Tag: Mani Liddy

SANFL Round 7 Preview: Huge round set to separate top from bottom

ROUND 7 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) is set to be an interesting one, with some tight matchups and plenty of critical injury outs this round. North Adelaide will hope to continue its winning ways against an improved Norwood outfit at League level, with the Panthers in danger of losing their top three position if the Redlegs can run away with a fourth win on the trot, while ladder leaders Woodville-West Torrens Under-18s will hope for another straight win.

Woodville-West Torrens vs. West Adelaide

League: The Eagles and Bloods will meet at Maughan Oval Avenue on Saturday afternoon in a battle for western suburbs bragging rights. However the two sides find themselves in drastically different situations following six rounds of action. The Eagles continue to set the pace at the top of the SANFL Statewide Super League Ladder after knocking off the Bulldogs on home soil. Meanwhile, West Adelaide suffered a heavy loss at the hands of a rapidly-improving Redlegs side.

The Bloods were competitive early against the Redlegs, booting two of the first three goals. But it was all one-way traffic from then on, with Norwood running out victors by 67 points. West Adelaide were comprehensively beaten in almost all major statistics but most alarming was their inability to get their hands on the footy in the midfield. With Andre Parrella sidelined, 18-year-old Riley Thilthorpe was given the daunting task of competing against Norwood’s Sam Baulderstone. He fought hard and showed some promising signs but the Bloods midfield lost the clearances 41-15 and inside 50s 58-41. No team could expect to be competitive when being dominated in such a lopsided fashion. However it was a different story for the Eagles, whose workmanlike midfield proved far too strong for an inexperienced Bulldogs lineup. They won the clearances 44-24 and inside 50s 48-41 and controlled the match from the get-go. The Bloods used the ball well when they managed to get their hands on it, kicking at 83 per cent efficiency, but struggled without the presence of three of their most important players in lead ruckman Parrella (calf), promising backman Elliott Dunkin (wrist) and key defender Josh Ryan (shoulder). Even though the Eagles controlled much of the play, they laid more tackles than the Bulldogs – a testament to the hard-working, in-and-under nature of their settled side.

Perhaps most encouraging for Woodville-West Torrens coach Jade Sheedy is that his side ground out the win without much influence from damaging small forward James Rowe, who was restricted to just one third quarter goal from six disposals. Defender turned forward Jake Von Bertouch stood up and added three more goals to his impressive season tally, while Jack Hayes controlled the airways in a best on ground performance which included 28 disposals, two goals, 14 marks (four of which were contested) and seven inside50s. Hayes is the leading contested marker in the competition and Von Bertouch sits in a close second. Although the Eagles boast a threatening forward line, the Bloods possess a handy one-two punch of their own with skipper Tom Keough combining in attack with Thilthorpe. The usual suspects fought hard for the Bloods despite the unpleasant result, with Kaine Stevens and Jordon Boyle typically prolific. The midfield duo have been excellent for West Adelaide and will again be relied upon to carry much of the on-ball unit against the likes Jordan Foote, Angus Poole, Joseph Sinor and Jimmy Toumpas. The Eagles ruck combination of Jack Hayes and Jarrad Redden has been extremely effective so far this season, with both players providing good use to the midfielders at their feet while also winning several clearances themselves. While on the topic of clearances, this match features a number of strong stoppage specialists, including Blood Brett Turner and Eagle ‘Joey’ Sinor, who thrived off Redden’s tap-work to accumulate 13 clearances against the ‘Dogs.

Unfortunately for West Adelaide coach Gavin Colville, Parrella (1-2 weeks), Dunkin (3-4 weeks), Ryan (3-4 weeks) and Josh Schiller (4-6 weeks) will all miss several weeks through injury. The Eagles reported no new injuries from last weekend. One of the Bloods two wins in 2019 came against the Eagles in round four. They were victorious by 37 points that day but went down by 60 points when the two clubs faced off in Round 10. Needless to say, the Eagles will come into this clash brimming with confidence, having yet to drop points since their round one loss to the Panthers. Despite starting as underdogs, the Bloods will be hoping to improve on their disappointing round six showing.

Reserves: The form of the Bloods and Eagles reserves sides has been similar to that of their league counterparts in 2020. The Eagles reserves sit at the top of the ladder and remain the only undefeated side across all three tiers of SANFL football after six weeks of action, following a heart-stopping one-point win over the Bulldogs last weekend. West Adelaide sit in seventh place after recording their fifth consecutive loss of the campaign against Norwood.

Under-18s: The Eagles and Bloods under-18s sides both currently sit outside of the top four but, however this clash will still feature a number of talented juniors. West Adelaide ball-magnet Bailey Chamberlain was again terrific in the Bloods engine room despite the loss to Norwood on Saturday evening, while fellow AFL Academy Hub members Caleb Poulter and Henry Smith were amongst the Eagles best in their win over Central Districts.

 

Central Districts vs. Glenelg

League: Glenelg will travel north to face the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon. The reigning premiers returned to their winning ways with an 18-point victory over Sturt at Brighton Road on Saturday, after loosing their previous three matches. In contrast, Central Districts’ winless woes continued with a 30-point loss to the ladder leading Eagles.

The Bulldogs failed to score in the first quarter at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. And despite mounting a four goal to one second term comeback, the damage had already been done. Whereas the Tigers were able to keep the Double Blues goalless in the opening quarter and capitalise upon a strong defensive start by taking a 21-point lead into the first break. The Bulldogs were comprehensively beaten by the Eagles in almost all the major statistical areas. Although they were able to generate some run across half-back at times, Centrals were unable to get their hands on the ball through the middle and failed to apply any significant scoreboard pressure. Interestingly, the Tigers midfield lost the hit-outs, clearances and inside-50s but won the possession battle and, unlike the Double Blues, made the most of their shots on goal, which proved to be the defining factor in the Sunday afternoon clash. To their credit, the Bulldogs have fought hard throughout the year but appear to lack the star quality possessed by their rivals, particularly through the middle of the ground. Glenelg, in comparison, boast class on nearly every line, headlined by league leading goal-kicker Liam McBean and tough in-and-under onballers Matthew Snook and Bradley Agnew.

James Boyd leads all comers in terms of disposals and has played somewhat of a lone hand in the engine room throughout the year. Despite Boyd’s ability to accumulate disposals at will, he needs more support from Travis and Jarrod Schiller if the Bulldogs are to match it with the Tigers in the contested ball. The aforementioned duo of Snook and Agnew have been ultra consistent throughout the opening six rounds, winning an abundance of clearances and applying plenty of tackling pressure. Both sit inside the top ten in the league for these categories. Up forward, the potent combination of McBean and Luke Reynolds have combined for 33 goals between them in just six matches. The Dogs backline struggled to nullify Eagles talls Jack Hayes and Jake Von Bertouch and will again face an uphill battle to restrict the aerial dominance of the Tigers duo. It has been a tough year so far, but despite their struggles, coach Jeff Andrews will urge his chargers to focus open the positives. Troy Menzel has shown flashes of his obvious talent and booted two goals last round. Small forward Lachlan Grubb recently joined fellow teenagers Corey Durdin and Jordan O’Brien in the senior side and all three have looked comfortable at the level. The coaching staff have also shown plenty of faith in young ruckman Brody Thompson, who managed 21 hit-outs against veteran Jarrad Redden, while the return of Justin Hoskin has provided the inexperienced Dogs with some much needed leadership. Rhett Montgomerie is already amongst the leagues best contested markers in just his

Glenelg reported no new injuries from their league clash, however the Bulldogs will be hopeful of regaining former skipper Trent Goodrem and key position duo John Butcher and Ryan Falkenberg, all of whom have been listed as a test. The Bays defeated the Bulldogs twice on their way to the flag last season and will be expected to take the two points in this clash. However a youthful Central Districts side will be hoping a first win of 2020 is just around the corner.

Reserves: The Bulldogs league side suffered their first loss of the season last weekend but remain well on track to qualifying for a finals berth. Although the Tigers have suffered back-to-back losses, this clash could have several repercussions come finals time.

Under-18s: The Tigers under-18s have struggled after loosing several of their best players due to the return of the school football competition. However the work of midfielder Hagan Wright hasn’t gone unnoticed. Central Districts have also been affected, with Prince Alfred College midfielder Lewis Cowham missing from the side for the past two weeks. Fellow on-baller Shay Linke has stepped up his absence, alongside Austin McDonald. The athletic Leek Alleer is another one to watch in the red, white and blue.

 

North Adelaide vs. Sturt

League: North Adelaide will look to consolidate their position in the top four when they host Sturt at their Prospect Oval home. After three consecutive defeats, the Double Blues sit sixth on the ladder and must start stringing some wins together if they are to push for a finals spot.

The Roosters midfield was significantly bolstered during a busy off-season with the signings of Billy HartungAndrew Moore and Cam Hewett. Although Hartung and Hewett have spent some time on the sidelines, when up and running they are amongst the best on-ballers in the competition. The Roosters recorded less disposals and marks than the Panthers, but it was the engine room which really helped the red and white get on top. They finished plus-28 in tackles, plus-5 in the hit-outs, narrowly won the clearance battle and concluded the game up plus-12 for inside-50s. Led by skipper James Battersby, Sturt’s on-ball quality is well-known by SANFL watchers, particularly given the clubs success in recent years. Although perhaps down on their output of seasons gone by, the Double Blues midfield remains capable of matching it with the best. Despite losing the key disposal statistics, they won the hit-outs, clearances and inside-50s against Glenelg but failed to capitalise on the scoreboard, booting eight goals and 16 behinds at ACH Group Stadium. In fairness, seven of these behinds were rushed. The result, an 18-point loss, could well have gone Sturt’s way if they converted their multitude of opportunities in front of goal.

Has anyone taken bigger strides in season 2020 than Roosters hard-nut Campbell Combe? The inside midfielder laid another 16 tackles in round six, nine more than co-captains Moore and Tom Schwarz, who laid seven apiece. Combe averaged 20 disposals, five clearances and 5.7 tackles in 18 games last season, but is travelling at 22 touches, almost seven clearances and a league-leading 11.3 tackles in his six games so far in 2020. After cementing his spot last year, Combe has now become one of the league’s best in-and-under midfielders and complements the Roosters outside types such as Robbie Young and Jarrad Allmond. The Double Blues recruited Abe Davis in the hope he could play a similar role as a big-bodied midfielder and he took some positive steps last round, racking up 26 touches and six clearances. The aforementioned Battersby and prolific Sam Colquhoun are both terrific stoppage players and will make for an interesting on-ball battle. Roosters half-back Harrison Wigg has been providing excellent drive from defence with his damaging left-foot, but Sturt’s Sam Wundke still sits at the top of the league when it comes to rebound-50s. It will be a battle between youth and experience when Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks meets Rooster James Craig in the ruck. Although Craig may out-duel him in the contest, expect Fahey-Sparks to work hard around the ground. He is averaging five more disposals than Craig and booted two goals in the loss to the Tigers. In attack, Lewis Hender has been terrific for North, booting 15 goals. Small forward Kym LeBois has contributed eleven of his own and the tall duo of Mitch Harvey and Keenan Ramsey have booted a combined 13. Sturt has kicked the least amount of points of any side in 2020, and will be expected to rely upon their midfielders to push forward and impact the scoreboard.

The Double Blues will be without Tom Lewis and Ash Johnson who sustained ankle injuries in the reserves, while Rory Illman will also spend some time in the recovery room, nursing a hamstring complaint. North still boasts a lengthy injury list but will be hoping Elliott Chalmers can recover from his hip concern. Sturt took care of the Roosters in both encounters last season but both clubs will field significantly different sides this time around.

Reserves: Sturt are flying at reserves level and have won four on the trot after knocking off the Bays away from home last weekend. The Roosters kept themselves in the hunt with an important win over the Panthers but still sit two wins and percentage behind fourth place.

Under-18s: Sturt’s under-18s were outstanding against the Tigers on Sunday evening and will enter the clash with North Adelaide as favourites. Tom Powell has been the league’s best performed player to-date and forms one-third of Sturt’s terrific midfield trio, along with Mani Liddy and Will Spain. North were beaten by the Panthers at Noarlunga in round six, but keep an eye on Shaun Bennier after he booted four goals.

 

Norwood vs. South Adelaide

League: The Panthers will head east to take on Norwood at the Parade in the match of the round. South Adelaide have made a consistent start to the season and remain on track in their quest to win the club its first flag since 1964. Things weren’t so convincing early on for the Redlegs, who suffered two close losses in the opening fortnight and were soundly beaten by the Eagles at Woodville. However since then, Norwood have charged into the top four and look more like the well-balanced outfit we’ve come to expect.

The Redlegs made light work of the Bloods at Hisense Arena and it all started in the middle. The ‘Legs boast arguably the best midfield unit in the competition so it was no surprise to see them dominate the hitouts, clearances and inside-50s. Their ability to win the contested ball allowed them to control much of the game and finish with a remarkable 107 more disposals than their opponents. Jarrad Cotton‘s men were also clean both in general play and in front of goal, finishing with 83 per cent kicking efficiency and 66 per cent scoring efficiency, and took 163 marks to West’s 115. The Panthers, on the other hand, took a lead into quarter time and outscored the Roosters in a tense final term, but were ultimately downed in a hard-fought encounter at Prospect Oval. South won the disposals battle and finished plus-17 for marks, but the Roosters midfield proved too good in the end. The midfield battle will once again play a major role in deciding Sunday afternoon’s clash.

The defensive duo of Joseph Haines and Tom Highmore have been the glue of the South Adelaide side in 2020. Both marking machines, they also accumulate plenty of the football whilst providing rebound from the defensive 50. The 27-year-old Haines is averaging 8.5 marks and 22 disposals at 94 per cent kicking efficiency, whilst Canberra product Highmore is averaging 9.3 marks to go with 22 touches at 81 per cent. Their ability to win the ball in the air but then distribute it cleanly has been instrumental to South’s early success. However Norwood key forward Tommy Pinyon will enter the clash in good form, having clunked a couple of contested grabs and nailed three goals last weekend. Joel Cross, Matthew Broadbent and Ben Heaslip have been excellent in the Panthers engine room, while 20-year-old Hayden Sampson and draft hopeful Zac Dumesny have both made successful contributions in their respective roles at league level. However the Redlegs onball unit is as formidable as they come. The likes of Matt PanosRichard Douglas and Mitch Grigg are all dominant ball-winners but, more importantly, hit the scoreboard on a consistent basis. The trio combined for no less than nine goals against the Bloods and simply must be denied opportunities in front of goal. They are all expected to feature prominently come Magarey Medal night too. The clean-kicking Lewis Johnston is a weapon wherever deployed and Matthew Nunn slotted back into the side seamlessly, accumulating 33 disposals and six clearances. Add former-Kangaroo and Lion Ryan Bastinac into the mix and you have yourself a seriously threatening midfield which has just started to click in recent weeks. Of course, it helps when Sam Baulderstone provides you with first-use in the middle then acts as another midfielder with his clearance-winning capacity and work rate around the ground. He will pose a challenge for Panthers ruckman Cameron McGree, however the 21-year-old is improving each game. South Adelaide teenager Beau McCreery has impressed up forward and is leading the clubs goal-kicking so far, having booted ten majors in six games.

Panthers speedster Malcolm Karpany will spend another stint on the sidelines after injuring his calf, but South will be hoping dynamic forward Liam Fitt is indeed declared fit after sustaining a shoulder injury. The Redlegs reported no new injuries but several senior players remain sidelined. Norwood got the better of the Panthers on both occasions last season, but South Adelaide appear to be an improved outfit in 2020 and will be looking to get themselves back onto the winners list immediately.

Reserves: The Panthers and Redlegs reserves sides achieved their first victories of 2020 over the past fortnight but face an uphill battle to qualify for the finals, given the six-point (three-win) gap between themselves and the fourth-placed Bays. Regardless, one club will be feeling more confident of grabbing a place after this match-up.

Under-18s: Given the form of Norwood and South Adelaide’s under-18 sides, this clash should be entertaining. But it shapes as being all about the 17-year-olds. Panthers bottom-ager Jason Horne has taken the competition by storm in 2020 and appears destined to be an early selection in next years draft. He has led the Panthers to a four and two start to the season and could go head-to-head in the midfield with fellow bottom-ager Cooper Murley, who has also been ultra impressive in his own right. Keep an eye on these two going forward as they prepare to lead South Australia’s 2021 draft crop.

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 6

ROUND 6 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 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. Some sides remained slightly depleted over the weekend with school football making its return.

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. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#9 Jason Horne

It was another superb performance from Horne, who is currently South Adelaide’s prime mover through midfield. The bottom-ager constantly got first hands on the ball at stoppages, especially early, and used his bursting speed to break forward quickly. Horne’s play of the game came in that exact manner, as he streamed away from a centre bounce and launched home his sole major for the day from 60-metres out. Credit to his enormous work rate, Horne was able to constantly find space around the ground and really hunted the opposition with smothering tackling pressure. 26 disposals and six clearances led another formidable statline for the Under 16 State MVP.

#10 Brayden Cook

One of three Panthers to notch 26 touches, Cook made the wing his own across another consistent outing. He took a bit of time to get going, but kickstarted his day with a strong pack mark and goal late in the first term. That kind of forward running and hardness at the contest made him a constant threat, with some nice accumulative work between the arcs boosting his stats throughout. Cook capped off his day with a second goal, put through from the goalsquare in term four.

#19 Jamison Snelling

One of a couple outstanding 16-year-old prospects in the South Adelaide side, Snelling showed terrific glimpses of his top form to finish with three goals from 21 disposals and seven marks. His first major seemed to come from nowhere, as he benefitted from a turnover just outside the forward arc and slammed the ball home from range. It would set him going, with Snelling rotated through the midfield and forwardline to good effect all day. His form from distance carried on too; finding the big sticks from outside 50 a second time after receiving a hand-off, and finishing smartly on the run from a touch closer in the fourth term to put the cherry on top of a strong performance.

#22 Jack Flett

Flett was arguably the most damaging member of South’s steady back six, providing a cool head on the last line while also attempting to break the lines on the rebound. His left foot would become a weapon, used to attack as he took on some nice cross-field passes and gained serious distance. The short-range game was there too, able to hit up easy outlet kicks to help his side maintain possession. But Fleet’s best moments came on the offensive, with one particular driving run through the corridor sending the Panthers inside 50. His 23 disposals and eight marks were somewhat reflective of South’s high possession defence, but there was enough going the other way to have a big impact.

#27 Will Verrall

The 16-year-old key position prospect has transitioned well into the Under 18 side, and continues to mix it well both up forward and in the ruck. An athletic type, Verrall’s leap was evident early as he rose to take a nice overhead mark inside 50, converting the resultant set shot. A big pack mark later in the opening term gave him a second goal after the siren, and Verrall never looked back. While he could not quite find the goals again, his clean hands at ground level and ability to get involved in chained forward moves made for good viewing.

Others:

A bunch of solid contributors headlined South Adelaide’s win, with electric small forward Phoenix Spicer again looking lively. He added two goals and plenty of speed to the Panthers’ effort from out on the wing, much like Isaac Burt (22 disposals, nine marks). South’s defence was also strong, led by Samuel Hindes‘ 20 disposals, 12 marks, and seven rebound 50s, and consolidated by the safe ball use of Harry Spacie (26 disposals, nine marks).  

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide:

#15 Harvey Harrison

Harrison’s dash and dare from midfield was again a feature for North Adelaide, as he popped up in exciting spurts. After somewhat of a slow start (much like the rest of his side), the bottom-ager clicked into gear as he began to accumulate the ball on the outer of stoppage situations, using his five-step burst to accelerate forward and take the game on. A nice forward run in the third term was a highlight of Harrison’s day, as he finished with 25 disposals, five marks, and five clearances.

#18 James Willis

Another bottom-ager who is thriving for the Roosters upon being granted a touch more midfield responsibility is Willis, who returned 22 disposals, six tackles, and four clearances on a trying day. He too started a little shakily with a shanked kick under little pressure, but soon made up for it with an eye-catching run out of the defensive half. While his outside game would be sound given his speed, Willis looks just as good on the inside where he uses his strength to fend off opponents and bring them down in desperate tackles. That kind of play made him a driving force through midfield, and there is a good base to work off.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin is just so consistent with his work out of defence, and hardly lost a contest when the ball entered his area. Whether it came in aerially or via the carpet, O’Loughlin was constantly able to intercept and mop up across half-back to foil many of South Adelaide’s attacks. There might not be much of him, but the bottom-ager has plenty of impact with clean rebounding kicks on his left side – both short and long in range. He was again the Roosters’ most prolific ball winner with 26 touches, along with seven rebound 50s.

Others:

Midfielder Matthew Borg also managed to rack up 26 disposals, providing a constant stoppage presence as he lined up against Horne more often than not. Kyle Brazell (23 disposals, seven marks) was another to find plenty of the ball, able to drive forward from the wing. Zyton Santillo looks to be filling the role of Tariek Newchurch for North, with his lead-up duties as a small working well to link his side into attacking 50. Shaun Bennier contributed the most in terms of goals, booting 4.4 from 16 disposals and six marks with most of his work done deep.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

WWT Eagles vs. Central District

By: Tom Cheesman

WWT Eagles:

#7 Caleb Poulter

Poulter had another nice game for the Eagles in their victory at X Convenience Oval. He collected 25 disposals, five marks, five inside 50s, three clearances, and a goal while spending time in the midfield and across half-forward. The big-bodied AFL Academy Hub member was clean at stoppages, releasing many teammates into open space with some nice handballs on the up. He played with great physicality at clearances and in marking contests, and his terrific ability overhead was on show. Poulter also found plenty of the ball around the ground, made some nice decisions with ball in hand, and his kicking efficiency was exceptional. One of Poulter’s best traits is that he always follows up his possessions and contests, which is exactly what he did en route to kicking a clever goal in the last quarter.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Bottom-ager Burgoyne produced one of his best performances at Under 18 level on Saturday. He spent more time than usual in the midfield, which led to him being the leading disposal winner on the ground. His acceleration and elite ability to change direction wreaked havoc on the opposition, as they quite simply could not stop him from linking up with teammates through the middle and transitioning the ball forward. Burgoyne is never afraid to take the game on and use the corridor, a trait that is incredibly impressive for such a young player. His teammates try to get the ball in his hands at any cost, demonstrating how much faith they have in his abilities. Increased midfield minutes also allowed Burgoyne to show more of his physicality and tacking pressure, which are elements of his game that have been much more hidden when playing his usual half-back role. He finished with 33 disposals, seven rebound 50s, five clearances, four tackles and a nice set shot goal.

#34 Lachlan Jones (League)

Jones is one of the best South Australian prospects in this year’s draft class, and he showed why he’s rated so highly once again on Saturday. The 185cm youngster has a strong build and is very suited to his role in the ladder-leading Eagles’ backline. Jones matched up on ex-Carlton and Adelaide forward Troy Menzel during the game (when Menzel went forward) and did an excellent job. He pushed Menzel wide on the lead, held his own in one-on-one contests, and read the flight of the ball well when positioned behind the play.

Jones’ marking ability is definitely one of his major strengths, and he took multiple intercept marks in pack situations throughout the game. He has fantastic reach and athletic jumping ability, skills which were both on show in this match as he used this athleticism to spoil his opponents whenever he found himself out of position. It is evident that Jones will be an important member of the Eagles defence at League level all season. The Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy member finished with eight kicks, four marks and three rebound 50s.

#51 Lachlan McNeil (League)

McNeil was outstanding once again for the Eagles. He worked hard around the ground to find plenty of the ball and linked up well with teammates down the wings to transition it forward quickly. The over-ager was also strong defensively, laying three solid tackles –  including a nice run-down effort at the start of the third term. He used the ball effectively, was particularly clean with his hands, and kicked a nice set shot goal from just inside 50 in the first quarter. McNeil finished with 21 disposals, four clearances and four inside 50s.

Others:

Brayden Calvett (four goals) was very lively for the Eagles up forward, while Zeke Scott (20 disposals, eight tackles) was hard at it in the midfield, and Max Litster (25 disposals, eight marks, two goals) had a strong impact.

Jacob Godden (22 disposals, nine inside 50s) was busy at half forward, using his pace to provide an option up the ground and get the ball over the back and into the Eagles’ key forwards.

Port Adelaide father-son prospect Taj Schofield unfortunately suffered a lower leg injury in the opening minute of the game whilst attempting to change direction and did not return.

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

Central District:

#5 Kobe Wilson

Wilson was fantastic on Saturday, running hard up and down the wings to give Centrals supporters some exciting passages of play to watch. He started the game phenomenally, laying two strong tackles over the boundary and setting up the first goal of the game. Wilson has a spearing right-foot kick that is very effective, particularly when kicking short on the 45. He used his electric speed to provide a lot of run-and-carry for his side, and he kicked a well-deserved goal in the final term. Wilson had 13 disposals (all of which were kicks), five marks, five inside 50s and four tackles.

#13 Austin McDonald

McDonald was Central’s best clearance player on the day, collecting 18 disposals, eight clearances, and four inside 50s for his side. He is a very steady player, always composed and willing to wait for the right option to present itself. McDonald regularly provided an effective option for teammates in the corridor and applied relentless pressure on opposition players at stoppages around the ground.

#26 Shay Linke

Linke is in red-hot form for the Bulldogs and impressed on Saturday with another strong performance. He kicked two goals to go with a team-high 29 disposals, ten marks and eight inside 50s. Remarkably, 26 of Linke’s disposals were kicks, showing how much confidence he has in himself to make the right decisions going forward with the ball. He also worked hard at stoppages, earning five clearances for his side.

#27 Leek Alleer

Alleer was one of Central’s best when on the field, regularly providing an option for teammates to switch the play, and using his fantastic athleticism to impact the contest in all areas of the ground. He has a great reach to go with his impressive size, so he was never out-marked and used that reach and some serious closing speed to impact multiple marking contests.

His defensive tackling pressure was also outstanding, highlighted by a strong tackle on the speedy Jay Watson in the first term and then another great tackle in the second term on Zeke Scott. Alleer was involved in an unfortunate incident six minutes into the third term when an Eagles player dived for the ball and accidentally caught Alleer’s leg underneath them in the process. Despite trying to play on with the injury, Alleer soon left the field and did not return to the game. He finished with 15 disposals, five marks, three tackles and three clearances.

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

Although it was another tough day for Central’s forwards, Durdin showed once again many think of him so highly. The 172cm forward has an incredible work ethic and electric pace, applying plenty of pressure on opposition defenders throughout the contest and laying four important tackles. He kicked a clever soccer goal in the second term to get his side back in the contest, but unfortunately that was one of very few chances he got to hit the scoreboard. Durdin also provided a much-needed option for Centrals coming out defence and was always willing to get the ball moving quickly whenever he got the opportunity. He collected 12 disposals and three marks to go with his goal and four tackles.

#52 Lachlan Grubb (League)

Grubb made his SANFL League debut on Saturday and did not look out of place at all. Similarly to Durdin, he spent most of his time at half-forward and always presented well for his teammates. Early in the contest, Grubb settled himself in nicely by finding plenty of the ball and helping his side transition it into their forward 50. He got himself into strong positions, including multiple front and centres where he collected the ball on the run. Grubb also initiated some switches of play and pushed up the ground to apply some strong pressure. He finished with 11 disposals (ten kicks), three marks, two tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s.

Others:

Christopher Tidswell (19 disposals, seven marks, five rebound 50s) was solid through the middle and at half-back for the Bulldogs, using his nice left-foot to launch the Bulldogs into attack on many occasions. He always knew the right time to spread from the contest and did it very well. Finn Reed (16 disposals, six inside 50s, six marks, one goal) was also good, particularly in the second half. Some of his half-volleys were crisp and he attacked the footy with ferocity whenever it came his way.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide vs. Norwood

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

While the Bloods’ woes at Under 18s level continued, Chamberlain remains the shining light and put in another committed display. The lone AFL Academy hub member afield for West Adelaide worked incredibly hard for his side, finishing with a formidable statline which read: 36 disposals, seven marks, eight tackles, eight clearances, five inside 50s, and six rebound 50s. Chamberlain’s trend of getting back to help the defence again came to the fore, as did his bursts from congestion. A few quick steps, and he would gain separation from his Norwood opponents. A real positive in his game was the ability to mix clearing kicks with calm use by hand and shorter-range execution via foot, which adds another dimension to his midfield craft.

#10 Eduard van den Berg

The West Adelaide defender continues to carry a decent workload across the back half, forming his side’s most prevalent form of resistance and rebound. Most of his 26 disposals were kicks, with one of his first coming in the opening term and earning him a terrific goal with little time to think about it. After slotting that major from around 40-metres, van den Berg reverted back to his usual game in mopping up down back, able to rebound effectively even if the ball would repeatedly come straight back his way. He’s a clean and calm user, making him vital to the Bloods’ defensive setup.

Others:

A few of the taller Bloods fared well on Saturday, with ruckman Luke Heitmann often proving too big and strong for his opponents in notching 37 hitouts to go with 11 disposals, six tackles, and two goals. He shared those duties with Thomas Faulkner, who had 25 hitouts, while Thomas Rundle worked hard up the field from half-forward to provide a focal point with eight marks. Nicholas Couroupis and Cade Kennedy combined for 24 disposals, 24 tackles, and two goals from midfield, while Zac Venning ticked over 20 disposals.

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

We’re beginning to run out of superlatives to describe Murley, who continues to impress as Norwood’s prime midfield mover – in his  bottom-age year, no less. He looked busy from the outset and showed his smarts early with some deft inboard kicks, while also getting to all the right spots at the drop of the ball. Not only did Murley use his speed to break away from congestion with ball in hand, but he also followed up his clearance work by chasing his own disposals and getting involved at the next contest. His forward running makes him a constant headache for opposition defenders, though Murley still has a slight tendency to shank one in every few kicks at full flight. He is still so damaging in that area though, and took full toll with 34 disposals, 14 clearances, eight tackles, and six inside 50s.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

The Redlegs wingman again showed his smarts in an assured outing, chaining together some nice forward momentum for his side and constantly crafting a way forward. Cavallaro didn’t let a crunching hit in the opening term deter him, going on to collect 21 disposals and four marks in a solid and well-rounded display. While his ability to create going forward is noticeable, Cavallaro was able to show he is more than just a forward runner by winning his fair share at the contest and at both ends of the field.

#21 Jack Saunders

Saunders has been a mainstay in the Norwood midfield of late and it is little wonder why, as he consistently gets the job done. Second to only Murley in the ball winning stakes once again (24 disposals), Saunders is the no frills type of midfielder that every engine room needs. Most of his touches were simple gather and gives, but they were largely effective. He repeatedly showed a nice burst to get into space after hitting the ball straight-on, and was able to find the ball in all parts of the ground – shown by his clearance numbers and penetration of either arc.

Others:

West Adelaide’s bigmen may have stood tall, but so did Nathan Hearing for Norwood. The ruckman competed well in the air and got involved at ground level with 23 disposals, seven clearances, and seven inside 50s to go with 27 hitouts. There was plenty of scoreboard damage done, mainly via the boot of Samuel Duke (four goals), followed by three from Jackson Murphy and a couple from Marcus Roberts, who also had 19 touches and five clearances.

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

Glenelg vs. Sturt

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#2 Nasiah Wanganeen

Wanganeen showed flashes of his terrific skillset in Glenelg’s loss. A super smooth-mover, he is also a nice size, which allowed him to spend time on the ball, down back, and up forward. He was composed with ball in hand and looked to use his side-step to get around the man on the mark on a couple of instances. Wanganeen booted a goal in the final quarter and certainly possesses some likeable qualities. He finished with 19 disposals, six marks, six tackles, three clearances and three rebound-50s.

#10 Ty Murphy

Murphy was one of the few Tigers to show some real dare with ball in hand. He took the game on by using his speed to break the lines and generate some positive play moving forward. He was assured by foot for the most part and provided plenty of rebound from his role at half-back and on the wing. He laid a strong tackle on Tom Powell, something few have been able to manage in season 2020, and was rewarded with a holding-the-ball free kick. Murphy finished with 19 disposals, six marks, three tackles and six inside-50s.

#19 Jayden Davis 

It was a difficult day for the Tigers, but the performance of Davis will have impressed the Glenelg coaching staff. He was involved in almost every positive passage of play for the Bays and booted the clubs’ first two goals of the contest in the second quarter, thanks to some handy roving. He worked hard around the ground and took a game-high 11 marks, two of which were contested. He also racked up three clearances to go with a team-high 22 touches and four tackles.

Others:

On-baller Hagan Wright was one of Glenelg’s best in a midfield which was comprehensively beaten by a talented Sturt on-ball unit. He could have been more efficient by foot, but tried his guts out between the arcs and finished with 21 disposals, a goal, six marks, eight tackles, four clearances and four rebound-50s. Ruckman Max Fitzgerald produced a handful of effective taps to advantage, while Riley Davis and Joel Virtanen were solid down back, recording five rebound-50s apiece.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

Sturt:

#8 Lachlan Thomas

The speedy wingman ran up and down the ground all day, finding plenty of space and providing a link-up option. He was able to set-up several Double Blues attacks with his breakaway speed and run-and-carry, and looked to move it on quickly whenever possible. His ball use was often damaging and predominately effective, particularly when going forward. Thomas brought plenty of energy to the contest and finished a strong outing with 24 disposals, nine marks, five inside-50s and three rebound-50s.

#11 Will Spain

It was yet another solid outing from Sturt on-baller, Spain. While fellow midfielders Tom Powell and Mani Liddy have received much of the credit for the Double Blues’ excellent start to the season, Spain has been an essential component in the engine room. He was active whenever the ball was in his area, cracking in hard when the ball was there to be won but also applying plenty of defensive pressure whenever Glenelg got their hands on it.

During a dominant first term for the Double Blues, Spain was on the receiving end of a hurried inside-50 and made the most of the opportunity by nailing the subsequent set-shot from straight in front. He was excellent at the stoppages, winning seven clearances for the evening. Although he lacked a bit of polish by foot at-times, Spain attacked every contest with ferocity and showed plenty of strength in-and-under. He finished with 23 disposals, two marks, eight tackles and five inside-50s.

#16 Blake Higgins

On an ‘all played well’ type of evening for Sturt, Higgins was up there with the best. His foot skills were excellent, picking out his teammates with high degree of difficulty kicks on a number of occasions. Higgins was busy all game and, much like teammate Lachlan Thomas, was particularly effective with ball in hand when heading inside-50. Sturt looked to give him the ball to utilise his foot skills as often as possible and he rarely let them down. He also proved effective at the stoppages, winning four clearances to go with his 22 disposals, four marks and five inside-50s.

#17 Mani Liddy

The ever-consistent Liddy was again prominent for the in-form Double Blues. Liddy used his solid frame and obvious strength to fire off a quick handball despite being tackled by a pack of Tigers on several occasions. Liddy again won most of this possessions at the coalface so it was encouraging to see him stream through the middle early and kick long inside-50 in the first term. As he has demonstrated all season, Liddy showed great vision and skill by hand to spot a teammate in some space on the outside of a congested stoppage and get the ball moving Sturt’s way.

Although he missed a couple of targets by foot, Liddy showed off the power in his leg by setting sail on a couple of bombs from around the 50-metre arc. His clever tap on to Tom Powell in the third term didn’t register a stat but it allowed Powell to convert from close range and extend Sturt’s lead. He also set up the opening goal of the game with a neat kick to key forward Tom Emmett. Like most of the Sturt midfielders, Liddy also hit the scoreboard with two goals but also registered three behinds. He concluded the outing with 29 disposals, three marks, four tackles, seven clearances and seven inside-50s.

#18 Tom Powell

If the son-of-a-gun wasn’t already in the first round conversation, he almost certainly will be after another best-on-ground performance against Glenelg. Powell was always on the move at stoppages, either going in hard and winning the contested ball or looking to use his burst of speed to accelerate away from congestion and send it forward. He was regularly at the bottom of packs, wrestling for possession and looking to force out a handball. On the rare occasion when Powell didn’t win the contested ball, he applied plenty of pressure and executed a number of terrific tackles to stop his opponents in their tracks. A holding-the-ball free kick in the centre of ACH Group Stadium was a prime example of his ability to pin opponents arms.

Powell was clean by foot and effective by hand in-tight. He was seemingly involved in every Sturt forward 50 entry and knows exactly where to run to receive the ball, both around the ground and at the stoppages. However, it was his impact on the scoreboard which really elevated his performance. He booted three goals – two from roughly 40-metres out on the run and a third with a snap from close range. He did blaze away a couple of times in front of goal when he could have lowered his eyes, but it was encouraging to see Powell have a big impact on the match in attack. He certainly appears to be the best pure midfield prospect in South Australia and has started the season like a house on fire. Powell gathered another 39 disposals, three marks, six tackles, ten clearances and five inside-50s.

#19 Zabien Parker-Boers

The damaging forward booted four goals in the 100-point win. His ability to keep his feet allowed him to simply out-maneuverer his direct opponent and stream into goal in the first term. Parker-Boers was clean in the air as well, hauling in two contested marks. One of few Double Blues with accuracy in-front of goal, the forward finished with 17 disposals and three marks.

#22 Ned Walter

In his trademark helmet, Walter was rock-solid down back. He took a number of intercept marks by simply reading the flight of the ball better than his Glenelg opponents. At ground level, Walter attacked the contest well and won a couple of contested possessions by going in lower and harder. He was clean and composed by foot and showed intent to bring the ball back into the centre of the ground when appropriate. He found plenty of the ball by involving himself up the ground as well and was rewarded with a goal in the final term. Walter gathered 22 disposals, seven marks, four inside-50s and four rebound-50s.

#29 Tom Emmett

The strong-bodied Emmett was the most dominant forward on the ground for the second-consecutive week. The Double Blues looked for him more often than not when going forward and his ability to win the front-position and create separation on the lead ensured he was rewarded with a plethora of shots on goal. He also took a couple of strong contested marks around the ground to prove he isn’t a one-trick pony. He booted three goals for the match but could have ended with a bag, having recorded four behinds. A highlight was his clinical finish from close to the boundary-line in the second term. Emmett’s field kicking was excellent and his methodical set-shot routine should hold him in good stead going forward. He concluded the evening with 15 disposals and seven marks, two of which were contested.

Others: 

Jordan Opperman took a screamer in the first quarter and, importantly, converted his set-shot from the top of the goal-square. He was another who could have finished with a bag, having booted two goals and five behinds. The forward collected 14 disposals and seven marks (including three contested). Big-man Ethan Cass competed well in the ruck but it was his work around the ground which really stood-out. He was involved in plenty of attacking handball chains and collected a handy four clearances, to go with 19 disposals, seven hit-outs and five inside-50s.

>> 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
Lachlan Jones
Caleb Poulter
Tom Powell
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 | August Power Rankings

>> 2020 South Australian Under 18s Predicted Squad

Draft Central Power Rankings: August 2020

BUDDING AFL Draft prospects from around the nation have stamped their claims over the last month with football returning across multiple states, making for a top-end list boasting plenty of movers and sliders. In Draft Central‘s second Power Rankings edition for 2020, we again stick to a list of 20 with only a few adjustments made to our initial July rankings. A certain West Australian key forward has pushed into the top 10, while a couple of South Australian midfielders have bolted in from the clouds to also warrant a spot each. All that, and more in our August 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.

July 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.

July Ranking: #2

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

We have 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 will juggle APS football and NAB League duties in 2020, while standing as a clear leadership candidate for Vic Metro come national carnival time.

July Ranking: #3

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#4 Denver Grainger-Barras
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Key Position Defender
14/04/2002 | 195cm | 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 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 of his position.

July Ranking: #5

Last Month: Grainger-Barras has picked up right from where he left off in 2019, slotting back into Swan Districts’ League side after making his senior debut last year. Across the first three rounds, he has averaged 9.3 disposals, 4.3 marks, and 2.3 tackles from half-back, with his most recent outing earning him best afield honours against Subiaco. The promising defender is so assured in the air and reads the game better than most, though can work on finding more of the ball to make even better use of his smarts and composure.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#5 Riley Thilthorpe
West Adelaide/South Australia | Ruck/Key Position Forward
7/07/2002 | 200cm | 99kg

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 200cm 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 are most 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.

July Ranking: #4

Last Month: Another key position player who is thriving at senior level, Thilthorpe has become a consistent figure up forward for West Adelaide’s League side. He has booted four goals across his six games thus far, finding the big sticks in half of his outings. The area Thilthorpe has impressed most in is his marking, having shown a terrific forward 50 presence and the ability to use his reach to take the ball at its highest point. He is difficult to stop when doing so, and doubles his threat with good ground level efforts. Yet to take a game by the scruff of its neck, though that may prove difficult as the Bloods sit at 1-4-1.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

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

While he has again been squeezed out to number six, Campbell is a player likely to 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’s scrapping and a shortened NAB League competition, 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.

July Ranking: #6

Last Month: Like many of the Swans Academy prospects, Campbell has been plying his trade in the AFL Sydney Premier Division, running out for the Pennant Hill Demons over the last three weeks. He booted six goals in his first two appearances and was named in the best both times.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#7 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 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.

July Ranking: #7

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#8 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 is 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 is also set to be a prime candidate to lead Vic Metro should the national carnival swing around, lauded for his professionalism and the example he sets via training standards.

July Ranking: #8

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

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

#9 Logan McDonald
Perth/Western Australia | Key Position Forward
4/04/2002 | 196cm | 85kg

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, expect McDonald to better showcase his game-winning ability from forward of centre – something which earned him All-Australian honours as an Under 16s player.

July Ranking: #20

Last Month: McDonald is the big riser this month having put his name in lights at WAFL League level. The 196cm key position forward put on a show in his senior debut with 16 disposals, four marks, and three goals, before going one-better in Round 2 to boot four majors from 15 disposals and seven marks. His marking strength both on the lead and one-on-one has been exceptional, as has his finishing. After a bye in Round 3, expect McDonald to continue to rise.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

#10 Alex Davies
Gold Coast SUNS/Allies | Inside Midfielder
18/03/2002 | 191cm | 85kg

A second Northern Academy prospect and first Queenslander on the list, Davies is one of the more highly touted big-bodied midfielders of his cohort. Standing at 191cm 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 should prove a key figure among the Allies squad in 2020.

July Ranking: #9

Last Month: Davies has managed to squeeze a QAFL game into his schedule, appearing for the Broadbeach Cats a fortnight ago and booting a goal in their 57-point win over Mt Gravatt.

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

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

Just slipping outside the top 10 due to McDonald’s rise is another inside midfielder and a second NGA product tied to 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.

July Ranking: #10

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

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

#12 Lachlan Jones
WWT Eagles/South Australia | General Defender
9/04/2002 | 185cm | 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 for both of the Eagles’ opening two fixtures in the grade. 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.

July Ranking: #17

Last Month: Another SANFL League representative, Jones’ form has been enough to warrant a decent rise up our board. The solidly-built defender has cemented his spot at senior level, running out in all six of WWT’s fixtures thus far. While he has returned a few down games of under 10 disposals, Jones’ best is first round quality and indicative of a readymade player. Port fans and staff alike may want to downplay his value, but he looms as a prospect just outside of the top 10 range.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

#13 Nathan O’Driscoll 
Perth/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder/Defender
17/05/2002 | 187cm | 76kg

One of Western Australia’s leading prospect’s 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 haven 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.

July Ranking: #13

Last Month: O’Driscoll has been plying his trade at WAFL Colts level, featuring in Rounds 1 and 2 before a bye most recently. He has been named as the Demons’ starting centre half-forward, but after a steady opening performance, looks to have returned to his usual form through midfield with 25 disposals, six marks, and five tackles in Round 2. Enough to hold his spot.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#14 Kaine Baldwin
Glenelg/South Australia | Key Position Forward
30/05/2002 | 193cm | 92kg

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.

July Ranking: #11

Last Month: Inactive due to long-term knee injury.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#15 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.

July Ranking: #12

Last Month: While the competition has now been suspended, Reid managed to fit in three outings for Leongatha in the Gippsland League. He was named among the best for his two goals in the Parrots’ Round 2 win over Moe, and looks to be shuffling around to a few different positions as he has done previously. Hardly a slide, others in more competitive interstate leagues have just gone ahead of him.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#16 Zane Trew
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder
26/04/2002 | 186cm | 78kg

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.

July Ranking: #16

Last Month: The Swan Districts midfielder has already matched his games tally from 2019, but had his most recent WAFL Colts outing cut short through injury. The bye comes at a good time for Trew as he works to wear off his concussion, but he has otherwise fared well in the junior competition. Across Rounds 1 and 2, Trew averaged 28 disposals, three marks, and five tackles in displays consistent enough to see him hold down the number 16 ranking.

>> Draft Diary 1 | 2
>> Marquee Matchup

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

Another brother-of who should 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. Should he finally be allowed back onto the park in 2020, expect Henry to be one who could rise quite steeply given his enormous upside and versatility.

July Ranking: NR

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

>> Feature
>> Marquee Matchup

#18 Tom Powell
Sturt/South Australia | Midfielder
2/03/2002 | 180cm | 73kg

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.

July Ranking: NR

Last Month: As by far the most prolific Under 18s ball winner in South Australia, and potentially the entire country, Powell is proving impossible to ignore at this stage. He leads the competition for total disposals, clearances, and inside 50s after six rounds, averaging 37.2, 9.2, and 6.8 in those respective categories. Having also added goals to his arsenal most recently, Powell continues to add strings to his bow. Gaining much-deserved recognition after an injury-riddled 2019 campaign.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch

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

Perhaps a slightly speculative choice of ranking at this stage, but 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 is 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.

July Ranking: #18

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

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

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

You may recognise the name and yes, Finlay is the 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 should be on full show as he prepares to feature prominently for Oakleigh, Xavier College, and Vic Metro in 2020.

July Ranking: #14

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

IN THE MIX:

Off the bat, Caleb Poulter and Heath Chapman are essentially number 21 and 22 on our list, making them the hardest to leave out of the top 20. Both have enjoyed impactful starts to their respective seasons; with Poulter a midfielder who packs presence in the SANFL Under 18s, and Chapman an intercept defender who has roamed further afield in the WAFL Colts. They are both terrific sizes, and have a range of weapons at their disposal.

Bailey Laurie and Brandon Walker are the two who slid out of the 20 from July’s rankings. It has been no real fault of their own, with the inactive Laurie a victim of others’ rises, while Walker has made a solid start to his WAFL Colts campaign but is ultimately just squeezed out.

Walker’s fellow Fremantle Next Generation Academy member, Joel Western has enjoyed a terrific start to the year to come into contention, but missed last weekend’s action through injury. Isiah Winder is another on the rise having earned his WAFL League debut for Peel Thunder, so keep an eye out for his name in future. Midfielder/half-back Jack Carroll is also in form, along with left-field ruck hopeful, Kalin Lane, but both are still just outside this kind of range.

The likes of Corey Durdin and Zac Dumesny linger around the top 30 for some given their SANFL League form, while Tariek Newchurch could be a first round smokey, but can work on becoming a more consistent threat. He and Jamison Murphy have been prominent for North Adelaide, while Bailey Chamberlain and Mani Liddy are hard to ignore at SANFL Under 18s level. Potential Adelaide father-son Luke Edwards also earned a SANFL Reserves call-up this month.

Down in Tasmania, Jackson Callow and Oliver Davis have made promising starts to their TSL campaigns. Of those who are around the mark, but cannot currently stake their claims due to a lack of top-level competition are Connor Downie, Eddie Ford, Jake Bowey, Sam Berry, and ruck bolter Max Heath. NT Thunder utility Joel Jeffrey has top 25 potential, as does Sydney Academy prospect Errol Gulden.

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SANFL weekly wrap: Round 6 – Roosters down Panthers to keep touch with Eagles

ROUND 6 of the SANFL was an important one for teams at the pointy end of the League standings, with North Adelaide crucially downing South Adelaide to jump the Panthers for second spot. Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) continues to set the pace, having flexed its muscle against the winless Central District. The Eagles also find themselves atop the Reserves ladder, joining Norwood this week as the only two clubs to achieve wins across each grade. We recap the action from all four triple-headers.

>> SCROLL for full results 

WWT Eagles vs. Central District

League: WWT Eagles 11.13 (79) def. Central District 7.7 (49)
Reserves: WWT Eagles 10.7 (67) def. Central District 10.6 (66)
Under 18s: Central District 7.15 (57) def. by WWT Eagles 15.13 (103)

WWT’s trio of wins over the Bulldogs counted for a lot in the senior grades, with the Eagles flying ahead atop the League and Reserve ladders. Jack Hayes was the League star this week with 28 disposals, 14 marks, and two goals in a mammoth effort, beaten out only by teammate Joseph Sinor (29 disposals) and Centrals’ James Boyd (31) in the ball winning stakes as a bigman. State Under 18 gun Lachlan Grubb had 11 touches on debut for the Bulldogs.

While a five-goal to nil head start in the opening term was reigned back by the Bulldogs, WWT was in control throughout to come away 30-point winners. The Eagles’ Reserves now stand alone as the sole undefeated side left in the grade, having ended Central District’s five-game winning streak in a one-point thriller. A far more straightforward victory capped off the three-peat at Under 18s level, with the Eagles running out 46-point winners.

Brayden Calvett booted 4.4 from 19 disposals in a big effort for the victors, while the likes of Jase Burgoyne (31 disposals, one goal), Max Lister (25 and two), and Caleb Poulter (25 and one) all hit the scoreboard in big ball winning displays. Henry Smith was also good for two goals from his 13 disposals and seven marks. For Centrals, Shay Linke played somewhat of a lone hand; with his 29 disposals 10 more than the next best Bulldog, and his two majors ensuring he would finish as his side’s lone multiple goalkicker.

West Adelaide vs. Norwood

League: West Adelaide 8.9 (57) def. by Norwood 19.10 (124)
Reserves: West Adelaide 5.9 (39) def. by Norwood 13.7 (85)
Under 18s: West Adelaide 9.4 (58) def. by Norwood 14.12 (96)

Norwood became the second of two clubs to pull off a straight sets weekend, trumping West Adelaide in all three grades – on the road, no less. The Redlegs look to be putting it together at League level, with their 67-point thrashing of the Bloods making for three wins on the trot. A positive weekend was also had for the Reserves as they picked up their first win, while the Under 18s moved into second in extending West Adelaide’s winless run to the tune of 38 points.

Plenty of Redlegs saw a heap of the ball in their League outing, with Richard Douglas (35 disposals) leading a pack of four more teammates to crack the 30-mark, including Mitch Grigg (32 disposals, two goals) and Lewis Johnston (34 disposals, one goal). Johnston and Brad McKenzie combined for 32 marks, while Matthew Panos (27 disposals, four goals) and Ryan Bastinac (29 and two) only extended the list of outstanding individual performers for Norwood.

Kaine Stevens again led the way for Westies with 31 touches, while Murray Waite was dangerous up forward with two majors. The Bloods’ League and Reserves sides remain second-last with one win in each competition, but are firmly planted to the bottom at Under 18s level at 0-6.

Bailey Chamberlain was again a shining light for the Bloods in the junior grade, collecting a game-high 36 disposals, seven marks, seven clearances, five inside 50s, and six rebound 50s in a lone-handed display. Cooper Murley was not far behind for Norwood with 14 clearances from his 34 disposals, while Samuel Duke (four goals), Jackson Murphy (three), and Marcus Roberts (two) were among those to do most of the scoreboard damage.

North Adelaide vs. South Adelaide

League: North Adelaide 9.12 (66) def. South Adelaide 8.10 (58)
Reserves: North Adelaide 11.8 (74) def. South Adelaide 8.9 (57)
Under 18s: South Adelaide 14.9 (93) def. North Adelaide 7.13 (55)

North Adelaide completed the senior double over its Southern counterpart on Saturday, with the League points most significantly ensuring the Roosters remain level with frontrunners, WWT. After sneaking ahead at half time, North looked to be cruising in the run home, but were made to earn the win after a late surge from the Panthers. Holding firm, the Roosters came out eight-point winners.

Andrew Moore was instrumental in the victory, booting three important goals from his 25 disposals. Harrison Wigg just beat him out with 28 touches, while Lewis Hender (three goals) and Mitchell Harvey (two) were lively inside forward 50. Thomas Highmore was typically stoic in defence for Souths, clunking seven marks among a team-high 26 disposals. Matthew Broadbent wasn’t far behind with 24, and Joel Cross came to life in the second half to finish with 20 disposals and a goal.

The Roosters’ Reserves also came away with the chocolates in their hitout, getting up by 17 points, but South Adelaide got one back in the Under 18s with a 38-point triumph. Both sides sit just outside the top four at Reserves level, while South’s 4-2 Under 18s record sees them placed firmly in the finals race.

Brayden Cook (26 disposals, two goals), Jason Horne (25 and one), and Jamison Snelling (21 and three) were among the many outstanding performers for Souths, finding both the ball and the big sticks. Shaun Bennier booted four goals for North as their only multiple goalkicker, while Matthew Borg and Blayne O’Loughlin had 26 touches apiece, followed closely by Harvey Harrison.

Glenelg vs. Sturt

League: Glenelg 12.10 (82) def. Sturt 8.16 (64)
Reserves: Glenelg 8.5 (53) def. by Sturt 12.9 (81)
Under 18s: Glenelg 5.2 (32) def. by Sturt 18.24 (132)

Glenelg’s League flag unveiling spurred the Bays on to a fighting 18-point win over Sturt in Sunday’s lone fixture, helping them improve to 3-3. A plucky Sturt outfit pushed them all the way, but the Tigers were able to hold on as they look to push back into the top four. The Double Blues got the wood over their weekend adversaries in the Reserves and Under 18s though, with the juniors’ 100-point win a particular highlight.

Liam McBean‘s five League goals again spearheaded Glenelg’s effort, as Matthew Snook continued his rich vein of form with 29 a game-high disposals. The usual suspects – James Battersby (28 disposals, 11 clearances), Sam Colquhoun (28 and seven), Abe Davis (26 and six) – all stood up again despite being on the wrong side of the result.

One of the best individual performances again belonged to Tom Powell in the Under 18s, as he dominated for 39 disposals and three goals. Mani Liddy (29 disposals, two goals) also made an impact, while Zabien Parker-Boers booted four goals and Tom Emmett, three. Jayden Davis and Hagan Wright combined to lead Glenelg’s ball winning effort, with the former also adding two goals to his side’s cause.

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 5

ROUND 5 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 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. Some sides were slightly depleted over the weekend with school football making its return.

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.

Sturt vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

Sturt:

#17 Mani Liddy

The consistent midfielder again found plenty of the ball in Sturt’s loss to Norwood. Although he may lack a yard of pace at times, Liddy was clean by hand and smart at the stoppages, as he has been all season. Whilst under pressure in congestion, he displayed a combination of skill and vision on a number of occasions to locate a teammate in space rather than hack the ball forward by foot. Along with his customary midfield responsibilities, Liddy also spent some time up forward and finished the game with 27 disposals, four marks, two tackles, five clearances and five inside 50s.

#18 Tom Powell

Powell was again excellent in the engine room for Sturt. In the first half, when the game was largely fought in close quarters, Powell won plenty of contested ball and used his lightning-fast hands to get things moving for the Double Blues. However, when the game opened up after the main break, Powell was able to accumulate the ball on the outside at will, while using his foot skills and burst of speed to link up the play and orchestrate a multitude of inside 50s.

Not all of his touches were super damaging, however Powell’s stoppage craft, contested ball winning, and work rate ensured he was easily the most effective player on the field wearing the iconic double blue. Powell concluded another highly-productive outing with 38 disposals, four marks, five tackles, nine clearances and ten inside 50s. He has been the SANFL Under 18 competition’s most prolific midfielder over the opening set of games and will no-doubt have caught the eye of club recruiters. If he can have more of an impact on the scoreboard and clean up some of his disposal by foot, there’s no reason why Powell can’t rise to be an early selection come draft-time.

#29 Tom Emmett

Despite Sturt’s defeat, Emmett booted four of Sturt’s six goals and looked the most threatening forward on the ground for much of the contest. He nailed Sturt’s first for the game with a set shot from 45-metres out and booted the Double Blues’ second early in the second term. Emmett squeezed home his third goal whilst being slung in a tackle and later showed excellent composure on the run to thread through a major from a difficult angle in the forward pocket. A later set shot at goal from 50 metres out ultimately missed to the near side but sailed through at above goal-post height, suggesting he possesses a long leg. Emmett finished with 17 disposals, four goals and two behinds, five marks, four tackles and five inside 50s.

Others: Playing in the midfield alongside Liddy and Powell, Will Spain had a few nice moments, particularly when he weaved through traffic at half-forward and dished off a nice handball to a teammate in a pocket of space. His disposal by foot was inconsistent, however he certainly has some evasiveness, a nice side-step and can find the ball. Spain finished with 22 disposals, nine marks, six tackles and three clearances. Forward Zabien Parker-Boers booted two goals from eight touches, Blake Higgins accumulated 20 possessions, and Ned Grieve had 19 disposals and took seven marks.

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

It was yet another terrific outing for talented bottom-ager, Murley. In the first term, Murley received a one-two with a teammate and used the pocket of space to run and carry before delivering a beautiful right-foot kick to the advantage of a leading forward. His speed, ability to hit the scoreboard, efficiency by hand and foot, and line-breaking carry make for a nice array of strengths, and all were on-show throughout the clash.

Murley also judged the flight of the ball better than anyone else on a couple of occasions; the first coming from a long, cross-field kick to the forward flank, and the second an intercept mark in defence. He was lively around the ball and showed a willingness to use his speed and skills to take the game on through the middle. Murley kicked two classy goals from close-range in the final term to seal Norwood’s win and cap off another excellent outing for the 17-year-old, who continues to find the ball with ease at Under 18s level. He finished with a well-rounded stat line of 27 disposals, two goals, seven marks, three tackles, three clearances and six inside 50s.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

Wingman, Cavallaro beautifully complimented the toughness of the inside midfielders by providing class and efficiency on the outside. Cavallaro showed off his agility and spacial awareness to evade a Liddy tackle close to the boundary and spot up a teammate down the line with a measured pass. His composure in traffic allowed him to slow down the play and make the right decisions. Whilst his ability to hit targets by foot from a variety of angles and distances was a feature of his game, Cavallaro refrained from blazing away down the line when a simple handball to a loose teammate was all that was required.

Whether he was mopping up in defence or involved in a fast break, Cavallaro remained calm, made the right decisions and crucially, executed well most of the time. His excellent footy smarts were highlighted on the outer wing, when instead of gaining possession in a two-on-two situation, his clever tap back to a teammate allowed the Redlegs to stream forward. Another highlight was the desperation he showed in a chain of play along the boundary line, where Cavallaro kept the ball in play and eventually gave off a handball while on his hands and knees, resulting in a Louis Joseph goal moments later.

That level of work rate and desperation would have really pleased the Redlegs’ coaching staff. Although his lack of size may prove a concern for recruiters, Cavallaro is a pure footballer who possesses elite decision-making skills and has consistently looked the most composed player on the field throughout the season to date. He finished with 31 disposals and nine marks.

#17 Daniel Fairbrother

Fairbrother was a rock down back for the Redlegs. He looked physically bigger and stronger than many of the Sturt forwards and used his size to advantage in several marking contests. Fairbrother provided plenty of rebound from half-back and was assured by foot. The number 17 has a very deliberate and measured kicking action and shared the kick-in duties with fellow defender Benjamin Ianiello. He took a number of important intercept marks and found plenty of the ball, finishing with 28 disposals, six marks and six rebound 50s.

#21 Jack Saunders

The blonde-haired midfielder Saunders produced a number of eye-catching moments in the red and the blue. His run and carry through the middle of Peter Motley Oval was a real feature. He was willing to take the game on whenever he found himself in space and often got on the his bike to receive a handball in an attacking chain. Saunders competed strongly, with a highlight being a perfectly-executed tackle to win himself a holding-the-ball free kick. He possesses a great stiff-arm and is able to win the ball around the ground as well as at the coal face.

Saunders was inconsistent by foot, missing a few targets but also nailing a couple of excellent passes to the advantage of his teammates, including a nicely-weighted ball to William Warrick, who gathered and kicked the goal from 45-metres out. These inconsistencies are understandable given he had 27 kicks on the day. The on-baller continues to elevate his status with each passing game and finished with 34 disposals, four marks, five tackles, six clearances, seven inside-50s, and five rebound-50s in a well-rounded showing. His hard two-way running, balance of inside and outside ball-winning, run and carry, and burst of pace will certainly have caught the eye of recruiting staff.

Others:

Ruckman Nathan Hearing wasted no time in imposing himself on the contest, laying a strong tackle at the opening centre bounce. He was heavily involved around the ground, clunking a number of strong marks, and was willing to bite-off several in-board kicks. Hearing gathered 20 disposals, five marks, five tackles, 16 hitouts, seven clearances and a goal in a strong performance.

Rangey defender Ianniello slotted back into the Under 18s lineup seamlessly. He provided run and carry from the backline and showed some real dare. Although he missed a couple of targets by foot, Ianniello boasts a long left-foot. He produced a strong outing, collecting 27 disposals, eight marks, four inside 50s and four rebound 50s. Billy Haebich also found plenty of the ball, finishing with 23 disposals, five marks and four inside 50s.

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide vs. Central District

By: Michael Alvaro

North Adelaide:

#3 Adam Heath

One of many bottom-age prospects to step up over the weekend for North Adelaide was Heath, a mobile 191cm prospect who competes well in the air and at ground level. He was particularly impressive during the first half, presenting strongly on the lead and hitting the scoreboard with a set shot in the second term. Heath had a real presence inside 50 and was hard to miss with his flowing blonde mullet. He faded a touch in the latter stages, but still showed promise to finish with 19 disposals, five marks, and a goal.

#15 Harvey Harrison

Harrison played a key role in generating some run through the Roosters’ midfield, and did so with his dare in taking the game on. He carved up the corridor with pace and looked sharp with his delivery by foot, while also showing no fear in looking for kicks inboard while on the outer. Harrison won a few nice clearances and applied solid pressure around the ball, with his busy approach to the game a handy asset to North’s cause. He finished with 21 disposals, seven tackles, and five clearances.

#18 James Willis

There were periods in the third term where Willis looked like tearing the game apart. The dynamic midfielder showed he can do it all in his on-ball role; accumulating around the ground early, winning his own ball, bursting away with strength, and adding deft agile movement in congestion. His explosiveness came into play as the game wore on, able to break lines and take the game on going forward. The bottom-ager put in a couple of outstanding efforts in the third quarter; first pulling down a desperate tackle at half-forward which led to a Charlie Dowling goal, and then creating a spillage with his courageous aerial contest to give the Roosters another chance on goal. A great return to action.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

The Adelaide NGA prospect is the type of player you want in possession coming out of defence, with his speed and sharp use by foot making for lightning-fast transitional play. O’Loughlin was lively in the first half, getting involved in just about every contest around North’s defensive territory and swooping on a great number of ground balls. His pace and clean hands allow him to dominate at ground level, with his creative instincts kicking in once the opportunity to rebound presents. The clever bottom-ager faded a touch after half time, but bobbed up with a couple of nice line-breaking plays late on.

Others:

Another standout in defence was Lam Simon, who enjoyed some solid aerial tussles while providing effective rebound once the ball hit the deck. Matthew Borg found plenty of the ball through midfield and was able to hit targets going forward, with Kyle Brazell also moving well in transition. The latter would also find the goals himself, while also competing well overhead. Charlie Dowling was a constant forward threat, making the most of his opportunities to boot four goals. He was a solid target all day alongside Leo Coates, who kicked two goals and took seven marks.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

The 16-year-old just has a happy knack of finding the footy, and was able to do so again with 21 disposals as a constant centre bounce attendee. While McDonald was a touch fumbly at times and ineffective by foot in terms of true damage, he showed plenty of good signs in his midfield craft. He pumped forward a couple of nice centre clearances on the move, with his first coming in the opening term from a slick shark off the tap. McDonald continues to succeed in a tough role, and will shine over the next couple of years as he builds size and confidence.

#26 Shay Linke

Another midfielder who spent plenty of time at the stoppages, Linke ended up as Centrals’ leading ball winner with 22 touches, 10 marks, and five clearances. The tall bottom-age prospect managed to get his hands on the ball in good areas amid heavy congestion, while also working well around the ground to pop up as an outlet. He put in a couple of strong tackling efforts and wasn’t afraid to get stuck in at ground level, able to thrust the ball forward. He capped off his day with a nice snap goal from distance, aided by a couple of lucky bounces.

#27 Leek Alleer

Alleer has been tried in a few different roles this season, and found his spot on a wing throughout this particular outing. The tall and athletic prospect did well to help out his defence in the early goings, but looked most dangerous when able to get a proper leap at the ball on the outer. His strong verticals allowed him to get a hand in and intercept balls he had no right to, while a couple of strong overhead marks also caught the eye. Alleer was calm in possession and used the ball well by hand, finishing the game with 18 disposals and seven marks.

Others:

Cody Gilchrist enjoyed a terrific start to proceedings, proving too strong deep inside 50 to boot the Bulldogs’ first three goals. Wyatt Ryan gave his all throughout the day in a range of roles, most significantly up forward as a strong lead-up target. Jordan Tippins showed a heap of class on the ball in his 18-disposal effort, with a good balance of inside and outside traits highlighting his game. Christopher Tidswell came into the game late with some dash from defence, while 16-year-old Brodie Tuck looms as one to watch having reeled in some assured intercept marks.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

WWT Eagles vs. Glenelg

By: Michael Alvaro

WWT Eagles:

#3 Taj Schofield

It was a typically classy display from Schofield, who had a solid impact through midfield and also managed to find the goals. His ability to shark the ball from taps at stoppages or from ground ball spillages is exceptional, and helped him to generate some forward momentum for the Eagles. He was on fire early in the second term as a couple of clean gathers led to snapped goals, and a clever tap at the following centre bounce allowed a teammate to be released forward. Schofield’s agility and turn of pace made him almost impossible to tackle, with that trademark evasiveness through traffic really catching the eye. His repeat running was positive to see, as was his impact forward of centre to finish with 18 disposals, eight tackles, and two goals.

#7 Caleb Poulter

Poulter just has such a remarkable presence on the field, and he is impossible to miss when the ball enters his area. Starting in midfield, his clearance work was sound and he got to work with some brilliant handballs out of congestion, showcasing his rare vision. Throughout the game there were bursts through traffic, strong overhead grabs, and some crunching tackles to stop Glenelg’s counter attacks in their tracks. Despite copping a knock in the third term, Poulter remained involved. He did not quite manage to find the goals, but that was not for a lack of trying – even from distance. His kick penetration is obviously great, but he can sure up his short-range game a touch to prevent simply blazing away.

#19 Zac Phillips

The Eagles bigman did well to get involved around the ground, adding to the value of his enormous leap in the ruck and ability to take marks up forward. His ruck craft looks promising in terms of taps to advantage, and it played a key part in WWT’s midfield dominance. Phillips was a solid option in all areas and while he can refine his disposal and decision making, it was great to see him rack up a few touches.

#25 Henry Smith

Again starting as the Eagles’ primary target up forward, Smith showed nice glimpses of his best form with strong marks, taking the ball at its highest point. He looked ominous on the lead at times and is difficult to defend at the Under 18 level on account of his height and reach on the lead. With good delivery, he was granted goalkicking opportunities but failed to make the most of his set shots. By the fourth quarter, his confidence may have been a little shot as he opted to kick inboard from 20-metres out, which got him a goal assist nonetheless.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

The 2021-eligible Port Adelaide father-son prospect continues to go from strength to strength for WWT, able to play off each line. He again spent some time through midfield, but looks much more lively in open play and even proved dangerous as a forward option. Burgoyne’s ability to chain up and deliver neat kicks is exceptional, with his class on the ball truly evident. He managed to snare two goals; the first being a nice finish on the run during the second quarter, and the second a set shot conversion in term three. He could have added another couple if he had finished a little tidier.

#37 William Neumann

Another bottom-age Eagles prospect to have stood out is Neumann, who produced a few outstanding bits of play in the forward half. His second efforts were a feature early as he hunted the ball, able to smother and aggressively bump his opponents off the ball to cause chaos inside 50. He took a strong pack mark in the second term and duly converted the shot for his first goal, before adding another in the following stanza. One of his best plays was a clean half-volley pick up and spearing ball inside 50, with another his weave through three defenders to hand off a goal assist. One to watch.

Others:

There were plenty of contributors for the Eagles, who benefitted greatly from Jack Wheare‘s efficiency inside forward 50. He finished with a game-high four goals, while Jay Watson bagged three in a hot first term. Zeke Scott made a terrific start through midfield, while Max Lister was consistent throughout, and Liam Ueding returned another big shift inside defensive 50. Brayden Calvett‘s 22 touches from the wing also stood out.

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

Glenelg:

#2 Nasiah Wanganeen

Wanganeen is a player who makes things happen, having an impact with every possession. He contributed a few nice touches early as he kicked into gear with his smooth movement, and his use by foot going forward proved damaging. The bottom-ager hit up Kye Dean on the fly in the second term, and had a hand in Riley Davis’ third term goal as he won a one-on-one on the wing and burst forward at breakneck speed. His lone goal for the game also came in the third period, capping off another promising outing.

#8 Hagan Wright

On a tough day for Glenelg’s midfield, Wright had his moments. His work rate going both ways and ability to simply get his hands on the ball helped him have an impact, with some nice side-steps and booming kicks inside 50 proving his points of difference. Repeat efforts and aggressive forward movement is his game, and he tried his best to generate some momentum for the Tigers.

#9 Kye Dean

Arguably Glenelg’s most consistent midfielder on the day, Dean racked up 25 disposals and five clearances from the engine room. The top-ager’s booming left foot proved an asset when allowed the time to charge his kicks, and his explosiveness in congestion came to the fore as he got going. Dean also impacted the game up forward, finding the space to become a marking option but spurning a couple of shots on goal. He did manage to split the big sticks on one occasion though, after holding onto a double-grabber deep inside attacking 50 and slotting the resultant shot.

Others:

There was quite an even spread of Tigers who stood up at different times throughout the contest, but unfortunately for not long enough in the big loss. William Watts proved the most prolific ball winner with 31 touches in his dual-role between the defence and midfield, while Riley Drum provided a cool head down back early on before swinging forward late. Jayden Davis was another to play on multiple lines, racking up 24 disposals and seven marks before sneaking forward to claim a fourth term major. Harrison Kaesler was also lively in an under-siege defence, providing some run with his 19 disposals.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

South Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

By: Tom Cheesman

South Adelaide:

#18 Zac Dumesny (League)

Dumesny was great for the Panthers, collecting 19 disposals, five marks, three inside 50s, and two rebound 50s. He played predominantly at half-back and on the wing, and at 187cm he is a great size for these positions. Dumesny started the game with a nice intercept mark deep in defence, which was one of many strong marks he took throughout the match. He never juggles his marks, thus making him a difficult player for the opposition to spoil.

In one-on-one contests he always positioned himself well and was never out-marked. Down the wings he linked up with teammates to carry the ball forward and get multiple score involvements. His teammates trust him with ball in hand too, as his kick is extremely reliable and he barely missed a target all day. Dumesny looks at home at League level which is a great sign for him ahead of this year’s AFL Draft.

#4 Max Clifton

Clifton had a fantastic day for the Panthers, collecting 22 disposals, five inside 50s, four marks, and three tackles in their victory. His booming left-foot kick stood out, as he hit targets both long and short on a consistent basis. He was strong at stoppages, read the play well, and got himself into the right positions around the ground. Clifton’s defensive running was also impressive, highlighted when he courageously ran back with the flight to enact an outstanding spoil in the third term.

#9 Jason Horne

Horne continued his outstanding start to the season with another best on ground performance against the Bloods. It was his first game without partner-in-crime Matty Roberts for the season, and Horne put on an absolute show in his absence. He kicked three goals, including a goal of the year contender in the third quarter when he picked up the ball cleanly outside 50, took three bounces, sold candy to three different opponents, and then finished with a goal from 40 metres out. If you have not seen it yet, I urge you to check it out because it showed how talented this youngster is and the sheer confidence he has in his ability.

Horne’s body-work at stoppages was exceptional, as was his work rate around the ground. He took numerous intercept marks and was always composed with ball in hand, barely missing a target all day. Horne finished with 31 disposals (24 kicks), 11 marks (four contested), seven clearances and six inside 50s to go with his three goals. He is firming as one of the best AFL draft prospects going into 2021.

#10 Brayden Cook

Cook has been a shining light for the Panthers’ Under 18 side so far this season and had another impressive showing on Saturday. He collected 19 disposals, nine marks, eight inside 50s, and two goals playing on the wing. His aerial ability is fantastic, as he frequently uses his strong vertical leap to meet the ball at its highest point and give his opponent little-to-no chance at spoiling. He did well to push forward and impact the scoreboard in this contest as well, which should be an important feature of his game in the years to come.

#33 Arlo Draper

Draper was brilliant at half-back, finishing with 17 disposals and six marks. It was clear that he is a smart footballer, as he took numerous intercept marks and linked up with teammates to quickly transition the ball forward. He was clean under pressure when others were panicking, and his ball use by foot was sublime. Draper has electric pace and used this trait whenever required throughout the contest. His defensive work was also fantastic, highlighted by a clever smother in the first term.

Others:

Will Verrall was impressive in the ruck for the Panthers, showing agility for his size and pushing forward to kick two goals. Liam Hamilton (26 disposals, 16 marks) worked hard and found plenty of the ball once again, while Phoenix Spicer (20 disposals, one goal) was an excitement machine in the second half. Samuel Hindes (19 disposals, eight marks) was strong deep in defence.

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide:

#18 Riley Thilthorpe (League)

Thilthorpe had another impressive performance on Saturday and showed why he is one of the leading prospects for the 2020 AFL Draft. He spent most of his time up forward but pinch-hit in the ruck whenever required. The 200cm youngster was fantastic in the air, always providing a contest and at least bringing the ball to ground.

His teammates’ delivery forward to him did not make his life easy in the first three quarters, but this improved late in the game. He capitalised on this by taking two strong pack marks in the final term, including one at the top of the goal square which resulted in a goal. Thilthorpe’s athleticism was on display, as he frequently used his great fitness level to push up the ground and create an option for his teammates coming out of defence. He was clean with the ball and showed poise in congestion for a big man, using his long reach to get his arms free and feed outside runners on multiple occasions.

Thilthorpe was also unselfish up forward, highlighted when he set up a goal by finding teammate Brett Turner in a better position late in the third term when he could have easily gone back and kicked the set shot himself. He earned free kicks in marking contests because he received so much attention from opposition defenders, and he was not afraid to use his left foot when required. Thilthorpe finished with 15 disposals, five marks (three contested), six hitouts, two tackles and a goal.

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

Chamberlain continues to shine despite West Adelaide’s struggles in the Under 18s, collecting 35 disposals, nine clearances and six rebound 50s. He seldom got knocked off the ball easily and regularly used his burst of speed to break away from opponents and weave past oncoming tacklers. His quick hands were fantastic at stoppages and his work rate around the ground was exceptional. However, his kicking was a bit inconsistent in this contest.

#7 Cooper Gilbert

Gilbert played in defence for the Bloods and showed some very promising signs. He was always clean with ball in hand and was very effective by foot, using his strong right-foot kick to launch his side out of defence on numerous occasions. The Bloods looked the most dangerous going forward when Gilbert went central and took the game on. It would be great to see Gilbert back himself and do this more throughout matches in the future. He finished with 18 disposals and six rebound 50s.

#21 Nicholas Couroupis

Couroupis was outstanding for the Bloods, arguably their best performer on the day. The midfielder was aggressive at the ball and at his opponents throughout the game, and his marking ability was definitely a highlight. He took six marks (four contested) including a brilliant pack grab in the opening term. Couroupis regularly provided an option for the Bloods coming out of defence and was strong at stoppages against a talented Panthers midfield. He finished with 25 disposals, five clearances, three tackles and a 55-metre goal from a set shot.

Others:

Thomas Faulkner (10 disposals, 15 hitouts) showed some impressive signs in the ruck, while Cade Kennedy (22 disposals) and Eduard Van Den Burg (25 disposals) worked hard to find plenty of the ball.

>> 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
Tom Powell
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 5 – League top three go two games clear

THREE teams are sitting pretty atop the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) League ladder at 4-1 after five rounds, with North and South Adelaide behind Woodville-West Torrens by percentage alone. The trailing pack, which includes reigning premier, Glenelg and Round 5 winner, Norwood find themselves two games adrift – a crucial buffer amid the improvised season schedule. The Eagles and Panthers were the only two clubs to go undefeated across all three grades, placing them firmly in finals calculations at this early stage.

>> SCROLL for full results 

Glenelg vs. WWT Eagles

League: Glenelg 12.11 (83) def. by WWT Eagles 16.7 (103)
Reserves: Glenelg 6.7 (43) def. by WWT Eagles 13.8 (86)
Under 18s: WWT Eagles 18.16 (124) def. Glenelg 8.5 (53)

Eagles held on for a well-earned 20-point win over Glenelg at League level, capping off a hat-trick of wins over the Tigers for the round. The visitors led by 40 points at half time, and had extended the buffer out to 45 during the third term, but were reigned in by a valiant Glenelg outfit which the Eagles looking a little nervy heading into the final stages.

While the likes of Andrew Bradley (35 disposals, 10 marks), Matthew Snook (31 disposals, 12 clearances, one goal), and Liam McBean returned stellar individual performances for the Tigers, it was the even spread of WWT contributors which proved the defining factor. Joseph Sinor and Jordan Foote led the disposal count with 23 and 21 respectively, while young guns Lachlan McNeil and Rhyan Mansell played their roles well. Lachlan Jones had his hands full with McBean in defence, while James Rowe and Jake von Bertouch both booted four goals up the other end.

The Reserves and Under 18s would follow suit, with a raft of juniors shining through on a super Saturday. Jack Wheare (four goals) and Jay Watson (three) led a brigade of six Eagles multiple goalkickers, with the highly-fancied Taj Schofield and Jase Burgoyne among them. Caleb Poulter was the leading ball winner with 24 touches, outdone only by Glenelg’s William Watts (31 disposals) and Kye Dean (25). William Neumann and Harrison Dawkins were among others to fare well in the Eagles’ winning effort.

Having suffered their first Reserves defeat, the Tigers trail the undefeated Eagles and Central District in third, but remain top of the Under 18s table despite another maiden loss. WWT has risen to fifth in the junior grade, one game out of the finals spots.

South Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

League: South Adelaide 12.7 (79) def. West Adelaide 9.5 (59)
Reserves: South Adelaide 15.11 (101) def. West Adelaide 7.3 (45)
Under 18s: West Adelaide 5.12 (42) def. by South Adelaide 12.16 (88)

South Adelaide cruised home to a 20-point win over West Adelaide to remain in the hunt for top spot, blitzing the Bloods with 12 goals to five across the first three terms – including seven of the first eight majors. While Westies improved in the final stanza with four consolation goals, the damage was already done. The Reserves and Under 18s made it a three-peat for Souths, notching wins to the tune of 56 and 46 points respectively.

Joel Cross again lead all comers for the Panthers’, amassing 26 disposals, five tackles, and six clearances. Joseph Haines (20 disposals) and Thomas Highmore (23 disposals, 11 marks) continued their strong runs of form, while State Under 18 gun Zac Dumesny also stood up with 19 touches. Up forward, Eamon Wilkinson booted a game-high three goals from six touches. Jordan Boyle (26 disposals) and Kaine Stevens (25) led the way for the Bloods from the engine room, with Brett Turner‘s two majors a key spark for his side’s late form, while Dallas Willsmore made a solid return to action.

At Under 18s level, Bailey Chamberlain continued his prolific start to the season with 35 touches for West, but it was Jason Horne who stole the show with 31 disposals and three goals. The Bloods found plenty of the ball, with the likes of Nicholas Couroupis, Eduard van den Berg, Dylan White, and Cade Kennedy cracking 20 disposals, but the Panthers’ midfielders simply had more impact with their possessions. Among them, Liam Hamilton was solid with 26 disposals, while Max Clifton had 22, and Phoenix Spicer and Brayden Cook both found the goals.

South Adelaide now jumps ahead of West via percentage in the Reserves standings despite both sides boasting 1-4 records, while the winless Bloods’ Under 18s remain planted to the bottom as the Panthers soar into the finals placings.

Central District vs. North Adelaide

League: Central District 9.8 (62) def. by North Adelaide 14.8 (92)
Reserves: Central District 11.10 (76) def. North Adelaide 8.8 (56)
Under 18s: North Adelaide 12.13 (85) def. Central District 7.5 (47)

Central District again fell short of its first League win for the year, going down by 30 points to North Adelaide on Saturday. Despite leading at half time, the Bulldogs’ lead was quickly overturned as the Roosters booted nine goals to three after the main break to claim victory. While North’s Under 18s also got up, it wasn’t all bad news for Dogs fans as their side held on to go 5-0 at Reserves level.

Leading League disposal getter James Boyd added another 38 to his mammoth tally for the Bulldogs, just two clear of North’s Thomas Schwarz on 36. Mitchell Harvey‘s four goals came at the ideal time for the Roosters, helping steer them ahead in the third term as the visitors appeared to have all the answers. Keenan Ramsay (three goals) and Kym Lebois (two) were also potent, while Andrew Moore and Jarred Allmond made for a productive inside/outside combination. Luke Habel collected 26 touches for Centrals, followed by Trent Goodrem and Jarrod Schiller (both 22). State Under 18s small Corey Durdin snagged two goals from 15 disposals.

The Roosters’ Under 18s were able to kick away in their outing, with Charlie Dowling booting four goals in a promising display. Leo Coates and Zyton Santillo also found the big sticks on multiple occasions, while Kyle Brazell snared a major from his 24 disposals. Blayne O’Loughlin led all comers from defence with 27 touches, as Matthew Borg (25, 11 tackles) trailed closely. Shay Linke (22 disposals, one goal) and Austin McDonald (21, nine clearances) were again instrumental for the Bulldogs, while Leek Alleer continues to show promise, clunking seven marks in his 18-disposal effort.

Centrals now trail North by a game in the Under 18 grade, sitting at 1-4 in seventh spot. The Reserves are holding up hope for the club with their blistering form to sit top, but a winless League side will be hoping for a swift turnaround during the mid-season period.

Sturt vs. Norwood

League: Sturt 10.13 (73) def. by Norwood 13.10 (88)
Reserves: Sturt 11.14 (80) def. Norwood 5.4 (34)
Under 18s: Sturt 6.10 (46) def. by Norwood 10.12 (72)

Sturt and Norwood competed in the competition’s sole Sunday fixtures, sharing the spoils as the Redlegs claimed a road League win, while the Double Blues got one back at Reserves level. On Saturday, Norwood’s Under 18s also claimed a win, sending the Redlegs to third and level on points with first. The Norwood Reserves are still winless though, and both sides side just outside the top four in the League grade.

There were plenty of big performers as the two senior teams did battle, with Mitchell Grigg slamming home two goals from 27 touches, while Ryan Bastinac marked a successful senior dig with 23 touches and a goal, and Matthew Panos booted two from his 22 touches. For Sturt, James Battersby led all comers with 27 disposals and nine clearances, with Sam Colquhoun trailing on 24, and Joshua Hone bagging three majors from 20 disposals. Jake Sutcliffe and Tom Pinyon also kicked three goals for either side as the Redlegs clawed back from being jumped at the gun.

Sturt’s Tom Powell was again the standout at Under 18s level, this time spilling over the 40-disposal mark and claiming nine clearances in a losing effort. Jack Saunders (34 disposals, six clearances) and Cooper Murley (28 disposals, two goals) were impactful from midfield for Norwood, while Michael Cavallaro (32 disposals), Daniel Fairbrother (29), and Benjamin Ianniello (27) all found plenty of the ball. Mani Liddy and Will Spain did the same for Sturt once again, while Tom Emmett claimed a game-high four goals.

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

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

Central Districts VS North Adelaide

League:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reserves:

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

Under 18s:

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

 

Glenelg VS Woodville-West Torrens

League:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reserves:

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

Under 18s:

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

 

South Adelaide VS West Adelaide

League:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reserves:

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

Under 18s:

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

 

Sturt vs Norwood

League:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reserves:

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

Under 18s:

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

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 4

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

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

WWT Eagles vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

WWT Eagles:

#7 Caleb Poulter

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

#19 Zac Phillips

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

#25 Henry Smith

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

#31 Jase Burgoyne

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

Others:

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

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide:

#9 Jamison Murphy

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

#15 William Dowling

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

#21 Tariek Newchurch

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

#24 Kallis Freer

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

Others:

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

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Central District vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

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

#15 Lewis Cowham

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

#26 Shay Linke

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

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

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

Others:

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

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

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

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

#6 Michael Cavallaro

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

#9 Alastair Lord

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

#10 Mitchell Trepka

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

#17 Daniel Fairbrother

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

#21 Jack Saunders

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

#30 Finn Heard

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

#55 Henry Nelligan (League)

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

Others: 

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

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

Sturt vs. South Adelaide

By: Ed Pascoe

Sturt:

#17 Mani Liddy

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

#18 Tom Powell

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

#32 Morgan Ferres

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

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

South Adelaide:

#9 Jason Horne

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

#21 Matthew Roberts

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

#35 Nicholas Kraemer

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

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Glenelg vs. West Adelaide

By: Tom Cheesman

Glenelg:

#2 Nasiah Wanganeen

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

#10 Ty Murphy

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

#13 Luke Pedlar

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

#17 Cooper Beecken

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

#21 Riley Holder

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

#22 Lewis Rayson

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

#28 Hugh Stagg

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

#33 Will Schreiber

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

Others:

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

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide:

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

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

Others:

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

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

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

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

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

>> July Power Rankings

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

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

>> SCROLL for full results 

North Adelaide vs. WWT Eagles

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

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

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

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

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

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

West Adelaide vs. Glenelg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Norwood vs. Central District

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South Adelaide vs. Sturt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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