Tag: nic naitanui

Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Northern Knights vs. Swan Districts

OUR next All-Star Team battle is the final one of the Round of 16 between a Victorian club and a West Australian club, in the Northern Knights and Swan Districts. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were AFL games record holder, Brent Harvey (Northern Knights) and Richmond full-back, Alex Rance (Swan Districts).

TEAMS:

These clubs are seeded fifth (Northern Knights) and 12th (Swan Districts) respectively, forming another Round of 16 clash in our draw. The winner will qualify for the quarter finals, set to face the Murray Bushrangers/Oakleigh Chargers.

STRENGTHS:

The Knights have a really underrated squad when it comes to this series simply because there are not too many weaknesses. The Knights’ spine is A-grade quality from the key defenders in Simon Prestigiacomo and Michael Hurley, to the key forwards in Anthony Rocca and Lance Whitnall. Though that is not to take anything away from the midfield with Marcus Bontempelli, Trent Cotchin and Adam Simpson a really well balanced core with different strengths.

For the Swans, they have an elite starting midfield. Nic Naitanui in the ruck, with Stephen Coniglio, Michael Walters and Andrew Embley at the stoppages, you would back them in to win the midfield battle. Up forward, the likes of Charlie Cameron and Jeff Garlett would create havoc at the feet of their key forwards, while Lewis Jetta‘s elite kicking and Rance’s intercepting ability means they have some strong players across the field.

WEAKNESSES:

There are not really any weaknesses with the Knights. If you had to be picky you could argue the lack of wingers, given Leigh Montagna and Paul Licuria are more inside ball winners, and while both Blake Caracella and David Zaharakis could play on the wing, it leaves the forward line a little short. Overall though, the depth is pretty sound.

For the Swans, it is that depth and little pockets in different parts of the field where they just fall short. They could match it with the Knights in the midfield, but outside of that, they would be stretched in different areas of the field.

SUMMARY:

The Knights would be favoured in this one for a bit more balance across the ground. Swan Districts has an elite midfield, and some star talent around the ground, but the depth of the Knights would be a bit too much.

Who would you pick?
Northern Knights
Swan Districts
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Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: WWT Eagles vs. Swan Districts

OUR next All-Star Team battle is one between a South Australian club and a West Australian club in Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) Eagles and Swan Districts. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Matthew Pavlich (WWT Eagles) and Alex Rance and Nic Naitanui (Swan Districts).

TEAMS:

Swan Districts are the 12th seeds in our draw, with WWT Eagles not far behind, ranked 21st overall in the mid-table logjam where not much separates the sides.

STRENGTHS:

The aspect that sticks out for WWT Eagles is the fact they have great depth. Not many sides can look at their bench and see players who would slot into most other sides’ starting outfits, but they do, with an abundance of quality rucks (Matt Rendell, Sam Jacobs and Rhett Biglands), as well as good inside midfield depth with Luke Dunstan and Robert Shirley on the bench, as well as winger, Jared Polec. Speaking of wingers, their wingers in Steven Stretch and Michael Long are superb, whilst the key position depth, led by Pavlich is sublime, with Brian Lake, Nathan Bock and Jay Schulz some seriously strong contested marks.

For the Swans, they have an elite starting midfield. Naitanui in the ruck, with Stephen Coniglio, Michael Walters and Andrew Embley at the stoppages, you would back them in to win the midfield battle. Up forward, the likes of Charlie Cameron and Jeff Garlett would create havoc at the feet of their key forwards, while Lewis Jetta‘s elite kicking and Rance’s intercepting ability means they have some strong players across the field.

WEAKNESSES:

They have one elite player in Pavlich, and then some incredibly talented players bordering on elite in Long, Camporeale and Lake, but as a whole, the Eagles are just a really even squad. After the top couple of players, there is not much to separate them which is good, but also difficult against teams with a bit more class and talent overall.

For the Swans, it is that depth and little pockets in different parts of the field where they just fall short. In many ways, the Swans are the opposite to the Eagles, in the fact they have a number of elite players, but just fall away in the second half of the squad.

SUMMARY

This could be one of the more tough matches to pick. Some might think the midfield battle won by the Swans would be enough to see them get home, whilst the Eagles depth could see them make it through too, and it makes for an interesting vote.

Which All-Star Team do you pick?
WWT Eagles
Swan Districts
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Tasmanian Player of the AFL Draft Era: Vote for yours on our Instagram channel

TASMANIA is up next in our Player of the AFL Era series which will be run through our Instagram channel starting at 12.30pm today. The Swan Districts All-Star voting was completed yesterday with Nic Naitanui and Alex Rance announced as dual winners and co-captains of the Swans’ All-Star side.

Tasmania has had development teams on and off over the years, from the Mariners to the Devils, as well as a few players who have gone on to be drafted outside of the Apple Isle at other clubs. For the purpose of this, we have included the likes of Ben Brown who was drafted out of the VFL, but hailed from Tasmania, as well as those like Matthew Richardson who came from the Tasmanian State League (TSL) rather than a development program. The top few seeds in the draw include Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt and former Melbourne star, Brad Green.

The voting will run over the next four days starting today, with the winner to be decided by Wednesday night (unless extra time and the full 24 hours is needed in the final vote). The next club involved in the voting process is West Adelaide Bloods starting on Thursday. All eligible players were selected thanks to the Draft Guru site.

Draft Central All-Star Team: Swan Districts

SWAN DISTRICTS’ All-Star Team of the AFL Draft era is another impressive one overall, with plenty of talent across the board, and a side that fans would love to see running around on the park. From contested marking talls, to athletic smalls and speedy midfielders, the Swans’ outfit is certainly one to marvel.

THE TEAM:

Swan Districts has a nice balance of talent in each of the thirds, with enough defensively-minded players to match their high level of offensively-minded ones. With Nic Naitanui dominating the ruck, and a lot of both past and present speedsters around the ground and bursting out of the stoppage, the Swans will creates headaches for any defence.

DEFENCE:

Starting in the back six, recently retired star Alex Rance holds down full-back with five All-Australians and a best and fairest to his name in 200 games of AFL football. He is paired with Stephen O’Reilly back there, winning a best and fairest himself in 146 games across three clubs. The other versatile tall is Adam Hunter who could play a multitude of roles, and we have named him in defence given the forward 50 strength.

Moving onto the other three medium to smalls, Dennis Armfield could lock down on a dangerous opposition small forward, while Nathan Broad and Neville Jetta would provide the dash and dare off half-back to set up an attacking move in transition. Coming off the bench, the Swans have Sam Taylor who might only have 30-odd games to his name, but is becoming a consistent key defender, as well as Clancee Pearce who could play a role there, as could All-Australian defender, Craig Holden.

MIDFIELD:

Through the midfield, Naitanui is the star factor and point of difference in the ruck, but his midfield is equally as elite when it comes to speed and skills. Stephen Coniglio and Michael Walters are at the peak of their powers currently, and still have plenty of years left to continue their terrific form. Andrew Embley is another who has been named onball, and he is Swan Districts’ AFL games record holder, notching up 250 games to go with his Norm Smith Medal and premiership.

On the wings are Lewis Jetta and Chris Yarran who add the touch of speed and class to the outside, with Jetta’s footskills in particular renowned throughout the competition. Connor Blakely is on the bench ready to come on and rotate through the midfield, while the ruck depth at the club is quite impressive with Beau McDonald and Rory Lobb also waiting in the wings on the interchange.

FORWARD:

The forward 50 is very exciting, as modern day small forwards Charlie Cameron and Jeff Garlett would be a nightmare at the feet of Scott Cummings and Jason Ball. While the latter two key position players were not the quickest players going around, they do not need to be in this team with the crumbers at their feet. Cummings won a Coleman and booted 349 goals in 128 games, while Ball played 193 games and kicked 159 goals, also playing through the ruck.

Speaking of playing through the ruck, Lobb on the bench would start inside 50 and likely have the freedom to remain a key forward, though if injuries struck, could also jump into the middle. Michael Richardson (171 games, 174 goals and an All-Australian nod) and Craig Callaghan (124 games, 94 goals) are the other two players who earn a spot in the side and provide some more goalkicking power up there.

DEPTH:

Of the players not in the side, the ones with the most games are Jamie Bennell (87 games), Steven Handley (73), Brett Johnson (70) and David Ellard (63). In terms of modern day players, Marcus Adams and Griffin Logue would both be pushing for a spot in coming years.

Swan Districts Player of the AFL Draft Era: Vote for yours on our Instagram channel

SWAN DISTRICTS is up next in our Player of the AFL Era series which will be run through our Instagram channel starting at 12.30pm today. The Subiaco All-Star voting was completed yesterday with Matt Priddis announced as the winner and captain of the Lions’ All-Star side.

Swan Districts has a number of elite talents that would make the side one to watch every single week. With Alex Rance at full-back, Nic Naitanui in the ruck, and the likes of Michael Walters and Charlie Cameron running around, the Swans are a super exciting side.

The voting will run over the next four days starting today, with the winner to be decided by Saturday night (unless extra time and the full 24 hours is needed in the final vote). The next club involved in the voting process is Tasmania Mariners/Devils starting on Sunday. All eligible players were selected thanks to the Draft Guru site.

Picture: ABC

2019 AFL Draft club review: West Coast Eagles

A PREMIERSHIP 12 months ago, another finals series and a huge inclusion over the off-season with Tim Kelly crossing from Geelong, West Coast was always going to be a quiet achiever in the AFL Draft period. The Eagles picked up two players – both West Australian as predicted by Draft Central prior to the draft – as well as a second Claremont player in the Rookie Draft, and a massive slider who could be the steal of the draft. West Coast also redrafted a couple of their delistees to put them back on the rookie list.

WEST COAST:

National Draft:
49. Callum Jamieson (Claremont/Western Australia) | 199cm | 84kg | Ruck/Forward
58. Ben Johnson (West Perth/Western Australia) | 178cm | 68kg | Small Defender

Rookie Draft:
11. Anthony Treacy (Claremont/Western Australia) | 182cm | 69kg | Medium Forward
25. Mitch O’Neill (Tasmania/Allies) | 176cm | 72kg | Balanced Midfielder
33. Brendon Ah Chee (West Coast Eagles)
39. Hamish Brayshaw (West Coast Eagles)

Entering the AFL National Draft at Pick 49, West Coast opted to go tall by plucking out local ruck, Callum Jamieson. Considered the fourth best ruck in the draft crop and the clear best available by the selection, Jamieson is an overager who is a year further advanced compared to his peers. At 199cm and 84kg he could still add more size to his frame but is more readymade than some other big men in the draft crop. He works hard around the ground and is more mobile than many might think, able to not only roam around the ground as a ruck, but go forward and rest to provide a leading target inside 50. He is strong overhead and whilst being a long-term prospect the Eagles fans might not see for a little bit, he will get plenty of experience working under Nic Naitanui.

With the second selection, the Eagles chose running defender Ben Johnson who might be small at 178cm, but he has a penetrating kick that is eye-catching as much as it is damaging to the opposition. At Pick 58, Johnson looms as good value and hailing from West Perth does not need to relocate for his senior football, staying in Western Australia. Like Jamieson, Johnson is lightly built and at 68kg and will need to spend a year in the gym adding size to his frame to compete against the stronger small forwards. He is most damaging with his offensive output through rebounding and running, though can play accountable football in the back half as a defensive player.

Looking to the Rookie Draft, the Eagles picked up late bloomer, Anthony Treacy and draft slider, Mitch O’Neill. Treacy, who rose all the way from the amateurs to have a good season with Claremont in the WAFL showing off his skills and decision making in the forward half. O’Neill similarly has terrific skills and decision making and might have been overlooked due to his 176cm and 72kg size, as well as his on-and-off ankle injuries. But without a doubt if O’Neill lives up to his potential, the dual All-Australian could make a lot of clubs look silly and be the value pick of this draft with his versatility and clean hands among his standout traits. Given that he was considered a first rounder by some prior to the season, Eagles fans should be over the moon to snaffle the Tasmanian at Pick 25 in the Rookie Draft. The Eagles concluded their draft period by redrafting Brendon Ah Chee and Hamish Brayshaw.

Overall, the Eagles were able to stay local for three of their four picks, then grabbed O’Neill to add class and massive value at that selection, making the most of a draft where their picks were not ideal.

Western Australia weekly wrap: Nic Nat makes long awaited return

NIC Naitanui’s long-awaited return from a knee injury headlined the West Australian week of football with the ruck star returning for East Perth amidst the West Australian Football League (WAFL) preseason.

Naitanui returns:

West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui has made a successful comeback to senior football after playing for affiliate side East Perth in a WAFL practice match on Saturday afternoon.

As the first round of preseason matches kicked off for the state competition, Naitanui’s first game in 568 days since rupturing his ACL in round 22, 2016 was the main talking point for WA footy fans.

Speaking to The Age, Eagles coach Adam Simpson said he was relieved that his star ruckman had come out of his first game in two-years unscathed.

It was a little bit of relief [seeing him get through],” Simpson said. “I think everyone was a bit anxious about this step he was about to confront. “He would have been a bit nervous as well. He probably played like that a little bit. “But I thought in the third quarter we saw some real glimpses of his good footy and what he does really well. “That’s a positive for everyone.”

Standing at 197cm and weighing only 80kgs, East Fremantle youngster Michael Cronan, who was opposed to Naitanui in the ruck, had a tough day battling against the former All Australian, as the Fijian finished with 14 disposals and 33 hitouts in 54 minutes of game time.

Naitanui’s game for the Royals marked his first appearance at WAFL level in any form since 2009, when he played for original club Swan Districts in the first preliminary final.

Around the grounds:

Last year’s grand finalists Subiaco 8.13 (61) had a tight win over a plucky West Perth outfit 7.9 (51), with the Lions overcoming the Falcons by 10 points at Leederville Oval. Claremont were no match for reigning premiers Peel Thunder, with the Tigers succumbing to the Mandurah side 4.6 (30) to 13.11 (89) at Claremont Oval. South Fremantle had a narrow victory over an up-and-coming Swan Districts 9.8 (62) to 8.12 (60) side at Fremantle Oval.

The hype of Naitanui’s return overshadowed East Perth’s 13.7 (85) to 9.6 (60) win over East Fremantle at Shark Park.