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Draft Central’s 2021 SANFL Under 18s Team of the Year

WITH only Saturday’s grand final left to play, now is the perfect time to look back at the SANFL Under 18s season that was in Draft Central‘s 2021 Team of the Year (TOTY). Finalists Glenelg and Woodville-West Torrens combined to contribute nine members of the 22-man squad, which is led by West Adelaide midfielder Cade Kennedy (captain) and highly touted South Adelaide prospect Arlo Draper (vice-captain).

Nine of the selected group represented South Australia in last month’s Under 19 National Championships bout against Western Australia, while a further two did so at Under 17 level this year. There were also plenty of talented South Australians who narrowly missed, either due to playing more football up the grades, in school competitions, or through the squad’s overall strength.

We take you through all 22 selections line-by-line, highlighting the strengths each squad member brings to the collective and exactly why they each feature.

DEFENCE

FB: Charlie Pridham (West Adelaide) – Dayne McGary (Glenelg) – Brock Thomson (Woodville-West Torrens)
HB:
Blayne O’Loughlin (North Adelaide) – Oscar Adams (Glenelg) – Lewis Rayson (Glenelg)

Clean foot skills and composure with ball in hand are prominent traits of the TOTY defence. Named in the back pocket, West Adelaide’s Charlie Pridham enjoyed a standout season for the Bloods, playing every game (including two finals), and finishing with the most disposals and kicks of anyone in the competition. A reliable contributor down back, Pridham remained calm under pressure and provided plenty of rebound and drive from the backline.

Glenelg’s Dayne McGary earned selection at full back following a strong season in the yellow and black, which saw him average 15 disposals and six marks per game. Often assigned the oppositions best tall forward, McGary’s strength and clean kicking were vital for the Bays’ success. Eagles defender Brock Thomson was an obvious selection down back following an ultra consistent year for the grand finalists, which saw him average 23 disposals, four marks and close to six rebound 50s.

North Adelaide gun Blayne O’Loughlin demanded a half-back spot after a terrific season at Prospect which saw him earn state Under 19 selection. As clean and composed as anyone under duress, O’Loughlin’s attacking instincts and dash from defence were hallmarks of the Roosters’ game plan. Oscar Adams joins fellow Tiger McGary in defence, slotting into the centre half-back role. Adams spent the year rotating between the ruck and a defensive role, with his height, reach and aerial prowess earning him state honours.

State Under 19 vice-captain Lewis Rayson slots in on the other half-back flank, having provided the Bays with plenty of trademark run-and-carry throughout the season. Also effective through the midfield, Rayson is a high metres gained type of player, whose dare and attack on the ball has proven valuable for SA and Glenelg alike.

MIDFIELD

C: Isaac Birt (South Adelaide) – Cade Kennedy (West Adelaide, captain) – Dustin Launer (Woodville-West Torrens)
FOL:
Will Verrall (South Adelaide) – Hugh Jackson (North Adelaide) – Arlo Draper (South Adelaide, vice-captain,)

South Adelaide’s Isaac Birt was a simple selection on the wing following a breakout season which saw him rise to become one of the state’s best outside midfielders. His combination of speed, endurance and crisp ball use cut apart games week-after-week, with his Round 10 effort against Norwood (31 disposals, two goals, 11 marks, five tackles and eight inside-50s) sure to have caught the attention of scouts.

Hard-working West Adelaide skipper Cade Kennedy is the starting centreman in the TOTY and has been named captain after displaying tremendous on-field leadership to inspire the Bloods’ rise from bottom last season to a preliminary final berth. He averaged 27 disposals, six marks, five tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s as one of the competition’s most well-rounded on-ballers. Hard at the contest but an effective run and carry option, Kennedy is well-deserving of a spot in the starting midfield.

Eagles utility Dustin Launer could have slotted into just about any position on the team, such is his versatility, but his efforts in a balanced midfield role see him selected on the wing. A classy ball user and hard runner, Launer collected 30 disposals in five games, including efforts of 42 and 37 (twice). Talented bottom-aged Panther Will Verrall narrowly edged out Centrals’ Saxon Evans and West’s Oscar Steene to win the number one ruck role. Verrall finished second in the competition for total hitouts, but was arguably more dominant when the ball hit the ground, with his ball-use and willingness to compete at ground level impressive for a player of his height.

North Adelaide’s Hugh Jackson was another obvious choice in the midfield rotation. He shot out of the blocks and finished with an average of 29 disposals, five marks, four clearances and five inside 50s. A smooth mover and good ball user on his left foot, Jackson was also clever by hand throughout the year. Despite spending time in the Reserves and League grades, South Adelaide’s Arlo Draper was too good at Under 18s level to leave out of the team of the year. Averaging 24 disposals, four marks, five tackles, six clearances and a goal per game, Draper was a class above the field in his nine matches. A classy mover who excels in traffic at stoppages, Draper also proved difficult to handle up forward and has been named vice-captain of the side.

FORWARD

HF: Hugh Stagg (Glenelg) – Will Pearce (Woodville-West Torrens) – Jesse Thackeray (West Adelaide)
FF:
Jack Delean (South Adelaide) – Corey Brougham (Glenelg) – Zyton Santillo (North Adelaide)

The half-forward line of the TOTY certainly packs a punch, led by Glenelg bull Hugh Stagg. Stagg’s power and strength was integral to the Bays’ engine room throughout the year, but he also proved his worth up forward by kicking 23 goals in 13 games for the minor premiers. At centre half-forward, competition leading goal kicker Will Pearce demanded selection after a dominant season with the Eagles which saw him bag 47 majors from 20 matches and lead the competition in contested marks. Loxton North product Jesse Thackeray produced a great season for the Bloods. Splitting his time between the midfield and half-forward, Thackeray’s work rate was always high and his defensive work wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by the West Adelaide coaching staff.

Despite not being draft eligible for another couple of years, brilliant small forward Jack Delean is thoroughly deserving of his forward pocket role. He booted 26 goals in eight Under 16 matches to help the Panthers to the flag earlier in the season, then took to the Under 18 competition like a duck to water, bagging 35 goals in 13 matches – including two hauls of five, never failing to hit the scoreboard. Electric at forward-50 stoppages, Delean wrecked havoc in the air and on the ground in a sensational season in the blue and white.

Glenelg’s Corey Brougham narrowly edged teammate Jack Harding to take out the all-important full forward position. A reliable set shot for goal, booting 38 goals in 14 matches, Brougham was unstoppable on the lead and his vice-like hands saw him mark just about everything which came his way. Zippy Rooster Zyton Santillo‘s defensive pressure and creative ball use through the midfield and in attack saw him earn a spot on the opposing pocket. Santillo produced a consistent season, finishing with an average of 23 disposals, five marks, five tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s per game.

INTERCHANGE

Matthew Dnistriansky (Norwood) – Jordan Lukac (Woodville-West Torrens) – Saxon Evans (Central District) – Harvey Harrison (North Adelaide)

The interchange bench was hotly contested, but Norwood’s Matthew Dnistriansky simply had to be picked to fill a role across the backline. Norwood’s most consistent player in what was a tricky year for the defending premiers, Dnistriansky’s measured ball use, sound vision and decision making were highlights of his year.

Following a dominant preliminary final showing, in which he booted five goals and lead his team to victory, Eagles captain Jordan Lukac was a late inclusion into the squad. Impressive up forward, the athletic big man also helped out in the ruck and got stronger as the season wore on. Bulldogs tall Saxon Evans finished the season with the most hit-outs of anyone and is arguably the best tap-ruckman in the state. Athletically gifted, Evans was perhaps unlucky not to be given a run in the state side against Western Australia.

Harvey Harrison is North Adelaide’s fourth selection in the team of the year. A midfielder with terrific running power and handy skills at top speed, Harrison is good in-tight but spreads as well as anyone in the competition. He finished the year averaging 25 disposals, six marks, four tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s.

Unlucky to miss: 

As is the case with all representative sides, there are a number of talented players who should consider themselves unlucky to have missed the cut. Glenelg had a number of fantastic contributors throughout the season, including medium defender Cooper Beecken, smart forward Harry Tunkin, classy midfielders Darcy Gluyas and Hunter Window, and strong-marking tall forward Jack Harding.

West Adelaide’s Kobe Ryan would have easily made the side but spent much of the year playing college football with Sacred Heart. His Bloods teammates Dylan White and Luke Young also narrowly missed out. Central District struggled at times, but Tahjin Krieg and Isaiah Dudley were standout performers. From South Adelaide, rebounding defender Lachlan Hayes and nimble midfielder Luke Mitton could also consider themselves unlucky to have narrowly missed the cut.

In the Mix: How the WA/SA U19 extended squad members fared this week

WHILE 46 of the best AFL Draft prospects out of West and South Australia took the field in Saturday’s Under 19 National Championships bout, there were a bunch of extended squad members who were forced out either through injury or the inevitable selection squeeze. We take a look at how they fared this week in their respective WAFL and SANFL grades in a special edition of In the Mix.

>> Scouting Notes: All 46 players – WA vs. SA U19s

Western Australia:

Two of Western Australia’s three squad emergencies were in action for East Perth on Saturday, as the Royals beat Subiaco quite comfortably while Jahmal Stretch‘s Claremont had the bye. Up forward, speedy small Kaden Harbour was dangerous around goal with 1.3 from 12 disposals and four marks, while bottom-ager Jedd Busslinger clunked four marks from 13 touches at the other end.

In the same game, extended squad member Oscar Armstrong (21 disposals, seven marks, one goal) also extended his consistent run of form for the Royals, as the electric Richard Farmer (26 disposals, six marks, seven inside 50s, 1.3) was arguably Subiaco’s best player in the 51-point loss.

Elsewhere, late squad addition Joshua Cripps, the brother of Carlton co-captain Patrick, was a key cog in East Fremantle’s 21-point win over West Perth. The ruck-forward contributed 20 disposals, five marks, 16 hit-outs and three goals in the victory, including two in the final term to help his Sharks kick away. He also formed a nice partnership with Ed Curley, who notched 16 touches and laid eight tackles with a bit of speed and class in the front half.

Perhaps one of the picks of the lot in Round 21 of the WAFL Colts competition was Luke Polson, who dominated up forward as Peel Thunder downed Perth by 38 points. The mobile big man clunked seven marks and registered 3.6 from his 15 disposals, marking a promising return to the level. He had previously been trialled down back with the state side, but was squeezed out given WA’s wealth of tall options.

There were a bunch of injury casualties which also impacted selection, none more so than the late out of state vice-captain Neil Erasmus. The Subiaco midfielder couldn’t quite get up from a corked thigh which flared up during the week, and was replaced by Max Chipper in the side. The losses of Jaiden Hunter (elbow) and Kellen Johnson (ankle), and Jarrad McIlvinney also made for some improvisation to the defence. Speaking of, West Perth rebounder Zac Fleiner was touch-and-go for a return, but again just missed out.

South Australia:

Like Western Australia, one of South Australia’s three state Under 19 emergencies (Shay Linke) had the bye this week, while the other two got some run in their legs. Harvey Harrison was one, and he was in fine form for North Adelaide’s Under 18s with 34 disposals, seven marks, and 10 clearances as the Roosters beat Sturt. Luca Whitelum was the other, claiming 25 touches and seven marks in Central District’s Under 18s loss to Woodville-West Torrens.

In the same game as Whitelum, big man Saxon Evans fared well aerially with four marks and 32 hitouts. A couple of Norwood prospects who are working their way back to form off recent injuries also turned out at SANFL Under 18s level. Top-age tall Ned Carey managed 10 disposals, 23 hitouts and a goal, while Alastair Lord (21 disposals, 1.2) showed plenty of his trademark dash rotating through midfield and defence, as Norwood was defeated by Glenelg.

Fellow Redleg Henry Nelligan was one who played up, turning out in the League grade. He contributed 18 disposals, five tackles and a goal as Norwood claimed an important win over North Adelaide. Another to taste senior action was Woodville-West Torrens’ Brayden Calvett, who managed 14 touches, six marks and two goals in the Eagles’ Reserves win over Sturt.

Among those unavailable for selection, Cooper Murley (collarbone) was arguably South Australia’s most glaring injury omission. Explosive North Adelaide midfielder James Willis (ankle) has also spent time on the sidelines, while the likes of Will Spain, Zac Phillips, and Dayne McGary were others who did not hit the field this past weekend.

Featured Image: Brayden Calvett gets a kick away for Woodville-West Torrens | Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 16

THE 2021 SANFL Under 18s season continued over the weekend, with the latest round of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 17 and 19 representative squad member and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

STURT 2.5 (17) def. by WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 21.17 (143)

By: Michael Alvaro

Sturt:

#12 Jamie Taylor

Taylor was Sturt’s most prolific ball winner with 25 disposals and nine clearances on what was a tough day for his side. He rotated forward through midfield but was also sighted dropping back a heap during the second half to try and help the Double Blues shift out of their defensive half. Taylor also worked to bustle through congestion and provide some intent in his tackling, while also getting around his teammates among what was an undermanned Sturt outfit.

#28 George Pope

A bright spot for Sturt in 2021 has been the emergence of 16-year-old Pope in midfield, and the 2005-born prospect again got his hands dirty on Saturday. He proved powerful with both his burst of speed and tackling pressure around the ball, putting in repeat efforts to help steady against the Eagles’ dominance. While there is work to do on his kicking, Pope got good purchase on a few long balls and was certainly willing to find it himself. He finished with 19 disposals, six tackles and three clearances.

Others:

Kade Harvey rolled up into midfield and again found a good amount of ball, finishing with 19 disposals and seven clearances for the Double Blues. Ethan Field was another to feature in the engine room and notched 12 touches after a promising start, while the likes of Mitch Felton, Lachlan Boscence, and Thomas McCourt all had plenty to do in a besieged defence.

Woodville-West Torrens:

#8 Brock Thomson

Rotating through midfield from defence, Thomson was again solid for the Eagles with his ability to drive his side forward. He had no trouble finding the ball having contributed 24 disposals and seven marks, with his work overhead quite sound. It complimented his burst across the ground and punchy kicking, which helped keep Woodville-West Torrens flowing in possession.

#9 Jase Burgoyne

The Port Adelaide father-son prospect has been nothing short of prolific at Under 18s level and that was no different on Saturday, as he amassed a game-high 40 disposals, nine marks, and nine clearances. He often found a way to claim the first centre break of each term; handling the ball cleanly either off taps, at ground level, or via a handball receive before, using the afforded time and space to deliver an effective kick inside 50. Burgoyne does the fundamentals well in terms of skill execution and while many of the options he chose were short and safe, he still hardly wasted a touch. He has also shown a good knack for taking overhead marks and registered three contested on the day, gaining the confidence to protect his space or leap at the ball. He dropped back plenty during the second half and accumulated at will, looking quite casual in his work.

#14 Blake Hansen

Hansen was another who had plenty of the pill with 34 disposals, nine marks and seven inside 50s, playing the wing role to a t. The dashing bottom-ager hit the scoreboard early with a nice checkside finish under heavy pressure, but put multiple other chances wide on the fly having pushed forward aggressively. Still, his ability to work hard both ways and find space to drive forward into allowed for ruthlessly quick Eagles transitions. Having previously done so off half-back, Hansen looks well suited to the wing position where his attacking instincts take toll.

#17 Mattaes Phillipou

It was a massive day out for Phillipou, who racked up 32 disposals and snared 6.2 in a rather fruitful outing. The developing bottom-ager set the game up in term one, creating separation on the lead and showing good ground level smarts to snare three of his majors from 11 touches. His clean hands both in the air and below his knees made for a dual threat in attack, before shifting into the midfield mix and remaining involved. Phillipou booted a goal in each of the following three quarters, with two coming from set shots and one from a quick snap closer to goal. He’s one to watch closely for 2022.

Others:

The Eagles were dominant around the ball, with thanks to the likes of Will Neumann, Sam Nicholls and Dustin Launer. Big man Jordan Lukac also took on the primary ruck duties and brought even more physicality to the engine room, before resting forward. Will Pearce again snared a trio of late goals to finish with five for the day, while Michael Papanotis claimed three. Elsewhere, Brody Mair provided a bit of dash out of defence and Jay Watson snuck forward well off a wing.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 6.3 (39) def. by GLENELG 18.15 (123)

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#14 Thomas Clements

Charged with plenty of responsibility in defence, Clements had his work cut out for him on Saturday but stood up well to amass a game-high 43 disposals, 10 marks, and 11 rebound 50s. He took on the kick-in duties and was Centrals’ general in defensive 50, where he found plenty of the ball and looked to set his side on the rebound. He had to fight hard to turn the ball over and keep the Bulldogs in possession as Glenelg piled on the pressure all day.

#17 Tahjin Krieg

The nippy Centrals midfielder had another productive outing on Saturday, notching 23 disposals, six marks and seven tackles. Most of his best work was done around the ground as Glenelg took over at the coalface, with Krieg showing good work-rate to drop back and help his side drive forward. He had a few eye-catching running passages, including one three-bounce foray to the wing, often finishing his work with a sharp left-foot kick.

#38 Brodie Tuck

Tuck was again outstanding for Centrals, rotating through the ruck from his usual forward post. While he only registered two marks, they respectively showed the bottom-ager’s terrific judgement of the ball in flight and ability to hold his ground in a wrestle. His clean hands were also observed in general play, as Tuck was able to snatch the bumbling ball with one grab and pump his side into attack. He booted booted three goals, with two slotted from around the 50m arc and the other a handy checkside finish after mopping up his own marking attempt.

Others:

The likes of Jake Grubb and Nash Haynes were others who also had plenty to do in defence alongside Clements, while Henry Ratcliff proved productive on the ball with his 21 touches, nine marks, and goal. Starting ruck Saxon Evans also returned to the grade after a Reserves dig, winning 19 hit-outs and three clearances.

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

It was another high-output game for Stagg, as the powerful midfielder registered a team-high 36 disposals, eight clearances, and 1.3 rotating forward from the engine room. He looked ominous when breaking forward and showcased terrific smarts in the clinches, able to rip the ball free and then burst into space. Stagg was dangerous when resting forward too, with his lone goal an outstanding but of one-on-one play where he sped past his opponent to win a loose ball inside 50 and slot the it home. He steadied well in front of goal but put multiple opportunities wide, which would have capped a massive game.

#17 Corey Brougham

Brougham was just about unbeatable in the air on Saturday, claiming 11 marks (three contested) among his 21 disposals. He presented strongly and read the ball better than anyone in flight, before taking it cleanly with one-grab clunks. Brougham also capped his work with four goals and could have had even more if not for a couple of errant set shots. His highlight for the day came in term four, marking at half-forward before taking two bounces and coolly slotting a terrific goal on the run.

#21 Cooper Beecken

The promising 18-year-old continues to show nice glimpses out on the wing, and worked into the contest strongly to finish with 21 disposals, six marks, and three goals. He was generally clean and quick with his skills, helping move the ball fluently without fuss while making an impact on the scoreboard that we haven’t yet seen from him. All three of Beecken’s majors came in the second half, with two snared in term three on the back of pure smarts and those quick skills of his.

#36 Darcy Porter

Starting brightly with the game’s first goal, Porter was always in the contest for Glenelg and finished with impressive numbers of 29 disposals, eight marks, and two goals. He took the game on with his speed and willingness to move the ball on quickly, helping the Bays launch into attack. He rotated through midfield but also worked hard while stationed forward to move up the ground and hurt Centrals on the way back. His positive carry and intent made for some swift ball movement in yellow and black.

Others:

There were plenty of solid contributors for Glenelg in what was a big win. William Watts and Darcy Gluyas were both productive through midfield, while Benjamin Ridgway got busy with a couple of goals up forward. Jack Harding came away with four majors, and Hunter Window also pitched in with some nice moments out on the wing.

North Adelaide 6.9 (45) def. by South Adelaide 18.10 (118)

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#12 Hugh Jackson

It was a quiet start to the game for Hugh Jackson, with the clean-kicking onballer struggling to get his hands on the ball. And when he did manage to gather the ball, he seemed to be under immediate pressure from the South Adelaide midfield, who were clearly weary of his ability to inflict damage with his precise ball-use. Denied space to use his damaging left-foot, Jackson resorted to handballing, where he displayed good vision and decision making. Although down on his output from early in the season, Jackson was still one of North’s best, winning 21 disposals along with three marks, four tackles and four clearances.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

Blayne O’Loughlin was at his prolific best for the Roosters, despite their hefty loss. Across half-back he was involved immediately, swooping upon the loose-balls and doing lots of cleaning up in defence. His calm head under pressure matched his skill execution and willingness to involve himself in some attacking plays forward of centre. He provided some excellent overlap run and pushed forward to boot North’s third goal, but also ensured he hurried back to defence when South Adelaide looked to attack. The Crows NGA prospect fought to the bitter end and complimented his composure and skill with toughness one-on-one. He finished with a game-high 35 disposals and nine rebound 50s.

#26 Kelsey Rypstra

Kelsey Rypstra played an important role for the home side. Stationed at half-forward and rotating through the midfield, he injected some speed around the contest and, importantly, made the most of his opportunities in front of goal. He intelligently soccered home the Roosters first of the day, then read the play to perfection to take an intercept mark inside 50 and slot the subsequent set shot. The only Rooster who looked dangerous with ball-in-hand at times, Rypstra would go on to boot another two goals and finish the day with a bag of four. He also gathered 15 disposals and five marks.

Others: Utility Adam Heath played well in a variety of roles, but was particularly noteworthy when pushed into the midfield, where he won a team-high six clearances. His bigger frame ensured Heath won plenty of contested ball, which he complimented with sound ball-use going inside 50. Harvey Harrison showed glimpses of his talents in the midfield, with his speed and run and carry providing a point of difference. He gathered 20 disposals, three marks and five tackles. Angus Tully produced his best game of the season, gathering a season-high 23 disposals, five marks and four rebounds. Lewis Saint’s efforts were also commendable, finishing with 18 disposals, seven marks and six tackles down back.

South Adelaide:

#3 Luke Mitton

Clever midfielder Luke Mitton backed up his best-on-ground effort last weekend with another strong showing against North Adelaide at Prospect Oval. Busy from the get-go, his nimble foot work proved effective in the trenches and his speed was a staple throughout the contest. Despite doing most of his work on the inside, Mitton used the ball efficiently. His pressure around the ball-carrier was important, as was his two-way running and balance of defence and attack. Mitton finished with 24 disposals, five marks, three tackles, five clearances and four rebounds.

#4 Jack Delean

After dazzling in South Adelaide’s big win over Central Districts last week, Jack Delean backed it up with another sensational showing. Despite being a couple of years away from draft eligibility, Delean has lit up the SANFL Under 18s competition this season, booting a goal in every match since debuting in Round 5. The small forward showed the Roosters defence just how dangerous he can be in attack when he exploded through a forward 50 stoppage and ran into an open goal not once but twice in the first term. Delean made his direct opponent look hopeless when he accelerated into back-to-back open goals, using his natural smarts and elusiveness to damaging effect. He continued to threaten as the game wore on, flying for marks and booting a couple of set-shots to finish with five goals, 12 disposals and five tackles.

#8 Cooper Rogers

Cooper Rogers is one of several South Adelaide midfielders to have produced consistent seasons to-date, and his efforts in the Panthers 73-point win over the Roosters was one of his best. His confidence received a boost early on when the balanced midfielder’s left-foot snap trickled through for a major. With North possessing some dangerous ball-users through the middle, the relentless and often-fierce tackling pressure applied by Rogers went a long way to restricting their impact. Playing a very physical game, Rogers spent time on Rooster Hugh Jackson at stoppages and nullified his influence to perfection. South Adelaide’s leading possession-winner, Rogers was dominant at stoppages, finishing with a game-high 11 clearances to go with 29 touches, four marks, seven tackles and 10 inside 50s.

#10 Isaac Birt

Wingman Isaac Birt had a decent day out at Prospect. One of South Australia’s best outside midfielders, Birt was often targeted by teammates when looking to turn defence into attack. He provided some meaningful run and drive on the periphery, particularly from the half-back line. His kicking was sharp and bullet-like at times, however Birt’s skills at full speed occasionally let him down. He finished with 25 disposals, seven marks and seven inside-50s.

#39 Will Verrall

Bottom-aged ruckman Will Verrall solidified his standing as one of SA’s brightest young talents with a great performance for the Panthers. Verrall set the tone early, using his strong athletic base to leap into ruck contests and outreach his North Adelaide opponent. He used his body well in the ruck contests but it was his work once the ball hit the deck and around the ground which elevated his game. Verrall worked into some handy positions around the ground, then capitalised on his positioning by taking some great marks down the line. A ruckman who is not generally renowned for his overhead work, it was encouraging to see Verrall haul in a couple of strong grabs. The icing on the cake came when Verrall snapped truly out of a forward-50 stoppage in the third term. He showed great strength and bustle to burst through a couple of stoppages, to further highlight his ground-level impact. Verrall finished with 20 disposals, four marks (three contested), 18 hit-outs, seven clearances and five inside-50s.

Others: Skipper Dylan Brown led from the front for the Panthers, laying six tackles. One of the best pressure players in the SANFL Under 18s competition, Brown also gathered 13 disposals and five marks and seven inside-50s playing on the wing. Busy half-back Lachlan Hayes played a typical game in which he read the play very well in defence, finishing with 25 disposals and nine rebounds. Bottom-aged centre half-forward Koby Cockshell was impressive for the visitors, booting two goals from 18 disposals.

WEST ADELAIDE 12.16 (88) def. NORWOOD 12.7 (79)

By: Tom Wyman

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

It was a stereotypical Pridham performance from the competition’s best small defender. He did as he pleased across the backline, mopping up when necessary, using the ball effectively and turning defence into attack. Although he opted for the safe option on many of his kicks, he executed well and player a key role in the Bloods grinding out a hard-fought victory against the Redlegs. He finished with 26 disposals, eight marks and six rebound 50s.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Cade Kennedy did his draft hopes no harm with a dominant display at Hisense Stadium. The midfielder was everywhere but proved particularly useful in congestion, where his natural, hard-at-it ball-winning tendencies rose to fruition. He was easily the best clearance winner on the ground, but when he didn’t win the ball himself, Kennedy tackled well and denied the Redlegs on-ballers time and space. Although he could have lowered his eyes on a couple of occasions when he probably had more time than he thought, Kennedy’s skills were on full display in a terrific passage of play in the first quarter. It started when he won a free kick and hit up the leading Oscar Steene at half-forward with a precise right-foot kick. He kept on running and received it back before measuring an inside-50 ball to perfection on his left. Throughout the game, he continued to balance defence with attack and did some damage on the outside to compliment his inside grunt work. He finished the game with 34 disposals, six marks, six tackles, ten clearances and 10 inside 50s.

#33 Jesse Thackeray

Jesse Thackeray was again in the thick of it for West Adelaide. His strength in the contest was a highlight when utilised in the midfield, and his presentation and willingness to work hard impressed when he was thrown onto the half-forward flank. He produced a very balanced game, winning plenty of ball on the inside but also doing some damage on the outside, where Thackeray used the ball fairly well. He finished the game with 35 disposals, ten marks, three tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s.

#45 Oscar Steene

With Norwood’s first choice ruckman sidelined through suspension, Oscar Steene capitalised on his advantage in the ruck to give the Bloods on-ballers first look. He really looked to impose himself on the contest by punching the ball out of the ruck and clearing the area. However Steene balanced this out with some deft tap-work to set-up the likes of Cade KennedyDylan White and Jesse Thackeray at ground level. He took a couple of strong marks around the ground and should have finished with a goal to go with his 13 disposals, seven marks (two contested), four tackles and 29 hit-outs.

Others: Bloods’ forward Jaeden Watts booted four goals in his sides narrow win. Although he had limited opportunities, gathering just ten disposals, he made them count in-front of the big sticks. Midfielder Dylan White impressed with his gut-running. He worked relentlessly hard up and down the wing to accumulate 16 marks for the match, along with 27 disposals, five inside 50s and a goal. Unfortunately he’ll rue missing a handful of opportunities in front of goal.

Norwood:

#15 Riley Verrall

Stationed across half-back, Riley Verrall produced one of his best performances for the season. He looked to generate run and carry from the defensive-50 and showed a desire to cut open the Bloods defensive structures by foot. Although not all of his kicks inflicted damage, his intent was admirable. He read the play well and took a number of intercept marks. The leading disposal-getter for the Redlegs, Verrall collected 26 touches, ten marks and five rebounds for the match.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Half-backman Matthew Dnistriansky has been Norwood’s most consistent performer throughout the season to-date, and he was again among the clubs best in their nine-point defeat to the Bloods. He was composed and clean with ball in-hand but also pushed forward to boot the first goal of the second term and hand the Redlegs the lead. Dnistriansky was effective between the arcs and finished with 20 disposals and five marks.

Others: Over-aged full-forward Ned Carey snapped the Redlegs first from close range and competed well all game to finish with three goals. Small forward Taj Rahui was again one of Norwood’s best players, showing glimpses of his talents throughout the course of the match. He booted a good running goal in the opening term and gave the Redlegs a glimmer of hope with a late major, finishing with 13 touches. Combative on-baller Corey Jones-Bobridge tried hard, winning four clearances and 19 disposals. He was effective going forward, launching the Redlegs inside-50 on eight occasions.

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

2021 South Australia Under 19 squad announced – Phase 2

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) announced its Phase 2 Under 19 squad on Wednesday, with 33 of the state’s brightest prospects making the cut. An internal trial game on Friday night helped decide the final few selections, albeit amid terrible weather for a showcase game, as SA prepares to face Western Australia on August 7 in Round 1 of this year’s Under 19 National Championships.

Glenelg has contributed the most players, with seven Bays talents included in the squad. Among them is Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, the nephew of Gavin Wanganeen, who performed strongly in last week’s trial. While he is not club linked, Adelaide has a pair of Next Generation Academy members – Isaiah Dudley and Blayne O’Loughlin – in the squad, while Port Adelaide father-son candidate Jase Burgoyne (son of Peter) also features.

There are six 2002-born players in line for representative honours, with three of them coming out of the Woodville-West Torrens program. Namely, they are talls Zac Phillips and Jordan Lukac, and Max Litster. Sturt’s Mani Liddy returns after a terrific trial outing, as does Centrals speedster Lachlan Grubb, while Glenelg’s Dayne McGary is an eye-catching selection once again.

Among the premier 18th-year talent, first pick candidate Jason Horne just about selects himself, while fellow South Adelaide guns Matthew Roberts and Arlo Draper could recover from their respective ankle injuries in the nick of time. Cooper Murley (collarbone) is another in that category, though fellow Norwood prospects Henry Nelligan, Ned Carey, and Alistair Lord will hope to get a look in for Phase 3 as they return later in the year.

There are a couple of stat leaders among the pack too, in North Adelaide’s Hugh Jackson (disposals, handballs, inside 50s) and Centrals tall Saxon Evans (hitouts). Both have been in undeniable form at Under 18s level, as have the likes of James Willis and Lewis Rayson – who loom as ones to watch.

South Australia’s third selection phase will come prior to the state’s final batch of championships fixtures, which will take place in late-September as the squad travels to face against Vic Country and Vic Metro. The Croweaters are also set to take on the Allies during Phase 2.

Below is a preview of how the South Australian team may look, in a line-up put together by Draft Central analyst Ed Pascoe. Note, those named on the interchange and emergency lists are likely to rotate between the two Phase 2 fixtures.

Scroll further to see the full squad list.

B: Blayne O’Loughlin (North) – Oscar Adams (Glenelg) – Cooper Beecken (Glenelg)
HB: Jase Burgoyne (Eagles) – Zac Becker (Sturt) – Lewis Rayson (Glenelg)
C: Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (Glenelg) – Matthew Roberts (South) – Shay Linke (Centrals)
HF: Arlo Draper (South) – Morgan Ferres (Sturt) – Will Spain (Sturt)
F: Isaiah Dudley (Centrals) – Lukas Cooke (Eagles) – Cooper Murley (Norwood)
FOL: Zac Phillips (Eagles) – Jason Horne (South) – Hugh Jackson (North)

INT: Hugh Stagg (Glenelg), James Willis (North), Brayden Calvett (Eagles), Jordan Lukac (Eagles), Mani Liddy (Sturt)

EMG: Saxon Evans (Centrals), Lachlan Grubb (Centrals), Isaac Birt (South), Jacob Owens (Glenelg), Cade Kennedy (West), Dayne McGary (Glenelg), Luca Whitelum (Centrals), Oscar Steene (West), Harvey Harrison (North), Max Litster (Eagles)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA PHASE 2 UNDER 19 SQUAD:

PLAYER SANFL CLUB HEIGHT WEIGHT
Lachlan Grubb Central 177cm 75kg
Isaiah Dudley Central 166cm 69kg
Shay Linke Central 190cm 79kg
Saxon Evans Central 201cm 94kg
Luca Whitelum Central 188cm 77kg
Dayne McGary Glenelg 192cm 85kg
Lewis Rayson Glenelg 183cm 69kg
Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera Glenelg 188cm 70kg
Cooper Beecken Glenelg 190cm 73kg
Hugh Stagg Glenelg 180cm 79kg
Jacob Owens Glenelg 184cm 69kg
Oscar Adams Glenelg 198cm 85kg
Blayne O’Loughlin North 171cm 74kg
Hugh Jackson North 181cm 70kg
James Willis North 180cm 75kg
Harvey Harrison North 181cm 71kg
Cooper Murley Norwood 178cm 69kg
Arlo Draper South 186cm 75kg
Jason Horne South 184cm 77kg
Isaac Birt South 181cm 70kg
Matthew Roberts South 184cm 80kg
Mani Liddy Sturt 183cm 80kg
Morgan Ferres Sturt 190cm 80kg
Will Spain Sturt 178cm 69kg
Zac Becker Sturt 190cm 92kg
Cade Kennedy West 178cm 75kg
Oscar Steene West 199cm 82kg
Max Litster Woodville-West Torrens 184cm 83kg
Zac Phillips Woodville-West Torrens 201cm 85kg
Jordan Lukac Woodville-West Torrens 196cm 89kg
Brayden Calvett Woodville-West Torrens 177cm 72kg
Jase Burgoyne Woodville-West Torrens 186cm 65kg
Lukas Cooke Woodville-West Torrens 195cm 80kg

Image Credit: AFL Photos

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 11

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s continued over the weekend with Round 11, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. This week a number of key talents were out due to the AFL Under 17s Championships game against Western Australia, but plenty of others stepped up. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

norwood 14.16 (100) def. Central districts 10.7 (67)

By: Tom Wyman

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

After accumulating plenty of the ball in his return to Under 18s level last weekend, classy midfielder Cooper Murley didn’t have as much of an impact against the Bulldogs. Murley started in the centre bounce and showed good stoppage nous, anticipation and football smarts throughout the game. He positioned himself well and got on the move at stoppages where possible to make best use of his breakaway speed. He read the taps well and was particularly clean with his disposal by hand. The Tea Tree Gully junior showed brilliant commitment to fly into oncoming traffic in a marking contest, however his courageous work was undone by a free kick being paid against his teammate. Murley tackled particularly well and seems to have a good technique. His skills in general play were fine without being of great damage, however he let himself down in front of goal, hitting the post twice within a minute via a set shot and quick snap. He also missed his third attempt at goal for the quarter, a running attempt which he would usually slot. Murley concluded the outing with 20 disposals, two marks, six tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s.

#11 Connor Kent

Redlegs ball magnet Connor Kent was clearly the most prolific player on the ground in Norwood’s 33-point win over Central Districts at The Parade. The left-footed onballer produced a well-balanced performance to guide the Redlegs to their first win since Round 3. Kent won plenty of contested ball in tight, but it was his ability to spread from the contest and work hard to accumulate the footy around the ground which made him so effective. He was composed in traffic and used the ball fairly well. Despite not seeming to boast great speed, Kent provided plenty of run and carry throughout the contest. At times he was in charge of the kick in duties, where he was able to showcase his long foot skills. He booted three goals for the game – the best being a terrific 40-metre effort off one step in the first term. Among the top ball-winners in the competition, Kent finished with a round-high 38 disposals, five marks, six tackles, five clearances, three inside 50s and eight rebounds.

Others: Midfielder Benjamin Belperio won his fair share of contested ball for the Redlegs. He demonstrated good strength in close and was effective at stoppages, finishing with 20 disposals, seven marks, four clearances and five inside 50s. In attack, Jett Boxer was the go-to man, nailing three goals. Also booting three behinds, he accumulated 20 disposals, four marks and three inside 50s. Wilson McShane (21 disposals and five marks) and Peter Minervini (18 disposals, three marks and four clearances) were among Norwood’s top disposal winners and ruckman Aidan Lake (17 disposals, five marks, five tackles, 12 hit-outs and five clearances) competed gallantly against dominant Centrals bigman Saxon Evans.

Central District:

#9 Trent Tattoli

The performance of Angle Vale teenager Trent Tattoli was the shining light for Central Districts, despite the clubs defeat. Captain of the Bulldogs Under 16 side who competed earlier in the year, Tattoli lined up on the wing in his first Under 18s game for the club. He looked up to the level from the get-go, finding plenty of the ball on the outside. His ball drop and kicking action is unconventional and many of his kicks lacked penetration, however they often reached their desired target regardless. Tattoli’s poise and composure with ball in hand was impressive, given he is two years younger than many of his teammates and opponents. Tattoli put the Bulldogs in front in the second quarter after pouncing on the crumbs. It marked a terrific second term for Tattoli, who was deployed in more of an inside/outside role rather than as a pure wingman. A hard worker who not only runs hard, but works into logical spaces on the field, Tattoli finished the game as the Bulldogs leading possession winner, gathering 24 touches, ten marks, five clearances and four inside 50s in what was a terrific start to his Under 18s career.

#29 Saxon Evans

The Bulldogs were often outclassed by Norwood, but ruckman Saxon Evans provided his midfielders with first use for much of the day. Clearly the competitions leading hit-out ruckman, Evans’ leap and overall athleticism proved a real handful for the Norwood talls. He would often get his hands on the ball first by simply leaping over his direct opponent, as he has done all season. He slotted an important set shot goal on the half-time siren to put Central Districts ahead at the main break. Evans was strong in the air without being a dominant marking force, hauling in two contested grabs, and worked well around the ground to involve himself in general play. He finished with 18 disposals, five marks, 38 hit-outs, three tackles and five clearances.

#37 Cody Gilchrist

Athletic full-forward Cody Gilchrist threatened to tear apart the game in its early stages. Operating out of the square, Gilchrist looked damaging on the lead, where he used his speed and long reach to good effect. Gilchrist simply outsized and outmuscled his opponent for much of the contest, however his workrate and leading patterns up forward ensured he was the most threatening forward on the ground. He had an inconsistent day in front of the big sticks, missing some very gettable opportunities whilst nailing others. The 198cm Gilchrist finished the game with 20 disposals, seven marks (three contested), six hit-outs and two goals (three behinds) in an encouraging showing.

Others: Bulldogs midfielders Luigi Mondello and Tahjin Krieg produced workmanlike performances, accumulating 17 and 14 disposals respectively. Tackling machine Tomas Hahn was typically combative in-and-under, winning 14 possessions and laying 12 tackles while also booting a goal. Adam Deakin was strong in the air down back and also provided some serviceable rebound, finishing with 21 disposals, six marks and 11 rebounds. Fellow defender Jake Grubb played his best game at Under 18s level, collecting 18 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and four rebounds and showing some nice signs.

STURT 5.11 (41) DEF. BY SOUTH ADELAIDE 14.15 (99)

By: Liam Badkin

Sturt:

#10 Jake Aish

The clearance machine was once again his side’s best player, battling hard in the engine room in what was a tough day for the Sabres. Aish’s toughness was on full display as he found more than his fair share of contested possession on the ground and fed it out to his teammates in ideal positions. Once again could have used slightly more composure and execution when on the outside of the contest, but fought tooth and nail to make life easier for his fellow midfielders. Finished the contest with 20 disposals, seven tackles, four clearances, seven inside 50s and even hit the scoreboard and although his inaccuracy cost him a big day on the stat sheet, his 2.2 input was big, given his side’s low scoring result for the afternoon.

#17 Mitch Felton

Backing up last week’s stellar performance, the speedy defender was another bright spot on a tough day for Sturt. The ball was often hammered into South Adelaide’s forward line, so Felton constantly found himself around the ball, and always looked to clear the ball from the backline with his classy ball use and damaging pace. Took a pair of contested marks deep in defence, on his way to 23 touches, five tackles and a whopping 13 rebound 50s as he battled all day to try and give his side some desperately needed run.

South Adelaide:

#10 Isaac Birt

The versatile wingman was once again eye-catching in South Adelaide’s 58-point triumph over the Sabres over the weekend. Burt found plenty of space to use his signature run-and-dash along the wing, providing his side with bursting pace along with reliable delivery to teammates, whether it was by hand or foot. Continuously peppered the ball inside 50, giving his teammates ample opportunity to score, and frequently his work resulted in a goal for his side. Can be proud of his 20 disposals and five mark outing.

#33 Arlo Draper

The midfielder picked up right where he left off, delivering yet another best-on-ground performance from the midfield, where his side had dominance for virtually all four quarters. Worked hard around the contest to fight for the contested possessions, and often proved too strong for his Sabre opponents, who could only watch as the South Adelaide midfielder burst away from stoppages with ease. A second quarter goal was simply reward for effort, as Draper’s strong work around the stoppage was translated to the scoreboard. Finished with 30 disposals (20 kicks), four marks, five tackles, nine clearances and seven inside 50s in a dominant performance.

Others:

Up forward, it was the trio of Hugo Hoeck (four goals), Dylan Brown (three goals) and Tom Schirmer (three goals) who could not be stopped, frequently sharing the opportunities amongst each other, while down back, Lachlan Hayes frequently removed the ball from the defensive arc, finishing the game with 10 rebound 50s from his 29 disposals.

GLENELG 9.10 (64) DEF. BY WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS EAGLES 11.9 (75)

By: Liam Badkin

Glenelg:

#20 Lewis Rayson

Rayson continued his consistent form, working tirelessly around the ground to finish as one of his side’s strongest performers. His midfield minutes continue to grow on a weekly basis and so too his confidence, emerging as one of the competition’s cleanest midfielders with his disposal efficiency and lack of fumbling around the ball. While his statistics were down on last round, Rayson’s impact remained the same as he constantly thwarted opposition attacks with his intercept marking, and his pace once again broke the game open when given the opportunity. Rayson finished with 21 disposals and eight marks in a performance that will be sure to impress scouters.

Others:

Benjamin Ridgeway was another strong performer through the middle, pouring in 20 disposals and a goal to form a dangerous combination with Rayson, while up forward Corey Brougham took advantage of the speedy ball movement to hit the scoreboard for two goals and two behinds to lead his team in scoring.

WWT Eagles:

#9 Jase Burgoyne

The Port Adelaide father-son prospect delivered one of his strongest performances of the 2021 season, keeping the ball on a string through the midfield and slicing the opposition open with his run-and-carry from the stoppage. His ability to find a target forward of the ball was also to be admired, and an impressive third quarter goal was the icing on the cake. Burgoyne finished the match with 26 disposals in a performance that will please both Eagles and Power fans going forward.

#24 Zac Phillips

The talented ruckman got the better of his Glenelg opponent throughout the match, delivering ascendancy in the air, and then following up his work when the ball hit the ground, a trait that is almost necessary in today’s game. Phillips pulled down multiple pack marks when the ball was forced down the line by either side, grabbing the ball from seemingly impossible positions. His mobility on the ground and athleticism in the air continue to amaze, and the impressive youngster finished with 17 disposals and 22 hitouts.

Others:

Tough midfielder Sam Nicholls was powerful through the stoppages, finishing with 20 touches, 11 crunching tackles and a goal, while Dustin Launer was outstanding in an attacking midfielder role, racking up 21 touches to go with three goals.

North Adelaide 15.8 (98) def. West Adelaide 10.3 (63)

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#12 Hugh Jackson

If there was one area in which Hugh Jackson could improve upon this season, it has been his scoreboard impact. Having booted just three goals up until Round 11, Jackson doubled his season tally by booting three majors in the Roosters triumph. It didn’t start perfectly for Jackson though, with the ball magnet missing a regulation set shot from close range. However he bounced back in style, proving elusive around stoppages in particular. A silky mover, he used the ball well with that damaging left foot and was very clean at ground level. His highlight for the day was undoubtedly his long range running goal from just beyond the 50 metre arc which never looked like missing. Jackson concluded another fruitful outing with 32 disposals, six marks, four tackles, seven clearances and seven inside 50s.

#18 James Willis

Talented Roosters Hugh Jackson, Blayne O’Loughlin and Harvey Harrison have all had their moments in the limelight this season, and on Saturday afternoon it was midfielder James Willis’ time to shine. Recognised as one of the best junior onballers in the state, Willis was dominant against West Adelaide. He started the game by laying a terrific smother, then later ran down a West Adelaide opponent with a strong tackle. These defensive efforts have been a hallmark of Willis’ game throughout the past couple of seasons, and they shone through at Prospect Oval. Willis spent most of the game in the midfield and was effective on the inside and the outside, winning some contested ball and also using his explosiveness to damaging effect when given a pocket of time and space. He also used the ball well, even whilst travelling at top speed. A dynamic prospect, Willis used his stiff arm a couple of times, demonstrating the power and strength he plays with. He finished as the Roosters leading ball winner, gathering 34 touches along with seven marks, six tackles, six clearances, eight inside 50s and three rebounds.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

Half-back Blayne O’Loughlin again found an abundance of the ball in his customary role as an attacking defender. He worked very hard between the arcs to provide an outlet option. The Roosters looked to give him the ball whenever possible and the Crows Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect provided plenty of bounce from the backline. His kicking was slightly off at various stages throughout the contest, with a number of his kicks falling short of their intended target. Nevertheless, O’Loughlin’s relentless run and carry, vision and composure proved invaluable to North Adelaide. He finished with 31 disposals, five marks, three tackles, three clearances, five inside 50s and six rebounds.

Others: Reliable onballer Harvey Harrison again had his hands on the ball all day, accumulating 32 disposals to go with five marks, six tackles, six clearances and four inside 50s. His fast and clean handball skills were of particular note. Zyton Santillo had another strong game, laying ten tackles and using the ball well. The clever half-forward/wingman also managed 21 disposals, three clearances, five inside 50s and a classy goal. His fellow wingman Sam McTaggart also impressed, gathering 26 disposals, seven marks and a goal of his own. Up forward, Oliver Dignan booted four majors and Jack Hodges performed well in the absence of Isaac Keeler, booting three goals and amassing 22 disposals and seven inside 50s.

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

Charlie Pridham has become one of the most consistent rebounding defenders in the competition and he again amassed plenty of the football on Prospect Oval. Clearly West’s most reliable ball user when transitioning from defence, Pridham didn’t take many risks by foot, and as a result wasn’t overly damaging. However he was clean and composed and always seemed to be there to mop up for the Bloods. The under 18 competition’s leading rebounder, Pridham finished with 33 touches (including 28 kicks), nine marks and ten rebounds.

#33 Jesse Thackeray

Jesse Thackeray was rewarded for his consistent season by being selected in South Australia’s phase one Under 19 National Championships squad. In 2021, the midfielder/forward has stepped up in the absence of talented bottom-aged duo Tyson Coe and Kobe Ryan, who have spent much of the season playing school football. Thackeray snapped a brilliant goal from the pocket shortly after a lengthy delay due to a serious injury to teammate Mitch Hahn. Despite the Roosters dominating the midfield battle, Thackeray tried hard and added another goal with a quick-fire shot in traffic. He finished with 29 disposals, three marks, six clearances and four inside 50s.

#45 Oscar Steene

Ruckman Oscar Steene was one of five West Adelaide juniors to make the initial state Under 19 squad ahead of the National Championships, set to take place in July and September. The 199cm tall was among the Bloods best performers despite his sides 35-point defeat to North Adelaide. Steene went head-to-head with Rooster tall Oliver Moors for the majority of the game, and the pair fought an enticing battle. Steene used his mobility and leap to get his hands on the ball, but was pushed aside relatively easily at times. He didn’t have a big impact on the game aerially, however Steene’s skills in general play were clean and his willingness to impact the game at ground level was evident. He finished with 14 touches, four tackles, 27 hit-outs and three clearances.

Others: Speedy midfielders Dylan McCormick (20 disposals, six tackles, six clearances and six inside 50s) and Hugh Desira (19 disposals, three marks, four clearances and three inside 50s) provided some run on the outside but also did their bit on the inside in the absence of hard-nosed skipper Cade Kennedy, who earned himself a call up to the reserves. Mobile medium forward Luke Young added two goals to his season tally and Ben Burbridge (20 disposals, five marks, six tackles and four clearances) was effective in the middle.

Picture credit: On The Ball Media

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 9

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s returned and rolled on into Round 9, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

South adelaide 12.10 (82) defeated West Adelaide 8.9 (57)

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide

#10 Isaac Birt

Consistent wingman Isaac Birt was arguably the best player on the ground in South Adelaide’s win over the Bloods at Noarlunga. He got involved in the game early, hitting a couple of beautiful left foot kicks, including a lace-out bullet to the leading Kyle Marshall inside 50. A smooth-mover who possesses a very aesthetically-pleasing kicking style, Birt played with more class and polish than his counterparts, displaying excellent vision and making smart decisions with ball-in-hand. He used his speed to provide some important run and carry, but also tackled well and was strong in the air when it was his turn to go. In what was another strong performance from one of South Australia’s best wingman, Birt gathered 26 disposals, seven marks (two contested), three tackles, three clearances and seven inside 50s.

#38 Tom Schirmer

Full-forward Tom Schirmer produced his best performance at Under 18’s level, after helping the Panthers claim the Under 16’s flag earlier in the year. Working out of the goalsquare, Schirmer read the ball well in the air and was able to out-body his direct opponent with relative ease. Importantly, the 16-year-old made the most of his favourable positioning and size advantage by clunking everything in his area. Although he missed a couple of gettable opportunities in front of goal, his dominant three-goal third term helped turn the game in South’s favour. Deployed in the ruck when the ball was inside-50, Schirmer finished the day with 13 disposals, five goals (four behinds), four marks (all contested), five hit-outs and a couple of clearances.

#39 Will Verrall

Bottom-aged ruckman Will Verrall was engaged in a competitive battle with West Adelaide ruckman Oscar Steene for much of the Saturday morning contest. Although Steene finished ahead in the hitout numbers, the South Adelaide big man was more involved in general play than his direct opponent. He used his mobility to good effect, covering the ground well and accumulating several link-up possessions. Clearly one of the most talented ruckman in the state, Verrall finished another productive outing with 19 disposals, three marks, 20 hitouts and three clearances.

Others: Small defender Lachlan Hayes accumulated plenty of the football in the defensive-half for the Panthers. Charged with the kick-in duties, Hayes looked to take the game on with his dash, speed and skill wherever possible. He finished with 33 disposals, four tackles and 13 rebounds. Onballer Koby Cockshell found himself involved in everything in the first quarter. He concluded the outing with 17 disposals, four tackles, four clearances and a goal. Up forward, exciting 16-year-old Jack Delean had a quieter day (nine disposals and two marks), but still showed glimpses of his enormous potential, including a wonderful crumbing goal from an inside-50 stoppage.

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

The ever-reliable Charlie Pridham was terrific for the Bloods. Playing the half-back role in which he has found so much of the football this season, Pridham mopped up everything in his area. He seemingly always found himself open in the defensive 50 and made himself an easy hit-up option for his teammates. Pridham didn’t attempt to bite off more than he could chew by foot, preferring to take the low-risk short option rather than attempt to hit a difficult target. His services off the half-back line have been a vital reason behind the Bloods successes this season and although his side fell to a spirited South Adelaide, Pridham still managed 31 touches, seven marks, six tackles and four rebounds.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Skipper Cade Kennedy has been a workhorse in the midfield for the Bloods this season, and he was at it again in West’s 25-point defeat. His foot skills were inconsistent throughout the match, however his fight at ground level and contested ball winning ability was invaluable. Although he was not as dominant at the stoppages as he has been in the past, Kennedy was effective with his hands in-tight and applied plenty of pressure around the ball. He finished with 25 disposals, six marks, eight tackles, two clearances and seven inside-50s.

Others:

Dylan White (29 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, six clearances, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s) was terrific through the midfield for West Adelaide. His ability in the coalface supported the efforts of fellow onballers Cade Kennedy and Jesse Thackeray. Thackeray himself gathered 19 disposals, three marks and six inside 50s for the match in another well-rounded performance in his midfield/half-forward role. Medium forward Mitch Hahn was the main man for West Adelaide in attack. Although he was far from the tallest up forward, he was able to use his natural smarts and physical strength to nudge his opponent under the ball and take a number of inside 50 marks. He finished with three goals, to go with nine disposals and three marks. Centre half-forward Luke Young was quiet early but worked his way into the game nicely. He appeared to find it challenging to gain separation on the lead but, as all good forwards do, capitalised on his opportunities inside 50. Young amassed 15 disposals, two marks and two tackles to go with his couple of goals.

STURT 8.10 (58) defeated by NORTH ADELAIDE 14.12 (96)

By: Liam Badkin

Sturt:

#5 Jordan Hein

By far Sturt’s strongest performer in the 38-point defeat to North Adelaide. Spending time through the midfield, Hein displayed an exceptional ability to drive the ball forward by foot. Finishing with a team-high 20 kicks, Hein displayed courage with some of his kicks, bravely taking on the corridor on multiple occasions. Laid some solid tackles throughout the contest (five for the day), and his work rate to provide an option for teammates caught the eye. On a day where there were plenty of stationary players ahead of the ball for Sturt, Hein consistently provided a strong lead for teammates, and helped keep the ball moving forward for his side. Missed a shot on goal to open the third quarter when the game could have gone either way, a small blemish on what was a strong performance in a losing side.

Others:

James Tragakis led his side for disposals with 23 for the day as he worked hard through the contest to extract the ball. Down back, plenty of run was generated by Mitch Felton, who finished the game with a whopping 11 rebound 50s as he constantly drove the ball forward for Sturt, despite the inactivity up forward at times.

North Adelaide:

#12 Hugh Jackson

Dominant. Took his own footy to the contest as he finished with a game-high 41 disposals in a powerful performance through the midfield. There was no better performer in the engine room, as Jackson extracted the ball 12 times from stoppages, frequently giving opposition players and coaches headaches with his ability to find the ball in nearly any circumstance. Sturt attempted to curve his influence as the game continued, but it mattered not, with Jackson always finding a way to get the ball on his boot, finishing with 30 kicks. Was hugely influential in the result of the game, with North Adelaide’s midfield ascendancy a major factor in the final margin.

#18 James Willis

Was arguably better than his teammate in the number 12 jumper, with Willis stuffing the stat sheet on his way to 35 disposals, nine marks, five clearances and two goals. Spending time rotating through the midfield and the forward line, Willis was able to have an impact wherever his magnet was moved to. The statistics impress, but they don’t tell the tale of his immense pressure around the contest. Opposition players struggled to get a clean disposal around him and when they did, it was often rushed and ineffective.

Others:

Harvey Harrison hurt the opposition all over the ground, finishing with two goals from his 32 disposals and ten marks in a typically classy display.

Woodville-West Torrens 22.12 (144) defeated central district 6.10 (46)

By: Tom Wyman

Woodville-West Torrens:

#5 Brayden Calvett

Calvett produced his best performance of the season in the Eagles’ big win. Operating across the half-forward flank and pushing up onto the wing and midfield at times, Calvett booted two goals in three minutes in the first term before Central had registered a major. He would go on to boot another couple to finish the game as one of four Eagles to nail three-plus goals. He read the play well and made the most of his chances in-front of the big sticks. Calvett finished the game with 23 disposals, three marks and four inside-50s.

#6 Dustin Launer

Whilst the likes of Calvett, Burgoyne and Phillipou will deservedly steal the headlines for Woodville-West Torrens, the performance of Dustin Launer wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by the Eagles coaching staff. Particularly impressive early on in the game, the half-back/midfielder showed excellent poise and skill with ball in-hand. He looked calm and assured of himself even when under pressure, and executed well by hand and foot. Launer also showed plenty of ability in the midfield, where he won four clearances, along with his 20 possessions, seven marks, three tackles and three rebounds.

#9 Jase Burgoyne

Burgoyne quite simply did as he pleased upon return to the Eagles Under 18 set-up after spending time at league level with the Port Adelaide Magpies. Stationed in defence early-on, the Power father-son prospect looked unflustered all day. Not only did he find the ball at will, Burgoyne used it efficiently. He rarely attempted any audacious kicks, instead preferring to hit the obvious shorter target. Burgoyne was able to glide through the midfield, where he displayed a similar level of composure and poise with the football, making sensible and informed decisions. He flew high above the pack to claim a terrific mark, but the highlight-reel grab was unfortunately short-lived as he was penalised for placing his hands in the back of Bulldog Saxon Evans. Burgoyne got amongst the goal kickers when he waltzed into an open goal late in the fourth term to cap off a great performance. He finished with 37 disposals, ten marks and four clearances.

#21 Mattaes Phillipou

There were several candidates for best on ground honours in the Eagles 98-point triumph, but Mattaes Phillipou would have to be the front-runner after he slotted five majors. Spending more time up forward than in previous weeks, Phillipou’s aerial strength was on full display as he floated in to take several contested marks. After booting two early goals, Phillipou was clearly full of confidence as he set sail for home from beyond the 50-metre mark a couple of times, fancying his chances given his form in front of goal. It was just one of those days for the forward/midfielder, who consistently found himself in the right place at the right time, best highlighted by his fourth major, which came after Jase Burgoyne’s hurried kick forward fell right into his awaiting arms. When pushed into the midfield, his stoppage nous and contested ball winning were terrific. Phillipou finished a game to remember with 32 disposals, six marks (three contested), four tackles, eight clearances and five inside 50s.

Others: Ruckman Zac Phillips fought hard against Bulldogs ruckman Saxon Evans. Although Phillips was beaten early, he worked his way into the contest and had more of an impact as the game wore on. He got caught out for some slow disposal on a couple of occasions, but was more effective than Evans around the ground, gathering 19 disposals to go with his four marks, six clearances and 14 hitouts. Sam Nicholls accumulated 26 disposals, four marks, six tackles and five clearances in the midfield, while strongly built country kid Will Pearce booted four goals and played with plenty of aggression. Forward Jack Murphy booted three goals and Blake Hansen was another Eagle to impress, collecting 21 disposals and five marks.

Central District:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

The Bulldogs may have been soundly beaten from start to finish at Woodville Oval, but pocket rocket and Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect Isaiah Dudley showed why he is among South Australia’s top handful of draft hopefuls. Starting at the centre bounce, Dudley wasted no time asserting himself on the contest by winning the opening clearance and hitting a target by hand moments later. Throughout the contest, he switched from the midfield to a deep-forward role with fellow Academy Hub member Austin McDonald. Dudley’s attack on the contest was sensational, as was his contested ball winning and relentless tackling pressure. However it was his distribution by hand which elevated his game. He made excellent decisions by hand and showed vision and skill to locate targets away from the congestion, many of whom had time and space to move in. The powerfully built utility showed plenty of class to snap a goal from a difficult angle in the pocket, but should have finished with a couple more to his name. All in all, it was a very impressive performance from Dudley, who finished with 27 disposals, two marks, eight tackles, six clearances and four inside 50s.

#21 Austin McDonald

In just his third game back from a serious leg injury, bottom-ager Austin McDonald showed why he is considered one of the leading midfielders in SA. The Barossa product split his time between the midfield and the forward line, with the Bulldogs preferring to keep their two most damaging players, Dudley and McDonald separated. McDonald was not dominant, however he was certainly one of the Bulldogs best performers. He looks to be a natural ball-winner who appears best suited to an inside midfield role in the long term. He finished with 25 disposals, four marks, five tackles, two clearances and four inside-50s.

Others:

Half-back Ruben Carreno tried his best to weather the storm in defence. He provided some meaningful rebound, finishing with 19 disposals, two marks, three tackles and 11 rebounds. In the midfield, big-man Saxon Evans managed to get the better of his duel with 19-year-old Eagles tall Zac Phillips. The athletic ruckman gathered nine disposals and kicked a solid set-shot goal in the first term. At ground level, Tahjin Krieg never stopped trying for Central Districts. Despite lacking a touch of polish, he ran hard around the ground, tackled with ferocity and showed some speed and hustle out of the contest, concluding with 18 possessions, nine tackles, six clearances and seven inside-50s. Tomas Hahn was typically robust, laying 14 tackles, winning seven clearances and gathering 19 disposals. Dylan Wall was the best of the Bulldogs forwards, booting three goals.

GLENELG 15.12 (102) defeated NORWOOD 3.5 (23)

By: Liam Badkin

Glenelg:

#6 Darcy Gluyas

With teammate Hugh Stagg missing, Gluyas took the extra opportunity around the ground with both hands and stepped up to the moment. Through the midfield, he was terrific with five clearances and 31 disposals, but worked both ways for his side. Eight strong tackles provide a clear display of the toughness he showed through the engine room, and even floated forward to kick a classy second quarter goal to put the exclamation point on a fantastic all-around performance from the Glenelg midfielder.

#12 Brodie Edwards

A much better performance for the workhorse through the midfield, improving on last week’s quieter performance to finish the contest with 21 disposals and seven tackles. Working through the engine room, Edwards was one of his side’s premier extractors, finishing the contest with a game-high six clearances, through either his fast hands or impressive ability to get the ball on the boot. Was one of his side’s strongest in the 79-point drubbing of Norwood.

Others:

Up forward, Corey Brougham thrived as the team’s number one marking option, booting a whopping five snags from his 14 touches, and displayed his dominance in the air with three contested clunks.

Norwood:

#11 Connor Kent

Was his side’s bright spark on quite a dark day. The team was convincingly beaten, but Kent can hold his head high, amassing 37 disposals, seven inside 50’s and nine tackles through the middle. Kent was constantly trying to provide some desperately needed spark for his side, laying bone-crunching tackles and finding the ball, even when he was on the back foot. Far and away the best player for Norwood, and probably deserved a better result than what was given to him.

Image Credit: Port Adelaide FC

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 7

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s returned and rolled on into Round 7, with the latest weekend of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

NORTH ADELAIDE 17.10 (112) def. NORWOOD 6.6 (42)

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#4 Isaac Keeler

Ultra-talented bottom-ager Isaac Keeler added another four goals to his season tally, proving far too good for the Norwood backline. Having spent time at full-forward and as the number one ruckman at stages throughout the season, Keeler began the clash in attack. He pushed up the ground nicely, gaining separation on the lead with ease and providing the Roosters midfielders with a spot-up target. At full-stretch, he proved near-on impossible to defend. Along with Keeler’s supreme athleticism, he is also a beautiful set-shot for goal, with his natural, laid-back style cooling converting more often than not. He was even effective when deployed a kick behind the play for a brief period in the second half. Suspect his speed, ground-level cleanliness and leap will cause plenty of headaches for defenders in years to come. Keeler finished the game with 15 disposals, eight marks (two contested), five hit-outs and four goals.

#12 Hugh Jackson

The form-player of the competition was at it again on Prospect Oval, starting from where he left off last round. Jackson waisted no time in getting started, seemingly involved in everything for the red and whites. At the stoppages, the Rostrevor College prospect often lined up on the defensive-side, and if he didn’t win the clearance himself, his Roosters teammates found him by hand and allowed him to swing onto his trusty left-foot. His foot skills are a huge weapon and his ability to pick-off target-after-target has been a treat to watch throughout the season. An aesthetically pleasing midfielder who moves so well, his quick handballs always seemed to find their targets regardless of the nearby pressure – a testament to his skill and vision. Although he didn’t find as much of the ball in the second half, Jackson had already made his mark on the contest and finished with 27 disposals, eight marks, three clearances, eight inside-50s and a goal.

#15 Harvey Harrison

Harvey Harrison has been forced to play second-fiddle to Hugh Jackson for most of the season to-date, but he finished as the best player on the ground in the Roosters 70-point win over Norwood. One of the SANFL Under-18 competition’s most prolific ball-winners, Harrison had managed just one goal for the year before the clash with the Redlegs. However that soon changed, as he nailed four majors, including a beautiful running goal from just inside-50 to highlight his precise ball-use at top speed. A line-breaking midfielder who runs and runs, Harrison was also prepared to crack in and do the hard stuff, laying nine tackles. His contested ball winning and stoppage nous was excellent, as the teenager finished with 26 disposals and eight clearances.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

The Adelaide NGA product lined up down back at the opening bounce but quickly worked his way into the on-ball rotation. After proving himself as one of the best small defenders in the country over the first two months of the season, O’Loughlin showed he can also play a role through the midfield. He fought hard at ground level, winning his fair share of contested ball and using his nimble footwork, composure and poise to work his way through congestion on several occasions. However it was O’Loughlin’s long-range goal in the third term which was the highlight. He finished another solid outing with 22 disposals, three tackles and three rebounds.

Others:

Zippy small midfielder Zyton Santillo has been one of North Adelaide’s best performers this season and his round seven effort was no exception. Providing plenty of speed and creativity, Santillo zigged and zagged his way through congestion with ease, and used the ball well inside-50. He gathered 20 disposals, five marks, four tackles, five inside-50s and a goal.

His fellow midfielder James Willis also had an excellent game. He was strong at the coalface, winning six clearances, and tackled hard all day. He finished with 25 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and five inside-50s. Half-forward Sam McTaggart was heavily involved from the get-go and concluding the game with 20 touches, seven marks, six tackles and a goal. Ruckman Oliver Moors was utterly dominant, winning 45 hit-outs. He also found plenty of the ball around the ground, gathering 16 touches, four marks and five clearances.

Norwood:

#11 Connor Kent

Midfielder Connor Kent was Norwood’s best player in what proved to be a difficult day at the office for the visitors. The leading possession-winner on the ground, Kent’s ability to win the contested ball and distribute it cleanly by hand was promising. With the Roosters dominating the hit-outs (54-17), the Norwood midfielders were on the back-foot for most of the day and spent a considerable portion of the day chasing the likes of Jackson, Santillo, Harrison and O’Loughlin. However Kent, arguably Norwood’s most consistent player in 2021, can hold his head up high, finishing the game with 31 disposals, four marks, five tackles and three inside-50s.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Talented backman Matthew Dnistriansky stood tall down in defence, despite the Roosters belting it inside-50 on 54 occasions. The clean-kicking Dnistriansky read the play well and was strong in the air. Although he did try to bite off a bit more than he could chew at-times, particularly when looking to bring the ball back into the corridor, Dnistriansky was largely effective by foot. He provided a game-high 11 rebounds, to go with 29 disposals, eight marks, three tackles and four inside-50s.

Others: 

Half-back Riley Verrall was serviceable in defence, collecting 22 disposals and using it well by foot for the most part. He also registered five marks, three tackles and six rebounds. Forward Jett Boxer kicked three of Norwood’s six goals. His strength overhead was a highlight, hauling in nine marks for the game, three of which were contested. He also managed 23 disposals, three tackles and a couple of hit-outs. Elsewhere, Peter Minervini managed 16 disposals and seven clearances, while Louis Joseph collected 16 disposals, six tackles and a goal.

GLENELG 23.11 (149) def. SOUTH ADELAIDE 5.6 (36)

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#5 Hugh Stagg

Hugh Stagg has emerged as one of the best players in the under-18 competition this season, and his round seven effort was similarly dominant. Involved in everything from the get-go, Stagg hit every contest with the sort of speed and power of a Patrick Dangerfield-type, looking to use his superior size and strength to burst his way through traffic. Not one to fear using the fend-off, Stagg clearly relished the competitive side of the game. Although not everything he touched turned to gold, with some of his kicks lacking penetration or just missing their desired target, you just felt like something was going to happen whenever he was around the ball. His overhead strength saw him take a couple of nice grabs up forward, as he ended the game with three goals. The goal kicking forward/midfielder, who seems to be going from strength-to-strength with each game, gathered another 31 disposals, nine marks (three contested), three tackles, four clearances and five inside-50s in his sides 113-point demolition.

#17 Corey Brougham

Strong forward Corey Brougham was the beneficiary of the Bays midfield dominance and excellent ball-use inside-50. The clear leading target, Brougham was seemingly always in-front of his man, which allowed him to get first bite at the ball on the lead. His clean hands overhead were once again a big part of his game. Brougham has a simple and effective set-shot routine, but he would have loved to have converted a couple of gettable chances in-front of the big sticks. Nevertheless, the powerful forward finished with 13 disposals, six goals and five marks (three contested) in a dominant display.

#20 Lewis Rayson

Rayson started the game down back, but as we’ve seen all throughout the season, he proved just as effective when thrown into the middle. In either role, his attack on the football and ability to break the lines with both his speed and penetrating foot skills proved damaging. Deceptively strong overhead for a player of his size and stature, Rayson once again played a big part in securing Glenelg their seventh win of the season. Rayson finished the game with 27 touches, five marks, two tackles, four clearances, five inside-50s, four rebounds and a set-shot goal in another well-rounded performance.

Others: 

Utility Darcy Gluyas showed some real class with ball in-hand. His composure was excellent and his ball-use was effective. He finished with 25 touches, seven marks, three tackles and three clearances. Brodie Edwards was also typically calm and assured with ball in-hand. He slotted a goal after the half-time siren and gathered 20 disposals, four marks, five tackles and five clearances. Down back, Cooper BeeckenBailey Durant and Harrison Kaesler generated some meaningful rebound, finished with four, five and seven rebounds respectively. Ethan Murdock and Brodie Patter each booted four-straight for the home side, with Daniel Nicotra and Matthew Wolfenden also contributing two apiece.

South Adelaide:

#4 Jack Delean

Having led the Panthers to a flag in the SANFL Under-16 competition earlier in the year, young forward Jack Delean once-again suited up for South Adelaide’s under-18 side for their clash with the undefeated Glenelg. And he immediately looked the most promising of South’s forwards. Touted as a likely high-pick despite being a couple of years away from draft eligibility, Delean’s aerial ability was immediately obvious, running back with the flight of the ball and hauling in a great grab early in the first term. He kicked his first goal after finding himself in the right place and the right time and also found himself in position-A to soccer home his second. He pushed up the ground well and finished the game with 12 disposals, five marks (four contested) and three goals.

#10 Isaac Birt

Consistent midfielder Isaac Birt was probably South Adelaide’s best player in what was a difficult day for the Panthers. Birt found himself spending more time on the inside this week, with star midfielders Arlo Draper and Matthew Roberts both out of the side. He seemed to relish the added responsibility and really flew the flag even as the Tigers seemed to pile on goal-after-goal in the second half. Birt found plenty of it and used the ball fairly well, especially when he found himself with some time and space. He concluded the game with a team-high 21 disposals, eight marks, three tackles, six clearances and five inside-50s.

#39 Will Verrall

The Panthers may have been soundly beaten on the day, but bottom-aged ruckman did his reputation as one of the state’s most exciting key position prospects no harm. His tap-work and ruck craft at stoppages was impressive, as regularly palmed it down to the Panthers on-ballers with the sort of touch rarely seen in young rucks. He combined particularly well with midfielder Luke Mitton, who seemed to read his tap-work the best of anyone. Verrall followed-up well at ground-level and finished the game with 14 disposals and 33 hit-outs.

Others:

Diminutive on-baller Luke Mitton was certainly one of his sides best, gathering 17 touches, five tackles, nine clearances  and five inside-50s. Cooper Rogers found himself involved in the contest as a high half-forward, winning 12 touches and five inside-50s, while Lachlan Hayes and Dylan Miller were effective in defence, finished with 11 rebounds between them.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 12.17 (89) def. STURT 6.11 (47)

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

Always a creative type through midfield, Dudley proved once again on Saturday that he is exactly the player Centrals would want delivering the ball inside attacking 50. While some of his darting kicks fell short, the Adelaide NGA prospect was often able to hit leading targets with great class on the move, finishing his productive forward runs. That same active streak could also be observed at the stoppages, as Dudley looked to take the ball in motion and either burst forward, or draw an opponent before dishing laterally. He would also repeat run in an attacking sense if the opportunity to go inside 50 presented, as the highlight of his day a long goal which came on the end of two running bounces through the corridor. As expected, he was also clean below his knees and clever around goals, with another major coming in term four from a coolly finished snap.

#7 Austin Poulton

Poulton was part of Centrals’ forward-midfield rotation and like Dudley, was able to compliment his ball winning feats with some scoreboard impact. He started the game as well as anyone, getting busy with presentation up at half-forward, before making his mark with two first-term goals. Both were quickfire, opportunistic shots out of congestion which showed he knew exactly where the big sticks were. Poulton also got his hands on the ball through midfield, but looked most impactful when receiving up on the arc where he would twist, turn, and pick the right option looking laterally or towards goal.

#21 Austin McDonald

In his first Under 18s outing for the year, McDonald picked up from where he left off by unsurprisingly leading all comers with 28 disposals. The bottom-ager simply knows how to find the football, earning or receiving it at the contest and also working to be an option around the ground. His use by hand looked typically sound, and his willingness to move the ball on quickly is a trait which suits the Centrals style of play. McDonald often looked to snatch meterage by foot, but has plenty of area for growth with his kicking – even if some of those left-foot floaters found the intended target. As a bottom-ager, he has plenty of time to fill out his promising skillset.

#29 Saxon Evans

Evans has established himself as a dominant kind of ruck at Under 18s level and was again in the thick of things for Centrals on Saturday. He had his moments at the centre bounces and stoppages with some nicely directed hits to his rovers, but was arguably more impactful with his work around the ground. Evans was able to find the ball between the arcs and at either end of the field – including an contested mark in defensive 50 as Sturt took a long-range set shot. In his time up forward during the second half, Evans continued to prove a solid aerial target, capping his day with a free kick conversion in the fourth quarter after assisting a Brodie Tuck major.

#38 Brodie Tuck

Another impressive bottom-ager for Centrals, Tuck has some nice traits for his size. He worked well in tandem with Jayden Matz up forward to provide a reliable marking target, with his strong hands and contested marking ability coming to the fore. The bigman opened his account in the first term with a straightforward mark and goal deep inside 50, before adding a second in the third term after taking a strong pack mark. He could well have ended up with an absolute bag if not for inaccuracy, finishing with four behinds and a couple of attempts which failed to register scores. While his overhead marking was a highlight, Tuck also showed an uncanny knack for finding space in tight areas, able to shrug off opponents or fein a handball to buy a bit more time on the ball. His poise in those situations was good, proving a nice extra string to his bow.

Others:

The Bulldogs had a number of strong performers, with the likes of Henry Ratcliff, Tahjin Krieg, and Tomas Hahn proving productive members of the forward-midfield rotation. Jayden Matz booted three goals and presented nicely both inside 50 and up the ground, while Matthew Borlace positioned expertly to intercept in the back half and got his side going with positive movement on the rebound.

Sturt:

#8 Lachie Thomas

The hard-working wingman was sighted running deep into either arc, providing some reinforcement on the last line of defence while also pushing forward aggressively. Not only did he work hard up and back, but Thomas also competed in the air and on the ground, proving nice and strong in the contest. His efforts to drop back and help the defence with intercept marks were notable, as were a couple of running-bounce passages going the other way, with Thomas working well in space to create some drive on the outer.

#12 Jamie Taylor

A relatively permanent part of Sturt’s midfield group, Taylor won the first centre clearance of the match and was often able to get his hands on the ball at stoppages. He had a team-high six clearances which allowed him to put the ball into dangerous areas and give his forwards opportunities to strike with quick delivery into the attacking arc. He booted a goal in the second term and could have had another after the siren, but put the shot wide for no score. In what was a solid performance from the engine room operator, he had little trouble getting his hands on the ball and imposing himself on each contest.

#20 Jaymes Tragakis

Another productive member of the midfield group, Tragakis had a nice purple patch in the second term and provided Sturt with some forward drive out of the middle. He was able to work forward and find the ball in advanced areas, not afraid to get his legs pumping with some run-and-carry before delivering inside 50. At the stoppages, he peeled off well on a couple of occasions to get a handball receive in space, allowing him to stream forward unimpeded. One of his best moments started with a possession at half-back, which he followed up to receive back and continue his run before delivering a goal assist inside 50.

Others:

Jake Aish was the Double Blues’ leading ball winner and was a constant in midfield, as Patrick Tidemann lit up the outside on numerous occasions with electric run-and-carry. Kade Harvey proved reliable down back with strong marking, while using his kick-in duties to gain meterage and rebound out of the defensive arc. All 21 of his disposals were kicks, with 12 of them rebound 50s. Archer Bawden was another who had his moments, clunking some nice intercept marks late in the piece.

WWT EAGLES 13.5 (83) def. by WEST ADELAIDE 13.9 (87)

By: Tom Cheesman

Eagles:

#16 Will Pearce

Pearce was the Eagles’ most prominent contributor up forward in this contest. He provided a reliable target for teammates kicking down the line, took some strong marks on the lead and hit the scoreboard with four goals. His third term was a standout, where he nailed two goals on the run (including one from the 50-metre arc) and another from a set shot, helping his side erase the five-goal deficit and hit the front just before the final break. Although Pearce missed two very kickable shots early in the match, the work he did to earn these goal-scoring opportunities were highlights. One was a clever front and square in the first term, and the other was a strong contested grab in the second term after brilliantly working his opponent under the ball. Throughout the match, Pearce brushed off oncoming tacklers with ease, collected ground balls cleanly and pushed back to help his midfielders defend in transition. Pearce’s delivery into the forward 50 was also consistently effective, including when he hit Samuel Harnas lace out on the lead in the second term. Pearce finished with 13 disposals, five marks (two contested), three inside 50s and four majors.

#18 William Neumann

Neumann was another of Woodville-West Torrens’ best players in their four-point defeat. Rotating between midfield and forward, Neumann tirelessly hunted the ball all day, applied strong pressure at stoppages and helped out his teammates when they were under pressure around the ground. Neumann proved that he is a tough player during this contest, as he took multiple very solid hits and kept his feet on each occasion. His ability to take contact from the opposition before cleanly disposing of the ball with quick hands is a major strength, and this opened up the play for the Eagles in several instances. Neumann also used his body well in marking contests, laid some strong tackles and hit the scoreboard with three majors, including a nice set shot in the final term. He finished with 24 disposals, six marks, six clearances, three tackles and three goals.

Others:

Dustin Launer (24 disposals, four tackles, four clearances) and Sam Nicholls (16 disposals, three tackles, three clearances) worked hard all day for the hosts. Speedster Jay Watson (two goals, 14 disposals, seven marks, three tackles) had some important moments up forward.

West Adelaide:

#3 Charlie Pridham

Pridham continued his brilliant season for the Bloods on Saturday at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. His ball use coming out of defence was outstanding, as he found targets with ease down the wings and through the corridor. The small defender’s ability to find the footy is profound, and his teammates love getting the ball in his hands because of his reliable decision-making and impressive foot skills. Pridham works hard into space to earn uncontested possessions, rarely panics with ball in hand and is not afraid to take heavy contact from the opposition despite his short stature. Pridham finished with 31 disposals (26 kicks), four marks, four inside 50s and three rebound 50s.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy put in of the best Under 18 performances you will see in 2021 on Saturday, collecting an incredible 48 (yes, 48) disposals (including 34 kicks) to go with 15 marks, nine clearances, seven tackles, seven inside 50s, five rebound 50s and a goal. For AFL Fantasy fans out there, that is 209 points in one match.

Kennedy used the SANFL bye last weekend as an opportunity to make his A-Grade debut for the Mitcham Hawks in the Adelaide Footy League, and it is clear that this experience playing against stronger bodies in the seniors was great for his immediate development. Returning to the Under 18s with aplomb, Kennedy was every bit as dominant as his statline suggests. He was impactful at the clearances, used his pace to breakaway from opponents, initiated plenty of link up through the middle of the ground and worked hard into defence to help his side extract the ball from dangerous areas.

Many of his 48 touches came across the half-back line, where he released teammates into space and started attacking forward thrusts with clean ball use. Kennedy’s kicking, an area that he has needed to work on in the past, was very effective in this contest. He has a reliable left-foot (opposite foot) kick as well, a rare but important attribute for a player to have in today’s game. The number of uncontested marks he took was astounding, and each of these provided his side an opportunity to control the ball and set up across the ground to stretch the defence.

At stoppages, Kennedy showed the ability to keep his feet while being tackled, which allowed him to distribute clean handballs to teammates in space on the outside. If no handball options were on offer, he was more than willing to throw it on the boot and get the ball moving forward. In the third term, Kennedy kicked one of the goals of the day when he intercepted an opposition handball and brilliantly booted a snap off just a few steps to put his side back in front. In typical Kennedy fashion, he immediately got on with the job and won the next centre clearance as well. Kennedy is undoubtedly one of the South Australian prospects to keep an eye on as the 2021 season progresses.

Others:

Jesse Thackeray (25 disposals, seven marks, five clearances, one goal) was important in the midfield, while Ben Burbridge (19 disposals, six marks, four inside 50s, one goal) used the ball effectively around the ground. Ruckman Harry Barnett (12 disposals, 19 hitouts, four marks, four inside 50s) showed impressive agility for his size and Luke Young (17 disposals, three marks, three tackles, two goals) had some great moments up forward.

Image Credit: Hannah Howard / SANFL

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 4

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s rolled on into Round 4, with the latest weekend of action producing some excellent performances from plenty of 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 10.11 (71) def. CENTRAL DISTRICT 10.8 (68)

By: Tom Wyman

SOUTH ADELAIDE:

#3 Luke Mitton

The speedy inside midfielder was among South Adelaide’s best performers as they squeezed past Central Districts at Noarlunga. With star on-baller Matthew Roberts missing the round four clash due to AFL Academy commitments, Mitton benefitted from the additional midfield minutes. Although he is on the smaller side, Mitton was strong in the coalface and applied genuine pressure around the contest, laying 10 tackles. Mitton displayed intelligence at the stoppages, winning a game-high eight clearances, including a quick snap goal following an expert piece of roving. Although his kicking was up and down, Mitton’s tackling intensity, contested ball winning and speed with ball in hand proved important. He finished with 20 disposals (14 kicks and six handballs), four marks, ten tackles, eight clearances and five inside 50s.

#8 Cooper Rogers

McLaren Vale junior, Rogers produced another consistent performance in the blue and white. Splitting his time between an inside midfield role and the forwardline, Rogers was typically prolific. A smooth mover who looks in control with ball in hand, Rogers used the ball cleanly despite pushing a couple of shots at goal across the face. He nailed a terrific goal from 40 metres out on his dominant foot in the third term to extend the Panthers’ lead. One of South Adelaide’s best ball users going inside 50, Rogers finished the game with 21 touches (11 kicks and 10 handballs), six marks and four inside 50s.

#33 Arlo Draper

With a handful of South Australia’s top junior footballers in Melbourne on AFL Academy duties, Draper gave onlookers a gentle reminder of his elite talent. Starting in the centre bounce, the Willunga product showed some excellent evasiveness in-tight, stepping his way through traffic with relative ease. Draper was clean by foot, however it was his distribution by hand which particularly stood out. Not only was he exceptionally clean, his handballs often found their intended targets in time and space and set up another Panthers’ attack. As the game wore on, Draper drifted deep forward where he simply proved too good, outmuscling his direct opponent with ease. His three goals all came via set-shots deep in attack, after taking one-on-one marks. A natural forward, Draper read the flight of the ball to perfection, then nudged his opponent under the drop zone to take the grab. Whilst Draper was clearly the best midfielder on the ground when on the ball, his one-on-one marking ability in attack is what elevated his game to the next level. The smooth-moving teenager collected 24 disposals (14 kicks and 10 handballs), four marks (two contested), three tackles, six clearances and five inside 50s.

Others: 

Wingman Isaac Birt confirmed his reputation as one of the competition’s best pure wingmen. Typically hard-working between the arcs, Birt was clean and found plenty of the ball, concluding the game with 20 disposals (16 kicks and four handballs), eight marks, four inside 50s and five rebounds. The hard-working Angus Bradley was prolific, gathering 23 disposals (18 kicks and five handballs) and four marks, while Lachlan Hayes finished with 20 touches (13 kicks and seven handballs) and eleven rebounds to solidify his standing amongst the state’s best rebounding defenders.

Talented bottom-aged midfielder/forward Jaiden Magor had his moments and showed some promising glimpses, finishing with 11 disposals (eight kicks and three handballs), three marks, four tackles and three clearances. South Adelaide’s ruck duo of Heath Treloar and Will Verrall fought hard against Central Districts big-man Saxon Evans, both winning 13 disposals. Medium-forward Hugo Hoeck missed a couple of shots earlier in the game but nailed a major with the final kick of the match to secure the points for South.

CENTRAL DISTRICT:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

Talented pocket-rocket and Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect, Dudley produced arguably his best performance of the season to date. Dudley may be on the smaller side, but he packs a punch and hits every contest with speed and ferocity. He started in the midfield and impressed with his one-touch cleanliness at ground level, agility and fancy footwork in traffic. Able to evade would-be tacklers with his nimble side-step, Dudley was clean by hand but deadly by foot, seemingly nailing all of his targets. In a Central District side which sorely missed star on-baller Shay Linke (who earned a call-up to the Reserves), Dudley provided some important run-and-carry through the middle. But even at top speed, his kicking was exceptional, consistently lacing out his teammates. His spearing ball to find teammate Thomas Clements led directly to a Bulldogs goal late in the contest. Then moments later, Dudley gave Central Districts its first lead of the season so far, nailing a major with a booming right-foot kick on the run from just inside 50. Although the lead was short-lived, it was fitting Dudley was the man to provide the spark for the Bulldogs. Other highlights of his game included a powerful fend-off, a flashy selling of candy and several repeat run-and-carry efforts. Dudley showed some really encouraging signs to suggest he may well have a bright future at AFL level. He finished the game with 19 disposals (10 kicks and nine handballs), two marks, six tackles, three clearances and a goal.

#29 Saxon Evans

Evans was clearly the most dominant ruckman on the ground. Competing against South Adelaide’s Heath Treloar and Will Verrall, Evans started brilliantly, winning the hit-outs comfortably and, importantly, following up well at ground level. With tall forward Brodie Tuck taking control of the ruck contests in attack, Evans was able to drift a kick behind the play and take a number of intercept marks. His dominance in the contest provided the Bulldogs midfielders with first look while his strength in the air saved a number of South Adelaide forward 50 entries. Evans concluded the game with 14 disposals (seven kicks and seven handballs), five marks (two contested), three tackles, 28 hit-outs and two clearances.

Others: 

Key forward Cody Gilchrist appeared to land awkwardly on his left leg early on but soldiered on seemingly unimpeded for the rest of the game. He used his height and reach to advantage and at times looked simply too tall for the South Adelaide defence. However, he would have been frustrated with a couple of missed opportunities in front of goal. He finished the game with six disposals (four kicks and two handballs), two contested marks and a goal.

Brodie Tuck provided a marking presence and looked the most threatening of the Central Districts forwards, while also providing Evans with a chop-out in the ruck. He concluded the game with 15 disposals (10 kicks and five handballs), three goals, five marks, four tackles, nine hit-outs and four inside 50s. Half-backman Ruben Carreno was his side’s most prolific ball-winner, accumulating 24 disposals (15 kicks and nine handballs), seven marks and 11 rebounds, while Austin Poulton won 22 disposals (11 kicks and 11 handballs), three clearances and five inside 50s.

WEST ADELAIDE 16.6 (102) def. NORWOOD 13.10 (88)

By: Tom Wyman

WEST ADELAIDE:

#9 Kobe Ryan

Prolific midfielder, Ryan might not have had the same impact on the contest as in the previous three rounds, however he was still West Adelaide’s most productive midfielder in their 14-point triumph. Ryan took a few minutes to get going, but worked his way into the contest well by getting busy at stoppages and running into smart positions. His kicking, usually pin-point, was slightly off at Hisense Stadium but he still hit most of his targets. The classy balanced midfielder, who is capable of winning plenty of the ball on the inside or the outside, was strong overhead and looked the Bloods’ most threatening option at stoppages and around the ball. Possessing a high work rate, he finished the game with 28 disposals (18 kicks and 10 handballs), six marks, nine tackles, six clearances and six inside 50s.

#10 Cade Kennedy

West Adelaide skipper, Kennedy led from the front on Saturday. The prolific on-baller provided a spark around the contest with his quickness and fierce attack on the ball. An early highlight came when he perfectly roved ruckman Tom Scully’s tap and booted it long, resulting in a goal for his side. Kennedy’s kicking improved as the game wore on. Although he missed a couple of targets early on, he found his touch after the main break and nailed some excellent kicks, a couple of which led directly to West Adelaide majors. An agile prospect, Kennedy concluded the game with 22 disposals (18 kicks and four handballs), six marks and six inside 50s.

#54 Harry Lemmey

The developing tall forward again showed glimpses of his exciting talent. Another West Adelaide key position player who looks just as capable at ground level as he does in the air, Lemmey provided a great target in attack. Agile with a quick turn of pace, Lemmey presented well all day on the lead. He possesses a booming right-foot kick, with a perfect example being his 55-metre bomb on the run which bounced through for a goal to restore the Bloods’ lead in the final term. One of several talented bottom-ager Bloods, Lemmey finished the game with six disposals (all kicks), four marks, three inside 50s and a goal.

Others:

West Adelaide’s ruck combination of Tom Scully and Harry Barnett worked a treat, with the duo helping their club win the hit-outs 40-10. Scully was dominant in the second term in particular, taking mark after mark and moving around the ground well. Barnett was sensational at stoppages, winning a game-high 23 hit-outs and four clearances. Both were able to impact the game up forward too, with Scully booting two and Barnett contributing a third-quarter major.

Blonde-haired backman Charlie Pridham was terrific for the home side, providing plenty of meaningful drive from defence. Crucially, Pridham stood up in the final term when the Bloods were under siege, remaining calm and composed with ball in-hand to finish with 20 disposals (19 kicks and one handball), four tackles and eight rebounds.

Luke Young once again worked well in attack with the aforementioned Lemmey, taking a couple of nice grabs and booting two goals from his 12 disposals. Speedster Hugh Desira (10 disposals and four inside 50s) and Riverland midfielder Dylan White (18 disposals, five marks and five clearances) played their roles well, with the latter nailing his sides first goal of the match after the Redlegs compiled four unanswered.

Powerfully-built bottom-ager Tyson Coe fought hard through the midfield and up forward but struggled to find the ball in time and space. He still finished with 11 disposals and a goal but wasn’t able to have his usual impact on the contest. Opportunist forward Mitch Hahn finished with four goals and Jesse Thackeray collected 16 disposals (13 kicks and three handballs), six marks and six inside 50s.

NORWOOD:

#6 Corey Jones-Bobridge

Powerful midfielder/forward, Jones-Bobridge was a standout performer for Norwood. A high x-factor type of player, Jones-Bobridge started the contest in the centre bounce, where he was clearly the Redlegs’ number one on-baller. His ability to win the contested ball was a big reason behind his side’s fast start. He pushed forward and slotted his first goal after a shrewd piece of roving, then nailed his second 10 minutes later from close range. Jones-Bobridge’s third major came from a 40-metre set-shot and his fourth from a little closer to goal. Although he proved sharp in front of goal, his ball use in general play was inconsistent, misplacing a couple of kicks and missing with some sharp handballs. However, Jones-Bobridge showed plenty of power and a handy ability up forward in spite of his side going down on the scoreboard. He finished with 25 disposals (16 kicks and nine handballs), six marks, eight clearances, five inside 50s and four goals.

#9 Alastair Lord

Lord was undoubtedly one of Norwood’s best players, despite the loss. From the get-go, the half-backman provided real drive from the backline by looking to take the game on wherever possible. His eye-catching dash through the middle of Hisense Stadium was well complimented by his neat skills, which often hit their target but lacked some penetration at times. Lord’s willingness to get and go and take the game on at will was vital for the Redlegs. On countless occasions he received the ball at centre half-back and took several bounces as he ran through the middle of the ground before looking for a target inside 50. A member of the SANFL State Academy program, Lord finished the contest with 18 disposals (14 kicks and four handballs), six marks, four tackles and six inside 50s.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Prolific medium-sized defender Dnistriansky held his own throughout the contest down back. Charged with the kick-in duties, Dnistriansky was typically measured and accurate by foot, rarely wasting a possession. Although he never tried to bite off more than he could chew, Dnistriansky’s impressive skillset ensured he hit a number of long range targets by foot. He finished the game with 20 disposals (16 kicks and four handballs), five marks and five rebounds.

Others:

Connor Kent (21 disposals, six marks and four inside 50s) and Will Charlton (20 disposals, four marks and five inside 50s) produced strong showings for the ‘Legs. Tall forward Damon Pitt bagged two goals from his 12 disposals and Charles Kemp applied plenty of pressure through the midfield, laying eight tackles to go with his 13 touches and a goal.  

NORTH ADELAIDE 5.8 (38) def. by WWT EAGLES 18.13 (121)

By: Tom Cheesman

NORTH ADELAIDE:

#12 Hugh Jackson

Midfielder Jackson was easily North Adelaide’s best performer on Saturday afternoon at Prospect Oval. He gathered a massive 37 possessions to go with six marks, three clearances, two tackles, three rebound 50s and two inside 50s. Jackson provided an option for teammates coming out of defence and earned many uncontested possessions because of his enormous work rate. He facilitated numerous switches of play using his left foot kick, his strongest attribute. You would be hard-pressed to find a more consistent kick at Under 18 level than Jackson in 2021, as he keeps his kicks flat and seems to always find his target with ease. His kicking masterclass was highlighted by a spearing pass inside 50 to Kelsey Rypstra in the opening term that led to a goal. Jackson was not afraid to use his right foot on occasion as well. His teammates tried to get the ball in his hands at any opportunity because of his skillset, but they almost tried too hard and sometimes passed it to Jackson when he was under pressure or out of position. His toughness and class was further demonstrated early in the third when he picked up the ball, burst through two defenders and delivered a clever handball while being tackled over the top to Isaac Keeler, who kicked the first goal of the term. Jackson is a member of the SA Under 18 Talent Hub and will aspire to earn State selection at the Under 19 National Championships in September and October.

Others:

Harvey Harrison (31 disposals, eight marks, six clearances) and Zyton Santillo (31 disposals, seven tackles) found plenty of the ball in defeat, while Shaun Bennier (14 disposals, five marks, five rebound 50s) took some impressive intercept marks in defence.

 

WWT EAGLES:

#8 Brock Thomson

Thomson was impressive for the Eagles in defence. He was clean with ball in hand, read the play well and used his pace to create some exciting ball movement for the Eagles coming out of the defensive half. Thomson always kicked to his teammates advantage and never wasted a possession whether exiting the defensive 50 or going inside 50, and this was highlighted by a long kick in down the corridor that led to an end-to-end goal for his side. His willingness to follow up his possessions and get handball receives was fantastic, and his defensive work in defence was solid too. He finished with 34 disposals, nine marks, three tackles, seven rebound 50s and two inside 50s.

#15 Adam D’Aloia

D’Aloia, a bottom-ager, was the best player afield on Saturday. Rotating between midfield and forward, he had 33 disposals, seven clearances, six inside 50s, four rebound 50s, four tackles and three marks in an outstanding all-round performance. His positioning and body-work in the midfield was exceptional, he attacked the ball with ferocity and never took a backwards step. He used quick hands well under pressure, and his ability to stay standing and keep his arms up while being tackled is impressive. D’Aloia showed early in the contest that he never gives up on a possession as, after he missed a target with a kick into the corridor, he followed it up and laid an aggressive tackle on North’s Thomas Cusack to earn a free kick for holding the ball. This also showed D’Aloia’s desperation and willingness to rectify a mistake that he made, all for the benefit of the team. Other highlights were a brilliant chase-down tackle on North’s Lewis Saint in the second term, and his hands while being tackled in the second term to set up Jordan Lukac for a goal. D’Aloia could be a star of the future.

#16 Will Pearce

Pearce was the Eagles’ most productive forward in this contest. He applied relentless pressure, led well up the ground, used the ball well and hit the scoreboard with four goals. He continually got to ideal positions for a small forward, including many clean crumbs front and centre of the marking contests. Pearce took a strong contested mark in the second quarter that was arguably the mark of the day, and he had the composure to go back and kick truly from the set shot after the half time siren. His aggression at the contest helped inspire his teammates, as he was willing to put his body on the line for the betterment of the team on many occasions.

#17 Lukas Cooke

Cooke was the most imposing key forward on the ground. He pushed up the field to provide a target and get involved whenever necessary, and he mostly brought the ball to ground for the smaller players to run onto. A highlight was a strong contested mark he took at half-forward in the second term, and he quickly gave the handball to a teammate to allow the ball to get inside 50 before the Roosters got more numbers back. Cooke attacked the ball hard, used the ball well by hand and took multiple intercept marks from kick ins. Three of Cooke’s four majors came in the last quarter, and if not for a bizarre miss from a set shot, he would have had five. He finished with 20 disposals, seven marks and four inside 50s to go with his four goals.

Others:

Jordan Lukac was imposing up forward with three goals, but he could have easily had five or six if he converted his chances. Mattaes Phillipou was a consistent contributor in the midfield with 36 disposals.

GLENELG 15.17 (107) def. STURT 5.7 (37)

By: Tom Cheesman

GLENELG:

#1 Kane Viska

Viska was an important contributor for the Tigers in their 70-point victory over Sturt at ACH Group Stadium on Saturday. He collected 16 disposals, kicked four majors and had multiple other score involvements throughout the contest. He has quite a reliable set shot (despite one miss in the final term), was agile on the lead and took two strong contested marks. Remarkably, all four of his goals came in the third term, and this enabled Glenelg to run away to a healthy lead at the final break before putting the result beyond doubt.

#5 Hugh Stagg

Stagg was Glenelg’s best in their comfortable victory. His statline of 28 disposals (19 kicks), 13 inside 50s, four marks, three clearances and three goals is impressive, but even that does not tell the full story of his dominance. Stagg has the size and explosiveness that AFL recruiters love, and an electrifying run down the wing in the second term showed that he is not afraid to use these traits. He proved incredibly difficult for opposition players to tackle in this match, as shrugged Sturt players off with ease before making good decisions by hand and linking-up with teammates to move the ball forward. Stagg always followed up his possessions and worked hard to get to the next contest, whether playing as a midfielder or a forward. He attacked the ball with ferocity and showed composure once he got it, as demonstrated in the first term when he collected a beautiful half-volley and hit up a fat side lead to create his side’s third major of the day. His clearance work was solid, and he showed glimpses of his potential as a full-time midfielder when he exploded from the contest to initiate forward thrusts for his side. One example was when he and William Watts combined to run the ball out of Sturt’s forward 50 in the third term. All three of his goals came in the final term when Glenelg had the match won, but each of them were kicked under pressure from long distances on the run. His second was the most impressive, as he used his power and strength to rip the ball out of his opponent’s hands and kicked truly from 35 metres off two steps. Stagg is an exciting prospect to watch in 2021.

#21 Cooper Beecken

Beecken was outstanding for Glenelg in defence with 16 disposals, three marks, three tackles and four rebound 50s. He run and link-up was exciting, but it was his composure that had the greatest effect in this match. While other players for both sides were rushing their disposals in defence and turning the ball over, Beecken was the opposite. He never panicked when he got the ball, collected it cleanly and made great decisions coming out of the defensive half. He used his reliable left-food kicking to great effect, going short on the 45 to find teammates and control the game. He always keeps his kicks flat, thus not giving opposition players the opportunity to intercept it or force a turnover. As mentioned, Beecken also followed up his work with second, third and fourth efforts to link up with teammates and run the ball out of defence. His defensive work throughout the contest was almost faultless, highlighted by an intercept mark in front of Sturt’s Felix Packer in the third term and a smother early in the final quarter.

#23 William Wiseman

Wiseman provided a strong marking target for the Tigers up forward. He is a good size and has a strong presence about him, so he is an important part of Glenelg’s spine. He kicked the first goal of the game with a nice snap, and he demonstrated that he has reasonable agility when laying an excellent tackle on Sturt’s Jake Aish to win a holding the ball decision. Wiseman provided a strong target down the wings and applied some important defensive pressure throughout the match. He showed potential when he went into the ruck, as he won many hitouts and followed up his work at the stoppages. He finished with 14 disposals, ten hitouts, six tackles, four inside 50s, two marks and a goal.

Others:

William Watts (23 disposals, seven marks, six tackles, five clearances) was fantastic for the Tigers, and Jakob Ryan (21 disposals, seven marks, three tackles, one goal) showed athleticism up forward. Harry Tunkin (18 disposals, five clearances, two goals) and Hunter Window (19 disposals, eight inside 50s, six marks) were also consistent contributors.

STURT:

#13 Brad Jefferies

Jefferies was Sturt’s best performer on Saturday. He rotated between midfield and forward, using his size and power to win contested possessions and apply pressure on the opposition. A brilliant kick that hit up Packer on the lead in the first term showed his classy his ball use can be when he gets time and space to compose himself. He is the ideal size to be a hybrid athletic forward, but he did not get to show many of his skills in this position on Saturday. Jefferies has great game awareness, as demonstrated when Durant attempted to take the advantage but Jefferies noticed and allowed him to make a move before catching him holding the ball. This made it clear that Glenelg had taken the advantage before Jefferies pounced to stop them in their tracks. He finished the match with 27 disposals, seven marks, five clearances, three tackles and three inside 50s.

#40 Hugo Kittel

Kittel, a member of the South Australian State Talent Hub, impressed for the Double Blues in their defeat. The ruckman was dominant in the hitouts (24 for the match) and followed up his ruck contests to lay tackles and give blocks to create space for his teammates at stoppages. He also provided a key target coming out of defence, as teammates continued to look for him whenever they had to go long. Kittel is tough to spoil because he takes the front spot and uses his body well. One area he needs to improve is his kicking, as he made a couple of costly clangers in the middle of the ground. At the same time, Sturt players should be running past to get the handball off their big ruckman. He went forward for rests when Declan Hortle went into the ruck, but the delivery going inside 50 to him was subpar. Kittel finished with 10 disposals, two marks, 24 hitouts and one clearance.

Others:

Jamie Taylor (20 disposals, six clearances, four marks) worked hard once again for the visitors, while Felix Packer was Sturt’s sole shining light up forward with four majors. Zac Becker (15 rebound 50s) and Will Torode (eight disposals) were solid in defence.

Image Credit: Mel Faull/Get Snapt

SANFL Round 8 Preview: Ladder implications as the midway point rolls in

SOUTH Australian National Football League (SANFL) Round 8 will see a heap of tense contests across all three major divisions, with a couple of significant clashes heading up the round in terms of ladder positioning. In the League competition, the clash between Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) Eagles and South Adelaide will have huge bearings on where the likes of Glenelg and Norwood lie at the end of the round given Glenelg have a chance to leapfrog Norwood into the top four – and potentially nab third – if South drops too the ladder leaders.

West Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

League:

The Roosters and Bloods will kick off round eight under Friday night lights at Hisense Stadium. Jacob Surjan‘s North Adelaide have pieced together a strong start to the season and appear to have cemented their spot in the top four for the time being. The red and whites will be looking to continue their winning ways, despite boasting a lengthy injury list. Meanwhile, West Adelaide are in a rebuilding phase, but will still be eyeing off a couple of scalps in the latter stages of the season.

It certainly was not the prettiest of victories, but North Adelaide got the job done on home soil against the Double Blues on Saturday. The Roosters have scored the least amount of points of the top five sides, but their rugged midfield has stood up well so far in season 2020 and applied an abundance of pressure. Vice captain Andrew Moore has been Mr. Consistent, averaging 25 disposals, 5.6 tackles, 6.9 clearances and nearly a goal per game. His fellow deputy Tom Schwarz has also accumulated plenty of the ball, averaging 24 touches 4.7 tackles and 5.1 clearances, while hard-at-it on-baller Campbell Combe remains the league’s number one tackler and currently sits a whopping 14 ahead of second place. West Adelaide trailed the ladder-leading Eagles for the entire match on Saturday afternoon but there were still some bright spots. The Bloods recored more disposals (plus-19) and clearances (plus-8) than their opponents and generally used the ball well (83 per cent kicking efficiency), but were unable to generate enough chances and perhaps overused the ball at-times, finishing -16 for inside-50s. The Roosters will be well aware of Kaine Stevens contested ball winning capabilities and Jordon Boyle‘s ability to both accumulate the footy at will and use it effectively (averaging 24 disposals at 83 per cent efficiency). Stevens and Boyle sit inside the top ten for disposals and, with the support of Brett Turner, must step up against a hard-nosed Roosters midfield.

Westies captain Tom Keough is the Bloods main man in attack, having booted a team-high 11 goals this season. Alongside the veteran, Lyndon Hupfeld adds some much-needed x-factor and recruit Josh Koster will continue to improve after returning from injury last weekend. The Bloods forwards must also pay attention to Rooster Harrison Wigg, who has already proven to be one of the best off-season acquisitions. His precise ball use off half-back has been integral in turning defence into attack for North and should be nullified if West are to claim victory. At the other end of the field, Robbie Young proved he is a valuable component of the Roosters side after booting three goals against Sturt. Fellow small forward Kym LeBois has booted 13 goals this season and is as lively as they come. Their speed and energy in attack is infectious and has sparked the side on several occasions this year.

The Roosters and Bloods faced off in round one earlier this year, with North Adelaide pulling away in the second half after a tight start to the game. Lewis Hender proved the match winner, booting seven straight goals. The Bloods will no doubt be putting plenty of time into him, but the excitement machine will fancy another bag under Friday night lights. The Roosters injury list continues to be of concern, with Ben Jarman and captain Alex Spina the latest to enter the casualty ward. Both will face a test to prove their fitness, as will Bloods ruckman Andre Parrella and key defender Josh Ryan. West midfielder Dallas Willsmore is expected to miss two-to-three weeks with a hamstring injury.

Reserves:

The Bloods and Roosters reserves will be eager to bounce back from hefty losses when they meet on Friday evening. Both sides have struggled this season but a win could provide a much-needed confidence boost.

Under-18s:

It’s been a similar story at under-18s level, with both sides seemingly anchored at the foot of the ladder. However there will still be plenty of talent running around at Prospect Oval. West’s Bailey Chamberlain continues to accumulate a heap of the ball and teammate Luke Young is amongst the competitions best contested markers. For the Roosters, Matthew Borg and Kallis Freer have been the standouts, along with exciting half-backman Blayne O’Loughlin. The athletic Lam Simon continues to show some encouraging signs and AFL Academy Hub duo Jamison Murphy and Tariek Newchurch have also performed well.

 

South Adelaide vs. Woodville-West Torrens

League:

The Panthers and Eagles will meet at Flinders University Stadium in a clash between two likely finalists. Woodville-West Torrens have won seven on the trot, but South Adelaide remain the only side to knock them off in season 2020, after recording a narrow victory at Adelaide Oval back in round one.

The Panthers are one of three sides currently sitting at four wins and three losses, following back-to-back defeats at the hands of North Adelaide and Norwood. South have been up to the challenge every week this season, with their three losses coming at a combined margin of just 17 points. Coach Jarrad Wright must be frustrated with their tight losses, but he will be pleased with the efforts of Joseph Haines. An intercept machine, he has provided plenty of run and carry from defence and used the ball with precision. However, terrific defender Tom Highmore sustained an ankle injury last round and is set to miss up to five weeks. Given the Eagles’ overhead prowess, his injury could not have come at a worse time. Eagle-brothers Jack and Nick Hayes have been outstanding in season 2020, hauling in 14 and 12 contested marks respectively. Jake von Bertouch has also played a pivotal role in the air, taking 13 contested grabs. The trio have booted a combined 32 goals this season. On the rare occasion they don’t stick their marks, small forwards James Rowe and Tristian Carcuro have been ready and waiting to pounce on the crumbs. After both kicking four majors in the win over West, Rowe sits second in the league for goals (22) and Carcuro in eighth with 12.

It’s been relatively smooth sailing for the Eagles over the past few weeks, recording comfortable victories against cellar dwellers Central Districts and West Adelaide in consecutive rounds. And whilst they boast the league’s best forward-line, their defence has also stood tall and conceded the least amount of total points against. Teenager Lachlan Jones has been very impressive down back, as has Tasmanian recruit Rhyan Mansell. Veteran Patrick Giuffreda is as reliable as they come and key defender Pierce Seymour has also performed well. Perhaps most impressive is that the side has been without skipper and key defensive general Luke Thompson, who has not played since round four due to a thigh complaint. The Panthers missed a couple of key chances in-front of goal against the Redlegs at the Parade, but their small and medium forwards have been good so far this season. Liam Fitt is a difficult match up for any opposition defence and Eamon Wilkinson and Beau McCreery are both clever around goal. Of course, the midfield battle will also be a tantalising one, with the likes of dual-Magarey Medalist Joel Cross, former-Port Adelaide veteran Matthew Broadbent and Hayden Sampson going head-to-head with Angus PooleJimmy Toumpas and Joey Sinor. South Adelaide’s young talent has been a real positive this season, with 17-year-old Jason Horne joining Zac Dumesny and McCreery in making their league debuts in 2020.

Although South will sorely miss Highmore, Woodville-West Torrens could regain as many as four senior players, with Matthew Goldsworthy, Jesse Lonergan, the aforementioned Thompson and Jordan Foote all set to face fitness tests. The Eagles mounted a substantial comeback and even grabbed the lead late in the game against the Panther in round one. But South were able to hold their nerve and open the new season with a victory. With both sides boasting plenty of talent, this clash is set to be a beauty.

Reserves:

The Eagles Reserves remain the only undefeated side across all competitions after seven rounds of action, following a comprehensive 88-point demolition of the Bloods. Meanwhile, although inconsistent throughout the year, the Panthers knocked off the Redlegs by 80 points last weekend. With both clubs coming off resounding triumphs, this clash, like the league match to follow, promises to be a close encounter.

Under-18s:

At under-18s level, South Adelaide and Woodville-West Torrens find themselves jostling for a spot in the top four. These two clubs have met in the past two Under-18 Grand Finals and boast plenty of talent. Panthers half-forward Brayden Cook caught the attention of AFL recruiters after his four goal effort against the Redlegs. Speedster Phoenix Spicer has also booted nine goals this season and his long runs on the wing have been breathtaking at times. For the Eagles, midfielders Jase Burgoyne and Caleb Poulter have been prolific and Henry Smith has shown some good signs up forward.

 

Sturt vs. Central Districts

League:

The Bulldogs will make the trip across cross-town to Peter Motley Oval to face the Double Blues in the traditional Saturday afternoon time slot. There is no denying it has been a tricky season for the ‘Dogs. But to their credit, they haven’t dropped their bundle and have fought until the final siren each week. It has also been tough going for Sturt, who have lost four in a row after being defeated by the Roosters at Prospect last round.

The Bulldogs, much like the Bloods, are in a rebuilding phase and don’t quite boast the talent level of the top SANFL clubs, but they managed to hold their own in the midfield against the reigning premiers. They were narrowly edged in the hit-outs, clearances and inside-50s, but were more efficient in front of goal than the Tigers. Travis Schiller collected 39 touches and James Boyd gathered 32 and a goal, with both generating plenty of forward-50 entries and winning their fair share of clearances. Troy Menzel and Jarrod Schiller have also been solid contributors this year, with the former collecting a career-high 31 disposals to go with 13 marks. In the Double Blues engine room, skipper James Battersby and Sam Colquhoun have been terrific, accumulating an abundance of the ball, alongside dual Magarey Medallist Zane Kirkwood.

Perhaps Sturt’s biggest concern this season has been their inefficient forward line. Key forward Jake Sutcliffe has booted eight goals in six matches and leading goal kicker Josh Hone has kicked a major in all but one match. However, lacking a genuine focal point, ruckman Dan Fahey-Sparks has spent considerable time up forward in recent weeks, in the hope his size and marking ability can indeed provide a spark. He booted two goals in the loss to the Roosters and another couple in round six. Central Districts’ Justin Hoskin is capable of booting a bag up forward, with his six goals in round four a good example. However he has been held goalless in four of his six games, including by Sturt in round one. Teenager Corey Durdin has been good for a goal per game and, although injury prone, John Butcher has given the ‘Dogs a genuine target in his four matches this season.

The Bulldogs could regain Trent Goodrem and Kyle Jenner from their respective injuries, with both listed as available for selection. However Nick Lange is questionable after he sustained an ankle injury last round. For the Double Blues, Ash Johnson remains a week away from returning from his own ankle complaint. The Double Blues and Bulldogs faced off at Adelaide Oval in round one, with Sturt winning by 15-points in a close affair. Expect their round eight meeting to be a similarly tight and low-scoring contest.

Reserves:

Despite their senior sides siting in the bottom half of the ladder, Sturt and Centrals reserves teams have enjoyed a strong start to the campaign. The Double Blues lost to the ‘Dogs in round one and to the Eagles a week later, but have played some excellent football ever since, recording five straight victories. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs sole defeat was a one-point loss to the Eagles in round six. 

Under-18s:

Sturt appear destined to feature prominently at the pointy end of the SANFL Under-18 season. Tom Emmett has been terrific up forward and midfield trio Will SpainMani Liddy and Tom Powell have received plenty of attention for their onball dominance. The Bulldogs earned their first points of the season after defeating the Tigers last weekend. Ruckman and tall forward Saxon Evans turned some heads with a terrific performance, headlined by four goals and 32 hitouts.

 

Norwood vs. Glenelg

League:

Norwood will be seeking revenge after the Tigers beat them by three points in the opening round. With the ‘Legs and Bays possessing two of the most talented lists in the league, this Saturday night clash should be closely fought.

Norwood found themselves in a spot of bother early on in the year, recording three losses to start the season. However they have dug themselves out of the hole beautifully and have appeared to be back to their best in recent weeks. The Redlegs have relied heavily upon their star-studded midfield hitting the scoreboard, but coach Jarrod Cotton will have been impressed by the efforts of tall forward Tommy Pinyon and speedster Anthony Wilson, who both booted two goals in the win over South Adelaide. Pinyon has been particularly impressive across the past month of action, having booted 12 goals in four games. However Glenelg boasts the most dominant key forward in the competition in Liam McBean. An aerial master, McBean was inaccurate in front of goal against the Bulldogs, booting four goals and four behinds, but is well-placed to defend his Ken Farmer medal as the league’s leading goal kicker. His partner in crime Luke Reynolds is also a star in his own right, but was held goalless on Saturday for the first time since round 17 of 2018, though small forward Darcy Bailey bobbed up to kick three.

Redlegs ball-magnet Matthew Nunn missed three matches (rounds three through five) earlier this season and his value to the Norwood midfield cannot be understated. A hard-nosed onballer, Nunn is a strong tackler and clearance specialist who compliments the likes of Richard Douglas, Matthew Panos and Mitch Grigg. He could go head-to-head with perhaps the best in-and-under midfielder in the competition in Glenelg’s Matthew Snook. A genuine warrior in the Tigers midfield, Snook and teammates Luke Partington and Bradley Agnew have accumulated plenty of the ball throughout the season to-date. The Norwood midfield has received plenty of credit for its brilliance, but the Tigers array of working class on-ballers will be up for a fight. They will, however, need ruckman Jack Hannath to nullify the impact of Norwood’s Sam Baulderstone both at the contest and around the ground. The big man has been in tremendous form and is up there with the leagues best players when on song.

The Tigers have proven time and time again that they are willing to play their youth, with potential Crows father-son Luke Edwards the latest to make his league debut. Luke Parks has been outstanding down back since breaking into the senior side against the Redlegs in round one. He took three contested grabs on debut and currently sits equal-third with von Bertouch for total contested marks – an impressive feat for such a young player. Unfortunately, Edwards suffered some concussion and could miss the clash with Norwood. The Redlegs themselves are likely to be without skilful utility Lewis Johnston (quad) and former-Western Bulldog Declan Hamilton (ankle).

Reserves:

At Reserves level, the Tigers find themselves in fourth spot in the ladder, ahead of Norwood in seventh. Glenelg started the season well but have struggled in the past few weeks, recording three losses in a row. A Redlegs win could spark them into life and trigger a finals push in the second half of the season.

Under-18s:

Norwood’s under-18s have been very impressive so far in 2020, with their terrific midfield leading the way. Bottom-ager Cooper Murley continues to show why he is a likely early pick in next years draft, while fellow midfielders Michael Cavallaro and Jack Saunders, key forward Finn Heard and intercept-defender Daniel Fairbrother have also impressed. The Bays have been without a number of their stars due to school football commitments, but Harry McInnes‘ five goals ignited his side.

Caught the Eye: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 7

THE TOP junior prospects from South Australia rolled on into Round 7 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 listed, click on their names highlighted in red. For our full weekend scouting notes, click here.

West Adelaide vs. WWT Eagles

Zac Venning
West Adelaide | Defender
6/02/2002

Stats: 22 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles, 2 clearances, 1 inside 50, 7 rebound 50s

Our scouts said:“The West Adelaide defence was under siege after quarter time, and Venning was part of the commendable resistance. He took on some of the kick-in duties and was quite sound in his disposal by foot, while also chiming in with some much-needed intercept possessions both in the air and at ground level.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: It has been a tough, winless start to the year for West Adelaide, but the silver lining has been the emergence of some promising talent. A number of players have had to stand up with their numbers repeatedly called, particularly in defence, and Venning has been the latest to do so after a solid fortnight. The top-ager showed he was able to compete in a variety of ways, and played a tough role well. It should give him the confidence boost needed to play out a more consistent second half of the season.

Jack Litster
WWT Eagles | Midfielder
6/07/2002 | 183cm | 78kg

Stats: 26 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 7 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “Litster was a key cog in the Eagles’ midfield throughout the game… He dug in hard to win a bunch of ball at the centre bounces early on, which seemed to inject him with a deal of confidence as he continued to pop up with eye-catching efforts.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: You would not blame Litster for not being able to properly prove his worth with the likes of Caleb Poulter and Jase Burgoyne also running through the centre bounces, but he managed to hold his own. There’s a good number of solid contributors in the Eagles squad capable of rotating into the midfield, and Litster belongs on that list. He seems to have a good mix of power and agility at the contest, both of which are handy tools for stoppage extraction.

North Adelaide vs. Sturt

Kallis Freer
North Adelaide | Midfielder
8/12/2002 | 176cm | 77kg

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

Our scouts said: “(Freer) formed a terrific combination with Matthew Borg at the stoppages, often receiving the first handball out of traffic and bursting forward with speed and strength. That was before he went on to win a mountain of his own ball, providing great drive and accumulating well around the ground.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: The top-age midfielder was one of a few Roosters to return to the lineup after a couple of weeks away, and he slotted seamlessly back into the SANFL Under 18s groove. Freer showed a good balance of traits through midfield, able to use his speed and nous to receive on the outside of stoppages, while also leaning on his power to break free of would-be tacklers. It is always tough for sub-180cm midfielders to make a mark at the next level, so finding those points of difference is important.

Will Spain
Sturt | Midfielder
10/07/2003 | 174cm | 66kg

Stats: 24 disposals, 5 marks, 6 tackles, 3 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “While his touches may not always be as noticeable as those of his midfield peers, Spain is such an important part of the Double Blues’ midfield setup… the diminutive ball winner was able to dig in and get first hands on the pill in heavy congestion. His feeding handballs made it easier for others to pump the ball forward, and helped set the tone for Sturt’s midfield edge.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Another small midfielder who can hold his own amid a mix of highly-touted prospects is Spain, who enjoyed some primary ball winning responsibility on the weekend. He is quite light-on but seems to stand up well in the contested side of the game, and he combined well with Mani Liddy to set the tone for Sturt. As a bottom-ager, he still has time to grow and fill out, and should thrive if the likes of Tom Powell spend more minutes outside of the centre bounces going forward.

Glenelg vs. Central District

Harry McInnes
Glenelg | Forward
31/03/2003 | 187cm | 82kg

Stats: 13 disposals (12 kicks), 7 marks, 4 tackles, 1 inside 50, 5 goals, 4 behinds

Our scouts said: “Tall forward McInnes had a day he will never forget. He produced a brilliant first half, kicking three goals and impacting the contest whenever the ball went forward, whether it be through score involvements or forward pressure. He always led well at the ball carrier and showed great agility for his size when the ball hit the deck.” – Tom Cheesman

Verdict: Glenelg have a few likely types of a similar mould to McInnes; forwards who are just below the traditional key position height, but can compete as focal points in attack. At 187cm, the bottom-ager proved just that and used his 82kg frame to advantage in a game-saving display. His after-the-siren behind secured a draw for Glenelg, while his nine scoring shots told the story of his impact on the contest. If he finish even a little more consistently, McInnes could kick many more bags of goals in future.

Saxon Evans
Central District | Key Forward/Ruck
24/06/2003 | 196cm | 94kg

Stats: 18 disposals, 7 marks, 2 tackles, 3 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 32 hitouts, 4 goals

Our scouts said: “Evans was one of Central’s standout performers in this outing… He played in front at most forward 50 contests which allowed him to use his size and mark quick entries out of the middle. Evans also has a nice set shot for goal, highlighted when he slotted a difficult kick from the 50-metre arc on a tight angle in the first term.” – Tom Cheesman

Verdict: Another big man to use his size well up forward, Evans was involved in each role he played. While it is a touch easier for players of a 196cm/94kg stature to dominate at Under 18s level, you still have to go out and collect those 18 disposals, take seven marks, win 32 hitouts, and boot four goals. The Centrals bottom-ager is clearly capable of playing to his strengths, but still has plenty of room to improve.

South Adelaide vs. Norwood

Brayden Cook
South Adelaide | Wing/Forward
18/07/2002 | 188cm | 74kg

Stats: 16 disposals (15 kicks), 8 marks, 1 tackle, 4 inside 50s, 4 goals

Our scouts said: “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… Cook’s cleanness by foot, aerial prowess, and speed at ground level were exciting to watch.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: Cook thrust his name into the draft bolter hat after another impactful performance for Souths, as he continues to catch the eye at Under 18s level. As our scouts entailed this week, the top-ager has a bunch of desirable traits; able to compete both overhead and at ground level, break forward with speed, and punish the opposition with sharp use by foot. His damage is doubled by scoreboard impact, and Cook is a good height at 188cm. He could well continue on a wing while rotating forward, but seems to also have the traits to slot into the midfield mix with his x-factor.

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

Stats: 24 disposals, 2 marks, 10 tackles, 8 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 2 goals

Our scouts said: “(Nelligan) was typically industrial around the ball. He spent time up forward but was most effective as an inside midfielder. Regularly the last player to stand up after a contest, Nelligan won plenty of contested ball and was the leading clearance player on the ground with eight. He tackled strongly and with intensity and booted two goals from set-shots inside 50.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: After a couple of League outings and plenty of time in the Reserves, Nelligan returned to his age group and showcased just why he had earned a senior berth. While he has no trouble finding the ball through midfield at Under 18s level, it is clear to see why the 170cm prospect has been pitched as a small forward, with his tackling pressure and smarts around goal very evident. He should regain a good bout of confidence after this performance, with more senior opportunities sure to come down the line.

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

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

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

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