Tag: taj woewodin

PODCAST EXPLAINER | The Midfielder’s Draft

THE Final Siren Podcast team returned this week for another pocket podcast edition, this time breaking down why the upcoming AFL intake has been deemed a midfielder’s draft. Chief Editor Peter Williams again took over the host chair to grill Draft Editor Michael Alvaro on some of the prime midfielders available, and why they are likely to feature at the pointy end.

Among the group of likely first-rounders, the team broke prospects into three different categories to get a better understanding of how each of them play, and perhaps help fans narrow in on the exact type of ball winner they want their club to pursue. In this week’s explainer, we delve into said categories and the players which suit them respectively.

Podcast link: Click here!

PODCAST AGENDA

FIRST ROUND PROSPECTS

The top two

It is no secret that Nick Daicos and Jason Horne-Francis are regarded by many as the top two prospects in this year’s draft, and they just so happen to both be midfielders. While clear of the competition, they are very different types and have varying weapons which they lean on.

Daicos is an accumulator who offers an outrageously consistent output with his work-rate, unrivalled smarts, and team-oriented play. While he brings class and grace, Horne-Francis is more of a bull at the coalface with his explosiveness and noted aggression at both ball and carrier. He can open games up with penetrating kicks and high marks, bring his impact per possession to a high level.

The safe/reliable picks

Reliability is a major factor in what clubs look for in their potential draftees, and there are a selection of midfielders which can certainly offer as much among the 2021 crop. For much of the pathway, Ben Hobbs has been one who looks ready to go with his mature frame and strength in contested situations now complimented by hard running and consistent disposal outputs.

Fellow Victorian Josh Ward has added inside elements to his game this season to rise into top 10 contention, complimenting his running ability and wonderfully clean skills with some real grunt in midfield. Over in Western Australia, Neil Erasmus has put up exceptional numbers at PSA and WAFL Colts level, while Matthew Roberts has taken well to senior football in the SANFL.

While Hobbs, Erasmus and Roberts have all battled injury this year around their runs of form, all four players here are the types who will perform each week and look safe bets as 200-game players for the future. They are reliable, tough, and hard-working, so should provide great value in the first round.

The classy types

Many clubs will value midfielders who can not only win the ball at a good rate, but also use it well. This year, there are a few who fit this category with enviable class on the ball and elite decision making which really puts them above many others in the draft class.

Arguably atop the list, and one who could fit a range of categories is Finn Callaghan. The Sandringham Dragons powerhouse has been a big improver this year, developing from a half-back and wingman to become an outstanding centre bounce operator. At 189cm, he has the build of a modern day midfielder but moves so gracefully in traffic, never rushed and always able to manufacture a bit of space before delivering effective disposals.

Tyler Sonsie is a prospect who fits this mould perfectly, and was considered a top five candidate coming into the year. Injury has interrupted his campaign, but the Eastern Ranges midfielder is as poised as they come in possession with top level vision and skills coming out of congestion. His ability to roll forward and find the goals is another string to his bow, and an important point of difference.

Another couple of dynamic types with plenty of class are Matthew Johnson and Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera. While one has slid a touch as the other has risen this year, there is no denying that both players use the ball beautifully by foot and are two of the more elite kicks going around. At 193cm, Johnson features more at the centre bounces and moves well in traffic, while Wanganeen-Milera has tricks on the outside and can carve up the opposition in space.

The versatile/hybrid types

Hybrid is a bit of an in-vogue word at the moment, but in this sense we’re talking about the players who are versatile and can impact in other areas of the ground before eventually becoming more permanent midfielders, or pinch-hitting there.

There is a good handful of first round talent which suits this mould, starting with South Australian Arlo Draper. He fares well at stoppages and can certainly get his hands on the ball there, but adds a point of difference with his ability to take marks and kick goals up forward. He has been more of a midfielder-forward at Under 18s level, but has spent more time among the front half in senior grades.

Prominent Sandringham Dragons pair Josh Sinn and Campbell Chesser are players who have notable outside traits, including their speed, line-breaking ability, and kicking skills. Both have developed across half-back and the wing, but can just as capably play on the inside and are true metres-gained assets in all roles.

Along with the above pair, Josh Rachele has been a standout throughout the pathways and while he has more often been used as a half-forward for Murray and Vic Country, can certainly impact with his speed and skill in midfield. From small to tall, Josh Goater is a big-bodied type on the inside who can essentially play anywhere. He has clean hands and unreal athleticism, which boded well for his most recent move to half-back with plenty of run and intercept marking.

DEPTH – OTHERS TO CONSIDER

It’s not just a midfielder’s draft in the first round, with many top ball winners rising into contention or remaining around the mark. There is a healthy scattering of players from different regions, offering a diverse range of skills and mostly being available in the open draft.

Zac Taylor and Mitch Knevitt offer very different styles, but both were in sensational form before the latest Victorian lockdown. Dandenong Stingrays pair Judson Clarke and Connor Macdonald are smaller types with terrific craft, while Jake Soligo is another in that mould. Elsewhere, St Kilda fans with have their eyes on exciting NGA pair Marcus Windhager and Mitch Owens, while Northern’s Ned Long is one to keep an eye on.

Western Australia’s engine room has proven very strong in representative hitouts, with a good mix of hardened inside types and accumulating outside runners. Josh Browne is as consistent as they come, while Corey Warner offers some forward drive on the outer, and Taj Woewodin is a Melbourne father-son candidate with nice traits. On the inside, Kade Dittmar and Angus Sheldrick are absolute bulls, with Dittmar’s East Perth teammate James Tunstill another to consider.

Port Adelaide has its own father-son prospect in Jase Burgoyne, who is a really classy type. He is quite light-on though, and may have to lean on his versatility to play off half-back before entering the midfield fray. Elsewhere, Hugh Jackson had an outstanding first half of the season to put his name in the spotlight, and Cooper Murley arguably possesses top 25 talent, but has been struck down by injury for much of the year.

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Finals Week 1 – Claremont vs. East Perth

CLAREMONT will face off against WAFL Colts minor premier Swan Districts for the second time in three weeks, after downing East Perth by 41 points in week one of the 2021 finals series. The Tigers were inaccurate early on but found their groove and snared crucial goals at the end of the first two terms to restore leads. A five-goal third quarter then helped Claremont break the contest open, before running out comfortable victors with another four majors in the final stanza.

We highlight a few of the top performers from either side in our Scouting Notes with a particular focus on state representatives, before taking a look around the grounds and up the grades.

>> Player Focus: Angus Sheldrick (Claremont)

SCOUTING NOTES

Claremont 13.9 (87) def. East Perth 6.10 (46)

Claremont:

#17 Hugh Davies

His final stats of seven disposals and two marks hardly do justice to the role Davies played in defence, with the bottom-ager making several important plays on the last line. He looked composed in a series of crises, able to work things out across defensive 50 and apply ample pressure on East Perth’s forwards when the ball hit the deck. In the air, he rose for some timely spoils and was desperate enough to keep the play alive with little margin for error.

#22 Sam Gilbey

Another bottom-aged defender who hardly garnered massive stats (six disposals, two marks, one goal), Gilbey still managed to show glimpses of his massively promising skillset on Saturday. Both of his marks were lovely intercepts up the ground, which he used to move the ball on quickly heading inside attacking 50. On the first occasion, Gilbey showed off his impressive left-foot kick with a booming goal just before quarter time, seeing Claremont regain the lead. He competed well to turn the ball over and pressed a high line, before being used further afield in the final term and even shaving the post with another shot on goal.

#27 Angus Sheldrick

Arguably the best player afield, Sheldrick got to work early and put in an absolute shift out of Claremont’s engine room. While able to win the contested ball with his strength and grit, Sheldrick also displayed a phenomenal work-rate to get his legs pumping with some green ball and find possessions around the ground. He helped drive the Tigers forward and despite lacking a finishing touch at times, put the ball into dangerous spots. He was in the wars during term three with a head knock and big hit from Jye Amiss, but got back to work to finish with a game-high 24 disposals, 12 tackles, and five inside 50s to go with a first term goal.

#29 Jahmal Stretch

The crafty small forward is one who has the ability to light up any passage of play, and certainly did that with his 10 disposals, three marks and two goals. An early rush of blood saw him burn a teammate over the top when running into an open goal, but Stretch built into his best work by hitting the ball at speed and springing up for marks inside 50. His first goal came shortly after a set shot fell short, and he added another in term four with a quick snap which showcased his high level goal sense. With terrific pressure acts and sparks of individual brilliance, Stretch continues to be an eye-catching goalsneak.

#32 Jacob van Rooyen

He doesn’t need too many chances to make a real impact, and that is exactly what van Rooyen did during a three-goal third quarter. The strong-bodied key forward helped Claremont kick away with majors at the beginning, middle and end of term three after a relatively quiet first half. His fundamental strengths were solid throughout without much opportunity, but came to the fore during said period with a couple of strong pack marks and set shot conversions. While only earning a modest seven disposals, he made them count with four marks and those three majors to go with some imposing pressure acts.

#35 Luke Brown

Another bottom-ager who managed to show glimpses of potential, Brown finished up with a couple of really handy goals from his five touches. The 199cm ruck-forward first got his hands on the ball through sheer reach in the ruck, before booting those two majors in the second half. The first was a terrific bit of improvisation, as the bigman volleyed the ball home off a deep spillage. His second goal was also manufactured off a pack, as Brown gathered and quickly snapped the ball through to show great skill for a player of his size.

Others:

Claremont had a bunch of solid contributors on each line, starting with the likes of Talon Delacey (19 disposals, five inside 50s) and Kendyll Blurton (15 disposals, five tackles) in midfield. Arthur Jones was again productive on the wing with 17 touches and five inside 50s, while Campbell Rogers played a key hand down back. Speaking of, Sean Williams’ effort to keep leading goalkicker Jye Amiss scoreless was outstanding, as was Peter Coles’ three-goal haul at the other end. In the way of state squad members, Under 17 prospects Edward Allan (wing) and Will Bailey (forward/wing) had their moments, and top-age tall Eric Benning missed with a calf complaint.

East Perth:

#4 Ethan Regan

The West Coast NGA candidate started in midfield, with the East Perth coaches perhaps looking for him to make an early statement with his size and explosiveness. That did not quite eventuate, but Regan built into the game well from his usual high half-forward post. His kick penetration lead directly to goals on two occasions, as Regan linked East Perth from beyond the attacking arc into more dangerous positions.

#7 Jye Amiss

Having built a remarkable streak of kicking multiple goals in all of his previous WAFL Colts and state Under 19 outings, Amiss was finally shut-out on Saturday. The West Australian spearhead was hardly given an inch inside attacking 50 and did not always receive the best delivery in any case. Most of his work was done further afield, where he ventured on searching leads and showed some really nice moments of poise to hit targets on the way back to goal. He later showed signs of a confidence dip with a couple of dropped marks, perhaps the product of perceived pressure having been under the pump all game.

#9 Kade Dittmar

A strong figure in the East Perth midfield, Dittmar offered plenty of his usual power and contested ball winning prowess on Saturday. His physicality on the inside was evident, as he looked to bustle through tackles and apply some punishing ones of his own. While Dittmar gained a good amount of distance on his clearances, with eight of his 15 disposals sent inside 50, he tended to dump kick at times and couldn’t quite hit the target with a couple of attempts on goal. Still, his intent matched the finals atmosphere.

#11 James Tunstill

Tunstill was one who started the game brightly, producing some eye-catching moments in midfield and rotating forward to snare a first term goal. He was prominent at ground level, collecting the ball cleanly and finding ways to slip or spin to the outer where he could gain a bit more meterage. His goal came from a set shot after marking well overhead, converting the chance well from 40m. Tunstill finished up with 14 disposals and three inside 50s, marking a solid return after his promising opening.

#26 Kaden Harbour

Another who was productive in spurts, Harbour brought good intent and effort to the finals contest. He chased up loose balls and worked up the ground for his side, with one play seeing him break at pace with two running bounces before kicking inside 50. The small forward produced another great inside 50 foray in term three which was not finished off, and his closest attempt on goal hit the post with a snap from the pocket.

#34 Jedd Busslinger

Hardly overawed by the finals occasion as a bottom-ager, Busslinger saved his side’s blushes several times on the last line of defence. The 195cm prospect proved difficult to beat both aerially and at ground level, showing great composure to mop up under pressure and move the ball on cleanly. He was never rushed despite the heavy pressure at times, and proved his commitment with a goal-saving mark which saw him thud into the goal post. Busslinger was swung forward in term four, and finished with four marks from his nine disposals.

Others:

No East Perth player notched over 20 touches on Saturday, but speedy midfielder Jayden Peak was the closest with 18. His run-and-carry proved productive, as did the skills of wingman Oscar Armstrong (13 disposals), who kicked a fantastic long-range goal in term three. Kalani Brooks was another to step up in midfield with 16 disposals and five tackles, while state Under 17 squad member Jordyn Baker showed a bit with nine disposals up on the wing.

AROUND THE GROUNDS:

In the other colts final, East Fremantle advanced in Sunday’s knockout bout against West Perth, downing the Falcons by 29 points after trailing narrowly at the first break. The Sharks, bolstered by an array of quality state squad members, soon clicked into gear and manufactured nearly double the Falcons’ scoring shots (20-11).

It was unsurprising to see Josh Browne top the disposal charts once again, racking up a game-high 32 to go with six inside 50s and a goal. Fellow draft combine invitee Corey Warner and bottom-ager Jed Hagan supported him well, while Melbourne father-son candidate Taj Woewodin also found plenty of the ball. In-form tall Josh Cripps kicked a goal from 19 touches, and Jackson McManus – the nephew of Shaun – snagged a game-high three majors.

A pair of promising bottom-agers fared well for the Falcons, as Kane Bevan notched 31 disposals and six marks, while defender Griff Julian clunked eight grabs among his 23 touches. Luke Michael matched the latter’s marking feats, and Lochlan Paton got his hands dirty with 12 tackles to go with 18 disposals.

There was not as much action to speak of in a draft sense up the grades, but classy midfielder Matthew Johnson caught the eye with a team-high 23 disposals, nine marks and one goal in Subiaco’s finals win over West Perth. At League level, Jesse Motlop bagged a goal from 11 touches as South Fremantle held on in a one-point thriller against Claremont.

Featured Image: The 2021 WA Under 19s squad huddles before facing SA | Credit: WAFL via Twitter

30 added to 2021 AFL Draft Combine list

30 PLAYERS were added to the 2021 AFL Draft Combine list yesterday, taking the total invitees up to 120 after last month’s announcement of the initial 90. AFL clubs lodged the expanded list of prospects, who will participate in fitness testing events among their respective states.

>> SCROLL to see the list of additions

South and Western Australian have contributed eight players apiece to the updated allotment, including players with ties to top level clubs. Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) product Isaiah Dudley is among the SA representation, while West Coast NGA candidate Richard Farmer joins Melbourne father-son hopeful Taj Woewodin and his East Fremantle teammate Josh Cripps, the brother of Carlton’s Patrick, on the list.

There are also a few mature-age prospects vying for higher honours, headlined by 20-year-old Williamstown key defender Charlie Dean. The Sandringham Dragons graduate attended 2019’s Victorian draft combine but was overlooked in consecutive intakes, before impressing at state league level in 2021.

Fellow 2001-born talent Ronald Fejo Jnr also features. The Northern Territory native lit up his local competition and has since impressed for West Adelaide in the SANFL with his speed and skill off the wing. West Perth bigman Noah Pegoraro rounds out the mature-age selection, having put up career-best numbers in the WAFL this season.

13 NAB Leaguers will earned an opportunity too, adding to the strong selection seen among the overall crop of 120 invitees. Among them are another four Sandringham Dragons and seven defenders, with clean kicking and intercept marking types clearly in vogue. Metro regions hold the majority of the split, contributing nine prospects.

Draft Combine Dates:

Victoria – Sunday October 10
South Australia – Saturday October 16
Western Australia – Sunday October 17

>> Top 30 Ranked: September Power Rankings

2021 AFL DRAFT COMBINE ADDITIONS:

South Australia:
Oscar Adams (Glenelg)
Zac Becker (Sturt)
Isaiah Dudley (Central District)
Ronald Fejo Jnr (West Adelaide/Northern Territory)
Harvey Harrison (North Adelaide)
Alastair Lord (Norwood)
Jordan Lukac (Woodville-West Torrens)
Will Spain (Sturt)

Vic Country:
Sam Breuer (GWV Rebels)
Justin Davies (Dandenong Stingrays)
Oscar Morrison (Geelong Falcons)
Cooper Whyte (Geelong Falcons)

Vic Metro:
Braden Andrews (Oakleigh Chargers)
Luke Cleary (Sandringham Dragons)
Ben De Bolfo (Northern Knights)
Joel Fitzgerald (Northern Knights)
Felix Flockhart (Sandringham Dragons)
Caleb Lewis (Sandringham Dragons)
Luke Nankervis (Sandringham Dragons)
Sam Paea (Calder Cannons)
Jed Rule (Oakleigh Chargers)

VFL:
Charlie Dean (Williamstown)

Western Australia:
Joshua Cripps (East Fremantle)
Richard Farmer (Subiaco)
Kaden Harbour (East Perth)
Judd McVee (East Fremantle)
Noah Pegoraro (West Perth)
Luke Polson (Peel Thunder)
Jake South (Subiaco)
Taj Woewodin (East Fremantle)

>> Initial 90 AFL Draft Combine List

Scouting Notes: 2021 AFLU19s – Western Australia vs. South Australia

THE 2021 AFL Under 19 National Championships got underway on Saturday in a last-minute clash between Western Australia and South Australia at Lathlain Park, with the hosts getting up 9.13 (67) to 5.8 (38). In a bumper edition of Scouting Notes, we take a look at the performances of every player afield, including some defining showings from top draft prospects. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

>> Match Report: WA claims big win in champs opener

WESTERN AUSTRALIA #1-19:

By: Ed Pascoe

#1 Jesse Motlop (South Fremantle)

The Fremantle NGA member didn’t have that four-quarter performance he would have been after, but still managed to show his eye-catching traits – starting in the first quarter with a trademark rove and snap goal, showing his forward craft. Motlop provided great pressure and second efforts in the second quarter, but was very quiet in the third quarter before moving into the midfield in the last and winning plenty of the ball, while also taking a few marks around the ground.

#2 Jed Hagan (East Fremantle)

The only 2022 draft prospect to take the field, Hagan looked as comfortable as anyone out on the ground and showed plenty of composure and competitiveness down back. Hagan provided some meaningful drive of half-back, often using the ball well by hand and foot, but it was his competitiveness for his size that really impressed. In one instance he won a contest against SA tall forward Morgan Ferres, who had been beating most taller opponents all day in marking contests. A consistent four-quarter performer, Hagan looks a great prospect for the 2022 draft.

#4 Judd McVee (East Fremantle)

The speedy half-back didn’t do a lot wrong, playing a new position this year after showing signs as a midfielder at Under 16s state level. McVee was smooth in most things he did with ball in hand, using it by hand and foot and looking stylish in the way he carried the ball from defence. Although his production wasn’t as high as other teammates in defence, his slick ball use and role was still very important.

#7 Angus Sheldrick (Claremont)

It was a typical game from Sheldrick with the strong bodied midfielder showing his contested prowess around the ball, and equally strong drive and attacking mindset. Sheldrick’s kicking wasn’t at his best standard and he could have kicked a nice goal on the run which ended up hitting the post, and that kicking will be something he continues to work on. His attack on the ball, however, is just about the best amongst this year’s draft crop – winning some free kicks from some courageous plays. His third quarter was his best highlighted by a one-handed intercept mark and another play brushing off an opponent with ease to kick long inside 50.

#9 Max Chipper (Swan Districts)

Chipper was a late in for the injured Neil Erasmus and he made the most of his call-up to be among his side’s major ball winners playing on the wing. Chipper did well to work into defence to be an outlet for a switch and his ball use from the defensive half was solid. Although not the quickest with ball in hand, his work-rate around the ground helped him take plenty of marks and contribute well in transition for WA.

#12 Lochlan Paton (West Perth)

One of the pressure forwards for WA, Paton played his role well despite his low production and he was rewarded late in the game with a nice intercept mark and snap goal. Paton’s pressure and ability to get some timely smothers in set up plenty of scoring opportunities for his teammates and despite a few unlucky free kicks given away, he kept up his pressure for all four quarters. A midfielder for the last few years, Paton has fared well in this forward role of late.

#13 Bryce Watson (Swan Districts)

The athletic small defender didn’t lose too many contests as his leap and speed gave the SA forwards a lot of trouble, with some nice spoils and an ability to close down his opponents on the lead. Watson’s kicking wasn’t to a great standard at times but his work by hand was often clean and creative, and he showed a solid mix of defending and attacking. His strong contested intercept mark in the third quarter was a real highlight.

#14 Taj Woewodin (East Fremantle)

The Melbourne father-son prospect had a solid game playing on the wing and across half-back, showing safe decision making with ball in hand and good skills by hand and foot. His knack of taking intercept marks showed his ability to read the play well and he almost kicked a nice goal from long range in the second quarter, but just missed. It’s been a solid year for Woewodin, with that consistency on show in his game against SA in an as-expected sort of performance from him.

#15 Finn Gorringe (East Fremantle)

The captain of WA was a steady head in defence, often using the ball well by foot and barely losing a one-on-one contest. It was no surprise to see him favour his kicking over handballing, with some very nice kicks well weighted to his teammates. Although this game wasn’t his most productive, he still managed to show why he was made captain of the side.

#18 Josh Browne (East Fremantle)

Although it took until the second half for Browne to really get going, it turned out a rather typical performance form the East Fremantle ball magnet with his ability to win the ball on the inside and outside. Browne’s consistency by foot was just about his only blemish with some great kicks inside 50 but a few poor kicks as well, which where uncharacteristic. Where he excelled was his ability to win the contested ball and feed out nicely by hand, and while usually winning plenty of the ball in the middle, he also managed to win his fair share while playing at half-forward – taking a few marks and being a great outlet. He would finish as one of WA’s most productive players for the day.

#19 Kade Dittmar (East Perth)

A typical performance from the inside midfielder who won his fair share of his disposals at the coal face, using his big frame to his advantage. His ability to break tackles was on show, as was his ability to stick the hard ones, which earned him a free kick in the second quarter where he would slot his only goal for the game. Although his kicking at times was poor, his ability to win clearances cleanly and not just with his strong frame was very promising.

WA's Jesse Motlop (left) and Jack Williams celebrate a goal | Credit: SANFL

WESTERN AUSTRALIA #20-43

By: Declan Reeve

#20 James Tunstill (East Perth)

Having produced a good season to date at WAFL Colts level, Tunstill took the opportunity against South Australia to put his name in the mind of recruiters with a strong display, particularly in the first half. Early on it felt like Tunstill was involved in every bit of WA play, winning the ball from stoppages or receiving a releasing handball to move the ball forward quickly. He timed his runs well and positioned smartly around contests to be in the best spot to win it. In the thick of it, Tunstill did well to keep the ball away from opponents, then fire out sharp handballs to teammates in space. What was arguably most impressive about Tunstill’s game was how he tracked the ball on the ground and refused to be knocked off balance, winning the ball against opponents and flicking it up to teammates before he could be brought to ground.

#22 Jack Avery (Perth)

Having experienced the intensity of WAFL League level, Avery looked mostly composed in the defensive 50, using his strength and size to take intercept marks or throw a fist in to impact an opponent’s attempt when required. Later, he would also followed up with safe ball use to keep WA in possession. In the moments that Avery did push up the ground, he wasn’t afraid to take on opponents and try to hit the most aggressive option.

#23 Matthew Johnson (Subiaco)

The highly touted WA midfielder showed exactly why he is in first round consideration with a skilful display. Whilst Johnson isn’t the fastest player going around, his decision making and evasion in traffic gives him more than enough tools to appear quicker than most opponents, able to spot out a target in the thick of things and execute the skill well. Johnson’s work-rate meant that he was always a chance to impact the play, going in to win it himself or working hard forward of the ball to provide an option, then following up with clean ball use to keep WA going forward. That same work-rate saw Johnson impact inside his defensive 50 more than most other midfielders and worked it out well. When Johnson had the ball he more often than not looked to move it into the corridor to open up the forward 50 for his side. 

#25 Ethan Regan (East Perth)

A game of almosts for Regan saw him show off his best athletic traits in patches, just lacking consistent impact across the game. Regan did well to win the ball below his knees on the move for a taller player, consistently picking the ball up off on half-volleys and turning his opponent around quickly, before moving the ball on by foot. His kicking inside 50 was superb, setting up multiple scoring opportunities by hitting up leading targets rather than bombing long, although he did kick a great goal from outside 50. Regan also utilised his leap to take the ball in the air uncontested, with his intercept of a chip kick in the midfield the best example of this.

#29 Jacob van Rooyen (Claremont)

After making a name for himself as a tall forward option over the past couple of years, van Rooyen has been playing in defence at state level recently, continuing his development in the role with an impressive display. van Rooyen was rarely beaten through the contest, able to spoil the ball when caught behind his opponent, but more often bodying his opponent to protect the drop zone and take the mark. van Rooyen’s disposal was good throughout the game, looking to use it safely out of the defensive 50 but aggressively when going into the forward half. His defensive work-rate stopped a few promising SA plays, working hard to impact the ball on the goal line early on in the game, and then building more confidence to leave his opponent and take marks in front of packs, or fill the hole in defence to take marks from rushed kicks further up the ground. 

#30 Jye Amiss (East Perth)

Amiss had an outstanding display, with his two-goal first half particularly impressive. His opening major was the first of the game, where he was held without the ball in a pack inside 50, earning a free kick and kicking well from straight in front. His second was arguably the highlight of the day, collecting a half-volley along the boundary line inside 50, where he took a couple of steps to balance and slotted the goal from about 40 out. Apart from two goals, Amiss showed off his danger on the lead, where he managed to get separation from his opponents easily and held the ball out in front, more often than not looking to pass it off to a teammate leading towards him or hand it off to a runner if he was further up the ground. In keeping teammates involved, he ultimately sacrificed what could’ve been a four or five goal game. It was promising to see Amiss actively look to push up the ground and take marks on the wings, keeping the SA defence guessing and allowing other teammates to be the main target inside 50 at times.

#31 Eric Benning (Claremont)

Although Benning wouldn’t have put up massive numbers compared to some of his other tall teammates, the Fremantle NGA hopeful’s athleticism caught the eye with his leap and agility particularly impressive for his size. This was highlighted best with a few marking contests where Benning was caught behind but still managed to take a mark over the top of his opponent, or took a clean one grab pick up below his knees and weaved through traffic. 

#34 Corey Warner (East Fremantle)

Playing in his usual wing role, Warner had a few key moments especially early on in the game. Pushing to be an option in the corridor when the ball was on the other wing, but also showed his willingness to win the inside ball and work through traffic with his evasiveness, or at times, sheer strength when pushing opponents away. It was encouraging to see Warner lose opponents by turning them inside out and then getting the ball to a teammate with his quick hands or inside 45 kicks.

#36 Rhett Bazzo (Swan Districts)

This was somewhat a breakout performance for Bazzo, showing off his reading of the game by taking plenty of intercept marks, but also able to drift across the front of packs and take marks out in front, quickly playing on with the ball. Bazzo more often than not looked to switch the ball across the 50 when he won it, putting it in front of his teammates so they could keep running after they had taken the mark. Bazzo was also confident when pushing up the ground, providing as an option in the corridor, even earning himself a free kick and 25m penalty, unfortunately unable to convert the goal from 50 out, although this was one of very few blemishes on his long kicking with his kick ins from SA behinds often getting distance and kick starting offensive plays. What was arguably most impressive from Bazzo was his two way running, where he’d push back hard when SA won the ball to impact contests inside 50, even spoiling a ball right on the goal line.

#38 Brady Hough (Peel Thunder)

The only other multiple goal kicker apart from Amiss, Hough enjoyed a solid display where he showed off some smart leading patterns in the forward half, able to get separation with ease, getting used more often as the game went on and he started to stamp his authority on the contest. The first of his two goals came from a free kick inside 50 where he went for a ground ball and had his legs taken out from under him, kicking it from right in front with ease. The second was more challenging, where he had a set shot pressed into the deep pocket and put it through.

#40 Jake South (Subiaco)

South took advantage of a relatively weaker SA ruck division and flexed his muscle to win most hitouts by outbodying his opponents in the ruck, initiating contact and knocking them off balance to control the stoppages. South grew in confidence as the game went on, starting to take the ball out of the ruck and taking on opponents himself. South also positioned well behind the play, taking intercept marks and looking solid below his knees.

#43 Jack Williams (East Fremantle)

Struggling in front of goal for the day, Williams still looked a dangerous option in the forward 50 where his strength was too much for the SA defenders to handle at times, taking contested marks without really looking challenged. That same strength gave him an advantage when he took ruck contests inside 50, pushing opponents out of the way and taking the ball himself or tapping it straight down in front of a teammate. Williams’ work-rate in the forward half can’t be overstated, consistently providing repeat leads and drawing an opponent to free up space for a teammate to lead into. He did get himself on the scoreboard to reward his efforts, pushing an opponent under the ball and taking it over his head, slotting a goal from right in front about 35 out.

WA skipper Finn Gorringe addresses his side | Credit: WAFL

SOUTH AUSTRALIA #1-18:

By: Tom Wyman

#1 Isaiah Dudley (Central District)

The Adelaide NGA prospect had a quiet start to the game, as South Australia struggled to get the ball past the halfway mark in the early stages. With the Western Australia midfield controlling the game, the small forward was starved of opportunity to impact the game. However Dudley had his moments as the game wore on, particularly when moved into the midfield for the final term. His speed and run and carry was evident in patches, as was his clever football smarts, however the nature of the game denied the Central Districts teenager of an opportunity to assert himself.

#2 Blayne O’Loughlin (North Adelaide)

It was a tough day for North Adelaide defender Blayne O’Loughlin, who wasn’t able to assert his usual calmness upon the contest. Given a close-checking role on dangerous WA forward Jesse Motlopfor much of the game, O’Loughlin struggled defensively as the son of Kangaroos and Power star Daniel gained separation and booted a regulation goal early in the piece. Although he looked more composed down back as the game wore on, nailing a couple of kicks in the defensive-50, he wasn’t able to impact with his usual offensive flair. An uncharacteristic turnover by foot in the final term gifted the home side with the easiest of goals.

#5 Jase Burgoyne (Woodville-West Torrens)

Port Adelaide father-son Jase Burgoyne was one of the croweaters best on a difficult day. Stationed across half-back, his work rate and two-way running was admirable. He was involved in much of South Australia’s offensive play, with a couple of nice passages of run and carry along the wing reinforced by some clean ball-use. However he was also quick to run back and offer support when the visitors were under siege down back. The talented utility, who made his SANFL league debut with Port Adelaide earlier in the year, was efficient by foot but his disposals lacked damage. Overall, it was a solid if unremarkable display from Burgoyne, who appears likely to join the Power come draft night.

#6 Lachlan Grubb (Central District)

The speedy 19-year-old small forward struggled to impact the game, but he certainly wasn’t alone. Grubb had a couple of ‘nearly’ moments, including a smart rove and quick snap at goal which ultimately fell short but, like Dudley, wasn’t favoured by the nature of the contest.

#8 Lewis Rayson (Glenelg)

The South Australian vice-captain was one of the visitors best performers in their 29-point defeat. Despite being stationed across half-back in the first couple of quarters, the Glenelg product strolled forward and registered the first genuine shot on goal for SA, a long-range attempt which was touched on the line. Under immense pressure, with the WA midfield sending it inside-50 regularly, Rayson was one of few South Australian’s to exhibit calmness and composure with the ball. Rayson’s run out of defence was important and his quick hands were noticeable. His kicking was largely clean, albeit for a costly turnover in the final term. He pushed up into the midfield at-times as the SA coaching staff looked to shuffle the magnets, but looked at home at half-back, where he read the play well and was able to take a couple of strong intercept marks.

#9 Hugh Jackson (North Adelaide)

Hugh Jackson managed to get his hands on the ball often, but didn’t have the impact on the contest he would’ve liked. Starting on the wing before given a stint on-ball, the skilful Rooster was clean by hand in the clinches, but got caught trying to do too much a couple of times on the broadcast wing. He had a snap on goal after a nice bit of roving, but had an inconsistent day by foot, with some kicks finding their targets and others missing. Nevertheless, he demonstrated a natural ability to find the footy around the ground.

#10 Isaac Birt (South Adelaide)

South Adelaide’s Isaac Birt ran hard up and down the wing all day, working relentlessly to consistently provide an outlet option on his side of the ground. He was able to use his precise left-foot on a couple of occasions and was largely clean with his ball-use. A draft bolter who has risen to become one of the SANFL Under-18s best players this season, Birt showed some run and dash and produced an admirable performance for South Australia.

#12 Cade Kennedy (West Adelaide)

The West Adelaide skipper started the game in the midfield. He got his hands on the ball early but was lacked some cleanness with his first touch. He tackled hard and spread well across the ground to provide an option between the arcs. He found key forward Lukas Cooke inside-50 with a nice kick against the flow of play in the first term, then later released defender Lewis Rayson with a clever gather and intelligent handball. Although he faded out of the game, Kennedy had a couple of nice moments in difficult circumstances.

#13 Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (Glenelg)

Wanganeen-Milera was clearly South Australia’s best player in the tough loss. One of few to show poise and execute under pressure, the Glenelg teenager looked up to the level immediately. The wingman used the ball intelligently and his work under pressure was outstanding. Whilst many of his teammates appeared rushed and fumbly as WA brought the heat, Wanganeen-Milera read the game well, moved like a Rolls Royce, made the correct decisions and showed off a couple of nice tricks under duress. He was crunched by WA star Jye Amiss in the final term when going back with the flight of the ball, and was forced to leave the field, but later returned to bravely run out the match. Perhaps one of the only South Australian’s whose draft stocks will have risen after his performance, Wanganeen-Milera appears likely to feature in first round calculations on draft night after a classy display.

#14 Jacob Owens (Glenelg)

Jacob Owens spent the game rotating from the half-forward flank to the wing. A ball-magnet for the Tigers in the SANFL Under-18 competition, Owens ran into some good spaces but lacked composure with his first couple of touches, throwing it on the boot and lofting it forwards instead of lowering his eyes. Appearing rushed at-times, Owens, like many of his teammates, struggled to adapt to the pace of the game at-times, despite finding a bit of the ball and working his way into some good spaces.

#17 Hugh Stagg (Glenelg)

Fresh off a four-goal performance against West Adelaide last weekend, Hugh Stagg spent the game at half-forward for South Australia. His kicking was poor early, contributing to a couple of turnovers, however he slotted the first goal of the game for SA after benefitting from a 50-metre penalty. The powerful flanker missed a shot on goal later in the game, and could have benefitted from a stint on the ball to gain some confidence.

#18 Arlo Draper (South Adelaide)

Top ten pick candidate Arlo Draper showed patches of class and was among South Australia’s best players at Lathlain Park. Draper split his time between the half-forward line and the midfield, as he has done all season. He was a marking target in attack and moved well in-traffic in the midfield. He was classy with his disposal by hand and foot and demonstrating some stoppage smarts to win a couple of clearances. In the final term, Draper expertly outbodied his opponent and took an easy mark before booting the first goal of the final quarter. He could have added a second with a set-shot after winning a high free-kick, then later passed off another gettable attempt to teammate Lukas Cooke in the pocket. He didn’t accumulate high numbers, but used it well and had an impact on the game.

Jason Horne-Francis captaining South Australia | Credit: SANFL

SOUTH AUSTRALIA #20-35:

By: Michael Alvaro

#20 Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide)

It was a hit-and-miss kind of day for Roberts, who featured prominently in South Australia’s midfield. At his best, he found plenty of the ball and helped drag the Croweaters back into the game through sheer work-rate. The South Adelaide talent was particularly prolific in the second term and looked most productive in possession during said period, capping it off with a well hit 45m set shot goal. He made some good double efforts at ground level and was moved forward for longer stints in term four, but found himself rushed and a touch scratchy when disposing by foot at times.

#21 Jason Horne-Francis (South Adelaide)

There were plenty of eyes fixed of Horne-Francis, who skippered the South Australian side in his typical midfield-forward role. He didn’t quite have the impact he would have liked on-ball and just couldn’t get his hands on it, but showed some of his power with lunging pressure acts. His pure class in possession shone through though, as he used the ball well on the move and hardly looked rushed. One of his best kicks was a spearing ball across the top of the 50, hitting Hugh Stagg to prove his short game can be as effective as his long-range penetration. Horne-Francis ended up spending plenty of time forward in term four, converting a free kick and unselfishly handing off to Zac Becker for an assist.

#22 Mani Liddy (Sturt)

Another of the South Australian leaders and one of his side’s most prominent ball winners, Liddy proved an important four-quarter performer. The Sturt top-ager was typically strong around the ball, tackling hard and looking to bustle through congestion to release his outside runners. Liddy sometimes hacked his clearances forward but got good distance, and even found a bit of green ball around the ground through sheer work-rate. He put in a massive shift during the first half when WA was well on top, standing up in tough circumstances.

#23 Cooper Beecken (Glenelg)

Stationed among an under-siege defence, Beecken did a little bit of everything in an overall promising performance. The Glenelg backman was forced to play above his size in competing against the likes of Jack Williams at times, but fared well when running off his opponent on the rebound. Beecken timed his forward forays well to get on the end of handballs and deliver by foot, showing crisp skills and making good choices with his trust left boot.

#25 Max Litster (Woodville-West Torrens)

Another member of the backline who contributed aerially and across the ground, Litster proved his value as one of SA’s 2002-born prospects. The Woodville-West Torrens product has gained great experience at SANFL Reserves level this season and transferred his reliability to this outing. Litster made double efforts at the ball and wasn’t afraid to get in a contest, rising for spoils and chasing up ground balls. He was arguably among his side’s best handful of players overall, especially given he had plenty of work to do.

#27 Morgan Ferres (Sturt)

Ferres just about played a lone hand as SA’s most feasible forward target, presenting up the ground to good effect in what was a terrific first half performance. The Sturt tall worked his direct opponent over time and time again, easily getting separation on the lead and cleanly sticking his marks beyond the forward arc. Ferres was an important link for the Croweaters, but they could probably have done with another of him to make things happen inside 50. He wasn’t quite able to hit the scoreboard, and was moved to defence in term four.

#31 Lukas Cooke (Woodville-West Torrens)

Part of South Australia’s front six, Cooke usually does his best work as a marking option inside 50 but was made to work a little further afield on this occasion. The Woodville-West Torrens tall had a couple of difficult opportunities to kick goals in the first and fourth terms, but put one set shot out on the full while the other shaved the post. He had some nice moments in between when the going was tough, using his reach in the air and presenting on the lead.

#32 Zac Becker (Sturt)

Plenty of play went through Becker in defence, as he took on the task of manning Jye Amiss and mopped up plenty across defensive 50. He was tasked with the early kick-ins and went for distance with his massive boot, though saw plenty balls come straight back his way. Defensively, he got in good positions to make contests and intercept, including a couple of important marks and spoils. He was eventually shifted forward in term four and snared a goal for his efforts.

#33 Oscar Adams (Glenelg)

The tallest timber in South Australia’s starting back six, Adams had to be on his game against WA’s range of key forward options. The 198cm Glenelg prospect stood up strongly, attacking aerial contests and doing well to follow up once the ball had spilt off hands. He didn’t look to do too much with ball in hand, often taking the first and most effective option as SA shifted onto the rebound, using the ball cleanly for a player of his size.

#34 Jordan Lukac (Woodville-West Torrens)

Lukac’s physicality suited the intensity of the game, as the Woodville-West Torrens bigman looked to crash and bash his way into the contest. He played his usual ruck/forward role, rotating between both posts and faring well in the air. While he had a little more trouble gathering cleanly at ground level, Lukac worked hard for his side and added some strength around the ball.

#35 Oscar Steene (West Adelaide)

South Australia’s starting ruck, Steene showed promising potential as a 199cm prospect, but is still a touch raw. While he arrived at plenty of contests and got hands to the ball at most of them with his pure height and reach, Steene was made to battle hard to compete physically in the ruck and marking departments. Still, the West Adelaide tall has an aerial game he can build on.

Featured Image: Player’s fly in Saturday’s AFL U19 National Championships clash between WA and SA | Credit: SANFL via Twitter

TEAMS | 2021 AFLU19s – Western Australia vs. South Australia

THE 2021 AFL Under 19 National Championships have finally arrived, with Western Australia set to take on South Australia at Lathlain Park on Saturday afternoon. The highly anticipated clash was initially delayed in its original Sunday slot, but is back on after eased border restrictions. The Croweaters will thus travel West, led by pick one contender Jason Horne-Francis, who lines up in midfield alongside deputy Mani Liddy and South Adelaide teammate Matthew Roberts.

Western Australia will be skippered by East Fremantle top-ager Finn Gorringe, who takes his place in defence while vice-captain Josh Browne prepares for an epic engine room battle. Fellow deputy Neil Erasmus will miss due to a bad corky, replaced by running machine Max Chipper. There are few real surprises across either line-up, though the hosts’ tall forward riches sees Jacob van Rooyen starting in defence. The Black Ducks are stacked in midfield too, with first round prospect Matthew Johnson squeezed out to a forward flank.

The South Australians boast a good mix of speed and class, with the likes of Port Adelaide father-son prospect Jase Burgoyne, Glenelg wingman Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, and top 10 candidate Arlo Draper among those to watch in the tricolours. Central District League representative Shay Linke was unlucky to miss the SA interchange, while electric Claremont small Jahmal Stretch would have narrowly missed the cut for WA. Both have been named as emergencies.

The action begins at 1:00pm local time, with both sides inevitably itching to get a proper taste of representative action. All 2021 National Championship fixtures are set to be broadcasted. Stay tuned to Draft Central over the next few days, as we’ll have a wrap of the game and Scouting Notes on every player to come on Monday.

>> PREVIEW: Where it’s won – WA vs. SA U19s

2021 AFL U19 National Championships

Western Australia vs. South Australia
Saturday August 28, 1:00pm AWST
Lathlain Park

FINAL SQUADS

Western Australia:

B: F. Gorringe, J. Avery, B. Watson
HB: R. Bazzo, J. van Rooyen, J. Hagan
C: C. Warner, G. Sheldrick, T. Woewodin
HF: M. Johnson, J. Williams, L. Paton
F: E. Benning, J. Amiss, J. Motlop
R: J. South, J. Tunstill, K. Dittmar

Int: J. Browne, B. Hough, J. McVee, E. Regan, M. Chipper
Emg: J. Busslinger, M. Chipper, K. Harbour, J. Stretch

South Australia:

B: M. Litster, Z. Becker, B. O’Loughlin
HB: C. Beecken, O. Adams, J. Burgoyne
C: I. Birt, M. Roberts, N. Wanganeen-Milera
HF: A. Draper, M. Ferres, L. Grubb
F: H. Stagg, J. Lukac, I. Dudley
R: O. Steene, J. Horne-Francis, M. Liddy

Int: L. Cooke, H. Jackson, C. Kennedy, J. Owens, L. Rayson
Emg: H. Harrison, S. Linke, L. Whitelum

Featured Image: (Left to right) West Australian leaders Josh Browne, Finn Gorringe, and Neil Erasmus | Credit: WAFL via Twitter

Where it’s won: Western Australia vs. South Australia Under 19s

THE 2021 AFL Under 19 National Championships are poised to go ahead in some form on Saturday afternoon, as Western Australia hosts South Australia at Mineral Resources Oval. While the clash, originally scheduled for Sunday, was postponed in the wake of state border closures, eased restrictions will allow the South Australian squad to travel without the need to quarantine.

With extended squads already announced for both states and plenty of stars among them, keen draft watchers will already have a good idea of who to watch in the highly-anticipated fixture. With those players in mind, we take a look at where the game will likely be won, and a few of the marquee match-ups poised to light up the big stage. Stay tuned, as both sides will be revealed tomorrow.

>> Squad Previews: South Australia | Western Australia

WHERE IT’S WON

The Midfield Battle

Both engine rooms match up quite well, with some of the premier players from either side set to feature at the centre bounces. All eyes will be on pick one candidate Jason Horne-Francis, who skippers the South Australian squad and will likely anchor the Croweaters’ midfield alongside top-age deputy, Mani Liddy. Add Matthew Roberts into the starting mix, and SA has a strong, reliable mix of ball winners.

That trio is matched well by WA’s likely lot, set to feature Subiaco pair Neil Erasmus and Matthew Johnson along with East Perth battering ram, Kade Dittmar. The trio has some serious size about it, measuring up at an average of 188cm compared to the 183cm stature of SA’s group. That may be levelled out by the physicality of Horne-Francis and Liddy, with Roberts and Johnson the types who will respectively look to thrive off that inside battle.

In terms of depth, both teams bat pretty deep. SA will look to rotate recent League debutant and top 10 prospect Arlo Draper from the front six, along with Glenelg bull Hugh Stagg. Classy Port Adelaide father-son candidate Jase Burgoyne is another viable option from half-back, along with the likes of Hugh Jackson, Cade Kennedy, and Shay Linke off the bench. On the outside are a couple of pure wingmen in Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera and Isaac Birt, who provide some class and running power to further the team’s balance.

Western Australia’s depth is equally formidable. Corey Warner, the brother of Sydney’s Chad, and East Fremantle teammate Josh Browne would fancy starting spots, with the former also a capable wingman. The strong-bodied Angus Sheldrick has proved his worth as a mid-forward rotation piece, while James Tunstill is another East Perth ball winner who may feature, and Melbourne father-son hopeful Taj Woewodin can chip in from half-back. On the outer, Max Chipper is a running machine, while Brady Hough and Lochlan Paton have the versatility to contribute in multiple roles.

With a handy balance of inside grunt, class, and outside run, both midfields will be quite obviously central to their sides’ fortunes. WA’s representatives have already gotten a taste of how they may work together in a number of trial games, and while the SA squad will share plenty of familiarity, they may have some catching up to do. Having two leaders at the source certainly helps, though.

The Talls

Plenty has been made about Western Australia’s array of tall forward options, with the Black Ducks boasting a true embarrassment of riches in said department. Leading WAFL Colts goalkicker Jye Amiss is an absolute deadeye and doesn’t need too many opportunities to impact with multiple goals, while versatile East Fremantle tall Jack Williams thrives aerially and looks a likely centre half-forward/ruck candidate.

Having been thrown into defence during WA’s trial games, Jacob van Rooyen booted 11.5 in his last two Colts outings, while Claremont teammate Eric Benning has also shown his developing forward craft of late and could pinch-hit from the ruck. The Black Ducks are not as strong at the other end of the ground, but Swan Districts standout Rhett Bazzo is a classy intercept-marker who should organise the fort well and Jack Avery can play above his 190cm standing. 195cm bottom-ager Jedd Busslinger may also feature.

South Australia’s starting key defenders, Zac Becker and Oscar Adams will certainly have their hands full. The former reads the play well and is built nicely at 92kg, but the latter will have plenty to do aerially at 198cm, while Cooper Beecken (191cm) may have to play slightly above his size. The Croweaters have some height and power of their own at the other end, with Jordan Lukac and Morgan Ferres strong starting pair supported by Lukas Cooke and Luca Whitelum off the bench.

We may well see some big bags of goals kicked given how well both sides stack up in attack compared to defence, at least in the tall department. With 2021 looming as largely a midfielder’s draft at the top end, opportunity awaits for the talls who can step up on the big stage and potentially shoot into top 15 contention.

The Smalls

With so many bigmen taking the field, the smalls will be equally important in helping capitalise on contest spills in attack or mopping up down back. South Australia will gain a good mix of speed and smarts from Central District pair Lachlan Grubb and Isaiah Dudley up forward, while the likes of Blayne O’Loughlin and Lewis Rayson are serious rebounders in defence. Rayson may also roll up to a wing, while O’Loughlin can play forward or impact in midfield at 171cm.

WA has some dangerous small forwards to watch, headlined by Fremantle NGA prospect Jesse Motlop. Along with Claremont’s Jahmal Stretch and East Fremantle’s Kaden Harbour, there is some serious skill, speed and smarts at the feet of WA’s talls. Down back, Swan Districts defender Bryce Watson has impressed of late, while Finn Gorringe would provide some physicality to go with the class of fellow Sharks, Jed Hagan and Judd McVee.

Whichever set of smalls can better capitalise on the work of their talls will contribute greatly to opening the game up and releasing a bit of pressure off the bigmen. With such a focus on the talls and midfielders, these are the types who may pop up in important moments or have an impact after flying under the radar.

Featured Image: Western Australia’s Matthew Johnson (left) and South Australia’s Jason Horne-Francis in AFL Academy colours | Credit: Michael Klein/Herald Sun

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 19 – Swan Districts vs. East Perth

SWAN Districts stamped its authority as 2021’s leading WAFL Colts side, defeating the third-ranked East Perth by 34 points in a fiery affair on Saturday morning. The Swans broke away early in the third term and never looked back, as the Royals struggled to find any fluency with ball in hand and suffered their second loss in three outings, 11.9 (75) to 5.11 (41). We take a look at a few of the top performers from either side in our Scouting Notes, and go around the grounds with some of the other outstanding Colts performances out of Round 19.

SCOUTING NOTES

Swan Districts 11.9 (75) def. East Perth 5.11 (41)

Swan Districts:

#2 Max Chipper

The Swan Districts accumulator did exactly that on the weekend, racking up a game-high 35 disposals and five inside 50s as a mainstay in his side’s midfield. Chipper found plenty of the ball both at the contest and around the ground, disposing of it quickly with either sharp handballs or clearing kicks. The latter method proved a touch less effective, with many of Chipper’s 20 kicks dumped away under pressure, but he was much cleaner by hand and notched some repeat possessions that way.

#10 Ben Hewett

Another Swans midfielder who had no trouble finding the ball, Hewett also leant on his work-rate to sneak forward and hit the scoreboard. He claimed possession in all parts of the ground en route to collecting 23 disposals, 11 marks and two goals, and could even have snared a couple more majors. His two six-pointers came via set shots after half time; with the first a 40m attempt after streaming forward to create an option inside 50, while the second was converted much closer to goal after sneaking in front of the forming pack to take an easy mark.

#32 Tyrell Metcalf

Setting the play alight with each touch, Metcalf showcased his mix of speed and skill for the Swans. He often worked up the ground and hurt East Perth on the way back with his run-and-carry, selling candy and hitting leading targets along the way. The poise to make good decisions and execute his kicks at speed was good to see, meaning his dancing feet would produce substance along with the obvious flair. Speaking of, Metcalf also snared two goals – both with clean takes and classy snaps on the move inside 50.

#38 Darcy Jones

The bite-sized small midfielder was stationed out on the wing for Swan Districts and despite his 173cm standing, wasn’t afraid to get involved off the contest. Jones’ speed and creativity were his most outstanding features on the day, as he blitzed past opponents with confidence and kicked Swan Districts into attack. The bottom-ager is hard to miss in his helmet, but also caught the eye with a couple of terrific goals. His first came in the second quarter, finished with a left-foot snap after baulking and blind turning his bewildered opponents. The second came in term four, as he again used his pace on the move inside 50 and slotted home with aplomb. Jones showed a great mix of flair, toughness, and smarts while collecting 25 disposals, six marks, and five inside 50s.

#45 Riley Hardeman

The 2005-born prospect produced plenty of promising glimpses out on the opposite wing to his fellow Under 17 state squad member in Jones, boasting similar speed on the outer. He rode the bumps well and wasn’t afraid to back his pace when given the opportunity, providing a bit of spark for the Swans. Hardeman was instrumental in his side’s third term breakaway, booting two goals in quick succession to put a heap of pressure on East Perth. His first 10 minutes of said quarter were terrific, and perhaps a good sign what’s to come.

Others:

Swan Districts had contributors all around the ground, starting with a few notable performances in defence. Cian Ehlers took on one of the competition’s toughest assignments in manning Royals spearhead Jye Amiss and fared exceptionally well, keeping him to two goals while forcing him to work further afield. Bryce Watson (16 disposals) and Lawson Humphries (15) got to work on the rebound, while Noah Hannan proved busy with 24 touches in midfield. Up forward, Braydon Fawcett was a handful for defenders with his pace and pressure, laying a game-high nine tackles.

East Perth:

#7 Jye Amiss

Even on a tough day at the office, Amiss added to his competition-leading goal tally with two majors from 10 disposals and six marks. Swans did their homework on him, but despite a combination of poor delivery and heavy opposition attention, the key forward had his moments. He was forced to work further afield and took a few strong contested marks, before finally finding the goals in term three. He finished nicely with a checkside as the ball broke deep, and later converted a 35m set shot on the end of some nice ball movement to cap off what would have been a frustrating outing for the prolific goalkicker.

#11 James Tunstill

Tunstill took a bit of time to get going but became one of East Perth’s more reliable ball winners at the source as the game wore on. The state Under 19 squad member finished with 16 disposals, four inside 50s and a goal, contributing some strong work around the ball. He stood up in a couple of spells during the first and second terms, with the latter patch ending in a terrific long goal after the half time siren which kept the Royals in with a fighting chance.

#34 Jedd Busslinger

Another bottom-ager and one with a name you’ll unlikely forget any time soon, Busslinger was far and away the most assured East Perth defender afield. He was particularly prominent during the first half, positioning well to intercept and spare the Royals’ blushes on the last line of defence. He showcased good strength and instincts in contested situations, winning the ball back shrewdly before making good decisions with ball in hand. Busslinger’s poise and assuredness among a besieged backline were impressive, and he kept his side in the contest under early pressure.

Others:

East Perth may not have made great use of the ball in general, but had a few players who had little trouble finding it. Kalani Brooks stood up with a team-high 22 touches and six inside 50s, while wingman Oscar Armstrong was the other Royal to hit the 20-mark. Ruckman Sokaa Soka showed his athleticism en route to registering 16 disposals, five marks and 13 hit-outs, while Jayden Peak kicked a nice solo goal and Jordyn Baker popped in patches on the wing.

East Fremantle consolidated its top five standing with a comprehensive 166-point drubbing of Subiaco, taking toll with a side stacked with stars. The Sharks had all but won the game by half time with 12 goals to Subiaco’s two, before running out the game with 148 more disposals and 30 more inside 50s. Josh Browne returned with a casual 35 disposals, seven marks and 1.2 for the victors, supported well by Taj Woewodin (26 disposals, two goals), while Jack Williams (six marks, three goals) and Josh Cripps (23 disposals, four goals) took toll up forward. Jacob Evitt was the Lions’ standout, notching two majors from 16 touches and six marks.

Claremont also registered a dominant victory in the three-game round, defeating the winless Perth by 95 points to move two games clear in second spot. The Tigers dominated at one end of the ground, booting 11 of their 16 goals in the first and third terms while keeping the Demons scoreless. Jacob van Rooyen‘s goalkicking form continued with 5.3 from 22 disposals and seven marks, while the likes of Jacquin Ciminata (26 disposals, 18 tackles, one goal), Kendyll Blurton (26 disposals, nine inside 50s), and Tyreice Brown (23 disposals, 3.2) also made their mark.

There were a bunch of Under 17 and 19 state squad members who returned to PSA action, while others featured up the grades. Finn Gorringe notched 12 disposals and six marks in the Sharks’ 44-point League win over Subiaco, while Jack Avery had 16 touches and four marks for Perth as the Demons went down to Claremont by eight points. Big-bodied East Perth midfielder Kade Dittmar made his senior debut for the Royals but was quiet in a 41-point loss to Swan Districts. In the Reserves, Matthew Johnson fared well with 25 disposals and 10 marks for Subiaco alongside a few of his 2020 Colts premiership teammates.

Image Credit: Swan Districts FC via Facebook

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 18 – Claremont vs. Subiaco

CLAREMONT extended its WAFL Colts winning streak to nine games in Round 18, after thumping an undermanned Subiaco to the tune of 68 points at Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday morning. The Tigers were in ominous form from the first bounce, and all but wrapped up the result by half time having poured on 17 scoring shots to set up a remarkable 52-1 lead at the main break.

Subiaco fought to make for a more competitive game thereafter, booting two goals in each of the closing terms with the Lions’ first majors coming at nearly 15 minutes into the third quarter. The percentage-booster sees Claremont sit pretty in second with a game to both first and third, while Subiaco’s premiership defence may require swift saving as the Lions are currently poised in seventh after three-straight losses.

We take a look at a few of the top performers from either side in our Scouting Notes, and go around the grounds with some of the other outstanding Colts performances out of Round 18.

SCOUTING NOTES

Claremont 13.16 (94) def. Subiaco 4.2 (26)

Claremont:

#27 Angus Sheldrick

Having played a starring role in Western Australia’s Under 19 trial games, Sheldrick transferred that form into his latest Colts outing. The strong-bodied midfielder was typically prominent at the coalface, cracking in to win his own ball and making repeat efforts in tight scrambles. He found plenty of the pill and complemented his inside game well by finding a bit of green ball on the outer, bursting forward and delivering punchy kicks into attack. While his execution was sometimes inconsistent, you couldn’t fault Sheldrick’s work rate as he collected a game-high 28 disposals.

#29 Jahmal Stretch

Another who really boosted his stocks in representative colours, Stretch plays the small forward role so well. He again proved a dynamic part of Claremont’s balanced front six, creating a wealth of opportunities and diverse avenues to goal. His forward pressure caused spills and chaos around goal, his speed off the mark saw him get off the leash when leading, and his evasiveness caused plenty of headaches for Subiaco’s defence. Stretch also poses a marking threat with his leap, and nabbed his lone goal of the game by lurking at the back of a contest and judging the ball well to mark overhead in the goalsquare. He had a couple of long-range set shots fall short and was unselfish enough to give a couple off, too.

#32 Jacob van Rooyen

After a foray to defence while pressing his claims in the state squad, van Rooyen looked back to his ominous best up forward on Saturday. The bullocking key position prospect was an imposing force in the early stages, launching himself into marking contests and taking opponents with him. His strength drew panic from defenders in one-on-one situations, where van Rooyen would protect the drop zone and take marks despite being fouled from every angle. At ground level, he made things happen with punishing tackles and fend-offs, bullying the undermanned opposition at times. After attending a single centre bounce and working well up the ground, van Rooyen was stationed deeper to cap a fine game which yielded 22 disposals, nine marks, and six goals. He looks far too developed to be playing Colts footy, at least when he shows this sort of form and confidence.

#35 Luke Brown

From a matured tall prospect to one with plenty of development left, Brown continues to show glimpses of his potential. The raw 199cm talent rotated between the ruck and key forward posts on Saturday and earned plenty of chances to impress with his 10 disposals, five hit-outs and four scoring shots. While the bottom-ager snapped home a terrific goal in the second term, he put another three chances wide and showed his rawness with a couple of dropped marks inside attacking 50. But with his height, reach and overall upside as a tall, Brown still has plenty of time to fill out and refine his skills at the WAFL Colts grade.

#36 Eric Benning

Playing almost exclusively as a key forward this time out, Benning was on fire with four goals and arguably the best highlights package of anyone afield. He looked unbelievably confident, proving difficult to spot on the lead and plying his trade both in the air and at ground level. The Fremantle NGA prospect presented strongly inside 50 and got separation with his turn of speed, while using that same trait to apply good forward pressure. His best goal came after smothering a kick-in before mopping up and snapping home, but Benning also finished from the pocket and via a 45m set shot. He made good on terrific service and has shown a steep rate of development in recent weeks to give the Dockers – and other recruitment teams – something to think about.

Subiaco:

#12 Jacob Evitt

Arguably Subiaco’s best and most damaging player on a tough day, Evitt produced a good amount of drive from midfield. The bottom-ager is built well for a smaller prospect and showcased his handy turn of speed, helping the Lions move to the outer and break forward with intent. Evitt backed his pace and was able to generate more run as the game wore on, while also hitting the scoreboard with two excellent second half goals. His first major came on the back of pure gut running, as the 17-year-old streamed through midfield to deliver a long kick forward, before getting the ball back and slotting it home from just inside 50. His second was converted closer to the big sticks, as he crumbed a long ball to the hot spot and snapped through on his left foot.

#21 Jed Kemp

Kemp was up against it given Claremont’s depth and strength in midfield, but did well to finish the game as his side’s most consistent ball winner with 27 disposals. He worked into the game but was made to think quickly, bombing clearing balls forward and flicking away handballs under heavy pressure at the contest. His best moments came in the final term; finding a bit of space and showing poise to hit Evitt inside 50, before staying down as Claremont defenders flew to swoop on the ground ball and nab a goal late in the piece.

AROUND THE GROUNDS

Swan Districts continues to soar atop the WAFL Colts ladder after defeating Peel Thunder by 38 points, proving more productive forward of centre with double the scoring shots in a 12.14 (86) to 7.6 (48) victory. After streaming ahead with eight goals to one in the first half, they proved too good to topple thereafter.

Max Chipper was back to his accumulating best with 39 disposals and eight marks for the Swans, as Noah Hannan also ticked up over 30 touches to go with six marks and five inside 50s. Tyrell Metcalf snared three goals for the second week running, while in-form midfielder Ben Hewett managed two. State Under 19s defender Rhett Bazzo showcased his aerial game with eight marks.

Joel Rush was Peel’s sole multiple goalkicker with two, as the likes of Scott Tuia and Byron Finch also hit the scoreboard to complement their 20 disposals apiece. State Under 19s utility Brady Hough notched a team-high 33 touches, while Luke Polson found it 13 times after making his League debut last week.

East Fremantle moved up into fourth place with a crucial win over South Fremantle, leading at every break in the 50-point triumph. The Sharks were served well by returning stars; namely Taj Woewodin (25 disposals, six inside 50s), Jed Hagan (20 disposals, one goal) and Jack Williams (17 disposals, seven marks, 5.3). Joshua Cripps, the brother of Carlton’s Patrick, was also prominent with 23 touches and three goals. For South, Chase Bourne and Caleb Stephens flew the flag as the only Bulldogs to register over 20 disposals.

Meanwhile, East Perth consolidated its standing in third with a 91-point thumping of Perth. Midfielders Oscar Armstrong and Kade Dittmar both snared two goals from over 20 disposals each, but Royals spearhead Jye Amiss was the star of the show. The rising key forward booted six majors from 18 disposals and 11 marks, bringing his season goal tally up to 47 from 11 games. On a tough day for the winless Demons, no player registered over 13 possessions.

Plenty of prospects were also away on PSA duties, while a few also played up the grades. Perth’s Jack Avery continued his good form with 20 disposals and six marks in Perth’s League loss to East Perth, while bigman Jake South (13 disposals, 14 hit-outs) and highly-touted midfielder Matthew Johnson (seven disposals) suited up for Subiaco’s reserves in a 28-point loss to Claremont.

Image Credit: Claremont Football Club

Ones to Watch: The draft prospect bottleneck brimming with talent

WHILE the top end of the 2021 AFL Draft pool is shaping up nicely despite constant injuries to gun players, unexpected season intermissions, and the absence of an Under 19 National Championships, a massive bottleneck remains just outside of first round contention. Draft Central released its August Power Rankings update on Monday, which ranked the nation’s 25 best prospects, but had about 40 in contention for said honours.

With such an even crop forming around the 20-35 mark, we nominate a player from each national carnival region who could soon rise up the ranks to feature in future rankings, while also highlighting a bunch of other players to watch as regular season fixtures wind down. Some of the talents listed below were also spoken about in the latest Final Siren Podcast episode, where the Draft Central crew fielded your questions.

VICTORIA

Potential Riser: 

Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons)
31/01/2003 | 180cm/74kg | Midfielder

Arguably the 26th player in our August Rankings, Taylor may have already made a case for pushing into the top 25 come September’s edition. The small midfielder boasts excellent skills, vision, and decision making, which is exactly what you want from a player who finds the ball as much as he does. At 180cm, Taylor can also double as a pressure forward and utilise those reliable skills in the front half, but has really found a home as Calder’s primary ball winner of late. Over his last three NAB League outings, the 18-year-old has averaged 34 disposals, seven marks and six tackles en route to taking out the Round 15 Player of the Week. He is one of the form players of the draft pool right now, and is proving difficult to deny.

Ones to Watch:

There are plenty of Victorians in the mix as usual, with most already sneaking into the top 25 – like Tom Brown, Sam Butler, and Judson Clarke this past month. Arguably the next biggest riser has been St Kilda Next Generation Academy (NGA) hopeful Mitch Owens, a winger from the stacked Sandringham Dragons regions. The 190cm gloved goer has done plenty of growing over the last year and was a late call-up to last month’s Vic Metro side. He took his chance well, and was in fine form for the Dragons with 25 disposals, six marks, and seven tackles in their most recent outing.

Fellow Sandringham wingman Blake Howes has previously featured in our rankings and remains around the mark, with his athleticism and versatility boding well for a talent with incredible upside. Having rolled up to the wing from his usual forward post in 2021, the 190cm Vic Metro representative has added strings to his bow and booted two goals from 20 touches in his latest NAB League appearance.

Connor Macdonald and Jake Soligo are a couple of small midfielders with handy turns of speed who have no trouble finding the ball, and can also roll forward to impact the scoreboard. Collingwood NGA prospect Youseph Dib is another in that small category at 174cm, but has a mature body which stood up to the rigours of VFL football earlier in the year. He has stood up in midfield recently with his strength and speed around the contest, but is also able to play pressure roles at either end of the ground. Oakleigh teammate Lachlan Rankin is another to monitor; offering versatility, natural smarts, and clean skills in a range of roles.

At the taller end of the midfield scale, Geelong Falcons ball winner Mitch Knevitt has consistently been a standout for his region at the coalface. While he has plenty of room left for improvement, clubs will likely look at his speed, contested work and 193cm frame as traits which point towards workable upside. Fellow big-bodied mid Ned Long has been sidelined of late, but was in promising form at the start of the NAB League season.

There are a couple of defenders who have also impressed throughout the year to prove their potential, in Justin Davies and Oscar Morrison. Both represented Vic Country and have nice combinations of tall and small traits at just under 195cm. Meanwhile, Morrison’s Geelong Falcons teammate Toby Conway has firmed as one of the premier rucks available, standing at over 200cm with handy craft in that department and evolving influence around the ground.

Dandenong Stingrays midfielder Connor Macdonald

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Potential Riser:

Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (Glenelg)
22/02/2003 | 188cm/70kg | Wing

A smooth-moving wingman with elite pedigree, Wanganeen-Milera is among one of the more eye-catching South Australian prospects. The nephew of Essendon and Port Adelaide champion, Gavin, he caught the eye last year with his speed and dare on the outer for Glenelg’s Under 18s, and has since plied his trade in the senior grades. After 11 Reserves outings, the 18-year-old earned a League berth with the Bays this season and was even a late addition to the AFL Academy squad in April. His skill and poise on the ball made him a standout in South Australia’s Under 19 trial game last month, and with his collection of high-level attributes as a tall and raw wingman, Wanganeen-Milera is certainly on the rise.

Ones to Watch:

After being considered among the top 10-20 prospects coming into 2021, Norwood midfielder-forward Cooper Murley was squeezed out of out latest top 25. It’s through no real fault of his own though, with the productive attacking runner first missing out on AFL Academy duties due to an ankle injury in April, before suffering a collarbone injury in the opening minutes of a SANFL Under 18s outing last month. With an extended run and some more senior action, he can quickly improve his stocks.

A trio of club-linked prospects have put themselves in contention with sustained form in 2021, particularly at Under 18s level. Port Adelaide father-son prospect Jase Burgoyne is quite highly regarded in his state, with versatility and clean foot skills among his best traits. While he is quite light-on, he enjoyed a steady three-game stint with Port’s SANFL outfit this season and has no trouble finding the ball.

Adelaide NGA products Blayne O’Loughlin and Isaiah Dudley are crafty smalls who will also come into consideration, and both have even managed to crack the Reserves grade. North Adelaide leader O’Loughlin is the nephew of Michael and loves to generate defensive rebound with his speed and kicking, while Centrals’ speedster Dudley also has good pedigree, with his high-level footy smarts boding well for a future in the small forward role.

North Adelaide midfielders Hugh Jackson and James Willis have both thrown their hats in the ring as potential bolters, but offer quite different strengths. Jackson has clearly been the SANFL Under 18s’ top ball winner with an average of 31.7, while also leading the league for handballs and inside 50s. He has a handy turn of speed, as does the explosive Willis. While a touch more raw in his finished product, Willis certainly catches the eye with his power and agility in the engine room.

State Under 16 and Under 19 teammates Lewis Rayson and Morgan Ferres continue to be thereabouts too. Rayson’s drive and kick penetration on the outer has proven a consistent feature of his game, while Ferres booted 13 goals from a whopping 21 scoring shots in his two SANFL Under 18s outings this season. Both have earned Reserves berths, while Centrals midfielder-forward Shay Linke has broken through to the top flight this year and showed some promise.

Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera in SA colours | Image Credit: AFL Photos

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Potential Riser:

Jesse Motlop (South Fremantle)
23/11/03 | 176cm/74kg | Small Forward

Fremantle staff and fans alike will be cursing a technicality in the NGA rules which may see Motlop snatched from their grasp. NGA products from metro regions in South and Western Australia are only eligible to join their aligned clubs with a bid past pick 40, and Motlop has certainly staked his claim to be taken well within that range. The speedy small forward has a terrific eye for goal and applies valuable pressure, which he showed in his WAFL League debut for South Fremantle last month. The son of former Port and North Melbourne forward, Daniel, has also featured at PSA level for Aquinas College and led the competition’s goalkicking as a Year 11 last year. He can also roll into midfield but will likely pique the most interest with his work inside attacking 50.

Ones to Watch:

Twin talls Jacob van Rooyen and Rhett Bazzo were highly touted coming into the season and while they have shown glimpses of top 25 potential thus far, may have fallen just outside that range. Claremont’s van Rooyen is a noted key forward who has shown his versatility this year with time in midfield and more recently, down back. A glandular fever diagnosis halted his initial run at League level. Bazzo, an Under 16 All Australian defender, has arced back to his intercept-marking roots of late after being trialled up forward earlier in the year. Both are AFL Academy members and will be key state Under 19s figures.

Among the recent League debutants are Corey Warner and Luke Polson, who are quite different prospects. Warner, the brother of Sydney’s Chad, is a real goer out on the wing while Polson is a mobile and versatile tall talent who is not afraid to run with the ball. Along with this pair, one of the state’s biggest risers has been West Coast NGA product Ethan Regan, out of East Perth. At 189cm, he is an explosive unit with terrific aerial prowess and the ability to cover good ground in transition.

It would be remiss not to mention some of WA’s top performers in the recent state Under 19s hitouts. Big-bodied midfielders Kade Dittmar and Angus Sheldrick have been superb across the three games, while Dittmar’s Royals teammate James Tunstill is a promising type. The likes of Jahmal Stretch and Kaden Harbour are lively small forwards entering the conversation, while Taj Woewodin should have Melbourne’s attention as a potential father-son pick-up. Meanwhile Lochlan Paton and Brady Hough have been solid across a few different roles for the Black Ducks.

Jesse Motlop celebrates a goal on his League debut | Image Credit: South Fremantle/WAFL

ALLIES

Potential Riser:

Sam Banks (Tasmania Devils)
2/04/2003 | 187cm/73kg | Half-Back

Banks has long been on the radar as Tasmania’s standout draft prospect for 2021, having taken out Under 16 Division 2 MVP honours in 2019. He also made eight appearances for the Devils’ NAB League side in the same year and has turned out in the TSL for Clarence. While he was sighted up on a wing and through midfield in the past, Banks has played almost exclusively in defence this season upon battling injury. A broken wrist saw him miss out on representing the AFL Academy in April, but the 18-year-old made his NAB League return in Round 11 and has looked promising with his rebound running and skills by foot across half-back. He could be in for a boost with an extended run and some more showings of his potential in roles further afield.

Ones to Watch:

Banks’ fellow Tasmanians Oliver Davis and Sam Collins have gotten back on the horse after being overlooked last year. Hard-nosed midfielder Davis attracted mid-season draft interest and is currently part of Adelaide’s reserves squad, while Collins has moved up to Victoria and linked with reigning NAB League premier, Oakleigh Chargers, where he has featured in midfield upon returning from injury. Forward Jye Menzie is another in the top-age category, and recently snared a bag of goals in the Devils’ Under 17 vs. Under 19 clash.

There are plenty of Northern Academy prospects who their respective clubs will look at closely. Brisbane has seen the likes of Saxon Crozier, Tahj Abberley, Toby Triffett, Charlie Bowes, and Will Tasker take strides at state league level this year, having all remained in the Lions’ system as 19-year-old talents. Gold Coast has more 2003-born talents in the pipeline, including AFL Academy member Austin Harris. He, too has gained VFL experience along with defender Bodhi Uwland and twin talls Will Bella and Jack Johnston.

Elsewhere, Giants Academy member Josh Green (brother of Tom) trained with Richmond during preseason and may still have some interest, while Murray Bushrangers prospects Charlie Byrne and Cameron McLeod were among those to have some interest at the next level – both during preseason and in this year’s mid-season intake.

Sam Banks in action for Clarence | Image Credit: Solstice Digital

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 13 – East Fremantle vs. Peel Thunder

PEEL Thunder pulled off a memorable upset over East Fremantle on Saturday morning, coming from behind at each break to snatch victory within the last 90 seconds, 9.8 (62) to 7.16 (58).

The inaccurate Sharks were made to pay for their inability to shut the door on Peel, with their early control of the territory, midfield and scoring shot domination counting for little as they fell behind at the last hurdle.

16-year-old Koen Sanchez had the chance to win back the points for East Freo with a flying shot in the last 30 seconds, but pulled it wide to seal the result in soggy conditions at New Choice Homes Park.

We take a look at a few of the top performers from either side in our Scouting Notes, and go around the grounds with some of the other outstanding Colts performances out of Round 13.

SCOUTING NOTES

East Fremantle 7.16 (58) def. by Peel Thunder 9.8 (62)

East Fremantle:

#2 Koen Sanchez

The 2005-born talent is an exciting prospect for the future, and started brightly in his latest WAFL Colts outing. Sanchez was stationed out on the wing and provided really good drive between the arcs, running hard and proving a quick thinker in possession. He unfortunately put wide a game-winning opportunity in the last 30 seconds, but it was a decent effort on the fly from the 16-year-old.

#4 Jed Hagan

Hagan was another who started well, contributing the first two scores of the game – albeit both behinds. As a permanent fixture in midfield, the bottom-ager was wonderfully clean below his knees and clever at the contest, able to win the ball at will and draw free kicks under pressure. He again found plenty of the ball with 26 disposals, working to all areas of the ground with smooth movement and slick ball use. Looks a dead ringer for recent North Melbourne draftee, Will Phillips.

#6 Josh Browne

As he so often does, Browne finished Saturday’s game as the clear leading ball winner, racking up 33 disposals and looking particularly ominous in the first half. He was the go-to midfielder at stoppages, often able to get first hands on the ball and move it on cleanly by hand. His quick clearing kicks were less effective and not quite penetrative, but Browne consistently got his hands on the ball and corrected some of those deficiencies. After spurning a set shot opportunity in term two, he straightened up to slot one home in the following quarter.

#7 Judd McVee

One of the more polished players afield, McVee was able to display his smooth movement on the rebound off half-back. He positioned well to intercept across the backline, before distributing nicely by foot. His composure on the ball pointed towards great class, and there were a couple of instances where McVee spun out of tight spots or sold candy to keep the play moving fluently.

#8 Taj Woewodin

The Melbourne father-son hopeful was another of East Fremantle’s prolific ball winners, providing good drive out of the engine room. He often received the ball facing forward, or had momentum going that way, which he continued with his carry and capped off with clean kicks. He began to find more of the ball away from the contest after half time and snuck forward to drill through a terrific goal in the final term.

#19 Richard Bartlett

In his first WAFL Colts outing for the season, Bartlett showed some promise and class in the front half. The Fremantle NGA prospect has slick hands and a punchy kind of kick, which he used to get creative at half-forward. He presented well and took a couple of clean overhead marks, but mostly caught the eye with his goal at the start of the fourth term. He had also kicked one in the second quarter but missed another late set shot chance and even gave a couple off.

#22 Jack Cleaver

14 disposals and six marks do not quite do justice to the mark Cleaver made at half-back, with his no-frills kind of approach proving important in the defensive half. The solidly built bottom-ager was exactly that – solid – as he saw most of his possessions on the defensive side of the corridor where he looked to distribute with short kicks. While there was nothing spectacular about his game, Cleaver played his role well and was handy in most departments.

#25 Jack Williams

Spending more time in the ruck than usual, Williams had his work cut out for him but still managed to put up good numbers with 17 disposals, five marks, 18 hitouts and 1.2 on the scoreboard. The versatile tall prospect was shrewd with his ruck bodywork and just as clever in his ability to peel off after initial forward marking contests. He showed this on two occasions, with both breaks leading to set shot opportunities and the first resulting in a goal. He was typically assured in the air, but could be a touch stronger when bodied in contests.

Peel Thunder:

#7 Byron Finch

Finch popped up to be one of Peel’s best midfielders in crucial moments, including a couple of centre bounce breaks during term four. He also came up clutch with the game-winning goal with 90 seconds left on the clock, winning a free kick inside 50 before coolly converting. With crafty movement and foot skills, Finch impacted both at the fall of the ball and coming away from the contest.

#8 Brady Hough

Hough spent plenty of time forward before shifting back into midfield, proving another who stood up in the tough moments. He provided Jackson Klepzig with the game’s first goal, breaking over the back in transition and kicking long inside 50. He really started to get going after half time, helping Peel shift into attack with positive forward carry. The state Under 19 squad member lifted his urgency late on, breaking tackles and looking to move inside 50 quickly.

#23 Luke Polson

The mobile tall again rotated into the ruck from his key forward post, moving well in both roles and taking the game on with vigour for a player of his stature. Polson looked ominous in the early-goings with a solid mark and shot on goal, but popped up for more moment- type plays as the game wore on. He was not afraid to back his athleticism to burn opponents or move through traffic, and his effort to break multiple tackles led to Blake Offer’s important fourth term goal.

#24 Blake Offer

Offer was the most effective key forward afield in terms of scoreboard impact, booting a game-high three goals with each of them coming in different terms. He got on the board with two set shots in the opening half, and snapped a clutch goal in the final quarter to help draw Peel back within two goals. His clean finishing proved key to the Thunder’s comeback victory as East Fremantle faltered.

#28 Jackson Broadbent

The bottom-aged tall showed some nice signs throughout the match, using his height advantage well in the ruck and hitting to dangerous zones at stoppages. He won a game-high 24 hitouts, competing plenty against highly touted Sharks prospect, Jack Williams. Broadbent only notched eight disposals and spend a good amount of time forward, but did his best work in the ruck.

#30 Jarrad McIlvinney

Another of Peel’s state Under 19 squad members, McIlvinney was strong in his usual defensive post and did most of his best work aerially. He took four marks for the day, winning one-on-ones inside defensive 50 and using his reach to advantage to pluck the ball at high points.

AROUND THE GROUNDS

Subiaco earned a thumping 70-point win over Perth to open the round, with leading Lions prospect Matthew Johnson notching 28 disposals, nine marks, 10 tackles and a goal. Jed Kemp (33 disposals) was also prominent, while Jacob Evitt (23 disposals, two goals) and Ezekiel Bolton (22 and three) found plenty of the ball and the goals.

East Perth’s push for top spot continued with a 19-point win over West Perth on the road, spearheaded once again by rising prospect Jye Amiss. The prolific key forward booted four goals, while the likes of Kalani Brooks (27 disposals) and James Tunstill (19 disposals, two goals) were also productive. Falcons skipper Luke Reilly was his side’s leading ball winner with 23 touches, trailed by versatile tall Kane Bevan (20) as Darcy Dixon (19 disposals, two goals) and the returning Lochlan Paton (19 disposals, six tackles) also stood up.

Claremont were the other big winners in Round 14, trouncing South Fremantle to the tune of 68 points away from home. Small forward Jahmal Stretch booted four goals to prove his credentials as a state squad member, as ball winners Angus Sheldrick (28 disposals) and Talon Delacey (22, one goal) went to work. Caleb Stephens was again prolific for the Bulldogs, winning a game-high 29 touches and snagging a goal.

A few Colts guns were also sighted at League level, headlined by the debut of East Fremantle midfielder Corey Warner. The brother of Chad managed 14 disposals and five marks in his maiden outing, making for a solid start to his senior career. Claremont forward Jacob Van Rooyen made another appearance as the Tigers lost to South Fremantle by a point, while Fremantle NGA prospect Jesse Motlop kicked a goal for the Bulldogs’ Reserves.

Big-bodied East Perth midfielder Kade Dittmar was also sighted in the seconds, collecting 29 disposals and laying five tackles as the Royals downed West Perth.

Image Credit: Phil Elliott/Justin Elliott (Pixell Photography) via East Fremantle Football Club