Tag: taj schofield

Caleb Poulter – The Eagle soaring into first round contention

CALEB POULTER is hard to miss on the footy field. He is the big-bodied midfielder rapidly climbing his way up draft boards on the back of six outstanding SANFL Under 18s outings for Woodville-West Torrens (WWT). While a flowing mullet and rudely bright boots already make him easily identifiable, Poulter’s presence at the contest, overhead marking, and graceful coverage of the ground ensure he is truly unmistakable.

After earning a State Under 16s berth and contributing to the Eagles’ SANFL Under 18s premiership in 2019, the Adrossan junior decided to make the big move over to Henley High School in 2020. It would allow him to bridge the two-hour gap to and from training, the opportunity to consistently play alongside the likes of Bailey Chamberlain, Taj Schofield and roommate Zac Phillips, while also gaining a top-notch Year 12 education to boot.

Fast-forward through an arduous preseason and great bouts of uncertainty, Poulter hit the ground running this year with form that made him impossible to ignore. His Round 1 performance of 34 disposals, seven marks, 10 tackles, seven clearances, six inside 50s, and a goal put him on the map with a Torrens University Cup MVP nomination, but his performances since have propelled him into first round calculations. Averaging 24.5 disposals, 6.0 marks, 5.8 tackles, 3.0 clearances, 5.0 inside 50s, and over a goal per game, Poulter is one of the most dynamic and dominant midfielders at the level right now.

Such form has warranted heavy opposition attention, as well as contact with AFL recruiters. But the soaring Eagles prospect is simply looking to find consistency in his game and iron out his areas of improvement. With fellow 2019 premiership Lachlan Jones plying his trade at League level, a rise up the SANFL grades is also on the cards for Poulter in his top-age campaign.

We caught up with the talented 17-year-old during the week to chat all things footy. Below are quotes from the man himself regarding a range of topics; from his journey to this point, dealing with uncertainty, and just why he supports two AFL clubs.

THE JOURNEY SO FAR

JUNIOR FOOTY:

“It’s always been footy for me ever since I was growing up. Through AusKick and the juniors I’ve always had a passion for footy, just the competitive side of it. It’s always been footy for me.

“(WWT) Eagles invited me to all their country programs, whether that was Under 14s or Under 15s. It started to become serious in my Under 16s year, obviously playing as a Metro and Country team combined. Then last year for the Under 18s as a bottom-ager, coming into this year as a top-ager, and hopefully playing some senior footy.”

LIFE IN LOCKDOWN

INITIAL FEELINGS:

“It was obviously a surreal feeling. Me and the other boys had trained our asses off since November just to be told we don’t know when footy’s coming back. So it was quite surreal but we used the lockdown period to work on all our improvement areas. For me, it was my contested side of things, so I used that time to get in the gym and get busy so when footy did come back, I’d be ready to go.”

KEEPING CONTACT:

“It’s been pretty quiet with all the (AFL Academy) hub stuff lately. But we always touch base, whether that’s through Zoom or through Tony Bamford just having one-on-one meetings… We just try to stay connected in any way possible just in case there is a national carnival coming up at the end of the year.

“Like I said, it’s sort of quietened down now, but I know when the hub was around we did a lot of wellbeing meetings or group tasks just to benefit the team and make closer friends. Just that bonding side of things was quite big.”

RETURNING TO PLAY:

“I definitely think it’s a huge benefit for us, for myself and the other SA boys that really want to fly up the draft ranks. For Vic Country and Vic Metro not to play, I think recruiters are focussing on WA and SA players more than what they have in previous years. So I’m definitely trying to use that as a opportunity to just perform well and see what happens come the end of the year.”

SEASON 2020

STEPPING UP:

“Obviously in the preseason I worked pretty hard, whether that was out with the Eagles seniors or in the (AFL Academy) hub. I just worked on all my improvement areas and got all of them right. Then I just took some form from the preseason games earlier this year and took it on to this season so it’s been good. Hopefully I can stay consistent.

“I sat down with the senior coaches and we thought I’d just find some form in my own age group before I have the opportunity to hopefully go up and play some two’s or one’s footy. I just want to stay consistent and keep playing my role for the 18s, then hopefully later on in the season I can crack the senior side.”

MOVING SCHOOLS, TO ADELAIDE:

“I’m in Year 12. I moved from the country down to (Adelaide) last year to go to Henley High. All the boys there have been welcoming and they’ve obviously got a great football program so it’s been good so far.

“It was pretty challenging. My old school in the country, I was there until Year 11 and obviously making the move to Adelaide to go to a big school like Henley was quite nerve wracking at first… school has a great bunch of lads and we’re all a tight knit group. The coach likes for us to be tight so it’s been great training with them.

“The team’s led by players like Taj Schofield and Bailey Chamberlain, they’re great footy players and have had a great year so far. They’ve been great leaders for the younger boys coming through.”

ATTRACTING INTEREST:

“I’ve had a few Zoom meetings with AFL recruiters, a fair few clubs lately have been Zooming me. They obviously just want to get to know you as a person I guess, and as a player. They’ve been great, they just tell us if we need to work on anything.”

“I think it was against North (Adelaide) that I got thrown down back because I was getting a fair bit of attention from certain players, so I thought to break the tag the coach would put me in the backline to find a bit of the footy… It’s pretty hard having to have all that attention on me, I’ve had it for the past few weeks ever since my Round 1 performance. I just try to think about the play I guess and play my style of footy and hopefully things will pay off and the ball will come my way.”

PREFERRED POSITION:

“I definitely feel like I can benefit most for the team playing inside mid, then resting forward. But I think a big thing for me is my versatility, coaches like to put me in the backline sometimes and I can even play a bit of outside mid as well. So it’s good to have that versatility but like I said, I like playing inside mid then resting up forward like I have been this year.”

STRENGTHS:

“I’d bring physicality and competitiveness (to an AFL club). I love the hard ball so I think they’re the main two things that I bring, and obviously I’m quite an outgoing type of person so I think my personality would suit well with any bunch of boys. That’s definitely the three things for me and just overall, I’m hard working and never give up. They’re definitely the traits I like to be known by the most.”

TEAMMATES (STATE, SCHOOL, AND SANFL):

“I know there’s a lot of leaders out there like Riley Thilthorpe, playing League out at Westies this year. He’s someone who uses his experience in the hub from previous years to help out the younger boys and just get around them. So he was obviously a leader for us, and then you’ve got people like Luke Edwards and Kaine Baldwin, they were also great leaders. They definitely helped over preseason and in the hubs, it was good.

“(Lachie Jones) has been really good. He had a solid preseason with the senior boys and is fortunate enough to be playing one’s at the moment. He’s having a great year so hopefully he can stay consistent. He’s tied to Port so hopefully they can pick him up later on this year.”

BACK-TO-BACK?:

“I’m extremely excited, i just want to stay consistent and find the footy and obviously just benefit for my team and hopefully we can get a few wins on the board, crack finals and see what happens at the end of the year… going into preseason back-to-back premierships for myself and a few of the other boys was in sight. So hopefully we can work well as a team, all play out roles and see what happens.”

CALEB POULTER, THE PERSON

FAVOURITE AFL TEAM:

“I go for Geelong and Brisbane… My family always grew up going for Geelong so I went to Geelong, then when Brisbane drafted Cam Rayner and some others a few years back I sort of liked the way they play and they have a few young blokes who’re playing a good brand of footy lately.”

“I’m happy to go anywhere. All 18 clubs have a great culture and whatnot. I don’t really care where I end up, as long as I can get on an AFL list. I don’t really have any preferences, just anywhere really.”

ASPIRATIONS:

“Obviously I want to achieve good grades to get a high ATAR. If footy doesn’t work out or just as a plan B, going to uni to do something like human movement or physiotherapy definitely catches my eye.”

“On the field I just want to stay consistent and play a good style of footy and hopefully get drafted at the end of the season. Off the field it’s just to stay on top of my grades, to use my time management to get on top of my school, and then go to training and train hard. They’re the main things for me.”

MENTORS:

“My dad’s been a big support for me. He obviously played a fair bit of footy growing up and was pretty good so he gives me a lot of constructive feedback whenever I need it. And coaches like my 18s Eagles coach and the hub coaches have also been great mentors for my progression over the years as well. That’s definitely got me to where I am today, so I can’t thank them enough.”

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT
>> AFL Draft Watch: Caleb Poulter
>> August 2020 Power Rankings
>> 2020 SA Under 18s Squad Prediction

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 6

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

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

South Adelaide vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

South Adelaide:

#9 Jason Horne

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

#10 Brayden Cook

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

#19 Jamison Snelling

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

#22 Jack Flett

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

#27 Will Verrall

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

Others:

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

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide:

#15 Harvey Harrison

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

#18 James Willis

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

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

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

Others:

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

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

WWT Eagles vs. Central District

By: Tom Cheesman

WWT Eagles:

#7 Caleb Poulter

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

#31 Jase Burgoyne

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

#34 Lachlan Jones (League)

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

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

#51 Lachlan McNeil (League)

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

Others:

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

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

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

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

Central District:

#5 Kobe Wilson

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

#13 Austin McDonald

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

#26 Shay Linke

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

#27 Leek Alleer

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

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

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

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

#52 Lachlan Grubb (League)

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

Others:

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

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide vs. Norwood

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

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

#10 Eduard van den Berg

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

Others:

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

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

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

#6 Michael Cavallaro

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

#21 Jack Saunders

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

Others:

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

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

Glenelg vs. Sturt

By: Tom Wyman

Glenelg:

#2 Nasiah Wanganeen

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

#10 Ty Murphy

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

#19 Jayden Davis 

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

Others:

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

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

Sturt:

#8 Lachlan Thomas

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

#11 Will Spain

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

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

#16 Blake Higgins

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

#17 Mani Liddy

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

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

#18 Tom Powell

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

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

#19 Zabien Parker-Boers

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

#22 Ned Walter

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

#29 Tom Emmett

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

Others: 

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

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

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

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

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

>> July Power Rankings | August Power Rankings

>> 2020 South Australian Under 18s Predicted Squad

SANFL Round Six Preview

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

Woodville-West Torrens VS Central Districts

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

West Adelaide VS Norwood

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

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

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

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

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

 

North Adelaide VS South Adelaide

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Glenelg VS Sturt

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 5

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

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

Sturt vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

Sturt:

#17 Mani Liddy

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

#18 Tom Powell

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

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

#29 Tom Emmett

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

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

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

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

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

#6 Michael Cavallaro

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

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

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

#17 Daniel Fairbrother

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

#21 Jack Saunders

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

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

Others:

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

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

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide vs. Central District

By: Michael Alvaro

North Adelaide:

#3 Adam Heath

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

#15 Harvey Harrison

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

#18 James Willis

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

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

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

Others:

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

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

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

#26 Shay Linke

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

#27 Leek Alleer

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

Others:

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

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

WWT Eagles vs. Glenelg

By: Michael Alvaro

WWT Eagles:

#3 Taj Schofield

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

#7 Caleb Poulter

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

#19 Zac Phillips

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

#25 Henry Smith

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

#31 Jase Burgoyne

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

#37 William Neumann

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

Others:

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

>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

Glenelg:

#2 Nasiah Wanganeen

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

#8 Hagan Wright

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

#9 Kye Dean

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

Others:

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

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

South Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

By: Tom Cheesman

South Adelaide:

#18 Zac Dumesny (League)

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

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

#4 Max Clifton

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

#9 Jason Horne

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

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

#10 Brayden Cook

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

#33 Arlo Draper

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

Others:

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

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide:

#18 Riley Thilthorpe (League)

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

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

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

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

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

#7 Cooper Gilbert

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

#21 Nicholas Couroupis

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

Others:

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

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

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

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

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

>> July Power Rankings

SANFL weekly wrap: Round 5 – League top three go two games clear

THREE teams are sitting pretty atop the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) League ladder at 4-1 after five rounds, with North and South Adelaide behind Woodville-West Torrens by percentage alone. The trailing pack, which includes reigning premier, Glenelg and Round 5 winner, Norwood find themselves two games adrift – a crucial buffer amid the improvised season schedule. The Eagles and Panthers were the only two clubs to go undefeated across all three grades, placing them firmly in finals calculations at this early stage.

>> SCROLL for full results 

Glenelg vs. WWT Eagles

League: Glenelg 12.11 (83) def. by WWT Eagles 16.7 (103)
Reserves: Glenelg 6.7 (43) def. by WWT Eagles 13.8 (86)
Under 18s: WWT Eagles 18.16 (124) def. Glenelg 8.5 (53)

Eagles held on for a well-earned 20-point win over Glenelg at League level, capping off a hat-trick of wins over the Tigers for the round. The visitors led by 40 points at half time, and had extended the buffer out to 45 during the third term, but were reigned in by a valiant Glenelg outfit which the Eagles looking a little nervy heading into the final stages.

While the likes of Andrew Bradley (35 disposals, 10 marks), Matthew Snook (31 disposals, 12 clearances, one goal), and Liam McBean returned stellar individual performances for the Tigers, it was the even spread of WWT contributors which proved the defining factor. Joseph Sinor and Jordan Foote led the disposal count with 23 and 21 respectively, while young guns Lachlan McNeil and Rhyan Mansell played their roles well. Lachlan Jones had his hands full with McBean in defence, while James Rowe and Jake von Bertouch both booted four goals up the other end.

The Reserves and Under 18s would follow suit, with a raft of juniors shining through on a super Saturday. Jack Wheare (four goals) and Jay Watson (three) led a brigade of six Eagles multiple goalkickers, with the highly-fancied Taj Schofield and Jase Burgoyne among them. Caleb Poulter was the leading ball winner with 24 touches, outdone only by Glenelg’s William Watts (31 disposals) and Kye Dean (25). William Neumann and Harrison Dawkins were among others to fare well in the Eagles’ winning effort.

Having suffered their first Reserves defeat, the Tigers trail the undefeated Eagles and Central District in third, but remain top of the Under 18s table despite another maiden loss. WWT has risen to fifth in the junior grade, one game out of the finals spots.

South Adelaide vs. West Adelaide

League: South Adelaide 12.7 (79) def. West Adelaide 9.5 (59)
Reserves: South Adelaide 15.11 (101) def. West Adelaide 7.3 (45)
Under 18s: West Adelaide 5.12 (42) def. by South Adelaide 12.16 (88)

South Adelaide cruised home to a 20-point win over West Adelaide to remain in the hunt for top spot, blitzing the Bloods with 12 goals to five across the first three terms – including seven of the first eight majors. While Westies improved in the final stanza with four consolation goals, the damage was already done. The Reserves and Under 18s made it a three-peat for Souths, notching wins to the tune of 56 and 46 points respectively.

Joel Cross again lead all comers for the Panthers’, amassing 26 disposals, five tackles, and six clearances. Joseph Haines (20 disposals) and Thomas Highmore (23 disposals, 11 marks) continued their strong runs of form, while State Under 18 gun Zac Dumesny also stood up with 19 touches. Up forward, Eamon Wilkinson booted a game-high three goals from six touches. Jordan Boyle (26 disposals) and Kaine Stevens (25) led the way for the Bloods from the engine room, with Brett Turner‘s two majors a key spark for his side’s late form, while Dallas Willsmore made a solid return to action.

At Under 18s level, Bailey Chamberlain continued his prolific start to the season with 35 touches for West, but it was Jason Horne who stole the show with 31 disposals and three goals. The Bloods found plenty of the ball, with the likes of Nicholas Couroupis, Eduard van den Berg, Dylan White, and Cade Kennedy cracking 20 disposals, but the Panthers’ midfielders simply had more impact with their possessions. Among them, Liam Hamilton was solid with 26 disposals, while Max Clifton had 22, and Phoenix Spicer and Brayden Cook both found the goals.

South Adelaide now jumps ahead of West via percentage in the Reserves standings despite both sides boasting 1-4 records, while the winless Bloods’ Under 18s remain planted to the bottom as the Panthers soar into the finals placings.

Central District vs. North Adelaide

League: Central District 9.8 (62) def. by North Adelaide 14.8 (92)
Reserves: Central District 11.10 (76) def. North Adelaide 8.8 (56)
Under 18s: North Adelaide 12.13 (85) def. Central District 7.5 (47)

Central District again fell short of its first League win for the year, going down by 30 points to North Adelaide on Saturday. Despite leading at half time, the Bulldogs’ lead was quickly overturned as the Roosters booted nine goals to three after the main break to claim victory. While North’s Under 18s also got up, it wasn’t all bad news for Dogs fans as their side held on to go 5-0 at Reserves level.

Leading League disposal getter James Boyd added another 38 to his mammoth tally for the Bulldogs, just two clear of North’s Thomas Schwarz on 36. Mitchell Harvey‘s four goals came at the ideal time for the Roosters, helping steer them ahead in the third term as the visitors appeared to have all the answers. Keenan Ramsay (three goals) and Kym Lebois (two) were also potent, while Andrew Moore and Jarred Allmond made for a productive inside/outside combination. Luke Habel collected 26 touches for Centrals, followed by Trent Goodrem and Jarrod Schiller (both 22). State Under 18s small Corey Durdin snagged two goals from 15 disposals.

The Roosters’ Under 18s were able to kick away in their outing, with Charlie Dowling booting four goals in a promising display. Leo Coates and Zyton Santillo also found the big sticks on multiple occasions, while Kyle Brazell snared a major from his 24 disposals. Blayne O’Loughlin led all comers from defence with 27 touches, as Matthew Borg (25, 11 tackles) trailed closely. Shay Linke (22 disposals, one goal) and Austin McDonald (21, nine clearances) were again instrumental for the Bulldogs, while Leek Alleer continues to show promise, clunking seven marks in his 18-disposal effort.

Centrals now trail North by a game in the Under 18 grade, sitting at 1-4 in seventh spot. The Reserves are holding up hope for the club with their blistering form to sit top, but a winless League side will be hoping for a swift turnaround during the mid-season period.

Sturt vs. Norwood

League: Sturt 10.13 (73) def. by Norwood 13.10 (88)
Reserves: Sturt 11.14 (80) def. Norwood 5.4 (34)
Under 18s: Sturt 6.10 (46) def. by Norwood 10.12 (72)

Sturt and Norwood competed in the competition’s sole Sunday fixtures, sharing the spoils as the Redlegs claimed a road League win, while the Double Blues got one back at Reserves level. On Saturday, Norwood’s Under 18s also claimed a win, sending the Redlegs to third and level on points with first. The Norwood Reserves are still winless though, and both sides side just outside the top four in the League grade.

There were plenty of big performers as the two senior teams did battle, with Mitchell Grigg slamming home two goals from 27 touches, while Ryan Bastinac marked a successful senior dig with 23 touches and a goal, and Matthew Panos booted two from his 22 touches. For Sturt, James Battersby led all comers with 27 disposals and nine clearances, with Sam Colquhoun trailing on 24, and Joshua Hone bagging three majors from 20 disposals. Jake Sutcliffe and Tom Pinyon also kicked three goals for either side as the Redlegs clawed back from being jumped at the gun.

Sturt’s Tom Powell was again the standout at Under 18s level, this time spilling over the 40-disposal mark and claiming nine clearances in a losing effort. Jack Saunders (34 disposals, six clearances) and Cooper Murley (28 disposals, two goals) were impactful from midfield for Norwood, while Michael Cavallaro (32 disposals), Daniel Fairbrother (29), and Benjamin Ianniello (27) all found plenty of the ball. Mani Liddy and Will Spain did the same for Sturt once again, while Tom Emmett claimed a game-high four goals.

SANFL Round 4 Preview: Table-topping clash in League sets up big round of action

ROUND 4 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) will see some quality matchups across the leagues, with a couple teams still looking to assert themselves on the competition while others will look to extend their winning ways.
North Adelaide Vs Woodville-West Torrens
League: Two of the league’s most in-form sides will face off at Prospect Oval on Saturday to open round four of the SANFL Statewide Super League. The Roosters sent a stern message to the rest of the competition when they held on to defeat the reigning premiers, Glenelg, away from home. And after missing the finals last season, the Eagles also appear to have returned to their damaging best after easily accounting for Norwood on Sunday afternoon. With the Roosters and Eagles perched at the pinnacle of the ladder, the rematch of 2018’s infamous ’19th man’ preliminary final is poised to be a beauty.
Usually an efficient side in front of goal, the Roosters were slightly wayward at the Bay, booting 10 goals and 14 behinds. Although accurate themselves, Glenelg were unable to penetrate a dour red and white defence, held together by talls Tanner Smith, Cameron Craig and promising teenager Karl Finlay. The Eagles also had their issues in front of goal at times against Norwood, but bags of three straight goals from key forward Jack Hayes and energetic goal sneak James Rowe helped establish the Eagles impressive margin. North Adelaide and Woodville-West Torrens both won the possession battle against their opponents, largely thanks to the contested ball-winning abilities of their respective midfield units. Although the Tigers recorded more clearances, inside 50s and rebound 50s than the Roosters, the ferocious tacking and relentless pressure applied by Jacob Surjan’s men simply overwhelmed the Tigers. They laid 94 tackles to Glenelg’s 69, led by midfield beast Campbell Combe, who added a further 13 to his league-leading tally. The Eagles also lost many of the key statistical areas, including the clearances, hitouts, rebound 50s and tackles, however Woodville were much more effective going forward, recording 55 inside-50s to Norwood’s 34. Veteran Matthew Goldsworthy was the leader in this regard, pumping it inside 50 on a game-high eight occasions. The Roosters must be wary of his precision with ball in hand, with the 29-year-old travelling at 97 per cent disposal efficiency so far this season. In the ruck, Roosters key forward Mitch Harvey filled in for the injured James Craig and did a tremendous job, winning more hitouts than his Glenelg counterpart, former Docker Jack Hannath. Eagles bigman Jarrad Redden went head-to-head with Norwood giant Sam Baulderstone and, despite being well beaten in the hitouts, was effective around the ground and at the stoppages. Regardless of Craig’s potential return, expect the ruck duel to be hotly contested. Both sides boast potent attacks, capable of compiling goals in quick succession. The Roosters small forward fleet of Kym LeBois, Robbie Young and Frank Szekely is arguably the best in the league. Whilst Lewis Hender struggled to make an impact against his former side, Glenelg, his six goals in round one is proof of his match-winning potential. Whilst for the Eagles, the aforementioned Rowe rarely misses out in front of the goals. His goal sense and crumbing ability is excellent and will require attention from the Roosters defenders. The Hayes brothers have been a staple of the Eagles offence for several years and Jake Von Bertouch‘s recent shift forward has been a success.
Although their start has been impressive, the Roosters injury list is growing with each game. Tall Alex Barns has struggled with various complaints so far this year, while speedster Robbie Young (hamstring) and tough onballer Cam Hewett (foot) are also anticipated to miss some time after sustaining injuries in the win over the Bays. Prized recruit Billy Hartung was a late withdrawal last week with a back complaint. The club has listed his expected return as indefinite. Ruckman James Craig will face a fitness test. In contrast, the Eagles have less than a handful of injury concerns. Louis Sharrad injured his hand against Norwood, but youngster Jake Weidemann is available after recovering from a concussion. It was a tough season for North in 2019 after they started the season on -4 points. However they did manage to beat the Eagles in the final round to ensure they avoided the wooden spoon. The Eagles did, however, gain some revenge by knocking them off in round one by 25 points.
Reserves: North Adelaide’s reserves haven’t quite been as successful as the league side in the first three rounds, but a win over the Redlegs and admirable 16-point loss to Glenelg in recent weeks suggests they aren’t a pushover. However injuries to a host of regular senior players may test their depth at reserves level. The Eagles flexed their muscles against Norwood in the seconds too, recording a comfortable 63-point win to remain undefeated. Woodville-West Torrens will head into this clash as favourites, but expect North to be up for the fight.
Under-18s: The Eagles and Roosters Under-18 sides have made slow starts to their respective campaigns. However they boast some exciting talent, particularly through the midfield. North co-captain Jamison Murphy and exciting forward Tariek Newchurch are the ones to watch in the red and white. And for the Eagles, keep tabs on Power father/son prospect Taj Schofield and 190cm Caleb Poulter, who has certainly turned some heads in the first few weeks of action.
West Adelaide Vs Glenelg
League: West Adelaide will be looking to record their first win of the season when they host Glenelg at Hisense Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Bloods have come tantalisingly close over the past fortnight, drawing with Central Districts before last weekends narrow eight-point defeat to Sturt. But, despite their round three loss to North Adelaide, the Bays remain a formidable side, boasting one of the most talented squads in the league.
Whilst the ‘Westies’ may not possess the depth of talent at the disposal of some of their rivals, they showed admirable fight to steal the lead from Sturt towards the end of the third quarter last weekend. They were out-classed by the Double Blues, who won almost all of the key statistical areas. However coach Gavin Colville would have been pleased with their tackling pressure around the ground, along with the spirited individual efforts of forward Isaac Johnson and talented key position teenager Riley Thilthorpe, who got better as the game wore on. Glenelg also went down with a fight, threatening to snatch victory from the Roosters grasp at ACH Group Stadium. The Tigers were reasonably efficient going forward, kicking 11 goals and five behinds from their 53 inside 50s, however their tackle numbers, unlike West’s, were considerably lower than their opponents. Reigning Ken Farmer Medallist Liam McBean kicked multiple goals for the third straight match and hard-at-it midfielder Matthew Snook was typically industrial for Glenelg.
If they are to stand a chance of claiming victory, West Adelaide simply must restrict the scoreboard impact of McBean, who has taken the league by storm over the past 18 months. West key defenders Josh Ryan or Patrick Levicki loom as likely matchups for the 202cm McBean and fellow forward Luke Reynolds, who has proven to be just as dangerous when at his high-flying best. Interestingly, the Bloods restricted McBean to just one goal in the two games between the clubs last season. The midfield battle will also be a huge test for the inexperienced Bloods, who will likely turn to battle-hardened skipper Kaine Stevens and the 24-year-old Brett Turner in the hope of matching it against Glenelg’s potent onball unit. The aforementioned Snook provides the grunt along with inside partner Brad Agnew, with the likes of Partington and Marlon Motlop able to push forward and impact the scoreboard. New recruit Jack Hannath has been Glenelg’s go-to man in the ruck this year, with McBean occasionally providing a chop-out. West Adelaide’s Andre Parrella endured a monster opening fortnight, accumulating 92 hitouts against North and Central Districts, however he missed the clash with Sturt through illness. Stuart Taverner did a terrific job as his replacement, winning 44 hitouts against the talented Dan Fahey-Sparks. Parrella has been listed as available, however, and will be expected to return to the league side. Thilthorpe and captain Tom Keough are the focal points of the Bloods forwardline and their contrasting playing styles could prove a handful for Glenelg’s skipper Max Proud and second tall Matt Merrett.
The Bays reported no injuries from the loss to North Adelaide, however West’s Dallas Willsmore will face a test to prove he has overcome a groin complaint. The two-sides last met in round 17 of the 2019 season, with Glenelg dominating to record a 75-point win. Although it was tighter earlier in the season, Glenelg still managed to record a 16-point victory.
Reserves: Glenelg’s reserves side remain undefeated after they claimed a 16-point win over North Adelaide. They sit third on the ladder, behind Woodville-West Torrens and Central Districts, who are also yet to drop points in 2020. After opening the season with a win over the Roosters seconds, West Adelaide has suffered back-to-back defeats and will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing showing against the Double Blues. If he retains his place in the reserves side, draft hopeful Cooper Horsnell is one to watch for Glenelg in this encounter.
Under-18s: Much like at reserves level, the Bays Under-18s continue to go from strength-to-strength and are yet to record a loss. They boast a talented squad, headlined by potential Crows father-son Luke Edwards, prolific bottom-ager Lewis Rayson and strong marking key forward Riley Holder. In contrast, the West Under-18s have struggled, however talented midfielders Bailey Chamberlain and Lachlan De Cesare have performed well and mounted strong cases for state selection later in the year.
Norwood Vs Central Districts
League: Norwood will be desperate to get their season back on track when they take on fellow winless side Central Districts at Coopers Stadium in the traditional Saturday afternoon timeslot. While the Redlegs troublesome start to the year has been wildly unexpected, Central Districts fans know their club is going through a rebuilding faze, but will still expect a strong performance against a potentially vulnerable Norwood outfit. If there was ever a chance for the Bulldogs to defeat Norwood away from home, now is the time.
The Redlegs really struggled forward of centre against Woodville-West Torrens, who ran all over the top of Jarrod Cotton’s men, who have been a powerhouse of the competition for several years. Despite the best efforts of former-Crow Richard Douglas, strong tackling midfielder Josh Richards and dominant ruckman Sam Baulderstone, the Redlegs were unable to stop the talented Woodville-West Torrens forward line. Central Districts, on the other hand, fought valiantly against South Adelaide at home, but a one-point third term was never going to be enough to grind out a win. It wasn’t James Boyd‘s fault though, with the veteran midfielder racking up 39 touches, six tackles and five clearances. Luke Habel was steady as always across half-back and Troy Menzel showed glimpses of his obvious talent. Nick Lange had just eight touches but he already looks like a star in the forward line. The Dogs were beaten in the clearances, largely out-worked around the ground and smashed in the inside 50s, but their tackling pressure was noticeable.
Richy Douglas has been impressive for the Redlegs up-forward and certainly doesn’t appear to have slacked-off in the gym since leaving West Lakes. The Bulldog defenders must nullify his ability to accumulate the ball and hit the scoreboard in his natural mid/forward role. Current Central Districts captain Luke Habel or former-skipper Trent Goodram could be tasked with the job on Douglas or dangerous small forward Peter Bampton, whilst key defender Rhett Montgomerie will likely match up on Norwood tall Tommy Pinyon. Despite their winless start, the Redlegs still boast one of the most complete midfields in the competition. Mitch Grigg‘s laser-like leg hasn’t been in full swing yet, but at his best the dual Magarey Medallist can be devastating. Matthew Panos has been one of the league’s best onballers for years while Richards and Matthew Nunn are two of the best up-and-coming midfielders. Boydwas everywhere in the Central Districts midfield, but he will require additional help from the likes of Darcy Pisani and Kyle Presbury if the Dogs are to take it up to the Redlegs. Bulldog ruckman Jonathan Marsh has been impressive early in the season and he currently sits fourth in the league for hitouts. Whilst Marsh may go toe-to-toe with Baulderstone in the hitout numbers, he will need to increase his production around the ground to compete with the Norwood bigman, who is arguably as valuable around the ground as he is at stoppages. The Central Districts forward line revolves around key forward John Butcher, however the exciting and dynamic Nick Lange has added an element of x-factor to the attack, alongside the highly skilful Troy Menzel. Michael Talia may have been given the job of stopping Butcher, but he sustained a hamstring injury in the loss to Woodville-West Torrens. Whilst much of the attention of the Dogs forwards will understandably be focused on kicking a winning score, they must be wary of Norwood’s ability to rebound from defence, spearheaded by Brad McKenzie and Emmauel Irra.
Norwood and Central Districts split their two matches last season, with Norwood taking a narrow three-point victory early in the year before the Dogs bounced back, defeating their eastern suburbs opponents by 19 points in the final minor round clash. The Redlegs suffered injuries to three vital players on the weekend, with Michael Talia (hamstring), Luke Surman (hamstring) and Zac Richards (Quad) all expected to miss varying lengths of time with soft tissue injuries. Meanwhile the Dogs may be without Ryan Llewellyn after he injured his knee. Teenager Henry Nelligan was quiet on debut against the Eagles but Norwood have shown a willingness to play their youth in seasons gone by and he will be better for the experience. The Bulldogs also boast a talented young midfielder/forward of their own in Corey Durdin, who has been given an extended run at league level since debuting last season.
Reserves: Although their league side has struggled, Central Districts have been excellent at reserves level, recording reasonably comfortable victories over Sturt, West Adelaide and most recently, South Adelaide. Expect the club to reward strong form in the reserves by promoting their best performers to the senior side. The Redlegs, who won the reserves premiership last season, sit winless at the foot of the ladder but boast a number of talented players and will be buoyed by a return to The Parade.
Under-18s: The form of Norwood’s Under-18s has been a bright spot during what has been a disappointing start for the club. After a loss to pace-setters Glenelg in the opening round, triumphs over North and the Eagles have lifted them into a finals position. Central Districts were easily beaten by a talented South Adelaide outfit at Noarlunga on the weekend, but on-ballers Lewis Cowham and 16-year-old Austin McDonald have battled strongly. Keep an eye on Redlegs bottom-ager Cooper Murley, who is already finding an abundance of the ball at Under-18s level, as well as key forward Finn Heard and prolific defenders Michael Cavallaro and Matthew Dnistriansky.
South Adelaide Vs Sturt
League: Sturt will make the trip down south to take on the Panthers at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Both sides will likely be pleased with their two wins so far. South Adelaide, who will be without captain Matt Rose for 11 weeks as he recovers from a shoulder injury, bounced back from a close loss to Glenelg in round two to hold off the Bulldogs at Elizabeth on Saturday. Meanwhile the Double Blues, who were comprehensively beaten by the Eagles at Adelaide Oval in two weeks ago, held off a spirited fight from the Bloods.
Despite recording two wins, the Double Blues haven’t been entirely convincing. However they did win most of the key statistical areas against West Adelaide. They were largely clean with their ball use in general play (80 per cent disposal efficiency) and in front of goal, booting eleven goals and six behinds. Nathan Grima’s men outworked the bloods, taking 94 marks to West’s 39. While the clearance and hitout numbers were close, the cream rose to the top, with many of Sturt’s stars producing strong showings, including ball magnet Sam Colquhoun, skipper James Battersby and key defender Sam Wundke. South Adelaide weren’t at their best against Central’s, however encouraging signs from teenagers Zac Dumesny and Beau McCreery will have filled coach Jarrad Wright with optimism. The Panthers midfield won the clearance battle 36 to 28, with Joel Cross and Matthew Broadbent accumulating five and nine respectively. Also pivotal to their victory was the work of Tom Highmore and Joseph Haines down back. Haines was simply everywhere, with his strong aerial presence proving difficult for the Bulldogs to penetrate when going forward. He has come on in leaps and bounds this season and has established himself as one of the league’s best defenders, who also has the capacity to push up onto a wing. Although they could have been more efficient in front of goal, the Panthers controlled proceedings for much of the game and smashed Central’s in the inside 50s.
The Sturt forward line has struggled at times this season, but the talent of Josh Hone, Jake Sutcliffe and Ash Johnson is undeniable. Johnson kicked one goal and five behinds last weekend but looks lively whenever he goes near the ball. The Double Blues must also hold Haines, Highmore and Jake Summerton accountable and prevent them from taking intercept marks across the halfback line. They took a combined 29 marks against the Bulldogs. Sturt’s Mark Evans and Zane Kirkwood regularly rotate through the forward line and present a threat for the likes of Jaidan Kappler and Alex Cailotto. In the midfield, experienced SANFL stars James Battersby (Sturt) and Joel Cross (South Adelaide) may go head-to-head. Both are particularly strong at stoppages and prolific around the ground. Sturt’s Abe Davis will be keen to put in a good performance against his former club. He boasts genuine x-factor with his size, strength and scoreboard impact in the midfield. Youngsters Dumesny, Hayden Sampson and Darnell Tucker have all shown encouraging signs, with the former producing his best league performance to-date against the Bulldogs. The Double Blues also have a couple of handy young talents in Casey Voss, Tom Lewis and Jed McEntee. Lewis had just eight disposals in his league debut, but it was no surprise to see him lay a game high eleven tackles. Voss laid nine himself while McEntee’s defensive pressure was particularly noticeable in the opening fortnight of matches. The ruck battle also appears set to feature a couple of emerging talents, with Sturt duo Dan Fahey-Sparks (22-years-old) and Lachlan Burrows (19-years-old) teaming up against 21-year-old South bigman Cameron McGree. Tall forwards Sam Overall and Ben Haren pose strong aerial threats in the South Adelaide forward line, with the aforementioned McCreery and the explosive Liam Fitt impressing as small/medium-sized types. While Haines was impressive for the Panthers, Sam Wundke also stood out playing a similar role for Sturt, with his rebound and intercept marking ability proving invaluable.
The Double Blues will be without small defender Guy Page (hamstring) and wingman Matthew Crocker (quad) for up to three weeks each but the Panthers could regain Malcolm Karpany, who will face a fitness test to prove he has overcome a back complaint. Sturt won both matchups between the two sides last season, by 22-points in round five and 36 in round 12.
Reserves: Although the Panthers league side appears set to battle it out for a finals spot, the immediate future doesn’t look quite as bright for their reserves, who remain winless after loosing to Central Districts by 71 points. Sturt were also staring down the barrel of a zero and three start to the year, but made light work of West Adelaide on home turf. Draft watchers should keep an eye out for Sturt key defender and Crows NGA prospect James Borlase in this one.
Under-18s: This Under-18s clash is shaping as a ripping contest and features some of the state’s brightest prospects. Sturt has been led to an undefeated start by prolific on-ballers Mani Liddy and Tom Powell, who have both accumulated a heap of the ball early on. South Adelaide bottom-agers Jason Horne and Matthew Roberts also have no issues getting their hands on the ball and already appear a class above Under-18s level. In-form forwards Liam Hamilton (South) and Zabien Parker-Boers (Sturt) also loom large for their respective sides.

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 3

ROUND 3 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we turned our attention to the prospects running around in the Under 18 competition, with a heavy focus on State Academy based talent and others who may push for selection along the line. A bunch of top-end juniors plied their trade in senior grades over the weekend, so also get a look-in.

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

South Adelaide vs. Central District

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide:

#4 Max Clifton 

The inside midfielder stood up for the Panthers, who were without skipper Nick Kraemer for much of the contest. Clifton was a constant presence around the contest from the outset, showing a nice burst of speed to break away from the opening bounce. Later on, he completed a quick one-two before kicking long inside-50 to set-up a Phoenix Spicer goal.

Although his toughness in-tight and strong tackling was once-again terrific, Clifton also had a strong influence around the ground. His clever knock-on in the second term helped generate a promising inside-50 entry for South. Clifton backed his strength and speed when he took on the man on the mark after electing to play-on, ultimately gaining a few vital extra metres. Whilst his field kicking was hot-and-cold, he showed good penetration by foot. A regular contributor for the Panthers, Clifton was again prolific against the Bulldogs, concluding the outing with 25 disposals, two marks, seven tackles, five clearances and seven inside-50s.

#9 Jason Horne 

The clash between South Adelaide and Central District featured a handful of the state’s best bottom-aged talent, and 2018 SA Under 16 skipper and MVP, Horne stole the show. Horne lined up against fellow under-ager Austin McDonald at the opening bounce but also spent time on Lewis Cowham throughout the contest. Despite being a year-younger than the majority of players out there, Horne showed signs of his prodigious talent and looked a cut-above at times.

Highlights of his game featured a series of textbook roves, a terrific contested mark in a heavily crowed pack, and three last quarter goals. His foot skills were neat throughout the match and he wasn’t afraid to attempt risky inboard passes. Like many of his teammates, his tackling was excellent. Horne collected 26 disposals, eight marks, six tackles, four clearances and four inside-50s to go with his second bag of three goals at Under 18s level.

#15 Liam Hamilton

Medium-forward, Hamilton kicked a game-high five goals in the 76-point triumph, showing both skill and goal sense at ground level, and strength in the air. He dribbled home the game’s first goal after just 19 seconds and, just moments later, kicked the Panthers’ third with a neat right-foot snap. His positioning and ability to judge the flight of the ball better than his opponents allowed him to take eight marks, all of which were uncontested. He concluded the outing with 18 disposals and could have even kicked more if not for three behinds.

#18 Zac Dumesny (League)

The utility produced his best performance since making his League debut in Round 1. Throughout the day, Dumesny found himself in acres of space, often taking a mark with no Bulldogs opponent in sight. Able to play a roll in all three zones, Dumesny spent time as the link-man across half-back and along the wing at X Convenience Oval. In the opening term, he found veteran midfielder Joel Cross with a well-placed left-foot kick to his advantage. Shortly after, he took a mark from a short Cross kick and, this time, used his trusty right boot to centre the ball to the hotspot, 35-metres out from goal. He continually showed great footy intelligence to find open space and used the ball with trademark efficiency.

In the second term, Dumesny’s composure was evident when he resisted pulling the trigger on a long kick downfield and chose to handball to an open teammate rather than blaze away. Whilst a couple of his kicks didn’t reach their intended target, his field kicking was largely impressive and helped South retain possession. In the third term he found himself alone inside 50, marked the centring-ball from Beau McCreery, and converted the regulation set-shot from short range. It was another encouraging performance from Dumesny, who appears to have cemented his spot in the South Adelaide League side thanks largely to his clean skills (kicking at 91 per cent efficiency for the season), versatility and smart running. Dumesny finished with 19 disposals, ten marks, a goal and three inside-50s.

#21 Matthew Roberts

Whilst fellow bottom-ager, Horne stood-out with his stoppage nous and scoreboard impact, Roberts was equally brilliant around the ground, gathering another 27 disposals to back-up his 32-touch effort in last weekend’s loss to Glenelg. Roberts’ foot skills were typically clean all day, with his damaging left-foot picking out targets which many players would be hesitant to even attempt.

Whilst he wasn’t as dominant at the stoppages as last week, his lightning-fast, clean hands were a highlight. Roberts ran all day, but more importantly, he ran into the right spots, allowing him to accumulate 11 marks. He leads the Under 18s competition in total marks and has an innate ability to rack up disposal-after-disposal. Roberts is already one of the most prolific on-ballers in the league and will only further improve as he gains more exposure against top-aged talent. He finished with 27 disposals, 11 marks, two tackles, two clearances, two inside-50s and two rebound-50s.

#23 Phoenix Spicer

The silky-smooth Spicer produced a terrific performance on the wing and up forward. His one-touch pickups and general cleanliness at ground-level was breathtaking at times, and his run-and-carry proved vital to the Panthers’ strong scoring. He snapped two back-to-back goals in the first quarter to extend the Panthers lead. The first came from a close-range and the second from further out, but both highlighted his terrific goal sense.

His aforementioned clean hands, elite agility, and ability to find separation on outside of contests allowed him to send the ball inside 50 on eight occasions. His tackling pressure was also encouraging. Spicer collected 23 disposals three marks, four tackles and eight inside 50s in what was a complete performance from the Morphetville junior.

#35 Tom Highmore (League)

Highmore was again impressive in his backline role. For a 22-year-old in just his third League match, his intercept marking was a standout. Highmore was opposed to former-Power forward John Butcher at times and restricted the big-man to just one goal. Highmore combined well with prolific-defender Joseph Haines and Central District found it difficult to penetrate the forwardline with the pair controlling the airways all-day. His foot skills under-pressure were also excellent and he provided plenty of rebound from defence. Highmore finished the contest with 19 disposals, eight marks and three rebound-50s.

Others:

Panthers skipper, Kraemer was heavily involved early, laying a couple of strong tackles after getting wrapped up himself. However he was forced off under the blood rule after he laid a tackle deep in defence. He briefly returned, breaking away from a stoppage and gaining an inside-50, however he sat out the second half, likely as a result of the earlier knock.

Liam Nye was another Panther to boot multiple goals, rounding out the contest with three majors. His ability to find space allowed him to take nine marks, but Panthers coaches would have been impressed with his tackling intensity and willingness to apply plenty of defensive pressure. Cooper Rogers was also prolific, collecting 20 disposals, eight tackles and five clearances. His quick and clean hands in-tight stood out on a couple of occasions.

Jaiden Magor produced arguably his best performance at Under 18s level, having dominated for the Panthers Under 16s in their two games earlier in the year. An All-Australian at the Under 15 National carnival last year, Magor won seven clearances, laid seven tackles and kicked two goals. He could have had as many as five if he had converted a number of other chances. Magor looks to have a long right-foot kick and will certainly be one to watch climb up the ranks over the coming years.

>> SOUTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Central District:

#13 Austin McDonald

Against a talented South Adelaide midfield, 16-year-old McDonald didn’t get his hands on the ball as often as the opening two matches. However, to his credit, he didn’t drop his head despite the lop-sided result and his defensive work around the stoppages remained excellent for the entirety of the match. McDonald spent the game slogging it out on-ball against the likes of Horne, Roberts, and Clifton and laid several strong tackles to force stoppages. Despite his age and smaller stature, the Barossa product showed he is more than willing to do the hard stuff, even when his side is being well beaten. McDonald finished with ten disposals, one marks, seven tackles and two inside-50s.

#15 Lewis Cowham

Along with McDonald, the tough on-baller once again battled tirelessly in the Bulldogs engine room. At times he played a lone hand in the midfield as the talented South youngsters gained control. He found himself at the bottom of several packs, constantly trying to get the ball going his side’s way. His strength overhead was also on display in the second term when he took an excellent contested, one-on-one grab. The small midfielder was easily his side’s most prolific player, accumulating 21 disposals to go with three marks, five tackles and eight clearances. He also showed a nice turn of pace on a couple of occasions, to supplement his strong numbers.

#31 Corey Durdin (League)

In what was a rough outing for the Bulldogs, who remain winless in season 2020, it was difficult for the small forward to assert himself on the contest. Yet despite his forwardline role, Durdin showed a real eagerness to get involved up the ground when much of the play was unfolding in the Panthers’ attacking half of the ground. He picked up his first meaningful touch of the game by providing an option out of defence, taking an easy mark and switching the play with a neat short kick. Later in the opening term, he gathered a loose ball in the middle of the expansive X Convenience Oval and gave off a simple-but-effective handball to the running David Haydon, who sent the Bulldogs into attack.

Later, the talented Durdin got himself into the perfect crumbing position and was the beneficiary of a Dumesny spoil. But he would have benefitted from showing a bit more composure when his hurried kick forward was easily intercepted by a South Adelaide defender. Durdin took a good mark from a centring ball in the third term and played on immediately, kicking long to the advantage of teammate John Butcher in a one-on-one. When around the ball Durdin wasn’t afraid to crack in hard, however he was bumped off it on a couple of occasions. He showed why he is viewed as one of SA’s best draft prospects when he won a tough one-on-two marking contest, managing to bring the ball to ground and force a kick forwards. Although he did make a couple of errors by foot, it was a tough game for the Bulldogs forwards, who struggled to hit the scoreboard after recording just 20 inside-50s for the match. Durdin finished with 11 disposals, four marks and three inside-50s.

Others:

Shay Linke was one of the Bulldogs’ best on what proved to be a difficult trip to Noarlunga. He worked well with Cowham and McDonald in the middle, collecting 16 disposals, a game-high 12 tackles, six clearances and four inside-50s.

Leek Alleer also showed some nice signs, with his extreme athleticism a focal point. Alleer used his 196cm frame and explosive leap to take three strong contested marks and he also led his side with five inside-50s. Ruckman Wyatt Ryan was effective, winning 27 hit-outs and providing a strong aerial presence around the ground.

>> CENTRAL DISTRICT TEAM PAGE

North Adelaide vs Glenelg

By: Ed Pascoe

North Adelaide: 

#9 Jamison Murphy

It was another typical game from Murphy, using his smarts and size at stoppages to advantage, while showing his mix of contested ability and defensive ability in tackling with intent. Murphy again showed a cool head at stoppages, often cracking in hard and often making the right decision by hand and foot when in possession. The one aspect Murphy could improve is his scoreboard impact, which he almost did -taking a strong lead-up mark, but missing the set shot. Murphy was one of North Adelaide’s best players, finishing the game with 26 disposals, eight tackles and six clearances.

#21 Tariek Newchurch

Newchurch had some close company and found it tough to get going in the early stages, pitted against Glenelg’s Hagan Wright. It wasn’t a good day in front of the scoreboard for Newchurch but he was still able to show off his dazzling speed and agility, and make it clear if given an inch, he can potentially take a mile. Newchurch started to come into the game more late in the piece once Wright was moved off him and he had a great bit of play, taking on fellow speedster Nasiah Wanganeen and winning that dual to show just how quick he is. Newchurch finished the game with 14 disposals and two behinds, but the main stat was 0 tackles which he would want to improve to become a complete package as a small forward going in future.

#22 Lam Simon

One of many NGA talents for Adelaide, the bottom-age defender grew as the game went on, showing plenty of scope for improvement and raw natural talent with his ability to read the play and intercept. It wasn’t smooth sailing to start the game for Simon, despite getting to the right spots he wasn’t quite holding his marks, but was good to see him try and butter up any missed opportunities. It wasn’t until the second half where his intercept game really started to click, taking some very strong marks and getting to some good spots. Simon finished the game with 16 disposals and eight marks, and will hopefully continue to improve his game.

#25 Blayne O’Loughlin

The bottom-age talent who is also tied to Adelaide’s NGA was outstanding down back with his confidence and skills real features, especially with the amount of pressure put on the North defence. Often tasked with the kick-ins, he didn’t miss many of his kicks with his long left boot. Kick-ins can often pad stats, but he still won plenty of the ball with his rebounding ability and even with his intercepting – where he would often quickly play on and hit targets with ease. O’Loughlin finished the game with 28 disposals (team high) and eight marks in a composed and mature defensive display.

>> NORTH ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Glenelg:

#8 Hagan Wright

Wright had the tough task of manning up livewire forward, Newchurch and he did a terrific job – not only limiting his influence, but also providing rebound to try and make Newchurch accountable. Wright showed great attack on the ball and made that his focus first and foremost, and wasn’t afraid of having a run with the ball to drive it forward. Wright was later moved into the midfield and looked great with his burst from stoppages, and although he looks like a natural midfielder, he has added a string to his bow with the ability to shut down the other clubs’ dangerous small forward. He finished the game with 27 disposals and seven marks.

#13 Luke Pedlar

Pedlar continues to impress this year with his contested game and ability to hit the scoreboard, and that much was evident again against North Adelaide. Pedlar is a hard player to stop with his strong marking ability and power out of stoppages a real highlight, and he had two fantastic bits of play which also showed his strong work-rate.

The first was a good smother which he would later recover and kick forward, following that up laying a big bump on the opposition. Just when you thought he might have done enough, he continued to run forward to take a strong mark and then capitalise on his hard work with a nice goal. The second was a great chase to bowl over his opponent and then he would continue again to receive the ball and power away from congestion, leaving the opposition in his wake before delivering a good kick down the line.

Pedlar may lack some consistency by foot, but his work-rate and impact couldn’t be questioned with a strong performance, winning 18 disposals while also laying six tackles and kicking three goals.

#22 Lewis Rayson

Another terrific game for the quick bottom-age talent, who just continues to win the ball at ease either down back or running the ball on the wing. He has shown a good mix of getting back and setting up play, but also getting forward and finding targets inside 50. Rayson has a lot of tricks; he showed he could intercept mark with a few very courageous marks, and his trademark speed and class was on show with a blistering run and then bullet pass inside 50 to teammate, Lucas Schultz. Rayson finished the game with 35 disposals and 11 marks in a best-on-ground performance, and he certainly looks a prospect for the 2021 draft.

#25 Luke Edwards

The potential Crows father-son prospect has been playing his role for Glenelg perfectly, playing mostly forward which hasn’t been his main position these last few years. He has been able to not only lead up at the ball well and take marks, but also get up the ground to help with Glenelg’s link-up play where he can use his smarts and composure. Edwards wasn’t able to hit the scoreboard himself, but set up plenty, not messing around in getting the ball inside 50. Edwards finished the game with 24 disposals, eight marks, and four tackles and although he hasn’t had the biggest impact you would expect from him going into this year, he is playing his role perfectly for what the Tigers need in their side right now.

Others:

Wanganeen made the wing his own, showing off his great agility, clean hands and composure. He has had a great start to the season, and had 21 disposals with a quieter last quarter when the game was already won. Xavier Robins was again a cool head in defence. The rebounding left footer was trusted with the kick-ins, which he did well and also impressed with his ability to intercept mark. He finished with 24 disposals and six marks.

State 18s squad member Riley Holder again looked good with his lead-up work, proving to be a great target going forward for Glenelg. He finished the game with 14 disposals, eight marks, and one goal. Schultz has also been a handful up forward all season, and that continued again as he kicked some sensational goals to show his forward craft and smarts. He finished the game with 14 disposals, seven marks, and five goals.

>> GLENELG TEAM PAGE

Norwood vs. WWT Eagles

By: Tom Cheesman

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

Murley continued his impressive start to the 2020 season with another standout performance. He collected 29 disposals, seven clearances, six tackles and five inside 50s. He was tough at the contest and more than willing to work hard and spread on the outside. The AFL Academy prospect is proving to be one of the most hard-running midfielders in the competition, using his explosive pace to push forward and impact the scoreboard. He kicked two goals on Saturday, including a brilliant running goal from a stoppage midway through the third term. Murley could use his burst of speed away from stoppages more frequently to get to the next level, but the bottom-ager has time to develop this feature of his game.

#6 Michael Cavallaro

Cavallaro played well for the Redlegs, finishing with 21 disposals, seven marks and four inside 50s. It was evident that he has a great football IQ as he often got involved in switches of play and linked up with teammates to carry the ball forward. Although he is small for an Under 18, his height was never an issue throughout this contest because he always gets himself to the right positions. His right-foot kick is very reliable and it was clear that teammates sought to give him the ball whenever possible to capitalise on this.

#21 Jack Saunders

Saunders was the best midfielder on the ground, which says a lot given the likes of Poulter, Murley and Schofield were playing. He continually read the ball off the hands of the ruckmen, used quick hands and laid strong tackles to impact the stoppages. A brilliant smother in the first quarter highlighted Saunders’ commitment to the contest from the outset. He also used run-and-carry to transition the ball into attack and give the Redlegs’ forwards one-on-one opportunities. His kicks were not always accurate but he always followed them up and never gave up on any contest. He finished with 25 disposals, nine tackles and seven clearances.

#25 Matthew Dnistriansky

Dnistriansky continued his role as Norwood’s designated kicker in the defence, collecting 16 disposals, six rebound 50s and three inside 50s. His booming right-foot kicks often cleared the Eagles’ defensive setup and launched the Redlegs into attack. He showed that he is not one-dimensional either, regularly hitting the contest hard and laying two strong tackles. It would be great to see Dnistriansky get some more midfield minutes as the season progresses so that he can show more of that side to his game.

#30 Finn Heard

Heard was brilliant up forward, providing a strong presence and clunking ten marks (four contested). His set-shot goal kicking was an issue however, as he had ten shots that resulted in five goals, four behinds and one wobbler that did not make the distance. Heard kicked multiple goals from beyond the 50-metre arc, so he showed he has great range and actually looked more comfortable kicking from a longer distance. He has kicked ten goals from three matches and leads the SANFL Under 18 goal kicking alongside Glenelg’s Schultz and Sturt’s Morgan Ferres. There is no doubt that Heard has a bright future and may have caught the eyes of AFL recruiters over the past couple of weeks.

Others:

It might have gone under the radar given some of the midfielders’ performances in this game, but Ronald Carbine was very solid down back. He repeatedly repelled the Eagles’ attacks and laid a number of important tackles, finishing with 12 disposals, six tackles and five marks. Classy left-footer Xavier Tranfa was consistent through the midfield, kicking two goals to go with 18 disposals and six inside 50s.

>> NORWOOD TEAM PAGE

WWT:

#3 Taj Schofield

Port Adelaide father-son prospect, Schofield has great agility and showed that in the first two and a half quarters of Saturday’s match. He always hunts the footy and is very composed with ball in hand, highlighted by a clever side-step in the first term, and a clean pick-up and snap goal in the third term. Unfortunately, Schofield limped off the field with what looked to be an ankle injury midway through the third quarter and did not return to the game. The Eagles’ midfield struggled significantly from this point onwards, demonstrating how important Schofield is to their side. He finished with 17 disposals and five clearances.

#7 Caleb Poulter

Big-bodied midfielder, Poulter was a shining light for the Eagles in their loss, collecting 29 disposals, eight marks, five tackles and two goals. He was incredibly dangerous when playing up forward, creating havoc both in the air and on the ground. Poulter’s marking ability was on show on Saturday, as he was rarely out-marked and was frequently a go-to option for his side coming out of defence. His disposals can be rushed and wayward at times, but his left-foot kick is terrific whenever he has time to compose himself before delivering to a teammate. A nice goal from 50 in the third term showed that his kick has great range too.

#31 Jase Burgoyne

Another Port Adelaide father-son prospect, Burgoyne showed some promising signs throughout the match. The bottom-ager was clean with ball in hand and took a couple of nice intercept marks at half-back. He has a light frame, so once he gains more strength he should have confidence to go for those intercept marks more regularly throughout matches. His disposal was a bit casual at times, but this is something he will tidy up with more experience. Burgoyne finished with 27 disposals, five marks and seven rebound 50s.

>> SANFL League Rd 3 Player Focus – Lachlan Jones
>> WWT EAGLES TEAM PAGE

West Adelaide vs. Sturt

By: Michael Alvaro

West Adelaide:

#2 Harvey Bock

It was a tough day for the Bloods’ defenders, but Bock stood up regularly as a leader inside defensive 50. He competed well on the last line, reading the play intelligently to come off his opponent at the right time, while also proving strong in one-on-one contests. His kick-first approach also came to the fore, entrusted with the kick-ins and constantly looking to gain meterage with his penetrating boot. There was plenty of mopping up for Bock to do, and he also contributed with a couple of handy intercepts. A final term move into the middle brought about a nice steal and clearance, with that strength again becoming evident.

#6 Bailey Chamberlain

The prime mover through West Adelaide’s midfield again racked up the most disposals, gathering 20 to go with six tackles, five clearances, and four marks on a day where he faced stiff opposition. Chamberlain was made to work hard for his contributions; often seen shifting back into defensive 50 to help out his under-siege teammates, and producing a sound short kicking game in that third of the field. He started the game well too, booting forward the first centre clearance as Westies’ stoppage anchor, while also tackling hard going the other way.

With his kicking working up to scratch, Chamberlain also proved his effectiveness by hand, dishing off cleanly to teammates on the outer when afforded little space. He will perhaps find himself in that outside, handball receive role while running through the state squad, but has been forced to be more of an extractor at SANFL Under 18s level. His energy and pace were consistent through the day in what was another solid shift.

#32 Thomas Rundle

Rundle was arguably West Adelaide’s most threatening forward, having shown promising glimpses when afforded the opportunity. His work on the lead was sound, marking strongly at full flight and getting good separation from his direct opponent. His first of three goals came after he clunked a terrific mark, sinking the resultant set shot, and a similar pattern earned him a second goal in the first half. Rundle continued to present well and judge the ball smartly in flight, with a couple of would-be grabs taken off him at the umpire’s discretion. His third goal was slotted from 40 metres on a tight angle, capping a performance which yielded 12 disposals and eight marks (two contested).

Others:

Tenacious small midfield pair Cade Kennedy (17 disposals, nine tackles) and Lachlan De Cesare (13 disposals, eight tackles, five clearances) again worked hard through the engine room for Westies, burrowing in to win the hard ball and applying good pressure at the contest. Hamish Dunkin was kept busy in the back half, accumulating 15 disposals and seven marks, while Tyrell Sgroi booted three goals having poured on some smothering tackling pressure inside forward 50.

>> WEST ADELAIDE TEAM PAGE

Sturt:

#13 Bradley Jefferies

While he didn’t quite set the game alight, Jefferies was again one of Sturt’s better midfielders on the day and returned another performance of over 20 disposals. The bottom-ager possesses a good balance through midfield, able to flick out releasing handballs, while also looking sound on the ball in open space. In fact, he looked far more assured in his disposal when granted time on the ball, able to gain better penetration in his kicking and hit targets. That kind of effectiveness lacked for Jefferies at times in congestion as he lost his footing, although he did snap through a terrific third term goal to cap off a solid outing.

#15/21 Mani Liddy

One of the premier midfielders in SA, Liddy pulled off some breathtaking moments throughout another consistent outing, with his poise in traffic and strength at the contest both clearly evident. On two seperate occasions, Liddy would be seen leaping to gather the ball, keeping his arms up while being tackled, and releasing a deft handball to his running teammates, which is exactly the kind of play which sets him apart. He also shrugged opponents off with ease, or snatched possession from their grasp through sheer tenacity, helping Sturt take over the game from midfield.

Liddy seemed to spend a touch more time up forward on Saturday, where he was able to find space regularly and make things happen inside attacking 50, despite not finding the big sticks. His output lifted after a three-quarter time scuffle which saw him change to jumper number 21, responding with the first two centre clearances of the final term. That kind of hunger was matched by Liddy’s smarts in this appearance, highlighted by some shrewd underground handballs, terrific vision around the stoppages, and rare efficiency by hand. He finished with eight clearances from 22 disposals.

#18 Tom Powell

Powell was far and away the best afield, setting himself apart with an unmatched ball winning ability, and consistent impact on the contest where it mattered most. The balanced midfielder is one of the finest exponents of the handball in this year’s crop, and would have run very close to 100 per cent efficiency in that area – something he has been known to achieve on recent form. But what was perhaps most pleasing about Powell’s game on Saturday was the added dimensions to his craft; showcasing his improved work on the spread, and aptitude in running with the ball, and a higher output by foot.

While Powell’s agility and awareness at the contest remained, it was clear that the confidence he gained throughout a dominant third term allowed him to better take the game on with some daring dash away from the contest and sharp disposal on the end of it. He was nothing short of dominant in against the relatively small Westies midfield, collecting a monster 39 disposals, 14 clearances, and eight inside 50s. All the pieces of the puzzle seem to be falling into place, with Powell’s potential being met after long stints on the sideline last year.

#19 Zabien Parker-Boers

The medium-sized forward booted an incredible seven goals for the Double Blues, adding to his tally across the day and finishing strongly with four majors in the final term. Parker-Boers showed good awareness in his positioning forward of the ball, first sighted latching onto a long ball over the back inside 50. His work rate to get up the ground was noticeable, but the top-ager looked far more lively closer to goal, where he made the most of his opportunities. Whether it was converting snaps around the corner, set shots from intercept marks, or finishes on the run, Parker-Boers thrived amid Sturt’s dominance to put in a breakthrough performance.

Others: 

Usual suspects Will Spain (21 disposals, six tackles, six clearances) and Malachy Carruthers (20 disposals, six marks) were again solid contributors for Sturt in a big win, plying their trades through midfield and off half-back respectively. Morgan Ferres had a few nice moments up forward, showing his strength to mark well on the lead and in one-on-one situations, while booting one goal. Jacob Lochowiak was also lively in the front half, booting two goals and applying great physical, tackling pressure.

>> STURT TEAM PAGE

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

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

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

>> July Power Rankings

SANFL weekly wrap Round 3: Roosters crow with triumph over Tigers

SOUTH Australian football continued on the weekend with North Adelaide now the new premiership favourites following an impressive win over reigning premiers Glenelg in the League competition, while three sides remain unbeaten in the Reserves, and two others in the Under 18s. Six of the eight clubs are unbeaten in at least one of the three grades, giving fans something to smile about over the weekend and season thus far in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL).

Central District vs. South Adelaide

South Adelaide has enjoyed a comfortable 44-point win over Central District in the league game, blowing away their opponents in the last term. The Panthers led by 15 points at the final break having inaccurately kicked 5.11, before piling on 6.1 to 1.2 in the last quarter to run away with the contest. South Adelaide arguably should have won by more with a whopping 54 inside 50s to 20, though the Bulldogs’ defence did well with 43 rebounds to 15. Central also led the tackle count with 72-51, while the Panthers had 24 more marks for the game.

Joseph Haines led the way in disposals for the Panthers, picking up 30 touches, 11 marks – two contested – and two inside 50s, while former Port Adelaide midfielder Matthew Broadbent racked up a game-high nine clearances to go with 26 touches, eight marks and five inside 50s. Joel Cross (25 disposals, six marks – two contested – five clearances and four inside 50s) and Ben Heaslip (24 disposals, eight marks – one contested – three clearances and five inside 50s) were impressive, while Zach Dumesny stood tall with a goal from 19 touches, 10 marks and three inside 50s.

James Boyd brought his own ball to the game for Central, racking up a mind-boggling 39 disposals, 11 marks, six tackles, five clearances and seven rebounds. He worked well in midfield with Troy Menzel (27 touches, 11 marks – two contested – three tackles, three clearances and a goal) and Darcy Pisani (22 disposals, two marks, four tackles, six clearances and two rebounds). Luke Habel and David Haydon combined for 38 disposals, 14 marks and eight rebounds working hard in the back half, while Corey Durdin had another 11 touches, as well as four marks and three inside 50s.

In the Reserves it was Central District that handed out a heavy beating, slamming home a whopping 12 goals to one in the second half to run away with the contest in a one-sided affair. The win meant Central sits atop the Reserves ladder while the Panthers hold up the competition at the other end of the table.

It was another big win to South Adelaide in the Under 18s, with the Panthers recording a comprehensive 76-point victory over Central District. The Panthers were on from the first bounce, booting six goals to zero in the opening term, and then kept Central scoreless in the final term while piling on five goals to win 16.12 (108) to 4.8 (32). The Panthers had an extra 113 disposals, 45 marks and 20 inside 50s showing just how dominant they were.

Bottom-age Panthers, Matthew Roberts and Jason Horne both had some big days out, as Roberts racked up 27 touches and 11 marks, while Horne finished with three goals from 26 disposals, six tackles, four clearances and four inside 50s. Max Clifton was strong in midfield with five clearances and seven inside 50s to go with 26 touches and seven tackles, teaming up well with Cooper Rogers and Jaiden Magor who combined for 41 disposals, 16 tackles, 11 clearances and 10 inside 50s, while Magor slotted 2.3. Liam Hamilton was the most prominent forward for the Panthers snagging five goals from eight scoring shots, while Liam Nye kicked the three majors.

Lewis Cowham was again one of Central’s best despite the loss, picking up a team-high 21 disposals and nine clearances, as well as five tackles, three marks and two inside 50s. Shaye Linke (16 disposals, two marks, 12 tackles, six clearances, four inside 50s and a goal) was prominent, as was Jacob Fiebiger (15 disposals, three marks and eight rebounds) of of defence. Similarly, Darcy McDonald and Aidan Ponton had 14 touches and five rebounds each.

 

Glenelg vs. North Adelaide

Booting the last three goals of the game would not be enough for Glenelg as the reigning premiers undefeated streak came to an end at the hands of North Adelaide on Saturday. In a seesawing contest, the Tigers led by five points at quarter time, before the Roosters took control to lead at each of the other breaks, including by as much as 19 points at three quarter time. North Adelaide got out to a 20-point lead in the last term, before Luke Reynolds booted two goals, and then Carl Nicholson snagged one, but it would not be enough to get the Tigers over the line, going down by three points, 11.5 (71) to 10.14 (74).

Campbell Combe had 27 disposals, two marks, 13 tackles, nine clearances and three inside 50s in a big game, while a number of his teammates racked up 25 touches. Jared Allmond (25 disposals, four marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and a goal), Mitchell Clisby (25 disposals, two marks, three tackles, three clearances, four inside 50s and four rebounds) and Thomas Schwarz (25 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, two clearances and four inside 50s) were all prolific. In front of goal, Kym Lebois was the sole multiple goalkicker with three majors, while Mitch Harvey had 35 hitouts from 15 disposals, six marks – two contested – and four clearances.

Liam McBean and Reynolds both snagged three goals for the Bays, while Darcy Bailey booted two majors in the narrow defeat. Matthew Snook picked up 27 disposals, three marks, 13 tackles, six clearances and seven inside 50s, with Bradley Agnew and Jack Hannath huge around the stoppages. Agnew finished with 23 disposals, three marks, six tackles, eight clearances and six inside 50s, as Hannah racked up 31 hitouts for 21 touches, six marks, nine clearances and five inside 50s. Luke Partington also had 20 touches, six marks, five tackles and five inside 50s in a solid display.

In the Reserves, Glenelg bounced back from a goalless first term to run over the top of North Adelaide thanks to a stronger second half. The Bays trailed by 14 points at quarter time and eight at half-time, but booted eight goals to five in the second half, with a five goals to one third term in particular the difference between the sides. In the end, Glenelg took home the chocolates, 10.9 (69) to 8.5 (53).

In a very one-sided contest that ended in Glenelg triumphing by a whopping 75 points, it was inaccuracy that ultimately hurt North Adelaide, booting just 2.15 for the game as the Roosters’ opponents piled on 16.6. Most of that damage was done in the opening half as the Bays booted 10.5 to 2.7, and then held North Adelaide goalless in the second half with eight behinds to the Roosters’ name, while Glenelg piled on 6.1 in that time for a 16.6 (102) to 2.15 (27) victory.

Lewis Rayson had a big game in the win, picking up 35 disposals, 11 marks – one contested – four tackles, three inside 50s and five rebounds. Also busy for the Tigers were Hagan Wright (27 disposals, seven arks, two tackles, three inside 50s and seven rebounds) and Henry McAuliffe (25 disposals, two marks, six tackles, three clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds). Potential Adelaide father-son selection Luke Edwards had plenty of the ball with 24 touches, eight marks, four tackles and 10 inside 50s, while Lucas Schulz (five goals), Luke Pedlar (three), Riley Davis (three) and Hugh Stagg (two) were all multiple goalkickers.

Blayne O’Loughlin topped the disposal winners for the Roosters with 28 touches, eight marks and eight rebounds, while AFL Academy member Jamison Murphy had the 26 disposals, four marks, eight tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds. Also prominent in the middle was Kallis Freer (23 disposals, four marks, five tackles, nine clearances and four inside 50s), while Tariek Newchurch had seven inside 50s to go with 14 touches.

Sturt vs. West Adelaide

Sturt’s League side has bounced back from a forgettable Round 2 defeat to post a tight win over West Adelaide. The Double Blues have moved three points clear in fifth spot on the SANFL table after winning 11.6 (72) to 9.10 (64). It was Sturt’s fast start of four goals to one that got the Double Blues going in the opening term, and while the Bloods pegged them back by the main break, Sturt did not give in. A more accurate 11 majors from 17 scoring shots to West Adelaide’s nine from 19 told a tale, as the Double Blues dominated possession (56 per cent and plus 58 disposals) and marks (plus 55), but the Westies were better in other ways with 20 more tackles and 10 more inside 50s.

Sam Colquhoun again led the way for the Double Blues with 26 touches, six marks, three tackles, three inside 50s, two clearances, four rebounds and a goal, while James Battersby (25 touches, three marks, seven tackles and 12 clearances) was instrumental through the middle. Sam Wundke had 25 disposals, 11 marks – one contested – and 10 rebounds in a phenomenal effort in defence, while Abe Davis pushed up the ground to influence in the middle after being a scoring threat in the early rounds to finish with 20 touches and six clearances. Others who impressed included Daniel Fahey-Sparks (15 touches, eight marks – three contested – 36 hitouts and five inside 50s) and Ash Johnson if he had been able to find his kicking boots, slotting 1.5 from 13 touches and six marks – two contested – in the game.

The Westies had lower overall disposal winners but it did not stop Brett Turner battling hard with Battersby at the stoppages, notching up 11 clearances and five inside 50s from 21 disposals and five tackles. Kaine Stevens (20 disposals, four marks, eight tackles and four clearances) was also busy there, while potential number one AFL Draft pick Riley Thilthorpe continues to stand up at League level with his best game of the season collecting 13 disposals, six marks – three contested – 11 hitouts and two goals in a prominent day out. Isaac Johnson was the most damaging forward with 3.2 from 13 disposals, three marks, nine tackles and seven inside 50s.

Sturt had a much easier time in the Reserves, as the Double Blues notched up their first win with a 52-point victory over West Adelaide to move into the top four. The Blues slammed home six goals to zero in the second term to open up a 45-point lead at the main break, and while the Westies clawed to within 36 points at three quarter time, Sturt came again and booted 4.4 to 2.0 in the last term to run out 13.13 (91) to 5.9 (39) winners.

Sturt’s Under 18s also tasted success in a good weekend for the Double Blues, getting up by 49 points. Sturt and West Adelaide were neck-and-neck on Saturday at Hisense Stadium in the opening half, with the double Blues leading by a point and then a goal at the quarter and half-time breaks. While inaccuracy might have plagued them in the first half, the Double Blues found their range after that, extending the lead out to 19 points by the final change, then running away with a six goals to one final term in the 16.11 (107) to 9.4 (58) victory.

Tom Powell suffered leather poisoning during the game, racking up a ridiculous 39 disposals, 14 clearances, eight inside 50s, three marks, four tackles and two rebounds, also kicking two behinds. The next highest ball winners were Bradley Jefferies (24 disposals, five tackles, three clearances and a goal) and Mani Liddy (22 disposals, eight clearances, four tackles and three marks). Will Spain was also productive onball with Liddy, amassing six clearances to go with 21 touches, six tackles and four inside 50s while Malachy Carruthers had 20 disposals six marks, four tackles and three rebounds. However the most eye-catching performance might have been Zabien Parker-Boers up forward who slotted seven goals – only two less than the entire West Adelaide team – after taking six marks from 17 touches.

Bailey Chamberlain tried hard in the middle for the Westies, notching up 20 disposals, four marks, six tackles, five clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, aided by Cade Kennedy (17 disposals, nine tackles, three clearances and two marks) and Lachlan De Cesare (13 disposals, five clearances and eight tackles). Harvey Bock also worked well out of defence with 13 disposals and five rebounds, while Hamish Dunkin (15 disposals, seven marks and three rebounds) was solid Thomas Rundle and Tyrell Sgroi booted three majors each up forward for the Bloods.

 

WWT Eagles vs. Norwood

After two tight losses against premiership contenders, Norwood was sent crashing back to earth by an impressive Woodville-West Torrens Eagles outfit. The Redlegs’ social media summarised it perfectly yesterday with the words “Nowhere near good enough”, as the Eagles held the visitors to one goal or less in three of the four quarters and booted 14 goals from 26 scoring shots themselves. Despite a three-goal third term giving Norwood some hope, the Bloods still trailed by 35 points at the last chance, but instead it was the Eagles who piled on 5.2 to 0.2 and ran away with the contest, 14.12 (96) to 4.7 (31).

Jimmy Toumpas racked up some big numbers for the Eagles yet again courtesy of 27 touches, five marks, four tackles, three clearances and two rebounds, while Jordan Foote had a feast through the midfield with a team-high seven clearances to accompany 24 touches, five tackles, five inside 50s and three rebounds. Matthew Goldsworthy was good on the outside with 21 touches, six marks, three tackles, eight inside 50s and two goals, while James Rowe, Jack Hayes and Jesse Lonergan combined for eight goals off 52 touches and 13 inside 50s. AFL Academy hub member and Port Adelaide Next-Generation Academy member Lachlan Jones also impressed with 16 disposals, six marks, two inside 50s and two rebounds.

Former Adelaide midfielder Richard Douglas had his biggest game of the year so far for the Redlegs, racking up 31 touches, five marks, five tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s, five rebounds and a goal in a strong all-around effort. Ruck, Sam Baulderstone was equally damaging with 30 hitouts, nine clearances and 21 disposals, while Brad McKenzie (21 disposals, eight rebounds and eight marks), Nik Rokahr (21 disposals, seven marks) and Mitch Wilkins (20 disposals, eight marks) had plenty of the ball. Matthew Panos and Peter Bampton shared in 12 clearances from 35 disposals onball, while Cody Szust worked hard with seven rebounds from 15 touches out of defence, but it was a forgettable day for the Redlegs.

It was much the same result in the Reserves with the unbeaten Eagles continuing to pile on the pain against a winless Redlegs side to win by 63 points at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. The Eagles booted four goals to zero in the second term to race away to a 36-point half-time lead, and while the Redlegs tried to stay in touch in the third term, a four goals to one final quarter once again saw Woodville-West Torrens pull away in a 15.13 (103) to 6.4 (40) victory.

Norwood turned the tables of Woodville-West Torrens in the Under 18s competition, running away with an impressive 39-point win to sit fourth after three rounds and hand the Eagles their third straight loss. The teams were tight throughout the contest, as Norwood led by four points at quarter time and one point at half-time. They pulled away a little in the third courtesy of a five goals to three term, but still only held a 14-point advantage at the final chance. It was the five goals to one last quarter that did all the damage as Norwood ran away with the 16.13 (109) to 10.10 (70) victory.

Bottom-age Redlegs star, Cooper Murley had a day out thanks to 29 touches, two marks, six tackles, seven clearances, five inside 50s and two goals, while Jack Saunders picked up 25 touches, two marks, seven clearances, nine tackles, three inside 50s and three rebounds. The other player to notch up more than 20 touches for Norwood was Michael Cavallaro (21 disposals, seven marks, four inside 50s, two marks and two rebounds), while Nathan Hearing had 26 hitouts and eight clearances from 19 touches out of the ruck. Up forward, Finn Heard had plenty of chances with a five-goal haul that could have been even more, booting four behinds as well, while Marcus Roberts, Xavier Tranfa and James Higgins all snagged multiple goals. In defence, Matthew Dnistriansky had six rebounds from 16 touches, teaming well with Ben Ianniello (12 disposals, seven rebounds).

For the Eagles, Caleb Poulter‘s sensational season continued, booting two goals from 29 touches and eight marks – two contested – as well as five tackles, five inside 50s and three rebounds. Potential Port Adelaide father-son prospect, Jase Burgoyne had a handy day with 27 disposals, five marks – one contested – three tackles, three clearances and seven rebounds, while Harrison Dawkins booted a goal from 25 touches, five clearances and four inside 50s. Max Lister (20 disposals, three marks, four tackles, six clearances and five rebounds) impressed, while another Port Adelaide father-son prospect, Taj Schofield had an impressive game with 17 disposals, five clearances and a goal.

2020 SANFL Round 3 Preview: Sides prepare to build momentum

THE South Australian National Football League (SANFL) is back again this weekend, with Round 3 kicking off and teams hoping to generate some momentum.

Central Districts vs South Adelaide

League: 

The Bulldogs and Panthers were both involved in tight finishes on Sunday, but ultimately failed to take home the two points. However, Central Districts recorded their first points of the new year after drawing with West Adelaide in the final match of round two. Moments before the Dogs and Bloods took to the field, South Adelaide mounted a remarkable comeback against the reigning premiers, Glenelg. Down by 45 points at three quarter time, the Panthers rallied to stem the margin to within a goal with two minutes left on the clock. The Bays held their nerve to survive an almighty scare, but South Adelaide would have drawn confidence from their ability to score heavily in quick succession. Central Districts also struggled early against West Adelaide. After trailing for all of the match, the Doggies piled on goal-after-goal in the last quarter and took the lead, only for the Bloods to square things up before the final siren sounded.

Central Districts’ reliable captain Luke Habel will again look to set his side up from half-back, after accumulating 23 disposals and five rebound-50s last weekend. Joseph Haines (22 disposals, seven marks and seven rebound-50s) played a similar role for South Adelaide, helping orchestrate much of South’s drive from defence, whilst also spending some time on the wing. He may be directed to pay close attention to Central’s Nicholas Lange after his strong performance. Last round, Panthers key defenders Jake Summerton and Ben Haren faced the daunting task of matching up against Glenelg’s dynamic duo Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds and fought admirably, restricting the gun pair to two goals each.

Veteran South Adelaide midfielder Joel Cross has started the season on fire, accumulating an equal league-leading 58 possessions in two matches. In the absence of captain Matt Rose, who will miss 12 weeks with a shoulder injury, Cross was typically prolific around the stoppages against West, finishing the outing with seven clearances. He could go head-to-head in the midfield with Bulldogs gun James Boyd, who has been excellent since returning to Elizabeth after a stint with Woodville-West Torrens. Jarrod Schiller managed just 14 touches against West, but his pressure around the contest and tackling were excellent. Meanwhile, Panthers midfielder Ben Heaslip got things moving for the blue and white, finishing with six inside 50s. He also used his strong 189cm frame to assert himself around the ball, laying seven tackles. Prized Panthers recruit Matthew Broadbent has made a strong first impression at Noarlunga. Despite having been deployed as an attacking-defender during his time at Port Adelaide, Broadbent has spent more time around the ball for South. Bulldogs ruckman Jonathan Marsh battled hard against dominant West Adelaide tall Andre Parrella and this week appears set to do-battle with 21-year-old Panthers ruckman Cameron McGree, who was soundly beaten by Tiger Jack Hannath in just his third game of league football.

The Panthers coaching staff will have been encouraged by the performances of their young small forwards so far. The talented Hayden Sampson continues to go from strength-to-strength, having booted three-straight in the Panthers loss. Fellow smalls Luke Bogle, Eamon Wilkinson and Liam Fitt each kicked two goals, as did full-forward Sam Overall. Although Beau McCreery was quiet against Glenelg, he was excellent on debut in round one. With luckless forward Daniel Menzel ruled out for the season with an ankle injury, Central Districts assistant coach John Butcher took it upon himself to lend a hand in attack. He booted three goals in the draw whilst potential draftee Corey Durdin and former-Blue and Crow Troy Menzel both nailed two. However wingman, Lange stole the show in just his second league match, booting four goals, laying six tackles and taking five marks. Instrumental in the Bulldogs comeback, Lange has emerged as one of the leagues best outside midfielders and poses a genuine offensive threat to South Adelaide’s on-ballers.

Needless to say, both sides will be hoping for fast starts in this encounter. The Panthers got through relatively unscathed in their round two encounter and could regain Malcolm Karpany for the battle at X Convenience Oval. For the Bulldogs, full-back Ryan Falkenberg will miss a month of football after sustaining a calf injury.

Reserves: 

The Bulldogs and Panthers reserves sides will lock-horns following the league match. The Bulldogs remain undefeated in the second-tier competition, after defeating West last weekend. Alternatively, South are still searching for their first scalp of the year after going down to Glenelg by 29-points. The Panthers will likely be without ruckman Damon Freitag, after he injured his ankle.

Under-18s: 

The Central Districts Under-18s will travel south to Flinders University Oval to clash with the Panthers late on Saturday morning. The Panthers midfield has been impressive so far, with rugged skipper Nick Kraemer impressing alongside ultra-talented bottom-agers Jason Horne and Matty Roberts. The brilliant duo, who starred for SA at last year’s Under-16 National Championships, are certainly two to look out for, having combined for a staggering 63 disposals, 22 marks, 18 tackles and 19 clearances in the loss to Glenelg. The Bulldogs can also lay claim to a promising bottom-aged midfielder in Austin McDonald. He has been the standout for the Bulldogs so far. The bottom-agers might steal the show in this one.

 

Glenelg vs North Adelaide

League: 

Only one team will remain undefeated after North Adelaide heads to the bay to face Glenelg on Saturday afternoon. Glenelg have prevailed by the skin of their teeth in their two matches, first defeating Norwood by three points before eclipsing the Panthers by five. The rejuvenated Roosters kicked off their campaign with a comprehensive win over West and backed it up with a narrow victory over the Redlegs. However the reigning premiers are without a doubt the team to beat and will be a tough challenge for Jacob Surjan‘s chargers, particularly away from home. The Roosters appear to be back to their free-flowing style of football which saw them win it all in 2018, but we’ll know for sure if they mean business if they can match it with the Tigers.

Tigers skipper Max Proud and Matt Merrett will likely be tasked with stopping threatening duo Mitch Harvey or Keenan Ramsey, with Chris Curran expected to provide his trademark rebound. New recruit Jackson Edwards has also performed well down back alongside teenager Luke Parks. For the Roosters, classy half-back Jarrad Almond and small defender Elliott Chalmers will play pivotal roles against their former side. Cameron Craig and Tanner Smith will attempt to nullify the influence of Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds. Young key defender Karl Finlay may also be called upon to provide support, whilst talented Roosters recruit Harrison Wigg will be looking to utilise his damaging left-foot to generate drive from the defensive 50.

The midfield battle is tantalising. After a slightly subdued start to the season, Magarey Medalist Luke Partington was back to his best on the weekend, nailing three goals and accumulating 35 disposals to go with six marks, nine clearances and six inside 50s. Matthew Snook has also been at his best in the trenches and currently sits equal-first in the league for disposals. Restricting their dominance at the stoppages will be the number one focus for Surjan and his coaching staff during the week. But after some handy off-season wheeling-and-dealing, the Roosters have a strong midfield of their own, led by vice-captain Andrew Moore and former-Hawk Billy Hartung. The pair have acclimatised well to SANFL football, with both proving their worth in the middle against the ‘Legs. But it has been inside midfielder Campbell Combe who has really impressed for North. Not only did he accumulate 29 touches against Norwood, but he also laid no-less-than 15 tackles. An old-school, in-and-under extractor, Combe and hard-nosed Glenelg midfielder Bradley Agnew are two of the league’s most ferocious tacklers and will be expected to fight hard for their sides in the middle. Despite being drafted by West Coast as a key position player, Matt Allen has proven himself in the guts for the Tigers and popped up to hit the scoreboard last week. Allen and fellow-recruit Billy Stretch have further added to a Tigers midfield which was already brimming with talent. Club captain Alex Spina, recruit Cameron Hewett and vice-skipper Tom Schwarz, who will play his 100th SANFL game, have also been strong across the midfield for the red and white. Glenelg’s Jack Hannath will have his sights set on continuing his strong early season form against North’s James Craig.

The Roosters and Tigers forward-lines feature some of the games most exciting talent. Glenelg’s attack in largely centred around tall timber Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds, who finished first and second in the league for goals last season. North Adelaide’s mosquito fleet, comprised of skilful young gun Frank Szekely, former-Blue Kym LeBois and speedster Robbie Young, have the potential to carve-up even the dourest of defences. Glenelg’s Cory Gregson, Marlon Motlop and Darcy Bailey are well-known threats forward-of-centre and will be a handful for the Roosters small defenders. Keenan Ramsey and Mitch Harvey have provided excellent service for North Adelaide over several years, with the latter converting two important set shots in last Saturday’s win. Lewis Hender will also be eyeing off another bag in his return to Glenelg, where he spent much of his junior career.

The two sides will by eagerly awaited the fitness tests of Alex Barns (North Adelaide) and Carl Nicholson (Glenelg) after they both suffered from concussion in last weekends respective triumphs. North may also regain Ben Jarman from an ankle injury. All eyes will be fixed on ACH Group Stadium on Saturday arvo for what appears set to be a cracking contest.

Reserves: 

The reserves will take to the field a couple of hours before the league sides do battle. Glenelg is yet to loose a match at league, reserves or Under-18s level so far in season 2020, but North Adelaide’s seconds will be full of confidence after beating a talented Norwood line-up by 15-points in hostile territory last Sunday. Keep an eye on promising draft hopeful Cooper Horsnell for Glenelg and North’s Harrison Magor.

Under-18s:

With draft prospect Kaine Baldwin set to miss a second-consecutive season after succumbing to another anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, key forward Riley Holder stepped up, booting four goals in the win over South Adelaide. Prolific Sacred Heart College duo Lewis Rayson and Xavier Robins have made strong starts to the year in the yellow and black. Luke Edwards looks set to front-up for the Under-18s once again, however he could push for reserves selection off the back of a series of promising showings. North Adelaide’s Under-18s were beaten by a strong Norwood outfit in round two, despite the best efforts of skipper Jamison Murphy and midfielder Kallis Freer. Able to turn a game on its head, eye-catching forward Tariek Newchurch will certainly keep the Bays defenders on their toes.

 

Woodville-West Torrens vs Norwood

League: 

After loosing close encounters to Glenelg and North Adelaide, the Redlegs will be eyeing off their first win of the season when they head to Maughan Thiem Kia Oval on Sunday afternoon to face Woodville-West Torrens. The Eagles league-leading percentage helped them rise to third spot on the ladder following a comprehensive dismantling of the Double Blues last weekend.

Zac Richards was arguably Norwood’s best afield in the loss to the Roosters, gathering 29 disposals, ten marks, three tackles, four inside 50s and three rebound-50s in his role across half-back and through the midfield. He also kicked a goal to continue his strong start to the season. Cameron Shenton was also named in the sides best players after generating plenty of drive from defence and accumulating seven rebound-50s. Brad McKenzie was similarly effective coming out of defence, providing his side with nine rebounds. Key defender Cameron Ball will likely match up against one of the Hayes brothers and could receive some help by the potential inclusion of Michael Talia. Down back for the Eagles, the key defensive pairing of Jake Von Bertouch and Luke Thompson will be tasked with stopping Norwood taels Tom Pinyon and big-man Luke Surman. The experienced Patrick Giuffreda will be relied upon to blanket one of the Redlegs’ damaging small forwards, with recruit Pierce Seymour expected to provide plenty of bounce from the backline.

The midfield battle is likely the greatest strength of this Norwood side, with the likes of Mitch Grigg, Matthew Panos and Matty Nunn consistently ranked amongst the leagues best players. Along with new recruits Richard Douglas and Ryan Bastinac, Norwood has certainly benefitted from the scoreboard impact of their midfielders over the past few years. It certainly helps when are provided silver-service by dominant ruckman Sam Baulderstone. The experienced bigman was terrific around the ground against North, gathering 19 disposals, a goal, five marks and 34 hitouts. However his six clearances were perhaps most impressive. However Eagles ruckman Jarrad Redden and pinch-hitter Jack Hayes have been in some excellent form themselves, combining for 32 disposals, 49 hitouts and ten clearances between them against Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks last round. Eagles midfielders Jimmy Toumpas and Matthew Goldsworthy have hit some good form early on, with the former gathering 27 disposals, five tackles and five clearances against Sturt, whilst the latter nailed two goals from his 23 touches and eight inside-50s. The Eagles will need wingman Jake Comitogianni, mainstay Angus Poole, bash-and-crash inside midfielder Jesse Lonergan and reigning best and fairest Jordan Foote to be on their game if they are to match it with the talented Norwood on-ball unit.

Small forwards James Rowe (Woodville-West Torrens) and Peter Bampton (Norwood) have both proven to be key components of their respective sides forward lines. Both genuine goal kickers, Rowe has started the season well, kicking six goals in two games, whilst Bampton has booted two. Nick Hayes and Jack Hayes have long been the focal point of the Eagles attack and will again prove a difficult match-up for Norwood’s key defenders, particularly in the air. Both are capable of hauling in big grabs and got plenty of time with ball in hand last week, combining for 31 possessions. Youngster Lachlan McNeil also got himself involved in his supporting role up forward, however he will wish he had converted his two behinds into majors. The Eagles simply must restrict the scoreboard impact of the Norwood midfielders, given their potency in-front of goal. Usually a defender, Von Bertouch booted three goals for the Eagles when moved from defence to the forward-line and adds to the threat posed by Woodville-West Torrens’ forward-line.

Norwood will be hopeful young gun Cole Gerloff and half-backman Nick Pedro can overcome their ankle injuries, whilst the Eagles’ Joseph Sinor and Angus Poole will face fitness tests after sustaining concussion and nose injuries in the win over Sturt.

Reserves: 

The two clubs reserves sides will play in the curtain raiser before the league sides do battle, in a re-match of the 2019 reserves Grand Final. The Eagles will certainly be seeking revenge for their loss in last years final day and again appear one of the teams to beat in the second-tier of SANFL football, having recorded wins over South Adelaide and Sturt to kick-off the new season. Meanwhile, Norwood’s title defence has started slowly, recording losses to the Tigers and Roosters in recent weeks.

Under-18s: 

The Redlegs Under-18s looked impressive in their win over North Adelaide on the weekend. Bottom-ager Cooper Murley was terrific in the midfield and up-forward and already appears one of the standouts of the under-18s competition. Prolific defenders Michael Cavallaro and Matthew Dnistriansky were everywhere in the opening fortnight of action, generating much of Norwood’s rebound from defence. For the Eagles, who remain winless, look out for SA Academy Hub member and potential Power father-son selection Taj Schofield.

 

Sturt vs West Adelaide

League: 

The Double Blues kicked just one goal in the second half last week and coach Nathan Grima will be demanding a response on home soil against West Adelaide. The Bloods, on the other hand, were left to rue some inaccurate kicking in-front of goal in the dramatic draw to Central Districts. However there were some encouraging signs shown by several of West’s youngsters.

The aerial work of key defender Sam Wundke was one of few bright-spots in Sturt’s 51-point loss at the hands of Woodville-West Torrens. He took three strong contested marks (five marks in total) and provided excellent rebound from the backline, finishing with eleven rebound 50s to go with 22 disposals. Young defender Malachi Lines didn’t get a lot of the ball (eight disposals) but showed some promise on debut. Veteran small defender Aaron Anderson was the standout down back for the Bloods, accumulating 26 disposals and three rebounds from defence. Elliott Dunkin also continues to show why he received some attention from AFL ranks towards the end of the 2019 season. His rebound from defence, athleticism and shut-down ability may worry the Double Blues forwards. Logan Hill was also good in the draw, whilst full-back Josh Ryan could be tasked with clamping down on Sturt forward Jake Sutcliffe.

Casey Voss was arguably Sturt’s best player on the weekend. Starting on-ball, the son of Brisbane great Michael, proved he belongs at the level in just his third league match. He racked up 24 touches and kicked a goal but it was the 19-year-old’s work around the stoppages which really stood-out, amassing seven clearances. Whilst much of the Bloods attention may be directed towards established on-ballers James Battersby, Mark EvansSam Colqhoun and Zane Kirkwood, they must be wary of newcomer Voss’ abilities around the contest. Voss’ on-ball partnership with fellow 19-year-old Jed McEntee would have impressed Grima. McEntee, a member of SA’s 2019 National Championship side, laid a game-high ten tackles to demonstrate his toughness and excellent defensive pressure. However West’s Kaine Stevens won’t be afraid to teach the fresh faces a few lessons around the ball. His 12 clearances, 26 disposals and five tackles proved invaluable in the Bloods engine room against Centrals. Josh Schiller has had a tough-run with injuries lately, but the inside midfielder’s toughness and contested-ball winning will be vital against Sturt’s talented on-ball unit. Former-Crows top-up player Jordon Boyle has been terrific in his new colours, collecting 55 disposals at 82 per cent efficiency in the opening two games on the wing for the Bloods. Dallas Willsmore‘s link-up ability has also been a feature of the Bloods game-style. The ruck battle between West Adelaide’s Andre Parrella and Sturt’s Dan Fahey-Sparks is intriguing and could prove telling, given they sit first and second in the league for hit-outs, respectively. The athletic Fahey-Sparks has impressed so far in 2020. His tap-work has been strong (accumulated 33 hit-outs against Woodville-West Torrens’ Redden and Hayes last week) and his ability around the ground will get the better of many SANFL ruckman. However the 22-year-old Parrella will prove to be his toughest test yet. The big-man has had a monster start to the season, recording a whopping 92 hit-outs in two matches.

Up-forward, its hard to look past West Adelaide’s ultra-talented draft prospect Riley Thilthorpe. He kicked 1.2 against Central Districts and showed a willingness to get involved around the ground when helping out in the ruck, accumulating ten disposals, 15 hit-outs, five tackles and five marks (two contested). Thilthorpe and skipper Tom Keough, who booted three goals on the weekend, will prove a handful for a Sturt backline without premiership-duo Jack Stephens and Fraser Evans, who both retired in the off-season. Lydon Hupfield has started the year well as a small forward, providing the line-up with energy and goal-sense. Sturt has yet to see the best of boom-recruit Abe Davis, who has failed to fire so far in season 2020. However his strong frame will always ensure he is a danger in attack, along with smalls Josh Hone and Byron Sumner. Athletic tall forward Ash Johnson was electric on debut, taking four contested marks and booting three goals, however he was kept to just one kick against Woodville-West Torrens. However he still managed to break into the highlight real when he almost took an instant mark of the year contender. His liveliness up forward is infectious and presents as another threatening Sturt forward.

The Bloods didn’t pick up an injury during the clash with the Bulldogs, but young forward Josh Koster is still at least a fortnight away from returning from a hamstring complaint. Tom Harms will likely miss another game with a calf injury, but pocket rocket on-baller Tom Lewis could be included for his league debut after making the extended bench last weekend.

Reserves:

Sturt and Westies will play each other at Peter Motley Oval in a curtain-raiser to the league match. Sturt are still searching for their first win of the season whilst West will be looking to return to winning ways after being defeated by a strong Central Districts seconds by 35-points last weekend.

Under-18s: 

A couple of South Australia’s most talented junior midfielders will face-off when Sturt’s under-18s meet West Adelaide at Hisense Stadium. Sturt’s Tom Powell and Mani Liddy have been utterly dominant across the opening two rounds for the Double Blues. Both prolific but quite different in their playing styles, the duo will go head-to-head in an exciting battle against West Adelaide’s Bailey Chamberlain and Lachlan De Cesare. Also watch-out for Sturt forward Morgan Ferres, who bagged six goals against the Eagles. The Double Blues will go in as favourites and have emerged as front-runners of the Under-18s competition, alongside Glenelg.

Caught the Eye: 2020 SANFL Under 18s – Round 2

UNDER 18s action continued in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) with Round 2 being played over the weekend, and a bunch of talented juniors stepping up to make an impact. In this edition of Caught the Eye, we highlight the key performers from each Under 18s side who stood out in the opening round of action. For extended profiles on each player, click on their names highlighted in red, and for our full scouting notes, click here.

>> 2020 SA U18 Squad Prediction

West Adelaide vs. Central District

Lachlan De Cesare
West Adelaide | Midfielder
29/05/2002 | 175cm | 76kg

Stats: 26 disposals, 4 marks, 8 tackles, 8 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said: “De Cesare has kicked off his 2020 campaign well, and was arguably Westies’ best afield in a losing effort. The diminutive midfielder is an absolute workhorse through the engine room, digging in for repeat efforts at ground level, tackling hard, and spreading well to provide an outlet option for his teammates.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Part of West Adelaide’s small midfield fleet, De Cesare looks to be in terrific nick with his endurance setting him apart across the first two rounds. It will be difficult for him to continue as an inside type given his size, but De Cesare spreads from the contest well and applies enough pressure around the ball to suggest he can thrive up forward, too. He remains outside of the current academy bubble and it will be tough to crack the midfield ranks, but form counts for a lot.

Lewis Cowham
Central District | Inside Midfielder
5/09/2002 | 177cm | 70kg

Stats: 20 disposals, 4 marks, 6 tackles, 5 clearances, 2 inside 50s

Our scouts said: “Cowham has been a regular for Centrals through midfield, providing value going both ways at the stoppages. The small ball winner is athletically gifted, and showed a couple of nice flashes of his agility and explosive speed despite the contested nature of the game.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Another inside leaning midfielder who is on the small side, but Cowham has all the traits to apply his form in different roles. He excels in midfield with his presence around the ball, awareness, and explosive attributes, but has also shown his ability to find the goals as a small forward during his school football commitments with Prince Alfred College. If he can begin to burst from the contest a touch more, he’ll be on the right track as he does the defensive stuff well.

South Adelaide vs. Glenelg

Matthew Roberts
South Adelaide | Midfielder
31/07/2003 | 183cm | 76cm

Stats: 32 disposals, 14 marks, 9 tackles, 7 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 1 goal

Our scouts said: “Roberts was South’s best player on Saturday, finding plenty of the ball and using it well with his reliable left-foot kick. He worked off his opponent to collect many uncontested marks, continually helping his side transition the ball from defence to attack.” – Tom Cheesman

Verdict: The bottom-age prospect is part of a brilliant Panthers midfield rotation, and it was his turn to rack up the monster numbers on the weekend. With leading top-ager Nicholas Kraemer absent, Roberts took it upon himself to provide the grunt through midfield, while also spreading well to find the ball in all areas of the ground. He can provide an outlet at either end, too, making for a top prospect in the 2021 talent pool.

Riley Holder
Glenelg | Key Forward/Ruck
18/12/2002 | 190cm | 84kg

Stats: 22 disposals, 8 marks (4 contested), 3 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 4 goals

Our scouts said: “Holder was best on ground and clearly the difference between the two sides. He was a major presence at centre half-forward for Glenelg, clunking four strong contested marks. The highlight was a brilliant mark (and goal) in the third term when his side desperately needed it.” – Tom Cheesman

Verdict: This game was the ideal showcase of what Holder provides at the junior level, able to clunk big contested marks and dominate from centre half-forward despite standing at 190cm. His big frame and strong hands on the lead make him difficult to stop aerially, while sound conversion in front of goal ensures he can take full toll with his touches. Holder will be a tricky prospect to place given his in-between size, but that third tall role seems most suitable at senior level.

Norwood vs. North Adelaide

Finn Heard
Norwood | Key Forward

12/02/2002 | 191cm | 87kg

Stats: 9 disposals (8 kicks), 7 marks, 4 tackles, 7 hitouts, 3 inside 50s, 4 goals

Our scouts said: “Four goals to key the forward proved to be the difference in this clash at Coopers Stadium. Heard got goal-side of the contest and strolled straight into the goal-square to nail the game’s first major, however his work in the air ensured he was the most impactful tall on the ground.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: One who is in a similar mould to Glenelg’s Holder, Heard plays like a bustling key position forward but is not quite of the traditional frame. He is well-built and possesses great strength, able to out-body his opponents to get front position. Heard may only have notched nine disposals, but six scoring shots and seven marks highlight the impact he can have with them.

Jamison Murphy
North Adelaide | Inside Midfielder
9/12/2002 | 180cm | 85kg

Stats: 21 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 3 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “(Murphy) appeared physically stronger than the other midfielders out there and used his strong frame to bullock his way through several contests, including the opening stoppage where he dished out a handball despite being tackled. However, it was his sublime foot skills which would have really caught the eye of recruiters.” – Tom Wyman

Verdict: Murphy’s stocks continue to rise amid his outstanding start to the season, and the bullish inside midfielder is beginning to show a terrific balance of skills. While he is obviously a terrific extractor from the stoppages at 85kg, the talented dual-sport athlete also works hard to help his teammates at either end of the ground, and released pressure on the weekend with sound disposal.

Sturt vs. WWT Eagles

Morgan Ferres
Sturt | Key Forward
13/03/2003 | 188cm | 80kg 

Stats: 17 disposals, 9 marks (4 contested), 2 inside 50s, 6 goals

Our scouts said: “Ferres was the dominant forward on the ground, proving a handful in the air and on the lead with his impressive leap, judgement, and contested marking coming to the fold… He was a handful all game but mostly in the third quarter where he marked everything in sight… One of the better aspects of his game was not just his ability close to goal, but also his ability to get up the ground and take strong marks up on the wing.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Ferres looms as a 2021 draft prospect with extremely high upside. While the bottom-ager fulfils a key position type of role at just 188cm on account of his aerial dominance, he is a remarkable athlete with speed, agility, and endurance to boot. His ability to impact the play both close to goal and high up the ground makes him a dominant force, and one who could really make a splash over the next two years. For comparison, think Carlton’s Charlie Curnow.

Taj Schofield
WWT | Midfielder
2/07/2002 | 178cm | 72kg

Stats: 20 disposals (17 kicks), 1 mark, 7 tackles, 6 clearances, 8 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “The talented Port Adelaide father-son prospect again showed his class and skill which really stands out amongst his peers. Schofield, who looks best on the outside with his elite kicking and composure, was able to have an impact on the inside wining some classy clearances and also laying some strong tackles at the coal face.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: A much improved performance from Schofield compared to last week, and one which justifies the work he has been putting into his inside midfield craft. The agile mover was still just as effective on the outer, but showcased the tools he has been adding to his game with much more sound clearance work against quality opposition. There is still room for improvemet.