Tag: shay linke

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 3

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s has continued into Round 3, 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. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE

By: Liam Badkin

NORWOOD:

#25 Matt Dnistriansky 

It was another great performance from the Norwood defender in the win. His work deep in the backline was crucial in thwarting countless Rooster attacks. He got many of his disposals deep in defence and was constantly composed and his decision making was key. Often playing off his opponent to attack, the athletic defender took 12 marks, with quite a few intercepts.

Once again tasked with frequently taking kick ins, he seemed not to miss a target as he calmly found teammates when he was under pressure. His form has continued to grow as he has worked his way into the season with each game. Ending the game with 29 disposals (22 kicks and seven handballs) and five rebound 50’s, he was crucially important in his team’s 11-point win.

Others:

Ruckman Damon Pitt played his best game of the season, displaying his ability to essentially act as an extra midfielder. He proved more than capable of winning his own hitouts, finishing with a season high 18, but it was his follow up work that caught the eye. He ended the game with 22 disposals and a game high 10 clearances, often outplaying both on ball brigades. Jack Ianniello excited forward of centre as he kicked 2.2 from 21 disposals. Had he converted the two missed shots, it would’ve capped off an excellent day.

NORTH ADELAIDE:

#12 Hugh Jackson

Continued his fine start to the year, popping up everywhere to find the ball all over the ground. As a midfielder, Jackson basically did it all. He found tough possessions on the deck, maintained his composure to hit targets by foot and was a clear standout on his team. While he may have amassed more disposals in the first two rounds (37 and 33 respectively), in a game where their midfield was often beaten, he can more than hold his head high.

Moving across the ground smoothly, he was a crucial cog in strong play. Finishing with an impressive seven rebound 50’s, his work in the defensive half caught the eye as he worked tirelessly to remove the ball from the backline. His skills on both feet also resulted in four inside 50’s as he connected with leading forwards. His kicks drew his teammates into space as he picked holes in the well organised defence.

The teenager from Crystal Brooke has had a blistering start to the year and this match was no exception. Arguably his side’s best for the day, Jackson finished with 31 disposals, nine marks, four tackles and three clearances.

Others:

Blayne O’Loughlin topped the disposal list for the second game in a row, backing up his 44 touch effort with 32 this week. He also added seven rebound 50’s and was the catalyst for plenty of excellent ball movement forward from the backline.

Tough midfielder Zyton Santillo ended the match with 26 disposals, nine tackles and nine marks in a typically strong performance as he stuffed the stat sheet. Fellow midfielder Harvey Harrison also impressed with 27 disposals and seven clearances. He also missed two shots on goal (one in the second quarter and one in the third quarter) that would’ve added to his day.

 

GLENELG vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

By: Liam Badkin

GLENELG:

#32 Oscar Adams

The team win had plenty of contributors, but none were as influential as the big ruckman. His hit out work is something to be admired as he continuously gave his midfielders first use, allowing them to win the clearances 38-28. Even more impressive was his ball after the ruck contest, finding the ball 24 times.

He bounced back from each contest to either lay a tackle or find the ball himself. His combination with his on ballers was a joy to watch as he stamped his influence on the game with his dominant play. A missed shot on goal in the third quarter would have disappointed, but essentially did everything else to get his team rolling out of the middle.

The ruckman role has developed past just hit-outs, now expected to find their own footy around the ground. Adams fits this bill perfectly, and can also shift to defence, a role he filled in his U16 Glenelg side.

Others:

Dashing defender Lewis Rayson continued his consistent start to the season, finishing with 24 disposals and five tackles. Once again creative with the ball, Rayson’s skills by foot hurt the opposition as he picked holes through defenders with his bullet-like passes.

Ball-winner Harry Tunkin led his team in disposals with 27 for the day. Spending time in the midfield and up forward, his inside work saw him end with a handball happy game, setting up teammates on the outside. Kicked a nice goal late in the second quarter to add to an already impressive game.

Hugh Stagg led the side in clearances finishing with eight to go with 19 disposals and a goal. The big bodied midfielder has plenty of upside and this game should give him confidence going forward.

CENTRAL DISTRICT:

#16 Shay Linke

In a disappointing day for his side, the midfielder never stopped trying, working tirelessly around the ball. The SANFL Academy player has been a standout in his side’s underwhelming start to the year and yesterday continued this trend. In a day where his team was convincingly beaten, Linke fought in the midfield to try and keep his side in the game, finishing with 26 disposals. His ability to find space around the field was great, as his hard running saw him end with eight marks.

Linke also did the defensive work, laying seven solid tackles around stoppages. He was certainly a standout in a side with very little positives for the day.

Others:

Darcy Mcdonald had 14 touches and nine tackles as the Central midfield fought to slow down a dominant midfield performance from the Tigers. Key forward Cody Gilchrist‘s wayward kicking prevented him from a big haul, kicking 1.3 for the day. His marking still impressed, pulling down three contested marks for the day. Had he converted his shots on goal, it may have been a different story for Central.

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS

By: Tom Wyman

SOUTH ADELAIDE:

#21 Matthew Roberts

Roberts has already proven to be a step above the SANFL Under-18 competition, and he was at it again at Noarlunga Oval in Round 3. Despite the Eagles coming away with a 16-point win following a dominant second-half, Roberts was clearly the most dominant midfielder on the park. Starting at the opening centre bounce and alternating up forward with fellow draft hopeful Arlo Draper, Roberts had the ball on a string. Roberts’ work rate from start to finish enabled him to dictate terms for large portions of the contest. He was strong in the coal-face but his running patterns ensured he also won plenty of uncontested possessions. Roberts used the ball neatly with his clean left foot and was also effective with his hands in-tight. His team-lifting goal in the third term was clearly the highlight of the match. Positioned in the forward pocket, he gathered the loose ball, turned sharply onto his trusty left foot, sized up the target and snapped a sensational goal. The classy goal and consistent run and carry efforts were memorable, but Roberts also made an impact defensively, laying eight tackles and dropping back to take a couple of intercept marks. He finished with 37 touches, nine marks, five clearances, eight inside-50s and six rebounds.

#33 Arlo Draper

Although Draper did not find as much of the ball as teammate Roberts, the tall midfielder/forward made a genuine impact whenever he was near it. The Panthers deployed him as the deepest forward at times and he looked threatening when the ball was kicked in his direction. He used his strength and football smarts well one-on-one, nudging his opponent under the ball and taking an uncontested mark to boot South’s first goal of the contest. His clearance-work and ability to read the taps was terrific when moved onto the ball, and his cleanness and sharpness at ground level instigated a number of positive plays for the home side. A clear example of his distribution by hand came when he fired off a quick handball to set-up a Hugo Hoeck goal. Draper collected 22 disposals, five marks, four tackles, four clearances and five inside-50s.

#39 Will Verrall

Bottom-aged ruckman Verrall went head-to-head with Woodville-West Torrens ruckman Zac Phillips in a hard-fought battle between two of the most talented big-men in the competition. Verrall won the first hit-out of the match, tapping it straight to star on-baller Roberts who won the clearance. He was heavily involved around the ground early on and it was encouraging to see him continue to back himself to spot up teammates with precise inside-50 kicks. Verrall’s contested marking was also a real feature of his game. Although Phillips gained the upper hand in-terms of pure hit-out numbers (winning 27 to Verrall’s eight), the Panther tall showed some very promising signs, both in the ruck contest and around the ground. He finished with 12 disposals, four marks, three clearances and a goal.

Others: Consistent wingman Isaac Birt was once again among his sides best performers, running hard up and down the ground to provide an outlet option. He used the ball well and was an important connector between defence and attack, finishing with 19 disposals, ten marks, four inside-50s and three rebounds. Midfielder Cooper Rogers also found plenty of the ball, complementing the likes of Draper and Roberts in the engine room. He gathered 23 disposals, a game-high 12 marks and nine inside-50s in another impressive display.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS:

#17 Lukas Cooke

Cooke dominated proceedings in attack, proving far too good for the Panthers defenders. It was just one of those days for Cooke, who marked everything within his reach. And on the rare occasion in which he didn’t clunk the mark, he brought the ball to ground for the Eagles crumbers to pounce upon. What made Cooke’s performance so good was his ability to convert, oftentimes from long range. His set-shot routine is smooth and it proved ultra effective as he nailed five first half goals. His snap on goal in the dying moments of the first half further demonstrated his exciting mobility and athletic prowess. Cooke handled the ruck duties when the ball was in the Eagles forward 50 and more than held his own against some of the Panthers more physically developed juniors, winning five hit-outs, including a couple directly to advantage. After booting two goals in the opening round and one goal last weekend in the loss to Glenelg, Cooke finished the day down south with seven goals to his name, along with 19 disposals and seven marks (including five contested) in a dominant display which will surely have caught the attention of AFL recruiters.

#24 Zac Phillips

Ruckman Phillips could consider himself a touch unlucky to miss out on being drafted in his first year of eligibility in 2020. However, having re-joined the Eagles under-18 set-up as an over-ager, the towering Yorke Peninsula teenager did his draft chances no harm with a terrific display at Noarlunga. Competing against the Panthers duel-rucks Will Verrall and Heath Treloar, Phillips was influential around the ground, with his hit-out ascendancy, cleanliness below his knees, efficient handball skills and neat kicking the standout features of his game. He moved well around the ground and finished the game with 13 disposals, 27 hit-outs, four marks, three tackles and five inside-50s.

Others: Mattaes Phillipou was everywhere for the Eagles. Although he was slightly inconsistent with his ball use, Phillipou’s stoppage nous and ability to accumulate the ball at-will went a long way towards the Eagles picking up their first win of the season. He finished with a team-high 34 disposals, three marks, three tackles, seven clearances and six inside-50s. Dustin Launer was another Eagle who stood up and performed well against a South Adelaide side with a handful of exciting talents. He gathered 26 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, seven clearances and four rebounds in a well-rounded performance. SANFL State Talent Hub member Jay Watson gathered 16 disposals, seven marks, six inside-50s and a goal, with bottom-ager Adam D’Aloia (22 disposals and a goal) also winning his fair share of the ball through the midfield and in attack.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. STURT 

By: Tom Wyman

WEST ADELAIDE:

#9 Kobe Ryan

Ryan was the clear best-on-ground for West Adelaide as they took control of their clash with Sturt. Despite being a year younger and considerably slimmer than many of his opponents, Ryan’s natural ball-winning abilities, poise with ball in-hand and smart running patterns ensured he found the ball with the ease of a seasoned veteran. Effortlessly classy in his movement and typically clean at ground level, Ryan used the ball to excellent effect for the most part, making smart decisions and then executing well by hand and foot. Although a number of his possessions were uncontested touches with limited pressure, the Bloods clearly have confidence in Ryan’s skillset and decision making capabilities – and for good reason. Deceptively strong above his shoulders, Ryan showed why he is considered among the most talented junior footballers in South Australia with an impressive showing, featuring 31 disposals, four marks, four tackles and seven clearances.

#10 Cade Kennedy

The skipper lead from the front for West Adelaide, setting the tone with his aggressive attack on the ball and line-breaking speed proving too difficult to handle for the Sturt midfielders. Although his ball use was questionable at-times, with a couple of his kicks falling short of their intended targets, Kennedy’s production, constant pressure and zip around the ball provided an important point-of-difference and complemented his fellow on-ballers. The sole top-aged West Adelaide player in the SANFL State Talent Hub, Kennedy concluded the match with 27 disposals, five marks, eight tackles and six inside-50s.

#16 Dylan White

Dylan White was another of the Bloods midfield brigade to run riot at Hisense Stadium. A Renmark product from within the West Adelaide country zone, White had a big impact on the contest in the coal-face, winning his fair share of contested ball but, importantly, spread hard and pushed forward to hit the scoreboard. His long range goal at the five minute mark of the second term extended his sides lead and evidently provided a real moral boost. White accumulated 31 disposals, seven marks, six tackles, four clearances and two goals in what was his best game of the season to-date.

#36 Tyson Coe

Powerful bottom-ager Coe played an instrumental role in the Bloods triumph. Regarded for his contested ball winning and tough in-and-under style, it was Coe’s penetrating foot skills which stood out against the Double Blues. Despite boasting an unconventional kicking action, his left foot found plenty of targets on Saturday afternoon, over both long and shorter distances. Skipper of the Bloods Under-16s side last season and current member of the Under-18 leadership group, Coe booted two first half goals, including a long range attempt from near the 50m line and a set-shot from similar range. Coe seemed to be involved in every scoring play for West Adelaide and has made the step-up to under-18s level with ease over the first few weeks. The damaging midfielder/forward finished the game with 22 disposals, five marks and five inside-50s.

#40 Luke Young

Often the focal point in attack for West Adelaide, key forward Luke Young again played an important role in his sides win. Working well in-tandem with fellow tall Harry Lemmey, Young pushed up the ground as he usually does, allowing Lemmey to play as the deepest forward. Young was typically good in the air, taking a couple of nice grabs but importantly bringing the ball to ground too. The Plympton junior’s field kicking was clean and his goal came via a regulation set-shot in the first term, however Young will have no-doubt liked to have added a couple more majors. Nevertheless, he concluded another solid outing with 18 disposals, six marks and four inside-50s.

Others: Bottom-aged key forward Harry Lemmey showed some glimpses of genuine excitement in attack. A highly athletic prospect with excellent mobility and cleanliness for a big man, Lemmey has a smooth set-shot routine and is a capable overhead mark. However he also showed off his natural talent by booting a fantastic running goal on the stroke of half-time. He finished with nine touches and three goals for the match. Dylan McCormick was effective on the wing and through the midfield, particularly in the games early stages. A neat user of the footy, McCormick finished with 18 disposals, six marks and six inside-50s. Patrick Singleton was another ‘Westies’ junior who found an abundance of the ball, accumulating 28 touches and six marks. His repeat-efforts at ground level to stop a regulation Sturt goal in the second term would have thoroughly impressed the Bloods coaching staff. Jed Obst (21 disposals and ten marks), Charlie Pridham (21 disposals, five tackles and six rebounds) and Jesse Thackeray (21 disposals and nine clearances) were also among the Bloods top performers.

STURT:

#7 Nick Sadler

The bottom-aged utility was used up forward and in attack and had some nice moments which suggests he could be one to watch over the next couple of seasons. His penetrating foot skills stood out again today, hitting most of his targets by foot and also using the ball well by hand. He is a strong tackler and appears to have a few handy attributes. Sadler finished with 15 disposals, three marks and four clearances.

#13 Brad Jefferies

Strongly-built midfielder Brad Jefferies was industrious in his return to under-18s level. Jefferies possesses a booming long kick and used the ball effectively by foot for the most part, working against a talented West Adelaide engine room. Jefferies worked hard for the entirety of the match and, in the absence of regular on-baller Will Spain who gained a call-up to reserves level, was Sturt’s go-to man at stoppages. The Double Blues relied heavily upon his combative style in the coal face and will be relived to have the Onkaparinga product back in the under-18 set-up. He finished the game with a team-high 27 disposals, five marks, three tackles, five clearances and four inside-50s.

#37 Zac Becker

Stationed deep in defence, Zac Becker was arguably Sturt’s best performer. Forced to weather a storm of West Adelaide inside-50s at-times, Becker stood up well under the pressure. He spent some time opposed to West Adelaide centre-half-forward Luke Young in what proved to be an enticing battle between two of the premier key position players in the SANFL under-18 competition. As has been the case all season, Becker was trusted with the kick-in duties – a testament to his excellent foot skills. He often cleared the defensive-50 from a kick-in, using his long and accurate leg. Importantly, Becker made good decisions and was also competitive in the air. Clearly the league’s most prolific rebounder after three rounds of action (averaging over 11 rebounds per game), the SANFL Talent Hub member finished with 20 disposals (all of which were kicks), four marks and 14 rebounds.

Others: With Morgan Ferres lining up in the reserves for the second-straight week, it was up to key forward Felix Packer to fill the void. And he did just that, booting four goals from ten disposals and five marks. An accurate set-shot for goal, Packer’s presence in the air was important for a Double Blues side which managed just 37 inside-50s for the match. Although he didn’t hit the scoreboard, medium forward Jacob Lochowiak played with aggression and intent, collecting 18 disposals, three marks, five tackles and seven inside-50s. On-ballers Jamie Taylor (16 disposals, one goal, four tackles and four clearances) and Jake Aish (15 disposals, four marks, five tackles, three clearances and four inside-50s) again fought hard for the visitors.

Picture credit: Nick Hook Photography

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 2

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s rolled on into Round 2, with the latest weekend of action producing some excellent performances from plenty of 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the second 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. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

GLENELG vs. WWT EAGLES

By: Liam Badkin

GLENELG:

#32 Oscar Adams

Worked hard through the midfield all day to give his team ascendency. Fought all game in the poor conditions to give his midfielders first use with his hitouts around the ground.

#20 Lewis Rayson

Found plenty of the ball and rarely wasted it. A game-high 29 disposals showcased his creativity with the ball as he set up countless plays with his hard work from half-back. An excellent performance as he continues to impress and demonstrate the quality talent coming out of South Australia.

#5 Hugh Stagg

Didn’t get a heap of the ball, but made the most of it when he did. Kicked a nice goal from a snap in the first quarter to extend his side’s strong lead. Spent time on the ball where he used his big frame to put others in better positions.

#13 Hayden Brokensha

A quieter performance than last week, the hard runner only found the ball eight times but there were still plenty of bright spots. His disposal could’ve been cleaner, but the effort was never in doubt as he looks to build on this performance.

#10 Lachlan Scannell

Another who didn’t accumulate the ball as much as last week, but showed his endeavour and willingness to work hard for his touches. With a solid 15 disposals, Scannell ran tirelessly all day and found himself an integral link up player as his side rebounded the ball out of defensive 50.

EAGLES:

#12 Brayden Calvett

The lethal left footer once again proved his worth to his side. Working around the midfield, he took the game on plenty of times and used his damaging skills to hurt the opposition and incite fantastic ball movement. Missed a shot on goal at the start of the last quarter but would be pleased with his performance overall.

#4 Jase Burgoyne

A handy link-up player who did his best work on the half-forward line. Always crafty, Burgoyne was a key cog in a lot of good Eagles ball movement. Found the ball 23 times and should hold his head high despite the loss. One of his side’s best on the day, and should built into competition well after an interrupted preseason.

#17 Lukas Cooke

A quieter game than last week, Cooke was the victim of the ball not entering his forward 50 enough. It’s hard to judge a key forward on a game where his side is beaten around other areas of the ground. Kicked his sole goal to open the scoring account for the second quarter as he tried to pull his side back into the game. Other than that, lack of opportunities hurt his output.

#2 Jay Watson

Found the footy plenty of times in a game where his side struggled to get their hands on it. Constantly drove the ball forward with his quality kicking skills, and tried until the final bounce to get his side back into the game.

#15 Adam D’Aolia

Another solid performance for the midfielder, as he fought bravely in a losing battle. Was dangerous around the stoppages, where he managed to find a game-high five clearances, despite his forwards not finishing his hard work and being beaten. Also worked his way to six tackles as he forced plenty of stoppages with his ability to stop opponents in their tracks.

 

CENTRAL DISTRICT vs. WEST ADELAIDE

By: Liam Badkin

CENTRAL:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

One of his side’s strongest performers on the day, the highly touted mid-forward lived up to the high expectations he has set for himself. Working through the midfield and forward of the ball, Dudley provided a spark on a dour day for his side. His explosiveness was hard to ignore around the contest, as he burst through packs and finished the day with 17 disposals and two goals. His stocks continue to rise.

#37 Cody Gilchrist 

It was a day that could have yielded so much more for the aerial specialist, but his inaccuracy cost him a bag of six as he finished with 1.5. His marking skills were more efficient as he brought down five grabs, with some contested. His ability to set himself up for a scoring opportunity is a real stand out, and if his accuracy can improve, he will be a nightmare for defenders.

#16 Shay Linke 

The SANFL Academy member once again continued his promising start to the year, and demonstrated his ability to win the footy all around the ground. His work around the stoppages was marvellous as he worked his way to 30 disposals and four clearances. His third quarter goal showcased his ability to hit the scoreboard, and he performed strongly on a tough day at the office.

#28 Luca Whitelum 

Backed up last week’s solid showing with another, consistently competing in a losing side. Missed two shots on goal that he could’ve kicked if he had his time over, but never gave up. Another step in the right direction.

WEST ADELAIDE:

#10 Cade Kennedy 

One of his side’s best performers, Kennedy found plenty of the ball and gave opposition coaches headaches as he continued to rack up possessions. His work at the contest was high-level, extracting three clearances, and he hit the scoreboard with a handy second quarter goal, when the opposition were making a strong run. Fantastic.

#36 Tyson Coe

While gathering slightly less of the ball than last week, Coe still showed his talent as a big-bodied midfielder, finding the ball 15 times. His two goals would’ve pleased his coaches as he continues to add strings to his bow.

#54 Harry Lemmey 

The developing key forward continues his improvement with another nice game. The ball movement inside 50 at times suited his skillset as he reeled in five marks. Could’ve finished with five goals but instead settled for 2.3 in an important performance for his side.

#9 Kobe Ryan

A star in the making, Ryan put in a best on ground performance with his outstanding effort in the midfield. Seemingly always around the play, the bottom ager was herculean for his team, winning eight clearances to drive his team forward. His defensive work was just as strong, laying eight tackles as he refused to be beaten by an opponent. Strong in the air and on the ground, he was impossible to stop, as he remarkably went at 90 per cent disposal efficiency from his 33 touches. An outstanding performance.

 

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORTH ADELAIDE 

By: Tom Wyman

SOUTH ADELAIDE:

#33 Arlo Draper

One of SA’s most highly rated draft prospects, Draper had some nice moments where he appeared a cut above Under 18 level, but didn’t star as the Panthers were beaten by a strong North Adelaide side. Starting at the centre bounce but drifting forward for parts of the match, Draper is a great size for the modern game at 186cm.

His quick snap on goal from the stoppage was soccered through on the goal-line for a major, but highlighted his high-level forward craft. An impressive overall athlete, Draper’s stoppage nous was terrific, reading the taps well and gliding through congestion on a number of occasions. He didn’t attend every stoppage but still won a game-high seven clearances – highlighting his smarts in the midfield. Draper’s hands in-tight were sound and he hit some tricky targets by foot, particularly when looking to centre the ball.

Although the Willunga product didn’t dominate proceedings or find lots of the ball, he had an impact just about every time he touched it. Draper is clearly an aerial threat and his strong midfield craft and ability forward of centre will no doubt have scouts monitoring him closely. He concluded the game with 16 disposals, a goal (10 kicks and six handballs) and four tackles.

Others: 

Angus Bradley was likely best-on-ground for the Panthers. Although South Adelaide were beaten in the midfield, Bradley didn’t back down, winning a team-high 31 disposals (25 kicks and six handballs) to go with seven marks and eight rebound-50s. A kick-first type of player, Bradley used the ball cleanly by foot.

Half-back flanker Lachlan Hayes showed a nice bit of zip from defence. He took the game on wherever he could and appears to be a smart player. He finished with 22 disposals and three rebounds. Key defender Dylan Miller was opposed to talented Roosters forward Isaac Keeler and kept the Adelaide NGA product goalless, after he booted five majors the week before.

Wingman Isaac Birt produced a balanced game, finishing with 19 disposals, six marks, six tackles, three inside-50s and a goal, with fellow midfielder Cooper Rogers (22 disposals, six tackles and three clearances) also busy. Koby Cockshell booted three goals for the home side.

NORTH ADELAIDE:

#4 Isaac Keeler

After kicking five goals in a dominant display against Central District last week, the tall forward was well-held by the South Adelaide backline. The bottom-aged Adelaide NGA product still showed some nice glimpses, with his ability to gain separation on the lead, natural athleticism and impact at ground level all evident.

However, Keeler was slightly off despite the Roosters’ win, dropping a simple chest mark in the opening term and turning the ball over a couple of times by foot. His cleanliness below his knees was a real highlight though. Keeler finished with 11 disposals, three marks, three tackles and a couple of clearances when given a run in the ruck. Expect him to return to the scoresheet against the Redlegs next week.

#12 Hugh Jackson

Jackson has stated the season in dominant fashion and would have to be one of the early favourites to take out the McCallum-Tomkins Medal (SANFL Under 18 best and fairest), after a strong showing against the Panthers. His hands in traffic, on both sides of his body, were not only lightening fast, but they always found their target. Playing as an inside midfielder, Jackson won a lot of his possessions in congestion but, impressively, was still able to hit his targets by foot.

However, like many of his North Adelaide teammates, Jackson has the ability to spread well from the stoppages and get involved in general play, which allows him to best exploit his clean skillset. His running patterns allowed him to get on the end of handball chains and be the one to deliver the ball inside-50. The teenager, from Crystal Brook in the heartland of the Roosters country zone, drew teammates towards him with his kicking and was able to slice through tricky gaps in the play.

He did all the defensive stuff too, laying a game-high ten tackles. He was caught holding the ball a couple of times, however the smooth-mover again looked in complete control, finishing the clash with 33 disposals, five marks, five clearances, five inside 50s. He was unlucky to have a snap at goal hit the post in the fourth quarter too.

#15 Harvey Harrison

Blayne O’Loughlin’s 44-touches are hard to overlook, but the performance of Harrison had a similar influence over the game. Harrison was typically productive around the ground, consistently winning the ball in-tight at the coal-face, but it was his spread from the contest and the run and carry that he provided which proved deadly. Involved in countless handball-chains through the middle of the ground, Harrison was instrumental in turning defensive into attack.

Many players tend to waste their possessions when travelling at full speed, but not Harrison. His delivery by foot was outstanding and his running goal in the third-term triggered a flurry of Roosters majors, however he could have had an even bigger game if he had converted some of his chances in-front of the big sticks (kicking five behinds). The Golden Grove junior looks to have established himself as one of the leading midfielders in the state, after accumulating 64 touches across the first fortnight of action.

A high metres-gained type of midfielder, Harrison finished the round two clash with 31 disposals (21 kicks and ten handballs), four marks, six tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s and a goal. He sits third in the competition for disposals (trailing only teammates Blayne O’Loughlin and Hugh Jackson), equal-fourth for marks and second for clearances – highlighting his well balanced game.

#18 James Willis

Willis returned to the Roosters’ Under 18s set-up and wasted no time in getting involved. He spent time rotating through the midfield and forwardline, where his speed, run-and-carry, and ability to win the contested ball featured prominently. He applied plenty of defensive pressure around the ball and tackled with genuine intent. The SANFL Academy member also bobbed up for two goals late in the game, to go with 18 disposals, three marks, four tackles and five inside 50s.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

The skipper led from the front for the Roosters, setting up the play beautifully from half-back. Another Rooster who is tied to the Adelaide Crows via NGA rules, O’Loughlin had the ball on a string right from the start. Although he did accumulate many of his touches from kick-ins, his skills when exiting the defensive-50 were exceptional. Always calm and composed with ball in hand, the SANFL Academy member was largely pin-point with his disposal by foot, weighing up the situation and thinking his way through things.

O’Loughlin reads the game so well and possesses a rare understanding of how the play appears to be unfolding in-front of him, then consistently makes the right decision and executes by hand or foot. The crafty defender is a deep thinker on the field and is equipped with the skillset to match, but he also showed a willingness to crack in hard for his side and win some contested ball, which will have impressed scouts and recruiters watching on.

O’Loughlin’s footy smarts were again on display when he sprinted 30 metres to plug the gap in-front of a leading South Adelaide forward and prevent a near-certain shot on goal. Blayne finished with a game-high 44 disposals (30 kicks and 14 handballs), nine marks, four tackles and eight rebound 50s in what could well be his best performance at Under 18s level to date.

#29 Zyton Santillo

The speedy Santillo was typically industrious for the red and whites through the midfield and in attack. He had no trouble finding the ball and used it really well. One of several North Adelaide midfielders with some speed and skill, Santillo was precise with his kicking, particularly when heading inside 50, and ran hard both ways. Not unlike Brisbane star Dayne Zorko in the way he moves, Santillo once again showed he is an important cog in what appears to be a very strong Roosters squad, accumulating 31 disposals, seven marks, six tackles, six clearances and six inside 50s in an impressive outing.

Others:

Whilst the North Adelaide midfield unit will receive much of the attention and plaudits for their dominance, defender Lewis Saint played an important role in defence, breaking up several Panthers attacks. Medium-forward Thomas Cusack had a blistering third term, booting four goals in six minutes to break-open the game and more-or-less put the game beyond reach. Elliott McNamara was an important target up forward, finishing with 20 disposals, four marks (including two contested), six tackles and five inside 50s.

 

NORWOOD vs. STURT

By: Tom Wyman

NORWOOD:

#1 Tyson Walls

After making a strong start to the season last weekend, the bottom-aged midfielder was again among the best players on the ground in Norwood’s victory. He spent the game in his customary midfield role, where he won his fair share of contested ball and showed an ability to look for the right options in congestion, rather than blaze away.

He possesses a very quick first couple of steps and, importantly, he used this to advantage, often speeding away from stoppages in his bright yellow boots. A well-balanced midfielder who shares some similarities in playing style to Essendon’s Darcy Parish, Walls’ vision and skill execution were also commendable. He banked himself a well deserved goal in the closing stages of the final term and finished with 24 disposals (19 kicks and five handballs), seven marks, six tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s.

#9 Alastair Lord

The speedy half-back/wingman took a while to get going, but worked into the game nicely and proved to be the most damaging player on the ground after quarter time. Primarily stationed in the defensive 50 but pushing up onto the wings when required, Lord provided plenty of his trademark run-and-carry. For a player of just 177cm, he displayed good strength above his head and took a couple of timely intercept grabs.

Lord’s attacking mindset was clear from the outset, as he looked to break lines with his speed whenever possible. At times, he made things more difficult for himself by running into traffic, however his aggressive mindset was pivotal in the Redlegs 32-point win. In what was a scrappy game for the most part with both sides struggling to execute their skills, Lord’s ball use stood out. He finished with 28 touches (17 kicks and 11 handballs), seven marks and four inside 50s.

#25 Matt Dnistriansky 

The athletic defender was once-again Norwood’s designated kicker down back. Often charged with the kick-in duties, Dnistriansky looked to set up the play with his precise kicking. He has a racking right foot kick and was accurate across long and short distances. He positioned himself well throughout the game, dropping in front of the Sturt forwards to cut off several Double Blues attacks. Although many of his touches were accumulated deep in defence, his clean ball-use was important. Concluded the game with a game-high 29 disposals (24 kicks and five handballs), nine marks and eight rebounds.

Others:

SANFL Academy Hub member Taj Rahui showed a couple of nice glimpses in-tight, with his breakaway speed and agility on show. Connor Kent missed a couple of shots on goal but was prolific, accumulating 27 touches and seven marks. Bottom-aged defender Riley Verrall was inconsistent by foot but found plenty of it and provided some handy rebound across half-back, finishing with 26 disposals, seven marks and seven rebounds.

STURT:

#7 Nick Sadler

Bottom-aged midfielder/forward was one of Sturt’s best performers in what proved to be a scrappy contest at Coopers Stadium. Sadler was unlucky to hit the post with a set-shot from a difficult angle in the first term, but made up for it just moments later by sending a piercing kick through for a major. He went head-to-head with Norwood’s Alastair Lord and held his own, even managing to beat the speedster to the ball on the outer wing on one occasion. He looks to have a long and penetrating kick and appears clean on both sides of the body. He finished with 20 disposals (14 kicks and six marks), six marks, three clearances and six inside 50s.

#11 Will Spain

The inside midfielder didn’t set the world alight but was solid through the engine room. He is one of the best tacklers in the competition and a capable ball winner at stoppages, however Spain also ran some nice patterns which allowed him to pick up uncontested possessions. He worked tirelessly, often going head-to-head with Norwood’s Tyson Walls, and used the ball well by hand. He finished with 19 disposals, four marks, nine tackles and four inside 50s.

Others:

With talented key forward Morgan Ferres not playing, the Double Blues clearly lacked a focal point in attack. Powerful medium-forward Jacob Lochowiak had his moments and competed well. Jake Aish (20 disposals, one goal, six clearances and six inside-50s) found plenty of the footy through the midfield and Jordan Hein (24 disposals and ten rebounds) used it well out of defence. Jamie Taylor kicked a goal and had 20 disposals while the ruck-duo of Hugo Kittle and Jackson Bishop provided the Sturt midfielders with first use, winning 17 and 15 hit-outs respectively. Down back, the clean-kicking Zac Becker (20 disposals, five marks and 15 rebounds) provided some handy rebound from defence.

Image Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 1

STATE league football returned in South Australia on the weekend, with AFL Draft prospects scattered throughout all three grades as they begin their quest for elite level recognition. In the first SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we narrow our focus to the Under 18s competition, where a bunch of promising talents had big games across the four fixtures. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. GLENELG

By: Tom Wyman

WEST ADELAIDE:

#3 Charlie Pridham

Pridham spent most of the day in the defensive half of the ground as the dedicated kicker down back. He was tasked with kick-in duties early on and his teammates clearly looked for him when exiting defence. Although some of his ball use, particularly early in the game, was not super effective, Pridham exhibited some nice awareness of time and space and appears to understand the game well. The Bloods’ most prolific player, the diminutive Pridham accumulated 32 disposals, five marks, four tackles and a game-high 12 rebound 50s in what was a strong opening effort.

#9 Kobe Ryan

The bottom-aged midfielder showed why he has a big future with a stunning performance in his Under 18 debut. Having spent most of last season playing college football with Sacred Heart, Ryan was in everything early on, winning the opening clearance before following up his kick with a strong tackle. Impossible to miss with his long blonde hair, Ryan consistently showed an ability to be in the right areas at the right time. He looks to be a very natural footballer who can find the ball at will, but also use it creatively. Ryan showed he has several different types of kicks at his disposal too, possessing the capacity to spear one long into the forward 50, chip it into space for a teammate to run onto, or size up a leading teammate with a clever snap. Despite his slim build, Ryan was fantastic in the air and tackled brilliantly at ground level. A textbook tackle on the broadcast wing was another highlight of his game. If his 28 disposals, six tackles and four clearances is anything to go by, the midfielder appears set for a terrific year.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy was one of the Bloods’ best despite his side going down by 26 points. He tried hard all day, cracking in whenever necessary but also having an impact on the outside of the contest. He exhibited quick evasiveness on a couple of occasions and looked threatening at stoppages inside-50.

#36 Tyson Coe

Coe, in-tandem with teammate and schoolmate Kobe Ryan, provided something to look forward to for Bloods fans after a difficult 2020 season for the clubs’ Under 18s. A strong physical specimen despite being a year younger than most others, Coe used his size and strength to advantage in his inside midfield role, winning a game-high seven clearances. He has a well-developed inside game, with his strong tackling, contested ball winning and overhead marking all very sound. His pack mark in the first quarter was indicative of his strength. However, it was his turn of speed from the stoppages which really impressed. Coe possesses a nice burst of power and, although his kicking technique could use some minor refinement, his skills over a variety of distances were predominately effective. One of several talented bottom-agers on show at Hisense Stadium, Coe finished with 24 touches, six marks and five tackles.

#40 Luke Young

The key forward presented up at the footy all day and was also clean when the ball hit the ground. Clearly the number one target in attack for the Bloods, Young brought the ball to ground well whenever he didn’t manage to mark it. He showed great strength to stand up on numerous occasions, both in the air and in general play. His tacking was strong for the entirety of the contest and his leading patterns ensured he was often available as a target down the line. Young kicked two goals, both from close range, and finished the night with 20 touches, 10 marks and four tackles in what was a very strong start to the new season. Expect him to be the focal point in attack for the Bloods throughout the season.

#54 Harry Lemmey

Lemmey kicked the first goal of the game after marking Kobe Ryan’s inside 50 kick. He looks to have a beautiful set shot goalkicking technique. Spending most of the game as a key forward, Lemmey didn’t get a heap of opportunity, with the Bloods’ ball-use going inside 50 not always benefitting his aerial skillset. Regardless, Lemmey appears to have some nice traits and will no doubt take some positives from the Round 1 clash. The bottom-ager finished with nine disposals and five marks to go with his two majors.

Others:

Dylan McCormick did some nice things throughout the game for West Adelaide. He accumulated 16 touches and took seven marks. Adam Bunworth was effective down back, providing six rebounds from his 17 disposals and Harry Barnett fought well in the ruck, finishing with 19 hit-outs.

GLENELG:

#2 Harry Tunkin

After piecing together a strong 2020 season, Tunkin was again impressive in the Tigers’ Round 1 victory. Splitting his time between the forwardline and midfield, Tunkin regularly won first possession at the stoppages he attended. His awareness in-tight, football smarts, vision and ball-use by hand were the primary features of his game. A natural ball-winner, Tunkin regularly found teammates on the outside with clever over-the-back handballs and applied plenty of pressure around the ball carrier. He collected 31 disposals and booted one goal, along with three marks, five tackles and five clearances in what was a strong first-up effort from the Prince Alfred College junior.

#5 Hugh Stagg

Stagg was one of several strong performers for the Tigers. A strong physical presence, Stagg was utilised as a forward but also spent considerable time as a big-bodied on-baller. He displayed great strength above his head in the first quarter, taking the mark and finding key forward Harry McInnes with a well-placed kick which lead to the Bays’ second goal of the match. At times he could have been sharper with his ball use, however the forward-midfielder was a threat for the duration of the contest and applied a heap of intense tackling pressure. Stagg could consider himself unlucky not to have walked away with a couple more goals to his name. He finished with 26 disposals, one goal, five marks, eight tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s.

#13 Hayden Brokensha

Bottom-ager, Brokensha pieced together a reasonably strong game for the Bays Under 18s. The SANFL State Talent Hub member spent a large portion of the game on the wing with stints through the inside of the contest. He worked hard both ways and provided some important run-and-carry between the arcs. His kicking was clean for the most part and he showed an ability to win his own ball when thrown into an inside role. Brokensha accumulated 14 disposals and took six marks in a performance which the midfielder will look to build upon as the season gets rolling.

#16 Harry McInnes

Key forward, McInnes threatened to tear apart the game in the first quarter, bagging two goals within the first seven minutes of the contest. Clearly the most dominant forward on the ground, McInnes’ lead-up work was fantastic as he used his power, size and strength to advantage. However, it was a frustrating night for the PAC product, who converted just two of his eight shots on goal, with a couple of snaps rattling the post. He was super busy around the ground, gathering 19 disposals and five marks in what proved to be a ‘what-if’ game for the big man. Still, his dominance on the lead will cause plenty of headaches for opposition sides this season.

#20 Lewis Rayson

One of the standout South Australian prospects heading into season 2021, Rayson wasted no time in showing recruiters what he can do. Stationed in his customary half-back position, the speedster never backed down from the contest and refused to be beaten, both in the air and once the ball hit the deck. His positioning allowed him to cut off several West Adelaide attacks and from there he used his speed and precise ball-use to damaging effect. In general play, he backed himself to hit targets which few players would dare to attempt. Although his speed, skills and intercept marking down back are the main strengths of his game, it was Rayson’s contested ball work which was particularly impressive against the Bloods. Rayson fought harder than his West Adelaide opponents, willing himself into the contest and refusing to give up the ball. He concluded the game with 31 possessions at a brilliant 94 per cent disposal efficiency, six marks, three tackles and seven inside 50s.

Others:

Jacob Owens was prolific all day, winning 29 disposals, sending the ball inside-50 five times and taking an equal game-high 11 marks. His run-and-carry through the middle of the ground was a highlight. Bottom-ager Archie Lovelock showed a touch of class with ball in hand. He kicked a beautiful snap goal in the second term and looked very much at home at Under 18s level, filling a variety of roles around the ground. He finished with 23 disposals at 70 per cent efficiency and took eight marks. Darcy Gluyas was vital for Glenelg, mopping up plenty of West Adelaide forward entries and marshalling the troops from his half-back role. He gathered 27 disposals and took seven marks. Adelaide father-son prospect Brodie Edwards was typically clean with ball in hand across half-back, operating at 84 per cent efficiency by foot. Harrison Kaesler finished with 26 disposals, ten marks, five inside 50s and four rebounds, while bottom-aged talent Lachlan Scannell also performed well, collecting 20 disposals, six marks and four tackles.

NORTH ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT

By: Tom Wyman

NORTH ADELAIDE:

#4 Isaac Keeler

It was the Isaac Keeler show for much of the day at Prospect Oval, with the athletic big man bagging five majors as his side easily accounted for Central District. After featuring in the ruck a few times last season, Keeler spent the whole day in attack and really showcased his elite athleticism. He was able to get separation from his various direct opponents with relative ease, using his natural speed to put distance between the Bulldogs defenders. One of the most exciting young talents in South Australian football, Keeler slotted the opening goal of the day with a beautiful kick from 50 metres out and followed that up 10 minutes later with another long-range effort, this time on the run. He finished with five goals but could have easily added another couple as the forward missed a couple of gettable opportunities. Keeler benefitted from the Roosters’ midfield domination and the Bulldogs simply had no answers for him on the lead. Also extremely threatening once the ball hit the deck, Keeler will have plenty of recruiters and Crows fans excited about his prospects, finishing the game with 12 disposals and six grabs.

#5 Shaun Bennier

One of three Roosters included in the Under 17 SANFL State Talent Hub, Bennier showed flashes of his talents at Prospect Oval. He did his best work coming out of defence, where he managed five rebounds and showed some excellent evasiveness. A good size at 190cm and 80kg, the Ingle Farm product tackled hard and accumulated 19 touches in North’s 49-point triumph.

#12 Hugh Jackson

Isaac Keeler booted five and Harvey Harrison was terrific, but it was the work of Crystal Brook midfielder, Jackson which took centre-stage for the Roosters. Spending all game in the midfield, Jackson was everywhere from start to finish, accumulating the ball at will and combining with the likes of Harrison, James White, Zyton Santillo and Max Blacker to completely dominate the midfield battle. Not only did he find the ball at will, Jackson used it to perfection by hand and foot. Exceptionally clean below his knees, his kicking was a real treat to watch at times. For a tough inside-leaning midfielder, his ability to spot up targets over short and long range and execute both in-tight and in space made it easy for the Roosters forwards to capitalise upon. He switched the play efficiently, hit multiple targets inside 50 and, crucially, looked to spot up teammates out of stoppages where others would have blasted away. He was equally as creative by hand too, consistently hitting targets with crafty handballs, especially at stoppages. Instead of completing simple one-metre handballs in congestion to a teammate under pressure, Jackson evidently looked to pass it to players with some space, a skill which has been mastered by some the best inside midfielders in the game. Jackson was sensational for the Roosters, finishing with 37 disposals, six marks, three tackles, seven clearances and a goal.

#15 Harvey Harrison

Harrison was one of a handful of North Adelaide on-ballers who had a field day in the opening round of the season. Like Hugh Jackson, Harrison was not afraid to back his skills and hit tricky targets, particularly when looking to go inboard. A beautiful kick to the leading Isaac Keeler early-on in the contest was a real highlight of his game. Harrison provided some fantastic run and carry through the midfield and showed some tricks around the ball, including a well-executed pirouette. The midfielder’s work rate was evident, as he tirelessly ran from contest to contest, even as the game was in its dying stages. Some of his clearance work also proved vital. Harrison finished the game with 33 disposals, a game-high 13 marks, seven clearances, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s.

#22 Blayne O’Loughlin

The North Adelaide captain picked up from where he left off in 2020, after impressing as a bottom-ager for the Roosters last season. O’Loughlin spent the day in the half-back role which he has well-and-truly made his own over the past year or two. The Gepps Cross junior and Adelaide Crows Next Generation Academy prospect, who describes himself as a ‘crafty backman’, was typically cool and calm with ball in-hand. He rarely wasted a possession and plays with such poise and calmness. O’Loughlin has a tremendous ability to sense how much time he has and isn’t afraid to wait until the right option presents itself, rather than kick long in hope. Against the Bulldogs, he also made a couple of strong defensive efforts one-on-one, to compliment his ball-use. Easily one of SA’s most talented prospects, O’Loughlin finished with 29 disposals (including 23 kicks) and seven rebound 50s for the red and whites.

#28 Max Blacker

Bottom-aged midfielder, Blacker was one of the standout performers for the Roosters. The midfielder is one of those players who seems to always be involved and around the footy. He was particularly busy early on as North Adelaide asserted its dominance over the contest in the opening quarter of action. Blacker used the ball well for the majority of the game and was one of several Roosters who consistently delivered the ball on a silver platter to their leading forwards. However, he will likely be peeved with having finished with three behinds. Blacker concluded the game with 21 disposals, three tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s.

#29 Zyton Santillo

Santillo was at his creative best for the Roosters. Part of North’s superb midfield rotation, the zippy Payneham product certainly has some tricks up his sleeve, but wasn’t afraid to crack in and do the hard stuff. He worked tirelessly all game and managed to take an impressive 10 marks. He won three clearances and showed off his neat foot skills to hit-up Charlie Froling on the lead with a perfect pass in the first half. Santillo racked up 25 touches, five marks, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s for the game.

Others:

Exciting forward Kelsey Rypstra produced a very good performance for the victorious Roosters, making the most of his shots on goal to finish with three-straight majors. He also managed 19 disposals and eight marks. Key forward Charlie Froling worked well in tandem with Isaac Keeler and was another beneficiary of the Roosters’ slick ball movement and efficiency going forward. A mobile tall with great hands overhead, Froling nailed three goals and took five marks for the game. Midfielder James White finished the clash with 24 disposals, seven tackles, four clearances and a goal.

CENTRAL DISTRICT:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

The Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect entered the game with high expectations, having been earmarked as a potential draftee for a number of years now. The talented pocket-rocket started the game at the centre bounce and was shifted forward at various stages. Despite being smaller than many of his opponents, Dudley attacked the ball with ferocity and bounced off several would-be tacklers. It was clearly difficult for Dudley to have much impact on the game up forward, given the Bulldogs lacked the polish of the Roosters. He was perhaps unlucky to be caught holding the ball a couple of times, however Dudley applied plenty of pressure of his own through the midfield and in attack, laying seven tackles for the game. He booted a classy goal from the pocket to start the second term to highlight his skills around goal. Dudley finished the game with 18 disposals, seven tackles, two clearances and six inside 50s.

#16 Shay Linke

The Central Districts leader and SANFL Academy member was clearly his side’s best in what proved to be a tricky day for the red, white and blue. Spending most of the game in the midfield, the versatile Linke accumulated a team-high 27 disposals and was particularly effective around the contest, winning four clearances. The top-ager from Tanunda looks a good size at 188cm and, at 75kg, has some growth left in him which will excite recruiters.

#37 Cody Gilchrist 

The big full forward was one of the Bulldogs’ bright spots, booting three goals in attack. Although he missed a number of chances to finish with a bag, Gilchrist provided a presence in the air, hauling in three contested marks for the day and helping set up a couple of Bulldogs majors. Gilchrist looked mobile when the ball hit the deck and did just about all he could, all things considered. He finished with 11 disposals and seven marks.

Others:

Midfielder Luigi Mondello was one of the Bulldogs’ best. He showed some real burst from the contest and wasn’t afraid to take the game on, using his speed to good effect. He kicked two goals from nine disposals. Ruckman Saxon Evans narrowly got the better of North Adelaide big-man Durant Tindale in the ruck contest, finishing with 23 hit-outs to Tindale’s 20. Ruben Carreno managed 23 disposals and six rebounds while Tahjin Krieg competed well, collecting 20 disposals, a team-high eight clearances and seven inside-50s. Finn Read also had some nice moments, booting a goal to go with six marks and 17 touches.

STURT vs. WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS

By: Tom Cheesman

STURT:

#11 Will Spain

A member of the Under 19 State Talent Hub, Spain was fantastic for the Double Blues and will be one of their most reliable performers this season. The midfielder has good aerobic fitness, which enables him to get to plenty of contests and work into defence to help his side’s offensive transition. In Friday’s match, he was also clean below his knees, positioned himself well at stoppages and spread well once his side won the ball. With eight clearances and strong bodywork to make space for other Sturt midfielders, it is evident that Spain has a high football IQ. These attributes, along with his willingness to repeatedly apply tackling pressure, will hold him in good stead this season. The only negative was that he missed a shot at goal in the third term that he should have nailed. Nonetheless, he finished with 29 disposals, eight clearances, four marks and five tackles.

#12 Jamie Taylor

Taylor, a powerful midfielder with a booming left foot kick, was one of Sturt’s most consistent contributors throughout the match. With 30 disposals (the most on the ground), six marks, five clearances and six inside 50s, it was an impressive all-round performance by Taylor. He has the strength to fend off oncoming tackles, crumbs marking contests well, and uses his kicking ability to open up the play. He will be dangerous in combination with Will Spain and Brad Jefferies in the midfield for Sturt this season.

#13 Brad Jefferies

Jefferies is a potential bolter this year and he had a good start to the season against the Eagles. The midfielder stayed composed when tackled, worked hard around the ground and found plenty of the ball. A highlight was a clever forward handball out of a stoppage to teammate Will Spain in the third term that initiated some fast attacking play. He worked forward to kick two majors in the second half, including an important one just before three-quarter time to give Sturt the lead. He finished with 21 disposals, six marks, four tackles and three inside 50s.

#32 Morgan Ferres

A hybrid forward with elite marking capabilities, Ferres was easily the best player on the ground. He kicked six majors to go with 17 disposals, 10 marks (two contested) and two inside 50s. Ferres was the centrepiece of our first Player Focus piece for the year, which took a deep-dive into his Round 1 performance.

Others:

Charlie Fryer (four marks, six tackles, two rebound 50s) was reliable in defence for the hosts, and he produced a couple of incredible highlights for the local crowd. The main ones were a run-down tackle in the first quarter and an unbelievable mark of the year contender at the start of the second term. Mitcham Hawk Kai Tucker (17 disposals, eight marks, six inside 50s) was brilliant all day on a wing, while Felix Packer (three goals) and Nick Sadler (21 disposals, seven clearances) were also strong contributors in the victory.

EAGLES:

#12 Brayden Calvett

Calvett showed how important he is to the Eagles’ Under 18 side in Round 1 with an impressive performance. He rotated between midfield and forward, often playing the sweeper role at centre clearances. This allowed teammates to find Calvett out the back of stoppages and enabled him to utilise his lethal left foot to send the Eagles inside 50. The Eagles love Calvett having the ball around the 50-metre arc, as his ball movement going forward is near elite. This ability was on display frequently throughout the contest, including when he hit Lucas Cooke in the second term to set up a goal, and when he booted a major himself at the start of the third term to give his side the lead. When Calvett took marks in the defensive half, he often looked to switch and open up the play, and his explosiveness when breaking away from stoppages caused plenty of trouble for the opposition. Calvett finished with 22 disposals, five inside 50s, five rebound 50s, four clearances, four tackles, three marks and a goal.

#17 Lukas Cooke

Cooke provided a strong presence for the Eagles up forward. After not getting many opportunities in the first term, Cooke earned a free kick inside 50 but missed the shot on goal. The important thing to come from this was that Cooke did not let the miss sour his confidence. He made a major impact in the second term, kicking back-to-back goals and becoming a key reason why the Eagles got back into the contest. His contested marking was fantastic and he was their most reliable target going forward. He also pushed back to take some intercept marks behind the play, thus showing that he can play a defensive role if need be. The delivery to him wasn’t always great in the second half and, as a forward, he was understandably a bit quieter once Sturt took full control of the game in the final term. He finished with 17 disposals, two goals, 11 marks (two contested), four inside 50s and a tackle.

Others:

Adam D’Aloia (24 disposals, eight tackles, nine clearances) was great in the midfield for the visitors, while Will Pearce (two goals, six marks) and Brock Thomson (20 kicks, eleven rebound 50s) also had good starts to the season.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. NORWOOD

By: Tom Cheesman

SOUTH ADELAIDE:

#21 Matty Roberts

Roberts is the among the highest rated South Australian midfielders in this year’s draft class, and on Friday at Flinders University Stadium, he showed exactly why that is. He played predominantly as an inside midfielder and eased himself into the contest, collecting several marks around the ground and displaying his quick hands. While he found plenty of ball on the outside, he wasn’t his usual dominant self at the stoppages early in the match. With that said, the last quarter was when he really stepped it up. Norwood were within a goal for most of the final term, and Roberts responded to their efforts by frequently pushing back to help the defence, taking intercept marks and hunting the football at stoppages to get it moving in his team’s direction. Once South earned a seven-point lead with a couple of minutes to go, Roberts pushed forward and kicked the sealing goal with a volley out of mid-air. He finished his well-rounded performance with 25 disposals, eight marks, six clearances, six tackles, six rebound 50s, five inside 50s and a goal.

#33 Arlo Draper

Draper is a member of the Under 19 State Talent Hub and was dominant for the Panthers on Friday, collecting 25 disposals to go with seven marks, six tackles, seven clearances and two inside 50s. While he is extremely versatile and can play any position on the ground, he was predominantly played as a midfielder in this contest. In this role, he proved that he is a class above Under 18 level and certainly can impose his will on a contest at the centre clearances. Draper has great closing speed and spreads well from stoppages, and he provided plenty of exciting link-up play through the middle of the ground. He is also a strong tackler, as demonstrated when he caught Redlegs speedster Archie Richardson holding the ball in the first term. Draper went forward at times, looked dangerous in one-on-one situations and booted two goals in the second half. His second goal was a clever soccered effort off the ground from a forward 50 stoppage, a moment that should feature on his highlight reel come the end of the season.

Others:

Cooper Rogers (15 disposals, four marks, seven tackles) found plenty of the ball early, while Lachlan Hayes (16 disposals, six marks, five rebound 50s) showed great agility in defence by weaving through trouble and using quick hands on multiple occasions. Hugo Hoeck (17 disposals, two goals) and Dylan Brown (13 disposals, one goal) were also lively throughout the match.

NORWOOD:

#1 Tyson Walls

Under-ager, Walls was very impressive for Norwood, their most prominent contributor on the day. He has an electric first couple of steps once he receives the ball, clean hands and a clever sidestep that he used to get past opponents on numerous occasions. This included when he used it on the 50-metre arc to shake off an oncoming tackler and boot Norwood’s first major of the day. Walls is also fantastic at working into space, has a fluent set shot routine and solid foot skills. His delivery inside 50 was effective in most instances, and he booted a nice 40-metre goal in the third term. He finished with 25 disposals, eight inside 50s, four marks, four tackles, three clearances and two goals.

#9 Alastair Lord

Lord, a member of the Under 19 State Talent Hub, was reliable in defence for the Redlegs. He is a crafty half-back flanker that reads the ball well, uses it brilliantly by foot and has an innate ability to get free for uncontested marks. Lord was great at helping his side control possession whenever necessary, an important trait in half-back flankers at all levels of the game. He also made an impact at times coming off the back of the square at centre clearances, and this is something he should look to do more in future contests. He collected a game-high 26 disposals to go with eight marks, four tackles and three rebound 50s.

Others:

The skills of Noah Hyde (14 disposals, five marks, one goal) and Bailey Gal (14 disposals, five marks) were impressive for Norwood, as was the run provided by under-ager Taj Rahui (17 disposals, three tackles). Matthew Dnistriansky (20 disposals, seven marks) was good in defence.

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography

South Australia announces 2021 state talent hub

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) yesterday announced its 2021 State Talent Hub, consisting of Under 17 and 18 squads. As the AFL steps away from its national hub-based academies, South Australia has designed its own state program around the two age groups to better prepare talent for next year’s Under 17 and 19 National Championships. The 50-player Academy allows players access to a concentrated high-performance program which is set to commence next month, with another camp due in January next year.

>> SCROLL TO VIEW THE U17 & U18 TALENT HUBS

Among the prominent names in the Under 18 squad is Jason Horne, who has made his claim as the current 2021 number one pick frontrunner. The South Adelaide midfielder has already gained SANFL League experience and shone with his speed and aerial marking. Fellow Panthers Matthew Roberts and Arlo Draper are other high-end prospects to feature, while Norwood premiership player Cooper Murley would also have been one of the first names picked.

There are a few notable players already tied to clubs too, with the likes of Jase Burgoyne (Port Adelaide, father-son), Isaiah Dudley (Adelaide, NGA), and Blayne O’Loughlin (Adelaide, NGA) all earning selection. Jase is the son of Port premiership player Peter, while Dudley is the cousin of Melbourne livewire Kysaiah Pickett, and O’Loughlin is the nephew of Sydney champion Michael.

In the Under-17 crop, Jaiden Magor looms as an early leader having starred in SA the Under 17 Futures game this year. Austin McDonald is another ball winning midfielder at the top end having already established himself as a key cog in Central District’s engine room, while Kobe Ryan is an outside type with terrific run and Westies teammate Tyson Coe featured at the 2019 Under 16s championships as an under-ager. Will Verrall and Isaac Keeler are a couple of exciting, mobile talls, and the latter is tied to Adelaide’s NGA.

2021 South Australia Under 18 State Talent Hub:

Oscar Adams | Glenelg

Zac Becker | Sturt

Cooper Beecken | Glenelg

Jase Burgoyne | Eagles

Brayden Calvett | Eagles

Lukas Cooke | Eagles

Matt Dnistriansky | Norwood

Arlo Draper | South Adelaide

Isaiah Dudley | Central District

Morgan Ferres | Sturt

Cody Gilchrist  | Central District

Jason Horne | South Adelaide

Declan Hortle | Sturt

Jonte Hunter-Price | Eagles

Hugh Jackson | North Adelaide

Cade Kennedy  | West Adelaide

Hugo Kittel | Sturt

Shay Linke  | Central District

Alastair Lord | Norwood

Cooper Murley  | Norwood

Blayne O’Loughlin | North Adelaide

Jarrod Parish | Glenelg

Lewis Rayson | Glenelg

Matt Roberts | South Adelaide

Will Spain | Sturt

Hugh Stagg | Glenelg

Nasiah Wanganeen | Glenelg

Jay Watson | Eagles

Luca Whitelum | Central District

James Willis | North Adelaide

2021 South Australia Under 17 State Talent Hub:

Shaun Bennier | North Adelaide

Max Blacker | North Adelaide

Fraser Bone | West Adelaide

Oliver Britten-Jones | Sturt

Hayden Brokensha | Glenelg

Hunter Carter | Eagles

Tyson Coe | West Adelaide

Adam D’Aloia | Eagles

Isaac Keeler | North Adelaide

Harry Lemmey | West Adelaide

Jaiden Magor | South Adelaide

Austin McDonald | Central District

Taj Rahui | Norwood

Kobe Ryan | West Adelaide

Nick Sadler | Sturt

Lachlan Scannell | Glenelg

Brodie Tuck | Central District

Riley Verrall | Norwood

Will Verrall | South Adelaide

Tyson Walls | Norwood

Featured Image: Jason Horne in action for South Adelaide | Credit: Deb Curtis/SANFL

SANFL Round 7 Preview: Huge round set to separate top from bottom

ROUND 7 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) is set to be an interesting one, with some tight matchups and plenty of critical injury outs this round. North Adelaide will hope to continue its winning ways against an improved Norwood outfit at League level, with the Panthers in danger of losing their top three position if the Redlegs can run away with a fourth win on the trot, while ladder leaders Woodville-West Torrens Under-18s will hope for another straight win.

Woodville-West Torrens vs. West Adelaide

League: The Eagles and Bloods will meet at Maughan Oval Avenue on Saturday afternoon in a battle for western suburbs bragging rights. However the two sides find themselves in drastically different situations following six rounds of action. The Eagles continue to set the pace at the top of the SANFL Statewide Super League Ladder after knocking off the Bulldogs on home soil. Meanwhile, West Adelaide suffered a heavy loss at the hands of a rapidly-improving Redlegs side.

The Bloods were competitive early against the Redlegs, booting two of the first three goals. But it was all one-way traffic from then on, with Norwood running out victors by 67 points. West Adelaide were comprehensively beaten in almost all major statistics but most alarming was their inability to get their hands on the footy in the midfield. With Andre Parrella sidelined, 18-year-old Riley Thilthorpe was given the daunting task of competing against Norwood’s Sam Baulderstone. He fought hard and showed some promising signs but the Bloods midfield lost the clearances 41-15 and inside 50s 58-41. No team could expect to be competitive when being dominated in such a lopsided fashion. However it was a different story for the Eagles, whose workmanlike midfield proved far too strong for an inexperienced Bulldogs lineup. They won the clearances 44-24 and inside 50s 48-41 and controlled the match from the get-go. The Bloods used the ball well when they managed to get their hands on it, kicking at 83 per cent efficiency, but struggled without the presence of three of their most important players in lead ruckman Parrella (calf), promising backman Elliott Dunkin (wrist) and key defender Josh Ryan (shoulder). Even though the Eagles controlled much of the play, they laid more tackles than the Bulldogs – a testament to the hard-working, in-and-under nature of their settled side.

Perhaps most encouraging for Woodville-West Torrens coach Jade Sheedy is that his side ground out the win without much influence from damaging small forward James Rowe, who was restricted to just one third quarter goal from six disposals. Defender turned forward Jake Von Bertouch stood up and added three more goals to his impressive season tally, while Jack Hayes controlled the airways in a best on ground performance which included 28 disposals, two goals, 14 marks (four of which were contested) and seven inside50s. Hayes is the leading contested marker in the competition and Von Bertouch sits in a close second. Although the Eagles boast a threatening forward line, the Bloods possess a handy one-two punch of their own with skipper Tom Keough combining in attack with Thilthorpe. The usual suspects fought hard for the Bloods despite the unpleasant result, with Kaine Stevens and Jordon Boyle typically prolific. The midfield duo have been excellent for West Adelaide and will again be relied upon to carry much of the on-ball unit against the likes Jordan Foote, Angus Poole, Joseph Sinor and Jimmy Toumpas. The Eagles ruck combination of Jack Hayes and Jarrad Redden has been extremely effective so far this season, with both players providing good use to the midfielders at their feet while also winning several clearances themselves. While on the topic of clearances, this match features a number of strong stoppage specialists, including Blood Brett Turner and Eagle ‘Joey’ Sinor, who thrived off Redden’s tap-work to accumulate 13 clearances against the ‘Dogs.

Unfortunately for West Adelaide coach Gavin Colville, Parrella (1-2 weeks), Dunkin (3-4 weeks), Ryan (3-4 weeks) and Josh Schiller (4-6 weeks) will all miss several weeks through injury. The Eagles reported no new injuries from last weekend. One of the Bloods two wins in 2019 came against the Eagles in round four. They were victorious by 37 points that day but went down by 60 points when the two clubs faced off in Round 10. Needless to say, the Eagles will come into this clash brimming with confidence, having yet to drop points since their round one loss to the Panthers. Despite starting as underdogs, the Bloods will be hoping to improve on their disappointing round six showing.

Reserves: The form of the Bloods and Eagles reserves sides has been similar to that of their league counterparts in 2020. The Eagles reserves sit at the top of the ladder and remain the only undefeated side across all three tiers of SANFL football after six weeks of action, following a heart-stopping one-point win over the Bulldogs last weekend. West Adelaide sit in seventh place after recording their fifth consecutive loss of the campaign against Norwood.

Under-18s: The Eagles and Bloods under-18s sides both currently sit outside of the top four but, however this clash will still feature a number of talented juniors. West Adelaide ball-magnet Bailey Chamberlain was again terrific in the Bloods engine room despite the loss to Norwood on Saturday evening, while fellow AFL Academy Hub members Caleb Poulter and Henry Smith were amongst the Eagles best in their win over Central Districts.

 

Central Districts vs. Glenelg

League: Glenelg will travel north to face the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon. The reigning premiers returned to their winning ways with an 18-point victory over Sturt at Brighton Road on Saturday, after loosing their previous three matches. In contrast, Central Districts’ winless woes continued with a 30-point loss to the ladder leading Eagles.

The Bulldogs failed to score in the first quarter at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. And despite mounting a four goal to one second term comeback, the damage had already been done. Whereas the Tigers were able to keep the Double Blues goalless in the opening quarter and capitalise upon a strong defensive start by taking a 21-point lead into the first break. The Bulldogs were comprehensively beaten by the Eagles in almost all the major statistical areas. Although they were able to generate some run across half-back at times, Centrals were unable to get their hands on the ball through the middle and failed to apply any significant scoreboard pressure. Interestingly, the Tigers midfield lost the hit-outs, clearances and inside-50s but won the possession battle and, unlike the Double Blues, made the most of their shots on goal, which proved to be the defining factor in the Sunday afternoon clash. To their credit, the Bulldogs have fought hard throughout the year but appear to lack the star quality possessed by their rivals, particularly through the middle of the ground. Glenelg, in comparison, boast class on nearly every line, headlined by league leading goal-kicker Liam McBean and tough in-and-under onballers Matthew Snook and Bradley Agnew.

James Boyd leads all comers in terms of disposals and has played somewhat of a lone hand in the engine room throughout the year. Despite Boyd’s ability to accumulate disposals at will, he needs more support from Travis and Jarrod Schiller if the Bulldogs are to match it with the Tigers in the contested ball. The aforementioned duo of Snook and Agnew have been ultra consistent throughout the opening six rounds, winning an abundance of clearances and applying plenty of tackling pressure. Both sit inside the top ten in the league for these categories. Up forward, the potent combination of McBean and Luke Reynolds have combined for 33 goals between them in just six matches. The Dogs backline struggled to nullify Eagles talls Jack Hayes and Jake Von Bertouch and will again face an uphill battle to restrict the aerial dominance of the Tigers duo. It has been a tough year so far, but despite their struggles, coach Jeff Andrews will urge his chargers to focus open the positives. Troy Menzel has shown flashes of his obvious talent and booted two goals last round. Small forward Lachlan Grubb recently joined fellow teenagers Corey Durdin and Jordan O’Brien in the senior side and all three have looked comfortable at the level. The coaching staff have also shown plenty of faith in young ruckman Brody Thompson, who managed 21 hit-outs against veteran Jarrad Redden, while the return of Justin Hoskin has provided the inexperienced Dogs with some much needed leadership. Rhett Montgomerie is already amongst the leagues best contested markers in just his

Glenelg reported no new injuries from their league clash, however the Bulldogs will be hopeful of regaining former skipper Trent Goodrem and key position duo John Butcher and Ryan Falkenberg, all of whom have been listed as a test. The Bays defeated the Bulldogs twice on their way to the flag last season and will be expected to take the two points in this clash. However a youthful Central Districts side will be hoping a first win of 2020 is just around the corner.

Reserves: The Bulldogs league side suffered their first loss of the season last weekend but remain well on track to qualifying for a finals berth. Although the Tigers have suffered back-to-back losses, this clash could have several repercussions come finals time.

Under-18s: The Tigers under-18s have struggled after loosing several of their best players due to the return of the school football competition. However the work of midfielder Hagan Wright hasn’t gone unnoticed. Central Districts have also been affected, with Prince Alfred College midfielder Lewis Cowham missing from the side for the past two weeks. Fellow on-baller Shay Linke has stepped up his absence, alongside Austin McDonald. The athletic Leek Alleer is another one to watch in the red, white and blue.

 

North Adelaide vs. Sturt

League: North Adelaide will look to consolidate their position in the top four when they host Sturt at their Prospect Oval home. After three consecutive defeats, the Double Blues sit sixth on the ladder and must start stringing some wins together if they are to push for a finals spot.

The Roosters midfield was significantly bolstered during a busy off-season with the signings of Billy HartungAndrew Moore and Cam Hewett. Although Hartung and Hewett have spent some time on the sidelines, when up and running they are amongst the best on-ballers in the competition. The Roosters recorded less disposals and marks than the Panthers, but it was the engine room which really helped the red and white get on top. They finished plus-28 in tackles, plus-5 in the hit-outs, narrowly won the clearance battle and concluded the game up plus-12 for inside-50s. Led by skipper James Battersby, Sturt’s on-ball quality is well-known by SANFL watchers, particularly given the clubs success in recent years. Although perhaps down on their output of seasons gone by, the Double Blues midfield remains capable of matching it with the best. Despite losing the key disposal statistics, they won the hit-outs, clearances and inside-50s against Glenelg but failed to capitalise on the scoreboard, booting eight goals and 16 behinds at ACH Group Stadium. In fairness, seven of these behinds were rushed. The result, an 18-point loss, could well have gone Sturt’s way if they converted their multitude of opportunities in front of goal.

Has anyone taken bigger strides in season 2020 than Roosters hard-nut Campbell Combe? The inside midfielder laid another 16 tackles in round six, nine more than co-captains Moore and Tom Schwarz, who laid seven apiece. Combe averaged 20 disposals, five clearances and 5.7 tackles in 18 games last season, but is travelling at 22 touches, almost seven clearances and a league-leading 11.3 tackles in his six games so far in 2020. After cementing his spot last year, Combe has now become one of the league’s best in-and-under midfielders and complements the Roosters outside types such as Robbie Young and Jarrad Allmond. The Double Blues recruited Abe Davis in the hope he could play a similar role as a big-bodied midfielder and he took some positive steps last round, racking up 26 touches and six clearances. The aforementioned Battersby and prolific Sam Colquhoun are both terrific stoppage players and will make for an interesting on-ball battle. Roosters half-back Harrison Wigg has been providing excellent drive from defence with his damaging left-foot, but Sturt’s Sam Wundke still sits at the top of the league when it comes to rebound-50s. It will be a battle between youth and experience when Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks meets Rooster James Craig in the ruck. Although Craig may out-duel him in the contest, expect Fahey-Sparks to work hard around the ground. He is averaging five more disposals than Craig and booted two goals in the loss to the Tigers. In attack, Lewis Hender has been terrific for North, booting 15 goals. Small forward Kym LeBois has contributed eleven of his own and the tall duo of Mitch Harvey and Keenan Ramsey have booted a combined 13. Sturt has kicked the least amount of points of any side in 2020, and will be expected to rely upon their midfielders to push forward and impact the scoreboard.

The Double Blues will be without Tom Lewis and Ash Johnson who sustained ankle injuries in the reserves, while Rory Illman will also spend some time in the recovery room, nursing a hamstring complaint. North still boasts a lengthy injury list but will be hoping Elliott Chalmers can recover from his hip concern. Sturt took care of the Roosters in both encounters last season but both clubs will field significantly different sides this time around.

Reserves: Sturt are flying at reserves level and have won four on the trot after knocking off the Bays away from home last weekend. The Roosters kept themselves in the hunt with an important win over the Panthers but still sit two wins and percentage behind fourth place.

Under-18s: Sturt’s under-18s were outstanding against the Tigers on Sunday evening and will enter the clash with North Adelaide as favourites. Tom Powell has been the league’s best performed player to-date and forms one-third of Sturt’s terrific midfield trio, along with Mani Liddy and Will Spain. North were beaten by the Panthers at Noarlunga in round six, but keep an eye on Shaun Bennier after he booted four goals.

 

Norwood vs. South Adelaide

League: The Panthers will head east to take on Norwood at the Parade in the match of the round. South Adelaide have made a consistent start to the season and remain on track in their quest to win the club its first flag since 1964. Things weren’t so convincing early on for the Redlegs, who suffered two close losses in the opening fortnight and were soundly beaten by the Eagles at Woodville. However since then, Norwood have charged into the top four and look more like the well-balanced outfit we’ve come to expect.

The Redlegs made light work of the Bloods at Hisense Arena and it all started in the middle. The ‘Legs boast arguably the best midfield unit in the competition so it was no surprise to see them dominate the hitouts, clearances and inside-50s. Their ability to win the contested ball allowed them to control much of the game and finish with a remarkable 107 more disposals than their opponents. Jarrad Cotton‘s men were also clean both in general play and in front of goal, finishing with 83 per cent kicking efficiency and 66 per cent scoring efficiency, and took 163 marks to West’s 115. The Panthers, on the other hand, took a lead into quarter time and outscored the Roosters in a tense final term, but were ultimately downed in a hard-fought encounter at Prospect Oval. South won the disposals battle and finished plus-17 for marks, but the Roosters midfield proved too good in the end. The midfield battle will once again play a major role in deciding Sunday afternoon’s clash.

The defensive duo of Joseph Haines and Tom Highmore have been the glue of the South Adelaide side in 2020. Both marking machines, they also accumulate plenty of the football whilst providing rebound from the defensive 50. The 27-year-old Haines is averaging 8.5 marks and 22 disposals at 94 per cent kicking efficiency, whilst Canberra product Highmore is averaging 9.3 marks to go with 22 touches at 81 per cent. Their ability to win the ball in the air but then distribute it cleanly has been instrumental to South’s early success. However Norwood key forward Tommy Pinyon will enter the clash in good form, having clunked a couple of contested grabs and nailed three goals last weekend. Joel Cross, Matthew Broadbent and Ben Heaslip have been excellent in the Panthers engine room, while 20-year-old Hayden Sampson and draft hopeful Zac Dumesny have both made successful contributions in their respective roles at league level. However the Redlegs onball unit is as formidable as they come. The likes of Matt PanosRichard Douglas and Mitch Grigg are all dominant ball-winners but, more importantly, hit the scoreboard on a consistent basis. The trio combined for no less than nine goals against the Bloods and simply must be denied opportunities in front of goal. They are all expected to feature prominently come Magarey Medal night too. The clean-kicking Lewis Johnston is a weapon wherever deployed and Matthew Nunn slotted back into the side seamlessly, accumulating 33 disposals and six clearances. Add former-Kangaroo and Lion Ryan Bastinac into the mix and you have yourself a seriously threatening midfield which has just started to click in recent weeks. Of course, it helps when Sam Baulderstone provides you with first-use in the middle then acts as another midfielder with his clearance-winning capacity and work rate around the ground. He will pose a challenge for Panthers ruckman Cameron McGree, however the 21-year-old is improving each game. South Adelaide teenager Beau McCreery has impressed up forward and is leading the clubs goal-kicking so far, having booted ten majors in six games.

Panthers speedster Malcolm Karpany will spend another stint on the sidelines after injuring his calf, but South will be hoping dynamic forward Liam Fitt is indeed declared fit after sustaining a shoulder injury. The Redlegs reported no new injuries but several senior players remain sidelined. Norwood got the better of the Panthers on both occasions last season, but South Adelaide appear to be an improved outfit in 2020 and will be looking to get themselves back onto the winners list immediately.

Reserves: The Panthers and Redlegs reserves sides achieved their first victories of 2020 over the past fortnight but face an uphill battle to qualify for the finals, given the six-point (three-win) gap between themselves and the fourth-placed Bays. Regardless, one club will be feeling more confident of grabbing a place after this match-up.

Under-18s: Given the form of Norwood and South Adelaide’s under-18 sides, this clash should be entertaining. But it shapes as being all about the 17-year-olds. Panthers bottom-ager Jason Horne has taken the competition by storm in 2020 and appears destined to be an early selection in next years draft. He has led the Panthers to a four and two start to the season and could go head-to-head in the midfield with fellow bottom-ager Cooper Murley, who has also been ultra impressive in his own right. Keep an eye on these two going forward as they prepare to lead South Australia’s 2021 draft crop.

Caught the Eye: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 6

THE TOP junior prospects from South Australia rolled on into Round 6 of the SANFL Under 18s competition, with a number of standouts continuing to emerge. In this edition of Caught the Eye, we have 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.

South Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

Jack Flett
South Adelaide | Defender
15/11/2002 | 183cm | 73kg

Stats: 23 disposals (16 kicks), 8 marks, 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “Flett was arguably the most damaging member of South’s steady back six, providing a cool head on the last line while also attempting to break the lines on the rebound. His left foot would become a weapon, used to attack as he took on some nice cross-field passes and gained serious distance. The short-range game was there too, able to hit up easy outlet kicks to help his side maintain possession.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: The South Adelaide defence was terrific on Saturday, with Harry Spacie named best afield. Most of the back six benefitted from the Panthers’ high possession, kick friendly style of play coming out of defence, but Flett took the game on whenever he could. The ability to both attack and defend from the back half is important in setting prospect apart, and Flett did just that on the weekend to provide a key point of difference.

Harvey Harrison
North Adelaide | Midfielder
10/10/2003 | 180cm | 71kg

Stats: 25 disposals, 5 marks, 2 tackles, 5 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “Harrison’s dash and dare from midfield was again a feature for North Adelaide, as he popped up in exciting spurts… The bottom-ager clicked into gear as he began to accumulate the ball on the outer of stoppage situations, using his five-step burst to accelerate forward and take the game on.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: North Adelaide has an exciting batch of bottom-agers and 16-year-olds who look like very handy players already. Harrison is one of them, and he continues to thrive upon gaining some added responsibility with the likes of Jamison Murphy out of the side. His speed coming away from the contest is great to watch, and he really helped to generate some forward momentum for the Roosters after a horrific start to the game. Any player able to penetrate both arcs and win clearances is likely to have an impact, which is exactly what Harrison was able to do.

Central District vs. WWT Eagles 

Shay Linke
Central District | Midfielder/Forward
8/05/2003 | 189cm | 76kg

Stats: 29 disposals (26 kicks), 10 marks, 2 tackles, 5 clearances, 8 inside 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said: “Linke is in red-hot form for the Bulldogs and impressed on Saturday with another strong performance… Remarkably, 26 of Linke’s disposals were kicks, showing how much confidence he has in himself to make the right decisions going forward with the ball.” – Tom Cheesman

Verdict: Our scouts said it, Linke is in red-hot form. The tall midfielder is really benefitting from being able to attend more centre bounces for the Bulldogs upon some changes to the side, and continues to show his ability to find the ball in all areas. His 189cm frame helps him to impact aerially, while a solid endurance base means he can also get forward and still find the goals. Still has room for improvement as a bottom-ager, but is showing nice signs.

Jase Burgoyne
WWT Eagles | Midfielder/Defender
15/07/2003 | 184cm | 62kg

Stats: 33 disposals, 2 marks, 4 tackles, 5 clearances, 7 rebound 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said: “Bottom-ager Burgoyne produced one of his best performances at Under 18 level on Saturday. He spent more time than usual in the midfield, which led to him being the leading disposal winner on the ground. His acceleration and elite ability to change direction wreaked havoc on the opposition, as they quite simply could not stop him from linking up with teammates through the middle and transitioning the ball forward.” – Tom Cheesman

Verdict: Speaking of bottom-agers in hot form, Burgoyne has really taken his game to the next level in 2020. The potential Port Adelaide father-son (2021 eligible) has mixed his time well between midfield and defence, while also showing an aptitude up forward in recent weeks. He has no trouble finding the ball and uses it cleanly, proving especially effective with his relieving short kicks in open play. Port fans should be watching with interest, as they could have a couple of very handy freebies over the next two years in Taj Schofield and Burgoyne.

West Adelaide vs Norwood

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

Stats: 36 disposals, 7 marks, 8 tackles, 8 clearances, 5 inside 50s, 6 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “Chamberlain’s trend of getting back to help the defence again came to the fore, as did his bursts from congestion. A few quick steps, and he would gain separation from his Norwood opponents. A real positive in his game was the ability to mix clearing kicks with calm use by hand and shorter-range execution via foot, which adds another dimension to his midfield craft.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: In a struggling side, Chamberlain continues to try his heart out. He is the soul of West Adelaide’s midfield and is working on his own game quite soundly, too. The small, but explosive midfielder had the obvious weapons of his speed and ball winning capacity to start 2020, but has shown a terrific appetite to work around the ground and mix up his disposal with more handballs and short-range kicks. His use by foot is beginning to look cleaner, making for more polished performances. Under such constant heat from the opposition, it’s great to see.

Cooper Murley
Norwood | Midfielder/Forward
20/06/2003 | 177cm | 66kg

Stats: 34 disposals, 1 mark, 8 tackles, 14 clearances, 6 inside 50s

Our scouts said: “We’re beginning to run out of superlatives to describe Murley, who continues to impress as Norwood’s prime midfield mover – in his bottom-age year, no less. He looked busy from the outset and showed his smarts early with some deft inboard kicks, while also getting to all the right spots at the drop of the ball.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: The Under 18s MVP for Round 6 rightly earned that honour with a blistering performance from midfield. His ability to swing forward and find the goals has been a real asset over recent weeks, but on this occasion, Murley fared even better as a pure midfield outlet. He is another who has no trouble finding the ball at the contest, and his speed coming out of congestion is breathtaking. That kind of attribute lends to an outside game too, and Murley’s repeat forward running also helps in that department. He looks a real first round candidate for next year, regardless of his size and slender frame.

Glenelg vs. Sturt

Jayden Davis
Glenelg | Medium Utility
26/06/2003 | 180cm | 77kg

Stats: 22 disposals (16 kicks), 11 marks, 4 tackles, 2 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said: “It was a difficult day for the Tigers, but the performance of Davis will have impressed the Glenelg coaching staff. He was involved in almost every positive passage of play for the Bays and booted the clubs’ first two goals of the contest in the second quarter, thanks to some handy roving.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: Davis has been a real asset for Glenelg’s weakened side over the past fortnight, able to impact all around the ground and incite some positive forward momentum. He looks to have a good deal of football smarts, using it to not only get in the right positions around the ball, but also impact the scoreboard when roaming forward. The Bays’ depth has been tested, but Davis is standing up to it as a bottom-ager.

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

Stats: 39 disposals, 3 marks, 6 tackles, 9 clearances, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 3 goals

Our scouts said: “Powell was always on the move at stoppages, either going in hard and winning the contested ball or looking to use his burst of speed to accelerate away from congestion and send it forward. He was regularly at the bottom of packs, wrestling for possession and looking to force out a handball.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: How much more can we say about Powell’s remarkable start to the season? His consistent form is nearing ridiculous at this point, and he has been nothing short of dominant as a permanent midfielder. While onlookers may not always catch every one of his touches on the inside, he simply finds a way to get first hands on the ball and use it cleanly. Having again booted multiple goals, Powell seems to be sending the message that he has added weapons to his arsenal, and is more than your Tom Mitchell type of accumulator. He is beginning to have that impact to match his statline, which is promising.

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

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

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

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

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 6

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

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

South Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#9 Jason Horne

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

#10 Brayden Cook

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

#19 Jamison Snelling

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

#22 Jack Flett

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

#27 Will Verrall

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

Others:

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

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide:

#15 Harvey Harrison

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

#18 James Willis

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

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

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

Others:

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

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

WWT Eagles vs. Central District

By: Tom Cheesman

WWT Eagles:

#7 Caleb Poulter

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

#31 Jase Burgoyne

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

#34 Lachlan Jones (League)

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

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

#51 Lachlan McNeil (League)

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

Others:

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

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

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

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

Central District:

#5 Kobe Wilson

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

#13 Austin McDonald

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

#26 Shay Linke

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

#27 Leek Alleer

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

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

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

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

#52 Lachlan Grubb (League)

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

Others:

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

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide vs. Norwood

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

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

#10 Eduard van den Berg

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

Others:

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

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

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

#6 Michael Cavallaro

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

#21 Jack Saunders

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

Others:

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

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

Glenelg vs. Sturt

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#2 Nasiah Wanganeen

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

#10 Ty Murphy

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

#19 Jayden Davis 

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

Others:

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

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

Sturt:

#8 Lachlan Thomas

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

#11 Will Spain

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

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

#16 Blake Higgins

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

#17 Mani Liddy

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

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

#18 Tom Powell

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

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

#19 Zabien Parker-Boers

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

#22 Ned Walter

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

#29 Tom Emmett

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

Others: 

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

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

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

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

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

>> July Power Rankings | August Power Rankings

>> 2020 South Australian Under 18s Predicted Squad

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

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

>> SCROLL for full results 

WWT Eagles vs. Central District

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

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

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

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

West Adelaide vs. Norwood

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

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

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

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

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

North Adelaide vs. South Adelaide

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

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

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

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

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

Glenelg vs. Sturt

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

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

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

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

SANFL Round Six Preview

ROUND 6 of the South Australia National Football League (SANFL) is set to be a big one, with a couple of huge match-ups. Three League teams still sit at the top of the ladder on just the one loss apiece, with North Adelaide and South Adelaide set to do their bet to knock the other off their perch this round when they go head to head.

Woodville-West Torrens VS Central Districts

League: Central Districts will attempt to secure a major upset when they travel to Maughan Thiem Kia Oval to face the high-flying Eagles on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles are yet to drop any points since their round one defeat to South Adelaide, recording comfortable wins over North and Glenelg in recent weeks. However it has been a different story for the Bulldogs, who have fought valiantly but ultimately remain winless, with a draw against the Bloods their only points of the season.

Woodville-West Torrens went into the clash with Glenelg without skipper Luke Thompson and veteran onballer Matthew Goldsworthy, but it didn’t worry Jade Sheedy‘s men, who lead for most of the day down at the Bay, recording a 20-point win to remain on top of the ladder. The Eagles lost the possession battle and recorded less marks and handballs than the reigning premiers, however they managed to get on top in the middle, largely thanks to the domination of ruckman Jarrad Redden. The Bulldogs have had their issues in the ruck, with young Berri bigman Brody Thompson given the responsibility of leading the ruck division for the past fortnight. The Central Districts midfield has struggled so far in season 2020, with James Boyd playing a lone-hand at times. The former Eagle has been finding the ball with ease since returning to Elizabeth and currently leads the league for disposals, recording 21-more than second-placed Tiger Matthew Snook. Importantly, Boyd has also been using it effectively, travelling at 89 per cent efficiency. In contrast, the Eagles midfield has been very strong, led by Jordan FooteJimmy Toumpas and Joseph Sinor. The Bulldogs, who lost the clearances 26-29 against North, will require strong showings from the Schiller brothers, Jarrod and Travis, in support of Boyd if they are to match it with the Eagles onballers.

As they have for much of the season, the Bulldogs battled hard early on against North, taking leads into the quarter time and half-time breaks. However the Roosters class shone through in the second half. Central Districts worked hard around the ground, taking 112 marks to North’s 73, but teenagers Corey Durdin and Jordan O’Brien were the only multiple goal kickers for the ‘Dogs, who struggled up forward without the lead up presence of John Butcher. Since bursting onto the scene with six goals in his first three games of league football, Nick Lange is yet to hit the scoreboard and must step up for Jeff Andrews‘ side. In contrast, the Eagles have been extremely potent in attack, with small forward James Rowe seemingly unstoppable. Rowe, the league’s leading goal kicker, has booted at least three goals in all five matches so far. He has been deadly accurate in front of the sticks too, nailing 17 majors and just four behinds. Jake Von Bertouch has relished the move forward and has ten goals to his name, while the aerial prowess of the Hayes brothers will concern the Bulldogs talls. Both are averaging 5.2 marks per game and have each kicked seven goals in 2020, with Jack also providing serviceable relief for Redden in the ruck. Down back, Centrals duo Trent Goodrem and Luke Habel have been largely composed despite facing a barrage of opposition inside 50s. For the Eagles, Tasmanian recruit Ryan Mansell has impressed with his run and carry from defence.

Woodville-West Torrens are averaging the most points for per game (86) and lowest points against (57) and will start as the clear favourites against the Bulldogs. However the sides split their two meetings last season, with the Eagles winning by 29 points in round nine but Central Districts taking out the round 14 clash by 23 points. The Bulldogs could be without Goodrem and Kyle Jenner after they sustained groin and knee injuries respectively, while Eagles midfielder Jesse Lonergan has been listed as available after overcoming an adductor complaint.

Reserves: Whilst the league clash is tipped to be a one-sided affair, the reserves battle is shaping as a nail-biter, with both sides undefeated through five matches. The Bulldogs have been very strong in the second tier competition and defeated the Roosters by 20 points last week, while the Eagles easily accounted for Glenelg, recording a 43-point win.

Under-18s: The Eagles sent a stern warning to the under-18 competition when the beat a previously undefeated Glenelg side by 71 points on Saturday. Although the Bays were missing a number of their best players, talented Eagles trio Caleb PoulterJase Burgoyne and Taj Schofield dominated proceedings. In the absence of prolific onballer Lewis Cowham, the Bulldogs were strong early against the Roosters but ultimately fell well short. Shay Linke and Austin McDonald are names to watch through the middle, while the athletic Leek Alleer also continues to improve and can be utilised in a variety of roles.

 

West Adelaide VS Norwood

League: Norwood will make the trip across town to face the Bloods at Hisense Stadium in the traditional Saturday afternoon timeslot. The Redlegs have been far from convincing but are beginning to get their mojo back after recording back-to-back wins over Central Districts and Sturt. West, who slumped to their third loss of the season at the weekend, will return to the friendly confines of their Richmond-based home for just the second time in season 2020.

The Bloods booted four goals to zero in the final quarter at Noarlunga, but the damage had already been done. However their was plenty of upside for coach Gavin Colville. The Bloods recorded more disposals, kicks, handballs and marks than the Panthers and were also more efficient with ball in hand, recording an 80 disposal efficiency to South’s 71 per cent. Andre Parrella provided first-use for the Bloods onball brigade, but they failed to make the most of the advantage, loosing the clearances (38-36) and inside-50s (49-30). Norwood trailed for most of the day away from home against Sturt, who jumped out of the blocks, kicking seven first term goals to three. However the Redlegs dominated much of the second half, off the back of strong performances from some of their big names. Jarrod Cotton‘s kick-mark gameplan proved effective, with Norwood recording 105 marks to Sturt’s 57. The ruck duel between Parrella and Norwood’s Sam Baulderstone will be critical. Baulderstone has been the best ruckman in the competition for a number of years now and dominated Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks on Sunday afternoon, with Norwood winning 63 hitouts to Sturt’s 23. Baulderstone is averaging 18 disposals, 40 hitouts and 7 clearances per game and his work both in the ruck and around the ground has been enormous. Parrella has played one less game but been a colossus in the ruck, averaging 44 taps but just 6.5 disposals. He will need to increase his work around the ground to nullify the influence of the Redlegs big man, but may have an edge at stoppages.

So far in 2020, West Adelaide will have been impressed by the efforts of recruit Jordon Boyle, who leads the club for disposals (averaging 24.8 disposals at 88 per cent efficiency) and has complimented the likes of Brett Turner and tough veteran Kaine Stevens. Tall forward/ruckman Riley Thilthorpe continues to show glimpses of his prodigious talent, while medium defender Elliott Dunkin and former Double Blue Ed Allen have also been solid. Filling his customary midfield/forward role, Norwood’s Richard Douglas has been excellent since joining the SANFL competition from the Crows. The old firm of Matthew PanosMitch Grigg and Lewis Johnston were all good in the win over Sturt and will be relied upon to help continue the Redlegs 2020 resurrection. The forward-line partnership of Tommy Pinyon and Peter Bampton has also started to get rolling in the past two rounds. Norwood will enter this clash as favourites, but West will be keen to reward their loyal fans with a second Hisense Stadium win. The ‘Legs won both matchups last season, but the gap between the two clubs appears to have closed in season 2020, such is the evenness of the SANFL competition. West’s Logan Hill (calf) and Josh Ryan (shoulder) are likely to miss the clash, while Norwood will be chomping at the bit to regain young gun Matthew Nunn, who has been listed as available after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Reserves: Norwood’s reserves woes continued on the weekend after a 46-point loss to Sturt. The Redlegs remain winless, despite having won the reserves flag last season. West Adelaide were also comfortably defeated by the Panthers and sit just one spot above Norwood. This might not be the prettiest game of football, but it is, however, poised to be a close one.

Under-18s: Things look more positive for the Redlegs under-18s, who knocked off the previously undefeated Double Blues at Peter Motley Oval on Saturday afternoon. Midfielders Cooper Murley, Michael Cavallaro and Jack Saunders have been amongst the leagues best onballers so far this season and all sit in the top ten for disposals. It has been tough going for the winless Bloods, but midfielder Bailey Chamberlain has been very impressive, accumulating plenty of the pill across the midfield.

 

North Adelaide VS South Adelaide

League: North will meet South at Prospect Oval on Saturday afternoon, with both sides eager to extend their winning ways. The Roosters and Panthers sit at the top of the SANFL Statewide Super League ladder alongside Woodville-West Torrens, with the clubs recording four wins and one loss in their opening five matches.

After the Eagles ended North Adelaide’s winning start to the season in round four, the Roosters bounced back with a victory over Central Districts at Elizabeth. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The Roosters were outplayed in the first half by the Bulldogs but responded to a Jacob Surjan spray at the main break and came out with fire in the belly. It was quite the opposite for South Adelaide, who dominated the first half but were held goalless in the fourth quarter. Both sides found less of the ball than their respective opponents on the weekend, however the Roosters strong tackling has been a real feature this season, finishing the clash with the ‘Dogs up plus-8 in this regard. Inside midfielder Campbell Combe laid nine of them on his own and currently leads the league for tackles. Tom Schwarz stole the show in the midfield for the red and whites, accumulating the ball at will and booting two goals. It has been no surprise to see Joel Cross lead the South Adelaide midfield, alongside Matthew Broadbent, with both able to find the ball with ease and impact at the stoppages. Expect Rooster James Craig to look to capitalise on his experience advantage over South’s Cameron McGree and provide first use to his midfielders. Roosters forwards Mitch Harvey (4) and Keenan Ramsey (3) booted seven goals between them at Elizabeth but will face more difficult opposition this week. South Adelaide’s intercept king Joseph Haines has been terrific this season, while recruit Tom Highmore leads the league for marks, having hauled in 11 against the Bloods, four of which were contested. Haines has accumulated the most kicks of anyone so far and is trusted with setting up much of the Panthers rebound. The Roosters must be cautious with their delivery inside-50, with Highmore and Haines looming large across the backline.

Luckily for the Roosters, they posses a potent small forward brigade and are capable of kicking a winning score without neccessarily requiring heavy scoreboard impact from Ramsey or Harvey. Kym LeBois has been particularly exciting for North and the enigmatic Lewis Hender is certainly capable of tearing open a game. Smalls Eamon Wilkinson and Beau McCreery lead the Panthers goal-kicking, with both booting eight major so far in 2020. Liam Fitt and Hayden Sampson are also regular scorers, while Alex Cailotto and Sam Overall provide the height in attack. Draft hopeful Zac Dumesny has also hit the scoreboard in recent weeks and continues to rise up the power rankings following a smooth start to his senior football career.

The Panthers won both games against the Roosters last season, however the 2020 version of North Adelaide has proven to be significantly stronger than the side which finished ninth. The Roosters injury list continues to expand, with small defender Mitch Clisby expected to be sidelined for up to one month with a hamstring issues. However the club could regain teenage defender Karl Finlay, speedster Robbie Young and inside midfielder Cameron Hewett, who have all been listed as a test. South Adelaide reported a clean bill of health from their round five match. With both sides appearing likely to finish in a finals spot, this clash could prove vital come the pointy end of the season.

Reserves: Although the Panthers and Roosters have been successful at league level, their reserves sides have managed just one win apiece. South lifted themselves off the bottom with a win over the Bloods last round, but North slumped to its third loss in as many weeks, unable to knock off the undefeated ‘Dogs.

Under-18s: The Panthers under-18s will get an opportunity to string together their first consecutive wins this season when they host North Adelaide at Flinders University Stadium. Bottom-aged Panther Jason Horne is already attracting plenty of attention in South Australia and looms as a likely top selection in next years draft, with the Roosters no doubt mindful of his stoppage nous, goal kicking abilities and overhead marking potential. The red and whites will, however, enter this contest with confidence, having recorded a comprehensive victory over Centrals on Saturday.

 

Glenelg VS Sturt

League: The Tigers and Double Blues were both finalists last season but already find themselves two wins behind the ladder leaders in season 2020. The Bays won two close encounters in the first fortnight of action, but have since failed to find the scintillating from which saw them win it all last season. It’s been a similar story for Sturt, who won two of their opening three matches but have since recorded losses to Norwood and South Adelaide. This clash provides both sides with the opportunity to seperate themselves from the cluster of sides congregated in the middle of the table.

Sturt dominated the first half against the Redlegs on Sunday afternoon but were outclassed after the main break and ultimately went down by 15-points. The Double Blues lost several key statistical indicators against Norwood, but accumulated 20 more handballs than the ‘Legs. Perhaps a more direct, kick-first approach would have led to increased efficiency going forward. However there were still some encouraging signs. Despite being smashed in the ruck contests (28 hit-outs to 63) by Sam Baulderstone, the Sturt midfield finished plus-4 in clearances and broke even for inside-50s. Further positives included the increased output from forwards Jake Sutcliffe and Abe Davis, who kicked three and two goals respectively. The latter also spent some time in the ruck, such is his handy size and versatility. The Tigers, on the other hand, mounted a late comeback but were unable to match it with the in form Eagles, who lead for almost all of the day. Similar to Sturt, the Bays won the clearances and inside 50s despite being comprehensively beaten in the hitouts. The number one problem facing Sturt coach Nathan Grima is stopping Glenelg key forward Liam McBean. He booted five goals in the loss to Woodville-West Torrens and is undoubtedly the leagues most dangerous big man. But they can’t put all their eggs in the McBean basket, with Luke Reynolds also possessing match-winning capabilities as a high x-factor medium-tall.

The midfield battle is one which appears likely to have a heavy influence on the outcome of this clash. Sturt skipper James Battersby has been excellent all season and he will again be required to lead by example against a tough Glenelg midfield. Sam Colquhoun and Zane Kirkwood must also lift their output if Sturt are to match it with the yellow and black. Although very different in their playing styles, Andrew Bradley and Matthew Snook are amongst the most prolific ball winners in the competition and Luke Partington is always a threat in and around the stoppages and also up forward.

The clubs split their two meetings last year, but both were close contests. Glenelg won by nine points in round four but the Double Blues hit back later in the year, notching up a 12-point victory in the final round of the home and away season. Young Sturt ruckman Lachlan Burrows is expected to miss three weeks with a groin injury, while Glenelg’s Matthew Merrett is also set to miss some time with an ankle complaint.

Reserves: Sturt and Glenelg have been strong at reserves level this season. The Double Blues sit inside the top four having won their past three matches, including a 46-point triumph over their red-legged, eastern suburbs rivals last round. The Bays were undefeated prior to their round five clash, but were downed by an Eagles side brimming with confidence following strong starts across all three grades.

Under-18s: The league and reserves match-ups should be closely fought battles and its no different at under-18s level. Both sides suffered their first losses of the season last weekend and will be eager to bounce back. Sturt midfielder Tom Powell has been the competitions best performed player to date and is certainly one to watch. The Bays will be looking to regain a handful of their top players, after they missed the round five clash with the Eagles.

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 5

ROUND 5 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we again turn our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so they also get a look-in. Some sides were slightly depleted over the weekend with school football making its return.

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

Sturt vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

Sturt:

#17 Mani Liddy

The consistent midfielder again found plenty of the ball in Sturt’s loss to Norwood. Although he may lack a yard of pace at times, Liddy was clean by hand and smart at the stoppages, as he has been all season. Whilst under pressure in congestion, he displayed a combination of skill and vision on a number of occasions to locate a teammate in space rather than hack the ball forward by foot. Along with his customary midfield responsibilities, Liddy also spent some time up forward and finished the game with 27 disposals, four marks, two tackles, five clearances and five inside 50s.

#18 Tom Powell

Powell was again excellent in the engine room for Sturt. In the first half, when the game was largely fought in close quarters, Powell won plenty of contested ball and used his lightning-fast hands to get things moving for the Double Blues. However, when the game opened up after the main break, Powell was able to accumulate the ball on the outside at will, while using his foot skills and burst of speed to link up the play and orchestrate a multitude of inside 50s.

Not all of his touches were super damaging, however Powell’s stoppage craft, contested ball winning, and work rate ensured he was easily the most effective player on the field wearing the iconic double blue. Powell concluded another highly-productive outing with 38 disposals, four marks, five tackles, nine clearances and ten inside 50s. He has been the SANFL Under 18 competition’s most prolific midfielder over the opening set of games and will no-doubt have caught the eye of club recruiters. If he can have more of an impact on the scoreboard and clean up some of his disposal by foot, there’s no reason why Powell can’t rise to be an early selection come draft-time.

#29 Tom Emmett

Despite Sturt’s defeat, Emmett booted four of Sturt’s six goals and looked the most threatening forward on the ground for much of the contest. He nailed Sturt’s first for the game with a set shot from 45-metres out and booted the Double Blues’ second early in the second term. Emmett squeezed home his third goal whilst being slung in a tackle and later showed excellent composure on the run to thread through a major from a difficult angle in the forward pocket. A later set shot at goal from 50 metres out ultimately missed to the near side but sailed through at above goal-post height, suggesting he possesses a long leg. Emmett finished with 17 disposals, four goals and two behinds, five marks, four tackles and five inside 50s.

Others: Playing in the midfield alongside Liddy and Powell, Will Spain had a few nice moments, particularly when he weaved through traffic at half-forward and dished off a nice handball to a teammate in a pocket of space. His disposal by foot was inconsistent, however he certainly has some evasiveness, a nice side-step and can find the ball. Spain finished with 22 disposals, nine marks, six tackles and three clearances. Forward Zabien Parker-Boers booted two goals from eight touches, Blake Higgins accumulated 20 possessions, and Ned Grieve had 19 disposals and took seven marks.

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

It was yet another terrific outing for talented bottom-ager, Murley. In the first term, Murley received a one-two with a teammate and used the pocket of space to run and carry before delivering a beautiful right-foot kick to the advantage of a leading forward. His speed, ability to hit the scoreboard, efficiency by hand and foot, and line-breaking carry make for a nice array of strengths, and all were on-show throughout the clash.

Murley also judged the flight of the ball better than anyone else on a couple of occasions; the first coming from a long, cross-field kick to the forward flank, and the second an intercept mark in defence. He was lively around the ball and showed a willingness to use his speed and skills to take the game on through the middle. Murley kicked two classy goals from close-range in the final term to seal Norwood’s win and cap off another excellent outing for the 17-year-old, who continues to find the ball with ease at Under 18s level. He finished with a well-rounded stat line of 27 disposals, two goals, seven marks, three tackles, three clearances and six inside 50s.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

Wingman, Cavallaro beautifully complimented the toughness of the inside midfielders by providing class and efficiency on the outside. Cavallaro showed off his agility and spacial awareness to evade a Liddy tackle close to the boundary and spot up a teammate down the line with a measured pass. His composure in traffic allowed him to slow down the play and make the right decisions. Whilst his ability to hit targets by foot from a variety of angles and distances was a feature of his game, Cavallaro refrained from blazing away down the line when a simple handball to a loose teammate was all that was required.

Whether he was mopping up in defence or involved in a fast break, Cavallaro remained calm, made the right decisions and crucially, executed well most of the time. His excellent footy smarts were highlighted on the outer wing, when instead of gaining possession in a two-on-two situation, his clever tap back to a teammate allowed the Redlegs to stream forward. Another highlight was the desperation he showed in a chain of play along the boundary line, where Cavallaro kept the ball in play and eventually gave off a handball while on his hands and knees, resulting in a Louis Joseph goal moments later.

That level of work rate and desperation would have really pleased the Redlegs’ coaching staff. Although his lack of size may prove a concern for recruiters, Cavallaro is a pure footballer who possesses elite decision-making skills and has consistently looked the most composed player on the field throughout the season to date. He finished with 31 disposals and nine marks.

#17 Daniel Fairbrother

Fairbrother was a rock down back for the Redlegs. He looked physically bigger and stronger than many of the Sturt forwards and used his size to advantage in several marking contests. Fairbrother provided plenty of rebound from half-back and was assured by foot. The number 17 has a very deliberate and measured kicking action and shared the kick-in duties with fellow defender Benjamin Ianiello. He took a number of important intercept marks and found plenty of the ball, finishing with 28 disposals, six marks and six rebound 50s.

#21 Jack Saunders

The blonde-haired midfielder Saunders produced a number of eye-catching moments in the red and the blue. His run and carry through the middle of Peter Motley Oval was a real feature. He was willing to take the game on whenever he found himself in space and often got on the his bike to receive a handball in an attacking chain. Saunders competed strongly, with a highlight being a perfectly-executed tackle to win himself a holding-the-ball free kick. He possesses a great stiff-arm and is able to win the ball around the ground as well as at the coal face.

Saunders was inconsistent by foot, missing a few targets but also nailing a couple of excellent passes to the advantage of his teammates, including a nicely-weighted ball to William Warrick, who gathered and kicked the goal from 45-metres out. These inconsistencies are understandable given he had 27 kicks on the day. The on-baller continues to elevate his status with each passing game and finished with 34 disposals, four marks, five tackles, six clearances, seven inside-50s, and five rebound-50s in a well-rounded showing. His hard two-way running, balance of inside and outside ball-winning, run and carry, and burst of pace will certainly have caught the eye of recruiting staff.

Others:

Ruckman Nathan Hearing wasted no time in imposing himself on the contest, laying a strong tackle at the opening centre bounce. He was heavily involved around the ground, clunking a number of strong marks, and was willing to bite-off several in-board kicks. Hearing gathered 20 disposals, five marks, five tackles, 16 hitouts, seven clearances and a goal in a strong performance.

Rangey defender Ianniello slotted back into the Under 18s lineup seamlessly. He provided run and carry from the backline and showed some real dare. Although he missed a couple of targets by foot, Ianniello boasts a long left-foot. He produced a strong outing, collecting 27 disposals, eight marks, four inside 50s and four rebound 50s. Billy Haebich also found plenty of the ball, finishing with 23 disposals, five marks and four inside 50s.

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide vs. Central District

By: Michael Alvaro

North Adelaide:

#3 Adam Heath

One of many bottom-age prospects to step up over the weekend for North Adelaide was Heath, a mobile 191cm prospect who competes well in the air and at ground level. He was particularly impressive during the first half, presenting strongly on the lead and hitting the scoreboard with a set shot in the second term. Heath had a real presence inside 50 and was hard to miss with his flowing blonde mullet. He faded a touch in the latter stages, but still showed promise to finish with 19 disposals, five marks, and a goal.

#15 Harvey Harrison

Harrison played a key role in generating some run through the Roosters’ midfield, and did so with his dare in taking the game on. He carved up the corridor with pace and looked sharp with his delivery by foot, while also showing no fear in looking for kicks inboard while on the outer. Harrison won a few nice clearances and applied solid pressure around the ball, with his busy approach to the game a handy asset to North’s cause. He finished with 21 disposals, seven tackles, and five clearances.

#18 James Willis

There were periods in the third term where Willis looked like tearing the game apart. The dynamic midfielder showed he can do it all in his on-ball role; accumulating around the ground early, winning his own ball, bursting away with strength, and adding deft agile movement in congestion. His explosiveness came into play as the game wore on, able to break lines and take the game on going forward. The bottom-ager put in a couple of outstanding efforts in the third quarter; first pulling down a desperate tackle at half-forward which led to a Charlie Dowling goal, and then creating a spillage with his courageous aerial contest to give the Roosters another chance on goal. A great return to action.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

The Adelaide NGA prospect is the type of player you want in possession coming out of defence, with his speed and sharp use by foot making for lightning-fast transitional play. O’Loughlin was lively in the first half, getting involved in just about every contest around North’s defensive territory and swooping on a great number of ground balls. His pace and clean hands allow him to dominate at ground level, with his creative instincts kicking in once the opportunity to rebound presents. The clever bottom-ager faded a touch after half time, but bobbed up with a couple of nice line-breaking plays late on.

Others:

Another standout in defence was Lam Simon, who enjoyed some solid aerial tussles while providing effective rebound once the ball hit the deck. Matthew Borg found plenty of the ball through midfield and was able to hit targets going forward, with Kyle Brazell also moving well in transition. The latter would also find the goals himself, while also competing well overhead. Charlie Dowling was a constant forward threat, making the most of his opportunities to boot four goals. He was a solid target all day alongside Leo Coates, who kicked two goals and took seven marks.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

The 16-year-old just has a happy knack of finding the footy, and was able to do so again with 21 disposals as a constant centre bounce attendee. While McDonald was a touch fumbly at times and ineffective by foot in terms of true damage, he showed plenty of good signs in his midfield craft. He pumped forward a couple of nice centre clearances on the move, with his first coming in the opening term from a slick shark off the tap. McDonald continues to succeed in a tough role, and will shine over the next couple of years as he builds size and confidence.

#26 Shay Linke

Another midfielder who spent plenty of time at the stoppages, Linke ended up as Centrals’ leading ball winner with 22 touches, 10 marks, and five clearances. The tall bottom-age prospect managed to get his hands on the ball in good areas amid heavy congestion, while also working well around the ground to pop up as an outlet. He put in a couple of strong tackling efforts and wasn’t afraid to get stuck in at ground level, able to thrust the ball forward. He capped off his day with a nice snap goal from distance, aided by a couple of lucky bounces.

#27 Leek Alleer

Alleer has been tried in a few different roles this season, and found his spot on a wing throughout this particular outing. The tall and athletic prospect did well to help out his defence in the early goings, but looked most dangerous when able to get a proper leap at the ball on the outer. His strong verticals allowed him to get a hand in and intercept balls he had no right to, while a couple of strong overhead marks also caught the eye. Alleer was calm in possession and used the ball well by hand, finishing the game with 18 disposals and seven marks.

Others:

Cody Gilchrist enjoyed a terrific start to proceedings, proving too strong deep inside 50 to boot the Bulldogs’ first three goals. Wyatt Ryan gave his all throughout the day in a range of roles, most significantly up forward as a strong lead-up target. Jordan Tippins showed a heap of class on the ball in his 18-disposal effort, with a good balance of inside and outside traits highlighting his game. Christopher Tidswell came into the game late with some dash from defence, while 16-year-old Brodie Tuck looms as one to watch having reeled in some assured intercept marks.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

WWT Eagles vs. Glenelg

By: Michael Alvaro

WWT Eagles:

#3 Taj Schofield

It was a typically classy display from Schofield, who had a solid impact through midfield and also managed to find the goals. His ability to shark the ball from taps at stoppages or from ground ball spillages is exceptional, and helped him to generate some forward momentum for the Eagles. He was on fire early in the second term as a couple of clean gathers led to snapped goals, and a clever tap at the following centre bounce allowed a teammate to be released forward. Schofield’s agility and turn of pace made him almost impossible to tackle, with that trademark evasiveness through traffic really catching the eye. His repeat running was positive to see, as was his impact forward of centre to finish with 18 disposals, eight tackles, and two goals.

#7 Caleb Poulter

Poulter just has such a remarkable presence on the field, and he is impossible to miss when the ball enters his area. Starting in midfield, his clearance work was sound and he got to work with some brilliant handballs out of congestion, showcasing his rare vision. Throughout the game there were bursts through traffic, strong overhead grabs, and some crunching tackles to stop Glenelg’s counter attacks in their tracks. Despite copping a knock in the third term, Poulter remained involved. He did not quite manage to find the goals, but that was not for a lack of trying – even from distance. His kick penetration is obviously great, but he can sure up his short-range game a touch to prevent simply blazing away.

#19 Zac Phillips

The Eagles bigman did well to get involved around the ground, adding to the value of his enormous leap in the ruck and ability to take marks up forward. His ruck craft looks promising in terms of taps to advantage, and it played a key part in WWT’s midfield dominance. Phillips was a solid option in all areas and while he can refine his disposal and decision making, it was great to see him rack up a few touches.

#25 Henry Smith

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

#31 Jase Burgoyne

The 2021-eligible Port Adelaide father-son prospect continues to go from strength to strength for WWT, able to play off each line. He again spent some time through midfield, but looks much more lively in open play and even proved dangerous as a forward option. Burgoyne’s ability to chain up and deliver neat kicks is exceptional, with his class on the ball truly evident. He managed to snare two goals; the first being a nice finish on the run during the second quarter, and the second a set shot conversion in term three. He could have added another couple if he had finished a little tidier.

#37 William Neumann

Another bottom-age Eagles prospect to have stood out is Neumann, who produced a few outstanding bits of play in the forward half. His second efforts were a feature early as he hunted the ball, able to smother and aggressively bump his opponents off the ball to cause chaos inside 50. He took a strong pack mark in the second term and duly converted the shot for his first goal, before adding another in the following stanza. One of his best plays was a clean half-volley pick up and spearing ball inside 50, with another his weave through three defenders to hand off a goal assist. One to watch.

Others:

There were plenty of contributors for the Eagles, who benefitted greatly from Jack Wheare‘s efficiency inside forward 50. He finished with a game-high four goals, while Jay Watson bagged three in a hot first term. Zeke Scott made a terrific start through midfield, while Max Lister was consistent throughout, and Liam Ueding returned another big shift inside defensive 50. Brayden Calvett‘s 22 touches from the wing also stood out.

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

Glenelg:

#2 Nasiah Wanganeen

Wanganeen is a player who makes things happen, having an impact with every possession. He contributed a few nice touches early as he kicked into gear with his smooth movement, and his use by foot going forward proved damaging. The bottom-ager hit up Kye Dean on the fly in the second term, and had a hand in Riley Davis’ third term goal as he won a one-on-one on the wing and burst forward at breakneck speed. His lone goal for the game also came in the third period, capping off another promising outing.

#8 Hagan Wright

On a tough day for Glenelg’s midfield, Wright had his moments. His work rate going both ways and ability to simply get his hands on the ball helped him have an impact, with some nice side-steps and booming kicks inside 50 proving his points of difference. Repeat efforts and aggressive forward movement is his game, and he tried his best to generate some momentum for the Tigers.

#9 Kye Dean

Arguably Glenelg’s most consistent midfielder on the day, Dean racked up 25 disposals and five clearances from the engine room. The top-ager’s booming left foot proved an asset when allowed the time to charge his kicks, and his explosiveness in congestion came to the fore as he got going. Dean also impacted the game up forward, finding the space to become a marking option but spurning a couple of shots on goal. He did manage to split the big sticks on one occasion though, after holding onto a double-grabber deep inside attacking 50 and slotting the resultant shot.

Others:

There was quite an even spread of Tigers who stood up at different times throughout the contest, but unfortunately for not long enough in the big loss. William Watts proved the most prolific ball winner with 31 touches in his dual-role between the defence and midfield, while Riley Drum provided a cool head down back early on before swinging forward late. Jayden Davis was another to play on multiple lines, racking up 24 disposals and seven marks before sneaking forward to claim a fourth term major. Harrison Kaesler was also lively in an under-siege defence, providing some run with his 19 disposals.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

South Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

By: Tom Cheesman

South Adelaide:

#18 Zac Dumesny (League)

Dumesny was great for the Panthers, collecting 19 disposals, five marks, three inside 50s, and two rebound 50s. He played predominantly at half-back and on the wing, and at 187cm he is a great size for these positions. Dumesny started the game with a nice intercept mark deep in defence, which was one of many strong marks he took throughout the match. He never juggles his marks, thus making him a difficult player for the opposition to spoil.

In one-on-one contests he always positioned himself well and was never out-marked. Down the wings he linked up with teammates to carry the ball forward and get multiple score involvements. His teammates trust him with ball in hand too, as his kick is extremely reliable and he barely missed a target all day. Dumesny looks at home at League level which is a great sign for him ahead of this year’s AFL Draft.

#4 Max Clifton

Clifton had a fantastic day for the Panthers, collecting 22 disposals, five inside 50s, four marks, and three tackles in their victory. His booming left-foot kick stood out, as he hit targets both long and short on a consistent basis. He was strong at stoppages, read the play well, and got himself into the right positions around the ground. Clifton’s defensive running was also impressive, highlighted when he courageously ran back with the flight to enact an outstanding spoil in the third term.

#9 Jason Horne

Horne continued his outstanding start to the season with another best on ground performance against the Bloods. It was his first game without partner-in-crime Matty Roberts for the season, and Horne put on an absolute show in his absence. He kicked three goals, including a goal of the year contender in the third quarter when he picked up the ball cleanly outside 50, took three bounces, sold candy to three different opponents, and then finished with a goal from 40 metres out. If you have not seen it yet, I urge you to check it out because it showed how talented this youngster is and the sheer confidence he has in his ability.

Horne’s body-work at stoppages was exceptional, as was his work rate around the ground. He took numerous intercept marks and was always composed with ball in hand, barely missing a target all day. Horne finished with 31 disposals (24 kicks), 11 marks (four contested), seven clearances and six inside 50s to go with his three goals. He is firming as one of the best AFL draft prospects going into 2021.

#10 Brayden Cook

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

#33 Arlo Draper

Draper was brilliant at half-back, finishing with 17 disposals and six marks. It was clear that he is a smart footballer, as he took numerous intercept marks and linked up with teammates to quickly transition the ball forward. He was clean under pressure when others were panicking, and his ball use by foot was sublime. Draper has electric pace and used this trait whenever required throughout the contest. His defensive work was also fantastic, highlighted by a clever smother in the first term.

Others:

Will Verrall was impressive in the ruck for the Panthers, showing agility for his size and pushing forward to kick two goals. Liam Hamilton (26 disposals, 16 marks) worked hard and found plenty of the ball once again, while Phoenix Spicer (20 disposals, one goal) was an excitement machine in the second half. Samuel Hindes (19 disposals, eight marks) was strong deep in defence.

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide:

#18 Riley Thilthorpe (League)

Thilthorpe had another impressive performance on Saturday and showed why he is one of the leading prospects for the 2020 AFL Draft. He spent most of his time up forward but pinch-hit in the ruck whenever required. The 200cm youngster was fantastic in the air, always providing a contest and at least bringing the ball to ground.

His teammates’ delivery forward to him did not make his life easy in the first three quarters, but this improved late in the game. He capitalised on this by taking two strong pack marks in the final term, including one at the top of the goal square which resulted in a goal. Thilthorpe’s athleticism was on display, as he frequently used his great fitness level to push up the ground and create an option for his teammates coming out of defence. He was clean with the ball and showed poise in congestion for a big man, using his long reach to get his arms free and feed outside runners on multiple occasions.

Thilthorpe was also unselfish up forward, highlighted when he set up a goal by finding teammate Brett Turner in a better position late in the third term when he could have easily gone back and kicked the set shot himself. He earned free kicks in marking contests because he received so much attention from opposition defenders, and he was not afraid to use his left foot when required. Thilthorpe finished with 15 disposals, five marks (three contested), six hitouts, two tackles and a goal.

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

Chamberlain continues to shine despite West Adelaide’s struggles in the Under 18s, collecting 35 disposals, nine clearances and six rebound 50s. He seldom got knocked off the ball easily and regularly used his burst of speed to break away from opponents and weave past oncoming tacklers. His quick hands were fantastic at stoppages and his work rate around the ground was exceptional. However, his kicking was a bit inconsistent in this contest.

#7 Cooper Gilbert

Gilbert played in defence for the Bloods and showed some very promising signs. He was always clean with ball in hand and was very effective by foot, using his strong right-foot kick to launch his side out of defence on numerous occasions. The Bloods looked the most dangerous going forward when Gilbert went central and took the game on. It would be great to see Gilbert back himself and do this more throughout matches in the future. He finished with 18 disposals and six rebound 50s.

#21 Nicholas Couroupis

Couroupis was outstanding for the Bloods, arguably their best performer on the day. The midfielder was aggressive at the ball and at his opponents throughout the game, and his marking ability was definitely a highlight. He took six marks (four contested) including a brilliant pack grab in the opening term. Couroupis regularly provided an option for the Bloods coming out of defence and was strong at stoppages against a talented Panthers midfield. He finished with 25 disposals, five clearances, three tackles and a 55-metre goal from a set shot.

Others:

Thomas Faulkner (10 disposals, 15 hitouts) showed some impressive signs in the ruck, while Cade Kennedy (22 disposals) and Eduard Van Den Burg (25 disposals) worked hard to find plenty of the ball.

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

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

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

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

>> July Power Rankings