Tag: TSL

TSL Grand Final preview: Launceston vs. North Launceston

IT is a double-Launceston derby in the Tasmanian State League (TSL) with both Launceston and North Launceston facing off at UTAS Stadium in the seniors and Development League Grand Finals. The senior decider kicks off at 2.30pm following the Development and Women’s Grand Finals earlier in the day.

The reigning premiers North Launceston have a number of young prospects to watch out for across both grades, with Ollie Sanders in great form for the red and black. He has that touch of class and a beautiful left foot which can set up his more experienced teammates inside 50. While he missed out on getting a Draft Combine invite this year, he looms as one who will only get better over the next few years and could benefit as an over-ager next season.

Another North Launceston prospect named in the starting 22 is Baynen Lowe. The Devonport youngster with the fiery red hair is a tackling machine and one not to be messed with when the ball is in his zone. Possessing some nice speed and an ability to corral opponents, the bottom-ager still has another year to go before he is draft eligible. There is not much of the 174cm, 70kg small forward, but he certainly packs a punch.

For Launceston, the only player in the game with an AFL Draft Combine invite is Jared Dakin who has been a Mr Fix It all season. He can play on-ball, up forward or even in defence, where he has been named at half-back. Dakin has been tasked with a number of run-with roles this season and he has nullified key opponents. Interestingly enough, the last time these teams played, Dakin was sent to creative defender Jay Foon and did a good job early before being loosened and seeing Foon get off the chain.

Another top-age talent who has caught the eye as a potential late developer is Isaac Chugg. An elite athlete, he has enjoyed a role change from the wing to half-back where he has been able to show off his run and carry down the ground. Still building a more consistent game, he is one who will only get better with more experience.

One player who has been named as an emergency that is the biggest AFL Draft prospect in the game is Jackson Callow. Seemingly ruled out of contention weeks ago after badly hurting his ankles in an awkward landing, he has been named as an emergency the last couple of weeks. Whilst unlikely to be risked, it does allow the talented key position player to front up for the Development side if he is fit enough to play.

From a more senior perspective, both sides have a number of players in the TSL Team of the Year. North Launceston leads all-comers with a massive six players earning the honour. Ruck Alex Lee and full-back Corey Nankervis have key positions, whilst the left side of the field is all red and black thanks to playing coach Taylor Whitford, dynamic midfielder-forward Brad Cox-Goodyer, and the exciting Foon all named there. On the other wing, Josh Ponting‘s terrific season was rewarded with a starting spot.

For Launceston, competition leading goalkicker Dylan Riley made the forward pocket, with other dangerous forward, Jake Hinds inside 50. Up the other end is Jacob Boyd in a back pocket, whilst Jay Blackberry was named on the interchange. In a prestigious moment for the Blues, they also have the coach and captain of the team, with playing-coach Mitch Thorp leading the side, and Jobi Harper in the centre and named as hypothetical captain. It shows just how much talent is on display in the senior game.

Looking over the Development squads, North Launceston could have a few players to consider over the next couple of years. Top-ager Angus Jefferies impressed at school football this year and is a natural ball-winner. He only stands at a light 177cm and 70kg, but has elite endurance and will run all day. Bottom-age Bombers teammate Ryan Whitney is still building areas of his game, but he has some nice athletic traits to-boot.

Launceston also has a host of would-be Tasmanian Devils players who tested in the preseason for the squad coming into 2020 NAB League Boys season. Three top-agers – Kye Chilcott, Alex Davies and Jayden Hinds – have all been named in the side, whilst the likes of Zach Morris, Sam Foley and Denzel McLean are bottom-agers who will run out for the Blues. They are names to keep an eye on for next year, with Foley impressing in defence for St Patrick’s this year, whilst Morris is a classy forward who always looks lively.

North Launceston head in as favourites in the senior game, whilst Launceston has the depth at the Development level to be the nominal favourites there in what should be a couple of ripping contests.

Picture: Andrew Woodgate

TSL scouting notes: North Launceston vs. Clarence

IN the first of two Tasmanian State League (TSL) pieces wrapping up the first week of finals, we took a look at the first against fourth clash between North Launceston and Clarence and some of the top stars out on display.

NORTH LAUNCESTON vs. CLARENCE

By: Peter Williams

Twelve consecutive goals to North Launceston reminded spectators at UTAS Stadium just what the reigning premiers were capable of as the Bombers rampaged to a whopping 78-point win over Clarence. The Roos were plucky early kicking the first two goals of the game through bottom-agers Darcy Gardner and Noah Holmes and then leading by as much as 13 points at one stage after Josh Green kicked his side’s third major. Many expected a North Launceston response, but no one expected a 12 goals to zero domination over the next three quarters – including five in the final term – to run out 15.8 (98) to 3.2 (20) winners.

Daniel Withers was electric up forward and got better as the game wore on booting five goals for the Bombers, whilst Tom Bennett (three goals) and Taylor Whitford (two) both hit the scoreboard. Brad Cox-Goodyer was best on ground kicking a goal and always looked lively, whilst Jack Avent (one), Arion Richter-Salter and Thomas Donnelly were also standouts. For the Roos, Zac Buechner, Ollie Davis and Gardner all tried hard, with Davis breaking through a tag to be a force on the inside, whilst unfortunately for the Roos, they just faded as experience took over.

North Launceston:

#16 Ollie Sanders

Had a classy game for the Bombers, spreading well and getting better as the match wore on. His work rate and repeat efforts to get to multiple stoppages was admirable and in particular he looked lively in the front half of the ground. Sanders’ third term was the busiest for the talent, working hard in the back pocket to win the ball, then pushing into the midfield having plenty of touches. He spread regularly and then did well early in that term to speed out of a stoppage and use the ball well by hand and get it back not long after in space. Overall he was impressive for the Bombers, finishing with 18 disposals, six marks, five clearances and two tackles.

#64 Baynen Lowe

Lowe loves the contested side of things and lays some fierce tackles. He showed some quick hands under pressure, and was able to get it out whilst being tackled early in the second term. After a quiet first term, Lowe worked into the game and used his pace and defensive pressure to unsettle the opposition. In the third quarter, Lowe had a couple of score assists and was involved in a handball chain down the wing then hit up a target inside 50. He took a strong mark 40m out later in the quarter but his shot went to the top of the square and was cleared. Another good effort was late in the final term, spoiling one-on-one then handballing off which led forward to another goal for the reigning premiers. All up, Lowe had four score involvements to go with his 18 disposals, two marks, two clearances and five tackles.

 

Clarence:

#20 Oliver Davis

The TSL Rising Star really came of age when he found North Launceston’s Ben Simpson walk up to him from the first bounce. Davis was tightly guarded by Simpson and afforded no space around the clearances, but like he tends to do, he just wears down his opponents. Davis might not have had the greatest impact he has had in games – he was being tightly held – but he never gives in and just throws himself at the ball and ball carrier and his work rate is enormous. With clean hands in congestion and always giving it a crack even with the mammoth deficit mounting, Davis kept trying and finished with 18 disposals – 11 contested – six tackles and three clearances.

#23 Sam Banks

The most lively of the Clarence young guns, Banks played in defence and tried to use his run and skills to break the lines. He took a strong contested one-on-one mark on the wing, and whilst he was often under pressure in defence, made the best of it. Had one weird, uncharacteristic turnover in defence that triggered a series of mistakes by both teams, and then copped a hip and shoulder from the goal umpire in a couple of minutes he would rather forget. He readjusted and and was able to try his heart out driving the ball long, though the North Launceston defence was set up well. By the final siren, Banks had 18 disposals, one mark, one tackle, two clearances and three score involvements.

#34 Noah Holmes

It was a lonely day to be a full-forward for Clarence after quarter time, with Holmes winning the majority of his four touches in the first term when the Roos looked lively. Had one of the highlights of the day with a goal off a step 50m out and kicked it with ease like it was a 15m pass. He moved into the ruck to start the fourth term, but ultimately like most of his teammates had a quiet outing with four disposals, two tackles, two score involvements, one hitout and one goal.

#39 Darcy Gardner

Symbolic of many Clarence players, Gardner tried hard but was ultimately overwhelmed by the experienced North Launceston midfield. He ran hard in the opening term on the transition to lose his opponent and mark 30m out to slot home the opening goal of the match. His first term was huge with a great tackle on an opponent to stop a clearance, and then pumped a raking ball in deep that travelled 60-odd metres. He was quieter after quarter time, finishing with 11 disposals, three marks, three tackles and four score involvements.

#46 Baker Smith

Saw plenty of the ball in defence, but had a tough day on Blake McCulloch. When he had the ball, Smith looked composed and showed he could close down his opponent with well timed spoils. Often he was starting scoring chains from defence, but had his hands full with his opponent. McCulloch missed a couple of chances, but Smith still held him to the one goal from eight touches and three marks, far from disgraced against a distinguished opponent. Smith also hurt himself landing a little awkwardly in the last term, finishing with six disposals, one mark, two tackles and three score involvements for the match.

Picture: Andrew Woodgate

TSL weekend preview: Semi finals – Youngsters loom as Northern Bombers’ finals wildcard

FINALS time has hit the Tasmanian State League (TSL), with two Saturday semi finals set to decide this year’s grand finalists. Minor premier, North Launceston takes on fourth-placed Clarence at UTAS Stadium, while Launceston (2nd, 9-3) meets with Lauderdale (3rd, 7-5) at Windsor Park, with both games bounce down at 2pm. We take a look at where some of the best Tasmanian youth prospects will line up this weekend, as the final four is trimmed to two.

>> SCROLL for full fixtures and teams

North Launceston could have a finals wildcard or two up its sleeve, with a couple of young Tasmania Devils guns entering the fold at team selection. The Northern Bombers have slotted bottom-ager Baynen Lowe straight back into the starting lineup at half-forward, with the diminutive ball winner set to provide a spark inside attacking 50. Oliver Sanders, who found the goals last week comes in on the bench, while bigman Jackson Callow looms as a massive returnee having been named as an emergency.

After edging out North Hobart to secure a finals spot, Clarence boasts arguably the competition’s best group of Under 18s, all of whom will be keen to impact on the big stage. Oliver Davis, Samuel Lewis-Johnson, and Sam Banks were all named among the Roos’ best last time out, while Noah Holmes and Darcy Gardner hit the scoreboard. Davis remains a crucial cog at the heart of midfield alongside Gardner and Ethan Jackson, while Banks will again provide class off half-back. Jacques Barwick and Lachlan Borsboom have been squeezed out to the emergency spots.

Clarence has given the highly-fancied Bombers side a good run on two occasions this season, going down by a combined 24 points in their Round 4 and 10 meetings. While the minor premiers have proven dominant in 2020, they cannot take anything for granted given the ruthless nature of this year’s knockout finals format.

In the weekend’s other fixture, Launceston and Lauderdale also duke it out for a spot in the Grand Final, with their head-to-head ledger sitting even at one win apiece in 2020. The Blues come in fresh off a bye, while Lauderdale will hope for an improved performance after sneaking home by just three points against Tigers in Round 13.

After being named among the best in Launceston’s last outing, Jared Dakin again takes up his spot in the side across half-back, while fellow Tasmania Devils representative Isaac Chugg has been named on the bench. Dakin’s work rate and toughness should suit the rigours of finals football, while Chugg’s speed could prove handy in helping break the game open. Meanwhile, Samuel Foley comes out of the side after a sole senior outing. For Lauderdale, Sam Tilley again lines up inside forward 50, while Oscar Shaw takes up his spot in defence. Tilley was among the Bombers’ best last week, so should prove a dangerous outlet.

>> FULL TSL SEMI FINALS TEAMS

Fixtures:

Saturday, October 10:

North Launceston vs. Clarence | 2:00pm @ UTAS Stadium

Launceston vs. Lauderdale | 2:00pm @ Windsor Park

Featured Image: North Launceston’s Baynen Lowe | Credit: Simon Sturzaker/The Advocate

TSL scouting notes and wrap: Round 13 – Roos secure finals berth

ROUND 13 of the Tasmanian State League (TSL) saw some exciting players set the field alight and showcase their talents for their respective sides as Clarence won and Tiger lost for the former to secure a finals spot in the last round of the regular season.

Clarence 9.12 (66) defeated North Hobart 8.7 (55)

By: Peter Williams

Clarence locked up fourth spot and guaranteed the Roos finals thanks to a tight 11-point victory over North Hobart in a battle of the sides with an abundance of youth.

Clarence led at each change but it was by a kick of less at the breaks, holding a two-point, one-point and six-point lead at the first, second and third breaks. An inaccurate 1.5 in the final term extended the final margin out to 11, but they never entirely looked safe in the 9.12 (66) to 8.7 (55) victory.

Chris Nield was a standout coming back into the side kicking two goals, while Jason Bailey and Josh Green also kicked a couple each. Baker Smith was named his team’s best-on for his work in defence, with others youngsters Sam Banks and Oliver Davis also among the Roos’ best. For the Demons, Julian Dobosz, Angus Norton and Jye Menzie all kicked multiple goals, as Hugh Williams, Thomas Reeves and Jayden Charlton were named among the best.

Scouting notes:

By: Tom Cheesman

CLARENCE:

#20 Oliver Davis

Davis had a strong game through the midfield for Clarence. The slippery conditions made the match very congested, and this is a style of football that suits Davis well. He played predominantly on the inside where he gave some good handballs under pressure and laid some aggressive tackles. Davis won numerous contested possessions throughout the day and earned multiple free kicks by getting to the ball first and putting his head over it.

#23 Sam Banks

Banks showed that he has good skills and athleticism with some nice link-up play out of the defensive half on Saturday. His kicking was a highlight, as teammates continually looked to get the ball in his hands and he found short targets on a consistent basis. Banks has a fantastic work rate, as he always followed up his kicks and attempted to earn another possession in the same passage of play. A couple of times he did appear rushed under pressure, but this is understandable given that he is a young player. With more experience at League level, he should be able to find a bit more of the ball on the inside which will compliment his outside game beautifully.

#34 Noah Holmes

Holmes played a solid game as a key forward for the Roos. Early in the game, he linked up well down the wings and applied good body pressure with blocks and shepherds to create space for teammates. He took a strong one-on-one mark in the second quarter to earn a shot for goal, but unfortunately his kick was touched by the man on the mark. Holmes redeemed himself with a nice snap goal in the third term. He also showed some decent agility, particularly when he laid a chase down tackle to win a holding the ball decision in the third quarter.

#39 Darcy Gardner

Gardner was very impressive for Clarence in the midfield and as a half-forward. The under-ager displayed some brilliant work on the inside, highlighted by a burst through the middle of a stoppage to win a clearance in the second term. Gardner rarely fumbled, was clever with his hands and linked up very nicely with teammates through the middle of the ground. He often provided a lead-up option for teammates and initiated switches of play as well. Despite being smaller than most of his opponents, Gardner is a great competitor and is not afraid to compete against the bigger bodies, which was demonstrated when he laid a good tackle to win a holding the ball decision in second term. He also displayed some fantastic forward craft when he kicked a clever goal in the third term by side-stepping two opponents and then drilling the drop punt from about 35 metres out. Gardner played a pivotal role in his side’s 11-point victory.

#46 Baker Smith

Smith showed some fantastic signs on Saturday. Although he misread the flight of the ball a couple of times early, his performance from the second quarter onwards was outstanding. He took numerous intercept marks by dropping into holes and reading the leads of opposition forwards. Smith has great length, so he can cover lots of ground and is a reliable mark. Once he had the ball, the bottom-ager always looked for runners coming past to create some fast ball movement coming out of defence. Smith’s kicking was reliable too, particularly when he went short and switched the play.

NORTH HOBART:

#37 Sam Collins

Collins was one of North Hobart’s most reliable defenders on Saturday. He took numerous intercept marks in the defensive 50 by reading the play well, floating in front of leading forwards and using his strong hands. In the first quarter, Collins linked up with teammates across the wings to control possession and set up a goal with a nice long kick inside 50. Throughout the game he spread from defence well, rarely fumbled, hit most of his targets by foot and created a running option when his side was moving the ball forward. He had a great moment in third term where he pushed off his opponent, took an intercept mark, used pace to break away and then found a teammate with a beautifully weighted kick through the corridor. This led to an important goal and demonstrated how damaging Collins can be when he gets the ball in dangerous positions.

#46 Jye Menzie

Menzie kicked two goals on Saturday and showed some other good signs. He applied strong pressure on the opposition and regularly got into good positions to crumb marking contests. His ability to make something out of nothing was evident, particularly when he almost kicked an amazing goal with some soccer skills in second term. He pushed up the ground to collect touches and link-up with teammates whenever necessary, but he mostly played as a deep forward. Other highlights of his game were a brilliant run down tackle in second quarter that won a holding the ball decision and led to a goal, and an impressive overhead mark on the lead in third term.

 

North Launceston 17.11 (113) defeated Glenorchy 3.7 (25)

By: Fraser Stewart

An eight goals to none blitz in the first quarter set off a thumping win to the North Launceston Bombers as they finished on top of the ladder to claim the minor premiership as they look to continue their form into the final series.

It was a convincing performance from the Bombers with a wealth of players popping up and hitting the scoreboard in big way with multiple goals coming from Zachary Burt (four), Jack Rushton (three), Jack Avent (three), Bradley Cox-Goodyer (two), Taylor Whitford (two), William Edmunds (one goal), Sherrin Egger (one goal), and Ollie Sanders (one goal) all contributing to the 17.11(113) to 3.7(25) win.

Despite trailing by 12 goals at the last break Glenorchy did their best to make much of a contest in the fourth quarter but it was too little too as they only managed one goal in that term as they went down by 88 points.

NORTH LAUNCESTON

# 16 Ollie Sanders: 

Put in a terrific game right from the outset, although his first quarter was quiet he showed glimpses of what he was going to do all day when he linked up the play collecting a ground ball and lowering his eyes to hit a target inside 50. He was all over the ground often moving to the wing where he showed his calmness and agility when he collected a bouncing ball from an awkward bounce and weaved his way out of a tackle. He also made his way to defence to help the defenders out, showcasing he has a good football brain when he switched the play which led to an attacking play. But wherever he went he always seemed to get his hands on the pill often handballing it to create a link-up play or hitting targets lace out into space. He was often the starter of the attacking movements. 

GLENORCHY

#36 Charlie Thompson

He was a pretty quiet which was evident of North Launceston dominating all day on the park and on the scoreboard, but he did try to make things happen for Glenorchy, as he often went up for marks and went further upfield to help out in defence where he got most of his possessions. Despite not getting on the scoreboard, it should be noted that his second efforts were some of his biggest traits in the 88-point defeat. This was evident when dropped a mark (albeit a relatively hard one but got his hands on it nonetheless) but went to ground to try and reclaim the ball and created a contest out of it. He was lively in the last quarter when Glenorchy started to play with more fluency, he nearly had a goal to his name but was rushed by a North Launceston player, however, that alone should be encouraging for the full-forward as he found time and space (which he did not have for majority of the game) to get a shot away as he got the defenders off guard and finally got good service to him.

 

Lauderdale 8.13 (61) defeated Tigers 8.10 (58)

By: Peter Williams

In the battle between two more experienced sides, and Tigers needing a big win – and the Roos to lose – in order to make finals,- Lauderdale just got the job done and held firm to win by three points.

Tigers led at each break and looked likely to cause and upset throughout the contest, taking a four, seven and nine-point lead into each quarter, winning the first three terms. Unfortunately for the visitors, they could only score two behinds in the final quarter as Lauderdale booted 2.2 to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and win 8.13 (61) to 8.10 (58)

Harry Richmond slotted four goals for the Bombers – including the matchwinner midway through the final term, as he was named among the best with Luke Nelson (two goals) and Josh McGuinness (one). Sam Siggins and Nathan Oakes also stood out for Lauderdale, as Toutea Havea was the other solitary goalkicker in the match. For Tigers, Oliver Burrows-Cheng (two goals) was the only multiple goalkicker as he, Kieren Lovell (one), Luke Graham (one), Marcus Davies (one) and William Campbell were all steadfast in defeat.

Picture: Solstice Digital & Photography

Draft Central Power Rankings: October 2020

COMBINES, All-Star showcases, and state league finals have brought new life to the 2020 AFL Draft scene, as budding prospects around the nation look to prove their worth ahead of that one day in (likely) early-December. Victorian talents remain in the unknown, but feature aplenty in our list which has undergone a series of minor shuffles. In Draft Central’s latest Power Rankings, the form guide has shot out to 30 names; compared to 25 in our September analysis, and 20 in both August and July.

Among the fresh faces, a South Australian bolter enters the top 25, while two Fremantle Next-Generation Academy (NGA) prospects make their way onto the board alongside a highly-touted Sydney Swans Academy gun. All that, and more in our October Power Rankings update.

Note, the list is ordered purely on our opinion and each players’ ability, not taking into account any AFL clubs’ lists or needs.

#1 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Country | Key Position Forward
4/04/2002 | 194cm | 84kg

Western Bulldogs fans may not entirely enjoy seeing Next Generation Academy (NGA) product, Ugle-Hagan perched atop the tree given the hefty price that comes with it, but should be buoyed by their club having first dibs on such a remarkable talent. The 194cm key position forward has been compared to champion goalkicker Lance Franklin for his athleticism and left-foot kick, but he plays a little differently. Ugle-Hagan’s pace off the lead and sticky hands overhead set him apart, while elite scores in each of the preseason testing events make him an irresistible prospect alone. He is the consensus number one choice at this point, having delivered on the hype as he moved to the Oakleigh region via a scholarship with Scotch College.

September Ranking: #1

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#2 Elijah Hollands
Murray Bushrangers/Vic County | Forward/Midfielder
25/04/2002 | 188cm | 80kg

Hollands’ placing in these rankings will inevitably prove one of the hardest to call throughout the year, given he is set to sit out the entire 2020 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). At this point though, he has done more than enough to warrant top five status at the least, and finds a place in second spot once again. While his knack for producing game-defining periods has most significantly been achieved forward of centre, Hollands has the size and skill to warrant his goal of earning more midfield minutes. With clean hands, athleticism, and a booming boot which often finds the goals, Hollands is all you could ever want from a high-ceiling prospect. Not playing shouldn’t hurt his value too much, but it would have been nice to see him get an uninterrupted crack at NAB League level having finished his schooling at Caulfield Grammar.

September Ranking: #2

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League, and recovery from long-term knee injury.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#3 Logan McDonald
Perth/Western Australia | Key Position Forward
4/04/2002 | 196cm | 86kg

A dominant key position forward with terrific endurance is McDonald, who adds to the strong tall and West Australian representation on this list. The high-marking spearhead ran out for his state thrice during last year’s Under 18 National Championships, averaging a goal per game and impressing with his ability to clunk marks leading up the ground. He has terrific hands on the lead and usually has no trouble finding the big sticks, while his high-level endurance confirms his status as a true, modern-day centre half-forward. Having grown and filled out to a more conventional key position size, McDonald has showcased his game-winning ability from forward of centre in 2020 – something which earned him All-Australian honours as an Under 16s player.

September Ranking: #3

Last Month: McDonald showed off his endurance at last week’s West Australian combine, scoring third in the 2km time trial. On-field, the key forward capped off his season by helping Perth qualify for the WAFL League finals for the first time in over 20 years, but was kept goalless in the Demons’ week one loss. He booted one major the week before, and managed three against Swan Districts before Denver Grainger-Barras was switched onto him.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus | Player Focus

#4 Denver Grainger-Barras
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Key Position Defender
14/04/2002 | 194cm | 78kg

Another tall amongst the top five, and a versatile one at that. While he is definitely most comfortable and renowned as a key position defender, the Swan Districts hopeful’s versatility lies in the varying roles he play inside defensive 50. Credit to his athleticism and slender frame, he is able to keep up with medium types at ground level, while also showing form as a lockdown type on the opposition’s best big forward, or as an intercept marking outlet. Grainger-Barras is a cool head in possession too, boasting a sound kick for his size and composure beyond his years. That same level-headedness and footballing IQ makes him a sound reader of the play from the back, and the leading option in his position.

September Ranking: #4

Last Month: Grainger-Barras was another to showcase his high-level athleticism at the West Australian combine; scoring third in the running vertical jump (left), fifth in the 20-metre sprint, and second in the agility test. After a terrific outing against Logan McDonald’s Perth, the prolific defender rounded out his season with just six disposals and two marks as Swan Districts failed to make finals.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus | Player Focus

#5 Will Phillips
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
22/05/2002 | 179cm | 78kg

We all marvelled at how well Oakleigh graduates Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson have adapted to life in the AFL, and Phillips could be the next Charger in line to do just that having leant on the pair during his bottom-aged campaign. Like Rowell, Phillips is a sub-180cm prospect who consistently finds plenty of the ball and possesses great leadership qualities. He is a well-balanced midfielder too, having plied his trade at times on the outside for Oakleigh en route to premiership glory. Phillips seems to thrive on the inside though, with his hardness and ability to weave through traffic making him an invaluable stoppage asset. The Caulfield Grammar student was set to juggle APS football and NAB League duties in 2020, while standing as a clear leadership candidate for Vic Metro come national carnival time – all before the pandemic hit.

September Ranking: #5

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#6 Riley Thilthorpe
West Adelaide/South Australia | Ruck/Key Position Forward
7/07/2002 | 201cm | 100kg

In a welcome change from last year’s crop, key position prospects will be in abundance at the top end. Thilthorpe is one of them, an athletic ruck/forward who possesses enormous running capacity and can dominate the airways. In his ruck duties, the 201cm West Adelaide product plays more like a fourth midfielder, able to follow up at ground level and cover the ground like a small. He has been utilised in a more forward-oriented role for the Bloods at SANFL League level though, with his goalkicking attributes and diverse skillset already making him a handful for senior players with more mature bodies. Ask any of the South Australian Under 18s who they have most been looking forward to playing alongside in 2020, and Thilthorpe is among them. Jot the name down, he should be among those you are most looking forward to watching, too.

September Ranking: #6

Last Month: The West Adelaide bigman has battled through injury trouble over the last month, unable to get back on the park at SANFL League level despite being named. A niggling groin injury also kept him from testing at the South Australian combine.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

#7 Braeden Campbell
Sydney Swans Academy/Allies | Balanced Midfielder/Forward
4/02/2002 | 181cm | 72kg

While he has again been squeezed out to number seven, Campbell is a player who could potentially sit among the top five come season’s end. Uncertainty lingers over how much exposure NSW/ACT athletes will be able to gain in 2020 given the NEAFL and NAB League scrappings, but one must only watch last year’s Under 17 Futures All-Star showcase to be reminded of Campbell’s talent. He was best-afield in that game, with electrifying speed, hardness at the ball, and a booming left-foot kick catching the eye of all who bore witness. The Swans Academy product is also apt in the short range as well, and has the invaluable ability to impact games in multiple positions. Whether it be on the inside, outside, or forward of centre, Campbell is a match-winner and should cost the Swans a pretty penny in terms of draft points.

September Ranking: #7

Last Month: The exciting Swans Academy prospect booted a goal in each of his three AFL Sydney Premier Division outings for Pennant Hills in September. The Demons won two of those games, but lost most recently in their lone finals dig against St George. The NSW/ACT combine on October 25 will be Campbell’s next point of call.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus

#8 Tanner Bruhn
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
27/05/2002 | 182cm | 73kg

Class with a capital ‘C’ is what Bruhn has been described as, despite his limited on-field opportunities of late. The Geelong Falcons midfielder burst onto the scene as Vic Country’s Under 16 MVP in 2018, but injuries have cruelled him since; having initially required knee surgery after a 2019 preseason incident, and undergone a follow-up procedure that would have had him in doubt to feature early this year. He still managed to add two NAB League outings to his resume towards the end of last season, showcasing his terrific stoppage craft with clean hands and wonderful movement around the ball. Should he eventually enjoy an extended run and put his best form on display, Bruhn could well push to be the premier midfielder of this year’s bunch.

September Ranking: #8

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#9 Lachlan Jones
WWT Eagles/South Australia | General Defender
9/04/2002 | 186cm | 89kg

Yet another NGA prospect, Jones is tied to Port Adelaide and features quite highly on this list. His big frame has seen him adjust well to the rigours of SANFL League football, running out against mature bodies in nearly all of the Eagles’ fixtures thus far. As a general defender, Jones possesses obvious hardness at the ball and can compete both aerially and at ground level, remaining relevant going both ways too. His skills are also a big asset, able to spear passes to high percentage options while also breaking games open with his long-range efforts. Jones may well be one to push further up the list as he progresses in 2020, with some solid traits which point to a quick transition into the next level.

September Ranking: #10

Last Month: Jones is another to have missed some football over the past month, but thankfully not much. An ankle injury kept him from testing at the recent South Australian combine, and also saw him miss Round 14 in the SANFL. After some hit-and-miss form, the big-bodied defender returned in week one of the finals with 19 disposals and 11 rebound 50s as his Eagles went down to North Adelaide.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus Round 3 | Round 8

#10 Nathan O’Driscoll 
Perth/Western Australia | Midfielder/Defender
17/05/2002 | 187cm | 78kg

One of Western Australia’s leading prospects is O’Driscoll, a hard-at-it inside midfielder who can also double as a damaging half-back or wingman. The 187cm Perth Demons product was a standout at Colts level last year, while also breaking through for three outings in the Black Ducks’ Under 18 National Championships campaign as a bottom-ager. Having learnt off the likes of former Perth teammate and Brisbane draftee, Deven Robertson, O’Driscoll is primed to become a permanent midfield fixture having already proven his ball winning capabilities. His penetrating boot and speed-endurance mix make him a prospect with many desirable traits, not to mention his older sister, Emma is already plying her trade at AFLW level for Fremantle.

September Ranking: #11

Last Month: O’Driscoll finished off his top-age campaign as a regular fixture in Perth’s League midfield. While a disposal average of 11 over his last three games does not jump off the page, O’Driscoll looked composed on the ball and was able to impact defensively as well. He runs all day, and proved as much my finishing second in WA’s 2km time trial. He also came runner-up in the 20-metre sprint, while taking out the agility test. He boasts an impressive speed-endurance mix through midfield.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Player Focus

#11 Nikolas Cox
Northern Knights/Vic Metro | Key Position Defender/Utility
15/01/2002 | 199cm | 82kg

A 199cm player who can run, kick on both sides, and play just about anywhere? It sounds too good to be true, but that is exactly what Cox brings to the table as his region’s most outstanding draft candidate. Cox cut his teeth as a tall wingman and key position swingman in 2019, juggling his time between school football, 10 NAB League outings, and a berth in the Under 18 Vic Metro squad as a bottom-ager. In 2020, the Northern Knights co-captain was set to develop as a centre-half back, with his athleticism and versatility in the role lending to the fact he has an enormous ceiling. He was also set to be a prime candidate to lead Vic Metro this year, lauded for his professionalism and the example he sets via training standards.

September Ranking: #9

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and AGSV Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#12 Alex Davies
Gold Coast SUNS/Allies | Inside Midfielder
18/03/2002 | 192cm | 85kg

A second Northern Academy prospect and the first Queenslander on this list, Davies is one of the more highly touted big-bodied midfielders of his cohort. Standing at 192cm and filling out to 85kg, the SUNS Academy hopeful boasts the ideal size to not only dominate his junior competitors, but more importantly make an immediate impact at the next level. He has been his state’s prime ball winner for some time and thrives on racking up high contested numbers, but has also displayed terrific poise in traffic and adds releasing handballs to his thumping kicks away from the stoppages. He ran out for four of Gold Coast’s NAB League outings as a bottom-ager, and looked set to prove lynchpin among the Allies squad in 2020.

September Ranking: #12

Last Month: Davies has been inactive due to an elbow injury sustained in August, missing out on Broadbeach’s run to the QAFL Seniors Grand Final.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#13 Reef McInnes
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Inside Midfielder
12/12/2002 | 192cm | 84kg

Sitting outside the top 10 due to others’ rises is another inside midfielder and a second NGA product from both the Scotch College and Oakleigh Chargers systems. Attached to Collingwood, McInnes is set to be yet another in the production line of academy and father-son prospects made available to the Magpies, and looms as a first round candidate. While he was pushed out to the forward line in Oakleigh’s stacked premiership side, McInnes is a bull on the inside who can dominate at stoppages. He is hardly the typical slow, strength-dependant type either, able to lean on his agility and awareness to effectively extract from midfield. The versatility he was made to learn as a bottom-ager adds another string to his bow, with goals a valuable part of his game in 2019.

September Ranking: #13

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#14 Zach Reid
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | Key Position Defender/Utility
2/03/2002 | 202cm | 82kg

A versatile tall who could push for top 10 status, Reid returned a consistent output during his bottom-age season as a key member of Gippsland’s spine. He was tried up either end and through the ruck across 15 NAB League outings, but looked most comfortable down back and should find a home there once again in 2020. At 202cm, Reid is filling out nicely and can utilise that added strength to compete better one-on-one against big key forwards. He is a terrific judge of the ball in flight and positions intelligently, not just relying on his height to compete aerially. Reid is also both a sound handler and user of the ball for his size, providing a cool head in rebounding transitions.

September Ranking: #15

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and Gippsland Football League.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#15 Kaine Baldwin
Glenelg/South Australia | Key Position Forward
30/05/2002 | 193cm | 90kg

The news of Baldwin’s second ACL tear in as many years – albeit partial this time – was shattering. It means the promising 193cm forward will miss out on yet another season of football after earning All Australian honours at Under 16s level in 2018, and a crack at the SANFL Reserves grade as a bottom-ager. In our eyes, he remains a first round prospect on talent alone, and looked poised to really crack on in 2020 after his initial recovery. He was a handy preseason testing performer, with good returns in the vertical jumps and yo-yo test conveying Baldwin’s ability to crash packs and clunk big contested marks, while also harnessing that aerial dominance in his work up the ground.

September Ranking: #14

Last Month: Inactive due to recovery from long-term knee injury. Earned a National Combine invite for September 30 but did not participate.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#16 Heath Chapman
West Perth/Western Australia | Key Position Defender
31/01/2002 | 192cm | 81kg

A player who has risen into top 20 calculations, Chapman is a key position defender with many points of difference. Having cut his teeth in the role during his bottom-age year, the 193cm prospect has been able to roll off as a third tall down back for West Perth in 2020, utilising his shrewd reading of the play and athleticism to provide dominant intercept marking prowess. His ability to open up the play in transition with long, rebounding kicks is Chapman’s other key strength, making him a versatile defensive outlet who finds plenty of the ball. Given his size and athletic attributes, that third tall prototype seems his most likely avenue to the elite level, though he is just as capable competing as a more traditional key position player.

September Ranking: #16

Last Month: Chapman earned a League call-up in Round 8, but saw his senior stint prove one-and-done after 11 disposals against Claremont. He made a terrific return to the Colts level with 24 disposals and eight marks against eventual premier Subiaco, before managing 16 disposals and six marks amid tough conditions as the Falcons went down to East Fremantle in a preliminary final. He was an impressive performer at the combine too, faring well in the 2km time trial.

>> Draft Watch

#17 Oliver Henry
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | Medium Utility
29/07/2002 | 187cm | 77kg

A brother-of who could eventually feature at the top end of this year’s rankings is Henry, the younger sibling of Geelong Cats defender, Jack. The Geelong Falcons product has top 10 potential, able to play up either end of the ground and pull down big marks. While he looks most comfortable up forward as a high-flying third tall type, Henry is just as capable down back where his aerial prowess translates to intercept value. At 187cm, he plays above his size through sheer athleticism and reading of the play, with the potential to also move up onto a wing. If Victorian prospects had been allowed back onto the park in 2020, Henry would likely have been one to rise quite steeply given his enormous upside and versatility.

September Ranking: #17

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League, local, and school football.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#18 Archie Perkins
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Forward/Midfielder
26/03/2002 | 186cm | 77kg

Perkins has all the makings of a special talent. Having caught the eye as a forward and outside midfielder in 2019, the Sandringham Dragons standout was poised to spend more time on the inside as a top-ager, with just the right size and some incredible athletic attributes to aid his transition. Perkins boasts a monster vertical leap, covers 20 metres in less than three seconds, and is brilliantly agile, making for an ideal athletic base. His finishing touch is an area he can refine, but the 186cm prospect is no stranger to finding the goals and can be a real game changer when required. Damage or impact is a key trait which is often hard to measure, but Perkins ranks highly in that department.

September Ranking: #20

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#19 Caleb Poulter
WWT Eagles/South Australia | Midfielder/Forward
12/10/2002 | 192cm | 79kg

One of this year’s brightest bolters, Poulter has rocketed up draft boards after an eye-catching start to his top-age season. The big-bodied midfielder brings a serious presence through midfield, able to win plenty of the ball himself while also hunting the opposition with tackling pressure. Add to his midfield craft the ability to take big marks overhead, hit the scoreboard with his penetrating left boot, and utilise his terrific athletic base, and you have a prospect who can wreak absolute havoc at his best. With some senior football also under his belt in 2020, Poulter has stood up and been noticed quickly. It has been a steep rise since his Under 16 carnival in South Australian colours last year.

September Ranking: #23

Last Month: Poulter’s stocks have risen not only on the back of a Reserves call-up and some solid form, but also due to his outstanding combine results. The tall midfielder came fourth in South Australia’s 20-metre sprint, second in the running vertical jump (right), and fifth in the 2km time trial. On-field, he managed four Reserves outings before returning to the Under 18s with a bang, booting two goals from 18 disposals. He also managed 20 touches in the Eagles’ finals win over South Adelaide, most recently. Poulter has spent a bit of time on a wing, and boasts great versatility in the sense that he can also roam forward or impact on the inside.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch

#20 Zane Trew
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder
26/04/2002 | 185cm | 80kg

Trew is one of many top-end prospects who have had to battle injury throughout their bottom-age seasons, but he looks primed to bounce back well in 2020. Hailing from the talent-stacked Swan Districts program, Trew is a classy inside midfielder who can rack up plenty of ball in style, backed by his 40-disposal effort in last year’s WAFL Colts competition. While he was limited to just three outings and missed Under 18 selection for WA, the 186cm prospect should not be forgotten in first round discussions. Trew is a handball-happy extractor, able to flick out releasing touches to his runners, but he is just as effective by foot with clean skills at short range and penetration when required. Should be a lock for the WA engine room this season with representative games ahead.

September Ranking: #19

Last Month: Despite Swan Districts’ inability to make finals, Trew finished his WAFL Colts campaign on a high. The inside midfielder was seemingly teased with a senior call-up, but instead racked up 22 and 32 disposals in his final two Colts appearances. He also laid a combined 19 tackles in those games, and took part in the West Australian draft combine. Trew achieved a much more consistent run this season, despite some slight injury troubles.

>> Draft Watch
>> Draft Diary 1 | 2
>> Marquee Matchup

#21 Tom Powell
Sturt/South Australia | Midfielder
2/03/2002 | 183cm | 74kg

There are few more consistent ball winners than Powell, who has put an interrupted bottom-age season behind him to emerge as arguably Sturt’s most promising draft prospect. The Double Blues standout simply finds the ball at will, able to get his side going on the front foot from midfield with clever positioning, movement, and extraction. He may be a touch handball happy, but is an elite exponent of that tool and is beginning to mix in his kicking to have an even greater impact on games. At his best, Powell is nothing short of dominant, though goals and a greater run-and-carry game would make him a complete midfielder – think Lachie Neale‘s development.

September Ranking: #18

Last Month: Calf tightness restricted Powell in light of the recent South Australian combine, and he seemed to carry the same niggle into his latest game. The midfielder returned a rare performance of under 20 disposals in Sturt’s semi final loss to Norwood, but averaged 31.7 disposals and 8.3 clearances across his other three September appearances. It will take something big to keep him down for a second week, as he looks to help the Double Blues qualify for an Under 18s Grand Final.

>> Feature (April) | (September)
>> Draft Watch

#22 Finlay Macrae
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
13/03/2002 | 184cm | 75kg

You may recognise the name and yes, Finlay is the half-brother of Western Bulldogs midfielder, Jack. They are quite clearly cut from the same cloth, with the younger Macrae possessing a similar ball winning appetite and class on the ball to his established older sibling. The 184cm Charger also boasts a terrific balance in his traits, able to impact the play moving forward with sound decision making and precise execution via foot, on top of his obvious exploits in extraction. While he is not overly quick, Macrae’s evasiveness comes through agility and awareness, which would have been on full show as he prepared to feature prominently for Oakleigh, Xavier College, and Vic Metro in 2020.

September Ranking: #21

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#23 Jack Carroll
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Midfielder/Defender
20/12/2002 | 187cm | 76kg

A fresh face to last month’s expanded list, Carroll has plenty of first round suitors. Coming into his top-age season, Carroll was pegged as a classy outside midfielder or half-back who moved well and used the ball efficiently by foot. But after nearly a full season of WAFL Colts football through midfield, the 187cm prospect has also shown his worth inside the engine room. Carroll measures up at a good height and while he may be a touch light around the contest, he uses his high-level agility and poise to weave through traffic before effectively disposing of the ball. A versatile talent with good upside, Carroll is destined to rise even further.

September Ranking: #22

Last Month: Carroll’s season ended after he suffered a broken wrist in Round 8 of the WAFL Colts, having run out the game against Subiaco to collect 18 disposals. He still managed to test at the West Australian combine, achieving second place in the standing vertical jump, and fifth in the running jumps off either foot. He faces a race against time to play in the upcoming All-Star fixtures.

>> Draft Watch

#24 Brayden Cook
South Adelaide/South Australia | Wing/Forward
18/07/2002 | 189cm | 82kg

Search for the 2020 AFL Draft bolter, and Cook’s name is likely the one you’ll find top of any list. The South Adelaide prospects has come from the clouds to not only put himself within draft contention, but right up into top 25 calculations. Plying his trade either up on a wing or inside forward 50, Cook is a game-winner who is capable of kicking bags of goals and taking eye-catching marks. His size allows him to not just rely on his vertical leap, but also out-work his opponents one-on-one, with his terrific goal sense often helping finish the job. Having put his name on the map, the wingman/forward can now look forward to featuring among his state’s All-Star showcase.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Cook enhanced his draft stocks with some handy combine results; coming fifth in the 20-metre sprint, fourth in the standing vertical jump, and fifth again in the running vertical jump (right). Most recently, he was kept goalless as South Adelaide bowed out of the Under 18s finals race, though Cook has proven his worth with a bag of five goals this month, and two majors in every other effort.

>> Draft Watch

#25 Joel Jeffrey
NT Thunder/Allies | Utility
12/03/2002 | 192cm | 80kg

The sole representative from the Northern Territory in our top 25, Jeffrey is arguably the region’s most promising draft prospect this year. Having grown to 192cm, Jeffrey is a true swingman who can dominate aerially up either end. His reading of the ball in flight is exceptional, and his sticky hands do the rest of the work as he pulls down big marks. The son of NT legend Russell Jeffrey, Joel comes from good pedigree and is terrifically athletic for his size; boasting speed to burn, a sizeable leap, and clean hands at ground level. Having gained senior football experience with Wanderers in the NTFL, Jeffrey was set to move to Queensland this year given his ties to the Gold Coast SUNS via their access to the Darwin zone. The move was ultimately put on hold due to the current pandemic, but Jeffrey looks likely to end up in the Sunshine State come season’s end.

September Ranking: #25

Last Month: The NT native took part in the recent Queensland combine, while also starring in the NT All-Stars game with three goals. He was utilised as a lead-up forward in that outing, the position he is said to prefer, although he is arguably just as good as an interceptor down back.

>> Draft Watch

#26 Brandon Walker
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Half-Back
17/10/2002 | 183cm | 75kg

Introducing one of the smoothest movers of the potential 2020 AFL draft cohort, who is tied to Fremantle’s NGA. Dockers fans will be desperate to downplay Walker’s potential, with elite speed, agility, and vertical leaps combined with clean skills to make up the East Fremantle prospect’s game. He looks a damaging outlet off half-back with his line-breaking ability and precision via foot, while also providing solid defensive cover credit to eye-catching aerial feats and reading of the play. Walker can also move through midfield, adding another string to his bow as he develops. His twin brother, Chris joins him at East Fremantle and in the Dockers Academy.

September Ranking: #24

Last Month: A sore foot post WAFL Colts finals football kept Walker from performing at the WA combine, though he has shown some handy form on-field. The defender averaged 18 disposals over his last four games, and managed 15 in East Fremantle’s preliminary final loss to Subiaco. He has been named at centre half-back most weeks, but loves to break the lines and deliver forward. He’ll be a half-back at the next level.

>> Draft Watch

#27 Bailey Laurie
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Forward/Midfielder
24/03/2002 | 178cm | 76kg

Another member of Oakleigh’s talent-rich 2019 premiership side, Laurie also features highly in our estimations. The small forward/midfielder is a livewire, and can take games away from the opposition quickly as a high-impact player. His forward running and wonderful agility make for some highlight-reel snippets, consisting of line-breaking bursts and baulks which make his opponents look silly. The Caulfield Grammar student is a great character and a teammate who others love to play alongside, adding a different element to his on-field prowess.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League and APS Football.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#28 Eddie Ford
Western Jets/Vic Metro | Medium Forward/Midfielder
21/06/2002 | 186cm | 80kg

If you’re after one of the best Under 18s highlight packages among this year’s crop, then look no further than Western’s Ford. The Jets’ leading prospect is capable of taking high marks, booting long goals, and bursting forward to break the lines with his explosive athleticism and speed. Having cut his teeth as a medium forward, the 186cm Victorian has recently requested tape of Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe as he looks to sharpen his midfield craft. He certainly has the size and athletic profile to make the transition, and would have done so with some time on the park as a top-ager. You may remember his Under 17 Futures All-Stars performance from last year, which is what he can produce at his best. Consistency will be key.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#29 Errol Gulden
Sydney Swans Academy/Allies | Small Forward/Midfielder
18/07/2002 | 172cm | 68kg

Seemingly joined at the hip with fellow Swans Academy gun Braeden Campbell throughout their journey to the bigtime, Gulden has long been a highly-touted prospect. The small utility broke through to claim the Division 2 MVP award at the 2018 Under 16 National Championships, racking up mountains of the ball and kicking bags of goals. Since, he has carried such form into his outings with the Swans Academy, while also playing senior footy in the AFL Sydney Premier Division, and representing the Allies Under 18s last year. The crafty mover is small, but holds his own and is as naturally talent a prospect as there is this year.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Gulden’s month began brightly with two goals, and second-best afield honours as his AFL Sydney Premier Division side beat the Inner West Magpies. He returned against the North Shore Bombers but was held goalless, with a Grand Final appearance against Sydney University and the NSW/ACT combine his next points of call.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#30 Joel Western
Claremont/Western Australia | Small Midfielder/Forward
12/10/2002 | 172cm | 68kg

Fremantle’s NGA talent program has proven one of the more successful producers of AFL-level players since its inception, and Western is one of a few highly touted prospects set to take the next step in 2020. The Claremont captain took his side to a second consecutive WAFL Colts Grand Final after last year’s premiership triumph, overcoming some early injury concerns to run out an outstanding season. The small midfielder is all-class through the engine room, able to zip out of traffic and deliver the ball forward with freakish skill. As will be expected at the elite level, Western is also capable of playing up forward and even across half-back, making him a player with plenty of upside for Dockers fans to look forward to.

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Claremont’s Colts Grand Final commitments saw Western become unavailable for the WA combine, though it mattered little given his on-field performance. Playing predominantly through midfield, Western raised his stocks with a consistent end to the year, averaging 23 disposals across his last three games. He stands up in big games and can find the goals, making for a couple more handy points of difference.

>> Draft Watch

IN THE MIX:

The recent combines and finals football has brought out the best in a lot of players, who may be flirting with top 30-40 contention. Adelaide NGA hopeful James Borlase was recently best afield for Prince Alfred College in the SA All Schools Cup Grand Final, while Port father-son prospect Taj Schofield lit up the South Australian combine. Zac Dumesny made a solid return from injury in the SANFL Under 18s, as did Luke Edwards in the Reserves. The likes of Corey Durdin and Luke Pedlar remain sidelined, however.

Over in WA, Isiah Winder was another to test well in his state’s combine, while Subiaco’s Lachlan Vanirsen and Claremont’s Jack Avery have shot into draft contention on the back of fantastic finals series. Vanirsen took out the Jack Clarke Medal and was also named best afield in the WAFL Colts Grand Final, which the Lions won.

Brodie Lake‘s impressive All-Stars outing and combine results will have Gold Coast fans smiling, as the NT native falls under their Darwin zoning. Brisbane Academy members Blake Coleman and Saxon Crozier recently helped Morningside upset Broadbeach in the QAFL Seniors Grand Final, while Tasmanian Jackson Callow was in a rich vein of form before being injured.

Victorians Connor Downie, Jake Bowey, Max Heath, and Cody Brand are among those also around the mark.

TSL weekend preview: Round 13 – Last finals spot on the line

THE ULTIMATE round of the Tasmanian State League (TSL) home-and-away season is set to take part on a super Saturday, with final ladder positions all but sewn up. Clarence kicks off proceedings looking to consolidate fourth spot when it takes on North Hobart, as Tigers clip at the Roos’ heels. The Tigers face stiff opposition in Lauderdale, though, while North Launceston takes on Glenorchy in a first-versus-last meeting. We take a look at where some of the best Tasmanian youth prospects will line up this weekend, as the finals race is decided.

>> SCROLL for full fixtures and teams

Leading bottom-age prospect Sam Banks comes into Clarence’s lineup this week, slotting in off half-back to join a host of young guns in the starting side. Oliver Davis is again at the heart of midfield, while Darcy Gardner will rotate off the bench after once more being named among his side’s best last week. The Roos’ team also features the likes of Noah Holmes, who starts at full forward, and on-ball starter Ethan Jackson.

The Roos’ opponent, North Hobart also lays claim to a bunch of young talent, even without the injured Patrick Walker. Sam Collins is coming off a solid display last round and takes up his usual place at centre half-back, alongside Tyler McGinniss. Will Peppin jumps back into the starting frame this week on a wing, with Jye Menzie up forward once again after a one-goal game, Bigman Hamish Allan is set to miss, while Jake Steele has been named as an emergency.

Baynen Lowe is out of the North Launceston side after two goals last week, one of three changes for the Northern Bombers. Oliver Sanders, who was named in the best alongside Lowe remains on the wing as the minor premiers look to round out their regular season on a high. They face Glenorchy, who are still in with a chance of climbing out of bottom spot. Among those up against it in the fight is 19-year-old Ryan Banks-Smith, named on the Magpies’ centreline after a promising outing in Round 12.

The final game of the weekend, and minor season sees Lauderdale take on Tigers, with the latter hoping to sneak into finals. Ranked third and coming off a bye round, Lauderdale boasts the likes of Oscar Shaw (back pocket) and bottom-ager Sam Tilley (forward pocket) up either end of the ground. The Tigers have made two changes, with defender Lachlan Gadomski among them, though Riley Ashlin and Oliver Burrows-Cheng both feature, with the latter starting on-ball.

>> FULL TSL ROUND 13 TEAMS

Fixtures:

Saturday, October 3:

Clarence vs. North Hobart | 11:30pm @ Richmond Oval

North Launceston vs. Glenorchy | 1:40pm @ UTAS Stadium

Lauderdale vs. Tigers | 2:00pm @ Lauderdale Oval

Bye: Launceston

Featured Image: Sam Banks in action for Clarence | Source: Solstice Digital

TSL weekend preview: Round 12 – Finals race heats up

THE PENULTIMATE round of the Tasmanian State League (TSL) home-and-away season got underway on Wednesday, as Lauderdale 10.13 (73) defeated Glenorchy 2.8 (20) on the road. The action picks up again on Saturday with a pair of afternoon fixtures, while Glenorchy is back on Sunday against North Hobart. We take a look at where some of the best Tasmanian youth prospects will line up this weekend, as the finals race heats up.

>> SCROLL for full fixtures

With one hand on the minor premiership, North Launceston could secure its regular season glory and dash Tigers’ finals hopes in one fell swoop, pending other results. The two sides meet at Kingston Twin Ovals, having last played each other in Round 6, when the ladder leaders got up by 56 points.

After coming in on the bench last week, Oliver Sanders features on a wing for the Northern Bombers, with bottom-age jet Baynen Lowe set to provide a spark up forward. Meanwhile, bigman Jackson Callow misses again through injury. Former Tasmania representative Lachlan Gadomski assumes his usual half-back role for Tigers, while the likes of Oliver Burrows-Cheng and Riley Ashlin will rotate off the interchange.

Clarence will hope to hold onto fourth spot with only two rounds left, but faces a tough task in handling the second-ranked Launceston in Saturday’s other fixture. The Roos came out with a win over the Blues last time out in a match where the conditions wreaked havoc, but doing the double seems improbable.

Oliver Davis again anchors Clarence’s midfield alongside Ethan Jackson, with Noah Holmes injecting even more youth into the spine from full forward. Darcy Gardner was terrific in defeat last week and Baker Smith stood strong, starting at either end of the ground. Launceston’s strong side also features some promising youth, albeit off the bench in the form of Jared Dakin and Isaac Chugg.

In Sunday’s lone hit-out, bottom-two sides North Hobart and Glenorchy duke it out in a game which could well decide the wooden spoon. The Demons currently sit last, but a win would draw them level on points with the Magpies, who have an inferior percentage but have played one less game. Glenorchy is coming off a four-day break, but will hope to defeat North Hobart for a second time this season and keep touch with the top four, remarkably enough.

Sam Collins, and recent combine inclusion Jake Steele form the centrepiece of the Demons’ defence, which would also normally feature Patrick Walker. Jye Menzie will look to impact up the other end, with Will Peppin and Tyler McGinniss rotating off the bench. Just missing out this week are George McLeod, and bigman Hamish Allan, who have been named as emergencies. Meanwhile 19-year-old Ryan Banks-Smith is among Glenorchy’s young talent, one of four changes to the Magpies’ lineup.

>> FULL TSL ROUND 12 TEAMS

Fixtures:

North Launceston vs. Tigers | Saturday September 26, 1:30pm @ Kingston Twin Ovals
Clarence vs. Launceston | Saturday September 26, 1:30pm @ Richmond Oval
North Hobart vs. Glenorchy | Sunday September 27, 2:00pm @ North Hobart Oval

Featured Image: Sam Collins gets a kick away for North Hobart | Source: Andrew Woodgate

TSL scouting notes and wraps: Round 11 – Tigers claim season-defining win over Clarence

TIGERS have remained in the finals hunt with a third consecutive win, this time over fourth placed Clarence in a crucial result. The Tigers were on the bottom a couple of weeks ago but now sit just percentage outside the four, and level on points with the Roos. Other winners were top two sides, North Launceston and Launceston, with Glenorchy having a game in hand in sixth and only four points off the Roos and Tigers.

Tigers vs. Clarence

By: Peter Williams

Tigers’ revival continued on the weekend with a huge three-point victory over Clarence. Both sides had their chances in the final term with some monumental efforts, but for the most past, both sides missed a number of easy goalscoring opportunities. With nine goals on the board midway through the second term it looked to be a shootout, but instead, just five more were kicked in the next 50 minutes with Tigers getting up 7.15 (57) to Clarence’s 7.12 (54).

Elijah Reardon was the clear standout booting two goals in a best afield effort, with experienced midfield dynamo Kieren Lovell again strong. Lochie Griggs and Lachlan Gadomski also stood out from a Tigers perspective. For the Roos, it was the young guns in Oliver Davis, Darcy Gardner and Baker Smith who impressed, as well as Luke Swinton who slotted two goals and Keegan Wylie who racked up a whopping 16 rebounds from 27 touches.

Tigers:

#4 Riley Ashlin

In his second game for the Tigers, the top-age player moved well in the forward half, spreading well across the ground. He made a few mistakes in his 11 touches, but was able to find space create an option and move it between the arcs with four marks, two inside 50s and two rebounds.

#31 Lachlan Gadomski

Not a huge possession winner, but it was easy to see how he made his way into this team’s bests. He was settled and composed in the back 50, as he showed in the second term with a handball late to a free teammate whilst under pressure. He also produced a crucial spoil midway through the final term as Clarence was attacking. He finished with the six disposals, three marks, two rebounds and only the one tackle, but six one percenters indicating his pressure.

Clarence:

#20 Oliver Davis

Backing up from his title with Guilford Young College during the week, Davis showed no signs of fatigue with a dazzling performance. He produced a strong four-quarter performance with a massive third term that would have yielded the bulk of his match-high 27 disposals. His cleanliness at ground level and vision by hand is superb and he is rarely phased, even getting stuck into the more experienced Lovell at one stage when Davis gave away a free kick. He reads the play well and can chop off passes, as well as set up scoring opportunities. His disposal by foot when under pressure can be rushed and unfortunately a missed target late in the third term saw the ball turned over and Tigers kicked a goal, but on his overall performance, Davis was sublime. He finished with the 27 disposals, five marks, six clearances, six inside 50s and five rebounds and was outstanding.

#34 Noah Holmes

After a five-goal effort for Guilford Young, Holmes did not quite have the same freedom or strength over his opponent who on this occasion was often Blake McCulloch. He looked to have a good start to the day with a one-on-one contested mark at the top of the square for an early goal 10 minutes into the first term, but could not add to the total after that. He continued to present and took a number of strong marks, and then in the last term launched a shot from 60m but it was just touched in the marking contest on the goalline and rushed across. Holmes had the eight disposals, seven marks – three contested – two inside 50s and a goal.

#39 Darcy Gardner

The bottom-ager has some really nice developing traits and is one to watch out for next year. There is not a lot of him, but his cleanliness at ground level and vision by hand is often akin to Davis in many regards. One aspect that also stand out is his ability to turn on a time, as he did late in the third term where he was able to cleanly pick the ball up and then look to spin one way, then spun the other, wrong-footing his opponent to get clear and kick forward. He capped off a really impressive day with a ripping long goal from outside 50 that drew the Tigers within two points in what was the last goal of the day. His athleticism is something that sets him aside from a number of other inside midfielders is his speed and athleticism. A lot of the talk next year will be about Sam Banks and rightly so, but Clarence – and Tasmania – have another top talent to watch here. Gardner sizzled with a 77 per cent efficiency to his 18 disposals, as well as six clearances, three inside 50s and a goal.

#46 Baker Smith

Was a rock in defence with clean hands and good defensive pressure. He did not win a lot of touches like usual, but he just puts pressure on his opponent and makes life difficult for them. He was once caught behind in a marking contest which he lost, but nine times out of 10 he reads the ball well in flight and is able to get front position, such as when Tigers kicked low and deep early in the third term to punch it away. He took a great intercept in defence one minute into the final term as well to settle the side ahead of a tense final quarter. Smith had seven disposals, two marks, four one percenters, one tackle and one rebound.

 

North Launceston vs. Lauderdale

By: Fraser Stewart

North Launceston overcame a four-point deficit at the main break to beat Lauderdale 10.14 (77) to 9.7 (61).

Jakob Laskey was influential for North Launceston as he booted three goals, along with Bart Mcculloch (two goals), Daniel Withers (one goal), Zachary Burt (one goal), Taylor Whitford (one goal), Sherrin Egger (one goal), Bradley Cox-Goodyer (one goal) were all vital along with Baynen Lowe getting plenty of the ball in the side’s 10-point win.

There were also impressive performances from Lauderdale such as Nick Baker, Harry Richmond (three goals), Sam Tilley (two goals), Samuel Siggins (one goal), Luke Nelson (one goal), Jake Dance (one goal), Alex Hevey (one goal) and Toutai Havea (one goal) showing promising signs in the narrow defeat.

North Launceston

#16 Ollie Sanders

Was pretty quiet in the opening term but found his rhythm as the game went on. His position awareness around the ground was superb and he even had an eye to slow the game down and look for a man into space. He linked up well with fellow teammate Lowe which set up a goal. He was around the contests for much of the day, but couldn’t really impact the game, he got more possessions in the fourth quarter.

#64 Baynen Lowe

Much like his teammate Sanders, he felt more comfortable as the game went on. Was quiet in the opening term but still showed a glimpse of what was to come as he took a one-handed mark that wasn’t paid by the umpire. Linked up well with Sanders as he provided a nice service to a teammate as he kicked a set shot. Showed more confidence in the second quarter as he proved to be a really good marking target in their forward 50. His fourth quarter was probably his best as he got most of the ball and even ran on the wing to set up a scintillating ball inside 50 as his teammate kicked the set shot.

Lauderdale

#17 Nick Baker

Despite being relatively quiet in the opening term he was pretty solid all day. In the first quarter, he made a few spoils here and there as well as getting his hands on the footy. At the start of the second quarter, he moved up the ground to help spark a Lauderdale attack and this was evident when he took a mark just outside Lauderdale’s forward 50 and decided to play on as he wanted to set up a teammate in the half-forward pocket. Showed his class in the third and fourth quarter especially when North Launceston were attacking as he was calm and collected taking a few intercept marks to help stop the North Launceston onslaught. However, his greatest piece of play came in the dying stages of the game where he smothered a North Launceston set shot and then made another spoil.

Launceston vs. North Hobart

By: Peter Williams

In a game that neither side will realistically be reaching for the highlights any time soon, it was Launceston that just stepped up when the Blues needed too. They booted seven consecutive goals from early in the third term until midway through the last, with a couple of consolation majors for North Hobart cutting the final margin to 40 points, as the top two side won 10.12 (72) to 4.8 (32).

Dylan Riley was unstoppable up forward with five goals in a starring role, whilst Jacob Boyd was named best-on by the Blues in the scrappy win. In his 200th game, Jay Blackberry kicked 2.3 from 18 touches and eight marks up forward, whilst Jake Hinds (21 disposals), Fletcher Seymour (21) and Jobi Harper (20) found enough of the ball. For the Demons, Callum Kilpatrick was named his side’s best kicking a goal and looking composed out of defence, whilst Baxter Norton and Hugh Williams Jnr were also strong. Bailey Walker finished with a match-high 25 disposals and eight rebounds.

Launceston:

#20 Jared Dakin

It was far from his biggest outing, but Dakin still did some nice things for the Blues. He was willing to open the game up coming out of defence and looked for that short, direct kick down the middle, and when he did make a mistake, would rush over to provide assistance for his teammate. Dakin covered the ground well and showed that off late in the third term by winning the ball in the centre square, kicking to defence then pushing wide to the wing to win the ball again. He kept cracking in and finished with 13 touches, two marks and five tackles, with his defensive pressure being the highlight in this game.

#30 Isaac Chugg

The athletic runner was similar to Dakin in the sense that he had some moments without being overly damaging. He was always trying to create his trademark run, but got caught trying to fend off an opponent late in the first term at half-forward. His ability to read the ball in flight was strong, taking a great intercept mark at half-back, and then again on the wing a quarter later in the third. His effort on the day was mostly mopping up for teammates, providing an extra number at the contest and was impressive with his one percenters. Chugg ended the game with 13 disposals, five marks, two tackles, five one percenters, one inside 50 and two rebounds.

North Hobart:

#37 Sam Collins

Had a mixed day with some lovely plays, and some errors, but overall was a solid contributor. He loves to move the ball in transition and his vision is very good, spotting free teammates in space. It can just be his execution that lets himself down sometimes, with a nice gather but kick out on the full under some pressure late in the third term as an example. He is generally clean at ground level, and he presses up to even have a couple of shots on goal, including one off the handball receive later in the first term, but missed to the right. He had another snap late in the game but that also missed. His raking boot and metres gained would have been high, with his disposal when running hard and space in front of him quite good. He finished with 15 disposals, two marks, two inside 50s, four rebounds and two behinds on the day.

#46 Jye Menzie

Had a few lively moments when pushing up to a wing, but was ultimately restricted from what he could do. Kicked one of the behinds of the year when he won it defensive side of the wing, took half a dozen bounces, probably covered 50m but then ran out of gas with a kick that drifted to the right. Aside from missing out on goal of the year, Menzie still showed clean hands and an ability to turn his opponent inside out. He took a number of good marks uncontested due to his ability to create space between himself and his opponent. Not his most consistent four-quarter performance, but in terms of highlights, it is hard not to notice him, finishing with nine disposals, four marks and two inside 50s.

Picture: Solstice Digital & Photography

TSL weekend preview: Round 11 – Young stars return to state league action

ROUND 11 of the 2020 TSL bounces down on Saturday, with a host of Tasmanian young guns making their state league returns after last week’s Sports Association of Tasmanian Independent Schools (SATIS) Grand Final. We take a look at where the best Tasmanian youth prospects will line up this weekend.

>> SCROLL for full fixtures

Clarence will be buoyed by a bunch of young inclusions in preparation for its clash with Tigers, as the ‘Roos look to consolidate their top four spot. Fresh off a victory in the SATIS football decider, Under 18 AFL Academy member Oliver Davis leads the returnees among six changes for the visitors. Fellow Guilford Young students Baker Smith and Darcy Gardner make their way back to the senior level, as does five-goal hero Noah Holmes.

19-year-old former Tasmania Devils player Ethan Jackson is also poised to feature next to Davis in midfield, but the rush of inclusions comes at the expense of a trio of 18-year-olds in Tyler Penwright, Adrian Butterworth, and Jacques Barwick, among others. Coming off a two-win round, the Tigers side which boasts Oliver Burrows-Cheng and Riley Ashlin on the bench could well go in unchanged.

North Launceston has included top-age small Oliver Sanders on its bench in the team readying to face Lauderdale. The ladder leaders will crucially be without key position gun Jackson Callow, which makes their meeting with the third-placed Bombers even more dangerous. 17-year-old Sam Tilley will look to impact off Lauderdale’s bench, as former Devils representative Oscar Shaw remains in the defensive six.

The final fixture of the round sees Launceston host North Hobart, as the Blues look to stake their claim for top spot. The youth of North Hobart, who were relegated to the wooden spoon spot in Round 10, should be in for a good scrap, though. Patrick Walker remains out through injury, but Sam Collins will again play a key role at centre half-back, while Will Peppin (wing) and Jye Menzie (forward pocket) also feature in the starting lineup.

19-year-old ruck Hamish Allan should have his hands full against solid opposition, while fellow over-agers Tyler McGinniss and Jake Steele will rotate off the Demons’ bench. Top-agers Isaac Chugg (wing) and Jayden Hinds (forward pocket) are set to provide some spark going forward for Launceston. The Blues have also named promising 19-year-old Jared Dakin on the bench.

>> FULL TSL ROUND 11 TEAMS

Fixtures:

Tigers vs. Clarence | Saturday September 19, 1:30pm @ Twin Ovals
North Launceston vs. Lauderdale | Saturday September 19, 1:40pm @ UTAS Stadium
Launceston vs. North Hobart | Saturday September 19, 2:00pm @ Windsor Park

Bye: Glenorchy

TSL weekly wrap: Round 10 – Good weekend for Bombers as Tigers keep finals dream alive

NORTH Launceston has gained top spot on the 2020 Tasmanian State League (TSL) ladder again after Launceston lost its third game of the season to slip to second on the table. With most of the AFL Draft hopefuls injured or playing school football this weekend, we focused on the game between Lauderdale and Launceston, and then wrapped up the other matches.

FEATURE GAME: Lauderdale 18.7 (115) defeated Launceston 7.10 (52)

By: Fraser Stewart

Lauderdale came from behind to defeat Launceston at Lauderdale Oval on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Blues 18.7 (115) to 7.10 (52). After Launceston kicked the first three goals of the match Lauderdale responded in emphatic fashion for the rest of the game as they claimed a 64 point win. 

Harry Richmond (14 disposals, seven marks, five goals), Samuel Siggins (12 disposals, three marks and three goals), Luke Nelson (18 disposals, six clearances and two goals), Toutai Havea (two goals), Hayden Smith, Josh McGuinness, Robbie McManus, Phillip Bellchambers and Tyler Martin all chipped in as they kicked a goal each in the home side’s emphatic win. For the away side, Jack Hinds booted three goals from 10 touches and four marks, and Jobi Harper (20 disposals, four marks, 11 clearances and two goals) were the standout performers in the losing side.

The younger players to watch included Nick Baker who was impressive with 18 touches, three marks, three clearances and seven rebounds in a strong performance, while Jared Dakin (15 disposals, three marks and five tackles) tried hard but could not have his usual output, and Isaac Chugg (12 disposals, three marks and three rebounds) also won enough of it out of defence, but like his teammates was unable to be as damaging as usual.–

OTHER RESULTS:

North Hobart 8.6 (54) defeated by Tigers 9.5 (59)
Clarence 9.5 (59) defeated by North Launceston 10.8 (68)
Glenorchy 8.2 (50) defeated by Tigers 8.12 (60)

By: Peter Williams

Tigers remarkably kept their finals hopes alive with back-to-back upset wins in Round 9 leaving North Hobart and Glenorchy in their wake. The Tigers won both games on the road by a combined 15 points, defeating the Demons in a mid-week fixture by five points, then toppling the Magpies on the weekend by 10 points.

Kieren Lovell had 21 disposals, seven clearances and five inside 50s against the Demons, but it was obvious he was just warming up for the weekend when he broke the season-record disposal count with 40 (18 contested), 13 clearances, six marks, six inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal in a remarkable effort. Fellow former AFL-listed talent Mackenzie Willis also impressed with 18 touches, four clearances and three inside 50s against the Demons, and 23 disposals, four clearances and three inside 50s against the Magpies. Tyler Carter booted 4.3 across the two matches to be the dominant goalkicker for the yellow and black.

Heading to school footy on the weekend, Sam Collins played on Wednesday night and helped himself to 17 disposals, six marks – two contested, three tackles and five one percenters, whilst fellow draft hopeful, Jye Menzie (12 disposals, six marks – two contested – and one goal) also player. Jayden Charlton stood out with 20 touches as at elite 90 per cent efficiency and 50 per cent contested rate, also having eight clearances, three marks and two inside 50s. Sam Caswell (14 disposals, two marks, seven clearances, two inside 50s and a goal) was the other Bomber to stand out in the loss.

For the Magpies, John Geard racked up 29 disposals, 10 clearances, six inside 50s, five marks and four tackles, one of a number of Glenorchy players to pick up big disposals numbers. Daniel Joseph (30 disposals, seven marks, three clearances, five inside 50s and five rebounds), Josh Arnold (28 disposals, six marks, four tackles and nine rebounds) and Callen Daly (23 disposals, six clearances, four tackles and three goals were also impressive. Jaye Bowden booted four goals from 13 disposals and five marks to do everything he could to drag his side across the line.

In the other match of the weekend, North Launceston went outright top on the TSL ladder with a nine-point win over Clarence. The Bombers had to come from a four-point half-time deficit to win in a tight one, led by Brad Cox-Goodyer (23 disposals, five clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal) and Jay Foon (23 disposals, seven marks and nine rebounds). Josh Ponting (19 disposals, six clearances, six inside 50s and eight tackles) was lively, whilst bottom-ager Baynen Lowe booted two goals from 14 disposals.

For the Roos, Chris Nield was unstoppable up forward, slotting five straight goals from eight disposals and five marks – two contested – while Keegan Wylie was a standout through the middle with 21 disposals, four marks, 10 rebounds and a goal. Jarrod Harper was next best with 15 disposals, three clearances and three inside 50s, while Keren Howlett tried hard for 10 disposals, four clearances, three tackles and three inside 50s.

Picture: Solstice Digital & Photography