Tag: riley thilthorpe

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 2

WITH the return of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) comes our usual series of scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. For this edition, we turned our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a heavy focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so also get a look-in.

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

West Adelaide vs. Central District

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#2 Harvey Bock

It was a hit-and-miss day for the defender, who would probably have been made to feel like the umpires were out for him at times given some of the unlucky free kicks he conceded. Nonetheless, Bock was able to use his power and strength in one-on-one contests across the back half, while also constantly looking to get on the move with ball in hand. He got his intercept marking game going in the second and third terms, and took on some of the Bloods’ kick-in duties. Bock finished with 15 disposals and three marks in a solid outing.

#5 Lachlan De Cesare

De Cesare has kicked off his 2020 campaign well, and was arguably Westies’ best afield in a losing effort. The diminutive midfielder is an absolute workhorse through the engine room, digging in for repeat efforts at ground level, tackling hard, and spreading well to provide an outlet option for his teammates. That strong endurance base allowed De Cesare to accumulate strongly across the day, notching a game-high 26 disposals, including four marks, eight tackles, eight clearances, and a goal.

His lone major came from a free kick which was converted after the quarter time siren, and that scoreboard impact also translated to a goal assist in the following term. De Cesare could have added another to cap off his day, too, spurning an easy chance running into the open goalsquare with a soccered attempt which crashed into the post. Still, his courage and work ethic were terrific to watch.

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

Another Westies star who had an up-and-down kind of day, Chamberlain was on the receiving end of some fair opposition attention at the stoppages, making it difficult for him to generate his usual running game. The balanced midfielder still managed to rack up 24 disposals in a strong performance, often hunting the hot footy and pumping the ball forward under pressure. Chamberlain did well to mix handballs into his use, with one particular flashy flick deftly struck over his shoulder, showcasing great awareness and skill.

The one query on Chamberlain’s game, which he is working on well, has been his kicking at speed. While his penetration is no issue and he managed to boot a nice goal on the run, Chamberlain blazed away at times and overcooked a few balls going forward. His effort and desire are not the be questioned though, as he fought to the final siren for the Bloods on a frustrating day.

#18 Riley Thilthorpe (League)

West Adelaide ran rampant early against the Bulldogs, with Thilthorpe at the centre of much of the Bloods’ early dominance. He put through the first score of the game with an opportunistic snap, before sending Isaac Johnson through for Westies’ first major, and adding one of his own with a left-foot snap from just inside the attacking 50. Thilthorpe was caught behind at times and did not exactly receive silver service in his key forward post, but constantly found a way to impact the contest aerially and follow-up well at ground level.

The 200cm bigman also rotated through the ruck in the second half having previously taken those duties inside 50, using his height to palm the ball down to teammates. He had another terrific snapped goal snatched from him as his teammate gave away a free kick, and a strong contested mark at the death gave a glimpse into what the future may hold for Thilthorpe. Once he can find confidence in flying for those marks set up in better positions, he will prove a force to be reckoned with.

>> Round 2 Player Focus: Riley Thilthorpe

Others: Cade Kennedy proved a handful around the stoppages alongside his fellow, hardened midfield maestros, collecting 19 disposals and nine clearances while also laying eight tackles and finding the big sticks one. Bottom-age forward Hugh Desira was also handy despite being held to nine touches, displaying good footy smarts, clean use, and agility.

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE


Central District:

#7 Christopher Tidswell

In what was a highly contested and pressurised game, Tidswell provided some nice dash to break open the play and get the ball moving quickly for Centrals. The left-footer was just as clean at ground level as he was in his disposal by foot, utilising his short-range game well while also looking to penetrate as he wheeled onto that preferred left side. The rebounding defender moved up to the wing in the second half, sneaking forward to claim a goal out the back, before spurning a later shot despite a nice showing of agility.

#13 Austin McDonald

It is no wonder the 16-year-old has been thrust right into the centre bounces despite playing above his age grade, with the Bulldogs trusting his ball winning abilities against some of the league’s strongest midfielders. McDonald was once again a constant around the stoppages, racking up a team-high 25 disposals and five clearances to continue his consistent Under 18 form. He may not yet have the size to bustle away from congestion, but remains nicely composed in traffic and can accumulate either by winning his own ball, or through hanging on the outside for a handball receive. Add five tackles and breaches of both arcs to his statline, and you have a rather complete midfield display.

#15 Lewis Cowham

Like McDonald, Cowham has been a regular for Centrals through midfield, providing value going both ways at the stoppages. The small ball winner is athletically gifted, and showed a couple of nice flashes of his agility and explosive speed despite the contested nature of the game. Cowham was often directly opposed to Chamberlain at the centre bounces, and did well to quell his opponents’ run away from the contest. His second efforts and pressure around the ball were important, as was a nice goal assist via hand to Aidan Mudge in the final term.

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

It was another typical Durdin performance at the senior level, with the diminutive forward hitting the scoreboard and finding a decent amount of ball forward of centre. In a quiet first term for most of his Bulldogs teammates, Durdin went searching further afield for the ball, while working back hard towards goal. He booted his side’s opening major with a free kick conversion towards the end of the first term.

Durdin’s closing speed and tackling pressure were outstanding, and he constantly stationed himself in the right areas to impact at ground level or provide an outlet for his teammates. His second goal came after half time from another free kick deep inside 50, and the small ball winner also got a run through the centre bounces. He looked extremely lively late when the game was on the line, popping up in all areas of the ground and having a big impact despite not always hitting his targets moving forward. 14 disposals, five marks, and two goals make for good reading in terms of stats, and Durdin is certainly making a splash at senior level.

Others: 22-year-old talent Nicholas Lange lit up the second half in the League grade, coming to life after half time with four goals to very nearly drag Centrals over the line. For the Under 18s, Leek Alleer showed promising signs as a raw key forward, booting two goals and having a hand in others while showcasing his impressive athleticism. Michael De Jonge booted three majors, all of which were important to the win, while Aidan Mudge, Shay Linke, and Luca Whitelum were others to find both the goals and plenty of ball.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

South Adelaide vs. Glenelg

By: Tom Cheesman

South Adelaide:

#9 Jason Horne

Horne is one of the leading 2021 draft prospects and impressed once again. His work at the stoppages was outstanding, as he read the hitouts to perfection and applied plenty of pressure around the ball. His ability to work back and help the defence also stood out, particularly in the first half. He showed some explosive speed away from the contest at times, and using this explosiveness more regularly is the next step in his development. Horne finished with 31 disposals, 12 clearances, eight marks and nine tackles.

#10 Brayden Cook

Cook spent a lot of time on the wing, and his ability to work back into defence stood out. He took multiple intercept marks to halt the Tigers’ attacks and showed great agility around the ground for a prospect his size. His kicking was a bit inconsistent, but that should improve with more experience at Under 18 level. Cook was arguably best on ground at half time, but was much less prominent in the second half. He finished with 17 disposals, 10 marks (five contested) and three inside 50s.

#13 Tom Barrett

Barrett was an x-factor for the Panthers up forward. He did not play in Round 1 but made the most of his opportunity here, applying plenty of pressure (four tackles) and kicking two nice goals. His forward craft was a highlight as he had multiple score involvements, but he struggled to get involved once the ball left his forward post. He will be an exciting player to watch as the year unfolds.

#18 Zac Dumesny (League)

Dumesny had a very solid game for the Panthers. He was a standout in the first term, collecting six disposals in the backline and setting up a goal with a beautifully weighted kick into the forward 50. Dumesny was quieter in the second quarter, but moved to a wing for the second half where he found more of the ball and nailed a set shot from 35 metres out. The top-ager was composed with the ball in hand and hit the majority of his targets by foot. He also took a couple of nice intercept marks, which could develop into a feature of his game with more experience at half-back. He finished with 15 disposals, six marks, four rebound 50s and three tackles.

#21 Matthew Roberts

Roberts was South’s best player on Saturday, finding plenty of the ball and using it well with his reliable left-foot kick. He worked off his opponent to collect many uncontested marks, continually helping his side transition the ball from defence to attack. The 2021 prospect was brilliant at stoppages, using his 183cm frame to hunt the ball and dish it out to teammates. He did get caught holding the ball once due to a lack of awareness in the third term, but this was one of very few mistakes he made all day. Roberts finished with an imposing statline of 32 disposals, 14 marks, seven clearances and nine tackles.

#35 Thomas Highmore (League)

Highmore looks like he belongs at League level. The 21-year-old held his own in one-on-one contests and took several intercept marks across the four quarters. At 193cm, he has great size and was entrusted with the kick-in duties on multiple occasions. He did make a couple of mistakes late, but that is to be expected of someone in just their second SANFL League game. The 22-year-old finished with 15 disposals, five marks and two tackles.

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE


Glenelg:

#13 Luke Pedlar

Pedlar spent a lot of time up forward for the Tigers, finishing with 17 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s. He showed plenty of aggression when hunting the ball and his opponents, and he displayed great strength and power at the contest. His ball use was poor at times in the first half, but he redeemed himself with a brilliant spearing ball in the final term to set up Holder for a goal. He might want to work on his hangers during the week, as he attempted a couple in the final term that unfortunately did not come off.

#21 Riley Holder

Holder was best on ground and clearly the difference between the two sides. He was a major presence at centre half-forward for Glenelg, clunking four strong contested marks. The highlight was a brilliant mark (and goal) in the third term when his side desperately needed it. He showed composure in front of goal too, kicking four goals straight including a nice left foot snap early in the contest. His strong hands and reliable set shot make him a major asset for the Tigers and a prospect to watch in 2020.

#22 Lewis Rayson

Rayson was great for Glenelg, finishing with 31 disposals and ten marks. He spent most of his time at half-back and played a quarterback-style role, getting the ball out the back and finding targets with his clean left-foot kick. Rayson was calm and composed with ball in hand and linked up with teammates to transition the ball forward on many occasions. He was also tough at the contest, collecting many contested possessions and applying eight tackles.

#25 Luke Edwards

Edwards had a strong day, working hard around the ground to collect 29 disposals and eight marks. The son of Adelaide Crows champion, Tyson showed his flexibility by spending time up forward and rolling through the midfield whenever his side had an important clearance to win. Edwards has proven in the past that he is also handy down back. He was reliable with the ball in hand and, excluding a poor set shot in the final term, made very few mistakes across the four quarters. Listed at 187cm, Edwards has great size and should push to play higher levels of footy later in the season.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

Norwood vs. North Adelaide

By: Tom Wyman

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

The bottom-ager was arguably best-on-ground for the Redlegs in their 27-point triumph. It was easy to see how the small forward/midfielder gained All-Australian selection as a 16-year-old. He showed plenty of his trademark speed and tenacity but was also exceptionally clean with his foot skills. Despite being on the skinny side, he cracked in hard whenever required, gaining a free-kick in the opening term simply by going in lower and harder than his Roosters opponent.

Also in the first term, he read a wayward kick-in well and used his bust of speed to accelerate away before dishing off a clean handball inboard. Murley also showed his class with a precise forward 50 entry with his non-preferred. He kicked the goal of the day in the second quarter after crumbing beautifully and dribbling home a ripping goal from the pocket, all whilst being tackled. He already looks a step above Under 18s level, finishing with 24 disposals and three goals.

#6 Michael Cavallaro 

Small defender, Cavallaro was prolific and clean in his role across half-back throughout the contest. He exhibited excellent footy smarts and positioned himself well to take a handful of intercept marks. He may be only small in stature but orchestrated a number of the Redlegs’ drives from defence with his crisp foot skills and sound decision making.

A highlight was when he engaged in a series of back-and-forth handballs before spinning around on his trusty right and showing skill and vision to spot up a teammate on the other side of the ground, setting his side up for a transition from defence. Cavallaro finished with 30 disposals, ten marks, four inside-50s and three rebound-50s.

#30 Finn Heard 

Four goals to key the forward proved to be the difference in this clash at Coopers Stadium. Heard got goal-side of the contest and strolled straight into the goal-square to nail the game’s first major, however his work in the air ensured he was the most impactful tall on the ground. He could’ve had an ever bigger bag had he converted two set-shots from gettable distances.

However his foot skills, both in general play and in-front of goal, were largely sound. Heard was rewarded for his ability to work his way to the front of contests when he collected an opportunistic mark from a quick-snap inside 50, resulting in a shot at goal. He nailed two majors in the final term to solidify Norwood’s lead. Heard concluded the outing with nine disposals, seven hit-outs and seven marks – two of which were contested.

Others: 

Like a number of his teammates, on-baller Mitchell Trepka was able to work his way into some favourable positions and finished with 28 disposals, six marks, three tackles and three clearances in a solid all-round showing.

Prolific defender Matthew Dnistriansky combined well with fellow defender Cavallaro. Both were able to slice-apart the Roosters with their pin-point kicking and ability to cut-off forward entries. After gathering 30 touches, Dnistriansky currently sits second in the competition for total disposals, behind Sturt duo Mani Liddy and Tom Powell. The designated kicker-role certainly seems to suit the skillset of Dnistriansky, who has started the campaign well.

Benjamin Ianniello showed a couple of really encouraging signs throughout the match, including his aerial strength, athleticism and willingness to put his body on the line. Built in a similar mould to current Crow Will Hamill, Ianniello moved well and accumulated 24 touches and seven marks. The tackling-pressure of Jack Saunders was also valuable in the Redlegs’ triumph.

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE


North Adelaide:

#9 Jamison Murphy 

Co-captain, Murphy showed why he is a sought-after prospect, providing a strong inside presence and collecting 21 disposals, four marks, four tackles and three clearances. He appeared physically stronger than the other midfielders out there and used his strong frame to bullock his way through several contests, including the opening stoppage where he dished out a handball despite being tackled.

However, it was his sublime foot skills which would have really caught the eye of recruiters. The former national cricket captain proved he is quite capable of launching the ball in excess of 50 metres without hassle. Murphy was also precise by foot and showcased excellent vision to spot up Tariek Newchurch on the wing with a booming right-foot kick.

The highlight, however, was when he took an intercept mark in the middle of Coopers Stadium and hit a teammate with a beautifully-weighted kick in a tight-position on the forward flank. Had the kick been overcooked or off-target, it would have almost certainly resulted in a turnover. Murphy spent the majority of the game around the ball but also spent some time in the forward line and on the outside of the contest – highlighting his handy versatility, which has seen him draw comparisons to Hawthorn champion Luke Hodge.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

The Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect looked ominous whenever the ball was in his vicinity. As draft watchers have come to expect from Newchurch, his skills at ground-level were excellent. The forward’s burst of speed threatened to break the game open on a couple of occasions and his tackle numbers don’t reflect the pressure he inflicted on Norwood defenders.

He was thrown on-ball at stages and showed a willingness to get involved in the play instead of simply camping out in the forward-50. He laid a wonderful tackle to earn a free-kick inside 50 in the second term, but the resulting set shot hit the post. Newchurch showed class and composure when he gathered the ball deep inside-50 and snapped a brilliant goal under duress. While he probably didn’t have the four-quarter impact he would have been after, there’s no denying the talented Newchurch will feature prominently for SA at the upcoming National Championships.

#24 Kallis Freer

The midfielder was prolific and showed a couple of desirable traits despite North Adelaide’s loss. Whenever he had even an inch of space, Freer looked to use his acceleration to generate a forward entry for the red and whites. His willingness to take the game on was encouraging, as was his aerial ability. Freer took a couple of strong grabs above his head but also laid a couple of ferocious tackles at ground-level and accumulated five clearances.

A standout moment came on the North Adelaide forward flank when Freer took a contested mark on the second-grab and pin-pointed Tariek Newchurch with a laser-like inboard kick. He finished the game as the leading possession winner on the ground for his side with 25, along with six marks, four tackles and eight inside-50s.

Others:

Hugh Jackson showed run and dash across the midfield and accumulated his fair share of the ball, finishing the match with 23 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and seven inside-50s.

Despite his side being under-the-pump at various stages of the game, athletic defender Lam Simon offered scouts a glimpse of his raw talent. His chase-down tackle in the first term earned a holding the ball free-kick and his subsequent kick was weighted beautifully, allowing Freer to stream inside-50. He held his own in most of his one-on-one contests and battled hard to gain front-position.

Another prospect tied to the Crows through the clubs Next Generation Academy, Simon concluded the outing with 15 disposals, eight marks (two contested) and three tackles. Charlie Dowling showed some strength overhead while the inside work of Matthew Borg (13 disposals, eight tackles and four clearances) was impressive.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Sturt vs. WWT Eagles

By: Ed Pascoe

Sturt:

#9 Malachy Carruthers

Carruthers was classy down back, often the main rebounder for Sturt in setting up most of their drive from defence. He started the game well with a nice intercept mark, showing he had that in his arsenal to go with his rebounding ability. Carruthers wasn’t afraid to turn defence into attack with any chance he could, often running past a stoppage for the receive and using his run-and-carry to gain meterage and kick long and accurately up the ground. He finished the game with 23 disposals, five marks, and six tackles, backing up his impressive Round 1 performance as he stakes claims to be one of South Australia’s best rebound defenders for the 2020 draft. 

#15 Mani Liddy 

Liddy again had a dominant performance through the midfield, working well with fellow hard nuts Tom Powell and Brad Jefferies. His quick and clean hands at stoppages, and ability to win clearances have been second to none so far in the Under 18s season.

Not much more can be said about his inside game as it was a typical Liddy performance, but it was the few times he got on the outside that impressed and that is what should help him stand out. Both instances came in the third quarter; the first was from good positioning just outside 50 to receive and then kick long to the hotspot, and secondly from the opposite side he was able to receive, put on the afterburners to then steady and kick a lovely running goal. Liddy finished the game with 29 disposals, seven clearances, four tackles and a goal in another strong midfield performance. 

#18 Tom Powell 

It was like déjà vu watching Powell, who had another incredible game through the midfield. He really is just a machine at stoppages, winning the ball at will. Powell’s style isn’t fancy – you wont see him bursting out of stoppages – but what you will see is an extremely efficient midfielder who is clean at gathering the ball and even cleaner with his delivery by hand, whether that’s on his left or right which not many players have.

Powell’s kicking and ability on the outside would be the main focus area for him as his inside game is just about flawless and with the amount of footy he wins he could really turn that into a more damaging package, like Lachie Neale. Powell finished the game with 35 disposals (21 handballs), seven clearances and five tackles backing up a his 34 disposals last week. 

#32 Morgan Ferres 

Ferres was the dominant forward on the ground, proving a handful in the air and on the lead with his impressive leap, judgement, and contested marking coming to the fold. Ferres did it all in his six goals, adding variety with the standout goal being a running effort – even taking a bounce before steadying with a classy finish in the first quarter – and the other a lovely snap from the boundary in the third term.

He was a handful all game but mostly in the third quarter where he marked everything in sight, whether that was out on the lead or by way of his great judgement from behind. One of the better aspects of his game was not just his ability close to goal, but also his ability to get up the ground and take strong marks up on the wing. Ferres finished the game with 17 disposals, nine marks and kicked 6.2, with two set shots also falling short. The talented Ferres, who isn’t eligible to be drafted until 2021 will certainly be one to watch for years to come. 

Others: Jefferies was yet again a standout for Sturt, plying his trade among the talent-rich engine room. He is a tough, bottom age inside type who had 30 disposals, six tackles, and four clearances in this outing.

>> STURT TEAM PAGE


WWT:

#3 Taj Schofield

Schofield had an improved showing after his quieter game last week. The talented Port Adelaide father-son prospect again showed his class and skill which really stands out amongst his peers. Schofield, who looks best on the outside with his elite kicking and composure, was able to have an impact on the inside wining some classy clearances and also laying some strong tackles at the coal face.

It’s on the outside where he still showed his best attributes with some beautiful passes inside 50, one even on his opposite foot in the second quarter. His best bit of play came in the third quarter, winning the ball at half-back where he showed great composure under pressure and was able to weave around multiple opponents with his agility and speed. He would then finish with a classy handball to a free teammate. Schofield finished the game with 20 disposals, six clearances, and seven tackles in a strong performance. 

#7 Caleb Poulter 

Although he wasn’t quite able to match his outstanding performance last week, Poulter was still arguably his side’s most dangerous player – especially inside 50 where he was a a threat on the lead and at ground level. Poulter again showed some rare abilities for a player of his size with his tackling and clean hands at ground level again impressing. He really hunts the opposition with his tackles and is willing to make repeat efforts, which is nice to see.

His efforts in the air were also impressive as he was always leading up hard and willing to crash packs to get the ball to ground. You can imagine him having even more impact in that area when he puts on more size. Poulter kicked two classy goals in the third quarter, with the first coming from a brilliant pick-up on the run at his feet and then kicking a lovely snap goal. The second was also a snap goal with little time to think about it, showing his natural talent. Poulter finished the game with 16 disposals, seven tackles, five marks, and kicked 3.1 in another great performance. 

#19 Zac Phillips 

The talented tall again showed some signs of brilliance early in the game, taking a strong contested mark up forward. Despite having his set shot fall short, he would later take another great mark at half-back where he flew in from the side, showing great judgement and also quickly switching the play to show his footy smarts for a tall. 

Again his hitout work was good, often winning the contests comfortably when he did go into the ruck, but overall his follow-up work in the ruck wasn’t where it was last week and he really needed to capitalise on his early dominance in the air. If he can do what he did in the first quarter, every quarter, then you will have some sort of player for the future. Phillips finished the game with six disposals, two marks, two tackles, and 27 hit outs. 

#31 Jase Burgoyne 

The talented father-son prospect for Port Adelaide was again classy down back with his clean hands, skills, and composure standing out. Burgoyne was also used on the wing a little bit, but looked best down back where his composure and ability to read the play had the most effect. Burgoyne seems to do really well under pressure which is promising for a light and developing player who isn’t eligible to be drafted until 2021, and he certainly looks like a player to watch for that draft. Burgoyne finished the game strongly to claim 22 disposals, five marks, and five tackles in another classy display. 

Others: Liam Ueding is a bottom-age defender who boasts clean skills and great work ethic, with his second efforts coming to the fore for the Eagles. He finished with eight disposals, two tackles, and four rebound 50s.

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

>> 2020 South Australia Under 18 Squad Prediction

AFL Draft Watch:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Marquee Matchups:
Kaine Baldwin vs. Denver Grainger-Barras
Corey Durdin vs. Braeden Campbell
Luke Edwards vs. Connor Downie

>> July Power Rankings

SANFL Player Focus: Riley Thilthorpe (West Adelaide)

IN a return to our Player Focus piece, we take a look at a South Australian National Football League (SANFL) talent who has really stood out on the League stage. In Round 2 of the competition, our eyes were on West Adelaide key forward/ruck Riley Thilthorpe, who took part in the Bloods’ dramatic draw with Central District.

SANFL STATISTICS:

10 disposals
2 marks (1 contested)
5 tackles
15 hitouts
1 clearance
1 goal, 2 behinds

Now a staple among Westies’ League setup, Thilthorpe took the field on the opposing side to fellow South Australian Academy Hub member, Corey Durdin, who was lively for the Bulldogs. Durdin was at the centre of our Player Focus piece last week, and both players have taken to senior football with aplomb.

The Bloods hit the ground running in this game with 6.5 in a hot opening term, and Thilthorpe was the unlikely catalyst. Starting at full-forward, the 200cm prospect had a remarkable first five minutes and was in everything inside West Adelaide’s attacking 50. He notched the first score of the game after snatching the ball from a contest spillage, sending a warning shot to the Bulldogs defenders.

His combination of aerial presence and ground level work helped Westies hit the scoreboard again, but this time with all six points as Thilthorpe again got his hands on a spillage at centre half-forward between three opponents, kept his hands free in a tackle and flicked out a handball to the running Isaac Johnson, who booted the game’s opening major.

Roll forward about a minute longer, and Thilthorpe was impacting the play high on the arc once more, hitting a long centre clearance ball from the side and continuing his momentum to gather the spillage and send a left-foot snap towards goal. The ball would trickle through for a fantastic goal on his wrong side from around 45-metres out, a great effort from the bigman.

Thilthorpe’s reach was also something which stood out, allowing him to get his hands on multiple passes which entered his vicinity even if he started from behind. He did not receive the best delivery early on and often had a Centrals defender sitting in the hole, although his lack of speed off the mark at times saw him caught behind his direct opponent as the ball entered his area.

The potential top five pick continued his solid form heading into the second term, doubling his impact with some work in the ruck at forward half stoppages. That reach of his constantly allowed him to bring the ball to ground despite being outmuscled or out-positioned at times, and a well directed double-handed tap down to Dallas Willsmore almost yielded another goal assist. He had the chance to boot another goal himself too, finding space deep in the forward pocket to mark but hitting the post with his set shot.

He was robbed of another beautiful snap goal in the third term as the ball fell into his lap from the front-and-centre position, before he bent the ball home with confidence. Unfortunately, a free kick was awarded to Central District for an infringement in the marking contest which Thilthorpe sat off. His impact in front of the big sticks did not look like stopping there as he sent Kaine Stevens running into an open goal, only for the star midfielder to fumble his bounce and give the chance away.

While he looked threatening up forward, Thilthorpe also got a run through the ruck rotation, starting a kick behind the ball in general play when it was locked inside the Bloods’ forward 50, and eventually attending a centre bounce. His leap may not be massive, but the Westies youngster managed to get his hand on the ball nicely against Jonathan Marsh.

Thilthorpe looked to be fading out of the game late due to a lack of opportunity and poor delivery once again, but capped off a solid day with a terrific contested mark on defensive wing, something we will be sure to see much more of in future. His work up the ground late proved clutch, despite not being able to help his side get over the line for the win. Once he gains the confidence to leap at the ball more often, those deft touches will turn to eye catching clunks.

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Q&A: Thilthorpe/Bloods U18s
Draft Watch: Riley Thilthorpe

>> 2020 South Australia U18 Squad Prediction
>> 2020 AFL Draft Analysis: Key Forwards
>> July Power Rankings

Draft Central Power Rankings: July 2020

THROUGH pandemics and great uncertainty, draft hopefuls and fans alike have been assured that the 2020 AFL Draft will go ahead in some capacity, albeit at a later date. As budding elite-level players across the country return to action, it is time to let the cat out of the bag with our first, monthly Power Rankings list for the year. In this edition, we have compiled who we deem to be the top 20 draft eligible prospects and a bunch more to look out for based off under-age form, testing results, and preseason movement.

Note, the list is ordered purely on our opinion and each players’ ability, not on 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.

>> 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 here. 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.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

We have 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 will juggle APS football and NAB League duties in 2020, while standing as a clear leadership candidate for Vic Metro come national carnival time.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#4 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.

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

Grainger-Barras rounds out the top five; another tall, 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 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 of his position.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

While he has been squeezed out to number six at this point, Campbell is a player likely to 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’s scrapping and a shortened NAB League competition, 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.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#7 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 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.

>> Q&A

#8 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 national carnival swing around, lauded for his professionalism and the example he sets via training standards.

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

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

A second Northern Academy prospect and first Queenslander on the 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.

>> Q&A
>> Marquee Matchup

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

Rounding out the top 10 is another inside midfielder and a second NGA product tied to 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.

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

#11 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.

>> Feature
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>> Marquee Matchup

#12 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.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

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

One of Western Australia’s leading prospect’s 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 is already plying her trade at AFLW level for Fremantle.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#14 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 should be on full show as he prepares to feature prominently for Oakleigh, Xavier College, and Vic Metro in 2020.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#15 Brandon Walker
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Defender/Midfielder
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 Fremantle Academy.

>> Draft Watch

#16 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.

>> Draft Diary 1 | 2
>> Marquee Matchup

#17 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 for both of the Eagles’ opening two fixtures in the grade. 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.

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

Perhaps a slightly speculative choice of ranking at this stage, but 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 is 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.

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

#19 Bailey Laurie
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Forward/Midfielder
24/03/2002 | 178cm | 76kg

Another member of Oakleigh’s talent-rich 2019 premiership side, Laurie also features highly in our estimations. The small forward/midfielder is a livewire, and can take games away from the opposition quickly as a high-impact player. His forward running and wonderful agility make for some highlight-reel snippets, consisting of line-breaking bursts and baulks which make his opponents look silly. The Caulfield Grammar student is a great character and a teammate who others love to play alongside, adding a different element to his on-field prowess. He should make the step-up for Oakleigh once again having impressed late last year, while also cracking the Vic Metro line-up.

>> Feature
>> Marquee Matchup

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

Rounding out the top 20 is McDonald, who adds to the strong key position and West Australian representation among the top-end of his cohort. The high-marking key forward represented 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.

>> Draft Watch

IN THE MIX:

While narrowing down an initial list for the year is always difficult, it has proven especially so with the evenness of this year’s talent pool making for a real bottle-neck around the 15-30 range. Established names from all around the country could come into contention, with the likes of South Australian pair Corey Durdin and Luke Edwards currently featuring around the top 30, while fellow Croweater Zac Dumesny has impressed at League level, as have Caleb Poulter, Tom Powell, Bailey Chamberlain, and Jamison Murphy as Under 18s.

While the academy representation is heavy among the list as it is, those with keen eyes may query Errol Gulden‘s absence, while other prospects with ties to AFL clubs like Tariek Newchurch and Connor Downie were also unlucky to miss the cut. There are a few game-winners who could push their way in, as Eddie Ford and Oliver Henry neared contention, while fellow Victorians Jake Bowey and Sam Berry could also push a case based on bottom-age output. Speaking of, Tasmanian standouts Jackson Callow and Oliver Davis were considered, while Sandringham ruck Max Heath looms as a bolter.

SANFL weekly wrap Round 2: Bays go undefeated across all leagues

GLENELG remains undefeated across the three South Australian National Football League (SANFL) grades as we recap what happened in the state league on the weekend.

STURT vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles bounced back from a Round 1 loss to pounce with a 51-point triumph over Sturt in convincing fashion on Saturday. The Eagles dominated possession with almost 100 more disposals – predominantly handballs – plus 78 – but also brought the heat with 96 tackles to 83. After actually trailing by four points at half-time, Woodville-West Torrens went on to boot nine goals from 19 scoring shots to Sturt’s one from four in the second half and record a 14.12 (96) to 6.9 (45) victory. The run included 12 consecutive goals, between Jake Sutcliffe‘s major for the Double Blues at the 17-minute mark of the term, and Casey Voss‘ consolation major late in the last quarter.

Matthew Goldsworthy was impressive around the ground with 23 touches, four marks, eight inside 50s, four tackles, three clearances and two goals, while Nick Hayes kicked three majors from 15 disposals, six marks – two contested – five tackles and four inside 50s. James Rowe was also busy to continue on his form from last year, kicking three goals from five scoring shots, and racking up 20 touches, four marks – two contested – and three inside 50s. Former Port Adelaide midfielder, Jimmy Toumpas had a game-high 27 disposals, five clearances, five tackles and five inside 50s in the win. For Sturt, Voss had 24 touches, four marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and two rebounds to go with his goal, while Sam Wundke was ever reliable in defence with a massive 11 rebounds from 22 touches and five marks – three contested. Zane Kirkwood (22 disposals, five clearances) and ruck Daniel Fahey-Sparks (18 disposals, eight marks, 33 hitouts and a goal) were also prominent in a losing side.

The Reserves saw the Eagles double-up on their League victory with a 25-point win over the Double Blues. It kept their unbeaten season alive and moved and they sit in third on the table after booting five last quarter goals in a remarkable final term. They were on the back foot at three quarter time, but only allowed the opposition one behind in he final term as they booted 5.4 to run away with the 10.8 (68) to 6.7 (43) victory.

In the Under 18s, it was Sturt who claimed a big win over Woodville-West Torrens, booting nine goals to five in the second half – in particular five goals to one in the final term to run away with the contest. They dominated possession and were too strong in the air with 10 more contested marks, whilst both teams had a ridiculously high number of inside 50s (50-41). In the end, Sturt got up 15.7 (97) to 7.10 (52).

Morgan Ferres was electrifying with six goals from eight scoring shots, and 17 touches. He also took nine marks – four contested and was unstoppable in the air. Tom Powell controlled the midfield for Sturt, racking up 35 disposals, seven clearances, eight inside 50s and five tackles, working hard with fellow AFL Academy member, Mani Liddy at the stoppages who had 29 disposals, seven clearances, three inside 50s and four tackles himself. Brad Jefferies (30 disposals, four marks, four clearances and six inside 50s) were also strong, while Will Staples laid 10 tackles from 20 touches, four clearances, five inside 50s and booted a goal.

Caleb Poulter was strong up forward in a losing side, snagging three goals from 16 touches, five marks, seven tackles and seven inside 50s for the Eagles, whilst father-son prospects, Jase Burgoyne (22 disposals, five marks, five tackles and four rebounds) and Taj Schofield (20 disposals, seven tackles, six clearances, eight inside 50s and three rebounds) were also prolific. Zac Buck was a fierce tackling presence with 10 tackles from 21 touches and five clearances, while Charlie Adams and Harrison Dawkins had 18 disposals and six clearances each.

 

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE

North Adelaide’s League side has held off Norwood in a thriller, sentencing the Redlegs to a second straight week of so close, yet so far, with the Roosters getting up by two points on the weekend. The win enable the Roosters to end Round 2 at the top of the table, while Norwood sits at the bottom with an 0-2 record despite conceding just five more points than they scored with three and two-point losses in the opening two rounds. In this match, it was the Roosters who won with a more accurate 9.9 (63) to Norwood’s 8.13 (61) to enjoy the triumph.

Norwood dominated possession across the ground and had a whopping 31 more marks and five more clearances, but it was their inaccuracy in front of goal, combined with the Roosters’ defence that ensured life was difficult for the Redlegs. Campbell Combe was huge through the midfield with 29 disposals, three marks, 15 tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s, while former Hawks and Roo, Billy Hartung feasted on 28 touches, four tackles and six inside 50s to provide some dash for the Roosters. Alex Spina was strong in defence with eight rebounds from 24 disposals and four tackles, whilst former Tiger, Andrew Moore had 23 disposals, six tackles, eight clearances and six inside 50s in a big performances. The goals were shared around with Mitch Harvey and Kym Lebois both snagging two majors for the winners.

Norwood had eight individual goal kickers in the game, as Zac Richards had an equal game-high 29 touches, as well as 10 marks, two clearances, three tackles, four inside 50s and three rebounds for the Redlegs. Matthew Nunn (28 disposals, four marks, five tackles, five clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds) and Declan Hamilton (27 disposals, nine marks, five tackles, six inside 50s and one goal) were both productive. Others who had at least 20 touches were Brad McKenzie, Nic Rokahr, Dom Barry and Mitch Wilkins who worked hard to find the ball around the ground.

The Roosters also moved ahead of Norwood in the Reserves with a 15-point victory over the Redlegs. Both sides headed into the clash after losing their previous encounter, but it was the Roosters who led at every break, ad whilst Norwood tried to hit hard in the final term, booted 1.4 to 1.1 and fell short, going down 9.8 (62) to 6.11 (47).

Norwood turned the tables in the Under 18s however, bouncing back from a disappointing loss the week before to run secure an ultra-impressive 11.7 (73) to 6.10 (46) victory over North Adelaide. The Redlegs took control after trailing by five points at the first break, to boot four goals to zero in the second term, and then four goals to two in the third to get enough separation between themselves and their opposition to win by 27 points at Coopers Stadium.

Norwood dominated the outside play with a massive 112 marks to 77, whilst having five more inside 50s and 75 more disposals. North Adelaide won the clearance battle by five and laid two more tackles, but it would not be enough to get the job done. Michael Cavallaro and Matthew Dnistriansky both had 30 disposals and combined for a massive 19 marks and 10 rebounds, with Cavallaro also helping himself to four inside 50s. Mitchell Trepka (28 disposals, six marks, three clearances, three inside 50s and three tackles) was strong, as was Marcus Roberts (26 touches, five marks, five inside 50s and four tackles), while bottom-age star Cooper Murley had a day out up forward with three goals and spending time up the ground to amass 24 touches, three clearances, five inside 50s and took four marks.

For the second consecutive week, Kallis Freer had a big day out for North Adelaide, picking up a team-high 25 disposals, six marks, five clearances, four tackles and eight inside 50s, while AFL Academy member Jamison Murphy had 21 disposals, four marks, four tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and four rebounds. Hugh Jackson (23 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, seven inside 50s and a goal) and Blayne O’Loughlin (21 disposals, two marks and four rebounds) also had more than 20 touches, while the talented Tariek Newchurch finished with 17 touches, four marks, three inside 50s and 1.1.

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG

Glenelg joined North Adelaide as the only undefeated side in Round 2 after another nail-biting thriller. The Bays won by five points – 15.7 (97) to South Adelaide’s 14.8 (92) – just a week after holding off Norwood to win by three points in that game. The reigning premiers now sit second on the table, whilst South Adelaide slip to fourth, both still having a solid percentage after a Round 1 win. Luke Partington was the difference with the Magarey Medallist leading his side to a vital win on the inside as the Tigers stormed to a plus five in clearances, plus seven in tackles and whopping plus 79 in disposals. Most of that differential was handballs as the Bays were willing to win the contested ball and fire out a handball to someone in space.

After a quiet week by his standards in Round 1, Partington was simply unstoppable in Round 2, amassing 35 disposals, six marks, nine clearances, six inside 50s, three rebounds and three goals in a complete performance. He was far from alone though with teammates Matthew Snook and Marlon Motlop both racking up nine clearances each. Snook also had 28 touches, five tackles and six inside 50s, while Motlop booted two goals from 25 disposals, eight tackles and four inside 50s. In the week that his brother Matt returned to the Collingwood team, Jonty Scharenberg also had a big day for the Bays with 22 touches, seven marks, four tackles and three rebounds. Jack Hannath showed his experience in the ruck with a mammoth 43 hitouts from 15 disposals, while other former AFL players, Cory Gregson and Billy Stretch booted three goals between them from a combined 36 touches.

Joel Cross tried his heart out in the midfield for the Panthers, picking up seven clearances from 24 disposals and five inside 50s, teaming up well with ex-Power player, Matthew Broadbent (19 disposals, five clearances, four tackles and six inside 50s) and Nic Schwartz (17 disposals, six clearances, five tackles and four inside 50s). Hayden Sampson was busy inside 50 with three majors from 17 touches and four inside 50s, while former NEAFL talent Thomas Highmore looked composed once again with 15 disposals and five marks. Young talent, Zach Dumesny did not look out of place thanks to 15 disposals, six marks, three tackles and four rebounds.

Glenelg also sits undefeated in the Reserves competition with another strong win, this time knocking off the Panthers by 29 points. They booted five goals to one in the third term after a relatively even first half, then capitalised on the only goal of the final quarter to win 9.6 (60) to 4.7 (31). The loss meant South Adelaide sits seventh, but only marginal percentage behind fellow winless side, Norwood in sixth.

Glenelg’s Under 18s side’s win meant much celebration for the yellow and black with all three teams remaining undefeated in season 2020 thus far. The Bays sit second after two games, only behind Sturt, whilst the Panthers loss saw them slip to third with a percentage of exactly 50 after the first two games. Glenelg had to come from 14 points down at the final break to boot 3.6 to 0.0 in the last term and run over the top of the Panthers, It meant they had more scoring options pop up after Riley Holder had booted four of the Tigers’ six goals to three quarter time. Glenelg dominated the tackle count (plus 20) and disposals (plus 75) but were beaten at the stoppages in both hitouts (minus six) and clearances (minus five).

Lewis Rayson (31 disposals, 10 marks, eight tackles, two clearances and four rebounds) and Xavier Robins (30 disposals, four marks, four tackles and five rebounds) both had big days, but it was the first half of Holder who finished with four goals from 22 touches, eight marks – four contested – three tackles and four inside 50s that really stood out. Potential father-son prospect Luke Edwards racked up 29 touches and booted one goal from four scoring shots, while Hagan Wright laid an impressive 12 tackles from 24 touches, six marks, three inside 50s, three clearances and two rebounds.

Bottom-agers Matty Roberts and Jason Horne were huge for the Panthers, combining for a huge 63 disposals, 22 marks, 18 tackles, 19 clearances, seven inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal in a duo that could well draw comparisons to Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson coming through the Oakleigh program. Another bottom-ager in Arlo Draper picked up 18 touches, five marks and booted two goals, while Max Clifton (25 touches, four marks, six clearances, four inside 50s and four tackles) was also prominent for the Panthers.

 

WEST ADELAIDE vs CENTRAL DISTRICT

Both West Adelaide and Central District headed into the game winless, and left winless, though showed that at their best they are going to trouble some sides. The Bloods and Bulldogs could not be split by the final siren, in a tale of two halves. West Adelaide almost put the game to bed at quarter time had they kicked straight, booting 6.5 to 1.2, with another slow Central start costing them. They picked up after quarter time and roared to the finish line, even leading right up until the 23rd minute mark of the term. Murray Waite converted a goal as the Bloods trailed by six points to level the scores to provide SANFL followers with the first draw of the season. West Adelaide dominated the hitouts (plus 25) and clearances (plus 18), but Central was up for the fight, with 23 more tackles and 12 more marks. Despite losing prized recruit Daniel Menzel for the season, the Bulldogs fought back from another deficit to take home some points.

Jordon Boyle helped himself to 27 touches, five marks, three clearances and five inside 50s for the Bloods, but it was Kaine Stevens‘ efforts onball that really stood out for the Westies. Stevens amassed a game-high 12 clearances to go with 26 disposals, three marks and five tackles, while Josh Schiller had 24 disposals, three marks, seven tackles and five clearances in there. Aaron Anderson (26 disposals, three marks, three tackles and three rebounds) was promising, while the talented Elliot Dunkin picked up 22 disposals, six marks and four rebounds. Potential top AFL draft pick, Riley Thilthorpe played through the ruck and up forward to finish with 10 touches, two marks, five tackles, 15 hitouts and 1.2 for the game, working well with Andre Parrella (12 disposals, 43 hitouts) in the ruck.

James Boyd had a match-high 29 disposals and eight marks, as well as a team-high six clearances to go with five tackles, three inside 50s and a goal. In the absence of his brother, Troy Menzel picked up 25 disposals, six marks, five inside 50s and booted two goals in the draw, whilst Luke Habel had 23 disposals, three marks, four tackles and five rebounds out of defence. Young gun Corey Durdin booted a neat two goals from 14 touches, five marks and three tackles, while former Port forward John Butcher returned to slot three goals from 10 touches, five marks and seven hitouts to be a force inside 50.

Central District Reserves ran out easy 35-point winners over West Adelaide, switched on from the first bounce to race to a 27-point lead by half-time. West Adelaide tried to fight back in the second half, but it was a case of too little, too late as the Bulldogs managed to hold their advantage with five goals apiece after half-time to win 13.12 (90) to 8.7 (55). The Bulldogs remain undefeated in the competition and sit second, while the Bloods are fourth with a 1-1 win-loss record.

Central’s Under 18s side also enjoyed a promising win, picking up a 30-point victory after a slow start, They booted just one goal in the opening term to West Adelaide’s four from nine scoring shots, but the Dogs found their feet after that. Getting to within 13 points at the main break, and then seven points at the last change, the Bulldogs piled on six goals to zero in the final term to run away with the contest. They had five players with multiple goals to their names, while the Bloods shared the goals around with nine individual goalkickers in the loss. Central District had 31 more kicks but 23 less handballs, opting for moving the ball more directly, as well as having a couple more inside 50s, but less marks, tackles, hitouts and clearances.

Austin McDonald backed up his impressive performance from Round 1 with a team-high 25 disposals, two marks, five tackles, five clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while Chris Tidswell (21 disposals, three rebounds and a goal) and Lewis Cowham (20 disposals, four marks, six tackles and five inside 50s) both found plenty of the ball. Michael De Jonge booted three majors from 17 touches, while Aidan Mudge (two goals), Luca Whitelum (two), Leek Alleer (two) and Finn Reed (two) also had multiple goals.

For the Bloods, Lachlan De Cesare found plenty of the ball once again through midfield, notching up a match-high 26 disposals, as well as eight clearances, eight tackles, four marks and a goal. He teamed up with Cade Kennedy (19 disposals, nine clearances, eight tackles, three inside 50s and a goal) and Bailey Chamberlain (24 touches, six clearances, four tackles, three inside 50s and three rebounds) with their three main midfielders also hitting the scoreboard. Luke Heitmann worked hard in the ruck for 22 hitouts from nine disposals and a goal, whilst Harvey Bock (15 disposals, three marks – two contested – three tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds) was prominent across the field.

2020 SANFL Round 2 preview: Sides return after dusting off the cobwebs

AFTER fans got a taste of South Australian National Football League (SANFL) football last weekend, Round 2 kicks off with plenty on the lines as the teams look to back-up after long layoff heading into Round 1.

Sturt vs Woodville-West Torrens

League:

Sturt will do battle with Woodville-West Torrens to kick off round two of the SANFL Statewide Super League. The Double Blues led all day and ultimately defeated Central District by 15 points in the season-opener last weekend. After missing out on a finals berth last season, Woodville-West Torrens narrowly lost their opening encounter of 2020 to South Adelaide. Despite wrestling back the lead late in the final term, thanks to goals from the Hayes brothers (Jack and Nick) and gun small forward James Rowe, the Panthers escaped with a six-point victory.

If they are to get their season rolling, the Eagles must put time into Sturt recruit Ash Johnson, the brother of current-Crow Shane McAdam, who booted three goals in the win. His aerial ability, athleticism and raw talent ensure he is one to watch. Fellow off-season signing Abe Davis and small forward Josh Hone will also cause headaches for new Eagles coach Jade Sheedy, given their potency up forward. As is often the case, the midfield-battle will be vital to the outcome of this clash. Industrial Sturt skipper James Battersby was arguably to best-on-ground last weekend for his work around the stoppages, collecting 26 disposals, eight tackles and 11 clearances. Dual Magarey Medallist Zane Kirkwood perhaps wasn’t at his damaging best against the ‘Dogs, but will demand serious attention all day.

Jordan Foote and Jimmy Toumpas will again be expected to lead the way in the Eagles engine-room. Foote was a strong inside presence on the weekend, finishing with six clearances, seven tackles and 21 possessions, whilst Toumpas’ class and skill shone on the outside. Midfield mainstays Angus Poole and Sam Rowland will be looking to benefit from the tap-work of big-man Jarrad Redden, who will do battle with Sturt’s Daniel Fahey-Sparks. The athletic Fahey-Sparks looks to have made big strides in the off-season, finishing the match against Central Districts with 52 hitouts and four clearances from his six possessions. Redden will receive a welcome chop-out from Jack Hayes, who proved a colossus in the air against South. Hayes booted two goals, recorded 17 hit-outs and clunked five contested marks but was also effective at ground-level, laying eight tackles and a couple of clearances. Sturt will be hopeful of regaining prolific midfielder Sam Colquhoun, who missed the round one clash with a hamstring injury, and medium-forward Jake Sutcliffe, who was struck down by illness.

Reserves:

The Eagles and Double Blues Reserves will converge at Peter Motley Oval on Sunday morning to continue their seasons. In another close finish, Woodville-West Torrens managed to defeat their South Adelaide opponents by eight points on Sunday, in a match where both sides were efficient in front of goal. However, that was not the case for the Double Blues reserves, who were bombarded early and will rue missing a number of opportunities in their 14-point loss to Central Districts. After a strong season last year, the Double Blues will be looking to notch up their first win against Woodville-West Torrens, who were beaten by Norwood in the 2019 Reserves Grand Final.

Under 18s:

The Under 18s sides will do battle after the reserves game on Sunday afternoon, with the Double Blues looking to build upon a comprehensive 48-point win over the Bulldogs. The Eagles, a traditional under-18s powerhouse, were defeated by close-rivals South Adelaide by ten-points. The Eagles have won the past two U18 Torrens University Cups over the Panthers but South Adelaide gained some round one revenge, despite the best efforts of prolific Eagles midfielder Caleb Poulter.

Poulter, a versatile 191cm prospect kicked a goal and amassed 34 disposals, seven marks (two contested), ten tackles, and seven clearances in the loss. Promising SA Hub tall forward Zac Phillips booted two goals and will prove a difficult match-up for the Sturt defence. The Double Blues will again be looking to feed off the midfield work of Mani Liddy and Tom Powell, who were both dominant in the win over Centrals at Elizabeth Oval. Look out for half-forward Morgan Ferres, who impressed with his clean hands and aerial ability in the victory.

 

Norwood vs North Adelaide

League:

Off-the-back of an impressive round one win over West Adelaide, the Roosters will face a tough test on Saturday afternoon against the battle-hardened Redlegs. In a re-match of the 2018 Grand Final, Norwood will be keen on asserting themselves on the contest, after being narrowly defeated by Glenelg in the marquee game of the opening round. North Adelaide’s x-factor forward Lewis Hender jumped out of the blocks, kicking seven goals-straight in the 29-point win.

Encouragingly for new coach Jacob Surjan, the Roosters off-season signings all started well, with midfielders Cameron HewettAndrew Moore and Billy Hartung getting involved early and finishing with 18, 25 and 19 disposals, respectively. Hewett and fellow inside midfielders Campbell Combe and Tom Schwarz were strong on the inside of the contest, laying a combined 28 tackles. The Roosters on-ball unit will need to be at their best when they face a battle-hardened Norwood midfield, headlined by deadly trio Richard DouglasMatthew Nunn and Mitch Grigg.

Douglas, a star signing in the off-season, recorded eight tackles and four clearances from his 20 touches, whilst Nunn, Grigg and Matthew Panos all benefited from the dominance of premier-ruckman Sam Baulderstone. Roosters ruckman James Craig will have his work cut out for him against the 200cm Baulderstone, who has proven to be the leagues best ruckman over his career. The Norwood on-ball unit is formidable and will only be further improved by the anticipated addition of Ryan Bastinac, who started the season in the reserves.

Norwood defenders Nik Rokahr, Mitch Wilkins and Nick Pedro face the daunting task of shutting down Roosters forwards Frank Szekely and Kym LeBois, who kicked a combined five goals in the win over West Adelaide. Injuries plagued Rooster Harrison Wigg‘s AFL career during stints with Adelaide and the Gold Coast, however his obvious talent was on show for all to see on Saturday, collecting 27 disposals, nine marks and six rebound 50s. Norwood must look to nullify his intercept marking ability across the backline. Redlegs running-machine Anthony Wilson is expected to miss another week with a calf injury, but tall defender Michael Talia faces a test to prove he is over his hamstring complaint. For the red and white, tall Alex Barns and son-of-a-gun Ben Jarman will both face tests after sustaining ankle injuries. The Redlegs will start as the clear favourites, but a revamped Roosters side will be eyeing off what would be a major scalp.

Reserves:

North Adelaide won the reserves competition in 2018 but, much like the clubs league side, slumped in 2019. Wooden-spooners from last season, the Roosters reserves will face the Redlegs seconds at the Parade on Sunday afternoon. Norwood were beaten by Glenelg last weekend and will be eager to bounce-back on home turf. Ryan Bastinac could be promoted to the league side after brushing off the cobwebs in the reserves against Glenelg. Norwood small midfielder Harry Nelligan has attracted the attention of draft watchers for his fierce tackling and prolific ball-winning and will expected to once-again line-up at reserves level on Sunday. For North Adelaide, young midfielder Harrison Magor and promising key defender Dyson Hilder will be looking to build form in the reserves to mount a case for a call-up to the Roosters league set-up.

Under 18s:

Norwood’s Under 18s side failed to land a punch against the Bays on Saturday, going down by 44 points. Matthew Dnistriansky‘s work across the backline was a standout in the defeat. He collected a team-high 25 disposals, nine marks and 10 rebounds. SA Hub member Cooper Murley also showed signs in the loss. The Roosters Under 18s defeated the Bloods by 12-points in round one, with exciting small forward and potential Crows NGA prospect Tariek Newchurch booting three goals. Captain Jamison Murphy has turned the heads of recruiters since picking football over cricket and will again be one to watch in the midfield, after a well-rounded performance at Prospect Oval last Saturday. He collected 26 disposals, three marks, four tackles, two clearances, six inside 50s and five rebounds.

 

South Adelaide vs Glenelg

League:

South Adelaide held off the fast finishing Eagles but face a more daunting task in the form of the reigning-premiers, Glenelg. Ken Farmer Medalist Liam McBean booted four goals to confirm his status as the leagues best key forward and will prove a tough match-up, likely for South Adelaide key defender Jake Summerton, who gains no reprieve after battling the Hayes brothers last weekend. Rugged midfielders Matthew Snook and Bradley Agnew were as industrial as ever and Marlon Motlop‘s silky skills will worry the South Adelaide coaching staff.

Magarey Medallist Luke Partington was not quite at his destructive best, but will prove a handful for the Panthers midfield, which will likely be without skipper Matthew Rose after he sustained a shoulder injury. In his absence, star onballer Joel Cross was left to do much of the heavy lifting and will again be relied upon in the engine room against a strong Glenelg midfield. Encouraging for the Panthers were the senior debuts of small forward Beau McCreery and versatile draft prospect Zac Dumesny.

McCreery proved invaluable in the last term, helping wrestle back the momentum by kicking back-to-back majors late in the final term, and Dumesny did not look out of place, collecting 11 disposals. Although several years older than McCreery and Dumesny, former-Power defender Matthew Broadbent also made a successful debut for the club down back.

Glenelg’s recruits also performed well, with former-Docker Jack Hannath strong in the ruck and Jackson Edwards providing solid rebound from the defensive-50. South Adelaide’s Malcolm Karpany suffered a back injury and will face a test later in the week, and Glenelg’s Tom Condon will also need to prove his fitness before the Sunday afternoon clash. Glenelg deservedly start as favourites, but South will be feeling positive after a win over the Eagles.

Reserves:

The Panthers and Tigers reserves will lock-horns at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday in a mid-morning time-slot. The Tigers defeated Norwood by 22-points last weekend, whilst the Panthers, despite kicking straight, were beaten by the Eagles in a close-encounter at Woodville’s Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. The Tigers Reserves will be looking to build upon the solid start and continue to feed-off the recent success of the league side, whilst the Panthers are aiming to launch a finals campaign after missing out in the previous four seasons.

Under 18s:

The Bays made it three-from-three across the weekend when the under-18s recorded a comprehensive 44-point triumph. SA Academy Hub member and potential Crows father-son prospect Luke Edwards was solid in the win, collecting 22 disposals. His versatility, size and experience as a bottom-ager at the 2019 National Championships will likely see him move beyond under-18s level soon enough. Luke Pedlar was dominant for the Bays, finishing the clash with Norwood with 28 disposals, three marks, six tackles and four clearances, whilst Lucas Schultz bagged four majors. Key tall Riley Holder could prove a handful for the Panthers, as could the running capacity of Xavier Robins. Panthers skipper Nicholas Kraemer is expected to lead from the front once again, after his nine-tackle showing against the Eagles.

 

West Adelaide V Central Districts

League:

In the final match of round two, Central Districts take on West Adelaide, with both sides no-doubt eager to earn their first points of the new season. The Bulldogs struggled to get things going in their forward half, despite the exciting off-season acquisition of Daniel Menzel. Centrals would have been pleased with the efforts of midfielders James BoydJarrod Schiller and Nick Lange, who battled hard against a strong Double Blues on-ball unit.

This week, they will face the likes of former-Hawk Dallas Willsmore and consistent veteran Kaine Stevens. The ruck battle is also likely to be closely fought, between West Adelaide big man Andre Parrella and Centrals’ Jonathan Marsh. Whilst Marsh was beaten in the ruck by Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks, he still managed 37 hitouts and was busier around the ground than his Sturt counterpart, collecting 10 disposals and laying seven tackles. Parrella, one of the competitions best tap ruckmen, beat North’s James Craig on the weekend, winning the hitouts 49 to 29.

The eyes of many draft watchers will remain fixed on ultra-talented ruckman/tall-forward Riley Thilthorpe, who will again line-up in attack for the Bloods, alongside skipper Tom Keough. Energetic small forward Lyndon Hupfeld will be one to watch this week, after his four-goal performance against North. The Dogs enter the round two clash with a clean-bill of health, but Bloods off-season signing Josh Koster will miss with a hamstring injury. Josh Schiller missed a large chunk of 2019 with a shoulder injury and suffered a back complaint in the clash with North Adelaide. He faces a test to prove his fitness. Although both sides are not expected to feature in the finals series, this match-up could prove to be the closest of all the round two fixtures.

Reserves:

Central Districts reserves side will make the trip down into Adelaide’s western suburbs to do battle with the Bloods at Hisense Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Dogs are coming off a hard-fought victory over Sturt, whilst West Adelaide made the Roosters pay for their inaccurate goal-kicking, coming out victorious by 31 points away from their Richmond home. Currently top after the opening round of action, the Bloods will be eager to continue their winning ways after a disappointing 2019 season which saw the side finish seventh. The Bulldogs seconds have been strong performers over the past few seasons, finishing in the finals since 2017 but failing to claim the ultimate prize.

Under 18s:

The Under-18 sides for the respective clubs will also face-off on Saturday. The Bloods and Bulldogs both lost their opening round fixtures but West will likely start this encounter as favourites, given the Bulldogs under-18s struggles in recent seasons. Midfielders Lewis Cowham and 16-year-old Austin McDonald were rare highlights during the hefty loss to Sturt, with both players finding an abundance of the football. McDonald was particularly strong around the stoppages, finishing with a game-high 12 clearances despite his inferior age. After facing Sturt, SA Academy Hub midfielders Tom Powell and Mani Liddy last weekend, the Dogs onballers gain no reprieve and appear set to clash with the prolific Bailey Chamberlain. Forward Jye Sinderberry may also cause some headaches for the Bulldogs defenders.

SANFL weekly wrap Round 1: Tigers hold off Norwood in massive opening round clash

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) returned over the weekend, seeing matches played out between all eight teams across the three divisions, with the competition barring Adelaide and Port Adelaide this season. In the league division, Glenelg just held on for a daring win over Norwood, while North Adelaide came away with a quality win over West Adelaide to kick off the season.

Sturt v. Central District

League: Sturt 8.3 (51) defeated Central District 5.6 (36)

Sturt made a strong start to the season on Saturday, defeating Central by 15 points at the Adelaide Oval. Sturt fielded seven debutants in the clash after Jake Sutcliffe (illness) and Sam Colquhoun (hamstring) were late withdrawals. The new-look side was strong in the clearances from the outset with ruckman Daniel Fahey-Sparks (52 hitouts) providing first use to midfielders James Battersby (26 disposals, 11 clearances), Zane Kirkwood (21 disposals) and youngster Casey Voss (16 disposals, six clearances). The Blues kicked the first five goals of the game, including three from exciting forward Ash Johnson.

Central worked their way back into the game and ended up dominating the disposals 289-234, marks 107-39 and tackles 97-68. Unfortunately for them, the early deficit proved too difficult to come back from, and Sturt were more efficient with the ball inside forward 50. With Sutcliffe, Colquhoun, premiership wingman Steven Slimming (ankle) and former Port Adelaide livewire Aidyn Johnson (suspension) looking to return next week, Sturt coach Nathan Grima will have his hands full at the selection table.

Reserves: Central District 7.11 (53) defeated Sturt 5.9 (39)

Central’s Reserves side started the year with a comfortable victory over Sturt by 14 points. The final score did not reflect the Bulldogs’ dominance in this game, as they led by 32 points at three-quarter-time before Sturt piled on three goals to none in the last term.

Under 18s: Sturt 14.13 (97) defeated Central District 7.6 (48)

Sturt were far too strong in the Under 18s, getting over the line by 49 points at X Convenience Oval. Central kicked just one goal before half time and trailed by 49 points at the main break. AFL Academy Squad members Mani Liddy (33 disposals, 11 clearances) and Tom Powell (33 disposals, seven clearances) were both impressive for the Double Blues, as was Morgan Ferres (15 disposals, three goals). Lewis Cowham and Austin McDonald both worked hard for the Bulldogs.

Woodville-West Torrens v. South Adelaide

League: South Adelaide 11.8 (74) defeated Woodville-West Torrens 10.8 (68)

Debutant Beau McCreery was the hero for South Adelaide, lifting his side over the line against Woodville-West Torrens in a close encounter. When scores were level late in the final term, McCreery ran down former Port Adelaide player Jimmy Toumpas and converted a goal from long range, before showing his speed one minute later to kick another from the goal square. Although Eagles veteran Angus Poole was able to bring the margin back to six points at the 28 minute mark, South were able to hold on.

Dual Magarey Medallist Joel Cross was outstanding for the Panthers, finishing with 34 disposals, 12 clearances and four tackles. Ex-Port Adelaide defender Matthew Broadbent was steady in his first game for the club with 26 disposals, six marks and seven tackles, while potential AFL draftee Zac Dumesny showed promise early in his SANFL League debut. For the Eagles, Jordan Foote collected 21 disposals, seven tackles and five inside 50s, and the Hayes brothers kicked five goals between them in an impressive display. The Eagles will look to bounce back next week against Sturt, while the Panthers will take on the Tigers.

Reserves: Woodville-West Torrens 12.4 (76) defeated South Adelaide 10.8 (68)

Last year’s Reserves grand finalists Woodville-West Torrens got their season off to an ideal start, winning by eight points against the Panthers at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. South led for the majority of the contest but the Eagles ran over the top in the final term.

Under 18s: South Adelaide 10.12 (72) defeated Woodville-West Torrens 9.8 (62)

The Panthers had a nice come from behind win in the under 18s, getting over the line by ten points. Max Clifton had 26 disposals, seven clearances and six tackles for the Panthers, while Nicholas Kraemer was tough at the contest with nine tackles. 191cm midfielder Caleb Poulter kicked off his season in style, racking up an imposing 34 disposals, ten tackles, seven clearances, six inside 50s and a goal for the Eagles. He is definitely a prospect to watch in 2020.

North Adelaide v. West Adelaide

League: North Adelaide 15.6 (96) defeated West Adelaide 10.7 (67)

Lewis Hender helped North Adelaide start the season with a bang, kicking seven goals en route to a 29-point victory over the Bloods on Sunday. Hender took nine marks including an early mark of the year contender in the dominant performance. He made the most of some silver service from the Roosters’ experienced midfield made up of former AFL-listed players Harrison Wigg (27 disposals, nine marks), Andrew Moore (25 disposals, seven tackles) and Billy Hartung (19 disposals, four inside 50s). North were prevalent in the clearances (39-32) and tackles (72-53).

While the Bloods were able to regularly get the ball inside forward 50, they did struggle to keep it there as the day went on. Jordon Boyle (27 disposals, eight clearances, six inside 50s) was a standout in his first game for West, while Dallas Willsmore (25 disposals, 11 marks, six tackles) worked hard all day. Potential number one pick Riley Thilthorpe had ten disposals, five tackles and five hitouts in his first game of the season.

Reserves: West Adelaide 14.2 (86) defeated North Adelaide 7.13 (55)

An accurate West Adelaide outfit proved too good in the Reserves, kicking just two behinds in their 31-point win. Kyle Kirk, Mitch Duval and Austin Forbes were impressive performers for the Bloods and will be pushing for League selection next week.

Under 18s: North Adelaide 8.10 (58) defeated West Adelaide 7.4 (46)

North Adelaide were too good in the Under 18s, defeating the Bloods by 12 points at Prospect Oval. West led for most of the game but North ran over the top in a frantic final term. AFL Academy Squad members Tariek Newchurch (three goals) and Jamison Murphy (26 disposals, four tackles) stood out in their first game of the season, as did Kallis Freer (27 disposals, four marks). Bailey Chamberlain was great for the Bloods with 28 disposals, five tackles and five clearances.

Glenelg v. Norwood

League: Glenelg 11.10 (76) defeated Norwood 10.13 (73)

Glenelg have started their premiership defence on the right foot, defeating Norwood by three points in a thriller at Adelaide Oval. The Redlegs got out to an early lead but the Tigers clawed their way back with an outstanding third term, kicking three goals to zero. This set up a final term with multiple momentum swings and lead changes until reigning Magarey Medallist Luke Partington kicked a long-range set shot to give Glenelg the victory.

Carl Nicholson was arguably best on ground for Glenelg, finishing with 21 disposals, eight inside 50s, six marks and a goal. Defensive recruit Luke Parks was brilliant in his first game for the club with 16 disposals and ten marks, several of which were intercepted. Max Proud was also great in defence with six marks and four tackles, while Liam McBean was his usual dominant-self up forward with four goals. For the Redlegs, Matthew Panos worked hard for his 21 disposals and two goals, former Crow Richard Douglas (20 disposals, seven tackles) played well in his first game since retiring from AFL, and veteran ruckman Sam Baulderstone displayed some brilliant ruck craft amongst his 41 hitouts. Norwood’s defence held up well all day and can consider themselves unlucky not to come out with the two points. They will hope to welcome Ryan Bastinac to the side for next week’s clash against the Roosters, while Glenelg will take on the Panthers in what should be an enthralling matchup.

Reserves: Glenelg 12.7 (79) defeated Norwood 8.9 (57)

Reigning Reserves premiers Norwood fell in their first match of the season to the Tigers by 22 points. It is a major scalp for Glenelg’s Reserves side and should give them great confidence going into next week.

Under 18s: Glenelg 12.12 (84) defeated Norwood 5.10 (40)

Glenelg were also too strong in the Under 18s, defeating Norwood by 44 points. The Redlegs failed to hit the front all game as they struggled to get the ball into their front half, losing the inside 50s 34-53. Potential draftee Luke Edwards collected 22 disposals, five clearances and six tackles for the Tigers, while Luke Pedlar (28 disposals, six tackles, six inside 50s) also impressed. Cooper Murley was the sole AFL Academy Squad member to play for the Redlegs in this game, finishing with 20 disposals and three tackles. Matthew Dnistriansky worked hard for his 25 disposals, ten rebound 50s and nine marks.

For more SANFL news and recaps, follow Tom Cheesman on Twitter.

AFL Draft Watch: Bailey Chamberlain (West Adelaide/South Australia)

IN the build up to football eventually returning, Draft Central  takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already garnered attention for state representation at Under 17 or Under 18s level in 2019. While plenty can change between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at pre-season testing, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft watch is West Adelaide prospect Bailey Chamberlain, a midfielder with well-balanced inside and outside traits. The 179cm prospect is exceptionally quick off the mark, able to burn opponents either on the outside or through traffic, and finish his carries with penetrative kicks.

Chamberlain managed to crack the Bloods’ Reserves grade for three appearances as a bottom-ager in 2019, and will be looking to go a step further once SANFL football returns in 2020. He will also play a key role among South Australia’s Under 18 midfield group, adding a touch of flair to the mix. Catch up on how he has been tracking thus far.

PLAYER PAGE:

Bailey Chamberlain
West Adelaide/South Australia

DOB: June 26, 2002

Height: 179cm
Weight: 70kg

Position: Balanced midfielder

Strengths: Speed, inside/outside balance, run-and-carry, penetration
Improvements: Kicking at speed

2019 SANFL Reserves Stats: 3 games | 13.7 disposals | 2.3 marks | 3.0 tackles | 4.6 clearances | 2.5 inside 50s | 0.7 rebound 50s | 0.7 goals (2)

2019 SANFL Under 18s Stats: 16 games | 21.6 disposals | 3.8 marks | 4.8 tackles | 4.6 clearances |  3.0 inside 50s | 1.8 rebound 50s | 0.3 goals (4)

PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

Standing Vertical Jump – 62cm
Running Vertical Jump (R/L) – 68cm/73cm
Speed (20m) – 3.08 seconds
Agility – 8.58 seconds
Endurance (Yo-yo) – 20.5

>> Full Testing Results:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
Yo-yo

QUOTES FROM PRESEASON

Goals… “Just trying to push for a League game really. I’ve just been working as hard as I can to try and push into that selection so hopefully I can play some good footy in the Reserves and then get the call-up… and definitely (playing State Under 18s) is my major goal this year, just to play the champs, play every game and play well.”

Strengths… “My ability to play both inside and outside. I reckon I’m a pretty versatile player in the midfield, I can play that winger role or play an inside role.”

Favourite teammates… “Definitely Riley (Thilthorpe). We’re best mates so it’s pretty good running out next to him. Taj Schofield obviously, I go to school with him so I’m pretty close with him – those are the two main ones.”

>> Get to know: West Adelaide Under 18s

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

>> 2020 South Australia U18 Squad Prediction

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

Allies:
Tahj Abberley
Jackson Callow
Braeden Campbell
Oliver Davis
Errol Gulden

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Vic Country:
Sam Berry
Jack Ginnivan
Nick Stevens
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Vic Metro:
Jackson Cardillo
Nikolas Cox
Connor Downie
Finlay Macrae
Reef McInnes
Archie Perkins

Western Australia:
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Brandon Walker
Joel Western

2020 SANFL season preview: Can the Bays go back-to-back?

LAST year saw a drought-breaking year in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) with Glenelg taking home its first League premiership since 1986. The Tigers were able to bounce back from a loss earlier in the finals series to take out Port Adelaide in the grand final last year. The result also meant seven of the eight non-AFL affiliated clubs have won SANFL titles this turn of the century with only South Adelaide (1964) holding a drought longer than a decade from those sides. We take a look at the eight sides in contention for the 2020 SANFL premiership in order of ladder position last year (minus Adelaide and Port Adelaide).

GLENELG

Finished: Premiers
Wins: 13
Draws: 2
Losses: 3
Best & Fairest: Jesse White
Leading Goalkicker: Liam McBean & Luke Reynolds (53)

The reigning premiers return to the competition as deserving favourites in the new year, as the likes of Margarey Medallist Luke Partington and reigning leading goalkickers, Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds back in the yellow and black.

Over the off-season, the Bays have been able to bring in some young talent including former Crow Jackson Edwards who returns to South Australia, ex-Sydney Academy talent Luke Parks, and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels forward, Mitch Martin. Unfortunately young star Kaine Baldwin will miss the season through another anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. However, the Tigers have every reason to be buoyant about the season ahead.

After all, their list of ex-AFL talent is quite impressive, with names such as Cory Gregson and Billy Stretch alongside Luke Edwards. Expect the Tigers to be the team to beat in 2020.

STURT

Finished: 4th
Wins: 11
Draws: 0
Losses: 7
Best & Fairest: Sam Colquhoun
Leading Goalkicker: Josh Hone (35)

The Double Blues will be confident of a rise up the ladder in 2020 with a couple of handy pickups including talented high-flyer Jordan Houlahan who returns from the AFL, as well as another ex-Cat and Crow, Dean Gore.

Tom Lewis will provide some extra youth and inside hardness alongside the likes of outside movers, Josh Shute and Mihail Lochowiak who have been impressive in past years. Sam Colquhoun has been a star of the competition of late, and with last year’s leading goalkicker Josh Hone also coming back for 2020, Sturt will be competitive once again.

They have a lost a fair chunk of talent over the off-season including ex-AFL talent Danyle Pearce who opted to retire alongside four others including Jack Stephens and Fraser Evans. The Double Blues will likely need to time to adjust in the season.

NORWOOD

Finished: 5th
Wins: 11
Draws: 7
Losses: 0
Best & Fairest: Brad McKenzie
Leading Goalkicker: Peter Bampton (31)

The experience of the Redlegs after a grand final appearance the year before did not end up helping them get past the first week of finals in 2019. They have some serious big names on their list from best and fairest winner Brad McKenzie, to the likes of form AFL-listed talents Dom Barry, Lewis Johnston and Mitch Grigg.

A 2020 recruit in Daniel Johnston will help add some extra height to the side, and provide some firepower alongside the likes of Matthew Panos and Peter Bampton up forward. The biggest inclusion is former Crow, Richard Douglas, who should immediately be in the top five players across the league, whilst another ex-AFL talent in Ryan Bastinac announced yesterday that he would be joining the Redlegs after initially pulling out of the league due to commitments.

If the inclusions are anything to go by, Norwood will be the biggest threat to Glenelg’s crown and could well go all the way if their players remain fit throughout the season.

SOUTH ADELAIDE

Finished: 6th
Wins: 9
Draws: 2
Losses: 7
Best & Fairest: Joel Cross
Leading Goalkicker: Joel Cross (26)

All eyes will be on the Panthers in season 2020 as they try and crack into the top four on the back of some savvy recruiting. Former AFL talent, Matthew Broadbent will help South Adelaide to try and mount a case to rise up the ladder.

Along with the experienced duo, Canberra’s Tom Highmore and Sydney Swans Academy’s Ky McGrath were both vying for draft selection last year, and will be among those looking to take over from a number of Double Blues stars who have left the club. With Brad Crabb and Nick Liddle both exiting, Mark Noble joining his brother in Victoria and Emmanuel Ira also on the out, the main role of the recruits will be to support Joel Cross with some extra depth through the team.

Cross won both the leading goalkicker and best and fairest award last season, and with a young side that has a number of South Australians coming through the state team, the Panthers would be keen to bring through their next crop of players.

WWT EAGLES

Finished: 7th
Wins: 8
Draws: 0
Losses: 10
Best & Fairest: Jordan Foote
Leading Goalkicker: James Rowe (35)

The Under 18s premiers have now lost their array of young talent to the AFL, with the likes of Kysaiah Pickett, Jackson Mead and Harry Schoenberg among those who landed on AFL lists last year. They have brought in Kai Pudney and Mitch Mead from Port Adelaide’s SANFL side, whilst the big recruit might be Liam Buxton from Casey Demons.

It will be an interesting season for the Eagles who have some genuine elite talents through the side, including best and fairest winner Jordan Foote – an ex-AFL talent himself – and small forward James Rowe who made the transition to senior footy seamlessly.

They should be among the mid-table log-jam of teams to battle for a top four place, and with the senior experience still on the list after a seventh placed finish last year, they could well get it done whilst other teams are still trying to gel.

CENTRAL DISTRICT

Finished: 8th
Wins: 5
Draws: 0
Losses: 13
Best & Fairest: Jarrod Schiller
Leading Goalkicker: Troy Menzel (33)

One of the potential bigger improvers in season 2020, Central District has acquired the services of a second Menzel brother with Dan joining Troy at the Bulldogs. Troy was huge last season winning the leading goalkicker award and now the double trouble of the goalsneaks will make life difficult for the opposition. The big question mark will be losing the Neagle trio in Jydon, Jaxon and Matthew back to Wodonga.

Through the midfield, the other brother combination in Jarrod and Travis Schiller will be tough to combat again, whilst former Tiger, Ben Nason has crossed from Woodville-West Torrens. The Bulldogs have also brought in some big ball winners from Victoria, with Murray Bushrangers’ Cam Wild and Dandenong Stingrays’ Jack Toner joining the club along with former Stingrays’ goalsneak Jai Nanscawen for the 2020 season.

Given the talent on the list and two less sides, it would be a near-certainty that the Bulldogs reach the finals.

NORTH ADELAIDE

Finished: 9th
Wins: 4
Draws: 1
Losses: 13
Best & Fairest: Aidan Tropiano
Leading Goalkicker: Lewis Hinder (28)

The ninth placed Roosters have added some extra firepower in 2020 with the recruitment of former Adelaide and Gold Coast ball-winner Harrison Wigg and ex-Hawk and Roo, Billy Hartung. Along with another ex-AFL player in Andrew Moore, and hopefully a full season out of former Port Adelaide goalsneak Jake Neade, and the Roosters will look to rise up the ladder again.

Last year’s reigning premiers were always going to have a tough season after starting on negative points due to the 19th man saga, and losing a number of players to AFL level. They have gained one back in Robbie Young returning to the club. Unlucky overagers not to be drafted last year, Karl Finlay and Dyson Hilder are back again and provide some height in the defensive end.

The recruits will need to take over from Aidan Tropiano who has headed west this season. The Roosters will rise up and expect them to contend for finals again.

WEST ADELAIDE

Finished: 10th
Wins: 2
Draws: 0
Losses: 16
Best & Fairest: Logan Hill
Leading Goalkicker: Jono Beech (21)

The only way is up for the Bloods and with a number of solid recruits alongside the potential number one AFL Draft pick, West Adelaide has what it takes to get off the bottom of the ladder. Riley Thilthorpe will be a much talked about name this year and the talented tall will get plenty of time in the League side in 2020.

The Bloods have also recruited a couple of over-agers and former Sydney Swans Academy members Hamish Ellem and Kyle Martin to provide some strength in attack. With Bailey Chamberlain another talented top-age teenager in the line-up, it will take some of the pressure off the likes of 2019 best and fairest winner, Logan Hill, as well as ex-Hawk Dallas Willsmore.

No doubt it will still be a tough year for the senior side with so many huge recruits to a number of other sides, but the youth in the team will give the Bloods great depth and help out across the board. They will need to overcome the losses of Jono Beech and Chris Schmidt this season who were both huge contributors to the team.

Draft Central predictions:

Premiers: Norwood
Runners-Up: Glenelg
Big Improver: North Adelaide

2020 SANFL Club Preview: West Adelaide

AFTER a tough 2019 season where injuries and the mid-season losses of John Noble and Will Snelling hampered their campaign, the West Adelaide Bloods will look to scrape themselves off the bottom of the SANFL ladder as state football returns. The road to redemption begins against last year’s ninth-placed side, North Adelaide, a team which Westies picked up one of their two wins against in 2019.

>> CHECK OUT OUR SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

LEAGUE/ RESERVES:

The Bloods have certainly been busy during the off-season, bringing in over 10 fresh faces to the squad in hopes of gaining a big performance boost. While the likes of 2019 leading goalkicker Jono Beech and former skipper Chris Schmidt are significant losses, West Adelaide has managed to hold onto a decent core of its rebuilding list and had most of its turned-over players head either interstate or into retirement – not into the hands of rival clubs.

The incoming crowd have come in bunches from right around the country, with young St Albans pair Matthew McKenzie and Hayden Elliot crossing over from Victoria for a taste of state league football, while graduates of the Sydney Swans and GWS GIANTS Academies will also make the transition to South Australia. Of them, Hamish Ellem is a well-built key forward who competes at ground level, joined by sharp-kicking half-back Kyle Martin out of the Swans’ system, while athletic midfielder Lachlan Squire crosses from the GIANTS’ ranks.

Pace and squad depth were also on the agenda come recruiting season, with Josh Koster and Sam Davidson completing transfers from Glenelg and Port Adelaide respectively, providing great running power alongside Jordon Boyle (Adelaide) and Ed Allan (Sturt). Stuart Tavener was a best and fairest winner at local level with Plympton last year, and boosts the ruck stocks at 202cm as somewhat of a late bloomer. Capping of the recruits is another expansive get, with Domonic Grant making the move from NT Thunder.

Much of the leadership responsibilities will again fall on captain Tom Keough and last year’s club champion Logan Hill, with young talents like Elliot Dunkin and Dallas Willsmore continually improving and 13 Under 18 products training with the senior side. Consistent figure Kaine Stevens is again set be a factor, forced to shoulder much of the heavy lifting through the engine room given the Bloods’ losses in that position.

A last-place League finish in 2019 means the only way is up for West Adelaide, with a run of five-straight losses to end the year a big chance of being snapped right off the bat. At Reserves level, improving on seventh spot should also be a realistic goal, with finals football not far off if both sides can showcase cohesion early and follow the example of its notable leaders. Watch for some exciting talent to emerge, and expect some big improvement from the Bloods.

UNDER 18s:

Contrary to the form shown by their senior teammates, West Adelaide’s Under 18 prospects finished second in 2019 with a 12-6 record and on the back of seven wins in their last eight regular season outings. The Bloods’ finals campaign did not quite go to plan as they exited in straight sets to each of the eventual grand finalists, but having a first round draftee (Will Day, Hawthorn) come out of the system would have been exciting.

The junior side may ironically suffer from the high-end talent it boasts, with top 2020 draft prospect Riley Thilthorpe already a figure in the League side, while fellow State Academy hub members Bailey Chamberlain and Jye Sinderberry cracked the Reserves grade as bottom-agers. Thilthorpe is a dynamic ruck/key forward who dominates aerially and covers the ground like a midfielder, while Chamberlain is a lightning-quick midfielder, and Sinderberry a dour defensive type who can play above his size.

Elsewhere, Harvey Bock is a prospect outside of the current academy bubble who may get a look-in, while Under 16 captain Tyson Coe and fellow standout Kobe Ryan have all the talent to make the step-up to Under 18 level this year.

>> GET TO KNOW: West Adelaide Under 18s

>> 2020 South Australia Under 18 Squad Prediction

Get to Know: Nicholas Kraemer (South Adelaide/South Australia)

SOUTH ADELAIDE boasts a handful of Under 18 products within this year’s State Academy hub, and one of the deeper overall lists for its junior age bracket. Among the Panthers’ top-age stars gunning for AFL Draft contention in 2020 is Nicholas Kraemer, a big-bodied inside midfielder who has been a mainstay in the South Australian (SA) state system. The 185cm prospect was in line to make his senior footballing debut this year after running out for a Reserves trial match during preseason, but like all prospects around the nation, was forced to momentarily put his aspirations on hold.

But with SANFL football set to return on June 27, and an unconfirmed national carnival looming in October, Kraemer and his fellow South Australians will get to strut their stuff soon enough. Kraemer has done plenty of that throughout his journey already, playing in every game of South Adelaide’s run to the 2019 SANFL Under 18 Grand Final, while also taking part in SA’s championship-winning Under 16 campaign a year earlier. This season, he is hoping to play every game for the SA Under 18 side as a key figure.

While he is most comfortable through midfield, Kraemer is able to play up either end of the ground credit to his defensive prowess and physical presence, but is looking to improve his endurance and speed to better impact through the engine room. As one of the rare Under 18 hopefuls to have already completed his schooling, Kraemer has been able to channel his focus into football while juggling a job at his family business, and has plenty of people to lean on as he strives to prove any doubters wrong.

Draft Central’s Michael Alvaro chatted with the promising youngster during lockdown about his journey so far, the lockdown experience, goals for the future, and plenty more. Check out how the Reynella junior is tracking along in anticipation of his return to the footy field.

THE JOURNEY TO THIS POINT

MA: Nick, where did your footy journey start?

NK: “Firstly, I played footy for my own local footy club. My cousin started playing there when he was young and I was probably about three years old. We didn’t know where to go so we just chose that footy club and I ended up playing there for three years.

“Then I started playing basketball as well, so I was heavily involved in basketball and one of my best mates there played for Reynella footy club so I went and played there. I played Under 13s, 14s, and 15s with South Adelaide and was still playing basketball at that time but it began to get too busy so I had to choose a sport.

“At about 15 I chose footy instead of basketball, played for South and luckily enough got asked to play for the State Under 16s, we were lucky enough to win that (championship) as well which was a good experience. Then I played 18s as a bottom-ager last year, made the grand final and now I’m playing 18s again.”

Having played every game in a side which made the SANFL Under 18 Grand Final, how did you rate your bottom-age year?

“I thought I played pretty well. I was a little bit slow at the start and then I found my mojo and stopped overthinking things. I started playing footy and not worrying so much, that’s when I started to find some form and the team started finding some form.

“We lost a fair few close games at the start and I think we went 8-0 to make the grand final. I felt like I had a bit of a slow start but pulled it in and finished off pretty strong I reckon.”


RISING THROUGH THE SA STATE ACADEMY

How has coming through the SA state system been for your development?

“I feel like it’s been really good. Playing 16s and being with the boys there, everyone’s familiar with each other at the minute and through the hub, everyone’s been so close and the standard have been so good so it makes you better.

“Everyone wants to get better but the standards are so high that you’re just pushing yourself so hard to match everyone. I feel like my development has gone a little bit further this year just being in that hub, and my fitness has grown heaps. It’s been really good this year and I’m enjoying it so far.”

You had a good group in that 2018 Under 16 squad who have come with you all the way to your Under 18 year, who are some of the boys you like to feed off and are familiar with?

“Probably Luke Edwards and Riley Thilthorpe. They’re very senior boys; Riley’s playing League at the moment and knows what he’s talking about, Luke plays a similar role to me – we play inside mid and can go down to half-back.

“I’m getting to learn off him and watch what he does as well, they’re probably the main two I try to watch, see what standards they bring and try to follow them in training.”


LIFE IN LOCKDOWN

Have you been able to keep in touch with the academy during lockdown?

“Yes. We’ve got a page where we can report what we do. With all this lockdown and footy being away we’ve had to post on there what we’ve been doing over the break; so what our gym workouts are, our conditioning workouts.

“(Under 18 Coach) Tony Bamford got us to cook dinner for the family and clean up, so everyone had to cook for their families and post it on there. We’ve got a group chat and we all stay pretty close with each other, and with the group chat it drives you to do your work instead of being left behind. It’s (helping to) keep in touch and get you motivated to keep doing your fitness and gym work so it’s been really good.”

What’d you cook for the family?

“I cooked burrito bowls.”

Nice, healthy?

“Yep.”

Some of the other states have been given tasks like picking out a player to base your game around, have you been given similar activities?

“We’ve done them. We’ve also had to (answer) ‘If we had to quarantine for two weeks, who would we quarantine with?’ – a coach and two players. We’ve had to base our game on AFL players and say why and all that sort of stuff.

“There’s always little activities that the coaches put in place so you’re not bored and you’re not forgetting about stuff so it’s good.”

How have you gone about keeping fit during lockdown, do you have a home gym?

“I’ve got a home gym in my lounge room. Funnily enough, my next door neighbour has a bench with a bench press, leg press and everything. We’ve borrowed it for the minute so he’s been really helpful with that.

“And just going for runs, I’m still keeping fit and keeping busy, if I’m bored I’ll just go into the gym and just do little things to keep my mind off other things.”


THE GAME OF NICK KRAEMER

Who have you chosen as the player you want to base your game on?

“I chose Josh Kennedy from Sydney. I feel like he’s a real inside mid which I play like at the minute. He’s a contested player, he gets his hands on the ball first and gives it out to the speedsters so I feel like that’s what I’m doing. I watch what he does, where he runs, and that sort of stuff.”

You’ve got the clearance game down pat, what are some of the things you see as your strengths at the moment?

“I’d probably say clean hands and I defend pretty well. I’m clean at ground level and I’m more of a defensive player than attacking. I feel like basketball has helped with that and defending people through basketball has got my one-on-one defence down pat and working really well. Those two are probably my biggest strengths.”

In terms of improvements, is getting generally fitter the main area?

“Yes, endurance and speed would be the two main weaknesses that I’ve been working on, growing up and getting feedback from coaches. I’ve got a sprint coach at the minute that I work with and I’m trying to work on that acceleration, the 0-5 metre sprint.

“Then endurance, as a midfielder you’ve got to be able to run so I’ll just keep developing my endurance so I can run and get to more contests.”


GOALS FOR 2020 AND BEYOND

Are you studying at all at the moment?

“No, I finished Year 12 last year. Mum and Dad have a gardening business so I work with them basically every day at the minute.

“I’d like to be a police officer if footy doesn’t pan out so this year was just to focus on footy and then next year if things don’t go well then I’ll apply for that and it’ll be my goal for next year as well as trying to make it in footy as well.”

Did you feel, coming into the year that being able to solely focus on footy would be an advantage for you?

“100 per cent. I reckon I had stuff to prove to everyone and that was probably my biggest motivation to show what I’ve been working on over the break. Coming into January over the Christmas break, I just wanted to show everyone what I’d been working on so now that it hasn’t panned out I’ve been able to develop my endurance a bit more so when footy does come back, I can just prove to the coaches what I’ve been doing.”

Do you have any idea of what level you’re going to be playing this year, firstly with South Adelaide and then with the state side?

“Hopefully (I’ll play for the SA Under 18s), that’s the goal. I did play one game of Reserves footy before all this happened. I played a trial match for the Reserves and had been training with the seniors before that.

“I got a Reserves gig and then the goal was to just make the state team and play every game. Hopefully that still goes ahead and I can play a couple of senior games too.”

In terms of your role, do you think you’ll still be working that inside midfield job, or will you be looking to move around the field?

“I feel like that’s my strongest area, inside mid. But I’m happy to go wherever, I can play a high half-forward which I played in the Reserves game and I liked.

“But then also playing that defensive role which is well-known to me, so inside mid and back are probably the likely two roles that I’ll play this year but we’ll see what happens with that forward role.”

Do you have any goals you’re looking to tick off, team-wise or individually?

“Team-wise is to hopefully go one better than we did last year and individually, probably just to make the state team. The overall goal is to get drafted but there’s little goals in front of that to make it come true. Just playing for the Under 18s first and if I get a gig in the Reserves or League, to play well there and crack into the state team, play well there have an impact in those games.”


LIVING IN THE UNKNOWN

What was it like at the start of lockdown knowing you might not be able to get on the park at all, having that unknown?

“The first two weeks it was a bit disappointing in a way that you don’t know what’s going to happen, or how then future’s going to unfold. But then after you get over the wall of not knowing what’s going to happen, you just get on your bike and start doing what you’re being told to do. We’ve had a program we’ve had to follow so I’m just doing that and doing extra stuff to be able to come back better than I was before.

“So it was a bit disappointing but then again, it was a good way to work on the stuff you’ve not been able to do because of the workload beforehand.”

On the flipside, you must’ve been pretty pumped to see the news of SANFL competition returning, what was your reaction to it?

“It was just very exciting to know that it was going to be coming back and it came back sooner than what we thought. Just excitement overall to be able to come back and train, see the faces at South, see the boys that we haven’t seen in a couple of months… and now play games, improve and hopefully make that state team.”

How long have you been back at training?

“Three weeks. Two weeks of non-contact with 10 people. We’ve had two sessions, an early session and a late session, the oval has been split up into thirds.

“This week has been the first contact training where we’ve been able to actually start tackling so this week’s been a lot better than the last couple where we’ve actually played some sort of footy.”

Is being able to play senior football at this stage an advantage for you over the interstate prospects?

“I feel like it’s good. Giving that exposure to young kids coming through where they can prove that they can play against bigger bodies and if they’re good enough, hold their spot and play there.

“That’s a goal for everyone and guys like Corey (Durdin) and Riley (Thilthorpe) have gone really well up there so hopefully they can keep playing well.”


MENTORS AND ROLE MODELS

Are there any key mentors who you look up to at the moment, whether it be through the state system, at South Adelaide, or your family?

“My whole family. My sister is a police officer, she pushes me to be the best I can be. She’s basically like a second mum, being a cop. Then my brother, he used to play footy when he was younger and gave it up to work more but he’s been helping me a lot with going out and having someone to kick with. My dad has been helping me a lot with that as well, we’ll go out and have a kick. Mum’s just the emotional support, she’s always there for me.

“I don’t really have a role model at AFL level because I kind of just want to model my game on myself, if that makes sense. But watching the big players and how they play is very eye-opening. Mark Clayton as well from South Adelaide has helped me a lot through the three years I’ve been with him and Tony (Bamford) has helped me a lot too, but family is probably the biggest role model at the minute.”

Is there anyone you’d like to thank for contributing to your footballing journey?

“I’d just like to thank South Adelaide mainly, they’ve been a big impact on how I’ve grown. Reynella footy club, where I’ve come from have also helped me a lot. And my family, all the coaches I’ve had – everyone’s been influential. The AFL hub academy, all the boys there have helped me a lot with growing, being a better player and a better person as well.”

FLINDERS UNIVERSITY STUDY

You partook in a study with Flinders University, can you tell me a little about that?

“It was about goalkicking. Dr Sam Elliott did a study on how juniors and seniors think through their routine and how they overthink things. We went in there and he told us what to do, we had sunglasses with cameras on them and all sorts of things where he could record stuff to make his study more accurate. It was pretty good, pretty interesting stuff.”

Do you have any results, has your goalkicking improved or was it good to start with?

“I feel like the further you go out, 30 metres is probably where everyone is most comfortable, but the further you go you start to think about kicking the ball too hard. I think the study has helped me with going through my routine, not trying to hit the ball so hard and picking out a target behind the goals to aim for.”

>> MORE SA UNDER 18s CONTENT

Central District | Get to know
Glenelg | Get to know
North Adelaide | Get to know
Norwood | Get to know
South Adelaide | Get to know
Sturt | Get to know
West Adelaide | Get to know
WWT Eagles | Get to know

AFL Draft Watch:
Kaine Baldwin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Marquee Matchups:
Kaine Baldwin vs. Denver Grainger-Barras
Corey Durdin vs. Braeden Campbell
Luke Edwards vs. Connor Downie

2020 SA Squad Prediction
2020 Positional Analysis: Key Forwards

Preseason Testing Results:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
Yo-yo test