Tag: Sam Hayes

South Australia weekly wrap: Glenelg clear on top as Double Blues edge closer

GLENELG has moved a step closer to securing the minor premiership after downing Adelaide in a thrilling top-of-the-table contest, while Sturt moved to within a point of the top two with victory over the Eagles. We recap all the results across the three levels of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL).

SANFL LEAGUE:

West Adelaide 10.2 (62) defeated by Central District 11.11 (77)

Central District moved further ahead of the bottom two sides with a 15-point win over West Adelaide. Jarrod and Travis Schiller were dominant for Central District, combining for 57 disposals, 10 marks, 18 clearances, 11 tackles and two goals, while Troy Menzel booted four goals from 18 disposals, six marks, three clearances and three tackles. For West Adelaide, Christopher Schmidt had 34 disposals, 10 clearances, four tackles and three marks in the win, while Kaine Stevens (31 disposals, five marks, five clearances, four tackles and a goal) and Murray Waite (28 disposals, three clearances and six tackles) also produced big numbers. Bottom-age talent Riley Thilthorpe picked up 15 disposals and had eight marks and two goals in the Bloods’ loss.

Glenelg 15.6 (96) defeated Adelaide 14.10 (94)

Glenelg has all but sealed the minor premiership after downing Adelaide by two points in a thriller at ACH Group Stadium. The Crows had some pretty impressive names in the line-up and hit back in the final term booting the only three goals of the game, but a seven goals to three third term was the difference for the Tigers. Luke Partington‘s continued good form saw him rack up 31 disposals, seven marks, three clearances, seven tackles and a goal, while Luke Reynolds and Liam McBean both booted four goals. South Australian Under-18 state captain Will Gould had 12 disposals and five rebounds in the narrow win. For Adelaide, Bryce Gibbs had the ball on a string with 40 disposals, eight marks, 11 clearances and 10 tackles, while Richard Douglas booted three goals from 34 disposals and 11 marks. Sam Jacobs (13 disposals, 28 hitouts, four marks and two goals had a good battle with former Sydney and Collingwood forward/ruck Jesse White (14 disposals, five marks, 32 hitouts and a goal). Up forward, Eddie Betts put his best foot forward with four goals from 14 touches, two goals and three tackles.

Norwood 22.11 (143) defeated North Adelaide 10.12 (72)

Norwood dominated North Adelaide in a thumping 71-point win which included 15 second-half goals to storm to a massive victory. Sam Baulderstone picked up 28 disposals, 11 marks and six clearances in the win, while Matthew Panos (22 disposals, 10 marks and five clearances) and Anthony Wilson (11 disposals, two marks) both booted five majors in a big day out up forward. Top AFL Draft hopefuls Dylan Stephens (26 disposals, four marks, eight tackles, three clearances and a goal) and Cameron Taheny (10 disposals, one mark and five tackles) continue to feature for the League side. For North Adelaide, Thomas Schwarz had 30 disposals, four marks, six tackles, eight clearances and a goal, while Jarred Allmond (23 disposals, nine marks) and Campbell Combe (30 disposals, four marks, eight clearances and three tackles) were busy.

South Adelaide 10.11 (71) defeated by Port Adelaide 15.9 (99)

Port Adelaide have held firm on a top four spot, downing South Adelaide by 28 points at Flinders University Stadium. AFL-listed players Jack Trengove (25 disposals, eight marks, five tackles and two goals), Peter Ladhams (22 disposals, four marks, 21 hitouts, seven clearances, three tackles and three goals), Sam Hayes (20 disposals, 10 marks, 19 hitouts and a goal) and Willem Drew (26 disposals, seven marks, six clearances and four tackles) all pressed for a call-up to the senior side. The Panthers’ Matthew Rose (30 disposals, seven marks, nine tackles and two clearances), Joel Cross (24 disposals, seven marks, four clearances and a goal) and Abe Davis (19 disposals, five marks and three goals) all tried hard.

Woodville-West Torrens 8.13 (61) defeated by Sturt 13.8 (86)

Sturt drew to within a point of the top two after a strong 25-point win over Woodville-West Torrens at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. Sam Colquhoun continued his ripping form this season with 31 disposals, nine marks, five clearances and nine tackles, while Zane Kirkwood finished with 29 disposals, six marks and seven clearances, and Steven Slimming had 23 disposals, five marks, five clearances and four tackles. James Battersby was a key at the stoppages, picking up 12 clearances – five more than anyone else on the field – as well as 27 disposals, three marks and three tackles. For the home side, Nicholas Hayes had 24 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and a goal, while Jordan Foote helped himself to 28 disposals, nine marks, four clearances and four tackles.

RESERVES:

Glenelg 8.4 (52) defeated by South Adelaide 12.15 (87)

A six goals to one final quarter has seen cellar dwellers South Adelaide cause a remarkable 35-point upset win over Glenelg. The Panthers had booted an inaccurate 6.14 to 7.3 at the final break, leading by just five points despite double the scoring shots. They settled in the final term to find their kicking boots and slot 6.1 to Glenelg’s 1.1. Luke Bogle (21 disposals, five marks, four clearances, seven tackles and three goals), Hayden Sampson (34 disposals, four marks, three clearances and two tackles), Tate Coleman (20 disposals, seven marks, three tackles and a goal) and Jesse McKinnon (18 disposals, three marks, 11 clearances and five tackles) were all among the strong performers for South Adelaide. For Glenelg, Ben Sawford owned the stoppages with 16 clearances to accompany his 32 disposals and eight tackles, while Sam Davies had 24 touches and nine marks, and draft hopeful Callum Park finished with 18 disposals, seven marks and three tackles.

West Adelaide 8.6 (54) defeated by Central District 11.12 (78)

Central District has kept in touch with the top two by defeating West Adelaide in a four-goal win. Isaya McKenzie was the star for the Bulldogs, booting three goals whilst having an impact around the ground with 26 disposals, nine marks, six clearances and two tackles, while Oliver Shaw (21 disposals, nine marks) and Corey Durdin (18 disposals, eight marks) were among South Australian representatives who found their fair share of the footy. Patrick Fairlie was the clear best on ground despite being on the losing side, racking up a massive 35 disposals, 10 clearances, 12 tackles and seven marks for the Westies, while Scott Bentley (25 disposals, eight clearances, nine tackles and four marks) and Ethan Moore (32 disposals, six marks, three clearances and a goal) were other key contributors.

Norwood 12.9 (81) defeated North Adelaide 7.12 (54)

Norwood continued their dominant season with another win, this time over bottom two side North Adelaide by 27 points at Coopers Stadium. Jack Heard had a team-high 25 disposals, four marks and three tackles, while Mac Bower and Sam Buckham (nine clearances) both had 23 disposals in the victory. For the Roosters, James Schwarz had 27 disposals, five marks, seven clearances and seven tackles, while Brayden Kirk had 23 disposals, 10 marks, two clearances and three tackles.

Woodville-West Torrens 11.5 (71) defeated by Sturt 11.7 (73)

Second placed Sturt has stolen the points from the jaws of defeat in the final 10 minutes, winning by just two points against a brave Eagles’ outfit. The Eagles led by 16 points at the 15-minute mark of the final term, before three consecutive goals to the visitors – the last one at the 21-minute mark put them in front by two to steal the win. It was the first time since the first term that Sturt had lead in the game. Mihail Lochowiak was the difference for the Double Blues, booting an accurate five-straight goals from 12 disposals and three marks, while Edward Allen racked up an equal game-high 29 touches to go with three marks, seven clearances, six tackles and a goal. Father-son prospect Casey Voss had 26 disposals, four marks, eight clearances and three tackles, whilst South Australian Under-18 representative Josh Shute picked up 25 disposals and eight marks in the win. For the Eagles. Jake Comitogianni had 29 disposals, six marks, four clearances and three tackles, while Lachlan McNeil was strong on the inside with seven clearances from 17 disposals.

UNDER 18S:

Norwood 13.8 (86) defeated North Adelaide 11.7 (73)

Norwood won a crucial game over North Adelaide after trailing at quarter time and sitting level at the final break. The Redlegs booted six goals to four in the final term, extending the margin to as much as 26 points early in the quarter before the Roosters hit back to get within seven in the last few minutes before the home team settled. Cooper Murley enjoyed a big day out with 31 disposals, six marks, eight clearances, three tackles and three goals, while Sam Morris laid 11 tackles to go with his 18 touches, seven marks and five clearances. Tristan Binder was also strong in front of goal for the winners, booting three majors, whilst Elliott McNamara (18 disposals, four marks, four clearances, four tackles and three goals) was the main source of goals for the Roosters. Harrison Magor was North Adelaide’s best with a massive 34 disposals, five marks, seven clearances and a goal, while Josh Hart had an eye-opening 55 hitouts to accompany his 17 disposals, three marks, six clearances and three tackles working hard through the ruck.

West Adelaide 14.7 (91) defeated Central District 5.8 (38)

West Adelaide has stormed away from Central District to post a large 53-point victory at City Mazda Stadium, booting 11 goals to three after quarter time. Jason Westley (33 disposals, eight marks, 14 clearances, two tackles and two goals) was a clear best on ground for the Bloods, well assisted by Aryan Sareen (33 disposals, nine marks) and Bailey Boughen (22 disposals, nine marks, six clearances and two tackles). For the Bulldogs, Jakob Thomson had 28 touches and 12 marks, while Tyrone Milera looked classy with 21 disposals, three marks, five clearances and seven tackles.

Woodville-West Torrens 17.12 (114) defeated Sturt 1.6 (12)

The top-of-the-table Eagles showed no mercy in a 102-point belting of lowly Sturt. The Eagles booted the last 12 goals of the game in the massive 29 scoring shots to seven win, restricting the Double Blues to just the one major – in the first term – and two behinds in the second half. Lachlan Hoile picked up a game-high 35 disposals as well as five marks, three clearances and three tackles, while Lachlan Jones was not far behind with 31 disposals, six marks, six clearances and four tackles. Bottom-age father-son prospect, Taj Schofield was also productive for the Eagles, racking up eight clearances to go with his 29 touches, while Zane Williams piled on four goals to go with his 24 disposals, four marks, four clearances and six tackles in the win. For Sturt, William Britten-Jones had 29 disposals, 11 marks, seven clearances and two tackles, while Heath Wingard helped himself to 28 disposals and 11 marks.

South Adelaide 18.15 (123) defeated Glenelg 9.6 (60)

A massive six-goal game from South Australian Under-18 state squad key forward Daniel Sladojevic has helped South Adelaide run away with a 63-point victory over Glenelg to snatch fourth spot from the Tigers. Sladojevic racked up 15 disposals, eight marks and 6.2 as well as six tackles in the big win. Jason Horne (28 disposals, seven clearances and two goals) and Damon Freitag (16 disposals, four marks and two goals) also hit the scoreboard multiple times for the Panthers. Tex Dowdell did his best with 23 disposals, eight marks, 10 tackles and two clearances in the loss, while talented bottom-ager Luke Edwards was strong with 21 touches, six marks, three clearances and four tackles, and Austin Kitschke booted four goals from 11 disposals and seven marks.

Season preview: SANFL 2019

AFTER a successful off-season that saw many South Australian National Football League (SANFL) players reach the highest level, the 10 clubs again begin the journey towards the 2019 premiership. Our South Australian writers take a look at how each side is shaping up in the pre-season.

Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

The Adelaide Crows SANFL team will be headlined this season by former AFL-listed forward Matthew Wright who will captain the team into the 2019 season. Wright will also take on a role as a part-time development coach with the club after announcing his retirement from the AFL after three years at Carlton. The club did not draft any players from South Australia and picked up Allies star midfielder Chayce Jones, who played Round 1 in the AFL. Will Hamill and Lachlan Sholl will be intriguing prospects for the Crows, as Ned McHenry should be on the fringes for an AFL debut sometime throughout the season. The Crows also gained Shane McAdam from Carlton through trade after he was selected in the mature-aged pre-draft after a stellar season for Sturt. Out of the Crows SANFL contracted players, Jordon Boyle from Salisbury North impressed the most last season, but Michael McMahon and 2018 Dean Bailey award winner Corey Davey should be their best contributors. With Tom Doedee suffering a season ending ACL injury in Round 1 against Hawthorn, the Crows may potentially consider taking a player at the first AFL mid-season draft to bolster their defensive stocks.

Centrals:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

Central District will be hoping for a swift return to finals football after a rare finals absence in 2018. Former Crow Troy Menzel headlines the new recruits returning after five years in the AFL with Carlton, Adelaide and a dominant premiership stint in the SAAFL with Tea Tree Gully in 2018. The Dogs have also recruited a trio of Neagle’s- Jydon, Matthew, and Jaxon– from Wodonga and will be looking to make the most of the opportunity at the Ponderosa. Tim Auckland– 2018 Adelaide Crows SANFL contracted player- impressed enough to earn himself a contract at the Dogs and will be the one envisaged to replace the outgoing Darcy Fort. Central were one of the club’s to be hit most by AFL Draft, with Jackson Hately (GWS), Jez McLennan (Gold Coast), Aaron Nietschke (Melbourne) and Fort (Geelong) all recruited. 2018 leading goal kicker John Butcher and former Docker Jack Hannath have also both moved onto new opportunities outside of the game.

Glenelg

By: Jamie Morgan

Things have been very busy in the offseason at Brighton Road with some big names to the club. Ex-West Coast midfielder Luke Partington will look to have an immediate impact on the side slotting straight into the middle. Added as well is Ex-Geelong forward and local Glenelg boy, Cory Gregson. Despite his injury troubles whilst in the AFL system, the best of Gregson will compliment a strong Glenelg side. With key experienced players Liam McBean and Brad Agnew back to the Bay, this looks like the strongest Glenelg squad for some years. Despite losing Tobin Cox to Port Power, and some other players moving, the talent coming is excellent. Coach Mark Stone has young talent to work with, with 2019 Top 10 draft hopeful Will Gould showing he is ready for league footy in the pre-season and has been rewarded with a Round 1 berth. Gould is a versatile player with a strong body who will be looking to thrive in his draft year. 2018 SA U18 team member Finn Betterman has impressed also over the pre-season and will be making his debut in Round 1 as well. The Glenelg leaders of Max Proud and Chris Curran will be looking to guide this team to finals and break a long drought for the Tigers. At Reserves and Under 18 level there is plenty of talent keen to impress with SA U18 members Cooper Hornsell and Brady Searle developing nicely.

North Adelaide:

By: David Chapman

The reigning premiers have an uphill start, being docked two wins prior to the start of the season for the 19th man incident in the 2018 Preliminary finals. They have also lost five premiership players to the AFL in the form of Best and Fairest Callum Wilkie, wing/forward Robbie Young, ruckman Jordon Sweet, utility Connor Rozee and small forward Boyd Woodcock. Coming into the mix to replace those will be; back from the AFL, small forward Jake Neade (Power), and mid/forward Ben Jarman (Crows). Also out of country footy and returning to the Roosters with three Mail Medals is former SA U18 captain and midfielder Campbell Coombe and key defender from Keith, Bill Laurie. Rugby convert Jack Blair from NSW also takes up the ruck space. In the trial games, we have also seen some exciting play from small forwards Keanu Miller and Frankie Szekely and winger Mason Neagle. Some of the key youngsters in the mix for the Roosters this year include tall Dyson Hilder, at around 196cm he has played in the SANFL league trials in the midfield, up forward and down back and will be a key cog in the SA U18 champs this year. Also one to watch is key position player, Karl Findlay, picked in the U18 Academy as well, this smooth and calm defender will have a his mix of school, state and SANFL commitments this year. With the Reserves also winning the flag last year there is some depth, but a number of those experienced players have left the club to play some local and country footy. This year North cannot really afford to go on a 1-6 late season run like they did last year. The nucleus of the North success has been their core of hard midfielders, and while the key positions remain unchanged, the impact of losing Wilkie could be the key. However, North will still be a real threat in 2019.

Norwood:

By: Jamie Morgan

Norwood look to again be in the mix for finals after another solid offseason adding ex Port (and Glenelg) Dom Barry and former South Adelaide player Cody Szust to an already strong list. Magarey medalist Mitch Grigg again looks like he will be able to control games from the middle alongside Matthew Panos. Norwood had four of their talented youngsters drafted at the end of 2018 in Luke Valente, Jacob Kennerley, Ben Jarvis, and Kade Chandler, but their core group is experienced and tough and Coach Jarrod Cotton will be looking to go further than 2018. Ex PAC student Cole Gerloff is an emerging talent and should be a consistent member of the league side this year. The Under 18 talent at the Redlegs is again top notch and SA squad members Cameron Taheny and Dylan Stephens are real standouts who will no doubt get a taste at the next level. Both will be keys for SA’s Under 18 title defence and will be watched closely for the Redlegs.

Port Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

For the first time since Port Magpies re-assignment in the SANFL they will not be led by club stalwart Steven Summerton. Taking over the captaincy and marquee spot is former Fremantle utility Cameron Sutcliffe who surprisingly knocked back his original SANFL club Woodville-West Torrens. Sutcliffe has also taken on a role as a development mentor which will aid the draftees’ development and integration into the Magpies setup. Bar Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma, Port drafted exclusively from South Australia and already have Boyd Woodcock and Connor Rozee who played in a North Adelaide premiership in the previous season. Kai Pudney dominated in U18’s level last season and will look to take the next step in the seniors, as will Martin Frederick – who impressed at the U18 South Australia championship win – and will be looking to further his development with senior football. Out of the Magpies SANFL contracted players, ex-Central District forward Dallas Hill will be one to watch, as is Matt Appleton, who played 15 league matches for North Adelaide in 2018 will be an interesting prospect. With the Magpies’ Reserves side disbanded for 2019, all SANFL contracted players that don’t feature in the league side will play for their community clubs when not required. Second year Western Australian player Jake Patmore suffered an ACL injury in a SANFL trail match against South Adelaide and will miss the season, much like ruckman Sam Hayes who suffered the same injury last season but will be looking return to the SANFL side in the near future.

South Adelaide:

By: Jamie Morgan

It has been an interesting off season for the Panthers with some great talent snapped up with losing players Nathan Krueger to Geelong, Keegan Brooksby back into the AFL system at West coast as well as youngsters Tom Sparrow to Melbourne and Jake Tarca to Geelong. Bringing in Malcom Karpany from West Coast will be a handy addition as well as South favourite Emmanuel Irra returning from Port Adelaide, but it is the class of ball magnet Nick Liddle and Joel Cross which always makes South hard to beat. Players ready to break out include Liam Fitt who impressed with every game and Jaiden Kappler is another talent on the rise. South has some quality young talent emerging with big men Damon Freitag and Daniel Sladojevic likely to get an opportunity at the highest level.

Sturt:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

After losing dual premiership coach Marty Mattner as an assistant coach to the Adelaide Crows, the new Sturt era will be under the tutelage of former North Melbourne and Central District premiership player Nathan Grima. Grima was recruited from Essendon Football League side Strathmore and has brought Victorian pair Tom Condon from his former side and 6ft 5in giant Josh Patullo from Footscray’s VFL team from across the border. But their season will be headlined by the return of Sturt product Danyle Pearce, returning after 258 AFL games for Fremantle and Port Adelaide and a 2006 Rising Star award to his name. The Double Blues lost star player Shane McAdam to the AFL as a Mature-age draft pick and Riley Grundy to Port Adelaide late in last year’s draft. Sturt will also miss promising midfielder Tom Lewis – a key asset in South Australia’s successful U18 carnival- to an ACL injury suffered in an early season trial match and will miss the entire 2019 season.

West Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

West Adelaide will hope 2019 can be the season the Bloods can rise back up into finals contention, with coach Gavin Colville into his second term. West welcome back Jack Oatey medallist and the captain of their 2015 premiership Chris Schmidt, partnering the return of Will Snelling back from three seasons with Port Adelaide. Snelling- a hard luck story to be delisted by Port- will be keen to build on his 2018 best-and-fairest SANFL Port season and make a big impact back at his original club. The Bloods have also recruited Dallas Willsmore from Hawthorn after he was delisted at the end of the 2018 season after two AFL games in four seasons with the Hawks. Willsmore will provide more depth in West’s engine room, as West rounded out their acquisitions with Werribee swingman Jade Cleeland and ex-Norwood defender Pat Levicki. The recruits should replenish the loss of star players Chris Burgess and Izak Rankine, who were picked by the Gold Coast Suns, and veterans Aaron Fielke, Daniel Webb, and Shannon Green.

Woodville-West Torrens:

By: Jamie Morgan

There has been some strong ex-AFL talent added to the Eagles side this year, with Jimmy Toumpas (Port), Jesse Lonergan (Gold Coast) and Jordan Foote (Sydney Swans) providing even more class to a finals hardened outfit. With long-time coach Michael Godden departing to take up an Assistant role at Adelaide Crows, the Eagles secured Sam Lonergan as head coach in the off-season. Lonergan brings AFL and SANFL playing and Tasmanian coaching experience to the group and will be looking to have a clean slate after the difficult end to 2018 and the 19th man saga. This side looks ready for finals, and with exciting youngsters in their draft year Kysiah Pickett and Jackson Mead, the mix of experience and youth is spread well. No doubt the Round 1 clash vs 2018 Premiers North Adelaide will have an extra bite to it, with Lonergan’s team wanting to make its mark on the competition early. Midfielder accumulator James Boyd will be important, as will the class of Luke Thompson in defence.

TAC Cup preview: Eastern Ranges

EASTERN Ranges may not have had the on-field success last year in terms of wins, but they were clearly the most successful off the field with a staggering 10 players drafted, in the form of Adam Cerra (pick five), Jaidyn Stephenson (six), Sam Hayes (47), Tyler Brown (50), Ryley Stoddart (53), Joel Garner (60), Tom North (65), Dylan Moore (67), Jackson Ross (71) and Trent Mynott (Rookie) all finding new homes.

They took it up to Dandenong in the first final showing once again that they will always be a threat when it comes to finals football, they even did the same the year before, losing narrowly to eventual 2016 premiers Sandringham in one of the better TAC Cup games you will see.

Eastern will not be expecting 10 players to be drafted like last year but there are still plenty of players making a good early impression. Eastern had a number of bottom age players have an impact last year with Adrian Kalcovski and Joel Burleigh (12 games), Xavier Fry and Ben Cardamone (nine) all players to keep an eye on. Eastern have a very even spread of players this time around so it will be hard to find the pick of the bunch, Cody Hirst showed a lot of class last year playing as a small forward and should be getting more time up the ground to showcase his great composure and skill. Blake Tahlambouris is a crafty medium forward who can have an impact both overhead and at ground level, he will be a tough match-up for the opposition this year and does his best work deep forward. Kye Quirk looked very comfortable last year playing in defence he showed a great ability to both attack and defend. He is a smart reader of the play who should be set for more midfield time this year, and is also the grandson of Carlton premiership player Bryan Quirk.

An unexpected arrival as a 19 year-old playing for Eastern this year is none other than Devlin Brereton, son of Hawthorn champion Dermott Brereton. The lively small forward has come over from Sandringham Dragons after narrowly missing out on getting drafted last year; he faces a big year to prove himself. Eastern will be going in with a smaller and younger squad compared to last year so expect to see bottom agers like Jamieson Rossiter, Jonte Duffy, Mitch Mellis, James Ross and Todd Garner (brother of 2017 draftee Joel Garner) all push to make an impact, making them the key to Eastern challenging for a finals spot again in 2018.

2017 Stats:

2017 Summary:

Eastern had an up and down year but managed to finish 6th. School football meant that the bulk of their star players weren’t available for selection and that was made even worse at the National Championships when they would also lose their gun players who didn’t have school commitments like Stephenson and Hayes. In the later part of the year Eastern really started to find their groove with the natural progression of their up and coming bottom agers and the return of their star players from school football culminating in a 5-game run of wins in the lead up to the finals. Although they lost their last 2 rounds to high quality finals teams in Oakleigh and Geelong, they gave Dandenong a massive scare in the first final where they lead by 50 points at half time. Eastern went out fighting which they have done so very often in recent years.

2018 Snapshot:

Eastern start the year with a big game down at Skybus Stadium in Frankston against a strong Oakleigh Chargers team. Eastern only get to play the four games at their fortress in Box Hill and incredibly will play at 11 different grounds not including their home ground which they have to wait until round seven to play on. Once again Eastern will play a night game at RAMS arena in round two on a Thursday night.

2018 Fixture:

Eastern Ranges 2018

DateEventTime/ResultsArticle

Determination pays off for Ballard

EVERY draftee has taken their own unique pathway to the big time.

Some, like last year’s number one pick Cam Rayner, are touted as high-end selections years in advance. Others, like Giants recruit Aiden Bonar, re-emerge after stints on the sidelines with injury. And some, due to a wide variety of reasons, drop out of first-round calculations as the season progresses, as was the case with Port Adelaide ruckman Sam Hayes. But as is often said when draft day approaches, where you end up being taken is merely a number once you make it into club land.

One such draftee went from a virtually unknown, skinny utility to a draft bolter with plenty of x-factor, on the back of an outstanding year for South Australia, Sturt and at school level with Sacred Heart College. That bolter was Charlie Ballard who was drafted to the Gold Coast Suns with pick 42 in last year’s AFL National Draft.

After missing out on inclusion in Sturt’s 2015 under-18 squad, in the space of just two years, Ballard grew no less than 15 cm’s, allowing him to be tried in key position roles at either end of the ground.

At the start of 2017, Ballard said his initial goals were to “make the Sturt 18’s team and then just chip away at my footy and see how [he] went”.

“I had bigger goals at the back of my mind but kept my mind short-term,” Ballard said.

As the season progressed, strong performances at school and club level caught the attention of state representatives. This led to his inclusion in South Australia’s Under 18 squad for the mid-year national championships.

Ballard’s neat skills, mobility, cleanness at ground level and strength overhead proved to be too good for opponents when he lined up for Sacred Heart College. Despite his height and proven ability up forward and down back, Ballard played predominantly across the wing in for the Croweaters.

Ballard, 18, says the national championships were “a step up from all the footy that I’ve played before, quick and intense, but I just tried to treat it like any other game”.

“It really helped having a couple of good mates in the team to help me get settled,” he said.

Featuring in all four games for South Australia, Ballard excelled under pressure, finishing the tournament averaging 18 disposals (11 kicks, seven handballs), 4.3 marks, 1.8 tackles and 0.3 goals. By this point in time, recruiters across the nation had all heard the name Charlie Ballard and were sure to monitor him closely for the remaining games and the upcoming national combine, to which the utility received an invitation.

“I probably first realised being drafted was a possibility when I got told by a couple of coaches that it could happen, but really clicked when I was lucky enough to get a combine invite,” the 18 year old said.

Coming into the draft, there was a reasonably significant amount of hype around Ballard, with many draft experts predicting the Suns would swoop at the back end of the first round, with  selection 19. In the end, it was the Gold Coast who picked him up, albeit later than perhaps anticipated, at pick 42. It capped off an outstanding year for Ballard, whose stocks continued to rise as the season progressed.

Now, with one AFL pre-season under his belt, Ballard has well and truly set his sights on making a strong early impression in Queensland, either at NEAFL or potentially AFL level.

“Settling in was really easy, living with a player makes it pretty cruisy and you learn a lot about good habits, etc. The preseason was really good, exhausting but really rewarding coming up to the seasons’ beginning soon,” the Suns recruit said.

When asked about where he sees himself playing at the highest level, Ballard said his preference was midfield, but anywhere to get a game would be great

“At the moment I think I’d still like to play on the wing but I expect to be a bit all over the place, I just have to adapt to different positioning.”

Many South Australians will be watching on with interest in 2018 and beyond to see how the talented utility goes at the elite level.

Eastern Ranges 2017 review

With the off-season now officially here for TAC Cup clubs, AFL Draft Central will go back and review what 2017 was like for each of the 12 clubs. We kick off the series with Bendigo Pioneers and will end with the Western Jets.

Eastern Ranges

Finished: 6th
Wins: 9
Losses: 10
Percentage: 91
Points: 36 (eliminated in elimination final)

Players Drafted: (10)

  • Adam Cerra (Fremantle)
  • Jaidyn Stephenson (Collingwood)
  • Sam Hayes (Port Adelaide)
  • Tyler Brown (Collingwood)
  • Ryley Stoddart (Sydney)
  • Joel Garner (Port Adelaide)
  • Tom North (Fremantle)
  • Dylan Moore (Hawthorn)
  • Jackson Ross (Hawthorn)
  • Trent Mynott (Essendon)

2017 Review:

There is not much more that can be said for Eastern Ranges’ draft night that simply spectacular. The only bloke busier than the AFL recruiters that night was the Ranges’ social media account manager who could have been forgiven for failing to keep up with the rate of Ranges’ draftees dropping at AFL clubs. Nine in total landed at AFL clubs by the end of the National Draft and when Trent Mynott was selected by Essendon in the rookie draft, the Ranges’ reached double figure draftees.

There was a nice sense of symmetry about the clubs with pairs of Ranges heading to the same clubs. Adam Cerra and Tom North both headed west to Fremantle, Sam Hayes and Joel Garner have a slightly shorter trip west to Port Adelaide, while Jaidyn Stephenson and Tyler Brown became Pies, and Dylan Moore and Jackson Ross will don the brown and gold. Ryley Stoddart was the other player selected in the National Draft, heading to Sydney.

After such a successful night, the Eastern Ranges will look ahead to 2018 hoping for similar results. While the absolute elite talent might not be as great as 2017 – let’s face it, that amount of draftees from one club rarely happens – they still have quite a few promising prospects.

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2018 Preview:

Eastern Ranges have a few draftees to keep an eye on next year, and while they are not the huge numbers they had in 2017, there is no doubt going to be some that pop up as the season goes on, particularly those who might have been hidden at school football. Ben Cardamone is the standout with Cody Hirst and Adrian Kalcovski others who had promising bottom-age seasons.

Ben Cardamone (Eastern Ranges) 182cm | 78kg | Inside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (9) 13.2 disposals | 2 marks | 5.4 tackles | 2 clearances | 51% KE | 61%DE | 57% CP

Ben Cardamone is one player who while he did not accumulate a heap of touches in 2017, is a promising inside midfielder. He laid 5.4 tackles in his bottom age year and did not get the midfield minutes because of the strength that the Ranges had on the inside this year. Expect him to be a starting midfielder in 2018 and show why he is a top prospect.

Kye Quirk (Eastern Ranges) 185cm | 72kg | Balanced Midfielder/General Defender
2017 TAC Cup: (14) 23.1 disposals | 4.6 marks | 3.9 tackles | 2.3 clearances | 49% KE | 57% DE | 41% CP

Kye Quirk is a player who was pretty solid off the half-back line this year. He does need to clean up his kicking, but he finds the ball and has a good balance of offensive and defensive traits. To average 23.1 disposals as a 17 year-old is pretty impressive and if he can iron out his kicking and potentially make a move into the midfield or make the half-back line his own, then Quirk is one to watch next year.

Others to keep an eye on:

Cody Hirst (Eastern Ranges) 176cm | 61kg | Small Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (15) 11.6 disposals | 2.5 marks | 3.9 tackles | 0.8 goals | 65% KE | 68% DE | 43% CP

Adrian Kalcovski (Eastern Ranges) 183cm | 79kg | Inside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (12) 17 disposals | 3.2 marks | 5.5 tackles | 2.8 clearances | 3 inside 50s | 45% KE | 60% DE | 47% CP

###

Summary:

Eastern Ranges had a superb finish to 2017 with all their hard work coming to fruition on draft night. They might have been bundled out of the TAC Cup in the elimination final, but it was clear from the start of the season the Ranges had the most top-end talent of any club and were duly rewarded on National Draft night. In 2018 the top-end talent is not as high as this year – they were flushed with AFL AIS Academy members – but the best thing about it being 12 months away is you never know which players might stand up and make a case to be drafted, so we will watch in earnest at what the Ranges will do next year.

Matt Balmer’s 2017 Final AFL Draft Power Rankings Part 2

EVERY month since May, Matt Balmer has ranked his players from the 2017 AFL Draft pool. With the November 24 National AFL Draft on this Friday, he counts down the players in his top 25, after revealing his 50-26 players last week..

You can find his 50-26 rankings here.

Having seen just under 90 games throughout the season, it is always hard to come to a final order and I have ranked the players how I would if I was an AFL club going into the draft come November, ticking names off the list as they are called out.

Please note this is NOT a Phantom Draft – purely just how I rate the players. For this exercise, no mature agers have been considered.

#25 Connor Ballenden
Tall Utility (Uni of QLD/Brisbane Lions Academy)
29/03/1999 | 198.2cm | 95.6kg

Scouting notes: Strong contested marking forward who is linked to the Brisbane Lions academy. Has played through the ruck and as a key position defender to start 2017 – but his best position is coming out of the goal square. Possesses a very good set shot routine, kicking more goals than he misses. Has a long kick and reads the play well. Likely to receive a bid 25 plus on draft night.

Strengths: Contested marking, set shot goalkicking, kicking
Improvements:  Agility, endurance, conditioning

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.05 | Agility (secs) 8.75 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.8

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: CONNOR BALLENDEN

Division 2

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2017Brisbane Lions000000000000000000000
Total-00000000000006.04.510.55.03.50.02.50

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Queensland000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

NEAFL

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2017Brisbane Lions351954240055262665.83.29.04.00.30.31.00
Total-3519542400552626600000000

Trial matches

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total-11.02.013.09.00.00.02.0

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Allies43730010000114.03.07.03.00.01.01.033
2017Allies351550231933423138048.83.812.55.85.81.00.061
Total-391857261933523138157.83.611.45.24.61.00.294

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total7.83.611.45.63.80.61.0

#24 Patrick Naish
Outside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
15/01/1999 | 180.6cm | 68.9kg

Scouting notes: Smart and lively inside 50. Working on his contested ball winning ability, but looks suited to start as a forward at AFL level. Can play across half back, ball usage is reasonable by foot but can often go for the miracle kick rather than a simpler options. Has a good spring that allows his to leap over some of his smaller opponents. Covers the ground well. Father-son eligible for Richmond and possibly may get bid on after the Tigers’ third selection (Pick 25) on draft night.

Strengths: Agility, leap, overhead marking
Improvements:  Decision making, inside game

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: PATRICK NAISH

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Northern Knights956215734001800002910.66.917.43.80.02.00.258
2017Northern Knights82701523158952101525513810.38.819.03.90.02.61.682
Total-17713230965589539015255151710.47.818.23.80.02.30.9140

Trial matches

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total-14.01.015.04.00.01.01.0

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Metro000000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro52338520176413021763413.08.321.35.00.03.30.887
Total-52338520176413021763413.08.321.35.00.03.30.887

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total11.07.518.64.00.02.40.9

#23 Charlie Ballard
?Tall Utility/Outside Midfielder (Sturt/South Australia)
23/07/1999 | 195.5cm | 82.3kg

Scouting notes: Tall utility who has been utilised at either end for both school and at SANFL level. Ballard has also shown his ability to run well on the wing and is an effective kick on his right foot. Has plenty of scope for development and might fill out as a hybrid midfielder.

Strengths: Intercept marking, competitiveness, kicking
Improvements:  Breakaway speed, inside tackling

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.05 | Agility (secs) 8.46 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.8

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: CHARLIE BALLARD

SANFL Reserves

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2017Sturt35205519134260091348.85.013.84.80.01.50.80
Total-352055191342600913400000000

SANFL Under 18s

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2017Sturt6141103304361120111551512.28.420.66.00.02.40.20
Total-6141103304361120111551500000000

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2017South Australia4428721726467041441411.07.018.04.30.01.80.372
Total-4428721726467041441411.07.018.04.30.01.80.372

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total11.07.018.04.30.01.80.3

#22 Lachlan Fogarty
Balanced Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
01/04/1999 | 179.0cm | 75.0kg

Scouting notes: Clean and polished midfielder who wins the ball in both contested and uncontested situations. A good decision maker by hand or foot, who tackles hard to win the ball back. Has smarts and knows where the goals are. Unfairly flies under the radar and is right in the mix as a late first round pick.

Strengths: Agility, accumulation, speed, class, tackling
Improvements:  Consistency in disposal, one-on-one marking

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: LACHLAN FOGARTY

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Western Jets596412313003910000511.812.824.62.60.27.80.069
2017Western Jets11264176257896680324899716.09.125.13.60.09.71.3113
Total-17112829938789610713248991214.310.724.93.20.18.90.8182

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Metro000000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro3225578233628010953310.78.319.02.70.09.31.080
Total-3225578233628010953310.78.319.02.70.09.31.080

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total13.510.223.73.10.19.00.8

#21 Ed Richards
Medium Defender/?Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
03/07/1999 | 184.7cm | 78.1kg

Scouting notes: Speedy running defender who dominated in the APS school football competition for Carey. Is trusted with taking the kick outs and is a clean and effective kick on his left foot. Can play as an inside midfielder, where he uses his quick and clean hands to effectiveness.

Strengths: Speed, kicking, leap, contested work, clean hands
Improvements:  Endurance, contested ball winning

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.01 | Agility (secs) 8.59 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.6

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: ED RICHARDS

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Oakleigh Chargers000000000000000000000
2017Oakleigh Chargers72781502852922901513153107.27.815.02.80.02.90.356
Total-72781502852922901513153107.27.815.02.80.02.90.356

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total7.27.815.02.80.02.90.3

#20 Lochie O’Brien
Outside Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
18/09/1999 | 184.0cm | 77.4kg

Scouting notes: Classy outside midfielder who is likened to former Roo and Saint Nick Dal Santo. Uses the ball well on his left foot and possesses elite speed which can help him burst away on the outside at speed. Impressed last year for Vic Country as a bottom-ager playing on the wing, a position that allows for him to be a receiever on the outside where he can clear the ball via a pinpoint pass. A good decision maker and is someone you want to have the ball in their hands. If he can win a bit more contested ball he should be able to mould into a damaging wingman/half back.

Strengths: Kicking, Footy IQ, spread
Improvements:  Disposal under pressure, contested ball

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.03 | Agility (secs) 8.35 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.7

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: LOCHIE O’BRIEN

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Bendigo Pioneers715012134001400002514.210.024.26.80.02.80.485
2017Bendigo Pioneers3339721028437041353311.013.024.03.30.02.31.089
Total-1048919344284321041355813.011.124.15.50.02.60.6174

Trial matches

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total-0.01.01.00.00.00.00.0

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Country12172940010000026.08.514.52.00.00.50.041
2017Vic Country3984718739703951313.02.715.76.00.02.30.375
Total-51257622739803951510.25.015.24.40.01.60.2116

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total11.18.219.34.70.02.10.4

#19 Oscar Allen
Key Position Forward (West Perth/Western Australia)
19/03/1999 | 191.1cm | 82.4kg

Scouting notes: Tall Utility who can play at either end but mostly looks likely to settle forward. Marks well overhead and moves well for a player over 190cm. Good decision maker and impressed inside 50 in the WA trials. Named co-captain for Western Australia in the National Under 18 Championships and was the Larke Medalist judged the best player in the carnival. Looms as one of the first WA players selected. Has a good endurance base.

Strengths: Leap, marking, mobility
Improvements:  Set shot goalkicking

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.07 | Agility (secs) 8.27 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.2

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: OSCAR ALLEN

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Western Australia000000000000000000000
2017Western Australia382462243127822901149.56.015.56.00.52.02.882
Total-382462243127822901149.56.015.56.00.52.02.882

WAFL League

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016West Perth000000000000000000000
2017West Perth12517100020000026.02.58.55.00.01.00.00
Total-125171000200000200000000

WAFL Colts

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016West Perth1326820060005022400014177.84.011.83.513.22.90.80
2017West Perth11143154610030470007813.95.419.37.65.93.80.90
Total-2431113541210080271000212500000000

WAFL Reserves

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016West Perth000000000000000000000
2017West Perth1982712001020000129.54.013.52.010.05.00.50
Total-19827120010200001200000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total9.56.015.56.00.52.02.8

#18 Matthew Ling
Outside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
21/04/1999 | 183.1cm | 75.1kg

Scouting notes: Left footer who is a good ball user on the outside. Has flown under the radar and likely will end up as the first Geelong Falcon drafted. Is a smart footballer and makes good decisions. Not a big ball winner, but has elite agility that allows him to step opponents around the ground.

Strengths: Speed, kicking, cleanness, agility
Improvements:  Consistency, opposite foot

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.03 | Agility (secs) 8.30 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.8

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: MATTHEW LING

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Geelong Falcons17143180070000135.74.710.32.70.02.30.336
2017Geelong Falcons11813225042881613801235210148.49.417.93.00.02.70.062
Total-13514628150881614501235211177.98.616.52.90.02.60.198

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Country000000000000000000000
2017Vic Country272956151442110542146.87.314.03.80.02.80.354
Total-272956151442110542146.87.314.03.80.02.80.354

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total7.58.315.73.00.02.70.1

#17 Noah Balta
Tall Utility (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
23/10/1999 | 195.0cm | 94.9kg

Scouting notes: Athletic tall who has one of the biggest upsides of the draft pool. Balta has played predominately as a ruckman or a key forward for the Calder Cannons – but showed great signs as a defender in the Vic Metro trial and played there in the National Under 18 Championships. He is a good mark, but his running patterns up forward do need some work. He possesses a rare combo of elite speed and agility for a tall player. His vertical leap is exceptional and can do things that many other talls in the draft pool cannot. Has a very long right foot kick, but there is some suggestion that he could last into the 40s on draft night.

Strengths: Leap, long right foot kick, versatility
Improvements:  Decision making, consistency

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.05 | Agility (secs) 8.38 | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: NOAH BALTA

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Calder Cannons642084240021660001679.12.912.03.49.43.02.367
2017Calder Cannons15045195561049450152266220121311.53.515.04.311.73.80.989
Total-21465279801049471218266220282010.73.314.04.010.93.61.4156

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Metro000000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro234279151246267037.71.39.03.02.01.30.045
Total-234279151246267037.71.39.03.02.01.30.045

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total10.33.013.33.89.63.31.3

#16 Aaron Naughton
Key Position Defender (Peel/Western Australia)
30/11/19999 | 194.0cm | 85.0kg

Scouting notes: Played as a bottom-ager in two of Western Australia’s NAB AFL Under 18 Championship games in 2016, and was named as a co-captain for the 2017 carnival where he impressed in defence. He marks well overhead and is a good reader of the play. Has an awkward ball drop which can affect his left foot kicking efficiency at times, but mostly it gets where it needs to go. Made his League debut in the WAFL and didn’t looked out of place.

Strengths: Intercept marking, reading the play, mature body, agile
Improvements:  Kicking technique

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.09 | Agility (secs) 8.22 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.8

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: AARON NAUGHTON

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Western Australia871540050000024.03.57.52.00.02.50.025
2017Western Australia342559211937711211048.56.314.85.30.31.80.059
Total-4232742519371211211067.05.312.34.20.22.00.084

WAFL League

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Peel Thunder000000000000000000000
2017Peel Thunder7225974800920002700000000
Total-7225974800920002700000000

WAFL Colts

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Peel Thunder126571835700241500061300000000
2017Peel Thunder803311351001840005700000000
Total-20690296108004219000112000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total7.05.312.34.20.22.00.0

#15 Sam Hayes
Ruckman/Key Position Forward (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
09/06/1999 | 202.7cm | 92.6kg

Scouting notes: Showed his forward craft in the Under 18 Championships last year for Vic Metro using his height to mark the ball. He is a adequate kick for goal and rucks well around the ground and at the centre bounces. Leading patterns could improve – but he is still learning his game as a tall. The ruck/forward needs to improve his running and it will likely see him fall outside the first round.

Strengths: Overhead marking, ruckwork, forward craft
Improvements:  Endurance

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.13 | Agility (secs) 8.77 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 19.3

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: SAM HAYES

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Eastern Ranges97831804700203380005156.55.512.03.122.51.30.364
2017Eastern Ranges12110422565133962833645291517148.67.416.14.624.02.01.2101
Total-218187405112133964867445291522297.56.414.03.923.21.70.8165

Trial matches

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total-9.05.014.01.011.01.02.0

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Metro161329120030000535.34.39.74.00.01.01.747
2017Vic Metro2632581435272671171446.58.014.53.516.80.51.081
Total-4245872635275671171976.06.412.43.79.60.71.3128

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total7.16.213.33.719.81.40.9

#14 Darcy Fogarty
General Forward (Glenelg/South Australia)
05/09/1999 | 191.9cm | 94.5kg

Scouting notes: Strongly built forward that can push into the midfield. Played up forward for South Australia in last year’s Under 18 Championships booting seven goals. Fogarty played a strong game in the midfield for Glenelg in their finals last year and has been tried as a third tall defender at stages throughout 2017. Has the ability to kick off either foot and can lay bone-crunching tackles. He is more of a third tall than an inside midfielder at this stage. Was ruled out for the season with a meniscus tear in his knee.

Strengths: Clean hands, decision making, strength, kicking
Improvements:  Endurance, clear position at next level, ball winning

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: DARCY FOGARTY

SANFL League

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2017Glenelg19264542424110860044.86.511.31.00.02.80.00
Total-192645424241108600400000000

SANFL Reserves

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2017Glenelg62845320240016.02.08.04.00.02.00.00
Total-628453202400100000000

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016South Australia20929130060000736.73.09.74.30.02.02.353
2017South Australia31154614193090468447.83.811.53.50.02.31.055
Total-5124752719301504681177.33.410.73.90.02.11.6108

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total7.33.410.73.90.02.11.6

#13 Nathan Murphy
Medium Utility (Brighton Grammar/Sandringham Dragons)
15/12/1999 | 188.3cm | 79.9kg

Scouting notes: The Victorian Under 19 cricketer has been one of the better forwards in the APS Victorian school football season. Murphy kicked over 20 goals after moving forward post a concussion suffered against Haileybury College in Round 2. Was a late addition to the Sandringham Dragons program for 2017 and was strong as a third tall in defence on debut. The tall utility can play at either end and has a big booming right foot kick. Goalkicking accuracy is one area which can be cleaned up but Murphy’s focus has largely been cricket over the last few years. Often has a tendency to mark the ball behind his head and Murphy has a very large wingspan. Lots for upside and could well wind up as a midfielder in years to come.

Strengths: Intercept marking, versatile, cleanness at ground level
Improvements:  Set shot goalkicking, midfield craft, double-grab marking

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.16 | Agility (secs) 8.85 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.3

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: NATHAN MURPHY

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Sandringham Dragons000000000000000000000
2017Sandringham Dragons8247129384582160417213810.35.916.14.80.02.00.467
Total-8247129384582160417213810.35.916.14.80.02.00.467

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total10.35.916.14.80.02.00.4

#12 Jack Higgins
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
19/03/1999 | 177.8cm | 76.9kg

Scouting notes: Small midfielder who wins a lot of the ball and has now moved into a small forward role post the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships. His defensive efforts are getting better and the midfielder has the ability to push forward and hit the scoreboard. His clearance work is great and he has goal smarts as a small forward, but he does lack a touch of speed compared to other small forwards. Very good contested mark for a player sub 180cm. Should be ready to go in 2018, but his full on focus on AFL in 2017, might mean he has a limited upside compared with other first rounders.

Strengths: Goal sense, Footy IQ, quick hands, contested marking
Improvements:  Speed, hurt factor with disposal

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.10 | Agility (secs) 8.45 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.3

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: JACK HIGGINS

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Oakleigh Chargers8369152350021000014711.99.921.75.00.03.02.082
2017Oakleigh Chargers19912332275147170710412616311414.28.823.05.40.05.12.2103
Total-282192474110147170920412616452113.49.122.65.20.04.42.1185

Trial matches

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total-15.014.029.05.00.03.00.0

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Metro251641800100001212.58.020.54.00.00.50.569
2017Vic Metro5356109245354250201366413.314.027.36.00.06.31.5118
Total-7872150325354260201367613.012.025.05.30.04.31.2187

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total13.310.023.35.20.04.21.9

#11 Hunter Clark
Inside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
26/03/1999 | 186.1cm | 79.9kg

Scouting notes: Has transitioned from a rebounding outside defender to a contested ball winning midfielder over the last 12 months. Coming out of defence his decision making and kicking could be better – and if he cleans this up it will help his draft stocks. Ball winning capabilities are improving on the inside and he is able to pump the ball inside 50 to a teammate. Possesses quick hands – a trait that can separate him from others in this draft pool.

Strengths: Composure, clean hands, acceleration
Improvements:  Kicking consistency, outside game

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: HUNTER CLARK

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Dandenong Stingrays985515332001900005109.85.515.33.20.01.90.553
2017Dandenong Stingrays19415334742175180860808533111314.911.826.73.20.06.60.8117
Total-292208500741751801050808533162312.79.021.73.20.04.60.7170

Trial matches

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total-0.00.00.00.01.01.00.0

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Country1231500050000026.01.57.50.00.02.50.021
2017Vic Country40216112223918001072410.05.315.33.00.04.50.559
Total-5224761222392300107268.74.012.72.00.03.80.380

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total11.17.518.62.80.04.20.6

#10 Aiden Bonar
Inside Midfielder/General Forward (Haileybury College/Dandenong Stingrays)
08/03/1999 | 188.6cm | 86.5kg

Scouting notes: Build like a brick sh!thouse. After recovering from two knee surgeries after his first ACL graft didn’t take, Bonar has presence about him around the ground, mostly playing up forward as a third tall – but has pushed into the midfield for longer periods with each game he plays. His pressure is very good and he can lay bone crunching tackles. Has a good burst of speed and is strong overhead. Suggestion is he’ll end up a full time midfielder. Possesses a big upside.

Strengths: Kicking, acceleration, X-Factor, versatility
Improvements:  Endurance, consistency

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 2.90 | Agility (secs) 8.30 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.5

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: AIDEN BONAR

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Dandenong Stingrays10110000000020.50.00.50.50.00.00.03
2017Dandenong Stingrays42418321463826014210567.06.813.83.50.04.30.864
Total-43418422463826014210585.45.110.52.80.03.30.667

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total5.45.110.52.80.03.30.6

#9 Jarrod Brander
Key Position Forward/Defender (Bendigo Pioneers/Allies)
11/02/1999 | 194.6cm | 92.3kg

Scouting notes: Key Position tall that can play at either end where he reads the flight of the ball well. Is mobile up forward which allows him to make multiple leads. Missed most of 2016 through knee injury, but jumped on the scene booting over 20 goals for Geelong Grammar in the 1st XVIII competition as a Year 10 in 2015. Doesn’t look out of place in defence after playing there for the AFL Academy – as well as collecting 26 disposals in defence in the APS v AGSV school boy game last year. Was originally zoned to GWS but it is now ineligible for GWS to select him under changes to their Academy zone. Best swingman in the draft – with healthy debate which end he best plays his football.

Strengths: Mobility, set shot goalkicking, versatile
Improvements:  Consistency

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.11 | Agility (secs) 8.40 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.1

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: JARROD BRANDER

Division 2

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2017GWS Giants000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Bendigo Pioneers41135426006100010410.33.313.56.50.31.52.572
2017Bendigo Pioneers18133114171511050336.04.310.34.70.30.31.050
Total-592685401715720501378.43.712.15.70.31.01.9122

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Allies000000000000000000000
2017Allies42206220213430010144410.55.015.55.00.00.81.071
Total-42206220213430010144410.55.015.55.00.00.81.071

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total9.24.213.45.50.20.91.5

#8 Jaidyn Stephenson
Outside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
15/01/1999 | 188.5cm | 75.4kg

Scouting notes: Started the season as a medium tall marking target inside 50 but has improved his running capacity and turned himself into an outside midfield in the final few months of 2017.  Up forward, he has a big wingspan which sees him pluck the ball from above his opponents reach. He converts his set-shot chances more than not, after bursting onto the scene with a terrific finals series for Eastern Ranges as an Under 16 back in 2015. Stephenson has pushed up onto the wing at times, where he moved well – holding a great endurance base to go with a really good burst of speed. One area that could be cleaned up is his field kicking around the ground. A potential heart issue was picked up at the Combine and it remains to be seen how the club medical staff will judge the top 10 prospect.

Strengths: X-Factor, speed, agility, endurance, scoreboard impact
Improvements:  Kicking

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 2.97 | Agility (secs) 8.64 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.8

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: JAIDYN STEPHENSON

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Eastern Ranges113391526000270000181011.33.915.26.00.02.71.871
2017Eastern Ranges22711234870158178826486925141515.17.523.24.70.45.50.9101
Total-3401515001301581781096486925322513.66.020.05.20.24.41.3172

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Metro50530000000015.00.05.03.00.00.00.024
2017Vic Metro333164101749100347648.37.816.02.50.02.51.563
Total-383169131749100347657.66.213.82.60.02.01.287

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total12.25.918.44.60.23.81.2

#7 Andrew Brayshaw
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
08/11/1999 | 183.9cm | 81.7kg

Scouting notes: The brother of Melbourne’s Angus started the year on fire for the Sandringham Dragons. He finds the football with a good contested possession percentage. Brayshaw is more of a handball first, kick second player in the contest but just gets the job done without standing out and flies under the radar. He makes his disposals count and is effective, with good defensive efforts. Always one of the top ranked players on the stats sheets.

Strengths: Contested ball winning, impact in the midfield, kicking, endurance, leadership
Improvements:  Scoreboard impact

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.00 | Agility (secs) 8.30 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 22.4

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: ANDREW BRAYSHAW

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Sandringham Dragons161430100060000235.34.710.03.30.02.00.739
2017Sandringham Dragons1221262484011713766049401681012.212.624.84.00.06.60.8103
Total-13814027850117137720494016101310.610.821.43.80.05.50.8142

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Metro000000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro14284251826802102127.014.021.02.50.04.00.574
Total-14284251826802102127.014.021.02.50.04.00.574

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total9.510.520.03.40.05.00.7

#6 Charlie Constable
Inside Midfielder/General Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
18/05/1999 | 191.0cm | 86.1kg

Scouting notes: Tall midfielder who can play on the inside and across either arches. He begun the year for the Dragons in the midfield, but moved to half back with the return of Hamish Brayshaw. Missed a large chunk of 2016 with an injury, but is over those concerns. A good team player who gets to the right positions around the ground. Not super quick, but has a ‘footy brain’ and makes good decisions by foot rebounding out of defence. Likely to end up as a Patrick Cripps type of midfielder.

Strengths: Footy IQ, contested ball winning, versatile, clearance work, marking inside 50
Improvements:  Speed, endurance

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: CHARLIE CONSTABLE

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Sandringham Dragons5131830060000022.56.59.01.50.03.00.025
2017Sandringham Dragons981112095310110124142161410109.811.120.95.30.12.41.091
Total-1031242275610110130142161410128.610.318.94.70.12.50.8116

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Metro000000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro2456801629521307112138.018.726.75.30.04.30.394
Total-2456801629521307112138.018.726.75.30.04.30.394

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total8.512.020.54.80.12.90.7

#5 Nicholas Coffield
General Defender/Inside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
23/10/1999 | 190.8cm | 82.5kg

Scouting notes: Composed midfielder who is very good under pressure. Reminds me of Hugh McCluggage where he has plenty of time with ball in hand in the contest. Clean user on his right foot and his defensive efforts are strong where he floats around and wins the ball at ease. Has a burst of speed which he often will utilise in defensive 50 when playing the role of a general defender. Some think he will end up as an inside midfielder at the next level.

Strengths: Athleticism, work in tight, efficiency, versatility, leadership
Improvements:  Tackling, contested ball winning

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 2.91 | Agility (secs) 8.53 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.2

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: NICHOLAS COFFIELD

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Northern Knights14612927557003400000188.17.215.33.20.01.90.048
2017Northern Knights21911633575113213320474550131613.77.320.94.70.02.00.892
Total-365245610132113213660474550133410.77.217.93.90.01.90.4140

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Metro000000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro52378917305790714111413.09.322.34.30.02.30.387
Total-52378917305790714111413.09.322.34.30.02.30.387

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total11.07.418.43.90.02.00.4

#4 Paddy Dow
Inside Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
16/10/1999 | 185.4cm | 78.2kg

Scouting notes: Speedy inside midfielder who can push forward and hit the scoreboard. Right footed midfielder who was superb for the AFL Academy in their game against the Northern Blues – not looking out of place at the centre bounces early in the year. Runs a sub three second 20m sprint and has very good agility. Not afraid to take on opposition midfielders in the contest, attempting to speed out of the stoppages. Missed the latter parts of the season due to a shoulder injury.

Strengths: Powerful, classy, contested work, vision, scoreboard impact
Improvements:  Kicking under pressure

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: PADDY DOW

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Bendigo Pioneers819517627002000003810.111.922.03.40.02.50.467
2017Bendigo Pioneers384179134039100161842312.713.726.34.30.03.30.7112
Total-1191362554040393001618451110.812.423.23.60.02.70.5179

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Country000000000000000000000
2017Vic Country38387610493110021114349.59.519.02.50.02.50.882
Total-38387610493110021114349.59.519.02.50.02.50.882

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total10.511.622.13.30.02.70.5

#3 Adam Cerra
Balanced Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
07/10/1999 | 186.3cm | 80.3kg

Scouting notes: The forgotten man of the 2017 draft pool after missing 2016 with a meniscus injury to his knee. The AFL Academy missed out on pick one and pick two in 2016 – and Cerra could be another to join that list of high draft picks. He wins the ball on the inside and possesses a clean kick on his right foot. He contested work and clearance winning are superb and he covers the ground well. Was one of the standouts in the Vic Metro trials in April and continued his form in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships. Missed the second half of the year with a shoulder injury.

Strengths: Kicking, contested ball, agility, upside
Improvements:  Speed, injury durability

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: ADAM CERRA

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Eastern Ranges561130040000015.06.011.03.00.04.00.036
2017Eastern Ranges7629105275851150232195419.07.326.36.80.03.81.3129
Total-8135116305851190232195516.27.023.26.00.03.81.0165

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Metro000000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro423173123442220171662410.57.818.33.00.05.50.581
Total-423173123442220171662410.57.818.33.00.05.50.581

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total12.36.618.94.20.04.10.7

#2 Luke Davies-Uniacke
Inside Midfielder (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
08/06/1999 | 187.2cm | 85.2kg

Scouting notes: A strong bodied inside midfielder who tackles hard and wins the clearances. Has had a fair share of injuries over the last few seasons but appears to be over them. Is one of the players most ready to go and could walk into AFL from day one with ease. Is powerful in the contested situations and is able to stand up when getting tackled, using his strength to dispose of the ball. Has shown at school football that he can beat the tag. Had a bit of a lull in the second half of the year, but pulled out his best form when it mattered in September’s TAC Cup Finals.

Strengths: Powerful, penetrating kick, contested marking, big game player, acceleration, kicking
Improvements:  Endurance, speed

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: LUKE DAVIES-UNIACKE

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Dandenong Stingrays19102950070000029.55.014.52.50.03.50.046
2017Dandenong Stingrays78671452670762102827126613.011.224.24.30.03.51.0105
Total-97771743170762802827126812.19.621.83.90.03.50.8151

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Country10616479202400110.06.016.04.00.02.00.068
2017Vic Country493887243160130121443412.39.521.86.00.03.30.895
Total-5944103283869150141843511.88.820.65.60.03.00.6163

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total12.09.321.34.50.03.30.7

#1 Cameron Rayner
?General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
21/10/1999 | 186.5cm | 87.2kg

Scouting notes: Powerful and explosive midfielder who makes you excited when you watch him. A similar mould to Robbie Gray combined with Christian Petracca and when up forward his contested marking overhead is one of his strengths. For the moment he is a forward first, midfielder second with his endurance being a work in progress – running an 11.10 beep test at TAC Cup preseason testing. Not afraid to throw out a ‘don’t argue’ to his opponents. Can do things that others in the 2017 draft pool cannot. Battled a knee injury in the second half of the season.

Strengths: Strength, contested marking, X-Factor, penetrating kick, big game player
Improvements:  Endurance, consistency within games

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A

2017 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: CAMERON RAYNER

NAB League Boys

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Western Jets91551463500361900017811.46.918.34.42.44.52.176
2017Western Jets83611442384603112832810711.98.720.63.30.14.41.494
Total-174116290588460672028328271511.67.719.33.91.34.51.8170

Trial matches

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total-7.05.012.03.01.01.01.0

Under 18s Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2016Vic Metro000000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro353873124531110151021248.89.518.33.00.02.83.089
Total-353873124531110151021248.89.518.33.00.02.83.089

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total10.88.018.83.71.14.02.0

With just four sleeps until draft night, the 2017 NAB AFL Draft looms as one of the most open and unpredictable in recent memory. My final Phantom Draft will be released Thursday night at 7pm – if you want to know more: send me a Tweet @MattBalmer

Matt Balmer’s 2017 AFL Draft October Power Rankings

IN an AFL Draft Central feature, AFL Draft analyst Matt Balmer will rank and update his Power Rankings every month throughout 2017. 

You can read Matt Balmer‘s September edition of his Power Rankings here:

The season is just about over for the 2017 NAB AFL Draft prospects after a long year, with some players pushing themselves through just under 30 games for the season.

Last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine saw clubs get a final chance to interview and see 85 players tested, before they finalise their draft boards with under 50 days until the draft on November 24th.

With trade week beginning today, plenty of deals will affect the draft order & at the conclusion of the trade week – the staff at AFL Draft Central will release our first Phantom Draft for 2017.

This list is purely how Matt rates the players at this current point of time and is not a mock draft. 

#1 Cameron Rayner
?General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
21/10/1999 | 186.5cm | 87.2kg
Previous ranking: #1

Scouting notes: Powerful and explosive midfielder who makes you excited when you watch him. A similar mould to Robbie Gray combined with Christian Petracca and when up forward his contested marking overhead is one of his strengths. For the moment he is a forward first, midfielder second with his endurance being a work in progress – running an 11.10 beep test at TAC Cup preseason testing. Not afraid to throw out a ‘don’t argue’ to his opponents. Can do things that others in the 2017 draft pool cannot.

Last month: Rayner has battled thumb and knee issues through 2017 and he missed the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars clash on Grand Final day. Rayner faced the media and was put through various club interviews at last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine, but he was unable to test.

#2 Luke Davies-Uniacke
Inside Midfielder (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
08/06/1999 | 187.2cm | 85.2kg
Previous ranking: #2

Scouting notes: A strong bodied inside midfielder who tackles hard and wins the clearances. Has had a fair share of injuries over the last few seasons but appears to be over them. Is one of the players most ready to go and could walk into AFL from day one with ease. Is powerful in the contested situations and is able to stand up when getting tackled, using his strength to dispose of the ball. Has shown at school football that he can beat the tag. Had a bit of a lull in the second half of the year, but pulled out his best form when it mattered in September.

Last month: It was “LDU’s” performance in the Dandenong Stingrays TAC Cup Elimination Final that kept his name in the contention for the Brisbane Lions’ number one pick. Davies-Uniacke had a game-high 33 disposals (21 contested), six clearances and five inside 50s – as he hunted the ball in the midfield and showed off his power getting the ball forward. In their preliminary final loss, LDU had 22 disposals (12 contested), six tackles and five clearances, often spending time up forward playing as a marking target. He finished the year with 23 disposals and four inside 50s on Grand Final day in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars match as one of Team Harvey’s best. A toe/calf issue kept him out of last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine.

#3 Adam Cerra
Balanced Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
07/10/1999 | 186.3cm | 80.3kg
Previous ranking: #3

Scouting notes: The forgotten man of the 2017 draft pool after missing 2016 with a meniscus injury to his knee. The AFL Academy missed out on pick one and pick two in 2016 – and Cerra could be another to join that list of high draft picks. He wins the ball on the inside and possesses a clean kick on his right foot. He contested work and clearance winning are superb and he covers the ground well. Was one of the standouts in the Vic Metro trials in April and continued his form in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Last month: A shoulder injury has kept Cerra out of action for most of the second half of the season and he missed the Eastern Ranges finals campaign – but it was good to see Cerra sitting in the coaches box on elimination final day, assisting the coaches throughout the afternoon. Was another player who didn’t test at the NAB AFL Draft Combine.

#4 Paddy Dow
Inside Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
16/10/1999 | 185.4cm | 78.2kg
Previous ranking: #4

Scouting notes: Speedy inside midfielder who can push forward and hit the scoreboard. Right footed midfielder who was superb for the AFL Academy in their game against the Northern Blues – not looking out of place at the centre bounces early in the year. Runs a sub three second 20m sprint and has very good agility. Not afraid to take on opposition midfielders in the contest, attempting to speed out of the stoppages.

Last month: Since the last update, Dow had surgery on his shoulder and was unable to play the final few games for the Bendigo Pioneers. Dow did not test at the NAB AFL Draft Combine but was involved in multiple interviews with AFL club recruiters.

#5 Nicholas Coffield
General Defender/Outside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
23/10/1999 | 190.8cm | 82.5kg
Previous ranking: #5

Scouting notes: Composed midfielder who is very good under pressure. Reminds me of Hugh McCluggage where he has plenty of time with ball in hand in the contest. Clean user on his right foot and his defensive efforts are strong where he floats around and wins the ball at ease. Has a burst of speed which he often will utilise in defensive 50 when playing the role of a general defender. Some think he will end up as an inside midfielder at the next level.

Last month: Coffield was by far the best Northern Knights player in their elimination final loss to the Oakleigh Chargers. His midfield work was super and he used his quick and clean hands to effectiveness. Coffield had 25 disposals, six clearances and three inside 50s in a performance that pushed his top 10 credentials. On Grand Final day in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars clash, Coffield rebounded the ball well on five occasions finishing with 15 disposals and five marks. At last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine, he showed off his elite speed with a 2.91s 20m sprint. He was also impressive in the kicking test scoring 27.

#6 Charlie Constable
General Defender/Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
18/05/1999 | 191.0cm | 86.1kg
Previous ranking: #6

Scouting notes: Tall midfielder who can play on the inside and across either arches. He begun the year for the Dragons in the midfield, but moved to half back with the return of Hamish Brayshaw. Missed a large chunk of 2016 with an injury, but is over those concerns. A good team player who gets to the right positions around the ground. Not super quick, but has a ‘footy brain’ and makes good decisions by foot rebounding out of defence. Likely to end up as a Patrick Cripps type of midfielder.

Last month: Constable’s centre clearance work in the TAC Cup elimination final was impressive, with four out of his six clearances coming in this fashion. Finishing the day with 23 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and a goal – Constable showed off his top 10 traits. A back/groin issue sidelined him in the preliminary final and there was plenty of doubt whether he’d run out on Grand Final day, but the Dragons midfielder was able to push through pain and record 23 disposals & four clearances. A burst in the second quarter saw him boot two goals and he was one of the Dragons’ better players for the night. Injury kept him out of the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars and NAB AFL Draft Combine.

#7Jaidyn Stephenson
Outside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
15/01/1999 | 188.5cm | 75.4kg
Previous ranking: #7

Scouting notes: Started the season as a medium tall marking target inside 50 but has improved his running capacity and turned himself into an outside midfield in the final few months of 2017.  Up forward, he has a big wingspan which sees him pluck the ball from above his opponents reach. He converts his set-shot chances more than not, after bursting onto the scene with a terrific finals series for Eastern Ranges as an Under 16 back in 2015. Stephenson has pushed up onto the wing at times, where he moved well – holding a great endurance base to go with a really good burst of speed. One area that could be cleaned up is his field kicking around the ground.

Last month: Has there been a better player in the second half of the year? I doubt it. Stephenson started TAC Cup finals with 30 disposals, 11 tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s and a goal. While his kicking wasn’t the cleanest, after playing some time forward early he was able to win the ball on the outside and get it inside 50. He was best-on-ground in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars clash on Grand Final day with 22 disposals, five tackles, four inside 50s and three goals. At the NAB AFL Draft Combine, his speed of 2.97s in the 20m sprint and 6min 21s in the 2km time trial were strong. Stephenson also performed well in the Yo-Yo test with 21.8 and had some of the best skinfolds of the combine.

#8 Andrew Brayshaw
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
08/11/1999 | 183.9cm | 81.7kg
Previous ranking: #9

Scouting notes: The brother of Melbourne’s Angus started the year on fire for the Sandringham Dragons. He finds the football with a good contested possession percentage. Brayshaw is more of a handball first, kick second player in the contest but just gets the job done without standing out and flies under the radar. He makes his disposals count and is effective, with good defensive efforts. Always one of the top ranked players on the stats sheets.

Last month: The Sandy Dragons midfielder just rolls up his sleeve and gets the job done and is always one of the better performers on the stats sheet. The TAC Cup elimination final saw him collect 20 disposals (10 contested), six tackles, five inside 50s and two goals. He was able to impact the contest using it efficiently going inside 50 and was able to hit the scoreboard. In the preliminary final, Brayshaw was best-on-ground with 25 disposals, seven tackles, six clearances and five inside 50s, pushing his top five chances. In the TAC Cup Grand Final, Brayshaw had 21 disposals and four inside 50s and had a good showing. His midfield work in the NAB AFL Draft Combine was impressive with 16 disposals, five tackles and three inside 50s. At the NAB AFL Draft Combine, Brayshaw was the endurance king – coming in first place in the Yo-Yo test with 22.4, four place with six minutes 14 seconds in the 2km time trial and was also placed top 10 in the agility test.

#9 Jarrod Brander
Key Position Forward/Defender (Bendigo Pioneers/Allies)
11/02/1999 | 194.6cm | 92.3kg
Previous ranking: #8

Scouting notes: Key Position tall that can play at either end where he reads the flight of the ball well. Is mobile up forward which allows him to make multiple leads. Missed most of 2016 through knee injury, but jumped on the scene booting over 20 goals for Geelong Grammar in the 1st XVIII competition as a Year 10 in 2015. Doesn’t look out of place in defence after playing there for the AFL Academy – as well as collecting 26 disposals in defence in the APS v AGSV school boy game last year. Was originally zoned to GWS but it is now ineligible for GWS to select him under changes to their Academy zone. Best swingman in the draft – with healthy debate which end he best plays his football.

Last month: The Bendigo Pioneers missed finals, but Brander did take part in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game playing as a key defender. Brander was able to intercept at times, finishing with 12 disposals and three rebounds. Brander tested well in the kicking test with a score of 27 at the NAB AFL Draft Combine. A score of 8.40 seconds was pretty good in the agility test.

#10 Sam Hayes
Key Position Forward/Ruckman (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
09/06/1999 | 202.7cm | 92.6kg
Previous ranking: #10

Scouting notes: Showed his forward craft in the Under 18 Championships last year for Vic Metro using his height to mark the ball. He is a adequate kick for goal and rucks well around the ground and at the centre bounces. Leading patterns could improve – but he is still learning his game as a tall. At this stage I’d pencil him as a forward first, ruck second prospect – but still would consider him as the best ruck in the draft pool. Running needs to be improved.

Last month: Was the premier ruckman in the TAC Cup competition and finished the season with 24 hitouts and 24 disposals for the Eastern Ranges in their elimination final loss. Hayes played predominantly forward in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars match, where he booted 1.2 from his four marks and 14 disposals. At last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine, results showed that Hayes does need to improve his running – but a score of 24 in the kicking test was decent.

Sam Hayes leaps high for Vic Metro at the centre bounce.

#11 Jack Higgins
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
19/03/1999 | 177.8cm | 76.9kg
Previous ranking: #12

Scouting notes: Small midfielder who wins a lot of the ball and has now moved into a small forward role post the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships. His defensive efforts are getting better and the midfielder has the ability to push forward and hit the scoreboard. His clearance work is great and he has goal smarts as a small forward, but he does lack a touch of speed compared to other small forwards. Very good contested mark for a player sub 180cm. Should be ready to go in 2018, but his full on focus on AFL in 2017, might mean he has a limited upside compared with other first rounders.

Last month: Higgins missed the Oakleigh Chargers first TAC Cup final with an injury, but surprised some by coming back into the side for the second final. He picked up a groin injury that restricted him but up forward he was able to boot two goals from his 10 touches. Higgins didn’t play in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game and would’ve been disappointed with his results at the NAB AFL Draft Combine – but there’s no doubt soreness played some part on what has been a big year for Higgins.

#12 Hunter Clark
Inside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
26/03/1999 | 186.1cm | 79.9kg
Previous ranking: #15

Scouting notes: Has transitioned from a rebounding outside defender to a contested ball winning midfielder over the last 12 months. Coming out of defence his decision making and kicking could be better – and if he cleans this up it will help his draft stocks. Ball winning capabilities are improving on the inside and he is able to pump the ball inside 50 to a teammate. Possesses quick hands – a trait that can separate him from others in this draft pool.

Last month: The inside midfielder was enormous in getting the Stingrays back into the TAC Cup elimination final and they were able to get the win after trailing by 55 points at one stage. Clark finished with a round-high 16 tackles and also had 24 disposals (15 contested), nine clearances and five inside 50s in one of the best individual performances for the season. He impacted the second final, with 25 disposals (13 contested) and a whopping 10 inside 50s – finding an effective target on most occasions. In the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game he was also reasonable, with 19 disposals (10 contested), four inside 50s and three tackles. A knee problem kept him out of most of last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine, but he was able to score 28 in the kicking test which was very good.

#13 Noah Balta
Tall Utility (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
23/10/1999 | 195.0cm | 94.9kg
Previous ranking: #13

Scouting notes: Athletic tall who has one of the biggest upsides of the draft pool. Balta has played predominately as a ruckman or a key forward for the Calder Cannons – but showed great signs as a defender in the Vic Metro trial and played there in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships. He is a good mark, but his running patterns up forward do need some work. He possesses a rare combo of elite speed and agility for a tall player. His vertical leap is exceptional and can do things that many other talls in the draft pool cannot. Has a very long right foot kick.

Last month: The Calder Cannons missed out on TAC Cup Finals, but Balta did have an impact – especially early, in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game on Grand Final day. Balta finished with 12 disposals and two marks and often took the kick outs for Team Enright. Showed off his leap at the NAB AFL Draft Combine and was a very good tester in the agility with 8.38 seconds. He sat out the yo-yo test with knee soreness, but was able to complete the 2km time trial the next day.

#14 Aiden Bonar
Inside Midfielder/General Forward (Haileybury College/Dandenong Stingrays)
08/03/1999 | 188.6cm | 86.5kg
Previous ranking: #26

Scouting notes: Build like a brick sh!thouse. After recovering from two knee surgeries after his first ACL graft didn’t take, Bonar has presence about him around the ground, mostly playing up forward as a third tall – but has pushed into the midfield for longer periods with each game he plays. His pressure is very good and he can lay bone crunching tackles. Has a good burst of speed and is strong overhead. Suggestion is he’ll end up a full time midfielder. Possesses a big upside.

Last month: Bonar had a superb month to finish 2017, and whilst his eight disposals, seven tackles and a goal performance does not scream outstanding – it was his presence up forward and through the midfield that was important, pressuring his opponents. He followed his tackling performance up the following week, with eight tackles from 14 disposals. While he played more up forward than in the midfield, some glimpses were mighty impressive. The Grand Final day performance was elite for the  NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars, where he had 20 disposals (11 contested) and five clearances – showing off his potential as an inside midfielder. His testing at the NAB AFL Draft Combine was super, equalling the all-time standing vertical jump record and was second place in the 20m sprint with a time of 2.9 seconds.

#15 Darcy Fogarty
General Forward (Glenelg/South Australia)
05/09/1999 | 191.9cm | 94.5kg
Previous ranking: #14

Scouting notes: Strongly built forward that can push into the midfield. Played up forward for South Australia in last year’s Under 18 Championships booting seven goals. Fogarty played a strong game in the midfield for Glenelg in their finals last year and has been tried as a third tall defender at stages throughout 2017. Has the ability to kick off either foot and can lay bone-crunching tackles. He is more of a third tall than an inside midfielder at this stage. Ruled out for the season with a meniscus tear in his knee.

Last month: Fogarty once again didn’t play this month, recovering from surgery on a small meniscus tear which meant that he was unable to test at last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine.

#16 Aaron Naughton
Key Position Defender (Peel/Western Australia)
30/11/19999 | 194.0cm | 85.0kg
Previous ranking: #16

Scouting notes: Played as a bottom-ager in two of Western Australia’s NAB AFL Under 18 Championship games in 2016, and was named as a co-captain for the 2017 carnival where he impressed in defence. He marks well overhead and is a good reader of the play. Has an awkward ball drop which can affect his left foot kicking efficiency at times, but mostly it gets where it needs to go. Made his League debut in the WAFL and didn’t looked out of place.

Last month: Missed out on playing in the WAFL Grand Final with a knock and was not helped by Fremantle players coming back into the team to strengthen it. The knock kept him out of the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, but he was able to test at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, where he placed in equal third in the Yo-Yo test with 21.8 and was also in the top 10 for the agility test with a time of 8.22s.

#17 Nathan Murphy
Medium Utility (Brighton Grammar/Sandringham Dragons)
15/12/1999 | 188.3cm | 79.9kg
Previous ranking: #24

Scouting notes: The Victorian Under 19 cricketer has been one of the better forwards in the APS Victorian school football season. Murphy has over 20 goals after moving forward post a concussion suffered against Haileybury College in Round 2. Was a late addition to the Sandringham Dragons program for 2017 and was strong as a third tall in defence on debut. The tall utility can play at either end and has a big booming right foot kick. Goalkicking accuracy is one area which can be cleaned up but Murphy’s focus has largely been cricket over the last few years. Often has a tendency to mark the ball behind his head and Murphy has a very large wingspan.

Last month: The Sandringham Dragons medium tall went down with a sprained ankle in the TAC Cup elimination final & missed the preliminary final – but returned for the TAC Cup Grand Final with 11 disposals, five marks and four tackles, but looked like he needed the run. Had some good glimpses in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, but was concussed and his day ended early. The former cricketer hadn’t done a lot of testing and it will be the first time clubs got a chance to look at Murphy’s athletic results. There’s no doubt they would’ve been impressed by his athletic capabilities in his 2km time trial (6min 31sec) and Yo-Yo score of 21.3.

#18 Matthew Ling
Outside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
21/04/1999 | 183.1cm | 75.1kg
Previous ranking: #17

Scouting notes: Left footer who is a good ball user on the outside. Has flown under the radar and likely will end up as the first Geelong Falcon drafted. Is a smart footballer and makes good decisions. Not a big ball winner, but has elite agility that allows him to step opponents around the ground.

Last month: Ling played one of his better games for the season, with 23 disposals and six tackles in the Geelong Falcons’ TAC Cup elimination final win. Ling showed off his good agility and rebounded the ball with speed, hardly missing a target on his left foot. Had 15 disposals and three inside 50s in the preliminary final, but was largely restricted in the TAC Cup Grand Final with 11 disposals and six marks. Ling’s 10 disposals were largely effective in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game on Grand Final day. His sprint time of 3.03s and 8.30s in the agility was very good & he looms as a top 25 prospect come draft night.

#19 Joel Garner
Balanced Midfielder/General Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
21/05/1999 | 184.2cm | 82.6kg
Previous ranking: #11

Scouting notes: Balanced Midfielder who has struggled to find his feet at times thrown around in multiple positions around the ground at school, TAC Cup and Vic Metro level. He uses the ball well off his left foot, hitting targets on the run or standing still. His handballing in close is another strength and he is able to clear the ball from a stoppage with ease. Screams X-Factor at times and may have found his best position across half back. Is an outstanding leader.

Last month: Started up forward in the Eastern Ranges’ TAC Cup final loss, finishing the day with 17 disposals (12 contested), eight inside 50s, five clearances and five tackles in one of his better games in a while. He didn’t have a lot of impact in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game on Grand Final day, with just 10 disposals and two clearances to his name. Garner’s NAB AFL Draft Combine last week was underwhelming, but there’s no doubting his leadership and his character will have shone through in the interviews.

#20 Lochie O’Brien
Outside Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
18/09/1999 | 184.0cm | 77.4kg
Previous ranking: #18

Scouting notes: Classy outside midfielder who is likened to former Roo & Saint Nick Dal Santo. Uses the ball well on his left foot and possesses elite speed which can help him burst away on the outside at speed. Impressed last year for Vic Country as a bottom-ager playing on the wing, a position that allows for him to be a receiever on the outside where he can clear the ball via a pinpoint pass. A good decision maker and is someone you want to have the ball in their hands. If he can win a bit more contested ball he should be able to mould into a damaging wingman/half back.

Last month: The Bendigo Pioneers missed out on finals, but the classy outside midfielder was at his best in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game with a team-high 24 disposals, three inside 50s and a goal, in a game that saw him spend more time in the attacking half of the ground. His 2km time trial result of six minute 12 seconds was second best overall and he was just short of breaking the three-second barrier in the 20m sprint. Scored well in the kicking test with a score of 27.

#21 Lachlan Fogarty
Balanced Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
01/04/1999 | 178.8cm | 75.0kg
Previous ranking: #19

Scouting notes: Clean and polished midfielder who wins the ball in both contested and uncontested situations. A good decision maker by hand or foot, who tackles hard to win the ball back. Has smarts and knows where the goals are. Is a consistent performer and unfairly flies under the radar.

Last month: The Western Jets missed out on finals, but Fogarty managed an appearance in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, where he had 14 disposals, seven inside 50s and five tackles. In a game that lacked some defensive intensity, Fogarty showed his willingness to hunt the ball carrier and win the ball. Unfortunately for Fogarty, he was unable to show his testing capabilities at last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine due to sickness.

#22 Patrick Naish
Outside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
15/01/1999 | 180.6cm | 68.9kg
Previous ranking: #20

Scouting notes: Smart and lively inside 50. Working on his contested ball winning ability, but looks suited to start as a forward at AFL level. Can play across half back, ball usage is reasonable by foot but can often go for the miracle kick rather than a simpler options. Has a good spring that allows his to leap over some of his smaller opponents. Covers the ground well. Father-son eligible for Richmond.

Last month: Naish looked his best in the TAC Cup elimination final for the Northern Knights when he was in the attacking half of the ground, finishing the day with 21 disposals, three inside 50s and a goal. Not only did Naish get to see his Tigers win on Grand Final day, but he was the leading disposal winner for Team Enright with 21 disposals and three rebound 50s – using the ball well on his right foot. Back spasms saw Naish only complete the goal kicking and kicking test at the NAB AFL Draft Combine.

#23 Oscar Allen
Key Position Forward (West Perth/Western Australia)
19/03/1999 | 191.1cm | 82.4kg
Previous ranking: #21

Scouting notes: Tall Utility who can play at either end but mostly looks likely to settle forward. Marks well overhead and moves well for a player over 190cm. Good decision maker and impressed inside 50 in the WA trials. Named co-captain for Western Australia in the National Under 18 Championships and was the Larke Medalist judged the best player in the carnival. Looms as one of the first WA players selected. Has a good endurance base.

Last month: Allen didn’t feature in finals for West Perth and despite hardly training on the Thursday before the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, he was one of the better players in the opening half of the game – marking with ease overhead and hitting the scoreboard. Allen finished with 18 disposals, seven marks (four contested) and booted 2.3. At the NAB AFL Draft Combine, Allen showed off his running vertical jump on his left hand, with a score off 88 placing him in the top five.

#24 Ryley Stoddart
Medium Defender/Outside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
15/10/1999 | 184.6cm | 73.7kg
Previous ranking: #22

Scouting notes: Rebounding defender who is what you want in a half back flank. Kicks it well on his left foot, makes very good decisions and will get to the right positions. His defending one-on-one is okay and is not a big disposal winner, but is a player who will make his 15-20 touches hurt the opposition when he drops off. Dubbed as a Kade Simpson clone by SEN 1116 Draft Analyst Brett Anderson.

Last month: Stoddart busted his backside off in the Ranges’ TAC Cup elimination final, finishing with 18 disposals, six marks and three rebound 50s, but was under enormous pretty with the ball coming quickly inside 50 late in the game. Was often matched up on the most dangerous Stingrays midfielder Davies-Uniacke or Clark when they went forward. Had 13 disposals and four inside 50s in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, and was able to get more up the ground in the third quarter. He completed the kicking tests at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, but hamstring soreness kept him out of the rest of the testing other than the jumping tests which showed his outstanding leap.

#25 Connor Ballenden
Tall Utility (Uni of QLD/Brisbane Lions Academy)
29/03/1999 | 198.2cm | 95.6kg
Previous ranking: #23

Scouting notes: Strong contested marking forward who will fit well into the Lions forward structure. Has played through the ruck and as a key position defender to start 2017 – but his best position is coming out of the goal square. Possesses a very good set shot routine, kicking more goals than he misses. Has a long kick and reads the play well.

Last month: With Josh Schache returning home, Ballenden was called up for the NEAFL Grand Final and was part of the Lions NEAFL premiership team. Ballenden finished the game with 12 disposals, four marks, three inside 50s and booted two goals. In the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, Ballenden begun as a tall defender – but struggled at times opposed to possible top 10 pick Sam Hayes. He moved forward in the second half and finished with eight disposals and two marks. In the kicking test, Ballenden scored a perfect 30/30 and ran a 3.05s 20m sprint at the NAB AFL Draft Combine. Areas that Ballenden no doubt can improve on will be his endurance and bringing his skinfolds down.

Connor Ballenden in action for the Allies in their practice match against Vic Metro.

#26 Ed Richards
Medium Defender/?Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
03/07/1999 | 184.7cm | 78.1kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Speedy running defender who dominated in the APS school football competition for Carey. Is trusted with taking the kick outs and is a clean & effective kick on his left foot. Can play as an inside midfielder, where he uses his quick & clean hands to effectiveness.

Last month: Started with 11 disposals in the TAC Cup elimination final, but some of his moments were impressive and he was vital is finding targets from the kick out to get the Chargers moving forward. Had 16 disposals and three inside 50s against the Sandringham Dragons in the Chargers’ preliminary final loss, switching between half back and as an inside midfielder. Richards hardly missed a target in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game and showed his willingness to tackle hard. Had a reasonable NAB AFL Draft Combine, testing in at 3.01s in the 20m sprint.

#27 Charlie Ballard
?Tall Utility/Outside Midfielder (Sturt/South Australia)
23/07/1999 | 195.5cm | 82.3kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Tall utility who has been utilised at either end for both school and at SANFL level. Ballard has also shown his ability to run well on the wing and is an effective kick on his right foot. Has plenty of scope for development and might fill out as a hybrid midfielder.

Last month: Ballard was lucky enough to win two premierships for the ‘Double Blues’ in two weeks, part of Sturt’s winning Under 18 and Reserves teams in the SANFL. In the Under 18 Grand Final, Ballard collected 21 disposals, three clearances and three inside 50s playing on the wing and was very efficient by foot. In the Reserves Grand Final, Ballard played up forward and finished the game with a goal from seven disposals. Had eight disposals and four rebound 50s on Grand Final day in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars clash. Ballard also tested well reasonably well at the NAB AFL Draft Combine and has plenty of development for whatever club drafts him.

#28 Zac Bailey
Inside Midfielder (Southern Districts/Allies)
23/09/1999 | 181.0cm | 81.1kg
Previous ranking: #27

Scouting notes: Has a great burst of speed and he isn’t afraid to collect the ball and burst out of a stoppage getting distance on himself from his opponents. The right footer is usually a clean kick but can have the odd poor game by foot. Wins the contested ball and tackles well.

Last month: Bailey showed his ability to run both ways in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game on Grand Final day, with 18 disposals, four marks, three rebound 50s, two inside 50s and two clearances. Bailey used his burst in the midfield and spread well from the contests. At the NAB AFL Draft Combine, Bailey’s elite speed was obvious, scoring 2.98s in the 20m sprint event.

#29 Jordan Houlahan
Medium Forward (Sturt/South Australia)
19/02/1999 | 185.7cm | 75.9kg
Previous ranking: #31

Scouting notes: Medium forward who possess a very good leap and is a straight kick in front of goal. The AFL Academy member will likely adjust to AFL life in a similar role to Sydney Swans 2016 draftee Will Hayward. Has come back from a shoulder reconstruction and was a solid performance up forward in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Last month: Similar to Charlie Ballard, Houlahan also won two SANFL Premierships within a week. In the SANFL Under 18 Grand Final for Sturt, Houlahan played close to goal as a marking target – pealing off three contested marks and booted 4.2 from his 10 disposals. In the SANFL Reserves Grand Final, he played a bit further up the ground and had five inside 50s from his 10 disposals, also kicking a goal. Houlahan played a different role in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, as a rebounding defender where he had five disposals, three marks and three rebound 50s. At the NAB AFL Draft Combine, he was a dead-eye in front of goals with 30/30 in the goal kicking test and had a running vertical jump in the top three (95cm) – but he would’ve been disappointed with his endurance results and that will be an area for improvement at the next level.

#30 Jack Petruccelle
Inside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
12/04/1999 | 185.1cm | 77.7kg
Previous ranking: #25

Scouting notes: The fastest player in the TAC Cup with a 20m sprint time of 2.82s. He is willing to take oppoisition players on and burn them off along the wing. Also possesses a very good leap. His kicking on the run is a work-in-progress and needs work, but his eye catching displays are continuing to get better and more consistent. Comes from an elite basketball background. His contested ball numbers are very good.

Last month: Had a quiet performance in the TAC Cup elimination final with eight disposals and four tackles. Was used across half back at times, finishing with 11 disposals in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game. Was the fastest player at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, running 2.87s in the 20m sprint. His endurance work has room for improvement, but was well above average in the jumps category.

#31 Dylan Moore
Inside Midfielder/Small Forward (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/08/1999 | 175.8cm | 65.9kg
Previous ranking: #28

Scouting notes: Small midfielder who isn’t afraid of winning the contested ball. His ground ball numbers are very good and is a big ball winning midfielder. Moore can also push forward and hit the scoreboard. Has a decent jump for a small midfielder which he can show off up forward. Has a very good endurance base but is one of the few players sub 180cm who don’t possess elite speed. Is a smart footer and just gets to the right position to win the ball. Clearance work is super.

Last month: Moore collected 24 disposals and laid eight tackles in the Eastern Ranges’ TAC Cup elimination final loss. Moore was impressive after half-time and was able to get the ball inside 50 on multiple occasions. His midfield work was good in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game, finishing the contest with 17 disposals, three inside 50s and a goal. Despite his size, his running vertical jump was above average at the NAB AFL Draft Combine and he starred in the endurance events. Moore finished in first place with a time of six minutes nine seconds in the 2km time trial and was second behind Andrew Brayshaw with 22.3 on the yo-yo test.

#32 Charlie Spargo
Inside Midfielder/Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/Allies)
25/11/1999 | 171.6cm | 70.2kg
Previous ranking: #29

Scouting notes: Small bite-sized midfielder who cracks in hard. Despite his size he wins the ball in the contest and tackles hard. Is one of the few midfielders who has a good goal sense and is a hard match-up when deep inside 50. Was originally zoned to GWS but it is now ineligible for GWS to select him under changes to their Academy zone. Has had shoulder surgery which will rule him out for the season.

Last month: Spargo is still recovering from shoulder surgery early in the year and was unable to test at last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine.

#33 Jackson Ross
Outside Midfielder/Medium Forward (Haileybury College/Eastern Ranges)
22/06/1999 | 192.5cm | 74.5kg
Previous ranking: #32

Scouting notes: Booted 29 goals playing as a centre half forward and on the wing for Haileybury College in the APS school competition. Comes from an elite tennis background and is still quite raw in football terms. Has a long kick and is able to use it on either side of his body. Very athletic and is a player with plenty of development left.

Last month: Ross did some good things in the Eastern Ranges TAC Cup elimination final loss, with 18 disposals and five clearances. Started slowly in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars clash on Grand Final day, but worked into the contest in the attacking half of the ground to finish with 12 disposals, five marks, three inside 50s and a goal. Ross won the goal kicking test at the NAB AFL Draft Combine and scored 29/30 in the kicking test.

#34 Andrew McPherson
Medium Defender (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia)
20/06/1999 | 185.7cm | 79.4kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: A good ball user across half back where McPherson just gets the job done. He showed promise in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships last year. McPherson rebounds it well and can play across the wing. Reads the play well and has a good mix of attack & defence. The AFL Academy member has dealt with a quad injury throughout the first half of the 2017 season.

Last month: McPherson returned from injury and made an appearance in the Eagles’ SANFL Under 18 Grand Final loss to Sturt. McPherson was impressive in the opening quarter of the game, rebounding the ball well and was clean with his disposals – but he suffered an injury and went off the ground in the second quarter. The injury kept him from testing at last week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine.

#35 Harrison Petty
Key Position Defender (Norwood/South Australia)
12/11/1999 | 195.3cm | 81.9kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Key positioned player who reads the play well and positions himself well behind the ball. Is composed with ball in hand and is usually clean to dispose of the ball off his right foot. Petty is also confident with when to intercept the ball overhead.

Last month: Petty played as a key defender in the NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars clash, finishing the game with 12 disposals and three marks. The talented South Australian scored 27 in the kicking test at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, but sprained his ankle and was ruled out for the remainder of the testing.

 


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Scouting notes: 2017 NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game

JAIDYN Stephenson pushed his claims as a possible top five pick with a best-on-ground display at the MCG on Saturday.

In the second year of the AFLs annual showcase, the contest pitted the best 50 2017 draft eligible prospects against each other, split into two sides named after former Geelong great Corey Enright (Team Enright) and North Melbourne champion Brent Harvey (Team Harvey).

MATCH REPORT: Stephenson stars in 2017 NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars game

Scouting notes: 

Team Enright:

#2 Lachlan Fogarty – Just gets to the right spots in the attacking half of the ground and is effective in getting the ball inside 50. Had a game-high seven inside 50s and again showed off his attacking flair. Is willing to tackle his opponents and pressure them at every moment.

#7 Brayden Ainsworth – Was effective in getting the ball out of the stoppages by hand and finished with seven clearances for the day. His pronounce influence was around the ground, compared with in at the centre bounces, but he was able to win the contested ball and was willing to work hard defensively.

#23 Nicholas Shipley – Linked up well on the outside and was often at the bottom of the packs attempting to win the ball. Had a few clearances and was able to have a few runs with ball in hand. More of a handball first, kick second player out of traffic.

#24 James Worpel – Was a beast at the centre bounces and didn’t show any signs of soreness after playing some six days before. By hand, he hardly missed a target – whipping the ball out from the centre bounces and clearing it to a teammate. He had a game-high five centre clearances and his contested ball winning was on show. Will be interesting to see where he ends up come November.

#26 Nick Coffield – Coffield is one of the best users of the football, by hand or foot. His burst of speed and efficiency makes him a highly touted top 10 prospect. His work rebounding the ball and kicking it long from either the kick outs or in defensive 50 were very good and he has been a big riser throughout season 2017.

#27 Oscar Allen – Despite hardly taking part in training on the Thursday before the game, the 2017 Larke medalist was a marking machine, pulling off seven for the game. Allen finished with 2.3 in front of goal – including the first goal for the day, but he was impressive overhead and was able to kick effectively for goal in set shot situations.

#32 Sam Hayes – Inside 50 Hayes was far too good for Connor Ballenden early in the contest and could’ve finished with three goals for the day had he kicked straight. He played majority of the game up forward with Lloyd Meek and Ned Reeves rucking – and it allowed him to show his strengths up forward clunking four marks for the day. Probably one of the few games where he has predominantly played up forward rather than sharing the ruck load.

Team Harvey:

#1 Brent Daniels – The zippy midfielder was able to win the football on the outside as one of the bigger ball winners (23 disposals) for Team Harvey. Daniels stoppage work was good around the ground and he was able to get to the hit-zone on multiple occasions. Bobbed up and booted a goal in the final quarter.

#5 Zac Bailey – Started well with five disposals in the opening term and was able to spread effectively from the stoppages. He used his agility well and was willing to work hard up and down the ground. He did have a few clangers by foot throughout the day, but it was a reasonable showing from the inside midfielder.

#6 Ryley Stoddart – While his return of 13 disposals doesn’t look large from the stats sheet, his effectiveness in the third term was huge when Team Harvey put the foot down. Stoddart used it very well going inside 50 and wasn’t afraid to throw out a fend off and back himself to use his agility to get around players.

#9 Lochie O’Brien – O’Brien finished the year with a bang – with one of his best games of the season with 24 disposals and seven marks. O’Brien was able to link up more in the attacking half of the ground and get the ball moving forward. Whilst he had a few ineffective kicks by foot – he was mostly clean and able to hit targets on his left foot. Possess a great burst of speed.

#22 Brandon Starcevich – One of the more impressive non-Victorian players in Saturday’s game, working through the midfield and getting it inside 50. Kicked a nice goal in the opening quarter, running around and snapping from a mark. An inside 50 kick in the second quarter was elite and he also possesses a long right foot kick. A player worth to go back and re-watch again throughout the Under 18 Championships.

#23 Jaidyn Stephenson – Stephenson’s second half of the season has been very good, transitioning from a third tall to an outside midfielder. Stephenson was adjudged best player on the ground, with 22 disposals, eight marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and four goals. Unlike some of his other games this year, Stephenson was largely effective by foot and there’s no doubt he’ll come into the thoughts of clubs such as North Melbourne and St Kilda.

#27 Aiden Bonar – Bonar was another exciting player who would’ve caught the eye of those watching. Bonar finished the year with his best performance, winning 20 disposals (11 contested) and five clearances. He was willing to throw his body around at the contest and was largely effective by hand – when he was tackled, often staying strong and was hard to be brought to ground.

STATS:

TEAM ENRIGHT K H D M CP UP T HO C I50 R50 G B
4 P.Naish 7 14 21 4 4 17 1 2 3
24 J.Worpel 10 11 21 4 13 9 4 7 3
7 B.Ainsworth 5 15 20 3 10 11 5 7 2 1
22 H.Clark 12 7 19 3 10 9 3 2 4 2 1
23 N.Shipley 8 11 19 4 5 13 3 2 2
27 O.Allen 11 7 18 7 10 9 2 2 2 3
1 D.Moore 9 8 17 5 8 10 3 2 3 1 1
8 A.Brayshaw 5 11 16 3 4 13 5 1 3 1
26 N.Coffield 12 3 15 5 3 13 1 1 5
2 L.Fogarty 9 5 14 3 3 11 5 7 1 1
6 M.McGannon 6 8 14 4 4 10 2 2 2 1
32 S.Hayes 8 6 14 4 7 7 1 3 1 1 1 2
28 M.Podhajski 6 7 13 3 3 10 1 1
30 N.Balta 6 6 12 2 3 9 2 1 2 1
31 H.Petty 4 8 12 3 4 8 1
9 J.Petruccelle 7 4 11 4 4 7 3 2 1 1
34 L.Meek 4 7 11 1 8 3 8 14 3 1 1
5 M.Ling 5 5 10 2 10 2 2
10 J.Garner 7 3 10 1 4 5 2 2 1
35 N.Reeves 1 6 7 3 3 4 6 17 1
29 J.Butts 3 3 6 1 2 4 1
33 S.Taylor 3 3 6 1 3 2 2
21 J.Houlahan 4 1 5 3 1 4 1 1 3
–    Enright18 152 159 311 73 116 198 64 34 30 39 26 8 7
–    Harvey18 163 169 332 66 110 222 39 29 24 43 30 17 8
TEAM HARVEY K H D M CP UP T HO C I50 R50 G B
9 L.O’Brien 16 8 24 7 7 17 1 2 3 2 1 1
10 L.Davies-Uniacke 14 9 23 6 7 16 2 2 4 1 1 2
1 B.Daniels 10 13 23 8 15 2 3 2 1 1
23 J.Stephenson 13 9 22 8 4 18 5 2 4 3 4
3 B.Paton 10 11 21 2 6 13 1 1 1 4
27 A.Bonar 5 15 20 2 11 9 3 5 2 1
22 B.Starcevich 11 7 18 1 7 11 2 2 4 1
5 Z.Bailey 8 10 18 4 7 11 1 2 2 3 1
4 A.Martini 5 11 16 1 4 12 3 1 2
11 B.Henderson 8 6 14 5 3 11 2 1 4 1
34 B.Crossley 6 8 14 4 6 8 5 15 1 3 1 1 1
21 M.Day 3 10 13 2 3 10 1 1
6 R.Stoddart 8 5 13 3 2 11 1 1 4
30 H.McLean 9 3 12 6 3 9 1 5 2 1 4
24 J.Ross 7 5 12 5 3 9 1 1 3 1 1
29 J.Brander 5 7 12 2 4 8 3
8 E.Richards 2 8 10 4 6 4 1
32 H.Dixon 6 4 10 1 4 6 1 1 1
31 C.Ballard 4 4 8 3 3 5 2 4
35 C.Ballenden 4 4 8 2 3 5 2 1
26 N.Murphy 6 6 2 4 1 1 1 1 1
28 O.Clavarino 2 4 6 1 4 3 1
33 B.Miller 1 5 6 1 3 4 6 1 1

2017 NAB AFL All-Star squads revealed

THE COUNTRY’S top teenage talent will again be on display in the two NAB AFL All Stars games in AFL Grand Final weeks.

Over 50 of the brightest prospects have been split into two evenly matched teams, with the AFL today releasing the squads for the Under 18 and Under 17 All Stars games.

Unlike last year, there has been a change with the Under 18 clash set to be played at the MCG as a curtain-raiser to the 2017 Grand Final on September 30. It will start at 10am, while the Under 17 clash will be played on Grand Final Eve at Simonds Stadium from 1.30pm.

The teams will be played under the banner of ‘Team Enright’ (after former Geelong defender Corey) and ‘Team Harvey’ (after North Melbourne great Brent), with AFL Academy assistant coach Brad Johnson to coach the Corey Enright teams and West Australian under 18 coach Peter Sumich to lead the Brent Harvey sides.

Possible No.1 draft contenders Paddy Dow and Adam Cerra will miss the NAB AFL Under 18 All-Stars game with shoulder injuries.

Full Squads:

NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars:
Grand Final Day, Saturday 30th September
MCG 10am

Team Enright 
1 Dylan Moore – Eastern Ranges
2 Lachlan Fogarty – Western Jets
3 Gryan Miers – Geelong Falcons (emergency)
4 Patrick Naish – Northern Knights
5 Matthew Ling – Geelong Falcons
6 Matthew McGannon – Gippsland Power
7 Brayden Ainsworth – Subiaco
8 Andrew Brayshaw – Sandringham Dragons
9 Jack Petruccelle – Northern Knights
10 Joel Garner – Eastern Ranges
21 Jordan Houlahan – Sturt
22 Hunter Clark – Dandenong Stingrays
23 Nicholas Shipley – St George
24 James Worpel – Geelong Falcons
26 Nicholas Coffield – Northern Knights
27 Oscar Allen – West Perth
28 Mitchell Podhajski – Calder Cannons
29 Jordon Butts – Murray Bushrangers
30 Noah Balta – Calder Cannons
31 Harrison Petty – Norwood
32 Sam Hayes – Eastern Ranges
33 Sam Taylor – Swan District
34 Lloyd Meek – GWV Rebels
35 Ned Reeves – Oakleigh Chargers

Team Harvey 
1 Brent Daniels – Bendigo Pioneers
3 Ben Paton – Murray Bushrangers
4 Alex Martini – Glenelg
5 Zac Bailey – Southern District
6 Ryley Stoddart – Eastern Ranges
7 David Handley – Geelong Falcons
8 Ed Richards – Oakleigh Chargers (emergency)
9 Lochie O’Brien – Bendigo Pioneers
10 Luke Davis-Uniacke – Dandenong Stingrays
11 Bailey Hendersnon – Bendigo Pioneers
21 Matthew Day – Oakleigh Chargers
22 Brandon Starcevich – East Perth
23 Jaidyn Stephenson – Eastern Ranges
24 Jackson Ross – Eastern Ranges
25 Jack Payne – Noosa (Emergency)
26 Nathan Murphy – Sandringham Dragons
27 Aiden Bonar – Dandenong Stingrays
28 Oscar Clavarino – Sandenong Stingrays
29 Jarrod Brander – Bendigo Pioneers
30 Hayden McLean – Sandringham Dragons
31 Charlie Ballard – Sturt
32 Hugh Dixon – Kingborough Tigers
33 Ben Miller – Subiaco
34 Brayden Crossley – Labrador Tigers
35 Connor Ballenden – Wests Juniors

NAB AFL Under 17 All Stars:
Grand Final Eve, Friday 29th September
Simonds Stadium 1.30pm

Team Enright 
1 Zac Butters – Western Jets
2 Tom Lewis – Sturt
3 Izak Rankine – West Adelaide
4 Will Hamill – Dandenong Stingrays
5 James Peatling – Pennant Hills
6 Isaac Quaynor – Oakleigh Chargers
7 Tom McKenzie – Northern Knights
8 Connor Rozee – North Adelaide
9 Bailey Smith – Sandringham Dragons
10 Luke Valente – Norwood
11 Joseph Ayrton-Delaney – Oakleigh Chargers
21 Michael Mummery – Southern Districts
22 Lachlan Gadomski – Kingborough Tigers
24 Stefan Radovanovic – Western Jets
25 Jackson Hately – Cantral Districts
26 Riley Bowman – Dandenong Stingrays
27 Bailey Schmidt – Dandenong Stingrays
28 Mark Marriott – Murray Bushrangers
29 Ben King – Sandringham Dragons
30 Max King – Sandringham Dragons
31 Zane Barzen – Murray Bushrangers
32 Matthew Green – Sporties Spitfires
33 Caleb Graham – Cairns Saints
34 Hugo Munn – Sturt

Team Harvey 
1 Ed McHenry – Geelong Falcons
2 Mitch Anderton – Lauderdale
3 Irving Mosquito – Gippsland Power
4 Tom Matthews – Coorparoo
5 Joseph Hiner – Swan Districts
6 Jye Caldwell – Bendigo Pioneers
7 Jarrod Cameron – Swan Districts
8 Bailey Scott – Broadbeach
9 Xavier Duursma – Gippsland Power
10 Xavier O’Neill – Oakleigh Chargers
11 Curtis Taylor – Calder Cannons
12 Mitch Riordan – Dandenong Stingrays
21 Oscar Brownless – Geelong Falcons
22 Matt Walker – Murray Bushrangers
23 Jack Bytel – Calder Cannons
24 Buku Khamis – Western Jets
25 Tarryn Thomas – North Launceston
26 Mason Fletcher – Calder Cannons
27 Jack Lukosius – Woodville West-Torrens
28 Xavier Peacock – Subiaco
29 Ben Kelly – Murray Bushrangers
30 Bailey Williams – Dandenong Stingrays
31 Jacob Atley – Bendigo Pioneers
32 Hudson Garoni – Murray Bushrangers
33 Dillon O’Reilly – East Fremantle

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 18

THE final round of the TAC Cup season was completed on the weekend – with the all important finals series kicking off at Victoria Park this Saturday. We had our scouts watching all six games in Round 18, read their notes below.

GWV Rebels vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Peter Williams)

GWV Rebels:

#1 Dale Cox – Arguably the best game I have seen him play live. Took a couple of fantastic grabs one-on-one and kicked two goals, one from a snap and a second from a set shot. He continued to look dangerous throughout the contest, applying good pressure inside forward 50, and a touch of class when on the outside. While he did not receive a state combine invite, he could be one that falls under the Western Bulldogs Category B rookie if they choose to nominate him.

#2 Callan Wellings – The Rebels’ captain put in another strong performance on the weekend. Wellings is one of the most consistent performers in the TAC Cup and he just has a no-fuss approach to his football. He showed a high work rate and great vision in close while also finding space around the ground. He was rewarded with a goal when he snuck into space inside 50. He took a few intercept marks across half-back in the final term to snuff out any hope of a Bendigo comeback and was involved in a possession chain where he won the ball in the defensive half and then ran forward to take a mark at half-forward in the same possession chain.

#4 Aiden Domic – Domic has been a big improver in the second half of the season and was best on ground against the Pioneers on the weekend. He is a really smart footballer who does not waste time with his disposal. While his inside numbers have improved in the second half of the season, he played predominantly on the wing as Jordan Johnston took an inside role. He snapped a terrific goal in the third term with five minutes remaining to put the Rebels 39 points up. Domic has an impact up forward and great goal sense and is one of the best endurance runners in the competition.

#9 Flynn Appleby – Appleby’s draft stocks would have to be rising after yet another big performance down back, this time on top 10 hope Jarrod Brander. Appleby gave up nine centimetres and six kilograms to the big forward but held his own. He was really composed with the football and apart from a couple of minutes in the second term when Brander got hold of him, he stood up well, positioning himself well in the one-on-ones, protecting the ball drop and also peeling off Brander to assist teammates. Appleby was unlucky not to receive a state combine invitation, but his last month has been nothing short of sensational.

#10 Jordan Johnston – The exciting forward has put together a good month of football as an uncomprimising inside midfielder. He holds his own in close and played on fellow forward-cum-midfielder Brent Daniels at the stoppages. Johnston won more of the football but was exposed for leg speed against Daniels crusing out of a pack. Johnston as a whole had more of an influence, turning it on in the third term setting up a goal assist after a free kick in the middle, and then had a second clearance from the next centre bounce, finishing with a goal moments later. A highlight was in the second quarter when Johnston smothered the ball and managed to grab the footy in one motion.

#23 Lloyd Meek – The over-age ruckman continued his good form in season 2017 with another influential display across the ruck and up forward. He has developed his body this year to really use his strength and frame to outmuscle opponents and was too strong for the in-form Jobee Warde. While Warde had the athleticism, Meek was really impressive in holding his ground and ensuring Warde could not get an easy jump at the ruck stoppages. Up forward, Meek presented well, crashing packs and taking a few good marks, although his goal kicking still needs some work, missing the lot from the forward pocket, albeit on a very tight angle.

#40 Tylar Watts – I was really only focusing on top-agers, but Watts caught my eye with a pretty good performance working in tandem with Meek. While his possession numbers are not high, Watts produced arguably the biggest highlight of the game with a towering mark in the final term when the Pioneers were threatening to chase down the deficit. He stood tall, kicked the goal and iced the game, giving Rebels fans a bit of excitement about what he could be capable of in 2018.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Kane Farrell – I really liked Farrell’s game on the weekend. He is not a huge accumulator of the football but he looks balanced and has good vision through traffic and great hands in close. There were a couple of times where he sidestepped an opponent and delivered it well inside 50 to a leading target. He also showed his versatility to have an impact up forward, kicking a crucial goal late in the third term. The one knock from the weekend was there was an instance or two where he tried to do too much and was caught before he could effectively dispose of it or finish cleanly.

#6 Cooper Jones – Like his side, Jones was fairly influential early on, rebounding what he could for the Pioneers playing across half-back. He went in hard along the wing and laid a bone-crunching tackle winning a free kick. Last year he played up forward but I like him as a defender, was quieter in the second half, but still had a few nice touches across half-back and on the wing. He could potentially develop into a taller midfielder.

#8 Lochie O’Brien – It was not one of O’Brien’s better games despite picking up a vote in the Morrish Medal. He won more of the football than usual, but his kicking efficiency was well down on his usual standards, which was later reflected with just 50 per cent by foot. I regard O’Brien as a deadly left foot kick, but the Rebels captain Cal Wellings and his teammates gave O’Brien little time and space to use his strong attributes. Despite not having the influence he has had in other games, O’Brien still kicked a goal thanks to an old fashioned sausage roll from 50m in the last term.

#10 Brent Daniels – The nuggety forward played more inside midfield against the Rebels and flashed in and out with some brilliant patches. He almost created the highlight of the day, streaming down the middle of the ground taking a couple of bounces and got to about 60m from goal before taking a third bounce and fluffing it and getting caught by his chasing opponent. As a whole I felt he was composed with the football when under pressure and was good in tight by hand.

#13 Jarrod Brander – The possible top 10 draft pick continued to work throughout the four quarters but became Flynn Appleby’s latest victim. Brander was good on the lead and kicked a fantastic goal outside 50 in the second term and took a couple of marks in a two minute purple patch when he looked to break the game open, but otherwise was well held by his opponent. A combination of the swirly conditions and teammate’s inefficiency going inside 50 did not help his cause. Cannot fault his endeavour however and he continued to present up at the football, and when marking was a clean grab.

#15 Darby Henderson – The Pioneers ball magnet continued to win the pill throughout the game showing pretty good hands in close and doing everything right defensively. His kicking is still iffy at times and that’s the main knock on him, but he laid eight tackles and won the football all over the ground, clearing the ball out of the defensive 50 on a number of occasions.

#18 Bailey Henderson – The wingman continued a really solid season with a pretty solid game. He has great vision looking forward, but I questioned his peripheral vision when he had plenty of time but was run down from the side by an opponent. When in space he used a piercing kick and was able to win the ball at half-back and move forward in transition. He tends to have a slower kicking action which also saw opponents bump or tackle him when he was in possession, forcing him to make a few errors.

#20 Angus Schumacher – Like many of his teammates, Schumacher has had better games but he worked into the match in the second half. He took a good intercept mark early in the third but immediately coughed up the football with a short 20m pass. Schumacher sometimes does not kick through the ball over short distances and therefore makes errors by foot, but when kicking long he has a nice action and more often than not can hit-up a teammate 40-50m down the ground. Schumacher also showed good agility and closing speed on the lead.

Calder Cannons vs. Western Jets (Matt Balmer)

Calder Cannons:

#1 Brad Bernacki – Continued his good ball winning abilities in the midfield and was a deserving runner-up in the Morrish Medal. Was able to spread well from the contest and you couldn’t fault his endeavours in wanting to win the ball back when the Jets were in possession.

#5 Curtis Taylor – The standout Cannon for the day for me. Playing in the attacking half of the ground, he showed off his X-Factor and agility in the stoppages. Taylor provided a dangerous option when he was up forward and he was able to get the ball inside 50 effectively when he was playing through the midfield. Also marks well overhead.

#12 Noah Balta – Begun the game up forward and mixed his time between ruck/forward. Was the clear best tall in at the centre bounces, using his elite leap to effectiveness. Up forward with the wind, Balta showed on multiple occasions he could bang the ball long 60 metres at goal – and he kicked a fine set shot goal in the opening quarter from outside 50. Contested marking was impressive right around the ground.

#29 Jake Riccardi – Played as a centre half back for the majority of the game and was able to drop off his opponent and win the ball in the defensive half of the ground. Is one I think that is better suited up forward, but has shown he is more than capable at either end in recent weeks. Was also very efficient by hand and foot, hardly missing a target all day.

#30 Mitch Podhajski – Battled hard playing as a key position player and was able to win the ball and rebound it out of defensive 50. Is a handy mark and can take them in contested situations. Gave away a few unnecessary free kicks during the game, but worked hard all day.

Western Jets:

#11 Zak Butters – Kicked a great banana goal in the opening quarter and his ball use was very good right throughout the game. He was able to win the ball in the contest and was also willing to tackle back to win the ball. Looking forward to tracking him closely next season.

#14 Lachlan Fogarty – One of the stiffest players to even not collect a vote in the Morrish Medal after his best-on-ground display. Fogarty hunted the ball back with immense pressure and his tackling was phenomenal. His clearance work was good and it lead to multiple inside 50s coming from his boot. Is agile enough to get around his opponents at the stoppages and he pushed forward to boot three goals.

#33 Xavier O’Halloran – Once again showed his contested ball winning abilities, working hard at every stoppage he attended. Also pushed forward and took a good mark inside 50 in the third quarter. Spent a bit more time forward than usual and didn’t win too many clearances – but was another important player in the midfield for the Jets.

#38 Buku Khamis – Played as a key defender and showed some smarts when teammates had the ball inside defensive 50, where he was often able to spread and get to the right position for the switch. Took some strong contested grabs and with the ball in hand his decision making was good.

#44 Tristan Xerri – Easily the best game I’ve seen Xerri play where he was not only able to dominate in the ruck, but win the ball around the ground. He linked up well by hand and his follow up work was very good. Booted two goals up forward, but it was his work in the contest that was super impressive for the tall.

Eastern Ranges vs. Oakleigh Chargers (Peter Williams)

Eastern Ranges:

#2 Tom North – The inside midfielder was best on ground in the first quarter, seemingly bringing his own football with him. He was noticeaby missing after quarter time given Oakleigh took more control of the midfield. North hurt his ankle and did not play a further part after a nine disposal, two clearance start to the game. He is one who has shown enough this season to be considerd around the middle of the draft.

#6 Ryley Stoddart – One of the best Ranges on the weekend, Stoddart showed off some impressive, penetrating kicks coming out of defensive 50. He was assigned to Higgins at times and while he was beaten in the air by the Morrish Medallist, he was smart in peeling off and assisting teammates in other contests. Stoddart reads the play well and times his spoils to perfection, while he also has good vision to spot up teammates in space. A player who really applies good pressure when he is around the football I noticed he tends to rush his kick under pressure at times and can lean back to get more distance but sometimes it puts him off balance.

#10 Dylan Moore – Played his part for the Ranges on the weekend as one of the best and has an equal balance of offensive and defensive pressure. He leads at the football when it is his time to go, and he pressures opponents when he does not have the football to try and keep the ball locked into the forward 50. Kicked a good goal from a set shot and when he went into the midfield he really began accumulating the football. While he has been likened to that smaller forward role, Moore showed he can more than hold his own in the midfield with a number of clearances and winning it on the inside or out.

#14 Trent Mynott – The midfielder was quiet early but pressured his opponents and got to the right positions. He won a bit more of the football in the second half, and laid a huge bone-crunching tackle that even had the crowd going “oooh”. Mynott has a fierce attack on the football and while he was not a huge accumulator on the weekend, he always does the defensive aspects right.

#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – The midfielder/forward is just an excitement machine. At times his kicking can be iffy, but he wins the ball all over the ground, is good in the air or at ground level and just oozes excitement. As a spectator you cannot help but be drawn to see what he will do with the ball and what move he will pull next. He snapped a great goal under pressure in the second term and streamed through the middle of the ground showing off some great acceleration to kick inside 50. He had a couple of snaps early in the final term but could not find the radar, but was one of the few Ranges who could hold their head high for four quarters. It was one of his more consistent performances and caps off a great month.

#18 Sam Hayes – The most impressive thing about Hayes as a ruck is, despite not being overly mobile compared to other rucks, he does win a fair few clearances to go with his hitouts. A combination of grabbing it out of the ruck and putting it on the boot as well as picking it off the deck and booting it forward, Hayes put in another solid performance. He also wins a fair few free kicks because his opponents are wary of what he is capable of. He can take some good contested grabs and is a clear first round prospect and the first ruckman taken this year.

#21 Joel Garner – Had a good first quarter intercepting a number of possessions going inside 50, timing his leads and reading the ball well playing opposed to Higgins at times. But a late hit on an opponent after he kicked – nothing malicious just very late – saw him reported and set off late in the second term. Oakleigh took advantage of Garner being off the ground to boot a few late goals. Garner was not as influential after he returned in the second half, understandably.

#22 Jackson Ross – Not a big ball winner but produced a few highlights on the weekend. He had a fantastic intercept mark reading the play well on the wing, not breaking stride, but then was tackled and coughed up possession after he did not see a tackler coming hard from the side. He booted a nice goal from outside 50 in the opening minute of the final term, but otherwise was quiet.

#26 Harrison Nolan – The key position defender always applies pressure inside defensive 50 and the game against Oakleigh was no different. He lays some strong tackles and assists his teammates, also providing some rebound out of defence. Not a big ball winner, but he wins a fair chunk of his one-on-ones and therefore is good in contested situations.

#33 Tyler Brown – The son of Gavin and brother of Callum on the weekend was okay, but realtively quiet. He played at half-forward predominantly and lead up at the football on a number of occasions. He had a handball predominant game, winning most of his possessions in close, but was effective in getting it to a teammate.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#6 Matthew Day – Played inside forward 50 and had a quiet game. He took a fanastic sliding mark in the third term and kicked the goal from the set shot, while also spending stints in the midfield, but did not accumulate big numbers.

#7 Charlie Thompson – Played more of a forward role compared to his huge game the week before and was good in the way he continued to dig in and offer an option for his midfielders. He hits the contest hard and was rarely beaten overhead. He has great skills for a predominantly contested player and is a reliable set shot so I would not be surprised to see him rocket up the draft boards if he continues his good form.

#8 Toby Wooller – One of the best Oakleigh players in the win despite his kicking letting him down at times. He has developed into a hard running midfielder who is good overhead and can clear the area with some long kicks. He took a huge contested mark on the wing and while his kicking efficiency would have been average, his ability to win plenty of the football in midfield then go forward and kick three goals shows he has what it takes to make it at the next level, arguably as an athletic midfielder.

#35 Jack Higgins – The deserving Morrish Medallist again worked hard through four quarters but it probably was not his best game due to missed opportunities. His disposal by foot at times was rushed and he finished the game with 2.4 including a poster from a set shot. The wind caused much havoc and the pressure was high at times, but Higgins was a fanastic contested mark and can set up the play really well. His leading patterns are top notch and his work rate is huge. His kicking efficiency of 38 per cent and inaccuracy in front of goal stopped it from being a dominant performance once again.

Northern Knights vs. Sandringham Dragons (Peter Williams)

Northern Knights:

#4 Max Dreher – Worked hard in close and while he did not win a heap of the football, produced a lot of one percenters to help his teammates. He fought throughout the four quarters and was rewarded for his hard running with a great goal from outside 50.

#6 Patrick Naish – The Richmond father/son nominee was effective across half-back early, looking calm and composed. He was more influential in the first half than in the second, like many of his teammates. He had a flying shot at goal from outside 50 but it went well out on the full, before adding a major to his name late in the last quarter with a good goal inside 50. Not one of his better games, but was serviceable considering his team as a whole did not perform the way they would have liked.

#7 Jack Petruccelle – Did not accumulate a heap of it, but I felt he was one of the best Knights. He won the ball in close and on the outside and while he could rush his kick on occasions when disposing of it over short distances, he had an impressive purple patch in the quarter. He won the ball at half-back and spurred a dart inside 50 to a teammate and then moments later had a running shot at goal and it sailed home. Petruccelle had a good clearance out of the centre to open the final term..

#9 Alex Federico – Known for his ball winning ability and he was one of the bigger accumulators on the weekend. His work rate is really high and he is important in the Knights’ transition from half back to half-forward. Federico was really cleaver around the stoppages in extracting the ball and getting it forward, winning the bulk of his disposals in tight.

#11 Ethan Penrith – The usual defender played up forward and had a good pressuring role. Unfortunately his stats will not reflect the game he had without the football, just a couple of touches and a goal, but he laid a few tackles and did add an extra element inside 50 when the ball went down there. Didn’t see him have a touch in the second half though.

#12 Joel Naylor – The tall forward was indicative of the Knights’ performance in the sense he was super impressive when handed opportunties in the first half, but faded away in the second half. Took a few good marks and slotted a goal in the first term, but was barely sighted after half-time such was the lack of entries inside the Knights’ forward 50.

#34 Matthew Harman – Harman did his bit in the ruck, sharing the duties with Joel Grace and being serviceable across the ground. He had an ingenious moment in the second term when he kicked the ball along the ground to the advantage of his teammates when he knew he did not have time to take possesion. Did not accumulate much of the pill, but held his own in the ruck contests. 

Sandringham Dragons:

#1 Lachie Harris – Due to injury and school football I have not had the chance to see Harris live since the Dragons’ round one match and while he is not a huge accumulator, he is that small forward who adds pressure to the forward 50. He probably needs to do a bit more offensively, but defensively he was solid and kicked an important goal in the third term to put his side 24 points up with 10 minutes remaining.

#2 Geordie Nagle – Nagle is another “handball-first” player, but he is ultra-quick with his thought process and disposal. He has clean hands and won plenty of the ball in the middle of the ground, always on the move and shovelling it out to a teammate in space. Nagle earned a lot of his disposals running on the outside and also mopped up in defence on a number of occasions.

#5 Seb Williams – The Brighton Grammar midfielder was strong in the contest but his disposal let him down. His decision making at times was also questionable, such as handballing to a stationary target under pressure. However, his pros from the weekend really impressed me with his overhead strength and neat sidestep. He finds space inside 50 and kicked a great goal. He spread from the contest well and continued to present as an option coming off half-back and along the win. If he can tinker with his kicking and improve his decision making, he could be a late pick-up this year.

#6 Charlie Constable – The inside beast has had bigger games disposal wise, but when he wins the football he is really noticeable. His strength and balance in the contest is huge and in one instant he swivelled his hips to shake off a tackler and pump it long to Isaac Morrisby on the lead. Took a contested mark on the wing despite pressure coming from both sides of his body and he also defended well, adding composure to the back six. He finds space really well and looks to execute a pass inside to the corridor at every opportunity.

#8 Will Walker – Walker strikes me as a really hard runner. He is very outside in the way he goes about it, but he just gets to contest after contest. He often wins a lot of possessions through handball receives, but what impressed me on the weekend was his ability to work hard defensively and lay a number of good tackles. The knock was his influence around the ground because he won a bit through the middle of the ground, but was not as influential as others elsewhere.

#9 Andrew Brayshaw – Along with his brother, Brayshaw continued to win plenty of the football. He was more prominent in the first half, winning the ball in close and then spreading to the outside, delivering some nicely waited passes inside 50. He also set up a number of scoring opportunities when going forward and while there were a few rushed kicks, Brayshaw kicked an important goal early in the final term to snuff out Northern’s chances of a comeback.

#10 Angus Styles – One of the smarter players in terms of vision and footy nous in close. One example I saw which I liked was his ability to not rush his handball into space, but instead hold onto the footy for an extra second to enable his teammate Will Walker to run into the space required to receive the handball. He took a good intercept mark inside 50 for the Dragons by standing his ground, but missed the set shot and finished the day with two behinds. Styles was a really balanced player in the marking contest and he protects the ball drop. Not a huge accumulator, I thought Styles contributed to the Dragons’ win well.

#11 Hamish Brayshaw – The star of the show with five goals and was just influential throughout the contest. He was known for his ability to accumulate on the inside last season and on the weekend he played forward and just dominated. Then he went into the midfield and dominated there, laying some great tackles and influencing the contest in tight. Most importantly it was one of the best games I have seen him play in terms of disposal and hurt factor with some really impressive, penetrating kicks inside 50, setting up a couple of goals for teammates. An over-age player, Brayshaw would have to be in consideration at some clubs for his pure ball winning ability and his strength to make an impact when forward.

#29 Joel Amartey – An impressive game rotating through the ruck and up forward, needing to play more minutes in the midfield after Hayden McLean was concussed and taken from the ground. He started forward and took a great diving mark with his set shot from 35m out going straight through the middle. He then influenced the contest around the ground, showing off his athleticism to win a heap of hitouts and became the link-up man in transition from the midfield to the forwards. One of the best games I have seen him play.

#30 Hayden McLean – He took a huge contested grab and hurt himself doing so, with his kick on goal powerful, but missing. He presented up forward, but was not as influential as in other games, then came off concussed in the third term and did not play any further part.

#74 Nathan Murphy – The weekend’s game was the first time I have seen Murphy play live and I am sold. He was really strong in the opening moments with some deadly darts inside 50 and looked really slick along the wing. He went back later in the game and was good one-on-one and took some great marks. I thought his ground coverage was great, and he is not afraid to back himself in the contest. The one knock I would have is that he is still raw and learning aspects of the game having come from a cricketing background. With the ball he is fine, but without it there were a couple of moments where he looked uncertain of whether to shepherd a teammate or go for the ball himself. But I expect that will come with time and certainly with ball in hand, Murphy was ultra impressive.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Geelong Falcons (Matt Balmer)

Dandenong Stingrays:

#6 Aiden Bonar – Was impressive throughout the contest and spent more time in the midfield as the game went on. His pressure was very high and he laid some very strong tackles. Has presence around the contest and showed that he has a decent burst when he needs to use it. Took a strong contested mark in the third quarter and was able to find the ball around the ground. Bonar was willing to provide multiple efforts, including a great passage of play in front of recruiters on the wing – where he was able to make multiple efforts and attempt to win back the ball by applying pressure on the Geelong defenders.

#25 Oscar Clavarino – Played one of the best games I’ve seen him play, marking with ease in the defensive 50. Was also pushed forward late, but his intercept work was one of the reason that the Falcons struggled to kick goals. His usage was good on his right foot and provided a few rebound 50s.

#26 Tom Murphy – Continued his strong form showing his ball winning abilities through the midfield. Covered the ground well and his defensive efforts were good – not only dropping back to help out in defensive 50, but tackling hard through the midfield. Hitting form at a good time.

#35 Tom Freeman – Played as a third tall rebounding defender for the Stingrays and whilst most of his possessions were in uncontested situations – he reads the play well and his positioning was good. Has some burst of speed too.

Geelong Falcons:

#4 Gryan Miers – Had a quieter game than usual, not winning as much ball as he has done in some games this season. Spent most the day inside 50, and his follow up and pressure work was good. Laid some strong tackles in the wet and his hands in close were effective.

#13 Ethan Floyd – Had a superb run down tackle in the first quarter and was able to get off the chain on the outside as one of the Falcons’ best. Showed off his agility on the wing and was willing to take on opponents with his speed. Booted a great left foot goal from outside 50 and pumped the ball long on multiple occasions.

#16 David Handley – Had five scoring shots on goal – but unfortunately only managed to convert one – which was an absolute beauty booted from mid air 10 metres out. Showed off his long right foot kick at times and his leading was good – able to get space between himself and his opponent to mark the ball unopposed.

#19 Matt Ling – Started the game exceptionally well, but was quieter after quarter time. Used his good agility to effectiveness, as well as his pinpoint left foot pass. Took multiple kick outs for the Falcons and had a few good spoils when he needed to defend in one-on-one situations.

#38 James Worpel – Didn’t have as much impact than he has in other games – but his contested game was again on show. His tackling and pressure in the contest was very good and he was often found at the bottom of the packs throughout the game. In the wet, he was able to clear the ball and bang it long inside 50 to one of the Falcons’ tall targets.

#41 Tom McCartin – Leapt at a few balls throughout the day and you can tell he’s the brother of St Kilda’s Patrick. Had some good defensive efforts and was involved in a few score assists, getting the ball to teammates. Unfortunately, his day ended early suffering concussion.

#42 Cassidy Parish – Was strong on the inside and had plenty of early possessions in the opening half. Had good vision at times to find a target by hand in close and was another player that was willing to boot the ball out of the pack and get it going inside 50.

#46 Adam Garner – Pulled off a great contested mark in the opening quarter, as well as winning a free kick after being held – which he converted the shot on goal. However, once the rain came after half time, it was hard going for the Falcons tall.

Murray Bushrangers vs. Gippsland Power (Michael Alvaro)

Murray Bushrangers:

#4 Laitham Vandermeer – Amassed 25 disposals and seven clearances as one of Murray’s more consistent performers. Had a good mix of inside and outside possession, but his run and carry was what made him stand out on the day. Would like to see him finish off his bursts of speed with more kicks though, he opted to hand the ball off on the back of his runs and broke down the momentum of his move.

#7 Zane Barzen – Was a key link in the chain forward of centre for Murray with eight marks, one of which was a decent hanger on the wing in the third term. He chimed in with a couple of clever goals to cap off what was a solid shift overall. Needs to work on his defensive efforts though, as he didn’t clock a tackle despite having a strong presence up forward.

#11 Jy Lane – Lane was consistently the man moving the ball in and out of either 50 as he worked hard to take the game on and break the lines constantly. He worked well in that aspect alongside Langlands, while also quelling the influence of Jiath after quarter time on the wing.

#19 Will Donaghey – Lead all-comers in terms of disposals with 31 and was a key part in Murray’s moves out of defence. He collected a wealth of those possessions on the outside and often used his teammates to gather quick 1-2’s breaking away from stoppages. With 24 of his disposals counting as uncontested, it’s fair to say Donaghey’s strength lies on the outside, and he showed off his high footy IQ with some clever and opportunistic plays.

#21 Doulton Langlands – Langlands doesn’t often stand out in any particular areas, but this was one of his better games as he made his mark with some great run and carry. He’s a regular across half-back for Murray and he played that quarterback-type role perfectly as he gathered a wealth of uncontested ball and running bounces. He also impacted the scoreboard with his sole major and three score assists from some sharp inside 50 entries.

#30 Alex Paech – Paech was constantly a solid option up forward for the Bushies, but he struggled to reel in anything that came his way. While his hands aren’t the strongest, he does some good work at ground level and moves well for a key position player. He bagged two majors and was extremely vocal throughout the day, screaming ‘get around him’ from the bench whenever he could. Unfortunately copped a knock and limped off later on.

Gippsland Power:

#2 Nick Hogan – Part of the talented Gippsland midfield mosquito fleet, Hogan excited with some strong bursts from the stoppages and showed good clearance nous. Attended most of the centre bounces and helped his side to get on top with 8 clearances in a game-high 30 disposals. Played his part moving up the ground with 11 inside 50’s and some nice handball chains through the midfield.

#4 Changkouth Jiath – Was instrumental in the first quarter with 10 disposals, it seemed like Jiath was everywhere. Used his athleticism well to mark overhead and then break away along the wing, but just lacked a finish product. Needs to improve on his kicking if he wants to take full advantage of his damaging traits, which are outstanding. Also had a good battle with Jy Lane on the wing, rotating with Irving Mosquito throughout the game.

#5 Xavier Duursma – Duursma is as unfazed in combat as you’ll see any bottom-ager. Played his typical role in defensive-50, snuffing out opposition attacks both aerially and on the ground, while also providing plenty of rebound. He’s usually a composed kick but lost his head a couple of times today, turning it over in dangerous areas. Was still trusted with kick-in duties and put in a good shift overall down back.

#7 Will Stephenson – Was reasonably quiet in his loud green boots early on, but came to life after half time with more minutes in the midfield. He worked well at the centre bounces with Hogan, Porter and Quigley to get Gippsland on the front foot with a barrage of long inside-50 entries. Chimed in with three important goals and showed how clever he is around the big sticks, finding opportunities where not many would.

#19 Callum Porter – Arguably the best afield across the whole game, Porter capped off his consistent home and away season with a big performance. He was able to show off his inside and outside traits as a midfielder with some hard work in-tight followed up by streaming runs through the corridor. Continually popped up at the back of the centre bounces, either pumping the ball long or trying to break free of his opponents. Was an overall complete midfielder’s game today from the Gippsland star.

#41 Sam Flanders – Flanders was an absolute menace up forward and didn’t allow his opponents a moment of rest. Combined with fellow AFL Academy member Caleb Serong to amass four third-quarter goals which played a vital part in Gippsland’s second half breakaway. He lead the way in the defensive pressure stakes with some bruising tackles, but also showed some good finesse around goals despite kicking five behinds. Looks like a very promising type, and reminds me a bit of former Gippsland forward Tom Papley – who also wears the #41.

#42 Caleb Serong – The 16 year old hasn’t looked out of place at TAC Cup level and this game was no exception. Worked well in tandem with Sam Flanders inside forward 50 and chimed in with two crucial goals during the third term after moving from the wing early on. Can take a good overhead grab and does some smart work around goals, he’s another to watch in the coming years.