Tag: tom scully

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 14

THE 2021 SANFL Under 18s season continued over the weekend, with the latest round of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 17 and 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 4.13 (37) def. by NORWOOD 10.10 (70)

By: Michael Alvaro

Woodville-West Torrens:

#14 Blake Hansen

With plenty to do in the Eagles’ defence, Hansen racked up an equal game-high 25 disposals and nine rebound 50s. The bottom-ager took on the kick-in duties while stationed in his usual defensive post, often snatching metres out of the goalsquare before unleashing a long kick. He was also shifted up onto the wing, showing the same kind of positive forward run and looking for handball receives on the outer.

#16 Will Pearce

Pearce was a strong and consistent part of the Eagles’ midfield mix, proving prominent around the contest in conditions which made clean extraction tough. He managed to get his hands on the ball plenty of times and finished with 21 disposals, seven marks, and six tackles in a pretty well-rounded display, though he couldn’t quite find the goals like he usually does up forward.

#18 William Neumann

Another strong body in midfield, Neumann seemed well suited to the conditions with his ample work over the ball and ability to break tackles with brute force. Neumann also showed some nice points of difference, with one being his overhead marking as he rose for a couple of solid grabs around the ground. He also won a free kick inside 50 and slotted a well-hit set shot goal, adding to his 20 touches and four clearances.

Others:

Dustin Launer again finished as one of the Eagles’ highest ball winners with 23 disposals, as the likes of Jack Murphy (19 disposals, nine marks) and Nathan Barkla (16 disposals, five tackles) put in solid shifts. Meanwhile, state Under 17s squad member Hunter Carter had it 14 times though midfield and snared a goal early in the final term.

Norwood:

#3 Noah Hyde

Hyde was super busy for Norwood on the outer, breaking the lines with positive run-and-carry and proving clever with ball in hand. He racked up 22 touches, seven marks and five inside 50s for the Redlegs, helping link forward in transition and breaking into some really dangerous areas. He very nearly impacted the scoreboard in a major way too, but could only register two behinds.

#9 Tyson Walls

Like Hyde, Walls helped link Norwood into attack with productive carry and clever ball use between the arcs. He looked to get creative with ball in hand; darting short kicks to his forwards, chaining possessions by hand, and working hard to have repeat impacts in his side’s passages of play. The state Under 17 squad member had another terrific outing overall, finishing with 21 disposals and five inside 50s.

#10 Taj Rahui

Arguably best afield for the Redlegs, Rahui was perhaps even better than his final statline of 25 disposals, six marks, and three rebound 50s. The bottom-ager mopped up beautifully across Norwood’s defensive half, setting a high line to help force turnovers and keep his side locked into attack mode. He handled the ball cleanly in tough conditions and was not afraid to take on tackles, with rebounding run a key feature of his game. Rahui also looked to kick through the corridor, hitting some aggressive passes through the middle to really compound his impact in a well-rounded performance.

#20 Charles Kemp

Another player who handled the ball exceptionally well in muddy conditions, Kemp clunked a remarkable seven contested marks among his total of eight overall. He used his strength well when stationed as Norwood’s deepest forward, engaging well with his opponent before snapping the ball up. As the game wore on, Kemp also worked further afield and presented strongly on the lead, proving a reliable marking target. He kicked three goals for the game, turning crumber for the last with a nice shark off hands and snap finish.

Others:

Norwood’s midfield worked hard at the coalface to set the Redlegs on the front foot, with the likes of Benjamin Belperio (24 disposals, eight clearances), Peter Minervini (23 disposals, five inside 50s, and Will Charlton (21 disposals, two goals) all returning really solid efforts. Jayden Gale was productive with nine inside 50s, while Will Bowman and Riley Verrall stood up in defence.

NORTH ADELAIDE 10.5 (65) def. by WEST ADELAIDE 15.7 (97)

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#5 Shaun Bennier

Donning the long-sleeves, defender Shaun Bennier was one of the Roosters best performers on an otherwise disappointing day for the red and whites. Starting the game deep in defence, he was seemingly involved in everything for the Roosters as West Adelaide peppered the goal-face. His long kicking was on display as Bennier was charged with the kick-in duties. He had some good battles with a couple of the West Adelaide forwards, including Tom Scully, and did well despite giving away some height. Late in the second term he was moved to the other end of the ground, with the change paying immediate dividends as Bennier booted a set-shot goal. Moving back into defence after the main break, his ball use remained clean and his rebound proved important. He finished the game with 16 disposals, three marks and seven rebounds.

#28 Max Blacker

With important midfielders Hugh Jackson, Harvey Harrison and James Willis out of the side due to state commitments, bottom-aged on-baller Max Blacker was given a more balanced role through the midfield. He found plenty of the ball and seemed to enjoy spending some more time on the inside, compared to his predominately wing-role when the Roosters are at full-strength. He used the ball fairly well for most of the game, with his disposal by foot generally careful and precise. The equal-leading disposal getter for the home side, Blacker finished with 24 touches, four marks, three tackles, three clearances and three inside-50s.

Others: 

Midfielder William Dowling (24 disposals, five marks, three tackles, three clearances, six inside-50s and a goal) was certainly one of North’s best, working hard through the middle. He was joined by Kane McAuliffe (18 disposals, four tackles, three clearances and two goals) and Adam Heath (17 disposals and four clearances) who both fought hard. The former produced one of the highlights of the game by launching a left-foot goal from outside-50 late in the game. Angus Tully joined McAuliffe as the Roosters only multiple goal-kickers, booting a couple apiece, while James White laid a game-high 12 tackles to go with 16 disposals and a goal.

West Adelaide:

#7 Kobe Ryan

Bottom-aged midfielder Kobe Ryan was once again his sides most prolific player in the triumph over North Adelaide. The Sacred Heart College student showed excellent vision and skill to hit up his targets with ball in-hand. The placement of his kicks, despite the blustery conditions, highlighted his terrific skillset. He cracked in typically hard all-game, drawing a number of free kicks simply by going in lower than his opponent. A natural ball-winner who reads the game well in-tight, Ryan was knocked off the ball at-times by bigger bodied opposition, but concluded another positive showing with 32 possessions, five tackles, eight clearances and nine inside-50s.

#37 Tom Scully

Key forward Tom Scully had a great day in attack for West Adelaide. Scully provided teammate Harry Barnett with a cop-out in the ruck at-times, but was stationed deep in attack for much of the contest. He presented up the ground well, with his size and reach clearly worrying the North Adelaide defenders. He looked capable overhead without being dominant. A highlight was his strong one-on-one mark in the third term which led to a set-shot goal. Scully was very clean below his knees and showed a willingness to get involved in the game in general play rather than simply wait for his opportunities in the air. The tall utility finished with 12 disposals, three goals, two marks and 17 hit-outs.

#40 Luke Young

Medium forward Luke Young tore open the game with a brilliant passage in the second quarter which saw him boot three goals in as many minutes. Strong overhead, Young used his size to advantage in attack, nudging his opponent under the ball to take a couple of solid grabs. He combined well with Tom Scully inside-50, with the duo proving difficult to stop in-tandem. Young would add a fourth goal in the final term to complete a terrific showing which saw him also manage 17 disposals and six marks (two contested).

#51 Harry Barnett

Big-man Harry Barnett was terrific in the ruck for West Adelaide, often getting both hands to the ball at stoppages and either clearing space or palming it down to his midfielders. However Barnett’s ability to impact the game aerially was particularly exciting. His judgement of the ball in-flight and strong hands overhead allowed him to take five grabs for the game – two of which were contested. Barnett showed off his leap and athleticism by soaring high early in the first term to haul in a spectacular grab. The teenager worked hard around the ground and booted a second-term goal. He finished the day with 9 disposals and 23 hit-outs in an encouraging performance given the less-than favourable conditions at Prospect Oval.

Others:

Small defender Charlie Pridham didn’t accumulate as much of the ball as in recent weeks, however he still had some important touches, particularly under pressure down back. The under-18 competition’s leading rebounder, Pridham managed 17 disposals, four tackles and three rebounds in the Bloods win. Midfielders Tyson Coe and Dylan McCormick produced workmanlike performances through the middle. Coe impressed with his brute strength and clean hands in-tight, finishing the game with 18 touches, five tackles, six clearances and four inside-50s. The speedy McCormick also gathered 18 possessions, to go with four tackles, five clearances and three inside-50s.

SOUTH ADELAIDE 6.7 (43) def. GLENELG 4.9 (33)

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide:

#5 Angus Bradley

The blonde-haired utility spent the game in the midfield, having shown an ability to fill a role across half-back earlier in the year. Bradley was effective at stoppages, positioning himself well, reading the ruckman’s taps and often clearing the area with a quick snap. In tricky conditions, he showed a desire to break open the game with some passages of run and carry. However Bradley could have lowered his eyes to spot up shorter targets at-times instead of kicking long, particularly when going forward. He added a goal in the third term after capitalising on a Bays fumble on the goal-line and finished the day with 22 disposals, five tackles, seven clearances and six inside-50s.

#11 Jaiden Magor

Bottom-ager Jaiden Magor started the game at half-forward but rotated through the midfield as the game wore on. He didn’t accumulate the numbers of fellow on-ballers Angus Bradley or Luke Mitton, however Magor showed some glimpses which suggests he has a very bright future. He was clean at ground level and weaved through traffic nicely. His highlight of the game came tucked against the boundary line where Magor danced past a couple of would-be tacklers, located a target in the corridor and picked him off with a pin-point drop punt. He tackled hard as always and moved well across the ground but missed a couple of opportunities in-front of goal, finishing with three behinds to go with 13 disposals, five tackles, three clearances and four inside-50s.

#13 Lachlan Hayes

Lachlan Hayes was South Adelaide’s glue down back in what was arguably a best on-ground performance. The diminutive defender read the play well and positioned himself well to cut off a number of Glenelg attacking moments. Spending some time on the dangerous Harry Tunkin at-times, he not only held his own in one-on-one situations, but covered for a number of his teammates, always seeming to be in the thick of it in defence. He provided plenty of rebound from South Adelaide’s defensive-50 and used the ball well in windy and slippery conditions. The 17-year-old from the Cove Football Club finished with a team-high 27 disposals, eight marks, three tackles and 11 rebounds.

Others: 

Small midfielder Luke Mitton was combative in his on-ball role, providing some all-important energy around the contest. He gathered 20 disposals (including 18 kicks), five tackles and six clearances. Fellow midfielder Tom Wheaton managed 17 disposals, five tackles and three clearances. Talented ruckman Will Verrall fought hard against Glenelg big-man Henry Gould, with the pair both having their moments. Verrall finished with 24 hit-outs along with eight disposals. Clever forward Jack Delean booted two goals from his seven touches, including a well-taken set-shot.

Glenelg:

#6 Darcy Gluyas

With a couple of Glenelg’s best players absent from the under-18 side due to state commitments on Friday night, Darcy Gluyas was the Bays go-to guy in the middle. He was dominant in the first term, winning 14 possession and providing some calmness and composure in an otherwise scrappy, heavily contested-style game. Wearing the long-sleeves, Gluyas spent some time on the inside and the outside and looked particularly damaging when given some time and space. He gathered 26 disposals, four marks, six tackles, five clearances and four inside-50s in a well-rounded display.

#29 Hayden Brokensha

Bottom-ager Hayden Brokensha played arguably his best game in Bays colours in the clubs ten-point defeat. He was deployed across half-back where he demonstrated good poise and looked quite at home. An unfortunate mistake on the Panthers goal-line led to a South Adelaide major, however Brokensha accumulated plenty of the football and showed some promising signs in the yellow and black, finishing with a game-high 29 disposals, two marks and six rebounds.

#38 Jakob Ryan

Jakob Ryan lined-up across half-forward to start the game but was moved onto the wing as the game progressed. He had a set-shot early in the game but pushed the kick across the face. He was clean by hand on a couple of occasions on the outer wing and was composed with his ball-use all day, both by hand and by foot. A classy mover who has performed well for Glenelg’s under-18s since re-joining the team a couple of weeks ago, Ryan gathered 26 disposals, four marks, four tackles and three inside-50s.

Others:

Adelaide father-son product Brodie Edwards produced another solid performance playing a variety of roles for Glenelg. Clean by hand throughout the contest, he finished with 22 disposals, four clearances and three rebounds. Harry Tunkin managed 20 disposals, three marks, four tackles and a goal and was typically busy around the ball. Archie Lovelock and Will Watts both accumulated 22 disposals, whilst key forward Harry McInnes booted three of Glenelg’s four goals for the game.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 7.12 (54) def. by STURT 15.13 (103)

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#17 Tahjin Krieg

Krieg was Centrals’ best player afield and the most prolific across both sides, finishing with impressive numbers of 37 disposals, 10 marks, and five clearances. He was constantly on the move in midfield, breaking to the outer and generating plenty of forward momentum for his side. While Sturt was well on top for most of the game, Krieg proved a consistent figure and was clever in his decision making with ball in hand. Whether it was darting away to avoid tacklers or drawing the opponent one way before moving the other, Krieg found ways to manufacture room to run, with his sharp kicks the only facet which sometimes let him down.

#38 Brodie Tuck

Considering his side was dominated for much of the contest, Tuck fared well to come away with 21 disposals, eight marks, and 3.3 as Centrals’ rotating ruck-forward. He was mostly stationed forward and proved a focal point for the Bulldogs, but not always in a traditional key position sense. While Tuck presented nicely up the ground as a marking option, he was also made to work with plenty of ground balls inside 50, and showcased some dynamism when doing so. The bottom-ager snagged two of his three majors during the third term, putting through consecutive snaps with class for a man of his 193cm standing.

Others:

Ruben Carreno had plenty to do down back before being shifted to midfield, showcasing a sound short kicking game among his 25-disposal effort. Henry Ratcliff also rolled through midfield and collected 21 touches, while Jake Grubb (17 disposals, seven marks) was handy on the outer and Adam Deakin (12 disposals, six marks, three behinds) was dangerous once swung forward from defence.

Sturt:

#7 Nick Sadler

Sadler was superb for Sturt, showcasing every bit of his class from midfield with 26 disposals, six clearances and a goal. He looked as polished as anyone in possession, with his clean hands and punchy kicking helping the Double Blues gain ascendancy in the centre. The bottom-ager proved a slippery customer and utilised his speed on the ball, snatching metres or gaining ample separation to ensure his kicks were either well directed or at least penetrative. He was even busy when resting forward and speared some lovely passes to others, while also producing a highlight-reel speccy and goal at the end of the third term.

#11 Luca Slade

Sturt has some really promising Under 16 talent coming through its 18s squad, and Slade is one of them. The 2005-born midfielder-forward enjoyed plenty of minutes in the engine and looked dangerous on the break, using his speed to carry the Double Blues into attack. When stationed forward, Slade worked up to the arc and helped link his side towards goal. His smarts showed more and more as the game wore on, and Slade finished with 28 disposals, seven marks and a goal – with more than just one look at the big sticks.

#28 George Pope

Another of Sturt’s up-and-coming Under 16s, Pope continues to show promise after contributing 24 disposals, five inside 50s and two goals. The under-ager rotated through midfield but spent plenty of time forward, using his strength to bustle through tackles and release handballs under that kind of pressure. He helped the Double Blues break into attack and while his disposal by foot remains a touch raw, Pope managed to convert two terrific goals.

Others:

Sturt was served well by its forwards, as Jackson Bishop (13 disposals, four goals), Chad Reschke (15 disposals, nine marks, two goals), and Blake Fidge (14 disposals, one goal) formed a very handy trio. Cormac Dwyer was productive in midfield with 28 disposals, five clearances and a goal, while the likes of Jamie Taylor and Kai Tucker also had their moments on either side of midfield.

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography via South Adelaide FC

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 12

THE 2021 SANFL Under 18s season continued over the weekend, with the latest round of action producing plenty more excellent performances from budding AFL Draft prospects. In the next SANFL Scouting Notes edition, we again narrow in on SA’s Under 18s competition, with a particular focus on the state’s Under 19 talent hub members and other standout performers. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

STURT 9.9 (63) def. by NORWOOD 13.11 (89)

By: Eli Duxson

Sturt:

#24 Cormac Dwyer

Returned to the Double Blues outfit for the first time since Round 5 and brought all the same pressure and physicality he departed with. He laid the most tackles for Sturt with eight as the big-bodied inside midfielder tried to utilise his sturdy frame as best he could. Dwyer took on more of a defensive role at stoppages as he remained static but held front position and prevented his direct opponent from running to hit zones or spreading for the second and third handballs. He often went defensively to Cooper Murley when their midfield rotations lined up. His disposal was a little scratchy at times but his work in and under was where he thrived. Dwyer finished with 15 disposals and eight clearances to go with his tackling numbers in a welcome return to Sturt’s engine room.

#39 Felix Packer

Undoubtedly kept Sturt in the game with his perfectly accurate five goals as the focal point of the Double Blues’ forwardline. Packer did all his work inside 50 and with his strength one-on-one and ability to finish, that was fair enough. His first goal came from a 25-metre set shot after he earned a free kick for holding the ball. Soon after he wore one in the mid-section after backing into a contest in what was the only time all game he looked vulnerable. The hulking unit managed two more goals in the second quarter with a Tom Hawkins-style pluck and snap out of a forward 50 ruck contest, and another set shot from a tight angle. He did not require much separation to mark contested often finding just enough space on the lead to get his hands in front of him. A 25-metre penalty netted him a shot in the goal square while his final goal came from another nice snap after marking on the point line.

Others:

In what was a lean day in terms of contributors for Sturt, Dylan Thredgold dominated the ruck with 31 hit-outs compared to Norwood’s best in 10. Jake Aish was also quiet on his standards with his first single-digit disposal game for the season, finishing on eight.

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

Since returning from Reserves duties, Murley has continued to make the Under 18s competition his own with his second 30-plus disposal game from three outings. His speed and acceleration kept him in the middle of the ground for most of the game, with stints down forward to rest or present a different challenge for Sturt. Murley managed to find space with such running abilities and mark uncontested which he did 11 times. His speed took centre stage when he held outside position on a Norwood rebound and when he saw his chance to go, he took off and marked 20 metres out directly in front. Not many can keep up with him. With ball in hand, he looked composed, seeming as though he had much more time than everyone else and was clean with his ball use, making good decisions. His second goal came from a Gary Ablett Jr­-like snap from the right boundary, curling in wonderfully for a great finish. He missed a third shot which would have just been a cherry on top of his 31 disposals, two goals, and six rebound 50s, from which he showed his defensive work rate.

#16 Benjamin Belperio

Backing up his 21-disposal effort last week came arguably Belperio’s best game for the season, as he notched three goals from his 18 touches to go with five marks and four clearances. He kicked the first goal of the game with a nice finish on the run at pace with his penetrating kick. Like Murley, he rotated between centre, wing, and forward and was disciplined with his positioning. If he moved off the ball to find the footy he could have improved on his solid stats, but he would have done his team a disservice with fewer options and not stretching the Sturt defence. When around the ball however, he hunted it and tried to bustle through contests to obtain possession. His second goal came after the ball spilled to him as he showed his hip strength to break through a pair of tackles before dribbling it through. His final goal came from a set shot from just inside 50 after marking overhead which he flushed. When working back defensively he was often good at locating before getting involved on the rebound, although on one occasion he drifted and did not see the opponent standing behind him in the pocket. Although it had no impact on the scoreboard, it would have been just a minor blemish on an otherwise serviceable contribution.

Others:

Defensive duo Matthew Dnistrianksy and Riley Verrall managed 26 and 25 disposals respectively in their rebounding efforts, while Bailey Gal laid the most tackles on the ground with 11. Aidan Lake’s impact on the game would not be represented on the stat sheet as his effort around contest was immense. Not the prettiest player but he showed plenty of heart.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS 12.8 (80) def. SOUTH ADELAIDE 11.7 (73)

By: Tom Wyman

Woodville-West Torrens:

#17 Adam D’Aloia

South Australia’s Under 17 skipper produced a typically tough, in-and-under performance in his return to the Eagles set-up. The inside midfielder started the clash well, hurtling himself at the contest with ferocity and laying an abundance of defensive pressure. His stoppage smarts were evident but it was his relentless tackling which stood out. D’Aloia worked well around the ground but was clearly at his best in congestion. Although he was quieter after a strong first term, the midfielder will certainly be a key component to the Eagles’ side as finals approach. He finished the game with 16 disposals, 10 tackles and five clearances.

#21 Mattaes Phillipou

Another member of South Australia’s Under 17 side, Phillipou looked threatening whenever the ball was in his vicinity. Dividing his time between an inside midfield role and the forwardline, Phillipou used his tall 188cm frame well in both roles. In attack his overhead marking meant he was a prominent target going forward, and through the middle his superior size and strength proved equally valuable. His ability to win the ball at ground level then get his hands free to give off a quick handball was impressive. A known goal kicker, Phillipou added another two to his season tally, to go with 24 touches, four marks and seven clearances.

#24 Zac Phillips

A number of bottom-aged Eagles stood out in the win over South Adelaide, however 19-year-old Phillips had a dominant day in the ruck. Predominately competing against South’s Thomas Welk, Phillips used his athleticism, size and improving ruck craft to provide his midfielders with first use. As the game wore on, Phillips accumulated more of the ball around the ground, whilst still holding the advantage in the ruck duel. Clearly the best key position player on the ground, Phillips finished a fruitful day with 14 touches, three clearances and 51 hit-outs.

Others:

Midfielder Brock Thomson (30 disposals, five marks, six clearances and three inside 50s) finished the match as the leading ball-winner on the ground. Always a presence at stoppages, Thomson combined well with fellow on-baller Sam Nicholls (12 disposals, five tackles and four clearances). The pair produced workmanlike performances which proved pivotal in the Eagles narrow triumph. In attack, full forward Jordan Lukac showcased his terrific athleticism to boot back-to-back opportunist goals from close range and help wrestle back the momentum for the Eagles. Henry Hawker played an important half-forward role for the home side, booting three goals from 18 disposals. His work overhead was a highlight, taking nine marks including three contested.

South Adelaide:

#5 Angus Bradley

Bradley was deployed down back for South Adelaide, where his clean skills and ability to read the play helped get the Panthers out of trouble on numerous occasions. He was at times made to pay for some moments of indecisiveness, however he found the ball at will and generally used the football well by foot. Having produced some excellent showings through the midfield this season, Bradley showed he has the tools and versatility to play a number of roles by performing well across half-back. He finished with a team-high 23 disposals, three marks and three rebounds.

#10 Isaac Birt

Birt has been South Adelaide’s best performer for much of the season to-date, with his speed and silky ball use impressing on-lookers. However, his influence was curtailed in tricky conditions against the Eagles. The midfielder worked typically hard up and down the outer wing, accumulating mark-after-mark, but wasn’t as clean and precise by foot as we’ve come to expect from the Strathalbyn product. At times he was caught trying to bite off more than he could chew, which could be forgiven considering his often scintillating delivery. He still managed to gather 16 disposals, eight marks, five tackles and seven inside 50s.

#19 Tom Wheaton

Tall midfielder, Wheaton made an excellent initial impression in his first Under 18s game. After captaining the Panthers Under 16s to glory earlier in the year, Wheaton was heavily involved from the get-go on debut, matching it with the Eagles on-ballers. A strong-bodied midfielder who appears quite physically developed, Wheaton found himself under all sorts of pressure in his first handful of possessions, however he seemed to thrive upon the tough, contested nature of the game. He found the ball in some more time and space as the game went on, but was at his best in-tight where he scrapped around and put his body on the line time-after-time. He finished as the leading clearance player on the ground, which speaks volumes to his high-level midfield craft and football smarts. Wheaton gathered 21 disposals, four marks, eight clearances, four tackles and four inside 50s in a very encouraging effort.

#23 Noah Howes

Exciting forward, Howes booted five goals and very nearly lifted his side to victory at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. Another member of South’s triumphant Under 16 side, Howes looked very threatening on the lead, using his athleticism and speed to gain separation. At times he appeared the most damaging player on the field, with the Panthers clearly looking to get it into his hands up forward. Four of his five goals came in the first half, including a terrific set shot effort from beyond the arc. Also impressive was his willingness to follow-up at ground level, laying five tackles to go with nine disposals.

#35 Koby Cockshell

Talented utility, Cockshell worked well in tandem with the aforementioned Howes in attack. He booted two majors and took a couple of great contested marks to highlight his overhead strength. Also helping out in the ruck at times, the 195cm talent finished with 12 disposals and four marks (all contested). Cockshell is yet another member of South Australia’s Under 17 squad.

Others:

The versatile Cooper Rogers started the game in a half-forward role, however he was at his best when moved on-ball in the second half. He attacked the contest hard, tackled with intent and added some speed and energy to the Panthers midfield set-up after the main break. He finished with 11 disposals, nine tackles and a couple of clearances. Luke Mitton gathered 19 disposals, six tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s while Lachlan Hayes was effective in defence for South Adelaide. The fearless defender read the play well, accumulating 15 disposals, five marks and four rebounds.

NORTH ADELAIDE 4.11 (35) def. by WEST ADELAIDE 19.12 (126)

By: Michael Alvaro

North Adelaide:

#4 Isaac Keeler

Truly a shining light on what was a relatively dull day for North Adelaide, Keeler was unlucky not to get more reward for his efforts in the way of major scores. The bottom-aged Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) member kicked 1.4, with his finishing hardly matching all the work done in the build-up. Keeler was able to showcase his athleticism throughout the day; marking strongly at full pelt on the lead, baulking opponents as he wheeled inside 50, and covering the ground like a much smaller player. Still, that little bit of polish would have turned a very good game into a remarkable one for the promising key forward.

#18 James Willis

The explosive Roosters midfielder was arguably his side’s most productive engine room operator throughout the contest, generating useful drive in the front half. Willis went inside 50 eight times among his 15 total disposals, usually on the end of powerful runs where he backed his pace to burn or gain separation from an opponent. He, too could have done with a bit more polish on his kicks, but booted an excellent long goal on the fly during the third quarter – hardly breaking stride as he breached North’s attacking arc.

Others:

The Roosters got some value out of their midfielders in patches, with the likes of Zyton Santillo (23 disposals, eight clearances), Hugh Jackson (22 disposals), and James White (21 disposals, seven marks) all getting their hands on the pill. Harper Montgomery somewhat flew under the radar to finish with a team-high 24 touches in defence, while Blayne O’Loughlin was tried on each line but could not quite get his usual game going. The Crows NGA hopeful capped his 16-disposal game with a late goal.

West Adelaide:

#9 Kobe Ryan

Employed on both sides of midfield, Ryan returned an excellent performance with 28 disposals, six tackles, and four clearances. The balance which he displayed was top notch, with the bottom-ager in good position to be released for green ball on the outer, but also cracking in to win his own ball and lay tackles. He looked stylish in possession and hardly wasted a touch with his clean skills, helping Westies chain useful passages together on the uptake. Certainly one of the bottom-agers to watch, closely.

#10 Cade Kennedy

Kennedy was productive as always upon his return to the Under 18s grade, with two games of Reserves experience under his belt. The hard-working ball winner was busy early and worked back well to help his defenders transition into attack, maintaining that kind of form throughout the match. He would often move the ball on quickly and drive Westies forward by foot, finding more room to operate as the game wore on. Kennedy also found more ways to be productive with his disposal, hitting some nice targets going inside 50 during the second half.

#23 Dylan McCormick

While five West Adelaide forwards ended up with three goals or more, McCormick was arguably the most consistently productive of the lot. He finished with 3.2 from 18 disposals, working well up the ground as a leading option before then becoming a threat closer to goal. He got on the board during the second term after converting a free kick, adding one more in each of the following periods to cap off a positive performance up forward. His goals proved reward for effort, as McCormick created for others in the early stages before doing the damage himself.

#36 Tyson Coe

The bustling bottom-ager provided a big body in midfield for West Adelaide, proving difficult to match at the coalface. Coe won a team-high five clearances but contributed 15 of his 25 disposals by hand, often dishing out to his runners amid tackling pressure. He tried to generate some of his own outside run in the second term, but looked better on the inside with his efforts to extract. A well-finished goal on his favoured left side during the final term capped of Coe’s outing.

#37 Tom Scully

Scully is of a much different build to his more famous namesake, but showed something in his own right with a bag of five goals for Westies. The 201cm bottom-ager started forward and pinch-hit in the ruck, with his height and reach proving troublesome for his North Adelaide adversaries. All four of his marks were contested, with three of them leading directly to goals inside attacking 50. Scully converted his four set shots nicely and even added a snap in the fourth quarter, displaying some finesse to go with his handy ruck craft as a secondary.

#54 Harry Lemmey

Despite being beaten in his first one-on-one marking contest up on the wing, Lemmey was hardly dismayed and managed to show some really nice signs with his aerial work. He was often manned by fellow bottom-ager Shaun Bennier and beat him for pure reach on account of a 9cm height advantage. You still have to take the marks though, and Lemmey did just that when snaring three of his five scoring shots. He finished with 3.2 from 11 disposals and six marks with some handy work both inside and out of the attacking 50.

Others:

Liam Westdijk and Lachlan Tredwell were the other two Westies players to finish with three majors, marking a dominant attacking display. Dylan White also found the goals and was a strong body in midfield alongside Jesse Thackeray. Charlie Pridham also got busy, providing a bit of dash on the rebound from defence.

CENTRAL DISTRICT 6.7 (43) def. by GLENELG 18.10 (118)

By: Tom Wyman

Central District:

#9 Trent Tattoli

The 16-year-old wingman tried hard for Central District and showed some glimpses of his high potential. His first couple of involvements were great tackles, but later his composure in traffic and effective ball use stood out. Although his skills were inconsistent throughout the day, Tattoli worked very hard up and down the ground competed well despite the Bulldogs being outplayed. He finished with 13 disposals, seven marks and three tackles.

#21 Austin McDonald

McDonald was the Bulldogs’ best player in their 75-point defeat. Starting at the centre bounce, he spent much of the first term on-ball, finding the ball at ease and reading the tap work of teammate Saxon Evans well. McDonald struggled by foot but continued to find the ball when moved to a half-forward flank. In attack, he showed good forward craft and was rewarded for his tireless effort with a third-term goal. The bottom-ager can certainly refine his skills and decision making, but proved he knows how to find the ball in a variety of roles, finishing with a team-high 28 disposals, six marks, three tackles and five inside 50s.

Others:

Defender Ruben Carreno was the Bulldogs designated kicker down back and did just about all he could in trying circumstances. He was measured by foot but also used his long kicking to good effect when exiting the defensive 50. Carreno finished with 27 disposals, four marks and 11 rebounds. Saxon Evans was the dominant ruckman at X-Convenience Oval, finishing with 12 disposals, 30 hit-outs and six clearances. Tomas Hahn produced an admirable performance, cracking in hard and applying some important defensive pressure despite lacking some polish.

Glenelg:

#2 Harry Tunkin

The diminutive Tunkin spent the day in the midfield and performed very well. His contested ball work was excellent, so too his cleanliness by hand and effectiveness by foot. He read the taps well at stoppages then broke through several would-be tacklers in congestion. It seemed as if whenever he was around the ball, Tunkin made an impact. Arguably the best on ground in a very well-rounded performance from Glenelg, the productive Tunkin finished the game with 25 disposals, eight tackles and three clearances.

#6 Darcy Gluyas

Gluyas started the game at the opening centre bounce but also spent time on the wing and across half-forward throughout the day. His class was on show early when he sold some candy to cut inside and deliver a beautiful pass deep inside 50 to Corey Brougham, who goaled. Gluyas was typically composed with ball in hand, always seeming to weigh up his options nicely before executing well by foot. With the Tigers dominating proceedings, he booted a third-term major but later missed a couple of gettable chances in front of goal. Nevertheless, it was another very solid performance from a reliable contributor, who finished with 19 disposals, seven marks, six tackles and five inside 50s.

#20 Lewis Rayson

Rayson was typically damaging in his customary half-back role. He provided constant run-and-carry with ball in hand and added raking long foot skills to his exciting dash. Always attacking the ball at full speed, Rayson nailed the first goal of the game from a 40m set-shot after floating forward. His work to get in and out of congestion was admirable and his contested ball winning complimented the eye-catching run-and-carry. Rayson finished with 25 disposals, six marks, three clearances, three inside 50s and four rebounds.

#38 Jakob Ryan

Playing his first SANFL Under 18s game since Round 4, Ryan fitted back into the Glenelg side with ease. Deployed across half-forward and the wing, his neat foot skills on both sides of the body were a real highlight. A classy player, his ability to turn his opponent inside-out and find a target with a long kick inside 50 in the first quarter set the tone for what was to come from the SA Under 17 squad member. Duelling with Bulldog Trent Tattoli for parts of the game, he used the ball terrifically well on both his left and right boot, made excellent decisions and displayed good vision. In the final term he spent more time in attack and took a number of contested grabs. One of South Australia’s brightest bottom-aged prospects, he finished the game as the equal-leading ball getter on the field with 28 disposals, along with 11 marks (three contested), three clearances and six inside 50s.

Others:

Glenelg key forwards Corey Brougham and Jack Harding proved far too good for their Bulldogs opponents. Their size and strength led to dominance in the air, and their leading patterns caused headaches for the Central District backman. Harding finished with five goals from 16 disposals and 11 marks (four contested) and his partner in crime also nailed five majors, along with 15 touches and seven grabs. Small midfielder Hunter Window provided some energy and spark around the contest, gathering 23 disposals and six inside 50s. Oscar Adams may have been beaten in hit-out numbers by Central District’s Saxon Evans, however he got the upper hand around the ground, accumulating 19 disposals and seven marks to go with 18 hit-outs.

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography via South Adelaide FC

Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Port Adelaide Magpies vs. Dandenong Stingrays

OUR next All-Star Team battle makes for another intriguing quarter final clash, set to play out between powerhouse South Australian and Victorian clubs, in the Port Adelaide Magpies and Dandenong Stingrays respectively. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Collingwood champion and current coach Nathan Buckley (Port Adelaide), and fan favourite goalkicker Brendan Fevola (Dandenong).

These clubs are seeded third (Port Adelaide) and sixth (Dandenong) respectively, with the competition getting as tight as ever. Our proposed Stingrays squad outvoted Central District and West Adelaide, while Port’s path to this stage came through Peel Thunder and the Gippsland Power. The winner will qualify for the semi finals, set to face either South Fremantle or the Geelong Falcons.

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TALKING POINTS

THE DEFENSIVE STRUCTURES:

You’ll be hard-pressed to not only find a pair of defences with more talent, but also two sets of six with a better balance than what Port and Dandenong have to offer. They match up so well in size, skill, and versatility, with not one player out of place.

A big tick for the Magpies’ selections is the amount of class apparent, with the flankers and pocketmen all sublime users of the ball. Brownlow medalists Gavin Wanganeen and Andrew McLeod are both just as capable further afield, but fit in nicely alongside Geelong great Corey Enright and Crows cult figure Graham Johncock. Aside from the Wakelin brothers up the spine, the only real knock on Port’s defence is its lack of height, though the defensive combativeness of Enright and Johncock makes up for it.

Dandenong’s back six ticks a lot of boxes too; with a couple of true key position players who can also swing up the other end, a small lockdown option, a runner, a sharp user by foot, and an enforcer. Trent Croad and Justin Leppitsch are the tall options, with Adam McPhee providing added physical presence, while Austinn Jones and Chris Newman are club favourites who can both break the lines and mop up at ground level. Add Michael Hibberd‘s classy ball use on the rebound, and you have a pretty complete defence.

While Port Adelaide’s troops may just take our vote on a pure player-to-player comparison basis, Dandenong’s mix makes them difficult to look past. This is a tough one.

SILK VS. RUNNING POWER:

There are many effective ways to quickly gain meterage, whether it be through efficient disposal, pure running power, or a combination of the two. In reviewing some of the outside movers on either side, it seems they may differ slightly in their attacking methods. For Dandenong, the likes of Lachie Whitfield, Adam Treloar, Dylan Shiel, Tom Scully, and Travis Johnstone all provide a great mix of speed and endurance, able to transfer the ball forward or provide outlets in transition through sheer gut running. Treloar, Shiel, and Johnstone in particular are known to carry the ball, while Scully is your outside endurance machine, and Whitfield boasts arguably the best balance of the lot.

For Port, it’s the silk that shines through. The near-untouchable pairing of McLeod and Wanganeen can carve up the opposition and set up attacks from the back half, combining their speed with phenomenal skill. Enright, too, has a good balance in his game to provide a similar rebounding quality. The quality remains further afield, as both Burgoyne brothers are prolific decision makers with ball in hand, and Byron Pickett a damaging momentum generator. If that kind of class can’t get them through, the Magpies can match Dandenong’s run through midfield too, with Buckley and Craig Bradley able to accumulate and break lines all day long.

THE FORWARD BALANCE:

The ledger may be quite even in an array of areas, but finding small flaws is key to separating such well-matched sides. When viewing the Dandenong forwardline, it may seem like a high-level bunch on paper, but to us it’s only half-perfect. The twin talls in Fevola and Tom Lynch make for an elite combination, especially with Stephen Milne at their feet. But the remaining forwards – Treloar, Shiel, and Shane Savage – just don’t fit the bill in their given positions, despite being great players elsewhere.

This is especially evident when compared to Port Adelaide’s balance, which boasts two true key position targets, but a more complete array of ground level players. Alan Didak and Lindsay Thomas are very crafty in front of goal, while Peter Burgoyne and Brett Ebert are much more true half-forwards. It makes for a better structure up forward, and gives the Magpies a big tick in that department despite Dandenong’s weight of talent on paper.

SUMMARY:

There is plenty to like about both sides, which is exactly why they both feature among our top six seeds. A superior ruck department and serious running power steals some points for Dandenong, but we feel the greater balance and overall class of Port Adelaide’s team is enough to nab our vote in this matchup.

Which All-Star Team do you think would win?
Port Adelaide Magpies
Dandenong Stingrays
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Draft Central All-Star Teams: Dandenong Stingrays

DANDENONG Stingrays’ depth in terms of talent beyond its best-ever side is quite impressive. It made it incredibly hard to selected just 24 players, with no less than 34 100-gamers already on the books and a number of others quickly making their way there. With Brendan Fevola voted the Best Player of the AFL Era, he leads a team that has very few weaknesses. The midfield and spine is superb, with some quality defenders, and one of the best small forwards of the AFL era also making the team.

THE TEAM:

The Stingrays have very few weaknesses in the squad we have picked, though an over abundance of quality midfielders means they have a couple sliding into the half-forward roles. If there is an area that slightly lacks it would be in the small-medium forward demographic with one of the best in Stephen Milne, but then a drop off to Shane Savage as the next best small-medium forward. The Stingrays are lucky however, because they have a lot of goal-scoring midfielders who can make up the difference and with a mix of accountable and offensive defenders, it would make it tough to kick a winning score against them.

DEFENCE:

The defence is led by three-time premiership player, Justin Leppitsch who is joined in the key position spots with Hawthorn and Fremantle’s Trent Croad. While Croad could play at either end, the fact the team has a couple of elite talents in the forward line means he is best suited on the last line of defence. Michael Hibberd will have the freedom to play that attacking style which really stood out over the past few years – despite a down year last year – because 268-gamer Chris Newman and one-time All-Australian and best and fairest winner, Adam McPhee take the defensive roles. Austinn Jones is an underrated player despite notching up 226 games and two All-Australians and competes a strong back six. On the bench, Nick Haynes is ready to step up in a key role if required, while Chad Morrison could play off half-back or through the middle.

MIDFIELD:

Absolute A-grade quality that has depth for days. Led by three-time best and fairest winner and All-Australian, Matthew Boyd alongside current Sydney star, Luke Parker – who has two and one of those accolades respectively – the onball brigade is further strengthened by former Melbourne captain, Nathan Jones. He has three best and fairests himself, and even just looking at this trio, you can picture them not even needing a midfield coach with the drive and determination they would bring.

Picking the wingers was incredibly difficult because it was obvious that a couple needed to slide into the forward line. Adam Treloar and Dylan Shiel ended up being those players given they have the capacity to hit the scoreboard. The chosen wingers were former number one pick, Travis Johnstone, and GWS GIANTS rising star Lachie Whitfield because of their ability to run all day long. The depth does not just end on the field, with fellow elite gut-runner, Tom Scully on the bench alongside Essendon’s Adam Ramanauskas.

In terms of the rucks, Jeff White was the standout to earn the starting spot thanks to an All-Australian and a best and fairest from 268 games and 113 goals, while David Hille (197 games, 153 goals and a best and fairest) was the second option. In what is probably a coach-killer at the selection table, Toby Thurstans rounds out the bench due to being a premiership player (110 games) but also booting three goals from 11 touches and six marks in Port Adelaide’s 2004 premiership triumph over Brisbane. He might have the lowest games tally of anyone in the team, but has the flexibility to play forward and there are only the two key forwards, and standing up on the biggest stage counts for plenty.

FORWARD:

A tale of two parts inside 50, with two genuine Coleman Medal chances in most years, but a lack of small options. Brendan Fevola and Tom J. Lynch provide a real good combination of talls with the stay-at-home full-forward who could flick the switch in a moment, and a lead-out contested marker who has the capability of working hard up the field and also hitting the scoreboard. Treloar and Shiel, who may not be forwards but deserved to be in the side, are  Milne and Savage. Milne played 275 games and booted 574 goals with two All-Australians in his time at the Saints, and has a case to be one of the best small forwards of the modern era. Savage does not have the same accolades yet, but has also played as a defender after being a defensive forward. On the bench, Thurstans can provide a pinch-hit role to give Fevola or Lynch a spell, while providing extra height in there.

DEPTH:

As mentioned in the introduction, there are 34 100-gamers for the Stingrays so it meant 10 players who reached the century mark missed out on a spot in the side. Ryan Bastinac (164 games) is the most capped player who would be the first emergency in this scenario, while talls who have been maligned but also played some quality football in patches such as Andrejs Everitt and Levi Casboult are thereabouts.

In defence, Kris Massie and Dylan Roberton were also on the verge of making it in, while Carlton’s Darren Hulme worked hard in his 110 games. Twins, Ryan and Nathan Lonie were renowned for their 50-plus metre goals on the run, while Andrew Williams and Steven Salopek were the other 100-gamers to miss out.

Looking at current players who missed out, expect the likes of Zak Jones (90 games), James Harmes (91) and Nic Newman (51) to be in contention in the future, while Jacob Weitering (76) would be eyeing off Croad’s spot at full-back. Much more recently, Josh Battle, Hunter Clark and Luke Davies-Uniacke are others who have already made promising stars to their careers and have between 20-30 games to their name.