Tag: SANFL

Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Port Adelaide Magpies vs. Gippsland Power

OUR next All-Star Team battle is between a South Australian club in the Port Adelaide Magpies, and a Victorian region in the Gippsland Power. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Collingwood greats, Nathan Buckley (Port Adelaide) and Scott Pendlebury (Gippsland).

TEAMS:

These clubs are seeded third (Port Adelaide) and 14th (Gippsland) respectively, forming another Round of 16 clash in our draw. Port defeated Peel Thunder to earn its place in the stage, while Gippsland got the nod over South Adelaide. The winner will qualify for the quarter finals, set to face either West Adelaide or the Dandenong Stingrays.

STRENGTHS:

It’s a near-pointless task identifying the strengths of our proposed Port Adelaide Magpies side, because it is ridiculously good across all three lines. The defence is terrific, headed by the Wakelin brothers – Darryl and Shane – while Brownlow medalists Gavin Wanganeen and Andrew McLeod feature on one side, and are accompanied by 300-gamer Corey Enright and Graham Johncock on the other.

There’s such a great mix of skill and solidity in that bunch, and same goes for the midfield group. The brawn of Buckley and Scott Thompson is complemented well by the presence of Craig Bradley, with the trio boasting nearly 1000 games of AFL experience between them. A bit of x-factor is also evident as Byron Pickett lines up on the wing, while Alan Didak takes his place up forward.

Gippsland’s midfield combination makes for arguably its strongest line, with Pendlebury at the heart of it alongside fellow premiership Magpie, Dale Thomas and Essendon captain, Dyson Heppell. Their presence pushes Brendon Goddard out to the wing, making for a versatile mix of engine room operators. The rebounding quality in defence is also prevalent, led by former Bulldogs skipper Robert Murphy and current Carlton co-captain Sam Docherty, while Jason Gram and David Wojcinski take up either pocket. Needless to say, the side is also made up of plenty of leadership material.

WEAKNESSES:

Picking out weaknesses in the Port Adelaide side is like splitting hairs, though one slight issue may emerge against even stronger sides. While quite capable as a premiership player, Scott Lycett is billed to carry the ruck duties largely alone, and would even be tested against the Power as Leigh Brown supports Nathan Vardy.

While Brown takes his spot deep in Gippsland’s forwardline, the Power’s lack of a couple more true key position players could be costly. The 191cm Sean Dempster and 194cm Mark Stevens slot in up either end, and are surrounded by plenty of class.

SUMMARY:

You simply cannot go past the Port Adelaide Magpies in this matchup, with their class across the board simply too much for the Power. The Magpies match, if not beat Gippsland’s greatest strengths, and will go deep in this tournament.

Which All-Star Team would you pick?
Port Adelaide Magpies
Gippsland Power
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Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Sandringham Dragons vs. Glenelg Tigers

OUR next All-Star Team battle is between a Victorian region in the Sandringham Dragons, and a South Australian club in the Glenelg Tigers. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Chris Judd (Sandringham) and Stephen Kernahan (Glenelg).

TEAMS:

These clubs are seeded eighth (Sandringham) and ninth (Glenelg) respectively, forming another Round of 16 clash in our draw. It is our closest matchup yet, with just one place separating the two sides. The winner will qualify for the quarter finals, set to face top seed East Fremantle.

STRENGTHS:

Needless to say as we enter the top 10 realm, both of these sides boast a bunch of high-end AFL talent across each line. Sandringham lays claim to one of the best midfields of the lot, led by Judd who is supported by the likes of Josh Kennedy and Luke Ball, while Jobe Watson is pushed out to a wing alongside Zac Merrett. That’s not to mention Andrew McGrath at half-back and Josh Kelly at half-forward, with Tim Taranto and Angus Brayshaw also waiting in the wings. Scary depth.

Glenelg’s defence is arguably its best line, with the versatile Rod Jameson lining up at full back and Chad Cornes in front of him, while former Carlton greats Andrew McKay and Bryce Gibbs line up at half-back. Ironically, McKay’s daughter Abbie, and son Charlie have both recently come through the Sandringham program. Andrew Mackie is also a key part of the back six, which is rounded out by Tom Logan.

WEAKNESSES:

Both teams are a touch undersized at full back, though both players would arguably fare no worse as super competitors. Jason Blake (189cm) takes up the role for Sandringham, while Jameson (185cm) is Glenelg’s man. Apart from that factor, finding weaknesses is like splitting hairs.

SUMMARY:

It is a tight one, but Sandringham is hard to look past here. There is some serious firepower on both sides, but with such a deep midfield a forwardline to match the Bays, and greater bench depth, it is the Dragons who we feel come out on top.

Which All-Star Team would you pick?
Sandringham Dragons
Glenelg Tigers

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL – Round 12

ROUND 12 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talentNational Combine invitees, and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in.

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.

>> Power Rankings: September Edition

North Adelaide vs. Central District

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#5 Leo Coates

The strongly built Coates pieced together another strong performance for the Roosters as they continued their impressive run of form. Coates was able to use his physicality and strength to get on top of his direct opponent and assert his authority on the game. He booted two goals late in the opening term, then added a third nine minutes into the second quarter to help the Roosters capitalise on their dominance. A genuine focal point in attack, Coates finished with 16 disposals, seven marks and four goals for the match and is shaping as a valuable asset as North Adelaide makes a push for the finals.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

The exciting Newchurch created several scoring opportunities for his side and could have walked away with a bag if not for some inaccurate goalkicking. Newchurch’s aerial work was particularly eye-catching, taking a couple of strong contested grabs to show he isn’t a forward who simply relies on his clean hands and smarts on the ground. He pushed up the field to get involved in the play and used his quick turn of pace to get back inside 50 and look to get on the end of his earlier good work. Newchurch concluded the outing with 16 disposals, one goal and three behinds, eight marks and three inside 50s.

#22 Lam Simon

Simon was one of several Roosters to find plenty of the footy as the controlled the contest against Central District. Playing across the backline, Simon’s aerial prowess was again on show, hauling in seven marks. He tackled hard when the ball hit the deck and used it well by foot. Although the Crows Academy prospect is still raw, he has shown plenty of glimpses and is learning how to utilise his exciting athleticism to advantage. Simon finished with 20 disposals (including 14 kicks) and five tackles.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin has pieced together a terrific bottom-age season and was once again impressive across half-back for North Adelaide. The Crows Next Generation Academy prospect used it brilliantly out of defence and provided plenty of rebound for the Roosters. Typically composed with ball in hand, O’Loughlin made good decisions by foot and shapes as one of South Australia’s most promising small prospects for 2021. He finished the day with 27 disposals, four marks, four tackles and five rebound 50s.

#28 Matthew Borg

Borg was arguably best-on-ground for the Roosters as he continues his sensational season. Borg was typically hard-at-it around the contest, cracking in to win plenty of contested ball in congestion and at stoppages, highlighted by his game-high nine clearances. Despite the Bulldogs’ ruckman dominating, Borg was able to read the taps and get his hands on the ball before his opponents. On the rare occasion the Roosters didn’t win the ground ball, Borg tackled with the aggression and strength we’ve come to expect from the inside midfielder. He was able to hit the scoreboard as well, nailing goals in the second and third quarters. Borg has been instrumental in the Roosters’ fine form and finished the contest with 26 disposals, six marks and seven tackles.

#29 Zyton Santillo

Santillo was another bottom-aged Rooster to impressive in the club’s big win. Playing in his customary lead-up small forward role, the smooth-moving speedster found an abundance of the footy for a player of his stature. Although he wasn’t able to hit the scoreboard as much as he would have liked, Santillo’s neat skillset was on display when heading inside 50, hitting a couple of nice passes in attack and, crucially, providing plenty of pressure at ground level. Another North Adelaide player to have found some terrific form in the back half of the season, Santillo finished the game with 23 disposals, nine marks, five tackles and four inside 50s.

#32 Isaac Keeler

The ruck/forward continues to go from strength-to-strength after impressing once again at Elizabeth’s X Convenience Oval. An agile mover for a player of his height, Keeler was an overhead marking threat for the entirety of the contest, clunking a couple of strong contested grabs and 11 marks in total. Although the strong bodied Wyatt Ryan used his physical advantage to get on top in the ruck, Keeler still managed nine hit-outs and was excellent around the ground. Keeler was not afraid to get involved in handball chains and used the ball well by foot for a big man, sending it inside 50 on four occasions. Up forward, he booted two goals and looked potent whenever the ball was in his area. Keeler seems to improve with each passing game and finished this one with 20 disposals.

#36 Kyle Brazell

The wingman once again played a pivotal link-up role by connecting defence to attack for the red and white. Brazell’s high endurance allowed him to run all over the ground, gathering possessions and taking marks seemingly at will. A versatile prospect, Brazell was able to push forward and boot a late goal as reward for his tireless running. The game’s leading disposal winner, Brazell’s work between the arcs stood out, finishing with four rebound 50s and four inside 50s. He gathered 28 touches, 13 marks, four tackles and a couple of handy clearances.

Others:

Forward Elliott McNamara was excellent in the air, hauling in 11 marks to go with 21 disposals, three tackles and five inside 50s. Bottom-aged midfielder James Willis combined well with the likes of Jayden Davison and the aforementioned Borg. He worked hard around the ground and used his burst of speed to break free from his opponents and send the ball into attack. Willis finished with 23 disposals, a goal, seven marks, four tackles and five inside 50s. Shaun Bennier booted three goals from limited opportunities and defenders Tyler McKenzie and Thomas Millar also had impressive days for the Roosters.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

The young midfielder was up against it all day, with the likes of Matthew Borg, Jayden Davison and James Willis dominating at stoppages and around the contest. Although McDonald didn’t have the influence he would have liked, he still got his hands on the footy often and finished the game with 20 disposals. He managed a couple of clearances, laid five tackles, and never stopped trying.

#39 Wyatt Ryan

It was a day to forget for Central Districts, but ruckman Ryan will certainly remember it. He was by far the Bulldogs’ best player, dominating the ruck to win 32 hitouts. However, he also worked hard around the ground to be a marking target in attack. He was always an option for the kick down the line and took numerous contested marks against a North Adelaide side which is typically strong in the air. Ryan made a couple of errors by foot, as many ruckman do, but backed himself to hit a couple of tricky targets. Ryan finished with a team-high 26 disposals (including 21 kicks), 11 marks (three contested) and four inside 50s in a strong performance in a losing side.

Others:

Luigi Mondello was the Bulldogs’ best stoppage player for the match, concluding the contest with seven clearances to go with 25 disposals, four tackles and three inside 50s. Ruben Carreno (23 disposals and six marks), Michael De Jonge (23 disposals, eight marks and four clearances) and Jacob Fiebiger (21 disposals and seven marks) were others to find a bit of the ball for Centrals.

>> MORE CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

Sturt vs. Norwood

By: Eli Duxson

Sturt:

#11 Will Spain

Spain struggled to get going early but was his defensive best around the stoppages. He ended with 18 disposals and 10 tackles which is nothing out of the ordinary for him. At times he went to the dangerous Henry Nelligan around stoppages but was able to break away and find his own ball. His good tank allowed him to play in the midfield for most of the game and he finished strongly, continuing to tackle hard despite their lead, and earning a holding the ball free kick with which he found a teammate for a shot on goal. His defensive style compliments the major ball winners in Tom Powell and Mani Liddy, but he has shown he can step up in the past and have a big game.

#17 Mani Liddy

Liddy was on from the first bounce, collecting 24 disposals to go with five clearances and a goal. The solidly-built mid continued to show his ability in-tight, but was also able to be a threat on the outside. His cleanliness below his knees coupled with his strength through his legs makes him a difficult matchup in close quarters, although he was able to find space and get dangerous to set up rebound attacks. Showing off his aerobic capacity, he would continue running and find the ball in all parts of the ground. He was then able to find space at forward 50 stoppages on a consistent basis, looking difficult to get in front of. He drilled a set shot from 50 metres out after being the recipient of a downfield free kick, capping off a solid day for he and Sturt.

#18 Tom Powell

The highly-rated prospect continues to show why he is so highly touted with 33 disposals, one goal, eight inside 50s, and six clearances. He did his chances of a senior berth no harm at all. He was everywhere in the first quarter, and if he was not getting the clearance, he was spreading hard offensively from the stoppage and being involved in the chain – he ended with 11 marks. His kicking was wayward early as he seemed to struggle to make good connection, but his 24 kicks to nine handballs is indicative of his shift in style as he looks to be more damaging with his possessions. A centred ball in his defensive 50 was one of his ill-directed kicks, which Henry Nelligan chopped off and it resulted in Norwood’s first goal of the game.

His kicking drastically improved from there as he would go on to set up three goals with well-weighted passes. A good sign of his maturity is also his physicality. He managed to have a good balance of going hard at the contest without being reckless. He just seemed to be always hunting the ball. Despite some early blemishes with his kicking, he was one of the driving factors in the big win.

#27 Ned Grieve

The stalwart in defence for Sturt enjoyed another solid outing, intercepting and clearing at will with 25 disposals, five rebound 50s, and eight marks. He read the flight of the ball well and showed a strong overhead marking ability, also showing good confidence to attempt to mark. Grieve took the front position in marking contests quite a few times, but there was a couple of occasions where opting to spoil would have been the better choice. It did not catch him out but that is the strength that most key defenders possess – think Harris Andrews. He was also very capable at ground level, looking strong over the ball, as well as being very composed and not rushed, making good decisions with good execution.

Others:

Lachlan Bates and Russell Rigney each kicked three goals, while Ethan Field chipped with two goals to go with his 15 disposals.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

It was a trying day for the Redlegs, but Murley was again prolific with 30 disposals and six clearances. He again displayed an innate ability to be a one-touch player as it seemed his hands were covered with glue. He was quick to get the ball from the ground to a teammate through hands, although at times the Sturt pressure seemed to rush him and make him skew his passes. His speed was also threatening between the flanks, as his run-and-carry and his efficient kicking made him a weapon on the outside. He continued to try all day and found plenty of it in the final quarter, but Sturt was just too good.

#5 Henry Nelligan

He started the game on fire having four shots on goal, further proving his danger to opposition teams around goal. Coming off a monster week like Murley, Nelligan managed 26 disposals, three goals, and seven clearances. The most impressive thing about his forward craft is that he creates his own opportunities. Whether they were intercept possessions, snaps out of stoppages, or set shots from creating space to mark, he looked hard to stop. He again showed his kicking ability on either side of his body, and his fitness to cover ground and get to most stoppages. He gave away an undisciplined downfield free kick but continued to toil away all game.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

Playing mostly in the defensive half for Norwood, Cavallaro was one of the best on the day with 34 disposals, 10 marks, and a goal – pushing forward in the final quarter to round out a solid day. The attacking defender assisted at any contest he was near, but also positioned himself well at the back of stoppages to provide a running option for his midfield. He was poised and efficient with the ball, and his kicking accuracy on both feet was definitely a highlight. Even though he found plenty of the ball, he was still accountable all game. He looked most comfortable during slow play but was capable of moving it quickly in space, and in traffic.

Others:

Backing up another impressive effort from last week, Nathan Hearing again managed to spread and get dangerous with 19 disposals, 21 hit outs, and nine clearances. Samuel Duke also toiled away down back all day with 26 disposals and 15 marks.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

South Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#3 Luke Mitton

The diminutive bottom-ager was among South’s top ball winners with 24 disposals and seven clearances, seemingly enjoying the added responsibility that comes with midfield minutes. Mitton’s endurance running capacity was on show as he worked hard all day for the Panthers, digging in at the coalface despite his light frame. He has the kind of traits you would expect from a 172cm player too, with explosive speed, clean hands at ground level, and evasiveness all coming to the fore on Saturday. Mitton may lack a touch of strength and penetration coming away from the contest, but will inevitably improve in those areas as he grows into his top-age year.

#4 Max Clifton

Another sub-180cm Souths midfielder, Clifton was arguably the best of the lot on this occasion. The top-ager racked up a team-high 26 disposals and six clearances, while also breaching either arc a combined 10 times throughout a consistent performance. South Adelaide likes to attack with speed and precision through the corridor, and Clifton was a key outlet in those kinds of plays as he wheeled onto his left side to deliver the ball forward. His speed and willingness to accelerate the play made life difficult for Wesites’ defenders, and helped Clifton make an impact away from the contest.

#10 Brayden Cook

After being held relatively well in the first half, Cook came to life after the main break in more advanced positions. While stationed on the wing, Cook often finds a way to gain separation as South transitions, while also creating his own space while on the ball with series of twists and turns. Up forward, his elite vision, skill execution, and goal nous make him a handful for any opposition defender. All of those traits lifted in the second half, as the top-ager got creative inside 50 with some shrewd work in full flight. He capped off his day with a couple of final term goals, the first of which set the tone for South’s late breakaway. It was an eye-catching effort too; as he gathered a loose ball, weaved between two defenders, and snapped truly.

#15 Liam Hamilton

Hamilton was another Panther who built into the game well, making a menace of himself both deep inside attacking 50, and up the ground. The 18-year-old proved a key link in his side’s forward momentum, presenting smartly through the corridor and moving the ball along quickly. When found deeper in his own half, Hamilton was able to adapt his ability to bring teammates into the game, creating scoring opportunities all-round and attracting opposition attention. While he converted a major in the second term, Hamilton’s radar was a touch off as he also registered three behinds from 19 disposals and nine marks. A solid outing nonetheless.

#22 Jack Flett

Many of the South Adelaide midfielders and forward caught the eye on Saturday, but Flett was one of his side’s best afield from defence. At 183cm, one of the top-ager’s greatest weapons is his versatility; able to impact the game with his aerial marking, while also providing good rebound with speed and dare across the ground. He started brightly with some terrific intercept marks, positioning perfectly to get a good jump at the ball and cut of West Adelaide’s attacks. After somewhat of a quiet patch, Flett again came to life after half time, popping up with some more aerial efforts, as well as a bunch of take-ons and bursting runs out of defensive 50. 17 disposals and seven marks (four contested) made for a good day out.

Others:

South Adelaide’s contributors are always numerous, and there were plenty of others who stood out. Dylan Brown brought the hurt through midfield with 11 punishing tackles to go with 19 touches and a goal, while Liam Nye proved crafty up forward with 21 disposals and a goal of his own. Isaac Burt was productive on the wing, and the likes of Hugo Hoeck (three goals) and Jamison Snelling (15 disposals, one goal) showed great promise further afield. AFL Academy member Nicholas Kraemer returned from injury and looked solid at the contest, though may have had his load managed en route to 10 touches and five tackles.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

West Adelaide:

#4 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy was once again arguably West Adelaide’s best contributor, having amassed 23 disposals, seven clearances, and a goal from midfield. As a mainstay in the engine room, Kennedy provided a spark for the Bloods with his perennial forward momentum, founded by pace and deceptive strength at the stoppages. He was particularly effective at the centre bounces, where those traits came to the fore in tandem. Kennedy’s creative edge and vision going forward were noticeable early as he found Izach Zinndorf for a first term major, while later kicking his side ahead with a free kick conversion after the siren.

#6 Michael Laudato

The classy top-ager was a frequent figure in defence, collecting a game-high 28 disposals, 12 marks, and six rebound 50s. While he was one of a few Westies defenders to have benefitted from a safe, short-kicking style at times, Laudato also showed his ability to ping it long and hit some less conservative targets. Add to that some attacking run and the willingness to take his opponents on, and Laudato produced a strong all-round game.

#12 Zac Venning

Venning’s final term in particular warrants a mention, as he broke out of his shell and looked to provide a heap of urgency from half-back. While he was solid throughout the opening three terms, Venning had a much greater impact as he looked to run-and-carry through the corridor during the latter stages, while also taking on a touch more via foot. To lift when the game is up for grabs is a great asset, though it may have proven too little, too late for Venning and the Bloods. He finished with 26 disposals, eight marks, and six rebound 50s nonetheless.

#15 Kane Sherlock

A third defender among this week’s group, Sherlock impressed in a few facets en route to 18 disposals, five marks, and five tackles. His ability to compete in the air initially, and follow-up with ground level work allowed for some tone-setting rebound in the early stages, which was followed by more solid intercepts. Later on, the solidly-built top-ager was directly opposed to Brayden Cook deep in defensive 50, but fared well on the last line with desperate attempts to lock the ball in and stop South Adelaide in its tracks. His safe use by foot was also handy, though a couple of long kick-ins alluded to another string to his bow.

#20 Luke Young

The bottom-ager is another strongly-built unit at 185cm and 86kg, which allows him to be utilised as more of a centre half-forward type. Young’s marking in that role was solid as ever on the weekend, as he reeled in seven grabs (two contested). Much of his work was done up the ground, finding separation to provide a target coming out of defence for the Bloods. Young was just as impactful inside forward 50 though, especially as he booted all three of Wesites’ majors throughout the second and third terms to keep them in the hunt.

Others:

Hugh Desira was one who added some good speed and an attacking mindset to the midfield mix, while the likes of Ben Burbridge and Dylan White were both productive at the contest, providing the grunt work. Eduard van den Berg was his usual self off half-back too, moving forward instinctually and gaining good meterage with his 23 disposals.

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

Glenelg vs. WWT Eagles

By: Eli Duxson (Under 18s) & Tom Cheesman (League)

Glenelg:

#9 Kye Dean

With no Hagan Wright, among others, Dean had some added responsibility. Although it was a tough day for Glenelg, he still managed 21 disposals. With the Eagles’ rampant pressure, he had to work hard for his possessions and often found himself deep in defence just to get his hands on it. His disposal was rushed at times with the Eagles’ pressure around the ball and it was hard to find teammates. As usual though, he worked hard all day and was strong over the ball. He plugged a hole in his forward 50 in the third quarter to try and mark, but sometimes got in the way of his leading forwards.

#27 Luke Parks (League)

It was a tough day to be a Glenelg defender, but Parks did the best he could in the circumstances. He is a very reliable defender that was under the pump in this match from the beginning. The Eagles were getting repeat inside 50s early and Glenelg was panicking, so Parks continually found himself having to clean up other people’s mistakes.

Parks is fantastic in the air, as he is rarely beaten one-on-one and often goes up as the third man in to spoil other forwards and help out his teammates. He took some nice marks as well, including a magnificent overhead mark in the second term flying back into a pack. He also laid some good tackles, especially deep in defence to stop what could have been certain goals for the Eagles.

His kicking is usually reliable but he made a couple of mistakes by foot as the game went on. In the second term, he took a brilliant intercept mark but then tried to bite off a kick into the corridor and missed the target, which led to an opposition goal. He made up for this with a beautiful kick inside 50 to Luke Reynolds on the lead in the third quarter.

Parks got sent forward briefly in the third term to help provide an option when Glenelg had the wind, but he did not have much of an impact up there. In the last quarter, he went back to defence and curtailed many more opposition attacks. He also linked up well with teammates to get the ball moving forward. Parks finished with 13 disposals, six marks (two contested) and two tackles for the day.

Others:

A 93-point Under 18s loss does not often provide many good performances, but Frazer Bradley managed 26 disposals, while Elijah Owen scored two goals.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

WWT Eagles:

#3 Taj Schofield

The father-son prospect enjoyed another big game in the comprehensive win, amassing 32 disposals to go with a goal and seven inside 50s. He was clean below his knees and showed a good evasive ability in traffic, highlighted with a neat sidestep. His skills were on point all day with his kicking near perfect. This was coupled with his good decision-making as he did not blaze away and send it deep, but rather looked laterally and moved it with hands. He is the kind of player forwards would want sending it inside 50, but he did it all himself in the second quarter after recovering from a marking contest to burst and wheel to kick a goal on the run from 40 metres.

#19 Zac Phillips

Though he seemed to lose the ruck battle on the day, his serviceability came from his work rate both defensively and offensively. He finished the day with 20 disposals, 13 hitouts and two goals but his contested marking stood out, taking a couple at both ends. He showed great fitness covering a large amount of the ground and always put in big efforts in the contest. Both of his goals came from in front of the big sticks, drilling both set shots. He looked a little wary over the ball at times and was also a little predictable with set plays in the ruck. But with good size, athleticism, and skills, he has great potential. If he can work on his ruck craft and strength over the ball, his game will go to the next level.

#25 Henry Smith

The combine invitee spent most of his day up forward, but also ended up with 20 disposals and two goals. Smith looked mobile around the ground and most comfortable in the forward half. He led out well and took a nice contested mark early in the game, but missed the set shot. His first goal came soon after, earning a holding the ball free kick at the top of the goal square and putting it straight through the middle. His second also came from a free kick, but this time a ruck infringement, kicking the set shot from 35 metres. Smith provided a solid target up the wings for the Eagles’ rebounds and did not lose in the air, either marking, or bringing it to ground for the smalls to mop up.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

It is strength to strength for Burgoyne as he stakes his claim as a 2021 prospect, ending up with a game-high 36 disposals to go with a goal and nine marks. He was his silky best with clean gathers and handballs early, before providing his usual outside run and carry. He spent time at half-back in the second quarter, sprinting inside the square at the centre bounce, but also showing some good defensive traits. He can sometimes drift when playing as a defender but some good man marking and spoils were impressive to see. His goal came later in the term after splitting defenders and running into an open goal to slot it from 35 metres out. Another great game for Burgoyne.

#16 James Rowe (League)

Rowe has proven to be one of the best small forwards in the SANFL this season, and he showed why he’s such an important part of the Eagles’ side on Saturday. He started the game by reading a ruck contest in the forward 50 brilliantly, bursting through the stoppage, collecting the ball at speed and snapping the first goal of the game. Although this was his only goal for the day, he impacted the match in so many other ways.

Rowe’s defensive pressure in the forward half was relentless, highlighted when he laid a run-down tackle on Billy Stretch in the middle of the ground to win a holding the ball decision. His speed makes opposition players panic whenever he is in their area, regardless of whether they have the ball or not. Rowe also provided a strong lead-up option whenever necessary, worked into defence to get some touches, and pinch-hit in the midfield at times. He showed that he has good vision and is very unselfish when he hit Jackson Lee with a clever pass inside 50 in the second quarter.

Rowe received plenty of attention from the opposition and earned multiple free kicks for his troubles. His work rate and willingness to follow up his possessions enabled him to set up many scoring opportunities for his teammates. If Rowe was not on the radar of AFL clubs before this season, I would be surprised if he isn’t at least being considered by some clubs now. He finished with 16 disposals, five tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and a goal.

#28 Jacob Wehr (League)

Wehr boasts a beautiful left-foot kick and worked hard all day to find plenty of the ball. He spent time in the midfield, where he linked up well with teammates and ran back to help the defence. However, his most prominent position was a half-back role which he played very well. He took the kick-ins and was comfortably launching them 60 metres into the wind, and his pressure on the opposition was fantastic. This was highlighted when he produced a lunging tackle on reigning Magarey Medallist Luke Partington to win a holding the ball decision in the first term.

He used his kicking ability to open up the game for his side, as evidenced in the first term when he delivered a spearing ball straight through the middle of the ground to a teammate. Wehr was confident enough to bite off these tough kicks despite the difficult weather conditions, and he hit the target just about every time. He also did the little things well such as attacking the footy with pace, working hard to the next contest, rushing behinds when necessary and doing the one-percenters. A magnificent smother in the final minutes of the game capped off his superb performance. Wehr finished with 29 disposals, eight rebound 50s, four inside 50s and two clearances.

#34 Lachlan Jones (League)

Jones is a product of the Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy and is quickly becoming one of the best prospects in this year’s draft. He had a pretty easy day on Saturday in defence thanks to the dominance of his side, but was still able to show why he is so highly-rated by recruiters. His work in marking contests was outstanding, as he consistently positioned himself well and out-bodied his opponents to win the footy. He rarely loses a one-on-one contest and is always willing to help out his teammates in the air.

Jones got to position himself higher up the ground than usual because the ball was so regularly in the Eagles’ forward 50, and this led to him taking one of the marks of the year in the second term. It was a textbook hanger over a pack at half-forward that showed off his amazing athleticism and great hands. He then had the composure to find Jack Hayes with a long kick inside 50, who finished off the good work with a goal. Jones showed some other strings to his bow too, including some run-and-carry out of defence in the final term and some nice link-up play with teammates around the ground. At 185cm, he is a great size for his position and will only get better with more experience in the years to come.

Others:

A big Under 18s win meant many contributors; Max Litster again boasted terrific numbers with 29 disposals and a goal, while Zeke Scott chipped in with 20 disposals and two goals.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

Featured image: South Adelaide’s Jack Flett flies for a mark | Credit: Simmone Le Raye/SANFL

AFL Draft Watch: Henry Smith (WWT Eagles/South Australia)

IN the midst of football’s long-awaited return, Draft Central takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state in some capacity leading into 2020, or are bolting into draft contention. While plenty has changed 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 Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) prospect Henry Smith, a raw tall with plenty of upside. Measuring up at 202cm, Smith is not only able to impact with his aerial marking, but also provides terrific follow-up efforts at the fall of the ball. Despite missing the first three games of this year’s SANFL Under 18s season, the 17-year-old ruck/forward impressed enough across nine outings since to earn his spot on the National Combine invitee list. Should he fill out and sharpen his conversion, Smith looms as a key position option who could prove difficult to stop in full flight.

PLAYER PAGE:

Henry Smith
WWT Eagles/South Australia

DOB: October 23, 2002

Height: 202cm
Weight: 82kg

Position: Key Position Forward/Ruck

Strengths: Contested marking, athleticism, follow-up/ground level efforts, upside
Improvements: Raw, finishing consistency

2020 SANFL U18s averages: 9 games | 13.1 disposals | 4.2 marks (2.2 contested) | 3.8 tackles | 7.0 hitouts | 1.2 clearances | 1.9 inside 50s | 0.9 goals (8) | 1.2 behinds (11)

PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

N/A.

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

2019/20 SCOUTING NOTES:

2020 SANFL Under 18s Round 11 vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

Another of Woodville-West Torrens’ 200cm prospects, Smith rotated between the forwardline and ruck to good effect. He showed some of the upside which earned him a national combine invite, following up well at stoppages while also faring well aerially as expected. Smith was another to use his height to advantage, clunking some big pack marks both around the ground and inside forward 50 against multiple opponents. Remarkably, all five of his marks were contested. While perhaps more of a lead-up forward prospect, Smith’s ruck craft was reasonably sound as he finished the game with 15 disposals, 15 hitouts, and fourth-term a goal.

2020 SANFL Under 18s Round 10 vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

The AFL Academy member produced arguably his best performance of the season to-date, dominating the airways up forward and providing a presence in the ruck in relief of teammate Zac Phillips. As usual, Smith was the Eagles’ number one target in attack. They looked to centre the ball for him inside 50, allowing him to run and jump at the ball and use his contested marking strength to advantage. A prime example of this came in the just minutes into the clash, when Smith took a strong grab then converted the resultant set-shot from close range.

However, aside from his strong aerial presence, Smith’s cleanliness at ground level, quick and effective distribution by hand, and willingness to crack in and tackle hard was impressive. He spent more time in the ruck against the Redlegs than in previous weeks and fought well against Nathan Hearing, combining particularly well with teammate Harrison Dawkins at stoppages. The key forward finished with 15 disposals, two goals, five marks (two contested), nine tackles, ten hit-outs and four inside 50s.

2020 SANFL Under 18s Round 5 vs. Glenelg

By: Michael Alvaro

Again starting as the Eagles’ primary target up forward, Smith showed nice glimpses of his best form with strong marks, taking the ball at its highest point. He looked ominous on the lead at times and is difficult to defend at the Under 18 level on account of his height and reach on the lead. With good delivery, he was granted goalkicking opportunities but failed to make the most of his set shots. By the fourth quarter, his confidence may have been a little shot as he opted to kick inboard from 20-metres out, which got him a goal assist nonetheless.

2020 SANFL Under 18s Round 4 vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

The second of WWT’s bigmen, Smith played as a permanent forward and looked the most likely aerial target afield. He started strongly with a nice contested mark in between two opponents, but went on to miss a couple of set shot opportunities in the first term. What was most impressive about Smith, contested marking aside, was his ability to impact the play after aerial contests, with solid tackling efforts and touches at ground level adding a handy dimension to his game. His return obviously did a lot for the Eagles side, despite only booting three behinds from his 10 disposals and five marks (three contested).

2019 Under 17 Futures All-Stars

By: Ed Pascoe

The other big Henry to ruck for Team Dal Santo – Smith actually showed more up forward with a strong contested mark and set shot goal in the first quarter. The Woodville-West Torrens prospect, as good as he looked overhead, also had a great pickup in the middle of the ground which was excellent for a 200-plus cm player and if he could improve his aggression in general he could prove to be a hard player to stop at the next level.

Featured Image: Henry Smith (centre) with Zac Dumesny and Luke Edwards after the 2019 Under 17s All-Star clash | Source: SANFL

>> 2020 AFL National Draft Combine List
>> 2020 South Australia U18s Squad Prediction

>> August 2020 Power Rankings
>> July 2020 Power Rankings
>> September 2020 Power Rankings

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

Allies:
Tahj Abberley
Charlie Byrne
Jackson Callow
Blake Coleman
Braeden Campbell
Alex Davies
Oliver Davis
Errol Gulden
Joel Jeffrey
Patrick Walker

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Brayden Cook
Zac Dumesny
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Lachlan Jones
Tariek Newchurch
Caleb Poulter
Tom Powell
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Vic Country:
Sam Berry
Tanner Bruhn
Jack Ginnivan
Oliver Henry
Elijah Hollands
Zach Reid
Nick Stevens
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Vic Metro:
Jake Bowey
Jackson Cardillo
Nikolas Cox
Connor Downie
Eddie Ford
Bailey Laurie
Finlay Macrae
Reef McInnes
Archie Perkins
Will Phillips

Western Australia:
Jack Carroll
Heath Chapman
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Zane Trew
Brandon Walker
Joel Western
Isiah Winder

Young gun focus: 2020 SANFL Round 12 wrap

WITH young guns impressing at state league level around the nation, we again narrow our focus for this week’s South Australian National Football League (SANFL) wrap to the performances of youth throughout all three grades. There is plenty to unpack in our third altered edition, with Under 18 prospects scattered across the two senior competitions, and a bunch of youngsters impressing in the junior grade in Round 12.

>> SCROLL for full results 

Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) is again the talk of SANFL town, after drubbing reigning League premier, Glenelg by 78 points to put one hand on the minor premiership. 19-year-old Lachlan McNeil was again terrific among a raft of key Eagles ball winners, collecting 24 disposals in the win. Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) candidate Lachlan Jones contributed to the defensive effort seeing the Bays held to just four majors, and he even added a huge specky to his highlight reel. Fellow defender Rhyan Mansell managed 14 touches, but comes under an injury cloud at the unideal time with his Achilles complaint. Glenelg’s Luke Parks (13 disposals, six marks) and Callum Park (14 disposals, nine rebound 50s) were both kept busy down back in the heavy defeat.

2020 AFL Draft hopefuls Luke Edwards (Glenelg) and Caleb Poulter (WWT) battled it out in the Reserves, as the Eagles again came away comfortable winners. Fellow Under 18s Cooper Horsnell and Ty Murphy have also enjoyed two’s berths for the Bays, along with Victorian mainstay Mitch Martin and 18-year-old Brady Searle up forward. WWT midfielder Harrison Dawkins was also named for a well-earned promotion. While the Eagles have already secured finals qualification across both senior levels, Glenelg’s youngsters like Edwards, Horsnell, and Murphy could spill back into the Under 18s side should the Tigers sneak into the top four there.

Speaking of the Under 18s, the Eagles pulled off a hat-trick of victories over their yellow and black counterparts, securing a thumping 93-point win on Saturday. Port fans will be buoyed to see father-son prospects Jase Burgoyne (2021-eligible) and Taj Schofield (2020) lead the ball winning stakes with over 30 disposals each, as both also hit the scoreboard in their midfield rotation. Max Litster (29 disposals, seven clearances, one goal) was again prominent, while bigmen Henry Smith and Zac Phillips both managed two goals apiece. Frazer Bradley (26 disposals, six marks) found the most ball for Glenelg, while Kye Dean and William Watts continued their solid form.

Elsewhere, South Adelaide and North Adelaide both bolstered their spots in the top four; as the Panthers preyed on Westies, and the Roosters crowed in a win over Central District. Daly Andrews’ promising start to SANFL League life continued with another 16 disposals and one goal, while 17-year-old Jason Horne was terrific for 15 touches and a major of his own in the Panthers’ victory. 2020 National Combine invitee Thomas Highmore also made a steady return from injury. North Adelaide key defender Dyson Hilder, whose League return saw Karl Finlay go the other way, was solid with 11 disposals and seven marks as his Roosters got up.

There was also some good talent running around for the Panthers at Reserves level, with another National Combine invitee in Phoenix Spicer among them. The speedy small forward/midfielder booted two majors and was among his side’s best players as South romped to a 71-point win. Draft hopeful Zac Dumesny was also listed to make his return from injury in the two’s. Prolific Westies midfielder Bailey Chamberlain narrowly missed League selection, but was part of the Reserves squad alongside Jye Sinderberry. Leading prospect Riley Thilthorpe was billed to slot back into the League lineup, but was a late scratching on account of his niggling groin complaint.

The Bloods’ Under 18s made South Adelaide earn its victory, pushing the Panthers for most of the game. Michael Laudato and Zac Venning combined for 54 disposals, 20 marks, and 12 rebound 50s in a busy defence, while Cade Kennedy and Dylan White worked hard through the engine room with over 20 touches and seven clearances apiece, and Luke Young snared three goals up forward. South’s depth proved too strong though, as the likes of Max Clifton, Luke Mitton, Dylan Brown, and Liam Hamilton all proved productive, while draft bolter Brayden Cook booted two goals and Nick Kraemer finally got back on the park.

Like the Panthers, North Adelaide enjoyed a big Under 18s win of its own, downing Centrals to the tune of 94 points. Among the goalkickers were Kyle Brazell and Matthew Borg, who each also found plenty of the ball, while bigmen Leo Coates (four goals) and Isaac Keeler (two) also impressed. There were no multiple goalkickers for the Bulldogs with some classy personnel missing, though Wyatt Ryan put in another mammoth performance with 26 disposals, 11 marks, and 32 hitouts. Lachlan Grubb was also an outstanding performer at Reserves level, booting five goals in Centrals’ win.

Back in the League frame, Norwood kept its finals hopes alive with a razor-thin win over Sturt, won off the boot of VFL recruit Nikolaus Rokahr. The Redlegs have been hampered by injuries, but that has only allowed youngsters like Daniel Fairbrother to get an extended run at senior level. He collected 19 disposals in his third senior game. Sturt swingman and potential Adelaide NGA prospect James Borlase missed due to school football commitments, though Tom Lewis continues to impress having gathered 18 disposals in the loss.

The Doubles Blues rocketed clear atop the Under 18s ladder as well, demoting Norwood to third with a 56-point triumph. Unsurprisingly, Tom Powell collected a team-high 33 disposals, but was outdone by Norwood’s Michael Cavallaro (34), who returned from Reserves duties. Ben Ianniello, who also has Reserves experience, collected 28 touches for the Redlegs, while Cooper Murley again ticked over the 30-mark. Henry Nelligan was also terrific with three goals from 26 touches despite the loss. He was one of the unlucky players to miss out on a National Combine nod though, alongside Sturt’s Mani Liddy, who contributed 24 disposals and a goal.

RESULTS

League:

West Adelaide 8.7 (55) def. by South Adelaide 17.13 (115)
Norwood 10.16 (76) def. Sturt 11.7 (73)
WWT Eagles 16.15 (111) def. Glenelg 4.9 (33)
North Adelaide 15.20 (110) def. Central District 12.6 (78)

Reserves:

West Adelaide 8.2 (50) def. by South Adelaide 18.13 (121)
Norwood 1.3 (9) def. by Sturt 13.20 (98)
WWT Eagles 14.17 (101) def. Glenelg 5.5 (35)
North Adelaide 9.16 (70) def. by Central District 13.9 (87)

Under 18s:

Central District 3.4 (22) def. by North Adelaide 17.14 (116)
Sturt 16.9 (105) def. Norwood 7.7 (49)
South Adelaide 12.15 (87) def. West Adelaide 10.4 (64)
Glenelg 5.4 (34) def. by WWT Eagles 18.19 (127)

Featured Image: Eagles forward James Rowe (front left) celebrates with teammates | Source: Cory Sutton/SANFL

AFL Draft Watch: Brayden Cook (South Adelaide/South Australia)

IN the midst of football’s long-awaited return, Draft Central takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state in some capacity leading into 2020, or are bolting into draft contention. While plenty has changed 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 South Adelaide’s Brayden Cook, one of the steepest risers among this year’s South Australian crop. The medium forward/wingman has lit up the SANFL Under 18s competition in 2020, proving a match winner for South Adelaide across all-bar two games. Cook’s sizeable vertical leap, clean hands, and ability to find the goals make him a raw prospect with plenty of desirable traits, all of which stood out in quick time to AFL recruiters. He looms as a first round bolter, and is certainly in the mix as one of his state’s top 10 draft chances in 2020. Cook earned an invite to this year’s national combine, credit to his outstanding form.

PLAYER PAGE:

Brayden Cook
South Adelaide/South Australia

DOB: July 18, 2002

Height: 188cm
Weight: 74kg

Position: Wing/Medium Forward

Strengths: Aerial marking, vertical leap, clean hands, scoreboard impact, game-winner
Improvements: Finishing consistency

2020 SANFL U18s averages: 10 games | 19.6 disposals | 7.3 marks (2.3 contested) | 2.1 tackles | 3.9 inside 50s | 0.7 rebound 50s | 1.9 goals (19)

PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

Standing Vertical Leap: 61cm
Running Vertical Leap (R/L): 76cm/74cm
Speed (20m): 3.21 seconds
Agility: 8.62 seconds
Endurance (Yo-yo): 20.8

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

2020 SCOUTING NOTES:

SANFL Under 18s Round 11 vs. Sturt

By: Peter Williams

Cook almost proved a match-winner for the Panthers when he went forward to boot two final term goals early in the period, contributing to his side kicking five consecutive goals and hitting the front. He also missed a couple of chances, but his work one-on-one work was great and his leading quite proficient as well. Had he truly converted the couple of behinds in that final term – finishing with 2.3 for the entire game – he could have had an even bigger day out. Nonetheless, he still finished with the 20 touches and nine marks, looking unstoppable on the lead. His vision is superb, taking the chance to hit up a teammate on the 45-degree kick 30-metres out rather than blazing away from a long-range goal in the opening term. He has high level footy smarts, and while there are still areas to work on, he has some serious quality traits.

SANFL Under 18s Round 10 vs. Central District

By: Michael Alvaro

This year’s first round bolter is building some serious momentum, and while he did not quite have the desired scoreboard impact in this game, Cook showed some promising signs. Starting on the wing, many of Cook’s highlights came through his aerial ability, rising above his opponents to stick some terrific overhead marks. Even when he could not hold onto his marks, the top-ager followed up with handy work at ground level where he proved smooth and evasive on the ball. After being held relatively well in the first term, Cook spent a touch more time forward immediately after the main break and turned provider with a couple of goal assists to Hugo Hoeck. He would only manage three behinds of his own though, as the radar proved a little off. Still, Cook is the kind of player his teammates often looked for when transitioning into attack, and his positioning a kick behind the ball allowed the Panthers to better dictate possession.

SANFL Under 18s Round 9 vs. Glenelg

By: Tom Cheesman

Cook is a fast-rising draft prospect and showed once again that he is a class above Under 18s level, finishing with 23 disposals, 10 marks and a goal. Intercept marking was one of his standout attributes early in the season, and it was great to see this on show at times on Saturday. He worked hard around the ground to collect plenty of possessions and link up with Panthers teammates to transition the ball forward efficiently. He showed that he has great strength too when he took a strong contested one-on-one mark inside 50 in the second term. In the last quarter, he got on the end of a lovely weighted kick from teammate Dylan Brown to kick a major, making up for the more difficult set shot he missed earlier in the game. Cook has proven that he can play a range of positions and it will be very interesting to see where he is placed when playing higher levels of competition.

SANFL Under 18s Round 8 vs. WWT Eagles

By: Tom Wyman

Cook has rocketed up draft boards in recent weeks and the hype will only continue to increase after he won South Adelaide the game off his own boot. Cook started the match on the wing and showed a glimpse of his terrific leap to almost take a great pack mark early on. He sent a laser-like ball inside 50 to the leading Verrall and showed elite acceleration to speed away from his opponent and run into goal, but his kick missed to the near side. Along with his speed, Cook’s penetrating delivery inside-50 was exceptional. He set-up several goals by hand and foot and missed a couple of attempts himself, but late in the third term, Cook booted the first of his five majors. He simply judged the flight of the ball better than everyone else, remained composed and converted the checkside.

Crucially, Cook knows when to have a crack at goal and when to pass it off, but in the fourth quarter it was all about him. He took a terrific one-on-one mark deep inside-50 and goaled to give the Panthers the perfect start to the final term. His third, a freakish soccer goal from the boundary line, was one for the highlight reel and added to South’s late momentum. Just moments after, it appeared he was going to do the same from an identical spot, but as the ball bounced away he tapped it back in and ran back to gather and keep the play alive. Cook’s expert use of the body in marking contests, combined with his vice-like hands and damaging leap proved too much for the Eagles defenders to handle. A potential first round contender, Cook gathered 22 disposals, eight marks (four contested), three tackles and five inside 50s in a breathtaking display up forward.

SANFL Under 18s Round 7 vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

Medium forward, Cook has shown some glimpses of his talent already this season, but his four goal effort against the Redlegs will have really turned some heads. He slotted his first goal from a regulation set-shot after floating across the pack to take a nice mark. Later, Cook swooped at the back of a marking contest and gathered the loose ball cleanly before accelerating away and kicking long for a teammate to run onto and goal from the square. Later in the final term he showed excellent hustle to force a turnover, gather the loose ball and complete a clean pass to Clifton, who then returned the favour by finding him all alone inside-50, where he booted his fourth. Cook’s cleanness by foot, aerial prowess and speed at ground level was exciting to watch and he finished the day with 16 disposals (15 kicks), eight marks (three contested) and four inside 50s.

SANFL Under 18s Round 6 vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

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

SANFL Under 18s Round 5 vs. West Adelaide

By: Tom Cheesman

Cook has been a shining light for the Panthers’ Under 18 side so far this season and had another impressive showing on Saturday. He collected 19 disposals, nine marks, eight inside 50s, and two goals playing on the wing. His aerial ability is fantastic, as he frequently uses his strong vertical leap to meet the ball at its highest point and give his opponent little-to-no chance at spoiling. He did well to push forward and impact the scoreboard in this contest as well, which should be an important feature of his game in the years to come.

SANFL Under 18s Round 2 vs. Glenelg

By: Tom Cheesman

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.

Featured Image: Brayden Cook in action for South Adelaide | Source: Nick Hook/SANFL

>> 2020 AFL National Draft Combine List
>> 2020 South Australia U18s Squad Prediction

>> August 2020 Power Rankings
>> July 2020 Power Rankings
>> September 2020 Power Rankings

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

Allies:
Tahj Abberley
Charlie Byrne
Jackson Callow
Blake Coleman
Braeden Campbell
Alex Davies
Oliver Davis
Errol Gulden
Joel Jeffrey
Patrick Walker

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Zac Dumesny
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Lachlan Jones
Tariek Newchurch
Caleb Poulter
Tom Powell
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Vic Country:
Sam Berry
Tanner Bruhn
Jack Ginnivan
Oliver Henry
Elijah Hollands
Zach Reid
Nick Stevens
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Vic Metro:
Jake Bowey
Jackson Cardillo
Nikolas Cox
Connor Downie
Eddie Ford
Bailey Laurie
Finlay Macrae
Reef McInnes
Archie Perkins
Will Phillips

Western Australia:
Jack Carroll
Heath Chapman
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Zane Trew
Brandon Walker
Joel Western
Isiah Winder

Caught the Eye: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 11

THE TOP junior prospects from South Australia rolled on into Round 11 of the SANFL Under 18s competition, with a number of standouts continuing to emerge. In this edition of Caught the Eye, we have again compiled a list of the best and most promising performers from across the weekend, with one representative from all eight SANFL clubs. For extended profiles on each AFL Academy member and National Combine invitee listed, click on their names highlighted in red. For our full weekend scouting notes, click here.

Glenelg vs. West Adelaide

Jayden Davis
Glenelg | Midfielder/Forward
26/06/2003 | 180cm | 77kg

Stats: 28 disposals, 9 marks, 2 tackles, 2 clearances, 5 inside 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said: “The bottom-aged Davis continued his impressive season at Tigerland with another encouraging performance on Saturday. A versatile prospect, his work rate around the ground enabled him to collect an equal game-high nine marks and have an impact across all zones of the field.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: Davis’ numbers across the past month stack up as well as any other Bays player, and he still has at least another year left in the Under 18s system. The bottom-ager has been crucial to Glenelg’s semblance of competitiveness while its depth has been greatly tested, rotating seamlessly between the midfield and forwardline. He impacts in every third of the ground, most significantly up forward as he bagged another set of multiple goals this time out. Davis is setting up nicely for a big top-age campaign in 2021.

Luke Young
West Adelaide | Key Position Forward
12/02/2003 | 185cm | 86kg

Stats: 17 disposals, 7 marks, 2 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 3 goals

Our scouts said: “The strongly-built key forward tried his best to will his side over the line, booting three goals straight in the first half to keep the Bloods in the contest. The West Adelaide midfielders looked for him up forward whenever possible and he provided a strong presence in attack. He took seven marks for the contest and appeared threatening whenever the ball was in his vicinity.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: Young is another bottom-ager who has built into a rich vein of form lately, and again provided a reliable focal point for West Adelaide despite another loss. A state Under 16 representative in 2019, Young is already a known quantity and utilises every bit of his solid frame to play well above his height. The test for him as a top-ager will be consistently stringing together such an output throughout the season, while proving he can play the same way against mature bodies.

Norwood vs. Central District

Henry Nelligan
Norwood | Midfielder/Small Forward
7/03/2002 | 170cm | 69kg

Stats: 47 disposals, 10 marks, 7 tackles, 8 clearances, 7 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 3 goals

Our scouts said: “(Nelligan) imposed himself on the game with a mammoth first term, which saw him have three shots on goal and cover almost every inch of the ground. His big tank allowed him to be at almost every stoppage where he used his strength and acceleration to be lively and often the most damaging. When he was not plugging holes in his defensive 50 and being a part of every Redlegs’ midfield play, he was resting forward and looking just as dangerous. – Eli Duxson

Verdict: One of a few South Australians who would consider themselves unlucky not to have received a national combine invite, Nelligan will obviously do his draft chances no harm with performances like this. 47 disposals is quite the effort, let alone in 26-minute-flat quarters, and the diminutive midfielder has again proven he is simply a class above many of his fellow Under 18s. Hitting the scoreboard with three goals bodes well for him, as he is more likely to feature as a small forward at senior level. He may be in line for another promotion in 2020 with such form, having made his League debut earlier in the season.

Brodie Tuck
Central District | Defender/Ruck
6/12/2004 

Stats: 21 disposals (17 kicks), 9 marks, 6 tackles, 9 hitouts, 1 clearance, 1 inside 50, 11 rebound 50s

Verdict: Another 16-year-old who is beginning to emerge two seasons out from his draft year, Tuck was exceptional on the weekend in what was a tough game for the Bulldogs. Initially stationed in his usual defensive post, the under-ager went about his usual business with some excellent intercept work and aerial prowess. He even went on to rotate through the ruck, and while he proved a touch undersized, still got his hands on nine hitouts. Having showed plenty of promise, hopefully Tuck can string some more impactful performances together to cap off 2020.

South Adelaide vs. Sturt

Arlo Draper
South Adelaide | Midfielder/Forward
30/01/2003 | 185cm | 71kg

Stats: 29 disposals (23 kicks), 5 marks, 8 tackles, 10 clearances, 8 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 1 goal

Our scouts said: “Pencil in the name to remember for next year because Draper was best on ground as a bottom-ager… every time he went near (the ball) he managed to gain ground and looked like bringing a teammate into the game… he exits the stoppage around the back to get onto his right and has a long kick that can penetrate defensive zones. Hard not to notice him when he stands up in the biggest moments of the game.” – Peter Williams

Verdict: It was another terrific display from Draper, who is really coming into his own as a midfielder. With fellow bottom-agers Jason Horne and Matthew Roberts away from the Under 18s side, Draper has become South’s prime mover through the middle and is beginning to showcase his enormous upside. As the Panthers’ leading disposal getter of late, Draper has shown that he can fill out into a prototypical big-bodied mid, having also proven his prowess up forward already this season.

Ned Grieve
Sturt | General Defender
1/01/2002 | 187cm | 80kg

Stats: 23 disposals, 10 marks (2 contested), 3 tackles, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “Really impressed me playing in defence after a quieter outing last week… often being a rock on the last line. He took a number of crucial one-on-one marks in the second term, and was responsible for switching play out of the back half, showing great composure and being a key player for the Double Blues in the win.” – Peter Williams

Verdict: The top-aged talent has been somewhat of a mainstay for the Double Blues down back, managing nine outings thus far. Grieve’s ability to chime in with key possessions and intercepts across the back half has been important to Sturt’s success in 2020, as he uses his solid frame to sure up the defensive 50. Having proven his worth on multiple occasions already this year, the defender deserves a nod of recognition.

North Adelaide vs. WWT Eagles

Zyton Santillo
North Adelaide | Small Forward
19/10/2003 | 164cm | 62kg*

Stats: 22 disposals, 6 marks, 4 tackles, 2 clearances, 7 inside 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said: “Santillo was one of the best players afield, employed as somewhat of a sub-175m centre half-forward. The diminutive mover presented brilliantly all day for the Roosters, hitting up full-chested at everything his midfielders sent forward. The bottom-ager was also able to mop up at ground level when the delivery was not so flash, zipping his way through traffic and onto his favoured side to hit targets inside 50.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Another state Under 16s squad member from last year, Santillo continues to get busy for North Adelaide up forward. Taking on a role similar to how Tariek Newchurch has been utilised, the diminutive bottom-ager played it perfectly. His zip at ground level, clean hands, creativity, and defensive pressure are all key tropes for small forwards, coming to the fore in arguably his best outing for the year. Santillo gets up the ground well, but seems likely to prove more effective deep inside 50 in future given his size.

* – denotes 2019 measurements

Henry Smith
WWT Eagles | Key Position Forward/Ruck
23/10/2002 | 202cm | 82kg

Stats: 15 disposals, 5 marks (all contested), 5 tackles, 15 hitouts, 2 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said: “Smith rotated between the forwardline and ruck to good effect. He showed some of the upside which earned him a national combine invite, following up well at stoppages while also faring well aerially as expected. Smith was another to use his height to advantage, clunking some big pack marks both around the ground and inside forward 50 against multiple opponents.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: The Woodville-West Torrens bigman complimented Zac Phillips perfectly in the ruck throughout his latest outing, showing some good craft in said area when rotating through. His best work is arguably still done up forward though, with aerial marking his strength – especially given all five of his clunks on the weekend were contested. It is easy to see why Smith received a national combine invite, as his mobility and follow-up work at over 200cm is highly promising.

Featured Image: Jayden Davis in action for Glenelg | Source: Hannah Howard/SANFL

>> 2020 South Australia Under 18s Squad Prediction
>> 2020 Power Rankings: September | July | August

SANFL League Player Focus:
Rd 1 – Corey Durdin
Rd 2 – Riley Thilthorpe
Rd 3 – Lachlan Jones
Rd 8 – Jason Horne & Lachlan Jones

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Zac Dumesny
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Lachlan Jones
Tariek Newchurch
Caleb Poulter
Tom Powell
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

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

Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Glenelg vs. Subiaco

OUR next All-Star Team battle is one between a South Australian club and West Australian club, in Glenelg and Subiaco. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Stephen Kernahan (Glenelg) and Matt Priddis (Subiaco).

TEAMS:

These clubs are seeded ninth (Glenelg) and 24th (Subiaco) respectively, and make up the ultimate clash in the second half of our draw. The winner will qualify for the Round of 16 stage, set to face the winner of our East Perth vs. Sandringham Dragons tie.

STRENGTHS:

The spine of Glenelg’s proposed side is as solid as any other region, boasting solidity down back and some serious firepower up forward. Chris McDermott is at the heart of the lineup, forming the crux of a brilliant midfield which runs deep with the likes of current Lions star Lachie Neale on-ball, while Port Adelaide 300-gamer Kane Cornes slots in on a wing, and Brad Ottens takes the ruck duties. There’s plenty of class in defence too, with prodigal South Australian son Bryce Gibbs covering a half-back base alongside fellow Carlton champion Andrew McKay, supported by three-time Geelong premiership player Andrew Mackie in the back pocket.

Subiaco’s most obvious strength lies in its midfield, boasting a trio of premiership Eagles from differing eras in Dean Kemp, Chad Fletcher, and Dom Sheed across the centreline. Throw in Brownlow medalist Matthew Priddis and Tyson Stenglein – two more former West Coast players – and you have a very strong core to the side. The half-back and half-forward lines also stand out, with Drew Banfield and Daniel Rich down back, while Des Headland and Jarrad Schofield line up in attack.

WEAKNESSES:

Depth is the only glaring weakness for both sides, though both benches are filled with solid players. Barring the Bays’ key position firepower up forward, their front six does not fill out as strongly as other regions, while Subiaco is arguably a star key position player short up both ends, despite some terrific players taking those spots.

SUMMARY:

We are backing Glenelg to get up in this one, boasting a midfield which can compete with the strongest line of Subiaco’s side, and a greater weight of depth throughout.

Which All-Star Team would you pick?
Glenelg
Subiaco
Created with Quiz Maker

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL – Round 11

ROUND 11 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talent, National Combine invitees, and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in.

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.

>> Power Rankings: September Edition

Glenelg vs. West Adelaide

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#8 Hagan Wright

The consistent Wright was once again among Glenelg’s best players in the Tigers’ victory. Wright was typically prolific around the ground and in the contest, showing some great polish by foot for most of the day. The midfielder weaved through traffic nicely on a number of occasions and continues to compile a strong season in a number of roles for the yellow and black. He formed a strong partnership with fellow on-baller Kye Dean, with the pair helping the Bays finish plus-20 in clearances. Wright’s tireless work rate and two-way running was represented by his four inside 50s and five rebounds. He finished the contest with 31 disposals, three marks, two tackles and eight clearances.

#9 Kye Dean

The strong-bodied inside midfielder was terrific for Glenelg in pristine conditions at ACH Group Stadium. He worked hard for all four quarters and set the tone from the get-go with his fearless attack on the football, contested ball winning, and stoppage nous. Dean was active at stoppages, constantly on the move and battling to get to the front position. Although his work in the coal-face was most recognisable, he was also able to have an impact going forward, providing the Glenelg forwards with six inside 50s in a strong outing from the 18-year-old. Dean finished with an equal game-high 31 disposals, five marks, four tackles, eight clearances and six inside 50s.

#19 Jayden Davis

The bottom-aged Davis continued his impressive season at Tigerland with another encouraging performance on Saturday. A versatile prospect, his work rate around the ground enabled him to collect an equal game-high nine marks and have an impact across all zones of the field. Davis has demonstrated his abilities in front of goal on numerous occasions this year, and added another two to his season tally. A natural ball-winner, Davis worked himself into excellent positions around the ground to gather 28 disposals and five inside 50s. Having established himself at Under 18s level this season, expect Davis to continue to grow into one of South Australia’s most promising talents.

#23 Callum Park (League) 

In his distinct long-sleeves, Park showcased his neat skillset and athleticism from his role in defence. The teenager accumulated eight rebounds in the Tigers’ big win, setting up several scoring opportunities with his vision and skill execution from the defensive half. Although slight in build, Park is a nice size and is one of a handful of mature-aged South Australians to cement their spots at League level in 2020.

#27 Luke Parks (League)

The talented Sydney Swans Academy graduate spent a considerable amount of time down in the rooms with what appeared to be a finger dislocation or hand injury. However, he returned to the field and was still able to have an impact on the game from defence, taking six grabs. One of the SANFL’s best markers, Parks has attracted some attention after making an eye-catching start to his senior football career in South Australia.

Others:

Under 18s bigman Sam Potter was clearly the dominant ruckman on the ground, accumulating 12 possessions and 31 hit-outs. Up forward, Calvin Perks certainly made the most of his touches, booting six goals and one behind from just seven disposals. He also provided a chop-out in the ruck for the aforementioned Potter, winning eleven hit-outs. William Watts was another Tiger to find plenty of the ball, concluding the successful outing with 27 disposals, six marks, four tackles and three clearances. In the Reserves, Luke Edwards kicked the first goal of the match and looked comfortable upon his return from concussion.

>> MORE GLENELG CONTENT

West Adelaide:

#4 Cade Kennedy

The West Adelaide bottom-ager produced another promising showing through the midfield. Despite his side being comprehensively beaten in the contest, Kennedy refused to back down and also showed some nice skills away from the congestion. His high work rate between the arcs was again impressive, as was his kicking on both sides of his body. Kennedy has strung a couple of nice games together for the Bloods over the past month and will look to carry this late-season momentum into his draft-eligible campaign in 2021. Kennedy finished with 18 disposals, four marks, five tackles and seven inside 50s and was one of few Bloods to generate some offensive spark through the centre of the ground.

#10 Eduard Van den berg

The reliable Van den berg refused to back down even when his side was struggling to keep up with the accurate Bays. West Adelaide’s leading ball winner, Van den berg spent time down back and also pushed up into the midfield at various stages, and was able to have an impact in both roles. He provided some valuable rebound from defence (five rebound 50s) and finished the game with 20 disposals, six marks and five tackles.

#20 Luke Young

The strongly-built key forward tried his best to will his side over the line, booting three goals straight in the first half to keep the Bloods in the contest. The West Adelaide midfielders looked for him up forward whenever possible and he provided a strong presence in attack. He took seven marks for the contest and appeared threatening whenever the ball was in his vicinity. Despite the Bloods slumping to their tenth loss of the campaign, the bottom-aged centre half-forward will certainly have taken plenty of confidence from his performance at the Bay. He finished with 17 disposals and five inside 50s.

#24 Jye Sinderberry

It was a difficult day for the West Adelaide defenders, but key defender Sinderberry was one of the Bloods’ best performers. One of twenty South Australians invited to the draft combine, Sinderberry’s overhead marking strength was once again on display as he hauled in five grabs, including a strong contested pack clunk. He distributed the ball well by foot for the majority of the contest and demonstrated why recruiters see plenty of upside in the number 24, despite being a few centimetres short of the traditional key position height. Sinderberry finished with 19 disposals and three rebound 50s.

>> MORE WEST ADELAIDE CONTENT

Norwood vs. Central District

By: Eli Duxson

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

It was a monster game from Murley as he ended up with 40 disposals, three goals, five clearances, and 11 inside 50s. His acceleration and agility with ball in hand was impressive and he looked so elusive to his opposition, but it was his groundwork that was equally impressive. A one-touch player, Murley so often reeled in innate one-handed gathers pulling away from his body which he made look so easy under pressure. His first goal came in the second quarter with a left foot snap, looking very comfortable on either side of his body.

His second half highlighted his lethal outside ability as his speed and efficient ball use allowed him to be very damaging in his forward half, as he was often doing as he liked. Rotating through the forward line in the final quarter snagged him another two goals; one snapped on his right boot after repeat efforts, and the other a set shot from just inside 50 on a slight angle. If he was not hurting you enough on the inside, his spread and speed on the outside definitely was. Murley’s inside to outside blend was very well done, and his stats show he was dominant all game.

#5 Henry Nelligan

Not to be outdone was the compact Nelligan and his whopping 47 disposals, three goals, 10 marks, seven tackles, and eight clearances. He imposed himself on the game with a mammoth first term which saw him have three shots on goal and cover almost every inch of the ground. His big tank allowed him to be at almost every stoppage where he used his strength and acceleration to be lively and often the most damaging. When he was not plugging holes in his defensive 50 and being a part of every Redlegs midfield play, he was resting forward and looking just as dangerous. Whether it was slotting a set shot from 45 metres or being front and centre at a contest, you could not help but feel like he was going to do something.

The second half saw him maintain his play, allowing him to show off his ability on either side of his body and just how strong he is through his core and hips – looking difficult to tackle. He kicked another long set shot in the third quarter and crumbed a contest in the fourth to kick his third goal from the goalsquare to truly round out his incredible day out. In what looked like a direct rotation with Murley, he loomed just as dangerously up forward as he did in the guts and basked in what was a dominant day for both him and Norwood.

#9 Riley Verrall

With just 11 scoring shots coming from 26 Glenelg inside 50s in a big win for Norwood, the numbers would suggest that Verrall had a decent day out in the defensive half. His 21 disposals and seven marks only confirm that as he looked clean with his gathers below the knees and disposal with either hand or foot. He also showed a strong ability to intercept mark, using his body well in several marking contests.

His athleticism and physicality were good and was very reliable in one-on-one contests. His teammates appeared to trust him around the ball as they often backed him in to win the contest and be there for the handball receive. A solid defender who gathered plenty of his own ball but did appear on his own on a couple of occasions in his defensive 50. It did not hurt Norwood on the scoreboard though, so ended as a very solid performance from Verrall.

#38 Cole Gerloff (League)

Gerloff was a bit quiet in the first half and did not start the game as he would have liked, giving away a downfield free kick which led to a Bulldogs goal. Rotating between the midfield and half-forward, he showed a strong tackling ability and physical presence, but barring the one clearance, he was not overly damaging with ball in hand.

His second half turned that around as he managed two shots on goal in the third quarter. The first one saw him do well to manufacture a snap out of a forward 50 throw-in, which he could not quite work back to score. The second one saw him take a gutsy mark falling back into the contest and after being well held for much of the game, he hit the scoreboard after drilling the set shot from just inside 50. Proving this was no fluke, he continued to take another two contested marks, showing strength and resilience after copping a swipe to the head. He was busy in the final quarter and looked good at stoppages when on the move and though he does not have blistering pace, he works hard and gets in and under.

Others:

There were many contributions in the big Under 18s win for the Redlegs, but Nathan Hearing’s game was outstanding. The ruckman looked to be athletic for his size, immovable at the contest, a serial one-percenter enthusiast, and very good at following up his work in the ruck. He found his way to 21 hit outs, 23 disposals, seven inside 50s, and five clearances. Billy Haebich also found plenty of it with 24 disposals while Tom McDonald and Nathan Maunder each kicked three goals.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

Central District:

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

It was not a good day for Durdin as he appears to have re-injured his hamstring early in the game having just returned from a stint on the sidelines. After earning an invite to the draft combine during the week, he managed just one disposal before the injury and is expected to miss three weeks of action – putting him in a race against time to play again this season.

Others:

There were not many standouts for the Bulldogs in the heavy defeat in the Under 18s. Matthew Borlace managed 25 disposals in the busy backline, being entrusted with the kick-out duties, while Brodie Tuck was equally as busy with 21 disposals and 11 rebound 50s. Luigi Mondello looked lively and threatening with his speed and zip, but looked to lack effort in the contest at times. He finished with 15 disposals and two behinds. Michael De Jonge was also serviceable with 15 disposals and 12 tackles. NT prospect Brodie Lake made his Reserves debut, booting a goal in the Bulldogs’ big win.

>> MORE CENTRAL DISTRICT CONTENT

South Adelaide vs. Sturt

By: Peter Williams

South Adelaide:

#10 Brayden Cook

Cook almost proved a match-winner for the Panthers when he went forward to boot two final term goals early in the period, contributing to his side kicking five consecutive goals and hitting the front. He also missed a couple of chances, but his work one-on-one work was great and his leading quite proficient as well. Had he truly converted the couple of behinds in that final term – finishing with 2.3 for the entire game – he could have had an even bigger day out. Nonetheless, he still finished with the 20 touches and nine marks, looking unstoppable on the lead. His vision is superb, taking the chance to hit up a teammate on the 45-degree kick 30-metres out rather than blazing away from a long-range goal in the opening term. He has high level footy smarts, and while there are still areas to work on, he has some serious quality traits.

#33 Arlo Draper

Pencil in the name to remember for next year because Draper was best on ground as a bottom-ager. He finished with an impressive 29 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, 10 clearances and eight inside 50s, but every time he went near it he managed to gain ground and looked like bringing a teammate into the game. He kicked the easiest of goals from the goalsquare late in the first term, and while he had been solid in the first three quarters, he almost hauled the Panthers across the line in the final term. He had five consecutive clearances from stoppages he attended through the final period, of which a couple led to goals and another couple led to scoring opportunities. He exits the stoppage around the back to get onto his right and has a long kick that can penetrate defensive zones. Hard not to notice him when he stands up in the biggest moments of the game.

#33 Jason Horne (League)

The bottom-ager looked classy at the level and while he did not win a heap of the footy, he did enough to show why he is already in contention for the number one pick next year. Kicking a goal midway through the final term to put his side back in front, he took a great mark close to the boundary line in the second term and kicked right to the danger spot with a booming kick. He then only narrowly missed a shot not long after as it hit the post from 50-metres out. He made good decisions with ball-in-hand and whilst a quick snap early in the third drifted way wide, he showed his toughness in the opening 10 seconds of the final term where he copped front-on contact and was down for a while but got back up and played out the match to finish with 10 disposals, three marks, three tackles and a goal.

#45 Daly Andrews (League)

Was able to show his trademark speed along the outside and use his raking boot to advantage to break down the opposition defensive zone. He played predominantly off a wing to try and break the lines, and he did so in the third term when he ran from the defensive side of the wing to half-forward and kick inside 50. He might have occasionally had a few loopy high kicks that were rushed, but he did his job through his run-and-carry, and was not afraid to take the game on.

Others:

Sam Hinders and Jayden Little both had the 24 touches, whilst combining for 20 marks and 14 rebound 50s holding up the fort in defence. Max Clifton buzzed around the ground working hard for 22 disposals, four marks, three tackles and three clearances, while Dylan Brown racked up seven clearances from his 17 disposals, three marks and three tackles.

>> MORE SOUTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

Sturt:

#17 Mani Liddy

Did not have the same influence as the week before with just one clearance – after 10 against West Adelaide – but still worked hard across the four quarters. He won the ball in each third, and more importantly was able to get free and impact the scoreboard as well. He finished with a couple of goals, including one after an intercept mark where his kick from 50-metres sailed home in the opening term. He showed quick hands around the stoppage and was able to give it off to Tom Powell who kicked a great goal on the run in the third term, with Liddy having a chance at a third goal with a dribble shot but it missed in the opening minute of the final quarter.

#18 Tom Powell

Much like Liddy, did not have the same impact as the week before, but still racked up the pill 27 times and had 10 clearances. His third term goal was a ripper on the run, and his strength around the stoppages was still evident. What Powell does so well is his clean hands at ground level, showing an elite pick-up off the deck to bounce off an opponent and handball to a free teammate on the wing. In that instant, he assessed what he needed to do and made a great decision by hand and used his vision well. His pressure in the second term allowed a teammate to kick a goal, keeping the ball in play deep in attack. His work rate never wavered and he was able to hit up a teammate leading out from goal in the third term.

#27 Ned Grieve

Really impressed me playing in defence after a quieter outing last week. The intercept defender had 23 disposals, 10 marks and a couple of rebounds, often being a rock on the last line. He took a number of crucial one-on-one marks in the second term, and was responsible for switching play out of the back half, showing great composure and being a key player for the Double Blues in the win.

#2 Tom Lewis (League)

Put in a tireless effort around the ground and was often found firing out quick handballs to teammates and standing up in tackles. Lewis has a neat sidestep that can wrong foot opponents, which he did on a number of occasions whilst under pressure to kick long inside 50. After helping set up teammates, Lewis fittingly got on the end of the sealer, kicking a great goal in the 17th minute of the final term out of nothing to ice the game.

#17 Jed McEntee (League)

Not as prolific as past weeks, but just so strong around the stoppages. He made a few mistakes – such as being pinged for holding the ball or dropping a mark – but his effort was there throughout four quarters. His strength when being tackled sees him often getting his hands free, and his tackling pressure itself is a feature of his game. In a tight match, his equal game-high 10 tackles were superb. A low bullet pass to half-forward in the third term was also eye-catching.

#29 James Borlase (League)

Much like McEntee was not as prolific as the week before when he shone on debut. What stood out was his ability to pick himself up after an early mistake – he dropped an uncontested mark leading to a South goal – to remain composed under pressure coming out of the back 50. Some of his kicks were superb, with one elite kick coming in the third term off the back of a one-on-one intercept mark to hit up McEntee in the middle on that 45-degree angle. He read the ball flight in the final term to take a strong mark 20 metres out from defensive goal, and showed great pressure to force a turnover just moments earlier.

#46 Jack Henderson (League)

Was one of the best afield for his work across four quarters, always looking lively and dangerous with ball-in-hand. He had a shot on goal in the opening term but it was touched across the line, before going on to set up a number of goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates. He copped contact in the second term on the wing but bounced straight back up with a good inside 50 to Ash Johnson for a goal, and then did it again by taking the game on in the third term and hitting up a leading Oliver Grivell. He got his reward for effort with a goal of his own to put the icing on the cake with a snap around the body in the 27th minute of the final term.

Others:

Lachlan Thomas found plenty of the ball racking up 22 touches and eight marks on the outside, while Ethan Field had the two clearances to go with 21 disposals and eight marks. Jacob Ferrari provided good support through the ruck picking up 16 disposals, five marks, 13 hitouts, four tackles, three clearances and a goal, whilst Jordan Opperman booted 3.2 from 13 touches and five marks.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

North Adelaide vs. WWT Eagles

By: Michael Alvaro

North Adelaide:

#18 James Willis

The bottom-ager built brilliantly into the game, generating some terrific drive for North Adelaide from midfield. He looked lively early in the forward half, but was also sighted digging in up the other end as the Roosters tried to turn the tide in their favour. Willis’ pace and dare through the middle really came to the fore after half time, as he willed his side forward with bursting runs and strong play at the contest, while also doing his bit defensively with some terrific tackling pressure. His attack-minded approach in transition and ability to chain possessions with repeat running proved key for the Roosters, even if he spurned a few kicks. The 180cm prospect finished with 22 disposals and six tackles in an impactful display.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

This game was another instance where Newchurch proved that he does not need a whole lot of opportunities to make his mark on the contest. The Adelaide Crows NGA hopeful popped up in spurts throughout the game, starting up forward but attending the stoppages further afield in general play. His lightning quick first five steps and overall evasive technique allowed him to weave out of congestion, with clean hands making his work all the more easy. He hit the scoreboard after half time having drifted a touch, gathering off hands and snapping a clever goal over his shoulder in the third term. Newchurch’s second goal was just as impressive, as he again gained separation at the fall of the ball, wheeled onto his right side, and slammed the ball home. He did miss a couple of late chances to seal the game, but got in the right places. His impact is always high, but consistency is a lingering area of improvement.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

Another Crows NGA prospect, O’Loughlin was busy as ever in his defensive post. The bottom-ager provided a terrific balance of offensive and defensive work to the back six, sweeping up the loose balls and rebounding with speed. A pleasing part of his game was the ability to sense when to run off through the corridor for a handball receive, bringing that speed and his kicking prowess to the fore on the break. While he was well held at times and saw a few clearing kicks come straight back, O’Loughlin lifted when it mattered and showed good urgency late in the game with his ability to penetrate off half-back. He finished with a game-high 28 disposals – 23 of which were kicks.

#29 Zyton Santillo

Santillo was one of the best players afield, employed as somewhat of a sub-180cm centre half-forward. The diminutive mover presented brilliantly all day for the Roosters, hitting up full-chested at everything his midfielders sent forward. The bottom-ager was also able to mop up at ground level when the delivery was not so flash, zipping his way through traffic and onto his favoured side to hit targets inside 50. An Under 16 state representative last year, there is plenty to like about Santillo as a small forward who gets busy. His tackling pressure was also on point, and he capped off his 22-disposal performance with a goal in the third term.

Others:

Matthew Borg and Jayden Davison were the other midfield mainstays, finding a good amount of ball each with 27 and 24 disposals respectively. Borg often looked to burst away and help the Roosters break forward, while Davison accumulated well through the corridor and booted a classy goal. They were supported well by ruckman Isaac Keeler, who contributed 21 disposals and six clearances. Kyle Brazell and Lam Simon had their shining moments, while Kane Flanagan and Tyler McKenzie battled brilliantly down back against good opposition.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

WWT Eagles:

#3 Taj Schofield

It was an up-and-down day from the Port Adelaide father-son prospect, who was often in the game but struggled to have his usual impact. Stationed out on the wing once again, Schofield did well to sense which direction the ball was headed from the centre bounces, running hard both ways to either create an outlet or impact the next contest. He was a touch fumbly under pressure at ground level and tended to air his kicks a little on the break, but is usually quite sharp in those areas. Schofield had a couple of chances to hit the scoreboard in the second half, coming closest with a free kick which cannoned into the post. 16 disposals and five inside 50s was his final stat-line, a good base to improve upon.

#19 Zachary Phillips

It has not always been his major strength this season, but some of Phillips’ ruckwork on this occasion was unbelievably good. In what seemed to be a series of set plays, the 200cm bigman was constantly able to find his midfielders on the move at centre bounces and stoppages, palming down deft touches into the perfect space. North Adelaide caught onto a few of the said plays, but that was not before he sent just about every one of his midfielders on their way with well-directed hits. Phillips also spent a good deal of time up forward, stationed deep inside attacking 50. He used his height to advantage, particularly late when he snagged his second goal after marking over the top of his smaller opponent in the goalsquare. That major gave the Eagles a sniff, but they ultimately fell short. 30 hitouts for Phillips in the end, many of which were to advantage.

#25 Henry Smith

The second of Woodville-West Torrens’ 200cm prospects, Smith rotated between the forwardline and ruck to good effect. He showed some of the upside which earned him a national combine invite, following up well at stoppages while also faring well aerially as expected. Smith was another to use his height to advantage, clunking some big pack marks both around the ground and inside forward 50 against multiple opponents. Remarkably, all five of his marks were contested. While perhaps more of a lead-up forward prospect, Smith’s ruck craft was reasonably sound as he finished the game with 15 disposals, 15 hitouts, and fourth-term a goal.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Burgoyne simply continues to win mountains of possessions for the Eagles, rotating beautifully through midfield from defence. The potential 2021 Port Adelaide father-son prospect constantly looked to break forward off half-back, sweeping up the loose ball and even chaining some running bounces. The bottom-ager put his usually sharp short-range kicking to one side on this occasion, more often opting to kick long down the line and gain meterage in the heat of the contest. In midfield, he benefitted from the ruckwork of Zac Phillips to break forward with speed, and was one of many Eagles to up the intensity when the game was up for grabs late. Burgoyne finished with a team-high 27 disposals and eight clearances, while penetrating either arc four times apiece.

Others:

Harrison Dawkins showed good strength through midfield and was impactful in the dying stages, managing 24 disposals and six inside 50s for the Eagles. Max Litster was busy early en route to 21 touches and six inside 50s, while Jordan Kasianowicz provided a good link forward for his side. Kasianowicz also sunk a pair of long-range majors, capping off a terrific outing. Brock Thomson was another to impress down back, while Jack Wheare booted three goals in a strong showing up forward.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

Featured image: Callum Park in action for Glenelg | Source: Gordon Anderson/SANFL

Draft Central Power Rankings: September 2020

THE VERDICT is in after another terrific month of football from the latest crop of budding AFL draftees. Victorian prospects remain starved of action, but the best and brightest from around the nation have been stamping their claims, making for some interesting movers and sliders. In Draft Central‘s third Power Rankings edition for 2020, we extend our list out to 25 names, with key adjustments made to our initial July and August analyses. A certain West Australian key forward continues to rise steeply, while the Northern Territory gains a representative in the extended cut. All that, and more in our September Power Rankings update.

Note, the list is ordered purely on our opinion and each players’ ability, not taking into account any AFL clubs’ lists or needs.

#1 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Country | Key Position Forward
4/04/2002 | 194cm | 84kg

Western Bulldogs fans may not entirely enjoy seeing Next Generation Academy (NGA) product, Ugle-Hagan perched atop the tree given the hefty price that comes with it, but should be buoyed by their club having first dibs on such a remarkable talent. The 194cm key position forward has been compared to champion goalkicker Lance Franklin for his athleticism and left-foot kick, but he plays a little differently. Ugle-Hagan’s pace off the lead and sticky hands overhead set him apart, while elite scores in each of the preseason testing events make him an irresistible prospect alone. He is the consensus number one choice at this point, having delivered on the hype as he moved to the Oakleigh region via a scholarship with Scotch College.

August Ranking: #1

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

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

#2 Elijah Hollands
Murray Bushrangers/Vic County | Forward/Midfielder
25/04/2002 | 188cm | 80kg

Hollands’ placing in these rankings will inevitably prove one of the hardest to call throughout the year, given he is set to sit out the entire 2020 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). At this point though, he has done more than enough to warrant top five status at the least, and finds a place in second spot once again. While his knack for producing game-defining periods has most significantly been achieved forward of centre, Hollands has the size and skill to warrant his goal of earning more midfield minutes. With clean hands, athleticism, and a booming boot which often finds the goals, Hollands is all you could ever want from a high-ceiling prospect. Not playing shouldn’t hurt his value too much, but it would have been nice to see him get an uninterrupted crack at NAB League level having finished his schooling at Caulfield Grammar.

August Ranking: #2

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League, and recovery from long-term knee injury.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

A dominant key position forward with terrific endurance is McDonald, who adds to the strong tall and West Australian representation on this list. The high-marking spearhead ran out for his state thrice during last year’s Under 18 National Championships, averaging a goal per game and impressing with his ability to clunk marks leading up the ground. He has terrific hands on the lead and usually has no trouble finding the big sticks, while his high-level endurance confirms his status as a true, modern-day centre half-forward. Having grown and filled out to a more conventional key position size, expect McDonald to better showcase his game-winning ability from forward of centre – something which earned him All-Australian honours as an Under 16s player.

August Ranking: #9

Last Month: McDonald has been arguably the most consistent key position performer of all the players on this list; at the highest possible level, no less. He now sits second in the WAFL League goalkicking charts, having booted 13 goals across his five August/September outings. He boasts 20 goals in seven games overall, and has not yet failed to kick multiple goals. Even if he is having a quiet patch, McDonald has been able to make an impact and take full toll with what the Perth midfielders deliver his way. He will continue to provide a focal point as the Demons push for finals, with his conversion from range, marking on the lead, and one-on-one work deep inside 50 all excellent for his age.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

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

Another tall amongst the top five, and a versatile one at that. While he is definitely most comfortable and renowned as a key position defender, the Swan Districts hopeful’s versatility lies in the varying roles he play inside defensive 50. Credit to his athleticism and slender frame, he is able to keep up with medium types at ground level, while also showing form as a lockdown type on the opposition’s best big forward, or as an intercept marking outlet. Grainger-Barras is a cool head in possession too, boasting a sound kick for his size and composure beyond his years. That same level-headedness and footballing IQ makes him a sound reader of the play from the back, and the leading option in his position.

August Ranking: #4

Last Month: Another consistent performer, Grainger-Barras is still capable of delivering some ‘wow’ moments. Most recently, he produced a starring second half against McDonald and the Perth Demons, bouncing back from a lacklustre opening half to help Swan Districts power to victory. While he is still quite light for a key position prospect, Grainger-Barras showed he is not afraid to wear contact on that day, leaping for some incredible intercept marks while directly opposed to his State Under 18s teammate. He may get knocked around a touch, but loves a bit of niggle and stands up against mature bodies. Over the past month, the 18-year-old averaged 11.6 disposals and 5.2 marks per his five games, good enough to hold his spot.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus

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

We all marvelled at how well Oakleigh graduates Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson have adapted to life in the AFL, and Phillips could be the next Charger in line to do just that having leant on the pair during his bottom-aged campaign. Like Rowell, Phillips is a sub-180cm prospect who consistently finds plenty of the ball and possesses great leadership qualities. He is a well-balanced midfielder too, having plied his trade at times on the outside for Oakleigh en route to premiership glory. Phillips seems to thrive on the inside though, with his hardness and ability to weave through traffic making him an invaluable stoppage asset. The Caulfield Grammar student was set to juggle APS football and NAB League duties in 2020, while standing as a clear leadership candidate for Vic Metro come national carnival time – all before the pandemic hit.

August Ranking: #3

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#6 Riley Thilthorpe
West Adelaide/South Australia | Ruck/Key Position Forward
7/07/2002 | 200cm | 99kg

In a welcome change from last year’s crop, key position prospects will be in abundance at the top end. Thilthorpe is one of them, an athletic ruck/forward who possesses enormous running capacity and can dominate the airways. In his ruck duties, the 200cm West Adelaide product plays more like a fourth midfielder, able to follow up at ground level and cover the ground like a small. He has been utilised in a more forward-oriented role for the Bloods at SANFL League level though, with his goalkicking attributes and diverse skillset already making him a handful for senior players with more mature bodies. Ask any of the South Australian Under 18s who they are most looking forward to playing alongside in 2020, and Thilthorpe is among them. Jot the name down, he should be among those you are most looking forward to watching, too.

August Ranking: #5

Last Month: West Adelaide has managed Thilthorpe over the last two weeks as he nurses a groin complaint, bringing an end to his streak of nine-straight League appearances since Round 1. The bigman had been enjoying some time in a variety of roles; from his usual key forward post, to some added responsibility in the ruck rotation, and even venturing up onto a wing. In his four August outings, Thilthorpe was kept goalless thrice, averaging 11.8 disposals, four marks, and over 12 hitouts to be squeezed just outside of the top five. He still has runs on the board and hopefully gets back into the swing of things to finish off the SANFL season.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

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

While he has again been squeezed out to number seven, Campbell is a player who could potentially sit among the top five come season’s end. Uncertainty lingers over how much exposure NSW/ACT athletes will be able to gain in 2020 given the NEAFL and NAB League scrappings, but one must only watch last year’s Under 17 Futures All-Star showcase to be reminded of Campbell’s talent. He was best-afield in that game, with electrifying speed, hardness at the ball, and a booming left-foot kick catching the eye of all who bore witness. The Swans Academy product is also apt in the short range as well, and has the invaluable ability to impact games in multiple positions. Whether it be on the inside, outside, or forward of centre, Campbell is a match-winner and should cost the Swans a pretty penny in terms of draft points.

August Ranking: #6

Last Month: Campbell returned to AFL Sydney Premier Division football this past weekend for Pennant Hills, booting a goal in the Demons’ 80-point victory over East Coast. That came after he turned out twice for the Sydney Swans Academy, helping his side claim Academy Series points over the GWS GIANTS Academy on both occasions. He looked a class above in those outings, able to win the ball at will through midfield, while showcasing his versatility and remaining a goalkicking threat going forward.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus

#8 Tanner Bruhn
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
27/05/2002 | 182cm | 73kg

Class with a capital ‘C’ is what Bruhn has been described as, despite his limited on-field opportunities of late. The Geelong Falcons midfielder burst onto the scene as Vic Country’s Under 16 MVP in 2018, but injuries have cruelled him since; having initially required knee surgery after a 2019 preseason incident, and undergone a follow-up procedure that would have had him in doubt to feature early this year. He still managed to add two NAB League outings to his resume towards the end of last season, showcasing his terrific stoppage craft with clean hands and wonderful movement around the ball. Should he eventually enjoy an extended run and put his best form on display, Bruhn could well push to be the premier midfielder of this year’s bunch.

August Ranking: #7

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#9 Nikolas Cox
Northern Knights/Vic Metro | Key Position Defender/Utility
15/01/2002 | 199cm | 82kg

A 199cm player who can run, kick on both sides, and play just about anywhere? It sounds too good to be true, but that is exactly what Cox brings to the table as his region’s most outstanding draft candidate. Cox cut his teeth as a tall wingman and key position swingman in 2019, juggling his time between school football, 10 NAB League outings, and a berth in the Under 18 Vic Metro squad as a bottom-ager. In 2020, the Northern Knights co-captain is set to develop as a centre-half back, with his athleticism and versatility in the role lending to the fact he has an enormous ceiling. He is also set to be a prime candidate to lead Vic Metro should the Vics get on the park, lauded for his professionalism and the example he sets via training standards.

August Ranking: #8

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and AGSV Football.

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

#10 Lachlan Jones
WWT Eagles/South Australia | General Defender
9/04/2002 | 185cm | 89kg

Yet another NGA prospect, Jones is tied to Port Adelaide and features quite highly on this list. His big frame has seen him adjust well to the rigours of SANFL League football, running out against mature bodies in all of the Eagles’ fixtures thus far. As a general defender, Jones possesses obvious hardness at the ball and can compete both aerially and at ground level, remaining relevant going both ways too. His skills are also a big asset, able to spear passes to high percentage options while also breaking games open with his long-range efforts. Jones may well be one to push further up the list as he progresses in 2020, with some solid traits which point to a quick transition into the next level.

August Ranking: #12

Last Month: Jones remains the sole South Australian Under 18 on this list to have turned out at League level for every round this season, as he goes from strength to strength. The Eagles are in the box seat to take out the minor premiership, with the Port Adelaide NGA prospect an established part of the side’s defence in a variety of roles. In his six outings since August 1, Jones has averaged 11.5 disposals, 3.5 marks, and four rebound 50s, returning to his best with 16 touches and eight rebounds against North Adelaide in Round 11. He has consistently been able to intercept, play both tall and small, and rebound effectively against mature bodies, bumping him up to #10.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus Round 3 | Round 8

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

One of Western Australia’s leading prospects is O’Driscoll, a hard-at-it inside midfielder who can also double as a damaging half-back or wingman. The 187cm Perth Demons product was a standout at Colts level last year, while also breaking through for three outings in the Black Ducks’ Under 18 National Championships campaign as a bottom-ager. Having learnt off the likes of former Perth teammate and Brisbane draftee, Deven Robertson, O’Driscoll is primed to become a permanent midfield fixture haven already proven his ball winning capabilities. His penetrating boot and speed-endurance mix make him a prospect with many desirable traits, not to mention his older sister, Emma is already plying her trade at AFLW level for Fremantle.

August Ranking: #13

Last Month: After his third and final Colts outing in early-August, O’Driscoll earned a Reserves berth in Round 5, before being immediately promoted to the League side. After a steady debut, O’Driscoll has racked up 20 and 15 disposals over the last fortnight, benefitting from being allowed an extended run through midfield. The 18-year-old has showcased his toughness and hard-running ability at senior level, leaving nothing left in the tank. He works hard for his possessions and is equally as relevant in his defensive duties for the most part. There has been some conjecture about his range, we feel his current form and future scope lands him just outside the top 10.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus

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

A second Northern Academy prospect and the first Queenslander on this list, Davies is one of the more highly touted big-bodied midfielders of his cohort. Standing at 191cm and filling out to 85kg, the SUNS Academy hopeful boasts the ideal size to not only dominate his junior competitors, but more importantly make an immediate impact at the next level. He has been his state’s prime ball winner for some time and thrives on racking up high contested numbers, but has also displayed terrific poise in traffic and adds releasing handballs to his thumping kicks away from the stoppages. He ran out for four of Gold Coast’s NAB League outings as a bottom-ager, and should prove a key figure among the Allies squad in 2020.

August Ranking: #10

Last Month: Davies was set to line up for the Gold Coast SUNS in August’s Academy Series, but suffered an elbow injury which ruled him out of action early in the month. He faces a race against the clock to return in time for Broadbeach’s upcoming QAFL finals campaign, which begins next week for the minor premiers.

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

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

Sitting outside the top 10 due to others’ rises is another inside midfielder and a second NGA product from both the Scotch College and Oakleigh Chargers systems. Attached to Collingwood, McInnes is set to be yet another in the production line of academy and father-son prospects made available to the Magpies, and looms as a first round candidate. While he was pushed out to the forward line in Oakleigh’s stacked premiership side, McInnes is a bull on the inside who can dominate at stoppages. He is hardly the typical slow, strength-dependant type either, able to lean on his agility and awareness to effectively extract from midfield. The versatility he was made to learn as a bottom-ager adds another string to his bow, with goals a valuable part of his game in 2019.

August Ranking: #11

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

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

#14 Kaine Baldwin
Glenelg/South Australia | Key Position Forward
30/05/2002 | 193cm | 92kg

The news of Baldwin’s second ACL tear in as many years – albeit partial this time – was shattering. It means the promising 193cm forward will miss out on yet another season of football after earning All Australian honours at Under 16s level in 2018, and a crack at the SANFL Reserves grade as a bottom-ager. In our eyes, he remains a first round prospect on talent alone, and looked poised to really crack on in 2020 after his initial recovery. He was a handy preseason testing performer, with good returns in the vertical jumps and yo-yo test conveying Baldwin’s ability to crash packs and clunk big contested marks, while also harnessing that aerial dominance in his work up the ground.

August Ranking: #14

Last Month: Inactive due to recovery from long-term knee injury, but earned a National Combine invite for September 30.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#15 Zach Reid
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Key Position Defender/Utility
2/03/2002 | 202cm | 82kg

A versatile tall who could push for top 10 status, Reid returned a consistent output during his bottom-age season as a key member of Gippsland’s spine. He was tried up either end and through the ruck across 15 NAB League outings, but looked most comfortable down back and should find a home there once again in 2020. At 202cm, Reid is filling out nicely and can utilise that added strength to compete better one-on-one against big key forwards. He is a terrific judge of the ball in flight and positions intelligently, not just relying on his height to compete aerially. Reid is also both a sound handler and user of the ball for his size, providing a cool head in rebounding transitions.

August Ranking: #15

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and Gippsland Football League.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#16 Heath Chapman
West Perth/Western Australia | Key Position Defender
31/01/2002 | 193cm | 81kg

A player who has risen into top 20 calculations, Chapman is a key position defender with many points of difference. Having cut his teeth in the role during his bottom-age year, the 193cm prospect has been able to roll off as a third tall down back for West Perth in 2020, utilising his shrewd reading of the play and athleticism to provide dominant intercept marking prowess. His ability to open up the play in transition with long, rebounding kicks is Chapman’s other key strength, making him a versatile defensive outlet who finds plenty of the ball. Given his size and athletic attributes, that third tall prototype seems his most likely avenue to the elite level, though he is just as capable competing as a more traditional key position player.

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: Chapman is the only new player inside this month’s top 20, rising all the way up to #16 on the back of some impressive form. From Rounds 3 to 6 in the WAFL Colts, Chapman averaged a remarkable 25.8 disposals and 8.8 marks down back, enough to earn him a League debut this past weekend. The 18-year-old reeled in five marks among his 11 touches, making for a promising start to life at senior level. With the ability to mark and use the ball so efficiently for his size, Chapman is a player with plenty of desirable traits. West Perth is in the finals race, so hopefully Chapman can hold his League spot and impress under post-season pressure.

>> Draft Watch

#17 Oliver Henry
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Medium Utility
29/07/2002 | 187cm | 77kg

A brother-of who could eventually feature at the top end of this year’s rankings is Henry, the younger sibling of Geelong Cats defender, Jack. The Geelong Falcons product has top 10 potential, able to play up either end of the ground and pull down big marks. While he looks most comfortable up forward as a high-flying third tall type, Henry is just as capable down back where his aerial prowess translates to intercept value. At 187cm, he plays above his size through sheer athleticism and reading of the play, with the potential to also move up onto a wing. Should Victorian prospects finally be allowed back onto the park in 2020, expect Henry to be one who could rise quite steeply given his enormous upside and versatility.

August Ranking: #17

Last Month: Henry ran out for St Joseph’s all the way back in the first week of August, battling both with and against plenty of his Geelong Falcons teammates. The 187cm prospect booted two goals for Joey’s against Geelong College in a more forward-oriented role, and was also named among his side’s best players. He has since been inactive due to fixture cancellations and a lack of NAB League football.

>> Feature
>> Marquee Matchup

#18 Tom Powell
Sturt/South Australia | Midfielder
2/03/2002 | 180cm | 73kg

There are few more consistent ball winners than Powell, who has put an interrupted bottom-age season behind him to emerge as arguably Sturt’s most promising draft prospect. The Double Blues standout simply finds the ball at will, able to get his side going on the front foot from midfield with clever positioning, movement, and extraction. He may be a touch handball happy, but is an elite exponent of that tool and is beginning to mix in his kicking to have an even greater impact on games. At his best, Powell is nothing short of dominant, though goals and a greater run-and-carry game would make him a complete midfielder – think Lachie Neale‘s development.

August Ranking: #18

Last Month: Powell was teased with senior selection after amassing a whopping 47 disposals, 10 clearances, and two goals in Round 10, but continues to plug away at Under 18s level. It is there where the prolific midfielder has averaged nearly 36 disposals and nine clearances across his last five games, remaining atop the charts in both areas despite missing out in Round 9. The Double Blues maestro has also added goals to his game, booting seven from midfield in the last month. His numbers stack up as well as anyone in the draft pool, but whether he can maintain that output at senior level obviously remains to be seen.

>> Feature (April) | (September)
>> Draft Watch

#19 Zane Trew
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder
26/04/2002 | 186cm | 78kg

Trew is one of many top-end prospects who have had to battle injury throughout their bottom-age seasons, but he looks primed to bounce back well in 2020. Hailing from the talent-stacked Swan Districts program, Trew is a classy inside midfielder who can rack up plenty of ball in style, backed by his 40-disposal effort in last year’s WAFL Colts competition. While he was limited to just three outings and missed Under 18 selection for WA, the 186cm prospect should not be forgotten in first round discussions. Trew is a handball-happy extractor, able to flick out releasing touches to his runners, but he is just as effective by foot with clean skills at short range and penetration when required. Should be a lock for the WA engine room this season with representative games ahead.

August Ranking: #16

Last Month: Another prospect who has flirted with senior promotion, Trew only really finds himself sliding down a few spots due to others’ promotions. Barring an injury-stricken outing at the start of August, the Swan Districts product has been at his ball winning best. Having returned from his lay-off due to concussion, Trew has averaged 27 disposals across his last three WAFL Colts outings. A senior berth may prove tough to crack given the Swans’ winning effort last time out, with only one more game in any grade possible due as the regular season comes to a close this week – Swan Districts have also not made finals in any competition. He did earn a National Combine invite though, and will have the opportunity to impress in Western Australia’s All-Star fixture pegged for October.

>> Draft Watch
>> Draft Diary 1 | 2
>> Marquee Matchup

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

Perkins has all the makings of a special talent. Having caught the eye as a forward and outside midfielder in 2019, the Sandringham Dragons standout was poised to spend more time on the inside as a top-ager, with just the right size and some incredible athletic attributes to aid his transition. Perkins boasts a monster vertical leap, covers 20 metres in less than three seconds, and is brilliantly agile, making for an ideal athletic base. His finishing touch is an area he can refine, but the 186cm prospect is no stranger to finding the goals and can be a real game changer when required. Damage or impact is a key trait which is often hard to measure, but Perkins ranks highly in that department.

August Ranking: #19

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

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

#21 Finlay Macrae
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
13/03/2002 | 184cm | 75kg

You may recognise the name and yes, Finlay is the brother of Western Bulldogs midfielder, Jack. They are quite clearly cut from the same cloth, with the younger Macrae possessing a similar ball winning appetite and class on the ball to his established older sibling. The 184cm Charger also boasts a terrific balance in his traits, able to impact the play moving forward with sound decision making and precise execution via foot, on top of his obvious exploits in extraction. While he is not overly quick, Macrae’s evasiveness comes through agility and awareness, which would have been on full show as he prepared to feature prominently for Oakleigh, Xavier College, and Vic Metro in 2020.

August Ranking: #20

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#22 Jack Carroll
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Midfielder/Defender
20/12/2002 | 188cm | 79kg

Another entirely fresh face on our list, Carroll’s name is unearthed due to our expansion to an order of 25. That is not to say that he would not have featured otherwise, with the East Fremantle product a player who has plenty of first round suitors. Coming into his top-age season, Carroll was pegged as a classy outside midfielder or half-back who moved well and used the ball efficiently by foot. But after nearly a full season of WAFL Colts football through midfield, the 188cm prospect has also shown his worth inside the engine room. Carroll measures up at a good height and while he may be a touch light around the contest, he uses his high-level agility and poise to weave through traffic before effectively disposing of the ball. A versatile talent with good upside, Carroll is destined to rise even further.

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: This week will serve as Carroll’s last chance to earn senior selection before finals, though East Fremantle is only really in that frame across the Reserves and Colts grades. He would inevitably come into consideration after an outstanding performance against Claremont in Round 7, collecting 31 disposals and booting two goals as the Sharks knocked off their highly-fancied opponents. In five games over the past month, Carroll has averaged 23.4 disposals to put himself right among the top 20 mix. For us, he remains just outside it for now at #22, but has all the class to move on up.

>> Draft Watch

#23 Caleb Poulter
WWT Eagles/South Australia | Midfielder/Forward
12/10/2002 | 190cm | 79kg

One of this year’s brightest bolters, Poulter has rocketed up draft boards after an eye-catching start to his top-age season. The big-bodied midfielder brings a serious presence through midfield, able to win plenty of the ball himself while also hunting the opposition with tackling pressure. Add to his midfield craft the ability to take big marks overhead, hit the scoreboard with his penetrating left boot, and utilise his terrific athletic base, and you have a prospect who can wreak absolute havoc at his best. With some senior football also under his belt in 2020, Poulter has stood up and been noticed quickly. It has been a steep rise since his Under 16 carnival in South Australia colours last year.

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: Poulter earned a call-up to the Eagles’ Reserves side in Round 10, booting a goal on debut and retaining his spot in the latest weekend of action. The League side will be tough to crack given its success this season, but the 190cm prospect will be keen to join fellow top-age gun, Lachlan Jones in the lineup. Prior to his promotion, Poulter averaged a tick under 28 disposals in his four Under 18s outings across August, generating plenty of forward momentum and hitting the scoreboard in two of those games. In that time, Poulter gained a big tick for his consistency and has found the ball in all areas of the ground, highlighting his versatility in production.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch

#24 Brandon Walker
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Half-Back
17/10/2002 | 184cm | 75kg

Introducing one of the smoothest movers of the potential 2020 AFL draft cohort, who is tied to Fremantle’s NGA. Dockers fans will be desperate to downplay Walker’s potential, with elite speed, agility, and vertical leaps combined with clean skills to make up the East Fremantle prospect’s game. He looks a damaging outlet off half-back with his line-breaking ability and precision via foot, while also providing solid defensive cover credit to eye-catching aerial feats and reading of the play. Walker can also move through midfield, adding another string to his bow as he develops. His twin brother, Chris joins him at East Fremantle and in the Dockers Academy.

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: Walker returns to our rankings as we expand the list, and has produced a solid month of football. The Dockers NGA hopeful has averaged bang-on 20 touches and over six marks across five games in August/September, with 74 per cent of his disposals in that time released via foot. These numbers are quite good for a prospect of his type, who pops up rather than accumulates. His marking ability, combined with speed and poise across the ground makes him a dual-pronged defensive outlet with plenty of weapons. While he is able to impact further afield and even find the goals, we feel Walker has showcased his best form at half-back.

>> Draft Watch

#25 Joel Jeffrey
NT Thunder/Allies | Utility
12/03/2002 | 192cm | 78kg

The sole representative from the Northern Territory in our top 25, Jeffrey is arguably the region’s most promising draft prospect this year. Having grown to 192cm, Jeffrey is a true swingman who can dominate aerially up either end. His reading of the ball in flight is exceptional, and his sticky hands do the rest of the work as he pulls down big marks. The son of NT legend Russell Jeffrey, Joel comes from good pedigree and is terrifically athletic for his size; boasting speed to burn, a sizeable leap, and clean hands at ground level. Having gained senior football experience with Wanderers in the NTFL, Jeffrey was set to move to Queensland this year given his ties to the Gold Coast SUNS via their access to the Darwin zone. The move was ultimately put on hold due to the current pandemic, but Jeffrey looks likely to end up in the Sunshine State come season’s end.

August Ranking: NR

Last Month: After a long waiting period since his last NTFL outing in February, Jeffrey returned to action with the Gold Coast SUNS as part of August’s Academy Series. He took part in game two against the Brisbane Lions Academy, and built into the contest well after a steady start. Having initially lined up down back, where he looks a touch more impactful as he drifts across to intercept, Jeffrey was swung forward in the second half and booted a goal. He looked lively with his turn of speed and athleticism, despite some scratchy moments early on.

>> Draft Watch

IN THE MIX:

It is no secret now that South Australian Brayden Cook is bolting into top 25 calculations, as the South Adelaide wingman/forward continues to impress at Under 18s level. He remains just outside our rankings as others have more runs on the board, but another month of similar form would make him hard to ignore.

Errol Gulden has been in serious form in the AFL Sydney Premier Division, with 10 goals in his last three games – including a bag of six – putting him in the mix. West Australians Joel Western (Fremantle NGA) and Isiah Winder have also caught the eye, as the former made his return from injury, while the latter again earned a spot at League level for Peel Thunder.

Of the most unlucky Victorians to miss due to a lack of action, Bailey Laurie has previously featured in our top 20, while Hawthorn NGA prospect and Eastern Ranges captain Connor Downie is also one to consider. Sandringham Dragons bigman Max Heath is a ruck prospect who lingers around the mark, along with Essendon NGA defender Cody Brand. Jake Bowey and Eddie Ford also boast top 25 potential.

Back across in South Australia, small forward Corey Durdin made a short lived return from injury this week at SANFL League level, while Luke Edwards got back on the park in the Reserves. Zac Dumesny is still recovering from an ankle complaint, and all three are around the 30-35 range in our eyes.

All four Tasmania Academy hub members earned National Combine invites. Jackson Callow has been unleashed in a slightly different role down back, increasing his stocks of late in the TSL, with Oliver Davis proving consistent, and Patrick Walker continuing to show promising upside across half-back and on the wing.