Tag: troy menzel

State leagues preview: Finals have arrived in Tassie and Queensland

IT’S a big weekend ahead with QAFL and TSL finals action happening and plenty up for grabs for teams in the SANFL and WAFL looking to cement places in their upcoming finals campaigns. We’ll take you through all the key matchups to look out for this weekend.

 

South Australia (SANFL):

Round 18 action continues after the first two matches of the split round were played last weekend, and there are some big finals ramifications on the line.

North Adelaide will have the chance of securing a double chance if they are to beat Norwood when they meet at Prospect Oval on Saturday. The Roosters are currently two points above the Redlegs, so a win in this matchup will not only see them finish in the top three, but it will also put the Redlegs in danger of missing finals all together. Rooster Lewis Hender kicked 6.2 in his side’s 92-point demolition of the Redlegs in round three, and an improved Norwood will still have to snap North Adelaide’s six-game winning streak if they are to keep the pressure on the third-placed side.

Sturt can jump above the Panthers (who have already played their 17th match) if they are to beat the second placed Eagles at home. Last time the two teams met it was the Menzel brothers who dominated the match kicking seven goals between them (Troy four, Daniel three) in a 46-point win to the Eagles.

In the other matchup, West Adelaide face the daunting task of hosting the undefeated Glenelg, and while they’ll be searching for their third win of the year, the Tigers will be looking to continue their form with finals fast approaching.

 

Tasmania (TSL):

The finals have arrived in Tassie with two mouth-watering clashes to look forward to. The top two sides Launceston and North Launceston will square off at Windsor Park with the winner progressing into the Grand Final, and the loser to play the winner of Clarence and the Tigers. The Blues have won two of the three meetings with the Northern Bombers this season, but with finals on the line a good contest is to be expected.

The Roos and Tigers will square off in a do or die contest, with both teams only having one chance of progressing to the next round. Clarence won the first meeting between these two teams, before the Tigers won the second and went on to win a great contest in round 19 by just five points, giving fans plenty to look forward to on Sunday. Josh Green has been kicking plenty of goals this season for the Roos and will be hoping to add to his tally here, while Luke Graham has been a focal point up forward for the Tigers.

 

Queensland (QAFL):

While the top two teams Labrador and Broadbeach will be enjoying a week off, Redland-Victoria Point (third) will face Maroochydore (sixth) in the first elimination final. Their last meeting in round seven ended with the Sharks winning by 16 points. Mitchell Scholard will be one that the Sharks will need to keep a close eye on with the Roos forward having booted 49 goals this season including five in their last battle. There should be a great contest in the ruck too with Jarrod Huddy (Sharks), who likes to drift forward and kick a goal, facing off against Jacob Simpson (Roos) whose ruck craft is as good as it gets.

In the second Elimination final, Surfers Paradise (fourth) come up against Morningside (fifth). The Demons won their last duel in round 11 by 15 points and will be looking for a repeat to progress to the semi-final. With 28 and 27 goals for the season, Demons forwards Brody Haberfield and Sam Hilton-Joyce will be looking to hit the scoreboard, while Ben Warren will be searching for a repeat of the round 11 contest where he bagged five goals.

 

Western Australia (WAFL):

Round 21 of the WAFL gets underway with the top five already decided, but plenty of spots up for grabs within the final five. South Fremantle and Swan Districts face off on Saturday in the only battle between two top five teams. The Swans will need to win to push up into double chance contention, while the Bulldogs are eying top spot if Subiaco are to slip up. Last time out, the Bulldogs won by 36 points, with Mason Shaw bagging five goals and Jacob Dragovich, Tom Blechynden and Haiden Schloithe all racking up 30+ touches.

Subiaco play East Perth at Leederville Oval as they look to bounce back after a loss to East Fremantle in their last outing. Ben Sokol, Michael Braut and Aaron Heal each had three goals when the two sides last met. Meanwhile, West Perth face East Fremantle with both teams looking to make it three wins on the trot. The Falcons can still claim the minor premiership with wins in their final two matches.

Claremont host the last placed Eagles, with the Tigers also in that mix for the minor premiership. This contest is one Eagles midfielder Jye Bolton fancies averaging 39.5 disposals in the two sides’ last four meetings, including 49 touches in the round nine matchup.

In the other match Peel welcome quite a few AFL-listed players into the team after Fremantle’s season ended last week. Blake Acres, Bailey Banfield, Mitch Crowden, Lloyd Meek, and Joel Western are all listed to play alongside the recently delisted Tobe Watson against Perth at the David Grays Arena on Saturday.

 

Picture credit: WAFL

State leagues wrap: Minor premiers crowned as regular seasons wind down

LOCKDOWN saw yet another round of VFL football postponed, but there was still plenty of state league action for football fans to enjoy around the nation. Minor premiers were officially crowned in South Australia and Tasmania as regular season fixtures wind down, while an established top five still has some shaking up to do over in Western Australia. We recap all the results and big performances in this week’s state league wrap.

South Australia (SANFL):

Glenelg found its way out of another tight spot on Saturday, overturning a 17-point deficit at the final break to surge past Norwood and claim the SANFL League minor premiership. The Bays made better on their chances having trailed at the first three breaks, enacting a seven-goal final term blitz to secure the 10-point victory.

Matthew Snook was again instrumental for Glenelg in midfield, leading all comers with 28 disposals and 10 clearances, while spearhead Liam McBean snagged three goals. Draft prospect Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera made an impact in his second senior outing, with his first League goal proving the sealer. For Norwood, Richard Douglas did all he could with 23 disposals and two goals.

The race for fifth spot is heating up, with Sturt applying plenty of pressure to current placeholder, Norwood after a statement-making victory. The Doubles Blues kept West Adelaide goalless in a 76-point drubbing on the road, putting them just a game behind the Redlegs in sixth but with superior percentage. In Sturt’s win, James Battersby and Casey Voss topped the disposal charts with 32-apiece, while Steven Slimming led a trio of Blues who booted two goals each.

Port Adelaide was the side Sturt snuck ahead of in sixth, after the Magpies suffered a 13-point Showdown loss at the hands of Adelaide. Up-and-coming senior players Lachlan Gollant and Dylan Williams snared four goals for their respective sides in a game which was lead by the Crows from the first goal. Bigman Billy Frampton was an ominous figure with 30 disposals and 13 marks, as James Rowe returned to the grade and snared a pair of majors, while Sam Mayes (35 disposals) had 15 more touches than any other Port player.

Back in the top half of the table, North Adelaide secured an important three-goal win over the second placed Woodville-West Torrens, strengthening the Roosters’ hold on third spot with the remaining chance to jump into second. The victors booted six goals to two after half time, with Aaron Young (29 disposals, six clearances, one goal) and Campbell Combe (27 disposals, eight clearances, one goal) instrumental in the result, while Daniel and Troy Menzel each snared two goals for the Eagles.

Pick one contender Jason Horne starred in South Adelaide’s 52-point victory over Central District, which keeps the Panthers a game clear in fourth. With his side trailing at the first break, Horne turned it on in term two with three goals to help gain the ascendancy. South never looked back from there, cruising to its ninth win of the season with finals less than a month away.

Tasmania (TSL):

A pair of thrillers were offset by Launceston’s ruthless 146-point belting of Glenorchy in Round 19 of the TSL, a result which saw the Blues officially claim this year’s minor premiership. Usual Tasmania Devils defender Zach Morris dominated with a swing to the front half, booting nine goals in a brilliant best afield performance. Brendan Taylor (four goals), Jake Hinds (three), Jay Blackberry and Jobi Harper (both two) also claimed multiple majors among the Blues’ 13 individual goalkickers in the 28.13 (181) to 5.5 (35) romp.

While North Launceston had the bye, fellow top four sides Tigers and Clarence locked horns on Saturday to spice up the race for third. After trailing at every break, Tigers slotted three goals to one in the final quarter to take home a crucial five-point win and jump Clarence into third spot via superior percentage. Marcus Davies was the victors’ sole multiple goalkicker in a brigade of eight scorers, as Zach Adams was named their best. Josh Green snared three goals for the Roos, but it was Sam Green who took home the coaches votes in a tight loss.

The round’s other close contest saw Lauderdale work back from a 33-point half time deficit to defeat wooden spooner North Hobart by two points, securing the result with seven goals to two after the main break. Allen Christensen was typically terrific for the Bombers in their remarkable win, while a bunch of Tasmania Devils prospects fared well for North Hobart. Will Splann (two goals), Dom White and Jye Menzie all found the big sticks, while Tyler McGinniss was named among the Devils’ best players.

Western Australia (WAFL):

The WAFL League top five remains unchanged after Round 18’s results, with East Perth the only side to climb the ladder on a four-game weekend of West Australian football. The Royals extended Perth’s losing streak with a 25-point triumph, having lead at every break on home turf to jump into sixth over East Fremantle. Aidan Lynch (32 disposals, 10 marks, one goal) led all comers, while Royals teammate Thomas Edwards-Baldwin was the game’s lone multiple goalkicker with three.

Arguably the weekend’s best and most important game saw Subiaco strengthen its standing atop the table with a five-point comeback win over fellow finals contender, Claremont. The Lions were jumped in the first term but worked back to within striking distance at 17 points adrift come the final break, before pouncing with four goals to one in the fourth quarter. Greg Clark was the only player to tick up to 30 disposals, while Ben Sokol booted six goals and Lachlan Delahunty (23 disposals, 25 hitouts) also proved instrumental in the win.

With the Tigers going down, reigning premier South Fremantle went a game clear in second after defeating East Fremantle by 61 points. The Bulldogs broke the game open after half time, running out the game with 11 goals to three in a ruthless showing of their firepower. Brandon Donaldson (five goals) and Mason Shaw (four) lead a strong core of eight goal kickers in the win, as Tom Blechynden notched a game-high 25 touches.

Meanwhile, Swan Districts remains three games clear of the finals drop in fifth after a kicking away from Peel Thunder in a 52-point win. The Swans were served well by Aidan Clarke (32 disposals, two goals) and Frank Anderson (30 and two), with all of their top seven ball winners also hitting the scoreboard. Tyrone Thorne saw the most ball though, registering 33 touches and nine tackles for Peel in their fourth-straight loss. West Perth and West Coast each have a game in hand after sitting out this weekend.

Image Credit: @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

State Leagues wrap: Finals-bound sides make moves

THERE is a new leader in the Victorian Football League (VFL) and some rising challengers in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) after full rounds of highly entertaining action over the weekend. The top of the tree looks settled down in the Tasmanian State League (TSL), while West Australian fans will have to wait another week for more West Australian Football League (WAFL) action after a lockdown-enforced bye.

We run you through all the results from around the nation and what they mean moving forward in this week’s state leagues wrap.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

A mixed bag of results saw margins stretched from one to 75 points in Round 12 of the VFL, with eight games played across Friday evening to Sunday night. Geelong opened proceedings with a comprehensive win over Essendon, thumping the Bombers by that round-high margin on home turf. The Cats kicked away early with 11 goals to two in the first half, as Charlie Constable again helped himself to over 40 disposals and Darcy Lang booted five majors. They are finding their groove.

Box Hill was another big winner in Round 12, and got things started on Saturday by feasting on a Gold Coast side littered with top-ups. Six goals to Fergus Greene meant he outgunned the five-goal Suns all on his own, as his Hawks saluted to the tune of 72 points at Box Hill City Oval. They move ahead of Casey in third after the Demons suffered a shock loss to GWS Giants – another team filled with top-ups and academy talent. Giants skipper Stephen Coniglio made his return via the reserves, while Matt de Boer responded well to his axing to claim 25 disposals, and Demon Sam Weideman booted three goals in his claim for a senior recall.

Standalone sides Coburg and Northern Bullants both secured wins over aligned opponents on Saturday afternoon, marking successful hitouts at their respective home venues. The Lions toppled Carlton by 37 points on the back of a seven-goal final term, as Marcus Lentini (39 disposals) and Sam Lowson (four goals) starred, while the Bullants held off Richmond to win by 13 points, with skipper Tom Wilson (31 disposals) leading the way.

Footscray became the new ladder leader on Sunday, ending North Melbourne’s winning run with an 11-point victory at Whitten Oval. The Bulldogs kicked six of their 10 goals in the second term to stream ahead after trailing at quarter time, and never looked back. Frankston and Collingwood also secured wins to retain their spots in the top eight by percentage alone. Jack Ginnivan could soon be in for a debut after booting four goals in the Magpies’ win over Sandringham, while Nathan Freeman (45 disposals) got back to his usual output as the Dolphins downed Sydney.

Six sides enjoyed bye rounds this past weekend, including all three Queensland teams – Aspley, Brisbane Lions, and Southport. Port Melbourne, Werribee, and Williamstown were the Victorian clubs able to put their feet up in Round 12, recharging for the weekend ahead.

South Australia (SANFL):

Woodville-West Torrens proved the big winner in Round 13 of the SANFL, moving clear of South Adelaide in second spot with a 36-point win on Saturday. The Eagles put through six goals to one after half time in a clinical effort, with former AFL-listed pair Tyson Stengle (five) and Troy Menzel (four) combining for nine majors. The top five could soon be in for a shake-up too, with Sturt and Port Adelaide knocking on the door after respective Round 12 wins.

The Double Blues beat fourth-placed Norwood in a low-scoring slog on Friday night, putting them within a game of the finals places. Port remains level on points with fifth after snapping its three-game losing run to get past Central District, with senior-listed youngster Zak Butters (21 disposals, two goals) making a positive return to action through the reserves side.

It was business as usual for the undefeated Glenelg, who picked up a 12th victory on the back of its eight-goal final term blitz. The Bays trailed at every break but flicked the switch when it mattered most, soaring past Adelaide to win by 15 points. North Adelaide was also victorious on Saturday, proving 44 points better than West Adelaide to maintain its top five standing. The Roosters were served by some big performers, namely Campbell Combe, Harrison Wigg (both 39 disposals) and Keenan Ramsey (five goals).

Tasmania (TSL):

North Launceston showed no signs of letting up in its quest to reign back ladder leader, Launceston, after thumping Glenorchy by 105 points to open Round 14 of the TSL. The Northern Bombers overwhelmed their opponents in the front half with 33 total scoring shots to 13, headlined by their 12-goal to one second half. Zach Burt and Brandon Leary both snared four majors in the win as two of their side’s 10 individual goalkickers.

Despite the result, Launceston remains clear out in front after 14 rounds, having accounted for Lauderdale to the tune of 38 points. The contest was effectively over by three quarter time, as the Blues led by 75 points with just one major score in the Bombers’ account. With that in mind, Launceston’s foot came off the gas and Lauderdale poured on eight goals in the final term to restore some respectability to the scoreboard. Leading the charge was Josh McGuinness, who booted seven of his side’s nine goals, while Cody Thorpe snared three for the Blues to be named best afield.

Clarence rounded out the weekend’s action with a 55-point win over North Hobart, feasting on the cellar dweller to move level on points with third-placed Tigers, who had the bye. Colin Garland spearheaded the Roos’ victory with six goals, as his side kicked away strongly to add seven majors in the final term. Tigers return next week against the Demons, while Glenorchy gets a rest in Round 15.

Western Australia (WAFL):

Western Australia’s lockdown enforced a bye round this week in the WAFL, even cancelling out the women’s grand final – which has since been rescheduled for Sunday. All WAFL and WAFLW clubs were allowed to resume training as of July 3 with restrictions still in place and set to be eased today. All three men’s grades are scheduled to resume this coming weekend for Round 14, with five games fixed on Saturday July 10.

Image Credit: Cory Sutton/SANFL

State League Preview: The show goes on

DESPITE the VFL being cancelled this weekend due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak seeing Victoria head into lockdown for the near future, the remaining state leagues will go ahead with business as usual as another huge round of action is set.

SANFL:

This weekend’s SANFL action kicks off with an enticing clash as Norwood travel to Maughan Thiem Kia Oval to take on the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles on Saturday afternoon. Norwood will be confident heading into this clash, having won one more game than their opponents, but the Eagles will have the home ground advantage, and are fresh off a 100-point belting of West Adelaide last week. The Eagles are yet to confirm any changes, with the side likely to enter the clash with just the one change as Troy Menzel will miss with a wrist injury, and don’t be surprised if Norwood enter the match unchanged.

Moving to Flinders University Stadium, the Central District Bulldogs will be looking to cause an upset as they take on the South Adelaide Panthers on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs have won just two games for the year but are riding a wave of confidence following last round’s 10-point win over Sturt. The Panthers will prove a tough task, as they enter the clash heavy favourites thanks to their spot in second-place on the ladder. The Bulldogs will include Thomas Graham into a forward pocket as they attempt to boost their scoring output.

Over at Alberton Oval, Port Adelaide are gearing up for their clash with West Adelaide on Saturday afternoon in a match that has significant ramifications for both sides. West Adelaide’s hunt for the finals is slowly slipping away on a weekly basis, with the side winning only two games for the year. A win here would put them only one victory away from entering the top five. Port Adelaide currently sit at the bottom of the top five, and a loss would close the gap for those below them quite substantially. The inclusion of Jono Beech for West Adelaide will only increase the chances of an upset here.

Glenelg will attempt to keep their remarkable undefeated streak going, as they prepare to take on the Adelaide Crows at ACH Group Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Given Glenelg are yet to lose a game, they will enter the match heavily favoured over the Crows, who have won just one game so far this season. However, teams rarely remain undefeated for this long, so the Crows may just be smelling an upset here. Glenelg’s loss of Lachie Hosie to a hamstring injury will only compound this. Keep an eye on this one.

The final match of the round sees the Sturt Sabres travel to Prospect Oval to take on the North Adelaide Roosters on Saturday afternoon. Both sides currently sit with a 2-5 record after seven rounds, and a win here for either team will be crucial in the race for the finals. Both sides suffered a loss of 11 points or less last round, so redemption will play a big factor here. It is just a matter of which side will rise to the occasion and which side will crumble.

WAFL:
The WAFL action for Round 8 starts over at Leederville Oval as the Peel Thunder will attempt to upset Subiaco when the two sides face off on Saturday afternoon. Subiaco are one of the form sides of the competition having only lost one match, while the Peel Thunder have been solid but not spectacular so far with three wins and three losses. Subiaco are expected to win here, but Peel Thunder will throw everything they have at this side. Subiaco will regain Brandon Matera to add some experience to their forward line.

Two teams in the middle of contrasting seasons will face off, as East Perth travel to Revo Fitness Stadium to take on Claremont on Saturday afternoon. Claremont currently sit on top of the ladder with a 5-1 record after their first six games while East Perth have won just the one solitary game so far this season. Claremont are heavy favourites heading into the clash, but there are no certainties in football. Both sides are yet to confirm their changes.

West Coast’s struggles are likely to continue as they take on South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday afternoon. West Coast had their best opportunity to claim their first win of the season last round and couldn’t capitalise, and they face an even tougher opponent this weekend, with South Fremantle looking to use this as an opportunity to climb up the ladder. To make matters worse, South Fremantle will regain on baller Jared Doney to boost their midfield stocks.

Steel Blue Oval will be home to a crucial clash as the Swan Districts will host East Fremantle on Saturday afternoon. Only percentage separates the two sides with East Fremantle narrowly in front by four percent, good enough to see them in the top five. The winner of this clash will move into the top half of the ladder, so the stakes are certainly high for both sides. Keep an eye on Swan Districts on baller Samuel Fisher, who has been in fantastic form of late.

The final clash of Round 8 will see West Perth head over to Provident Financial Oval to take on West Perth on Saturday afternoon. Both sides sit outside the top five only by percentage, having both recorded three wins and three losses for the season so far. With plenty of teams currently holding a similar record, expect both sides to enter this clash with plenty of passion and determination. West Perth have included Jason Salecic into their squad while Simon Hayward will return for Perth.

QAFL

QAFL action returns for a ninth round of football, starting at Rococo Oval, where Noosa will host Broadbeach on Saturday afternoon. This is shaping up as a one-sided affair, with Broadbeach undefeated from their six games, having established themselves as a competition powerhouse. Noosa’s season is almost a polar opposite. The side is yet to register a win for the 2021 season, and look fairly off the mark. A boilover here would send shockwaves through the league, but if Jordan Moncrieff can get off the chain for Broadbeach again, it will be game over.

Over at Cooke-Murphy Oval, Labrador are preparing for their clash with Wilston Grange on Saturday afternoon. Wilston Grange have won just the one game for the season, and are currently in the middle of a five game losing streak. They are desperate for a win, and they will be fighting tooth and nail for an upset on Saturday, but Labrador will be a tough egg to crack. Former Lion and Sun Pearce Hanley will be leading the troops from the midfield, so Wilston Grange will need to keep a close eye on him at stoppages.

In arguably the most exciting match-up of the round, Maroochydore will travel to Jack Esplen Oval to take on Morningside on Saturday afternoon. The two sides occupy the second and third spots on the ladder, only separated by percentage (although Maroochydore has played and lost one more match so far). With Broadbeach undefeated so far this season, these two sides will need as many wins as they can if they are any hope of snatching top spot on the ladder should Broadbeach slip up. Mitchell Scholard has booted 14 goals in the past three matches and is named to line up on a half-forward flank for Maroochydore, so keep an eye out for him.

Next up for the QAFL action, Palm Beach Currumbin will play host to Sherwood Districts at Salk Oval on Saturday afternoon. Just one win separates these two sides, and a loss here for Palm Beach Currumbin would see them lose a grip on the top half of the ladder. Sherwood Districts will be looking for a rise up the ladder to join the top five. Palm Beach Currumbin midfielder Corey Joyce has enjoyed a stellar start to his 2021 campaign so expect him in the thick of it on Saturday afternoon.

The final QAFL match of the round will see Mt Gravatt head over to Sir Bruce Small Park to take on Surfers Paradise on Saturday afternoon. The sides are just one victory apart, so there is plenty to play for here for both sides. Mt Gravatt dominated Noosa last week, with their victory nearing the triple digit mark, while Surfers Paradise got the job done against Redland-Victoria Point last round. With both sides coming off a win, there will be plenty of confidence around the change rooms, it’s just a matter of who can back it up on the field.

Tasmania:

The TSL will hold their ninth round of football this weekend, and it all kicks off at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon, as Clarence host Glenorchy. Clarence are well-known to perform better on their home deck, so Glenorchy face an uphill battle in this clash.  Clarence skipper Jeromey Webberley returned to the lineup last week, and was excellent off half-back, so don’t be surprised if he cops some attention from the opposition, as they try to slow down the ball movement of their opponents.

Moving to Lauderdale Oval, Lauderdale will be hosting the Tigers in an interesting match-up on Saturday afternoon. Lauderdale have still only won the one game, but certainly look a better side when skipper Allen Christensen is in the side. This was displayed when they gave Launceston their biggest challenge of the year to that point, and looked certainly capable of beating anyone. This will be put to the test on Saturday as they take on the Tigers, a side that is chugging along nicely, and have a list full of guns such as Elijah Reardon.

The final game of the round looks to be fairly one-sided, as North Launceston head to North Hobart Oval to take on the Demons on Saturday afternoon. North Launceston did the – previously – impossible and defeated cross-town rivals Launceston last Friday night, a result which stunned the league, given Launceston’s start to the season. The Bombers played unbelievable footy, and got themselves a win that could be the key moment in a premiership quest. The Demons will face a tough challenge stopping them, having claimed only one triumph themselves this year. They will need to put some work into nullifying the effect of North Launceston midfielder Jay Foon who was best on ground last weekend.

Picture credit: Solstice.Digital and Photography

State Leagues Wrap: Thrillers across the grounds

STATE league football entertained audiences across the country on the weekend as sides played out some thrilling contests. There were plenty of finals ramifications across the weekend’s results, as the race up the ladder heats up.

Victoria:

The VFL action was limited this weekend with most AFL affiliated sides not competing due to a bye as they look towards the next round of action. The weekend was not completely void of action though, as the Western Bulldogs held off a brave final quarter fightback from Carlton to walk away with a three-goal win at VU Whitten Oval on Sunday afternoon. In an inaccurate day for both sides, the Dogs looked to have the game wrapped up as they headed into the final term with a five-goal lead, after the Blues kicked 2.10 over the first three quarters. The Blues booted 6.1 in the final quarter to give themselves a chance to steal an unlikely victory, but the Bulldogs were able to weather the storm to record their fourth win to shoot up to top spot on the ladder. 2020 number one draft pick and Bulldog Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, possibly the most watched player in the VFL, copped a brutal head knock in the first quarter, ruling him out for the rest of the game. Mitch Wallis continued his strong form of late with 29 disposals and a goal, while ex-Magpie Ben Crocker booted four goals for Carlton.

South Australia:

Round six of SANFL action kicked off with a thriller, as South Adelaide snuck past Woodville-West Torrens by eight points at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval on Saturday afternoon. A three-goal burst from South Adelaide gave them a match-winning lead, as their opponents could not close the gap in time despite their best efforts with a late goal. For the winners, Bryce Gibbs was exceptional with two goals and 21 touches through the midfield as he continues his strong season, while Jake Tarca booted four crucial snags up forward. For the Eagles, James Tsitas and Jack Hayes worked hard through the engine room as you would expect, while Troy Menzel’s four goals kept his side in the hunt.

Central District’s struggles for the season continued as they fell to Norwood by 32 points at X Convenience Oval on Saturday afternoon. Norwood dominated all day, with forwards Cameron Shenton and Jackson Callow combining for seven goals up forward to torment Bulldog defenders all day. Through the middle, Matthew Nunn extracted five clearances, while for the Bulldogs, Travis Schiller and Darcy Pisani combined for 14 clearances as they battled hard to get their side back in the game.

The highly anticipated showdown did not disappoint as Port Adelaide held on to defeat an inaccurate Adelaide by 14 points at Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon. As a curtain raiser for the AFL Showdown, the two sides went to war, and the Power’s first half looked to set up a sizeable win, but a five-goal to one third quarter meant suddenly the game was back on. Adelaide will be rueing a lost opportunity having kicked more scoring shots than their opponents. For the Power, Riley Bonner stood out, booting two goals from 26 disposals in an eye-catching display, while skipper Cam Sutcliffe was typically impressive. For the Crows, Chayce Jones continues to thrive in his new role at half-back, racking up 27 touches.

A monster game from North Adelaide forward Lewis Hender saw the Roosters crush West Adelaide at Prospect Oval on Sunday afternoon in a Mother’s Day clash. Hender booted eight goals in a dominant display, even more impressive is that he only took three marks, kicking plenty of goals from ground level. His midfield teammate Billy Hartung had 33 touches and 10 marks of his own. For West Adelaide, Kaine Stevens fought hard all day to find the ball 28 times, while Thomas Keough kicked three goals.

Glenelg’s undefeated streak suffered the biggest of scares on Sunday afternoon, as they held off a determined Sturt side to take home a four-point triumph at ACH Group Stadium. Luke Reynolds’ third goal of the day came at the 26-minute mark of the final term to put his side in front for the final score of the day. Reynolds combined with teammate Lachie Hosie combined for six goals to provide crucial scoring output for the victors. Through the midfield, the league’s leading ball winner Luke Partington lived up to the title, putting in a best afield performance with his 29 touches. For Sturt, James Battersby led all comers with 35 disposals in a valiant effort.

Western Australia:

Subiaco were able to snatch top spot on the ladder with a 40-point victory over a previously undefeated Claremont side at Leederville Oval on Saturday afternoon. The match was strongly anticipated heading into round six, and Subiaco were able to cause a crucial upset as they outplayed their opponents all day. Nicholas Martin led the way for his side, booting four snags from 20 disposals in an impressive outing, while teammate Lachlan Delahunty racked up 29 touches and 12 hitouts. For Claremont, Lachlan Martinis had 26 touches and Alexander Manuel kicked three goals.

An eight goal first term set up Peel Thunder for a 15-point win over Perth at Mineral Resources Park on Saturday afternoon in front of 1,268 fans. The Thunder were clinical in the first term and despite a spirited effort from Perth to drag themselves back in the game, the margin proved too strong as the victors recorded their third win of the season. For the Thunder, Kristian Cary’s four goals were handy while Jacob Coniglio had 26 nice disposals. For Perth, Tyrone Thorne was exceptional with 29 disposals and two goals.

Fans at Provident Financial Oval on Saturday afternoon were treated to a miraculous comeback, as West Perth came from nowhere to steal a nine-point victory over Swan Districts. West Perth trailed by 15 points heading into the final term, before kicking four unanswered goals to walk away with an impressive win. Shane Nelson was instrumental for the victors, racking up 35 touches and eight tackles. For Swan Districts, ruckman Corey Gault dominated with 26 disposals and 36 hitouts for the day.

East Perth have found themselves still searching for their first win, after falling agonisingly short against South Fremantle, with only seven points separating the sides at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday afternoon. The final quarter saw a slight sniff of a comeback for East Perth, but South Fremantle weathered the storm to walk away with the crucial win. For the winners, Haiden Schloithe continued his outrageous form, finishing the day with 35 disposals and three goals, clearly the best player on the ground, while Aidan Lynch was strong for East Perth with 29 touches of his own.

East Fremantle players celebrated the weekend in ruthless fashion, crushing West Coast by 125 points at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon. The game looked one-sided from the very first bounce, as the victors were able to do as they pleased with little resistance from their opponents. Blaine Boekhorst amassed a whopping 41 touches through the midfield, while Jonathon Marsh booted seven goals in the win. West Coast’s Xavier O’Neil was a bright spot for his side with 34 touches.

Queensland:

Round six of the QAFL started with Surfers Paradise blowing out Noosa to the tune of 70 points at Sir Bruce Small Park on Saturday afternoon. An eight goal second term proved too much for the visitors, as they were convincingly beaten for all four quarters of the match. For Surfers Paradise, Sam Hilton-Joyce booted four goals in a best on ground display, while Noosa’s Riley O’Dwyer impressed in a tough loss.

Moving to Cooke-Murphy Oval, Labrador pulled off an impressive comeback, defeating Mt Gravatt by 25 points thanks to a strong final quarter on Saturday afternoon. Trailing by 22 points at quarter time and nine points at three quarter time, Labrador rallied to kick five unanswered goals in the final term to steal an unlikely win. For the victors, Charlie Lang delivered his best performance of the year and was crucial in bringing his side back into the contest. For Mt Gravatt, Gareth Hunt impressed, particularly in the first three quarters when his side was in control of the contest and can hold his head high.

Morningside snatched a late victory against Redland-Victoria Point by just one point at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday afternoon. Redland-Victoria Point’s Harrison Kerr kicked his third goal of the game with under three minutes to play and put his side only one point down. Morningside led by three goals before their opponents fought hard to take the lead midway through the final term, but ultimately suffered heartbreak. Morningside’s William Pendlebury was exceptional for all four quarters, while Redland-Victoria Point were well led by a strong Matthew Thomson performance.

Maroochydore stamped their authority on the rest of the competition with a dominant 66-point crushing of Sherwood Districts at Sherwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. Maroochydore took the lead early in the first term, and never surrendered it, cruising their way to a nice percentage booster. Benjamin Sloan was impressive in the win, while Mitchell Scholard and Benjamin Thomas combined for eight goals. Riley Greene tried all day for Sherwood Districts.

Broadbeach maintained their title as the competition benchmark with a 54-point triumph over Wilston Grange at Hickey Park on Saturday afternoon. Forward Jordan Moncrieff booted nine goals in a powerful performance to drive his side to victory, as Broadbeach remain undefeated after five games, and will take some beating. Hugh Fidler battled hard for Wilston Grange despite the one-way traffic.

Tasmania:

Launceston remain undefeated after defeating second-placed Clarence at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon. There were questions around whether or not Launceston could hold off the surging Clarence side, but they dominated them all day, keeping them scoreless in the first quarter to take a 37-point lead into the first break. They never looked back and cruised their way to a strong triumph. Jack Tuthill was impressive in the backline, while Jake Hinds did not miss a beat in his return from suspension. Jarrod Harper was Clarence’s best in a tough day at the office.

An eight-goal opening term set up Glenorchy’s big win over North Hobart at North Hobart Oval on Saturday afternoon. Despite breaking their losing streak last week, North Hobart couldn’t convert in front of goal, kicking 3.13 for the day, ruling out any chance of a comeback. Glenorchy’s Daniel Joseph continued his strong run of form with a best on ground performance, while North Hobart’s Hugh Nj Williams fought hard all day despite the loss.

North Launceston a strong scalp for the season, taking down the Tigers at UTAS Stadium by 31 points in the final game of the round on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers started the season in blistering form, but the Bombers proved too strong, running away with a handy win. Bomber Bradley Cox-Goodyer returned to the side to deliver a best afield performance with two goals from the midfield, while Tyler Carter booted three goals for the Tigers.

Picture credit: Cory Sutton

State Leagues Preview: All competitions in full swing

STATE league Aussie rules football is in full swing as we approach round four for most competitions this weekend. With eye-catching matchups galore, expect a weekend chock full of exciting clashes.

VFL

The new-look Victorian Football League (VFL) kicked off its 2021 season last weekend, with a different looking fixture than previous years. Interstate AFL affiliated clubs Gold Coast, Sydney, Brisbane and GWS joined the competition and shook things up a bit. Round 1 delivered what many Victorian football fans had been waiting for and expect more of this in Round 2.

Brisbane and Carlton face off this weekend with plenty of players looking to stake a claim at an AFL spot. Blue Will Setterfield is one to watch this weekend, after tagging Jacob Dawson last weekend. The former top five draft pick has found himself on the outer at Carlton as the club looks to settle on a best 22, and Setterfield’s new role as a run-with player could see him enter calculations once again. As for who he will tag, that question remains up in the air. Lions Rhys Mathieson and Devan Robertson both had stand out performances last week, so if not recalled, expect one of them to receive a bit of attention.

Rivals Collingwood and Essendon will also clash this weekend in the traditional ANZAC round. With AFL sides for this round not announced until later this weekend, the sides are not yet confirmed. Both clubs’ AFL affiliate have been struck with injuries so expect very different lineups to last weekend. If not selected for a recall, American Pie Mason Cox will be relishing the opportunity to tear the game apart this week. Dropped from the AFL side in the last couple of weeks, Cox will be eager to earn a return, and there is no better time to prove his worth than this weekend. Following a disappointing 11-goal defeat last weekend, Essendon will be looking to bounce back in Round 2. Don Andrew Phillips impressed in the ruck last weekend and will hope to continue this form.

The Gold Coast Suns and the Sydney Swans will do battle in a Saturday morning clash at the Council Training Oval. Both interstate sides will be continuing to adjust to life in the VFL instead of their respective competitions in their home states. Looking to put his hand up for a recall, Swans ruckman Callum Sinclair will be desperate to standout at VFL level and he started this last weekend, with 34 hitouts and 17 disposals. The Suns shouldn’t lose too many players to their AFL side with no fresh injuries so expect a similar lineup to last week. Suns recruit Rory Atkins had 26 disposals in his first game for the reserves last week and should prove a class above given his AFL experience.

 

South Australia

A Friday night match kicks off proceedings for Round 4 in the SANFL this weekend with West Adelaide hosting Norwood at Hisense Stadium. Following a 50-point loss last weekend, West Adelaide have made plenty of changes in an attempt to conjure a response out of their side. Last week’s inclusion Sam May has succumbed to a hamstring injury, while Josh Koster and Mitch Maguire have been omitted. Five players have been added to the 25-man squad, including potential debutants Nick Steele and Lucas Meline. Norwood have also made a statement at selection, with gun wingman Dom Barry dropped following the side’s disappointing 92-point loss in Round 3. Both sides will be desperate to improve on last week’s performance, and there is no better opportunity.

Central Districts will take on Adelaide at X Convenience Oval on Saturday afternoon as both sides look to improve on their 1-2 record. Central Districts will lose utility Fraser Fort to injury, opening up a spot for another big man to come into the side, which will be trimmed by three prior to the opening bounce. The Crows side is yet to be determined, with AFL emergencies to be added in the near future. Two outs have already been confirmed with former Richmond midfielder Daniel Jackson rested after a 21-disposal outing, while crafty forward Ben Davis injured.

South Adelaide will be looking to maintain top spot on the ladder with a win over this week’s opponents in Sturt, as they play host at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday. South Adelaide young gun Jason Horne has been named to line up in an AFL academy match this weekend, so the Panthers will be without him this weekend. Talented youngster Fraser Turner has been named on the extended bench and could make his debut. Sturt will be without former Crow Pat Wilson after the midfielder hurt his shoulder in the second term last round, and his return date is yet to be confirmed. In better news for Sturt, key defender Sam Smith will debut after an ACL injury ruled him out for 2020. Tasmanian Jared Dakin could also make his debut, named on the extended bench.

Glenelg will be looking to start the season 4-0 with a victory over Port Adelaide on Saturday, who are searching for their second win of the season. With no forced changes, Glenelg have named three potential debutants on the bench in the form of Brady Searle, Brodie Newman and Will Chandler, who have all performed strongly at reserve level. Port’s side will be heavily influenced by its AFL side’s line up, with only two named on the bench so far and the AFL emergencies yet to be added.

In the final game of the round, Woodville-West Torrens will welcome North Adelaide to Maughan Thiem Kia Oval in search of their third win. Woodville-West Torrens will gain some handy inclusions in the form of Troy Menzel and Angus Poole, but will lose Dane McFarlane to a calf issue. North Adelaide will be hoping to carry forward the momentum they gained after last week’s thumping 92-point win over Norwood. Someone will have to replace Frank Szekely who was injured in the win. In the frame for a debut is midfielder Kaine Mercovich, who will be hopeful he can make his first appearance at league level.

Tasmania

It’s a battle of the Bombers to open the round four action, with Lauderdale hosting North Launceston in an important clash for both sides. With both teams sitting at a less than desirable 1-2 record, the opportunity to move up the ladder with a win will make an exciting contest. Lauderdale have omitted pair Benjamin Steinbauer and Jarrod Westell and welcomed Joshua Williams and Sam Tilley after a three goal loss to Glenorchy last week. North Launceston have made four changes after last week’s loss to Clarence. Utility Tom Donnelly returns to the side following a stint in North Melbourne’s VFL side last week, while Jack Avent, Brandon Leary and Ryley Sanders join him in returning to the side. Oscar Van Dam, Daniel Withers, Angus Jefferies and Matthew Cossins are the outs.

Following a disappointing loss to Launceston last week, the Tigers have the chance to put themselves back on the winners list with a game against Glenorchy on Saturday, who are fresh off a win. The Tigers were humbled by the reigning premiers in round three and have made changes to rectify this. Thomas Dwyer and Benjamin Donnelly were dropped for in favour pair Marcus Gardner and George O’Neill. Meanwhile, Glenorchy have included Bayley Bester and Braidy Simpson for Cameron Goodsell and Darrean Wyatt.

A North Hobart side looking for their first win will have to take on the tough task of slowing down Launceston at North Hobart Oval this weekend. Launceston delivered a statement performance last week against the Tigers, showing the competition that they will once again be tough to stop, while North Hobart will still be thinking about their disappointing loss against North Launceston in round two. Fresh off the bye, they will be eager to notch their first win, and their five changes this week show this. Riley Higgins, Logan Elphinstone, Keegan Ryan, Isaac Mathewson and Dominic White have entered the side in exchange for Josch Bingham, Jonty Barwick, Nathan Hardy, Joshua Hilder and Austin Keeling. Launceston stand-in skipper and star midfielder Jake Hinds will not play due to suspension, while Miller Hodge and Jacob Boyd will also miss. They are replaced by Hamish Leedham, Colby McKercher and Zach Morris.

Queensland

Redland-Victoria Point and Palm Beach Currumbin will open the ANZAC weekend round in the QAFL at Totally Workwear Park on Saturday. Redland-Point Victoria fell to Labrador by just over three goals last round, and a second win on the board would make a huge difference, with the ladder positioning incredibly tight after three rounds. Full-forward Harrison Kerr kicked four goals last week and should attract the best defender this week, opening opportunities for other forwards such as Matthew Warren to back up his strong performance from last week. Palm Beach Currumbin found their first win of the season last week with a 27-point triumph over Noosa. Mitchell Johnson’s four goal haul has surely caught the eye of opposition coaches, who will put some work into stopping him.

Sherwood District will be keen to bounce back from last week’s disappointing performance with a win over the in form Broadbeach this weekend. Sherwood District were embarrassed by Surfers Paradise, eventually defeated by 88 points. Jack Austin was a shining light on a dark day and his teammates will be hoping he can back up this showing. Broadbeach continue to do their thing, knocking off Morningside by 53 points last weekend. Bradley Lowe will once again be dangerous on the wing after a best on ground performance.

Its fourth place taking on sixth place as Surfers Paradise hosts Labrador at Sir Bruce Small Park on Saturday in an important clash. Both sides sit on 1-1 on the season, and a win here would prove vital in regards to ladder position. Both sides found their way to over 100 points last weekend and this should be a high scoring affair once again. Will Labrador’s Blair Rubock get off the chain again after four goals last week, or will Surfers Paradise’s balanced forward line get the better of their opponents again?

A refreshed Winston Grange side will be eager to move themselves up the ladder as they host a Morningside team that will be out to make up for last weekend’s disappointing showing. Winston Grange had the bye last week and currently sit in ninth place on percentage, but a win would shoot them up into the top half of the ladder in no time. Morningside’s recent loss will be fresh in their minds as they will once again look for Nathan Colenso in the forward line, who has started the year with six goals in two games.

Noosa’s quest to find their first win of the season will be made all the more difficult as they take on the top of the table Maroochydore at the Maroochydore Multisports Complex on Saturday afternoon. Noosa put up a brave fight against Palm Beach Currumbin, but ultimately couldn’t muster enough scoring opportunities to keep up with their opponents and fell by just under five goals. Scoring will be a focal point as they take on a red hot Maroochydore side who have started the season 2-0. Forward Jake Warren will play a key role, kicking five goals in the first two games and will surely be looking to add to that tally this weekend.

 

Western Australia

West Perth will be looking to follow up last week’s heartbreaking loss with a win over East Fremantle this weekend to kick off round four WAFL action. West Perth were defeated by Subiaco by a devastatingly small margin, with Subiaco walking away three-point winners. The players will be still hurting from this, eager to put the result in the past with a win on Saturday. Sam Rotham will not be lacing up the boots for West Perth, with Tyson Moulton his confirmed replacement. East Fremantle are yet to confirm any changes to the side that defeated East Perth last weekend.

Swan Districts will clash with South Fremantle in what should be an exciting match, with both sides sitting on the same win/loss record. Both sides are 2-1 after three rounds, and are sitting in similar positions, with both notching a win last week. Swan Districts backman William Collins will return to the lineup and the club is yet to confirm who will make way. South Fremantle ruckman Brock Higgins will return for his side along with backman Jason Maskos with the bench yet to be finalised.

Claremont’s undefeated streak continued last weekend, as they sit 3-0 in second place on the ladder. They take on Peel Thunder, who were outplayed by South Fremantle to make them 1-2 on the season. Claremont’s Harrison Mccracken is fresh off a four-goal haul last weekend and should have a say in the scoring of this match. The team lineups are yet to be confirmed at time of publication.

Two sides in the midst of very different seasons, West Coast will be hopeful of handing Subiaco their first loss of the season, while finding their first win. Subiaco scraped past West Perth by less than a goal, as they show they can consistently find a way to win. West Coast are having a very different year, starting the season 0-3 as their lineup consistently changes with AFL selections. They will also have their hands full containing Subiaco duo Ben Sokol and Jordan Faraone, who combined for eight goals in the round three win. The team lineups are yet to be confirmed at time of publication.

The final game of the round has plenty of implications for the ladder, with eighth place Perth taking on 10th (and last) placed East Perth. If East Perth can muster a win, it could kickstart their season, while a win for Perth could put them in the top five. With lots on the line for both sides, expect a close battle.

State Leagues Preview: Action continues as Round 3 kicks off

WITH football season in full flight as teams hit the deck for Round 3, competitions across Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia prepare for a big weekend of action. Meanwhile, the revamped Victorian Football League (VFL) begins.

South Australia

The round will kick off on Friday night, as Norwood attempt to keep their undefeated streak going against a North Adelaide side searching for its first win. Fresh off a convincing 19-point win against Sturt, Norwood will only find themselves boosted by the return of star Richard Douglas, who missed the Round 2 clash for personal reasons. Keep an eye on experienced midfielder Matthew Nunn as he will look to continue his blistering start to the year, averaging 31 disposals and nine tackles over his first two games. North Adelaide have flagged a potential debutant, naming Kaine Mercovich on the extended bench. The former Port Fairy midfielder has been highly touted since making the move to the Roosters, and with an injury to Frank Szekely, crisis creates opportunity.

Another undefeated side in South Adelaide will be clashing with Port Adelaide at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday. After smashing the Crows in Round 1 and taking care of North Adelaide last week, the Panthers are looking hard to stop, but the Power have proved themselves capable. Ex-Richmond Tiger Fraser Turner has once again been named on the extended bench for a debut. The 20-year-old Tasmanian utility was named in the same position last week but couldn’t crack into the side. A team with hot form, don’t be surprised if the Panthers go in unchanged. Port will regain midfield duo Sam Powell-Pepper and Tom Rockliff, who returns from concussion. Talented ruck Sam Hayes will be one to watch, as he continues to press for selection at higher level.

With both sides looking for their first win of the year, expect a tense clash between Sturt and West Adelaide on Saturday afternoon. Tasmanian talent Jared Dakin and highly touted ruckman Hamish Allan have been named as possible debutants for Sturt. The 205cm Allan has been named in the ruck which is a promising sign for the 20-year-old, while Dakin is found on the interchange. West Adelaide’s chances will be boosted by the return of star midfielder Kaine Stevens, who returns from injury to play his first game of the season. Young gun Bailey Chamberlain has also been named as a potential inclusion.

Central District will attempt to prevent Glenelg from starting the season 3-0 in this round’s clash. Central could unleash a number of debutants, with local talent Rhys Cannizzaro and mature ager Billy Iles both named on the extended bench. Last week’s inclusions Brett Kennedy and Ben Nason were named in the reserves. For Glenelg, a young trio of Will Chandler (19-years-old), Brady Searle (19) and Brodie Newman (20) have been named on the extended bench, but expect Glenelg to go in unchanged.

With both teams sitting on 1-1 after two rounds, the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles and the Adelaide Crows will both be desperate to get a win and move up the ladder. A former Tiger and Crow at AFL level, goalsneak Tyson Stengle has been named for the Eagles for the first time since he was drafted. He will replace Troy Menzel who misses with concussion. Pick 25 in last year’s AFL draft, Brayden Cook will debut for Adelaide in this week’s match against the Eagles. The medium forward/wingman has overcome his shoulder issues and should put on a show in his SANFL debut.

 

Tasmania

Glenorchy will be looking to bounce back after a defeat at the hands of Clarence, and Lauderdale will be the perfect target. Lauderdale were taken down by the Tigers last weekend and will be looking to recover with a win as well, so some good footy is on the cards. Glenorchy welcome back Daniel Joseph into the lineup, as the backman replaces Bayley Bester. Fresh off a five goal haul, expect Ben Kamaric to receive some close attention from the opposition. Lauderdale will be without star recruit Allen Christensen who tore his hamstring in last week’s match. Lincoln Arnold has been named to replace him, fresh off a best afield performance in the development league last week.

Clarence return to Blundstone Arena for the first time since 2019 to take on last year’s runners up North Launceston. The ground had shut its doors for the entirety of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Roos forced to host their games at Richmond. Clarence have made two changes, with defender James Holmes and Jason Bailey replacing Keegan Wylie and the injured Colin Garland. Dangerous forward Oliver Preshaw should again cause opposition defenders headaches. North Launceston will be without utility Thomas Donnelly who has been selected to play in North Melbourne’s VFL side this weekend but expect a close game regardless with both teams stacked with talent.

The best match of the round might be saved until last, as last year’s premiers Launceston host the currently undefeated Tigers at Windsor Park. Launceston will be refreshed after having the bye in Round 2, while the Tigers will be eager to ride their momentum forward and take home a third consecutive win. Both sides will head into the clash undefeated, with coaches satisfied with their talent all over the ground. Jake Hinds and Miller Hodge helped the Blues gain midfield dominance in the first round, while Dylan Riley is expected to hurt the opposition once again on the scoreboard. But can the Blues stop Tigers gun Elijah Reardon? Named on the half back flank, Reardon has started the season in blistering form and will be hard to contain.

 

Western Australia

The Easts go to war as East Fremantle and East Perth clash at New Choice Homes Park for Round 3. East Fremantle fell to the in-form Subiaco last weekend, and East Perth were embarrassed, losing to Peel Thunder by 105 points. Both teams are desperate for a bounce-back of some sort and it will come for one side on Saturday afternoon. East Fremantle could go in unchanged, with all four ins named on the extended interchange. Keep an eye on Luke Strnadica, the Sharks ruckman had an unbelievable match last week, finishing with 23 disposals and 48 hitouts despite the loss. East Perth have also named their inclusions on the extended bench, but with six ins to replace two outs, expect at least two changes. Jackson Ramsey will miss this week’s matchup after gathering 28 disposals last week, as will Corey Watts.

Claremont are sitting pretty in second place at 2-0 and will host Perth this weekend as they continue the hunt for top of the ladder. Perth’s Round 1 win was soon forgotten as they were smashed by Swan Districts the following week, and they face a tough task against Claremont on Saturday. Following 27 disposals in the reserves last weekend, teenager Anthony Davis slots straight into the lineup at centre half-forward for Claremont, replacing Oliver Eastland. Anton Hamp is the only other out for Claremont, as the remaining ins are yet to be determined. Ruckman Christian Eyres returns for Perth, as the magnets are moved following the disappointing loss.

South Fremantle and Peel Thunder will do battle, with only one side able to emerge with their second win of the year. Inaccuracy cost South Fremantle last round, as they were defeated by Claremont, while Peel Thunder are on a high following their 105-point demolition of East Perth. Ruckman Hamish Free is the only confirmed change for East Fremantle, replacing the massive gap left by Brock Higgins, who has been confirmed to miss. Jason Maskos will join him on the sidelines. Key forward Mason Shaw will look to back up his five-goal effort last weekend. At the time of publication, Peel Thunder had not listed its side.

West Coast have started the season 0-2 and will be desperate to improve that record against a Swan Districts side fresh off a 50-point victory against Perth. West Coast have a huge seven confirmed ins to try and achieve this goal. AFL regulars Mark Hutchings and Brendon Ah Chee are sure to contribute, but they lose plenty of talent too – the two biggest being Zac Langdon and Alex Witherden, who have earned an AFL recall. Swan Districts’ high profile recruit Lewis Jetta will miss this weekend’s clash, as will Jesse Turner, who had 27 disposals last round. Sam Fisher had 41 disposals last weekend and is sure to find plenty of the ball again.

West Perth have arguably the toughest task in the competition this week, as they find themselves tasked with slowing down the Subiaco juggernaut that is currently smashing through teams. Subiaco sit on top of the ladder with a massive 28 per cent leg up on second place. West Perth could be the team to bring them back down to earth, riding the momentum of last week’s 78-point win against West Coast. They may enter this weekend’s huge clash with no changes, as none have been confirmed yet. Tyler Keitel’s six goal game last weekend has seen him named at full forward, while Aaron Black has been named on the wing, fresh off a 43-disposal outing. For Subiaco, Jordan Lockyer returns to line up at centre half back, having missed last week’s game. Apart from that, expect a relatively unchanged Subiaco side.

 

Queensland

Noosa will resume their season following the bye last weekend, while Palm Beach Currumbin will be keen to improve on last week’s disappointing loss to Morningside. Named his side’s best in last week’s loss, the Lions’ Corey Joyce has been once again named on ball and will be one to watch this week. The same can be said for Ben Mcinneny, who performed admirably last week. For Noosa, forward Aaron Wilson will be hoping to replicate his bag of four goals in Round 1, while Cory Lobb, who was named best afield for Noosa in their first match, will be looking to marshal his fellow backmen.

Redland-Victoria Point began their season in style with a 58-point win, while Labrador could not keep up with Broadbeach, and were eventually defeated by 32 points. Labrador have plenty of talent such as Andy Hollis and Thomas Reeves, so don’t count them out yet. Redland-Victoria Point are in form though, and with stars such as ruckman Matthew Waters and Joshua Brown, it will be a hard task to slow them down.

Maroochydore’s 100-point win over Wilston Grange has found them on top of the ladder heading into this round. It was a clinical display, dominating their opponents all over the ground. This round, they take on Mt Gravatt, who were able to do just enough to take down Sherwood Districts and record their first win of the year. Will they be able to contain Mitchell Scholard, who kicked an astonishing 11 goals last round? Mt Gravatt ruckman Craig Malone will be looking to produce another best afield performance like his previous outing.

Broadbeach were able to take care of business in last round’s action, defeating Labrador by 32 points to grab their first win. Their opponents for this week, Morningside, stormed home against Palm Beach Currumbin to win by 43 points. Both sides will be eager to prove themselves and start the season 2-0. Nick Colenso will bring the scoreboard presence for Broadbeach after a five-goal game last round, while Sam Godfrey will be hoping for plenty of space out on the wing to run and carry. For Mornington, Jordan Moncrieff kicked five goals in last week’s win and will be looking to do something similar against Broadbeach.

Surfers Paradise fell to a rampant Redland-Victoria Point last round, despite putting up 96 points themselves. They will host Sherwood Districts this Saturday, who will also be looking to bounce back after failing to withstand a Mt Gravatt second half surge. Sherwood will be well led in the midfield by Luca Winton, who was everywhere last weekend, and will have plenty of options up forward in Kobe Tozer and Alexander Mitchell. Surfers Paradise won’t be short of talent themselves, with Jack Prestegar providing the dash off half back and Jack Yelland fighting for the ball in the middle.

 

Victoria

The revamped Victorian Football League (VFL) kicks off on the weekend, with plenty on the line as players put their best foot forward and vie for a senior list position. With the league now encompassing all clubs across the east coast of Australia, 22 teams will ply their trade this season across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Friday sees Richmond host Sandringham in the season opener as two standalone clubs in Frankston and Coburg go head-to-head in the evening, with six matches played on Saturday including the first few cross-border encounters with Footscray and Gold Coast Suns, Aspley and Port Melbourne, and Brisbane Lions and Essendon taking the field. Three matches complete the opening round on Sunday, with a couple of Melbourne bigmen looking to prove they’ve shaken off injury concerns and are capable of stepping up to AFL duties.

State Leagues wrap: Easter Weekend opens seasons

STATE league men’s football returned across the weekend, with the SANFL, WAFL and TSL all back to full-strength competitions, whilst a standalone fixture in the QAFL went ahead despite some concerns, ahead of a blockbuster Round 2 next weekend.

QUEENSLAND:

Noosa Tigers had a promising return to the QAFL in the standalone Round 1 match despite going down in defeat, as Wilston Grange got up by one-point in a thriller. The league newcomers fought it out after being down by 14 points at the final break to boot 7.3 to 4.8 in the final term after a sluggish start, but it would not be enough in the 7.14 (56) to 8.7 (55) loss. Hugh Fidler and Max Hewett both booted two goals for the Gorillas, while Aaron Wilson starred with four majors for the Tigers. Corey Lobb (Noosa) ad Errin Wasley-Black (Wilston Grange) were their respective sides’ top players.

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

In the SANFL, all eyes were on Pick 1 contender Jason Horne, as he ran out for South Adelaide against the Crows’ reserves. The teenage talent racked up 19 disposals, six marks, four tackles and four clearances in the win, whilst it was ex-Crow Bryce Gibbs who stole the show with a match-winning 36 disposals, six marks and five clearances. Ex-Lion Sam Skinner had 17 disposals and booted two goals in the win, whilst Liam Fitt (four goals) was the busiest inside 50. Joel Cross (28 disposals, seven marks) and Hayden Sampson (25 disposals, 12 marks and one goal) were other to win plenty of the football in a massive 61-point smashing, while Crows’ reserves talent Hamish Latchford stepped up with 31 disposals, 12 marks and two clearances. Jackson Hately (25 disposals, 10 marks and two clearances) was the eye-catching one, as young talls Josh Worrell (20 disposals, five marks), Darcy Fogarty (14 disposals, three marks) and Fischer McAsey (14 disposals, six marks) also played.

It was not much better news for Port Adelaide’s reserves who also went down, losing to Norwood by 45 points. Father-son prospect Taj Schofield racked up 22 disposals, three marks and booted a goal, while Sam Mayes (28 disposals, seven clearances) and Jarrod Lienert (26 disposals, seven tackles) also worked hard. Matthew Nunn was unstoppable for the Redlegs with 39 disposals, five marks, 11 tackles and five clearances, whilst ex-Crow recruit Richard Douglas did as he pleased with 26 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, four clearances and a goal. Ex-Cat Jacob Kennerley also impressed with 24 disposals, five marks and six tackles, whilst ex-Hawk Paul Puopolo booted 2.3 from 19 disposals and three marks. Draft hopeful Jackson Callow booted 2.2 from 11 disposals and five marks on his SANFL debut, working well with Dom Barry (21 disposals, five marks and three goals) inside 50.

In the tightest game of the weekend, Central District toppled North Adelaide by nine points, in what saw 20 goals kicked in the first half. Whilst only nine more were kicked in the second half, the Bulldogs got up thanks to four goals from Justin Hoskin and Aiden Grace. Ethan East also slotted two goals, while ex-Oakleigh premiership player Thomas Graham kicked a goal from eight touches and two marks on his League debut. Ex-GWS GIANTS Academy member Harry Grant was also lively with 25 disposals, seven marks and six clearances, as Kyle Presbury (26 disposals, 13 marks), Brendan Dew (24 disposals, six marks) and Travis Schiller (24 disposals, six marks) were among eight players to reach 20-plus disposals. For North Adelaide, reigning Margarey Medallist Campbell Combe had 26 disposals, eight clearances and five tackles, while Jarred Allmond (31 disposals, six marks) and Aaron Young (15 disposals, four goals) were also impressive.

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles easily accounted for Sturt thanks to a massive seven goals to one final term to run away with the contest by 46 points in the end. The Menzel brothers booted seven goals between them, as Troy (four goals) and Daniel (three) had days out in their new colours. James Tsitas (29 disposals, three clearances and four tackles) and Riley Knight (26 disposals, seven clearances, six tackles and a goal) were both lively, as was ex-Bomber Kobe Mutch on debut with 21 disposals and nine marks. For Sturt, Tom Lewis was hard as usual around the stoppages on his way to 19 disposals and eight clearances, teaming up well with James Battersby (21 disposals, five clearances), while Casey Voss (20 disposals, six marks) and Josh Shute (17 disposals, 10 marks) were busy once again on the outside.

In the final game, Glenelg knocked off West Adelaide by 11 points, with Michael Virgin (32 disposals, 11 marks) and Luke Partington (31 disposals, five clearances) both racking up the ball. Matthew Allen (28 disposals, 11 marks and a goal) and Darcy Bailey (28 disposals, seven marks, six clearances, six tackles and two goals) were sensational, while Callum Park (26 disposals, six marks) and Matthew Snook (29 disposals, eight clearances) also found plenty of it. In the loss, Isaac Johnson slotted 3.3 from 23 touches and five marks, while Kieran Lovell‘s SANFL debut was a success with 22 disposals, five marks, four clearances and four tackles. Ex-Gold Coast Academy goalsneak Josh Gore kicked a goal from nine touches and impressively made 10 tackles in the loss, while Jonathon Beech was also good with two goals from 13 disposals and seven marks.

 

TASMANIA:

Reigning premiers Launceston kicked off its season with a big win over rivals North Launceston in a grand final rematch, defeating the Northern Bombers by 55 points at UTAS Stadium. Dylan Riley (three goals) and Jake Hinds (two) stepped up to the plate once again in the big win, as Michael Musicka and Cody Thorp slotted multiple goals as well. For the Bombers, Brad Cox-Goodyer was the standout, as Ollie Sanders kicked a goal and was amongst the best for the losers, one of a number of youngsters running through the team, while Thomas Bennett was also impressive.

Meanwhile the Tigers got off to the perfect start, holding their nerve against North Hobart in an 11-point victory. They led by 35 points at half-time, and whilst they still kicked the 13 scoring shots in the second half, only managed the 4.9, compared to the Demons’ 9.3. The Kingborough-based side had done enough though to win 10.18 (78) to 10.7 (67), with 19-year-old Zach Adams booting a goal and named best on ground. Max Collidge and Riley Ashlin were also impressive, whilst for the Demons, Jack Sandric was best-on with a goal, while Jye Menzie was among the young brigade who slotted a major.

In the other match of Round 1, Lauderdale also held on against a fast-finishing Clarence. Allen Christensen was the headline recruit, booting three first half goals to do all the damage as the Bombers led by 29 points at the final break. They only managed one behind in the last term as the Roos stormed home with 3.5 of their own, only to fall seven points short. Aside from Christensen, reigning league best and fairest Sam Siggins was named among the best with Nat Franklin. For the Roos, Ollie Davis continued his form from his draft year with a best on ground effort, as Ethan Jackson and Darcy Gardner were other youngsters to step up, while Josh Green slotted four goals in the loss.

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

The WAFL kicked off its season with some high-scoring thrillers, as every winner hit triple-digits, including a whopping 242 points combined between Claremont and Swan Districts. Every team scored at least 74 points, with the greatest margin being 32, during East Fremantle’s victory over Peel Thunder. In that match, Josh Schoenfeld brought his own football to Western Australia, with ex-Gold Coast Sun racking up 41 disposals, nine marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and four rebounds in a whopping effort on debut for the Sharks. Ex-Blue Blaine Boekhorst had 26 touches, two marks and kicked a goal in the win, whilst ex-Saint and Pie Jonothan Marsh had 21 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and 2.1. It was the effort of Dillon O’Reilly looking to force his way back to the elite level with three goals from 14 touches, five marks and two tackles. For Peel, it was Sam Sturt who demanded a recall to the AFL with five goals from 12 disposals and four marks, while Joel Western had 13 touches, four marks and kicked a goal.

In other matches, East Perth’s Nick Robertson made a promising debut with 30 disposals, four marks and a goal returning from Brisbane, while another ex-AFL talent in Jackson Ramsay had 29 touches, five marks, seven inside 50s and a goal in a huge day out. Lachlan Delahunty racked up 23 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and three tackles for the winning side, as captain Leigh Kitchell drove the team through a massive 29 touches, 11 inside 50s and five tackles. Ben Sokol, Michael Braut and Aaron Heal all slotted three goals. Perth got past West Coast reserves in a 13-point outing despite nine goals between Isiah Winder and Nathan Vardy. Winder had five snags from 18 touches and five marks, while Vardy had a whopping 35 hitouts, 15 disposals and three marks to go with 4.1. Ex-Eagle Chris Masten racked it up against his old side with 29 touches, five marks and seven inside 50s, whilst ex-Saint Doulton Langlands (20 touches, four marks, three inside 50s and two goals), ex-Docker Brady Gray (27 disposals, eight marks and six inside 50s) and ex-Pie Josh Smith (23 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50s and a goal) all had big performances.

Meanwhile South Fremantle accounted for West Perth with Haiden Schloithe and Matt Parker having days out. Schloithe racked up his usual 30 touches, and had seven tackles, six inside 50s and two goals, while Parker had 26 touches, two marks five tackles and 11 inside 50s. Brandon Donaldson booted two goals from 25 touches and three marks in the win, whilst four West Perth players racked up 30-plus disposals. Aaron Black (36 disposals), Trent Manzone (35), Shane Nelson (34) and Blake Wilhelm (30) had leather poisoning with their ball-winning efforts, but it would not be enough to drag their sides across the line. Tyler Keitel and Keegan Knott both slotted four goals, whilst Cody Ninyette and Mason Shaw combined for nine majors in the win. Finally Claremont won by 24 points over Swan Districts in a 38-goal extravaganza. Alexander Manuel and Isaac Barton booted four and three goals apiece for the Tigers in the win, but it was top-age draft talent Jacob Van Rooyen who caught the eye with 12 disposals, four marks and 2.2 at senior level. Thomas Edwards (four goals) and Jesse Palmer (three) were both lively inside 50 for the Swans, whilst Sam Fisher (33 disposals, seven tackles, five inside 50s and three rebound 50s) and Jesse Turner (34 disposals, 11 marks, four inside 50s and four rebound 50s) were the best in the loss. Jye Bolton suffered leather poisoning with a massive 39 touches, six marks, five tackles, six inside 50s and a goal, marginally ahead of teammates Bailey Rogers (36 disposals, one goal) and Ryan Lim (34 disposals, one goal).

 

Picture credit: David Mariuz / SANFL

State Leagues preview: Opening rounds kick-off across the country

IN a Draft Central first, we have streamlined a look across the nation with a number of state leagues returning to action over the Easter long weekend. Competitions in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland all kick-off over the weekend and we preview them all in one convenient preview. At the time of publishing, only the South Australian and Tasmanian teams were out, with our West Australian and Queensland previews to come.

South Australia:

The much anticipated South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition kicks off starting tonight in a huge opening long weekend of action.

Tasmanian key forward Jackson Callow will be one to watch for Norwood tonight as they host Port Adelaide returning to the competition after a year off due to the COVID-19 restrictions regarding AFL non-selected players in state leagues. With ex-Geelong talent Jacob Kennerley and ex-Swans tall Michael Knoll returning to Coopers Stadium, the home team will be hard to beat. For Port fans, they will get a glimpse at recent draftees, father-son prospect Taj Schofield and key forward Ollie Lord, whilst the likes of Dylan Williams and Joel Garner are also named in there.

Speaking of ex-AFL talent, South Adelaide has bolstered its list with no bigger name than ex-Crow and Blue, Bryce Gibbs joining the Panthers. He joins ex-Cat Jake Tarca and ex-Lion Sam Skinner, whilst former State Under 18s player Damon Frietag has also joined the cause, Potential number one pick Jason Horne is the player many will turn in to watch, named on the bench to start 2021. Their opponents Adelaide is in the same boat to the Port Magpies, returning to the competition for 2021. Next-Generation Academy (NGA) member Tariek Newchurch is an exciting talent to watch named off half-back, with AFL-listed Crows Jackson Hately, Riley Thilthorpe and Fischer McAsey alongside another NGA draftee in James Borlase. Thilthorpe being named on a wing will be an interesting one to watch, showing off the 200cm key position player’s versatility.

Looking to the other Good Friday clash between Central District and North Adelaide, GWS GIANTS’ Academy member Harry Grant has crossed to the Dogs, with Tom Graham stepping up to League level after plying his trade with the Reserves following a 2019 premiership with Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB League. Tasmanian Aiden Grace arrives from Glenorchy, whilst the Bulldogs brother-duo of Travis and Jarrod Schiller will find plenty of the ball. Lachlan Grubb and Lewis Cowham are among the ones to watch in the Reserves side. For North Adelaide, reigning Margarey Medallist Campbell Combe will look to get his season off to a perfect start, with ex-Power and Suns talent Aaron Young joining the team, and former Under 18s state representative Dyson Hilder at full-forward.

In a mid-afternoon game at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval, the Eagles will unveil ex-Crow Riley Knight, as well as former Central talents Daniel and Troy Menzel for their clash against Sturt. James Tsitas has remained in South Australia rather than head back to the VFL, while Kobe Mutch will complete a dominant midfield hoping to get back on an AFL list after his time at Essendon. Ex-Crow Patrick Wilson will don the Double Blues colours in 2021 and is straight into the midfield, with former Under 18s state representative Josh Shute also in the side for his League debut. Jordan Houlahan and Zane Kirkwood will once again be keen players for the visitors.

In the final game of the round, Glenelg hosts West Adelaide tomorrow evening. The Tigers have brought in two ex-AFL talents in former Swan Toby Pink, and North Melbourne tall Sam Durdin. Both will provide great versatility around the ground, and back-to-back leading goalkicker Liam McBean will start off another season back at full-forward. Margarey Medallist from a couple of seasons ago Luke Partington will return again for the Bays, as Cooper Horsnell could be among a number of junior players to step up to League level in Round 1. For West Adelaide, Kieren Lovell has joined the side after a stint with Tigers in the TSL last season, while Tom Murphy has been named in the side after his stint with North Melbourne. Josh Gore will be a very handy goalkicker inside 50, while over-age draft prospect Jye Sindeberry has been named at centre half-back for the match.

 

TASMANIA:

Looking down on the Apple Isle, the youth of the competition will be reduced when Tasmania Devils enter the NAB League competition after it was cancelled in 2020. Nonetheless, there are still some good young talents to keep an eye on, and established players who will stand up.

North Hobart kicks off its campaign against Tigers in what should be a fascinating contest. Youngsters Jye Menzie and George McLeod are among the ones to watch for the Demons, as they hope to topple a Tigers side that has lost key ball winner, Kieren Lovell to the SANFL. Lachlan Gadomski remains an important tall for the Tigers, with Sam Duigan a key inclusion for the Kingborough-based side.

In a massive 2020 Tasmanian State League Grand Final rematch, the two Launceston sides go head-to-head with North Launceston up against reigning premiers, Launceston. Young midfielder Ollie Sanders will play a crucial role on the inside, with plenty of chances over the off-season for the Northern Bombers, though Jay Foon and Brad Cox-Goodyer remain among the top players in the side, and Angus Jeffries another teenager to keep an eye on in 2021. Launceston will have its forward line combination of Jay Blackberry and Dylan Riley, as Jake Hinds will line-up again in midfield for the team.

The other match for the weekend is Lauderdale up against Clarence. The Bombers will welcome Allen Christensen to the side, with the ex-AFL livewire named in the middle, team up with Sam Siggins in there. Clarence have a ton of youth on display, led by last year’s Rising Star in Ollie Davis back again, alongside Ethan Jackson, Darcy Gardner and Noah Holmes among others looking for a good 2021 season in the red and white.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

Peel Thunder vs. East Fremantle
Subiaco vs. East Perth
Perth vs. West Coast
South Fremantle vs. West Perth
Swan Districts vs. Claremont

QUEENSLAND:

Noosa Tigers vs. Wilston Grange Gorillas

Just the one match this weekend in a standalone clash between new Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) newcomers Noosa Tigers, and Wilston Grange Gorillas. The match, set to be played at Rococo Oval in Noosa, will have a 2pm start if it goes ahead. With much uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak in Queensland, there is yet to be confirmation the match will go ahead. The teams are also yet to be named due to the uncertainty around the outbreak.

Picture credit: Solstice Digital

SANFL Round 9 preview: Top two look to continue dominance

ROUND 9 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) will see a couple of interesting match-ups across League, Reserves and Under 18s competitions as the pointy end of the season edges ever closer. In the League competition, two ladder-leading sides will looks to continue their form and knock their lower ranked opposition off their game, bordering on top four contention.

North Adelaide vs. Norwood

League: The Redlegs will travel to Prospect Oval to clash with the in form North Adelaide on Saturday afternoon. The Roosters sit alongside Woodville-West Torrens at the pinnacle of the SANFL ladder after two months of action. Meanwhile, the Redlegs sit just outside the top four and appear locked in a battle for a finals spot, after the Tigers ended their four-game winning streak. The Redlegs were competitive against Glenelg early in the match at Coopers Stadium, but a poor second half which yielded just one goal was never going to be enough. It hasn’t always been pretty, but Jacob Surjan‘s North Adelaide continue to get the job done. The red and whites pulled off a miraculous one-point victory after trailing the Bloods late in the final term on Friday night. It was a seesawing affair at Hisense Stadium, but two final quarter goals to Will Combe proved the difference.

The Redlegs managed to win many of the key statistics, including disposals, disposal efficiency, marks and tackles, however Glenelg’s hard-nosed midfield finished plus-9 in clearances and generated 24 scoring shots to 16. A major reason behind the Bays triumph was the performance of Jack Hannath in the ruck, who kept dominant Redleg Sam Baulderstone to just 28 hit-outs – his lowest of the season. This week, Rooster James Craig will go head-to-head with Baulderstone and attempt to nullify his influence. Craig is averaging 30 hit-outs per game but must be weary of Baulderstone’s ability to get involved in general play, having averaged 18.3 disposals at 73 per cent kicking efficiency in eight matches.

North were largely outplayed for much of the game at Richmond, loosing most of the key statistics. But at the end of the night, they prevailed on the scoreboard, the most important statistic of all. The aforementioned Craig provided the Roosters midfielders with first use and they took advantage, smashing the Bloods 22-37 in the clearances. Vice-captains Andrew Moore and Tom Schwarz almost recorded more clearances than the entire West Adelaide side, combining for 17. However it was the rebound and precise kicking of half-back duo Harrison Wigg and Alex Spina which proved decisive. They collected 33 and 27 disposals respectively, and set up a multitude of Roosters scoring shots from defence. This weekend, the Norwood forwards must prevent them from using their excellent kicking to break the lines. However the ‘Legs also boast a strong rebounding game, with Brad McKenzie and Cameron Shenton given the role of turning defence into attack.

Up forward, Norwood big man Tommy Pinyon took two strong contested grabs and kicked two goals but was missing for most of the match, collecting just four touches. Peter Bampton and the Richards brothers, Zac and Josh, were also amongst the goals against the Bays. The Norwood midfield, known for their goalkicking ability, must find a way to push forward and help out in attack against a well-drilled Roosters backline, led by key pillars Cameron Craig, Tanner Smith and youngster Dyson Hilder. At the other end of the ground, the Roosters received a six goal boost from Will Combe and Jarrad Allmond – both of whom are not exactly dominant in front of the sticks. Club leading goal kicker Lewis Hender was kept goalless but smalls Kym LeBois and Robbie Young both slotted majors.

The Roosters won by two points when the two sides met in round two, with Campbell Combe starring through the midfield for North. Norwood will dearly miss Josh Richards, who is expected to spend 4-6 weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury. The Roosters could regain premiership duo Alex Barns and Mitch Clisby for the clash, but midfielder Cam Hewett and Billy Hartung will miss at least another week. If past meetings between the 2018 grand finalists are anything to go by, this should be a very entertaining clash.

Reserves: The Roosters made light work of the Bloods in the reserves on Friday evening to move up to fifth on the ladder. Meanwhile, the ‘Legs were downed by Glenelg by 32 points. North will be looking to mount a surge towards the finals while Norwood continue their search for a second win.

Under-18s: Norwood are certainly the team to beat at under-18s level, after moving one game clear at the top of the ladder with a win over the Bays. Meanwhile, the Roosters pilled on the goals against West to win by 54 points. Norwood bottom-ager Cooper Murley and fellow midfielders Jack Saunders and Michael Cavallaro are names to keep an eye on in the red and the blue, while for the Roosters, the prolific Matthew Borg continues to rack up the touches and Elliott McNamara is coming off a six goal performance. Adelaide’s bottom-aged Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect Blayne O’Loughlin is one to watch for Crows fans.

 

Central Districts vs. West Adelaide

League: Round nine features the battle of the battlers, with Central Districts set to host West Adelaide at Elizabeth. The Dogs remain winless at the bottom of the ladder, while the Bloods sit above them with just one victory. However the two sides earned their first premiership points of the season when they couldn’t be separated after at the final siren back in round two. Although the results have not gone their way, the two clubs have fought valiantly and will both be eager to claim victory on Saturday afternoon.

West Adelaide will be kicking themselves for dropping points on Friday night after leading the Roosters late in the fourth term. Over at Peter Motley Oval, the ‘Dogs opened the scoring after just 30 seconds of play thanks to a Jordan O’Brien goal. But the Double Blues, desperate to keep their season alive, kicked away after the first break and never gave the Bulldogs a sniff. Although West tackled well, kicked at 80 per cent efficiency and won more disposals than North, the Bloods were comprehensively beaten in the hit-outs (47-20) and clearances (37-22). Central’s scoring woes continued, booting five goals and 12 behinds. Unlike the Bloods, they were well-beaten around the ground, finishing minus-56 for disposals and a massive minus-50 for marks. Although they were able to win the clearances (44-38), the ‘Dogs are finding it difficult to mount any scoreboard pressure of late.

The Bulldogs and Bloods midfielders have battled hard for little return so far in 2020. This clash features two of the SANFL’s most consistent on-ballers in Bulldog James Boyd and West’s Kaine Stevens. A genuine ball-magnet, Boyd comfortably leads the league in disposals, averaging 31.4 per game. However he is also using it beautifully, going at 89 per cent efficiency, and will almost certainly feature prominently come Magarey Medal night. Stevens also sits inside the top ten for disposals, at an average of 24.9 per game. A stoppage specialist who uses his big body to good advantage through the middle, the 27-year-old has provided West with plenty of experience through the middle and complimented fellow on-ballers Jordon Boyle and Brett Turner. The ‘Dogs have been well-served by the Schiller brothers, Jarrod and Travis, for a number of years now and they remain an important component through the middle with their strong defensive pressure and clearance-winning.

West Adelaide skipper Tom Keough has booted 12 goals so far this year and is the go-to guy up forward. Likely top ten draft pick Riley Thilthorpe has also shown plenty of glimpses of his tremendous talent, playing predominantly up forward with stints through the ruck at various times. The teenager has taken 12 contested marks this season and his size, leap and reach has proven a tough assignment for opposition defenders. John Butcher is the undisputed focal point of the Bulldogs forward line, but youngsters Corey Durdin and the aforementioned O’Brien have also provided impacted the scoreboard. Durdin was kept to just four touches against Sturt before he injured his hamstring, but has pieced together a strong season in difficult circumstances. However, he is expected to miss two weeks with a low-grade hamstring strain.

Boyd has been his side’s leading rebounder, but skipper Luke Habel has been a calming presence for the inexperienced Bulldogs outfit. For West Adelaide, veteran Logan Hill‘s rebound and ball use (95 per cent kicking efficiency) has been a real standout. The 188cm Mitch Duval has also shown good signs since coming into the league side in round three.

In a cruel blow, the Bulldogs will be without Troy Menzel for the remainder of the season after he suffered a serious ankle injury in the loss. He joins brother Daniel on the clubs long-term injury list. Meanwhile, West will be hoping defender Elliott Dunkin (wrist) and Josh Ryan (shoulder) can pass their respective fitness tests in time for the Saturday afternoon clash.

Reserves: Central Districts flexed their muscles with a 46-point win over Sturt in the reserves competition, while the Bloods woes continued, loosing to North by 52-points. Unlike the league side, Centrals reserves have been the highest scoring side, averaging 90 points per game. Expect them to enter this clash full of confidence.

Under-18s: The Bulldogs under-18s caused the upset of the competition so far when they knocked off the second-placed Double Blues by 17 points. Leek Alleer was excellent in the win, finishing with 22 disposals, two goals and four contested marks. Austin McDonald also continues to find the ball at under-18s level after spending the first few weeks of the 2020 season dominating at under-16s level. West Adelaide continue to fight on in what has been a tricky campaign, however Edward Van Den Berg is one to watch in the red and black.

 

Glenelg vs. South Adelaide

League: South Adelaide will head to the bay to face Glenelg at ACH Group Stadium on Saturday. The Tigers and Panthers find themselves inside the top four after eight rounds of SANFL football. Yet while Glenelg have steadied the ship and won three games on the trot, the Panthers find themselves at risk of dropping out of a finals spot following three consecutive losses.

Glenelg recorded less disposals, kicks, marks and tackles than Norwood last round, but got on top in the midfield and generated eight more scoring shots than the Redlegs. The Panthers, on the other hand, played well for much of the game against the Eagles and kept themselves within striking distance. They won the midfield battle and finished plus-32 for marks and plus-20 for disposals, however Jarrad Wright‘s men were left to rue missed opportunities in-front of goal, finishing with six majors and 15 behinds.

In his first game in the blue and white, the terrific performance of ruckman Paul Hunter will have excited the Panthers coaching staff. The former Crow went up against Eagle Jordan West for much of the game and accumulated plenty of the ball in general play. He collected 24 disposals to go with nine marks (three contested), 22 hit-outs, eight inside-50s and an equal game-high nine clearances in what was a complete performance. This week he is set to come up against Tiger Hannath, who impressed with his ability to nullify the influence of Baulderstone.

The Panthers boast an experienced midfield core, led by superstar Joel Cross, former Power defender Matthew Broadbent and hard-nut Nic Schwarz. On the outside, youngster Hayden Sampson has provided some spark with his speed, run and carry. The Panthers have also given talented 17-year-old Jason Horne an opportunity at league level in recent times. However this week they will do battle with arguably the leagues best in-and-under midfielder in Matthew Snook. As tough as they come, Snook is averaging 28.5 disposals, 7.5 tackles and 9.8 clearances per game and currently sits atop the R.O. Sherman Medal count. However he hasn’t been alone. Luke Partington has started to return to his 2019 best in recent weeks and Bradley Agnew‘s defensive pressure has been outstanding all season. The Panthers will know all about Partington’s abilities, given he kicked three goals in a dominant display against them in round two. Billy Stretch also had his best game in the black and yellow against the Redlegs.

Up forward, the Bays dynamic duo of Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds were kept to just one goal apiece at Coopers Stadium. Both capable of kicking a bag, when they are on the key forwards are very hard to stop. The Panthers will again be without key defensive pillar Tom Highmore who is set to another couple of weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury. Jack Kluske has also found some form in front of the big sticks, kicking five goals in the past four rounds. The Panthers have had an even spread of goal kickers, with smalls Eamon Wilkinson and Beau McCreery combining with big Sam Overall, who slotted three goals against the Eagles – comfortably the leagues best defence.

Down back, Tigers skipper Max Proud has done much of the heavy lifting, with Luke Parks and Michael Virgin providing plenty of rebound from the defensive-50. South Adelaide’s Joseph Haines was held to just eight disposals by Eagle Jack Firns – his lowest count of the season by a considerable margin. Haines has been highly effective this season with his intercept marking, run and carry and penetrating kicking sure to earn him a few Magarey Medal votes. Negating his influence should be high on the agenda of Glenelg coach Mark Stone.

The Tigers beat the Panthers by just five points in their round two encounter, and appear set to enter the re-match with a reasonably clean bill of health. Although draft hopeful Luke Edwards is set to miss another week after suffering a concussion on debut. South Adelaide have four players listed as a ‘test’, including promising teenager Zac DumesnyMark Noble, Jaidan Kappler and Ben Sawford. But, unfortunately, Ben Haren is set to miss 2-3 weeks with a quad strain.

Reserves: After racing out of the blocks at reserves level, Glenelg find themselves in fourth spot on the ladder after recording three losses in the past four games. They should enter this clash as favourites, however, against a Panthers unit which has looked promising at times but struggled for consistency.

Under-18s: The Panthers under-18s will be full of confidence after knocking off the Eagles in a thrilling one-point win at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. All eyes will be on forward/wingman Brayden Cook after his match-winning performance. He continues to rise up draft boards and looks to be a draft smokey. The Tigers have struggled of-late, but watch out for Brodie Edwards, the third son of Crows-legend Tyson, who has accumulated a bit of the ball in recent weeks.

 

Woodville-West Torrens vs. Sturt

League: This week Sturt is provided with the daunting task of taking down the high-flying Eagles, who are still yet to lose since the opening round. The Eagles already possess a match-winning forward line, dour defence and strong, experienced midfield but managed to bolster their on-ball stocks further with the recent signing of James Tsitas from Geelong’s VFL side.

A standout in the VFL for several years, Tsitas made his presence felt in just his second SANFL match on Saturday, laying eight tackles, winning nine clearances and collecting 25 disposals. His side was not dominant on the stats sheet but, as all good sides do, they made South Adelaide pay for their goal kicking inaccuracies. Sturt, on the other hand, recorded a much-needed victory of the Bulldogs at their Peter Motley Oval home. They controlled much of the match on the scoreboard and won most of the key statistical indicators.

A six-goal performance from key forward Jake Sutcliffe was just what the doctor ordered for a Double Blues side which has struggled to kick a winning score all-too-often in season 2020. Better still, two goal-showings from veteran Mark Evans, ruck/forward Dan Fahey-Sparks and small forward Harry Morrison added to the promising display. They will have to replicate their scoring pressure if they are to match it with the potent Eagles offence. James Rowe booted another four goals straight and is clearly the competitions premier small forward. Jack and Nick Hayes were kept relatively quiet against South, but Jake Von Bertouch booted another couple. Firns’ tagging role on Panther Haines was also instrumental in their round eight triumph.

Sturt’s midfield mainstays were all prolific in the win over Central Districts, with skipper James Battersby brilliant at the stoppages, (11 clearances), Sam Colquhoun typically industrial and teenager Casey Voss amongst the leading possession winners once again. However the performances of some fresh faces is what will have really excited coach Nathan GrimaAbe Davis took a few weeks to find his feet at his new club, but has recorded tallies of 26, 31 and 32 disposals in the past three games and is starting to show why Sturt were so keen on recruiting him from South Adelaide. Fellow newcomer Jack Henderson showed some excellent signs in just his second league game and ruckman Darcy Bennett won 32 hit-outs.

They will do battle with an often-underrated Eagles engine room featuring the likes of Tsitas, reigning club champion Jordan Foote, experienced duo Joseph Sinor and Matthew Goldsworthy and Jimmy Toumpas. Youngster Lachlan McNeil has also found his feet at league level this season and is averaging 17.6 disposals at 90 per cent efficiency. Tasmanian Rhyan Mansell’s dash off the half-back line for Woodville-West Torrens has been terrific and teenager Lachlan Jones continues to perform strongly as he pushes for draft selection.

Angus Poole (ribs) and Jarrad Redden (abdominal) have been listed as ‘tests’ for the Eagles. And for the Double Blues, small forward Josh Hone is likely to miss some time after sustaining a foot injury early in the game against the Bulldogs. A win for the Double Blues would be a sensational moral booster, but the ladder leaders present an imposing challenge.

Reserves: The undefeated Eagles reserves just keep getting the job done in the second-tier competition, after easily accounting for the Panther on the weekend. Third-placed Sturt will be looking top bounce back from a hefty-loss at the hands of the second-placed Bulldogs.

Under-18s: The Eagles and Double Blues under-18 sides will be looking to return to the winners list after both recording disappointing losses last round. And there will be plenty of talent on show at Peter Motley Oval, with the likes of Caleb Poulter, Henry Smith and Jase Burgoyne (Eagles) clashing with Tom Powell, Mani Liddy and Will Spain (Sturt).