QUEENSLAND and Tasmania locked horns in back-to-back representative fixtures on Friday, with either states’ brightest Under 17 and 19 prospects taking the field in Yeronga. The home side came out narrow two-point victors in the Under 19 main event, controlling the match but forced to survive a late Tasmanian flurry to salute 9.8 (62) to 8.12 (60). The match also served as an Allies selection audition, with a fixture against South Australia set for Sunday. We take you through some of the top performers from either top-age squad, with notes on the Under 17s game to come tomorrow.
By: Declan Reeve
#15 Cody Harrington (Broadbeach/Suns Academy)
9/10/2004 | 178cm | 70kg
One of three bottom-agers in the Queensland squad, Harrington worked into the game slowly but surely with some flashes of brilliance later in the piece. Harrington’s speed and agility are arguably his biggest strengths as he rotates through the forwardline and midfield, attacking the ball at speed and not flinching under oncoming pressure. One of Harrington’s best plays displayed this well, as he was nudged under the ball as it flew in, but got right back up and picked it up with opponents coming towards him from two directions, then accelerated away and had a shot from the boundary line which went just wide of the mark. Whilst playing primarily on the outside, Harrington will be a dangerous balanced option as he adds more size to his frame.
#16 Luke Coombes (Labrador/Suns Academy)
19/09/2003 | 184cm | 72kg
Coombes spent majority of his time on the wing and consistently worked into the backline to help his defenders with winning the ball or providing a switch option, patrolling his side of the ground well. Coombes’ ball use was also reliable throughout the game with very few bad decisions or poor disposals.
#18 Jaspa Fletcher (Sherwood/Lions Academy)
24/02/2004 | 179cm | 72kg
Whilst not accumulating massive amounts of the footy, Fletcher was classy and composed with the ball when he won it, not needing too much time to assess his options and then make a good decision with it – even in traffic. Fletcher showed a good amount of two-way running as well, often seen in the backline as a switch option or a handball receiver out of the contest and then running hard forward to be an option in transition. Fletcher kicked a goal where he ran onto a spilled ball out the front of a contest that had formed, tucking it under his arm and running his distance, before finishing from about 45 out.
#26 Toby Triffett (Morningside/Lions Academy)
24/02/2002 | 188cm | 85kg
Not necessarily flashy in his play but one that catches the eye through his sheer tenacity and will to win the ball at the coalface, when Triffett wasn’t the one getting first possession he wasn’t far behind the ball winner to apply a tackle, rarely having opponents escape his grip once he got hold. Triffett earned two vital holding the ball free kicks inside 50 during the day, with one being on the boundary line in a pocket, where he slotted it easily, and the other being on a flank where he kicked to a pack for a teammate to hold a mark.
#33 Jack Briskey (Sherwood/Lions Academy)
18/01/2002 | 193cm | 86kg
Briskey split his time between the ruck and the forward line and ended up being one of his side’s more vital players with his presence in both roles. The speed and leap of Briskey are major weapons for him in his rucking and forward work, able to get easy separation on the lead and time his run and jump in the ruck to get above opponents. Briskey played as a major target for Queensland, slotting three goals.
#36 Will Bella (Palm Beach Currumbin/Suns Academy)
31/01/2003 | 195cm | 97kg
Playing as the deepest forward for most of the game, Bella was a big part of Queensland’s attacking forays as a target for a lot of forward 50 entries. Bella showed some incredible bodywork in marking contests and ability to get separation on the lead, credit to his strength to push off opponents. He took a few nice marks out in front, usually forced to the top of the 50-meter arc and forced to try and kick goals from outside 50, with distance never being an issue but accuracy at times evading him. Bella took strong contested pack marks as well, able to hold the ball up against three or four opponents at times.
By: Michael Alvaro
#3 Oliver Davis (Clarence)
18/07/2002 | 183cm | 79kg
After cutting his teeth at SANFL League level for the latter half of this season, Davis has clearly taken some valuable learnings from his time abroad. The Clarence product was a constant in midfield during his Tasmanian return, steadily accumulating throughout the day. He is a noted clearance winner but showcased a terrific work-rate to find more ball on the spread before turning it on in a dominant fourth quarter. With the game there to be won, Davis stepped up at the centre bounces and was super clean by hand, but a touch more scrappy with his long clearances. Still, he showed positive improvements with his decision making by foot, lowering his eyes going inside 50 on a few occasions.
#5 Oliver Sanders (North Launceston)
30/05/2002 | 177cm | 76kg
Arguably Tasmania’s best and most consistent player throughout the four quarters, Sanders proved incredibly productive through midfield. The speedy small was terrific at ground level and looked dangerous when released from congestion, able to gain metres with his energetic bursts. Sanders’ left-foot delivery was another key weapon, and he hit several long targets on the move with burning passes heading into attack. He got great reward for his forward carry and overall output in the fourth term, slotting a goal from close range before launching a 60-metre bomb for his second major.
#8 Zachary Morris (Launceston)
28/01/2003 | 188cm | 88kg
Starting in the defensive post he often owned for the Tasmania Devils this season, Morris had plenty to do amid his side’s besieged back six. The strongly-built Launceston product, who recently won a senior flag with the Blues, was strong in the contest and powerful with his kick penetration. While the ball often came back his way, Morris racked up plenty of touches in the first half and attempted to drive Tasmania out of trouble. He was a touch quieter after half time and eventually swung forward, where he could not quite clunk marks or hit the scoreboard.
#20 Tyler McGinniss (North Hobart)
12/01/2001 | 192cm | 83kg
The sole 2001-born player afield, McGinniss’ extra year of experience somewhat showed with his reading of the play and decisions on the ball. He was a key figure in Tasmania’s defence, chiming in with important intercept marks and showing good intent to move the ball on quickly in transition. His kicking came into play with those aggressive rebounds, as McGinniss showed a nice balance between his tall and small traits at 192cm.
#22 Baker Smith (Clarence)
26/08/2003 | 194cm | 81kg
Another Tasmanian defender who was given a mighty task, Smith found the going tough at times against bigger and more developed Queensland key forwards. He arguably got better as the game wore on, kick-starting his usual intercept game with a few nice grabs after half time. He was a key part of Tasmania’s setup behind the ball in term four, helping lock the ball in his side’s front half as a major comeback was mounted, but ultimately fell short.
#36 Sam Collins (Oakleigh Chargers)
6/01/2002 | 187cm | 83kg
Another 19th-year prospect who did some learning abroad in 2021, Collins donned the Tasmanian jersey once again after linking with the Oakleigh Chargers NAB League program. He started in defence for his home state and looked to add a bit of power around the ball, but ended up being rushed with a lot of his early disposals. Usually a penetrating kick, Collins began to get that side of his game going with a move into midfield after half time, before really stepping up as he slid forward in term four. Collins hit the scoreboard after earning a free kick 20m from goal, and almost added another major after marking just outside the attacking arc, with his long shot punched over.
Featured Image: Tasmania’s Baker Smith fends off Queensland’s Jack Briskey | Credit: Russell Freeman/AFL Photos