Tag: south adelaide

Q&A: Matty Roberts (South Adelaide/South Australia)

SOUTH Adelaide’s Matty Roberts is one of his state’s best draft prospects for 2021, and is ready to crack the Panthers’ League lineup having trained with the senior side during preseason. The AFL Academy member has been a key part of South’s Under 18 setup for a couple of years now and is also set to skipper the St Peter’s First XVIII. On-field, Roberts is a midfielder-forward who runs hard and makes good decisions with ball in hand, finds plenty of it, and can also hit the scoreboard.

Draft Central correspondent Tom Wyman chatted to Roberts at the recent South Australia preseason testing event for a question and answer (Q&A) special.

Q&A:

Q: How do you think you tested?

A: “I thought I tested not too bad. Obviously I could do better in some things but I thought it was pretty good.”

 

Tell us a bit about yourself off-field

“I grew up in the town of Strathalbyn. I have a younger brother, Tyson and my parents Brenton and Sally. I grew up on a farm just out of Strathalbyn, went to school in ‘Strath’ up until Year 9 and now I’m boarding at St Peter’s in Adelaide and going into Year 12 this year.”

 

What has your footy journey been like so far?

“I started at Langhorne Creek in the Under 10s when I was about five and then progressed through the Under 10s, 12s, and 15s and then through South Adelaide’s pathway. Now I’m in the 18s program and have started training with the League team this season.”

 

Do you think you have what it takes to match it at League level?

“I think I can, I played in an A-Grade premiership for Langhorne Creek when I was 14, just going on 15. So I have memories from that year to be able to hopefully step up into the League this year.”

 

Is making your League debut one of your goals this year?

“That’s my main goal this year, to be able to play as many League games as I can.”

 

Describe yourself as a player

“I feel like I’m smart with the ball, I’m pretty composed with ball in hand and use it well most of the time. And I can impact the scoreboard when I go forward.”

 

Do you see yourself as more of a midfielder or forward?

“Sort of a mixture between both I think. I have pretty strong scoreboard impact when I go forward but obviously I like to play through the mid.”

 

Are there any players you can compare your game to?

“I like to look at Marcus Bontempelli. He’s a left-footer, a good ball user through the mid and can also go forward and impact there.”

 

How has it been juggling school and SANFL commitments?

“School’s been pretty accommodating with my South Adelaide training this year and I’ve been trying to stay on top of school work. I’m captaining the St Peter’s First XVIII this year so they’ve been really good, just making sure that I’m showing face and then obviously going on with my South Adelaide commitments at the moment. But they’ve been really good, helping me juggle both.

Image Credit: Nick Hook/SANFL

Exciting Schirmer strives for consistency in 2021

SOUTH Adelaide high-flyer Gypsy Schirmer is striving to become a more consistent player in 2021, with the exciting prospect now firmly on the draft radar after a breakthrough 2020 campaign. Schirmer’s X-factor and versatility helped her crack South’s senior lineup and her state’s Under 18 All-Star fixture last year, with inclusion in this year’s AFL Women’s Academy a richly deserved honour based on great potential.

The soon-to-be 18-year-old is known for her ability to play just about anywhere, but is looking to nail down a spot up forward while rotating through midfield. With outstanding athletic traits such as a sizeable vertical leap and swift closing speed, it was no surprise to hear Schirmer say she wants to “play more like” a certain iconic Carlton spearhead.

“It’s kind of a generic one but I think what Tayla Harris has, we share similarities,” Schirmer said. “We’re both tall players, but we both work really hard up and down the ground, and we’re quite dangerous wherever we play. “I want to play more like her.”

“I don’t really know (where my best position is), I’ve been thrown around a little bit. “I love the forward line, I really love the craft there and feel like I could really develop as a player but I’m also looking forward to developing my midfield abilities. “I got introduced to the wing last year which was a bit different but I really enjoyed it there too, so probably up forward and in the midfield is my best position.”

Perhaps much like Harris, Schirmer is also looking to more consistently showcase her talent having moved past interruptions and shaken off some injury concerns. Currently known as more of an impact player who takes full toll with each possession, the South Adelaide product also has eyes on a more grand end prize.

“I think (my goal) is just to play some consistent footy,” she said. “I have had some injury interruptions so getting some consistency, playing my role and getting to do what they want me to do at South. “Then progressing into this (AFLW Academy), playing some state footy and travelling if we’re allowed to, kind of progressing from there and if all goes to plan hopefully the draft at the end of the year.”

It has been a steep rise for Schirmer, who has only been playing football for four years. Having started out being coached by her father at Christies Beach Football Club, the youngster quickly made her way into representative squads and is now thriving under South Adelaide’s tutelage – with plenty more to come.

“I started footy four years ago,” she said. “I wasn’t really interested in playing with the boys so I waited until my local club got a women’s team, which was 2017 I think. “I was lucky enough to have my dad as my coach which was really cool as it made it easy to get driven to things.

“I started at Christies Beach Football Club down south and then got into the Under 15 state All Schools League. “I enjoyed that a lot, that was my second year of footy.

“From there started making more sides and play for South Adelaide women’s now, I’m really excited – we’ve got a good squad there. “I’ve had a few injury blows with my ankles that have kind of been screwing me up a bit but I’ve really enjoyed programs like this and hopefully I’m fit for a whole year and see what’s to come.”

With commitment to the game and pathway opportunities now at an all-time high, juggling football with studies amidst a pandemic has been admittedly “challenging” for Schirmer. With the transition to university in her sights, she says regaining a manageable balance will be an interesting prospect.

“I finished Year 12 last year so going in and out of school all the time depending on what the situation was, but also having to balance training and stuff like that, I feel like I did get quite a good training-school balance by the end of it,” she said. “But definitely with uni I’ll be interested to see how it goes.”

If preseason testing is anything to go by, Schirmer is ready to hit even greater heights in 2021 as one of South Australia’s most promising female draft prospects. Her next point of call will be in South’s hoops as they take on North Adelaide at Coopers Stadium, opening the season on February 26 in a grand final rematch.

Image Credit: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images via AFL Photos

EXPLAINER | Pocket Podcast: Brayden Cook vs. Conor Stone

OVER the last week, Draft Central launched its brand new series of pocket podcasts, a collection of short-form discussions which narrow in on a range of topics heading into the 2020 AFL Draft. In the next edition, Chief Editor Peter Williams again sat down with AFL Draft Editor Michael Alvaro to compare two of the most exciting and similar medium-forward available in this year’s crop.

The players under our microscope are South Adelaide’s Brayden Cook, and Oakleigh Chargers’ Conor Stone. They measure up virtually identically in terms of size and athletic attributes, with both prospects having also enjoyed steep rises on the back of their on-field performances. Cook has come from the clouds this year to consolidate his standing as a draft bolter, while Stone burst onto the scene with promising showings in the Chargers’ 2019 NAB League premiership team. Their claims to dual-position status as deep forwards who can also play on the wing adds another air of similarity, making them an ideal pair to set alongside one another.

To listen to the comparison in full, click here.

Here are the respective players’ pocket profiles:
(Click on their names highlighted in red to read their full draft profiles)

Brayden Cook
South Adelaide/South Australia

DOB: July 18, 2002
Height: 189cm
Weight: 82kg

Strengths: Versatility, athleticism, goal sense, smarts/evasion, overhead marking, game-winning ability, decision making/creativity

Improvements: Finishing consistency, strength

Conor Stone
St Kevin’s/Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro

DOB: April 22, 2002
Height: 188cm
Weight: 81kg

Strengths: Goal sense, finishing, athleticism, vertical leap, smarts/anticipation, endurance

Improvements: Untapped versatility, explosive speed, consistent impact/output

Here’s how they match up athletically:

Cook:

Standing Vertical Jump – 58cm
Running Vertical Jump (R/L) – 72cm/74cm
Speed (20m) – 3.103 seconds
Agility – 8.45 seconds
Endurance (2km) – 6:48

Stone:

Standing Vertical Jump – 67cm
Running Vertical Jump (R/L) – 73cm/83cm
Speed (20m) – 3.10 seconds
Agility – 8.67 seconds
Endurance (yo-yo) – 21.5

Ultimately, there are a few points of difference which separate these two prospects. It should also be pointed out, in the interest of fairness, that Cook’s testing data has been pulled from the recent South Australian Draft Combine, while Stone’s results are from preseason as he awaits the Vic Metro combine on October 31. Furthermore, Cook has been able to push his case massive in 2020 with a full season of football, while Stone has been made to wait it out on the sidelines like all other Victorian prospects this year. Like Cook, he could well have been another to push into top 25 calculations with a big top-age campaign.

Though they measure up at essentially the same height/weight and play the same role, clubs will find little areas which have them leaning towards one player more than the other. At least at NAB League level, Stone has proven more of a forward/wingman, whereas Cook has proven to start on the wing before shifting forward. Both are capable of kicking big bags of goals and can take eye-catching overhead marks, while their smarts at ground level bode for outstanding forward craft. Stone has a strong athletics background and arguably boasts a greater endurance base, but Cook is a touch lighter and more nimble across the ground in open play.

At this point, and by no fault of Stone, Cook is potentially ahead in terms of draft stocks having been able to prove his worth on-field more recently. Time will tell whether that is the case come draft day, which looms on the week of December 7. Both look like second round candidates.

Charlton prepared to live out “dream come true”

A PASSIONATE Crows fan and talented teenager who has been touted as one of South Australia’s top young talents in recent years, Teah Charlton is not far away from living out her dream of playing at the elite level. One of four players to receive an AFL Women’s Draft Combine invitation, Charlton is not expected to last too long on the board having already come through the Crows Academy, and won All-Australian honours in her middle-age year as well as a premiership and a Breakthrough Player Award during her debut season in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition.

The talented midfielder/forward followed her brother into the sport and has gone from strength to strength and to the top of the elite junior pathway as an AFL Women’s National Academy member and representing both South Australia and Central Allies at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships.

“I started off watching my brother when he was younger, and I kind of just got a bit interested in it,” Charlton said. “Started playing when I was 11 for the boys team in under 12s and then once I was too old for the boys, I kind of waited around for like a girl’s team to pop up. “That happened to be the Under 14s South tournament that happened. “It’s just kind of gone on from there. “I played at Christie’s (Beach) for two years in Under 18s and then I got involved with the state program from 15 years-old.”

From the moment of picking up a ball, not even spending a “year or so” out of the game could deter her from rejoining the code.

“Once I started playing, I knew I wanted to get as high as possible,” Charlton said. “Obviously that’s become an opportunity now, and hopefully I can take that.”

Along with her football, Charlton also grew up playing netball, and did surf lifesaving for a large portion of her life. But it was football that called to her thanks to the “rough side of it”.

“I love getting in tackling and, you know, kinda letting my anger out a little bit,” Charlton said. “But also just like the community and getting to know so many new girls and yeah, I don’t know. “Life pass.”

Charlton said coming through the South Australian State Academy and National Women’s Academy was a massive boost, able to not only learn the on-field skills, but the off-field attributes that were required to take the step up to the elite level.

As I’ve progressed in a state program, it’s really taught me a lot of professionalism and how to act in an elite environment, which has been really beneficial,” Charlton said. “And obviously, with the NAB Academy going on, that really showed me what it takes to become an AFL player and that step further, you have to take to achieve at the highest possible level.”

Charlton started off playing purely through the midfield due to her “long distance kind of fit” which boded well with running out games. But in recent years, she has spent more time forward and plays as that high forward to be able to impact both the contest and the scoreboard in games.

Earning a spot with the Central Allies last season, Charlton was one of the most impressive middle-agers with her ability to fly for huge marks, but also lay some bone-crunching tackles. It was her second year at the championships, and she said she had gained confidence from her first year up on the Gold Coast where she showed she could belong.

“Well, obviously, in the first year I did it, I was like in the under-age group, and I was very nervous to go up there because I didn’t know whether or not I could bring it up to that level,” Charlton said. “But I just knew having that one year of experience the next year proved to myself that I could bring it. “I don’t know, like I was able to compete at that level, and I could play like the game I wanted to play up against the best in Australia.”

She described being named in the All-Australian side as a “surprise” but said it was great to know that you could be any age to achieve that. The successful championships came off the back of a South Adelaide premiership, where she played a crucial role in the Panthers’ run to their second title.

“It was very good, because it was with all of my friends,” Charlton said. “I was I able to celebrate with all, like, the closest girls that I kind of had that football journey with and yeah, just celebrating it with girls that, like I’m the most close with.”

Not only did she take home a premiership medallion, but was declared the Breakthrough Player of the Year – effectively the Rising Star Award – which is something she enjoyed.

“I was very nervous because I knew I had been nominated,” Charlton said. “But yeah, taking that home, I was just incredibly humbled and proud of my achievements. “And yeah, just things where I could take my football from that point.”

Fast forward to 2020 and Charlton was again playing a big role for the Panthers as they reached yet another SANFL Women’s Grand Final. Unfortunately for them, this time it would end in defeat as the side they defeated in the 2019 decider, North Adelaide, would reverse the result in 2020 and complete an undefeated season.

“I feel like South, we kind of lost a few people (over the off-season),” Charlton said. “A few people went to different clubs, but we definitely picked up all of that talent back again from all the local leagues. “But yeah, going into the season, we were confident that we could make it back to the grand final. “But on the day North was just too strong for us.”

Charlton has an array of strengths, including her overhead marking, goal sense, X-factor and tackle pressure, not to mention her athleticism. For the top prospect herself, it is her aggression at the football, and taking the game on that she sees as her best strengths. As for her improvements, she is always looking to build up her ability to kick on her opposite foot, as well as her movement around the stoppages.

No doubt the Crows supporter cannot wait for AFL Women’s Draft night, with Adelaide having a monopoly on the South Australian group and Charlton is widely tipped to be the first selection in the group, For the teenager, it is something she has always dreamed of, reaching the elite level for the side she supports.

“Ever since I started watching football, it’s always been Adelaide Crows,” Charlton said. “And then when the women’s teams came in, obviously I went straight for a South Australian team, and yeah, I’ve been following them ever since.”

Charlton said there were plenty of teammates who helped her throughout her career, but one in particular stood out when she entered the Crows Academy.

“I don’t know, probably because from a young age, like I was involved a lot around with Ebony Marinoff,” she said. “When I started training out at the Crows, she really brought me in and showed me around and made sure all the girls got to know who I was and make sure I could slot right in.”

Having to play against Marinoff and the likes of Crows’ club champion Anne Hatchard in the SANFL Women’s, Charlton said it was a little surreal at first, but then once the ball is bounced, they are just like any other opponent.

“Definitely before the game you always kind of think to yourself like, ‘Oh, these girls are from the next level, like, how hard is it gonna be against them?’ Charlton said. “And I don’t know, just feel like that extra bit of nerves standing next to them on the field. “But obviously, once the game starts, you kinda fall back into your own game and just play how you wanna play.”

While Marinoff has been her on-field mentor, Charlton said her father had been her off-field one. The Panthers youngster said he had the most influence on her career coming through the various programs.

“I may be a little biased, but my dad has always been there for me from the start during games. “He will come up to me and just give me a few pointers and I feel like I’ve really benefited from that. “So yeah, my dad’s been a huge influence on my game.”

As for her goals this year, Charlton said she often tries to set game-to-game goals be it disposals or tackles depending on her role and position, but at the end of the day, there is only one main goal and it is just over a week away from being accomplished.

“Honestly, it would just be like a dream come true (to be drafted),” Charlton said. “Like I’ve been wanting this for a very long time now and if that happens, honestly, I’ll be over the moon.”

Late blooming Buethke leans on dual-sport edge

IT was a move that took great courage.

Tahlita Buethke had played netball since she was six years old, but after some deliberation, made the transition to high-level football with South Adelaide. Despite a rollercoaster year for budding AFL Women’s draftees, the 18-year-old has not looked back.

“It took me a long time to actually have the balls to go out to South,” Buethke said. “When I started playing I always got so much joy out of the game. I definitely want to get somewhere in footy but still have lots of work to do yet.”

Having made her SANFLW debut for the Panthers in 2020 and played seven games, the athletic midfielder has in large part justified the faith shown in her as she entered the South Australian junior talent pathway. Described by SA talent manager Robbie Neill as having a “big future”, Buethke’s rate of development has been steep.

She says the elite pathway has aided her growth despite a pandemic-effected season, combining well with the already-present sporting base which has seen her transition to the level seamlessly. It has her dreaming big.

“The South Adelaide Under 17s program helped ready me for the seniors,” she said. “They have developed me so much within this short season due to Covid-19. “The South Australian pathway, with both of them helping, worked so well and this year I have learnt so much about the sport.

“My speed is very helpful and with me playing netball, my marking is pretty good. (I am still) needing to improve on knowing when to take the game on… (but) I like a fast game.”

“Having the opportunity to play for a team like South (was a big achievement), in the next coming years I’d like to to try get drafted.”

Buethke sees the wing as her best position at senior level, and an impactful showing during this month’s AFLW Under 18 All-Stars showcase undeniably boosted her stocks. The raw prospect supports the Adelaide Crows’ women’s side, but says if given the chance, she “would definitely move away” to play top flight football interstate. With a part-time job as a painter in tow, Buethke is also kept reasonably busy during the week – often enjoying a “quick nap” before scooting off to training.

The South Australian’s next major point of call will hopefully be at the AFL Women’s National Draft on October 6.

Featured Image: South Australian All-Star Tahlita Buethke gets a kick away | Credit: Daniel Kalisz/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Panthers’ Kraft finds right balance

HAILING from South Australia, Brooklyn Kraft is an exciting young prospect who is hoping to leave her mark on the football world with her ruck craft and hard work. Although still relatively fresh to the football world having only picked up the sport in Year 8, Kraft has some undeniable raw talent, something her teachers saw and encouraged her to pursue.

“At Victor, my old high school, there was a carnival – my teachers invited me out to it because they noticed my athletic ability. I played there and after that they made a football Academy at my school to play against football teams up in Adelaide,” she said.

When asked about what aspect of footy Kraft liked the youngster struggled to put a finger on just one area, noting both the on-field and off-field bonuses of playing footy.

“I like how like there’s so many different skills you can put into football like marking and handballing… I like the team culture around it, like it’s nice,” she said.

Standing at 182cm, Kraft makes full use of her height able to compete in the air and most importantly ply her trade in the ruck, an area she believes to be one her strengths. However a downside of her height is her mobility, something the 17-year-old hopes to improve on as she develops as a player.

“Probably my rucking like tapping the ball, marking and kicking,” she said. “In the future I want to improve my tackling probably and just around the ground movement.”

In her short career the South Australian has already tasted her fair share of success being part of the South Adelaide premiership winning side in 2019 at the ripe age of 16, a moment she recalls fondly despite all the nervous jitters and cold weather.

“Very nervous when I went out there, very like new to me and I only had played I think three games before that so I was very surprised that I got chucked in the grand final team. It was very cold, (but) it was so exciting when we won two in a row as well, at the club everyone was getting around that,” she said.

In her first grand final appearance the youngster looked to fellow up and comers in Montana McKinnon and draftee hopeful Teah Charlton to help guide her through while also leaning on the experience and smarts of their captain, Lauren Buchanan given her relative inexperience especially when it came to performing on the big stage.

“Montana McKinnon and Teah Charlton, she’s always a good player to look up to and Lauren Buchanan our captain she’s very nice.”

Prior to picking up the oblong ball, Kraft plied her trade on the netball court before making the hard decision to put down the bib and permanently work on her ruck craft with South Adelaide, with time commitment a huge factor in her decision.

“I quit completely now because it was getting too much with the trainings colliding with football training,” she said. “Sometimes I would have to call up netball and ask, if it was getting close to the finals as well I’d have to ask and say I have an opportunity to go out with South and train and sometimes they’d be like yeah, some of the times I had to commit to the netball.”

Having played nine games at SANFLW level this season, Kraft has steadily developed and relished the game time with South Adelaide. Last year Kraft made the move from her local stomping ground in Victor to be closer to her football and reduce the amount of hours spent on the road.

“We used to live down in Victor so we had to do a lot of travel but last year we moved up here and started renting,” she said. “Yeah (it is) much easier to get here to football. It saves a lot of time travelling. Back when I was living in Victor it was like probably an hour drive up so maybe four hours a week driving because it was back and forth.”

Travel was not the only thing Kraft had to balance, highlighting the toll on fitting in schoolwork around her heavy workload.

“Schoolwork has been pretty hard to balance. Just been getting used to managing it like training nights I would probably work a lot at school and then just have the training night,” she said.

When asked about her goals for the future there was one thing in mind and that was to “get drafted and play in the AFLW”, something that could become a reality for the South Australian product. Kraft also indicated her desire to play alongside two-time premiership player Erin Phillips with the youngster making mention of her sheer class and star power.

“Her skills are so good, just everything, her fitness, she’s just an amazing footballer.”

SANFL Women’s season review: South Adelaide

SOUTH Adelaide is the next team up in our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season review series as we look at the eight sides in reverse ladder order and how their 2020 seasons went down.

Position: 2nd
Wins: 10
Losses: 3
Draws: 0

2020 IN A NUTSHELL

The back-to-back premiers showed that despite losing a heap of talent to the AFL Women’s over the summer, they were able to grind out wins early in the season, then continually get the job done when those players returned post-break. Rick Watts‘ side just found a way week-in, week-out, and even in their losses to North Adelaide, were never blown away and just a touch outclassed on the day. Nonetheless, the Panthers showed they have some seriously good young talent coming through which completed the AFL Women’s experience.

AFL WOMEN’S ALL-STARS GAME REPRESENTATIVES:

Nicole Campbell

A reliable ball-winning midfielder who was among the bests most weeks, being a real beacon through the midfield and teaming up with a number of AFL Women’s talents and leading the younger players when there was less experience out on the field.

Lauren Clifford

Still a year to go in her junior footy, Clifford showed during the All-Stars game what she is capable of. Still yet to turn 17 until December, the middle-age prospect was able to provide some quick ball movement and slick skills when zeroing in on goal.

Jess Kirk

Playing out of full-forward and leading the league’s goalkicking until her injury late in the season, Kirk was a reliable set shot and great with her positioning. She never needed a lot of touches to have an impact, making the most of her few disposals, often hitting the scoreboard with each one.

Brooklyn Kraft

A raw and developing ruck/forward, Kraft continued to develop in season 2020, and showed that she could fill the role more permanently in 2021. At 182cm, the top-age talent is a late 2002-birth which usually suggests a later development and with her improving marking and set shot routine, Kraft can fill a role in the forward line as well.

Gypsy Schirmer

Stood out coming into the side this year as an athletic forward who could also push up the ground. Her closing speed and her leap were among her good traits, and she even kicked a number of impressive goals, often from tight angles. Schirmer, like Clifton, has another year of development until she is draft-eligible.

Czenya Cavouras

An Adelaide Crows train-on player, it was easy to see why Cavouras was picked because she is one player that you know what to expect of each and every week. Even if she is not winning heaps of the ball – though that is a rarity – she is applying fierce defensive pressure and doing all the right things to assist teammates around the stoppages.

Tahlita Buethke

An athletic mid who managed to play most of her debut season in 2020, Buethke could play as an inside or outside midfielder and showed some terrific traits. Highly competitive, Buethke looks like a late bloomer and is one to watch for the future.

Tahlia Meyer

One of the most underrated players in the competition, Meyer does not always have the big numbers that other midfielders have, but when she is up and about, her precision kicking and decision making is unbelievable. Her ball use going inside 50 is often served on a platter for her forwards, and she can also play multiple roles around the ground.

Rayne Rivalland

Another young middle-age talent who has come through the strong Panthers system developing as a defender who can also be thrown forward. Rivalland showed she is capable of reading the ball well in flight and taking the game on when required and will be a player to keep an eye on next season in the League.

Teah Charlton

One of the most gifted South Australian players to come through the state, Charlton is just about the complete player. The top-age talent is a super competitive player, elite athlete, and ability to take mark of the year and goal of the year – probably off the same play – and then just do the unbelievable time and time again. No doubt the Panthers would love her in their side next year, but the tri-colours of the next level beckon.

Indy Tahau

Similar to Charlton, Tahau is just a naturally gifted player. For a taller athlete, Tahau possesses great athleticism, and an ability to run down opponents or sidestep them with ease. She is so strong above her head as a contested marking specialist, and makes the right decisions with ball-in-hand. Both Tahau and Charlton were unavailable for the All-Stars match, but as Tahau showed in the 2019 SANFL Women’s Grand Final – winning the best on ground medal – she can stand up on the big stage.

OTHERS WHO STOOD OUT:

  • Hannah Munyard
  • Nikki Gore
  • Lisa Whiteley
  • Lauren Buchanan
  • Samantha Pratt
  • Jaslynne Smith

Honestly South’s side was that good – much like North Adelaide’s outfit – that you could have a list of the whole side. Montana McKinnon is one who was not able to play a full season due to injury, but the return of Hannah Munyard, Nikki Gore and Lisa Whiteley to the team from their respective AFL Women’s sides was vital. Whilst they represented three different AFLW teams in 2020, they will all represent the Crows in 2021. Others who shone were defenders, Lauren Buchanan, Samantha Pratt and Jaslynne Smith who continually provided drive out of defence.

Summary

South Adelaide might not have backed up their premierships of the past two seasons, but the Panthers were littered with stars, and no doubt a large majority are currently or will run around at the next level. They were deserving grand finalists, and aside from when playing North Adelaide, found a way to win even when they were down and on the ropes.

Picture: SANFL/Hannah Howard

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

IN the midst of football’s long-awaited return, Draft Central takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state in some capacity leading into 2020, or are bolting into draft contention. While plenty has changed between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at pre-season testing, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft watch is South Adelaide’s Brayden Cook, one of the steepest risers among this year’s South Australian crop. The medium forward/wingman has lit up the SANFL Under 18s competition in 2020, proving a match winner for South Adelaide across all-bar two games. Cook’s sizeable vertical leap, clean hands, and ability to find the goals make him a raw prospect with plenty of desirable traits, all of which stood out in quick time to AFL recruiters. He looms as a first round bolter, and is certainly in the mix as one of his state’s top 10 draft chances in 2020. Cook earned an invite to this year’s national combine, credit to his outstanding form.

PLAYER PAGE:

Brayden Cook
South Adelaide/South Australia

DOB: July 18, 2002

Height: 188cm
Weight: 74kg

Position: Wing/Medium Forward

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

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

PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

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

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

2020 SCOUTING NOTES:

SANFL Under 18s Round 11 vs. Sturt

By: Peter Williams

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

SANFL Under 18s Round 10 vs. Central District

By: Michael Alvaro

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

SANFL Under 18s Round 9 vs. Glenelg

By: Tom Cheesman

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

SANFL Under 18s Round 8 vs. WWT Eagles

By: Tom Wyman

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

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

SANFL Under 18s Round 7 vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

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

SANFL Under 18s Round 6 vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

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

SANFL Under 18s Round 5 vs. West Adelaide

By: Tom Cheesman

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

SANFL Under 18s Round 2 vs. Glenelg

By: Tom Cheesman

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

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

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

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

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TEAMS:

These clubs are seeded 14th (Gippsland Power) and 19th (South Adelaide) respectively, forming another Round of 32 clash in our second half of the draw. The winner will qualify for the Round of 16 stage, set to face the victor of our Port Adelaide Magpies vs. Peel Thunder tie.

STRENGTHS:

The midfield is undoubtedly South Adelaide’s strongest line, boasting over 650 games of AFL experience through the centreline and a star quartet at the centre bounces. Captain Goodwin is at the heart of it all, alongside fellow Adelaide Crows champion Mark Bickley, Ryan Griffen, and ruckman Brendon Lade. A couple of small defenders also complement Nigel Smart down back, in Michael Doughty and current Western Bulldogs gun, Caleb Daniel.

Gippsland’s midfield is also quite talent rich, with its skipper in Pendlebury also on-ball, joined by Collingwood premiership teammate Dale Thomas and Essendon captain Dyson Heppell. The star trio even pushed Brendon Goddard out onto the wing, alongside Richmond fan favourite Greg Tivendale. The Power’s proposed forwardline is also handy, laying claim to another current AFL captain in Sam Docherty, who would provide great rebound with the likes of Robert Murphy, Jason Gram, and David Wojcinski.

WEAKNESSES:

Mark Stevens is a slightly undersized choice at centre half-forward for the Power, although the height of Leigh Brown and marking power of Tim Membrey should make up for it alongside Jarryd Roughead. The team doesn’t particularly hold any glaring weaknesses otherwise, which is why it’s so solid.

Conversely, South Adelaide’s squad perhaps lacks the bench depth of Gippsland’s. Jason Torney is also undersized at full back, while the forward six lacks a bit despite the presence of Luke Darcy and Alwyn Davey.

SUMMARY:

For its wealth of pure depth and class across the board, we have Gippsland getting up in this clash. The midfield battle would be interesting, but the Power simply boasts greater firepower up either end of the ground and on the bench.

Which All-Star Team are you picking?
South Adelaide
Gippsland Power

All-Star Team of the AFL Draft Era: Which club is the best of the best?

EVERY year, a new crop of AFL Draft talents rise up and make waves at AFL level. Some clubs such as Calder Cannons and Geelong Falcons are referred to as ‘footy factories’. Others are less well known, but nonetheless vital in providing players with their start to the AFL.

Over the past couple of months, Draft Central has gone through all of the NAB League, SANFL and WAFL clubs and tried to determine the best 24-player squad for their respective clubs. The captains and vice-captains were determined by the public through Instagram voting. Now, it is up to the public to decide which All-Star Team is the greatest of the lot. That’s right, the 30 teams from Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia are going head to head in a knockout draw.

Which teams are competing?

NAB League [12]: Bendigo Pioneers, Calder Cannons, Dandenong Stingrays, Eastern Ranges, Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power, GWV Rebels, Murray Bushrangers, Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers, Sandringham Dragons, Western Jets
SANFL [9]: Central District, Glenelg, North Adelaide, Norwood, Port Adelaide, South Adelaide, Sturt, West Adelaide, Woodville-West Torrens
WAFL [9]: Claremont, East Fremantle, East Perth, South Fremantle, Peel Thunder, Perth, Subiaco, Swan Districts, West Perth

How will it work?

Each day at 10am, we will publish the two All-Star Teams of the AFL Draft era, and the public will be able to vote through the article, Facebook and Twitter, with the overall winner moving through to the next round.

Given there are 30 teams, two sides who we have picked out as the top two seeds – East Fremantle and Geelong Falcons – will have the bye in the opening round, with the other 28 teams seeded appropriately similar to the All-Star Player voting (3rd against 28th, 4th against 27th etc.).

Who is up first?

The first All-Star Team battle is between a couple of metropolitan sides who we have seeded 16th and 17th in the draw. They both have some absolute elite stars, but Calder Cannons and Western Jets will begin the voting on Monday. They will be followed by the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Eastern Ranges on Tuesday, before a cross-state clash sees third seed Port Adelaide Magpies tackle Peel Thunder.