Tag: north adelaide

2021 SANFL Under 16s Semi Finals wrap – South, Bays progress to decider

MINOR premier South Adelaide will meet Glenelg in the 2021 SANFL Under 16 Grand Final, after both sides won out in their preliminary bouts in a Sunday double-header at Hisense Stadium. Both sides finished the regular season with 5-2 records, before progressing through the first post-season week in style. We recap both results, highlighting some of the best players afield from all four finalists.

South Adelaide 16.11 (107) def. North Adelaide 12.3 (75)

South Adelaide became the first side to qualify for this year’s Under 16 decider, via a 32-point defeat of North Adelaide on Sunday morning. The Panthers led from the first goal and managed to break away after an even opening term. Having skipped to a three-goal buffer at half time, South made it five by the next change of ends, and maintained its scoreboard pressure to run out comfortable 16.11 (107) to 12.3 (75) victors.

Competition leading goalkicker Jack Delean had a blinder with 7.2 from 15 disposals, backing up a six-goal effort last week. Like Delean, Phoenix Hargrave also bagged his personal season-high in goals with four, as leading ball winners Tom Wheaton (24 disposals) and Sid Draper (23) also snared goals and had 17 clearances between them. Ryan Pearsons was another to have a say with nine marks, eight inside 50s and 19 disposals, while Jace Davis got his hands dirty with 10 tackles and Benny Barrett laid eight, also kicking 1.2.

Jed Dignan was North’s best form of reply with three goals, he also managed to clunk three contested grabs. Roosters’ leading goalkicker Dj Smith was one of two players to kick two goals, making for his fifth haul of multiple majors for 2021. Gun midfielder Kane McAuliffe capped a remarkable year with 36 disposals, nine marks and seven clearances, with Toby Turner (27 disposals, 14 rebound 50s) kept busy as the only other Rooster to tick over 25 touches. Mackenzie Boxall and Louie Montgomery were others to get amongst it, finishing with 15 disposals and one goal apiece.

Sturt 6.7 (43) def. by Glenelg 12.8 (80)

Glenelg earned passage to this year’s Under 16 Grand Final with a comprehensive performance against Sturt, defeating the Double Blues by 37 points on Sunday afternoon. The Bays led from the get-go and never looked back, opening up a handy buffer at the first break and applying too much scoreboard pressure for Sturt to surmount. The game was all but over at three quarter time with Glenelg 45 points clear, and the Tigers would end up doubling their opponents’ goal tally in the 12.8 (80) to 6.7 (43) drubbing.

Lucas Camporeale led all comers with 32 touches (25 kicks) and six inside 50s in the win, as Bodie Ryan managed 26 (20 kicks), nine marks and eight r50. Anders McShane booted a goal from his 23 touches, while skipper Ben Ridgway clunked seven marks and laid six tackles in a hard-working display. Eli Redman booted two goals from his 21 disposals, finishing only behind the haul of three from tall, Harry Francis. Ashton Moir was also strong in the air, clunking 11 marks (four contested).

Sturt finished with six single goalkickers, and leading ball winner Luca Slade was among them. He racked up 25 touches and five clearances, while Thomas McCourt was the only other Blues to tick over 20 disposals and kick a goal. George Pope had it 23 times, and Lachlan Murphy was another to keep busy with 21 as the second-ranked side fell short of reaching the season’s final week.

Image Credit: Cory Sutton/SANFL

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 3

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s has continued into Round 3, with the latest weekend of action producing some excellent performances from plenty of 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE

By: Liam Badkin

NORWOOD:

#25 Matt Dnistriansky 

It was another great performance from the Norwood defender in the win. His work deep in the backline was crucial in thwarting countless Rooster attacks. He got many of his disposals deep in defence and was constantly composed and his decision making was key. Often playing off his opponent to attack, the athletic defender took 12 marks, with quite a few intercepts.

Once again tasked with frequently taking kick ins, he seemed not to miss a target as he calmly found teammates when he was under pressure. His form has continued to grow as he has worked his way into the season with each game. Ending the game with 29 disposals (22 kicks and seven handballs) and five rebound 50’s, he was crucially important in his team’s 11-point win.

Others:

Ruckman Damon Pitt played his best game of the season, displaying his ability to essentially act as an extra midfielder. He proved more than capable of winning his own hitouts, finishing with a season high 18, but it was his follow up work that caught the eye. He ended the game with 22 disposals and a game high 10 clearances, often outplaying both on ball brigades. Jack Ianniello excited forward of centre as he kicked 2.2 from 21 disposals. Had he converted the two missed shots, it would’ve capped off an excellent day.

NORTH ADELAIDE:

#12 Hugh Jackson

Continued his fine start to the year, popping up everywhere to find the ball all over the ground. As a midfielder, Jackson basically did it all. He found tough possessions on the deck, maintained his composure to hit targets by foot and was a clear standout on his team. While he may have amassed more disposals in the first two rounds (37 and 33 respectively), in a game where their midfield was often beaten, he can more than hold his head high.

Moving across the ground smoothly, he was a crucial cog in strong play. Finishing with an impressive seven rebound 50’s, his work in the defensive half caught the eye as he worked tirelessly to remove the ball from the backline. His skills on both feet also resulted in four inside 50’s as he connected with leading forwards. His kicks drew his teammates into space as he picked holes in the well organised defence.

The teenager from Crystal Brooke has had a blistering start to the year and this match was no exception. Arguably his side’s best for the day, Jackson finished with 31 disposals, nine marks, four tackles and three clearances.

Others:

Blayne O’Loughlin topped the disposal list for the second game in a row, backing up his 44 touch effort with 32 this week. He also added seven rebound 50’s and was the catalyst for plenty of excellent ball movement forward from the backline.

Tough midfielder Zyton Santillo ended the match with 26 disposals, nine tackles and nine marks in a typically strong performance as he stuffed the stat sheet. Fellow midfielder Harvey Harrison also impressed with 27 disposals and seven clearances. He also missed two shots on goal (one in the second quarter and one in the third quarter) that would’ve added to his day.

 

GLENELG vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

By: Liam Badkin

GLENELG:

#32 Oscar Adams

The team win had plenty of contributors, but none were as influential as the big ruckman. His hit out work is something to be admired as he continuously gave his midfielders first use, allowing them to win the clearances 38-28. Even more impressive was his ball after the ruck contest, finding the ball 24 times.

He bounced back from each contest to either lay a tackle or find the ball himself. His combination with his on ballers was a joy to watch as he stamped his influence on the game with his dominant play. A missed shot on goal in the third quarter would have disappointed, but essentially did everything else to get his team rolling out of the middle.

The ruckman role has developed past just hit-outs, now expected to find their own footy around the ground. Adams fits this bill perfectly, and can also shift to defence, a role he filled in his U16 Glenelg side.

Others:

Dashing defender Lewis Rayson continued his consistent start to the season, finishing with 24 disposals and five tackles. Once again creative with the ball, Rayson’s skills by foot hurt the opposition as he picked holes through defenders with his bullet-like passes.

Ball-winner Harry Tunkin led his team in disposals with 27 for the day. Spending time in the midfield and up forward, his inside work saw him end with a handball happy game, setting up teammates on the outside. Kicked a nice goal late in the second quarter to add to an already impressive game.

Hugh Stagg led the side in clearances finishing with eight to go with 19 disposals and a goal. The big bodied midfielder has plenty of upside and this game should give him confidence going forward.

CENTRAL DISTRICT:

#16 Shay Linke

In a disappointing day for his side, the midfielder never stopped trying, working tirelessly around the ball. The SANFL Academy player has been a standout in his side’s underwhelming start to the year and yesterday continued this trend. In a day where his team was convincingly beaten, Linke fought in the midfield to try and keep his side in the game, finishing with 26 disposals. His ability to find space around the field was great, as his hard running saw him end with eight marks.

Linke also did the defensive work, laying seven solid tackles around stoppages. He was certainly a standout in a side with very little positives for the day.

Others:

Darcy Mcdonald had 14 touches and nine tackles as the Central midfield fought to slow down a dominant midfield performance from the Tigers. Key forward Cody Gilchrist‘s wayward kicking prevented him from a big haul, kicking 1.3 for the day. His marking still impressed, pulling down three contested marks for the day. Had he converted his shots on goal, it may have been a different story for Central.

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS

By: Tom Wyman

SOUTH ADELAIDE:

#21 Matthew Roberts

Roberts has already proven to be a step above the SANFL Under-18 competition, and he was at it again at Noarlunga Oval in Round 3. Despite the Eagles coming away with a 16-point win following a dominant second-half, Roberts was clearly the most dominant midfielder on the park. Starting at the opening centre bounce and alternating up forward with fellow draft hopeful Arlo Draper, Roberts had the ball on a string. Roberts’ work rate from start to finish enabled him to dictate terms for large portions of the contest. He was strong in the coal-face but his running patterns ensured he also won plenty of uncontested possessions. Roberts used the ball neatly with his clean left foot and was also effective with his hands in-tight. His team-lifting goal in the third term was clearly the highlight of the match. Positioned in the forward pocket, he gathered the loose ball, turned sharply onto his trusty left foot, sized up the target and snapped a sensational goal. The classy goal and consistent run and carry efforts were memorable, but Roberts also made an impact defensively, laying eight tackles and dropping back to take a couple of intercept marks. He finished with 37 touches, nine marks, five clearances, eight inside-50s and six rebounds.

#33 Arlo Draper

Although Draper did not find as much of the ball as teammate Roberts, the tall midfielder/forward made a genuine impact whenever he was near it. The Panthers deployed him as the deepest forward at times and he looked threatening when the ball was kicked in his direction. He used his strength and football smarts well one-on-one, nudging his opponent under the ball and taking an uncontested mark to boot South’s first goal of the contest. His clearance-work and ability to read the taps was terrific when moved onto the ball, and his cleanness and sharpness at ground level instigated a number of positive plays for the home side. A clear example of his distribution by hand came when he fired off a quick handball to set-up a Hugo Hoeck goal. Draper collected 22 disposals, five marks, four tackles, four clearances and five inside-50s.

#39 Will Verrall

Bottom-aged ruckman Verrall went head-to-head with Woodville-West Torrens ruckman Zac Phillips in a hard-fought battle between two of the most talented big-men in the competition. Verrall won the first hit-out of the match, tapping it straight to star on-baller Roberts who won the clearance. He was heavily involved around the ground early on and it was encouraging to see him continue to back himself to spot up teammates with precise inside-50 kicks. Verrall’s contested marking was also a real feature of his game. Although Phillips gained the upper hand in-terms of pure hit-out numbers (winning 27 to Verrall’s eight), the Panther tall showed some very promising signs, both in the ruck contest and around the ground. He finished with 12 disposals, four marks, three clearances and a goal.

Others: Consistent wingman Isaac Birt was once again among his sides best performers, running hard up and down the ground to provide an outlet option. He used the ball well and was an important connector between defence and attack, finishing with 19 disposals, ten marks, four inside-50s and three rebounds. Midfielder Cooper Rogers also found plenty of the ball, complementing the likes of Draper and Roberts in the engine room. He gathered 23 disposals, a game-high 12 marks and nine inside-50s in another impressive display.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS:

#17 Lukas Cooke

Cooke dominated proceedings in attack, proving far too good for the Panthers defenders. It was just one of those days for Cooke, who marked everything within his reach. And on the rare occasion in which he didn’t clunk the mark, he brought the ball to ground for the Eagles crumbers to pounce upon. What made Cooke’s performance so good was his ability to convert, oftentimes from long range. His set-shot routine is smooth and it proved ultra effective as he nailed five first half goals. His snap on goal in the dying moments of the first half further demonstrated his exciting mobility and athletic prowess. Cooke handled the ruck duties when the ball was in the Eagles forward 50 and more than held his own against some of the Panthers more physically developed juniors, winning five hit-outs, including a couple directly to advantage. After booting two goals in the opening round and one goal last weekend in the loss to Glenelg, Cooke finished the day down south with seven goals to his name, along with 19 disposals and seven marks (including five contested) in a dominant display which will surely have caught the attention of AFL recruiters.

#24 Zac Phillips

Ruckman Phillips could consider himself a touch unlucky to miss out on being drafted in his first year of eligibility in 2020. However, having re-joined the Eagles under-18 set-up as an over-ager, the towering Yorke Peninsula teenager did his draft chances no harm with a terrific display at Noarlunga. Competing against the Panthers duel-rucks Will Verrall and Heath Treloar, Phillips was influential around the ground, with his hit-out ascendancy, cleanliness below his knees, efficient handball skills and neat kicking the standout features of his game. He moved well around the ground and finished the game with 13 disposals, 27 hit-outs, four marks, three tackles and five inside-50s.

Others: Mattaes Phillipou was everywhere for the Eagles. Although he was slightly inconsistent with his ball use, Phillipou’s stoppage nous and ability to accumulate the ball at-will went a long way towards the Eagles picking up their first win of the season. He finished with a team-high 34 disposals, three marks, three tackles, seven clearances and six inside-50s. Dustin Launer was another Eagle who stood up and performed well against a South Adelaide side with a handful of exciting talents. He gathered 26 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, seven clearances and four rebounds in a well-rounded performance. SANFL State Talent Hub member Jay Watson gathered 16 disposals, seven marks, six inside-50s and a goal, with bottom-ager Adam D’Aloia (22 disposals and a goal) also winning his fair share of the ball through the midfield and in attack.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. STURT 

By: Tom Wyman

WEST ADELAIDE:

#9 Kobe Ryan

Ryan was the clear best-on-ground for West Adelaide as they took control of their clash with Sturt. Despite being a year younger and considerably slimmer than many of his opponents, Ryan’s natural ball-winning abilities, poise with ball in-hand and smart running patterns ensured he found the ball with the ease of a seasoned veteran. Effortlessly classy in his movement and typically clean at ground level, Ryan used the ball to excellent effect for the most part, making smart decisions and then executing well by hand and foot. Although a number of his possessions were uncontested touches with limited pressure, the Bloods clearly have confidence in Ryan’s skillset and decision making capabilities – and for good reason. Deceptively strong above his shoulders, Ryan showed why he is considered among the most talented junior footballers in South Australia with an impressive showing, featuring 31 disposals, four marks, four tackles and seven clearances.

#10 Cade Kennedy

The skipper lead from the front for West Adelaide, setting the tone with his aggressive attack on the ball and line-breaking speed proving too difficult to handle for the Sturt midfielders. Although his ball use was questionable at-times, with a couple of his kicks falling short of their intended targets, Kennedy’s production, constant pressure and zip around the ball provided an important point-of-difference and complemented his fellow on-ballers. The sole top-aged West Adelaide player in the SANFL State Talent Hub, Kennedy concluded the match with 27 disposals, five marks, eight tackles and six inside-50s.

#16 Dylan White

Dylan White was another of the Bloods midfield brigade to run riot at Hisense Stadium. A Renmark product from within the West Adelaide country zone, White had a big impact on the contest in the coal-face, winning his fair share of contested ball but, importantly, spread hard and pushed forward to hit the scoreboard. His long range goal at the five minute mark of the second term extended his sides lead and evidently provided a real moral boost. White accumulated 31 disposals, seven marks, six tackles, four clearances and two goals in what was his best game of the season to-date.

#36 Tyson Coe

Powerful bottom-ager Coe played an instrumental role in the Bloods triumph. Regarded for his contested ball winning and tough in-and-under style, it was Coe’s penetrating foot skills which stood out against the Double Blues. Despite boasting an unconventional kicking action, his left foot found plenty of targets on Saturday afternoon, over both long and shorter distances. Skipper of the Bloods Under-16s side last season and current member of the Under-18 leadership group, Coe booted two first half goals, including a long range attempt from near the 50m line and a set-shot from similar range. Coe seemed to be involved in every scoring play for West Adelaide and has made the step-up to under-18s level with ease over the first few weeks. The damaging midfielder/forward finished the game with 22 disposals, five marks and five inside-50s.

#40 Luke Young

Often the focal point in attack for West Adelaide, key forward Luke Young again played an important role in his sides win. Working well in-tandem with fellow tall Harry Lemmey, Young pushed up the ground as he usually does, allowing Lemmey to play as the deepest forward. Young was typically good in the air, taking a couple of nice grabs but importantly bringing the ball to ground too. The Plympton junior’s field kicking was clean and his goal came via a regulation set-shot in the first term, however Young will have no-doubt liked to have added a couple more majors. Nevertheless, he concluded another solid outing with 18 disposals, six marks and four inside-50s.

Others: Bottom-aged key forward Harry Lemmey showed some glimpses of genuine excitement in attack. A highly athletic prospect with excellent mobility and cleanliness for a big man, Lemmey has a smooth set-shot routine and is a capable overhead mark. However he also showed off his natural talent by booting a fantastic running goal on the stroke of half-time. He finished with nine touches and three goals for the match. Dylan McCormick was effective on the wing and through the midfield, particularly in the games early stages. A neat user of the footy, McCormick finished with 18 disposals, six marks and six inside-50s. Patrick Singleton was another ‘Westies’ junior who found an abundance of the ball, accumulating 28 touches and six marks. His repeat-efforts at ground level to stop a regulation Sturt goal in the second term would have thoroughly impressed the Bloods coaching staff. Jed Obst (21 disposals and ten marks), Charlie Pridham (21 disposals, five tackles and six rebounds) and Jesse Thackeray (21 disposals and nine clearances) were also among the Bloods top performers.

STURT:

#7 Nick Sadler

The bottom-aged utility was used up forward and in attack and had some nice moments which suggests he could be one to watch over the next couple of seasons. His penetrating foot skills stood out again today, hitting most of his targets by foot and also using the ball well by hand. He is a strong tackler and appears to have a few handy attributes. Sadler finished with 15 disposals, three marks and four clearances.

#13 Brad Jefferies

Strongly-built midfielder Brad Jefferies was industrious in his return to under-18s level. Jefferies possesses a booming long kick and used the ball effectively by foot for the most part, working against a talented West Adelaide engine room. Jefferies worked hard for the entirety of the match and, in the absence of regular on-baller Will Spain who gained a call-up to reserves level, was Sturt’s go-to man at stoppages. The Double Blues relied heavily upon his combative style in the coal face and will be relived to have the Onkaparinga product back in the under-18 set-up. He finished the game with a team-high 27 disposals, five marks, three tackles, five clearances and four inside-50s.

#37 Zac Becker

Stationed deep in defence, Zac Becker was arguably Sturt’s best performer. Forced to weather a storm of West Adelaide inside-50s at-times, Becker stood up well under the pressure. He spent some time opposed to West Adelaide centre-half-forward Luke Young in what proved to be an enticing battle between two of the premier key position players in the SANFL under-18 competition. As has been the case all season, Becker was trusted with the kick-in duties – a testament to his excellent foot skills. He often cleared the defensive-50 from a kick-in, using his long and accurate leg. Importantly, Becker made good decisions and was also competitive in the air. Clearly the league’s most prolific rebounder after three rounds of action (averaging over 11 rebounds per game), the SANFL Talent Hub member finished with 20 disposals (all of which were kicks), four marks and 14 rebounds.

Others: With Morgan Ferres lining up in the reserves for the second-straight week, it was up to key forward Felix Packer to fill the void. And he did just that, booting four goals from ten disposals and five marks. An accurate set-shot for goal, Packer’s presence in the air was important for a Double Blues side which managed just 37 inside-50s for the match. Although he didn’t hit the scoreboard, medium forward Jacob Lochowiak played with aggression and intent, collecting 18 disposals, three marks, five tackles and seven inside-50s. On-ballers Jamie Taylor (16 disposals, one goal, four tackles and four clearances) and Jake Aish (15 disposals, four marks, five tackles, three clearances and four inside-50s) again fought hard for the visitors.

Picture credit: Nick Hook Photography

State Leagues wrap: Contenders appear after two rounds

STATE League football continued across the country on the weekend, with plenty of teams recording back-to-back wins, while others look for improvement across the board following a disappointing first week. We take a look at the action in the QAFL, SANFL, TSL and WAFL across Round 2.

QUEENSLAND:

By: Peter Williams

A couple of massive wins to sides – including a triple-figure thumping – saw plenty of goals kicked in what was effectively a very one-side round in the QAFL. Aside from one 14-point differential, the other four games were between 32 and 100 points. The largest of them all was Maroochydore’s 25.18 (168) to 10.8 (68) shellacking of Wilston Grange. The Gorillas were coming off a first round one-point win over newcomers Noosa Tigers, but ran into an unstoppable force in the Roos.

Maroochydore piled on a whopping 12.12 to 3.1 by half-time, and booted six goals in each of the first three quarters, and seven in the final term for 43 scoring shots to 18. After narrowly missing out on the leading goalkicker award last year, Maroochydore’s Mitchell Scholard wasted no time getting some runs on the board with 11 majors, kicking more goals than the entire opposition side. Lochie Laing booted four snags, while Lachlan Robinson and Josh Govan were also impressive for the winners. Hugh Fidler managed three majors for Wilston Grange, while Harry Wilson and Mitchell Crawley were steadfast in defeat.

League newcomers Redland-Victoria Park also wasted no time asserting themselves on the competition with a high-scoring 58-point win over 2019 QAFL premiers Surfers Paradise. In the combined highest scoring match of Round 2, the Sharks won 24.10 (154) to 15.6 (96). Twenty two players hit the scoreboard in the match, with Josh Brown and Harrison Kerr snagging four goals apiece for the winners, while Thompson Smith‘s three majors were the most of any player on the losing side. Matthew Walters (Redland-Victoria Point) and Jack Prestegar (Surfers Paradise) were named the top players for their respective sides.

Reigning premiers Morningside also kicked off their season in style with a 43-point triumph over Palm Beach Currumbin. Rising star talent Nathan Colenso slotted five majors in the win, with Sam Godfrey (one) and Liam Dwyer (two) also among the best for the Panthers. Nick Crowley and Frazer Eaton both kicked a couple of goals for the Lions, as Corey Joyce was named best-on for the home side.

The result sets up a tantalising grand final rematch next week after Connor Nutting (five goals) and Jordan Moncrieff (four) put Labrador to the sword during Broadbeach’s 15.7 (97) to 9.11 (65) win. Trailing by 10 points at quarter time, the Cats piled on 13 goals to six in the final three quarters to get the win, with Tyrone Armitage and Ryan Gilmore both impressive. Shaydan Close and Blair Rubock both kicked three goals for the Tigers, while Andy Hollis was named the best in a losing side.

In the tightest game of the round, Mt Gravatt held on to run out the stronger side against Sherwood Districts, defeating the Magpies, 12.12 (84) to 9.16 (70). Trailing by a goal at half-time, and then leading by only four points at the final break, the Vultures booted 4.3 to 2.5 in the final term to secure the win. Jonah Licht nailed half a dozen goals in the victory, while Craig Malone and Gavin Grose were among the Vultures’ best. For Sherwood, Kobe Tozer made a successful return from injury the last couple of years to slot three goals for the Magpies, as Luca Winton and Riley Easton were also among the losing team’s top players.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

By: Liam Badkin

At Alberton Oval, Port Adelaide pulled off a miraculous comeback against the Bulldogs, kicking 4.6 to 0.0 in the last quarter to run out 17-point victors. Boyd Woodcock led his side with 23 disposals and a goal, while Jarrod Lienert had 23 touches of his own but missed both of his opportunities to put his name in the goalkickers column. Luke Surman kicked 3.2 and led the come from behind victory. Kyle Presbury was the best for the Bulldogs, racking up 36 disposals and nine marks, while Ethan East was dangerous around goal, kicking three.

At Prospect Oval, the North Adelaide Roosters fell to a second quarter surge courtesy of the South Adelaide Panthers, who kicked seven goals to one in the second term, to put the game out of reach. The Roosters battled hard in the second half, but the comeback couldn’t be completed as they were defeated by 11 points. South Adelaide’s Joseph Haines found plenty of the ball, accumulating 28 disposals, while midfielders Joel Cross and Bryce Gibbs combined for 11 clearances. Liam Fitt, Damon Frietag and Eamon Wilkinson kicked two goals each. For the Roosters, Harrison Wigg had 29 disposals, while Jarred Allmond impressed with 27 touches and a goal. William Combe kicked two goals while an inaccurate Aaron Young kicked 1.4 for the day.

Moving to Unley Oval, the Redlegs backed up last week’s win with another, beating Sturt by 21 points in a solid outing. Sturt trailed all game, and while the margin was only four points at half time, the Redlegs did enough to keep their opponents at bay and leave the ground 2-0 after two games. Matthew Nunn and Nikolaus Rokahr finished with 24 disposals each, while Michael Knoll was the main extractor from stoppages, finishing with nine clearances. Dom Barry and Tom Wagner slotted two goals apiece. For Sturt, James Battersby won a game high 25 disposals and was able to hit the scoreboard with a goal in a solid performance, while Ashley Johnson kicked two goals to try and bring his side back into the contest.

Across at ACH Group Stadium, the Glenelg Tigers proved too good for the Woodville West Torrens Eagles, winning by a comfortable 29 points. Inaccurate to start the game, the Eagles punished their opponents, who were left ruing their missed opportunities. A second half told a different tale as the Tigers kicked 11 goals to three and would be pleased with their turnaround. Tigers midfielder Matthew Snook was unstoppable in the midfield, finishing with 24 disposals, 12 tackles, 10 clearances and a goal, setting the tone for his teammates. Luke Partington (32 disposals) and Brett Turner (26 disposals and 10 clearances) both found themselves with the ball plenty of times, while Luke Reynolds and Lachie Hosie chimed in three goals each. For the Eagles, Daniel Menzel (three goals) and Dane McFarlane (25 disposals) fought hard.

Hisense Stadium was home to a classic on Saturday afternoon, as the Adelaide Crows scraped past the North Adelaide Bloods by six points in a thriller. With the game tied at three quarter time, both sides were inaccurate, kicking three behinds each, but a James Matthews goal in time on proved to be the match winner. For the Crows, skipper Matthew Wright found plenty of the ball, disposing of it 27 times and combined well with ruckman Kieran Strachan who displayed dominance in the air. Luke Pedlar kicked three goals, all of which proved to be handy. For the Bloods, former Hawthorn player Kieran Lovell dominated through the midfield with 39 disposals and six clearances, while Logan Hill continued to find the ball with 27 touches.

TASMANIA:

By: Liam Badkin

Saturday’s Tasmanian football action saw some big wins across the grounds. Clarence bounced back from last week’s loss to Lauderdale by defeating Glenorchy by 32 points at KGV oval. Coming off the bye last week, Glenorchy found themselves trailing by four goals at the main break. A third quarter fightback saw scores level heading into the final term, but Clarence kicked five goals to none in the last quarter to walk away with their first win of the year. There were a plethora of goal kickers for the victors. Former Brisbane Lions and Essendon player Josh Green and Oliver Preshaw kicked three goals each, while Jacques Barwick chimed in with two. Onballer Baxter Norton was judged best afield for his work through the midfield, while playing coach and former Richmond Tiger Jeromey Webberley was also amongst the best. For Glenorchy, Ben Karamic booted a game high five goals to be his side’s best performer and start his season off in style.

Moving to Kingston’s Twin Ovals, the Tigers took down Lauderdale by 29 points in a convincing win. The Tigers started the game in style, kicking 5.0 to Lauderdale’s 3.1, and the lead only continued to grow. Lauderdale struggled to contain the Tigers, particularly in the second term, and it didn’t help that the Tigers didn’t miss a shot on goal until the third term. For the Tigers, Tyler Carter kicked three goals, while Sam Duigan, Elijah Reardon, Marcus Gardner and Max Collidge all kicked two each, and midfielder Lachlan Clifford was judged best afield. For Lauderdale, Josh Mcguinness kicked four goals and was his side’s best, while Will Poland also impressed in his first game of the year.

In the north of the state, North Launceston bounced back from last week’s disappointing defeat to crush North Hobart by 113 points at UTAS Stadium. Last year’s runners up dominated all day, not allowing their opponents from the south any room to score, while piling on the goals themselves. For the winners, there were 10 individual goal kickers, led by Thomas Bennett’s four goals and Brad Cox-Goodyer’s three. Daniel Withers kicked two of his own and was his side’s best performer. For the Demons, Jack Mcculloch was the lone goal scorer for his side, while Callum Kilpatrick tried all day.

Launceston had the bye.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

By: Peter Williams

Subiaco has set the bar high in the early stages of the WAFL season, with an impressive 33-point win over fellow Round 1 winners, East Fremantle. The teams were evenly matched to three quarter time with the Lions leading by just two points, before running away with it in the final term thanks to 5.8 to 1.1 in order to post a 12.14 (86) to 8.5 (53) victory over the Sharks. Leigh Kitchin had a day out with a match-high 28 touches, as well as 10 tackles and six inside 50s, working hard alongside Gregory Clark (21 disposals, five marks, 11 tackles, one goal). Ryan Borchet (three goals) and Harrison Marsh (two) were both prominent in the win. For the Sharks, ball magnet Josh Schoenfeld racked up 27 touches and 10 tackles to go with his 40-plus disposals from last week, while Luke Strnadica dominated the ruck with 48 hitouts and a goal to accompany 23 disposals, five marks and four tackles.

Claremont is hot on Subiaco’s tail after Round 2, accounting for another Round 1 winner in South Fremantle on Saturday. The Tigers won 17.6 (108) to 13.14 (92) in the game of the round. Lachlan Martinis and Jye Bolton combined for 63 disposals and nine tackles, while Jake Patmore (26 disposals, four marks) and Kane Mitchell (25 disposals, eight marks and three goals) were also prominent. Top draft-eligible tall Jacob Van Rooyen had a quieter day out compared to Round 1, managing the seven touches and three marks. Dylan Main (26 disposals, four marks and three tackles) and Haiden Schloithe (24 disposals, five tackles, five inside 50s and a goal) were the most prominent players for the Bulldogs.

After suffering a Round 1 defeat, Peel Thunder completely dismantled East Perth with a 15 goals to three second half, to run away with the 24.10 (154) to 7.7 (49) victory. The Thunder were far too strong in posting the 105-point shellacking, as a combination of past and present AFL talents took control. Fremantle duo, Taylin Duman (30 disposals nine marks and three inside 50s) and Connor Blakely (26 disposals, seven marks and two inside 50s) were both impressive, while ex-Eagle Will Schofield (26 disposals, seven marks, 16 hitouts and a goal) and ex-Bomber Jackson Merrett (25 disposals, seven marks) all stood out. For the Royals, Angus Scott had a day out with 34 touches, four marks, three tackles and six inside 50s, while Jackson Ramsay did all he could in the loss with 28 disposals, 10 tackles and six inside 50s.

West Perth bounced back from a Round 1 loss to easily account for a disappointing West Coast side, piling on nine and 10 goals in the respective first and second halves, as the Eagles only managed the three apiece in those halves. The Falcons dominated possession with four players picking up 30-plus disposals, and only one player having single-digit disposals on their way to a team total of 457 disposals. Aaron Black had a lazy 43 disposals, nine marks and six inside 50s in his 200th WAFL game, joined in the 40-plus club by Trent Manzone (40 disposals, seven marks). Shane Nelson (31 disposals, five marks) and Connor West (30 disposals, six marks) were also massive ball winners, whilst up forward, Tyler Keitel was unstoppable thanks to six goals from 17 touches and nine marks, while Mitchell Antonio snagged four goals from 25 touches and a whopping 15 marks. The Eagles had a couple of players pushing for a recall with Brayden Ainsworth (36 disposals, 10 marks and three inside 50s) the clear best, while Alex Witherden managed the 26 touches, six marks, four tackles and two inside 50s.

In the only game of the round where a Round 1 loser defeated a Round 1 winner, Swan Districts got on the board with a 50-point victory over Perth. While the Bombers kicked 3.6 in the final term to reduce the deficit, the damage was already done in the first three quarters, when the Swans booted 11 goals to three. Ball magnet Sam Fisher had a lazy 41 touches with seven marks, six tackles, seven inside 50s and a goal, teaming up well with fellow ex-Carlton VFL midfielder Frank Anderson (31 disposals, five marks, six tackles and five inside 50s). Nelson Waite (29 disposals, five marks and four tackles) and Aidan Clarke (28 disposals, 14 marks and four inside 50s) were also strong, as Matt Riggio (20 disposals, six tackles, five inside 50s and four goals) was a dominant goalkicker alongside Jesse Palmer (11 disposals, three marks and four goals). For Perth, Chris Masten had the 29 disposals and six marks, while Brady Grey (28 disposals, six marks, seven tackles and eight inside 50s) and Brent Edmonds (25 disposals, eight marks, five inside 50s and a goal) were also consistent despite the loss.

Picture credit: WAFL

Q&A: Blayne O’Loughlin (North Adelaide/South Australia)

ADELAIDE fans will again have their eyes on a budding Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect, with North Adelaide talent Blayne O’Loughlin gunning for the big leagues in 2021. The crafty defender enjoyed an exceptional bottom-age South Australia National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s season last year, with his ability to break lines and cleanly deliver by foot impressing many onlookers. He also has terrific family footballing ties, as the nephew of Sydney Swans great, Michael O’Loughlin.

Draft Central correspondent Tom Wyman chatted to O’Loughlin at the recent South Australia preseason testing event for a question and answer (Q&A) special.

Q&A:

Q: How do you think you tested today?

A: “I felt I went pretty well. Yo-yo was probably the biggest one I was focussing on and I ended up beating my score from last year. I was one (level) away from 21 so I’m pretty upset about it but what can you do, hopefully I beat it next time.”

 

Can you tell us a bit about your footy journey so far?

“I started in Under 6’s at Gepps Cross then throughout the grades I moved to Gaza, and Payneham Football Club. Then I was with North Adelaide through the Under 13s and all the way up to the 18s now.”

 

What are some of your goals for the season individually and with North Adelaide?

“The main thing is probably to get into the leadership group, that I was one thing I wanted to work on this year because last year as an under-ager I was starting to get a bit more vocal on the ground, so I’m looking to bring that into this year and hopefully get into the leadership group to see what the coaches think. But I’m always trying to help out my other teammates, especially the younger ones as well.”

 

How would you describe yourself as a player?

“I feel like I’m a crafty backman, so one that likes to use the ball by foot but likes to get teammates involved at the same time and find them space very well.”

 

Are your skills your best attribute?

“Yeah, I feel like my skills are my biggest attribute but I’m working on trying to get fitter so I can use that as another attribute to work well with my skills.”

 

Is there any player in the AFL you would compare yourself to?

“Someone like Zac Williams or Bachar Houli. More Bachar Houli in a one-on-one, but then I like to run-and-carry a bit so that’s why I like to look at Zac Williams, he likes to use the ball by foot and run with it.”

 

How has being tied to the Adelaide Crows academy been for you?

“It’s been pretty good. I’m training with the Crows now so we’ve trained over the last two weeks with them, up with the senior squads doing a bit of weights and touch sessions with them. It’s been good, just looking at the professionalism in what they do, the nutrition they use and how they go about training, the way they encourage the new lads, it’s very welcoming there.”

 

Would you be happy to go there, or anywhere?

“I’m happy to go anywhere. Crows have put a lot of time into me so I’m happy to go there, but I’m also happy to go anywhere just to play footy.”

 

How would you describe yourself as a person, off the field?

“Just a fun and outgoing person. Someone who likes to have a laugh with mates and teammates, I got a lot of mates at different clubs so we like to have a bit of competition with each other but at the same time it’s just fun. I like to go to the beach, take my mind away from footy, that sort of thing.”

 

How did you go about managing school with footy during last year?

“I finished school last year, so it was a bit tough at the start due to Covid. I had to do a lot of stuff online so I had to get into a good rhythm, just to wake up early because some people don’t like that and just doing work from home. I wanted to finish my schooling, that was my main (goal) last year, just to finish Year 12 but then to have a good footy season as well. It worked out pretty well so I’m pretty happy with last year.”

 

What’s the plan for this year?

“I’ve got a foundation course with uni. I didn’t know what I wanted to do last year, that’s why uni offered a foundation course, so it’s like a set-up for how to start uni and all that. I also had an apprenticeship but that was 38 hours a week so I can go back to it.”

Image Credit: Naomi Jellicoe/The Advertiser

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Grand Finals

GRAND Final week in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we widen our scope to cover the prospects running around across all three grades, with a particular focus on State Academy based talentNational Combine invitees, and others who may push for selection along the line.

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

>> Power Rankings: October Edition

LEAGUE/RESERVES

WWT Eagles vs. North Adelaide

By: Tom Wyman

WWT Eagles:

#9 Rhyan Mansell (League)

The young defender again played an integral role down back for the premiers. The Tasmanian combined well with Lachlan Jones and veteran Patrick Giuffreda in the back half, finishing with three rebounds. Mansell used the ball with precision and orchestrated a number of successful attacks. He showcased his sound vision, composure, and decision making and positioned himself well to take a number of intercept marks. Mansell finished the game with 19 disposals, eight marks and five tackles.

#16 James Rowe (League)

As has been the case all season, the excitement machine looked threatening whenever he was near the footy. He demanded attention all day and capitalised on his opportunities, as all good small forwards do. North’s Mitch Clisby was given the big job on Rowe and kept him quiet early on as the Roosters started strongly. However, when the Eagles were well on top, he nailed a goal in the dying minutes of the first half. The son of former-Crow Stephen, Rowe kicked a fantastic goal from 40 metres out after his Eagles teammates forced a turnover in the third term. Whenever he wasn’t lurking around the forward line, Rowe was getting under the skin of his Roosters opponents. He used the ball to terrific effect in general play and finished the day with 15 disposals and four inside 50s to go with his two goals. After a dominant season, Rowe is becoming increasingly difficult to overlook for a spot at the elite level.

#28 Jacob Wehr (League)

The 22-year-old from Balaklava in South Australia’s mid-north was excellent for the Eagles. Wehr was able to get the ball in some time and space, allowing him to cut up North’s defence with his pin-point foot skills. The wingman worked hard both ways between the arcs and continuously provided an outlet for Woodville-West Torrens. He finished the contest with 19 disposals, six marks, five tackles, two inside 50s and three rebound 50s. Wehr has been a revelation for the Eagles this season and is one of several mature-aged prospects who could attract some AFL attention over the coming months.

#34 Lachlan Jones (League)

The bull-like defender produced another sensational performance on the big stage and once again showed class beyond his years. As he has shown time and time again throughout the year, Jones refused to be beaten one-on-one. He was deployed as the loose defender for much of the day and read the play exceptionally well. He positioned himself like a seasoned veteran, taking a number of important intercept marks. He showed great composure and poise both with and without the ball, using it efficiently by hand and foot. He produced a number of terrific defensive actions which didn’t show up on the stats sheet, but will have impressed coach Jade Sheedy. Jones finished with 18 disposals, five marks, four tackles and three rebound 50s. A premiership medal is a fitting way to end a wonderful season for Jones, who appears likely to be a first round selection come draft night.

#51 Lachlan McNeil (League)

In a game where all the Eagles youngsters contributed well, McNeil was the best of the bunch. He provided relentless run along the wing and used the ball as well as anyone. McNeil’s high work rate allowed him to take a host of marks on the outer side. He used the ball well and his teammates clearly looked for him to hit a target going inside 50. But the clear highlight of his game was a terrific running goal in the second quarter, which featured two bounces and a beautiful finish. He concluded the match with 23 disposals, nine marks, two tackles, three clearances and six inside 50s. The Clare product missed out on being drafted as an 18-year-old last year, but after a great performance on Grand Final day and a consistent season at senior level with the Eagles, McNeil could find himself a home at AFL level at the second time of asking.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

North Adelaide:

#37 Karl Finlay (League)

It was a difficult day for the Roosters, who struggled to get anything going after quarter time as Finlay and his fellow backmen had their backs against the wall all day. However Finlay was one of North’s best, particularly in the air. He spent some time on dangerous Eagle forward Jack Hayes and also rolled onto Jake Von Bertouch at times. Given the duo’s ability to clunk big contested marks, Finlay held his own. He was thrown up forward by coach Jacob Surjan for a brief stint when the Eagles were in full control and took one of his three contested marks. Finlay tackled hard at ground level and also provided some rebound. He finished with 13 disposals, three marks, five tackles and two inside 50s.

#38 Dyson Hilder (Reserves)

Much like Finlay in the League game, fellow teenaged defender Hilder was similarly strong in the air for the Roosters’ Reserves. He took a couple of strong contested marks and finished the game with seven grabs overall. Hilder, who played a couple of senior games with North Adelaide earlier in the season, provided some clear rebound by foot and was among his side’s best players, despite the loss. He also gave number one ruckman James Craig a break by rotating through the ruck and winning seven hitouts. He finished with 16 disposals and four rebound 50s.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

UNDER 18s

Norwood vs. Sturt

By: Michael Alvaro

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

With Norwood at full strength and solid top-age operators roaming through the engine room, Murley has been squeezed out a touch in this finals series after an outstanding regular season. Nonetheless, the speedy bottom-ager managed to have an impact with bursts of pace and some crafty plays forward of centre. His instinctive attacking runs allowed him to find space inside 50 from the get-go, sinking one of two first term set shots. His kicks were a touch rushed on the outside under the heat of battle, but most of his running game came in that kind of fashion. He missed a few more chances to hit the scoreboard, albeit from tough positions and distances, with a two-bounce dash through the corridor during the final term ending in a flying shot which just did not have the legs. It was more a game of glimpses for Murley compared to his previous form, but he looms as a first round prospect for next year’s draft.

#4 Henry Nelligan

Nelligan is the kind of player you want on your side during a big game, with his consistency and work rate up there with the best of players. Starting in midfield and rotating forward, the diminutive ball winner ended with a game-high 28 disposals to go with six inside 50s and 1.3 in an inspired display. Not only did Nelligan showcase his clean hands and quick skills at ground level, but he was also able to accumulate around the ground and provide a reliable outlet in all areas. A lot of his clearances were booted over his shoulder, but still gained good meterage in the high-stakes contest. While stationed forward, Nelligan stayed busy and used his smarts to position beautifully upon Norwood’s inside 50 entries. His lone goal came in the first term from a strong mark close to goal, and he put two other chances just wide with another touched before bouncing through the big sticks. After some massive performances for the Redlegs, he remains an outside chance to be drafted as a natural footballer with great smarts.

#5 Ethan Schwerdt

Donning the knee brace once again, Schwerdt was a very handy part of Norwood’s midfield-forward rotation. His first big contribution came inside attacking 50, as he put a quick snap wide, but followed up with a shrewd crumb and dribble goal in the opening term. Schwerdt’s skills were neat in the short range and his little bursts of speed away from congestion proved key in setting Norwood on the front foot. His second goal, which came in the final term, was undoubtedly his highlight of the day. Schwerdt bravely marked between two opponents, moved on immediately to burn both of them, and slotted home a long-range bomb on the run.

#11 Xavier Tranfa

Another of Norwood’s prolific midfielders who also impacted in the front half, Tranfa’s two third term goals truly broke the game open. His first came via a strong mark directly from the centre clearance against a couple of opponents, with the set shot converted emphatically from around the 50-metre arc. Shortly after, he found himself on the end of another forward chain, wheeling on his favoured left side and sinking a powerful shot through the big sticks. That kind of impact was complimented by some strong work at the contest, as Tranfa attacked both the ball and carrier with intent. He was clean at ground level and while not overly quick, he would get his legs pumping or buy enough time to eventually send Norwood into attack. 19 disposals, six tackles, four clearances, and a couple of goals made for a terrific all-round game.

#15 Harlee Chandler

Chandler has proven somewhat of a finals wildcard for Norwood, slotting into the midfield with aplomb and providing great balance at the contest. He began proceedings with a sharp run through the middle and goal assisting pass inside 50, with that kind of run and movement through the corridor a sign of things to come. He was able to fend off opponents and break free, with much of his work as clean as and impactful as anyone else afield. A rush of blood saw Chandler miss his final term attempt on goal after a terrific play to win the ball, but it hardly took away from what was an eye-catching performance from the youngster. He finished with 19 disposals, six tackles, and three clearances.

#27 Nathan Hearing

The 2020 Alan Stewart Medal winner was best afield, Hearing was his usual heroic self through the ruck. Hardly a one-dimensional bigman, the 195cm prospect won a game-high 11 clearances, one more than his 10 hitouts throughout the day. His 21 disposals all-up came in various positions and fashions, but the majority of his work was done at the fall of the ball at stoppages to release his runners at ground level. Hearing’s imposing figure was also sighted down back where he took a couple of relieving marks close to goal, using his reach and timing to stand tall amid forming packs. He may have been beaten vertically at times at the centre bounces, but fared well around the ground and even took balls directly out of the ruck to send the Redlegs forward.

Others:

As is often the case for Norwood, an even team spread saw many contributors stand up across the day. Mitchell Trepka stood up early from defence, with Billy Haebich providing some dash and Sam Duke proving an important aerial figure on the same line. Daniel Fairbrother, who gained senior experience this year was also part of Norwood’s sturdy defence. Marcus Roberts fared well up forward with a couple of goals while big Finn Heard spearheaded the attack, and Michael Cavallaro provided a classy outlet on the wing.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

Sturt:

#9 Malachy Carruthers

Usually one of the more attacking defenders who is capable of impacting through the corridor, Carruthers’ rebounding efforts mostly came from inside own defensive 50. While his long-range kicking was as sound as ever amid the breeze and Norwood’s pressure, Carruthers seldom had reliable targets to kick to as the ball would often eventually find its way back to his area. He was one of Sturt’s only consistently cool heads down back, but was too often forced too far away from positions in which he would normally attack. Carruthers seemed to lift in the third term as the Double Blues’ hopes began to fade, with his intercept marking, urgent running, and weighted kicks all coming to the fore. It would end up being an effort in vein, but the potential draft bolter finished with a very handy 21 disposals, nine marks, and nine rebound 50s as one of Sturt’s best.

#17 Mani Liddy

Arguably Sturt’s most impactful midfielder in the first half, Liddy was particularly prolific at the centre bounces. His core strength and clean hands gave the Double Blues numerous opportunities to attack first, though some grubber kicks out of congestion on Liddy’s end did his side few favours in that sense. His disposal on the move was a touch untidy in those opening stages despite finding the ball at will, apart from his obvious proficiency via hand. Not shy of a bit of niggle, Liddy’s lone goal for the game came in the second term after being crunched inside 50, with his set shot conversion proving sound. He attempted to force some forward momentum in the latter stages, finishing with 18 disposals, seven clearances, and a goal.

#18 Tom Powell

Powell may have seen the most ball for Sturt with 25 disposals and six marks, but had a touch less than his usual impact around the stoppages. His ability to extract and quickly release via hand was still on show, with numerous drawing handballs and well-timed distributive touches showcasing his best assets. It also lent to his high-level vision and decision making, especially amid the contested Grand Final chaos. Powell’s clean hands were also shown as he gathered well below his knees and snapped home a sharp goal in the second term, something he is increasingly bringing to the fore. With a couple of goal assists to cap off his outing, that attacking prowess is something which will be important in shaking that one-dimensional accumulator tag. He lived up to his billing for the most part, but could not quite help Sturt get over the line.

#25 James Borlase

Borlase was in the thick of the action as tensions boiled over in the third term, not afraid to throw his large frame around and get involved in the biff. He was hardly the only one, but got very heated and seemed to be a prime target for Norwood as ill discipline crept into Sturt’s game. Outside of that, Borlase once again proved a class above many of his Under 18 competitors with terrific reading of the play down back and strong intercept marking. His ball use was often sound and allowed Sturt to retain possession, without being overly damaging. He had a purple patch in the second term with a string of aerial marks, while also bringing his kick penetration into play. He was thrown into the centre bounces during the final quarter in hopes of turning the midfield battle with his physicality, but would have little impact there and revert back to his defensive duties in open play. The Crows Academy prospect finished with 22 disposals and eight marks (three contested) as arguably Sturt’s best player afield.

#32 Morgan Ferres

Ferres finished his bottom-age season strongly, providing a much-needed target leading up from the forward half. It proved a tough gig as Sturt struggled to transition the ball, with Ferres forced to search all the way up to defensive wing at times to find the ball. Half of his six marks were contested, and he was also able to make an impact closer to goal with some touches inside 50. Ferres ended the game with 1.1, sinking a set shot in the final term after seeing multiple attempts either go wide, fall short, or end up out of bounds. If he can tidy up that conversion, Ferres may well prove to be a force in next year’s competition.

Others:

Will Spain‘s efforts to win the ball and tackle at ground level were noted by his coaches, while fellow bottom-ager Brad Jefferies also gave it his all while rotating forward through midfield. Blake Higgins provided his usual run on the outside, while skipper Ned Walter was valiant in defence. Declan Hortle‘s 33 hitouts in the ruck also proved a big effort against the player judged best afield.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

Featured Image: Norwood’s Under 18s celebrate their 2020 SANFL premiership | Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

Clark dares greatly and follows coach’s mantra to Roosters’ flag

NORTH Adelaide’s Julia Clark by her own admission is quieter than most and despite being told of her abilities and how she can influence a game, Clark was just happy to play her role in 2019. She was happy to do her bit each week as the Roosters reached the grand final, only to fall to reigning premiers South Adelaide. Fast forward 12 months (and a little more thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic) and Clark is instead on the winning end of a South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s decider.

“Yeah it was amazing,” Clark said of the premiership. “I learnt a lot in this season. “Last year was good, but this season I’ve learnt so much and I guess the feelings at trainings was always intense, but it was always good fun. “You always got something out of it, and being around such talented people and having to work harder than I had to work last year just to get into the team every week just really pushed me beyond where I thought I could go.”

Clark said the 2019 grand final loss was a motivating factor for the team in 2020, but said she personally felt she did all she could in that loss. However it was not until master coach Krissie Steen arrived at Prospect Oval that Clark noticed a massive difference in her game.

“Yeah I think definitely for the team it was a big motivator, especially as most of them had lost the finals the year before that and the year before that as well,” Clark said. “I think I was very tentative last season and I just sort of played my role and what I was told to do. “I didn’t really do anything extra, so when it came to the Grand Final knowing it would be my last game of the season, I think I just threw it all out there and personally I think that was my best game.

“So I came out of that loss not feeling bad personally, but knowing that I wanted to work extra hard this year and I think with Krissie’s mentality and really emphasing ‘Dare Greatly’ that really changed my thinking around how my season went last year and how I didn’t do that and what I wanted to put into my season this year.”

Indeed, it was Steen that gave the teenager confidence to take the game on and back herself in her role playing in defence.

“Yeah I think as I said before I’ve learnt so much and I think it’s all because of her (Steen). “It’s great having a female in that role and just like she knows what she’s talking about and you always know that she’s right and she also knows what’s right for you personally and as a team. “If something goes wrong, she can blame herself and I think just vulnerability and you don’t shy away from mistakes, you just focus on the next time you have to do something and just being better.”

Rewinding back a few years, Clark came through the pathway and was always involved with the Roosters in some capacity, and then got the call-up to make her debut in 2019 and has hardly missed a beat since.

I think my first real taste of footy was at North Adelaide in the Under 14s comp,” Clark said. “The four-game comp. “And that was in 2015 and then in 2016 I went out to Hope Valley because they were the closest club with a girls team and I played Under 16s for one season there and then we managed to get a team in Broadview which is my local suburb. “From there, I kept playing the North juniors in the coming years and I kept getting nominated for the North juniors once that started happening and then went from there.”

Like many young girls, Clark came from a netball background, but once she switched into footy, she loved it and the challenges associated with it, particularly playing in defence.

I think coming from netball, I think it was just a lot more freedom playing footy and it was something new that I just got to run wherever I wanted and just a whole lot of freedom,” Clark said. “There’s so many things to keep improving on and I just like the challenge of it.

“I definitely find defence at the higher levels a bit easier to cope with than forward. “In the local league (playing) forward’s alright, but back is definitely more natural in my head in the higher levels anyway.”

Clark rates her composure with ball-in-hand and decision making as amongst her best traits. Whilst not a massive accumulator, she does not make too many mistakes and is one player that can be relied upon to hit targets out there. She positions herself well in defence, and said she is just hoping to build even greater confidence to take the game on more, and back herself with tackling and growing her overall fitness base.

While Clark’s side did finish the 2020 season undefeated, the defender admitted it was not until the final few seconds of the grand final that she knew her team had it in the bag.

“Maybe a few seconds before the siren went,” Clark said. “But definitely when there was still time left in that last quarter, it was very tense and it was mainly after the siren where you could sort of relax and just celebrate.”

Clark has been in the South Australian State Academy the last two seasons, and it has also been a huge factor in building her confidence.

“It’s been really good,” Clark said. “I think I’m very harsh on myself and I think sometimes I need to remind myself I am a good player and I think the State Academy really helps you realise how good you and how good all the other people around you are. “It’s just amazing to have friends and get up to this level.”

As the SANFL Women’s season usually finishes in May, Clark headed back to her local club last year to maintain fitness and work on areas of her game to be fit and firing for the 2020 season.

“Coming off last season after North Adelaide I went back to Broadview and just wanted to build up my confidence again and coming back to North this year I wanted to take my fitness which is how I maintained place in the team last season,” Clark said. “I just brought that in this season and just really tried to keep my confidence up and with Krissie’s mentality of ‘Daring Greatly’ I just had to push myself every training and every trial game just to make sure I was confident and made sure I was outside of my comfort zone than I was last year. 

“Think in future, definitely keeping my confidence up and building my confidence to keep daring and using my voice more and trusting myself more is what I’m aiming to do in the future.”

Rather than another individual, it is Clark’s internal determination that has spurred her on to follow the pathway and chase her dream of playing at the elite level.

“I think my drive has always been that, I’m pretty good at a lot of things and so when I find something challenging, my mentality that I have to master it,” she said. “I have to do everything I can to do everything to be the best I can at it. “So I think that internal drive is what keeps pushing me to keep going and get better and better.”

Passion and resilience key for Zbierski

NORTH Adelaide player Andie Zbierski has not always had it easy when it comes to football. Delayed beginnings, recurring injuries and four hour car trips are all parts of her journey, but she says her love for the game has made it all worthwhile.

“I love the adrenaline rush I get from playing and how everyone gets around each other,” Zbierski said. “When one person drops their head, they’ve got the whole team, support staff and coaches to pick them up. We’re all together as a team and even after the game we all come together, it’s such an inclusive environment.”

Due to the limited opportunities to play women’s football when she was younger, Zbierski only started competing four years ago.

“I played my first year close to home at Roopena Football Club in Whyalla,” she said. “I was too old to continue playing there the next year, so I moved to Salisbury Football Club in Adelaide.”

She played a key role in Salisbury’s 2018 Division One Adelaide Women’s Football League premiership. Given the lengths the Whyalla local went through to play in that side, no one could question her passion for playing the game.

“I was driving down to Adelaide with my parents four hours there and four hours back every weekend,” she said. “The drive got a bit boring and repetitive, but it’s not a bad drive.”

Zbierski says she has fantastic parents that are fully supportive of her football career.

“Dad has always taken me out to trainings and also down to one of the ovals near our house to just work on little things and get my skills up,” she said. “Mum would always drive me down to Adelaide for my Salisbury and North Adelaide games. They’re both really passionate about my football and they always encourage me to do the right thing.”

As the only other family member with football experience, Zbierski says her dad is her biggest inspiration. He has supported all of her sporting ventures and offered her important personal guidance during matches.

“Even in the earlier days when I played basketball and netball as well, my dad would always come out, support and give me little pointers,” she said. “I just take that a bit more to heart when dad’s saying it because he knows me, he knows how I play and he knows exactly what he needs to say to me to get me to understand.”

Zbierski started playing for North Adelaide’s SANFLW side at the beginning of 2019, and she has learnt a lot about the senior style of football.

“They play very differently to country football, which is what I first got taught,” she said. “The main differences are the structures and extra level of competitiveness. Even Division One compared to SANFLW is a big difference, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really good.”

Due to recurring injury issues, Zbierski’s love for the game took a hit last year and she decided to take some time away from football after the 2019 SANFLW season.

“I had a couple of back injuries, a few repetitive groin strains and some ankle injuries that took a toll on me,” she said. “I was beating myself up because I wasn’t 100 per cent and I wasn’t playing games. Not training for a few months and moving to a different club for fun definitely helped.”

That new club was Division One’s Old Ignatians. Zbierski moved there at the beginning of this year in the hope that she could play a full season away from senior level.

“I moved to Adelaide at the end of 2019 to pursue my football career, and there’s a few girls that live at a college with me who play for Old Ignatians,” she said. “I asked mum if I could move to that club because I didn’t really play last year, it’s not a proper season because of COVID and I want to go out and just play for fun to get my love back for the game.”

While she didn’t play any SANFLW games for North Adelaide this season, Zbierski continued to spend time at the club working with their strength and conditioning coaches to get her body right.

“I did a lot of agility and changing direction training to help my ankles, and I did extra strength work through different circuits that didn’t put anything too heavy on my back,” she said. “I also did some running with a focus on changing pace and slowing down.”

Thanks to this extra effort put into looking after her body, Zbierski was able to play a full season of amateurs for the Old Ignatians in 2020. She played predominantly as a ruckman, a role that she has excelled in since her first year playing football.

“Back home at Roopena I was pretty much the tallest one out there, so since then ruck has always been my preferred position,” she said. “I would say rucking is my biggest strength, along with my tackling.”

Since she usually has a height advantage, Zbierski is strong defensively despite her lack of experience regarding how to play that role.

“Down in Adelaide I am probably average height and I was chucked in the deep end playing centre-half back during a few games this year,” she said. “I haven’t previously been taught much defensive craft, so I definitely need to work on that during pre-season.”

Zbierski has a career plan that entails one more SANFLW season before moving up to the big league.

“I hope to play a full season at SANFL level next year,” she said. “After that, I want to put my name down to be drafted for AFLW.”

 

For more AFLW and SANFLW news, follow Tom Cheesman on Twitter.

SANFL Women’s season review: North Adelaide

NORTH Adelaide is the next team up in our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season review series as we look at the eight sides in reverse ladder order and how their 2020 seasons went down.

Position: 1st
Wins: 12
Losses: 0
Draws: 0

2020 IN A NUTSHELL

Perfect. There is no other way to realistically put it. North Adelaide had an unblemished season with a 12-0 record and earning the minor premiership, and then the real thing with back-to-back wins over incumbents South Adelaide in the qualifying final and grand final. The victory was a role reversal from the year before, and whilst Krissie Steen‘s chargers had their challenges throughout the year, the Roosters met every challenge and deserved the premiership.

AFL WOMEN’S ALL-STARS GAME REPRESENTATIVES:

Amber Ward

An over-age defender with great hands and a booming kick, Ward showed she is well in contention to be drafted this year after receiving an AFL Women’s Draft Combine invitation. Often stationed at centre half-back, Ward was a reliable figure back there, combining well with teammate Kristi Harvey as the anchors in the defensive 50.

Cristie Castle

A sneaky forward who could push up the ground, Castle could hit the scoreboard or set up scoring opportunities for her teammates. She generally used it pretty well in the forward half of the ground and always looked damaging when the ball was in her vicinity. Providing good defensive pressure as well, Castle was a strong team player.

Erin Sundstrom

Joined the Roosters this season coming back from Queensland and provided good dash coming out of defence. She possesses a long kick and was able to get them out of trouble on a number of occasions, and provided an extra intercepting target in the air back there.

Julia Clark

A versatile small who could play at either end, Clark has established herself in the Roosters best side over the past two years playing nearly every game. She played a role in defence for the grand final and is a top-ager who has developed well in the system.

Ashleigh Woodland

Won the league’s goalkicking and showed she is a class above at state level. Is one who spent a season on Melbourne’s AFL Women’s list and was one of four players to earn an AFL Women’s Draft Combine invite. She is strong above her head, an accurate kick for goal, and able to hit targets around the ground and play through the midfield, or even in defence.

Kristi Harvey

A rock on the last line, Harvey nullified opposition forwards whilst providing aerial strength to intercept and pump the ball out of the back 50. Did not mind getting into the ear of opposition forwards, and left nothing out on the ground with her attack on the ball, re-establishing herself as one of the most reliable defenders in the competition this season.

Katelyn Pope

Possessing some serious wheels, Pope’s ability to take the game on and break the lines really made a point of difference for the Roosters this season. Often playing off a wing or drifting at half-forward, Pope could beat anyone in a foot race and if she got goalside, it was almost game over for any opponent. She could hit the scoreboard or set others up in a really impressive year.

Jorja Eldridge

Played a couple of games this year for the Roosters coming from the country area in Whyalla with a basketball background. She has versatility to play at either end and showed good development being able to crack into the Roosters side given the strength of the unit.

Rayne Rivalland

A developing talent with a year left until she turns 18, Rivalland will no doubt feature more often next season as a rebounding defender who can be switched forward if required. She has some good athleticism and takes the game on, reading the ball well in flight based on her All-Stars game.

Lauren Gauci

Rounded out the back six nicely and added a point of difference as that smaller runner who was a reliable executor by hand or foot. She looked to shoot a dagger down the wing or open up the game, and did take the game on from time to time as well. Provided good offence while being accountable at half-back.

Kate Case

Another middle-age talent who earned a spot in the All-Stars squad playing forward, and has a bit of zip about her. She might not be tall, but has talent and continues to develop strongly. As someone who can come in and play a small forward’s role or further up the ground, Case will be one to watch in 2021 after an impressive grand final.

Andie Zbierski

Another country-based player who plays predominantly as a defender. She is highly competitive and reliable as they come. She might not have a huge amount of SANFL Women’s experience, but she showed in the games she did play that she has a high scope to develop.

OTHERS WHO STOOD OUT:

  • Anne Hatchard
  • Britt Perry
  • Talia Radan
  • Lauren Daniel
  • Hannah Ewings
  • Leah Tynan
  • Bek Rasheed

Like South Adelaide, this list could go on forever with that many contributors across the board. There is a reason the Roosters won the premiership, and whilst Anne Hatchard dominated the midfield in every game and was the clear standout winning the equal league best and fairest with best on grounds in every match, she was far from alone. Teenage talent Hannah Ewings has another two years until she is draft-eligible despite being one of the best in the competition already, whilst the experience of Lauren Daniel, and the introduction of ruck Bek Rasheed through the middle was great. Throw in AFL Women’s players Britt Perry up forward and Talia Radan down back, and the side had virtually no holes in it.

Summary

North Adelaide capped off a perfect season with a premiership, winning every game and successfully bouncing back from the 2019 defeat in the decider. They had help from some AFL Women’s talent, but it was the next core of players, and the youth coming through that held up the side and ensured that their bottom six was stronger than any other side in the competition.

Picture: SANFL / Deb Curtis

Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: West Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

OUR next All-Star Team battle is one between two South Australian clubs in West Adelaide and North Adelaide. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Mark Ricciuto (West Adelaide) and Wayne Carey (North Adelaide).

TEAMS:

These clubs are seeded 11th (West Adelaide) and 22nd (North Adelaide) respectively, forming another Round of 32 clash in our second half of the draw. The winner will qualify for the Round of 16 stage, set to face the winner of our Central District vs. Dandenong Stingrays tie.

STRENGTHS:

The West Adelaide starting 18 is very strong, particularly in midfield and defence. Ben Rutten and Sam Fisher form a stingy key position pairing down back, supported by the likes of Rory Laird and Beau Waters among the six. It gets even better in the engine room, led by skipper Ricciuto, who is joined by fellow Brownlow medalist Adam Cooney on the ball. Adelaide 300-gamer Tyson Edwards is also among the action, while Shaun Rehn was a straightforward choice for the ruck duties.

North Adelaide’s defence is just as good, if not better with Phil Davis and Sean Wellman heading the likes of Ben Hart and Jared Rivers in support on the last line. The marking power up forward is also formidable, as one of the all-time greats in Wayne Carey commands the six alongside Holland brothers, Nick and Ben. Another set of siblings, Darren and Andrew Jarman also provide some class through midfield and the forwardline.

WEAKNESSES:

Scott Welsh features as an 188cm centre-half forward for the Bloods, though that problem can be easily rectified by the height of Rhys Stanley up forward, and pure excellence of Tony Modra. While the starting 18 is very solid, West Adelaide’s bench depth is decent, but doesn’t feature as many world beaters.

The Roosters’ midfield isn’t quite as fearsome as West Adelaide’s despite featuring Jarman, Shane Edwards, and Josh Francou, while the standard on the bench again drops off a touch, but not significantly.

SUMMARY:

This one is much tighter than the seeding suggests, but we think Westies’ midfield strength will go a long way to taking out this battle against their South Australian counterparts.

Which All-Star Team would you pick?
West Adelaide
North Adelaide

All-Star Team of the AFL Draft Era: Which club is the best of the best?

EVERY year, a new crop of AFL Draft talents rise up and make waves at AFL level. Some clubs such as Calder Cannons and Geelong Falcons are referred to as ‘footy factories’. Others are less well known, but nonetheless vital in providing players with their start to the AFL.

Over the past couple of months, Draft Central has gone through all of the NAB League, SANFL and WAFL clubs and tried to determine the best 24-player squad for their respective clubs. The captains and vice-captains were determined by the public through Instagram voting. Now, it is up to the public to decide which All-Star Team is the greatest of the lot. That’s right, the 30 teams from Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia are going head to head in a knockout draw.

Which teams are competing?

NAB League [12]: Bendigo Pioneers, Calder Cannons, Dandenong Stingrays, Eastern Ranges, Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power, GWV Rebels, Murray Bushrangers, Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers, Sandringham Dragons, Western Jets
SANFL [9]: Central District, Glenelg, North Adelaide, Norwood, Port Adelaide, South Adelaide, Sturt, West Adelaide, Woodville-West Torrens
WAFL [9]: Claremont, East Fremantle, East Perth, South Fremantle, Peel Thunder, Perth, Subiaco, Swan Districts, West Perth

How will it work?

Each day at 10am, we will publish the two All-Star Teams of the AFL Draft era, and the public will be able to vote through the article, Facebook and Twitter, with the overall winner moving through to the next round.

Given there are 30 teams, two sides who we have picked out as the top two seeds – East Fremantle and Geelong Falcons – will have the bye in the opening round, with the other 28 teams seeded appropriately similar to the All-Star Player voting (3rd against 28th, 4th against 27th etc.).

Who is up first?

The first All-Star Team battle is between a couple of metropolitan sides who we have seeded 16th and 17th in the draw. They both have some absolute elite stars, but Calder Cannons and Western Jets will begin the voting on Monday. They will be followed by the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Eastern Ranges on Tuesday, before a cross-state clash sees third seed Port Adelaide Magpies tackle Peel Thunder.