Tag: SANFL

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

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

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

STURT vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

WEST ADELAIDE vs CENTRAL DISTRICT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caught the Eye: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 1

AS if you needed any reminder, state league football returned this past weekend with all South Australian National Football League (SANFL) grades kicking off season 2020. In this year’s first edition of Caught the Eye, we highlight the key performers from each Under 18 side who stood out in the opening round of action. For extended profiles on each player, click on their names highlighted in red, and for our full scouting notes, click here.

>> 2020 SA U18 Squad Prediction

Glenelg vs. Norwood

Xavier Robins
Glenelg | Half-back
2/09/2002 | 182cm | 72kg

Stats: 26 disposals (19 kicks), 6 marks, 1 tackle, 1 inside 50, 8 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “The classy half-back showed terrific pace to break the lines and possesses a sweet left-foot kick, but was able to balance his offensive prowess with defensive duties well.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Robins comes from decent pedigree as the son of former Melbourne and Richmond player, Haydn, and could be a dashing defender to keep an eye on. He was part of South Australia’s carnival-winning Under 16 squad in 2018 and while he is outside of the current academy bubble, could push for state selection if his form continues – especially given a shortage of options in his position.

Cooper Murley
Norwood | Balanced midfielder/forward
20/06/2003 | 177cm | 66kg

Stats: 20 disposals (14 kicks), 4 marks, 3 tackles , 2 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50

Our scouts said: “There is a lot to like about the zippy bottom-ager, who showed flashes of brilliance moving forward from midfield. He has a happy knack of finding space on the outside, where he can carve the opposition up with line-breaking speed and precision kicking.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: While he is quite light-on, there is no doubting Murley’s hunger for the contest. His speed and agility often get him out of trouble anyway, and the bottom-ager pulled off a couple of incredible passes going forward which he placed perfectly between opposition defenders. He earned Under 16 All Australian honours for a reason, and may creep into the Under 18 state squad in an outside role or up forward.

North Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

Tariek Newchurch
North Adelaide | Forward/Midfielder
21/07/2002 | 181cm | 73kg

Stats: 17 disposals, 4 marks, 2 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 3 goals

Our scouts said: “A tale of two halves for Newchurch, who went from an okay first half to a match-winning second half. It was clear even in patches through that first half he has the capability of doing something special with terrific speed on the lead, and great evasion techniques.” – Peter Williams

Verdict: Be prepared to hear plenty more about Newchurch, who looms as a potential first round candidate. That may prove a bittersweet statement for Adelaide fans, with the Crows set to claim first dibs on the Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect. His evasiveness and ability to break games open make him an eye-catching prospect, and one who should put together a decent highlight reel by season’s end.

Bailey Chamberlain
West Adelaide | Balanced midfielder
26/06/2002 | 179cm | 70kg

Stats: 28 disposals, 3 marks, 5 tackles, 5 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50

Our scouts said: “A really consistent four-quarter effort from Chamberlain… he was fierce around the stoppages and laid some huge tackles, and while his aggression could sometimes see him give away free kicks, he was always willing to crack in and have a go.” – Peter Williams

Verdict: It was a hell of a start to the season from Chamberlain, who put in an incredible first half display. His burst from the contest, ability to cover the ground, and aggression make him a well balanced midfield prospect. While he is the Bloods’ primary ball winner through the inside at Under 18 level, expect him to feature a touch more on the outside given his pace and slight frame as he climbs the grades or slots into the state squad.

WWT Eagles vs. South Adelaide 

Caleb Poulter
WWT Eagles | Midfielder/forward
12/10/2002 | 190cm | 79kg

Stats: 34 disposals, 7 marks, 10 tackles, 7 clearances, 6 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 1 goal

Our scouts said: “It was a huge game from the talented tall midfielder, who would have certainly gotten recruiters’ attention with a commanding game playing through midfield and up forward. Poulter won plenty of the ball but it was his disposal that really stood out, with his long and accurate kicks hitting targets inside 50 and his long handballs with great vision also catching the eye.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Undoubtedly the player of the round across the Under 18 competition, Poulter continues to rise as a bolter in the South Australian field. While he has some filling-out to do, Poulter is the ideal size for a modern day midfielder at over 190cm, and has all the athletic traits to also thrive up forward as many champion midfielders do at the next level. If he continues to return such well-rounded performances as this one, don’t expect to see him remain at the Under 18 level for long.

Nicholas Kraemer
South Adelaide | Inside midfielder
3/04/2002 | 185cm | 82kg

Stats: 19 disposals (14 kicks), 6 marks, 9 tackles, 3 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “Kraemer was a bull for South Adelaide, using his strong frame to impact stoppages and lay strong tackles. He played with a lot of grit and determination, attacking the footy hard and also laying some crunching tackles to be the real grunt in the talented South Adelaide midfield.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: The Panthers have such a versatile engine room, and Kraemer is arguably the leader of it given the talented bottom-agers around him. At 185cm, he is built well and does all the tough stuff around the stoppages, remaining relevant going both ways. He played every Under 18 game last year en route to a Grand Final appearance, but should have eyes on climbing the grades in 2020 and slotting into the state side once again.

Central District vs. Sturt

Austin McDonald
Central District | Inside Midfielder
1/01/2004

Stats: 27 disposals, 3 marks, 8 tackles, 12 clearances, 1 inside 50, 1 rebound 50

Our scouts said: “(McDonald) was terrific around the stoppages… he was not afraid to have a crack and applied plenty of tackling pressure around the ball. Despite being eligible for the Under-16 competition, McDonald’s productivity and dominance in-tight has ensured he is one of the Bulldogs’ most exciting prospects already.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: It was hard to believe that McDonald is an Under 16 player watching him go about it on the weekend, and bringing it to some of the better Under 18 midfielders in South Australia. His willingness to hunt the ball, extract, and work both ways was impressive, and we will surely see much more of the same over the next couple of years.

Tom Powell
Sturt | Balanced midfielder
2/03/2002 | 180cm | 73kg

Stats: 34 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 7 clearances, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said: “The Sturt midfielder was everywhere at Elizabeth Oval… akin to fellow on-baller Mani Liddy, Powell started the contest well, bursting out of the midfield following the opening bounce, having a bounce and streaming inside-50 before snapping a behind.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: Powell was certainly raring to go after missing large chunks on 2019 through injury, and started the season on the right foot. His burst from the contest was on show, as was his ability to accumulate with a game-high 34 disposals. He was on a different level to much of his opposition on the weekend, and while it would be interesting to see him go up against a strong Eagles midfield next week, expect to see Powell make his way up the ranks soon if his form persists.

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 1

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. While a bunch of juniors plied their trade at higher levels in Round 1, 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.

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

Glenelg vs. Norwood

By: Michael Alvaro

Glenelg:

#12 Xavier Robins

Robins is the son of former Richmond and Melbourne defender, Haydn, and impressed across the same line for Glenelg on Saturday. The classy half-back showed terrific pace to break the lines and possesses a sweet left-foot kick, but was able to balance his offensive prowess with defensive duties well.

He had a big third term and broke to all the right places inside defensive 50, displaying sharp skills through his kick-in duties and providing a reliable rebounding outlet. He finished with 26 disposals, which included 19 kicks and eight rebound 50s.

#13 Luke Pedlar

Like Robins, Pedlar is a top-aged prospect outside of the current state academy hub, but was part of South Australia’s carnival-winning Under 16 squad in 2018. As part of the midfield-forward rotation, Pedlar showcased his explosive burst out of congestion and desire to hunt the ball, racking up a game-high 28 disposals while also laying six tackles and pumping four clearances forward.

He boasts a penetrating left side but can sure up his short-range game at speed. Pedlar also showed a good work-rate while employed up forward, working well up the ground and using his pace to get back quickly. He capped off a terrific outing with a goal at the start of the fourth term, slamming the ball home on the run.

#22 Lewis Rayson

One of his region’s leading 2021 draft candidates, Rayson assumed his usual role across half-back and even snuck forward to snap through a goal in the final term. The bottom-ager is light-on, but is sure to evade opposition heat while in possession with terrific speed and agility.

At times, Rayson’s willingness to move the ball on and turn defence into attack saw his disposal come undone, but he provided reliable use once he slowed himself down. The 181cm prospect was another to position himself well across the backline, picking up 16 disposals in a solid performance.

#25 Luke Edwards

It was somewhat of a surprise not to see Edwards named at a higher grade to start the season, but he took it all in his stride to be one of Glenelg’s better performers. Another to rotate through the midfield and forwardline, Edwards displayed terrific vision and clean use by hand at the centre bounces, while proving strong in one-on-one contests up forward. He was often first to the ball at stoppages too, an invaluable trait for inside types.

While the Adelaide father-son candidate displayed intelligence by hand, he blazed away with his kicks at times and missed a couple of attempts on goal. His work rate inside forward 50 to find space and manufacture those opportunities was commendable, though, and he also managed to dish off a nice assist to Pedlar in the final term. Edwards finished with impressive statistics of 22 disposals, four marks, six tackles, five clearances, and four inside 50s.

#33 Will Schreiber

Another big body to float through the midfield at 190cm, Schreiber arguably looked more comfortable down back where he could better utilise his strength and shrewd reading of the play. He was caught holding the ball on two occasions early in the piece, but adjusted his previous flat-footedness in the second half while adding fends to his stoppage craft.

Schreiber looked to have regained a deal of confidence as the game wore on, winning a couple of nice one-on-one aerial battles and correcting his short-range kicking with more time on the ball in the defensive half. The versatile prospect positioned expertly behind the ball to intercept, and ended up hauling in a team-high seven marks.

#39 Riley Holder

It is easy to forget that Holder is just 190cm with the way he plays, providing that focal point at centre half-forward while also pinch-hitting in the ruck. He took a big pack mark in the first term to set the tone for Glenelg, duly converting the set shot before impressing further with his strength and marking on the lead. Holder had a slightly quieter second half, but was a solid target working up the ground with his strong hands. The utility finished with 1.2 from 13 disposals and six marks (four contested).

Others:

Lucas Schultz worked well in tandem with Holder inside forward 50, booting a game-high four goals from 12 disposals and six marks as another marking option. Jaden Grosser was Glenelg’s other multiple goalkicker, finding the big sticks twice from midfield while also providing hardness at the ball. Hagan Wright and Kye Dean were others to have moments around the contest, with Riley Drum a solid figure in defence and bottom-ager Nasiah Wanganeen classy on the outer.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE


Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

There is a lot to like about the zippy bottom-ager, who showed flashes of brilliance moving forward from midfield. He has a happy knack of finding space on the outside, where he can carve the opposition up with line-breaking speed and precision kicking. While he grassed a couple of attempts on the fly, Murley pulled off a couple of terrific passes to targets inside 50; the first coming on the end of a 1-2 handball chain to assist Finn Heard‘s goal, and the second a pass which perfectly split multiple Glenelg defenders.

Murley’s lateral vision and smarts around the contest are high-level, boding well for more midfield time despite being a bit light at 66kg. He looked lively inside forward 50 too, particularly in the third term despite not finding the goals himself. The 2019 Under 16 All Australian ended up with 20 disposals and four marks in a promising display.

#9 Alastair Lord

Another bottom-aged small to impress was Lord, who triggered much of Norwood’s forward motion from defence. The 177cm prospect was sound at ground level, sweeping up the loose balls and darting around opponents to find the space to effectively move the ball on. He positioned well to intercept too, proving an apt rebounder with his composed distribution after cutting off opposition forays. Lord finished with 19 disposals, eight marks, and six rebound 50s.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Was Norwood’s designated kicker in defence having been tasked with the kick-in duties, and did well to find targets consistently on a tough day for the Redlegs’ back six. He played somewhat of a sweeper role inside defensive 50, mopping up when needed while spreading well to provide an outlet for his teammates. While Dnistriansky often took the safe option via foot, he was a reliable figure and notched a team-high 25 disposals (22 kicks) to go with nine marks and 10 rebound 50s.

Others:

Michael Cavallaro (22 disposals, eight marks) and Daniel Fairbrother (21 disposals, 10 marks) were others to work hard around the ground for Norwood, while Jack Saunders provided solid presence around the ball with 16 touches, as well as team-highs in tackles (eight) and clearances (seven).

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

By: Peter Williams

North Adelaide:

#9 Jamison Murphy

The North Adelaide co-captain was busy from the first bounce until the final siren, winning plenty of touches through the midfield. His best work was done in close, but predominantly it was his vision and use by hand that opened up the game for his teammates. When tackled, Murphy was strong, able to stand up and either shrug off the tackler or get the ball free to a teammate.

Along with his inside work, Murphy’s big first half included setting up goal scoring opportunities for his teammates, and he did all the one percenters required such as blocks or shepherds. In the third term, Murphy took a goal-saving mark on the last line of defence, and then later on was able to win the ball inside 50 and put it into his teammate’s path running inside 50.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

A tale of two halves for Newchurch, who went from an okay first half to a match-winning second half. It was clear even in patches through that first half he has the capability of doing something special with terrific speed on the lead, and great evasion techniques. He took a strong mark despite front-on contact about 40 metres out on a 45-degree angle, but his shot drifted to the left. His ability to get out of trouble was evident in the second term by earning a free kick for being held at half-forward.

The second half was something special though, as Newchurch stepped up to boot three goals, the first of which came eight and a half minutes into the third term. He received the handball and snapped around his body under pressure and then six minutes later kicked another one from a bit further out but with the same technique to sail home. Later in the term he took a great mark on the lead with his hands stretched in front of him, but the shot drifted across the face. His third goal game was the sealer when he lead out inside 50 to take a strong grab and put it straight through the middle. Not only did he finish the game with his execution, but he also applied pressure to opponents inside 50.

Others:

Leo Coates had a huge start to the game with a couple of strong marks and a long-range goal (almost two) in the first term. He was quieter after that, but showed signs he has improvement in him. Kallis Freer won a heap of the ball, racking up 27 touches, four marks, three clearances and three tackles to be the Roosters’ number one ball winner on the day. Samuel McTaggert booted a goal off a great crumbing effort and has a great burst of speed. Charlie Dowling and James Willis were very strong around the stoppages.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE


West Adelaide:

#2 Harvey Bock

A player who really stood out across the ground, Bock was particularly impressive in the defensive 50. His disposal was effective and he covered the ball well in transition. Often attacking the loose ball with vigour, Bock presented as an option to teammates, and seemed to have the smarts to find space and be a kick and a half behind the play for the quick opposition kick forward. He took a terrific drifting intercept mark to stop a forward marking, chopping off the kick inside 50 by reading it so well.

#5 Lachlan De Cesare

He had a huge game for the Bloods and showed some terrific skill around the ground, teaming up well with Chamberlain. De Cesare was able to read the ball well in flight, chopping off a pass going inside 50 and used the ball well coming out of defence. He kept presenting and won a fair chunk of the ball through midfield, giving off some neat handballs and allowing his teammate to clear it. De Cesare has a good centre of gravity to swivel the hips and try and get free when tackled. He just finds space around the ground and does it well.

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

A really consistent four-quarter effort from Chamberlain who could have been mistaken for the Energiser Bunny for his ability to cover ground and really cause headaches for opposition. He was fierce around the stoppages and laid some huge tackles, and while his aggression could sometimes see him give away free kicks, he was always willing to crack in and have a go.

At times his kicking was not perfectly executed, but his work by hand was terrific, often winning the ball in tight and freeing up teammates on the outside. What really stood out about Chamberlain was his ability to read the stoppages and often duck around the back of an opponent to win the ball from the ruck tap and exit the stoppage before others were aware he was off and running. His work rate and ability to put on the jets and burst away from an opponent, backing himself in was strong. If he irons out the kicking a bit more, he has a lot of other boxes he has already ticked.

Others:

Dylan White was another big performer in a low-scoring game, kicking three goals from 19 touches, five marks and four tackles to be the dominant forward for the Bloods. The other South Australian hub member Jye Sindeberry played in the game, but had a quieter outing with seven disposals and one mark.

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

WWT Eagles vs. South Adelaide 

By: Ed Pascoe

WWT:

#3 Taj Schofield 

Despite not having his usual output, the Port Adelaide father-son prospect was classy with ball in hand, rarely making a bad decision by hand or foot and keeping composed when in possession. Playing more of an outside role, he showed plenty of signs as to why he is rated one of the better ball users in this year’s draft. It was overall a quiet outing by his standards, finishing the game with 14 disposals, three clearances and four tackles. 

#7 Caleb Poulter 

It was a huge game from the talented tall midfielder, who would have certainly gotten recruiters’ attention with a commanding game playing through midfield and up forward. Poulter won plenty of the ball but it was his disposal that really stood out, with his long and accurate kicks hitting targets inside 50 and his long handballs with great vision also catching the eye. 

Poulter showed great agility and clean hands at ground level which was impressive for a 190cm-plus player, but even with his attacking side coming to the fold it was also his defensive game which stood out as he was always prepared to tackle despite looking gassed late in the game, but you couldn’t fault that. Poulter finished the game with 34 disposals, seven clearances, seven marks, 10 tackles, and a goal to be the standout player not just for this game, but for the whole round in general. 

#19 Zac Phillips 

The big ruckman/key forward Phillips looked imposing early, taking a strong mark on the wing and also kicking a lucky goal later in the first quarter, getting over the top and quickly kicking the goal before getting run down. Phillips would add to his tally with some good pressure up forward before getting the rewards with a nice dribble goal. Phillips showed good follow up work in the ruck and his hit outs where often to his teammates’ advantage. He finished the game with 11 disposals, three clearances, two goals, and 24 hit outs. 

#31 Jase Burgoyne  

Another Port Adelaide father-son prospect but for the 2021 draft, Burgoyne was clean and classy down back; showing good agility and composure and often using the ball neatly by hand and foot. Burgoyne showed a good ability to not only create from defence with his skill and class, but also defend well and knew when to get back to man up on an opponent, Burgoyne looks an exciting talent for the 2021 draft and he finished the game with 22 disposals, four marks, and countless rebounds from defence. 

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE


South Adelaide: 

#9 Jason Horne  

Horne will certainly be in discussions for the pointy end of the 2021 draft as the talented midfielder displayed of plenty of his tricks that make him a complete midfielder. Horne certainly isn’t one-dimensional, showing his ability overhead with one mark in particular in the first quarter, going up with great courage.

His ability to work forward and back is impressive, complementing his attack at the footy at stoppages and his explosiveness with and without the ball to hold him in good stead. He could have had greater output if he was able to convert his opportunities around goal, finishing the game with 21 disposals, three clearances and 10 marks.  

#21 Matthew Roberts  

A talented midfielder who is highly rated for the 2021 draft, Roberts started the game in unfamiliar territory up forward. While he couldn’t quiet have his usual impact in that position, he certainly started to build up his game, getting to move into his favoured midfield position as the game went on.

With his output improving, so did his ability when he did have go back forward, kicking a nice set shot goal late in the gameRoberts finished the game with 21 disposals, four clearances, and a goal in a well-rounded performance. 

#33 Arlo Draper  

Another talented South Adelaide prospect for the 2021 draft, Draper looked all-class up forward with his skill and athleticism on show. Draper kicked the first goal of the game with a nice snap and although he wouldn’t add to the tally, he did set up plenty of other scoring opportunities with his decision making and skills forward of centre.

Playing mostly as a third tall forward, Draper did well to get up the ground and make and impact, and he is the type of player you want with ball in hand with his ability to create and run with the ball. Draper finished the game with 17 disposals, seven marks, and a goal.  

#35 Nicholas Kraemer  

Kraemer was a bull for South Adelaide, using his strong frame to impact stoppages and lay strong tackles. Kraemer played with a lot of grit and determination, attacking the footy hard and also laying some crunching tackles to be the real grunt in the talented South Adelaide midfield. 

Kraemer’s best isolated bit of play came with a strong overhead mark and then a quick long handball forward which almost lead to a good team goal. Kraemer looks set to be a handy addition to the South Australian state side if those games go ahead, finishing with 19 disposals, four clearances, six marks, and nine tackles. 

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Central District vs. Sturt

By: Tom Wyman

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald 

Barossa Valley junior, McDonald took it right up to the talented Sturt midfield. The 16-year-old was terrific around the stoppages, finishing with 12 clearances and 27 disposals. He was not afraid to have a crack and applied plenty of tackling pressure around the ball. Despite being eligible for the Under-16 competition, McDonald’s productivity and dominance in-tight has ensured he is one of the Bulldogs’ most exciting prospects already. Expect to see him feature prominently for South Australia soon enough.

#15 Lewis Cowham

It was a tough day for Central Districts, but midfielder, Cowham was among his side’s best. He imposed himself early by laying a strong tackle on Mani Liddy which was perhaps unlucky to be called a high free-kick against. He was industrial throughout the contest, particularly with his hands in-tight, finishing with 27 touches. Cowham and teammate, McDonald battled hard and stood-out for the Bulldogs, who were ultimately outclassed by a talented Sturt side. 

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE


Sturt:

#9 Malachy Carruthers

Carruthers was one of the Double Blues’ best performers on the day. He exhibited excellent composure in the backline and showed flashes of his neat skillset in a well-rounded performance. His marking was also a highlight, with Carruthers positioning himself well to cut off several of the Bulldogs’ forward entries. He concluded the match with 25 disposals, eight marks and six rebound-50s.

#13 Bradley Jefferies 

Jefferies was a strong presence for the Doubles Blues throughout the contest. In a predominantly inside-midfield role, he provided excellent support for Academy Hub duo Liddy and Tom Powell. A highlight was when he nailed a right-foot snap for Sturt’s second major of the match. He finished the game with 24 disposals and seven marks.

#15 Mani Liddy 

Prolific SA Academy Hub member, Liddy was a dominant presence on the inside of the Double Blues’ midfield all day. Tough and relentless at the contest, Liddy started well, winning the ball in the coalface before dishing off a neat handball to William Staples, who nailed the game’s first goal. Later in the first term, he gave another handball to Jordon Cocks who kicked truly.

His neat skills by hand really stood out all day. Even when being tackled by his Bulldogs opponents, he was clean and helped get the ball moving Sturt’s way on numerous occasions. Arguably best-on-ground, Liddy finished with 32 disposals and is firming as a first-choice midfielder for South Australia during the upcoming National Championships.

#18 Tom Powell 

Recruiters will be encouraged to see Powell have some success early on in the season, given his recent battles with injury. The Sturt on-baller was everywhere at Elizabeth Oval, finishing with 34 touches. Akin to fellow-on-baller Liddy, Powell started the contest well, bursting out of the midfield following the opening bounce, having a bounce and streaming inside-50 before snapping a behind.

While he put together a very strong game, it could have been even better had he converted some of his attempts on goal. Expect to see more of Powell in the Reserves later in the season, as he appeared a cut above Under 18 level against the ‘Dogs. 

#22 Ned Walter 

In his distinctive black helmet, Walter showed strength and skill across the half-back line for Sturt. He almost took a mark-of-the-year contender from a kick-out and his hands overhead were strong across the four quarters. He produced an excellent intercept spoil in the second quarter to break-up a potential Bulldogs inside-50. After a strong outing, Walter has emerged as one to watch in defence. 

#32 Morgan Ferres 

Ferres presented well all game for the Double Blues and was the side’s go-to marking option across half-forward. He took a number of contested grabs and appears to have excellent aerial ability. However, I really liked Ferres’ cleanliness at ground level as well. He dished off several neat handballs to get the Blues going inside-50. Booted a game-high three goals and could have finished with a handful.

James Borlase (Reserves)

The potential Crows NGA prospect was named at full-back for the Sturt reserves, having played eight matches at the level last year. At 191cm and 88kg, Borlase is strongly-built and able to hold his own against the bigger bodied forwards – a trait which will certainly help his case for senior selection later in the year.

Against a relatively strong Central Districts outfit, Borlase’s performance was encouraging. He spent considerable time matched-up against athletic 196cm tall forward Leek Alleer. While Alleer possesses serious speed and a high leap, he was largely nullified by the lock-down abilities of Borlase. He took a number of kick-ins as well, a testament his improving skillset.

Tom Lewis (Reserves)

Returning from an ACL injury which saw him miss the entire 2019 season, Lewis was back to his hard-at-it ways which proved invaluable for SA during its undefeated National Championships in 2018. Viewed by many draft watchers as being unlucky not to be picked up in his first draft eligible year, Lewis was tough at the ball throughout the match.

He attacked every contest with ferocious intent, often smashing into and bouncing-off opponents in-tight. He tackled with vigour, attempting to rip the ball out on several occasions. Expect to see Lewis be given a few games in the reserves before making the step-up to senior football for the Double Blues.

>> STURT 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

SANFL Player Focus: Corey Durdin (Central District)

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 1 of the competition, our eyes were on Corey Durdin who ran out for the Bulldogs in the opening match of the season against Sturt.

SANFL STATISTICS:

6 kicks
3 handballs
9 disposals
4 marks
7 tackles
1 clearance
1 behind

Durdin was the sole South Australian hub member running around in the game between the Bulldogs and Double Blues, and did not disappoint playing off half-forward and spending time in midfield. He might have only had the nine disposals, but his pressure work and highlights he showed throughout the match were eye-catching even against much bigger opponents.

His first touch was a clean scoop off the ground to a teammate that was unrewarded through the live statistics, with his handball looking smooth. He might not have had another touch for the term, but his running work – such as where he offered up a link with Troy Menzel – was constant. He won the ball midway through the term, but was immediately tackled.

He took his first mark 14 minutes into the second term where he stood his ground well at half-forward, and he passed nicely to Ryan Carnelly who was in a better position. It led to a series of passes ending up in the hands of star recruit, Daniel Menzel who slotted Centrals’ first of the contest. His other noticeable moment of the second term was another great mark, earning a goal assist for his kick to Chris Olsson, meaning already the teenager was lively in two scoring passages.

Moving into the second half, Durdin continued his good form from the previous quarter, laying a big bump to set the tone early. He had a really exciting play when he marked 55m out at the eight and a half minute mark of the term, but you could see he was in two minds with the kick. He had a chance to deliver to Menzel at full forward or have a shot at goal, and in the end it went between the two, over the top of Menzel and bounced through for a behind.

Durdin’s positioning at stoppages was really impressive, and he was able to work his way to the front position with his opponent later in the term. It worried his direct opponent who put the arms around him and Durdin received the free kick, then moved it on to Trent Goodrem who was one of Centrals’ best on the day.

Durdin took a strong mark in the first minute of the final term coming out of half-back with his hands outstretched and took it cleanly. He had no options upfield so had to pass back inside defensive 50, but neatly hit a teammate. Moments later he laid a great tackle in the middle of the ground to stop a Sturt opponent charge in his tracks.

Others who impressed from a young guns perspective were former South Australian Under 18s representatives in Jed McEntee and Lachlan Burrows for Sturt. McEntee was strong in midfield, and whilst at times his disposal could be inconsistent, his defensive work and work rate were terrific, laying nine tackles from 10 touches. Burrows had a purple patch in the second term with a few good contested marks and kicked a strong goal from the pocket.

A couple of mature-agers to watch were Sturt’s Ash Johnson and Central’s Nick Lange. Johnson booted three goals from five scoring shots, but was incredibly impressive in the marking contest, both on the lead with speed, and one-on-one with strength. He took seven marks from 12 touches and the 22-year-old shone in his first game at the state’s top level. Lange won 21 touches and took 14 marks running at an absolute elite 90 per cent disposal efficiency with a game-high 124 Dream Team points on his League debut.

Norwood Redlegs Player of the AFL Era: Vote for yours via our Instagram

NORWOOD REDLEGS are up next in our Player of the AFL Era series which will be run through our Instagram channel starting at 12.30pm today. The Northern Knights All-Star voting was completed yesterday with Brent Harvey announced as the winner and captain of the Knights’ All-Star side.

Norwood has a lot of consistent players and you get the feeling that the team would be hard to beat if your side is underperforming. Most of the side play to a solid level each and every week, and it was hard to determine the top seeds. In the end, reliable defenders Heath Grundy and Tom Harley lead the charge, though any one of the players in the draw might advance victorious.

The voting will run over the next four days starting today, with the winner to be decided by Monday night (unless extra time and the full 24 hours is needed in the final vote). The next club involved in the voting process is Oakleigh Chargers starting on Tuesday. All eligible players were selected thanks to the Draft Guru site.

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

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

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

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

PLAYER PAGE:

Bailey Chamberlain
West Adelaide/South Australia

DOB: June 26, 2002

Height: 179cm
Weight: 70kg

Position: Balanced midfielder

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

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

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

PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

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

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

QUOTES FROM PRESEASON

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

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

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

>> Get to know: West Adelaide Under 18s

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

>> 2020 South Australia U18 Squad Prediction

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

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

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

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

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

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

AFLW U18s Ones to Watch: Abbie Ballard (West Adelaide/South Australia)

IN a new series focusing on the up and coming AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls, we take a look at some names who would be among their respective states’ top draft prospects for the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft.

Next under the microscope is West Adelaide talent, Abbie Ballard who had a massive game at South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s level in the opening round of the 2020 season, and despite her smaller size, attacks the ball with fierce intent and is not afraid to get her hands dirty.

Abbie Ballard (West Adelaide/South Australia)

Height: 159cm
Position: Inside Midfielder
Strengths: Contested work, tackling, clearances, consistency, accumulation

2020 SANFL Women’s stats: 4 games | 18.3 disposals | 2.0 marks | 4.0 tackles | 4.0 clearances | 2.5 inside 50s

2019 SANFL Women’s stats: 10 games | 16.1 disposals | 1.5 marks | 5.4 tackles | 4.1 clearances | 2.1 inside 50s | 1.0 rebounds | 1 goal

2019 Under 18 National Championships stats: 2 games | 5.5 disposals | 1.0 marks | 2.0 tackles | 1.0 clearances | 1.0 inside 50s | 1.0 rebounds

The pocket rocket from West Adelaide had a breakout season in 2019 as a middle-ager when she won the West Adelaide best and fairest award. In 10 games she averaged 16 disposals, five tackles, four clearances and almost three inside 50s for the Westies, really announcing herself as one to watch coming into her top-age year. If anyone wondered if her exploits in 2019 were going to continue in 2020, fans did not have to wait long as Ballard racked up a competition-high 27 disposals and nine clearances in Round 1, as well as five marks, four tackles and three inside 50s leading her side to an impressive win over Sturt.

While she did not achieve the same numbers in the next three games, she still provided a fierce tackling presence and was able to win the ball in close and shovel it out to teammates on the outside. Her contested ball winning ability, and the knack of getting in the right spot to extract the ball from stoppages are among her strength, as well as her tackling. She is not a noted goal kicker – kicking just the one in 10 games last season – but she plays to her strengths and is not afraid to take on players much bigger than her.

Like many middle-agers at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, she was used sparingly across two games to give top-agers the best shot at being drafted in their 18-year-old year. Fast forward to 2020 though and expect she will have a much larger role assuming the carnival goes ahead.

With the SANFL Women’s set to kick off this weekend again, Ballard is one of a number of talented young guns in the league, and earned a place in our SANFL Under 22s side earlier in the year. Expect her to continue her form returning to competition after the long break.

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

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

GLENELG

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

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

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

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

STURT

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

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

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

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

NORWOOD

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

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

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

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

SOUTH ADELAIDE

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

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

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

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

WWT EAGLES

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

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

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

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

CENTRAL DISTRICT

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

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

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

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

NORTH ADELAIDE

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

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

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

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

WEST ADELAIDE

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

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

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

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

Draft Central predictions:

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