy focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so also get a look-in.

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

South Adelaide vs. Central District

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide:

#4 Max Clifton 

The inside midfielder stood up for the Panthers, who were without skipper Nick Kraemer for much of the contest. Clifton was a constant presence around the contest from the outset, showing a nice burst of speed to break away from the opening bounce. Later on, he completed a quick one-two before kicking long inside-50 to set-up a Phoenix Spicer goal.

Although his toughness in-tight and strong tackling was once-again terrific, Clifton also had a strong influence around the ground. His clever knock-on in the second term helped generate a promising inside-50 entry for South. Clifton backed his strength and speed when he took on the man on the mark after electing to play-on, ultimately gaining a few vital extra metres. Whilst his field kicking was hot-and-cold, he showed good penetration by foot. A regular contributor for the Panthers, Clifton was again prolific against the Bulldogs, concluding the outing with 25 disposals, two marks, seven tackles, five clearances and seven inside-50s.

#9 Jason Horne 

The clash between South Adelaide and Central District featured a handful of the state’s best bottom-aged talent, and 2018 SA Under 16 skipper and MVP, Horne stole the show. Horne lined up against fellow under-ager Austin McDonald at the opening bounce but also spent time on Lewis Cowham throughout the contest. Despite being a year-younger than the majority of players out there, Horne showed signs of his prodigious talent and looked a cut-above at times.

Highlights of his game featured a series of textbook roves, a terrific contested mark in a heavily crowed pack, and three last quarter goals. His foot skills were neat throughout the match and he wasn’t afraid to attempt risky inboard passes. Like many of his teammates, his tackling was excellent. Horne collected 26 disposals, eight marks, six tackles, four clearances and four inside-50s to go with his second bag of three goals at Under 18s level.

#15 Liam Hamilton

Medium-forward, Hamilton kicked a game-high five goals in the 76-point triumph, showing both skill and goal sense at ground level, and strength in the air. He dribbled home the game’s first goal after just 19 seconds and, just moments later, kicked the Panthers’ third with a neat right-foot snap. His positioning and ability to judge the flight of the ball better than his opponents allowed him to take eight marks, all of which were uncontested. He concluded the outing with 18 disposals and could have even kicked more if not for three behinds.

#18 Zac Dumesny (League)

The utility produced his best performance since making his League debut in Round 1. Throughout the day, Dumesny found himself in acres of space, often taking a mark with no Bulldogs opponent in sight. Able to play a roll in all three zones, Dumesny spent time as the link-man across half-back and along the wing at X Convenience Oval. In the opening term, he found veteran midfielder Joel Cross with a well-placed left-foot kick to his advantage. Shortly after, he took a mark from a short Cross kick and, this time, used his trusty right boot to centre the ball to the hotspot, 35-metres out from goal. He continually showed great footy intelligence to find open space and used the ball with trademark efficiency.

In the second term, Dumesny’s composure was evident when he resisted pulling the trigger on a long kick downfield and chose to handball to an open teammate rather than blaze away. Whilst a couple of his kicks didn’t reach their intended target, his field kicking was largely impressive and helped South retain possession. In the third term he found himself alone inside 50, marked the centring-ball from Beau McCreery, and converted the regulation set-shot from short range. It was another encouraging performance from Dumesny, who appears to have cemented his spot in the South Adelaide League side thanks largely to his clean skills (kicking at 91 per cent efficiency for the season), versatility and smart running. Dumesny finished with 19 disposals, ten marks, a goal and three inside-50s.

#21 Matthew Roberts

Whilst fellow bottom-ager, Horne stood-out with his stoppage nous and scoreboard impact, Roberts was equally brilliant around the ground, gathering another 27 disposals to back-up his 32-touch effort in last weekend’s loss to Glenelg. Roberts’ foot skills were typically clean all day, with his damaging left-foot picking out targets which many players would be hesitant to even attempt.

Whilst he wasn’t as dominant at the stoppages as last week, his lightning-fast, clean hands were a highlight. Roberts ran all day, but more importantly, he ran into the right spots, allowing him to accumulate 11 marks. He leads the Under 18s competition in total marks and has an innate ability to rack up disposal-after-disposal. Roberts is already one of the most prolific on-ballers in the league and will only further improve as he gains more exposure against top-aged talent. He finished with 27 disposals, 11 marks, two tackles, two clearances, two inside-50s and two rebound-50s.

#23 Phoenix Spicer

The silky-smooth Spicer produced a terrific performance on the wing and up forward. His one-touch pickups and general cleanliness at ground-level was breathtaking at times, and his run-and-carry proved vital to the Panthers’ strong scoring. He snapped two back-to-back goals in the first quarter to extend the Panthers lead. The first came from a close-range and the second from further out, but both highlighted his terrific goal sense.

His aforementioned clean hands, elite agility, and ability to find separation on outside of contests allowed him to send the ball inside 50 on eight occasions. His tackling pressure was also encouraging. Spicer collected 23 disposals three marks, four tackles and eight inside 50s in what was a complete performance from the Morphetville junior.

#35 Tom Highmore (League)

Highmore was again impressive in his backline role. For a 22-year-old in just his third League match, his intercept marking was a standout. Highmore was opposed to former-Power forward John Butcher at times and restricted the big-man to just one goal. Highmore combined well with prolific-defender Joseph Haines and Central District found it difficult to penetrate the forwardline with the pair controlling the airways all-day. His foot skills under-pressure were also excellent and he provided plenty of rebound from defence. Highmore finished the contest with 19 disposals, eight marks and three rebound-50s.

Others:

Panthers skipper, Kraemer was heavily involved early, laying a couple of strong tackles after getting wrapped up himself. However he was forced off under the blood rule after he laid a tackle deep in defence. He briefly returned, breaking away from a stoppage and gaining an inside-50, however he sat out the second half, likely as a result of the earlier knock.

Liam Nye was another Panther to boot multiple goals, rounding out the contest with three majors. His ability to find space allowed him to take nine marks, but Panthers coaches would have been impressed with his tackling intensity and willingness to apply plenty of defensive pressure. Cooper Rogers was also prolific, collecting 20 disposals, eight tackles and five clearances. His quick and clean hands in-tight stood out on a couple of occasions.

Jaiden Magor produced arguably his best performance at Under 18s level, having dominated for the Panthers Under 16s in their two games earlier in the year. An All-Australian at the Under 15 National carnival last year, Magor won seven clearances, laid seven tackles and kicked two goals. He could have had as many as five if he had converted a number of other chances. Magor looks to have a long right-foot kick and will certainly be one to watch climb up the ranks over the coming years.

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

Against a talented South Adelaide midfield, 16-year-old McDonald didn’t get his hands on the ball as often as the opening two matches. However, to his credit, he didn’t drop his head despite the lop-sided result and his defensive work around the stoppages remained excellent for the entirety of the match. McDonald spent the game slogging it out on-ball against the likes of Horne, Roberts, and Clifton and laid several strong tackles to force stoppages. Despite his age and smaller stature, the Barossa product showed he is more than willing to do the hard stuff, even when his side is being well beaten. McDonald finished with ten disposals, one marks, seven tackles and two inside-50s.

#15 Lewis Cowham

Along with McDonald, the tough on-baller once again battled tirelessly in the Bulldogs engine room. At times he played a lone hand in the midfield as the talented South youngsters gained control. He found himself at the bottom of several packs, constantly trying to get the ball going his side’s way. His strength overhead was also on display in the second term when he took an excellent contested, one-on-one grab. The small midfielder was easily his side’s most prolific player, accumulating 21 disposals to go with three marks, five tackles and eight clearances. He also showed a nice turn of pace on a couple of occasions, to supplement his strong numbers.

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

In what was a rough outing for the Bulldogs, who remain winless in season 2020, it was difficult for the small forward to assert himself on the contest. Yet despite his forwardline role, Durdin showed a real eagerness to get involved up the ground when much of the play was unfolding in the Panthers’ attacking half of the ground. He picked up his first meaningful touch of the game by providing an option out of defence, taking an easy mark and switching the play with a neat short kick. Later in the opening term, he gathered a loose ball in the middle of the expansive X Convenience Oval and gave off a simple-but-effective handball to the running David Haydon, who sent the Bulldogs into attack.

Later, the talented Durdin got himself into the perfect crumbing position and was the beneficiary of a Dumesny spoil. But he would have benefitted from showing a bit more composure when his hurried kick forward was easily intercepted by a South Adelaide defender. Durdin took a good mark from a centring ball in the third term and played on immediately, kicking long to the advantage of teammate John Butcher in a one-on-one. When around the ball Durdin wasn’t afraid to crack in hard, however he was bumped off it on a couple of occasions. He showed why he is viewed as one of SA’s best draft prospects when he won a tough one-on-two marking contest, managing to bring the ball to ground and force a kick forwards. Although he did make a couple of errors by foot, it was a tough game for the Bulldogs forwards, who struggled to hit the scoreboard after recording just 20 inside-50s for the match. Durdin finished with 11 disposals, four marks and three inside-50s.

Others:

Shay Linke was one of the Bulldogs’ best on what proved to be a difficult trip to Noarlunga. He worked well with Cowham and McDonald in the middle, collecting 16 disposals, a game-high 12 tackles, six clearances and four inside-50s.

Leek Alleer also showed some nice signs, with his extreme athleticism a focal point. Alleer used his 196cm frame and explosive leap to take three strong contested marks and he also led his side with five inside-50s. Ruckman Wyatt Ryan was effective, winning 27 hit-outs and providing a strong aerial presence around the ground.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide vs Glenelg

By: Ed Pascoe

North Adelaide: 

#9 Jamison Murphy

It was another typical game from Murphy, using his smarts and size at stoppages to advantage, while showing his mix of contested ability and defensive ability in tackling with intent. Murphy again showed a cool head at stoppages, often cracking in hard and often making the right decision by hand and foot when in possession. The one aspect Murphy could improve is his scoreboard impact, which he almost did -taking a strong lead-up mark, but missing the set shot. Murphy was one of North Adelaide’s best players, finishing the game with 26 disposals, eight tackles and six clearances.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

Newchurch had some close company and found it tough to get going in the early stages, pitted against Glenelg’s Hagan Wright. It wasn’t a good day in front of the scoreboard for Newchurch but he was still able to show off his dazzling speed and agility, and make it clear if given an inch, he can potentially take a mile. Newchurch started to come into the game more late in the piece once Wright was moved off him and he had a great bit of play, taking on fellow speedster Nasiah Wanganeen and winning that dual to show just how quick he is. Newchurch finished the game with 14 disposals and two behinds, but the main stat was 0 tackles which he would want to improve to become a complete package as a small forward going in future.

#22 Lam Simon

One of many NGA talents for Adelaide, the bottom-age defender grew as the game went on, showing plenty of scope for improvement and raw natural talent with his ability to read the play and intercept. It wasn’t smooth sailing to start the game for Simon, despite getting to the right spots he wasn’t quite holding his marks, but was good to see him try and butter up any missed opportunities. It wasn’t until the second half where his intercept game really started to click, taking some very strong marks and getting to some good spots. Simon finished the game with 16 disposals and eight marks, and will hopefully continue to improve his game.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

The bottom-age talent who is also tied to Adelaide’s NGA was outstanding down back with his confidence and skills real features, especially with the amount of pressure put on the North defence. Often tasked with the kick-ins, he didn’t miss many of his kicks with his long left boot. Kick-ins can often pad stats, but he still won plenty of the ball with his rebounding ability and even with his intercepting – where he would often quickly play on and hit targets with ease. O’Loughlin finished the game with 28 disposals (team high) and eight marks in a composed and mature defensive display.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Glenelg:

#8 Hagan Wright

Wright had the tough task of manning up livewire forward, Newchurch and he did a terrific job – not only limiting his influence, but also providing rebound to try and make Newchurch accountable. Wright showed great attack on the ball and made that his focus first and foremost, and wasn’t afraid of having a run with the ball to drive it forward. Wright was later moved into the midfield and looked great with his burst from stoppages, and although he looks like a natural midfielder, he has added a string to his bow with the ability to shut down the other clubs’ dangerous small forward. He finished the game with 27 disposals and seven marks.

#13 Luke Pedlar

Pedlar continues to impress this year with his contested game and ability to hit the scoreboard, and that much was evident again against North Adelaide. Pedlar is a hard player to stop with his strong marking ability and power out of stoppages a real highlight, and he had two fantastic bits of play which also showed his strong work-rate.

The first was a good smother which he would later recover and kick forward, following that up laying a big bump on the opposition. Just when you thought he might have done enough, he continued to run forward to take a strong mark and then capitalise on his hard work with a nice goal. The second was a great chase to bowl over his opponent and then he would continue again to receive the ball and power away from congestion, leaving the opposition in his wake before delivering a good kick down the line.

Pedlar may lack some consistency by foot, but his work-rate and impact couldn’t be questioned with a strong performance, winning 18 disposals while also laying six tackles and kicking three goals.

#22 Lewis Rayson

Another terrific game for the quick bottom-age talent, who just continues to win the ball at ease either down back or running the ball on the wing. He has shown a good mix of getting back and setting up play, but also getting forward and finding targets inside 50. Rayson has a lot of tricks; he showed he could intercept mark with a few very courageous marks, and his trademark speed and class was on show with a blistering run and then bullet pass inside 50 to teammate, Lucas Schultz. Rayson finished the game with 35 disposals and 11 marks in a best-on-ground performance, and he certainly looks a prospect for the 2021 draft.

#25 Luke Edwards

The potential Crows father-son prospect has been playing his role for Glenelg perfectly, playing mostly forward which hasn’t been his main position these last few years. He has been able to not only lead up at the ball well and take marks, but also get up the ground to help with Glenelg’s link-up play where he can use his smarts and composure. Edwards wasn’t able to hit the scoreboard himself, but set up plenty, not messing around in getting the ball inside 50. Edwards finished the game with 24 disposals, eight marks, and four tackles and although he hasn’t had the biggest impact you would expect from him going into this year, he is playing his role perfectly for what the Tigers need in their side right now.

Others:

Wanganeen made the wing his own, showing off his great agility, clean hands and composure. He has had a great start to the season, and had 21 disposals with a quieter last quarter when the game was already won. Xavier Robins was again a cool head in defence. The rebounding left footer was trusted with the kick-ins, which he did well and also impressed with his ability to intercept mark. He finished with 24 disposals and six marks.

State 18s squad member Riley Holder again looked good with his lead-up work, proving to be a great target going forward for Glenelg. He finished the game with 14 disposals, eight marks, and one goal. Schultz has also been a handful up forward all season, and that continued again as he kicked some sensational goals to show his forward craft and smarts. He finished the game with 14 disposals, seven marks, and five goals.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

Norwood vs. WWT Eagles

By: Tom Cheesman

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

Murley continued his impressive start to the 2020 season with another standout performance. He collected 29 disposals, seven clearances, six tackles and five inside 50s. He was tough at the contest and more than willing to work hard and spread on the outside. The AFL Academy prospect is proving to be one of the most hard-running midfielders in the competition, using his explosive pace to push forward and impact the scoreboard. He kicked two goals on Saturday, including a brilliant running goal from a stoppage midway through the third term. Murley could use his burst of speed away from stoppages more frequently to get to the next level, but the bottom-ager has time to develop this feature of his game.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

Cavallaro played well for the Redlegs, finishing with 21 disposals, seven marks and four inside 50s. It was evident that he has a great football IQ as he often got involved in switches of play and linked up with teammates to carry the ball forward. Although he is small for an Under 18, his height was never an issue throughout this contest because he always gets himself to the right positions. His right-foot kick is very reliable and it was clear that teammates sought to give him the ball whenever possible to capitalise on this.

#21 Jack Saunders

Saunders was the best midfielder on the ground, which says a lot given the likes of Poulter, Murley and Schofield were playing. He continually read the ball off the hands of the ruckmen, used quick hands and laid strong tackles to impact the stoppages. A brilliant smother in the first quarter highlighted Saunders’ commitment to the contest from the outset. He also used run-and-carry to transition the ball into attack and give the Redlegs’ forwards one-on-one opportunities. His kicks were not always accurate but he always followed them up and never gave up on any contest. He finished with 25 disposals, nine tackles and seven clearances.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Dnistriansky continued his role as Norwood’s designated kicker in the defence, collecting 16 disposals, six rebound 50s and three inside 50s. His booming right-foot kicks often cleared the Eagles’ defensive setup and launched the Redlegs into attack. He showed that he is not one-dimensional either, regularly hitting the contest hard and laying two strong tackles. It would be great to see Dnistriansky get some more midfield minutes as the season progresses so that he can show more of that side to his game.

#30 Finn Heard

Heard was brilliant up forward, providing a strong presence and clunking ten marks (four contested). His set-shot goal kicking was an issue however, as he had ten shots that resulted in five goals, four behinds and one wobbler that did not make the distance. Heard kicked multiple goals from beyond the 50-metre arc, so he showed he has great range and actually looked more comfortable kicking from a longer distance. He has kicked ten goals from three matches and leads the SANFL Under 18 goal kicking alongside Glenelg’s Schultz and Sturt’s Morgan Ferres. There is no doubt that Heard has a bright future and may have caught the eyes of AFL recruiters over the past couple of weeks.

Others:

It might have gone under the radar given some of the midfielders’ performances in this game, but Ronald Carbine was very solid down back. He repeatedly repelled the Eagles’ attacks and laid a number of important tackles, finishing with 12 disposals, six tackles and five marks. Classy left-footer Xavier Tranfa was consistent through the midfield, kicking two goals to go with 18 disposals and six inside 50s.

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

WWT:

#3 Taj Schofield

Port Adelaide father-son prospect, Schofield has great agility and showed that in the first two and a half quarters of Saturday’s match. He always hunts the footy and is very composed with ball in hand, highlighted by a clever side-step in the first term, and a clean pick-up and snap goal in the third term. Unfortunately, Schofield limped off the field with what looked to be an ankle injury midway through the third quarter and did not return to the game. The Eagles’ midfield struggled significantly from this point onwards, demonstrating how important Schofield is to their side. He finished with 17 disposals and five clearances.

#7 Caleb Poulter

Big-bodied midfielder, Poulter was a shining light for the Eagles in their loss, collecting 29 disposals, eight marks, five tackles and two goals. He was incredibly dangerous when playing up forward, creating havoc both in the air and on the ground. Poulter’s marking ability was on show on Saturday, as he was rarely out-marked and was frequently a go-to option for his side coming out of defence. His disposals can be rushed and wayward at times, but his left-foot kick is terrific whenever he has time to compose himself before delivering to a teammate. A nice goal from 50 in the third term showed that his kick has great range too.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Another Port Adelaide father-son prospect, Burgoyne showed some promising signs throughout the match. The bottom-ager was clean with ball in hand and took a couple of nice intercept marks at half-back. He has a light frame, so once he gains more strength he should have confidence to go for those intercept marks more regularly throughout matches. His disposal was a bit casual at times, but this is something he will tidy up with more experience. Burgoyne finished with 27 disposals, five marks and seven rebound 50s.

>> SANFL League Rd 3 Player Focus – Lachlan Jones
>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide vs. Sturt

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#2 Harvey Bock

It was a tough day for the Bloods’ defenders, but Bock stood up regularly as a leader inside defensive 50. He competed well on the last line, reading the play intelligently to come off his opponent at the right time, while also proving strong in one-on-one contests. His kick-first approach also came to the fore, entrusted with the kick-ins and constantly looking to gain meterage with his penetrating boot. There was plenty of mopping up for Bock to do, and he also contributed with a couple of handy intercepts. A final term move into the middle brought about a nice steal and clearance, with that strength again becoming evident.

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

The prime mover through West Adelaide’s midfield again racked up the most disposals, gathering 20 to go with six tackles, five clearances, and four marks on a day where he faced stiff opposition. Chamberlain was made to work hard for his contributions; often seen shifting back into defensive 50 to help out his under-siege teammates, and producing a sound short kicking game in that third of the field. He started the game well too, booting forward the first centre clearance as Westies’ stoppage anchor, while also tackling hard going the other way.

With his kicking working up to scratch, Chamberlain also proved his effectiveness by hand, dishing off cleanly to teammates on the outer when afforded little space. He will perhaps find himself in that outside, handball receive role while running through the state squad, but has been forced to be more of an extractor at SANFL Under 18s level. His energy and pace were consistent through the day in what was another solid shift.

#32 Thomas Rundle

Rundle was arguably West Adelaide’s most threatening forward, having shown promising glimpses when afforded the opportunity. His work on the lead was sound, marking strongly at full flight and getting good separation from his direct opponent. His first of three goals came after he clunked a terrific mark, sinking the resultant set shot, and a similar pattern earned him a second goal in the first half. Rundle continued to present well and judge the ball smartly in flight, with a couple of would-be grabs taken off him at the umpire’s discretion. His third goal was slotted from 40 metres on a tight angle, capping a performance which yielded 12 disposals and eight marks (two contested).

Others:

Tenacious small midfield pair Cade Kennedy (17 disposals, nine tackles) and Lachlan De Cesare (13 disposals, eight tackles, five clearances) again worked hard through the engine room for Westies, burrowing in to win the hard ball and applying good pressure at the contest. Hamish Dunkin was kept busy in the back half, accumulating 15 disposals and seven marks, while Tyrell Sgroi booted three goals having poured on some smothering tackling pressure inside forward 50.

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Sturt:

#13 Bradley Jefferies

While he didn’t quite set the game alight, Jefferies was again one of Sturt’s better midfielders on the day and returned another performance of over 20 disposals. The bottom-ager possesses a good balance through midfield, able to flick out releasing handballs, while also looking sound on the ball in open space. In fact, he looked far more assured in his disposal when granted time on the ball, able to gain better penetration in his kicking and hit targets. That kind of effectiveness lacked for Jefferies at times in congestion as he lost his footing, although he did snap through a terrific third term goal to cap off a solid outing.

#15/21 Mani Liddy

One of the premier midfielders in SA, Liddy pulled off some breathtaking moments throughout another consistent outing, with his poise in traffic and strength at the contest both clearly evident. On two seperate occasions, Liddy would be seen leaping to gather the ball, keeping his arms up while being tackled, and releasing a deft handball to his running teammates, which is exactly the kind of play which sets him apart. He also shrugged opponents off with ease, or snatched possession from their grasp through sheer tenacity, helping Sturt take over the game from midfield.

Liddy seemed to spend a touch more time up forward on Saturday, where he was able to find space regularly and make things happen inside attacking 50, despite not finding the big sticks. His output lifted after a three-quarter time scuffle which saw him change to jumper number 21, responding with the first two centre clearances of the final term. That kind of hunger was matched by Liddy’s smarts in this appearance, highlighted by some shrewd underground handballs, terrific vision around the stoppages, and rare efficiency by hand. He finished with eight clearances from 22 disposals.

#18 Tom Powell

Powell was far and away the best afield, setting himself apart with an unmatched ball winning ability, and consistent impact on the contest where it mattered most. The balanced midfielder is one of the finest exponents of the handball in this year’s crop, and would have run very close to 100 per cent efficiency in that area – something he has been known to achieve on recent form. But what was perhaps most pleasing about Powell’s game on Saturday was the added dimensions to his craft; showcasing his improved work on the spread, and aptitude in running with the ball, and a higher output by foot.

While Powell’s agility and awareness at the contest remained, it was clear that the confidence he gained throughout a dominant third term allowed him to better take the game on with some daring dash away from the contest and sharp disposal on the end of it. He was nothing short of dominant in against the relatively small Westies midfield, collecting a monster 39 disposals, 14 clearances, and eight inside 50s. All the pieces of the puzzle seem to be falling into place, with Powell’s potential being met after long stints on the sideline last year.

#19 Zabien Parker-Boers

The medium-sized forward booted an incredible seven goals for the Double Blues, adding to his tally across the day and finishing strongly with four majors in the final term. Parker-Boers showed good awareness in his positioning forward of the ball, first sighted latching onto a long ball over the back inside 50. His work rate to get up the ground was noticeable, but the top-ager looked far more lively closer to goal, where he made the most of his opportunities. Whether it was converting snaps around the corner, set shots from intercept marks, or finishes on the run, Parker-Boers thrived amid Sturt’s dominance to put in a breakthrough performance.

Others: 

Usual suspects Will Spain (21 disposals, six tackles, six clearances) and Malachy Carruthers (20 disposals, six marks) were again solid contributors for Sturt in a big win, plying their trades through midfield and off half-back respectively. Morgan Ferres had a few nice moments up forward, showing his strength to mark well on the lead and in one-on-one situations, while booting one goal. Jacob Lochowiak was also lively in the front half, booting two goals and applying great physical, tackling pressure.

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

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

AFL Draft Watch:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

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

>> July Power Rankings

SANFL weekly wrap Round 3: Roosters crow with triumph over Tigers

SOUTH Australian football continued on the weekend with North Adelaide now the new premiership favourites following an impressive win over reigning premiers Glenelg in the League competition, while three sides remain unbeaten in the Reserves, and two others in the Under 18s. Six of the eight clubs are unbeaten in at least one of the three grades, giving fans something to smile about over the weekend and season thus far in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL).

Central District vs. South Adelaide

South Adelaide has enjoyed a comfortable 44-point win over Central District in the league game, blowing away their opponents in the last term. The Panthers led by 15 points at the final break having inaccurately kicked 5.11, before piling on 6.1 to 1.2 in the last quarter to run away with the contest. South Adelaide arguably should have won by more with a whopping 54 inside 50s to 20, though the Bulldogs’ defence did well with 43 rebounds to 15. Central also led the tackle count with 72-51, while the Panthers had 24 more marks for the game.

Joseph Haines led the way in disposals for the Panthers, picking up 30 touches, 11 marks – two contested – and two inside 50s, while former Port Adelaide midfielder Matthew Broadbent racked up a game-high nine clearances to go with 26 touches, eight marks and five inside 50s. Joel Cross (25 disposals, six marks – two contested – five clearances and four inside 50s) and Ben Heaslip (24 disposals, eight marks – one contested – three clearances and five inside 50s) were impressive, while Zach Dumesny stood tall with a goal from 19 touches, 10 marks and three inside 50s.

James Boyd brought his own ball to the game for Central, racking up a mind-boggling 39 disposals, 11 marks, six tackles, five clearances and seven rebounds. He worked well in midfield with Troy Menzel (27 touches, 11 marks – two contested – three tackles, three clearances and a goal) and Darcy Pisani (22 disposals, two marks, four tackles, six clearances and two rebounds). Luke Habel and David Haydon combined for 38 disposals, 14 marks and eight rebounds working hard in the back half, while Corey Durdin had another 11 touches, as well as four marks and three inside 50s.

In the Reserves it was Central District that handed out a heavy beating, slamming home a whopping 12 goals to one in the second half to run away with the contest in a one-sided affair. The win meant Central sits atop the Reserves ladder while the Panthers hold up the competition at the other end of the table.

It was another big win to South Adelaide in the Under 18s, with the Panthers recording a comprehensive 76-point victory over Central District. The Panthers were on from the first bounce, booting six goals to zero in the opening term, and then kept Central scoreless in the final term while piling on five goals to win 16.12 (108) to 4.8 (32). The Panthers had an extra 113 disposals, 45 marks and 20 inside 50s showing just how dominant they were.

Bottom-age Panthers, Matthew Roberts and Jason Horne both had some big days out, as Roberts racked up 27 touches and 11 marks, while Horne finished with three goals from 26 disposals, six tackles, four clearances and four inside 50s. Max Clifton was strong in midfield with five clearances and seven inside 50s to go with 26 touches and seven tackles, teaming up well with Cooper Rogers and Jaiden Magor who combined for 41 disposals, 16 tackles, 11 clearances and 10 inside 50s, while Magor slotted 2.3. Liam Hamilton was the most prominent forward for the Panthers snagging five goals from eight scoring shots, while Liam Nye kicked the three majors.

Lewis Cowham was again one of Central’s best despite the loss, picking up a team-high 21 disposals and nine clearances, as well as five tackles, three marks and two inside 50s. Shaye Linke (16 disposals, two marks, 12 tackles, six clearances, four inside 50s and a goal) was prominent, as was Jacob Fiebiger (15 disposals, three marks and eight rebounds) of of defence. Similarly, Darcy McDonald and Aidan Ponton had 14 touches and five rebounds each.

 

Glenelg vs. North Adelaide

Booting the last three goals of the game would not be enough for Glenelg as the reigning premiers undefeated streak came to an end at the hands of North Adelaide on Saturday. In a seesawing contest, the Tigers led by five points at quarter time, before the Roosters took control to lead at each of the other breaks, including by as much as 19 points at three quarter time. North Adelaide got out to a 20-point lead in the last term, before Luke Reynolds booted two goals, and then Carl Nicholson snagged one, but it would not be enough to get the Tigers over the line, going down by three points, 11.5 (71) to 10.14 (74).

Campbell Combe had 27 disposals, two marks, 13 tackles, nine clearances and three inside 50s in a big game, while a number of his teammates racked up 25 touches. Jared Allmond (25 disposals, four marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and a goal), Mitchell Clisby (25 disposals, two marks, three tackles, three clearances, four inside 50s and four rebounds) and Thomas Schwarz (25 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, two clearances and four inside 50s) were all prolific. In front of goal, Kym Lebois was the sole multiple goalkicker with three majors, while Mitch Harvey had 35 hitouts from 15 disposals, six marks – two contested – and four clearances.

Liam McBean and Reynolds both snagged three goals for the Bays, while Darcy Bailey booted two majors in the narrow defeat. Matthew Snook picked up 27 disposals, three marks, 13 tackles, six clearances and seven inside 50s, with Bradley Agnew and Jack Hannath huge around the stoppages. Agnew finished with 23 disposals, three marks, six tackles, eight clearances and six inside 50s, as Hannah racked up 31 hitouts for 21 touches, six marks, nine clearances and five inside 50s. Luke Partington also had 20 touches, six marks, five tackles and five inside 50s in a solid display.

In the Reserves, Glenelg bounced back from a goalless first term to run over the top of North Adelaide thanks to a stronger second half. The Bays trailed by 14 points at quarter time and eight at half-time, but booted eight goals to five in the second half, with a five goals to one third term in particular the difference between the sides. In the end, Glenelg took home the chocolates, 10.9 (69) to 8.5 (53).

In a very one-sided contest that ended in Glenelg triumphing by a whopping 75 points, it was inaccuracy that ultimately hurt North Adelaide, booting just 2.15 for the game as the Roosters’ opponents piled on 16.6. Most of that damage was done in the opening half as the Bays booted 10.5 to 2.7, and then held North Adelaide goalless in the second half with eight behinds to the Roosters’ name, while Glenelg piled on 6.1 in that time for a 16.6 (102) to 2.15 (27) victory.

Lewis Rayson had a big game in the win, picking up 35 disposals, 11 marks – one contested – four tackles, three inside 50s and five rebounds. Also busy for the Tigers were Hagan Wright (27 disposals, seven arks, two tackles, three inside 50s and seven rebounds) and Henry McAuliffe (25 disposals, two marks, six tackles, three clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds). Potential Adelaide father-son selection Luke Edwards had plenty of the ball with 24 touches, eight marks, four tackles and 10 inside 50s, while Lucas Schulz (five goals), Luke Pedlar (three), Riley Davis (three) and Hugh Stagg (two) were all multiple goalkickers.

Blayne O’Loughlin topped the disposal winners for the Roosters with 28 touches, eight marks and eight rebounds, while AFL Academy member Jamison Murphy had the 26 disposals, four marks, eight tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds. Also prominent in the middle was Kallis Freer (23 disposals, four marks, five tackles, nine clearances and four inside 50s), while Tariek Newchurch had seven inside 50s to go with 14 touches.

Sturt vs. West Adelaide

Sturt’s League side has bounced back from a forgettable Round 2 defeat to post a tight win over West Adelaide. The Double Blues have moved three points clear in fifth spot on the SANFL table after winning 11.6 (72) to 9.10 (64). It was Sturt’s fast start of four goals to one that got the Double Blues going in the opening term, and while the Bloods pegged them back by the main break, Sturt did not give in. A more accurate 11 majors from 17 scoring shots to West Adelaide’s nine from 19 told a tale, as the Double Blues dominated possession (56 per cent and plus 58 disposals) and marks (plus 55), but the Westies were better in other ways with 20 more tackles and 10 more inside 50s.

Sam Colquhoun again led the way for the Double Blues with 26 touches, six marks, three tackles, three inside 50s, two clearances, four rebounds and a goal, while James Battersby (25 touches, three marks, seven tackles and 12 clearances) was instrumental through the middle. Sam Wundke had 25 disposals, 11 marks – one contested – and 10 rebounds in a phenomenal effort in defence, while Abe Davis pushed up the ground to influence in the middle after being a scoring threat in the early rounds to finish with 20 touches and six clearances. Others who impressed included Daniel Fahey-Sparks (15 touches, eight marks – three contested – 36 hitouts and five inside 50s) and Ash Johnson if he had been able to find his kicking boots, slotting 1.5 from 13 touches and six marks – two contested – in the game.

The Westies had lower overall disposal winners but it did not stop Brett Turner battling hard with Battersby at the stoppages, notching up 11 clearances and five inside 50s from 21 disposals and five tackles. Kaine Stevens (20 disposals, four marks, eight tackles and four clearances) was also busy there, while potential number one AFL Draft pick Riley Thilthorpe continues to stand up at League level with his best game of the season collecting 13 disposals, six marks – three contested – 11 hitouts and two goals in a prominent day out. Isaac Johnson was the most damaging forward with 3.2 from 13 disposals, three marks, nine tackles and seven inside 50s.

Sturt had a much easier time in the Reserves, as the Double Blues notched up their first win with a 52-point victory over West Adelaide to move into the top four. The Blues slammed home six goals to zero in the second term to open up a 45-point lead at the main break, and while the Westies clawed to within 36 points at three quarter time, Sturt came again and booted 4.4 to 2.0 in the last term to run out 13.13 (91) to 5.9 (39) winners.

Sturt’s Under 18s also tasted success in a good weekend for the Double Blues, getting up by 49 points. Sturt and West Adelaide were neck-and-neck on Saturday at Hisense Stadium in the opening half, with the double Blues leading by a point and then a goal at the quarter and half-time breaks. While inaccuracy might have plagued them in the first half, the Double Blues found their range after that, extending the lead out to 19 points by the final change, then running away with a six goals to one final term in the 16.11 (107) to 9.4 (58) victory.

Tom Powell suffered leather poisoning during the game, racking up a ridiculous 39 disposals, 14 clearances, eight inside 50s, three marks, four tackles and two rebounds, also kicking two behinds. The next highest ball winners were Bradley Jefferies (24 disposals, five tackles, three clearances and a goal) and Mani Liddy (22 disposals, eight clearances, four tackles and three marks). Will Spain was also productive onball with Liddy, amassing six clearances to go with 21 touches, six tackles and four inside 50s while Malachy Carruthers had 20 disposals six marks, four tackles and three rebounds. However the most eye-catching performance might have been Zabien Parker-Boers up forward who slotted seven goals – only two less than the entire West Adelaide team – after taking six marks from 17 touches.

Bailey Chamberlain tried hard in the middle for the Westies, notching up 20 disposals, four marks, six tackles, five clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, aided by Cade Kennedy (17 disposals, nine tackles, three clearances and two marks) and Lachlan De Cesare (13 disposals, five clearances and eight tackles). Harvey Bock also worked well out of defence with 13 disposals and five rebounds, while Hamish Dunkin (15 disposals, seven marks and three rebounds) was solid Thomas Rundle and Tyrell Sgroi booted three majors each up forward for the Bloods.

 

WWT Eagles vs. Norwood

After two tight losses against premiership contenders, Norwood was sent crashing back to earth by an impressive Woodville-West Torrens Eagles outfit. The Redlegs’ social media summarised it perfectly yesterday with the words “Nowhere near good enough”, as the Eagles held the visitors to one goal or less in three of the four quarters and booted 14 goals from 26 scoring shots themselves. Despite a three-goal third term giving Norwood some hope, the Bloods still trailed by 35 points at the last chance, but instead it was the Eagles who piled on 5.2 to 0.2 and ran away with the contest, 14.12 (96) to 4.7 (31).

Jimmy Toumpas racked up some big numbers for the Eagles yet again courtesy of 27 touches, five marks, four tackles, three clearances and two rebounds, while Jordan Foote had a feast through the midfield with a team-high seven clearances to accompany 24 touches, five tackles, five inside 50s and three rebounds. Matthew Goldsworthy was good on the outside with 21 touches, six marks, three tackles, eight inside 50s and two goals, while James Rowe, Jack Hayes and Jesse Lonergan combined for eight goals off 52 touches and 13 inside 50s. AFL Academy hub member and Port Adelaide Next-Generation Academy member Lachlan Jones also impressed with 16 disposals, six marks, two inside 50s and two rebounds.

Former Adelaide midfielder Richard Douglas had his biggest game of the year so far for the Redlegs, racking up 31 touches, five marks, five tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s, five rebounds and a goal in a strong all-around effort. Ruck, Sam Baulderstone was equally damaging with 30 hitouts, nine clearances and 21 disposals, while Brad McKenzie (21 disposals, eight rebounds and eight marks), Nik Rokahr (21 disposals, seven marks) and Mitch Wilkins (20 disposals, eight marks) had plenty of the ball. Matthew Panos and Peter Bampton shared in 12 clearances from 35 disposals onball, while Cody Szust worked hard with seven rebounds from 15 touches out of defence, but it was a forgettable day for the Redlegs.

It was much the same result in the Reserves with the unbeaten Eagles continuing to pile on the pain against a winless Redlegs side to win by 63 points at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. The Eagles booted four goals to zero in the second term to race away to a 36-point half-time lead, and while the Redlegs tried to stay in touch in the third term, a four goals to one final quarter once again saw Woodville-West Torrens pull away in a 15.13 (103) to 6.4 (40) victory.

Norwood turned the tables of Woodville-West Torrens in the Under 18s competition, running away with an impressive 39-point win to sit fourth after three rounds and hand the Eagles their third straight loss. The teams were tight throughout the contest, as Norwood led by four points at quarter time and one point at half-time. They pulled away a little in the third courtesy of a five goals to three term, but still only held a 14-point advantage at the final chance. It was the five goals to one last quarter that did all the damage as Norwood ran away with the 16.13 (109) to 10.10 (70) victory.

Bottom-age Redlegs star, Cooper Murley had a day out thanks to 29 touches, two marks, six tackles, seven clearances, five inside 50s and two goals, while Jack Saunders picked up 25 touches, two marks, seven clearances, nine tackles, three inside 50s and three rebounds. The other player to notch up more than 20 touches for Norwood was Michael Cavallaro (21 disposals, seven marks, four inside 50s, two marks and two rebounds), while Nathan Hearing had 26 hitouts and eight clearances from 19 touches out of the ruck. Up forward, Finn Heard had plenty of chances with a five-goal haul that could have been even more, booting four behinds as well, while Marcus Roberts, Xavier Tranfa and James Higgins all snagged multiple goals. In defence, Matthew Dnistriansky had six rebounds from 16 touches, teaming well with Ben Ianniello (12 disposals, seven rebounds).

For the Eagles, Caleb Poulter‘s sensational season continued, booting two goals from 29 touches and eight marks – two contested – as well as five tackles, five inside 50s and three rebounds. Potential Port Adelaide father-son prospect, Jase Burgoyne had a handy day with 27 disposals, five marks – one contested – three tackles, three clearances and seven rebounds, while Harrison Dawkins booted a goal from 25 touches, five clearances and four inside 50s. Max Lister (20 disposals, three marks, four tackles, six clearances and five rebounds) impressed, while another Port Adelaide father-son prospect, Taj Schofield had an impressive game with 17 disposals, five clearances and a goal.

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 2

WITH the return of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) comes our usual series of scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. For this edition, we turned our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a heavy focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so also get a look-in.

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

West Adelaide vs. Central District

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#2 Harvey Bock

It was a hit-and-miss day for the defender, who would probably have been made to feel like the umpires were out for him at times given some of the unlucky free kicks he conceded. Nonetheless, Bock was able to use his power and strength in one-on-one contests across the back half, while also constantly looking to get on the move with ball in hand. He got his intercept marking game going in the second and third terms, and took on some of the Bloods’ kick-in duties. Bock finished with 15 disposals and three marks in a solid outing.

#5 Lachlan De Cesare

De Cesare has kicked off his 2020 campaign well, and was arguably Westies’ best afield in a losing effort. The diminutive midfielder is an absolute workhorse through the engine room, digging in for repeat efforts at ground level, tackling hard, and spreading well to provide an outlet option for his teammates. That strong endurance base allowed De Cesare to accumulate strongly across the day, notching a game-high 26 disposals, including four marks, eight tackles, eight clearances, and a goal.

His lone major came from a free kick which was converted after the quarter time siren, and that scoreboard impact also translated to a goal assist in the following term. De Cesare could have added another to cap off his day, too, spurning an easy chance running into the open goalsquare with a soccered attempt which crashed into the post. Still, his courage and work ethic were terrific to watch.

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

Another Westies star who had an up-and-down kind of day, Chamberlain was on the receiving end of some fair opposition attention at the stoppages, making it difficult for him to generate his usual running game. The balanced midfielder still managed to rack up 24 disposals in a strong performance, often hunting the hot footy and pumping the ball forward under pressure. Chamberlain did well to mix handballs into his use, with one particular flashy flick deftly struck over his shoulder, showcasing great awareness and skill.

The one query on Chamberlain’s game, which he is working on well, has been his kicking at speed. While his penetration is no issue and he managed to boot a nice goal on the run, Chamberlain blazed away at times and overcooked a few balls going forward. His effort and desire are not the be questioned though, as he fought to the final siren for the Bloods on a frustrating day.

#18 Riley Thilthorpe (League)

West Adelaide ran rampant early against the Bulldogs, with Thilthorpe at the centre of much of the Bloods’ early dominance. He put through the first score of the game with an opportunistic snap, before sending Isaac Johnson through for Westies’ first major, and adding one of his own with a left-foot snap from just inside the attacking 50. Thilthorpe was caught behind at times and did not exactly receive silver service in his key forward post, but constantly found a way to impact the contest aerially and follow-up well at ground level.

The 200cm bigman also rotated through the ruck in the second half having previously taken those duties inside 50, using his height to palm the ball down to teammates. He had another terrific snapped goal snatched from him as his teammate gave away a free kick, and a strong contested mark at the death gave a glimpse into what the future may hold for Thilthorpe. Once he can find confidence in flying for those marks set up in better positions, he will prove a force to be reckoned with.

>> Round 2 Player Focus: Riley Thilthorpe

Others: Cade Kennedy proved a handful around the stoppages alongside his fellow, hardened midfield maestros, collecting 19 disposals and nine clearances while also laying eight tackles and finding the big sticks one. Bottom-age forward Hugh Desira was also handy despite being held to nine touches, displaying good footy smarts, clean use, and agility.

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE


Central District:

#7 Christopher Tidswell

In what was a highly contested and pressurised game, Tidswell provided some nice dash to break open the play and get the ball moving quickly for Centrals. The left-footer was just as clean at ground level as he was in his disposal by foot, utilising his short-range game well while also looking to penetrate as he wheeled onto that preferred left side. The rebounding defender moved up to the wing in the second half, sneaking forward to claim a goal out the back, before spurning a later shot despite a nice showing of agility.

#13 Austin McDonald

It is no wonder the 16-year-old has been thrust right into the centre bounces despite playing above his age grade, with the Bulldogs trusting his ball winning abilities against some of the league’s strongest midfielders. McDonald was once again a constant around the stoppages, racking up a team-high 25 disposals and five clearances to continue his consistent Under 18 form. He may not yet have the size to bustle away from congestion, but remains nicely composed in traffic and can accumulate either by winning his own ball, or through hanging on the outside for a handball receive. Add five tackles and breaches of both arcs to his statline, and you have a rather complete midfield display.

#15 Lewis Cowham

Like McDonald, Cowham has been a regular for Centrals through midfield, providing value going both ways at the stoppages. The small ball winner is athletically gifted, and showed a couple of nice flashes of his agility and explosive speed despite the contested nature of the game. Cowham was often directly opposed to Chamberlain at the centre bounces, and did well to quell his opponents’ run away from the contest. His second efforts and pressure around the ball were important, as was a nice goal assist via hand to Aidan Mudge in the final term.

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

It was another typical Durdin performance at the senior level, with the diminutive forward hitting the scoreboard and finding a decent amount of ball forward of centre. In a quiet first term for most of his Bulldogs teammates, Durdin went searching further afield for the ball, while working back hard towards goal. He booted his side’s opening major with a free kick conversion towards the end of the first term.

Durdin’s closing speed and tackling pressure were outstanding, and he constantly stationed himself in the right areas to impact at ground level or provide an outlet for his teammates. His second goal came after half time from another free kick deep inside 50, and the small ball winner also got a run through the centre bounces. He looked extremely lively late when the game was on the line, popping up in all areas of the ground and having a big impact despite not always hitting his targets moving forward. 14 disposals, five marks, and two goals make for good reading in terms of stats, and Durdin is certainly making a splash at senior level.

Others: 22-year-old talent Nicholas Lange lit up the second half in the League grade, coming to life after half time with four goals to very nearly drag Centrals over the line. For the Under 18s, Leek Alleer showed promising signs as a raw key forward, booting two goals and having a hand in others while showcasing his impressive athleticism. Michael De Jonge booted three majors, all of which were important to the win, while Aidan Mudge, Shay Linke, and Luca Whitelum were others to find both the goals and plenty of ball.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

South Adelaide vs. Glenelg

By: Tom Cheesman

South Adelaide:

#9 Jason Horne

Horne is one of the leading 2021 draft prospects and impressed once again. His work at the stoppages was outstanding, as he read the hitouts to perfection and applied plenty of pressure around the ball. His ability to work back and help the defence also stood out, particularly in the first half. He showed some explosive speed away from the contest at times, and using this explosiveness more regularly is the next step in his development. Horne finished with 31 disposals, 12 clearances, eight marks and nine tackles.

#10 Brayden Cook

Cook spent a lot of time on the wing, and his ability to work back into defence stood out. He took multiple intercept marks to halt the Tigers’ attacks and showed great agility around the ground for a prospect his size. His kicking was a bit inconsistent, but that should improve with more experience at Under 18 level. Cook was arguably best on ground at half time, but was much less prominent in the second half. He finished with 17 disposals, 10 marks (five contested) and three inside 50s.

#13 Tom Barrett

Barrett was an x-factor for the Panthers up forward. He did not play in Round 1 but made the most of his opportunity here, applying plenty of pressure (four tackles) and kicking two nice goals. His forward craft was a highlight as he had multiple score involvements, but he struggled to get involved once the ball left his forward post. He will be an exciting player to watch as the year unfolds.

#18 Zac Dumesny (League)

Dumesny had a very solid game for the Panthers. He was a standout in the first term, collecting six disposals in the backline and setting up a goal with a beautifully weighted kick into the forward 50. Dumesny was quieter in the second quarter, but moved to a wing for the second half where he found more of the ball and nailed a set shot from 35 metres out. The top-ager was composed with the ball in hand and hit the majority of his targets by foot. He also took a couple of nice intercept marks, which could develop into a feature of his game with more experience at half-back. He finished with 15 disposals, six marks, four rebound 50s and three tackles.

#21 Matthew Roberts

Roberts was South’s best player on Saturday, finding plenty of the ball and using it well with his reliable left-foot kick. He worked off his opponent to collect many uncontested marks, continually helping his side transition the ball from defence to attack. The 2021 prospect was brilliant at stoppages, using his 183cm frame to hunt the ball and dish it out to teammates. He did get caught holding the ball once due to a lack of awareness in the third term, but this was one of very few mistakes he made all day. Roberts finished with an imposing statline of 32 disposals, 14 marks, seven clearances and nine tackles.

#35 Thomas Highmore (League)

Highmore looks like he belongs at League level. The 21-year-old held his own in one-on-one contests and took several intercept marks across the four quarters. At 193cm, he has great size and was entrusted with the kick-in duties on multiple occasions. He did make a couple of mistakes late, but that is to be expected of someone in just their second SANFL League game. The 22-year-old finished with 15 disposals, five marks and two tackles.

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE


Glenelg:

#13 Luke Pedlar

Pedlar spent a lot of time up forward for the Tigers, finishing with 17 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s. He showed plenty of aggression when hunting the ball and his opponents, and he displayed great strength and power at the contest. His ball use was poor at times in the first half, but he redeemed himself with a brilliant spearing ball in the final term to set up Holder for a goal. He might want to work on his hangers during the week, as he attempted a couple in the final term that unfortunately did not come off.

#21 Riley Holder

Holder was best on ground and clearly the difference between the two sides. He was a major presence at centre half-forward for Glenelg, clunking four strong contested marks. The highlight was a brilliant mark (and goal) in the third term when his side desperately needed it. He showed composure in front of goal too, kicking four goals straight including a nice left foot snap early in the contest. His strong hands and reliable set shot make him a major asset for the Tigers and a prospect to watch in 2020.

#22 Lewis Rayson

Rayson was great for Glenelg, finishing with 31 disposals and ten marks. He spent most of his time at half-back and played a quarterback-style role, getting the ball out the back and finding targets with his clean left-foot kick. Rayson was calm and composed with ball in hand and linked up with teammates to transition the ball forward on many occasions. He was also tough at the contest, collecting many contested possessions and applying eight tackles.

#25 Luke Edwards

Edwards had a strong day, working hard around the ground to collect 29 disposals and eight marks. The son of Adelaide Crows champion, Tyson showed his flexibility by spending time up forward and rolling through the midfield whenever his side had an important clearance to win. Edwards has proven in the past that he is also handy down back. He was reliable with the ball in hand and, excluding a poor set shot in the final term, made very few mistakes across the four quarters. Listed at 187cm, Edwards has great size and should push to play higher levels of footy later in the season.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

Norwood vs. North Adelaide

By: Tom Wyman

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

The bottom-ager was arguably best-on-ground for the Redlegs in their 27-point triumph. It was easy to see how the small forward/midfielder gained All-Australian selection as a 16-year-old. He showed plenty of his trademark speed and tenacity but was also exceptionally clean with his foot skills. Despite being on the skinny side, he cracked in hard whenever required, gaining a free-kick in the opening term simply by going in lower and harder than his Roosters opponent.

Also in the first term, he read a wayward kick-in well and used his bust of speed to accelerate away before dishing off a clean handball inboard. Murley also showed his class with a precise forward 50 entry with his non-preferred. He kicked the goal of the day in the second quarter after crumbing beautifully and dribbling home a ripping goal from the pocket, all whilst being tackled. He already looks a step above Under 18s level, finishing with 24 disposals and three goals.

#6 Michael Cavallaro 

Small defender, Cavallaro was prolific and clean in his role across half-back throughout the contest. He exhibited excellent footy smarts and positioned himself well to take a handful of intercept marks. He may be only small in stature but orchestrated a number of the Redlegs’ drives from defence with his crisp foot skills and sound decision making.

A highlight was when he engaged in a series of back-and-forth handballs before spinning around on his trusty right and showing skill and vision to spot up a teammate on the other side of the ground, setting his side up for a transition from defence. Cavallaro finished with 30 disposals, ten marks, four inside-50s and three rebound-50s.

#30 Finn Heard 

Four goals to key the forward proved to be the difference in this clash at Coopers Stadium. Heard got goal-side of the contest and strolled straight into the goal-square to nail the game’s first major, however his work in the air ensured he was the most impactful tall on the ground. He could’ve had an ever bigger bag had he converted two set-shots from gettable distances.

However his foot skills, both in general play and in-front of goal, were largely sound. Heard was rewarded for his ability to work his way to the front of contests when he collected an opportunistic mark from a quick-snap inside 50, resulting in a shot at goal. He nailed two majors in the final term to solidify Norwood’s lead. Heard concluded the outing with nine disposals, seven hit-outs and seven marks – two of which were contested.

Others: 

Like a number of his teammates, on-baller Mitchell Trepka was able to work his way into some favourable positions and finished with 28 disposals, six marks, three tackles and three clearances in a solid all-round showing.

Prolific defender Matthew Dnistriansky combined well with fellow defender Cavallaro. Both were able to slice-apart the Roosters with their pin-point kicking and ability to cut-off forward entries. After gathering 30 touches, Dnistriansky currently sits second in the competition for total disposals, behind Sturt duo Mani Liddy and Tom Powell. The designated kicker-role certainly seems to suit the skillset of Dnistriansky, who has started the campaign well.

Benjamin Ianniello showed a couple of really encouraging signs throughout the match, including his aerial strength, athleticism and willingness to put his body on the line. Built in a similar mould to current Crow Will Hamill, Ianniello moved well and accumulated 24 touches and seven marks. The tackling-pressure of Jack Saunders was also valuable in the Redlegs’ triumph.

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE


North Adelaide:

#9 Jamison Murphy 

Co-captain, Murphy showed why he is a sought-after prospect, providing a strong inside presence and collecting 21 disposals, four marks, four tackles and three clearances. He appeared physically stronger than the other midfielders out there and used his strong frame to bullock his way through several contests, including the opening stoppage where he dished out a handball despite being tackled.

However, it was his sublime foot skills which would have really caught the eye of recruiters. The former national cricket captain proved he is quite capable of launching the ball in excess of 50 metres without hassle. Murphy was also precise by foot and showcased excellent vision to spot up Tariek Newchurch on the wing with a booming right-foot kick.

The highlight, however, was when he took an intercept mark in the middle of Coopers Stadium and hit a teammate with a beautifully-weighted kick in a tight-position on the forward flank. Had the kick been overcooked or off-target, it would have almost certainly resulted in a turnover. Murphy spent the majority of the game around the ball but also spent some time in the forward line and on the outside of the contest – highlighting his handy versatility, which has seen him draw comparisons to Hawthorn champion Luke Hodge.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

The Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect looked ominous whenever the ball was in his vicinity. As draft watchers have come to expect from Newchurch, his skills at ground-level were excellent. The forward’s burst of speed threatened to break the game open on a couple of occasions and his tackle numbers don’t reflect the pressure he inflicted on Norwood defenders.

He was thrown on-ball at stages and showed a willingness to get involved in the play instead of simply camping out in the forward-50. He laid a wonderful tackle to earn a free-kick inside 50 in the second term, but the resulting set shot hit the post. Newchurch showed class and composure when he gathered the ball deep inside-50 and snapped a brilliant goal under duress. While he probably didn’t have the four-quarter impact he would have been after, there’s no denying the talented Newchurch will feature prominently for SA at the upcoming National Championships.

#24 Kallis Freer

The midfielder was prolific and showed a couple of desirable traits despite North Adelaide’s loss. Whenever he had even an inch of space, Freer looked to use his acceleration to generate a forward entry for the red and whites. His willingness to take the game on was encouraging, as was his aerial ability. Freer took a couple of strong grabs above his head but also laid a couple of ferocious tackles at ground-level and accumulated five clearances.

A standout moment came on the North Adelaide forward flank when Freer took a contested mark on the second-grab and pin-pointed Tariek Newchurch with a laser-like inboard kick. He finished the game as the leading possession winner on the ground for his side with 25, along with six marks, four tackles and eight inside-50s.

Others:

Hugh Jackson showed run and dash across the midfield and accumulated his fair share of the ball, finishing the match with 23 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and seven inside-50s.

Despite his side being under-the-pump at various stages of the game, athletic defender Lam Simon offered scouts a glimpse of his raw talent. His chase-down tackle in the first term earned a holding the ball free-kick and his subsequent kick was weighted beautifully, allowing Freer to stream inside-50. He held his own in most of his one-on-one contests and battled hard to gain front-position.

Another prospect tied to the Crows through the clubs Next Generation Academy, Simon concluded the outing with 15 disposals, eight marks (two contested) and three tackles. Charlie Dowling showed some strength overhead while the inside work of Matthew Borg (13 disposals, eight tackles and four clearances) was impressive.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Sturt vs. WWT Eagles

By: Ed Pascoe

Sturt:

#9 Malachy Carruthers

Carruthers was classy down back, often the main rebounder for Sturt in setting up most of their drive from defence. He started the game well with a nice intercept mark, showing he had that in his arsenal to go with his rebounding ability. Carruthers wasn’t afraid to turn defence into attack with any chance he could, often running past a stoppage for the receive and using his run-and-carry to gain meterage and kick long and accurately up the ground. He finished the game with 23 disposals, five marks, and six tackles, backing up his impressive Round 1 performance as he stakes claims to be one of South Australia’s best rebound defenders for the 2020 draft. 

#15 Mani Liddy 

Liddy again had a dominant performance through the midfield, working well with fellow hard nuts Tom Powell and Brad Jefferies. His quick and clean hands at stoppages, and ability to win clearances have been second to none so far in the Under 18s season.

Not much more can be said about his inside game as it was a typical Liddy performance, but it was the few times he got on the outside that impressed and that is what should help him stand out. Both instances came in the third quarter; the first was from good positioning just outside 50 to receive and then kick long to the hotspot, and secondly from the opposite side he was able to receive, put on the afterburners to then steady and kick a lovely running goal. Liddy finished the game with 29 disposals, seven clearances, four tackles and a goal in another strong midfield performance. 

#18 Tom Powell 

It was like déjà vu watching Powell, who had another incredible game through the midfield. He really is just a machine at stoppages, winning the ball at will. Powell’s style isn’t fancy – you wont see him bursting out of stoppages – but what you will see is an extremely efficient midfielder who is clean at gathering the ball and even cleaner with his delivery by hand, whether that’s on his left or right which not many players have.

Powell’s kicking and ability on the outside would be the main focus area for him as his inside game is just about flawless and with the amount of footy he wins he could really turn that into a more damaging package, like Lachie Neale. Powell finished the game with 35 disposals (21 handballs), seven clearances and five tackles backing up a his 34 disposals last week. 

#32 Morgan Ferres 

Ferres was the dominant forward on the ground, proving a handful in the air and on the lead with his impressive leap, judgement, and contested marking coming to the fold. Ferres did it all in his six goals, adding variety with the standout goal being a running effort – even taking a bounce before steadying with a classy finish in the first quarter – and the other a lovely snap from the boundary in the third term.

He was a handful all game but mostly in the third quarter where he marked everything in sight, whether that was out on the lead or by way of his great judgement from behind. One of the better aspects of his game was not just his ability close to goal, but also his ability to get up the ground and take strong marks up on the wing. Ferres finished the game with 17 disposals, nine marks and kicked 6.2, with two set shots also falling short. The talented Ferres, who isn’t eligible to be drafted until 2021 will certainly be one to watch for years to come. 

Others: Jefferies was yet again a standout for Sturt, plying his trade among the talent-rich engine room. He is a tough, bottom age inside type who had 30 disposals, six tackles, and four clearances in this outing.

>> STURT TEAM PAGE


WWT:

#3 Taj Schofield

Schofield had an improved showing after his quieter game last week. The talented Port Adelaide father-son prospect again showed his class and skill which really stands out amongst his peers. Schofield, who looks best on the outside with his elite kicking and composure, was able to have an impact on the inside wining some classy clearances and also laying some strong tackles at the coal face.

It’s on the outside where he still showed his best attributes with some beautiful passes inside 50, one even on his opposite foot in the second quarter. His best bit of play came in the third quarter, winning the ball at half-back where he showed great composure under pressure and was able to weave around multiple opponents with his agility and speed. He would then finish with a classy handball to a free teammate. Schofield finished the game with 20 disposals, six clearances, and seven tackles in a strong performance. 

#7 Caleb Poulter 

Although he wasn’t quite able to match his outstanding performance last week, Poulter was still arguably his side’s most dangerous player – especially inside 50 where he was a a threat on the lead and at ground level. Poulter again showed some rare abilities for a player of his size with his tackling and clean hands at ground level again impressing. He really hunts the opposition with his tackles and is willing to make repeat efforts, which is nice to see.

His efforts in the air were also impressive as he was always leading up hard and willing to crash packs to get the ball to ground. You can imagine him having even more impact in that area when he puts on more size. Poulter kicked two classy goals in the third quarter, with the first coming from a brilliant pick-up on the run at his feet and then kicking a lovely snap goal. The second was also a snap goal with little time to think about it, showing his natural talent. Poulter finished the game with 16 disposals, seven tackles, five marks, and kicked 3.1 in another great performance. 

#19 Zac Phillips 

The talented tall again showed some signs of brilliance early in the game, taking a strong contested mark up forward. Despite having his set shot fall short, he would later take another great mark at half-back where he flew in from the side, showing great judgement and also quickly switching the play to show his footy smarts for a tall. 

Again his hitout work was good, often winning the contests comfortably when he did go into the ruck, but overall his follow-up work in the ruck wasn’t where it was last week and he really needed to capitalise on his early dominance in the air. If he can do what he did in the first quarter, every quarter, then you will have some sort of player for the future. Phillips finished the game with six disposals, two marks, two tackles, and 27 hit outs. 

#31 Jase Burgoyne 

The talented father-son prospect for Port Adelaide was again classy down back with his clean hands, skills, and composure standing out. Burgoyne was also used on the wing a little bit, but looked best down back where his composure and ability to read the play had the most effect. Burgoyne seems to do really well under pressure which is promising for a light and developing player who isn’t eligible to be drafted until 2021, and he certainly looks like a player to watch for that draft. Burgoyne finished the game strongly to claim 22 disposals, five marks, and five tackles in another classy display. 

Others: Liam Ueding is a bottom-age defender who boasts clean skills and great work ethic, with his second efforts coming to the fore for the Eagles. He finished with eight disposals, two tackles, and four rebound 50s.

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

>> 2020 South Australia Under 18 Squad Prediction

AFL Draft Watch:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

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

>> July Power Rankings

2020 SANFL Round 2 preview: Sides return after dusting off the cobwebs

AFTER fans got a taste of South Australian National Football League (SANFL) football last weekend, Round 2 kicks off with plenty on the lines as the teams look to back-up after long layoff heading into Round 1.

Sturt vs Woodville-West Torrens

League:

Sturt will do battle with Woodville-West Torrens to kick off round two of the SANFL Statewide Super League. The Double Blues led all day and ultimately defeated Central District by 15 points in the season-opener last weekend. After missing out on a finals berth last season, Woodville-West Torrens narrowly lost their opening encounter of 2020 to South Adelaide. Despite wrestling back the lead late in the final term, thanks to goals from the Hayes brothers (Jack and Nick) and gun small forward James Rowe, the Panthers escaped with a six-point victory.

If they are to get their season rolling, the Eagles must put time into Sturt recruit Ash Johnson, the brother of current-Crow Shane McAdam, who booted three goals in the win. His aerial ability, athleticism and raw talent ensure he is one to watch. Fellow off-season signing Abe Davis and small forward Josh Hone will also cause headaches for new Eagles coach Jade Sheedy, given their potency up forward. As is often the case, the midfield-battle will be vital to the outcome of this clash. Industrial Sturt skipper James Battersby was arguably to best-on-ground last weekend for his work around the stoppages, collecting 26 disposals, eight tackles and 11 clearances. Dual Magarey Medallist Zane Kirkwood perhaps wasn’t at his damaging best against the ‘Dogs, but will demand serious attention all day.

Jordan Foote and Jimmy Toumpas will again be expected to lead the way in the Eagles engine-room. Foote was a strong inside presence on the weekend, finishing with six clearances, seven tackles and 21 possessions, whilst Toumpas’ class and skill shone on the outside. Midfield mainstays Angus Poole and Sam Rowland will be looking to benefit from the tap-work of big-man Jarrad Redden, who will do battle with Sturt’s Daniel Fahey-Sparks. The athletic Fahey-Sparks looks to have made big strides in the off-season, finishing the match against Central Districts with 52 hitouts and four clearances from his six possessions. Redden will receive a welcome chop-out from Jack Hayes, who proved a colossus in the air against South. Hayes booted two goals, recorded 17 hit-outs and clunked five contested marks but was also effective at ground-level, laying eight tackles and a couple of clearances. Sturt will be hopeful of regaining prolific midfielder Sam Colquhoun, who missed the round one clash with a hamstring injury, and medium-forward Jake Sutcliffe, who was struck down by illness.

Reserves:

The Eagles and Double Blues Reserves will converge at Peter Motley Oval on Sunday morning to continue their seasons. In another close finish, Woodville-West Torrens managed to defeat their South Adelaide opponents by eight points on Sunday, in a match where both sides were efficient in front of goal. However, that was not the case for the Double Blues reserves, who were bombarded early and will rue missing a number of opportunities in their 14-point loss to Central Districts. After a strong season last year, the Double Blues will be looking to notch up their first win against Woodville-West Torrens, who were beaten by Norwood in the 2019 Reserves Grand Final.

Under 18s:

The Under 18s sides will do battle after the reserves game on Sunday afternoon, with the Double Blues looking to build upon a comprehensive 48-point win over the Bulldogs. The Eagles, a traditional under-18s powerhouse, were defeated by close-rivals South Adelaide by ten-points. The Eagles have won the past two U18 Torrens University Cups over the Panthers but South Adelaide gained some round one revenge, despite the best efforts of prolific Eagles midfielder Caleb Poulter.

Poulter, a versatile 191cm prospect kicked a goal and amassed 34 disposals, seven marks (two contested), ten tackles, and seven clearances in the loss. Promising SA Hub tall forward Zac Phillips booted two goals and will prove a difficult match-up for the Sturt defence. The Double Blues will again be looking to feed off the midfield work of Mani Liddy and Tom Powell, who were both dominant in the win over Centrals at Elizabeth Oval. Look out for half-forward Morgan Ferres, who impressed with his clean hands and aerial ability in the victory.

 

Norwood vs North Adelaide

League:

Off-the-back of an impressive round one win over West Adelaide, the Roosters will face a tough test on Saturday afternoon against the battle-hardened Redlegs. In a re-match of the 2018 Grand Final, Norwood will be keen on asserting themselves on the contest, after being narrowly defeated by Glenelg in the marquee game of the opening round. North Adelaide’s x-factor forward Lewis Hender jumped out of the blocks, kicking seven goals-straight in the 29-point win.

Encouragingly for new coach Jacob Surjan, the Roosters off-season signings all started well, with midfielders Cameron HewettAndrew Moore and Billy Hartung getting involved early and finishing with 18, 25 and 19 disposals, respectively. Hewett and fellow inside midfielders Campbell Combe and Tom Schwarz were strong on the inside of the contest, laying a combined 28 tackles. The Roosters on-ball unit will need to be at their best when they face a battle-hardened Norwood midfield, headlined by deadly trio Richard DouglasMatthew Nunn and Mitch Grigg.

Douglas, a star signing in the off-season, recorded eight tackles and four clearances from his 20 touches, whilst Nunn, Grigg and Matthew Panos all benefited from the dominance of premier-ruckman Sam Baulderstone. Roosters ruckman James Craig will have his work cut out for him against the 200cm Baulderstone, who has proven to be the leagues best ruckman over his career. The Norwood on-ball unit is formidable and will only be further improved by the anticipated addition of Ryan Bastinac, who started the season in the reserves.

Norwood defenders Nik Rokahr, Mitch Wilkins and Nick Pedro face the daunting task of shutting down Roosters forwards Frank Szekely and Kym LeBois, who kicked a combined five goals in the win over West Adelaide. Injuries plagued Rooster Harrison Wigg‘s AFL career during stints with Adelaide and the Gold Coast, however his obvious talent was on show for all to see on Saturday, collecting 27 disposals, nine marks and six rebound 50s. Norwood must look to nullify his intercept marking ability across the backline. Redlegs running-machine Anthony Wilson is expected to miss another week with a calf injury, but tall defender Michael Talia faces a test to prove he is over his hamstring complaint. For the red and white, tall Alex Barns and son-of-a-gun Ben Jarman will both face tests after sustaining ankle injuries. The Redlegs will start as the clear favourites, but a revamped Roosters side will be eyeing off what would be a major scalp.

Reserves:

North Adelaide won the reserves competition in 2018 but, much like the clubs league side, slumped in 2019. Wooden-spooners from last season, the Roosters reserves will face the Redlegs seconds at the Parade on Sunday afternoon. Norwood were beaten by Glenelg last weekend and will be eager to bounce-back on home turf. Ryan Bastinac could be promoted to the league side after brushing off the cobwebs in the reserves against Glenelg. Norwood small midfielder Harry Nelligan has attracted the attention of draft watchers for his fierce tackling and prolific ball-winning and will expected to once-again line-up at reserves level on Sunday. For North Adelaide, young midfielder Harrison Magor and promising key defender Dyson Hilder will be looking to build form in the reserves to mount a case for a call-up to the Roosters league set-up.

Under 18s:

Norwood’s Under 18s side failed to land a punch against the Bays on Saturday, going down by 44 points. Matthew Dnistriansky‘s work across the backline was a standout in the defeat. He collected a team-high 25 disposals, nine marks and 10 rebounds. SA Hub member Cooper Murley also showed signs in the loss. The Roosters Under 18s defeated the Bloods by 12-points in round one, with exciting small forward and potential Crows NGA prospect Tariek Newchurch booting three goals. Captain Jamison Murphy has turned the heads of recruiters since picking football over cricket and will again be one to watch in the midfield, after a well-rounded performance at Prospect Oval last Saturday. He collected 26 disposals, three marks, four tackles, two clearances, six inside 50s and five rebounds.

 

South Adelaide vs Glenelg

League:

South Adelaide held off the fast finishing Eagles but face a more daunting task in the form of the reigning-premiers, Glenelg. Ken Farmer Medalist Liam McBean booted four goals to confirm his status as the leagues best key forward and will prove a tough match-up, likely for South Adelaide key defender Jake Summerton, who gains no reprieve after battling the Hayes brothers last weekend. Rugged midfielders Matthew Snook and Bradley Agnew were as industrial as ever and Marlon Motlop‘s silky skills will worry the South Adelaide coaching staff.

Magarey Medallist Luke Partington was not quite at his destructive best, but will prove a handful for the Panthers midfield, which will likely be without skipper Matthew Rose after he sustained a shoulder injury. In his absence, star onballer Joel Cross was left to do much of the heavy lifting and will again be relied upon in the engine room against a strong Glenelg midfield. Encouraging for the Panthers were the senior debuts of small forward Beau McCreery and versatile draft prospect Zac Dumesny.

McCreery proved invaluable in the last term, helping wrestle back the momentum by kicking back-to-back majors late in the final term, and Dumesny did not look out of place, collecting 11 disposals. Although several years older than McCreery and Dumesny, former-Power defender Matthew Broadbent also made a successful debut for the club down back.

Glenelg’s recruits also performed well, with former-Docker Jack Hannath strong in the ruck and Jackson Edwards providing solid rebound from the defensive-50. South Adelaide’s Malcolm Karpany suffered a back injury and will face a test later in the week, and Glenelg’s Tom Condon will also need to prove his fitness before the Sunday afternoon clash. Glenelg deservedly start as favourites, but South will be feeling positive after a win over the Eagles.

Reserves:

The Panthers and Tigers reserves will lock-horns at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday in a mid-morning time-slot. The Tigers defeated Norwood by 22-points last weekend, whilst the Panthers, despite kicking straight, were beaten by the Eagles in a close-encounter at Woodville’s Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. The Tigers Reserves will be looking to build upon the solid start and continue to feed-off the recent success of the league side, whilst the Panthers are aiming to launch a finals campaign after missing out in the previous four seasons.

Under 18s:

The Bays made it three-from-three across the weekend when the under-18s recorded a comprehensive 44-point triumph. SA Academy Hub member and potential Crows father-son prospect Luke Edwards was solid in the win, collecting 22 disposals. His versatility, size and experience as a bottom-ager at the 2019 National Championships will likely see him move beyond under-18s level soon enough. Luke Pedlar was dominant for the Bays, finishing the clash with Norwood with 28 disposals, three marks, six tackles and four clearances, whilst Lucas Schultz bagged four majors. Key tall Riley Holder could prove a handful for the Panthers, as could the running capacity of Xavier Robins. Panthers skipper Nicholas Kraemer is expected to lead from the front once again, after his nine-tackle showing against the Eagles.

 

West Adelaide V Central Districts

League:

In the final match of round two, Central Districts take on West Adelaide, with both sides no-doubt eager to earn their first points of the new season. The Bulldogs struggled to get things going in their forward half, despite the exciting off-season acquisition of Daniel Menzel. Centrals would have been pleased with the efforts of midfielders James BoydJarrod Schiller and Nick Lange, who battled hard against a strong Double Blues on-ball unit.

This week, they will face the likes of former-Hawk Dallas Willsmore and consistent veteran Kaine Stevens. The ruck battle is also likely to be closely fought, between West Adelaide big man Andre Parrella and Centrals’ Jonathan Marsh. Whilst Marsh was beaten in the ruck by Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks, he still managed 37 hitouts and was busier around the ground than his Sturt counterpart, collecting 10 disposals and laying seven tackles. Parrella, one of the competitions best tap ruckmen, beat North’s James Craig on the weekend, winning the hitouts 49 to 29.

The eyes of many draft watchers will remain fixed on ultra-talented ruckman/tall-forward Riley Thilthorpe, who will again line-up in attack for the Bloods, alongside skipper Tom Keough. Energetic small forward Lyndon Hupfeld will be one to watch this week, after his four-goal performance against North. The Dogs enter the round two clash with a clean-bill of health, but Bloods off-season signing Josh Koster will miss with a hamstring injury. Josh Schiller missed a large chunk of 2019 with a shoulder injury and suffered a back complaint in the clash with North Adelaide. He faces a test to prove his fitness. Although both sides are not expected to feature in the finals series, this match-up could prove to be the closest of all the round two fixtures.

Reserves:

Central Districts reserves side will make the trip down into Adelaide’s western suburbs to do battle with the Bloods at Hisense Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Dogs are coming off a hard-fought victory over Sturt, whilst West Adelaide made the Roosters pay for their inaccurate goal-kicking, coming out victorious by 31 points away from their Richmond home. Currently top after the opening round of action, the Bloods will be eager to continue their winning ways after a disappointing 2019 season which saw the side finish seventh. The Bulldogs seconds have been strong performers over the past few seasons, finishing in the finals since 2017 but failing to claim the ultimate prize.

Under 18s:

The Under-18 sides for the respective clubs will also face-off on Saturday. The Bloods and Bulldogs both lost their opening round fixtures but West will likely start this encounter as favourites, given the Bulldogs under-18s struggles in recent seasons. Midfielders Lewis Cowham and 16-year-old Austin McDonald were rare highlights during the hefty loss to Sturt, with both players finding an abundance of the football. McDonald was particularly strong around the stoppages, finishing with a game-high 12 clearances despite his inferior age. After facing Sturt, SA Academy Hub midfielders Tom Powell and Mani Liddy last weekend, the Dogs onballers gain no reprieve and appear set to clash with the prolific Bailey Chamberlain. Forward Jye Sinderberry may also cause some headaches for the Bulldogs defenders.

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 1

WITH the return of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) comes our usual series of scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. While a bunch of juniors plied their trade at higher levels in Round 1, we turned our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a heavy focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line.

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

Glenelg vs. Norwood

By: Michael Alvaro

Glenelg:

#12 Xavier Robins

Robins is the son of former Richmond and Melbourne defender, Haydn, and impressed across the same line for Glenelg on Saturday. The classy half-back showed terrific pace to break the lines and possesses a sweet left-foot kick, but was able to balance his offensive prowess with defensive duties well.

He had a big third term and broke to all the right places inside defensive 50, displaying sharp skills through his kick-in duties and providing a reliable rebounding outlet. He finished with 26 disposals, which included 19 kicks and eight rebound 50s.

#13 Luke Pedlar

Like Robins, Pedlar is a top-aged prospect outside of the current state academy hub, but was part of South Australia’s carnival-winning Under 16 squad in 2018. As part of the midfield-forward rotation, Pedlar showcased his explosive burst out of congestion and desire to hunt the ball, racking up a game-high 28 disposals while also laying six tackles and pumping four clearances forward.

He boasts a penetrating left side but can sure up his short-range game at speed. Pedlar also showed a good work-rate while employed up forward, working well up the ground and using his pace to get back quickly. He capped off a terrific outing with a goal at the start of the fourth term, slamming the ball home on the run.

#22 Lewis Rayson

One of his region’s leading 2021 draft candidates, Rayson assumed his usual role across half-back and even snuck forward to snap through a goal in the final term. The bottom-ager is light-on, but is sure to evade opposition heat while in possession with terrific speed and agility.

At times, Rayson’s willingness to move the ball on and turn defence into attack saw his disposal come undone, but he provided reliable use once he slowed himself down. The 181cm prospect was another to position himself well across the backline, picking up 16 disposals in a solid performance.

#25 Luke Edwards

It was somewhat of a surprise not to see Edwards named at a higher grade to start the season, but he took it all in his stride to be one of Glenelg’s better performers. Another to rotate through the midfield and forwardline, Edwards displayed terrific vision and clean use by hand at the centre bounces, while proving strong in one-on-one contests up forward. He was often first to the ball at stoppages too, an invaluable trait for inside types.

While the Adelaide father-son candidate displayed intelligence by hand, he blazed away with his kicks at times and missed a couple of attempts on goal. His work rate inside forward 50 to find space and manufacture those opportunities was commendable, though, and he also managed to dish off a nice assist to Pedlar in the final term. Edwards finished with impressive statistics of 22 disposals, four marks, six tackles, five clearances, and four inside 50s.

#33 Will Schreiber

Another big body to float through the midfield at 190cm, Schreiber arguably looked more comfortable down back where he could better utilise his strength and shrewd reading of the play. He was caught holding the ball on two occasions early in the piece, but adjusted his previous flat-footedness in the second half while adding fends to his stoppage craft.

Schreiber looked to have regained a deal of confidence as the game wore on, winning a couple of nice one-on-one aerial battles and correcting his short-range kicking with more time on the ball in the defensive half. The versatile prospect positioned expertly behind the ball to intercept, and ended up hauling in a team-high seven marks.

#39 Riley Holder

It is easy to forget that Holder is just 190cm with the way he plays, providing that focal point at centre half-forward while also pinch-hitting in the ruck. He took a big pack mark in the first term to set the tone for Glenelg, duly converting the set shot before impressing further with his strength and marking on the lead. Holder had a slightly quieter second half, but was a solid target working up the ground with his strong hands. The utility finished with 1.2 from 13 disposals and six marks (four contested).

Others:

Lucas Schultz worked well in tandem with Holder inside forward 50, booting a game-high four goals from 12 disposals and six marks as another marking option. Jaden Grosser was Glenelg’s other multiple goalkicker, finding the big sticks twice from midfield while also providing hardness at the ball. Hagan Wright and Kye Dean were others to have moments around the contest, with Riley Drum a solid figure in defence and bottom-ager Nasiah Wanganeen classy on the outer.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE


Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

There is a lot to like about the zippy bottom-ager, who showed flashes of brilliance moving forward from midfield. He has a happy knack of finding space on the outside, where he can carve the opposition up with line-breaking speed and precision kicking. While he grassed a couple of attempts on the fly, Murley pulled off a couple of terrific passes to targets inside 50; the first coming on the end of a 1-2 handball chain to assist Finn Heard‘s goal, and the second a pass which perfectly split multiple Glenelg defenders.

Murley’s lateral vision and smarts around the contest are high-level, boding well for more midfield time despite being a bit light at 66kg. He looked lively inside forward 50 too, particularly in the third term despite not finding the goals himself. The 2019 Under 16 All Australian ended up with 20 disposals and four marks in a promising display.

#9 Alastair Lord

Another bottom-aged small to impress was Lord, who triggered much of Norwood’s forward motion from defence. The 177cm prospect was sound at ground level, sweeping up the loose balls and darting around opponents to find the space to effectively move the ball on. He positioned well to intercept too, proving an apt rebounder with his composed distribution after cutting off opposition forays. Lord finished with 19 disposals, eight marks, and six rebound 50s.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Was Norwood’s designated kicker in defence having been tasked with the kick-in duties, and did well to find targets consistently on a tough day for the Redlegs’ back six. He played somewhat of a sweeper role inside defensive 50, mopping up when needed while spreading well to provide an outlet for his teammates. While Dnistriansky often took the safe option via foot, he was a reliable figure and notched a team-high 25 disposals (22 kicks) to go with nine marks and 10 rebound 50s.

Others:

Michael Cavallaro (22 disposals, eight marks) and Daniel Fairbrother (21 disposals, 10 marks) were others to work hard around the ground for Norwood, while Jack Saunders provided solid presence around the ball with 16 touches, as well as team-highs in tackles (eight) and clearances (seven).

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

By: Peter Williams

North Adelaide:

#9 Jamison Murphy

The North Adelaide co-captain was busy from the first bounce until the final siren, winning plenty of touches through the midfield. His best work was done in close, but predominantly it was his vision and use by hand that opened up the game for his teammates. When tackled, Murphy was strong, able to stand up and either shrug off the tackler or get the ball free to a teammate.

Along with his inside work, Murphy’s big first half included setting up goal scoring opportunities for his teammates, and he did all the one percenters required such as blocks or shepherds. In the third term, Murphy took a goal-saving mark on the last line of defence, and then later on was able to win the ball inside 50 and put it into his teammate’s path running inside 50.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

A tale of two halves for Newchurch, who went from an okay first half to a match-winning second half. It was clear even in patches through that first half he has the capability of doing something special with terrific speed on the lead, and great evasion techniques. He took a strong mark despite front-on contact about 40 metres out on a 45-degree angle, but his shot drifted to the left. His ability to get out of trouble was evident in the second term by earning a free kick for being held at half-forward.

The second half was something special though, as Newchurch stepped up to boot three goals, the first of which came eight and a half minutes into the third term. He received the handball and snapped around his body under pressure and then six minutes later kicked another one from a bit further out but with the same technique to sail home. Later in the term he took a great mark on the lead with his hands stretched in front of him, but the shot drifted across the face. His third goal game was the sealer when he lead out inside 50 to take a strong grab and put it straight through the middle. Not only did he finish the game with his execution, but he also applied pressure to opponents inside 50.

Others:

Leo Coates had a huge start to the game with a couple of strong marks and a long-range goal (almost two) in the first term. He was quieter after that, but showed signs he has improvement in him. Kallis Freer won a heap of the ball, racking up 27 touches, four marks, three clearances and three tackles to be the Roosters’ number one ball winner on the day. Samuel McTaggert booted a goal off a great crumbing effort and has a great burst of speed. Charlie Dowling and James Willis were very strong around the stoppages.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE


West Adelaide:

#2 Harvey Bock

A player who really stood out across the ground, Bock was particularly impressive in the defensive 50. His disposal was effective and he covered the ball well in transition. Often attacking the loose ball with vigour, Bock presented as an option to teammates, and seemed to have the smarts to find space and be a kick and a half behind the play for the quick opposition kick forward. He took a terrific drifting intercept mark to stop a forward marking, chopping off the kick inside 50 by reading it so well.

#5 Lachlan De Cesare

He had a huge game for the Bloods and showed some terrific skill around the ground, teaming up well with Chamberlain. De Cesare was able to read the ball well in flight, chopping off a pass going inside 50 and used the ball well coming out of defence. He kept presenting and won a fair chunk of the ball through midfield, giving off some neat handballs and allowing his teammate to clear it. De Cesare has a good centre of gravity to swivel the hips and try and get free when tackled. He just finds space around the ground and does it well.

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

A really consistent four-quarter effort from Chamberlain who could have been mistaken for the Energiser Bunny for his ability to cover ground and really cause headaches for opposition. He was fierce around the stoppages and laid some huge tackles, and while his aggression could sometimes see him give away free kicks, he was always willing to crack in and have a go.

At times his kicking was not perfectly executed, but his work by hand was terrific, often winning the ball in tight and freeing up teammates on the outside. What really stood out about Chamberlain was his ability to read the stoppages and often duck around the back of an opponent to win the ball from the ruck tap and exit the stoppage before others were aware he was off and running. His work rate and ability to put on the jets and burst away from an opponent, backing himself in was strong. If he irons out the kicking a bit more, he has a lot of other boxes he has already ticked.

Others:

Dylan White was another big performer in a low-scoring game, kicking three goals from 19 touches, five marks and four tackles to be the dominant forward for the Bloods. The other South Australian hub member Jye Sindeberry played in the game, but had a quieter outing with seven disposals and one mark.

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

WWT Eagles vs. South Adelaide 

By: Ed Pascoe

WWT:

#3 Taj Schofield 

Despite not having his usual output, the Port Adelaide father-son prospect was classy with ball in hand, rarely making a bad decision by hand or foot and keeping composed when in possession. Playing more of an outside role, he showed plenty of signs as to why he is rated one of the better ball users in this year’s draft. It was overall a quiet outing by his standards, finishing the game with 14 disposals, three clearances and four tackles. 

#7 Caleb Poulter 

It was a huge game from the talented tall midfielder, who would have certainly gotten recruiters’ attention with a commanding game playing through midfield and up forward. Poulter won plenty of the ball but it was his disposal that really stood out, with his long and accurate kicks hitting targets inside 50 and his long handballs with great vision also catching the eye. 

Poulter showed great agility and clean hands at ground level which was impressive for a 190cm-plus player, but even with his attacking side coming to the fold it was also his defensive game which stood out as he was always prepared to tackle despite looking gassed late in the game, but you couldn’t fault that. Poulter finished the game with 34 disposals, seven clearances, seven marks, 10 tackles, and a goal to be the standout player not just for this game, but for the whole round in general. 

#19 Zac Phillips 

The big ruckman/key forward Phillips looked imposing early, taking a strong mark on the wing and also kicking a lucky goal later in the first quarter, getting over the top and quickly kicking the goal before getting run down. Phillips would add to his tally with some good pressure up forward before getting the rewards with a nice dribble goal. Phillips showed good follow up work in the ruck and his hit outs where often to his teammates’ advantage. He finished the game with 11 disposals, three clearances, two goals, and 24 hit outs. 

#31 Jase Burgoyne  

Another Port Adelaide father-son prospect but for the 2021 draft, Burgoyne was clean and classy down back; showing good agility and composure and often using the ball neatly by hand and foot. Burgoyne showed a good ability to not only create from defence with his skill and class, but also defend well and knew when to get back to man up on an opponent, Burgoyne looks an exciting talent for the 2021 draft and he finished the game with 22 disposals, four marks, and countless rebounds from defence. 

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE


South Adelaide: 

#9 Jason Horne  

Horne will certainly be in discussions for the pointy end of the 2021 draft as the talented midfielder displayed of plenty of his tricks that make him a complete midfielder. Horne certainly isn’t one-dimensional, showing his ability overhead with one mark in particular in the first quarter, going up with great courage.

His ability to work forward and back is impressive, complementing his attack at the footy at stoppages and his explosiveness with and without the ball to hold him in good stead. He could have had greater output if he was able to convert his opportunities around goal, finishing the game with 21 disposals, three clearances and 10 marks.  

#21 Matthew Roberts  

A talented midfielder who is highly rated for the 2021 draft, Roberts started the game in unfamiliar territory up forward. While he couldn’t quiet have his usual impact in that position, he certainly started to build up his game, getting to move into his favoured midfield position as the game went on.

With his output improving, so did his ability when he did have go back forward, kicking a nice set shot goal late in the gameRoberts finished the game with 21 disposals, four clearances, and a goal in a well-rounded performance. 

#33 Arlo Draper  

Another talented South Adelaide prospect for the 2021 draft, Draper looked all-class up forward with his skill and athleticism on show. Draper kicked the first goal of the game with a nice snap and although he wouldn’t add to the tally, he did set up plenty of other scoring opportunities with his decision making and skills forward of centre.

Playing mostly as a third tall forward, Draper did well to get up the ground and make and impact, and he is the type of player you want with ball in hand with his ability to create and run with the ball. Draper finished the game with 17 disposals, seven marks, and a goal.  

#35 Nicholas Kraemer  

Kraemer was a bull for South Adelaide, using his strong frame to impact stoppages and lay strong tackles. Kraemer played with a lot of grit and determination, attacking the footy hard and also laying some crunching tackles to be the real grunt in the talented South Adelaide midfield. 

Kraemer’s best isolated bit of play came with a strong overhead mark and then a quick long handball forward which almost lead to a good team goal. Kraemer looks set to be a handy addition to the South Australian state side if those games go ahead, finishing with 19 disposals, four clearances, six marks, and nine tackles. 

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Central District vs. Sturt

By: Tom Wyman

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald 

Barossa Valley junior, McDonald took it right up to the talented Sturt midfield. The 16-year-old was terrific around the stoppages, finishing with 12 clearances and 27 disposals. He was not afraid to have a crack and applied plenty of tackling pressure around the ball. Despite being eligible for the Under-16 competition, McDonald’s productivity and dominance in-tight has ensured he is one of the Bulldogs’ most exciting prospects already. Expect to see him feature prominently for South Australia soon enough.

#15 Lewis Cowham

It was a tough day for Central Districts, but midfielder, Cowham was among his side’s best. He imposed himself early by laying a strong tackle on Mani Liddy which was perhaps unlucky to be called a high free-kick against. He was industrial throughout the contest, particularly with his hands in-tight, finishing with 27 touches. Cowham and teammate, McDonald battled hard and stood-out for the Bulldogs, who were ultimately outclassed by a talented Sturt side. 

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE


Sturt:

#9 Malachy Carruthers

Carruthers was one of the Double Blues’ best performers on the day. He exhibited excellent composure in the backline and showed flashes of his neat skillset in a well-rounded performance. His marking was also a highlight, with Carruthers positioning himself well to cut off several of the Bulldogs’ forward entries. He concluded the match with 25 disposals, eight marks and six rebound-50s.

#13 Bradley Jefferies 

Jefferies was a strong presence for the Doubles Blues throughout the contest. In a predominantly inside-midfield role, he provided excellent support for Academy Hub duo Liddy and Tom Powell. A highlight was when he nailed a right-foot snap for Sturt’s second major of the match. He finished the game with 24 disposals and seven marks.

#15 Mani Liddy 

Prolific SA Academy Hub member, Liddy was a dominant presence on the inside of the Double Blues’ midfield all day. Tough and relentless at the contest, Liddy started well, winning the ball in the coalface before dishing off a neat handball to William Staples, who nailed the game’s first goal. Later in the first term, he gave another handball to Jordon Cocks who kicked truly.

His neat skills by hand really stood out all day. Even when being tackled by his Bulldogs opponents, he was clean and helped get the ball moving Sturt’s way on numerous occasions. Arguably best-on-ground, Liddy finished with 32 disposals and is firming as a first-choice midfielder for South Australia during the upcoming National Championships.

#18 Tom Powell 

Recruiters will be encouraged to see Powell have some success early on in the season, given his recent battles with injury. The Sturt on-baller was everywhere at Elizabeth Oval, finishing with 34 touches. Akin to fellow-on-baller Liddy, Powell started the contest well, bursting out of the midfield following the opening bounce, having a bounce and streaming inside-50 before snapping a behind.

While he put together a very strong game, it could have been even better had he converted some of his attempts on goal. Expect to see more of Powell in the Reserves later in the season, as he appeared a cut above Under 18 level against the ‘Dogs. 

#22 Ned Walter 

In his distinctive black helmet, Walter showed strength and skill across the half-back line for Sturt. He almost took a mark-of-the-year contender from a kick-out and his hands overhead were strong across the four quarters. He produced an excellent intercept spoil in the second quarter to break-up a potential Bulldogs inside-50. After a strong outing, Walter has emerged as one to watch in defence. 

#32 Morgan Ferres 

Ferres presented well all game for the Double Blues and was the side’s go-to marking option across half-forward. He took a number of contested grabs and appears to have excellent aerial ability. However, I really liked Ferres’ cleanliness at ground level as well. He dished off several neat handballs to get the Blues going inside-50. Booted a game-high three goals and could have finished with a handful.

James Borlase (Reserves)

The potential Crows NGA prospect was named at full-back for the Sturt reserves, having played eight matches at the level last year. At 191cm and 88kg, Borlase is strongly-built and able to hold his own against the bigger bodied forwards – a trait which will certainly help his case for senior selection later in the year.

Against a relatively strong Central Districts outfit, Borlase’s performance was encouraging. He spent considerable time matched-up against athletic 196cm tall forward Leek Alleer. While Alleer possesses serious speed and a high leap, he was largely nullified by the lock-down abilities of Borlase. He took a number of kick-ins as well, a testament his improving skillset.

Tom Lewis (Reserves)

Returning from an ACL injury which saw him miss the entire 2019 season, Lewis was back to his hard-at-it ways which proved invaluable for SA during its undefeated National Championships in 2018. Viewed by many draft watchers as being unlucky not to be picked up in his first draft eligible year, Lewis was tough at the ball throughout the match.

He attacked every contest with ferocious intent, often smashing into and bouncing-off opponents in-tight. He tackled with vigour, attempting to rip the ball out on several occasions. Expect to see Lewis be given a few games in the reserves before making the step-up to senior football for the Double Blues.

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

>> 2020 South Australia Under 18 Squad Prediction

AFL Draft Watch:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

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