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Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 6

ROUND 6 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in. Some sides remained slightly depleted over the weekend with school football making its return.

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

South Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#9 Jason Horne

It was another superb performance from Horne, who is currently South Adelaide’s prime mover through midfield. The bottom-ager constantly got first hands on the ball at stoppages, especially early, and used his bursting speed to break forward quickly. Horne’s play of the game came in that exact manner, as he streamed away from a centre bounce and launched home his sole major for the day from 60-metres out. Credit to his enormous work rate, Horne was able to constantly find space around the ground and really hunted the opposition with smothering tackling pressure. 26 disposals and six clearances led another formidable statline for the Under 16 State MVP.

#10 Brayden Cook

One of three Panthers to notch 26 touches, Cook made the wing his own across another consistent outing. He took a bit of time to get going, but kickstarted his day with a strong pack mark and goal late in the first term. That kind of forward running and hardness at the contest made him a constant threat, with some nice accumulative work between the arcs boosting his stats throughout. Cook capped off his day with a second goal, put through from the goalsquare in term four.

#19 Jamison Snelling

One of a couple outstanding 16-year-old prospects in the South Adelaide side, Snelling showed terrific glimpses of his top form to finish with three goals from 21 disposals and seven marks. His first major seemed to come from nowhere, as he benefitted from a turnover just outside the forward arc and slammed the ball home from range. It would set him going, with Snelling rotated through the midfield and forwardline to good effect all day. His form from distance carried on too; finding the big sticks from outside 50 a second time after receiving a hand-off, and finishing smartly on the run from a touch closer in the fourth term to put the cherry on top of a strong performance.

#22 Jack Flett

Flett was arguably the most damaging member of South’s steady back six, providing a cool head on the last line while also attempting to break the lines on the rebound. His left foot would become a weapon, used to attack as he took on some nice cross-field passes and gained serious distance. The short-range game was there too, able to hit up easy outlet kicks to help his side maintain possession. But Fleet’s best moments came on the offensive, with one particular driving run through the corridor sending the Panthers inside 50. His 23 disposals and eight marks were somewhat reflective of South’s high possession defence, but there was enough going the other way to have a big impact.

#27 Will Verrall

The 16-year-old key position prospect has transitioned well into the Under 18 side, and continues to mix it well both up forward and in the ruck. An athletic type, Verrall’s leap was evident early as he rose to take a nice overhead mark inside 50, converting the resultant set shot. A big pack mark later in the opening term gave him a second goal after the siren, and Verrall never looked back. While he could not quite find the goals again, his clean hands at ground level and ability to get involved in chained forward moves made for good viewing.

Others:

A bunch of solid contributors headlined South Adelaide’s win, with electric small forward Phoenix Spicer again looking lively. He added two goals and plenty of speed to the Panthers’ effort from out on the wing, much like Isaac Burt (22 disposals, nine marks). South’s defence was also strong, led by Samuel Hindes‘ 20 disposals, 12 marks, and seven rebound 50s, and consolidated by the safe ball use of Harry Spacie (26 disposals, nine marks).  

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide:

#15 Harvey Harrison

Harrison’s dash and dare from midfield was again a feature for North Adelaide, as he popped up in exciting spurts. After somewhat of a slow start (much like the rest of his side), the bottom-ager clicked into gear as he began to accumulate the ball on the outer of stoppage situations, using his five-step burst to accelerate forward and take the game on. A nice forward run in the third term was a highlight of Harrison’s day, as he finished with 25 disposals, five marks, and five clearances.

#18 James Willis

Another bottom-ager who is thriving for the Roosters upon being granted a touch more midfield responsibility is Willis, who returned 22 disposals, six tackles, and four clearances on a trying day. He too started a little shakily with a shanked kick under little pressure, but soon made up for it with an eye-catching run out of the defensive half. While his outside game would be sound given his speed, Willis looks just as good on the inside where he uses his strength to fend off opponents and bring them down in desperate tackles. That kind of play made him a driving force through midfield, and there is a good base to work off.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin is just so consistent with his work out of defence, and hardly lost a contest when the ball entered his area. Whether it came in aerially or via the carpet, O’Loughlin was constantly able to intercept and mop up across half-back to foil many of South Adelaide’s attacks. There might not be much of him, but the bottom-ager has plenty of impact with clean rebounding kicks on his left side – both short and long in range. He was again the Roosters’ most prolific ball winner with 26 touches, along with seven rebound 50s.

Others:

Midfielder Matthew Borg also managed to rack up 26 disposals, providing a constant stoppage presence as he lined up against Horne more often than not. Kyle Brazell (23 disposals, seven marks) was another to find plenty of the ball, able to drive forward from the wing. Zyton Santillo looks to be filling the role of Tariek Newchurch for North, with his lead-up duties as a small working well to link his side into attacking 50. Shaun Bennier contributed the most in terms of goals, booting 4.4 from 16 disposals and six marks with most of his work done deep.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

WWT Eagles vs. Central District

By: Tom Cheesman

WWT Eagles:

#7 Caleb Poulter

Poulter had another nice game for the Eagles in their victory at X Convenience Oval. He collected 25 disposals, five marks, five inside 50s, three clearances, and a goal while spending time in the midfield and across half-forward. The big-bodied AFL Academy Hub member was clean at stoppages, releasing many teammates into open space with some nice handballs on the up. He played with great physicality at clearances and in marking contests, and his terrific ability overhead was on show. Poulter also found plenty of the ball around the ground, made some nice decisions with ball in hand, and his kicking efficiency was exceptional. One of Poulter’s best traits is that he always follows up his possessions and contests, which is exactly what he did en route to kicking a clever goal in the last quarter.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Bottom-ager Burgoyne produced one of his best performances at Under 18 level on Saturday. He spent more time than usual in the midfield, which led to him being the leading disposal winner on the ground. His acceleration and elite ability to change direction wreaked havoc on the opposition, as they quite simply could not stop him from linking up with teammates through the middle and transitioning the ball forward. Burgoyne is never afraid to take the game on and use the corridor, a trait that is incredibly impressive for such a young player. His teammates try to get the ball in his hands at any cost, demonstrating how much faith they have in his abilities. Increased midfield minutes also allowed Burgoyne to show more of his physicality and tacking pressure, which are elements of his game that have been much more hidden when playing his usual half-back role. He finished with 33 disposals, seven rebound 50s, five clearances, four tackles and a nice set shot goal.

#34 Lachlan Jones (League)

Jones is one of the best South Australian prospects in this year’s draft class, and he showed why he’s rated so highly once again on Saturday. The 185cm youngster has a strong build and is very suited to his role in the ladder-leading Eagles’ backline. Jones matched up on ex-Carlton and Adelaide forward Troy Menzel during the game (when Menzel went forward) and did an excellent job. He pushed Menzel wide on the lead, held his own in one-on-one contests, and read the flight of the ball well when positioned behind the play.

Jones’ marking ability is definitely one of his major strengths, and he took multiple intercept marks in pack situations throughout the game. He has fantastic reach and athletic jumping ability, skills which were both on show in this match as he used this athleticism to spoil his opponents whenever he found himself out of position. It is evident that Jones will be an important member of the Eagles defence at League level all season. The Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy member finished with eight kicks, four marks and three rebound 50s.

#51 Lachlan McNeil (League)

McNeil was outstanding once again for the Eagles. He worked hard around the ground to find plenty of the ball and linked up well with teammates down the wings to transition it forward quickly. The over-ager was also strong defensively, laying three solid tackles –  including a nice run-down effort at the start of the third term. He used the ball effectively, was particularly clean with his hands, and kicked a nice set shot goal from just inside 50 in the first quarter. McNeil finished with 21 disposals, four clearances and four inside 50s.

Others:

Brayden Calvett (four goals) was very lively for the Eagles up forward, while Zeke Scott (20 disposals, eight tackles) was hard at it in the midfield, and Max Litster (25 disposals, eight marks, two goals) had a strong impact.

Jacob Godden (22 disposals, nine inside 50s) was busy at half forward, using his pace to provide an option up the ground and get the ball over the back and into the Eagles’ key forwards.

Port Adelaide father-son prospect Taj Schofield unfortunately suffered a lower leg injury in the opening minute of the game whilst attempting to change direction and did not return.

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

Central District:

#5 Kobe Wilson

Wilson was fantastic on Saturday, running hard up and down the wings to give Centrals supporters some exciting passages of play to watch. He started the game phenomenally, laying two strong tackles over the boundary and setting up the first goal of the game. Wilson has a spearing right-foot kick that is very effective, particularly when kicking short on the 45. He used his electric speed to provide a lot of run-and-carry for his side, and he kicked a well-deserved goal in the final term. Wilson had 13 disposals (all of which were kicks), five marks, five inside 50s and four tackles.

#13 Austin McDonald

McDonald was Central’s best clearance player on the day, collecting 18 disposals, eight clearances, and four inside 50s for his side. He is a very steady player, always composed and willing to wait for the right option to present itself. McDonald regularly provided an effective option for teammates in the corridor and applied relentless pressure on opposition players at stoppages around the ground.

#26 Shay Linke

Linke is in red-hot form for the Bulldogs and impressed on Saturday with another strong performance. He kicked two goals to go with a team-high 29 disposals, ten marks and eight inside 50s. Remarkably, 26 of Linke’s disposals were kicks, showing how much confidence he has in himself to make the right decisions going forward with the ball. He also worked hard at stoppages, earning five clearances for his side.

#27 Leek Alleer

Alleer was one of Central’s best when on the field, regularly providing an option for teammates to switch the play, and using his fantastic athleticism to impact the contest in all areas of the ground. He has a great reach to go with his impressive size, so he was never out-marked and used that reach and some serious closing speed to impact multiple marking contests.

His defensive tackling pressure was also outstanding, highlighted by a strong tackle on the speedy Jay Watson in the first term and then another great tackle in the second term on Zeke Scott. Alleer was involved in an unfortunate incident six minutes into the third term when an Eagles player dived for the ball and accidentally caught Alleer’s leg underneath them in the process. Despite trying to play on with the injury, Alleer soon left the field and did not return to the game. He finished with 15 disposals, five marks, three tackles and three clearances.

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

Although it was another tough day for Central’s forwards, Durdin showed once again many think of him so highly. The 172cm forward has an incredible work ethic and electric pace, applying plenty of pressure on opposition defenders throughout the contest and laying four important tackles. He kicked a clever soccer goal in the second term to get his side back in the contest, but unfortunately that was one of very few chances he got to hit the scoreboard. Durdin also provided a much-needed option for Centrals coming out defence and was always willing to get the ball moving quickly whenever he got the opportunity. He collected 12 disposals and three marks to go with his goal and four tackles.

#52 Lachlan Grubb (League)

Grubb made his SANFL League debut on Saturday and did not look out of place at all. Similarly to Durdin, he spent most of his time at half-forward and always presented well for his teammates. Early in the contest, Grubb settled himself in nicely by finding plenty of the ball and helping his side transition it into their forward 50. He got himself into strong positions, including multiple front and centres where he collected the ball on the run. Grubb also initiated some switches of play and pushed up the ground to apply some strong pressure. He finished with 11 disposals (ten kicks), three marks, two tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s.

Others:

Christopher Tidswell (19 disposals, seven marks, five rebound 50s) was solid through the middle and at half-back for the Bulldogs, using his nice left-foot to launch the Bulldogs into attack on many occasions. He always knew the right time to spread from the contest and did it very well. Finn Reed (16 disposals, six inside 50s, six marks, one goal) was also good, particularly in the second half. Some of his half-volleys were crisp and he attacked the footy with ferocity whenever it came his way.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide vs. Norwood

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

While the Bloods’ woes at Under 18s level continued, Chamberlain remains the shining light and put in another committed display. The lone AFL Academy hub member afield for West Adelaide worked incredibly hard for his side, finishing with a formidable statline which read: 36 disposals, seven marks, eight tackles, eight clearances, five inside 50s, and six rebound 50s. Chamberlain’s trend of getting back to help the defence again came to the fore, as did his bursts from congestion. A few quick steps, and he would gain separation from his Norwood opponents. A real positive in his game was the ability to mix clearing kicks with calm use by hand and shorter-range execution via foot, which adds another dimension to his midfield craft.

#10 Eduard van den Berg

The West Adelaide defender continues to carry a decent workload across the back half, forming his side’s most prevalent form of resistance and rebound. Most of his 26 disposals were kicks, with one of his first coming in the opening term and earning him a terrific goal with little time to think about it. After slotting that major from around 40-metres, van den Berg reverted back to his usual game in mopping up down back, able to rebound effectively even if the ball would repeatedly come straight back his way. He’s a clean and calm user, making him vital to the Bloods’ defensive setup.

Others:

A few of the taller Bloods fared well on Saturday, with ruckman Luke Heitmann often proving too big and strong for his opponents in notching 37 hitouts to go with 11 disposals, six tackles, and two goals. He shared those duties with Thomas Faulkner, who had 25 hitouts, while Thomas Rundle worked hard up the field from half-forward to provide a focal point with eight marks. Nicholas Couroupis and Cade Kennedy combined for 24 disposals, 24 tackles, and two goals from midfield, while Zac Venning ticked over 20 disposals.

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

We’re beginning to run out of superlatives to describe Murley, who continues to impress as Norwood’s prime midfield mover – in his  bottom-age year, no less. He looked busy from the outset and showed his smarts early with some deft inboard kicks, while also getting to all the right spots at the drop of the ball. Not only did Murley use his speed to break away from congestion with ball in hand, but he also followed up his clearance work by chasing his own disposals and getting involved at the next contest. His forward running makes him a constant headache for opposition defenders, though Murley still has a slight tendency to shank one in every few kicks at full flight. He is still so damaging in that area though, and took full toll with 34 disposals, 14 clearances, eight tackles, and six inside 50s.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

The Redlegs wingman again showed his smarts in an assured outing, chaining together some nice forward momentum for his side and constantly crafting a way forward. Cavallaro didn’t let a crunching hit in the opening term deter him, going on to collect 21 disposals and four marks in a solid and well-rounded display. While his ability to create going forward is noticeable, Cavallaro was able to show he is more than just a forward runner by winning his fair share at the contest and at both ends of the field.

#21 Jack Saunders

Saunders has been a mainstay in the Norwood midfield of late and it is little wonder why, as he consistently gets the job done. Second to only Murley in the ball winning stakes once again (24 disposals), Saunders is the no frills type of midfielder that every engine room needs. Most of his touches were simple gather and gives, but they were largely effective. He repeatedly showed a nice burst to get into space after hitting the ball straight-on, and was able to find the ball in all parts of the ground – shown by his clearance numbers and penetration of either arc.

Others:

West Adelaide’s bigmen may have stood tall, but so did Nathan Hearing for Norwood. The ruckman competed well in the air and got involved at ground level with 23 disposals, seven clearances, and seven inside 50s to go with 27 hitouts. There was plenty of scoreboard damage done, mainly via the boot of Samuel Duke (four goals), followed by three from Jackson Murphy and a couple from Marcus Roberts, who also had 19 touches and five clearances.

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

Glenelg vs. Sturt

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#2 Nasiah Wanganeen

Wanganeen showed flashes of his terrific skillset in Glenelg’s loss. A super smooth-mover, he is also a nice size, which allowed him to spend time on the ball, down back, and up forward. He was composed with ball in hand and looked to use his side-step to get around the man on the mark on a couple of instances. Wanganeen booted a goal in the final quarter and certainly possesses some likeable qualities. He finished with 19 disposals, six marks, six tackles, three clearances and three rebound-50s.

#10 Ty Murphy

Murphy was one of the few Tigers to show some real dare with ball in hand. He took the game on by using his speed to break the lines and generate some positive play moving forward. He was assured by foot for the most part and provided plenty of rebound from his role at half-back and on the wing. He laid a strong tackle on Tom Powell, something few have been able to manage in season 2020, and was rewarded with a holding-the-ball free kick. Murphy finished with 19 disposals, six marks, three tackles and six inside-50s.

#19 Jayden Davis 

It was a difficult day for the Tigers, but the performance of Davis will have impressed the Glenelg coaching staff. He was involved in almost every positive passage of play for the Bays and booted the clubs’ first two goals of the contest in the second quarter, thanks to some handy roving. He worked hard around the ground and took a game-high 11 marks, two of which were contested. He also racked up three clearances to go with a team-high 22 touches and four tackles.

Others:

On-baller Hagan Wright was one of Glenelg’s best in a midfield which was comprehensively beaten by a talented Sturt on-ball unit. He could have been more efficient by foot, but tried his guts out between the arcs and finished with 21 disposals, a goal, six marks, eight tackles, four clearances and four rebound-50s. Ruckman Max Fitzgerald produced a handful of effective taps to advantage, while Riley Davis and Joel Virtanen were solid down back, recording five rebound-50s apiece.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

Sturt:

#8 Lachlan Thomas

The speedy wingman ran up and down the ground all day, finding plenty of space and providing a link-up option. He was able to set-up several Double Blues attacks with his breakaway speed and run-and-carry, and looked to move it on quickly whenever possible. His ball use was often damaging and predominately effective, particularly when going forward. Thomas brought plenty of energy to the contest and finished a strong outing with 24 disposals, nine marks, five inside-50s and three rebound-50s.

#11 Will Spain

It was yet another solid outing from Sturt on-baller, Spain. While fellow midfielders Tom Powell and Mani Liddy have received much of the credit for the Double Blues’ excellent start to the season, Spain has been an essential component in the engine room. He was active whenever the ball was in his area, cracking in hard when the ball was there to be won but also applying plenty of defensive pressure whenever Glenelg got their hands on it.

During a dominant first term for the Double Blues, Spain was on the receiving end of a hurried inside-50 and made the most of the opportunity by nailing the subsequent set-shot from straight in front. He was excellent at the stoppages, winning seven clearances for the evening. Although he lacked a bit of polish by foot at-times, Spain attacked every contest with ferocity and showed plenty of strength in-and-under. He finished with 23 disposals, two marks, eight tackles and five inside-50s.

#16 Blake Higgins

On an ‘all played well’ type of evening for Sturt, Higgins was up there with the best. His foot skills were excellent, picking out his teammates with high degree of difficulty kicks on a number of occasions. Higgins was busy all game and, much like teammate Lachlan Thomas, was particularly effective with ball in hand when heading inside-50. Sturt looked to give him the ball to utilise his foot skills as often as possible and he rarely let them down. He also proved effective at the stoppages, winning four clearances to go with his 22 disposals, four marks and five inside-50s.

#17 Mani Liddy

The ever-consistent Liddy was again prominent for the in-form Double Blues. Liddy used his solid frame and obvious strength to fire off a quick handball despite being tackled by a pack of Tigers on several occasions. Liddy again won most of this possessions at the coalface so it was encouraging to see him stream through the middle early and kick long inside-50 in the first term. As he has demonstrated all season, Liddy showed great vision and skill by hand to spot a teammate in some space on the outside of a congested stoppage and get the ball moving Sturt’s way.

Although he missed a couple of targets by foot, Liddy showed off the power in his leg by setting sail on a couple of bombs from around the 50-metre arc. His clever tap on to Tom Powell in the third term didn’t register a stat but it allowed Powell to convert from close range and extend Sturt’s lead. He also set up the opening goal of the game with a neat kick to key forward Tom Emmett. Like most of the Sturt midfielders, Liddy also hit the scoreboard with two goals but also registered three behinds. He concluded the outing with 29 disposals, three marks, four tackles, seven clearances and seven inside-50s.

#18 Tom Powell

If the son-of-a-gun wasn’t already in the first round conversation, he almost certainly will be after another best-on-ground performance against Glenelg. Powell was always on the move at stoppages, either going in hard and winning the contested ball or looking to use his burst of speed to accelerate away from congestion and send it forward. He was regularly at the bottom of packs, wrestling for possession and looking to force out a handball. On the rare occasion when Powell didn’t win the contested ball, he applied plenty of pressure and executed a number of terrific tackles to stop his opponents in their tracks. A holding-the-ball free kick in the centre of ACH Group Stadium was a prime example of his ability to pin opponents arms.

Powell was clean by foot and effective by hand in-tight. He was seemingly involved in every Sturt forward 50 entry and knows exactly where to run to receive the ball, both around the ground and at the stoppages. However, it was his impact on the scoreboard which really elevated his performance. He booted three goals – two from roughly 40-metres out on the run and a third with a snap from close range. He did blaze away a couple of times in front of goal when he could have lowered his eyes, but it was encouraging to see Powell have a big impact on the match in attack. He certainly appears to be the best pure midfield prospect in South Australia and has started the season like a house on fire. Powell gathered another 39 disposals, three marks, six tackles, ten clearances and five inside-50s.

#19 Zabien Parker-Boers

The damaging forward booted four goals in the 100-point win. His ability to keep his feet allowed him to simply out-maneuverer his direct opponent and stream into goal in the first term. Parker-Boers was clean in the air as well, hauling in two contested marks. One of few Double Blues with accuracy in-front of goal, the forward finished with 17 disposals and three marks.

#22 Ned Walter

In his trademark helmet, Walter was rock-solid down back. He took a number of intercept marks by simply reading the flight of the ball better than his Glenelg opponents. At ground level, Walter attacked the contest well and won a couple of contested possessions by going in lower and harder. He was clean and composed by foot and showed intent to bring the ball back into the centre of the ground when appropriate. He found plenty of the ball by involving himself up the ground as well and was rewarded with a goal in the final term. Walter gathered 22 disposals, seven marks, four inside-50s and four rebound-50s.

#29 Tom Emmett

The strong-bodied Emmett was the most dominant forward on the ground for the second-consecutive week. The Double Blues looked for him more often than not when going forward and his ability to win the front-position and create separation on the lead ensured he was rewarded with a plethora of shots on goal. He also took a couple of strong contested marks around the ground to prove he isn’t a one-trick pony. He booted three goals for the match but could have ended with a bag, having recorded four behinds. A highlight was his clinical finish from close to the boundary-line in the second term. Emmett’s field kicking was excellent and his methodical set-shot routine should hold him in good stead going forward. He concluded the evening with 15 disposals and seven marks, two of which were contested.

Others: 

Jordan Opperman took a screamer in the first quarter and, importantly, converted his set-shot from the top of the goal-square. He was another who could have finished with a bag, having booted two goals and five behinds. The forward collected 14 disposals and seven marks (including three contested). Big-man Ethan Cass competed well in the ruck but it was his work around the ground which really stood-out. He was involved in plenty of attacking handball chains and collected a handy four clearances, to go with 19 disposals, seven hit-outs and five inside-50s.

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

SANFL League Player Focus:
Rd 1 – Corey Durdin
Rd 2 – Riley Thilthorpe
Rd 3 – Lachlan Jones

AFL Draft Watch:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Lachlan Jones
Caleb Poulter
Tom Powell
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

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

>> July Power Rankings | August Power Rankings

>> 2020 South Australian Under 18s Predicted Squad

SANFL weekly wrap: Round 6 – Roosters down Panthers to keep touch with Eagles

ROUND 6 of the SANFL was an important one for teams at the pointy end of the League standings, with North Adelaide crucially downing South Adelaide to jump the Panthers for second spot. Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) continues to set the pace, having flexed its muscle against the winless Central District. The Eagles also find themselves atop the Reserves ladder, joining Norwood this week as the only two clubs to achieve wins across each grade. We recap the action from all four triple-headers.

>> SCROLL for full results 

WWT Eagles vs. Central District

League: WWT Eagles 11.13 (79) def. Central District 7.7 (49)
Reserves: WWT Eagles 10.7 (67) def. Central District 10.6 (66)
Under 18s: Central District 7.15 (57) def. by WWT Eagles 15.13 (103)

WWT’s trio of wins over the Bulldogs counted for a lot in the senior grades, with the Eagles flying ahead atop the League and Reserve ladders. Jack Hayes was the League star this week with 28 disposals, 14 marks, and two goals in a mammoth effort, beaten out only by teammate Joseph Sinor (29 disposals) and Centrals’ James Boyd (31) in the ball winning stakes as a bigman. State Under 18 gun Lachlan Grubb had 11 touches on debut for the Bulldogs.

While a five-goal to nil head start in the opening term was reigned back by the Bulldogs, WWT was in control throughout to come away 30-point winners. The Eagles’ Reserves now stand alone as the sole undefeated side left in the grade, having ended Central District’s five-game winning streak in a one-point thriller. A far more straightforward victory capped off the three-peat at Under 18s level, with the Eagles running out 46-point winners.

Brayden Calvett booted 4.4 from 19 disposals in a big effort for the victors, while the likes of Jase Burgoyne (31 disposals, one goal), Max Lister (25 and two), and Caleb Poulter (25 and one) all hit the scoreboard in big ball winning displays. Henry Smith was also good for two goals from his 13 disposals and seven marks. For Centrals, Shay Linke played somewhat of a lone hand; with his 29 disposals 10 more than the next best Bulldog, and his two majors ensuring he would finish as his side’s lone multiple goalkicker.

West Adelaide vs. Norwood

League: West Adelaide 8.9 (57) def. by Norwood 19.10 (124)
Reserves: West Adelaide 5.9 (39) def. by Norwood 13.7 (85)
Under 18s: West Adelaide 9.4 (58) def. by Norwood 14.12 (96)

Norwood became the second of two clubs to pull off a straight sets weekend, trumping West Adelaide in all three grades – on the road, no less. The Redlegs look to be putting it together at League level, with their 67-point thrashing of the Bloods making for three wins on the trot. A positive weekend was also had for the Reserves as they picked up their first win, while the Under 18s moved into second in extending West Adelaide’s winless run to the tune of 38 points.

Plenty of Redlegs saw a heap of the ball in their League outing, with Richard Douglas (35 disposals) leading a pack of four more teammates to crack the 30-mark, including Mitch Grigg (32 disposals, two goals) and Lewis Johnston (34 disposals, one goal). Johnston and Brad McKenzie combined for 32 marks, while Matthew Panos (27 disposals, four goals) and Ryan Bastinac (29 and two) only extended the list of outstanding individual performers for Norwood.

Kaine Stevens again led the way for Westies with 31 touches, while Murray Waite was dangerous up forward with two majors. The Bloods’ League and Reserves sides remain second-last with one win in each competition, but are firmly planted to the bottom at Under 18s level at 0-6.

Bailey Chamberlain was again a shining light for the Bloods in the junior grade, collecting a game-high 36 disposals, seven marks, seven clearances, five inside 50s, and six rebound 50s in a lone-handed display. Cooper Murley was not far behind for Norwood with 14 clearances from his 34 disposals, while Samuel Duke (four goals), Jackson Murphy (three), and Marcus Roberts (two) were among those to do most of the scoreboard damage.

North Adelaide vs. South Adelaide

League: North Adelaide 9.12 (66) def. South Adelaide 8.10 (58)
Reserves: North Adelaide 11.8 (74) def. South Adelaide 8.9 (57)
Under 18s: South Adelaide 14.9 (93) def. North Adelaide 7.13 (55)

North Adelaide completed the senior double over its Southern counterpart on Saturday, with the League points most significantly ensuring the Roosters remain level with frontrunners, WWT. After sneaking ahead at half time, North looked to be cruising in the run home, but were made to earn the win after a late surge from the Panthers. Holding firm, the Roosters came out eight-point winners.

Andrew Moore was instrumental in the victory, booting three important goals from his 25 disposals. Harrison Wigg just beat him out with 28 touches, while Lewis Hender (three goals) and Mitchell Harvey (two) were lively inside forward 50. Thomas Highmore was typically stoic in defence for Souths, clunking seven marks among a team-high 26 disposals. Matthew Broadbent wasn’t far behind with 24, and Joel Cross came to life in the second half to finish with 20 disposals and a goal.

The Roosters’ Reserves also came away with the chocolates in their hitout, getting up by 17 points, but South Adelaide got one back in the Under 18s with a 38-point triumph. Both sides sit just outside the top four at Reserves level, while South’s 4-2 Under 18s record sees them placed firmly in the finals race.

Brayden Cook (26 disposals, two goals), Jason Horne (25 and one), and Jamison Snelling (21 and three) were among the many outstanding performers for Souths, finding both the ball and the big sticks. Shaun Bennier booted four goals for North as their only multiple goalkicker, while Matthew Borg and Blayne O’Loughlin had 26 touches apiece, followed closely by Harvey Harrison.

Glenelg vs. Sturt

League: Glenelg 12.10 (82) def. Sturt 8.16 (64)
Reserves: Glenelg 8.5 (53) def. by Sturt 12.9 (81)
Under 18s: Glenelg 5.2 (32) def. by Sturt 18.24 (132)

Glenelg’s League flag unveiling spurred the Bays on to a fighting 18-point win over Sturt in Sunday’s lone fixture, helping them improve to 3-3. A plucky Sturt outfit pushed them all the way, but the Tigers were able to hold on as they look to push back into the top four. The Double Blues got the wood over their weekend adversaries in the Reserves and Under 18s though, with the juniors’ 100-point win a particular highlight.

Liam McBean‘s five League goals again spearheaded Glenelg’s effort, as Matthew Snook continued his rich vein of form with 29 a game-high disposals. The usual suspects – James Battersby (28 disposals, 11 clearances), Sam Colquhoun (28 and seven), Abe Davis (26 and six) – all stood up again despite being on the wrong side of the result.

One of the best individual performances again belonged to Tom Powell in the Under 18s, as he dominated for 39 disposals and three goals. Mani Liddy (29 disposals, two goals) also made an impact, while Zabien Parker-Boers booted four goals and Tom Emmett, three. Jayden Davis and Hagan Wright combined to lead Glenelg’s ball winning effort, with the former also adding two goals to his side’s cause.

SANFL weekly wrap: Round 5 – League top three go two games clear

THREE teams are sitting pretty atop the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) League ladder at 4-1 after five rounds, with North and South Adelaide behind Woodville-West Torrens by percentage alone. The trailing pack, which includes reigning premier, Glenelg and Round 5 winner, Norwood find themselves two games adrift – a crucial buffer amid the improvised season schedule. The Eagles and Panthers were the only two clubs to go undefeated across all three grades, placing them firmly in finals calculations at this early stage.

>> SCROLL for full results 

Glenelg vs. WWT Eagles

League: Glenelg 12.11 (83) def. by WWT Eagles 16.7 (103)
Reserves: Glenelg 6.7 (43) def. by WWT Eagles 13.8 (86)
Under 18s: WWT Eagles 18.16 (124) def. Glenelg 8.5 (53)

Eagles held on for a well-earned 20-point win over Glenelg at League level, capping off a hat-trick of wins over the Tigers for the round. The visitors led by 40 points at half time, and had extended the buffer out to 45 during the third term, but were reigned in by a valiant Glenelg outfit which the Eagles looking a little nervy heading into the final stages.

While the likes of Andrew Bradley (35 disposals, 10 marks), Matthew Snook (31 disposals, 12 clearances, one goal), and Liam McBean returned stellar individual performances for the Tigers, it was the even spread of WWT contributors which proved the defining factor. Joseph Sinor and Jordan Foote led the disposal count with 23 and 21 respectively, while young guns Lachlan McNeil and Rhyan Mansell played their roles well. Lachlan Jones had his hands full with McBean in defence, while James Rowe and Jake von Bertouch both booted four goals up the other end.

The Reserves and Under 18s would follow suit, with a raft of juniors shining through on a super Saturday. Jack Wheare (four goals) and Jay Watson (three) led a brigade of six Eagles multiple goalkickers, with the highly-fancied Taj Schofield and Jase Burgoyne among them. Caleb Poulter was the leading ball winner with 24 touches, outdone only by Glenelg’s William Watts (31 disposals) and Kye Dean (25). William Neumann and Harrison Dawkins were among others to fare well in the Eagles’ winning effort.

Having suffered their first Reserves defeat, the Tigers trail the undefeated Eagles and Central District in third, but remain top of the Under 18s table despite another maiden loss. WWT has risen to fifth in the junior grade, one game out of the finals spots.

South Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

League: South Adelaide 12.7 (79) def. West Adelaide 9.5 (59)
Reserves: South Adelaide 15.11 (101) def. West Adelaide 7.3 (45)
Under 18s: West Adelaide 5.12 (42) def. by South Adelaide 12.16 (88)

South Adelaide cruised home to a 20-point win over West Adelaide to remain in the hunt for top spot, blitzing the Bloods with 12 goals to five across the first three terms – including seven of the first eight majors. While Westies improved in the final stanza with four consolation goals, the damage was already done. The Reserves and Under 18s made it a three-peat for Souths, notching wins to the tune of 56 and 46 points respectively.

Joel Cross again lead all comers for the Panthers’, amassing 26 disposals, five tackles, and six clearances. Joseph Haines (20 disposals) and Thomas Highmore (23 disposals, 11 marks) continued their strong runs of form, while State Under 18 gun Zac Dumesny also stood up with 19 touches. Up forward, Eamon Wilkinson booted a game-high three goals from six touches. Jordan Boyle (26 disposals) and Kaine Stevens (25) led the way for the Bloods from the engine room, with Brett Turner‘s two majors a key spark for his side’s late form, while Dallas Willsmore made a solid return to action.

At Under 18s level, Bailey Chamberlain continued his prolific start to the season with 35 touches for West, but it was Jason Horne who stole the show with 31 disposals and three goals. The Bloods found plenty of the ball, with the likes of Nicholas Couroupis, Eduard van den Berg, Dylan White, and Cade Kennedy cracking 20 disposals, but the Panthers’ midfielders simply had more impact with their possessions. Among them, Liam Hamilton was solid with 26 disposals, while Max Clifton had 22, and Phoenix Spicer and Brayden Cook both found the goals.

South Adelaide now jumps ahead of West via percentage in the Reserves standings despite both sides boasting 1-4 records, while the winless Bloods’ Under 18s remain planted to the bottom as the Panthers soar into the finals placings.

Central District vs. North Adelaide

League: Central District 9.8 (62) def. by North Adelaide 14.8 (92)
Reserves: Central District 11.10 (76) def. North Adelaide 8.8 (56)
Under 18s: North Adelaide 12.13 (85) def. Central District 7.5 (47)

Central District again fell short of its first League win for the year, going down by 30 points to North Adelaide on Saturday. Despite leading at half time, the Bulldogs’ lead was quickly overturned as the Roosters booted nine goals to three after the main break to claim victory. While North’s Under 18s also got up, it wasn’t all bad news for Dogs fans as their side held on to go 5-0 at Reserves level.

Leading League disposal getter James Boyd added another 38 to his mammoth tally for the Bulldogs, just two clear of North’s Thomas Schwarz on 36. Mitchell Harvey‘s four goals came at the ideal time for the Roosters, helping steer them ahead in the third term as the visitors appeared to have all the answers. Keenan Ramsay (three goals) and Kym Lebois (two) were also potent, while Andrew Moore and Jarred Allmond made for a productive inside/outside combination. Luke Habel collected 26 touches for Centrals, followed by Trent Goodrem and Jarrod Schiller (both 22). State Under 18s small Corey Durdin snagged two goals from 15 disposals.

The Roosters’ Under 18s were able to kick away in their outing, with Charlie Dowling booting four goals in a promising display. Leo Coates and Zyton Santillo also found the big sticks on multiple occasions, while Kyle Brazell snared a major from his 24 disposals. Blayne O’Loughlin led all comers from defence with 27 touches, as Matthew Borg (25, 11 tackles) trailed closely. Shay Linke (22 disposals, one goal) and Austin McDonald (21, nine clearances) were again instrumental for the Bulldogs, while Leek Alleer continues to show promise, clunking seven marks in his 18-disposal effort.

Centrals now trail North by a game in the Under 18 grade, sitting at 1-4 in seventh spot. The Reserves are holding up hope for the club with their blistering form to sit top, but a winless League side will be hoping for a swift turnaround during the mid-season period.

Sturt vs. Norwood

League: Sturt 10.13 (73) def. by Norwood 13.10 (88)
Reserves: Sturt 11.14 (80) def. Norwood 5.4 (34)
Under 18s: Sturt 6.10 (46) def. by Norwood 10.12 (72)

Sturt and Norwood competed in the competition’s sole Sunday fixtures, sharing the spoils as the Redlegs claimed a road League win, while the Double Blues got one back at Reserves level. On Saturday, Norwood’s Under 18s also claimed a win, sending the Redlegs to third and level on points with first. The Norwood Reserves are still winless though, and both sides side just outside the top four in the League grade.

There were plenty of big performers as the two senior teams did battle, with Mitchell Grigg slamming home two goals from 27 touches, while Ryan Bastinac marked a successful senior dig with 23 touches and a goal, and Matthew Panos booted two from his 22 touches. For Sturt, James Battersby led all comers with 27 disposals and nine clearances, with Sam Colquhoun trailing on 24, and Joshua Hone bagging three majors from 20 disposals. Jake Sutcliffe and Tom Pinyon also kicked three goals for either side as the Redlegs clawed back from being jumped at the gun.

Sturt’s Tom Powell was again the standout at Under 18s level, this time spilling over the 40-disposal mark and claiming nine clearances in a losing effort. Jack Saunders (34 disposals, six clearances) and Cooper Murley (28 disposals, two goals) were impactful from midfield for Norwood, while Michael Cavallaro (32 disposals), Daniel Fairbrother (29), and Benjamin Ianniello (27) all found plenty of the ball. Mani Liddy and Will Spain did the same for Sturt once again, while Tom Emmett claimed a game-high four goals.

SANFL weekly wrap: Round 4 – Eagles down Roosters to swoop on top spot

A NEW front-runner has emerged in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), with Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) jumping West Adelaide on Saturday to claim top spot in the League standings. The Eagles and Roosters are joined by South Adelaide as the three teams tied for first at 3-1, with the Panthers claiming their second win on the trot. A three-way arm-wrestle between undefeated sides remains at the Reserves grade, while the Glenelg and Sturt Under 18s are also poised nicely at 4-0 apiece.

>> SCROLL for full results 

North Adelaide vs. WWT Eagles

League – North Adelaide 7.12 (54) def. by WWT Eagles 10.9 (69)
Reserves – North Adelaide 7.7 (49) def. by WWT Eagles 10.6 (66)
Under 18s – WWT Eagles 9.13 (67) def. North Adelaide 8.10 (58)

WWT Eagles enjoyed a fruitful weekend across all grades, completing a three-peat over North Adelaide and crucially, claiming top spot on the League ladder. The Eagles also picked up their first win at Under 18s level to sit just outside the finals placings, while the Reserves are moving along nicely at 4-0 in second place.

The 15-point margin come the end of their League clash may have been the only break WWT led at for the entire contest, but it would have mattered little to supporters as their side finished strongly to secure victory. Small forward James Rowe dealt most of the scoreboard damage with four goals, including two in the all-important final term to prove the difference between the two sides. Lewis Hender snagged three goals for North Adelaide up the other end.

Jordan Foote and Jimmy Toumpas were mega through the middle for WWT, both collecting 34 disposals with the latter also bagging two majors. Youngsters Jacob Wehr (18 disposals, seven rebound 50s), Lachlan Jones (17 disposals, six marks), and Lachlan McNeil (17 disposals, one goal) also continue to thrive. Andrew Moore was the leading inside presence for the Roosters, amassing 33 disposals and nine clearances. Meanwhile, Harrison Wigg (29 disposals, six marks) and Jarred Allmond (25 and 12) covered the ground well.

The Eagles and Roosters are now level at 1-3 in the Under 18s competition, thanks to an even team performance from the latter to edge home on Saturday afternoon. Potential 2021 Port Adelaide father-son Jase Burgoyne was sensational in an altered role, collecting 31 disposals and booting a goal for the victors. Harrison Dawkins (25 disposals, two goals) continued his consistent start to the season, while Caleb Poulter looked dangerous for his 18 touches, and skipper Zac Phillips fared well in the ruck with 31 hitouts. The returning Henry Smith could only manage three behinds.

For North, Kallis Freer (29 disposals) and Jamison Murphy (28) continue to win a heap of ball, combining for 11 clearances and 10 inside 50s. 16-year-old William Dowling impressed with four majors from 17 touches, while Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect Tariek Newchurch was kept goalless in his 15-disposal outing.

West Adelaide vs. Glenelg

League – West Adelaide 10.4 (64) def. Glenelg 7.6 (48)
Reserves – West Adelaide 5.8 (38) def. by Glenelg 9.8 (62)
Under 18s – Glenelg 18.24 (132) def. West Adelaide 3.5 (23)

Tom Keough booted half of Westies’ 10 goals as the Bloods downed reigning League premier, Glenelg on home turf. A four-goal to nil third term set up the hosts’ opening win for the season, as the Tigers managed little in the way of a response thereafter.

The Bloods are now just a point off Glenelg and the finals placings in the top flight, with the Tigers starting to falter in their flag defence. Bays fans would have been buoyed by results across the other grades though, as their side romped to an 109-point triumph in the Under 18s, and a four-goal salute at Reserves level.

Jordon Boyle led all comers on Saturday with 30 disposals, headlined by six clearances. Andrew Bradley earned that title for Glenelg having notched 27 touches, while Chris Curran (25 disposals, 13 marks) and Matthew Snook (24 dispsoals, eight tackles, 10 clearances) worked tirelessly in the losing effort. Magarey Medalist Luke Partington had 23 disposals, and Luke Reynolds snagged three goals.

Keough was remarkably his side’s sole multiple goalkicker, while five other individuals also found the big sticks once each. Gun midfielder Kaine Stevens notched another 24 touches in a well-rounded performance, with the likes of Brett Turner and Patrick Fairlie also playing solid roles in the Bloods’ win.

While Luke Edwards got his chance at Reserves level, the Tigers showcased their depth with a big win over West Adelaide’s Under 18s. Hugh Stagg had a day out with 28 disposals and 3.5 to lead a pack of six Glenelg multiple goalkickers, while Hagan Wright collected 29 touches to lead the ball winning stakes. Riley Holder (26 disposals, two goals), Luke Pedlar (24 and two), and Lewis Rayson (24 and two) were among the many others to impress.

Despite being beaten soundly in each part of the ground, the likes of Eduard van den Berg (24 disposals, eight marks), State Under 18s jet Bailey Chamberlain (22 disposals, four tackles), and Thomas Rundle (16 disposals, five marks, one goal) stood up.

Norwood vs. Central District

League – Norwood 15.14 (104) def. Central District 12.14 (86)
Reserves – Norwood 5.5 (35) def. by Central District 17.21 (123)
Under 18s – Central District 5.6 (36) def. by Norwood 12.8 (80)

Norwood snatched an early lead and never looked back in its maiden League win for the season, downing Central District by an even three goals at Coopers Stadium. Both remain the bottom two sides in the top flight, but the Redlegs now have separation from the winless Bulldogs and are just a game off fourth place.

Changes may be in the works for Round 5 after Centrals cruised to an 88-point Reserves victory to sit pretty atop the ladder at 4-0, but the glory ends there for the ‘Dogs with their Under 18 side languishing at 1-3 in the Under 18s after a second-consecutive heavy loss.

There were still some good signs for the away side at League level, with Justin Hoskin booting a game-high six majors and the enigmatic John Butcher adding three more in an improved scoring effort. The Redlegs still found the edge in that department though, as Tommy Pinyon and Peter Bampton made the most of their combined 16 touches to claim four goals apiece.

Former Adelaide midfielder Richard Douglas showed his class in an absolute blinder, cracking in for 35 disposals, seven marks, seven clearances, and two goals as the best player afield. Mitch Grigg played himself into some better form with 24 touches and a goal, while James Boyd led the way for Centrals with 30 disposals to continue his bright start to the campaign. Troy Menzel had a quiet outing, kept to just 13 disposals and a goal.

A similar story was observed in the Under 18s as Norwood kicked away in an eight goal to three second half, with five Redlegs getting on the board with two majors. Among them, Under 16 All Australian Cooper Murley was again lively with 31 disposals in another display of his class. Mitchell Trepka had a team-high 34 touches, while bottom-age defender Alastair Lord managed 31 and Michael Cavallaro bagged a goal from his 27.

Lewis Cowham again led the way for Central District with 35 disposals, seven tackles, and eight clearances as the prime midfield mover, with Shay Linke‘s 22 disposals the next-best tally. Usual suspect Austin McDonald had it 19 times, while Cooper Kalleske and Wyatt Ryan each found the big sticks among their 18-disposal efforts.

South Adelaide vs. Sturt

League – South Adelaide 10.10 (70) def. Sturt (7.5 (47)
Reserves – South Adelaide 6.7 (43) def. by Sturt 9.11 (65)
Under 18s – Sturt 11.9 (75) def. South Adelaide 11.3 (69)

South Adelaide broke open its tight League tussle with Sturt with a five-goal third term, setting up the Panthers’ 23-point win over Sturt at Flinders University Stadium. Both sides may have been level on wins coming into the round, but South now breaks into the leading pack with another solid win.

The Panthers’ leaders were made to work to get their side on top, with former Port midfielder Matthew Broadbent (32 disposals, one goal) at the forefront. Joel Cross picked up from where he left off with 21 touches and a goal, while gun recruit Thomas Highmore was terrific for his 27 disposals, 12 marks, and five tackles in defence.

James Battersby (29 disposals, 11 clearances, one goal) and Sam Colquhoun (29 disposals, seven clearances) made for ample resistance in Sturt’s midfield, but the Double Blues could not ultimately get the job done. Zane Kirkwood was another to impress with 23 touches, while Ash Johnson joined Souths’ Sam Overall as the only players to bag multiple goals.

If the midfield battle was strong at League level, the Under 18s tussle was just as enjoyable. Prolific ball winner Tom Powell again cracked the 30-disposal mark as the Doubles Blues beat South Adelaide via a late Morgan Ferres goal – his fifth for the game. Partner-in-crime Mani Liddy was also outstanding, notching 25 touches and 10 clearances.

It came against good opposition too, with bottom-age Panthers Jason Horne (23 disposals, nine tackles) and Matthew Roberts (22 disposals, two goals) among the best, with Nicholas Kraemer getting his hands dirty for 10 tackles. Phoenix Spicer again hit the scoreboard, booting two goals in conjunction with three from Liam Hamilton.

In the two sides’ Reserves dig, Sturt again came out on top to slot into fourth at 2-2, with South Adelaide still searching for a win at the level. The Double Blues kicked all of their goals at one end, managing five to nil in the first term and a further four in the third to set up the 22-point win.

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 3

ROUND 3 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we turned our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a heavy focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so also get a look-in.

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

South Adelaide vs. Central District

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide:

#4 Max Clifton 

The inside midfielder stood up for the Panthers, who were without skipper Nick Kraemer for much of the contest. Clifton was a constant presence around the contest from the outset, showing a nice burst of speed to break away from the opening bounce. Later on, he completed a quick one-two before kicking long inside-50 to set-up a Phoenix Spicer goal.

Although his toughness in-tight and strong tackling was once-again terrific, Clifton also had a strong influence around the ground. His clever knock-on in the second term helped generate a promising inside-50 entry for South. Clifton backed his strength and speed when he took on the man on the mark after electing to play-on, ultimately gaining a few vital extra metres. Whilst his field kicking was hot-and-cold, he showed good penetration by foot. A regular contributor for the Panthers, Clifton was again prolific against the Bulldogs, concluding the outing with 25 disposals, two marks, seven tackles, five clearances and seven inside-50s.

#9 Jason Horne 

The clash between South Adelaide and Central District featured a handful of the state’s best bottom-aged talent, and 2018 SA Under 16 skipper and MVP, Horne stole the show. Horne lined up against fellow under-ager Austin McDonald at the opening bounce but also spent time on Lewis Cowham throughout the contest. Despite being a year-younger than the majority of players out there, Horne showed signs of his prodigious talent and looked a cut-above at times.

Highlights of his game featured a series of textbook roves, a terrific contested mark in a heavily crowed pack, and three last quarter goals. His foot skills were neat throughout the match and he wasn’t afraid to attempt risky inboard passes. Like many of his teammates, his tackling was excellent. Horne collected 26 disposals, eight marks, six tackles, four clearances and four inside-50s to go with his second bag of three goals at Under 18s level.

#15 Liam Hamilton

Medium-forward, Hamilton kicked a game-high five goals in the 76-point triumph, showing both skill and goal sense at ground level, and strength in the air. He dribbled home the game’s first goal after just 19 seconds and, just moments later, kicked the Panthers’ third with a neat right-foot snap. His positioning and ability to judge the flight of the ball better than his opponents allowed him to take eight marks, all of which were uncontested. He concluded the outing with 18 disposals and could have even kicked more if not for three behinds.

#18 Zac Dumesny (League)

The utility produced his best performance since making his League debut in Round 1. Throughout the day, Dumesny found himself in acres of space, often taking a mark with no Bulldogs opponent in sight. Able to play a roll in all three zones, Dumesny spent time as the link-man across half-back and along the wing at X Convenience Oval. In the opening term, he found veteran midfielder Joel Cross with a well-placed left-foot kick to his advantage. Shortly after, he took a mark from a short Cross kick and, this time, used his trusty right boot to centre the ball to the hotspot, 35-metres out from goal. He continually showed great footy intelligence to find open space and used the ball with trademark efficiency.

In the second term, Dumesny’s composure was evident when he resisted pulling the trigger on a long kick downfield and chose to handball to an open teammate rather than blaze away. Whilst a couple of his kicks didn’t reach their intended target, his field kicking was largely impressive and helped South retain possession. In the third term he found himself alone inside 50, marked the centring-ball from Beau McCreery, and converted the regulation set-shot from short range. It was another encouraging performance from Dumesny, who appears to have cemented his spot in the South Adelaide League side thanks largely to his clean skills (kicking at 91 per cent efficiency for the season), versatility and smart running. Dumesny finished with 19 disposals, ten marks, a goal and three inside-50s.

#21 Matthew Roberts

Whilst fellow bottom-ager, Horne stood-out with his stoppage nous and scoreboard impact, Roberts was equally brilliant around the ground, gathering another 27 disposals to back-up his 32-touch effort in last weekend’s loss to Glenelg. Roberts’ foot skills were typically clean all day, with his damaging left-foot picking out targets which many players would be hesitant to even attempt.

Whilst he wasn’t as dominant at the stoppages as last week, his lightning-fast, clean hands were a highlight. Roberts ran all day, but more importantly, he ran into the right spots, allowing him to accumulate 11 marks. He leads the Under 18s competition in total marks and has an innate ability to rack up disposal-after-disposal. Roberts is already one of the most prolific on-ballers in the league and will only further improve as he gains more exposure against top-aged talent. He finished with 27 disposals, 11 marks, two tackles, two clearances, two inside-50s and two rebound-50s.

#23 Phoenix Spicer

The silky-smooth Spicer produced a terrific performance on the wing and up forward. His one-touch pickups and general cleanliness at ground-level was breathtaking at times, and his run-and-carry proved vital to the Panthers’ strong scoring. He snapped two back-to-back goals in the first quarter to extend the Panthers lead. The first came from a close-range and the second from further out, but both highlighted his terrific goal sense.

His aforementioned clean hands, elite agility, and ability to find separation on outside of contests allowed him to send the ball inside 50 on eight occasions. His tackling pressure was also encouraging. Spicer collected 23 disposals three marks, four tackles and eight inside 50s in what was a complete performance from the Morphetville junior.

#35 Tom Highmore (League)

Highmore was again impressive in his backline role. For a 22-year-old in just his third League match, his intercept marking was a standout. Highmore was opposed to former-Power forward John Butcher at times and restricted the big-man to just one goal. Highmore combined well with prolific-defender Joseph Haines and Central District found it difficult to penetrate the forwardline with the pair controlling the airways all-day. His foot skills under-pressure were also excellent and he provided plenty of rebound from defence. Highmore finished the contest with 19 disposals, eight marks and three rebound-50s.

Others:

Panthers skipper, Kraemer was heavily involved early, laying a couple of strong tackles after getting wrapped up himself. However he was forced off under the blood rule after he laid a tackle deep in defence. He briefly returned, breaking away from a stoppage and gaining an inside-50, however he sat out the second half, likely as a result of the earlier knock.

Liam Nye was another Panther to boot multiple goals, rounding out the contest with three majors. His ability to find space allowed him to take nine marks, but Panthers coaches would have been impressed with his tackling intensity and willingness to apply plenty of defensive pressure. Cooper Rogers was also prolific, collecting 20 disposals, eight tackles and five clearances. His quick and clean hands in-tight stood out on a couple of occasions.

Jaiden Magor produced arguably his best performance at Under 18s level, having dominated for the Panthers Under 16s in their two games earlier in the year. An All-Australian at the Under 15 National carnival last year, Magor won seven clearances, laid seven tackles and kicked two goals. He could have had as many as five if he had converted a number of other chances. Magor looks to have a long right-foot kick and will certainly be one to watch climb up the ranks over the coming years.

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

Against a talented South Adelaide midfield, 16-year-old McDonald didn’t get his hands on the ball as often as the opening two matches. However, to his credit, he didn’t drop his head despite the lop-sided result and his defensive work around the stoppages remained excellent for the entirety of the match. McDonald spent the game slogging it out on-ball against the likes of Horne, Roberts, and Clifton and laid several strong tackles to force stoppages. Despite his age and smaller stature, the Barossa product showed he is more than willing to do the hard stuff, even when his side is being well beaten. McDonald finished with ten disposals, one marks, seven tackles and two inside-50s.

#15 Lewis Cowham

Along with McDonald, the tough on-baller once again battled tirelessly in the Bulldogs engine room. At times he played a lone hand in the midfield as the talented South youngsters gained control. He found himself at the bottom of several packs, constantly trying to get the ball going his side’s way. His strength overhead was also on display in the second term when he took an excellent contested, one-on-one grab. The small midfielder was easily his side’s most prolific player, accumulating 21 disposals to go with three marks, five tackles and eight clearances. He also showed a nice turn of pace on a couple of occasions, to supplement his strong numbers.

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

In what was a rough outing for the Bulldogs, who remain winless in season 2020, it was difficult for the small forward to assert himself on the contest. Yet despite his forwardline role, Durdin showed a real eagerness to get involved up the ground when much of the play was unfolding in the Panthers’ attacking half of the ground. He picked up his first meaningful touch of the game by providing an option out of defence, taking an easy mark and switching the play with a neat short kick. Later in the opening term, he gathered a loose ball in the middle of the expansive X Convenience Oval and gave off a simple-but-effective handball to the running David Haydon, who sent the Bulldogs into attack.

Later, the talented Durdin got himself into the perfect crumbing position and was the beneficiary of a Dumesny spoil. But he would have benefitted from showing a bit more composure when his hurried kick forward was easily intercepted by a South Adelaide defender. Durdin took a good mark from a centring ball in the third term and played on immediately, kicking long to the advantage of teammate John Butcher in a one-on-one. When around the ball Durdin wasn’t afraid to crack in hard, however he was bumped off it on a couple of occasions. He showed why he is viewed as one of SA’s best draft prospects when he won a tough one-on-two marking contest, managing to bring the ball to ground and force a kick forwards. Although he did make a couple of errors by foot, it was a tough game for the Bulldogs forwards, who struggled to hit the scoreboard after recording just 20 inside-50s for the match. Durdin finished with 11 disposals, four marks and three inside-50s.

Others:

Shay Linke was one of the Bulldogs’ best on what proved to be a difficult trip to Noarlunga. He worked well with Cowham and McDonald in the middle, collecting 16 disposals, a game-high 12 tackles, six clearances and four inside-50s.

Leek Alleer also showed some nice signs, with his extreme athleticism a focal point. Alleer used his 196cm frame and explosive leap to take three strong contested marks and he also led his side with five inside-50s. Ruckman Wyatt Ryan was effective, winning 27 hit-outs and providing a strong aerial presence around the ground.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide vs Glenelg

By: Ed Pascoe

North Adelaide: 

#9 Jamison Murphy

It was another typical game from Murphy, using his smarts and size at stoppages to advantage, while showing his mix of contested ability and defensive ability in tackling with intent. Murphy again showed a cool head at stoppages, often cracking in hard and often making the right decision by hand and foot when in possession. The one aspect Murphy could improve is his scoreboard impact, which he almost did -taking a strong lead-up mark, but missing the set shot. Murphy was one of North Adelaide’s best players, finishing the game with 26 disposals, eight tackles and six clearances.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

Newchurch had some close company and found it tough to get going in the early stages, pitted against Glenelg’s Hagan Wright. It wasn’t a good day in front of the scoreboard for Newchurch but he was still able to show off his dazzling speed and agility, and make it clear if given an inch, he can potentially take a mile. Newchurch started to come into the game more late in the piece once Wright was moved off him and he had a great bit of play, taking on fellow speedster Nasiah Wanganeen and winning that dual to show just how quick he is. Newchurch finished the game with 14 disposals and two behinds, but the main stat was 0 tackles which he would want to improve to become a complete package as a small forward going in future.

#22 Lam Simon

One of many NGA talents for Adelaide, the bottom-age defender grew as the game went on, showing plenty of scope for improvement and raw natural talent with his ability to read the play and intercept. It wasn’t smooth sailing to start the game for Simon, despite getting to the right spots he wasn’t quite holding his marks, but was good to see him try and butter up any missed opportunities. It wasn’t until the second half where his intercept game really started to click, taking some very strong marks and getting to some good spots. Simon finished the game with 16 disposals and eight marks, and will hopefully continue to improve his game.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

The bottom-age talent who is also tied to Adelaide’s NGA was outstanding down back with his confidence and skills real features, especially with the amount of pressure put on the North defence. Often tasked with the kick-ins, he didn’t miss many of his kicks with his long left boot. Kick-ins can often pad stats, but he still won plenty of the ball with his rebounding ability and even with his intercepting – where he would often quickly play on and hit targets with ease. O’Loughlin finished the game with 28 disposals (team high) and eight marks in a composed and mature defensive display.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Glenelg:

#8 Hagan Wright

Wright had the tough task of manning up livewire forward, Newchurch and he did a terrific job – not only limiting his influence, but also providing rebound to try and make Newchurch accountable. Wright showed great attack on the ball and made that his focus first and foremost, and wasn’t afraid of having a run with the ball to drive it forward. Wright was later moved into the midfield and looked great with his burst from stoppages, and although he looks like a natural midfielder, he has added a string to his bow with the ability to shut down the other clubs’ dangerous small forward. He finished the game with 27 disposals and seven marks.

#13 Luke Pedlar

Pedlar continues to impress this year with his contested game and ability to hit the scoreboard, and that much was evident again against North Adelaide. Pedlar is a hard player to stop with his strong marking ability and power out of stoppages a real highlight, and he had two fantastic bits of play which also showed his strong work-rate.

The first was a good smother which he would later recover and kick forward, following that up laying a big bump on the opposition. Just when you thought he might have done enough, he continued to run forward to take a strong mark and then capitalise on his hard work with a nice goal. The second was a great chase to bowl over his opponent and then he would continue again to receive the ball and power away from congestion, leaving the opposition in his wake before delivering a good kick down the line.

Pedlar may lack some consistency by foot, but his work-rate and impact couldn’t be questioned with a strong performance, winning 18 disposals while also laying six tackles and kicking three goals.

#22 Lewis Rayson

Another terrific game for the quick bottom-age talent, who just continues to win the ball at ease either down back or running the ball on the wing. He has shown a good mix of getting back and setting up play, but also getting forward and finding targets inside 50. Rayson has a lot of tricks; he showed he could intercept mark with a few very courageous marks, and his trademark speed and class was on show with a blistering run and then bullet pass inside 50 to teammate, Lucas Schultz. Rayson finished the game with 35 disposals and 11 marks in a best-on-ground performance, and he certainly looks a prospect for the 2021 draft.

#25 Luke Edwards

The potential Crows father-son prospect has been playing his role for Glenelg perfectly, playing mostly forward which hasn’t been his main position these last few years. He has been able to not only lead up at the ball well and take marks, but also get up the ground to help with Glenelg’s link-up play where he can use his smarts and composure. Edwards wasn’t able to hit the scoreboard himself, but set up plenty, not messing around in getting the ball inside 50. Edwards finished the game with 24 disposals, eight marks, and four tackles and although he hasn’t had the biggest impact you would expect from him going into this year, he is playing his role perfectly for what the Tigers need in their side right now.

Others:

Wanganeen made the wing his own, showing off his great agility, clean hands and composure. He has had a great start to the season, and had 21 disposals with a quieter last quarter when the game was already won. Xavier Robins was again a cool head in defence. The rebounding left footer was trusted with the kick-ins, which he did well and also impressed with his ability to intercept mark. He finished with 24 disposals and six marks.

State 18s squad member Riley Holder again looked good with his lead-up work, proving to be a great target going forward for Glenelg. He finished the game with 14 disposals, eight marks, and one goal. Schultz has also been a handful up forward all season, and that continued again as he kicked some sensational goals to show his forward craft and smarts. He finished the game with 14 disposals, seven marks, and five goals.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

Norwood vs. WWT Eagles

By: Tom Cheesman

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

Murley continued his impressive start to the 2020 season with another standout performance. He collected 29 disposals, seven clearances, six tackles and five inside 50s. He was tough at the contest and more than willing to work hard and spread on the outside. The AFL Academy prospect is proving to be one of the most hard-running midfielders in the competition, using his explosive pace to push forward and impact the scoreboard. He kicked two goals on Saturday, including a brilliant running goal from a stoppage midway through the third term. Murley could use his burst of speed away from stoppages more frequently to get to the next level, but the bottom-ager has time to develop this feature of his game.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

Cavallaro played well for the Redlegs, finishing with 21 disposals, seven marks and four inside 50s. It was evident that he has a great football IQ as he often got involved in switches of play and linked up with teammates to carry the ball forward. Although he is small for an Under 18, his height was never an issue throughout this contest because he always gets himself to the right positions. His right-foot kick is very reliable and it was clear that teammates sought to give him the ball whenever possible to capitalise on this.

#21 Jack Saunders

Saunders was the best midfielder on the ground, which says a lot given the likes of Poulter, Murley and Schofield were playing. He continually read the ball off the hands of the ruckmen, used quick hands and laid strong tackles to impact the stoppages. A brilliant smother in the first quarter highlighted Saunders’ commitment to the contest from the outset. He also used run-and-carry to transition the ball into attack and give the Redlegs’ forwards one-on-one opportunities. His kicks were not always accurate but he always followed them up and never gave up on any contest. He finished with 25 disposals, nine tackles and seven clearances.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Dnistriansky continued his role as Norwood’s designated kicker in the defence, collecting 16 disposals, six rebound 50s and three inside 50s. His booming right-foot kicks often cleared the Eagles’ defensive setup and launched the Redlegs into attack. He showed that he is not one-dimensional either, regularly hitting the contest hard and laying two strong tackles. It would be great to see Dnistriansky get some more midfield minutes as the season progresses so that he can show more of that side to his game.

#30 Finn Heard

Heard was brilliant up forward, providing a strong presence and clunking ten marks (four contested). His set-shot goal kicking was an issue however, as he had ten shots that resulted in five goals, four behinds and one wobbler that did not make the distance. Heard kicked multiple goals from beyond the 50-metre arc, so he showed he has great range and actually looked more comfortable kicking from a longer distance. He has kicked ten goals from three matches and leads the SANFL Under 18 goal kicking alongside Glenelg’s Schultz and Sturt’s Morgan Ferres. There is no doubt that Heard has a bright future and may have caught the eyes of AFL recruiters over the past couple of weeks.

Others:

It might have gone under the radar given some of the midfielders’ performances in this game, but Ronald Carbine was very solid down back. He repeatedly repelled the Eagles’ attacks and laid a number of important tackles, finishing with 12 disposals, six tackles and five marks. Classy left-footer Xavier Tranfa was consistent through the midfield, kicking two goals to go with 18 disposals and six inside 50s.

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

WWT:

#3 Taj Schofield

Port Adelaide father-son prospect, Schofield has great agility and showed that in the first two and a half quarters of Saturday’s match. He always hunts the footy and is very composed with ball in hand, highlighted by a clever side-step in the first term, and a clean pick-up and snap goal in the third term. Unfortunately, Schofield limped off the field with what looked to be an ankle injury midway through the third quarter and did not return to the game. The Eagles’ midfield struggled significantly from this point onwards, demonstrating how important Schofield is to their side. He finished with 17 disposals and five clearances.

#7 Caleb Poulter

Big-bodied midfielder, Poulter was a shining light for the Eagles in their loss, collecting 29 disposals, eight marks, five tackles and two goals. He was incredibly dangerous when playing up forward, creating havoc both in the air and on the ground. Poulter’s marking ability was on show on Saturday, as he was rarely out-marked and was frequently a go-to option for his side coming out of defence. His disposals can be rushed and wayward at times, but his left-foot kick is terrific whenever he has time to compose himself before delivering to a teammate. A nice goal from 50 in the third term showed that his kick has great range too.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Another Port Adelaide father-son prospect, Burgoyne showed some promising signs throughout the match. The bottom-ager was clean with ball in hand and took a couple of nice intercept marks at half-back. He has a light frame, so once he gains more strength he should have confidence to go for those intercept marks more regularly throughout matches. His disposal was a bit casual at times, but this is something he will tidy up with more experience. Burgoyne finished with 27 disposals, five marks and seven rebound 50s.

>> SANFL League Rd 3 Player Focus – Lachlan Jones
>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide vs. Sturt

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#2 Harvey Bock

It was a tough day for the Bloods’ defenders, but Bock stood up regularly as a leader inside defensive 50. He competed well on the last line, reading the play intelligently to come off his opponent at the right time, while also proving strong in one-on-one contests. His kick-first approach also came to the fore, entrusted with the kick-ins and constantly looking to gain meterage with his penetrating boot. There was plenty of mopping up for Bock to do, and he also contributed with a couple of handy intercepts. A final term move into the middle brought about a nice steal and clearance, with that strength again becoming evident.

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

The prime mover through West Adelaide’s midfield again racked up the most disposals, gathering 20 to go with six tackles, five clearances, and four marks on a day where he faced stiff opposition. Chamberlain was made to work hard for his contributions; often seen shifting back into defensive 50 to help out his under-siege teammates, and producing a sound short kicking game in that third of the field. He started the game well too, booting forward the first centre clearance as Westies’ stoppage anchor, while also tackling hard going the other way.

With his kicking working up to scratch, Chamberlain also proved his effectiveness by hand, dishing off cleanly to teammates on the outer when afforded little space. He will perhaps find himself in that outside, handball receive role while running through the state squad, but has been forced to be more of an extractor at SANFL Under 18s level. His energy and pace were consistent through the day in what was another solid shift.

#32 Thomas Rundle

Rundle was arguably West Adelaide’s most threatening forward, having shown promising glimpses when afforded the opportunity. His work on the lead was sound, marking strongly at full flight and getting good separation from his direct opponent. His first of three goals came after he clunked a terrific mark, sinking the resultant set shot, and a similar pattern earned him a second goal in the first half. Rundle continued to present well and judge the ball smartly in flight, with a couple of would-be grabs taken off him at the umpire’s discretion. His third goal was slotted from 40 metres on a tight angle, capping a performance which yielded 12 disposals and eight marks (two contested).

Others:

Tenacious small midfield pair Cade Kennedy (17 disposals, nine tackles) and Lachlan De Cesare (13 disposals, eight tackles, five clearances) again worked hard through the engine room for Westies, burrowing in to win the hard ball and applying good pressure at the contest. Hamish Dunkin was kept busy in the back half, accumulating 15 disposals and seven marks, while Tyrell Sgroi booted three goals having poured on some smothering tackling pressure inside forward 50.

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Sturt:

#13 Bradley Jefferies

While he didn’t quite set the game alight, Jefferies was again one of Sturt’s better midfielders on the day and returned another performance of over 20 disposals. The bottom-ager possesses a good balance through midfield, able to flick out releasing handballs, while also looking sound on the ball in open space. In fact, he looked far more assured in his disposal when granted time on the ball, able to gain better penetration in his kicking and hit targets. That kind of effectiveness lacked for Jefferies at times in congestion as he lost his footing, although he did snap through a terrific third term goal to cap off a solid outing.

#15/21 Mani Liddy

One of the premier midfielders in SA, Liddy pulled off some breathtaking moments throughout another consistent outing, with his poise in traffic and strength at the contest both clearly evident. On two seperate occasions, Liddy would be seen leaping to gather the ball, keeping his arms up while being tackled, and releasing a deft handball to his running teammates, which is exactly the kind of play which sets him apart. He also shrugged opponents off with ease, or snatched possession from their grasp through sheer tenacity, helping Sturt take over the game from midfield.

Liddy seemed to spend a touch more time up forward on Saturday, where he was able to find space regularly and make things happen inside attacking 50, despite not finding the big sticks. His output lifted after a three-quarter time scuffle which saw him change to jumper number 21, responding with the first two centre clearances of the final term. That kind of hunger was matched by Liddy’s smarts in this appearance, highlighted by some shrewd underground handballs, terrific vision around the stoppages, and rare efficiency by hand. He finished with eight clearances from 22 disposals.

#18 Tom Powell

Powell was far and away the best afield, setting himself apart with an unmatched ball winning ability, and consistent impact on the contest where it mattered most. The balanced midfielder is one of the finest exponents of the handball in this year’s crop, and would have run very close to 100 per cent efficiency in that area – something he has been known to achieve on recent form. But what was perhaps most pleasing about Powell’s game on Saturday was the added dimensions to his craft; showcasing his improved work on the spread, and aptitude in running with the ball, and a higher output by foot.

While Powell’s agility and awareness at the contest remained, it was clear that the confidence he gained throughout a dominant third term allowed him to better take the game on with some daring dash away from the contest and sharp disposal on the end of it. He was nothing short of dominant in against the relatively small Westies midfield, collecting a monster 39 disposals, 14 clearances, and eight inside 50s. All the pieces of the puzzle seem to be falling into place, with Powell’s potential being met after long stints on the sideline last year.

#19 Zabien Parker-Boers

The medium-sized forward booted an incredible seven goals for the Double Blues, adding to his tally across the day and finishing strongly with four majors in the final term. Parker-Boers showed good awareness in his positioning forward of the ball, first sighted latching onto a long ball over the back inside 50. His work rate to get up the ground was noticeable, but the top-ager looked far more lively closer to goal, where he made the most of his opportunities. Whether it was converting snaps around the corner, set shots from intercept marks, or finishes on the run, Parker-Boers thrived amid Sturt’s dominance to put in a breakthrough performance.

Others: 

Usual suspects Will Spain (21 disposals, six tackles, six clearances) and Malachy Carruthers (20 disposals, six marks) were again solid contributors for Sturt in a big win, plying their trades through midfield and off half-back respectively. Morgan Ferres had a few nice moments up forward, showing his strength to mark well on the lead and in one-on-one situations, while booting one goal. Jacob Lochowiak was also lively in the front half, booting two goals and applying great physical, tackling pressure.

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

SANFL League Player Focus:
Rd 1 – Corey Durdin
Rd 2 – Riley Thilthorpe
Rd 3 – Lachlan Jones

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

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

>> July Power Rankings

SANFL Player Focus: Lachlan Jones (WWT Eagles)

IN a return to our Player Focus piece, we take a look at a South Australian National Football League (SANFL) talent who has really stood out on the League stage. In Round 3 of the competition, our eyes were on Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) defender Lachlan Jones, who took part in the Eagles’ big win over Norwood.

PLAYER PAGE:

Lachlan Jones
WWT Eagles/South Australia

DOB: April 9, 2002
Height: 185cm
Weight: 89kg

Position: General Defender

SANFL LEAGUE ROUND 3 STATISTICS:

16 disposals
9 kicks
7 handballs
6 marks
1 tackle
2 inside 50s
2 rebound 50s

PLAYER FOCUS:

It has been no surprise to see Jones fit in so seamlessly at SANFL League level, and he enjoyed arguably his best outing to date this past weekend against Norwood. While you wouldn’t blame the defender for not getting too much involved as the Eagles kept their opponents to just four goals in the 65-point thumping, Jones still managed to stamp his mark on the contest with some strong passages of play.

The Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect initially lined up down back directly opposed to fellow State Under 18 squad member, Henry Nelligan, who was making his League debut. It took a couple of goes at the ball for Jones to find his feet, fumbling at ground level early, but finding his touch with a couple of contributions forward of centre.

Shortly after booting a long ball into the forward pocket, Jones would be seen aggressively hitting up at a ground ball just inside the arc, picking it up cleanly on the half-volley at pace and bustling his way through traffic. His disposal by hand lacked on two attempts, but the intent was there. Jones’ remaining touches for the opening term came in more conventional defensive positions; punting a long rebound 50 to find a teammate, and later showing that trademark power through the contest in covering his lines across defensive 50.

Jones’ ability to attack from defensive positions began to form an asset for the Eagles as they went on to dominate proceedings, with the youngster positioning well at half-back to intercept – almost presenting like a Norwood forward should have been to cut off attacking forays with confidence. He also doubled as a defensive outlet as the play slowed, finding space to possess the ball uncontested in a chip-around game across the back 50. His short kicks across goal may have been either a touch short or overcooked at times, but it didn’t cost his side.

It was a case of more of the same for Jones after the main break, as he continued to fight fire with fire from his usual half-back post. His speed off the mark to incite a fast break was pleasing on the eye, getting the Eagles moving forward with positive running from a throw-in on defensive wing. Jones was not afraid to throw his 89kg frame around either, but it almost cost his side a goal as he remonstrated with a Redlegs opponent who had put Rhyan Mansell down after his kick, seeing the downfield penalty overturned.

That would not deter Jones by any stretch, as he continued to hit up at the ball hard. He did overrun one ground ball, but managed to lock the ball up to prevent a turnover in the back half. Another well read intercept mark on forward wing, followed by a deep inside 50 entry would be two of Jones’ final highlights on the ball, with his lone tackle for the day a crunching one inside defensive 50 to cap off his impressive performance.

Jones’ versatility in defence and ability to stand up against mature bodies at senior level have both been outstanding to this point, placing him firmly in first round contention at this early stage. He is an impressive athlete, and utilises his vertical leap, speed, and strength on-field to make for an impressive, readymade package. Having become a staple of the WWT League side, Jones will undoubtedly be a star for SA come national carnival time.

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 2

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

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

West Adelaide vs. Central District

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#2 Harvey Bock

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

#5 Lachlan De Cesare

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

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

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

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

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

#18 Riley Thilthorpe (League)

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

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

>> Round 2 Player Focus: Riley Thilthorpe

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

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE


Central District:

#7 Christopher Tidswell

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

#13 Austin McDonald

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

#15 Lewis Cowham

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

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

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

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

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

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

South Adelaide vs. Glenelg

By: Tom Cheesman

South Adelaide:

#9 Jason Horne

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

#10 Brayden Cook

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

#13 Tom Barrett

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

#18 Zac Dumesny (League)

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

#21 Matthew Roberts

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

#35 Thomas Highmore (League)

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

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE


Glenelg:

#13 Luke Pedlar

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

#21 Riley Holder

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

#22 Lewis Rayson

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

#25 Luke Edwards

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

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

Norwood vs. North Adelaide

By: Tom Wyman

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

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

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

#6 Michael Cavallaro 

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

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

#30 Finn Heard 

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

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

Others: 

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

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

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

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE


North Adelaide:

#9 Jamison Murphy 

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

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

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

#21 Tariek Newchurch

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

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

#24 Kallis Freer

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

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

Others:

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

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

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

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Sturt vs. WWT Eagles

By: Ed Pascoe

Sturt:

#9 Malachy Carruthers

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

#15 Mani Liddy 

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

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

#18 Tom Powell 

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

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

#32 Morgan Ferres 

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

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

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

>> STURT TEAM PAGE


WWT:

#3 Taj Schofield

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

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

#7 Caleb Poulter 

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

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

#19 Zac Phillips 

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

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

#31 Jase Burgoyne 

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

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

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

>> 2020 South Australia Under 18 Squad Prediction

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

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

>> July Power Rankings

SANFL Player Focus: Riley Thilthorpe (West Adelaide)

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

SANFL STATISTICS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

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

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

2020 SANFL Club Preview: Woodville-West Torrens Eagles

ANOTHER side seeking redemption in 2020 will be Woodville-West Torrens (WWT), led by incoming coach Jade Sheedy and new standalone skipper Luke Thompson after an unexpected SANFL League finals miss in 2019. The Eagles boast plenty of depth and some youngsters ready to crack the senior grades, with their committed leaders also among the best in the competition. We take you through the ins, outs, and important players at WWT this season.

>> CHECK OUT OUR WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

LEAGUE/ RESERVES:

The Eagles’ Reserves and Under 18s may have both made their way to grand final berths in 2019, but the League side missed finals with a negative record (8-10) in its last campaign, and will be keen to jump straight back into the top five. With a coach set to make his senior debut in the role and a new-look leadership group to boot, supporters should be confident of seeing a rise in their sides’ stocks in 2020. WWT is often lauded for its strong depth and junior program, with a bunch of talent again set to emerge after six players moved on to AFL lists last year.

An original list of seven recruits has been adjusted to six on the eve of the season, with Victorian bigman Liam Buxton opting to remain in his home state amid the current climate. A powerful key forward and ruck option, the former Casey Demon was set to provide a crucial outlet for star goalkicker Jack Hayes, who may also rotate through the ruck this season.

Another player set to be challenged in terms of roles is 2019 leading goalkicker James Rowe, who seems poised to spend a touch more time through midfield after catching the eye of AFL recruiters and earning a state combine invite. Rowe was named in last year’s SANFL team of the year alongside former Sydney Swan Jordan Foote, who is also the Eagles’ reigning club champion. The duo is set to run through the engine room alongside the enforcing figure of Jesse Lonergan, who will be third in line as a leader behind Thompson and Joseph Sinor.

In terms of those already within the ranks who could act as new recruits are Jimmy Toumpas and 2019 Under 18 state representative Lachlan McNeil. Toumpas battled injury throughout his return season to WWT last year, running out six times at League level, while McNeil is a ball winning midfielder who notched 13 Reserves appearances in 2019. Jamie Coff could be another youngster to make the step-up to League football alongside McNeil as a key position option. Fan favourite Jared Petrenko could also feature late in the year, but in not fully committed to playing as of yet having discussed the possibility of returning in a mentor role.

Adding to the youthful depth of the squad are a range of fresh recruits, with the return of Eagles junior Kai Pudney also a welcome addition. Pudney spent just one year on Port Adelaide’s rookie list before making his way back to Woodville Oval. Rhyan Mansell, the cousin of North Melbourne youngster Tarryn Thomas makes his way over from Tasmania with plenty of hype, while Pierce Seymour is an incoming versatile defender who made his League debut for Adelaide last year. Damien Hill, Jake Johansen, and Mitch Mead round out the inclusions.

On the flip-side, no less than 15 players have left the Eagles with six of them moving up to AFL level. The good news is that WWT lost only two players to rival SANFL clubs, but the bad news is that one of them is James Boyd, who heads to Central District alongside Bulldogs junior Ben Nason. 200-gamer Scott Lewis‘ loss will be felt as one of two retirees, with bigman/reality TV star Seb Guilhaus also ending his time in the league. Brothers Jack and Cooper Gaffney will return to the local level, along with a trio of other fringe squad members.

With a solid and experienced core, strength through midfield, and a notable spine, WWT should be a side to jump straight back into the finals race. As will be touched on below, the beauty of the squad is that there will be a number of emerging talents hungry to make an impact in the senior grades, and juniors primed to flourish as they continue to develop. With strong results at Reserves and Under 18 level, the League team should prosper in 2020.

UNDER 18s:

After taking home both the minor and post-season premierships in 2019, expectations will be high on the Eagles’ typically strong Under 18 group. Another five prospects feature in the State Academy hub, led by the likes of Taj Schofield and Lachlan Jones, who are Port Adelaide father-son and Next Generation Academy hopefuls respectively. Schofield is a classy small midfielder who will look to transition into an inside role, while Jones is a well-built defender whose readymade frame may well see him feature early at League level. Jase Burgoyne is another who will hope to end up at Alberton as a 2021-eligible father-son candidate – the son of Peter and brother of Trent.

Twin talls Zac Phillips and Henry Smith are both promising and raw types, with Phillips more of a key position forward, while Smith thrives in the ruck. Caleb Poulter is the fifth hub member, a versatile type who is somewhat of a late bloomer having represented South Australia at Under 16 level in 2019 as an over-ager. It will be difficult for the Eagles to top last year’s effort, but the core of players is there and should shine if not snatched up by the senior sides.

>> GET TO KNOW: WWT Eagles Under 18s
>> DRAFT WATCH: Taj Schofield

>> 2020 South Australia Under 18 Squad Prediction

2020 SANFL Club Preview: West Adelaide

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

>> CHECK OUT OUR SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

LEAGUE/ RESERVES:

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

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

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

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

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

UNDER 18s:

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

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

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

>> GET TO KNOW: West Adelaide Under 18s

>> 2020 South Australia Under 18 Squad Prediction