Tag: under 19

Draft Central Power Rankings: August 2021

A RAFT of disruptions have impacted the top 2021 AFL Draft prospects over the last month, but through injury and lockdown they have still been able to show their wares through trials and otherwise. While the Under 19 National Championships have been delayed, the top-end of the crop is starting to take shape, but things are incredibly even past the top 15 or so talents. In Draft Central‘s August Power Rankings update, we again list our top 25 prospects along with a bunch of others in the mix. There is a new leader, along with three fresh faces in the top 10 and four previously unranked players who have worked into contention.

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

#1 Nick Daicos (COL F/S)
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Midfielder
3/01/2003 | 183cm | 72kg

July Ranking: #2

Snapshot: Daicos has an unrivalled understanding of the game; able to bring his teammates into it and anticipate where his next possession will come from, leading to utter domination.

The Collingwood father-son prospect (son of Peter) has more than justified all the hype leading into 2021, solidifying his status as a bonafide number one contender. Daicos made his long-awaited NAB League debut in Round 1 and has gone on to dominate the competition, putting up ridiculous numbers through the engine room as the skipper of a talented Oakleigh Chargers group. Much like his brother, Josh, Daicos was only due to enter the Chargers’ program last year but was made to wait for his unveiling in Oakleigh colours. It was well worth it, though keen watchers already knew of his supreme ability having seen him hold his own in a Carey Grammar side featuring Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson. The Magpies are in for a rare talent.

Last month:

While Daicos continues to be managed throughout an interrupted season, he is just about undeniable at this point with the level of consistency he has shown when able to play. Having missed out on the Victorian Under 19 trials and not returned for Oakleigh on the weekend, his sole outing during July came for Vic Metro in the Under 19 National Championships opener. With 41 disposals, six clearances and two goals, Daicos was clinical against the best of his peers and is entering the level realms of Matt Rowell and Sam Walsh in terms of output for pick one fancies.

>> Q&A
>> Head-to-Head: Daicos vs. Sonsie
>> NAB League POTW: Round 3
>> The race to be number one – what separates Daicos and Horne?

Nick Daicos fires off a handball

#2 Jason Horne
South Adelaide/South Australia | Midfielder
21/06/2003 | 184cm | 78kg

July Ranking: #1

Snapshot: A midfielder with next to no weaknesses, whose power bodes well for tough ball winning and impressive aerial marking, as well as consistent scoreboard impact.

Heralded as the clear number one choice coming into 2021, Horne retained his crown for our first two rankings updates. The South Adelaide talent impressed in his debut SANFL League outings as a bottom-ager, and has since transitioned into a more prominent midfield role with guidance from former Carlton and Adelaide champion, Bryce Gibbs. He has long been a standout among the South Australian crop, participating in back-to-back Under 16 carnivals and being crowned his state’s MVP in 2019 as captain. Only 18 in June, Horne boasts a well-balanced game with plenty of damaging strengths and very few weaknesses, with his exposure at senior level another factor which sees him well in contention for number one status.

Last month:

Horne’s SANFL League campaign rolled on with three more outings in South Adelaide colours, seeming to build before a quieter game in his most recent dig. The 18-year-old hit his season-high for disposals (19) for a fourth time in an eye-catching performance against Adelaide, with his averages for the month sitting at 14.7 disposals, 5.3 tackles, and 1.7 clearances per game. While slightly down on most of his season averages in said sample, Horne remains a consistent figure for the Panthers despite their streak of four losses in five games. The glimpses of his best are superb, with the powerful prospect still very much in the pick one frame.

>> Q&A
>> SANFL League Player Focus
>> The race to be number one – what separates Daicos and Horne?

Image Credit: Deb Curtis/SANFL

#3 Finn Callaghan
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Balanced Midfielder
26/04/2003 | 189cm | 82kg

July Ranking: #4

Snapshot: Callaghan is a classy mover with great agility for his size, and has shown a high level of development to prove his balance of outside and inside traits.

One who seems destined to crack the top five picks come year’s end, Callaghan has enjoyed a substantial rise in stocks in the first half of 2021. The flying wingman/half-back has recently transitioned to an inside role, but continues to prove difficult to stop at full flight with his blend of straight-line power and swift agility. While he is working on becoming more outwardly damaging with his disposal, the 18-year-old is quite a clean user of the ball by hand and foot. He is capable of gaining good meterage on the outer with speed and his long boot, and seems to manufacture time on the ball in the clinches.

Last month:

Callaghan starts a list of many top prospects who have sustained injuries over the last month, with inflation in his foot leading to some time on the sidelines. The Sandringham Dragons product was due to line up for Vic Metro before his foot flared up, but is on track to return to NAB League action in a couple of weeks as finals get underway.

>> Compare the Pair: Callaghan vs. Sinn

#4 Sam Darcy (WB F/S)
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | Tall Utility/Ruck
19/08/2003 | 204cm | 75kg

July Ranking: #3

Snapshot: Darcy is a fast-developing tall talent who can play in each key position post, is athletic, and marks the ball cleanly.

They say the apple does not fall far from the tree, and that is the case with Sam Darcy – the son of 226-game Western Bulldogs champion, Luke. He is a raw tall prospect capable of playing on every line, which he has proven in his time with Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB League and Scotch College in the APS Football competition. He is a top five pick on potential and the clear best tall in the draft, with his versatility and rate of improvement proving hard to ignore. Darcy has impressed with his athleticism and aerial ability as a key defender who rotates into the ruck in the NAB League, but has also consolidated his eye-catching forward forays at school football level. Bulldogs fans, you have another on the radar.

Last month:

After dominating the second Victorian trial game in June, plenty was expected of Darcy heading into Vic Metro’s clash with Country. He again played the majority of the game up forward and while he was not overly prolific, still managed to boot two goals via his mix of athleticism and aerial prowess. The highly-touted tall will likely feature for Scotch College as the APS season rounds out, having returned this past weekend.

#5 Ben Hobbs
GWV Rebels/Vic Country | Inside Midfielder
16/09/2003 | 183cm | 80kg

July Ranking: #10

Snapshot: Hobbs is a hard-nosed, hard-working inside midfielder who loves to compete both defensively and in a ball-winning sense.

The GWV Rebels ball winner has not been able to fully show his wares in 2021 due to injury, but is proving he can break back into top 10 contention with a clean run at it. He featured at NAB League level as a 16-year-old in 2019 after earning All Australian honours for Vic Country, slowly getting accustomed to the rigours of midfield work in the elite talent pathway. His best traits are shown at the contest, with a hard edge and competitive streak seeing him win plenty of the ball on the inside. The nuggety 17-year-old is working on his outside game, but has such clear strength around the ball and has taken full toll upon his return to action.

Last month:

Hobbs’ excellent form continued with a trio of outstanding performances over the last month. His first dig came against Oakleigh in the NAB League, where he was unsurprisingly one of GWV’s top ball winners in a low-scoring win, before entering the representative grade with Vic Country. He continued to do what he does best with strength around the ball and gut running away from it, standing up against some pretty stiff Metro competition. Upon the NAB League’s return, Hobbs notched up 34 disposals, six inside 50s and a goal as his Rebels went down to top side, Sandringham. He has really accelerated his value though, as one of the prime and most readymade midfielders available.

>> NAB League POTW: Round 9

Ben Hobbs in action for Vic Country

#6 Mac Andrew (MEL NGA)
Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country | Ruck/Tall Utility
12/04/2003 | 200cm | 70kg

July Ranking: #15

Snapshot: A raw tall prospect who has proven his worth in each post, Andrew’s vertical leap and fast-developing craft really catch the eye.

Another key position type who rocketed up draft boards with a promising start to the year, Andrew will have Melbourne recruiters a little nervous with his performances to date. He now sits inside our current top 20, boasting raw athleticism and bucketloads of upside given his ever-improving ability to be utilised at either end of the ground, or in the ruck. While he has proven his versatility, the Demons Next Generation Academy (NGA) talent looks most comfortable in the ruck, where his leap and clean follow-up work stands out.

Last month:

Having been made to watch on for much of June, Andrew’s stocks continue to soar after a couple of impressing showings over the past month. The raw ruckman is looking a very slim chance to end up at Melbourne through NGA bidding, with his value now sitting somewhere around the top 10. He proved as much in an excellent outing for Vic Country, again lighting up the big stage with his athleticism and aerial feats to be one of the more eye-catching players on the day. Andrew also returned for Dandenong on the weekend, managing 17 disposals, four marks and 16 hitouts as he rotated through the ruck.

>> ‘Rays on the rise

#7 Josh Gibcus
GWV Rebels/Vic Country | Tall Defender 
4/04/2003 | 195cm | 84kg

July Ranking: #9

Snapshot: An intercept marking defender who reads the play well and has a sizeable leap, Gibcus’ eye-catching form has propelled him into top 10 calculations.

For the second month running, Gibcus is the second tall prospect on our list and has earned his spot with superb form this year. The Greater Western Victoria (GWV) defender is an intercept type who uses his strengths to advantage; reading the play beautifully and timing his movements to float onto the scene, before rising with his springy vertical leap to take series of marks and force turnovers. While he is working on his ground level game, Gibcus is so clean in the air and usually a sound distributor across the last line, showing great composure on the ball. He was one of the many AFL Academy call-ups and truly held his own in that fixture, as he continues to improve at a great rate.

Last month:

While he has been thrown around in a few different roles and proven steady in his form of late, Gibcus’ highlight for the past month came when he lined up on the highly-touted Sam Darcy in Vic Country colours. Playing in his most comfortable key defensive post, the GWV Rebels tall was able to match it with Darcy, a 204cm unit, and quell his marking influence through athleticism and well-timed spoils. The match-up was a handy insight into how the best key forward and back would fare head-to-head, with Gibcus arguably coming out on top. It showed he can lock down when required, adding to his proven intercepting acumen.

#8 Josh Ward
Northern Knights/Vic Metro | Midfielder
15/08/2003 | 181cm | 79kg

July Ranking: #19

Snapshot: A classy midfielder who is capable of winning mountains of possessions, Ward proves a centre bounce mainstay with his clean skills and work rate.

Having started the year on the precipice, Ward has broken into and consolidated his spot among the 2021 crop’s top 25 places. The Northern Knights midfielder is one who works hard both ways and gets stuck in at the contest, able to win his own ball and distribute with clean skills to the outer. He is also beginning to showcase his own traits on the outside and can impact while resting forward, but holds clear value as a reliable ball winner at the stoppages. A Vic Metro representative at Under 16 level, Ward is destined for the same honours as a rising draft eligible Under 19 talent this year.

Last month:

Ward has really accelerated into top 10 contention on the back of some irresistible form, which translated well from NAB League level to the representative stage. He started the month of July with another excellent showing, racking up a game-high 34 disposals and eight tackles in Northern’s loss to Murray on the road, but truly shone as he lead Vic Metro to a thumping win over Country the following week. Ward starred with 29 touches, eight clearances and two classy goals to put himself right up there with the best; showcasing his leadership quality, tenacity at the contest, work-rate away from it, and improving ability to hurt the opposition going forward.

Josh Ward gets a kick away

#9 Neil Erasmus
Subiaco/Western Australia | Midfielder/Forward
2/12/2003 | 188cm | 80kg

July Ranking: #12

Snapshot: An exciting forward who has transitioned wonderfully well into midfield, Erasmus lays claim to eye-catching traits both aerially and at ground level.

Another prospect out of Subiaco who played in last year’s WAFL Colts premiership, Erasmus has built on his potential this year having come in as a potential first round bolter. He burst onto the scene with four goals in that 2020 Grand Final, showcasing clean hands up forward after putting in a terrific PSA Football campaign. While he was played off half-forward and the wing as an AFL Academy call-up, Erasmus has proven himself to be quite the consistent ball winner through midfield this year, bringing some spark to the engine room. He has a great vertical leap and can impact both aerially and at ground level, with scoreboard impact remaining in his back pocket.

Last month:

Another who has returned from injury with a bang, Erasmus has been prolific of late in West Australian colours. He linked up with the state Under 19s squad for trial games against East Perth and Perth over the last fortnight, hitting the ground running to show no lingering signs of the quad injury which kept him out for a month. The 17-year-old managed figures of 30 and 28 disposals in those digs, showcasing his outstanding level of consistency in finding the ball, and a sound endurance base despite the time off. He finally cracks the top 10 having shown the potential to do so, and with plenty of development left.

>> WA U19s Player Focus: Neil Erasmus

#10 Tyler Sonsie
Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro | Midfielder
27/01/2003 | 181cm | 76kg

July Ranking: #5

Snapshot: A smooth-moving midfielder with terrific poise and class, Sonsie opens up the play with his clean disposal and ability to kick goals.

One of the most highly-touted Victorian prospects before a ball had been bounced in 2021, Sonsie’s absolute best is exceptionally good. The Eastern Ranges prospect was Vic Metro’s Under 16 MVP in 2019 and is one of the few 2003-born NAB Leaguers to have already experienced the Under 19 competition. He was part of his region’s 2019 minor premiership-winning side, rolling forward off a wing. Now a draft eligible talent, Sonsie has moved more permanently into midfield and while he is developing his defensive running, has plenty of attacking traits to offer. His ability to exit stoppages with poise and make good decisions with ball in hand is top notch, with that exceptional skill level also translating to dual-sided finishing in front of goal.

Last month:

Sonsie has been out of action since late-June due to injury, sustaining bone bruising in the second half of Eastern’s Round 9 loss to Sandringham. He was thus ruled out of Vic Metro duties last month, but should soon be in for a return with the Ranges with finals fast-approaching.

>> VFL Player Focus
>> Head-to-Head: Sonsie vs. Daicos
>> NAB League POTW: Round 1

#11 Josh Sinn
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | Half-Back/Midfielder
7/01/2003 | 186cm | 82kg

July Ranking: #6

Snapshot: A line-breaking half-back who has shown promising development in midfield, Sinn’s greatest strengths are his speed and kick penetration.

Another established leader among the Victorian crop as one of Sandringham’s co-captains, Sinn’s best is as damaging as anyone in the overall draft pool. He is regarded as the best technical kick in the Dragons’ program and is given the license to look for options others simply wouldn’t. His penetrative boot and line-breaking speed make him a meters gained machine, observed most significantly with his well-timed runs off half-back or on the wing. Sinn has also moved onto the inside of late to good effect, showing a handy balance of traits and utilising the size he added during last year’s lost season. His campaign has been interrupted by injury, but he looks poised to return soon and play out a full season in the NAB League.

Last month:

In what has turned out to be a frustrating season for the highly talented speedster, Sinn is again nursing an injury which he sustained late in his Vic Metro appearance. It came after he finally returned to action with Sandringham, putting in steady performances off half-back and then through midfield across consecutive weeks, before then turning out for Metro. At his best, he looked dangerous with his speed and and forward carry, while continuing to take risks via foot. He is poised to break back into the Dragons’ lineup alongside Callaghan in time for finals.

>> Compare the Pair: Sinn vs. Callaghan

#12 Matthew Roberts
South Adelaide/South Australia | Midfielder/Forward
31/07/2003 | 183cm | 81kg

July Ranking: #7

Snapshot: Roberts is a hard-working and consistent midfielder with senior experience who racks up plenty of the ball, but can also rotate forward.

A second South Adelaide midfielder within the top 10 of our count, Roberts’ form has seen him prove difficult to deny of such honours. Like Horne, he represented South Australia at back-to-back Under 16 carnivals, playing a key role as he split his time between midfield and the forwardline. The 17-year-old broke through for his League debut in 2021, skipping the Reserves grade after a scintillating start in the Under 18s competition. As one of the hardest and smartest runners in the draft crop, Roberts is also a sound user of the ball and looks towards fellow left-footer Marcus Bontempelli as a model for his own game. His ability to hit the scoreboard matches said archetype, though Roberts also has a hard edge and competitiveness which sets him apart.

Last month:

Roberts is yet another top prospect who is currently sidelined, nursing his way back to full health from a syndesmosis injury. He had just cracked the SANFL League grade, but hasn’t played there since Round 7 (late-May), nor has he turned out at College Football level in that time. Once he gets a full week of training under his belt, Roberts will return to the field.

>> Q&A
>> Feature
>> SANFL League Player Focus

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography

#13 Josh Rachele
Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country | Forward/Midfielder
11/04/2003 | 180cm | 78kg

July Ranking: #13

Snapshot: A mercurial forward who has drawn comparisons to GWS star Toby Greene, Rachele has unbelievable smarts, skills, and a keen eye for goal.

Rachele is rightly a standout among his draft class, having taken out the Under 16 Division 1 MVP award for Vic Country in 2019. He quickly went on to represent the Murray Bushrangers, averaging a tick under 18 disposals and two goals in four games as a 16-year-old. The exciting forward hails from an elite soccer background and has quick feet to show for it, as well as the smiling celebrations you’d expect on the end of well-finished goals. Rachele is lauded for his skills and smarts in the forward half, but has shown an aptitude for midfield work with his turn of speed and ability to find the ball at ground level. He’s capable of highlight-reel moments.

Last month:

With the APS competition back underway and winding down, Murray would have been grateful Rachele found some of his best form during the break. At the start of July, he snared six goals from 17 disposals and eight marks in a wonderful performance against Northern, helping the Bushrangers to a 16-point win. The enigmatic talent went on to don Vic Country colours and was a little quiet early on against Vic Metro, before making the most of a midfield move to finish with 20 disposals and a goal. He holds his spot, but certainly has top 10 quality.

#14 Arlo Draper
South Adelaide/South Australia | Midfielder/Forward
20/01/2003 | 185cm | 71kg

July Ranking: #14

Snapshot: Draper is a classy midfielder-forward who utilises his agility in the engine room, and brilliant marking ability to impact when stationed inside attacking 50.

One of the more intriguing and versatile prospects in the draft pool, Draper has garnered attention with his promising bottom-age form and continued success in the SANFL Under 18s this year. The smooth-moving midfielder has had no trouble getting his hands on the ball with more consistent time in midfield, before impacting in his resting stints up forward. He is yet another South Adelaide prospect in the mix, with his stylish form and clean hands making him easy on the eye to keen draft watchers. He is one who may feature highly on many draft boards despite being snubbed by the AFL Academy, and has great upside in his current role.

Last month:

Another victim of the dreaded syndesmosis injury, Draper’s last game was all the way back on June 19. He dropped back down to the Under 18s level and notched season-highs of 31 disposals and 10 clearances in a sizeable South Adelaide win, putting his had up for another promotion to the senior grades. We should see Draper back on the park in time for SA’s scheduled National Championships outings.

>> SANFL U18s Player Focus
>> Feature

#15 Matthew Johnson
Subiaco/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder
16/03/2003 | 193cm | 80kg

July Ranking: #11

Snapshot: With smooth agility and clean hands at the contest, Johnson is one of the premier tall midfielders in this year’s draft crop and has plenty of upside.

Hailed as the best tall midfielder in this year’s crop coming into the season, Johnson is one with a point of difference and a good amount of development left. The 193cm Subiaco prospect continues to put on size and can win the ball at the coalface, but stands out most with his smooth movement in traffic and clean hands around the ground. He suits an in-vogue modern day prototype and will inevitably yield comparisons to some of the currently dominant midfielders over 190cm. Johnson is already well versed in terms of representative duties and was part of Subiaco’s WAFL Colts premiership side in 2020. He also earned a senior debut this year and would have done so earlier if not for injury on the eve of season proper.

Last month:

Johnson has showcased some of his best form over the last month, competing against his peers after gaining some WAFL League exposure. The tall midfielder’s only Colts game for July yielded 26 disposals, nine marks, nine tackles and a goal agains the winless Perth, before a trio of outings for Western Australia’s Under 19 side. Arguably the best of those appearances was his first, against WA’s Under 17s, where Johnson looked the most polished player afield and showed great poise on the ball. If he continues his run and can find his top level more consistently, he could well be in for another senior dig and will certainly be a key part of WA’s Under 19 midfield.

#16 Campbell Chesser
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Country | Balanced Midfielder
27/04/2003 | 186cm | 83kg

July Ranking: #8

Snapshot: A speedy and productive mover on the outside, Chesser breaks the lines from half-back or the wing but has also shown a good balance in his ball winning.

A third Sandringham Dragons prospect in the top 10, Chesser also lays claim to damaging outside traits – weaponising his run-and-carry and use by foot. While he hails from Lavington, in Murray’s region, the 18-year-old boards at Melbourne Grammar and thus turns out for the Dragons. He is another of his age group who had NAB League experience under his belt prior to 2021, and has stayed true in terms of position to impact off the wing and half-back line. Chesser has only just cracked Sandringham’s stacked midfield in a bid to showcase his balance, having recently returned from injury.

Last month:

Chesser returned to the fold having been held back by a knee injury, showing glimpses of his running best with 19 disposals and five inside 50s in Sandringham’s midfield at the start of July. He went on to represent Vic Country and was a little quieter in his familiar wing post, before Victorian lockdown hit once more. Along with Callaghan and Sinn, Chesser is a player the Dragons will hope to regain heading into their NAB League finals campaign.

Campbell Chesser sets off for Vic Country

#17 Josh Goater
Calder Cannons/Vic Metro | Midfielder
2/06/2003 | 190cm | 79kg

July Ranking: #17

Snapshot: A big-bodied midfielder with explosive athletic traits and clean hands on the inside, Goater is a prospect with great potential.

Goater lays claim to one of the more impressive athletic profiles in the draft pool, particularly in a power sense. His explosive turn of speed and impressive vertical leap are traits which catch the eye at testing events and are transferred on-field, with the Calder Cannons product able to produce exciting passages of play. He has proven his worth in midfield with good ball winning strength and clean hands on the inside, but can also roll out to a wing or pinch-hit up forward. He is another who stakes his claim on high upside.

Last month:

One of the best performed Victorians over the past month, Goater has been able to show off his versatility and athleticism at a greater rate. With a shift to half-back for Calder, the explosive prospect has proven an apt intercept and rebound defender in the NAB League, averaging 30 disposals, nine marks, and six rebound 50s across two outings in July. He is a proven midfield distributor too, having shone on the inside with his clean hands and strong frame while turning out for Vic Metro. He’s one who could well continue to rise towards season’s end.

#18 Darcy Wilmot
Northern Knights/Vic Metro | Small Defender
31/12/2003 | 182cm/70kg

July Ranking: #24

Snapshot: Wilmot is a tenacious and brave half-back whose most flashy weapons show on the attack, as he breaks the lines with great speed and ball use.

Wilmot has thrust his name into contention with increasingly impressive performances for the Northern Knights in 2021, as well as an impressive senior debut at local football level. The small-medium defender has all the typical class and running prowess you would expect on the rebound, but is also willing to compete above his size in aerial contests. The 17-year-old still has plenty of development left as a December 31 birth, meaning he only just makes the cut to be eligible for this year’s draft. His run-and-gun style is sure to catch many more eyes as the season continues, with Wilmot a prospect truly on the rise.

Last month:

Looking at a glance in the first half of the season, Wilmot certainly garnered attention with his speed and dare, though the last month has brought to light much more substance to the 17-year-old’s game. He had a quiet outing against Murray at the start of July, but was excellent in defence for Vic Metro and was easy to identify on-field with his vocal instruction and encouragement. That side to his game screams leadership quality, with Wilmot barking orders from behind the ball and setting up well to get his intercept game going. He was back to his best again this past weekend, managing 16 disposals and four rebound 50s as the Knights went down to Bendigo, but not for a lack of effort (or voice) on Wilmot’s part.

#19 Jye Amiss
East Perth/Western Australia | Tall Forward
31/07/2003 | 195cm/85kg 

July Ranking: NR

Snapshot:

You’ll hear plenty of puns regarding the key forward’s ironic surname but it’s true that Amiss is more hit than, well, miss. The East Perth spearhead has dominated the 2021 WAFL Colts season thus far, booting 41 goals in 10 games with a ridiculously good conversion rate of 80 per cent from his scoring shots. He proved undeniable for selection in a West Australian state squad stacked with key position talent, and doesn’t need a wealth of opportunities to make an impact. With sound overhead marking and an improving ground level game, Amiss is an irresistible threat inside attacking 50. He bolts into our rankings with a debut inside the top 20, but his true test lies ahead at the National Championships.

Last month:

Amiss has translated his WAFL Colts scoring form to the representative stage, able to find the big sticks with relative ease (albeit less accurately) in a trio of West Australian trial games. Coming in off some ripping form for the Royals, the 18-year-old snared eight goals across those three outings – spread well with two hauls of three and 2.4 in his latest effort. Again, Amiss proved he can make the most of limited looks with plenty of attempts on goal, while steadily working further afield to add strings to his bow. He now looks to be WA’s leading forward option alongside Jack Williams ahead of the upcoming National Championships.

#20 Jack Williams
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Tall Forward/Ruck
1/12/2003 | 195cm | 91kg

July Ranking: #18

Snapshot: Williams is a versatile tall prospect who thrives aerially and consistently kicks goals up forward, while also rotating through the ruck or even to defence.

One of the bolting key position players in this year’s draft pool, Williams has been in sensational form at WAFL Colts level. The 195cm East Fremantle talent has shown his best form as a forward in 2021, booting 24 goals in nine WAFL Colts games to this point and showcasing his exceptional aerial ability. While he has been swung forward this season, Williams can also pinch-hit in the ruck and is accustomed to defensive roles too. His clear versatility and upside saw him selected in this year’s AFL Academy intake, and he showed good signs in the academy’s showcase fixture against Geelong VFL.

Last month:

Like most of the West Australian prospects listed here, Williams had just one WAFL Colts outing in July amid the call-up for Under 19 representative duties. During his Colts dig, Williams spent more time in the ruck and won 18 hitouts to go with his 17 disposals and lone goal, putting up strong numbers with much of the same work we are used to from the 195cm talent. He looked to stamp himself as WA’s best key forward option during the trials, but has some pretty stiff competition in that department. Still, Williams looked ominous in the early stages of his first hit-out against the Under 17s, before quieter outings thereafter. Depending on which WA forward attracts the best opposition defender, Williams could be in for some big National Championships performances.

#21 Josh Fahey
GWS GIANTS Academy/Allies | Medium Defender
11/11/2003 | 186cm | 76kg

July Ranking: #16

Snapshot: A run-and-gun rebounding defender who gives his all and boasts a raking left-foot kick, Fahey is arguably this year’s leading Northern Academy talent.

Our top-ranked Northern Academy prospect in 2021, Fahey is clearly the best prospect out of the Allies crop and a real first round contender. He returned to the GWS GIANTS Academy program this year to confirm his eligibility as an academy product, having previously shifted to Queensland and joined forces with the Gold Coast SUNS Academy. The Queanbeyan native has impressed onlookers across both states with his dash out of defence and penetrative kicking, both damaging weapons for a player of his position. He has earned a VFL berth with the GIANTS and was named best afield in April’s AFL Academy showcase.

Last month:

Fahey returned to action at the start of July in Greater Western Sydney’s one-point VFL triumph over Casey, but hasn’t been sighted at the level since. He managed seven touches on that day and at his best, is a rebounding force out of the back half. The 17-year-old also turned out for local side, Queanbeyan in the AFL Canberra First Grade competition and was named among the Tigers’ best players this past weekend. Hopefully with an uninterrupted run towards the back end of the year, including the National Championships, Fahey can show his value.

#22 Tom Brown
Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country | Medium Defender
30/07/2003 | 186cm | 71kg

July Ranking: NR

Snapshot: A dashing half-back with terrific athleticism in the form of speed and a vertical leap, Brown is a bolting talent who you’ll likely miss if you blink.

While Geelong gained access to sister, Millie via father-daughter rules, Tom Brown is ineligible to be drafted by the Cats under the father-son category as his father Paul falls just short of the 100-game qualification. Nonetheless, the Murray Bushrangers prospect has plenty of eye-catching traits which will help him blaze his own trail. A Vic Country Under 16 and now Under 19 representative, Brown is capable of playing on each line but looks to have found a home across half-back, where his dashing style and clean skills shine. An ankle injury kept him out for a large chunk of the season, but he is back now and raring to break into first round contention.

Last month:

Having returned to the field as the Vic Country runner during June’s trials, Brown finally got back to playing status with some strong showings in July. The rebounding defender was lively in his first game back against Northern in the NAB League, and built steadily into his representative dig against Vic Metro. He ended up with 13 touches and five rebound 50s in the latter game, having showcased terrific aerial ability and plenty of pace on the counter. After another short break, Brown backed that performance up with 12 touches in a tough slog against Calder on the weekend, but has the eye-catching traits to press higher up the board.

Tom Brown looks futher afield

#23 Joshua Browne
East Fremantle/Western Australia | Midfielder
3/01/2003 | 185cm | 77kg

July Ranking: #23

Snapshot: An ultra-consistent midfielder who runs hard and finds plenty of the ball, Browne is one of the most in-form midfielders nationwide.

Browne is a player whose form has made him hard to deny for a spot in the top 25, with his ability to win big numbers at a remarkable rate making him one of the most consistent performers in the draft pool at present. He has built on a promising bottom-age campaign with East Fremantle to hit new heights in the WAFL Colts competition, competing with grunt at the contest and running hard to accumulate around the ground in relentless fashion. He is also quite solid defensively on the inside and is the type of player you want on your side, especially among the centre bounce mix.

Last month:

Having sustained a ridiculously good output throughout the first half of the season, Browne’s run of form came to a halt after his Round 14 WAFL Colts appearance. The ball magnet racked up 33 disposals and a goal against Peel on that day, but picked up a knock and was ruled out of the subsequent West Australian trial games. He still looms as a key member of his state’s midfield mix though, with National Championships and Colts finals still to come.

#24 Sam Butler
GWV Rebels/Vic Country | Forward/Midfielder
10/02/2003 | 184cm | 73kg

July Ranking: NR

Snapshot: Butler has wonderfully clean hands and burning pace, traits which have translated well from an initial forward role, to a more recent midfield venture.

Another prospect with ties at the elite level, Butler is the brother of St Kilda forward, Dan. He is an exciting player in his own right though, with sharp skills by hand and a terrific turn of speed which serve him well in a creative sense. Having proved himself in the forward half, Butler went on to impress with his clean ball winning ability in midfield before injury struck. He missed out on representing Vic Country as an Under 19 having done so at Under 16 level, but should get a look-in upon his, and the National Championships’ return.

Last month:

Butler went down with a sternum injury during GWV’s Round 9 NAB League clash with Murray (June 19), and couldn’t quite get up to play in the Victorian trials or national carnival opener. He did get on the park this past weekend though, managed back into competition and finishing with 10 disposals, five tackles and 1.2 with more time in the front half as his Rebels were beaten by Sandringham.

#25 Judson Clarke
Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country | Small Forward/Midfielder
17/10/2003 | 179cm | 69kg

July Ranking: NR

Snapshot: Clarke is a zippy small forward/midfielder who can light up the game in a flash with his forward run, tricky agility, and eye for goal.

While his exploits were on full show earlier in the year, Clarke stamped his credentials with a breakout performance in the Under 19 Victorian trials, bagging five goals in a starring display. The crafty Dandenong Stingrays product represented Vic Country at Under 16 level and continues to show promising glimpses both in the NAB League and at school footy level. He is nimble in possession with a mix of speed and agility, and looks to make things happen in the front half with creative energy and smarts at the fall of the ball. Clarke often finishes his work with spearing left-foot use, making for an exciting package as far as small prospects go. While he can roll through midfield, the 17-year-old looks most damaging up forward and can cement his spot here with more eye-catching big game showings.

Last month:

After his massive trial game, Clarke was almost a certainty to line up for Vic Country come championships proper, and did so with a handy outing against Vic Metro. Clarke also turned out for Dandenong pre-champs in Round 11 of the NAB League, and proved a menace with 27 disposals, five marks, and a goal as the Stingrays went down narrowly to Eastern.

IN THE MIX:

State trial games in South and Western Australia have seen a number of players rise into contention, or at least confirm their status as genuine prospects. Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera was a standout in the South Australian trial, which was played in horrendous conditions, but did little to diminish his class and poise on the ball. Lewis Rayson was another to show a bit in that game with his run on the outer, while midfielder Hugh Jackson could be around the mark on the back of his tremendous SANFL Under 18s campaign to date. Meanwhile, Cooper Murley, who suffered a collarbone injury last month, was unlucky to be squeezed out.

Over in Western Australia, big-bodied midfielder Kade Dittmar has dominated his state’s trial games, as the likes of Corey Warner and Fremantle NGA product Jesse Motlop rise on the back of their respective League debuts. Luke Polson was the most recent WA Under 19s squad member to crack the senior grade, proving a mobile key position utility who isn’t afraid to run with the ball. Fellow talls Rhett Bazzo and Jacob van Rooyen have also had their moments with the latter even swinging to defence recently, but find themselves out of the 25 this time around.

A bunch of NAB Leaguers continue to knock the door down too, with crafty Vic Metro ball magnets Zac Taylor and Jake Soligo among them. Connor Macdonald fits in a similar category and has been terrific this season, while fellow Vic Country representative Mitch Knevitt has a bunch of traits which may put advance his standing as a big-bodied midfielder. Athletic wing-forward Blake Howes continues to float around the mark, while Sandringham teammates and St Kilda NGA hopefuls Mitch Owens and Marcus Windhager have been big improvers over the last few weeks. Collingwood NGA Youseph Dib has also stood up valiantly for Oakleigh this year.

Scouting Notes: WA Under 19s vs. Perth

WESTERN Australia’s Under 19 squad completed its third-consecutive dig ahead of this year’s National Championships, comfortably accounting for a select Perth side, 13.17 (95) to 1.6 (12) on Saturday. The Black Ducks continued their ominous form with its midfield again proving difficult to contain, including leading WA prospects Neil Erasmus and Matthew Johnson. Squad members Jesse Motlop, Corey Warner, and Jack Avery were among those to miss once again due to League commitments, along with debutant Luke Polson. There were some impressive performances nonetheless, which we narrow down to in the latest edition of Scouting Notes.

WA U19s 4.2 | 7.3 | 10.7 | 13.17 (95)
PERTH 0.1 | 1.5 | 1.6 | 1.6 (12)

GOALS:

WA U19s: E. Benning 3, J. Amiss 2, E. Curley 2, A. Sheldrick 2, K. Dittmar, N. Erasmus, E. Regan, J. Stretch
Perth: J Wilson

Previous WA Trials:
>> WA U19s vs. East Perth
>> WA U19s vs. WA U17s

WA UNDER 19s:

#7 Angus Sheldrick (Claremont)
7/11/2003 | 179cm/88kg | Inside Midfielder

The powerful Claremont midfielder started the game like a house on fire, winning plenty of the ball (10 disposals) in the first quarter. He was strong in the contests with his ability to win the hard ball a real feature, helping to release the runners out into space. Although Sheldrick’s in and under work was strong, he also showed his ability to break away with a very good long range goal in the last quarter, taking the game on and kicking from 50m on his favoured left foot. Sheldrick would find the goals again, working inside 50 to take a mark and nailing the set shot from 45m in the second quarter. He continued to attack the contest hard in the second half but would not replicate his previous ball winning feats, where he found the ball with ease on the outside and inside. Sheldrick continues to push his draft credentials, finishing the game with 19 disposals, six marks, five clearances and two goals.

#21 Neil Erasmus (Subiaco)
2/12/2003 | 188cm/80kg | Midfielder

After a best on ground performance last week, the Subiaco midfielder was again at his ball winning best and although his skills were not quiet as sharp as last week, he was still very effective. With a few tackles and shots at goal early on, you could see Erasmus was wanting to get involved a lot quicker than he did last week and although his first shot went out on the full, his second attempt was much better – working into space inside 50 and converting the simple set shot. The main concern with Erasmus’ kicking was on his non-preferred side and although on occasion he showed great composure to give himself time, he often had enough time to go on his preferred more often than not, and can further try to to get as much impact out of his disposal as possible. Erasmus finished with a game-high 28 disposals despite spending the last quarter forward, where he still easily managed to find the ball, and with that also finished with eight marks, seven tackles and one goal.

#23 Matthew Johnson (Subiaco)
16/03/2003 | 192cm/82kg | Midfielder

It was another solid game from the tall Subiaco midfielder, with Johnson a consistent four-quarter performer who showed plenty of class and composure with ball in hand. Johnson was steady in the first half, winning eight disposals, but it was his second half and especially his third quarter that really caught the eye. His first goal assist was inside 50 where he showed great composure and agility to get around one opponent, before using a short burst of speed to get away from another and hand off to Dittmar who finished well. His second great effort came on the wing, recovering from a marking contest to gather cleanly and side step an opponent with good composure, then hitting a beautiful pass inside 50 to Benning. Johnson finished the game with 19 disposals, six inside 50s and six marks as he continues to impress as a potential first round draft prospect.

#30 Jye Amiss (East Perth)
31/07/2003 | 195cm/85kg | Key Forward

The talented key forward form East Perth once again kicked multiple goals in what could have been an even bigger haul if his set shot kicking was as reliable as it has been all year, missing some very gettable attempts. Amiss impressed early with the first goal of the game coming from a lovely banana set shot hard on the boundary. Getting the opportunity was well done as he was the one to pressure the turnover to give him the set shot. He was able to kick the hardest of the day, yet missed some gettable goals late in the game, finishing with four behinds. His second goal was in open play, quickly kicking another banana in the fourth quarter, but what impressed in his game was his work without the ball – often playing one-on-two and competing well in the air, before applying pressure at ground level with a holding the ball tackle late in the last term. Amiss finished the game with 13 disposals, four marks and kicked 2.4.

Featured Image: (L-R) West Australian draft prospects Matthew Johnson, Jacob van Rooyen, Rhett Bazzo, and Jack Williams | Credit: @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

2021 WAFL Colts: Round 16 weekend wrap

STATE Under 17 talent returned to the WAFL Colts competition in Round 16, contributing to four enthralling fixtures which shook up the race for finals. Three sides are now tied on five wins as they vie for the all-important fifth spot with under a month of regular season action left to play out. Swan Districts remains the team to beat after another impressive victory, while East Perth had the bye, though a select Royals team took on the state’s Under 19 side.

We recap all the action and outstanding performances in our weekly wrap, while also taking a look around the grounds at youngsters who impressed in senior grades.

>> Scouting Notes: WA U19s vs. East Perth

SWAN DISTRICTS 3.2 | 4.9 | 9.10 | 15.14 (104)
PERTH 2.1 | 4.1 | 4.1 | 4.1 (25)

Swan Districts continues to soar atop the WAFL Colts ladder after securing its 10th win of the season, downing Perth by 79 points in a top-versus-bottom clash. The Swans led by just eight points at half time, but kicked away with 11 majors thereafter while keeping the Demons scoreless.

Swans dominated possession with a total 326 disposals to Perth’s 182, headlined by ball winners Ben Hewett and Noah Hannah (both 32 disposals and one goal). Darcy Jones and Elijah Hewett were others to stand up in the win, while Braydon Fawcett and Ethyn Kane both booted a game-high three majors. Ben Weymouth was the lone Demon to tick up over 20 touches with his 23 and 17 tackles, but his side was comfortably outplayed in the second half.

GOALS:

Swans: E. Kane 3, B. Fawcett 3, A. Brock 2, J. Middleton, B. Hewett, A. Cartwright, B. Jones, B. Morris, N. Hannan, M. Watson
Perth: M. Hall 2, T. Henry, R. Seubert

WEST PERTH 2.2 | 6.2 | 7.5 | 13.6 (84)
PEEL THUNDER 2.2 | 5.4 | 8.7 | 10.9 (69)

West Perth continued its ascent back towards the top five with a 15-point win over Peel Thunder, meaning they head the trailing pack in what is becoming a hotly contested finals race. In a tight affair, the final margin was the largest of any break, with the Falcons made to overturn an eight-point deficit at three quarter time.

Versatile bottom-ager Kane Bevan was best afield with 25 disposals and seven marks, supported well by the likes of Luke Reilly and Jack DeMarte. Goalkickers Zarne Robis (three goals) and Saverio Marafioti (two) also had their moments in the win. For Peel, bigman Jackson Broadbent put in a monster effort with 21 touches and 36 hitouts, heading the Thunder’s disposal tally alongside small midfielder Scott Tuia. Cooper Osbourne also snared two majors from his six marks and five scoring shots in attack.

GOALS:

West Perth: Z. Robis 3, S. Marafioti 2, B. Sherwood 2, R. Gallen 2, L. Reilly, D. Dixon, J. DeMarte, J. Scaife
Peel Thunder: C. Osborne 2, B. Offer 2, S. Tuia, J. Klepzig, C. Carbone, H. Thomas, T. Salter, L. Taylor

CLAREMONT 5.1 | 6.3 | 7.6 | 10.7 (67)
EAST FREMANTLE 3.0 | 3.2 | 6.3 | 8.4 (52)

Claremont remains in the hunt for top spot after continuing its winning streak via a 15-point triumph over East Fremantle. In what was the only meeting between two top five sides for the weekend, the Tigers led at every break and consistently answered the Sharks’ surges with too much firepower moving forward

Tyreice Brown was terrific for the victors with 19 disposals, six marks and 4.2, while Talon Delacey had a game-high 25 touches and Max Mumme provided plenty of drive with his 24. Dylan Mulligan also took on some added responsibility well, finishing with 24 disposals, 23 hitouts and two goals. Samuel Otto notched a team-high 21 disposals for East Fremantle, followed closely by Luke Yeo (20, eight tackles) as the Sharks slipped down to fifth.

GOALS:

Claremont: T. Brown 4, D. Mulligan 2, C. Bristow 2, C. Jackman, X. Brenton-Reed
East Fremantle: S. Otto 2, K. Mcmillan 2, J. Baverstock, N. Phillips, K. Denney, J. Cripps

SUBIACO 1.1 | 4.5 | 7.6 | 9.10 (64)
SOUTH FREMANTLE 5.3 | 5.4 | 7.7 | 9.11 (65)

Subiaco slipped out of the top five after going down by a single point to South Fremantle in the round’s final fixture. A five-goal to one opening term from the Bulldogs proved crucial, as they were made to hold on amid Subiaco’s charge and only just managed to maintain their one-point lead from three quarter time, to the final siren.

Caleb Stephens again led the way for South with 22 disposals, joined by Tyler Piazzola on that figure, as Chase Bourne snared two goals from his 17 touches. Meanwhile, Jed Kemp racked up 36 disposals for Subi, with Jacob Evitt (25 disposals, five marks) another strong contributor.

GOALS:

Subiaco: L. Collard 3, C. Henderson 2, J. Evitt, D. O’Dea, B. Corderoy, J. Tholstrup
South Fremantle: C. Bourne 2, M. Bropho 2, L. Bloomer, J. Hulten, H. Elphick, C. Stephens, T. Jacques

UP THE GRADES:

While much of Western Australia’s top Under 19 talent donned representative colours this past weekend, there remained a handful of state squad members who instead ran out at League level. All five played in losses, starting with East Fremantle pair Corey Warner and Finn Gorringe. Warner’s level of consistency has been terrific in the senior grade, and he picked up another 15 disposals while also booting his first League goal. Gorringe had it 12 times, continuing his steady form in the top flight.

19-year-old Perth defender Jack Avery played his sixth senior game for the Demons and had his moments with 11 disposals and three marks. South Fremantle and Fremantle NGA small forward Jesse Motlop also popped up in spurts, laying five tackles and booting a goal among his handful of possessions. The state Under 19 squad will play against a select Perth squad this coming weekend, though all of the above players will turn out for their clubs should League selection again come knocking.

Image Credit: Brian Conduit via West Perth FC

WA U19s Player Focus: Neil Erasmus (Subiaco)

SUBIACO midfielder-forward Neil Erasmus has become arguably Western Australia’s top draft prospect in 2021 after some outstanding form to date. On Saturday, he made his return from a month-long injury lay-off, helping his state Under 19s side defeat a select East Perth squad 16.6 (102) to 9.6 (60). The 17-year-old got right back to his ball winning ways, notching 30 disposals and six marks as he warmed to the contest nicely.

With averages of 28 disposals, eight marks and four tackles at WAFL Colts level for Subiaco, and 37 disposals, nine marks and a goal for Hale School in the PSA, Erasmus is as consistent and dynamic an accumulator as any among the talent pool. We put his latest performance under the Player Focus microscope, covering his every move quarter-by-quarter.

>> Scouting Notes: WA U19s vs. East Perth

Neil Erasmus
Subiaco/Western Australia

DOB: 2/12/2003
Height/Weight: 188cm/80kg
Position: Midfielder/Forward

Strengths: 

Overhead marking
Accumulation
Clean skills

2021 Averages:

WAFL Colts: 28.0 disposals | 7.8 marks | 4.0 tackles | 4.0 inside 50s | 0.3 goals (1 total)

Source: WAFL

WA Under 19s 16.6 (102) def. East Perth 9.6 (60)

Player Focus:
#21 Neil Erasmus (WA U19s)

Quarter-by-quarter:

Q1

The West Australian coaching staff would have been forgiven for wanting to ease Erasmus back into action off his quad injury, but the 17-year-old proved ready to go as he started at the opening centre bounce.

His first touch was a sighter for things to come, an uncontested mark at half-back which was followed by a neat kick down the line. In an early showing of his accumulative ability, Erasmus worked into space to receive the kick back and chip another forward.

He looked more comfortable in those open spaces during the opening exchanges, with the couple of times he got first hands to the ball in-tight resulting in rushed handballs away under tackling pressure. That tendency would later be refined.

Most of Erasmus’ work was done by hand as he peeled off the stoppages and worked back to finished the term with seven disposals (two kicks, five handballs) and two marks, despite going off sore with under five minutes left to play.

Q2

After being clipped in the latter stages of the first quarter, Erasmus wasn’t sighted at the opening centre bounce of term two. Once rotated on, he was thrust straight back into the on-ball mix and took some time to get involved.

The Subiaco star’s first big moment came with a terrific overhead mark at half-back, cutting across the waiting contest to pluck the ball solidly. In that same passage, Erasmus went on to chain three disposals together, following his short kicks to get the ball back and continue his side’s forward momentum.

In those instances, Erasmus was clean and used both feet with efficiency, showing great improvement in the kicking department. While not overly quick, he also hit ground balls at speed and was quite slick in his ball handling.

He fed plenty of runners in term two to finish with eight disposals (four kicks, four handballs) in total, bringing his tally for the half up to 15 disposals and four marks.

Q3

Having attended nine of 14 centre bounces in the first half, Erasmus was present at all seven during term three as he produced his equal-most productive term – at least in terms of pure numbers.

He began to show great poise in possession, taking time to assess his options before delivering neat kicks forward or flicking out handballs under pressure. His use by hand was again effective in releasing runners and opening up the play.

Erasmus also had a good defensive moment deep in his own 50m arc, corralling an opponent towards the boundary line and laying a tackle to force the throw-in.

He finished the quarter with eight disposals (four kicks, four handballs) once more, to go with one mark, one tackle, and an inside 50 kick as he broke clear from the corridor.

Q4

Erasmus began to utilise his kicking game in more diverse and impactful ways during a strong final quarter, in which he was again rotated on through the midfield.

His first break with ball in hand came at a centre bounce, where he swooped on the loose pill and kicked a bullet pass up to half-forward, before following up to ask for the hands back.

He still worked around the ground to find plenty of uncontested ball, but also snared first possession more often at the coalface. Erasmus’ best moment came late on as he received on the wing, turned forward quickly and executed a beautiful pass to assist Richard Farmer’s goal.

In the end, another seven disposals (four kicks, three handballs) saw Erasmus finish with 30 touches (14 kicks, 16 handballs) and six marks to put the stamp on an impressive return outing.

In closing…

Erasmus firmed his case as Western Australia’s top draft prospect this year, hardly missing a beat in his return from a quad injury. The Subiaco talent ran out a full game in midfield and leant on his running capacity to find plenty of the ball, which he has had no trouble doing this year. He displayed marked improvement with his kicking on both sides and was typically clean by hand, while showing a single glimpse of his aerial ability with an overhead mark in term two. While not overly quick, Erasmus showed nice poise under tackling pressure and looked to stay on the move at stoppages, most often peeling forward once his teammates had won the contested ball. He attended 21 of 29 centre bounces for the day, but found most of his 30 disposals around the ground. As he continues to work back to full flight, Erasmus will continue to lurk around the top 10 mark, but certainly looks a first round talent.

Image Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

Rising Sun Davies learns from the best

NOT everyone gets the chance to talk footy with AFLW stars in between classes at school, but Gold Coast Academy prospect Giselle Davies is taking plenty of learnings out of that exact opportunity. The 18-year-old tall defender attends Southport State High School, where current Suns midfielder Jamie Stanton teaches.

While the two are quite different players, Davies says the mentorship of Stanton has been a valuable peek behind the curtain of what it takes to cut the AFLW grade.

“(Stanton) has been a teacher at my school for a few years now so I’ve definitely looked up to her,” Davies said. “I’m always talking to her about her games on the weekend and how she went. Obviously I watch a lot of her play and even though we don’t really play similar positions it’s good to have a mentor who you can talk to.”

The link is one of Davies’ many ties to the senior-listed Suns, having also come up through Gold Coast’s academy and initially being introduced to Australian football by a certain 2020 draftee.

“I started playing footy a few years ago, my best friend Annise Bradfield got me down to play,” she said. “I was playing heaps of touch football (and) netball, I went to a footy session and it was just a perfect mix of both of those sports. I loved it from there.

“I have loved every single part of playing with the Gold Coast Under 19s Academy. We did heaps of work in the off-season after last year – pre-season training in the heat, gym, running, just loving it.

“I’m really grateful that we have the academy that looks after us so well. There’s all this new talent coming through the pathway, it’s just amazing that they really give you a perspective on what you could have and what you’re working towards.”

Through her work in the pathway and form for Bond University in this year’s QAFLW season, Davies was also selected for Queensland representative honours in 2021. While the Maroons’ Under 19 squad went down by 54 points against Vic Country in their sole carnival outing, Davies took plenty away from what was “the highest level of footy [she’s] ever played.”

“It was probably the best weekend I’ve ever had,” she said. “Just playing with a bunch of girls that you don’t usually play with, people who want to be there and played as hard as they could. Despite the loss, it was such a good game of footy to be a part of and see the different ways that Vic play their game and how I can improve mine. It was really good.”

At 180cm, Davies is aware of her strengths and areas for improvement, with her decision making by foot already sound and her ability to utilise said size on the incline. Clunking more contested marks and having the confidence to take the game on are among the next steps to take, by her own assessment.

She is one of many Queensland talent hoping to end up on an AFLW list in just a few days, with the 2021 draft set to go down on Tuesday, July 27.

Tenacious Tonon shows “massive” development

SO impressive was Brooke Tonon‘s form in 2021, she earned a call-up to the illustrious AFLW Academy. She was fresh off an impressive Under 19 National Championships campaign with South Australia, and en route to SANFLW premiership honours with Glenelg – showcasing a rapid rate of development across both competitions.

The SANFLW team of the year half-back proved more than capable at senior level, flicking a switch once past the white line with a blend of aggression and skill. After debuting last year, Tonon says she has “learned so much” in a variety of roles.

“My game has developed massively since I started playing,” Tonon said. “I’ve learned all positions. I started off forward, played on the wing, and now in defence so it’s been really good.

“I’m really loving half-back right now. I don’t mind the wing and I love playing forward, obviously kicking goals, but it’s a really hard position to play and I feel more naturally suited to the backline.”

The 17-year-old has truly found a home at half-back, a position which suits her strengths, but also allows her to properly assess key areas of improvement.

“I feel like I have the ability to read the play really well,” she said. “I can position myself in spots where I can impact the game and with my execution by foot, I can see where to kick to and hit targets.

“I need to learn when to not attack as much and kind of stay back, or settle myself and be more composed rather than rushing and playing on. It’s just switching between attack and defence as I’m playing half-back.”

Tonon’s game has grown throughout the junior talent pathways too, having been mentored by the likes of AFLW star Chelsea Randall in the Crows Academy, and eventually ending up among South Australia’s Under 19 squad. Having travelled over to Melbourne for the second National Championships leg, Tonon lauded the experience as “awesome”.

“Coming (to Melbourne) and playing against so many more talented girls, the competition’s amazing,” she said. “Then learning off everyone (in the SA team), I’ve never met a more talented group of girls ever. They’re amazing.”

Amazing is right, and competition for spots at the next level will be tough in 2021 for the South Australian crop as Adelaide is the state’s sole AFLW side. Tonon hopes to be one of a predicted four talents drafted in that bunch, but says she will remain optimistic if things pan out differently.

“I really hope to get drafted, but if that doesn’t happen I’d love to keep playing really good SANFLW footy and hopefully make my way up through there,” she said.

The 2021 AFLW National Draft is set to be held on Tuesday, July 27.

2021 WAFL Colts: Round 15 weekend wrap

WHILE a bunch of Western Australia’s best talent went head-to-head in Saturday’s Under 17 vs. Under 19 trial game, the WAFL Colts competition rolled on into Round 15 over the weekend. Swan Districts swooped on a ninth win to continue its reign atop the table, while West Perth closed the gap on fifth with an upset win over East Fremantle.

We recap all the action and outstanding performances in our weekly wrap, while also taking a look around the grounds at youngsters who impressed in senior grades.

>> Scouting Notes: WA U17s vs. U19s

PEEL THUNDER 1.1 | 3.5 | 4.5 | 6.8 (44)
CLAREMONT 4.3 | 7.5 | 8.13 | 10.13 (73)

Claremont continues to hunt the top two sides after defeating Peel Thunder by 29 points last Friday night, 10.13 (73) to 6.8 (44). The Tigers shot out of the blocks with four goals to one in the opening term, holding at least a 20-point buffer at each break in what was a strong victory.

Kendyll Blurton’s fine form continued, as he notched a game-high 29 disposals to go with six inside 50s for the winners. Talon Delacey was again his partner in crime with 26 touches and five tackles, while Max Mumme had it 20 times and kicked a goal in his second game back at the level.

For Peel, Aquinas College midfielder Michael Sellwood returned well from a finger injury and PSA duties, collecting a team-high 23 disposals and five inside 50s to go with a goal. The versatile Cooper Osbourne managed 21 touches, while small midfielder Scott Tuia finished with 16.

GOALS:

Peel: B. Finch, M. Sellwood, T. Salter, J. McLellan, L. Taylor, B. Offer
Claremont: H. Cole 3, P. Kitchener, D. Mulligan 2, M. Mumme, R. Charles, J. Sukuroski

PERTH 3.2 | 4.2 | 6.3 | 6.6 (42)
EAST PERTH 2.3 | 5.8 | 6.10 | 8.16 (64)

While plenty of stars were impressing in the weekend’s state trial game, East Perth did enough to beat Perth by 22 points in Saturday morning’s opening fixture, winning 8.16 (64) to 6.6 (42).

Kalani Brooks took over the Royals’ midfield and dominated with 44 disposals, seven tackles and 1.3, supported well by Jayden Peak (33 disposals, 11 inside 50s) and Jake Littleton (21 disposals, seven inside 50s, one goal) on the outer.

Perth had a couple of shining lights in its 11th loss, as Damian Sinclair notched a team-high 29 disposals, while Harry Quartermaine took 12 marks among his 26 touches. Aiden O’Driscoll, the brother of Fremantle’s Emma and Nathan was the game’s sole multiple goal kicker, snaring two in his fourth outing at 16-years-old.

GOALS:

Perth: A. O’ Driscoll 2, A. Luers, J. Evans, O. Zolnier-Owens, B. Weymouth
East Perth: M. Williams, T. Druzianich, T. Graham, J. Chadwick, J. Littleton, K. Brooks, G. Ryan, B. Cubahiro

WEST PERTH 2.2 | 4.6 | 5.7 | 11.9 (75)
EAST FREMANTLE 1.0 | 3.3 | 6.8 | 8.8 (56)

West Perth closed the gap on the top five, drawing to within a game of the leading pack with a 19-point upset win over East Fremantle, coming from behind at the final break to get up 11.9 (75) to 8.8 (56).

Luke Michael led all comers with 31 disposals and 14 marks for the Falcons in his best showing for the season, while Luke Reilly (28 disposals, nine tackles) and Darcy Dixon (21 disposals, 1.3) also got busy in the win. Rucking against stiff opposition, Riley Sprigg showed promising signs with 15 touches and 32 hitouts.

Kobe McMillan was the Sharks’ ruck, returning from Reserves duties to share the role with Joshua Cripps. Their top ball winners were Jake Urquhart (29 disposals) and Samuel Emery (28), while Fremantle NGA hopeful Richard Bartlett was amongst the goalkickers.

GOALS:

West Perth: Z. Robis 3, S. Marafioti 2, L. Reilly, L. Homsany, D. Dixon, J. DeMarte, R. Gallen, N. Farrow
East Fremantle: T. Foss 2, B. Parasiliti, L. Gangemi, R. Bartlett, T. Giles, K. McMillan, J. Feist

SWAN DISTRICTS 3.1 | 4.6 | 7.11 | 11.13 (79)
SOUTH FREMANTLE 1.2 | 1.3 | 2.4 | 4.6 (30)

A seven-goal second half has helped Swan Districts claim a 49-point victory over South Fremantle, winning 11.13 (79) to 4.6 (30) to remain top of the WAFL Colts ladder after 15 rounds – with a game in hand, no less.

Ben Hewett was terrific for the victors, posting 27 touches and six marks, while Noah Hannan (31 disposals) led all comers and Ayden Cartwright (25 disposals, two goals) was again impressive among a formidable Swans team effort.

Meanwhile, Caleb Stephens continues to shine for South after his 35 disposals and two goals, supported by Caden Turnbull (27 disposals, eight marks) this time out with pressure mounting on the Bulldogs’ fifth-place standing.

GOALS:

Swan Districts: J. Middleton, J. Sullivan, B. Morris, A. Cartwright 2, J. Ugle, J. Eastough, T. Sears
South Fremantle: C. Stephens 2, L. Brandis, J. Hulten

UP THE GRADES:

Fremantle NGA prospect Jesse Motlop, the son of Daniel, made his League debut with South Fremantle on Saturday, booting two goals from 13 disposals as his Bulldogs beat Swan Districts. If not for his top flight berth, the exciting forward would have run out for the Under 19s state squad on the same day.

Likewise, Perth defender Jack Avery and East Fremantle’s Corey Warner also prioritised League duties. Avery had 20 touches as Perth went down to East Perth, while Warner had it 14 times as the Sharks went down to West Perth. 19th-year state squad member Finn Gorringe was also afield, managing 16 disposals and five marks.

A few of WA’s most highly touted talent also missed Saturday’s trial game through injury, headlined by Subiaco midfielder Neil Erasmus. Prolific East Fremantle midfielder Josh Browne and versatile Perth tall Jaiden Hunter were also in that boat. The former two should be available for the Under 19s carnival-opener against South Australia on August 7.

At Reserves level, Deklyn Grocott (Perth) and Tyrell Metcalf (Swan Districts) were among those to continue their step-ups into senior grades. The former managed 14 disposals in Perth’s win over East Perth, while the latter had 13 touches as Swans went down to South Fremantle.

Image Credit: Phil Elliott & Justin Elliott (Pixell Photography) via East Fremantle FC

Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s – Round 14

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

Woodville-West Torrens:

#14 Blake Hansen

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

#16 Will Pearce

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

#18 William Neumann

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

Others:

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

Norwood:

#3 Noah Hyde

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

#9 Tyson Walls

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

#10 Taj Rahui

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

#20 Charles Kemp

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

Others:

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

North Adelaide:

#5 Shaun Bennier

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

#28 Max Blacker

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

Others: 

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

West Adelaide:

#7 Kobe Ryan

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

#37 Tom Scully

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

#40 Luke Young

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

#51 Harry Barnett

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

Others:

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

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

By: Tom Wyman

South Adelaide:

#5 Angus Bradley

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

#11 Jaiden Magor

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

#13 Lachlan Hayes

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

Others: 

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

Glenelg:

#6 Darcy Gluyas

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

#29 Hayden Brokensha

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

#38 Jakob Ryan

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

Others:

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

Central District:

#17 Tahjin Krieg

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

#38 Brodie Tuck

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

Others:

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

Sturt:

#7 Nick Sadler

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

#11 Luca Slade

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

#28 George Pope

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

Others:

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

Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography via South Adelaide FC

WAFL League Player Focus: Jesse Motlop (South Fremantle)

SOUTH FREMANTLE young small forward Jesse Motlop, the son of former Port Adelaide and North Melbourne player Daniel, has had an impressive 2021 season across the WAFL Colts and PSA competitions. His form and undeniable potential earned him a WAFL League debut with South Fremantle, against fellow finals contenders Swan Districts.

The Fremantle Next Generation Academy prospect ended up being an important part of the side’s six-goal victory, chiming in with two goals of his own in the third quarter whilst setting up a few more throughout the entirety of the game.

POCKET PROFILE

Jesse Motlop
South Fremantle/Western Australia

DOB: 23/11/2003
Height/Weight: 176cm/74kg
Position: Small Forward/Midfielder

Strengths: Speed, smarts, goal sense

2021 Averages:
WAFL Colts
(4 games)

15.3 disposals | 2.5 marks | 3.0 tackles | 4.0 inside 50s | 1.5 goals (6 total)

Image Credit: South Fremantle/WAFL

2021 WAFL League, Round 15 | Swan Districts 9.5 (59) def. by South Fremantle 15.5 (95)

#49 Jesse Motlop (South Fremantle)

Stats: 13 disposals (10 kicks, 3 handballs), 6 marks, 4 tackles, 1 inside 50, 2 goals

Q1

It was a low-key opening term for Motlop in his debut senior outing. Starting the game on the bench, he wasn’t sighted until about eight minutes in as he took his position in the goal square as the deepest forward for his first centre bounce.

His first involvement in general play came deep inside 50 where he hit the front and centre of a marking contest, cleanly picking the ball up off the ground and in a position to run into an open goal, but was brought down as soon as he picked it up for a stoppage.

He held the ball to an opponent not long after to get a stoppage in front of goal, though it didn’t result in anything. The only disposal Motlop would record for the first term came as he pushed up the ground to be a switch option from the corridor to the boundary, taking the ball on his chest uncontested before running it up a few steps and then lacing it out to a teammate on the wing, who was able to move the ball quickly and get it inside 50 for a goal.

Despite not racking up numbers on the stats sheet, Motlop was involved in the South Fremantle forward half, pressuring opponents to cause a few turnovers and stoppages, giving his side opportunities to score and making his one kick count.

Q2

Once again taking the role as a deep forward, Motlop wasn’t given many opportunities to use the footy, with the talls of South Fremantle being the targets and Swan Districts doing well to intercept balls as they flew in. He did continue to show the pressure work he did the previous quarter, laying two tackles around the forward 50 where his second efforts saw him get back at the opposition with the ball. He showed a lot of courage at times as well, getting involved in a marking contest where neither player held the ball, but he got straight back up to follow up.

Motlop moved up the ground to get involved when it was a bit of an arm wrestle, where he won the ball off the hands of a marking contest and followed his momentum by running back towards his defensive 50 through traffic, able to maintain possession whilst running through a pack of five Swan Districts players. He side-stepped to avoid being grabbed and hit a handball to a runner from the backline. He made it obvious the front and centres were a speciality area a few times, demonstrating why he was being paired under a tall forward down deep with his clean pick-ups below his knees.

Motlop worked into the game well in the second quarter, making the most of his opportunities to show his potential for eye-catching plays, but really impressing with his pressure work, second efforts and reading of the ball off hands more than anything, playing his small forward role particularly well despite not hitting the scoreboard.

Q3

The third quarter saw Motlop taking a bit more freedom and pushing up the ground, getting free around the back end of the centre square to be used a couple of times by his teammates. In those instances, he was able to lose opponents with his acceleration or repeated lead efforts. He followed up with generally good ball use, spotting out leading teammates up the field to put them in a good spot to move the ball forward.

One kick into the middle of the ground initially looked poor, but bounced well for his teammates to win the contest and get it long forward for an easy South Fremantle goal. Motlop’s high work rate was again on display, as he made gut runs to impact opponents, even if they moved the ball on before he got there he’d follow up and try and impact the next contest.

He got himself on the scoreboard with two goals in the third quarter, with both being a good example of his forward craft and ability to get free in dangerous spots. The first was more through his high work rate and repeat leading efforts, as he lost his opponent inside forward 50 and was spotted up by a teammate, taking a mark over his head about 40 out right in front of goal, where he went back and slotted it straight through from afar. The second goal came through his footy smarts, peeling off from where a pack was going to form, standing free right in front of goal about 25 out, then being used by his teammate coming out of the pack taking it on the chest and slotting his second.

Motlop continued to do the things he had been doing well in the third, whilst adding two goals for some additional impact and reward for all his hard work over the game. When given the freedom to push further up the ground, he finds the ball and can get into good spots to be a marking option, with generally strong ball use forward and a great ability to kick start scoring opportunities with his disposal choice.

Q4

As both teams reverted to a safer way of moving and carrying the ball the opportunities for a front and centre specialist dried up very quickly, meaning Motlop wasn’t as lively around the goals but still won a bait of ball around the boundary line inside 50. There were a couple of times he found himself stuck with a close option, but opted to kick to the square or go for goal, but the Swan Districts defenders would intercept and move the ball on. Moved up the ground and got a mark in the defensive 50 as South brought it in from a behind and kicked well to a teammate.

He essentially handed a goal to one of his taller teammates in the final quarter, as he collected a ground ball off one bounce about three meters out from the goal square, standing his ground in a tackle as he spun to face the goals, handballing it off to ensure it was a goal.

Closing thoughts:

It was an impressive debut at League level for Motlop after impressing at Colts and PSA levels through the year. He looked comfortable amongst bigger bodies and didn’t noticeably struggle with the physicality, looking courageous as he ran head first into packs and impacted contests in the forward half of the ground.

He had quite a few flashy moments with his agility and ability to find the right options with his disposal, setting up scoring plays, but his fundamentals of the game and work rate are what ultimately sets him up to be the smart and damaging player he is, forcing turnovers or backwards disposals from the opposition by pressuring them with his closing speed. This game showed a good base for Motlop and suggests plenty of potential to impact at the next level.

Image Credit: South Fremantle/WAFL

Scouting Notes: Western Australia U17 vs. U19 trial game

THE NEXT generation of West Australian talent took centre stage on Saturday, as the Under 17 and Under 19 state squads went head-to-head in Claremont. As expected, the elder and more developed Under 19s took out a one-sided victory, 17.13 (115) to 4.9 (33), but prospects from both sides were able to showcase high-level potential. We highlight some of the top performers in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

Note, Neil Erasmus, Josh Browne, Jaiden Hunter (injured), Jack Avery, Corey Warner, and Jesse Motlop (League commitments) were all unavailable for the clash. Rucks Jake South and Eric Benning also swapped to play a half for either side.

WA U17s 1.2 | 1.5 | 4.7 | 4.9 (33)
WA U19s 4.4 | 9.6 | 14.9 | 17.13 (115)

GOALS:

U17s: J. South, D. Curtin, E. Hewitt, J. Baker
U19s: J. Stretch 3, J. Amiss 3, J. Williams 2, A. Sheldrick 2, K. Dittmar 2, J. van Rooyen, M. Johnson, L. Polson, E. Regan, K. Harbour

BEST:

U17s: E. Hewitt, S. Gilbey, D. Jones, E. Allan, D. Curtin, J. Cleaver
U19s: K. Dittmar, M. Johnson, E. Regan, J. Stretch, J. Tunstill, A. Sheldrick

WA UNDER 17s (YELLOW):

By: Ed Pascoe

#1 Darcy Jones (Swan Districts)
3/04/2004 | 173cm/60kg | Midfielder

Jones didn’t play against South Australia in West Australia’s first 17s hitout, but proved he would have been a handy edition to the side as the creative small midfielder showed plenty with his clean hands and ability to find the football despite his size. Obvious comparisons could be made with Bulldogs star Caleb Daniel, who is another helmet wearing little star, although Jones’ disposal wasn’t to that high level. He still won plenty of the ball inside and outside the contest, and looked composed and clean when in possession.

#9 Elijah Hewett (Swan Districts)
27/05/2004 | 182cm/80kg | Midfielder

A tough customer and arguably best on ground for the 17s side, Hewett was a contested beast in the midfield, winning plenty of hard ball and releasing his runners well. Playing against some very solidly built midfielders in the 19s side, Hewett more than held his own in terms of contested ball winning and skill. He was a tough player to take down with his agility and ability to fend off with ease, and was rewarded with a lovely running goal after escaping congestion to dish off before working hard to get on the end of it and kick a long bomb from 50m in the third quarter. The solid midfielder continues to show he is one of the better midfield prospects for Western Australia in the 2022 draft.

#14 Sam Gilbey (Claremont)
14/05/2004 | 185cm/67kg | Defender

The smooth moving left-footed defender draws comparisons to a former Essendon star in Adam Ramanauskas, with his speed and agility to go with his class and skill by foot, making him one of the leading defensive prospects for the 2022 draft. Gilbey took a little bit of time to get into the game but once he did he got to show his quality, with his kicking and athleticism from the back half really catching the eye both offensively and defensively. A great run through the middle taking a bounce in the last quarter highlighted why he is such an exciting young talent, with the dangerous combination of speed and class.

#20 Jack Cleaver (East Fremantle)
22/05/2004 | 187cm/83kg | Midfielder

The tough left-footed midfielder has leadership written all over him and with his stronger body and smarts, he has shown over a few games now that he could play a range of positions. Cleaver didn’t get a huge amount of the ball but still showed plenty of his better traits with some nice bodywork and clean hands at stoppages, and an impressive mark in the second quarter which showed his strength overhead. Cleaver has proven to be one of WA’s leading draft prospects this season and will certainly feature again when the 17s championships continue later in the year.

#25 Edward Allan (Claremont)
26/05/2004 | 191cm/77kg | Wing

Missing the first game against South Australia like Jones, Allan showed he could have been a handy addition himself by winning plenty of the ball on the wing and proving to be a great link up option with his smarts and skills. A taller wingman at 191cm, he showed he could use that height to advantage, taking a very nice intercept mark down back in the first quarter to show he could work both ways as well. With solid skills and smarts, the Claremont prospect will look to stamp his place in the side when the championships conclude later in the year.

#30 Daniel Curtin (Claremont)
8/03/2005 | 190cm/86kg | Tall Defender/Forward

A standout in Western Australia’s first game of the Under 17 championships against South Australia, the medium sized key position player looked solid in his preferred role against the 19s down back in the first half, before getting a change of pace playing forward in the second half and showing some great versatility. It wasn’t the standout game like his first for the 17s, but he still managed to show his when class kicking a goal up forward. Although laconic in his approach, he was composed and strong with ball in hand and showed great bodywork against the bigger 19s key defenders.

WA UNDER 19s (BLACK):

By: Michael Alvaro

#2 Jed Hagan (East Fremantle)
15/10/2004 | 174cm/71kg | Small Defender

The sole bottom-ager afield for the Under 19s, Hagan proved once again he is up to the level with an assured game from defence. While capable of rolling through midfield, the East Fremantle product took a back seat to allow draft eligible prospects to shine, but performed his role well. Hagan’s clean skills played perfectly into his side’s style, with his short kicking game seeing the Under 19s transition efficiently. He was even entrusted with the kick-in duties, which he looked comfortable with.

#7 Angus Sheldrick (Claremont)
7/11/2003 | 179cm/88kg | Inside Midfielder/Forward

Rotating between the midfield and forwardline, Sheldrick played a key hand in his side’s midfield domination in the first half. The strong bodied ball winner wasn’t afraid to bustle through traffic and got his hands dirty at the contest, doing his best to break clear with little room to move. The second quarter was his best, as Sheldrick worked his opponent over to repeatedly get loose inside 50 and boot two goals. Both came via set shots, and Sheldrick even showcased some solid overhead marking on a couple of occasions later on.

#8 Jahmal Stretch (Claremont)
16/01/2003 | 181cm/62kg | Small Forward

A raw and exciting small forward, Stretch provided some spark for the Under 19s with his pace and pressure. He was gifted a good start by Jacob van Rooyen, who cut off an errant kick-in and handed him a goal over the top, but Stretch crafted his own chances as the game wore on. The Claremont talent took a nice two-grab mark at full stretch in the second term to convert another major, before adding a third in the following period from the same method. Stretch hit the post with a dribbler and put a couple more shots out on the full, but was certainly amongst the action inside 50. He capped his game with a spring-heeled fly and mark from the back just before the final siren.

#19 Kade Dittmar (East Perth)
14/01/2003 | 185cm/86kg | Inside Midfielder

Arguably the best player afield, Dittmar brought his bash-and-crash style to the midfield battle, but also added some more refined work in his disposal going forward. As expected of the big-bodied East Perth ball winner, he used his strength over the ball and burst out of packs at will, proving difficult to combat on the inside. He spread forward nicely too, breaking inside 50 to take a mark and goal in the first quarter, before bombing a long goal from the arc in term four. Dittmar also had a hand in multiple other goals, steadying to spear passes forward, hitting targets cleanly to really balance his game.

#20 James Tunstill (East Perth) 
18/07/2003 | 185cm/76kg | Midfielder

Waxing with East Perth teammate Dittmar in midfield, Tunstill found plenty of possessions and impressed with his ability to burst onto the outer. His turn of speed was a key feature while getting first hands to the ball, as Tunstill broke tackles and move the ball on effectively from the engine room. With the likes of Neil Erasmus and Josh Browne still to return for WA, Tunstill is one who may have just caused selectors the right kind of selection headache.

#23 Matthew Johnson (Subiaco)
16/03/2003 | 192cm/82kg | Midfielder

Johnson showed his class on Saturday and was the most polished player afield, looking smooth as ever in midfield. The first round prospect benefitted from others’ hard work at the coalface, proving a point of difference with his cleanliness and poise in possession. He often propped in traffic, drew opponents, and found teammates with aplomb by hand, seemingly unfazed by oncoming pressure. His kicking was also terrific, making for a really well-rounded game in the middle. Johnson hit the scoreboard too by taking a clean half-volley and snapping the ball home during term two.

#25 Ethan Regan (East Perth)
9/04/2003 | 189cm/80kg | Forward

The West Coast NGA talent enjoyed a few really promising purple patches, where he looked dangerous as the Under 19s headed into attack. One of Regan’s first acts was a crucial mark in the corridor, showcasing his explosiveness and aerial ability to make a risky kick look good. That same leap and reach was on show in a couple more instances, and while he was often an effective link inside 50, Regan also got forward himself for some chances on goal. He ended with just one major, from a set shot in the third quarter.

#29 Jacob van Rooyen (Claremont)
16/04/2003 | 193cm/91kg | Key Forward/Defender

On what ended up being an indifferent day for van Rooyen, he spent the first half up forward before behind shifted to defence. After handing one off, missing a sitter from the open goalsquare and spurning a set shot, the Claremont key forward got on the board in term two having used his body well in a marking contest. van Rooyen’s second efforts and ability to break tackles translated well in defence, as he had a couple of tough one-on-one moments but recovered to apply pressure and help relieve any danger.

#30 Jye Amiss (East Perth)
31/07/2003 | 195cm/85kg | Key Forward

Amiss simply doesn’t miss out and that was no different on Saturday, as the WAFL Colts leading goalkicker snared three majors for the Under 19s. All three of them came after half time, as Amiss benefitted from a personnel shift in the front six. He showcased his improving ground level game with a good crumb and snap in term three, before getting on the lead for another major in the same quarter. While most of his best work was done inside attacking 50, Amiss also took a couple of strong grabs presenting further afield. He looks a lock for WA’s starting forwardline.

#32 Luke Polson (Peel Thunder)
10/04/2003 | 196cm/94kg | Key Defender/Forward

Another tall who spent time at both ends of the ground, Polson earned another big tick for his versatility. He started in defence and displayed great mobility, enjoying his time in possession and looking to make things happen in transition. While that led to a few odd decisions in his disposal, Polson carried the ball well and stood up strongly in tackles. When shifted forward, he used that same strength when presenting as a leading target up the ground. The Peel Thunder prospect also slotted a nice goal on the fly during term three to further prove his dynamism.

#36 Rhett Bazzo (Swan Districts)
17/10/2003 | 195cm/79kg | Key Defender

While not an overly prolific outing for Bazzo, the Swan Districts swingman was able to bring forward some of his best traits in defence. He looked composed on the ball and distributed it nicely by foot, choosing the right options when there was nothing to kick to down the line. He also rose for a couple of nice intercepts across the defensive 50, but generally did not have too much to do down back with the Under 19s dominant for large stints of the game.

#43 Jack Williams (East Fremantle)
1/12/2003 | 194cm/95kg | Key Forward/Ruck

Williams looked ominous early as he snagged two goals in the opening term, coming from a mixed bag of opportunities. The standout East Fremantle tall used his size and reach in aerial contests and followed up well on a few instances, but was caught out for a lack of speed in others. He also pinch-hit in the ruck and was solid with his bodywork, but arguably looked more productive in attack. Williams could have finished with a couple more majors if not for inaccuracy, missing a pair of long set shots in the final term with a heavy ball.

Image Credit: @WAFLOfficial via Twitter