Tag: state academy

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 5

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18s rolled on into Round 5, with the latest weekend of action producing some excellent performances from plenty of 2021 AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition for 2021, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

GLENELG 15.10 (100) def. NORTH ADELAIDE 8.14 (62)

By: Tom Wyman

GLENELG:

#2 Harry Tunkin

Tunkin provided good intensity, speed and pressure up forward as he has all season. Pushing up into the midfield at times, the diminutive Tunkin won a number of clearances through excellent stoppage nous, positioning himself well to get on the end of the taps. He booted two goals, including a terrific rove and snap, but could have had a couple more if not for two half-chance misses. A consistent performer throughout the contest, Tunkin finished with 23 disposals, two goals, four marks and four clearances.

#5 Hugh Stagg

Powerful utility, Stagg was terrific for the Bays in their 38-point victory. Starting at the centre bounce, Stagg split his time between the midfield and the forwardline and made a real impact whenever he was around the ball. A strongly-built teenager, Stagg used his physical advantage to damaging effect, brushing off a number of would-be tacklers in-tight throughout the game. Importantly, Stagg made sure his tackles stuck and also showed his strength overhead to take a strong contested mark early in the match. His snap goal in the third term put the icing on a really strong game from the midfielder/forward, who finished with 22 disposals, six tackles, three clearances and seven inside 50s.

#20 Lewis Rayson

Rayson was everywhere for the Tigers in what was a clear best on ground performance. The speedster started the game in the middle, where scouts will have been impressed by his contested ball winning and fight at ground level. Rayson moved to the backlines at various stages throughout the contest, to damaging effect. His ability to read the play and position himself to take intercept marks put a stop to several Roosters forward thrusts. Although he did turn the ball over a couple of times by foot, Rayson was predominantly clean and effective, particularly when going inside 50. A very dangerous player when allowed to float a kick behind the play, Rayson concluded another strong outing with 31 disposals, 11 marks, four inside 50s and five rebound 50s.

#21 Cooper Beecken

Medium-defender, Beecken played a crucial role down back for Glenelg, particularly when the Roosters were threatening early on. He was strong one-on-one, composed with ball in hand and found himself in the right place at the right time on several occasions to mop up in the defensive 50. Especially busy early in the contest, Beecken finished with 25 disposals and five rebound 50s.

Others:

Forward Corey Brougham was Glenelg’s most damaging player forward of centre. Brougham bagged a game-high four majors, with his contested marking ability proving a real handful for his Roosters opponents. He finished the game with nine disposals and six marks (four of which were contested). Darcy Gluyas was heavily involved for the Tigers. Patrolling the wing, he looked poised and composed with ball in hand and used it to great effect. His snap goal late in the piece was a highlight of his game. Gluyas finished with 23 disposals and six marks. Crows father-son prospect Brodie Edwards (22 disposals, four marks and three clearances) and ruckman Oscar Adams (six disposals, 16 hit-outs and a goal) were also among the Tigers’ best performers.

NORTH ADELAIDE:

#4 Isaac Keeler

The athletic bottom-ager was terrific for the Roosters. After spending time as a permanent forward earlier in the season, Keeler had a greater impact on the game when given the lead ruck role. A classy mover, Keeler fought hard against Glenelg ruck duo Oscar Adams and Sam Thomson, but it was his follow-up work and efforts at ground level which elevated his performance. Keeler was involved in several handball chains, with his natural football smarts and cleanliness holding him in good stead. He was also very clean by foot, with an inside 50 kick to teammate Adam Heath a prime example of his skillset. Certainly one of the Roosters’ best players on the day, Keeler finished with 21 disposals, six marks (two contested), 15 hit-outs and two clearances.

#12 Hugh Jackson

Prolific midfielder, Jackson spent some more time on the defensive side of the ball this week, with star teammate Blayne O’Loughlin elevated to the Reserves. Always assured with ball in hand, the classy left-footer may not have been as dominant on the inside as previous weeks, but his skills helped set up several Roosters attacks. His work rate between the arcs was high, and his distribution by hand was clean. North’s Mr. Consistent finished the game with 26 touches, seven marks, five inside 50s and three rebound 50s.

#29 Zyton Santillo

Zippy on-baller, Santillo was typically productive for the red and whites. He looked the most threatening Rooster around the contest, winning a game-high nine clearances – four more than any other player on the ground. Santillo was clever with ball in hand, using his quick turn of pace to weave around opponents with ease. He booted an important goal at the 10-minute mark of the third term which triggered a run of four-straight Roosters goals, and finished the game with 24 disposals, three tackles and five inside 50s.

Others: 

Midfielder James Willis found plenty of the ball, gathering 26 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and seven inside 50s. However, his kicking did let him down at times, particularly in front of goal where he booted four behinds. His fellow on-baller Harvey Harrison won 18 disposals, three tackles and two clearances. Although he didn’t accumulate his regular numbers, Harrison’s run-and-carry through the middle of the ground was still evident. Key forward Adam Heath provided a strong target, taking a couple of nice contested grabs to go with 22 disposals and a couple of majors.

WEST ADELAIDE 13.9 (87) def. CENTRAL DISTRICT 13.8 (86)

By: Tom Wyman

WEST ADELAIDE:

#3 Charlie Pridham

Small defender, Pridham was once again productive in West Adelaide’s narrow victory under Saturday night lights. Tasked with setting up the play from the half-back line, Pridham had the ball on a string from the get-go. He has a knack of getting into the right spots in defence, and his teammates clearly recognise his talent with ball in hand, looking to give it to him whenever possible. What he lacks in size, Pridham makes up for in polish and smarts, whilst also applying plenty of pressure on the ball carrier. One of the SANFL Under 18 competition’s most consistent performers across the opening five rounds of action, Pridham finished the game with 29 disposals, eight marks, five tackles and nine rebound 50s.

#10 Cade Kennedy

With gun bottom-aged midfielders Kobe Ryan and Tyson Coe missing the clash due to college football commitments, Kennedy stood up through the middle for the Bloods. The skipper did struggle by foot at times, with a couple of his kicks resulting in turnovers, however he was typically combative in-tight, winning plenty of contested ball at the coalface. Kennedy pushed forward at stages to good effect, with his hands overhead a feature. He worked hard between the arcs, sending the ball inside 50 on eight occasions, and finished with a game-high 30 disposals, six marks (two contested), five tackles and three clearances.

Others:

The smooth-moving Dylan McCormick showed off his speed, run and booming long kick. He kicked the Bloods’ first goal of the game and finished the contest with 17 disposals, four marks, three tackles and three rebounds. In the ruck, Tom Scully and Oscar Steene battled hard against competition hit-out leader Saxon Evans. Scully, whose mobility and cleanliness were again impressive, finished with 12 disposals, 15 hit-outs and two clearances, while Steene managed 15 disposals, five marks (four contested), four tackles, 19 hit-outs and five inside-50s in a strong aerial display. Luke Young stood up in attack, booting three majors and taking a couple of strong grabs, while Hugh Desira (21 disposals, three marks, two tackles, three clearances, six inside 50s and three rebounds) produced his best performance of the season, with his speed, foot skills and relentless work rate impressive.

CENTRAL DISTRICT:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

The Adelaide Next Generation Academy prospect provided genuine spark whenever he was around the ball for Central District. In a side which came within a point of claiming its first win of the season, Dudley did just about all he could to get his side over the line. As he has done throughout the opening month of action, Dudley divided his time between the small forward role and midfield, and it was in the middle where he looked most damaging, able to use his terrific blend of fancy footwork, power and contested ball winning to best effect. Dudley’s skills appeared a class above those of his teammates for parts of the night, with his kicking boasting accuracy and penetration. But whilst his fancy side-steps, elite agility and eye-catching skills will fill the highlight reels, Dudley’s relentless pressure and tackling intensity will also have recruiters excited. Against the Bloods he tackled with real intent, never backing down despite being smaller than the majority of his opponents. In another encouraging display, Dudley gathered 23 disposals, nine tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s.

#37 Cody Gilchrist

Gilchrist provided the Bulldogs with a genuine target in attack. He often appeared simply too big for the West Adelaide defenders, positioning himself well to take grab after grab up forward. Gilchrist’s ability to not only use his size to advantage, but read the flight of the ball proved too difficult to contain. He finished the game with five goals, the most of anyone for the round, to compliment his 19 disposals and eight marks (four of which were contested).

Others:

Half-backman Ruben Carreno was excellent for the Bulldogs, winning a team-high 25 disposals and nine rebounds. Bigman Saxon Evans has clearly been the best performed ruckman in the competition’s early stages, however the Bloods talls were able to curb his influence on the game at Hisense Stadium. However, the Willaston product was still able to play a role, finishing with 11 disposals, four tackles, three clearances and 13 hit-outs. When he wasn’t stationed up forward, fellow tall Brodie Tuck provided Evans with a chop-out in the ruck, winning nine hit-outs of his own. He didn’t hit the scoreboard, but managed five disposals, five marks and four inside 50s.

WWT EAGLES 14.13 (97) def. STURT 8.12 (60)

By: Tom Cheesman

EAGLES:

#9 Jase Burgoyne

Port Adelaide fans should get excited (if they aren’t already), as father-son prospect Burgoyne returned to the Eagles’ Under 18 line up this week and delivered a best on ground performance. After an interrupted pre-season due to knee surgery, Burgoyne showed that he has lost none of his agility and deserves to be considered among South Australia’s best AFL Draft prospects in 2021. He was on fire from the opening bounce against Sturt, spreading from a stoppage just minutes into the game and kicking a beautiful goal on the run from 45 metres out. He played predominantly in the midfield but also spent some time at half-back, exhibiting his silky skills in both positions. Burgoyne won plenty of ground balls, rarely fumbled and made great decisions when disposing of the footy. No Double Blues player could go with him when he spread from stoppages, as his turn of speed was too much for them to handle. His skills by foot were magnificent, finding targets all over the ground with ease. Going inside 50, he always kicked it to his forwards’ advantage to enable them to capitalise on one-on-one situations. At half-back, he read the play well and used his height and leaping ability to take some nice intercept marks. He finished with 28 disposals, seven marks, four inside 50s, four tackles and two clearances for the day.

#15 Adam D’Aloia

D’Aloia backed up his best on ground performance last weekend with another strong showing on Saturday. Playing mainly has an inside midfielder, the State Talent Hub member read the ball well off the hands of the ruckmen, released his side’s outside midfielders with quick hands, and always followed up to the next contest. His composure with ball in hand was outstanding, as he made smart decisions and consistently chose the right option. The highlight of his match occurred in the second term when he received a short pass from Burgoyne on the 50-metre arc, immediately turned, took three steps and booted a magnificent goal on a tight angle. D’Aloia is already one of the best handballers in traffic in the competition. This was demonstrated on many occasions including when he gave quick hands to set up Mattaes Phillipou’s important goal midway through the third term. His defensive pressure was relentless as well, both at stoppages and around the ground. The bottom-ager finished with 26 disposals, seven marks, five inside 50s, four tackles, four clearances and a goal.

Others:

Brock Thomson (33 disposals, ten marks) found plenty of the ball in defence once again, showing class with both feet coming out of the defensive 50. Will Pearce (19 disposals, five marks, four clearances) was prominent in the midfield and up forward, while Nick Mitzithras (23 disposals, seven marks, two goals) and Liam Ueding (16 disposals, nine marks, four tackles) were important contributors. Ben Schwartz (ten disposals, two contested marks, four goals) closed out the game well, booting three of his four goals in the second half.

STURT:

#5 Jordan Hein

Hein was one of Sturt’s best, finishing with an impressive stat-line of 29 disposals, eight tackles, seven marks, six inside 50s, five clearances and a goal. His hands were good inside, and he used his pace to apply solid pressure on the opposition throughout the match. Hein used his endurance to work to each contest and provide teammate Brad Jefferies with some much-needed assistance in the midfield. His goal came at an important stage late in the third term with a left-foot snap from a forward 50 stoppage, and this brought his side to within 12 points at three-quarter time. While he is a nice kick on most occasions, he did make a couple of costly turnovers by foot, including a misguided short pass late in the second term that should have led to an Eagles goal. Despite this, it was a strong performance from Hein and he will be an important player for the Double Blues this season.

#13 Brad Jefferies

Jefferies was Sturt’s best player again, finding the ball with ease and using it to the best of his ability. He collected a game-high 37 disposals (28 kicks) to go with 12 marks, nine inside 50s, eight clearances, four tackles and two rebound 50s. While his contested ball-winning ability and dominance at stoppages was profound once again, it was his work rate and desire to earn uncontested possessions that took his game to a new level on Saturday. Jefferies pushed into the right spots to gain uncontested marks and help side bring the ball out of defence on numerous occasions. Some of his kicking completely opened up the play, including when he went down the middle to Jake Aish in the final term. He attempted to use the corridor as much as possible, and he found Felix Packer up forward on the lead several times. Jefferies earned free kicks at stoppages because he got to the ball first, held his ground and proved difficult for opposition players to tackle. It will be interesting to see whether Jefferies moves up the grades at Sturt in 2021.

#39 Felix Packer

Packer was Sturt’s most imposing forward in this contest. He provided a powerful presence, pushed hard on the lead and used his reach to take the ball at its highest point. He booted three majors for the match, and they all came in different ways. The first was from a set shot after taking a mark on the lead, the second came from a nice kick on the run (following some good work from teammate Lachie Thomas), and the third came from a set shot after a free kick for a push in the back. Given Packer’s size, reach and ability to hold front position, it is difficult for defenders to spoil his marking attempts without giving away free kicks. Packer had 16 disposals and five marks in a solid outing.

Others:

Charlie Fryer (14 disposals, eight marks, four tackles) and Will Torode (12 disposals, five marks, eight rebound 50s) were great in defence, as they consistently read the ball well and took some nice intercept marks. Patrick Tidemann (16 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s) worked hard throughout the contest, and Jake Aish (24 disposals, three goals) was lively.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 16.10 (106) def. NORWOOD 7.8 (50)

By: Tom Cheesman

SOUTH ADELAIDE:

#13 Lachlan Hayes

Hayes was Mr. Reliable for South in defence on Saturday. He was very active from the beginning of the match, using his agility to impact contests and provide an option for teammates on the outside. His brilliant quick hands helped set up an Isaac Birt goal in the second term, one of several occasions where he made good instinctive decisions with ball in hand. He also has a nice sidestep, which is valuable when used in the right situation, and he spread well off half-back to help his side switch the play. He finished with 22 disposals, five marks and three tackles.

#21 Matthew Roberts

Roberts was easily the best player on the ground in this contest. He set the tone at opening bounce, where he laid a strong run-down tackle on Redlegs ruckman Aidan Lake to earn a free kick for holding the ball, and then delivered his kick beautifully inside 50 to a leading Jack Delean to set up the first goalscoring opportunity of the match. Roberts dominated at the stoppages, winning eight clearances to go with 34 disposals, 10 inside 50s, nine tackles and eight marks for the day. Most of his marks were uncontested, as he used his incredible work rate to burn away from opponents and help his side bring the ball out of defence. Roberts delivered several classy forward entries from his 10 inside 50s, including when he kicked a huge goal from inside the centre square (with the wind) off a couple of steps to give his side the lead in the second term. He also spent some time resting at full forward, and he kicked two more goals in the second term while playing this position. He showed great composure to steady when drilling his second on the run at the 16-minute mark, and his third came from the next centre clearance when Luke Mitton hit him beautifully on the lead. Roberts was never in doubt from the set shot, as he has a wonderful kicking technique and is reliable under pressure. He took two contested marks in this game as well, proving that he truly has no weaknesses. Akin to fellow Panther Jason Horne, Roberts is a class above the Under 18 level, so don’t be surprised if he moves up the grades this season.

#33 Arlo Draper

Draper is another of South Adelaide’s promising draft prospects and he churned out another solid performance on Saturday. He was particularly impressive early, finding plenty of the ball and winning clearances with ease. His balance between getting contested and uncontested ball is fantastic, and his versatility enables him to play almost any position. Draper spent some time forward to rest in this contest, and although he provided a strong marking target, he did not get any opportunities to hit the scoreboard. His best moments in this match came at the midfield stoppages, where he and Roberts tore the game apart in the second term. Draper is a reliable kick, good size and very athletic. His composure under pressure is elite, as he regularly gets his arms free when tackled to give handballs that release teammates on the outside. Draper could be another to earn an opportunity to play at higher levels later in the season as well.

#35 Koby Cockshell

Cockshell was South’s most powerful presence up forward in this match, finishing with 15 disposals, six tackles, four marks and three majors. He was a reliable marking target, showed impressive agility and, as evidenced by his tackle numbers, applied relentless pressure on the opposition. Some highlights of his performance included a clever intercept mark and beautiful set shot goal in the second term, and a fantastic contested mark against Norwood’s Matthew Dnistriansky early in the third term. Another exciting moment also came in the third quarter when Cockshell swooped on a loose ball, took a bounce down the wing and found fellow key forward Tom Schirmer with a long kick inside 50 to set up a score. Cockshell’s second and third goals came from the goalsquare in the final term.

Others:

Will Verrall (31 hitouts, six clearances) was a major reason why the Panthers had the ascendancy at the stoppages, and Tom Schirmer (five marks, three tackles, three goals) was good in tandem with Cockshell up forward. Isaac Birt (20 disposals, six inside 50s), Luke Mitton (20 disposals, eight clearances, seven tackles) and Jack Delean (11 disposals, two goals) were also standouts.

NORWOOD:

#10 Taj Rahui

Rahui was fantastic for the Redlegs in defeat. Playing off half-back, the State Talent Hub member provided some exciting run-and-carry, used his body well and produced many significant defensive efforts. His spoiling was solid, his attack on the ball was ferocious and his willingness to commit to the contest was outstanding. A prime example of his commitment occurred when he took a brave contested mark at half-back after standing under the flight of the ball for a lengthy period. Rahui knew the contact was coming from all directions, but he was not afraid to take the hit and did not back out of the contest. This was a great sign from a young player. Rahui was also composed in traffic, reliable by foot and agile in evading oncoming tacklers. He finished with 21 disposals, five marks, three inside 50s, two rebound 50s, two tackles, two clearances and a goal, which came from a nice set shot in the opening term.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Dnistriansky was solid in defence for the visitors, particularly in the first half. He used his booming right foot kick to switch the play, open up the centre of the ground and clear the defensive 50. He was not afraid to take the game on by foot, as demonstrated when he hit teammate Joseph Cristancig with a beautiful pass down the corridor in the opening term. Dnistriansky intercepted South’s forward thrusts on many occasions and provided some nice run and link up with teammates coming out of defence. He is a good size for his position and can hold his own in one-on-one contests. Besides one uncharacteristic turnover in the second term that handed Cockshell a goal, Dnistriansky’s ball use was very effective. He finished with 25 disposals, 10 rebound 50s, six tackles and five marks.

Others:

Oliver Stenchlik (13 disposals, two marks) and Riley Verrall (19 disposals, six marks, five tackles) were solid in defence, while Corey Jones-Bobridge (16 disposals, four tackles, three clearances) did some good things in the midfield.

Image Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

Scouting Notes: 2021 SANFL Under 18s – Round 4

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

SOUTH ADELAIDE:

#3 Luke Mitton

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

#8 Cooper Rogers

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

#33 Arlo Draper

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

Others: 

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

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

CENTRAL DISTRICT:

#3 Isaiah Dudley

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

#29 Saxon Evans

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

Others: 

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

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

WEST ADELAIDE:

#9 Kobe Ryan

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

#10 Cade Kennedy

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

#54 Harry Lemmey

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

Others:

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

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

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

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

NORWOOD:

#6 Corey Jones-Bobridge

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

#9 Alastair Lord

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

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

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

Others:

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

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

By: Tom Cheesman

NORTH ADELAIDE:

#12 Hugh Jackson

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

Others:

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

 

WWT EAGLES:

#8 Brock Thomson

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

#15 Adam D’Aloia

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

#16 Will Pearce

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

#17 Lukas Cooke

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

Others:

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

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

By: Tom Cheesman

GLENELG:

#1 Kane Viska

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

#5 Hugh Stagg

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

#21 Cooper Beecken

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

#23 William Wiseman

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

Others:

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

STURT:

#13 Brad Jefferies

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

#40 Hugo Kittel

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

Others:

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

Image Credit: Mel Faull/Get Snapt