Tag: sam stening

Green striving for “attainable” goal with greater chance at high-level football

AFTER a 2020 season that “wasn’t as planned”, top-age GWS GIANTS Academy talent Josh Green was determined to have a greater crack at the AFL Draft after more chances to play high-level football. Selected in the Allies’ squad for the upcoming AFL Under 19 Championships, 2021, Green has not quite got his wish with the Canberra-based talent having to endure more uncertainty and delays this year. However, it is just as important to have got out to play alongside friends in the Academy.

“Got plenty of mates here in the GIANTS Academy, especially from Canberra, the boys love getting together so it’s great to play with all them. Sam Frost, Fraser Kelly, some of the boys here, Pat Voss what a jet, Sam Stening, Jack Driscoll, you love playing with those sort of boys,” Green said.

Unlike many other peers, Green has experience of going through he AFL Draft system, with another GIANT Academy talent in Tom having been picked up and starring in his second season, one of the leading contenders for the Rising Star Award.

“It was great for the whole family I guess, just seeing him live out his dream,” Green said. “Going so high in the draft, everyone was so proud of him but obviously there’s the thing that’s what I’m striving to do. “It shows it’s an attainable goal, but I’m obviously really proud of him as well.”

Much like Tom, the younger Green moved to Canberra as a child and took up the game where he immediately began grabbing every chance that came his way. Green said he hoped 2021 might provide him with more opportunities to showcase his ability.

“Moved to Canberra when I was about 10,” he said. “Started playing footy in Canberra, played for my school Marist College and just through there the GIANTS Academy pathways, really helped develop my footy. “So coming up through that program, there were heaps of opportunities and then obviously playing under 16s nationals and then some NEAFL and things and unfortunately last year the Under 18s year wasn’t as planned, so this year hopefully have another go at it.”

Whilst drawing some similarities, Green is essentially very different to his brother, with Josh able to play as a leading forward, or push up the ground and play inside or outside. He has no trouble finding the ball and is strong overhead, but was focusing on various athletic traits such as his speed and endurance.

“Ball-winning is the main strength. which helps in the middle,” he said. ‘But then also I feel like i can go forward and take marks as well so versatility helps as well. “My pace is probably the main one (improvement), in my (preseason) 20m sprint I didn’t go too well. “Then just being able to keep the fitness level up throughout the year to run out games.”

In 2021, Green might not have been able to run out for the Allies just yet – with doubt hovering over the availability of NSW-ACT talents in particular given government restrictions – but he put together a consistent NAB League Boys mini-season of 23 disposals, 3.7 marks, 3.3 tackles and 1.3 goals in three games.

2021 NAB League: Round 4 – Debuts galore as Academies, bottom-agers roll through

AFTER a month-long hiatus, the NAB League returns on Saturday morning as five Northern Academies are welcomed to the fold. The Queensland academies – Brisbane and Gold Coast – will face Northern Knights and Dandenong Stingrays respectively in a Preston double-header, while the NSW academies – GWS and Sydney – take on Geelong Falcons and Gippsland Power in Werribee.

Elsewhere, a Craigieburn triple-header on Sunday sees the Tasmania Devils lock horns with the Northern Territory Thunder Academy on neutral turf. Hosts, Calder Cannons open that grand day of action against Bendigo Pioneers, as the Eastern Ranges and GWV Rebels close out the nine-game round.

Opportunity awaits for bottom-aged prospects too, who were essentially held back during the first three rounds this year to provide ample opportunity for top-age talent to shine. All bar one Victorian talent region will field 17-year-olds in Round 4, along with Tasmania and the Academies, with the Under 17 Championship squads being finalised nationwide.

THE YOUNG GUNS – U17s

Round 5’s standalone opener at Trevor Barker Oval sees Sandringham take on Western, with both sides introducing at least one Under 17 prospect apiece. The Dragons have named lively forward Harry Sheezel, who is dangerous around goals and has impressed in each trial or carnival outing thus far. Ben Hempel is another young Dragon named in the side. Cameron Kizan looms as a new Jets’ under-age representative, set to rotate from the bench after lining up on a wing in the Victorian Under 17 trial games for Metro.

Geelong and Gippsland welcome the NSW academies, with the Power due to unveil a host of up-and-comers against Sydney. Zane Duursma is a name which catches the eye, but the brother of Port’s Xavier is a fantastic talent in his own right. A rare 2005-birth in this mix, he will run out against players three years his elder, but looks to cut the difference with his skills and poise in tight spots. The Power have also named promising half-back Jonti Schuback, while Cooper Vickery and tall Harvey Howe will start on the pine.

Geelong looks poised to start a trio of its Under 17 prospects against the Giants Academy, in important positions too. 195cm bigman Olivier Northam is the Falcons’ starting ruck, while midfielder-forward Jhye Clark is poised to enter via the centre bounce mix. Ted Clohesy is another to watch in the Falcons’ forward half.

Saturday’s other double-header sees Northern look to unleash versatile 194cm prospect Dane Harvey, as he is named on the bench while goalsneak Jason McCormick earns a spot in the forwardline along with even more fresh faces. The Knights take on Brisbane, who have also named a 17-year-old in Bailey Tome, in midfield.

Likewise, Dandenong has a few of its own Under 17 inclusions for its clash with Gold Coast. Henry Hustwaite and Ned Moodie are set to start on the bench, as Jess McManus takes up a starting spot at centre half-back. The Suns will also bring in some under-agers, with Jared Eckersley another starting down the spine, while Marlin Corbett will rotate off the pine.

While some of Oakleigh’s talented bottom-agers will have to wait a little longer to crack the Chargers’ stacked lineup, 200cm ruck-forward Will Elliott gets his chance.  Murray will also have at least one Under 17 in its squad on Saturday, with Joshua Tweedale, a 198cm ruck from Wangaratta included in the squad.

Looking across the team sheets for Sunday’s triple-header, and Eastern has a bunch of youngsters ready to impact. Small midfielder Harry Flynn is one to watch in the guts, while Lewis Hayes has also shown plenty of promise as a tall defender. Also among the group of fresh Ranges faces are Kai Windsor, Lachlan Reidy, and Hayden Smith.

GWV will field its share of Under 17s as well, with Felix Fogarty and Aaron Cadman named on the bench. Both loom as forward options, with Fogarty the taller of the two at 197cm.

In Bendigo’s bout with Calder, Jason Gillbee will come in as a rare 17th-year player with games already under his belt, as Ben Cameron also lines up for the Pios. Calder will unleash the very promising midfield pairing of Caleb Burquest and Paul Pascu, who should both get a look-in for the final Metro squad.

An exciting talent to watch out of the Northern Territory Academy is Beau Tedcastle, a livewire small forward with senior experience under his belt in the Top End. The Thunder face Tasmania, who have given ample opportunity to some under-agers already. Among them, 2005-birth Ryley Sanders has been named with Lachlan Cowan, as at least four others look like cracking the Devils’ side this week.

THE RETURNEES – U19s

While the next generation rolls through, some familiar names will also line up once more for their respective regions. Plenty of eyes will be on Murray and Carlton VFL midfielder Zavier Maher as he comes in fresh off a terrific senior outing for his local club. Young Guns showcase representatives Cameron McLeod and Patrick Parnell will also suit up for the Bushies, against an Oakleigh side with strong top-age talent. Among the Chargers’ brigade is Sam Tucker, who comes in for his first game this year, while Ned Moyle and Youseph Dib are at the top end of those returning from VFL duties – both with Collingwood.

Sandringham ruck Felix Flockart, a 2001-birth, will also get a run for the Dragons as he stakes his claim for mid-season draft selection, with the likes of Charlie McKay and Luke Cleary again set to turn out for the ridiculously strong talent region. Cody Raak is another mid-season candidate to watch in that game, lining up for Western in his usual centre half-back post.

Blake Reid and Noah Gadsby are a couple of handy inclusions for Geelong, who have a solid bunch of 19th-year talents. Northern will be happy to see leader Joel Trudgeon in the squad, with Ben De Bolfo and Dominic Akuei listed in defence along with Regan Uwandu, an exciting type who plays his first game for the year after an injury lay-off. Speaking of, Bayleigh Welsh will finally get to run out for Dandenong, named at half-back as former Hawthorn trainee Will Bravo remains in midfield.

Key forward Sam Paea is among a few Calder prospects to come in after gaining experience in the VFL, named alongside Young Guns representative Sam Clohesy. Among the Young Guns group for Bendigo, Caleb Ernst will look to carry on his impressive form up forward, with skipper Jack Evans also set to return after making his VFL debut. The Pioneers have a good few who remain at that level, too.

Tasmania pair Oliver Sanders and Tyler McGinniss will be in the mix for the Devils having made excellent starts to their seasons, enough to be called up to North Melbourne’s VFL team. In the round’s final game, watch for Marcus Herbert and Fraser Marris in GWV’s midfield, while Marc Massarotti and Jake Arundell form a lively tall-small partnership in Eastern’s forward 50.

THE ACADEMIES

While there is arguably less top-end talent across each academy this year than we have seen previously, fans of all clubs involved and from the Top End will be keen to see what their representatives produce. Out of the NSW lot, GWS standout Josh Fahey has not been named, but mid-season draft candidate Josh Green will start at centre half-forward. Sam Stening is another dynamic type to watch for the Giants up forward, with crafty small Kai Watts his state’s Under 16 MVP in 2019. Elsewhere, Sam Frost (half-back) and Jack Driscoll (ruck/defence) are among those with recent VFL exposure.

For Sydney, eyes will remain on the likes of Marco Rossmann and Pierce Roseby as they return in Swans colours. Both missed out on being drafted last year, but bring class and strong ball winning ability respectively. The likes of Toby Alker and Jeremy Woodford were solid state representative at Under 16 level, along with smalls Felix Rogers, Jordan Endemann, and Byron Middleton.

On the Queensland side of things, Suns Academy member Austin Harris looms as his state’s best talent. He’ll look to provide some outside run and class against Northern, while Bodhi Uwland is a developing type to watch in defence and through midfield. The Suns’ side will also be spearheaded by Will Bella, the brother of Gold Coast AFLW ruck, Lauren. Jed Foggo is another to watch, while Finn Brown has shown good form in midfield and Thomas Hofert is a known key position quantity.

For the Lions, Lochlan Harrop looms as an important figure at the heart of the starting lineup. James Packer is another among the 2003-born crop, while the likes of Connor Bulley and Shatna Cashen-Harris headline Brisbane’s top-age group. In terms of the NT talent on show, livewires Ronald Fejo and Andy Moniz-Wakefield should catch plenty of eyes, while Tedcastle will be the star small forward. Jaeden Watts is another to look out for, along with Jason Baird and Christos Gikas. A bunch of the NT boys have also gained senior experience in the NTFL, which should put them in good stead here.

OTHER NOTES…

Collingwood father-son prospect and potential top pick Nick Daicos will lead Oakleigh out having been managed in recent weeks, robbing him of a VFL debut with the Magpies. He is one of a few 18th-year players to have already graduated, making them available for NAB League selection while the school football seasons roll on. Josh Sinn is another in that category, but he has not quite come up for Sandringham this week. His absence looks to have opened the door for riser Finn Callaghan to be tried on the inside.

The Northern Knights are a side who will lose some key personnel to school football, but dashing half-back Darcy Wilmot remains after making an electric senior debut for Montmorency over the break. Sandringham forward Luke Nankervis is another in that category, with plenty of players getting back to their local roots over the last month.

There are a bunch of 18th-year prospects who also turned out for VFL sides in that time, with Calder’s Josh Goater and Zac Taylor (both Essendon) among them. Potential North Melbourne father-son Jackson Archer was another, as he returns to Northern colours this week. Tyler Sonsie, who turned out for Box Hill, will come back into Eastern’s fold, starting in midfield with Jake Soligo (Richmond) and Tyreece Leiu (North Melbourne).

The decision has been made for many top-agers as they either continue in the VFL competition, get more run in their legs through the NAB League, or part ways to head back to local football. With the mid-season draft fast-approaching, there are many in action this week who will count themselves in with a good chance of making the elite grade. Time will tell.

ROUND 4 FIXTURES

Saturday May 22

Sandringham Dragons vs. Western Jets
11:00am @ Trevor Barker Oval

Geelong Falcons vs. GWS Giants Academy
11:45am @ Avalon Airport Oval

Northern Knights vs. Brisbane Lions Academy
11:45am @ Preston City Oval

Murray Bushrangers vs. Oakleigh Chargers
1:00pm @ Wangaratta Showgrounds

Gippsland Power vs. Sydney Swans Academy
2:15pm @ Avalon Airport Oval

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Gold Coast Suns Academy
2:15pm @ Preston City Oval

Sunday May 23

Calder Cannons vs. Bendigo Pioneers
10:30am @ Highgate Recreation Reserve

Tasmania Devils vs. Northern Territory Academy
1:00pm @ Highgate Recreation Reserve

Eastern Ranges vs. GWV Rebels
3:30pm @ Highgate Recreation Reserve

Image Credit: RF Photography

Scouting notes: Northern Academy Series – Round 1

THE 2020 Northern Academy Series got underway over the weekend, with prospects from the Brisbane Lions, Gold Coast Suns, GWS Giants, and Sydney Swans talent programs all looking to impress. State derbies kicked off proceedings, and made for a couple of hard-fought battles.

In a willing contest under sunny conditions, the Gold Coast Suns Academy won by 53 points over their Sunshine State rivals. The Suns booted the first six goals of the game – five came with the breeze in the opening term – to run out comfortable winners.

The Sydney Swans Academy also ran out winners in their clash with the GWS Giants prospects, setting up the victory with a string of five unanswered goals which extended from the second term, onwards. Soggy conditions ensured hard work would be made for the 15-point triumph, with a good bit of niggle to go with the contested slog.

We took a look at some of the Academy members and how they performed, as well as a bunch of other names who impressed on the day.

Brisbane Lions vs. Gold Coast Suns

Brisbane:

By: Peter Williams

#12 Saxon Crozier

Played a mixture between the wing and getting back to help the defence, Crozier was neat with his ball use and always looking to create run for the Lions. After a quieter first term – though he had a good handball out of defence – he had an number of impressive plays in the second term. He sidestepped an opponent and got it quickly onto the right, and presented to his teammates around the field. His handballing release to teammates streaming down the ground opened up the play for Brisbane to begin to cut the deficit back.

#13 Blake Coleman

Not a high possession player, Coleman has high level footy smarts and clean hands that make him so difficult to stop. He is one of those players who might not get a touch for a half, then can win the game for his side with a couple of impactful plays. After a few silky moves in the first term, he combined well with Tahj Abberley down the ground to win it on the wing and keep paddling the ball in front of him. Somehow he managed to gain distance, shake off his pursuers and launch a goal from 50m having beaten three opponents in the clear goal of the day. His second major in the third term was more straightforward, floating in from the side to then hold his ground and clunk the grab 35m out. He nailed the set shot six and a half minutes into the term, and almost had another good mark in the final quarter but could not quite hold it. As he booted two of the Lions’ four goals, he did well to play his role in the forward half with great pressure.

#14 Carter Michael

Michael showed a great balance of offensive and defensive traits throughout the contest, playing off half-back and then pushing up the ground when required. His first foray in the match was a good early spoil, getting the body contact out of the way. Throughout the match, Michael ran hard to be an option through the middle, and often ran up to the kicker at a stop in play to receive the get and go, to add an extra number to the play and try and use his speed to drive the ball down the ground. He pumped the ball inside 50 on occasions, and was working hard to look for one-two opportunities for his teammates. He copped a knock in the defensive 50 back pocket, but bounced straight back up and was solid throughout the entire game. Showing nice hands out of congestion, Michael ran down the ground and teamed up with Abberley well in keeping the ball moving. He had a snap on goal of his own late in the final term, but the wind did not help him out and it went out on the full. His reaction in one passage of play saw him bolt down the middle and leave his opponents in his wake. He was a treat to watch on the day and a real highlight for the Lions.

#15 Tahj Abberley

One of the Lions’ best throughout the day, he just kept trying to create off half-back and push up the ground. He set up a goal to Coleman in the second term with his pace off half-back, and then teamed up well with Michael in the final term with the one-two handballs down the ground. He stayed involved in all four quarters, and even drifted forward at times to kick it deeper inside 50, having a clever snap from long range, but it drifted for a behind. He won plenty of the ball in all thirds of the ground, and when the heat was on early in the game, Abberley was one of the few who stood up and continued to try hard against the flow. He used the ball well and showed good hands in traffic throughout the contest, and definitely showed plenty of potential in the defeat.

Others:

In terms of others who caught the eye, Shatna Cashen-Harris was lively up forward, with clean hands and a silky side-step, always looking dangerous. In midfield, the combination of Sam Winterbottom and Daniel Lanthois tried hard with the latter kicking a clever goal in the second term, whilst Ben Thomas kicked the other major for the Lions. Over-ager Max McDonald was dominant in the ruck, whilst Noah McFadyen provided a contest up forward, and Kuot Thok was not afraid to crash and bash the packs in defence.

>> Lions Academy Content

Gold Coast:

By: Ed Pascoe

#13 Rhys Nicholls 

Nicholls did not have the most productive game but he was still able to show his skill and talent with some nice spin moves and classy movement from the back half. The clever left-footer looked very smooth whenever he got possession and like many of his teammates, always took the opportunity to move the ball forward as quickly and cleanly as possible. 

#14 Max Pescud 

Maybe the most unlucky Suns player not to be included in the AFL based academy, he has been a regular goal scorer in the QAFL and backed that up again. He kicked multiple goals while also unselfishly passing off more opportunities as he could have easily ended up with about five goals himself. A quick player who takes the game on, tackles, and marks with intent despite his light frame, he came undone a few times with his run but when he was up-and-running and taking bounces, he looked very sharp and even got some time through the midfield late in the game, winning a few clearances. 

#19 Josh Fahey 

Fahey played for NSW/ACT in last year’s Under 16 championships and now finds himself with the Gold Coast Suns, although he wont be tied to any academies for next year’s draft. That’ll come as a sigh of relief for all AFL clubs, as he put on a best on ground performance down back. Fahey wasn’t hard to miss with his blonde locks but he also wasn’t hard to miss for the Lions going inside 50 as they kicked it down his throat multiple times. Fahey cut off plenty of attacks, attacking the contest hard and cleanly. His left-foot kicking from defence was a real feature, both long and damaging, and he had a major influence on the result. Fahey looks to be a very promising prospect for the 2021 draft.  

#20 Aiden Fyfe 

Fyfe had the ball on a string on his favoured wing position, and would had to have been the leading possession winner on the ground as he was involved in every quarter as one of the most consistent players afield. Fyfe found the ball all over the ground, working hard defensively and offensively. He was one of many to kick a goal in the first quarter with a nice snap and he would set up countless others with his clean hands and composure when in possession. Fyfe rarely wasted his touches and often hit teammates in a better position than himself. Despite not being the quickest player out there, he was certainly one of the sharpest in both skill and mind with ball in hand. 

#22 Jack Johnston 

The captain of the side, Johnston was a rock in defence at centre half-back. He took some nice strong marks and was cool and composed across the back half. Johnston is a strong player already standing at 195cm and 95kg, using his frame well both overhead anover the ball, and his disposals were often very clean for a big man. 

Others:

A couple of over-agers who impressed were forwards, Josh Gore and Nathan Colenso. Both were able to hit the scoreboard multiple times and look damaging, with Colenso on the lead, and Gore mixing between the lead and in play. Both have been prominent goalkickers at QAFL level, and brought that same form into the game, with Gore’s clean hands and Colenso’s strength and tackling ability amongst the attributes that stood out for the respective forwards.

>> Suns Academy Content

GWS Giants vs. Sydney Swans

By: Michael Alvaro

GWS:

#1 Harry Grant

The diminutive over-ager was thrown right into the cut and thrust of midfield and hardly looked out of place. Grant hunted the ball from the first bounce, with his pace and tenacity at ground level making for a solid two-way contribution. If he wasn’t digging in to win his own ball at the stoppages, Grant was applying smothering defensive pressure to make life hard for opposition midfielders. It seemed the conditions suited his game well, and he would later move forward where he very nearly added a goal to his game with a sharp snap.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Another 19-year-old prospect to show promising glimpses of form, Delahunty was primed to make is mark on the NAB League and VFL in 2020. Instead, he took the opportunity this weekend to show his worth back with the Giants Academy, and had his moments throughout the game. Starting in defence, Delahunty took a nice contested mark to intercept a deep Sydney entry, while also looking to rebound aggressively by running his full measure and delivering by foot. He is somewhat of an in-between size at 192cm and 87kg, allowing him to compete both aerially and at ground level. He continued to take the game on from defensive 50, but was caught holding the ball as he looked to fend off an opponent in the third term. A move forward followed, and Delahunty capped off his performance with a tidy, quick finish for the final goal of the game.

#27 Josh Green

Green cuts a similar figure to his brother, Tom – albeit a touch taller and leaner – and was tried in an inside midfield role for the Giants early on. His 192cm frame allowed him to compete at the stoppages, while his ability to get up either end of the ground made him an influential player throughout the game. While he was a touch slow to truly build into the contest, Green began to show his best form after half time with some terrific overhead marking in tricky conditions. His clearance work built as well with the added confidence, and a later move behind the ball allowed Green to showcase his strong hands and intercept quality.

#42 Maximus Monaghan

One of a number of Giants to have rotated through midfield, Monaghan also showed some good signs while stationed both in defence and attack. The top-ager is strongly built and applied himself at the contest, showing good aggression and strength to break free and dispose of the ball via foot. He accumulated well through the engine room and was later sighted up either end of the ground where he was able to find his way to the ball.

Others:

On a day where the conditions made it tough to take a lot out of the game, there were a number of players to have provided little flashes of form. Bottom-age forward Sam Stening presented well up the ground early and was later rewarded with a goal for his run-down tackle on Max Geddes. The likes of Coopa Steele and Joel Dunstall dug in to find plenty of the ball, while Harrison Grintell looked lively up forward, and Sam Frost was among a few solid defenders. Under 16 NSW/ACT MVP Kai Watts booted a goal from his permenent forward position, while Jack Driscoll rotated back through the ruck.

>> Giants Academy Content

Sydney:

#2 Sam Gaden

Gaden proved a strong a flexible key position option for the Swans, starting forward and eventually plying his trade down back. The over-ager worked up the ground well in the early stages, presenting as a link into Sydney’s forward 50. He provided a goal assist to Jackson Barling in the second term with a hacked kick into the arc, and doubled his impact with some forward 50 ruck work. Having been moved down back in the second half, Gaden showcased his ability to intercept, sweeping well both in the air and at ground level.

#3 Kye Pfrengle

A player who needs only a few touches or moments to catch the eye is Pfrengle, who looked particularly lively in the first term with some incredible marking attempts. The top-age AFL Academy hub member certainly has a spring in his step, leaping high for the ball to intercept GWS’ long defensive rebounds. While he failed to hold onto most of his speckie attempts, Pfrengle was positioned well behind the ball to begin with, allowing him enact that intercept game. He would later be seen a touch deeper in defence, locking the ball in and taking the kick-outs, making handy contributions just when it seemed he was drifting out of the contest.

#7 Braeden Campbell

The leading Swans Academy prospect looked like tearing the game apart as he dominated the opening stages, showing terrific signs through midfield. While his speed and damaging kicking on the outside often garner the most praise, it was Campbell’s toughness and ability to adapt to the conditions which stood out most on this occasion. His clearance work was sound throughout the match, and despite coughing up a rare turnover by foot in the second term, he was able to find his range consistently. With some opposition attention incoming, Campbell was moved to half-back and also rotated off the wing, while pushing forward to slot a goal in the third term. He looked most dangerous with his burst away from the stoppages though, and hunted the ball well when on the inside.

>> Academy Series Player Focus

#15 Sam Thorne

Another over-ager to have made his mark on the game was Thorne, a small midfielder who thrived in the soggy conditions. He was a regular at the centre bounces and stoppages, accumulating the ball with ease at ground level and releasing well to his teammates on the move. Thorne’s ability to shark the ball off hands and get his legs pumping to burst away was noticeable, and it helped set the tone for Sydney from where it mattered most. He finished as one of the most prolific ball winners on the day, and kept his name in the hat as far as the Swans are concerned.

#22 Errol Gulden

Campbell’s partner-in-crime, Gulden was a consistent threat for Sydney and managed to find the ball at will while rotating from the wing, through the middle, and up forward. The 176cm mover relies more on agility and smarts rather than pure pace, so initially found it hard in the wet conditions to have his usual impact on the game despite constantly getting his hands on the ball.

Still, Gulden snared the opening goal after being tackled high inside 50, and used it as a catalyst to work more effectively at ground level. His work-rate forward of centre was outstanding, and he could be seen pushing inside 50 from the wing to snare his second major, hardly breaking stride as he gobbled up the loose ball and slotted it home on the fly. Gulden was arguably best afield in the second half, and is just so difficult to stop at full flight. It was good to see him get busy up forward too, as that high half-forward role looks most like being his starting position at the elite level.

#25 Jackson Barling

Barling is another Academy talent to have missed out last year, but seems to have taken it in his stride after an impressive performance. He was first sighted using the ball cleanly in the back half, staying composed to provide a refreshing point of difference in the largely-contested game. His biggest impact came upon his move to the forwardline though, where Barling would kick three goals. His first came on the back of a juggled mark inside 50, which was quickly followed by another strong grab and set shot conversion in the second term. Yet another big clunk helped deliver a third major in the final quarter, though he selfishly burned Thorne as he looked for a fourth. Still, Barling’s scoreboard impact helped turn the game significantly in Sydney’s favour, and his hardness at 183cm and 85kg was impressive as it should be for an over-ager.

Others:

The talent in the Swans Academy runs deep, and there were plenty of others to have pitched in across the day. Marc Sheather was hard at the ball through midfield, while fellow AFL Academy member Marco Rossmann showed some promising signs early in his role up forward. Oscar Bird was another solid contributor who got involved in Sydney’s forward surges.

>> Swans Academy Content

Squad predictions: 2020 Allies Under 18s

THE annual Under 18 National Championships may be the only chance we get to catch a glimpse of the class of 2020 before draft day, with carnival likely to take place in October. In the meantime, Draft Central takes a look at how each regional squad may line up should the championships come around, but with a few stipulations in place. We began with our Vic Metro, Vic Country, South Australian, and West Australian squad predictions, and today we take a look at the potential Allies line-up.

GUIDELINES:

  • Top-agers (2002-born) have been prioritised due to the limited season and exposure
  • Of those, AFL Academy Hub members also gain priority for the starting squad
  • The inclusion of bottom-agers (2003-born) in the hub, and top-agers outside it is limited
  • 19-year-old inclusions are also limited, having already staked their claims in previous years

A lot may change between now and when the squad will be announced, and it should be noted that players with known long-term injuries will not be picked here. Of course, the sides may vary greatly as players look to shift and develop in different positions, but each member has been selected based on the roles they have previously played. Given only previous form, preseason testing and scratch matches are what we have to go off, bolters are also difficult to gauge at this point.

Players named as depth outside of the initial squad below are inevitably options who will rotate through the side, and it is impossible to fit all the options within a list of 22. But without further ado, let’s get stuck into the fifth and final squad prediction, with the Allies’ talent broken down line-by-line. The Allies squad is made up of talent from NSW/ACT, Queensland, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory.

DEFENCE

FB – Brodie Lake (NT Thunder/Peel), Jack Johnston (Gold Coast), Patrick Walker (Tasmania)
HB – Charlie Byrne (Murray), Ryan Pickering (Gold Coast), Sam Collins (Tasmania)

Two Gold Coast Suns Academy members make up the heart of our proposed Allies defence, with genuine talls Jack Johnston (195cm) and Ryan Pickering (199cm) slotting into key position posts. The additions of Brodie Lake and Sam Collins contribute even further to the height and marking power of the defence, with Collins’ intercept and rebound qualities also valuable assets.

Collins’ fellow Tasmanian Patrick Walker should provide similarly astute ball use from defence at a shorter range, while Murray product Charlie Byrne also likes to push further afield and deal damage by foot. The back six should have no trouble competing aerially on the defensive side, while being able to yield an attacking threat on the turnover.


MIDFIELD

C – Saxon Crozier (Brisbane), Oliver Davis (Tasmania), Carter Michael (Brisbane)
FOL – Thomas Hofert (Gold Coast), Alex Davies (Gold Coast), Braeden Campbell (Sydney)

Queenslanders take up four of the six midfield spots in our Allies side, with Brisbane Lions Academy members Saxon Crozier and Carter Michael starting on either wing, while 201cm ruck Thomas Hofert has been tasked with tapping down to Gold Coast Academy teammate Alex Davies at the centre bounces.

There is plenty of grunt in the engine room trio of Davies, Braeden Campbell, and Oliver Davis; with Davies the tallest of the lot (191cm) as that pure big-bodied type, while Davis (182cm) is another extractor who comes in at a similar build to the speedy and versatile Campbell (180cm).

The likes of Crozier and Michael may fancy a run through the middle but seem well suited to the outside, with a number of flankers and depth options in our squad also able to pitch in. Still, we feel this is the best mix, and one which gives the Allies a great chance to compete strongly in the area in which each contest begins.


FORWARD

HF – Errol Gulden (Sydney), Josh Green (GWS), Joel Jeffrey (NT Thunder)
FF – Marco Rossmann (Sydney), Jackson Callow (Tasmania), Blake Coleman (Brisbane)

In a similar vein to the defensive mix, this forward six provides good versatility and some great marking power. Jackson Callow is the centrepiece at full forward, a physical key position type who is near-unstoppable with his contested marking, and may well take on ruck duties inside forward 50. Josh Green, brother of GWS draftee Tom, is a 192cm utility who can play up either end. He slots in at centre half-forward for now on account of his aerial ability.

The diminutive but brilliant Errol Gulden comes in on a forward flank but will have eyes on moving up to a wing, with fellow Swans Academy product Marco Rossmann a solid medium type who may also run through the midfield. In the opposite flank to Rossmann is exciting forward Blake Coleman, who along with Northern Territory prospect Joel Jeffrey, provides clean hands and a terrific goal sense. With silver service likely to come from a strong midfield core, this forward mix could do some damage at the national carnival when on song.


INTERCHANGE

INT – Marc Sheather (Sydney), Jared Dakin (Tasmania), Tahj Abberley (Brisbane), Maurice Rioli Jnr (NT Thunder/Oakleigh)

This interchange group is, well, incredibly interchangeable with the group of depth players listed below, but all bring something different to the side. Jared Dakin makes the cut as the only over-ager in the squad given he garnered interest at last year’s draft, and he’ll provide a good ball winning boost.

Tahj Abberley and Maurice Rioli Jnr add some x-factor and smarts at ground level as part of the rotational group. Abberley is likely to play as a small defender but is just as capable up forward or through midfield, while Rioli could well be the genuine small forward that the side is missing. Rounding out the chosen 22 is Marc Sheather, another versatile medium type who can play well above his size at either end given his athleticism.


SQUAD DEPTH

There remains a decent crop of top-agers who narrowly missed the cut, and some bottom-aged talent which will inevitably squeeze into the team minus any stipulations. Among the most unlucky to miss were AFL Academy hub members Rhys Nicholls and Aidan Fyfe, who could both slot in as half-backs or outside types. Kye Pfrengle is another defensive option who will get a look-in, while Jack Briskey and Jack Driscoll are taller types who should also rotate through the same line. Meanwhile, Tyrrell Lui and Ryan Eyers are prospects who may also be thereabouts.

In terms of top-agers outside of the AFL Academy intake, Tasmania’s Isaac Chugg is a terrific athlete, while Devils teammates Will Harper and Jye Menzie are well known to selectors. Sydney’s Pierce Roseby is a tough small who thrived in NSW/ACT colours, as did Max Pescud in the Maroon of Queensland.

Moving on to over-agers, and Tasmanian over-ager Hamish Allan would help the ruck stocks at 206cm, with GIANT-turned-Knight Liam Delahunty another tall who remains among the Under 18 ranks. In terms of Queensland-based 19-year-olds, the likes of forward movers Bruce Reville, Josh Gore, and Hewago Paul Oea have already shown plenty of promise.

Finally, an exciting group of bottom-aged talent is set to cause some selection headaches, lead by Tasmanian gun Sam Banks. He, and Tasmanian teammate Baynen Lowe impressed at Under 16 level enough to warrant NAB League selection in 2019. Queensland Under 16 MVP Austin Harris will also push his case as a small defender, while GIANTS Academy members Sam Stening and Josh Fahey are hard to deny, as is big Queensland forward Noah McFadyen.

>> READ UP ON THE 2020 ALLIES U18s:

Brisbane Lions Academy
Gold Coast SUNS Academy
GWS GIANTS Academy
Sydney Swans Academy
Tasmania Devils

AFL Draft Watch:

Tahj Abberley
Jackson Callow
Braeden Campbell
Oliver Davis
Errol Gulden

Marquee Matchups:

Jackson Callow vs. Cam Fleeton
Braeden Campbell vs. Corey Durdin
Alex Davies vs. Reef McInnes
Errol Gulden vs. Jake Bowey

Positional Analysis:

Key Forwards

>> 2020 UNDER 18 SQUAD PREDICTIONS:

South Australia
Vic Country
Vic Metro
Western Australia

National Championships: U16 All Australian team announced

WITH the Under 16 Division 1 and 2 championships run and done after three exciting rounds, the representative All Australian team has been announced. We take a look at the squad members in a state-by-state breakdown, with Division 1 winners Vic Metro boasting the most representatives (seven), followed by Vic Country’s five and Western Australia and South Australia’s three apiece.

South Australia [3]:

Isaiah Dudley (Forward Pocket)

The exciting small forward also doubles as a midfielder, and enjoyed a carnival full of highlights. Put his incredible goal sense, manic pressure, and knack for snaring the ball all together in SA’s Round 1 win, booting four goals from 27 disposals.

Jason Horne (Half-Forward)

The SA skipper and MVP, Horne is as tough as they come and led from the front for the Croweaters. Does it all at the coalface and keeps busy when forward, with his standout game coming against Vic Country in Round 2 as he collected 18 disposals and booted two goals.

Cooper Murley (Interchange)

Murley provided a nice point of difference through the hard-nosed SA midfield, often seen breaking quickly from congestion and delivering forward. Like many of his midfield mates, Murley showed good versatility to also make an impact when tried in the attacking set-up.

Vic Country [5]:

Campbell Chesser (Half-Back)

The Country co-skipper has line-breaking speed to go with a penetrating boot, making him a meterage machine on the outside. Started on the wing and moved to the back six, with his best game coming against Vic Metro in Round 1.

Toby Conway (Ruck)

A very raw tall prospect who nailed down the ruck spot for Country to allow some of his side’s other big-men to roam forward. Made some impressive taps with soft hands and used the ball well when following up at ground level, building as the carnival wore on.

Cooper Hamilton (Interchange)

Not to be mistaken for twin brother, Hugh, Hamilton is a tough defender who hits the ball hard and gets pumping quickly to advance forward. Thrived in tough conditions in Round 2 against Western Australia and gets stuck in.

Ben Hobbs (Centre)

A contested ball magnet, Hobbs was one of the most consistent midfielders throughout the carnival. Was terrific across all three games, winning high numbers and gradually building to find the ball around the ground with spearing kicks and deceptive speed.

Josh Rachele (Follower)

The standout player of the carnival, Rachele stood up when it mattered for Vic Country – shown best with his 32-disposal outing in a losing effort against WA. Won the Kevin Sheehan Medal as Division 1 MVP to go with his Country MVP award, and will make his NAB League debut this weekend.

Vic Metro [7]:

Braden Andrews (Interchange)

One who was utilised on each line for Metro, using his composure, clean hands and ball use to good effect wherever he was required. Had a great game against Country in Round 1 where he helped his side over the line with a move to defence.

Lachlan Brooks (Interchange)

Had a standout game in the wet against SA in Round 2, collecting 23 disposals, six clearances, and two goals. Provides hard attack on the ball and is clean on the breakaway, while also being able to clutch it up when forward.

Youseph Dib (Wing)

Is aligned to Collingwood as an NGA member, and has a haircut to rival the Magpies’ 2018 NGA draftee, Isaac Quaynor. Is small, but strong in the contest and stayed relevant going both ways with big tackles and zippy bursts forward.

Blake Howes (Half-Forward)

The clinical medium forward did not need many chances to make an impact, and found the goals when it mattered. Is quite slim but stands up well overhead, and showed off his array of skills against SA with two crucial goals to break the game open in Metro’s win.

Alex Lukic (Full Forward)

Lead the Division 1 goal kicking with nine goals on the back of two big bags. Did a lot of his work inside 50 and close to goal, finishing beautifully to boot 5.2 against SA in Round 3, and four goals against Vic Country to open his campaign.

Josh Sinn (Half-Back, Captain)

A damaging mover, Sinn showcased his balance of inside and outside traits as he moved from a lock at half-back to a midfield role. Skippered the title-winning Metro side well, and will surely form a dangerous partnership with Campbell Chesser for Sandringham as rebounding defenders.

Tyler Sonsie (Follower)

The Metro MVP is just so classy and broke away from stoppages with ease. He used the ball cleverly under pressure, while also proving he can double as a forward with his 19 disposals and 4.3 against WA in Round 3. Will be another to make his NAB League debut straight off the bat.

Western Australia [3]:

Rhett Bazzo (Centre Half-Back)

One of the WA defenders who plays slightly above his height, Bazzo was fantastic in the air and used the ball well by foot when required. Has a good mix of tall and small traits, with his athleticism boding well for form in both positions.

Judd McVee (Interchange)

Was outstanding in the first half of WA’s Round 3 loss to Vic Metro, finishing with 16 disposals, seven clearances and two goals. Caught the eye with his incredible burst from the centre bounces, and loves a goal from range.

Blake Morris (Full Back)

Gave up height and weight against key position opponents on several occasions throughout the carnival, but fully made up for it with some fantastic work in the air and desperation at ground level. Reads the ball better than most and intercepted just about everything as WA’s MVP.

Northern Territory [1]:

Brodie Lake (Wing)

The sole NT representative in the squad, Lake was solid in a variety of roles. He proved a handy link on the outside, consistent ball-winner on the inside and effective forward, with the Thunder MVP collecting 26 disposals, eight clearances and two goals against NSW/ACT.

NSW/ACT [1]:

Sam Stening (Centre Half-Forward)

Was so influential in the final quarter against NT and backed it up with three goals against Tasmania, with his overhead marking a feature. Stening leads up effectively and is constantly involved in scores for his side, with his reach making him hard to stop.

Queensland [2]:

Austin Harris (Back Pocket)

Was a busy forward mover from defence and through midfield for Queensland, winning the Maroons’ MVP award. Breaks the lines with good speed and is a neat user on his left foot, while also having the capacity to hit targets at long-range too.

Noah McFadyen (Forward Pocket)

The brother of 2018 Brisbane draftee, Connor, McFadyen is a similar type and booted 14 goals as the standout forward in Division 2. Saved his best game for last against NT, booting 8.2 with shrewd positioning, strong marking and cool finishing helping him along the way.

Tasmania [1]:

Sam Banks (Back Pocket)

One who has already impressed enough to feature in Tasmania’s U18 NAB League side, Banks was most effective across half-back and an interceptor and damaging rebounder. Makes some great passes through the corridor, and can also run through midfield. Took out the Division 2 MVP.

Remember the Names: Top performers from the U16 National Championships

WITH the 2019 Under 16 National Championships run and done, we cast an eye over some of the names you may well see much more of over the next few seasons leading into their draft year in 2021. Our list includes the Most Valuable Player (MVP) from each side across Division 1 and 2, and is broken up into each squad.

South Australia:

Isaiah Dudley (Central District)
166cm | 66kg | 30/04/2003
Small Forward/Midfielder 

Is an absolute excitement machine with his pace and bottomless bag of tricks, often starting inside forward 50 and then getting involved further afield in general play. Having impressed in last year’s championships as an under-ager with his nous around goal, Dudley enjoyed some added midfield minutes and is a tackling machine. His standout game came in SA’s carnival opener against WA, where he collected 27 disposals and booted four goals with some truly special plays. Given his height, Dudley will probably continue on as a small forward as he heads to senior level, but is arguably as talented as anyone in the crop.

Jason Horne (South Adelaide)
184cm | 75kg | 21/06/2003
Balanced Midfielder

The fearless leader took out SA’s MVP award on the back of three very consistent performances, displaying a great balance of mettle and class on either side of the midfield contest. He proved to be one of the more effective extractors throughout, but also sparked a heap of his side’s attacks as he got on his bike away from congestion and lowered his eyes well to hit targets. Also showed he can cause headaches when resting forward, finding the goals in each game and using his strong hands to compete under high balls. 

Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide)
183cm | 77kg | 5/07/2003
Inside Midfielder

Was one of the most effective inside ball-winners, following on from his form in the 2018 Under 16 carnival where attended centre bounces and attracted the ball at will. Roberts will surely form a formidable midfield partnership with South Adelaide teammate Horne for years to come, with both uncompromising ball-winners who have that added class. One of the more pleasing parts of Roberts’ game is his ability to also accumulate inside forward 50, as shown in his final two games of the carnival. Had a blinder in SA’s loss to Vic Metro with 31 disposals, five marks, four clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal in the wet.

Vic Country:

Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons)
185cm | 78kg | 27/04/2003
Outside Midfielder/Half-Back 

Started the championships with a classy performance on the wing against Vic Metro before later moving to defence to provide that rebounding quality from half-back. The Country co-captain is a damaging user by foot and likes to take the game on to gain significant meterage, weaving his way around the outside and delivering spearing balls forward. Is originally from Lavington but boards at Melbourne Grammar, meaning he will align with the strong Sandringham Dragons program in NAB League, so look out for his set-ups by foot and clean hands in the near future.

Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)
181cm | 75kg | 16/09/2003
Inside Midfielder

Hobbs is an absolute bull through the midfield with unrivaled tenacity and aggression at the stoppages. He wins almost all of his ball himself and thrusts it forward with long kicks, but also grew into the carnival with accumulation around the ground and neat spearing kicks to find shorter targets. Was arguably Country’s second-best player behind Rachele, constantly having 25-plus disposals, double digits in tackles and booting a few goals along the way. 

Josh Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)
179cm | 73kg | 11/04/2003
Midfielder/Forward

Class with a capital ‘C’, the Country co-captain took out the Kevin Sheehan Medal (Division 1 MVP) and his side’s own MVP award with three sensational performances throughout the carnival. His talent can be summed up with one play in Country’s last game against SA, where he instinctively tapped the ball on over his shoulder to Ben Hobbs at full flight who finished the play off with a goal. Does some freakish things and constantly looks a threat around the ball with his agility and ability to break away from congestion, using both to good effect at forward stoppages. Has obvious leadership quality too and really lifted in trying to drag Country over the line in their loss to WA, having 32 disposals, six marks, four breaches of each arc and 0.3. A star in the making.

Vic Metro:

Braden Andrews (Oakleigh Chargers)
187cm | 76kg | 21/02/2003
Midfielder/Utility

Able to play through the midfield and just about anywhere else he is needed, Andrews’ best qualities are his clean hands and cool head. While he was quieter against SA, Andrews proved his class in his other two outings and in particular with his role against Vic Country – where he started forward and found the goals, went on to spark the engine room, and later provided some solidity in defence to help Metro hold on for victory. Is one who has potential to be further unlocked, but has some really nice traits already.

Alex Lukic (Oakleigh Chargers)
194cm | 80kg | 7/01/2003
Key Forward

Started with a bag of four goals against Country and came back from a quiet game in the wet against SA to claim five against WA and round out a promising carnival. Did a lot of his work close to goal and proved efficient when given chances, finishing well with set shots and snaps as he opened up the angles. Also chimed in with a bit of ruckwork, and it will be interesting to see whether Lukic can rip games apart with marking on the lead and in more contested situations as he develops. 

Josh Sinn (Sandringham Dragons)
186cm | 72kg | 28/01/03
Midfielder/Half-Back

Was originally employed off half-back in the first three quarters against Vic Country, but became a permanent midfielder after being thrust into the centre bounces and willing Metro over the line in that game. He skippered his side well over the carnival, adjusting his usually outside game to work in the engine room while still providing his trademark run and damage by foot. May see him ease into NAB League level in the back six, but has proven his midfield quality.

Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges)
181cm | 71kg | 27/01/2003
Balanced Midfielder

The Metro MVP was terrific across all three games, claiming best afield honours in two of them and showing off his versatility in the last with 19 disposals, four clearances, four inside 50s and 4.3 against WA. Is a clean extractor from midfield and oozes class in the way he wheels away from traffic, with the added bonus of being clinical around goal from all angles. Will certainly form a damaging midfield trio for Eastern with Tyreece Leiu and Jake Soligo over the next couple of years.

Western Australia:

Max Chipper (Swan Districts)
180cm | 63kg | 9/09/2003
Wing/Outside Midfielder

Better known as ‘Chip’ out on the field, the Swan Districts product is clean and cool in possession, using the ball neatly on the outside to hit targets at will. Unlike a lot of wingmen, Chipper arguably has a better short-range game and joins in at stoppages once the centre bounces play out. Had a really good start to his carnival against SA and finds the ball in all areas.

Judd McVee (East Fremantle)
179cm | 64kg | 7/08/2003
Midfielder

Judd by name and Judd by nature, McVee has that classic burst from the stoppage and showed he is able to hit the scoreboard across three promising games. Was arguably best afield in the first half against Vic Metro before being clamped, standing up in the absence of Lochlan Paton to finish with 16 disposals, seven clearances, four inside 50s and two goals in a promising showing. Is still quite light-on but is not afraid to get stuck in, giving him that valuable balance in midfield.

Blake Morris (Subiaco)
187cm | 68kg | 11/09/2003
Medium-Tall Defender

The WA MVP was an absolute rock in defence for the Black Ducks, proving an intercept machine in the air and as desperate as anyone at ground level. While he often gives up significant size – as seen when matched up on Country’s 196cm/91kg Josh Rentsch – Morris makes up for it with superior reading of the play, a sizeable leap, and the ability to mop up at the fall of the ball. Will be interesting to see whether he continues to play in the key back role or is freed up on the flanks, with a good knack for rebounding also in his locker.

Northern Territory:

Jason Baird (Palmerston)
185cm | 70kg | 29/12/2003
Midfielder/Defender

Played a key role in the Thunder’s resurgence against NSW/ACT with his accumulation across the ground and ability to push forward. He did not quite have the same impact against Queensland as he was forced to double as a key defender at times given the Maroon’s strength in that area, but battled hard and has some handy versatility.

Brodie Lake (Peel Thunder/Southern Districts)
186cm | 63kg | 16/05/2002
Midfielder/Forward

Collected the NT MVP award for his standout carnival, spending time between midfield and the forward line. Lake played his role well in either position, finding both a good amount of ball and the big sticks – most notably in his game against Division 2 title-winner NSW/ACT where he had 26 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, eight clearances, four inside 50s and two goals. Is a tall and lean midfielder with good hands overhead, so should continue to rotate between roles.

Mark White (Wanderers)
175cm | 65kg | 29/01/2003
General Forward

The tricky forward is a big exponent of taking on the man on the mark, doing it on many an occasion across the carnival to cut distances and get a better look on goal. White is also aggressive around the ball, applying strong pressure albeit while pushing the boundaries. He conveyed a bit of showmanship as he shooshed the Queensland crowd in his final outing and certainly adds a bit of spark when involved in the play.

NSW/ACT:

Joshua Fahey (GWS Giants/Queanbeyan Tigers)
186cm | 77kg | 11/11/2003
General Defender/Midfielder

Fahey is another big character who backs it up with his skill on-field, possessing a cool head and booming left foot which he used to send NSW/ACT forward out of defensive 50 and from midfield. Fahey’s work rate to get on the end of balls and penetrate the attacking 50 was also valuable, and he showed as much with his 24 disposals, six inside 50s and 10 rebound 50s against Tasmania to round out a solid carnival.

Matthew McKenzie (Sydney Swans/St Ives)
182cm | 79kg | 10/10/2003
Midfielder/Forward

Has a deceptively quick first few steps which he used to good effect when running though the midfield, while also providing a strong body at the stoppages. McKenzie racked up a good amount of ball and stayed busy when rotating through the forward 50, showing he can find the goals too. Enjoyed two solid and well-rounded performances in Queensland as one of a few promising St Ives boys.

Sam Stening (GWS Giants/Wagga Swans)
190cm | 72kg | 17/02/2003
Medium-Tall Forward

Stening came to life in an incredible final quarter against NT, while also picking up from where he left off in his next game to fix up some issues in front of goal to slot three majors from 14 disposals and six marks. Is not quite key position height but plays like one, marking well above his head with sticky hands and looking strong at full stretch. Could be a dangerous proposition once he fills out and finds his spot up forward.

Kai Watts (GWS Giants/Inner West Magpies)
178cm | 80kg | 1/02/2003
Forward/Midfielder

The NSW/ACT MVP was a dangerous asset for the Rams, starting forward and moving into the midfield as each game wore on. Watts was not a massive disposal-getter, having between 13-16 in his final two games, but has important touches and makes them count with some good delivery by foot. He gets in good positions close to goal and finds them, as shown in his 16-disposal, two-goal effort against the NT.

Queensland:

Austin Harris (Gold Coast Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin Lions)
175cm | 65kg | 30/04/2003
Defender/Outside Midfielder

Harris’ run and carry was fantastic for Queensland, making him a key contributor on his way to claiming his state’s MVP award. Harris just always found a way to the ball, getting into good areas with a high work rate and pushing forward at every chance. He often finished his runs off with neat kicks and provided a touch of class when in possession.

Daniel Lanthois (Brisbane Lions/Maroochydore)
173cm | 64kg | 12/02/2003
Midfielder

The diminutive and tough ball-winner does just about everything in the engine room, zipping away from stoppages and tackling hard on the rare occasions he doesn’t get his hands on the ball. Lanthois makes up for his lack of size with heart and really digs in around the contest, with one of his better performances coming against Tasmania as he had 18 disposals, 11 tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s.

Noah McFadyen (Brisbane Lions/Wilston Grange)
186cm | 89kg | 18/03/2003
Medium-Tall Forward

Kicked 14 goals in his three games as the leading tall forward in Division 2, with his sheer strength and positioning deep inside attacking 50 granting him most of his goals. McFadyen took full advantage of the much smaller match-ups he faced against NT to boot 8.2 in one of the performances of the carnival, and could well be the next McFadyen for Brisbane fans to keep an eye on after Connor was drafted in 2018. Will be interesting to keep tabs on his growth and whether he hits true key position size, with his set shot routine looking pretty efficient at this stage.

Tasmania:

Samuel Banks (Southern Academy/Clarence)
184cm | 70kg | 2/04/2003
Midfielder/Half-Back

The Alan McLean medallist (Division 2 MVP) has already impressed enough in Tasmanian circles to feature in the state’s Under 18 NAB League side, and showed his class throughout the carnival. Able to play through midfield or more offensively off half-back, Banks has a penetrating kick which he uses to hit targets others wouldn’t dare try to through the corridor. Is also an apt interceptor in the back half, and was terrific in that role against NSW/ACT as he collected 25 disposals, 10 marks, and five rebound 50s.

Baynen Lowe (North-West Academy/Devonport)
176cm | 65kg | 29/07/2003
Midfielder

Another of the raft of diminutive ball-winners, Lowe is a tireless worker who is mostly sighted quickly booting the ball forward from stoppages. The Devonport product wins most of his disposals himself, showing great speed through traffic while also finding his fair share around the ground. Was fantastic for Tasmania alongside Banks as Tasmania’s highest disposal getters.

George McLeod (Southern Academy/North Hobart)
175cm | 61kg | 11/01/2003
Midfielder/Forward

McLeod mixes his time between the midfield and forward half and works hard, pitching in with little bursts of run and important balls into the forward half. Was just behind Banks and Lowe in terms of output but made his own impact across each game, with one of his standout outings coming against NSW/ACT (23 disposals, 11 marks, seven inside 50s, 2.1)

Under 16 National Championships: Division 2 wrap

NEW South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) replicated Vic Metro’s Division 1 run, going through undefeated over three rounds to claim the Division 2 title. Queensland picked up two wins on home turf to slot into second place, with one of those coming over third-place Tasmania, while Northern Territory was the only side to go through without a win despite showing promise. We recap how each side fared and shed light on some of the better performers throughout the competition.

Northern Territory (0-3)

Results:
Rd 1 – Tasmania 16.13 (109) def. Northern Territory 8.8 (56)
Rd 2 – NSW/ACT 12.10 (82) def. Northern Territory 10.5 (65)
Rd 3 – Queensland 14.9 (93) def. Northern Territory 6.5 (41)

MVP: Brodie Lake (Peel Thunder/Southern Districts)
Most Goals: Mark White (Wanderers), 7

Despite not picking up a win over their three games, there were plenty of highlights and standouts for NT in this year’s carnival. A 53-point loss against Tasmania kicked off the Thunder’s campaign, with leading goal kicker Mark White enjoying his best game for the carnival to boot an equal game-high four goals. He was the Thunder’s only multiple goal kicker on the day, with Antonio James amongst the best in an under-siege defence and eventual MVP Brodie Lake enjoying a solid start. The NT responded in fine fashion against title-holders NSW/ACT in Round 2, pushing the Rams all the way but going down by 17 points. Two goalless terms told the tale of the see-sawing contest, and it was Lake again who impressed with his 26 disposals, seven marks, eight clearances and two goals. Tyrell Lui was also influential from midfield with 18 disposals, nine clearances and a goal, while undersized ruck Ned Stevens battled hard to have 12 disposals, 25 hitouts and a goal. It was a much improved performance from the Thunder, with a tough game against the hosts to come. It proved just that as they went down by 52 points in Aspley, struggling to match up on the Maroon’s array of tall forward options. At ground level, James again accumulated from defence and Ariki Lowe was busy in midfield with 15 disposals, six clearances and seven inside 50s. On the outside, Preyben Tipiloura showed some flash with his two goals, while Jason Baird stood up in a shift to defence with 12 disposals and five rebounds. It was a tough initiation onto the national stage for these NT youngsters, but there is certainly some talent to burn amongst the group.

NSW/ACT (3-0)

Results:
Rd 1 – NSW/ACT 10.10 (70) def. Queensland 9.5 (59)
Rd 2 – NSW/ACT 12.10 (82) def. Northern Territory 10.5 (65)
Rd 3 – Tasmania 4.10 (34) def. by NSW/ACT 11.9 (75)

MVP: Kai Watts (GWS Giants Academy/Inner West Magpies)
Most Goals: Euriah Hollard (Lavington/Geelong Grammar), 6

Division 2 title winners NSW/ACT responded beautifully to every question raised by their three opponents, holding firm in their first two games and enjoying a more comfortable win in the last. Round 1 saw them matched up against traditional rivals Queensland, overcoming deficits at quarter and three-quarter time to run over the top of the Maroons with a wind advantage. Austin Ball and Euriah Hollard each kicked two goals with Ball named best for the Rams, while the tall duo of Will Edwards and Patrick Voss also impressed. NT provided a good test for the Rams in Round 2, NSW/ACT’s ability to keep the Thunder goalless in two of the four quarters proved the difference. Voss booted four goals, while zippy ball winner Will Sexton was instrumental with 19 disposals, six marks, five tackles and a goal. His disposal effort was matched by rebounding defender Felix Rogers (eight rebounds) and tall forward Sam Stening (five marks, seven inside 50s, 1.5) as the Rams sailed home strongly. After being tested for three quarters against NT, the Rams stormed out of the blocks against Tasmania in Round 3 with an eight-goal to nil first half. The scoring slowed after the main break and Tasmania managed to put together 14 scoring shots, but the Rams were simply too efficient from forward 50 stoppages and resolute in defence. Joshua Fahey led the disposal count with 24 and 10 rebounds with Matthew McKenzie the only other to break the 20-mark (23 disposals, six marks, nine inside 50s). MVP Kai Watts started well up forward with 13 touches and 1.3, while Stening straightened up for 3.0 from 14 disposals and Toby Alker was again solid in midfield. The strength, versatility, and penetration of NSW/ACT’s midfield movers saw them home in each game, with a team balance also making them the clear-best in Division 2.

Queensland (2-1)

Results:
Rd 1 – NSW/ACT 10.10 (70) def. Queensland 9.5 (59)
Rd 2 – Queensland 9.3 (57) def. Tasmania 4.13 (37)
Rd 3 – Queensland 14.9 (93) def. Northern Territory 6.5 (41)

MVP: Austin Harris (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Palm Beach Currumbin)
Most Goals: Noah McFadyen (Brisbane Lions Academy/Wilston Grange), 14

Round 2 and 3 hosts Queensland went unbeaten at home to finish the carnival with a positive record and in second place. Their only loss came in Round 1 to champions NSW/ACT, going down by 11 points despite holding leads at two of the four intervals. Competition leading goal kicker Noah McFadyen was the only Maroon to find multiple majors with four, while ball-winners Bodhi Uwland, MVP Austin Harris and Finn Brown were also all influential. The Maroons bounced back in Round 2 in a game they hardly looked like losing against Tasmania at Metricon Stadium, getting up by 20 points in the end. Harris was again terrific with 19 disposals, seven marks and three clearances, while diminutive and tough midfielder Daniel Lanthois worked hard for 18 touches, 11 tackles and seven clearances. The tall trio of Will Bella (three goals) Jye Lockett (two), and McFadyen (two) all found multiples and caused headaches in the air, with that factor inevitably becoming a theme. The three went on to have a big say in Queensland’s closing win over the NT, with McFadyen’s strength close to goal overwhelming the NT defence as he helped himself to 8.2 from 14 disposals and seven marks. Lockett also parked inside attacking 50 to boot another two goals, while Lochlan Harrop also claimed two majors from 20 disposals. In a familiar tale, Harris and Lanthois again led the disposal count with 23 and 20 respectively to round out outstanding individual carnivals. A good combination of speed and ball winning ability further afield made the straightforward game-plan of feeding the talls up forward very effective, and it made them hard to stop in front of their vocal home fans.

Tasmania (1-2)

Results:
Rd 1 – Tasmania 16.13 (109) def. Northern Territory 8.8 (56)
Rd 2 – Queensland 9.3 (57) def. Tasmania 4.13 (37)
Rd 3 – Tasmania 4.10 (34) def. by NSW/ACT 11.9 (75)

MVP: Baynen Lowe (North-West Academy/Devonport)
Alan McLean Medal: Sam Banks (Southern Academy/Clarence)
Most Goals: Jonty McIvor (North-West Academy/Wynyard), 5

A big opening round win over Northern Territory ended up being Tasmania’s only victory for the carnival, unable to get that same scoring flow going in scores of 37 and 34 across the next two games. Their start unearthed plenty of promise though, with nine individual goal kickers contributing to the 53-point win. Jonty McIvor led the way with four, followed by Darcy Gardner‘s three and two each from Sam Banks and Zac Morris rounding out the multiple goal kickers. Zippy ball-winner and state MVP Baynen Lowe also made a good start, and was just as good in Tasmania’s Round 2 outing against Queensland. The Devils went down by 20 points in a slog, with Lowe’s 20 disposals, nine marks, eight clearances and one goal second only to Banks’ 21 touches and eight inside 50s. George McLeod also had a good game with 18 disposals and 1.2, with Dominic White (14 disposals, four marks) solid in the back half and Gardner (14 disposals, nine tackles, five clearances) also busy. A big first half from NSW/ACT saw Tasmania go goalless to the main break in Round 3, but it was not for a want of trying as the Devils were punished each time they failed to capitalise of gaining territory. They improved to finish with 4.10, as Lowe (27 disposals, seven tackles, seven clearances), McLeod (23 disposals, 11 marks, 2.1), and Jake Dixon (20 disposals, six marks) again worked tirelessly. But it was Alan McLean medallist Banks who was most influential, thriving in a move to half back to have 25 disposals, 10 marks and a combined nine breaches of each arc. With some undeniable class at the top and hard workers throughout, Tassie just fell short of putting together the pieces across the three matches. Banks is certainly one to watch, and has already broken into the Tasmanian NAB League squad like 2018 draftee, Tarryn Thomas.

Scouting Notes: U16 Division 2 – Round 3

NEW South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) and Queensland had strong wins to see out the Under 16 Division 2 National Championships, with plenty of eye-catching individual performances. We cast an eye over both game to provide opinion-based notes on the outstanding players across the final two fixtures.

NSW/ACT vs. Tasmania
By: Michael Alvaro

NSW/ACT:

#5 Euriah Hollard (Lavington/Geelong Grammar)

Is interestingly the only Rams player in the squad not tied to a Sydney-based academy, but Hollard showed he has plenty of talent. The Geelong Grammarian was busy from the get-go, earning a couple of free kicks inside 50 and dishing off to give teammates goal scoring opportunities. Made good from a very tough chance on goal of his own in the first term, gathering under heavy pressure in the pocket and snapping a miraculous goal, prompting a choice “you’re taking the…” comment from his teammate. He would go on to add another goal in a strong third term, marking from behind in a one-on-one duel and kicking truly. Hollard’s smarts and deceptive strength were key features, and he was one of NSW/ACT’s more dangerous small forwards.

#9 Ed Ogilvy (Sydney Swans Academy/St Ives)

While Ogilvy did not win a heap of the ball (10 disposals), he was impressive with each touch in the back half and provided a cool head on the last line when the ball hit the deck. He delivered a couple of really composed kicks out of defensive 50 and into the corridor during an influential second term, making good decisions on the ball and hardly putting a put wrong close to his own goal. A solid day, and one who is very neat by foot.

#14 Toby Alker (Sydney Swans Academy/Maroubra Saints)

Part of a pretty strong Rams midfield core, much of Alker’s work had to be watched closely as he impacted the contest at stoppages. He finished with 17 disposals, six tackles and three clearances, looking strong in tackles to get kicks away and flick out handballs from congestion. Alker also had a nice moment on the outside in the third term as he stopped, propped, and delivered a risky kick into the corridor to spark the chain for Euriah Hollands’ second goal.

#22 Joshua Fahey (GWS Giants Academy/Queanbeyan Tigers)

Was the Rams’ leading disposal getter with 24 from defence and through midfield, providing an enormous amount of run and meterage by foot. Was clearly the designated kicker out of defence given his booming left boot, taking the kick-ins and pumping it out long in general play for a massive 10 rebounds. He also managed to breach the attacking 50 too, running hard up the ground and getting in position to let fly on goal, but missing the two opportunities he set sail for. Fahey showed a good combination of remaining calm but also providing urgency, and was vocal throughout – most noticeably when he asked his opponent if he “had a left foot” before he snapped home a left footed goal. Is a character, but can play.

#23 Matthew McKenzie (Sydney Swans Academy/St Ives)

Was influential around the ground as one who rotated between midfield and the forward line, racking up 23 disposals (17 kicks), six marks, four clearances, and nine inside 50s. His clearance on the bounce in the first term led to an early Kai Watts goal, and McKenzie’s five-step burst from congestion proved damaging. He often finished his runs with a long kick when going through the midfield, but showed good ability to lower his eyes further afield. His errand set shot fell short in the final term to provide another goal assist, and McKenzie was busy in his added forward minutes over the second half, adding a goal to his stat line in the third term from a loose ball close to goal.

#24 Kai Watts (GWS Giants Academy/Inner West Magpies)

Named NSW/ACT’s MVP and put in another solid shift to return an impactful 13 disposals, three inside 50s and 1.3. Watts was another who rotated between the midfield and forward half, starting inside attacking 50 and often joining in on the stoppages during general play. He was the benefactor of a searing Matthew McKenzie clearance early on as he marked and goaled in the first term, going on to miss another shot shortly after and a snap in the second quarter. Is a little smaller than some of his midfield mates but is strong, and uses his frame to position best at the fall of the ball.

#25 Sam Stening (GWS Giants Academy/Wagga Swans)

Stening put to bed some of the issues he had in front of goal in NSW/ACT’s previous game, slotting 3.0 from 14 disposals and and equal team-high six marks. The lightly built forward rotated between being the deepest Rams player and positioning at centre half-forward, making good plays in both roles. When closer to home, Stening popped through two of his three goals in open play and stood up in contests from high balls in. When pushing further afield, the Wagga product got good separation from his direct opponent and showed off his sticky hands at full stretch to pull in some nice overhead marks. Is a raw kind of prospect but has a good base to build on and certainly impacts games.

#29 Will Edwards (Sydney Swans Academy/Manly Bombers)

The Rams tall played his role in the ruck well, but it was his follow-up work that was most impressive. Edwards managed to win the ball around the ground by providing a target in the air and collected 14 disposals to go with his 17 hitouts. Also kicked a nice goal on the run in the final term to cap off a decent game.

Tasmania:

#2 Baynen Lowe (Devonport)

Another busy performance from the Tasmanian trier, with his game-high 27 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s helping him earn his side’s MVP award. Lowe was a constant through midfield, gaining meterage for his side from stoppages as he zipped around them and threw the ball onto his boot in quick time. He worked as hard as anyone to will his way to the ball, providing grit and zip in the same package against slightly bigger NSW/ACT opponents. While he does sometimes have the tendency to blaze away, Lowe’s work rate was immense and he fully deserved the plaudits he received.

#3 Darcy Gardner (Clarence)

Similar to Baynen Lowe, Gardner was a slick mover around the contest and worked hard to break free from congestion to send Tasmania forward. He looked particularly dangerous in the forward half after the main break, starting with a strong overhead mark just beyond the arc and kicking well to find Noah Holmes further afield. He would also go inside 50 on two occasions in the same term and provided an option to link during Tasmanian attacks. Gardner finished with 14 disposals, five marks, six tackles and two inside 50s.

#5 George McLeod (North Hobart)

McLeod was one who had a good balance between inside and outside work, collecting 23 disposals, 11 marks, seven inside 50s and 2.1 in a tireless display. He is a strong accumulator, but also had some high-impact touches – setting up teammates twice for goal opportunities through the middle part of the game and snaring two of his own. The first was a clever snap after getting on the end of a handball in the third term, and the second came on the end of a neat passage of kicking play with a set shot conversion. Had a few errand kicks but was otherwise very solid all-round.

#9 Sam Sherriff (Launceston)

By no means had a massive game (13 disposals, four inside 50s) but was influential in the final term with some good work forward of centre. Sherriff got involved in possession and through his tackling around the arc, with one kick across the 50 as he wheeled around particularly good. He got amongst a couple more kicking chains and proved a key member of the forward set-up late on.

#10 Samuel Banks (Clarence)

The 2019 Alan McLean medallist (Division 2 MVP) again showed his class to cap off a high quality carnival, collecting 25 disposals, 10 marks, four inside 50s and five rebounds through midfield and later off half-back. His best attribute is undoubtedly his booming right foot, and Banks used it well when placed behind the ball to set up Tasmanian forward forays. He attempted and made a wealth of attacking kicks into the corridor to put his side into dangerous positions, finding both distance and a direct target. Banks did purely go for distance on perhaps too many occasions though coming out of defence, compensating for accuracy with one kick and letting out an “oh no”. Like some of the better half-backs in this year’s draft crop, Banks showed his ability to read the play and intercept aerially with a couple of nice marks floating in from the side. Has obvious class and should build on having already being selected to play in the U18 NAB League squad, something 2018 draftee Tarryn Thomas also did as a 15-year-old.

#16 Dominic White (North Hobart)

It was another solid game from White in the back half, going about his business unassumingly to have 19 disposals, six marks and a couple of clearances. It was a relatively no frills kind of performance, providing a cool head off half back with neat short kicks and competing in the air. Hardly put a foot wrong and also found a bit of ball up the ground to get involved in the contest further.

#29 Noah Holmes (Clarence)

Holmes was again the primary target for Tasmania inside 50 and had a good game without entirely ripping it apart. He started with a couple of strong plays in one-on-one contests and showed good combativeness to win a holding the ball free kick before missing a rushed shot on goal. Holmes continued in the same vain with his tackling in the second term, while providing a good lead up target with strong hands overhead. Missed another set shot in the third quarter after marking well, but finally got on the board in the following term after another nice mark – this time over his shoulder in the face of an oncoming opponent deep in the 50.

Queensland vs. Northern Territory
By: Peter Williams

Queensland:

#3 Daniel Lanthois

The pocket rocket caused some excitement throughout the game running through the midfield and able to hit targets by hand or foot. He booted a terrific goal from the pocket in the second term which was Queensland’s seventh goal for the game, and then the next term got cleaned up after kicking out of defence but bounced back bravely. He was prominent around the stoppages and able to move the ball quickly going forward in transition.

#5 Glen Saniong

An exciting talent who zipped around the field, Saniong was particularly prominent in the opening half with clean hands in the air or at ground level, and some exciting athletic traits that caught the eye. He took a huge mark on the wing early on, and then had a full speed pick-up off the ground and burst away, leaping up whenever he could. He was favouring his dominant right side, kicking on the outside of his boot when going forward to avoid using his non-preferred, but still made it effective by hitting up Noah McFadyen late in quarter two for his fifth goal. He was quieter in the second half but still had a number of exciting moments and looked dangerous whenever he went near it.

#6 Austin Harris

Harris was busy around the stoppages and always working hard, getting to the pill at both ends. Early in the game he saved a goal by punching the ball across the line under pressure in defence, then ran in and kicked a goal before being knocked over. He used it well off his left coming off half-back and was able to dish off cleanly to teammates.

#12 James Packer

Had a few settling moments in defence, taking a goal-saving mark on the last line early in the second germ, and winning a fair bit of the ball in the back half. He charges out of defence taking the game on, and was neat with his disposal, creating plays up the field.

#13 Lochlan Harrop

Aside from McFayden’s eight-goal haul, Harrop’s efforts across the ground were up there with the best moments. He kicked an early goal by soccering it home from the goalsquare, and then kicked a goal playing out of full-forward in the final term, leading out and marking 30m out and slotting the goal on a 45-degree angle. He had another couple of changes, but passed the ball when he should have backed himself to have the shot, then the next time he rushed the shot and missed when he should have gone back and slotted it. Overall though he showed some good defensive traits and was neat with his disposal.

#28 Jye Lockett

Was one of the damaging three strong trio in the Queensland forward line and booted a couple of goals either end of the game. His first came in the goalsquare where he positioned himself well, took the mark and turned around to kick the goal from a metre out. The hands looked to be in the back of his opponent, but his body positioning was good and he had a number of other chances after that. He took a strong pack mark out 30m on an angle not long after his first goal but it drifted to the left for a behind, and then pushed up the ground at times to win some touches at half-forward. At one stage he applied a fend-off in midfield and got clear to kick forward, before then going deeper later on to mark the ball going back with the flight and put it through the middle of the big sticks midway through the last term.

#32 Noah McFadyen

The goal-scoring machine finished with eight goals from 10 chances in what was a massive day out for him. He was simply too big and too strong for any opponent that came his way, particularly given most gave him up to 10cm and 10-15kg for the 186cm, 89kg forward. He had five goals in the first half and another three by the end of the game, with most coming from one-on-one isolated contests deep in the forward 50. Every one of his eight goals came from marks (or in one case a free kick from a marking contest), and his set shot accuracy was on point. He did miss one which was a rushed snap and then he eyed off a big tally after the fast start and tried to kick an impossible goal off the ground near the behind post when he probably should have handballed it back to a teammate. Overall though he provided a great target up forward and worked his opponent over both on the lead and in arm-wrestles which he was always going to win once he planted the feet and used his body to hold off his defender.

#37 Will Bella

Bella might not have kicked a goal on the day, but the big forward provided a presence and also worked up the ground to win some ball on the wing and at half-forward. Like Lockett and McFadyen he was too strong for his opponent and had a long kick that helped his teammates get on the end of a few. He kept presenting throughout and when in the ruck easily won clean taps to his midfielders nearby.

Northern Territory:

#5 Ariki Lowe

The talented midfielder showed some nice traits with a clean turn and spin out of the middle and able to use the ball by hand or foot going forward. He added a nice touch to the midfield and had some speed from which he used to try and break the lines. Did get caught once trying to take an opponent on, but had a few solid runs during the game.

#11 Mark White

Caused a bit of a ruckus in the final term when he bumped an opponent late and a mini melee ensued. He kicked a great goal after that, and across the four quarters was one of Northern Territory’s best. He constantly looked to take an opponent on, and more often than not when going for goal looked to run in, then sidestep one way, sell candy and go the other way. He won a free kick late in the game for a great technical tackle by locking the arms, but then when he tried to sidestep the man on the mark and go for goal with the outside of his boot it went out on the full. He used the ball well when in field and was solid across the game.

#15 Preyben Tipiloura

Northern Territory’s best on the day, Tipiloura has some serious talent and X-factor. Every time he went near the ball you knew something was going to happen, with electrifying pace and clean hands, he seems to have the skill to break games open if given time and space. He is raw, but talented and had a shot for goal in the second term that wobbled in but was marked by Tom King who kicked the goal. Tipiloura also went to tap the ball in front of himself and run around an opponent tight on the line but the ball bounced out, but got busy as the game went on kicking two great goals on the run in the second half. For his first he received the ball just inside 50, burst away and kicked the goal at full speed, then for the second he burst away with a bounce, headed inboard and moved onto his preferred side to put it straight through the middle.

#24 Jason Baird

Had a strong game particularly in the first half, where he had a quick snap off the boot to get it forward, and then used precise kicking skills in the defence to move the ball across the ground well. He provided some run and carry and was willing to be daring with his passing, and one of a number of players who stood up when the heat was on.

#28 Brodie Lake

Played at both ends and kicked a goal in the third term after marking 50m out, passing to a teammate deep in the pocket, then receiving it 20m closer to goal. He put it straight through the middle and was involved a fair bit after that, winning a number of touches in quick succession across the ground. He almost had a goal in the second term with a clean pick-up but his shot on goal 20m running in on an angle hit the post.

#48 Tom King

The forward presented well and laid a great tackle close to goal applying defensive pressure to the opposition defence. He booted Northern Territory’s first goal of the game, standing in the front position and marking a wobbly ball into goal, booting it from a few metres out. He had another shot early in the fourth term, but it fell short, and a third attempt was cut off when he tried to pass in-board. He continued to work hard throughout the four quarters.

Red-hot start by Rams helps them to Division 2 title

NEW South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) Rams have claimed the Under-16 National Championships Division 2 title with a convincing 41-point win at Aspley today. The Rams booted the first nine goals of the game despite Tasmania dominating possession and forward 50 entries, taking the Devils an hour to slot their first major. Once they did they found their rhythm, booting three consecutive goals to cut the deficit to 32 early in the final term, but it was a case of too little, too late as the Rams booted two of the final three goals to win 11.9 (75) to 4.10 (34).

The first term was a dominant showing from the home side with NSW/ACT peppering the goals early, before finding their range with accurate shots from a mixture of set shots and forward 50 stoppages. Matthew McKenzie was busy in the front half setting up scoring opportunities when he found Kai Watts 40m out straight in front for the Rams’ first of the day. He almost made it two five minutes later but just missed, and it was Tasmania’s turn to then take control of possession for a few minutes. Locked in the Devils’ forward half for a few minutes, they could only muster the two behinds before it resided in the Rams’ half for the rest of the quarter.

An end-to-end play saw Euriah Hollard kick a miraculous goal from the pocket, which was then followed by majors to Jordan Endemann from a set shot, and Sam Stening and Austin Ball from quick kicks close to goal from stoppages. McKenzie almost had a major himself, but the ball was touched off the boot before it bounced through the big sticks. Josh Fahey had a strong first term for the Rams, while for Tasmania, Noah Holmes was busy up forward while Baynen Lowe and Darcy Gardiner tried their best through the midfield. It was a dominant first term by the Rams with the wind however, heading into the first break with a 32-point advantage.

The second quarter consisted of Tasmania dominating possession, but NSW/ACT dominated the scoreboard. The Rams had single digit inside 50s but still booted 3.1 to Tasmania’s sole behind, as the Devils overused the football inside 50 with more handballs to try and set up the play. It enabled the Rams to set up in defence and get numbers back, then run it out of the back half, even though Tasmania had repeat entries. Will Splann and Zac Morris both had chances but one hit the behind post and the other missed to the left.

On the other hand, the half chances for the Rams were converted with Stenning and Ethan Grace both kicking their second goals – the latter from another forward stoppage. The next 10 minutes was again controlled by Tasmania but they just could not seem to buy a goal as the Rams defence held up. Running up the other end, McKenzie ran onto a loose ball in the goalsquare and put it through for the third of the term. Holmes took a strong mark out in front on the 50m and found Sam Banks in space, but the kick was to the top of the goalsquare and once again cleared by the opposition defence. Stenning almost added more pain to the Devils with a set shot after the siren, but his shot sprayed and went out on the full for the half-time margin to sit at an even 50 points.

The third term was much the same, with Tasmania dominating possession in the forward half with repeat forward 50 entries, but only a snap from George McLeod 16 minutes in – an hour since the first bounce – finally split the big sticks. The cheers from the Tasmanian faithful went up as they finally got some reward for effort, with their endeavour great all game, but their finishing wayward. They finished the quarter with 1.5 as several set shots went wide as Sam Sherriff, McLeod and Holmes all missed, while Ryan Whitney also just missed his snap close to goal. The Rams side had only a handful of inside 50s but again managed to create a goal earlier in the term with Hollard marking inside 50 thanks to good body work one-on-one and converting the set shot from 25m out. It was a much better quarter from Tasmania, but once again showing that had the Devils been accurate, they could have well and truly being in the contest, instead facing a 44-point deficit at the final break.

The final quarter gave Tasmania the slightest of sniffs with the crowd thinking “surely not?” as Jordy McIvor answered the call with a snap from the pocket in the opening two minutes to goal from the set shot. Fahey asked him if he had a left foot as he kicked it, only to answer his own question seconds later with “I guess he does”. McLeod quickly added his second a minute later and the margin was 32 with 19 minutes remaining. The Rams steadied after that however as Stening and Will Edwards added majors to their team’s total, before Holmes finally put one through the middle after a few misses as a late consolation goal for the Devils.

Fahey was his side’s best with 24 touches, four marks, three tackles, six inside 50s and 10 rebounds, while McKenzie was also impressive in the forward half, notching up 23 disposals, six marks, nine inside 50s, four clearances and a goal. Stenning had 14 disposals and six marks to go with his three majors, while Jeremy Woodford was also prominent with 17 touches, five clearances, four tackles and three inside 50s. For Tasmania, Lowe had 27 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and seven tackles, while Banks (25 disposals, 10 marks, four inside 50s and five rebounds) and McLeod (23 disposals, 11 marks, seven inside 50s, three rebounds and two goals were the prominent ball winners for Tasmania.

 

NSW/ACT 5.4 | 8.5 | 9.5 | 11.9 (75)
TASMANIA 0.2 | 0.3 | 1.8 | 4.10 (34)

GOALS:

NSW/ACT: S. Stening 3, E. Hollard 2, Endemann, K. Watts, A. Ball, E. Grace, M. McKenzie, W. Edwards.
TD: G. McLeod 2, J. McIvor, N. Holmes.

BEST:

NSW/ACT: J. Fahey, M. McKenzie, J. Woodford, S. Stening, E. Hollard.
TD:  B. Lowe, S. Banks, G. McLeod, W. Splann, N. Holmes, J. Dixon.

Scouting Notes: U16 Division 2 – Round 2

NEW South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) and Queensland Under 16s both picked up wins under lights at Metricon Stadium on Tuesday, with plenty of stand-out performers from each side. Michael Alvaro cast an eye over the two games, taking opinion-based notes on the outstanding players from all four teams.

NSW/ACT vs. Northern Territory

NSW/ACT:

#1 Austin Ball (Sydney Swans Academy)

The diminutive forward caused headaches inside attacking 50, zipping around the arc and looking dangerous in spurts. Ball enjoyed a strong second term through midfield, coming into the game with a good clearing kick to find Louis Wilson and bursting out of the centre bounces at pace. He had the chance to hit the scoreboard after intercepting a kick-in but couldn’t finish, and missed another chance in the following term after a smart bit of crumbing inside 50. Has the traits to be influential, but couldn’t quite finish the job at all times, finishing with 12 disposals, three marks, two clearances, three inside 50s and 0.2.

#2 Byron Middleton (Sydney Swans Academy)

Busy in-close, Middleton did well to rack up 17 disposals (12 handballs), five tackles and five clearances in a solid outing for the Rams. He looked really clean below his knees, using his low centre on gravity to evade opponents once he had collected the ball and flicking it out to teammates on the run. One of his better moments was a neat kick inside 50 to Joshua Fahey in the second term after finding a bit of space, and he was productive all game.

#3 Will Sexton (GWS GIANTS Academy)

Another from NSW/ACT’s brigade of small and quick midfielders, Sexton was one of his side’s best and most consistent ball winners. He seemed to be everywhere at times, intercepting on defensive wing early on, gathering cleanly and brilliantly turning an opponent further a field shortly after, and winning plenty of ball around the stoppages. A pleasing part of Sexton’s game was his work rate, winning the ball up either end and tackling well to ease pressure on his defence. His bursting pace also came in handy when breaking forward, but Sexton sometimes lacked a touch of penetration by foot. Still a fantastic game with 19 disposals, six marks, five tackles, and a goal which came in the third term.

#4 Jordan Endemann (Sydney Swans Academy)

Endemann was a productive member of the Rams’ forward setup, looking dangerous with his 14 disposals, five marks and three inside 50s. Despite not hitting the scoreboard himself, Endemann was constantly looking to create with his forward movement, zipping around the forward 50 and delivering well short by foot. His sole behind for the game came after marking well out the back but missing the resultant set shot, with that finish product again dearly missed in the final term with another chance. Is quite raw, but had some really nice moments and was close to putting it all together.

#6 Felix Rogers (Sydney Swans Academy)

The rebounding small defender was a dangerous asset moving forward from the back half, possessing line-breaking speed and the willingness to take the game on. Rogers won an equal team-high 19 disposals, but it was his eight rebounds and three inside 50s that truly told the tale of his game – getting on the move with ball in hand and ending with a long kick. He also showed a handy knack for pin-pointing shorter options in the third term, finding Will Sexton well inside 50 to assist his set shot goal. Could also be a handy midfielder with his ability to crumb off hands, but is so valuable in that half-back slot as it is.

#22 Joshua Fahey (GWS GIANTS Academy)

While he ended up winning the ball at both ends, Fahey was initially sighted in defence – entrusted with a couple of early kick-ins and responsible for one of the more bizarre standings of the mark as he performed a crow-pleasing handstand. Fahey’s influence up the other end also came in the second term, with an errand set shot finding its way to Euriah Hollard to gift him a goal. It was a well-rounded display from Fahey between the arc, finishing with 17 disposals, five marks, three inside 50s and four rebound 50s.

#23 Matthew McKenzie (Sydney Swans Academy)

Not overly tall but was one of NSW/ACT’s bigger midfield bodies alongside Kai Watts, providing some good drive as he got on his bike and wheeled through the corridor. McKenzie’s clearing long kicks into space proved valuable, but he also showed good awareness in congestion to not always blaze away – instead handing out to better-placed teammates. The Swans Academy member also hit the scoreboard, converting a set shot in the second term and snapping home from the pocket in the fourth as he shifted into a forward role. He ended up being productive there, finding Sam Stening for a chance on goal and operating in space. He finished with an impactful 16 disposals (13 kicks), five tackles, three clearances, and two goals.

#24 Kai Watts (GWS GIANTS Academy)

Along with Matthew McKenzie, Watts was a terrific mover of the ball forward and also managed to hit the scoreboard. Watts was first sighted inside 50 when he marked deep from a short Jordan Endemann set shot and converted his opening goal, while later popping up to get on the end of another errand shot to crumb and snap truly in the third term. He won the first clearance of the final quarter on the move and another similar one shortly after, showing a quick first five steps and nice long kick. Watts ended with 16 disposals (14 kicks), six inside 50s and two goals in an important role through the midfield-forward rotation.

#25 Sam Stening (GWS GIANTS Academy)

The bookend quarters of Stening’s game were as good as anyones, proving an influential and flexible part of the NSW/ACT forward structure. Stening made a nice start with his beautiful kick to find Patrick Voss inside 50 and provide the resultant goal, while popping up again in the same term to show off his strong hands. His final quarter was the true standout though, again showing his sticky hands on the lead from centre half-forward and proving strong one-on-one. While he managed to boot his only goal of the game with a dribbler to seal the win late on, Stening could have finished with an incredible stat-line had he buried multiple other chances. He put a low shot on the run wide, hit the post with a later snap and missed from very close range with a snare off hands – finishing with 1.5 from his 19 disposals, five marks and seven inside 50s.

#26 Patrick Voss (GWS GIANTS Academy)

Voss started like a house on fire, booting all of his game-high four goals in the first half. Playing like a slender key forward at 190cm and 79kg, Voss positioned and led well inside attacking 50 to benefit fully from good delivery. He slotted a set shot for his first major in the opening term and played on quickly to snap his second shortly after. He made a good read to take a strong chest mark inside 50 in the following term and boot his third goal, later barrelling through traffic in the goalsquare to slam home a fourth in almost identical fashion to how his first two goals came. While Voss could not find the goals after that, he still had a couple of tough chances and looked a threat inside the dangerous Rams forward 50.

Northern Territory:

#5 Ariki Lowe (Federals)

The zippy midfielder matched up well on NSW/ACT’s smaller movers, but more importantly found a good amount of his own ball. He proved dangerous around the stoppages, keeping on the move and setting NT forward when he managed to claim possession. After missing a snap earlier in the second term, Lowe quickly made amends with a better finish in similar fashion, going on to impact around the ball. Finished with 13 disposals, four tackles, two clearances and 1.2.

#11 Mark White (Wanderers)

One who didn’t win mountains of possessions but made them count with his work forward of centre. White applied good pressure early but was a little shaky himself with tacklers oncoming, gaining confidence with a nice one-on-one mark inside 50 and set shot goal. The Wanderers product was dangerous from then, on, dinking a clever checkside to Jamie Jones to set up his goal to finish an influential first term. White went on to have fewer highlights as the game wore on, but popped up with a smart bit of play in the third quarter – knowing he could not make the distance after falling short with a couple of shots from around 45 metres, and taking on the man on the mark to finish well from closer in. Looks a crafty type forward of centre and had some nice moments.

#14 Riley Stone (Palmerston)

Was a good accumulator on the wing with his outside movement and ability to penetrate both arcs. Went about his business with little fuss but influenced the play between the 50s, finishing with 16 disposals, three marks, three tackles, two inside 50s and three rebound 50s in an well-rounded outing.

#16 Antonio James (Darwin)

The nuggety defender was as solid as anyone down back, doing the defensive things well while also providing some valuable attack from the defensive 50. While he seemed to attract the ball, James also worked hard to make the play from defence – making a terrific spoil, laying hard tackles and kicking well down the line to clear the area. Laid another important tackle in the final term to prevent a Patrick Voss shot, and was importantly one of the NT’s best in their two scoreless quarters.

#17 Jaden Watts (Palmerston)

A dynamic yet light-on mover, Watts made a profound impact going forward. He started off working up the ground to provide a link into attacking 50, and added a bonus goal in the first term with a shrewd steal and finish on the move. While he was important on the attack, Watts also did well to follow up his work, and laid an impressive tackle in the second term after spilling the initial marking attempt. Went on to get reward for his tackling in the following quarter, and was rewarded for his overall effort with a goal later in the same term with a set shot goal after the siren. Has a good amount of spring and does some nice things going both ways, bringing some spark to the game.

#24 Jason Baird (Palmerston)

Baird made a fantastic start in the forward half, leading up well into the corridor to mark, sending a beautiful kick inside 50 to assist Jamie Jones’ goal and just falling short with his own set shot attempt in a solid opening term. His ability to find space was uncanny and he worked well in it, later moving into the midfield to impact the stoppages with his constant movement and create via a willingness to deliver inboard from wide areas. Gets in dangerous areas and influences the play, ending up with 16 disposals (14 kicks), five marks, two clearances and six inside 50s.

#28 Brody Lake (Peel Thunder/Southern Districts)

The Southern Districts midfielder was far and away NT’s best throughout the game, collecting a game-high 26 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, eight clearances, four inside 50s and two goals in an incredible outing. He built into the game beautifully, using his height to get up well in marking contests and holding firm in one-on-one contests, all the while accumulating possessions. Lake really came to life in the second half though, bursting from stoppages to earn clearances while also kicking two quality goals in the third term. The first came after shrugging off his opponent and snapping truly, with the next coming off the back of a strong pack mark against two opponents as NT mounted a come-back. He went on to continually have a say in the game with his possessions, and was a real standout.

#30 Tyrell Lui (Wanderers)

Lui started well in the midfield, breaking away with an early clearance and showing a good mix of strength and evasion in those situations. He went on to win a wealth of clearances (game-high nine), and had the same kind of impact around the ground despite sending a long-range set shot sprayed out on the full. Still, had 18 important disposals from midfield and produced seven inside 50s with his long balls out of congestion. Also managed to find the goals in the third term to cap off a solid game.

Tasmania vs. Queensland:

Tasmania:

#2 Baynen Lowe (Devonport)

Did all of the hard stuff through midfield in a very well rounded game, ending with 20 disposals, nine tackles, eight clearances, and four inside 50s. He looked lively in bursts with his speed from the contest, latching onto the ball quickly at stoppages to have an influence there. Lowe was one who had a few very good chances to put pressure on Queensland via the scoreboard, but only managed the one goal. He had an early checkside shot miss after marking a wayward Sam Sherriff shot inside 50, missed another set shot in the second term, but eventually made amends for both with a snap in the final quarter to cap off his game.

#3 Darcy Gardner (Clarence)

Another smaller player with good breaking speed, Gardner showed it off early with a nice passage through traffic which he ended with a kick. Did well to get back and win the ball around defensive wing to clear the danger and push forward with more long balls forward, and had the chance to hit the scoreboard late in the game with a fortunate in-the-back free kick which he couldn’t quite put away. Had a solid 14 disposals, nine tackles and five clearances.

#5 George McLeod (North Hobart)

Is quite light-on, so enjoyed some of the space he was afforded to receive on the outside of stoppages and send Tasmania into attack with six inside 50 entries. That outside recieving proved damaging as McLeod got on the end of a handball and slammed home a nice goal on the run. McLeod was also given another chance to find the goals on the back of a later 50-metre penalty, but could only boot the ball into the post. Much of his game consisted of getting the ball in space and kicking long, finishing with 18 disposals (14 kicks) and 1.2.

#9 Sam Sherriff (Launceston)

Sherriff popped up early with a strong mark deep inside 50 from a long ball in but sprayed the resultant shot, going on to get another opportunity in the same term as one who positioned well in attack in the opening stages. He made up for two earlier missed with a fantastic chase down tackle and goal in the following term, going on to find a good amount of possession around the ground to finish with 12 disposals, three marks and a goal.

#10 Samuel Banks (Clarence)

Caught the eye straight off the bat with a booming kick forward off the back of the first centre bounce, and continued on in similar fashion throughout the day to have a team-high 21 disposals (19 kicks) and eight inside 50s. He also hit the ground running straight after half time with a streaming clearance and long kick forward, which was a part of his game that featured most prominently. Put in a solid shift and possesses qualities which are easy on the eye.

#16 Dominic White (North Hobart)

Was a really calm and reliable figure down back, first coming into the game with a mark on the last line to show good positioning. With his helmet clipped on, White was solid in the air and efficient with his short kicking game out of defence, clearing danger with no frills fuss. Did not have massive numbers with 14 disposals and four marks, but hardly put a foot wrong with his touches.

#21 Zac Morris (East Launceston/Launceston)

Morris was one who warmed into the game slowly, but had a really influential fourth quarter and seemed to be everywhere. Earlier, he first appeared with a good couple of pressure acts and tackles in the second term, earning a free kick for one of them. He came back into the game late on with his leads up to half-forward and strong hands to mark on two occasions, getting on the end of some good service by presenting in the right areas. Had the chance to trouble the scorers after intercepting a kick-in but fell short with the shot, finishing with 14 disposals, four marks, six tackles, and three inside 50s in a hard-working display.

Queensland:

#3 Daniel Lanthois (Brisbane Lions Academy)

Was a strong inside ball winner throughout the match, digging in at the stoppages with some tough work going both ways. Lanthois well around the ground for 18 disposals, 11 tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s. His clearance work and ability to prize the ball out despite his frame was effective, and he even showed a good bit of poise to lower his eyes early on and hit up a teammate laterally. Lanthois’ game was one of accumulation, and he proved to be as consistent as anyone across the ground while pitching in with solid tackling work.

#6 Austin Harris (Gold Coast Suns Academy)

Led well with team-highs in disposals (19) and marks (seven), working hard around the ground to provide good run and produce lateral short kicks. His use from the corridor was particularly noticeable, but like Lanthois, Harris was one who just seemed to be everywhere with his accumulative possessions and put in a really hard-working shift for the Maroons.

#24 Ethan Kerr (Brisbane Lions Academy)

Kerr first popped up with a long rebounding kick from a kick-in, and it truly set the tone for his 18 disposal, five mark and six rebound 50 effort. The Lions Academy member proved to be a calm user of the ball, often opting for long kicks to clear his lines and potential danger. It was a relatively all-round performance from Kerr, and he should be a solid contributor coming into Round 3.

#25 Bodhi Uwland (Gold Coast Suns Academy)

Another who ran well through the midfield, Uwland was a strong figure in the engine room as a point of difference to the wealth of fleet footed runners going around. He was a big ball winner around the contest, applying big tackles, standing up in them, and trying to pry his way through the congestion. His standout moment came in the final term with a courageous mark with opponents in his eyeline, which broke up an early Tasmanian push. Uwland finished with a serviceable 14 disposals, three marks, four tackles and six inside 50s.

#28 Jye Lockett (Gold Coast Suns Academy)

Lockett was one of a few big bodies for Queensland in the forward half, but made plays of a smaller unit with some work in the first term. He kicked Queensland’s first goal of the game with a snap and missed another shortly after, with not much to do until he popped up again in the third term with his second goal to finish a nice passage of play from the Maroons. Finished as a danger up forward, and had 12 disposals, three marks and two goals across the day.

#32 Noah McFadyen (Brisbane Lions Academy)

Another McFadyen to come through the Lions Academy program, Noah has been a useful forward target for Queensland as a strong unit inside 50. First caught attention with his opening goal from a set shot in the second term, making it two in quick succession with a quick snap to give Queensland some breathing space. While he didn’t have a big game numbers-wise, but had some nice moments and read the play well with his leads up to half forward.

#37 Will Bella (Gold Coast Suns Academy)

Would have to be one of the biggest 16-year-olds to have gone through the carnival at 194cm and 100kg, and while he used his frame well throughout, proved to be more than just a brute. Kicked his first of three goals with a long-range set shot in the second term, benefitted from a down-field free kick in the following term to convert from a tight angle, and booting his third after a holding free kick in the final term. Bella led up and marked well to add to his clinical conversion rate, having a bigger impact than his 10-disposal game would suggest.