Tag: Player focus

WAFL League Player Focus: Jesse Motlop (South Fremantle)

SOUTH FREMANTLE young small forward Jesse Motlop, the son of former Port Adelaide and North Melbourne player Daniel, has had an impressive 2021 season across the WAFL Colts and PSA competitions. His form and undeniable potential earned him a WAFL League debut with South Fremantle, against fellow finals contenders Swan Districts.

The Fremantle Next Generation Academy prospect ended up being an important part of the side’s six-goal victory, chiming in with two goals of his own in the third quarter whilst setting up a few more throughout the entirety of the game.

POCKET PROFILE

Jesse Motlop
South Fremantle/Western Australia

DOB: 23/11/2003
Height/Weight: 176cm/74kg
Position: Small Forward/Midfielder

Strengths: Speed, smarts, goal sense

2021 Averages:
WAFL Colts
(4 games)

15.3 disposals | 2.5 marks | 3.0 tackles | 4.0 inside 50s | 1.5 goals (6 total)

Image Credit: South Fremantle/WAFL

2021 WAFL League, Round 15 | Swan Districts 9.5 (59) def. by South Fremantle 15.5 (95)

#49 Jesse Motlop (South Fremantle)

Stats: 13 disposals (10 kicks, 3 handballs), 6 marks, 4 tackles, 1 inside 50, 2 goals

Q1

It was a low-key opening term for Motlop in his debut senior outing. Starting the game on the bench, he wasn’t sighted until about eight minutes in as he took his position in the goal square as the deepest forward for his first centre bounce.

His first involvement in general play came deep inside 50 where he hit the front and centre of a marking contest, cleanly picking the ball up off the ground and in a position to run into an open goal, but was brought down as soon as he picked it up for a stoppage.

He held the ball to an opponent not long after to get a stoppage in front of goal, though it didn’t result in anything. The only disposal Motlop would record for the first term came as he pushed up the ground to be a switch option from the corridor to the boundary, taking the ball on his chest uncontested before running it up a few steps and then lacing it out to a teammate on the wing, who was able to move the ball quickly and get it inside 50 for a goal.

Despite not racking up numbers on the stats sheet, Motlop was involved in the South Fremantle forward half, pressuring opponents to cause a few turnovers and stoppages, giving his side opportunities to score and making his one kick count.

Q2

Once again taking the role as a deep forward, Motlop wasn’t given many opportunities to use the footy, with the talls of South Fremantle being the targets and Swan Districts doing well to intercept balls as they flew in. He did continue to show the pressure work he did the previous quarter, laying two tackles around the forward 50 where his second efforts saw him get back at the opposition with the ball. He showed a lot of courage at times as well, getting involved in a marking contest where neither player held the ball, but he got straight back up to follow up.

Motlop moved up the ground to get involved when it was a bit of an arm wrestle, where he won the ball off the hands of a marking contest and followed his momentum by running back towards his defensive 50 through traffic, able to maintain possession whilst running through a pack of five Swan Districts players. He side-stepped to avoid being grabbed and hit a handball to a runner from the backline. He made it obvious the front and centres were a speciality area a few times, demonstrating why he was being paired under a tall forward down deep with his clean pick-ups below his knees.

Motlop worked into the game well in the second quarter, making the most of his opportunities to show his potential for eye-catching plays, but really impressing with his pressure work, second efforts and reading of the ball off hands more than anything, playing his small forward role particularly well despite not hitting the scoreboard.

Q3

The third quarter saw Motlop taking a bit more freedom and pushing up the ground, getting free around the back end of the centre square to be used a couple of times by his teammates. In those instances, he was able to lose opponents with his acceleration or repeated lead efforts. He followed up with generally good ball use, spotting out leading teammates up the field to put them in a good spot to move the ball forward.

One kick into the middle of the ground initially looked poor, but bounced well for his teammates to win the contest and get it long forward for an easy South Fremantle goal. Motlop’s high work rate was again on display, as he made gut runs to impact opponents, even if they moved the ball on before he got there he’d follow up and try and impact the next contest.

He got himself on the scoreboard with two goals in the third quarter, with both being a good example of his forward craft and ability to get free in dangerous spots. The first was more through his high work rate and repeat leading efforts, as he lost his opponent inside forward 50 and was spotted up by a teammate, taking a mark over his head about 40 out right in front of goal, where he went back and slotted it straight through from afar. The second goal came through his footy smarts, peeling off from where a pack was going to form, standing free right in front of goal about 25 out, then being used by his teammate coming out of the pack taking it on the chest and slotting his second.

Motlop continued to do the things he had been doing well in the third, whilst adding two goals for some additional impact and reward for all his hard work over the game. When given the freedom to push further up the ground, he finds the ball and can get into good spots to be a marking option, with generally strong ball use forward and a great ability to kick start scoring opportunities with his disposal choice.

Q4

As both teams reverted to a safer way of moving and carrying the ball the opportunities for a front and centre specialist dried up very quickly, meaning Motlop wasn’t as lively around the goals but still won a bait of ball around the boundary line inside 50. There were a couple of times he found himself stuck with a close option, but opted to kick to the square or go for goal, but the Swan Districts defenders would intercept and move the ball on. Moved up the ground and got a mark in the defensive 50 as South brought it in from a behind and kicked well to a teammate.

He essentially handed a goal to one of his taller teammates in the final quarter, as he collected a ground ball off one bounce about three meters out from the goal square, standing his ground in a tackle as he spun to face the goals, handballing it off to ensure it was a goal.

Closing thoughts:

It was an impressive debut at League level for Motlop after impressing at Colts and PSA levels through the year. He looked comfortable amongst bigger bodies and didn’t noticeably struggle with the physicality, looking courageous as he ran head first into packs and impacted contests in the forward half of the ground.

He had quite a few flashy moments with his agility and ability to find the right options with his disposal, setting up scoring plays, but his fundamentals of the game and work rate are what ultimately sets him up to be the smart and damaging player he is, forcing turnovers or backwards disposals from the opposition by pressuring them with his closing speed. This game showed a good base for Motlop and suggests plenty of potential to impact at the next level.

Image Credit: South Fremantle/WAFL

2021 VFLW Player Focus: Sarah Skinner

NORTH Melbourne VFLW winger Sarah Skinner has enjoyed a stellar 2021 VFLW campaign, moving up from Tasmania to link with the Roos and put her hand up as a mature-age draft prospect. While her side went down to the Southern Saints on Sunday, Skinner was one of the best players afield with 17 disposals, seven marks, and two of her side’s three goals. We put her performance under the Player Focus microscope.

Q1:
Right from the opening minutes of the game, Skinner sprung into action as she took a mark – the first of many that the Tasmanian young gun produced throughout the game. Following on from her classy mark, Skinner booted a goal for her side to set up what would be a stellar performance. Skinner demonstrated poise as she was involved in a passage of play which saw her get possession of the ball before making her first handball for the quarter. Yet another touch for Skinner, this time through her second mark of the game. A missed opportunity emerged in the remaining minutes of the term, as the young gun attempted to gain possession of the ball was too late as it was deemed out of bounds.

Q2:
The second quarter quickly rolled around and once again, Skinner continued to dazzle. A major highlight included four marks taken in the space of a quarter, all of which were nicely executed under immense pressure. The 21-year-old made a handball over to teammate Alexia Hamilton. She also got a touch of the ball after a Southern Saints player fumbled the ball, leading to her kick made to another teammate Brooke Slaney. Skinner found a slight stumble during the game as she attempted to take a mark but was not able to hold onto it. Another handball was made to Hamilton, an important dynamic shaping up between the two players.

Q3:
The beginning of the second half was a more quiet one for the Tasmanian star. Quarter three saw Skinner get a touch of the ball as she got amongst the action of a game which was starting to intensify. She also was involved in her first tackle for the game and looked comfortable defending the ball.

Q4:
Skinner got back to her best in the final term, putting her athleticism on full display but not before a small mishap with a missed attempt at a mark. Her redeeming move came as a result of her seventh mark of the game, which was made in front of an opponent from the Southern Saints. Skinner’s involvement in a second tackle occurred in the final term. She managed to get another kick in during the quarter which ended up in the hands of an opposition player – something which wasn’t needed for North Melbourne with the scoreline steadily widening. The Tasmanian capped off a brilliant game with another kick to a teammate.

TOTAL STATS: 17 disposals, 2 goals, 2 tackles, 7 marks

SUMMARY: An impressive and overall consistent performance from the North Melbourne star, with just a quiet third quarter in the books lowering her impact. Skinner shone in the marks department as she took seven in her side’s loss. Her performance highlighted her versatility as she shown she was good with disposals, bagged a couple of goals and made a statement getting involved in the action with two tackles. Her performance against the Southern Saints in Round 14 highlights how crucial she is to her side.

2021 VFLW Player Focus: Brooke Vickers

IN our latest Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Player Focus, Draft Central’s Ashleigh Matosevic looks at Port Melbourne’s Brooke Vickers during her debut against North Melbourne on the weekend. Vickers was one of the higher ball-winners for the Borough, amassing 13 disposals in a promising outing at senior level. Taking a quick look at quarter by quarter, we see how she performed stepping up from NAB League Girls level.

Q1:

The first quarter saw a quiet opening for Brooke Vickers. Within the first few minutes of play, Vickers got in possession of the ball and swung into action with a sharp kick. However, the other end of her kick ultimately led to a turnover going the opposition’s way. Vickers remained on target moments later, as she got a hold of the ball with a mark. She capped off the quarter with a quick handball.

Q2:

Vickers presence was a lot stronger in the second quarter. Right from the first bounce, the Port Melbourne player showed focus and poise as she marked the ball, instinctively kicking it. But once again, the ball managed to find its way in the hands of a North Melbourne player. Third time was a charm for Vickers as her kick of the ball found a teammate well. An attempt at tackle was made by Vickers but was not enough to catch her target off guard.

Q3:

Third quarter was another quiet one for the Port Melbourne young gun. Vickers tried to reach out for the ball at one stage but was not able to get to it in time. Another moment for Vickers was her determination to defend. Throughout the quarter, she could be seen running back and forth across the field multiple times.

Q4:

Final quarter saw Vickers involved in more of the game. Her first tackle of the game occurred during the quarter and was a memorable moment of hers. Her focus was clear as she was quick to gain possession of the ball following on from her tackle. Another highlight of Vickers was when she kicked good distance accurately over to a teammate of hers. Possession was a strong suit for Vickers, demonstrated once again by her getting the ball before kicking it one last time in the final minutes of the game.

TOTAL STATS: 13 disposals, 10 kicks, 2 marks, 1 tackle

SUMMARY:

Vickers provided some good moments on her Port Melbourne debut, and whilst she showed more impact in some quarters than others, she was able to compete against senior bodies. Vickers showed promising signs with multiple marks and moments of possession of the ball demonstrated during her match against North Melbourne.

WAFLW Player Focus: Ella Roberts (Peel Thunder)

PEEL Thunder prospect Ella Roberts is already a well known quantity, establishing herself at senior level in the Thunder’s 2020 premiership side, and earning her state’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at this year’s Under 19 National Championships. The 16-year-old is already a good size at 175cm and boasts rare talent, able to excel as a forward target or on-ball with her athleticism and clean hands.

Roberts has again proven a key figure at WAFLW level for Peel in 2021, with her side on the eve of a finals campaign as the second-ranked side. She turned it on early and battled through a knock to claim 25 disposals and a goal in the Thunder’s most recent outing, a loss against Claremont. We put her impressive Round 15 performance under the Player Focus microscope.

POCKET PROFILE

Ella Roberts
Peel Thunder/Western Australia

DOB: 17/12/2004
Height: 175cm
Position: Forward/Midfielder

Source: WAFL

2021 WAFLW, Round 15 | Claremont 6.5 (41) def. Peel Thunder 4.8 (32)

Player Focus: #8 Ella Roberts (Peel Thunder)

Quarter-by-quarter:

Q1:

Starting in the near-permanent forward post she dominated throughout the day, Roberts was in ominous form during the opening quarter. She pressed high up the ground to present as Peel’s centre half-forward, making the best of whatever service she received with wickedly clean hands at ground level and combative intent.

The 16-year-old’s ability to swoop on the ball at speed, especially off the deck, and grab it cleanly was outstanding early on. She tried to manufacture space upon gathering but when opponents were on her hammer, she released quick handballs to keep Peel moving forward via outsider runners.

Her kicking at speed was outstanding, booting numerous passes inside 50 to the advantage of her forwards, who could not quite snaffle up a series of marks. In the air, she judged the ball beautifully and recovered best to be first to the loose pill.

Roberts capped her wonderful individual quarter with a highlight-reel goal, chasing up her own pass inside 50 to mop up off the ground, side-step a defender and blast the ball home from 40m for her side’s opening major.

It was no coincidence that Roberts’ most productive term also saw the Thunder sneak ahead at the first break, though the lead proved only momentary. The youngster finished with 12 disposals (six kicks, six handballs), a bunch of inside 50s and a brilliant goal.

Q2:

While she did not quite hit the heights of the previous quarter as Claremont began to get on top, Roberts still managed to move into all the right spots and compete with a magnificent air of confidence.

One of her best moments came at half-forward, where she sharked the ball from between a couple of less-assured Claremont defenders, before backing her pace and burning towards forward 50.

She was not afforded the same volume of opportunities in the front half, but still looked to link into attack and took her first mark of the day on the 50m arc, proving strong in the air despite heat from two opponents.

Roberts’ second term yielded four disposals (three kicks, one handball), one mark and two inside 50s.

Q3:

It is fair to say that Roberts was in the wars during the third quarter, battling a knock to her wrist in the closing stages.

She sustained it on the leap up to a marking contest on the wing, going down innocuously but looking in quite some pain and going off. Almost comically, she gave away an unlucky last touch free kick, bumped into an opponent, and smothered with the same hand shortly after.

In a show of her toughness, Roberts rose for a nice overhead mark late in the term having introduced that part of her game to the contest earlier on.

While indifferent delivery, heavy pressure and perhaps fatigue hindered Roberts clean handling, she did produce one outstanding passage with a swift gather and precise pass at full tilt, hitting a teammate inside 50.

Roberts finished with three disposals (all kicks), including two marks and two inside 50s, proving she can be productive with limited looks.

Q4:

Roberts battled on to run out the game strongly, even earning a late run through midfield. With the result still up for grabs, she looked to make things happen but was caught for a rare holding the ball free kick against, in the early stages.

Still, she carried great intent until the final siren, with her desperate run-down tackle on a breaking Mhicca Carter showing just that.

From that moment, Roberts became more prominent around the contest as she moved into the on-ball division, trying to use the ball positively and get creative with her movement.

Her lone centre bounce attendance came in the second-last minute, and Roberts rounded out a trying performance by adding six disposals (four kicks, two handballs) and a couple of tackles.

Closing thoughts…

It is crazy to think that Roberts is still a year away from being draft eligible, and that she still has so much development left in her as a December birth. The 16-year-old can produce truly special moments and did so in this match, with her first term feats making for must-watch football. Her one-grab ability bodes well for more midfield time, though she is also so effective as a forward target who can not only crash packs and clunk marks, but be the first to recover the ground ball. From there, her smooth coverage of the ground and unbelievably slick use by foot at full tilt is elite. With so many plaudits already and unbelievable confidence at senior level, Roberts is a class above her peers at the moment as the best prospect in next year’s draft pool.

NAB League Player Focus: Sam Butler (GWV Rebels)

GREATER Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels prospect Sam Butler is one of the most promising players out of the country region in 2021, and has a name familiar to most as the brother of St Kilda forward, Dan. The 18-year-old has a similar burst of speed and goal sense, but has recently gained greater exposure in the midfield where his ground level game has shone.

Most recently, Butler starred in the Rebels’ comprehensive 79-point victory over Gippsland Power at Mars Stadium, spending a half up forward before being thrust into the centre bounce mix. He ended up with 27 disposals, six marks, seven tackles, and two goals to come under our NAB League Player Focus microscope for Round 8.

Sam Butler
GWV Rebels/Vic Country

DOB: 10/02/2003
Height/Weight: 184cm/73kg
Position: Midfielder/Forward

2021 Averages:
NAB League (6 games)

19.3 disposals | 9.8 kicks | 9.5 handballs | 4.2 marks | 5.5 tackles | 2.8 inside 50s | 1.0 rebound 50s | 1.0 goals (6 total)

2021 NAB League, Round 8 | GWV Rebels 16.20 (116) def. Gippsland Power 6.1 (37)

Player Focus: #1 Sam Butler (GWV Rebels)

Stats: 27 disposals (11 kicks, 16 handballs), 6 marks, 7 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 2 goals

Quarter-by-quarter:

Q1:

After his recent midfield initiation, Butler started the game back in his equally familiar forward post as the GWV coaches shuffled their magnets.

He served a reminder of his potent forward craft, able to snare two goals with sound finishing inside 50. The first saw him nip in front of the leading Josh Rentsch to mark overhead, before converting a 35m set shot with aplomb. The second was in open play, as Butler picked up the bobbling ground ball on the outside of a forward 50 stoppage and quickly snapped it home as he was spun in a tackle.

Outside of his scoreboard impact, Butler worked hard off the line to impact the opening centre bounce and get his hands on the ball early, looking clean at ground level with his ability to swoop on loose balls at speed and flick out effective handballs.

He also laid a couple of strong tackles, chasing and locking up opponents, to cap off a productive term which yielded six disposals (two kicks, four handballs), two tackles and two goals.

Q2:

Continuing in his forward role, Butler began to find even more space as he pushed up the ground before helping to link GWV inside attacking 50.

His first act was a well-judged overhead mark from a long Gippsland kick-in, locking the play in his side’s front half. He showed strong hands and judgement once again with a mark on the wing, before working forward to mark uncontested inside 50.

As Butler looked to stamp his mark on the game, he fell short on a couple of occasions. His mark just inside the 50m arc saw him go back and take a set shot, which fell short, while a running foray saw him caught holding the ball as he streamed towards goal, looking to take on the defender with a second bounce.

Ultimately, Butler ended up with a similar output in terms of numbers, managing six disposals (three kicks, three handballs) and four marks as he found space further afield, suiting the high half-forward role.

Q3:

Butler’s return to the midfield came in term three as he was rotated on-ball after around five minutes.

While it took him a little time to warm to his engine room operations, Butler got involved with some sharp touches on both sides of the contest. He darted a beautiful inboard kick to Marcus Herbert at centre half-forward, and looked typically assured at ground level with his clean use by hand.

He was a touch less productive with his disposals as Gippsland did well to pressure the ball carrier, with a lot of his handballs to the first option and sometimes transferring said pressure. Still, Butler added another six disposals (two kicks, four handballs) and a mark as he adjusted to the midfield move.

Q4:

The fourth quarter was Butler’s best in terms of numbers and right up there with the opening term for impact – just in a different department.

He started with great intent, earning a holding the ball free kick at the first centre bounce by hunting the ball carrier and catching him unawares. From there, a lot of Butler’s work was done around the stoppages with continually sharp gathers at ground level. He showed an innate ability to keep his arms up and disposal of the ball in tackles, while also using his burst of speed to bustle to the outside.

He added a bit of run on the outer via a one-two play with Fraser Marris, and capped off a really solid outing with nine disposals (three kicks, six handballs) from midfield.

Closing thoughts…

Butler again showed just why he is one of GWV’s most promising prospects in 2021, hitting the scoreboard when stationed up forward before proving sharp at the contest through midfield. Having boosted his running capacity, the 18-year-old has been able to more consistently showcase his key strengths, in that burst of speed and wickedly clean hands. He can impact at ground level and in the air, while also providing solid tackling pressure and the added bonus of goal threat. Going forward, Butler could perhaps back his pace more when coming away from the contest, taking more time to get free himself and taking more meterage before disposing of the ball. His first-option policy is working pretty well at the moment, though.

Image Credit: Jonathan Di Maggio/AFL Photos

SANFL Under 18s Player Focus: Cooper Murley (Norwood)

NORWOOD midfielder and AFL Academy member Cooper Murley has had an interrupted start to his 2021 football season. Having played two games in the SANFL Reserves, an ankle injury kept him out of action for one and a half months, resulting in him missing the AFL Academy game against Geelong VFL in April. 

After returning through the Reserves in Rounds 8 and 9, Murley was brought in to the Norwood Under 18’s side in Round 10 for its clash against South Adelaide. The contest was close but ended with the Redlegs going down by nine points to the Panthers. Murley was prolific in his first Under 18’s game for the season, with a team-high 34 disposals and seven clearances, to draw attention for this week’s SANFL U18’s Player Focus.

Cooper Murley
Norwood/ South Australia

DOB: 20/06/2003
Height/Weight: 178cm/70kg
Position: Midfielder/Small Forward

2021 Averages:

SANFL Reserves: 4 games | 12 disposals | 7.8 kicks | 4.3 handballs | 3 marks | 2.8 tackles | 0.8 clearances | 2.3 inside 50s | 0.8 rebound 50s | 0.8 goals (3 total)

2021 SANFL U18s, Round 10 | Norwood 10.10 (70) def by. South Adelaide 11.13 (79)
#1 Cooper Murley (Norwood)

Stats: 34 disposals (22 kicks, 12 handballs), 5 marks, 3 tackles, 7 clearances, 8 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 2 goals, 1 behind

Q1: 

To start off his 2021 Under 18s campaign, Murley wasn’t overly involved early. He was put into the forward line initially, unable to impact much outside of drawing a player at an early inside 50 stoppage. It wouldn’t be until the 10-minute mark of the first quarter that Murley would come alive. Once moved into the midfield, he looked lively around stoppages, positioning himself well to be a handball receiver from whoever gathered first possession. His first clearance would come not long after his move into the guts, having it palmed down straight to him around the defensive 50 mark, handballing back and then getting it again closer to the boundary line, unable to hit his intended target by foot in the middle of the ground. 

He worked hard to assist in defence when it was down there, earning himself a free kick at one stage and initiating a promising bit of play with his switch kick. From there, Murley’s work was done exclusively at ground level, able to pick the ball up cleanly, even when under direct pressure, and fire off precise handballs to teammates. His approach to ground balls was near perfect in the first quarter, positioning his body well to protect himself and keep his arms free from contact, then getting the handballs away quickly as he stood up, rather than standing up then handballing. 

It was a strong start to his Under 18’s return, looking a class above when he had the ball and in contests, able to beat bigger opponents at ground level almost exclusively with how he positioned his body when picking the ball up.

Q2:

Murley once again started the quarter in the forwardline but looked to push up straight away, in a high half-forward sort of role. This got him pushing up the ground deeply and more involved in transition from the defensive half for Norwood, where he was the target of a lot of kicks early on. In those situations, he utilised his speed to run onto the ball, even taking a mark running with the flight. He showcased his clean hands below his knees a few times, with the most impressive being a clean pickup off the ground as soon as the ball hit it, so much so it could’ve been paid a mark. To follow that up he handballed to a teammate, then worked hard to u-turn and get in front of the running pack of players, getting a handball over the top and having a shot on goal from 50 out, which was touched just before the line. 

Two things were really obvious in the second quarter in regards to Murley; number one was how good his repeat efforts are, having a couple of marks spoiled or just not being able to hold them, but following up superbly at ground level to win the footy and shoot off a quick handball to a teammate. Number two was how dangerous he was when given even the slightest bit of space to work with, taking the advantage from a couple of free kicks for teammates, where he’d burst away, take a bounce and deliver well forward, with a moment like this leading to his second goal of the quarter right before the siren. 

His first goal was a great showing off his work rate and danger in transition, where a teammate put the ball in front of him, he ran onto it and picked up cleanly, then delivered a pinpoint kick to a teammate inside 50, ran hard to get the handball receive and snapped it through. 

Overall it was definitely a higher production quarter from Murley as he got more involved. As he did so, it got him more attention from opposition as he was being stuck to like glue around stoppages towards the end of the quarter, and given a bit of rough treatment in tackles, which he handled well. His use by foot improved from the first quarter which made Norwood more dangerous in transition.

Q3:

A quieter quarter than the last for Murley, though he still chimed in with moments of class when he was given the space and used by teammates, with his kicking taking yet another step up to hit essentially every target, or be put to their advantage, perfectly.

Murley’s hands were extra sticky in the third, holding onto a few handball receives he got at pace, before quickly composing himself to deliver a kick forward. His first real involvement played out exactly like this, with the kick and inside 50 that should’ve been marked, but wasn’t. He took a mark a little later at the back-end of the centre square, quickly wheeling onto his right side and kicking it a good 50 meters to go out the back of a pack for Norwood’s quick smalls to run onto. Later on in the quarter, he took an impressive contested grab on the far wing, not breaking stride to play on and deliver it well to a teammate at the top of the 50. 

It was more of the same brilliance for Murley overall, with his one-grab pickups below his knees continually impressive and his vision excellent to hit targets most others wouldn’t even attempt.

Q4:

Started the quarter in the midfield for the first time all game as the Redlegs needed to find a way to put the game to rest. He was in and under from the get go, getting first hands to the ball from the ruck tap and being wrapped up straight away. Unfortunately he had to spend some time on the bench as early on he copped a corkie after being ran into on the boundary line, coming on about five minutes later. 

Murley didn’t let the injury stop him throwing himself into contests and getting involved, earning a free kick in the defensive half for a good tackle and looking to spread it out wide. He took a mark later on in the quarter and sent it deep inside 50 for a teammate to mark, but unfortunately miss the resultant shot on the goal. 

It’s no surprise that Norwood started to struggle when Murley had to go off to deal with the corkie, highlighting his importance to their play in what was the worst time to see it.

Final thoughts…

There’s no doubting Murley’s quality as a player and it’s clear to see why he’s part of the AFL Academy for 2021. Despite being smaller in stature he wasn’t phased when in contests with bigger bodies, using his smarts to gain the advantages he could and win most contests reliably. At ground level there was no one better, Murley never fumbled and his hands were too quick for opponents to react to in close. Balancing himself as a midfielder is a real strength of Murley’s as well, working hard on the inside and outside to fill the roles well, and that versatility is an asset to any team he ends up a part of in future. Whilst his kicking and marking were more often good than not, they’re two areas from this game he could look to sharpen up on.

Image Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

SANFLW Player Focus: Brooke Tonon (Glenelg)

GLENELG took out the 2021 SANFL Women’s premiership on Saturday afternoon, bossing the game to come away 5.10 (40) to 2.5 (17) victors over West Adelaide. An even team spread helped the Bays claim ultimate glory, with a mix of experience and youth observed across the squad. 17-year-old Brooke Tonon was among the younger prospects to play a part, setting up well in the back half and even enjoying an early tussle with fellow state Under 19 representative, Zoe Venning.

Tonon is the prospect placed under our SANFLW Player Focus microscope this week; we run you through her game quarter-by-quarter, and bring you the key stats out of her Grand Final showing.

 

Brooke Tonon
Glenelg/South Australia

DOB: 19/09/2003
Height: 166cm
Position: Half-Back/Wing

2021 SANFLW Averages:

11 games | 14.7 disposals | 11.2 kicks | 3.5 handballs | 2.5 marks | 3.1 tackles | 1.0 clearances | 0.8 inside 50s | 2.5 rebound 50s

Image Credit: SANFL

2021 SANFLW Grand Final | Glenelg 5.10 (40) def. West Adelaide 2.5 (17)

#7 Brooke Tonon (Glenelg), Half-Back

Stats: 14 disposals (10 kicks, 4 handballs), 2 marks, 2 tackles, 2 clearances, 2 rebound 50s

Quarter-by-quarter:

Q1:

Starting in defence, Tonon was given an early taste of the Grand Final intensity when she dived on a ground ball and was sieged upon, conceding a holding the ball free kick. Her state Under 19s teammate Zoe Venning earned the possession for Westies, and proved a testing matchup in the first half.

Tonon got her own game going shortly after, backing her pace on the wing to burn an opponent and kick long down the line. She was also clean off the deck to flick a handball up to a runner inside defensive 50, showing she can play both sides of the contest.

The 17-year-old often lurked around for handball receives and knew when to run off her opponent, but was forced to kick under pressure and overcooked some of her disposals. Still, she matched Glenelg’s aggressive forward run and looked to take the game on that way, finishing the term with three kicks and one handball.

Q2:

Term two was somewhat of an ‘almost’ term for Tonon, who was done in by dodgy bounces of the ball and heavy pressure from Westies. She remained involved in the play, able to get her hands on the ball in congestion despite being wrapped up or knocked off it quickly as the intensity lifted.

She rose to the level as the quarter wore on, laying a hard joint tackle on Venning, before preventing a West Adelaide shot on goal by applying good body to the kicker. She also forced a ball out of bounds on the wing and did the tough stuff, but was not able to provide her usual drive on the outer – finishing with one kick and one handball.

Q3:

After being crunched in the opening exchanges of term three, Tonon bounced back well and got her usual game back up-and-running. She positioned a little deeper in defence and cut off a long kick inside defensive 50 as Westies broke quickly, holding the relieving mark.

She invited pressure with the resultant kick, but was sure to tighten that area of her game with a couple of better efforts via the kick-ins, sending one long outside 50 and the other short to an easy target.

Tonon’s speed came to the fore with her last two touches; the first was a handball receive at the front of a defensive 50 stoppage, which she used to power away and kick long, while the second was a clean gather in the corridor before dishing off a quick handball all in one motion. The latter contest was a particularly key ball to be won, with Tonon’s reading of the play helping Glenelg maintain possession and territory. She finished a productive quarter with four kicks and one handball.

Q4:

While Glenelg was not made to absorb as much pressure in the second half, Tonon finished solidly and setup shrewdly behind the ball. She attacked the contest well when called upon, taking a full-chested intercept mark on the wing, before kicking quickly over the top.

Her last kick for the day came from a last touch turnover at half-back, which she used to boot long down the line to a contest. Tonon’s last touch overall was a handball in the defensive 50, mopping up over the back with poise and dishing off quickly to set the Bays on the rebound.

There was not too much to be done in the end as the clock ran down, but Tonon capped her day positively and played her role superbly. She managed two kicks and one handball in the final term.

In closing…

Tonon has shown plenty of development in 2021 to become one of South Australia’s most promising Under 19 prospects, performing well at each level and in a variety of roles. Having cut her teeth on the wing, the 17-year-old has also been able to impact in defence with a good balance of line-breaking run on the rebound and defensive acts when required. She was able to open up the hotly contested Grand Final at times but did not shy away from the tough stuff, which should prove another handy tick for her versatility. Her positioning behind the ball as a sweeper and reading of the flow of play saw her win the ball in a variety of ways, able to intercept or be released on the outer.

2021 SANFL Under 18 Player Focus: Hugh Jackson (North Adelaide)

NORTH Adelaide midfielder Hugh Jackson is one garnering attention with his eye-catching stat lines and prolific ball winning ability. He has enjoyed a sensational start to the SANFL Under 18s season, averaging 35 disposals and six clearances per his nine games with great consistency in his output. The Rostrevor College graduate is fully focussed on his football in 2021, working hard on his contested game and becoming a more complete midfield package.

His Roosters came up against Sturt for a second week running in the junior grade, trumping the Double Blues to the tune of 38 points at Unley Oval. Jackson was again instrumental in the victory, gathering 41 disposals and 12 clearances to become the prospect placed under our SANFL Under 18s Player Focus microscope this week. We run you through his game quarter-by-quarter, and bring you the key stats out of his Round 9 showing.

Hugh Jackson
North Adelaide/South Australia

DOB: 3/05/2003
Height/Weight: 181cm/70kg
Position: Midfielder

2021 Averages:

Under 18s: 9 games | 34.7 disposals | 19.1 kicks | 15.6 handballs | 7.4 marks | 3.6 tackles | 5.6 clearances | 6.0 inside 50s | 3.3 rebound 50s | 0.2 goals (2 total)

2021 SANFL Under 18s, Round 9 | North Adelaide 14.12 (96) def. Sturt 8.10 (58)

#12 Hugh Jackson (North Adelaide)

Stats: 41 disposals (30 kicks, 11 handballs), 5 marks, 3 tackles, 12 clearances, 11 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s

Quarter-by-quarter:

Q1:

Jackson made a red-hot start for the Roosters, taking up his usual spot at the centre bounces and proving the go-to rover. He won the first centre clearance of the game and was able to win a couple more in the opening minutes by staying on the move and pushing off his opponent smartly.

He tended to wheel quickly onto his left side once in possession, pumping his legs to get into space before delivering a long kick forward. Once a couple of his initial inside 50 forays failed to hit targets, Jackson fed a lateral handball out of the next centre bounce in a handy adjustment.

The prolific ball winner was rotated off at around the nine-minute mark, earning a short rest before again being sighted about three minutes later. He showed clean hands to pick up off the deck at speed and flick out handballs, but his repeated attempts to burst through tackles saw some of his disposals scuppered under pressure.

Overall, it was a productive period in terms of ball winning, where Jackson was able to break into double digits for disposals and drive North forward with ball in hand.

Q2:

The second term was a touch quieter by Jackson’s standards, despite again winning a good amount of ball. He saw repeat possessions in a few early passages but did much of his work under pressure, sending kicks straight up in the air, along the ground or with an awkward spin around the body.

Jackson still managed to latch onto the ball at stoppages and work into space on occasion, but even then his decision making and execution by foot let him down. His go-to was often a long kick down the line, but they would often be thrust to contests or outnumbers on the wing with no direct target in mind.

He found himself being tackled a lot more and attracted a couple of free kicks, using one to deliver inside 50 but seeing the pass dropped by his leading teammate. While able to register eight kicks for the quarter, Jackson’s impact came mostly at the contest with little damage coming away from it.

Q3:

Jackson lifted once again in the third term, working his way around the outside of stoppages and finding a touch more room to operate. Instead of being caught as he did in the previous period, the North midfielder looked to dispose of the ball quickly and that led to some rushed execution under pressure.

He had a nice moment where he prized the ball out of a pack on the wing, got moving quickly into space and delivered a neat ball inside 50, only for it to again be fumbled by a teammate. That lowering of the eyes is something Jackson can do to further hurt the opposition, with his contested game another clear area for improvement.

Having again cracked into double digits for disposals throughout the term, Jackson was in the thick of things but continued to turn the ball over under Sturt’s pressure around the ball. His output was there, but the end product was not.

Q4:

Jackson looked to finish strong with some added defensive acts, though his light frame made for tough work when looking to stick tackles. He also continued to accumulate a touch more away from the stoppages, dropping back to help transition out of defence and trying to drive forward on the outer.

His disposal by foot remained a touch off from those positions, but Jackson proved much neater when going inside forward 50 and provided some handy score assists. He hit Isaac Keeler and Adam Heath with short passes going inside 50, just putting enough on them for the key forwards to mark low before hitting the scoreboard.

It was a solid finish to the game for Jackson, as he again racked up possessions and did so with different methods. He was eventually able to sure up his disposal and ensure his work going forward resulted in North boosting their score.

Final thoughts…

There is no doubting Jackson’s ability to find the ball. He is prolific in that area and it isn’t a bad key strength to have, especially when the numbers look so good after nine rounds of Under 18 football. As a small midfielder, Jackson does not quite have the agility or strength to consistently burst through traffic, though it seems he is actively trying to boost his contested game. He works well on the outside of stoppages and gets his legs pumping to find space before sending long kicks forward. His neat-looking disposal could do with some sharpening, and being able to inflict more damage with his wealth of possessions will prove a big step in his development.

Image Credit: Naomi Jellicoe/The Advertiser

QAFLW Player Focus: Maggie Harmer and Bella Smith (Maroochydore/Brisbane Lions Academy)

DESPITE a loss in their Round 13 QAFLW fixture against the undefeated Bond University, AFLW Academy and Brisbane Lions Academy members, Maggie Harmer and Bella Smith, put in strong performances to further solidify their placing as two of the most promising Queensland prospects for the upcoming AFLW Draft. Having both impressed in the recent U19 AFLW Championship fixture against Vic Country, Harmer as a defender and Smith more through the midfield, Brisbane fans will be more than happy to see the two of them make the step up.

>> MIKAYLA PAUGA PLAYER FOCUS

PLAYER PROFILE:

MAGGIE HARMER | MAROOCHYDORE
12/04/2003 | DEFENDER

Making a name for herself as a reliable defender, who plays well above her 170cm height against taller opponents, Harmer is perhaps most well known for her aerial work and clean ball use out of the defensive 50. In the recent Under 19s AFLW National Championships match against Vic Country, she took five marks in the defensive half on her way to getting named in the best, being trusted with kick ins duty for majority of the game.

BELLA SMITH | MAROOCHYDORE
5/10/2003 | UTILITY

Able to fill a role in all thirds of the ground, Smith credits her strength as one of her best traits, but also shows great speed and ball winning ability. It is clear to see why she is able to impact in all areas of the ground. Racking up 14 disposals in the recent U19 AFLW National Championships match against Vic Country, Smith was one of the better users of the ball, often looking to switch play, highlighting her footy smarts.

 

Q1:

Harmer

Stationed in her usual role in the defensive 50, Harmer was involved early on as she spoiled a few marks around the 50-metre mark, not being afraid of running off her opponent to create an outnumber. Harmer’s ball use was often strong, generally handballing to a runner from behind rather than kicking to 50/50 options.

Harmer finished the quarter with 3 Kicks, 3 Handballs and 1 Mark in a very respectable first term where she had some crucial moments with her ball use out of the defensive 50 and work rate to create contests.

Smith

Starting the quarter in the defensive half as a player that pressured opponents well and forced some turnovers for teammates to take advantage of, whilst Smith was good in defensive 50, it was when she got her rotation into the midfield where she thrived, often in the best spot to win clearances and making herself an option as a switch kick to open up the game going forward.

Coming out of the first term with 3 Kicks, 2 Handballs, 1 Mark and 1 Centre Clearance Smith was more involved than her stats suggest, applying pressure and keeping her opponent accountable as a midfielder.

 

Q2:

Harmer

Again in the backline with Maroochydore under a little bit more pressure than the previous quarter, Harmer took majority of the kick ins, where she would run out and kick the ball past the front of the centre square, even taking a bounce at one stage in a remarkable show of confidence. She gave away a harsh free kick for in the back early in the quarter.

Collected 3 Kicks, 1 Handball, 1 Tackle, 1 FA in the second quarter, continuing to create outnumbers in the defensive 50 to stop Bond University scoring as much as they could have.

Smith

Got involved in the same ways off the ball she did in the first quarter, applying pressure on opponents with the ball to force them to rush disposals and not hit targets. Despite not landing a couple of tackles she never let it get her confidence down, working continually hard and eventually getting rewarded later in the quarter, catching an opponent for holding the ball.

Finished the quarter with 2 Kicks, 3 Tackles and 1 FF she wasn’t quite as prolific in collecting the ball in the second, but looked even more dangerous in the second with her tackling and pressure work.

Bella Smith running away from her opponent.

Q3:

Harmer

Harmer moved up to be the sole kick-in player for Maroochydore, doing the same work as in the second quarter with her running out of the square and looking to get the ball far up the ground. She did the same audacious bounce as the previous quarter, but unfortunately got caught by an opponent when it slipped past her, doing well not to concede a free kick.

Getting 3 Kicks, 1 Handball and 1 Mark, for the quarter, with her four disposals all being effective ones and fairly damaging, and seemingly learning from her mistake with the bounce, she adjusted and did not attempt it again.

Smith

A move into a midfield and forward line split rather than the backline paid dividends for Smith in the third, winning more of the ball and being a driving force in getting Maroochydore forward with her ball use and ability to get around opponents. Seemingly gained more confidence around stoppages the longer she spent in the midfield.

Ending the quarter with 4 Kicks, 1 Handball, 1 Mark, 1 Centre Clearance and 1 Clearance, Smith saw a good return stats wise for her extended time in the midfield, without seeing a drop in her pressure work either

Q4:

Harmer

With the game coming to a close and Bond University looking increasingly likely to win, Harmer never dropped her effort, seeing her end as one of the more vital players for Maroochydore, with her ball use getting better and better as the game went on. With just the one blemish for the quarter being another harsh in the back call.

4 Kicks, 2 Handballs, 1 Mark and 1 Free Against, was the return for Harmer in the final quarter, which was arguably her best performance across the game, linking up well with teammates to keep Bond from scoring as much as they could have.

Smith

Looking increasingly more confident on the inside of the contest and around stoppages, especially in the forward half, with her pinpoint handballing leading to inside 50s and scoring opportunities.

The final quarter return for Smith was 1 Kick, 3 Handballs and 1 Clearance, with most of her work done in the forward half, she still applied that pressure she had shown through the whole game.

Maggie Harmer looking to make a lead at half-back.

SUMMARY:

Harmer: 20 Disposals, 12 Kicks, 8 Handballs, 3 Marks, 2 FA

Getting a high return for a defender, especially one that often played deep, Harmer put in a good performance despite the loss, and her kicks from opposition behinds were often put into good spots to result in inside 50s, with Bond’s team setting up well behind the play to stop that eventuating. Although only holding three marks, she flew for everything that was in her area, showing that with some assistance on her marking technique she’ll be an even bigger aerial threat.

 

Smith: 16 Disposals, 10 Kicks, 6 Handballs, 2 Marks, 3 Tackles, 1 FF, 2 Centre Clearances, 2 Clearances

Being thrown about in all thirds of the ground, Smith was able to maintain a consistent level of pressure, whilst chiming in with quality disposals when she got it. Her strength and speed around stoppages was a big advantage over her opponents, unable to be matched for speed when she locked on to a loose ball. With those strengths, her game is sure to translate well to the next level.

SANFLW Player Focus: Zoe Venning (West Adelaide)

LEADING the game for disposals, West Adelaide young gun Zoe Venning played a major role in her sides win against Norwood in the recent SANFLW Preliminary Final, where the Wests’ secured their maiden Grand Final berth against Glenelg, who are also appearing on the big stage for the first time. An Under 19s South Australian representative at the recent AFLW National Championships, Venning was a major ball winner, particularly strong around stoppages and on the inside, where her toughness and speed were major weapons, she carried on that style into the game. 

ZOE VENNING | WEST ADELAIDE
4/11/2003 | MIDFIELDER/FORWARD

PLAYER PROFILE:

Arguably one the top South Australian draft prospects for the upcoming 2021 AFLW Draft, Venning is possibly best known for her toughness around the contest and elite endurance, allowing her to run out games without needing an extended break on the bench. She is comfortable either up forward or through the midfield, positioning well to get in front of opponents and create separation, which is particularly handy for her leading and clearance work. Venning is often balanced with her disposal, rarely blazing away and just kicking without assessing her options, where she looks for outside runners to handball to. 

PRELIMINARY FINAL SANFLW v NORWOOD

Q1:

Starting the game in her usual spot at half forward, Venning was involved early, pushing up the ground to be a link up option from the defensive half for West Adelaide, able to get separation a few times and take the marks uncontested and on the chest. The Norwood defence did well to create packs down the line, limiting the effectiveness of her kicks when she did not move the ball quickly. She hung around her ruck when she got a mark or free and attempted to get the handball receive and utilise her kick. She set up Wests first goal, getting the ball from a teammate just inside 50, then kicking into the hot spot about 35 meters in front of goal for a teammate to mark.

With the first term getting her a return of 6 kicks, 2 marks, 1 tackle and 1 free for, she was involved a fair bit and one of the main drivers heading into the forward 50. When she was in the midfield she had the opportunity to win a few clearances but had an opponent tight on her at all stoppages, making it difficult to get separation.

Q2:

With the heightened pressure, in the second term, it was hard for forwards to get clear leads or marks, meaning Venning found it harder to get involved early on playing the link up role. When the ball went in deeper forward 50 she looked dangerous, putting her head over the footy and getting the free kick for a high tackle, taking a shot on goal that was accurate but unfortunately dropped short. She was once again involved around stoppages and got first possession a couple of times, but the Norwood midfield were not giving an inch and were right onto her as soon as she did. Got a free kick for a holding the ball tackle later in the quarter, kicking deep to a contest.

Racked up 5 kicks, 1 handball, 1 tackle and 2 frees for in what was a good quarter overall, playing more midfield than she did in the first and making the most of that opportunity, unfortunately not getting clearances she probably deserves given her positioning work around stoppages, just unable to get through the other side at times.

Q3:

A good display as a balanced type of midfielder for Venning in the third quarter, she played her role really well in the midfield, positioning behind the ball to take an uncontested chest mark early on, and looking to use her kick to get Wests moving quickly. Looking to balance her disposal more she was not so quick to just bomb the ball long, rather assessing if there was a handball option first and then making the decision quickly.

Finishing the quarter with 4 kicks, 2 handballs, 1 mark and 1 free for she was again consistently involved and one of the more noticeable ball winners for the quarter. Again being rewarded for her courage with her head over the ball and drawing the free.

Q4:

A more quiet final term than her first three did not mean Venning had a lesser impact, almost more involved around the play with her pressure work and one-percenters, just unable to convert that into stats. Received a free kick when she was held without the ball in the centre of the ground, with a long kick inside 50 for a teammate to run onto and kick the final goal of the game.

The final quarter saw a return of 1 kick, 2 handballs, 1 free for and 1 clearance as Wests came home strong, securing the win and their maiden Grand Final berth within the SANFLW.

SUMMARY:

21 Disposals, 16 Kicks, 5 Handballs, 3 marks, 2 tackles, 1 clearance, 5 frees for
(Note: Discrepancies from official stats may come down to different interpretation or events happening off screen)

Splitting her time about 50/50 in the forward line and midfield, it was impressive how Venning was able to impact to a high standard in both positions, with her pressure work and run particularly impressive. She was not afraid to go in for the contested footy, and the willingness to go in and put herself on the line resulted in her drawing some free kicks she otherwise would not have gotten. With the likes of Richmond listed Sarah Dargan and recently crowned SANFLW League Best and Fairest Lauren Young, in the side, to come out of the game as the leading ball winner for her side is an impressive result and will certainly catch the eyes of recruiters, not just in SA.