Tag: swans academy

Ones to Watch: 2022 Northern Academy prospects

WITH the likes of Harris Andrews (Brisbane Lions), Jack Bowes (Gold Coast SUNS), Tom Green (GWS GIANTS), and Isaac Heeney (Sydney Swans) among the many great Northern Academy products, there are always prospects of note coming out of each region in an AFL Draft sense. While there may not be as many featuring at the top end of this year’s crop, there are still a bunch to consider and plenty more for the future. In a special Ones to Watch edition, we take a look at some of the Northern Academy talents to keep an eye on ahead of next year’s intake.

BRISBANE LIONS

Jaspa Fletcher

Fletcher has somewhat a double-link to the club, being not only an academy member but also a father-son prospect, with his father Adrian playing 107 games for the Brisbane Bears/Lions. Fletcher looms as one of the top Northern State talents heading into 2022, with his speed and class by foot two standout attributes in his game. Fletcher is also extremely versatile, able to fill a role up either end, on a wing or right in the thick of things in the engine room, giving whichever team he plays for a lot of options.

Riley McMillan

A creative player in the forward half of the ground, McMillan has a lot of tricks to win the ball and get himself out of congestion, combining his speed and agility to get clear from opponents and then use the ball well by foot to get it to his teammates. When McMillan has run through the midfield, his positioning around stoppages has been consistently good, with his clean hands in close a crafty weapon.

Bailey Tome

A hard at it inside ball winner, Tome is the type of hard-working midfielder that makes life easier for the outside runners. With impressive movement that allows him to keep up with most opponents and be able to tackle as soon as they grab the ball, it is not uncommon to see Tome lay three or four tackles in a short period, as is his relentless approach.

Others:

Ravi Schofield is an exciting forward that can pinch hit in the midfield and use his athleticism as a weapon. Benjamin McCarthy plays as a reliable defender who can also fill a role forward. Liam McNeil and Thalayn Ryschka are two impressive ruck options for 2022. Will Ashcroft, whilst not an academy prospect, is tied to the club via father-son rules as the son of Marcus. He looks an early top five contender and is currently plying his trade for the Sandringham Dragons at NAB League level.

GOLD COAST SUNS

Jared Eckersley

A high-leaping running defender, Eckersley is another Broadbeach product that was able to impact at Under 19’s level in 2021. He was consistently a roadblock to opposition attacks, contesting well with his spoiling and rebounding effectively with his long kick to get his side back in its front half from defensive 50. 

Cody Harrington

Utilising his speed and smarts, Harrington is a constant danger in the forward half of the ground and can hurt the opposition in plenty of ways. Coming from talent factory Broadbeach, whilst Harrington is more than capable of playing a traditional small forward role, he’s an aerial and one-on-one marking threat, making him a difficult match up for one defender to deal with. To go with all this, Harrington is also a solid tackler, taking opponents down more often than not when he gets a hold. Harrington is a goal sneak as well, able to kick them from anywhere or set them up by hitting teammates with his deadly kick. 

Campbell Lake

Popping up all over the ground regardless of his starting position, Lake is a hard working midfielder with genuine will to run both ways and win the football. A Labrador product, Lake combines this work-rate with quality disposal, particularly when heading inside 50, often looking to hit up leading forwards or putting it where he wants them to go.

Others:

Levi Fyffe and Joshua Young are high leaping and exciting forwardline targets who have formed a dangerous duo when playing together, with the two often working up the ground as well to be link up options. Kye Reynoldson is a winger who can also play half-back that turns opponents inside out with his evasiveness, and possesses a penetrating kick. Taine Dawson rotates between the forward line and the ruck, with some impressive speed off the mark and a high leap that makes him a danger around the ground.

GWS GIANTS

Angus Curry

Currently boarding as Wesley College, Curry has had a few more chances to impress than a lot of other Northern Academy prospects for 2022; playing for Wesley, Oakleigh Chargers in the Under 17 series and the GWS Academy at different times. Curry doesn’t let his shorter stature hold him back, showing a lot of tenacity with his approach to contests and tackles, but also balancing that with quality ball use when he wins it.

Luke Lawrence

Looming as a dangerous midfielder that can rest forward in the future, Lawrence has made the most of his limited appearances in 2021 – including a three-goal haul in his only NAB League appearance. Mostly playing through the midfield through the academy series, Lawrence’s ability to get away from, or around, opponents with his speed and agility is eye catching, while his ability to find the right handball option in close most impressive.

Dayne Posthuma

Posthuma is a no fuss tall defender, remaining consistently accountable for his own opponent whilst drifting across and intercepting in front of contests to aid his teammates. The 197cm Queanbeyan product has a good leap and read of the ball, as well as a deceiving amount of speed, where he usually follows up with clean ball use.

Others:

Nick Madden is a strong bodied ruck who is already 203cm and is strong one-on-one, providing headaches for opposition as he positions down the line to take intercept marks. Harry Rowston is an in and under midfielder that can be damaging with his disposal, able to get through traffic and provide second efforts. Nathan Battaglia provides an athletic option up forward capable of getting high on opposition shoulders with plenty more to work with going into the future.

SYDNEY SWANS

Tye Gander

An athletic medium forward option, Gander is electric around the contest and even more exciting when leading up at the footy, getting on an opponents’ shoulders without putting a hand on them and sticking high marks or selling candy to open up more space, Gander is capable of it all. His leap is such a strength it is not uncommon to see him rotate through the ruck and win some contests, then follow up his own tap at ground level.

Billy King

A physically imposing but also athletic ruck and forward option, King wins most ruck contests he attends; able to out-body opponents well, but just as capable of leaping over them even when giving up a little bit of height. What makes King so dangerous is his strong marking when resting forward and good leading patterns, making him a danger when he gets on the move inside 50.

Joshua Nicholls

With a nice bit of speed to help him, Nicholls can fill in role up either end, on a wing or even through the midfield, applying the same level of intent to win the ball and use it. A jack of all trades type, Nicholls is good across the board with his skills and footy IQ, making him particularly dangerous when given the freedom to roam around the ground and impact where he sees fit.

Others:

William Sabolch is a solid defender that can run through the midfield, with his ball use particularly impressive out of the back half and resulting in a lot of attacking plays. Bililign Robertson plays mostly on a wing but is more than comfortable in congestion where he can find a backwards handball option, whilst Christian Webster is a taller option that can play up either end with a good mark. Indhi Kirk, the oldest child of Brett, is also in the academy and possesses some impressive tricks as a small forward, whilst fellow club legend Michael O’Loughlin has had his nephew TJ Speedy Coe recently switch across from rugby, bringing a lot of speed and excitement to the forwardline.

Rogers looks towards Gulden source of inspiration

THE Sydney Swans Academy has been a raging success for the New South Wales-based club, producing the likes of Isaac Heeney, Callum Mills, and most recently Errol Gulden and Braeden Campbell. It means the next generation of Swans stars never have to look far for inspiration, with the visual of their elders’ journeys serving as a clear pathway to the top.

For current Academy member Felix Rogers, that pathway has taken on a varied route but still holds some influence from closer to home. The small midfielder-forward is crafty with ball in hand and has little trouble finding it, much like one of the Swans’ most recent Academy graduates.

“I’d say someone who I’ve really moulded my game on pretty recently is Errol Gulden,” Rogers said. “He was only a year ahead of me in the academy. I played and trained with him and was always underneath him in that role as the link forward or midfielder. “My biggest strengths would be my kicking and that kicking leading to goals… this year I played on-ball and drifted forward again, I think another strength which showed was my ability to find the footy pretty well.

“(Tackling) is a part of my game I can improve. “Definitely because I’m shorter than the average AFL player, that’s always looked upon as a bit of a weakness but I guess it’s not the size of the dog in the fight.”

Born in London, Rogers moved to Australia with his family at age four, only picking up the native football code when he was about 10. After missing the cut in his first crack at entering the Swans Academy, the 18-year-old has been there ever since and yielded some terrific honours en route to Allies squad selection this season.

“I only really started playing AFL when I was about 10 and really, really got into it,” Rogers said. “I was playing (European) football up until then, obviously coming from England. “Outside of the Swans Academy, I’ve gone through my local club which is Willoughby Wildcats, then into (AFL Sydney) Premier League with the North Shore Bombers.

“(NSW-ACT) Rams was great fun for Under 16s. We were up on the Gold Coast and had a pretty good team. I played pretty decent in that carnival but ended up doing my shoulder at the end of it, in the last game against Tasmania. Ever since then I’ve had to get that right and I was lucky enough to have it ready and okay this year. “That lead me into a couple of good NAB League games for the Swans and lead into Allies selection which was my goal all year round. I was super ecstatic to make the squad. It’s just unfortunate that’s looking more and more unlikely to go ahead.”

While currently in lockdown and pondering the “what ifs” of season 2021, Rogers still managed to produce some blistering form when allowed on the park. He got a taste for senior football with four games in Sydney’s Premier Division and turned out in a VFL scratch match, while also averaging 28.3 disposals, 6.7 inside 50s and booting four goals across three NAB League outings.

“I think I’ve probably had one of my better years to date,” he said. “For me, this year’s kind of been a bit of a ‘wonder if?’. “Had the Swans had five more games where I kept up the numbers I had, could I be in a lot better position to try and get myself drafted? “Had the Swans not finished up so early and COVID not interrupted, would I have gotten games for the Allies?

“This was my first year of senior footy. It was good fun, it’s a good group and it’s really interesting to play with bigger bodies. “It’s not as fleet-footed as NAB League games and what-not but it’s an interesting dynamic.”

Having been immersed in the Sydney pathway program for many years now, Rogers is an avid Swans supporter and says landing at his home club would be his “first choice”, but is happy to land just about anywhere at the end of this “crazy” year.

The budding draft prospect is also completing his Year 12 studies online with sights studying business and law alongside football next year. As for his escapes from “repetitive” lockdown living, Rogers has gotten into golf. A stint on the Gold Coast also helped him focus on football and get out of the current bubble.

“I’m big time into my golf, that’s my hobby outside of AFL,” he said. “It’s a bit hard with all the time it takes up but I find that a good release from footy and from school. “Day to day is very repetitive. I’ve still got online classes so I try and do a bit of exercise in and around them – go to the little home gym we have here and go for a kick or go for a run. It’s hard to try and keep that routine but it’s definitely valuable, especially with the small chance of Allies games still going ahead.

“I was in the Gold Coast about a month ago. “I lived up there and was training with the Suns Academy for a bit and played a VFL game. “That was a good experience and that was a bit of an escape from COVID lockdown which was lovely and meant I could focus on my footy a bit more as well.”

With such a series of experiences comes some important mentors too, from those who have nurtured Rogers through the Swans Academy, to others who have come in and guided him more recently.

Jared Crouch, Chris Smith, and Nick Davis at the Academy have been phenomenal,” he said. “They help us in every facet of the game. I think another key mentor for me only really came this year and that was Lloyd Perris. He used to be in the academy system and played with Isaac Heeney. He’s now our North Shore Bombers coach, he knows all about the system and has been very good with me and trying to help forge a path.”

While overlooked for the initial National Combine intake, Rogers caught the eye this year and if there is anything his journey through the Swans’ pathway has shown, it’s that he can overcome early obstacles to produce great things.

Anderson rides the wave of a long footballing journey

THERE are few junior footballers who have experienced a journey quite like that of Angus Anderson. The Sydney Swans Academy captain hails from Sawtell, a coastal town in northern New South Wales, but has ticked off a plethora of other destinations en route to earning a National Draft Combine invite this month.

The six-hour drive to Sydney initially made it difficult for the 18-year-old to regularly participate with the Swans Academy, but he put his name in lights this year after spending a preseason with the Southport Sharks VFL side, and earning a spot on their supplementary list.

“I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to be the skipper for the Swans Academy,” Anderson said. “It’s a great honour really, especially since I’m not down there every weekend, so it just shows that the coaching staff and the team have had faith in me.”

Anderson travelled three hours up to the Gold Coast to train with Southport, ticking off a third state on his list of destinations. The second was Victoria, where he lived with his aunty and uncle while linking with the Eastern Ranges’ Under 16 NAB League program. In Melbourne, he also spent a term at Box Hill Secondary College and is currently completing his Year 12 studies back home in lockdown.

With a diverse range of experiences, Anderson has also been able to lean on a bunch of highly renowned coaches and staff. Among them are former AFL players, along with current and former NAB League coaches; including Jared Crouch and Chris Smith (Swans Academy), Leigh Clarke (Box Hill Secondary), Sean Toohey (Eastern Ranges), and Jarrod Field (Southport).

Also on that list of mentors is Anderson’s Victorian father, who coached him locally “all the way through” to senior level at the Sawtell-Toormina Saints, making him “a big influence” over his footballing career.

From enjoying the surf in the “laid back” town of Sawtell to “maturing as a person” while living with his aunty and uncle in Melbourne, Anderson has learned plenty over the last few years and gained a ravenous work-ethic. That trait translates to his football, where the big-bodied midfielder showcases a great appetite for contested ball.

“I feel like my contested ball is my strength,” Anderson said. “I’m a big-bodied mid who can win the ball and I’m slowly developing my outside game. “I can run out games well for a big-bodied mid, I like the physical aspect of AFL so I can tackle, and my hands around the ball and my ability to use both sides (are strengths).”

While leading the Swans Academy in a three-game NAB League stint this year, Anderson averaged 24 disposals, 3.5 tackles and a goal per game, as one of his side’s standout performers. Having already gotten a taste of senior football, he went on to represent the Swans at VFL level, and earned selection in the Under 19 Allies squad. Still, there is plenty the youngster is working on.

“I have heaps of areas I’m focusing on,” he said. “I feel like since I’m a bigger-bodied mid, I’ll be paired up with a couple of smaller mids occasionally. I’ve been working on my pack marking and I get to drift down forward I’ve been working on my goalkicking as well.”

Swans star Luke Parker is a player Anderson looks to mould his game on, while also noting the likes of Christian Petracca, Dustin Martin, Patrick Cripps, and Marcus Bontempelli as some of his favourite players. As one of just five NSW-ACT natives to earn a combine invite thus far, he is one step closer to joining them in the big leagues.

“Especially if I look back at myself at the beginning of the year, these achievements have been so big and I’ve been so proud of myself that I’ve made it this far,” he said. “It’s a huge honour to be a part of the initial 90 for the combine. “From a little kid coming from northern New South Wales, a little coastal town. “Barely anyone has been this far so it’s a huge honour.”

For now, Anderson is enjoying some of the extra down time he gets to relax in between school, going out for a surf every day and itching to get back on the park should the opportunity await.

He sought to thank all of his mentors and coaches along the way, Southport and the Sydney Swans for the opportunities they presented, and AFL North Coast for their support over the years.

McLeay thrives on championship “learning experience”

HAVING started out looking to take up a sport “different to everybody else” at eight years old, Isadora McLeay is now well versed in Australian football nearly a decade later.

The Sydney Swans Academy member had hit 100 games for local club Mosman Swans by the age of 12, but is still adding strings to her bow after the “learning experience” that was this year’s AFLW Under 19 National Championships.

“I found them really, really fun,” McLeay said. “The Allies are lucky because we get a whole bunch of different girls from different places, all walks of life, and coming together you’re learning lots of things.

“It’s a good learning experience, especially from all the coaches like Jared Crouch who has played lots of games in the AFL system. It’s really interesting to learn his perspective on things.”

In her two outings for the Allies, McLeay was able to showcase her versatility and impressive one-on-one game, thriving most down back to average 16.5 disposals, three marks, and three rebound 50s. The 17-year-old says the defensive role is one which has grown on her through representative experience.

“I find it easier to punch the ball rather than mark it,” she said. “I used to hate playing back, I used to always be put back for representative (duties) but I’ve actually started to really enjoy full back.

“I think I’m pretty good at winning one-on-ones, just beating my opponents.”

There are two sides to the game though and while McLeay has already shown her promising defensive capabilities, she says she is working on some of her offensive attributes to fully enhance that desirable trait of versatility.

“I focus a lot on defence because I play back,” she said. “So I probably need to work on how I attack the ball and try to move it forward rather than just trying to prevent goals.”

When football is your “whole life” and what you “look forward to most weeks”, making those improvements becomes less of a chore. McLeay has a few inspirations to feed off too, especially close to home.

“Obviously my mum has been a great inspiration for everything she’s done for me to get to where I am,” she said.

Erin McKinnon has also come from my local club so it’s pretty interesting to see where she’s come from. “And one of my favourite players is Maddy Prespakis, just because she’s really good.”

With Sydney setting its sights on an AFLW licence in 2022, McLeay has the chance to become a lifelong Swan – from juniors, to the academy, to the top level.

Young Guns: 2021 VFL Round 11

WHILE a bunch of draft eligible prospects earned representative honours on the weekend, some of Victoria’s most promising Under 19 talent continues to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL). A raft of top-age talents have already made their state league debuts, with more to come, while members of all four Northern Academies also get some run in their legs. We take a look at how the prominent 19th-year players performed as they hit the senior football grade.

>> Scouting Notes: Victorian U19 trials

A pair of Northern Knights prospects unlucky to miss out on Vic Metro honours made good of the weekend with promising VFL stints, proving they can adjust to the senior level. Knights co-captain Joel Trudgeon managed 13 disposals, 10 tackles, and two clearances on debut for Carlton, while fellow top-ager Ewan Macpherson returned to the Footscray side and booted two goals from his 11 touches and five marks. The latter is quite used to donning the red, white and blue by now, as another Bulldogs father-son hopeful.

Sandringham Dragons co-captain Darby Hipwell also slotted back into the state league system with the Zebras, after spending his bye week back in the NAB League. The midfielder finished with 12 disposals, two tackles, four clearances, and two inside 50s in his side’s terrific upset win over Richmond.

Most of the NAB League and Academy prospects to get a VFL gig were sighted in Sunday’s Sydney derby, with Greater Western Sydney (GWS) and the Sydney Swans fielding a whopping 16 top-up players between them. The Giants had five, all of whom had their moments in the 38-point win.

Geelong Falcons product Lachlan Kidd notched 16 disposals and three inside 50s, while Murray Bushrangers trio Kade Chalcraft (14 disposals, three clearances, five inside 50s), Thomas Panuccio (13 disposals, three marks), and Cameron McLeod (seven disposals) all productive. Academy talent and Allies squad member Harrison Grintell also got a run, kicking a goal from his nine touches.

Sydney blooded 11 top-up players from four different NAB League regions, with nine of them making their debuts. Cooper Smith (10 disposals, four marks, three tackles) and Logan Young (six disposals, four tackles) had previously turned out for North Melbourne, but swapped their colours for this clash. Smith was reunited with Bendigo Pioneers teammates Finn Ellis-Castle (seven disposals, three marks, 0.2), Ryan O’Keefe (six disposals) and Cobi Maxted (one goal), who all lined up against former Pio, Will Shaw.

There were four Geelong Falcons afield, in Kyle Skene (10 disposals, five tackles), Gennaro Bove (nine disposals, three marks), Sam Witherden (eight disposals, three tackles) and Will Kilpatrick (four disposals, two tackles). Bove is a leader among the Falcons group, while Witherden is the brother of West Coast’s Alex and Kilpatrick is a Geelong Cats father-son hopeful (son of Glenn).

Rounding out the selection was a pair of Greater Western Victoria (GWV) talents, with top-ager Fraser Marris crossing from the Geelong VFL program to snare a goal from eight touches, while 17-year-old Isaac Lovison had it nine times and laid three tackles in his first taste of state league football.

Image Credit: Mike Owen/AFL Photos

PREVIEW | Debuts galore as Metro sides make NAB League return

METRO regions are set to make their long-awaited return to the NAB League this weekend, as the competition extends back out to eight fixtures in Round 9. While fans are still not allowed to attend metropolitan games, one recruiter from each club will be allowed on the scene to observe the next generation of talent, with rules more relaxed at country and interstate fixtures.

As advertised, a bunch of bottom-age prospects will continue to be blooded through the elite talent pathways and there are some absolute gems to keep an eye out for ahead of the Under 17 National Championships. Returning 18th-year and top-age stars also fill out the list of names to watch, while both New South Wales (NSW) academies remain along with the Northern Territory (NT) Thunder.

Scotch College pair Sam Darcy and Scott Beilby have been named in Oakleigh’s side to face the Northern Knights on Saturday morning. Both boast ties to AFL clubs, with the former a Western Bulldogs father-son candidate, while the latter is part of St Kilda’s Next Generation Academy (NGA).

The Chargers will also unveil Tasmanian top-ager Sam Collins, who will make his first appearance for the region having shifted to live in Melbourne this year. 2019 premiership midfielder Fraser Elliot is another 19-year-old back in the mix having had a taste of VFL football, while GIANTS Academy member Patrick Voss is back in Oakleigh colours after earning an Allies nod. Elijah Tsatas is the bottom-ager to watch, an explosive midfielder who was previously sidelined with a broken collarbone.

Northern is also set to blood a couple of promising Under 17s, as coach Leigh Clarke returns to face his former side. Brayden Ham and Josh Hamilton add to those under-age stocks, while Melbourne Grammar student Josh Ward is a welcome addition to the midfield. He’ll operate alongside in-form skipper Joel Trudgeon and Ewan Macpherson, who returns after a stint with Footscray in the VFL.

The day’s other all-metro bout sees Sandringham host Eastern Ranges, boasting mid-season draftee Max Heath. The St Kilda ruck is set to palm down to a formidable midfield trio, which includes co-captain Darby Hipwell, and the newly-formed combination of Finn Callaghan and Charlie McKay. Allies squad member Jack Peris has also been named on the wing.

The midfield battle should be fierce, with Tyler Sonsie and Jake Soligo resuming for Eastern. Dashing top-ager Josh Clarke comes in for his first game in 2021, named in his usual half-back post, while 2005-born talent Nick Watson is in line to make his debut. The diminutive midfielder-forward has serious talent, akin to the likes of Errol Gulden in terms of natural ability which defies his size.

Eastern Ranges half-back Josh Clarke (centre) is in line to return

In the final game on Saturday, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) locks horns with Murray, as Mars Stadium continues to get a workout from the Rebels. Gun inside midfielder Ben Hobbs is set to return for the hosts, named in a forward pocket as GWV boasts an embarrassment of midfield riches.

Allies squad members Toby Murray (ruck) and Cameron McLeod (centre half-forward) are set to rotate through the Bushrangers’ structure, with Carlton VFL listed midfielder Zavier Maher again suiting up for Murray as former Caulfield Grammar schoolmate Josh Rachele comes out of the side.

Sunday’s action starts early as the GIANTS Academy takes on Tasmania Devils in the first game of a Blacktown double-header. Sydney is the other NSW-based academy to play host, taking on the NT Thunder in the afternoon. All four sides boast a bunch of prospects named in the Allies squad, who should acquaint themselves nicely.

Calder and Western battle it out in the round’s sole other metro clash, making for a repeat of the season-opener in Craigieburn. Carlton father-son hopeful Dane Whitnall comes in for his Calder debut, bolstering his side’s spine along with developing ruck Liam Podhajski. The latter is one of a few players afield with VFL experience, including Jets top-agers Cody Raak (defence) and Billy Cootee (midfield).

The in-form Geelong Falcons take on Gippsland Power in Morwell, with both sides having fielded a bunch of up-and-comers of late. Geelong will again go with midfielder Jhye Clark, ruckman Olivier Northam, and forward Will Baker, while Gippsland will be buoyed by the returns of Will Papley and Chance Doultree as Jai Serong goes the other way. 2005-born forward Zane Duursma is again one to watch.

The Dandenong Stingrays enter the fold once again to see out the weekend’s action, travelling to face Bendigo Pioneers at Queen Elizabeth Oval. 2005-born Vic Country Under 17 squad member Harley Reid has shown plenty of promise for the Pios, as one of many under-agers settling into the side. Dandenong will have a bunch of fresh faces take the field too, including 16-year-old Sam Frangalas, along with a strong core of familiar names.

2021 Allies Under 19 squad announced

THE 2021 Allies Under 19 squad was announced on Wednesday, with the 39-man squad featuring players originating from four different states and territories. Made up of prospects from the Northern Territory, NSW-ACT, Queensland, and Tasmania, the Allies are set to field a largely competitive team at the upcoming National Championships, boasting a strong core of top-agers. In a quirk not many other squads will have, there were no bottom-agers selected.

Among the talents from each state are Northern Academy products, with the GIANTS, Swans, Lions and SUNS academies represented, along with the Northern Territory Thunder and Tasmanian NAB League side. With stints in the Victorian pathways competition, all five academies have been able to enjoy an extended run of competitive action, with the top echelon of players also filtering into the state leagues.

NSW-ACT and Queensland are set to be the most represented states, with the former producing 15 squad members – including three from the Murray Bushrangers – while the latter lays claim to 13. There were six Tasmanians included, while four hail from the Northern Territory.

There are a few prospects playing outside of their native zonings, with the likes of Patrick Voss and Sam Collins (both Oakleigh Chargers), Jack Peris (Sandringham Dragons), Oliver Davis (Adelaide SANFL), and Brodie Lake (Peel Thunder), and Ned Stevens (SUNS Academy) all competing in seperate states. That is not to mention the four Murray Bushrangers representatives; Charlie Byrne, Cameron McLeod, Toby Murray, and Ryan Eyers.

Standouts in the squad include GIANTS Academy gun Josh Fahey, a dashing defender who earned the President’s Medal as best afield in April’s AFL Academy showcase against Geelong VFL. Versatile tall, Stevens is also part of the national academy, as is fellow SUNS Academy member Austin Harris and Tasmanian Sam Banks, who is recovering from a wrist injury.

The Allies are set to begin their carnival on July 8 against Vic Country, playing host to the Victorians at Metricon stadium. They then travel to face South Australia at Adelaide Oval on July 24, before taking on Western Australia in Blacktown on July 31, and ending at GMHBA Stadium on August 14 by taking on Vic Country.

Below is a preview of how the Allies team may look, in a line-up put together by Draft Central analyst Ed Pascoe. Scroll further to see the full squad list.

B: Charlie Byrne (MB) – Ryan Eyers (MB) – Josh Fahey (GWS)
HB: Bodhi Uwland (GCS) – Jack Briskey (BL) – Sam Banks (TAS)
C: Jack Peris (NT) – Josh Green (GWS) – Saxon Crozier (BL)
HF: Patrick Voss (GWS) – Ned Stevens (NT) – Jye Menzie (TAS)
F: Max Pescud (GCS) – Will Bella (GCS) – Austin Harris (GCS)
FOL: Jack Driscoll (GWS) – Brodie Lake (NT) – Oliver Davis (TAS)

INT: Tahj Abberley (BL), Sam Collins (TAS), Cameron McLeod (MB), Toby Murray (MB), Bailey Reeves (GCS), Toby Triffett (BL)

EMG: Toby Alker (SYD), Angus Anderson (SYD), Charlie Bowes (BL), Sam Frost (GWS), Darcy Gardner (TAS), Harrison Grintell (GWS), Thomas Hofert (GCS), Jack Johnston (GCS), Brinn Little (GCS), Andy Moniz-Wakefield (NT), Kye Pfrengle (SYD), Liam Puncher (SYD), Felix Rogers (SYD), Pierce Roseby (SYD), Baker Smith (TAS)

FULL SQUAD:

Tahj Abberley (Lions Academy)
Jack Briskey (Lions Academy)
Charlie Bowes (Lions Academy)
Saxon Crozier (Lions Academy)
Toby Triffett (Lions Academy)
Jack Johnston (Suns Academy)
Brinn Little (Suns Academy)
Austin Harris (Suns Academy)
Bodhi Uwland (Suns Academy)
Max Pescud (Suns Academy)
Bailey Reeves (Suns Academy)
Will Bella (Suns Academy)
Thomas Hofert (Suns Academy)
Josh Fahey (Giants Academy)
Sam Frost (Giants Academy)
Harrison Grintell (Giants Academy)
Josh Green (Giants Academy)
Paddy Voss (Oakleigh Chargers/Giants Academy)
Jack Driscoll (Giants Academy)
Toby Alker (Swans Academy)
Kye Pfrengle (Swans Academy)
Liam Puncher (Swans Academy)
Felix Rogers (Swans Academy)
Angus Anderson (Swans Academy)
Pierce Roseby (Swans Academy)
Sam Banks (Tasmania)
Sam Collins (Oakleigh Chargers/Tasmania)
Baker Smith (Tasmania)
Oliver Davis (Adelaide/Tasmania)
Jye Menzie (Tasmania)
Darcy Gardner (Tasmania)
Andy Moniz-Wakefield (Northern Territory)
Brodie Lake (Peel Thunder/Northern Territory)
Jack Peris (Sandringham Dragons/Northern Territory)
Ned Stevens (Suns Academy/Northern Territory)
Cameron McLeod (Murray Bushrangers)
Ryan Eyers (Murray Bushrangers)
Toby Murray (Murray Bushrangers)
Charlie Byrne (Murray Bushrangers)

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 8

THE 2021 NAB League season rolled over the weekend, with two Northern Academies and Tasmania returning while four of Victoria’s country regions also battled it out. Plenty of draft prospects for 2021 and beyond impressed in Round 8, as the competition draws closer to full resumption. Check out the top performers from all four of Saturday’s fixtures in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RESULTS: Round 8 snapshot

SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 13.6 (84) def. by TASMANIA DEVILS 14.4 (88)

By: Michael Alvaro

Swans Academy:

#3 Felix Rogers

The busy Swans midfielder proved just that in another outing where his ball winning ability came to the fore. He was all-action at stoppages, getting on the move and finding first touch off the taps despite there being little room to operate. Rogers constantly seemed to be at the drop of the ball, while showing good anticipation with his spread to impact away from the contest. Not only did the midfielder kick two goals, but he also set up multiple scores for his teammates with good ball use on the move. His major in the final term put the Swans ahead, but they were unable to hang on.

#7 Pierce Roseby

Another of the Swans’ productive small midfielders, Roseby showcased his typical ability to get in-and-under, while also running hard to accumulate around the ground. Tasmania’s pressure around the ball made it difficult to cleanly extract and break away, but Roseby did his best to gather on the move and bustle out of traffic. While it was tough going at the contest, the top-ager found the ball in a touch more space when working back or spreading forward. He missed his chance to hit the scoreboard in term two after winning a free kick close to goal, ending with one behind from 25 disposals.

#20 Marco Rossmann

Rossmann was finally able to put forward the potential he previously showcased in what was arguably his best academy outing for the year. With a more permanent run in midfield, the top-ager was able to find plenty of the ball with a game-high 31 disposals and still impacted inside 50 with two goals. He looked classy in possession, using a strong five-step burst to break into space and look to use the ball positively, often pumping the ball long by foot. His two majors came during the second term, with the first a gift via the umpire’s whistle, and the second a really classy snap as Rossmann quickly wheeled onto his left side.

Tasmania Devils:

#1 Baynen Lowe

After missing Tasmania’s last NAB League game through illness, Lowe returned with the Devils and picked up right where he left off. The midfielder was terrific with his pressure and intent around the ball, remaining relevant going both ways and finding plenty of footy. The ground level contest was hot, and Lowe managed to snatch good meterage for Tasmania with his long kicks out of congestion, notching eight inside 50s from his team-high 28 touches. He cracked in hard but also showed clean hands on the inside, while also producing a couple of nice repeat run efforts in transition on the outside.

#4 Sam Foley

Foley was a reliable sweeper across the back half for the Devils, able to read the play and get into positions to force the turnover. He made a few handy intercepts, pressing aggressively and competing either in the air or at ground level to strongly win possession for his side. He pushed up hard between the arcs to then distribute on the rebound, using his run and usually clean short kicking to hit targets further afield. He bombed a touch under pressure, but so too did many others on the day. Foley finished with 22 disposals and three inside 50s in a solid outing.

#12 Jye Menzie

On his NAB League return, Menzie took up his usual forward post and started brightly by kicking the game’s opening goal. Much of his play suited the high half-forward role, with the top-ager able to work up the ground and use his sticky hands on the lead, while also getting back towards goal. He was a key link-up player down the line with such presentation and showed good intent with ball in hand to get it moving quickly, putting Sydney’s defence under more immediate pressure. Menzie also snared the first goal of the final term, drawing the Devils back to within a goal and setting the tone for their last-ditch push towards victory.

GEELONG FALCONS 9.10 (64) def. BENDIGO PIONEERS 7.12 (54)

By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong Falcons:

#11 Cooper Whyte

Again one of Geelong’s most prominent stoppage players, Whyte ended up providing some terrific drive from the engine room. He contributed a lot of his early work from the clinches, dishing out short handballs and getting stuck in at the coalface. Come the second term and beyond, and Whyte began to get going a touch more on the outer and looked to get Geelong on the front foot with driving run and long kicks. He also got his hands dirty in a tackling sense, making for another well rounded midfield performance.

#12 Noah Gribble

Having enjoyed a stint in midfield last time out, Gribble moved into the centre bounces permanently on Saturday and racked up an equal game-high 28 disposals. Credit to his enormous running power and work rate, Gribble seemed to pop up everywhere and won the ball in all areas of the ground. He also did the basics well at the contest, distributing more often by hand and allowing others to be the outside runners. The top-ager came a little unstuck when he tried to bite off a bit more by foot, but looked effective when quickly disposing to those on the move. He almost capped his game with a goal, as his 45m set shot in the final term rocketed into the post.

#28 Mitch Knevitt

The big-bodied midfielder was well and truly in the thick of things early on, as arguably the best player afield during the first half. Knevitt’s tackling and physicality were real features, as he proved combative at the contest and used his size to win plenty of hard balls. He also showed a good turn of speed on the exit at times, while competing aerially to display a couple handy points of difference. He kept his hands free under tackling pressure and flicked handballs out, before spending more time forward after half time and booting a set shot goal in term three.

#60 Toby Conway

The 204cm AFL Academy representative made his NAB League return on Saturday, and showed just why he is considered one of the better Under 19 ruck prospects going around. Conway was simply too big and strong in the ruck, winning a whopping 37 hitouts and dominating that realm. He protected the drop zone with strength and was able to palm down to his rovers’ advantage, before eventually gaining the confidence to snatch out of the ruck on a couple of occasions. In a tick to his work rate and game awareness, Conway worked back onto the defensive goal line when Bendigo took long-range set shots, earning him a contested mark and a couple of rushed behinds. He also marked well when stationed a kick behind the play, which is a good area of development for Conway.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#1 Sam Conforti

Starting in midfield and rotating forward, Conforti was a productive forward mover for Bendigo in his NAB League return. The top-ager did well to stay on the move and collect the ball cleanly in motion, contributing some handy work at ground level. He was forced to work well up the ground to find the ball as a forward, linking his side back towards the attacking arc as he received and ran in transition. Conforti had multiple chances to hit the scoreboard too, with a couple of quick snaps going wide and a second term set shot missing to the near side.

#2 Harvey Gallagher

Gallagher has shown some really nice form for the Pioneers of late, starting up forward in this game before getting to work through midfield. He was a strong contributor at the contest, able to use his speed and strength in tackles to break away and set Bendigo on the front foot. He backed said pace when blazing through the corridor, but also showed some finesse with nice vision and execution by hand in tight spots. Gallagher snared two goals via free kicks after half time, with his second putting Bendigo in front momentarily. His intent and effort were solid in the closing stages, as he looked to make things happen when the game was up for grabs.

#56 Harley Reid

One for the future, Reid is a 2005-born player who has shown some serious talent across his first two NAB League appearances. He is set to feature in the Vic Country Under 17 side this year and has already made an impact at Under 19 level with his explosive traits and goal sense. The 16-year-old started the game magnificently, booting two goals within as many minutes during the opening term. The first was a terrific running snap which showed his eye for goal, and the second came from a pack mark in the goalsquare where he simply read the ball better than anyone else. Reid also showed a knack for the spectacular with his spekky attempt in the same quarter, before bouncing straight to his feet and winning the spill. He went on to snare a third goal after half time, again judging the ball well in flight to mark in a two-on-two situation in the goalsquare. One who doesn’t need many touches to make an impact, Reid promises to catch the eye for years to come if he can keep up such form.

GWV REBELS 16.20 (116) def. GIPPSLAND POWER 6.1 (37)

By: Ed Pascoe

GWV Rebels:

#1 Sam Butler

Butler has been playing some excellent footy this year and this might have been his best outing yet, with the crafty forward/midfielder the most impactful player on the ground. His first quarter really set the tone, kicking two great goals; with the first coming from a nice show of courage going back with the flight before nailing the set shot, and the second showing his forward nous by quickly getting boot to ball in general play. Butler was a handful forward but once the game was won he was moved into the midfield in the second half and despite the impending result, Butler still showed plenty of intent with a lovey chase down tackle in the midfield which was rewarded. Overall, Butler has shown a great mix of flashy brilliance and the ability to do the hard yards and win his own ball. He finished with 27 disposals, seven tackles, six marks, six inside 50s and two goals in a best on ground performance as he continues to build a very strong year.

#3 Charlie Molan

One of the hardest workers in the NAB League, Molan put together a very complete performance this time around, not only showing plenty defensively but also proving to be dangerous with ball in hand as well. Molan has made the wing position his own, using his fantastic work rate and size at stoppages to his advantage. Molan’s ability to get involved multiple times in transition was a key feature of his game, often getting the ball at half-back and finding himself on the end of chains inside attacking 50. He also showed his ability to kick long and accurately with a nice goal from a handball receive at 50m. Although he isn’t the flashiest, his work rate and selfless plays should endear him to his coaches and scouts, and he finished a very strong game winning 26 disposals, eight inside 50s and one goal.

#5 Josh Rentsch

Although he didn’t capitalise on the scoreboard, Rentsch provided a great target for the Rebels going inside 50. He was a constant feature, leading up to cause havoc for the Gippsland defenders who couldn’t go with him due to his size and power – not just on the lead but also at ground level. Rentsch kicked 1.6 with his only goal coming from a nice finish in general play, powering out of congestion. He had many set shots but didn’t miss any by a long way, and his set shot kicking despite the result shouldn’t be a massive concern for clubs. Rentsch was certainly the most dangerous looking tall forward and he also remains one of the prime key forwards in Victoria in general. He finished the game with 14 disposals and six marks, with his marks all very impressive.

#8 Josh Gibcus

The talented defender has had a quieter last two weeks by his standards, but still managed to show why he is rated so highly with his impressive leap and marking ability. Gibcus had a good battle with Jai Serong for parts of the first half but certainly got off the leash once Serong was moved behind the ball. Something for Gibcus to tidy up is his kicking, which has fallen away slightly in the last two weeks and while it’s good that he wants to move the play on quickly, he needs to take more care to execute the kicks to help maximise his rebound ability, as he has no trouble at all intercepting the ball – even marking the return kicks he originally turned over. Gibcus finished the game with 12 disposals, seven marks and four tackles.

#13 Sam Breuer

A change of position worked wonders for Breuer, who has been stationed as a defender all year but transitioned seamlessly into a midfield role against Gippsland. Breuer was a great four-quarter performer and although not the flashiest, he did what was required with efficiency and toughness. Despite not spending much time in the midfield this year, he looked a natural with his ability to read taps and show poise with ball in hand at stoppages, often handballing well and finding targets by foot when in transition. Breuer kicked a nice goal on the siren with a steady set shot on half time and would set up a goal in the third quarter, with his second efforts from a stoppage and tough tackle creating a chance inside 50. This was a promising performance from Breuer and another good back up performance in the midfield could really improve his draft stocks, as he has now shown to be a very versatile and committed player. Breuer finished the game with 30 disposals, seven tackles and 1.2.

#16 Kai Lohmann

The athletic half-forward has looked better and better as the year has gone on and although he hasn’t been able to put results on the scoreboard, his natural traits just make him so exciting to watch, with his dominance in the air and speed at ground level real difference makers. Lohmann was a marking machine, if he jumped at the ball he was a sure bet to take the mark no matter the competition in the air. With his clean hands and natural leap, he might yet take the mark of the year in the NAB League. Although he could be making a play for mark of the year at some point, he almost kicked goal of the year with a stunning piece of play, running and carrying the ball tight on the boundary, taking a bounce and almost snapping the goal. It was a great showcase of his natural athleticism and willingness to take the game on. Lohmann finished the game with a season-high 23 disposals, eight marks and five inside 50s and although he didn’t kick a goal, it seems a matter of time before he starts to really hurt the opposition on the scoreboard.

Gippsland Power:

#2 Cooper Alger

One of the better users of the ball for Gippsland in what was a a dirty day for the team, Alger could hold his head high as he provided plenty of skill and drive from half-back, running hard both ways. Alger’s work rate was rewarded in the second quarter when he would get a mark working into the forwardline, and then slotted the set shot with ease on his trusty left foot. Although not the most prolific for Gippsland with only 13 disposals, he made all of his possessions count with his skill and poise.

#23 Jai Serong

The talented tall, who has spent plenty of time as a forward and midfielder so far this year for Gippsland, would find himself spending time down back later in the game and applying himself surprisingly well in a new role. Serong started the match promisingly up forward with fellow talented tall Josh Gibcus manning up on him in a few contests, with Serong taking a strong contested grab against him in the second quarter. Serong was dangerous up forward, kicking a goal from a holding the ball decision in the first quarter and a classy major in the second, getting boot to ball quickly under pressure in one of the goals of the day. Serong was later moved to defence where he offered plenty of rebound and good skills from half-back. At over 190cm, Serong has shown some great versatility so far this year which could only enhance his draft stocks, and he finished the game with a team-high 18 disposals, seven marks and two goals.

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 15.14 (104) def. NT THUNDER ACADEMY 3.8 (26)

By: Declan Reeve

GIANTS Academy:

#5 Angus Curry

The bottom-aged midfielder was a touch too classy for anyone else afield, as he looked convincingly the best ball user when he had ball in hand. He pin-pointed his kicks going forward and hit his handballs well with precision, at times not even turning his head to see his teammate, but putting it to the voice. Was in the right spots around stoppages from the second quarter onwards, where he’d win first possession consistently but sometimes failed to find a way out of the traffic and got caught for another ball up. Showing his game sense however, he adjusted how he approached stoppages as the game went on to start getting the ball out in a bit more space. Tackled well for a player of his size, where he caught a few off guard with his pace.

#7 Matthew Hamblin

The standout inside midfielder for the game, Hamblin was everywhere early on in the game when others were still trying to find their feet a bit, leading to him having the ball on a string. Was prolific around stoppages for a good chunk of the first half, just able to note subtle cues from the opposition ruck to start winning clearances off NT hitouts. Around the ground he was handy, working hard to pressure opponents and force turnovers, able to get the ball off the deck and dispose of it quickly, where without pressure his kicking was reliable, and under pressure he preferred to fire off quick and sharp handballs.

#14 Luke Lawrence

The bottom-aged forward target was the go-to man in the attacking half for GWS, with his leading patterns at a high level, he was often well placed inside 50 to follow up with a shot on goal when he held onto the marks – but did have some trouble with holding onto them at times. He worked hard without the ball as well, laying an impressive tackle in the third quarter where he ran 25 metres to lay it, rightfully being rewarded with the free kick. When he had the ball he generally used it well, not looking to do anything flashy, but always what was right for the team.

#19 Maximus Monaghan

After a quieter first half than you’d expect from the ball winner, Monaghan started to get into the game really well in the second half, with aggression on the ball around the ground that was hard to deal with for NT. Playing similarly to Hamblin, they formed a strong inside partnership, with Monaghan looking faster and more confident using the ball under pressure. What really stood out with Monaghan was how hard it was to move him for the opposition, he took bumps and heavy contact in his stride to hold his feet, not even being knocked off balance.

#24 Sam Frost

In a game that had relatively little defensive half pressure for the Giants, Frost was always switched on, often stopping NT attacks from transition with his aggressive attack in the air and even at ground level, where he wasn’t afraid to back his size and strength to get through packs of players without being brought down, often following up with a long bomb forward. Frost was consistently able to launch his kicks 60 metres, from kick-ins and from outside forward 50 in attempts to score, where distance wasn’t an issue but accuracy needed some polishing. 

NT Thunder:

#2 Andy Moniz-Wakefield

Battled hard all day to be a player constantly with the ball for NT. Often used as a link-up man from defence, he did well to break away from opponents and create separation on the lead to take marks without much hassle. He used that same speed, mixed with his agility, to get around players in tighter situations and follow up with good ball use forward, which unfortunately often went unrewarded.

#27 Tadhj Evans

On what was a hard day for the NT forwards, Evans managed to stand out as a head above the rest with his leap and strong hands as the main forward target, consistently able to hold contested marks or knock the ball in front of teammates to run onto. He used his body well in marking contests, able to nudge opponents under the ball to allow it to go over the back for either himself or a teammate. He looked good and agile at ground level as well, best displayed in the final term where he gathered a ground ball under pressure from two opponents, spun out of their arms and handed it off to a teammate without breaking stride.

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

2021 NAB League Boys snapshot: Round 8

THE 2021 NAB League season is slowly returning to normalcy, with four games played across a pair of double-headers on Saturday. Geelong and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) picked up points in all-country showdowns, while Tasmania returned to the fold with a win over the Sydney Swans Academy, and the Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Academy trumped Northern Territory Thunder. Check out the key figures and stats in our weekend snapshot, with Scouting Notes to follow tomorrow evening.

SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 13.6 (84) def. by TASMANIA DEVILS 14.4 (88)

IN A SENTENCE:

Tasmania Devils marked a captivating return to the NAB League, winning by four points via a Will Splann goal with six minutes left to play having trailed at the first three breaks.

TEAM STATS:

  • Swans Academy won the handballs (161-133) and tackles (61-55)
  • Tasmania Devils won the kicks (162-146) and marks (62-34)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Marco Rossmann (Swans Academy) 31 disposals, 5 marks, 7 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Felix Rogers (Swans Academy) 26 disposals, 3 marks, 5 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Pierce Roseby (Swans Academy) 25 disposals, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Baynen Lowe (Tasmania Devils) 28 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 8 inside 50s
  • Sam Tilley (Tasmania Devils) 22 disposals, 4 tackles, 2 rebound 50s
  • Jye Menzie (Tasmania Devils) 22 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 2 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Marco Rossmann (Swans Academy)
4 – Baynen Lowe (Tasmania Devils)
3 – Felix Rogers (Swans Academy)
2 – Jye Menzie (Tasmania Devils)
1 – Sam Tilley (Tasmania Devils)

NEXT UP:

TBC.

GEELONG FALCONS 9.10 (64) def. BENDIGO PIONEERS 7.12 (54)

IN A SENTENCE:

Geelong Falcons toppled higher-ranked opposition for the second week running, edging the Bendigo Pioneers by 10 points after giving up the lead in term four.

TEAM STATS:

  • Geelong Falcons won the handballs (121-110), inside 50s (47-41) and hitouts (55-21)
  • Bendigo Pioneers won the kicks (179-157) and rebound 50s (36-33)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons) 28 disposals, 4 marks, 6 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons) 28 disposals, 9 marks, 4 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Cooper Whyte (Geelong Falcons) 22 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 6 inside 60s
  • Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers) 24 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers) 24 disposals, 5 marks, 8 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 behinds
  • Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers) 6 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 3 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons)
4 – Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons)
3 – Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers)
2 – Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers)
1 – Cooper Whyte (Geelong Falcons)

NEXT UP:

TBC.

GWV REBELS 16.20 (116) def. GIPPSLAND POWER 6.1 (37)

IN A SENTENCE:

The GWV Rebels overwhelmed Gippsland Power with 36 scoring shots to seven, returning to the winners list via a 79-point thumping on home turf.

TEAM STATS:

  • GWV Rebels won the disposals (398-245), inside 50s (65-26), and marks (93-55)
  • Gippsland Power won the rebound 50s (49-20), tackles (68-65) and hitouts (43-20)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Sam Breuer (GWV Rebels) 30 disposals, 3 marks, 7 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Sam Butler (GWV Rebels) 27 disposals, 6 marks, 7 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Fraser Marris (GWV Rebels) 38 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s
  • Jai Serong (Gippsland Power) 18 disposals, 7 marks, 4 tackles, 5 rebound 50s, 2 goals
  • Max Walton (Gippsland Power) 17 disposals, 7 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power) 16 disposals, 12 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Sam Butler (GWV Rebels)
4 – Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels)
3 – Sam Breuer (GWV Rebels)
2 – Kai Lohmann (GWV Rebels)
1 – Vincent Huf (GWV Rebels)

NEXT UP:

TBC.

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 15.14 (104) def. NT THUNDER ACADEMY 3.8 (26)

IN A SENTENCE:

The GIANTS Academy proved far too strong for their Northern Territory counterparts, piling on scoreboard pressure after quarter time and running out comfortable 78-point victors in Blacktown.

TEAM STATS:

  • GIANTS Academy won the disposals (285-198), inside 50s (50-25), and marks (70-63)
  • NT Thunder won the rebound 50s (34-22)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Sam Frost (GIANTS Academy) 28 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 6 rebound 50s
  • Matthew Hamblin (GIANTS Academy) 24 disposals, 7 marks, 1 tackle, 3 rebound 50s
  • Maximus Monaghan (GIANTS Academy) 19 disposals, 2 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s
  • Andy Moniz-Wakefield (NT Thunder) 24 disposals, 7 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 6 rebound 50s, 1.3
  • Lloyd Johnston (NT Thunder) 21 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles, 1 inside 50, 7 rebound 50s
  • Ronald Fejo Jnr (NT Thunder) 19 disposals, 7 marks, 5 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Matthew Hamblin (GIANTS Academy)
4 – Angus Curry (GIANTS Academy)
3 – Luke Lawrence (GIANTS Academy)
2 – Maximus Monaghan (GIANTS Academy)
1 – Andy Moniz Wakefield (NT Thunder)

NEXT UP:

TBC.

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

2020 AFL Draft recap: Sydney Swans

DESPITE the final standings showing a 16th place finish, Sydney was a side which produced plenty of promise throughout 2020. Much of that came down to young talent rising the Swans’ ranks and with an eventual draft haul boasting two top five picks, that factor is set to be compounded heading into next season. Pick three slid down to pick four and the Swans were again on the board with pick five, quickly matching their first of two bids in the National Draft. One more matched bid and a couple of rookies later, and Sydney has a handful of fresh faces entering the elite system, but with a sense of great familiarity given three are Academy graduates.

SYDNEY

National Draft:
#4 Logan McDonald (Perth/Western Australia)
#5 Braeden Campbell (Sydney Swans Academy/Allies)
#32 Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans Academy/Allies)

Rookies:
Malachy Carruthers (Sturt/South Australia), Marc Sheather (Sydney Swans Academy/Allies)

Having known what was available with its two leading Academy products, Sydney came into the draft looking to target key position options with its first pick. Many analysts linked the selection with West Australian defender Denver Grainger-Barras, but the Swans rated Logan McDonald higher so when he slipped past Adelaide and North Melbourne, they pounced on their man.

McDonald is another West Australian with a full season of senior football under his belt, proving one of the big improvers this year after a stellar campaign up forward. The 196cm forward is hard to deny in front of goal, able to find the big sticks from a bunch of ranges while also bringing contested marking to the fore. He can play deep, but also gains good separation up the ground with his elite endurance base. It is something which has seen him draw comparisons to St Kilda great, Nick Riewoldt.

The Swans were always prepared to match a top 10 bid for Academy talent, Braeden Campbell, but were perhaps a touch peeved when Hawthorn put them back on the clock with pick five. It proved a straightforward decision to match, even if it meant Sydney would then sweat on where Errol Gulden‘s range would land. Ideally for the Swans, it came after the first round and in a position where they could comfortably match once again.

Campbell is a 181cm midfielder with great versatility; not only with his inside-outside balance, but also in that he can also play up forward or off half-back. His speed and penetrating boot make for two damaging weapons and plenty of upside. Gulden is a touch smaller at 175cm, but just as versatile and finds the ball at will no matter which level he plays at. He is crafty with ball in hand, runs all day, and may even be in line for a Round 1 debut despite his light frame. With those two bids matched, the Swans were satisfied with their National Draft intake.

That left a little more action for the Rookie Draft and the Swans took on another interstate prospect in South Australian, Malachy Carruthers. The Sturt Under 18s standout is another terrific runner who opens up the play across half-back or on the wing with his expansive use by foot. Another Academy graduate in Marc Sheather also made the cut at no cost, bringing athleticism, a readymade frame, and developable footballing traits to the squad. He can play on each line and even above his 185cm height.

VIDEO RECAP:

Featured Image: Swans Academy graduates Braeden Campbell (left) and Errol Gulden | Credit: Jenny Evans/Getty Images via AFL Photos