Tag: riley thilthorpe

Out to impress: SANFL Round 13 Preview

THE penultimate round of South Australian National Football League (SANFL) action is upon us, with a couple intriguing matches coming given the way the respective ladders are currently set up. As we roll into Round 13, Draft Central continues its new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game.

West Adelaide draft hopeful Bailey Chamberlain is in contention to make his SANFL League debut after being named on the extended bench for the Bloods’ Friday night encounter with Woodville-West Torrens. The Roxby Downs product has produced a highly consistent and productive season, rising up from the under-18s and performing well in the reserves over the past few rounds. Unfortunately, exciting tall Riley Thilthorpe will miss another match with a groin injury.

The top-of-the-table Eagles could call upon physical midfielder Ben Jungfer, who has impressed whilst spending the year at reserves level. Skilful utility Caleb Poulter has once again been named in the reserves to face a Bloods side which features strong marking defender Jye Sinderberry. Power father-son prospect Taj Schofield and tough onballer Harrison Dawkins have also been elevated to the Eagles seconds.

In the under-18s, talented bottom-ager Cade Kennedy has been named in the centre for the Bloods, with Luke Young named at centre half forward and Edward Van den berg in the back pocket. Talls Henry Smith and Zac Phillips will once again be looking to control the airways for the Eagles, with consistent midfielders Max Lister and Jase Burgoyne lurking at ground level.

Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect James Borlase will return to the Double Blues league side after he missed their round 12 clash due to school football commitments with Prince Alfred College. Named on the extended bench, he will provide a key position option down back against a talented North Adelaide forward line. Tom Emmett will run out with Sturt’s reserves at Peter Motley Oval and midfield trio Will SpainTom Powell and Mani Liddy will front up again for the clubs under-18s at Prospect Oval.

North Adelaide have added 19-year-old Karl Finlay to the selected squad after he spent a week with the reserves. The Roosters under-18s appear to be peaking at the right time of the season, but will face a Sturt side which has been the competition’s pace-setter all season. Forwards Leo Coates and Zyton Santillo have provided excellent service in attack and 16-year-old ruckman Isaac Keeler has provided good service to midfielders Matthew BorgJames Willis and Kyle Brazell. The Roosters have been well led by Adelaide Academy trio Lam Simon, Blayne O’Loughlin and Tariek Newchurch and boast a formidable line-up.

South Adelaide young gun Jason Horne and Victorian import Daly Andrews have been named on the extended bench for the Panthers home clash against the Redlegs. Mature-aged key defender Tom Highmore will play a key role down back in the seniors, while fellow draft hopefuls Zac Dumesny and Phoenix Spicer line-up in the reserves.

South Adelaide’s under-18s have named a strong side for their important meeting with Norwood. Brayden Cook has been named on the wing, with Max Clifton set to lead the onball rotation. Nick Kraemer will start at centre half forward, flanked by Liam Hamilton and Liam Nye. Strong-bodied defender Harry Spacie and midfielders Jayden Magor and Matthew Roberts will also return to bolster the under-18s.

Midfielder Jack Saunders is a chance to make his league debut with Norwood after performing well at reserves level. If he survives the final cut, he will join fellow junior Daniel Fairbrother in the side. Both have worked their way up the ranks off the back of consistent performances throughout 2020.

The Redlegs under-18s, like their southern opponents, have named a strong lineup for the Saturday morning clash. The skilful Michael Cavallaro will form a damaging onball rotation with bottom-aged star Cooper Murley and ball magnet Henry Nelligan. Tall utility Ned Cary could provide a focal point in attack, in tandem with leading target Finn Heard.

The Edwards brothers, Luke and Jackson, will front up for the Tigers reserves when they face Lachlan Grubb and the Bulldogs reserves. Glenelg’s under-18s have been bolstered by the return of several college footballers. Talented trio Xavier Robbins, Henry McAuliffe and Cooper Beecken will be looking to help Glenelg record their sixth victory of the season, after leading Sacred Heart to victory over arch-rivals Rostrevor last weekend.

Midfielder Austin McDonald and Northern Territory import Brodie Lake will be looking to help Central Districts to another victory in what has been a challenging season.

FIXTURES

League:

West Adelaide vs. Woodville-West Torrens | Friday September 18, 7:20pm @ Hisense Stadium
Sturt vs. North Adelaide | Saturday September 19, 2:10pm @ Peter Motley Oval
South Adelaide vs. Norwood | Saturday September 19, 2:10pm @ Flinders University Stadium
Glenelg vs. Central Districts | Saturday September 19, 4:10pm @ ACH Group Stadium

Reserves:

West Adelaide vs. Woodville-West Torrens | Friday September 18, 4:50pm @ Hisense Stadium
South Adelaide vs. Norwood | Saturday September 19, 11:05am @ Flinders University Stadium
Sturt vs. North Adelaide | Saturday September 19, 11:30am @ Peter Motley Oval
Glenelg vs. Central Districts | Saturday September 19, 1:30pm @ ACH Group Stadium

Under-18s:

Norwood vs. South Adelaide | Saturday September 19, 11:00am @ Coopers Stadium
North Adelaide vs. Sturt | Saturday September 19, 11:00am @ Prospect Oval
Central Districts vs. Glenelg | Saturday September 19, 1:25pm @ Prospect Oval
Woodville-West Torrens vs. West Adelaide | Saturday September 19, 1:25pm @ Coopers Stadium

Young gun focus: 2020 SANFL Round 12 wrap

WITH young guns impressing at state league level around the nation, we again narrow our focus for this week’s South Australian National Football League (SANFL) wrap to the performances of youth throughout all three grades. There is plenty to unpack in our third altered edition, with Under 18 prospects scattered across the two senior competitions, and a bunch of youngsters impressing in the junior grade in Round 12.

>> SCROLL for full results 

Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) is again the talk of SANFL town, after drubbing reigning League premier, Glenelg by 78 points to put one hand on the minor premiership. 19-year-old Lachlan McNeil was again terrific among a raft of key Eagles ball winners, collecting 24 disposals in the win. Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) candidate Lachlan Jones contributed to the defensive effort seeing the Bays held to just four majors, and he even added a huge specky to his highlight reel. Fellow defender Rhyan Mansell managed 14 touches, but comes under an injury cloud at the unideal time with his Achilles complaint. Glenelg’s Luke Parks (13 disposals, six marks) and Callum Park (14 disposals, nine rebound 50s) were both kept busy down back in the heavy defeat.

2020 AFL Draft hopefuls Luke Edwards (Glenelg) and Caleb Poulter (WWT) battled it out in the Reserves, as the Eagles again came away comfortable winners. Fellow Under 18s Cooper Horsnell and Ty Murphy have also enjoyed two’s berths for the Bays, along with Victorian mainstay Mitch Martin and 18-year-old Brady Searle up forward. WWT midfielder Harrison Dawkins was also named for a well-earned promotion. While the Eagles have already secured finals qualification across both senior levels, Glenelg’s youngsters like Edwards, Horsnell, and Murphy could spill back into the Under 18s side should the Tigers sneak into the top four there.

Speaking of the Under 18s, the Eagles pulled off a hat-trick of victories over their yellow and black counterparts, securing a thumping 93-point win on Saturday. Port fans will be buoyed to see father-son prospects Jase Burgoyne (2021-eligible) and Taj Schofield (2020) lead the ball winning stakes with over 30 disposals each, as both also hit the scoreboard in their midfield rotation. Max Litster (29 disposals, seven clearances, one goal) was again prominent, while bigmen Henry Smith and Zac Phillips both managed two goals apiece. Frazer Bradley (26 disposals, six marks) found the most ball for Glenelg, while Kye Dean and William Watts continued their solid form.

Elsewhere, South Adelaide and North Adelaide both bolstered their spots in the top four; as the Panthers preyed on Westies, and the Roosters crowed in a win over Central District. Daly Andrews’ promising start to SANFL League life continued with another 16 disposals and one goal, while 17-year-old Jason Horne was terrific for 15 touches and a major of his own in the Panthers’ victory. 2020 National Combine invitee Thomas Highmore also made a steady return from injury. North Adelaide key defender Dyson Hilder, whose League return saw Karl Finlay go the other way, was solid with 11 disposals and seven marks as his Roosters got up.

There was also some good talent running around for the Panthers at Reserves level, with another National Combine invitee in Phoenix Spicer among them. The speedy small forward/midfielder booted two majors and was among his side’s best players as South romped to a 71-point win. Draft hopeful Zac Dumesny was also listed to make his return from injury in the two’s. Prolific Westies midfielder Bailey Chamberlain narrowly missed League selection, but was part of the Reserves squad alongside Jye Sinderberry. Leading prospect Riley Thilthorpe was billed to slot back into the League lineup, but was a late scratching on account of his niggling groin complaint.

The Bloods’ Under 18s made South Adelaide earn its victory, pushing the Panthers for most of the game. Michael Laudato and Zac Venning combined for 54 disposals, 20 marks, and 12 rebound 50s in a busy defence, while Cade Kennedy and Dylan White worked hard through the engine room with over 20 touches and seven clearances apiece, and Luke Young snared three goals up forward. South’s depth proved too strong though, as the likes of Max Clifton, Luke Mitton, Dylan Brown, and Liam Hamilton all proved productive, while draft bolter Brayden Cook booted two goals and Nick Kraemer finally got back on the park.

Like the Panthers, North Adelaide enjoyed a big Under 18s win of its own, downing Centrals to the tune of 94 points. Among the goalkickers were Kyle Brazell and Matthew Borg, who each also found plenty of the ball, while bigmen Leo Coates (four goals) and Isaac Keeler (two) also impressed. There were no multiple goalkickers for the Bulldogs with some classy personnel missing, though Wyatt Ryan put in another mammoth performance with 26 disposals, 11 marks, and 32 hitouts. Lachlan Grubb was also an outstanding performer at Reserves level, booting five goals in Centrals’ win.

Back in the League frame, Norwood kept its finals hopes alive with a razor-thin win over Sturt, won off the boot of VFL recruit Nikolaus Rokahr. The Redlegs have been hampered by injuries, but that has only allowed youngsters like Daniel Fairbrother to get an extended run at senior level. He collected 19 disposals in his third senior game. Sturt swingman and potential Adelaide NGA prospect James Borlase missed due to school football commitments, though Tom Lewis continues to impress having gathered 18 disposals in the loss.

The Doubles Blues rocketed clear atop the Under 18s ladder as well, demoting Norwood to third with a 56-point triumph. Unsurprisingly, Tom Powell collected a team-high 33 disposals, but was outdone by Norwood’s Michael Cavallaro (34), who returned from Reserves duties. Ben Ianniello, who also has Reserves experience, collected 28 touches for the Redlegs, while Cooper Murley again ticked over the 30-mark. Henry Nelligan was also terrific with three goals from 26 touches despite the loss. He was one of the unlucky players to miss out on a National Combine nod though, alongside Sturt’s Mani Liddy, who contributed 24 disposals and a goal.

RESULTS

League:

West Adelaide 8.7 (55) def. by South Adelaide 17.13 (115)
Norwood 10.16 (76) def. Sturt 11.7 (73)
WWT Eagles 16.15 (111) def. Glenelg 4.9 (33)
North Adelaide 15.20 (110) def. Central District 12.6 (78)

Reserves:

West Adelaide 8.2 (50) def. by South Adelaide 18.13 (121)
Norwood 1.3 (9) def. by Sturt 13.20 (98)
WWT Eagles 14.17 (101) def. Glenelg 5.5 (35)
North Adelaide 9.16 (70) def. by Central District 13.9 (87)

Under 18s:

Central District 3.4 (22) def. by North Adelaide 17.14 (116)
Sturt 16.9 (105) def. Norwood 7.7 (49)
South Adelaide 12.15 (87) def. West Adelaide 10.4 (64)
Glenelg 5.4 (34) def. by WWT Eagles 18.19 (127)

Featured Image: Eagles forward James Rowe (front left) celebrates with teammates | Source: Cory Sutton/SANFL

Out to impress: SANFL Round 12 Preview

POTENTIAL top ten draft pick Riley Thilthorpe will return to the West Adelaide league side for their Round 12 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Friday night clash with South Adelaide. The athletic big man has been named at full forward, after spending a fortnight on the sidelines with a minor groin injury. Thilthorpe could be joined in the senior side by fellow draft hopeful and Roxby Downs product Bailey Chamberlain, who earned a spot on the extended bench. The prolific midfielder has progressed through the SANFL ranks this season, performing well for West Adelaide’s under-18s and impressing at reserves level more recently.

Bottom-aged sensation Jason Horne has retained his spot in South Adelaide’s senior side as they look to consolidate their place inside the top four. The Panthers will also welcome back impressive key defender Tom Highmore, who returns from an ankle injury. The Canberra product proved a revelation down back for the Noarlunga side prior to his injury setback, and was rewarded with a national combine invite.

A couple of versatile draft hopefuls will go head-to-head when the Bloods and Panthers reserves sides lock horns on Friday evening. West’s Jye Sinderberry makes the step up from under-18s level, while South welcome back Zac Dumesny from an ankle complaint. Panthers wingman Phoenix Spicer and defender Harry Spacie will also front-up for the reserves, having both performed well since joining the ranks.

At under-18s level, Edward van den Berg will once again lead the Bloods under-18s, alongside talented bottom-agers Luke Young and Cade Kennedy. Draft bolter Brayden Cook has been named on the wing, Max Clifton and Arlo Draper in the centre, SA Academy member Nick Kraemer at centre-half-forward and Liam Hamilton on the forward flank for the blue and white.

Norwood defender Daniel Fairbrother will once again assume his defensive-50 role for the Redlegs when they take on eastern suburbs rivals Sturt under the Coopers Stadium lights. However Double Blues defender and potential Adelaide academy selection James Borlase will miss the clash due to school football commitments with Prince Alfred College. Nineteen-year-old Oliver Grivell will line up at full-forward for Sturt.

Norwood duo Jack Saunders and Michael Cavallaro will play reserves again, after both proving a class above under-18s level earlier in the season. Speedy backman Lachlan Falco has also been elevated to the Redleges reserves. Double Blues key forward Tom Emmett will also front-up for the seconds and be expected to provide a presence in attack.

All eyes will be on the midfield battle at under-18s level when the competitions two top sides meet. Close mates Tom Powell (Sturt) and Henry Nelligan (Norwood) could go head-to-head in what would be a tantalising duel, with the duo being amongst the states most prolific onballers. Crucially, Powell and Nelligan have also shown glimpses of their talent up forward. Sturt’s Mani Liddy and Norwood bottom-ager Cooper Murley will also do battle in the centre when the two clubs lock horns. Norwood will also be bolstered by the return of Ben Ianniello after he spent several weeks in the reserves.

The Eagles are now well and truly premiership favourites after the league side knocked off second placed North Adelaide last round. Power academy prospect Lachie Jones played a major role in the victory, providing toughness and athleticism down back in tandem with Tassie product Rhyan Mansell. Skilful utility Caleb Poulter has been eyeing off a league debut in the back half of the season, but has been made to bide his time in the reserves. The Bays reserves suffered a disappointing loss to West Adelaide at home last round, but likely Crows father-son Luke Edwards and diminutive midfielder/small forward Cooper Horsnell were amongst the side’s better players.

Eagles bigmen Henry Smith (centre-half-forward) and Zac Phillips (ruckman) could cause significant issues for the Bays as they alternate from roles up forward and on the ball. Reliable midfielder Max Lister has provided excellent support to Power father-son prospects Taj Schofield and Jase Burgoyne and will be hoping to make things difficult for Bays midfielders Kye Dean and Hagan Wright, who will both spend time in the middle.

North Adelaide will switch key defenders for their clash with Central Districts. Dyson Hilder is set to replace Karl Finlay in the Roosters league side. Unfortunately, Bulldogs forward Corey Durdin will spend the remainder of the season on the sidelines after he re-injured his hamstring early in the ‘Dogs win over Norwood last round. Victorian Jack Toner has been named on the interchange for Central Districts.

Central Districts forward Lachlan Grubb will line up in the reserves alongside NT import Brodie Lake. The Bulldogs under-18s will start as underdogs against a strong Roosters core led by forward Leo Coates and inside midfielders James Willis and Matthew BorgTariek Newchurch has been named in his customary forward pocket role, with Lam Simon selected at centre-half-back alongside the skilful Blayne O’Loughlin. Impressive 16-year-old Austin McDonald will be relied upon to do much of the heavy lifting in the midfield for Centrals, despite his inferior age.

FIXTURES

League:

West Adelaide vs. South Adelaide | Friday September 11, 7:20pm @ Hisense Stadium
Norwood vs. Sturt | Friday September 11, 7:40pm @ Coopers Stadium
Woodville-West Torrens vs. Glenelg | Saturday September 12, 1:45pm @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval
North Adelaide vs. Central Districts | Sunday September 12, 2:10pm @ Prospect Oval

Reserves:

West Adelaide vs. South Adelaide | Friday September 11, 4:50pm @ Hisense Stadium
Norwood vs. Sturt | Friday September 11, 5pm @ Coopers Stadium
Woodville-West Torrens vs. Glenelg | Saturday September 12, 11:10am @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval
North Adelaide vs. Central Districts | Sunday September 12, 11:30am @ Prospect Oval

Under-18s:

Central Districts vs. North Adelaide | Saturday September 12, 11:30am @ X Convenience Oval
Sturt vs. Norwood | Saturday September 12, 11:30am @ Peter Motley Oval
South Adelaide vs. West Adelaide | Saturday September 12, 11:30am @ Flinders University Stadium
Glenelg vs. Woodville-West Torrens | Saturday September 12, 11:30am @ ACH Group Stadium

Draft Central Power Rankings: September 2020

THE VERDICT is in after another terrific month of football from the latest crop of budding AFL draftees. Victorian prospects remain starved of action, but the best and brightest from around the nation have been stamping their claims, making for some interesting movers and sliders. In Draft Central‘s third Power Rankings edition for 2020, we extend our list out to 25 names, with key adjustments made to our initial July and August analyses. A certain West Australian key forward continues to rise steeply, while the Northern Territory gains a representative in the extended cut. All that, and more in our September Power Rankings update.

Note, the list is ordered purely on our opinion and each players’ ability, not taking into account any AFL clubs’ lists or needs.

#1 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Country | Key Position Forward
4/04/2002 | 194cm | 84kg

Western Bulldogs fans may not entirely enjoy seeing Next Generation Academy (NGA) product, Ugle-Hagan perched atop the tree given the hefty price that comes with it, but should be buoyed by their club having first dibs on such a remarkable talent. The 194cm key position forward has been compared to champion goalkicker Lance Franklin for his athleticism and left-foot kick, but he plays a little differently. Ugle-Hagan’s pace off the lead and sticky hands overhead set him apart, while elite scores in each of the preseason testing events make him an irresistible prospect alone. He is the consensus number one choice at this point, having delivered on the hype as he moved to the Oakleigh region via a scholarship with Scotch College.

August Ranking: #1

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

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

#2 Elijah Hollands
Murray Bushrangers/Vic County | Forward/Midfielder
25/04/2002 | 188cm | 80kg

Hollands’ placing in these rankings will inevitably prove one of the hardest to call throughout the year, given he is set to sit out the entire 2020 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). At this point though, he has done more than enough to warrant top five status at the least, and finds a place in second spot once again. While his knack for producing game-defining periods has most significantly been achieved forward of centre, Hollands has the size and skill to warrant his goal of earning more midfield minutes. With clean hands, athleticism, and a booming boot which often finds the goals, Hollands is all you could ever want from a high-ceiling prospect. Not playing shouldn’t hurt his value too much, but it would have been nice to see him get an uninterrupted crack at NAB League level having finished his schooling at Caulfield Grammar.

August Ranking: #2

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

A dominant key position forward with terrific endurance is McDonald, who adds to the strong tall and West Australian representation on this list. The high-marking spearhead ran out for his state thrice during last year’s Under 18 National Championships, averaging a goal per game and impressing with his ability to clunk marks leading up the ground. He has terrific hands on the lead and usually has no trouble finding the big sticks, while his high-level endurance confirms his status as a true, modern-day centre half-forward. Having grown and filled out to a more conventional key position size, expect McDonald to better showcase his game-winning ability from forward of centre – something which earned him All-Australian honours as an Under 16s player.

August Ranking: #9

Last Month: McDonald has been arguably the most consistent key position performer of all the players on this list; at the highest possible level, no less. He now sits second in the WAFL League goalkicking charts, having booted 13 goals across his five August/September outings. He boasts 20 goals in seven games overall, and has not yet failed to kick multiple goals. Even if he is having a quiet patch, McDonald has been able to make an impact and take full toll with what the Perth midfielders deliver his way. He will continue to provide a focal point as the Demons push for finals, with his conversion from range, marking on the lead, and one-on-one work deep inside 50 all excellent for his age.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

#4 Denver Grainger-Barras
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Key Position Defender
14/04/2002 | 195cm | 78kg

Another tall amongst the top five, and a versatile one at that. While he is definitely most comfortable and renowned as a key position defender, the Swan Districts hopeful’s versatility lies in the varying roles he play inside defensive 50. Credit to his athleticism and slender frame, he is able to keep up with medium types at ground level, while also showing form as a lockdown type on the opposition’s best big forward, or as an intercept marking outlet. Grainger-Barras is a cool head in possession too, boasting a sound kick for his size and composure beyond his years. That same level-headedness and footballing IQ makes him a sound reader of the play from the back, and the leading option in his position.

August Ranking: #4

Last Month: Another consistent performer, Grainger-Barras is still capable of delivering some ‘wow’ moments. Most recently, he produced a starring second half against McDonald and the Perth Demons, bouncing back from a lacklustre opening half to help Swan Districts power to victory. While he is still quite light for a key position prospect, Grainger-Barras showed he is not afraid to wear contact on that day, leaping for some incredible intercept marks while directly opposed to his State Under 18s teammate. He may get knocked around a touch, but loves a bit of niggle and stands up against mature bodies. Over the past month, the 18-year-old averaged 11.6 disposals and 5.2 marks per his five games, good enough to hold his spot.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus

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

We all marvelled at how well Oakleigh graduates Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson have adapted to life in the AFL, and Phillips could be the next Charger in line to do just that having leant on the pair during his bottom-aged campaign. Like Rowell, Phillips is a sub-180cm prospect who consistently finds plenty of the ball and possesses great leadership qualities. He is a well-balanced midfielder too, having plied his trade at times on the outside for Oakleigh en route to premiership glory. Phillips seems to thrive on the inside though, with his hardness and ability to weave through traffic making him an invaluable stoppage asset. The Caulfield Grammar student was set to juggle APS football and NAB League duties in 2020, while standing as a clear leadership candidate for Vic Metro come national carnival time – all before the pandemic hit.

August Ranking: #3

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

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

In a welcome change from last year’s crop, key position prospects will be in abundance at the top end. Thilthorpe is one of them, an athletic ruck/forward who possesses enormous running capacity and can dominate the airways. In his ruck duties, the 200cm West Adelaide product plays more like a fourth midfielder, able to follow up at ground level and cover the ground like a small. He has been utilised in a more forward-oriented role for the Bloods at SANFL League level though, with his goalkicking attributes and diverse skillset already making him a handful for senior players with more mature bodies. Ask any of the South Australian Under 18s who they are most looking forward to playing alongside in 2020, and Thilthorpe is among them. Jot the name down, he should be among those you are most looking forward to watching, too.

August Ranking: #5

Last Month: West Adelaide has managed Thilthorpe over the last two weeks as he nurses a groin complaint, bringing an end to his streak of nine-straight League appearances since Round 1. The bigman had been enjoying some time in a variety of roles; from his usual key forward post, to some added responsibility in the ruck rotation, and even venturing up onto a wing. In his four August outings, Thilthorpe was kept goalless thrice, averaging 11.8 disposals, four marks, and over 12 hitouts to be squeezed just outside of the top five. He still has runs on the board and hopefully gets back into the swing of things to finish off the SANFL season.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

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

While he has again been squeezed out to number seven, Campbell is a player who could potentially sit among the top five come season’s end. Uncertainty lingers over how much exposure NSW/ACT athletes will be able to gain in 2020 given the NEAFL and NAB League scrappings, but one must only watch last year’s Under 17 Futures All-Star showcase to be reminded of Campbell’s talent. He was best-afield in that game, with electrifying speed, hardness at the ball, and a booming left-foot kick catching the eye of all who bore witness. The Swans Academy product is also apt in the short range as well, and has the invaluable ability to impact games in multiple positions. Whether it be on the inside, outside, or forward of centre, Campbell is a match-winner and should cost the Swans a pretty penny in terms of draft points.

August Ranking: #6

Last Month: Campbell returned to AFL Sydney Premier Division football this past weekend for Pennant Hills, booting a goal in the Demons’ 80-point victory over East Coast. That came after he turned out twice for the Sydney Swans Academy, helping his side claim Academy Series points over the GWS GIANTS Academy on both occasions. He looked a class above in those outings, able to win the ball at will through midfield, while showcasing his versatility and remaining a goalkicking threat going forward.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus

#8 Tanner Bruhn
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
27/05/2002 | 182cm | 73kg

Class with a capital ‘C’ is what Bruhn has been described as, despite his limited on-field opportunities of late. The Geelong Falcons midfielder burst onto the scene as Vic Country’s Under 16 MVP in 2018, but injuries have cruelled him since; having initially required knee surgery after a 2019 preseason incident, and undergone a follow-up procedure that would have had him in doubt to feature early this year. He still managed to add two NAB League outings to his resume towards the end of last season, showcasing his terrific stoppage craft with clean hands and wonderful movement around the ball. Should he eventually enjoy an extended run and put his best form on display, Bruhn could well push to be the premier midfielder of this year’s bunch.

August Ranking: #7

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#9 Nikolas Cox
Northern Knights/Vic Metro | Key Position Defender/Utility
15/01/2002 | 199cm | 82kg

A 199cm player who can run, kick on both sides, and play just about anywhere? It sounds too good to be true, but that is exactly what Cox brings to the table as his region’s most outstanding draft candidate. Cox cut his teeth as a tall wingman and key position swingman in 2019, juggling his time between school football, 10 NAB League outings, and a berth in the Under 18 Vic Metro squad as a bottom-ager. In 2020, the Northern Knights co-captain is set to develop as a centre-half back, with his athleticism and versatility in the role lending to the fact he has an enormous ceiling. He is also set to be a prime candidate to lead Vic Metro should the Vics get on the park, lauded for his professionalism and the example he sets via training standards.

August Ranking: #8

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

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

#10 Lachlan Jones
WWT Eagles/South Australia | General Defender
9/04/2002 | 185cm | 89kg

Yet another NGA prospect, Jones is tied to Port Adelaide and features quite highly on this list. His big frame has seen him adjust well to the rigours of SANFL League football, running out against mature bodies in all of the Eagles’ fixtures thus far. As a general defender, Jones possesses obvious hardness at the ball and can compete both aerially and at ground level, remaining relevant going both ways too. His skills are also a big asset, able to spear passes to high percentage options while also breaking games open with his long-range efforts. Jones may well be one to push further up the list as he progresses in 2020, with some solid traits which point to a quick transition into the next level.

August Ranking: #12

Last Month: Jones remains the sole South Australian Under 18 on this list to have turned out at League level for every round this season, as he goes from strength to strength. The Eagles are in the box seat to take out the minor premiership, with the Port Adelaide NGA prospect an established part of the side’s defence in a variety of roles. In his six outings since August 1, Jones has averaged 11.5 disposals, 3.5 marks, and four rebound 50s, returning to his best with 16 touches and eight rebounds against North Adelaide in Round 11. He has consistently been able to intercept, play both tall and small, and rebound effectively against mature bodies, bumping him up to #10.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus Round 3 | Round 8

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

One of Western Australia’s leading prospects is O’Driscoll, a hard-at-it inside midfielder who can also double as a damaging half-back or wingman. The 187cm Perth Demons product was a standout at Colts level last year, while also breaking through for three outings in the Black Ducks’ Under 18 National Championships campaign as a bottom-ager. Having learnt off the likes of former Perth teammate and Brisbane draftee, Deven Robertson, O’Driscoll is primed to become a permanent midfield fixture haven already proven his ball winning capabilities. His penetrating boot and speed-endurance mix make him a prospect with many desirable traits, not to mention his older sister, Emma is already plying her trade at AFLW level for Fremantle.

August Ranking: #13

Last Month: After his third and final Colts outing in early-August, O’Driscoll earned a Reserves berth in Round 5, before being immediately promoted to the League side. After a steady debut, O’Driscoll has racked up 20 and 15 disposals over the last fortnight, benefitting from being allowed an extended run through midfield. The 18-year-old has showcased his toughness and hard-running ability at senior level, leaving nothing left in the tank. He works hard for his possessions and is equally as relevant in his defensive duties for the most part. There has been some conjecture about his range, we feel his current form and future scope lands him just outside the top 10.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus

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

A second Northern Academy prospect and the first Queenslander on this list, Davies is one of the more highly touted big-bodied midfielders of his cohort. Standing at 191cm and filling out to 85kg, the SUNS Academy hopeful boasts the ideal size to not only dominate his junior competitors, but more importantly make an immediate impact at the next level. He has been his state’s prime ball winner for some time and thrives on racking up high contested numbers, but has also displayed terrific poise in traffic and adds releasing handballs to his thumping kicks away from the stoppages. He ran out for four of Gold Coast’s NAB League outings as a bottom-ager, and should prove a key figure among the Allies squad in 2020.

August Ranking: #10

Last Month: Davies was set to line up for the Gold Coast SUNS in August’s Academy Series, but suffered an elbow injury which ruled him out of action early in the month. He faces a race against the clock to return in time for Broadbeach’s upcoming QAFL finals campaign, which begins next week for the minor premiers.

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

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

Sitting outside the top 10 due to others’ rises is another inside midfielder and a second NGA product from both the Scotch College and Oakleigh Chargers systems. Attached to Collingwood, McInnes is set to be yet another in the production line of academy and father-son prospects made available to the Magpies, and looms as a first round candidate. While he was pushed out to the forward line in Oakleigh’s stacked premiership side, McInnes is a bull on the inside who can dominate at stoppages. He is hardly the typical slow, strength-dependant type either, able to lean on his agility and awareness to effectively extract from midfield. The versatility he was made to learn as a bottom-ager adds another string to his bow, with goals a valuable part of his game in 2019.

August Ranking: #11

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

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

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

The news of Baldwin’s second ACL tear in as many years – albeit partial this time – was shattering. It means the promising 193cm forward will miss out on yet another season of football after earning All Australian honours at Under 16s level in 2018, and a crack at the SANFL Reserves grade as a bottom-ager. In our eyes, he remains a first round prospect on talent alone, and looked poised to really crack on in 2020 after his initial recovery. He was a handy preseason testing performer, with good returns in the vertical jumps and yo-yo test conveying Baldwin’s ability to crash packs and clunk big contested marks, while also harnessing that aerial dominance in his work up the ground.

August Ranking: #14

Last Month: Inactive due to recovery from long-term knee injury, but earned a National Combine invite for September 30.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#15 Zach Reid
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Key Position Defender/Utility
2/03/2002 | 202cm | 82kg

A versatile tall who could push for top 10 status, Reid returned a consistent output during his bottom-age season as a key member of Gippsland’s spine. He was tried up either end and through the ruck across 15 NAB League outings, but looked most comfortable down back and should find a home there once again in 2020. At 202cm, Reid is filling out nicely and can utilise that added strength to compete better one-on-one against big key forwards. He is a terrific judge of the ball in flight and positions intelligently, not just relying on his height to compete aerially. Reid is also both a sound handler and user of the ball for his size, providing a cool head in rebounding transitions.

August Ranking: #15

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#16 Heath Chapman
West Perth/Western Australia | Key Position Defender
31/01/2002 | 193cm | 81kg

A player who has risen into top 20 calculations, Chapman is a key position defender with many points of difference. Having cut his teeth in the role during his bottom-age year, the 193cm prospect has been able to roll off as a third tall down back for West Perth in 2020, utilising his shrewd reading of the play and athleticism to provide dominant intercept marking prowess. His ability to open up the play in transition with long, rebounding kicks is Chapman’s other key strength, making him a versatile defensive outlet who finds plenty of the ball. Given his size and athletic attributes, that third tall prototype seems his most likely avenue to the elite level, though he is just as capable competing as a more traditional key position player.

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: Chapman is the only new player inside this month’s top 20, rising all the way up to #16 on the back of some impressive form. From Rounds 3 to 6 in the WAFL Colts, Chapman averaged a remarkable 25.8 disposals and 8.8 marks down back, enough to earn him a League debut this past weekend. The 18-year-old reeled in five marks among his 11 touches, making for a promising start to life at senior level. With the ability to mark and use the ball so efficiently for his size, Chapman is a player with plenty of desirable traits. West Perth is in the finals race, so hopefully Chapman can hold his League spot and impress under post-season pressure.

>> Draft Watch

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

A brother-of who could eventually feature at the top end of this year’s rankings is Henry, the younger sibling of Geelong Cats defender, Jack. The Geelong Falcons product has top 10 potential, able to play up either end of the ground and pull down big marks. While he looks most comfortable up forward as a high-flying third tall type, Henry is just as capable down back where his aerial prowess translates to intercept value. At 187cm, he plays above his size through sheer athleticism and reading of the play, with the potential to also move up onto a wing. Should Victorian prospects finally be allowed back onto the park in 2020, expect Henry to be one who could rise quite steeply given his enormous upside and versatility.

August Ranking: #17

Last Month: Henry ran out for St Joseph’s all the way back in the first week of August, battling both with and against plenty of his Geelong Falcons teammates. The 187cm prospect booted two goals for Joey’s against Geelong College in a more forward-oriented role, and was also named among his side’s best players. He has since been inactive due to fixture cancellations and a lack of NAB League football.

>> Feature
>> Marquee Matchup

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

There are few more consistent ball winners than Powell, who has put an interrupted bottom-age season behind him to emerge as arguably Sturt’s most promising draft prospect. The Double Blues standout simply finds the ball at will, able to get his side going on the front foot from midfield with clever positioning, movement, and extraction. He may be a touch handball happy, but is an elite exponent of that tool and is beginning to mix in his kicking to have an even greater impact on games. At his best, Powell is nothing short of dominant, though goals and a greater run-and-carry game would make him a complete midfielder – think Lachie Neale‘s development.

August Ranking: #18

Last Month: Powell was teased with senior selection after amassing a whopping 47 disposals, 10 clearances, and two goals in Round 10, but continues to plug away at Under 18s level. It is there where the prolific midfielder has averaged nearly 36 disposals and nine clearances across his last five games, remaining atop the charts in both areas despite missing out in Round 9. The Double Blues maestro has also added goals to his game, booting seven from midfield in the last month. His numbers stack up as well as anyone in the draft pool, but whether he can maintain that output at senior level obviously remains to be seen.

>> Feature (April) | (September)
>> Draft Watch

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

Trew is one of many top-end prospects who have had to battle injury throughout their bottom-age seasons, but he looks primed to bounce back well in 2020. Hailing from the talent-stacked Swan Districts program, Trew is a classy inside midfielder who can rack up plenty of ball in style, backed by his 40-disposal effort in last year’s WAFL Colts competition. While he was limited to just three outings and missed Under 18 selection for WA, the 186cm prospect should not be forgotten in first round discussions. Trew is a handball-happy extractor, able to flick out releasing touches to his runners, but he is just as effective by foot with clean skills at short range and penetration when required. Should be a lock for the WA engine room this season with representative games ahead.

August Ranking: #16

Last Month: Another prospect who has flirted with senior promotion, Trew only really finds himself sliding down a few spots due to others’ promotions. Barring an injury-stricken outing at the start of August, the Swan Districts product has been at his ball winning best. Having returned from his lay-off due to concussion, Trew has averaged 27 disposals across his last three WAFL Colts outings. A senior berth may prove tough to crack given the Swans’ winning effort last time out, with only one more game in any grade possible due as the regular season comes to a close this week – Swan Districts have also not made finals in any competition. He did earn a National Combine invite though, and will have the opportunity to impress in Western Australia’s All-Star fixture pegged for October.

>> Draft Watch
>> Draft Diary 1 | 2
>> Marquee Matchup

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

Perkins has all the makings of a special talent. Having caught the eye as a forward and outside midfielder in 2019, the Sandringham Dragons standout was poised to spend more time on the inside as a top-ager, with just the right size and some incredible athletic attributes to aid his transition. Perkins boasts a monster vertical leap, covers 20 metres in less than three seconds, and is brilliantly agile, making for an ideal athletic base. His finishing touch is an area he can refine, but the 186cm prospect is no stranger to finding the goals and can be a real game changer when required. Damage or impact is a key trait which is often hard to measure, but Perkins ranks highly in that department.

August Ranking: #19

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

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

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

You may recognise the name and yes, Finlay is the brother of Western Bulldogs midfielder, Jack. They are quite clearly cut from the same cloth, with the younger Macrae possessing a similar ball winning appetite and class on the ball to his established older sibling. The 184cm Charger also boasts a terrific balance in his traits, able to impact the play moving forward with sound decision making and precise execution via foot, on top of his obvious exploits in extraction. While he is not overly quick, Macrae’s evasiveness comes through agility and awareness, which would have been on full show as he prepared to feature prominently for Oakleigh, Xavier College, and Vic Metro in 2020.

August Ranking: #20

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#22 Jack Carroll
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Midfielder/Defender
20/12/2002 | 188cm | 79kg

Another entirely fresh face on our list, Carroll’s name is unearthed due to our expansion to an order of 25. That is not to say that he would not have featured otherwise, with the East Fremantle product a player who has plenty of first round suitors. Coming into his top-age season, Carroll was pegged as a classy outside midfielder or half-back who moved well and used the ball efficiently by foot. But after nearly a full season of WAFL Colts football through midfield, the 188cm prospect has also shown his worth inside the engine room. Carroll measures up at a good height and while he may be a touch light around the contest, he uses his high-level agility and poise to weave through traffic before effectively disposing of the ball. A versatile talent with good upside, Carroll is destined to rise even further.

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: This week will serve as Carroll’s last chance to earn senior selection before finals, though East Fremantle is only really in that frame across the Reserves and Colts grades. He would inevitably come into consideration after an outstanding performance against Claremont in Round 7, collecting 31 disposals and booting two goals as the Sharks knocked off their highly-fancied opponents. In five games over the past month, Carroll has averaged 23.4 disposals to put himself right among the top 20 mix. For us, he remains just outside it for now at #22, but has all the class to move on up.

>> Draft Watch

#23 Caleb Poulter
WWT Eagles/South Australia | Midfielder/Forward
12/10/2002 | 190cm | 79kg

One of this year’s brightest bolters, Poulter has rocketed up draft boards after an eye-catching start to his top-age season. The big-bodied midfielder brings a serious presence through midfield, able to win plenty of the ball himself while also hunting the opposition with tackling pressure. Add to his midfield craft the ability to take big marks overhead, hit the scoreboard with his penetrating left boot, and utilise his terrific athletic base, and you have a prospect who can wreak absolute havoc at his best. With some senior football also under his belt in 2020, Poulter has stood up and been noticed quickly. It has been a steep rise since his Under 16 carnival in South Australia colours last year.

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: Poulter earned a call-up to the Eagles’ Reserves side in Round 10, booting a goal on debut and retaining his spot in the latest weekend of action. The League side will be tough to crack given its success this season, but the 190cm prospect will be keen to join fellow top-age gun, Lachlan Jones in the lineup. Prior to his promotion, Poulter averaged a tick under 28 disposals in his four Under 18s outings across August, generating plenty of forward momentum and hitting the scoreboard in two of those games. In that time, Poulter gained a big tick for his consistency and has found the ball in all areas of the ground, highlighting his versatility in production.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch

#24 Brandon Walker
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Half-Back
17/10/2002 | 184cm | 75kg

Introducing one of the smoothest movers of the potential 2020 AFL draft cohort, who is tied to Fremantle’s NGA. Dockers fans will be desperate to downplay Walker’s potential, with elite speed, agility, and vertical leaps combined with clean skills to make up the East Fremantle prospect’s game. He looks a damaging outlet off half-back with his line-breaking ability and precision via foot, while also providing solid defensive cover credit to eye-catching aerial feats and reading of the play. Walker can also move through midfield, adding another string to his bow as he develops. His twin brother, Chris joins him at East Fremantle and in the Dockers Academy.

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: Walker returns to our rankings as we expand the list, and has produced a solid month of football. The Dockers NGA hopeful has averaged bang-on 20 touches and over six marks across five games in August/September, with 74 per cent of his disposals in that time released via foot. These numbers are quite good for a prospect of his type, who pops up rather than accumulates. His marking ability, combined with speed and poise across the ground makes him a dual-pronged defensive outlet with plenty of weapons. While he is able to impact further afield and even find the goals, we feel Walker has showcased his best form at half-back.

>> Draft Watch

#25 Joel Jeffrey
NT Thunder/Allies | Utility
12/03/2002 | 192cm | 78kg

The sole representative from the Northern Territory in our top 25, Jeffrey is arguably the region’s most promising draft prospect this year. Having grown to 192cm, Jeffrey is a true swingman who can dominate aerially up either end. His reading of the ball in flight is exceptional, and his sticky hands do the rest of the work as he pulls down big marks. The son of NT legend Russell Jeffrey, Joel comes from good pedigree and is terrifically athletic for his size; boasting speed to burn, a sizeable leap, and clean hands at ground level. Having gained senior football experience with Wanderers in the NTFL, Jeffrey was set to move to Queensland this year given his ties to the Gold Coast SUNS via their access to the Darwin zone. The move was ultimately put on hold due to the current pandemic, but Jeffrey looks likely to end up in the Sunshine State come season’s end.

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: After a long waiting period since his last NTFL outing in February, Jeffrey returned to action with the Gold Coast SUNS as part of August’s Academy Series. He took part in game two against the Brisbane Lions Academy, and built into the contest well after a steady start. Having initially lined up down back, where he looks a touch more impactful as he drifts across to intercept, Jeffrey was swung forward in the second half and booted a goal. He looked lively with his turn of speed and athleticism, despite some scratchy moments early on.

>> Draft Watch

IN THE MIX:

It is no secret now that South Australian Brayden Cook is bolting into top 25 calculations, as the South Adelaide wingman/forward continues to impress at Under 18s level. He remains just outside our rankings as others have more runs on the board, but another month of similar form would make him hard to ignore.

Errol Gulden has been in serious form in the AFL Sydney Premier Division, with 10 goals in his last three games – including a bag of six – putting him in the mix. West Australians Joel Western (Fremantle NGA) and Isiah Winder have also caught the eye, as the former made his return from injury, while the latter again earned a spot at League level for Peel Thunder.

Of the most unlucky Victorians to miss due to a lack of action, Bailey Laurie has previously featured in our top 20, while Hawthorn NGA prospect and Eastern Ranges captain Connor Downie is also one to consider. Sandringham Dragons bigman Max Heath is a ruck prospect who lingers around the mark, along with Essendon NGA defender Cody Brand. Jake Bowey and Eddie Ford also boast top 25 potential.

Back across in South Australia, small forward Corey Durdin made a short lived return from injury this week at SANFL League level, while Luke Edwards got back on the park in the Reserves. Zac Dumesny is still recovering from an ankle complaint, and all three are around the 30-35 range in our eyes.

All four Tasmania Academy hub members earned National Combine invites. Jackson Callow has been unleashed in a slightly different role down back, increasing his stocks of late in the TSL, with Oliver Davis proving consistent, and Patrick Walker continuing to show promising upside across half-back and on the wing.

Out to impress: SANFL Round 11 Preview

ROUND 11 of the South Australian Football League (SANFL) is set to see a number of youngsters take the field to ply their trade for their respective teams across the weekend as Draft Central brings to you a new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game. In this edition, we zone in on the talented youngsters taking the field across all three major divisions.

Sturt midfielder Tom Powell could get his first opportunity to impress at League level after he was named on the extended bench for the Double Blues’ Saturday afternoon clash with South Adelaide. After battling with injury for parts of 2019, Powell has dominated the under-18 competition this season, averaging 36 disposals and nine clearances per game. He will be hoping to join fellow draft hopeful James Borlase in the senior side, after the Crows Academy prospect retained his spot in the line-up.

Talented Panthers utility Zac Dumesny and key defender Tom Highmore will spend at least another week on the sidelines as they recover from ankle injuries. Bottom-ager Jason Horne will feature in the South Adelaide league side once again, after he was named on the half-forward flank, whilst wingman Daly Andrews will play his third game for the club after crossing from Victoria.

Strongly built defender Harry Spacie, clean-kicking half-back Jack Flett and speedster Phoenix Spicer have all been named in South’s reserves side to face the Double Blues at Peter Motley Oval. At under-18s level, Mani Liddy and Will Spain are once again set to lead the Sturt onball brigade against the likes of South Adelaide’s Max CliftonArlo Draper and Brayden Cook.

Central Districts will be bolstered by the return of 18-year-old Corey Durdin after proving his fitness during the week. Durdin last played in the clubs Round 8 meeting with Sturt, where he suffered a hamstring strain. Wingman Jack Toner has kept his spot in the Bulldogs league side, along with goal-sneak Jordan O’Brien, who is set to join Durdin up forward. Norwood defender Daniel Fairbrother will be looking to build upon his impressive League debut, after being named on the interchange bench for the Round 11 clash.

Bulldog Lachlan Grubb will be joined at reserves level by Brodie Lake, who has been elevated after performing well for the under-18s since crossing from the Northern Territory. The talented duo will take on fellow teenagers Michael CavallaroJack Saunders and Ben Ianniello, who have been included in Norwood’s reserves side.

At under-18 level, Norwood will be hoping for big games from ever reliable midfielders Cooper Murley and Henry Nelligan. After racing out of the blocks and emerging as the team to beat in the under-18s, the Redlegs have lost their last two matches and will be looking to get back onto the winners list when they host a Central Districts side led by impressive 16-year-old onballer Austin McDonald.

Promising defender Luke Parks and his namesake Callum Park are both set to play vital roles in defence for Glenelg when they host West Adelaide. However they will not be faced with the challenge of nullifying Bloods tall Riley Thilthorpe, with the talented draft prospect set to spend another week on the sidelines as the club manages his workload.

A couple of Henley High School products will take to the ACH Group Stadium turf when the reserves kick off proceedings early on Saturday afternoon. West midfielder Bailey Chamberlain could line-up on potential Crows father-son prospect Luke Edwards, who returns to action after missing several weeks through concussion. Bloods defender Jye Sinderberry and Tigers forward Cooper Horsnell are also set to play reserves for their respective sides.

With Brodie Edwards named in the under-18 side, the Edwards-clan have a son playing for Glenelg across all three levels this weekend. Edwards and the likes of Hagan Wright and Kye Dean will be looking to put an end to Glenelg’s run of five consecutive losses when they take on the Bloods, led by Edward van den Berg and Luke Young.

The Roosters and Eagles will meet on Sunday afternoon in a top-of-the-table clash. Potential first round draft pick and Port Adelaide academy prospect Lachlan Jones will again suit up at league level, having impressed all season with his speed, leap and physical presence across half-back. Rhyan Mansell and Lachlan McNeil have become integral components of the Eagles side this season down back and in the midfield respectively. Roosters tall defender Karl Finlay has been equally as important for North Adelaide, often tasked with handling the oppositions best forward.

Eagle Caleb Poulter retains his spot in the reserves after making the step up last weekend. The usual suspects will take their place on the field for two of the under-18 competition’s in-form sides. The Roosters, fresh off a big win over Glenelg, will be looking to get the ball into the hands of skilful Adelaide academy prospects Tariek Newchurch and Blayne O’Loughlin, with Matthew Borg and James Willis set to handle the grunt work in the midfield. Port Adelaide have a couple of prospects in this clash too, in the form of Eagle midfielders Jase Burgoyne and Taj Schofield. The tall duo of Zac Phillips and Henry Smith could also cause some problems for the North Adelaide defenders.

FIXTURES

League:

Central Districts vs. Norwood | Saturday September 5, 2:10pm @ X Convenience Oval
Sturt vs. South Adelaide | Saturday September 5, 2:10pm @ Peter Motley Oval
Glenelg vs. West Adelaide | Saturday September 5, 4:10pm @ ACH Group Stadium
Woodville-West Torrens vs. North Adelaide | Sunday September 6, 2:45pm @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Reserves:

Central Districts vs. Norwood | Saturday September 5, 11:30am @ X Convenience Oval
Sturt vs. South Adelaide | Saturday September 5, 11:30am @ Peter Motley Oval
Glenelg vs. West Adelaide | Saturday September 5, 1:30pm @ ACH Group Stadium
Woodville-West Torrens vs. North Adelaide | Sunday September 6, 12pm @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Under-18s:

Glenelg vs. West Adelaide | Saturday September 5, 11:05am @ ACH Group Stadium
Norwood vs. Central Districts | Saturday September 5, 11:30am @ Coopers Stadium
South Adelaide vs. Sturt | Saturday September 5, 11:30am @ Flinders University Stadium
North Adelaide vs. Woodville-West Torrens | Saturday September 5, 11:30am @ Prospect Oval

Resilience through recovery sees Powell reap benefits in SANFL

STURT midfielder Tom Powell has taken the SANFL under-18 competition by the scruff of the neck so far in season 2020. In doing so, the teenager has announced himself as one of South Australia’s most promising draft hopefuls. As of Round 10, the inside midfielder is averaging a competition-high 36 disposals and nine clearances per game, for a Sturt side currently sitting at the top of the Under 18s ladder. Powell’s football journey has followed a traditional pathway, enrolling in Auskick at a young age before eventually joining the underage ranks at the Unley Jets, the same junior club as Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy and Richmond bigman Callum Coleman-Jones.

“I began playing school football when I moved to Scotch College in Year 8 and played right up to Year 12,” Powell said, who first donned the iconic double blue of Sturt at under-13s level. “Playing as a midfielder has always been my best and most preferred position, and I rotate through a high half-forward role each quarter at Sturt which helps build my craft around goals. “I like to think I work hard to find the ball which is maybe why I get a few disposals but the next step for my game is being able to use it better and be more damaging.”

Having finished his schooling at Scotch in 2019, Powell began studying commerce at the University of Adelaide this year. 

“I’m finding university studies slightly more flexible and independent than Year 12, so I think this year especially I’ve found a better balance between my studies and football,” Powell told Draft Central. 

Powell has been a driving force behind the Double Blues’ successes to-date, but it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the on-baller, who was forced to battle through injury last season. 

“I had an issue with my hip last year which hindered my performance a little bit, but I had an operation on it in mid-October last year and it feels as good as new now,” he said.  “I was recovering from surgery throughout the Christmas period and the first two SA Academy Hub camps which was quite challenging. (But) I tried to stay involved and help the team off the field wherever I could and still learnt a lot from the coaches and the other elite players during this time which was very beneficial for me.” 

Powell’s surgery meant he had a disrupted start to preseason training, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, postponing the start of the SANFL season. 

“This allowed me to have a longer preseason from January to March and complete a bit of extra rehab to make sure my hip had great strength and was in prime condition,” he said. 

Powell described himself as “pretty easy going and relaxed” outside of football, but his performances on the field have been anything but.

“I think the key things for me have just been making sure I never miss any training sessions and when I’m training, to do it at full intensity so that I can keep improving,” he said. “Playing with a great team and coaching staff at Sturt has also allowed me to find a bit of form so I’m grateful for that.”

In Sturt’s recent Round 10 victory over West Adelaide, Powell ran amok, amassing a staggering 47 disposals, two goals and ten clearances in a performance which further ignited calls for a League debut. 

“I don’t like to look too far into the future, but I enjoy training with the seniors and hope to get an opportunity at some stage as I know it will help improve my footy, playing against bigger bodies,” Powell said.

The 180cm Powell identified his cleanness at ground level and quick handballing skills as some of the strengths of his game. 

“I’m not a super fast player, so being clean gives me a bit more time to make decisions and get the ball out to my teammates from stoppages,” he said. 

Despite living in South Australia, the teenager has supported the Gold Coast Suns since Gary Ablett signed with the Queensland cluband models his game around Brisbane ball-magnet Lachie Neale and Collingwood superstar Adam Treloar. 

“They use their hands around stoppages really well and I would like to implement a bit more run and carry as well as improving my ability to hit the scoreboard like these players do,” he said. 

Powell has worked hard on his tackling technique throughout the season, after recognising it as an area for improvement ahead of his top-aged season. 

“I also think if I were to increase my offball running and endurance it would make me a better player as a whole and help the team more,” he said.

The midfielder is one of the leading prospects in a talented South Australian crop set to lock-horns with Western Australia in the coming months. 

Riley Thilthorpe is a fantastic player and an especially good leader amongst the SA Hub group and Luke Edwards and Mani Liddy are challenging to match up against in-game and at training,” he said. “I’m quite close with Lewis Rayson (Glenelg), Henry Nelligan (Norwood) and the Sturt boys too,” Powell said. 

Although a date for the AFL Draft is yet to be announced, Powell insists he is taking things one game at a time and only worrying about what he can control.

“If we can hold on and make finals, obviously winning a premiership with my teammates at Under 18s level would be awesome,” Powell said. “I’ve had a couple chats with some (AFL) clubs but they’re mainly just trying to get to know me as a person, so it’s pretty relaxed.”

Having worked hard to overcome his injury concerns, the prolific ball-winner is now reaping the rewards of resilience and persistence. He was among those named to test in the AFL Draft Combine, which will be held on September 30 in South Australia.

>> Tom Powell Draft Watch

Picture: Mel Faull/SANFL

Young gun focus: SANFL Round 10 wrap

WITH young guns impressing at state league level around the nation, we again narrow our focus for this week’s South Australian National Football League (SANFL) wrap to the performances of youth throughout all three grades. There is plenty to unpack in our second altered edition, with an Adelaide Crows Next Generation Academy (NGA) hopeful making his League debut, while three teams are now tied for top spot in the Under 18s.

>> SCROLL for full results 

West Adelaide vs. Sturt

League: West Adelaide 8.6 (54) def. by Sturt 10.1 (61)
Reserves: West Adelaide 7.6 (48) def. by Sturt 12.8 (80)
Under 18s: Sturt 10.14 (74) def. West Adelaide 5.9 (39)

A late rally ensured Sturt got over the line against West Adelaide in their League clash under Friday night lights, with just seven points separating either side come the final siren. The game would have attracted the eyes of many an Adelaide Crows fan, as NGA prospect James Borlase made his top flight debut for the Double Blues. The strongly-built swingman was solid down back, working a handy intercept game and using the ball well across his 14 disposals and five rebound 50s.

Tom Lewis and Casey Voss racked up 21 disposals each, aided by 53 hitouts from Daniel Fahey-Sparks, though coach Nathan Grima may face a selection dilemma as Tom Powell continues to bang the door down at Under 18s level. The prolific midfielder added another 47 disposals and 10 clearances to his formidable season tallies, while also contributing two goals. His partner in crime, Mani Liddy was also terrific with 33 touches and a goal of his own as Sturt sealed a hat-trick of wins over the Bloods.

Leading SA draft prospect Riley Thilthorpe was rested from his League duties with Westies this week, seeing former Sydney Swans Academy member Hamish Ellem slot in to bag two majors. Reed Stevens, the brother of leading ball winner, Kaine had 17 touches and six clearances on his League debut, while Lachlan Squire was unable to match his own debut numbers, kept to nine disposals.

In the Reserves grade, 19-year-old Josh Shute was named among Sturt’s best, while Under 18 midfielders Bailey Chamberlain and Nicholas Couroupis were among the best half-dozen for Westies in a losing effort. Jye Sinderberry (12 disposals, five marks) was again outstanding in the junior grade upon his second game back from injury.

Norwood vs. WWT Eagles

League: Norwood 12.12 (84) def. WWT Eagles 6.8 (44)
Reserves: Norwood 9.6 (60) def. by WWT Eagles 13.8 (86)
Under 18s: WWT Eagles 11.14 (80) def. Norwood 7.8 (50)

18-year-old Daniel Fairbrother had a League debut to remember, as Norwood trumped ladder leader, Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) by 40 points to remain in the finals hunt. The 182cm prospect gathered 12 disposals in his maiden outing, while Victorian recruit Nik Rokahr had a game-high 34 disposals. Isaac Saywell was another solid young performer for the Redlegs, registering 10 marks among his 19 touches overall.

Lachlan McNeil (21 disposals) continued his consistent run of form for the Eagles despite a rare loss, while the likes of Lachlan Jones and Rhyan Mansell had few answers for Norwood in defence. Up the other end, livewire small forward James Rowe was kept to just one goal as WWT struggled for firepower. It was just the second time all season Rowe managed less than three goals in a game.

Finn Heard narrowly missed League selection this week for Norwood, but managed to instead run out for the Reserves alongside fellow Under 18s Michael Cavallaro, Jack Saunders, Jackson Murphy, and Ben Ianniello. Caleb Poulter and star VFL recruit Sam Lowson both lined up for WWT in the same game, as the Eagles soared home 26-point winners.

Poulter’s absence at Under 18s level was made up for by the likes of Jase Burgoyne, Max Litster, and Harrison Dawkins, who all contributed over 25 touches. AFL Academy members Taj Schofield and Henry Smith both hit the scoreboard in the Eagles’ 30-point win. The result saw Norwood pipped for top spot, though the performances of Henry Nelligan and Cooper Murley (both 24 disposals and one goal) were promising. Mobile bigman Sam Duke was arguably the Redlegs’ best, notching 26 disposals and eight marks.

South Adelaide vs. Central District

League: South Adelaide 14.19 (103) def. Central District 10.6 (66)
Reserves: South Adelaide 9.4 (58) def. by Central District 13.16 (94)
Under 18s: Central District 7.7 (49) def. by South Adelaide 11.14 (80)

Daly Andrews built strongly on his opening SANFL League outing, adding two goals to another tally of 18 disposals as South Adelaide comfortably accounted for Central District. The Victorian’s kicking game and ability to penetrate in transition came to the fore as the Panthers kept their top four spot safe.

Bottom-age gun Jason Horne showcased his eye-catching hops and a good deal of confidence in another League appearance, finishing with 15 disposals as he continues to lead the class of 2021. Exciting 19-year-old forward Beau McCreery popped up in glimpses, contributing a single goal to his team’s win. For the Bulldogs, Dandenong Stingrays graduate Jack Toner was a touch quieter than his last few games, gathering 10 disposals. Meanwhile, Jackson Kelly, the son of Sydney champion, Paul booted two goals in a promising display.

There was some notable talent running around in the Reserves grade, headlined by the return of South star Daniel Sladojevic. The 19-year-old booted a goal, but his Panthers were ultimately outclassed by the Bulldogs to the tune of 36 points. Under 18 prospects Phoenix Spicer and Lachlan Grubb also took the field for either side.

The Panthers managed to get one back at Under 18s level, with an even team performance leading them to a 31-point win. Draft bolter Brayden Cook was again productive aerially with eight marks, though struggled with his radar in front of goal to register three behinds. Max Clifton, Liam Hamilton, Jayden Little, and Jack Flett were among the best top-agers afield, while Hugo Hoeck booted four goals and Arlo Draper notched six clearances. The midfield combination of Austin McDonald and Brodie Lake again worked well for the Bulldogs, as the pair combined for 51 disposals and 13 clearances. Bigman Wyatt Ryan was also influential.

North Adelaide vs. Glenelg

League: North Adelaide 10.9 (69) def. by Glenelg 10.11 (71)
Reserves: North Adelaide 14.11 (95) def. Glenelg 4.10 (34)
Under 18s: Glenelg 8.10 (58) def. by North Adelaide 21.10 (136)

Glenelg may have snuck home by two points in a crucial League clash against North Adelaide, but the Roosters were well on song across the other two grades in Round 10. Potential mature-age AFL recruit Luke Partington again impressed for the Bays with 27 disposals, bested only by Harrison Wigg of the Roosters (29 disposals). A pair of 19-year-old Tigers in Callum Park (18 disposals, seven rebound 50s) and Luke Parks (15 disposals, six marks) were instrumental in the back half for Glenelg, combining slick rebounding skills and aerial marking prowess collectively.

A bunch of Roosters stole the show at Under 18s level, with the likes of Jayden Davison, Blayne O’Loughlin, Matthew Borg, and Kyle Brazell all finding both plenty of the ball and the big sticks. Harvey Harrison booted a game-high four majors, followed closely by Adelaide NGA hopeful Tariek Newchurch with three. Kye Dean played his part as usual for the Tigers, finishing with 24 disposals and two goals, while midfield partner Hagan Wright managed 21 touches.

Featured Image: Deb Curtis/SANFL

Out to impress: SANFL Round 10 preview

HEADING into South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Round 10, Draft Central brings to you a new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game. In our first edition, we zone in on the talented youngsters taking the field across all three major divisions.

Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect Lachlan Jones will once again suit-up for the Eagles league side when they travel to Cooper Stadium to face Norwood under Friday night lights. The talented 18-year-old is yet to miss a game this season and has played an integral role down back for the first placed Eagles. He is joined in defence by Tasmanian Rhyan Mansell, with 19-year-old Lachlan McNeil named on the wing.

Intercept-marking machine Daniel Fairbrother has been named on the extended bench for the Redlegs league side, after impressing in the under-18s and reserves throughout the year. Midfielder Jack Saunders and small defender Michael Cavallaro both retained their spots in the reserves side for the round ten clash, alongside the athletic Benjamin Ianniello. Potential first round draftee Caleb Poulter will make the step up to Woodville-West Torrens’ reserves side, after displaying plenty of skill, athleticism and versatility with the under-18s.

The in-form Woodville-West Torrens take on the ladder-leading Norwood in the first of an under-18s double-header on Saturday afternoon at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. Prolific inside midfielder Max Lister has combined well with the outside class of Taj Schofield and bottom-ager Jase Burgoyne through the Eagles engine-room. Tall forward Henry Smith will again be the focal point in attack, with fellow AFL Academy member Zac Phillips set to resume his lead ruck role. His duel with Norwood ruckman Nathan Hearing is set to be closely fought, with the likes of bottom-ager Cooper Murley and ball magnet Henry Nelligan hoping to feed off his tap-work.

In the other Friday night game, West Adelaide’s senior side will be desperate to bounce back against Sturt, following last round’s lacklustre loss to previously winless Central Districts. Riley Thilthorpe has earned a week off, after playing all nine matches for the Bloods league side so far in 2020. Meanwhile, Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect James Borlase is set to make his league debut for Sturt after plying his trade at reserves level for the first half of the year. The defender has been named at half-back for the Hisense Stadium clash.

Bloods ball magnet Bailey Chamberlain will play reserves again this week, after proving a touch-above under-18s level earlier in the season. He is one of several South Australian draft prospects who will be eager to make their league debuts before the SANFL season draws to a close.

The Double Blues under-18s will welcome back prolific midfielder Tom Powell with open arms after he missed the club’s round nine match. An on-baller in the Lachie Neale mould, Powell has been the in-form player of the under-18 competition and leads the league in disposals and clearances. He has been named in his customary on-ball role and will be supported by fellow AFL Academy member Mani Liddy and promising bottom-ager Will Spain. Tom Emmett will return to the side to provide a target in attack.

The Bloods under-18s have had a difficult season, but Jye Sinderberry has shown why he is a chance to be drafted. Edward Van den Berg will join him down back after showing some encouraging signs throughout the season to-date.

The Bulldogs will be full of confidence when they head down south to do battle with the Panthers, after breaking their winless-streak last round. Pocket-rocket Corey Durdin will miss at least another week after he sustained a hamstring injury in Round 8. Talented Panthers utility Zac Dumesny will also be missing in action as he recovers from an ankle injury. However bottom-aged sensation Jason Horne is set to play his fourth league game in a row for South Adelaide, after being named on the interchange bench. The ‘Dogs also boast a number of promising talents, including Jordan O’Brien, who will be looking to continue his promising form at senior level up forward. The league clash will also feature a couple of Victorians in Bulldog Jack Toner and Panther Daly Andrews. Both have made encouraging starts to their senior careers across the border.

Lachlan Grubb will have his sights set on a return to the league side when he fronts-up for Central Districts reserves. South Adelaide have handed reserves berths to a couple of their brightest stars in bottom-aged key defender Harry Spacie and flashy wingman Phoenix Spicer. Although polar opposites in their playing styles, expect both player to have an immediate impact in the second-tier competition.

In the under-18s, South Adelaide draft bolter Brayden Cook will likely attract plenty of attention from the Bulldogs defenders, who will be well-aware of his match-winning capabilities up forward and on the wing. Bottom-ager Arlo Draper has been named in the forward pocket, alongside Liam Hamilton and young tall Will Verrall. NT native Brodie Lake will play his fourth under-18s game in the red, white and blue, while fellow Territorian Jonty Patrick will be looking to provide a spark up forward. 16-year-old Austin McDonald will again carry much of the midfield responsibilities for Centrals.

The Roosters senior side will be looking to continue their winning ways when they host Glenelg at Prospect Oval. North Adelaide’s 19-year-old key defender Karl Finlay was terrific in his return from injury last round, blanketing Norwood big-man Tommy Pinyon. His partner in crime Dyson Hilder will line up in the reserves side, along with fellow 19-year-old Harrison Magor. Both will be eager to stake their claims for a return to senior level. Luke Edwards will miss another week after he suffered a concussion in his league debut against Central Districts.

Glenelg’s under-18s will be led by skilful half-back Hagan Wright and the strongly built on-baller Kye Dean. Meanwhile, the Roosters will once again be bolstered by the presence of three Adelaide Next Generation prospects in exciting forward Tariek Newchurch, classy bottom-aged defender Blayne O’Loughlin and athletic backman Lam SimonLeo Coates, who won the SANFL Under-18 MVP award for his performance last round, has been named at centre-half-forward, with James Willis, Kyle Brazell and Matthew Borg set to anchor the red and white midfield unit.

FIXTURES

League:

West Adelaide vs. Sturt | Friday August 28, 7:20pm @ Hisense Stadium
Norwood vs. Woodville-West Torrens | Friday August 28, 7:40pm @ Coopers Stadium
South Adelaide vs. Central Districts | Saturday August 29, 2:10pm @ Flinders University Stadium
North Adelaide vs. Glenelg | Sunday August 30, 2:10pm @ Prospect Oval

Reserves:

West Adelaide vs. Sturt | Friday August 28, 4:50pm @ Hisense Stadium
Norwood vs. Woodville-West Torrens | Friday August 28, 5pm @ Coopers Stadium
South Adelaide vs. Central Districts | Saturday August 29, 11:30am @ Flinders University Stadium
North Adelaide vs. Glenelg | Sunday August 30, 11:30am @ Prospect Oval

Under-18s:

Woodville-West Torrens vs. Norwood | Saturday August 29, 11am @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval
Glenelg vs. North Adelaide | Saturday August 29, 11:30am @ ACH Group Stadium
Central Districts vs. South Adelaide | Saturday August 29, 11:30am @ X Convenience Oval
Sturt vs. West Adelaide | Sunday August 29, 1:25pm @ Maughan Thiem Kia Oval

Young gun focus: SANFL Round 9 wrap

WITH young guns impressing at state league level around the nation, we narrow our focus for this week’s South Australian National Football League (SANFL) wrap to the performances of youth throughout all three grades. There is plenty to unpack in our first altered edition, with a late change seeing West Adelaide blood its latest League debutant, while the top two Under 18s sides suffered defeat on an action-packed super Saturday.

>> SCROLL for full results 

North Adelaide vs. Norwood

League: North Adelaide 15.13 (103) def. Norwood 8.3 (51)
Reserves:
North Adelaide 10.20 (80) def. Norwood 4.10 (34)
Under 18s:
Norwood 6.9 (45) def. by North Adelaide 7.9 (51)

2019 State Under 18s representative Karl Finlay returned to the League fold for North Adelaide, as the Roosters continued their fine season with a 52-point win over the Redlegs. The key defender notched seven disposals and two marks, with usual partner-in-crime Dyson Hilder unable to make the cut on an extended bench this week.

Under 18s aside, much of Norwood’s young brigade was showcase in the Reserves, as the likes of Michael Cavallaro, Jack Saunders, Daniel Fairbrother, and Ben Ianniello all made the step up. Henry Nelligan, who made his League debut in 2020 racked up a game-high 34 disposals in the Redlegs’ Under 18s loss, highlighting his quality.

Cooper Murley, Bailey Gal, and Billy Haebich all clicked over the 25-disposal mark for Norwood in the same game, while Tom Michalanney and Marcus Roberts both had it 17 times as they push for a senior promotion. Talls Nathan Hearing (20 disposals, 29 hitouts) and Samuel Duke (19 disposals, one goal) were also impactful.

Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) hopeful Tariek Newchurch was another star returnee, finishing with 11 disposals, three tackles, and three inside 50s after booting an early goal. Big Leo Coates was his side’s top ball getter with 31 disposals and nine inside 50s up forward, while Matthew Borg (25 disposals, two goals), Blayne O’Loughlin (26 disposals, seven rebound 50s), and Kyle Brazell (29 disposals, 10 marks) all continued their good form.

Central District vs. West Adelaide

League: Central District 10.13 (73) def. West Adelaide 8.3 (51)
Reserves:
Central District 15.11 (98) def. West Adelaide 6.6 (42)
Under 18s:
West Adelaide 7.11 (53) def. Central District 7.5 (47)

It may have come about via a late change, but GWS GIANTS Academy product Lachlan Squire made no doubt about his League credentials with 19 disposals, five marks, and five clearances on debut. The Queanbeyan native had been cutting his teeth in the Reserves grade and was named as a League emergency over the last few weeks, but made the most of his opportunity upon finally breaking through.

Leading Westies draft prospect Riley Thilthorpe played alongside Squire in the top flight, but had one of his quieter outings with six disposals, nine hitouts, and a goal. Fellow state academy member Bailey Chamberlain may be next in line for a senior berth having made the step up to Reserves footy, with Nicholas Couroupis another junior to have earned a promotion on the weekend.

For Centrals, Lachlan Grubb will hope to return having moved back down to the two’s, while Corey Durdin is set to miss at least another week with a hamstring injury. In the meantime, Victorian Jack Toner has fared well for the Bulldogs in their absence, notching 21 disposals and a goal in Centrals’ first League win for the year.

At Under 18s level, the Bloods pulled off their own maiden win for 2020. Dylan White was prominent with 30 disposals, while Luke Young booted two goals from his 27 touches and nine marks for the victors. Cooper Gilbert (eight clearances, 10 inside 50s) was again terrific at the contest, while Jye Sinderberry (23 disposals, six marks) made a triumphant return down back and Luke Heitmann booted three goals up the other end.

The Bulldogs had their two-game winning streak snapped, but NT recruit Brodie Lake again impressed through midfield with 30 disposals, 12 marks, and five clearances. His work both inside and on the spread was terrific. As per usual, Austin McDonald was again a mainstay through the engine room with 28 touches, while bigman Wyatt Ryan contributed 20 disposals, 21 hitouts, and a goal, and Matthew Borlace continued his solid form.

Glenelg vs. South Adelaide

League: Glenelg 8.2 (50) def. by South Adelaide 13.13 (91)
Reserves:
Glenelg 13.4 (82) def. South Adelaide 7.10 (52)
Under 18s:
South Adelaide 10.8 (68) def. Glenelg 7.3 (45)

Western Jets graduate Daly Andrews collected 18 disposals on his SANFL League debut for South Adelaide, as the Panthers earned an important win over Glenelg to jump the Bays in third spot. Capable of playing inside and outside, Andrews also won four clearances and booted a goal as he pushes his case to be drafted. 17-year-old Jason Horne did his 2021 prospects no harm either, gathering 10 disposals and laying five tackles in the win.

Callum Park and Luke Parks are others looking to stake their draft claims after also missing out last year, notching 12 and 11 disposals respectively. Jackson Edwards had 10 touches on his League return, while Brady Searle will have to wait a touch longer to enter the fold, and Luke Edwards will anticipate a return from injury. Victorian and Mitch Martin is another around the mark.

The Panthers also won out in the Under 18s grade, with Max Clifton (28 disposals, nine inside 50s) and Arlo Draper (26 disposals, 11 clearances) enjoying their time through midfield. Jayden Little and Harry Spacie also found plenty of the ball, while draft bolter Brayden Cook (23 disposals, 10 marks, one goal) was again impressive alongside Liam Hamilton (20 disposals, one goal). Liam Nye booted an equal game-high three goals.

Matching that goal feat was Glenelg’s Jayden Davis, who continues to prove his side’s most productive performer. Davis also had 24 disposals, which was beaten out only by teammates Hagan Wright (30 disposals) and Kye Dean (27) in the Bays’ loss.

WWT Eagles vs. Sturt

League: WWT 11.6 (72) def. Sturt 5.5 (35)
Reserves:
WWT 3.8 (26) def. by Sturt 5.9 (39)
Under 18s:
Sturt 9.4 (58) def. by WWT 11.17 (83)

League ladder leader Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) continues to soar in 2020, with plenty of contribution coming from its young stars. 2019 State Academy member Lachlan McNeil (pictured) was again productive with a team-high 23 disposals and six clearances, leading the way in his side’s big win. Tasmanian recruit Rhyan Mansell (16 disposals, six marks) continues to impress in defence, while Port Adelaide NGA prospect Lachlan Jones and 2019 Eagles Under 18 skipper Zane Williams had relatively quiet outings. It was the latter’s debut.

Casey Voss and Jed McEntee continue to make the grade for Sturt, with Voss adding another 20 disposals to his tally, and McEntee 13 upon surviving the extended bench. Tom Emmett made the step up to Reserves level for Sturt, while mature-age draft hopeful Sam Lowson made his first appearance in South Australia, running out for the Eagles’ Reserves having made the switch over from VFL side, Coburg.

In the Under 18s, Will Spain (31 disposals, one goal) and Mani Liddy (29 disposals, two goals) stood up in the absence of Tom Powell, but the Double Blues still went down by 25 points. Jase Burgoyne and Caleb Poulter cracked the 30-disposal mark for WWT, while Max Litster (26 disposals, three goals) had a day out. Taj Schofield also fared well upon his return with 20 touches and a goal.

Featured Image: Hannah Howard/SANFL

SANFL Round 9 preview: Top two look to continue dominance

ROUND 9 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) will see a couple of interesting match-ups across League, Reserves and Under 18s competitions as the pointy end of the season edges ever closer. In the League competition, two ladder-leading sides will looks to continue their form and knock their lower ranked opposition off their game, bordering on top four contention.

North Adelaide vs. Norwood

League: The Redlegs will travel to Prospect Oval to clash with the in form North Adelaide on Saturday afternoon. The Roosters sit alongside Woodville-West Torrens at the pinnacle of the SANFL ladder after two months of action. Meanwhile, the Redlegs sit just outside the top four and appear locked in a battle for a finals spot, after the Tigers ended their four-game winning streak. The Redlegs were competitive against Glenelg early in the match at Coopers Stadium, but a poor second half which yielded just one goal was never going to be enough. It hasn’t always been pretty, but Jacob Surjan‘s North Adelaide continue to get the job done. The red and whites pulled off a miraculous one-point victory after trailing the Bloods late in the final term on Friday night. It was a seesawing affair at Hisense Stadium, but two final quarter goals to Will Combe proved the difference.

The Redlegs managed to win many of the key statistics, including disposals, disposal efficiency, marks and tackles, however Glenelg’s hard-nosed midfield finished plus-9 in clearances and generated 24 scoring shots to 16. A major reason behind the Bays triumph was the performance of Jack Hannath in the ruck, who kept dominant Redleg Sam Baulderstone to just 28 hit-outs – his lowest of the season. This week, Rooster James Craig will go head-to-head with Baulderstone and attempt to nullify his influence. Craig is averaging 30 hit-outs per game but must be weary of Baulderstone’s ability to get involved in general play, having averaged 18.3 disposals at 73 per cent kicking efficiency in eight matches.

North were largely outplayed for much of the game at Richmond, loosing most of the key statistics. But at the end of the night, they prevailed on the scoreboard, the most important statistic of all. The aforementioned Craig provided the Roosters midfielders with first use and they took advantage, smashing the Bloods 22-37 in the clearances. Vice-captains Andrew Moore and Tom Schwarz almost recorded more clearances than the entire West Adelaide side, combining for 17. However it was the rebound and precise kicking of half-back duo Harrison Wigg and Alex Spina which proved decisive. They collected 33 and 27 disposals respectively, and set up a multitude of Roosters scoring shots from defence. This weekend, the Norwood forwards must prevent them from using their excellent kicking to break the lines. However the ‘Legs also boast a strong rebounding game, with Brad McKenzie and Cameron Shenton given the role of turning defence into attack.

Up forward, Norwood big man Tommy Pinyon took two strong contested grabs and kicked two goals but was missing for most of the match, collecting just four touches. Peter Bampton and the Richards brothers, Zac and Josh, were also amongst the goals against the Bays. The Norwood midfield, known for their goalkicking ability, must find a way to push forward and help out in attack against a well-drilled Roosters backline, led by key pillars Cameron Craig, Tanner Smith and youngster Dyson Hilder. At the other end of the ground, the Roosters received a six goal boost from Will Combe and Jarrad Allmond – both of whom are not exactly dominant in front of the sticks. Club leading goal kicker Lewis Hender was kept goalless but smalls Kym LeBois and Robbie Young both slotted majors.

The Roosters won by two points when the two sides met in round two, with Campbell Combe starring through the midfield for North. Norwood will dearly miss Josh Richards, who is expected to spend 4-6 weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury. The Roosters could regain premiership duo Alex Barns and Mitch Clisby for the clash, but midfielder Cam Hewett and Billy Hartung will miss at least another week. If past meetings between the 2018 grand finalists are anything to go by, this should be a very entertaining clash.

Reserves: The Roosters made light work of the Bloods in the reserves on Friday evening to move up to fifth on the ladder. Meanwhile, the ‘Legs were downed by Glenelg by 32 points. North will be looking to mount a surge towards the finals while Norwood continue their search for a second win.

Under-18s: Norwood are certainly the team to beat at under-18s level, after moving one game clear at the top of the ladder with a win over the Bays. Meanwhile, the Roosters pilled on the goals against West to win by 54 points. Norwood bottom-ager Cooper Murley and fellow midfielders Jack Saunders and Michael Cavallaro are names to keep an eye on in the red and the blue, while for the Roosters, the prolific Matthew Borg continues to rack up the touches and Elliott McNamara is coming off a six goal performance. Adelaide’s bottom-aged Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect Blayne O’Loughlin is one to watch for Crows fans.

 

Central Districts vs. West Adelaide

League: Round nine features the battle of the battlers, with Central Districts set to host West Adelaide at Elizabeth. The Dogs remain winless at the bottom of the ladder, while the Bloods sit above them with just one victory. However the two sides earned their first premiership points of the season when they couldn’t be separated after at the final siren back in round two. Although the results have not gone their way, the two clubs have fought valiantly and will both be eager to claim victory on Saturday afternoon.

West Adelaide will be kicking themselves for dropping points on Friday night after leading the Roosters late in the fourth term. Over at Peter Motley Oval, the ‘Dogs opened the scoring after just 30 seconds of play thanks to a Jordan O’Brien goal. But the Double Blues, desperate to keep their season alive, kicked away after the first break and never gave the Bulldogs a sniff. Although West tackled well, kicked at 80 per cent efficiency and won more disposals than North, the Bloods were comprehensively beaten in the hit-outs (47-20) and clearances (37-22). Central’s scoring woes continued, booting five goals and 12 behinds. Unlike the Bloods, they were well-beaten around the ground, finishing minus-56 for disposals and a massive minus-50 for marks. Although they were able to win the clearances (44-38), the ‘Dogs are finding it difficult to mount any scoreboard pressure of late.

The Bulldogs and Bloods midfielders have battled hard for little return so far in 2020. This clash features two of the SANFL’s most consistent on-ballers in Bulldog James Boyd and West’s Kaine Stevens. A genuine ball-magnet, Boyd comfortably leads the league in disposals, averaging 31.4 per game. However he is also using it beautifully, going at 89 per cent efficiency, and will almost certainly feature prominently come Magarey Medal night. Stevens also sits inside the top ten for disposals, at an average of 24.9 per game. A stoppage specialist who uses his big body to good advantage through the middle, the 27-year-old has provided West with plenty of experience through the middle and complimented fellow on-ballers Jordon Boyle and Brett Turner. The ‘Dogs have been well-served by the Schiller brothers, Jarrod and Travis, for a number of years now and they remain an important component through the middle with their strong defensive pressure and clearance-winning.

West Adelaide skipper Tom Keough has booted 12 goals so far this year and is the go-to guy up forward. Likely top ten draft pick Riley Thilthorpe has also shown plenty of glimpses of his tremendous talent, playing predominantly up forward with stints through the ruck at various times. The teenager has taken 12 contested marks this season and his size, leap and reach has proven a tough assignment for opposition defenders. John Butcher is the undisputed focal point of the Bulldogs forward line, but youngsters Corey Durdin and the aforementioned O’Brien have also provided impacted the scoreboard. Durdin was kept to just four touches against Sturt before he injured his hamstring, but has pieced together a strong season in difficult circumstances. However, he is expected to miss two weeks with a low-grade hamstring strain.

Boyd has been his side’s leading rebounder, but skipper Luke Habel has been a calming presence for the inexperienced Bulldogs outfit. For West Adelaide, veteran Logan Hill‘s rebound and ball use (95 per cent kicking efficiency) has been a real standout. The 188cm Mitch Duval has also shown good signs since coming into the league side in round three.

In a cruel blow, the Bulldogs will be without Troy Menzel for the remainder of the season after he suffered a serious ankle injury in the loss. He joins brother Daniel on the clubs long-term injury list. Meanwhile, West will be hoping defender Elliott Dunkin (wrist) and Josh Ryan (shoulder) can pass their respective fitness tests in time for the Saturday afternoon clash.

Reserves: Central Districts flexed their muscles with a 46-point win over Sturt in the reserves competition, while the Bloods woes continued, loosing to North by 52-points. Unlike the league side, Centrals reserves have been the highest scoring side, averaging 90 points per game. Expect them to enter this clash full of confidence.

Under-18s: The Bulldogs under-18s caused the upset of the competition so far when they knocked off the second-placed Double Blues by 17 points. Leek Alleer was excellent in the win, finishing with 22 disposals, two goals and four contested marks. Austin McDonald also continues to find the ball at under-18s level after spending the first few weeks of the 2020 season dominating at under-16s level. West Adelaide continue to fight on in what has been a tricky campaign, however Edward Van Den Berg is one to watch in the red and black.

 

Glenelg vs. South Adelaide

League: South Adelaide will head to the bay to face Glenelg at ACH Group Stadium on Saturday. The Tigers and Panthers find themselves inside the top four after eight rounds of SANFL football. Yet while Glenelg have steadied the ship and won three games on the trot, the Panthers find themselves at risk of dropping out of a finals spot following three consecutive losses.

Glenelg recorded less disposals, kicks, marks and tackles than Norwood last round, but got on top in the midfield and generated eight more scoring shots than the Redlegs. The Panthers, on the other hand, played well for much of the game against the Eagles and kept themselves within striking distance. They won the midfield battle and finished plus-32 for marks and plus-20 for disposals, however Jarrad Wright‘s men were left to rue missed opportunities in-front of goal, finishing with six majors and 15 behinds.

In his first game in the blue and white, the terrific performance of ruckman Paul Hunter will have excited the Panthers coaching staff. The former Crow went up against Eagle Jordan West for much of the game and accumulated plenty of the ball in general play. He collected 24 disposals to go with nine marks (three contested), 22 hit-outs, eight inside-50s and an equal game-high nine clearances in what was a complete performance. This week he is set to come up against Tiger Hannath, who impressed with his ability to nullify the influence of Baulderstone.

The Panthers boast an experienced midfield core, led by superstar Joel Cross, former Power defender Matthew Broadbent and hard-nut Nic Schwarz. On the outside, youngster Hayden Sampson has provided some spark with his speed, run and carry. The Panthers have also given talented 17-year-old Jason Horne an opportunity at league level in recent times. However this week they will do battle with arguably the leagues best in-and-under midfielder in Matthew Snook. As tough as they come, Snook is averaging 28.5 disposals, 7.5 tackles and 9.8 clearances per game and currently sits atop the R.O. Sherman Medal count. However he hasn’t been alone. Luke Partington has started to return to his 2019 best in recent weeks and Bradley Agnew‘s defensive pressure has been outstanding all season. The Panthers will know all about Partington’s abilities, given he kicked three goals in a dominant display against them in round two. Billy Stretch also had his best game in the black and yellow against the Redlegs.

Up forward, the Bays dynamic duo of Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds were kept to just one goal apiece at Coopers Stadium. Both capable of kicking a bag, when they are on the key forwards are very hard to stop. The Panthers will again be without key defensive pillar Tom Highmore who is set to another couple of weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury. Jack Kluske has also found some form in front of the big sticks, kicking five goals in the past four rounds. The Panthers have had an even spread of goal kickers, with smalls Eamon Wilkinson and Beau McCreery combining with big Sam Overall, who slotted three goals against the Eagles – comfortably the leagues best defence.

Down back, Tigers skipper Max Proud has done much of the heavy lifting, with Luke Parks and Michael Virgin providing plenty of rebound from the defensive-50. South Adelaide’s Joseph Haines was held to just eight disposals by Eagle Jack Firns – his lowest count of the season by a considerable margin. Haines has been highly effective this season with his intercept marking, run and carry and penetrating kicking sure to earn him a few Magarey Medal votes. Negating his influence should be high on the agenda of Glenelg coach Mark Stone.

The Tigers beat the Panthers by just five points in their round two encounter, and appear set to enter the re-match with a reasonably clean bill of health. Although draft hopeful Luke Edwards is set to miss another week after suffering a concussion on debut. South Adelaide have four players listed as a ‘test’, including promising teenager Zac DumesnyMark Noble, Jaidan Kappler and Ben Sawford. But, unfortunately, Ben Haren is set to miss 2-3 weeks with a quad strain.

Reserves: After racing out of the blocks at reserves level, Glenelg find themselves in fourth spot on the ladder after recording three losses in the past four games. They should enter this clash as favourites, however, against a Panthers unit which has looked promising at times but struggled for consistency.

Under-18s: The Panthers under-18s will be full of confidence after knocking off the Eagles in a thrilling one-point win at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. All eyes will be on forward/wingman Brayden Cook after his match-winning performance. He continues to rise up draft boards and looks to be a draft smokey. The Tigers have struggled of-late, but watch out for Brodie Edwards, the third son of Crows-legend Tyson, who has accumulated a bit of the ball in recent weeks.

 

Woodville-West Torrens vs. Sturt

League: This week Sturt is provided with the daunting task of taking down the high-flying Eagles, who are still yet to lose since the opening round. The Eagles already possess a match-winning forward line, dour defence and strong, experienced midfield but managed to bolster their on-ball stocks further with the recent signing of James Tsitas from Geelong’s VFL side.

A standout in the VFL for several years, Tsitas made his presence felt in just his second SANFL match on Saturday, laying eight tackles, winning nine clearances and collecting 25 disposals. His side was not dominant on the stats sheet but, as all good sides do, they made South Adelaide pay for their goal kicking inaccuracies. Sturt, on the other hand, recorded a much-needed victory of the Bulldogs at their Peter Motley Oval home. They controlled much of the match on the scoreboard and won most of the key statistical indicators.

A six-goal performance from key forward Jake Sutcliffe was just what the doctor ordered for a Double Blues side which has struggled to kick a winning score all-too-often in season 2020. Better still, two goal-showings from veteran Mark Evans, ruck/forward Dan Fahey-Sparks and small forward Harry Morrison added to the promising display. They will have to replicate their scoring pressure if they are to match it with the potent Eagles offence. James Rowe booted another four goals straight and is clearly the competitions premier small forward. Jack and Nick Hayes were kept relatively quiet against South, but Jake Von Bertouch booted another couple. Firns’ tagging role on Panther Haines was also instrumental in their round eight triumph.

Sturt’s midfield mainstays were all prolific in the win over Central Districts, with skipper James Battersby brilliant at the stoppages, (11 clearances), Sam Colquhoun typically industrial and teenager Casey Voss amongst the leading possession winners once again. However the performances of some fresh faces is what will have really excited coach Nathan GrimaAbe Davis took a few weeks to find his feet at his new club, but has recorded tallies of 26, 31 and 32 disposals in the past three games and is starting to show why Sturt were so keen on recruiting him from South Adelaide. Fellow newcomer Jack Henderson showed some excellent signs in just his second league game and ruckman Darcy Bennett won 32 hit-outs.

They will do battle with an often-underrated Eagles engine room featuring the likes of Tsitas, reigning club champion Jordan Foote, experienced duo Joseph Sinor and Matthew Goldsworthy and Jimmy Toumpas. Youngster Lachlan McNeil has also found his feet at league level this season and is averaging 17.6 disposals at 90 per cent efficiency. Tasmanian Rhyan Mansell’s dash off the half-back line for Woodville-West Torrens has been terrific and teenager Lachlan Jones continues to perform strongly as he pushes for draft selection.

Angus Poole (ribs) and Jarrad Redden (abdominal) have been listed as ‘tests’ for the Eagles. And for the Double Blues, small forward Josh Hone is likely to miss some time after sustaining a foot injury early in the game against the Bulldogs. A win for the Double Blues would be a sensational moral booster, but the ladder leaders present an imposing challenge.

Reserves: The undefeated Eagles reserves just keep getting the job done in the second-tier competition, after easily accounting for the Panther on the weekend. Third-placed Sturt will be looking top bounce back from a hefty-loss at the hands of the second-placed Bulldogs.

Under-18s: The Eagles and Double Blues under-18 sides will be looking to return to the winners list after both recording disappointing losses last round. And there will be plenty of talent on show at Peter Motley Oval, with the likes of Caleb Poulter, Henry Smith and Jase Burgoyne (Eagles) clashing with Tom Powell, Mani Liddy and Will Spain (Sturt).