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In Contention | Outsider AFL Draft prospects to consider: Western Australia

COME the end of a year like no other, there is likely to be a greater amount of hard luck stories and near misses than ever before, especially after the recent cuts to AFL list sizes. But for all that doom and gloom, the 2020 AFL Draft intake is also poised to provide some of the best stories of positivity as elite level hopefuls rise from the adversity this year has put forward.

In Draft Central’s newest series, we take a look at some of the draft prospects who remain in contention to fulfil their draft dreams despite missing out on invites to their respective states’ draft combines. These combine lists are often the best indicators of clubs’ interest in players, with at least four nominations required for those who were not selected in the two national Under 17 showcase games last year. West Australian talent on the precipice are next to go under the microscope, and there are plenty around the mark after an exciting season of WAFL football.

Below are pocket profiles of some players to watch, which will also feature in our upcoming annual AFL Draft guide.

>> 2020 AFL Draft Pool
>> AFL Draft Whispers: 2020 Edition
>> Power Rankings: November Update

DEFENDERS:

Will Collins | Swan Districts
24/02/2002 | 191cm | 81kg

Collins caught the eye towards the latter end of season 2020 and capitalised on being selected for the Under 18 All Stars games with a couple of solid performances. He is a competitive type on the precipice of key position height, able to play on medium and tall forwards.

Keanu Haddow | East Fremantle
23/08/2002 | 183cm | 83kg

Part of Fremantle’s NGA, Haddow could earn a rookie spot after proving a key cog in East Fremantle’s Colts defence this year. He is a medium height but has enough strength to play against bigger opponents, providing a safe outlet on the last line. Could also develop into a midfielder with his ability over the ball.

Tyler Nesbitt | Peel Thunder
4/07/2002 | 185cm | 80kg

Earned his way into this year’s state academy intake and showed good development as he moved from a forward role, to being used almost exclusively as a defender in 2020. He is generally a good user by foot who can also impact aerially with intercepts.

Ty Sears | Swan Districts
21/01/2002 | 187cm | 78kg

An agile outside runner who plays off half-back or the wing, Sears is a player capable of breaking the lines in transition with his speed and use by foot. When afforded the time and space, he can gain good meterage with running bounces and also hit the scoreboard.

Finn Gorringe | East Fremantle
29/05/2002 | 183cm | 77kg

A hard-nosed prospect with plenty of courage, Gorringe adjusted well this season to a defensive switch having previously cut his teeth as an inside midfielder. He is a no-frills kind of player who straight lines the ball and can split contests while also applying punishing defensive pressure.

FORWARDS:

Logan Guelfi | Claremont
29/05/2002 | 180cm | 70kg

Guelfi is the kind of player who provides real spark in attack, able to create and rack up score involvements while also fulfilling his defensive duties as a small forward. He is the brother of Essendon’s Matt and does plenty of exciting things on-field.

Nick Martin | Subiaco
3/04/2001 | 188cm | 81kg

A tall forward with good marking ability, Martin came on strongly as a 19-year-old prospect in 2020. He lead Subiaco’s goalkicking charts with a total of 13 and a full year of senior WAFL football has seen him stay in the draft conversation.

Sandon Page | Subiaco
17/04/2002 | 190cm | 80kg

Page proved a player who was hard to deny this year after a terrific season at Colts level. He booted two goals in Subiaco’s Grand Final triumph and also kicked a bag in the first All-Stars game, putting his name on the map. He is an accurate set shot who also brings others into the game and has decent athleticism.

MIDFIELDERS:

Sam Fisher | Swan Districts
03/07/2002 | 182cm | 85kg

A mature-age prospect who was previously on Sydney’s AFL list, Fisher moved to WA this year and took out the Sandover Medal in his debut campaign. He is clean at the contest and has no trouble finding the ball, but is working on his explosive burst out of congestion.

Callum Johnson | West Perth
11/10/2001 | 179cm | 77kg

Johnson is a tough ball winner who dominated the Colts competition early in the season to earn a Reserves berth. He works hard going both ways and racks up consistent numbers, but may be working on adding some polish to his game.

Max Spyvee | Claremont
176cm | 72kg

The best afield in game two of the Under 18 All-Stars fixtures, Spyvee is an exciting midfielder who zips forward as a terrific attacking catalyst. He won the 2019 Colts premiership with Claremont and impressed upon hitting the League grade late this season.

Jamison Ugle | Swan Districts
1/08/2002 | 181cm | 71kg

Ugle is a smooth-moving outside type who loves to run. He impressed enough in Swan Districts’ Colts side to earn selection in the Under 18 All-Stars games, where he provided plenty of x-factor. He comes from good footballing pedigree and is said to be a terrific character.

Lachlan Vanirsen | Subiaco
27/10/2002 | 182cm | 76kg

Vanirsen won this year’s WAFL Colts best and fairest and was best afield in the Grand Final as Subiaco earned premiership glory. He is hardly a flashy type, but adds great value as a reliable and clean ball winner who has peaked at the ideal time.

Conor McPartland | Perth
28/04/2001 | 176cm | 83kg

A midfield bull who won mountains of the ball at Colts level, McPartland proved his worth in 2020 as a 19-year-old prospect. He drives the ball forward through sheer grunt and power while also tackling hard, but may look to tidy up his disposal in future. Also fared well at League level late in the season.

RUCKS:

Solomon James | South Fremantle
3/11/2001 | 199cm | 98kg

A solidly build ruck prospect, James was a solid performer for the Bulldogs’ Colts side. Rotating forward from the engine room, James used his strong frame to impact aerially and provide first use to his midfielders. Also featured in the Under 18 All-Stars games.

Michael Mallard | West Perth
15/01/2002 | 200cm | 98kg

Mallard is a giant in the ruck and won more hitouts than any other player in this year’s WAFL Colts competition. He is a talented prospect with plenty of upside, able to mark well around the ground as one of the more impactful and mobile ruck options. Was an Under 16 and 18 state representative.

Featured Image: Max Spyvee during this year’s Under 18 All-Stars showcase | Credit: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

Scouting Notes: 2020 Western Australia Under 18 All-Stars – Game Two

THE 2020 Western Australia Under 18 All-Stars went head-to-head for a second time on Saturday, serving as the final chance for budding WA draft prospects to impress AFL recruiters. Potential top five selection Denver Grainger-Barras was ultra-impressive, leading Team Gold to a mighty turnaround from game one in his side’s 55-point victory. Claremont prospect Max Spyvee won best afield honours, while last weekend’s most valuable player, Joel Western sustained a nasty finger injury. Our scout, Ed Pascoe was on hand to jot down his notes on some of the big performers and familiar names who took the field.

>> POWER RANKINGS: October 2020

TEAM GOLD:

#4 Max Spyvee

Spyvee has been impressive playing for Claremont’s League side this year and he brought that form into his one and only All-Stars appearance, winning a tonne of the ball in the middle. He was one of the main catalysts in Team Gold’s rebound after a disappointing performance last week. Spyvee got involved very early, using the ball quickly and cleanly at stoppages and winning plenty of clearances. While he is slight in stature, he was a constant around the packs, winning the ball easily on the inside and working hard on the outside to follow up a lot of his grunt work. His disposal started to get a bit scrappy after the main break but he got back to his best in the last quarter, with his clean hands around the ball leading to many scoring chains. Spyvee was a worthy winner of the best on ground honours and would have surely caught the eye of the recruiters in his last chance to do so.

#7 Isiah Winder

Winder had a quieter outing on this occasion but still managed to show some of his eye-catching traits, with his kicking inside 50 his main point of difference this week. The talented Pell Thunder prospect will always lower his eyes going inside 50 and any forward leading out would love the ball in his hands. On the flip side, Winder himself provides a great forward target as he leads hard and his hands overhead are also clean. This came into effect with his goal in the second quarter, judging the flight of the ball well inside 50 and slotting the set shot goal with ease. Winder’s composure and smooth movement have been staples of his game this year, but a stronger four-quarter impact will help maximise his skillset going forward.

#13 Joshua Browne

The talented bottom-ager has had a terrific season for East Fremantle, this year graduating from the back flank to the midfield with ease – not too dissimilar to former East Fremantle player, Trent Rivers. He showed both his defensive and offensive traits in this game playing off the wing and at half-back. Browne showed a great mix between his outside run and ability to attack the ground balls to win his own possessions, which helps set him apart. The smooth mover was a hard player to catch on the run and he rarely fumbled chances to win his own ball. Browne would kick a nice set shot goal in the last quarter, drifting forward to mark 30 metres out in front of goal. His best bit of play would come afterwards with a great run, bounce, and a sublime kick into the middle which opened up the game.

#27 Denver Grainger-Barras

What a performance from the top five prospect, who wowed recruiters with his dominant first half display down back before being sent forward where he kicked two goals and showed his potential versatility. Grainger-Barras started the game extremely well, winning plenty of the ball down back and taking some ripper marks, which he does time and time again in every game he plays. His competitiveness and confidence were again on display, throwing himself into every aerial and ground level contest to give Team Black nothing every time the ball was in his area. The second half is what recruiters would have loved more than anything, as not only was he moved forward to show his versatility, but he also played well in a role he has spent little time in over the last two years. His energy brought a lot to the forward mix with some desperate spoils in the forward 50 creating scoring opportunities and his lead-up marking also impressive. His first goal came from a nice mark on the lead and set shot, while the other was a classy snap which showed his bag of tricks. With his athleticism, combativeness, and football talent it is easy to see why the Swan Districts prospect is considered one of the very best players in the 2020 draft pool.

TEAM BLACK:

#20 Matthew Johnson

Once again the talented bottom-age prospect from Subiaco found it all too easy to earn plenty of possessions, with his ability to win the ball all over the ground again coming to the fold. Although handball happy, Johnson rarely wasted a disposal and often stayed composed and confident whenever he had possession. He exploded in the third quarter, winning an absurd amount of the ball which included two nice bits of play; the first saw Johnson sell candy to a player on the mark, while the second was a nice fend-off to show just how confident Johnson is in his ability. The tall 192cm midfielder is firming as first round prospect in the 2021 talent pool and has put himself ahead as Western Australia’s leading prospect going into that draft.

#25 Heath Chapman

It was a quiet game by Chapman’s standards, especially given the rebound defender averaged more than 20 disposals for West Perth this year. Of all things, he certainly wouldn’t have expected a match up with fellow elite backman, Denver Grainger-Barras in the second half, which forced Chapman to play a more defensive game. Chapman was classy with ball in hand with only one blemish in the last quarter. A lot of his possessions put his teammates in good spots with some risky kicks into the middle. Chapman did well to take a goal-saving mark on the goal line in the third quarter, and this outing perhaps a good indicator of his defensive game, with his offensive game more than proven at Colts level this year.

#31 Kalin Lane

Spending a bit less time in the ruck compared to last week, it was great to see Lane spend more time forward to show of a few more tricks. While missing his partner in crime and Claremont teammate, Joel Western for the second half, he did well to form other partnerships with the likes of the Johnson boys, Matthew and Callum. Lane nailed his only goal in the third quarter, coming from a strong outstretched contested mark which has been a real feature for him in the last month. It is an asset which is sure to separate him from other rucks across the states. He had another chance to kick a goal in the pocket but unfortunately kicked into the man on the mark.

#37 Shannon Neale

Neale finally got to capitalise on his chances up forward, as the big 202cm ruck/forward from South Fremantle was his side’s leading goalkicker with three majors which all came in different ways. His first goal came in the second quarter, kicking a nice goal in general play off two steps. His second was from a nice juggled contested mark and set shot conversion, while the last came in the final quarter as Lane got the ball over the back and ran into an open goal. He could have had even more from another two shots on goal, with one snap just missing. Neale didn’t really influence enough in his time in the ruck, so being able to impact forward of centre was important. With his athleticism and size, he will prove a great project for recruiters.

Featured Image: Retrieved from @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

Scouting Notes: 2020 Western Australia Under 18 All-Stars

THE 2020 Western Australia Under 18 All-Stars went head-to-head on Saturday, with a bunch of budding AFL Draft prospects boosting their stocks in Game One. Fremantle Next Generation Academy member Joel Western was named best afield as Team Black came up trumps by 55 points. Our scout, Ed Pascoe was on hand to jot down his notes on some of the big performers and familiar names.

>> POWER RANKINGS: October 2020

Team Gold:

#7 Isiah Winder

A classy display from Winder, who was a standout at the WA combine. In this outing, he showed what he couldn’t at the combine – his football smarts and skills. Despite his side not having a great day on the scoreboard, Winder had a lot of say in the scores they did get. He crafted some lovely kicks to advantage going inside 50 and received one of his own, but his set shot would fall short. One of his better bits of play came in the last quarter, having a run at half-back and starting a chain of handballs which showed of his speed and class. He would unfortunately come off the ground late with an injury.

#17 Zane Trew

Trew, along with his fellow midfielders couldn’t really get his side going. While Trew has been a huge disposal winner this year for Swan Districts, he found the going tough. Despite not getting ideal delivery form his rucks, he still managed to get some nice clearances and showed his standout traits with clean hands and creative handballs from stoppages. He was handball happy which he usually does well, but he may look to find a better balance between kicking and handballing, and his kicking could have been tidied up a bit. Nonetheless, Trew’s composure in heavy traffic was impressive, showing nice agility to get around opponents.

#24 Logan Young

Young played a solid game through the midfield, attacking contests hard and using his bigger frame to his advantage to dish out to his running players. A trait that has made Young a well-rounded player is his work-rate around the ground, as he is able to find the ball outside of stoppages unlike most bigger midfielders at junior level. His skills by hand and foot where decent and some of his vision with his kicks inboard where eye-catching. It was great to see Young play so well despite the opposition ruck dominance.

#27 Denver Grainger-Barras

It wasn’t a massive game stats wise by any means from Grainger-Barras, but his impact was always apparent whenever he made a contest. He had an eye-catching play early with a nice spoil, followed by a quick gather of his own spoil to showcase his fantastic agility and nimbleness for a player of 194cm. Another great play was his manic attack to make a contest, running full tilt at the ball and his opponent. Upon gathering, he also laid a nice don’t argue. Some great spoils highlighted his second half but it was an impressive leap and intercept mark in the last quarter which really caught the eye. It has been a fantastic year for Grainger-Barras, who is destined to be taken very high in this year’s draft.

#29 Logan McDonald

McDonald continued his impressive year with another strong performance up forward, finishing with 15-plus disposals and two goals. He was made to wait until the third quarter for his two goals, however, with one from a free kick and the other from a very nice conversion on the boundary from about 45 metres out. McDonald played more of a centre half-forward role, showcasing his impressive endurance and taking many marks on the wing, while also showing great composure with ball in hand. He was well held by Jaiden Hunter close to goal, but it was McDonald’s work-rate up the ground that proved a handful. This was showcased in the last quarter as he took a mark on one wing, passed inside, and worked to the opposite wing to provide another target – although this time it was spoiled. McDonald finished his campaign on a strong note as he made his claims to be the first player taken in this year’s draft.

Team Black:

#1 Joel Western

Fremantle supporters must be thrilled, but also annoyed that Western keeps impressing and improving his standing in this year’s draft, with the small and nippy midfielder doing what he does best – exploding away from stoppages with his elite speed. Western loved the supply he got in the ruck from fellow Claremont player Kalin Lane and he would always make the most of his clearances, bursting away and driving his side forward. Western would also hit the scoreboard with a nice goal on the run, followed by another from a mark and easy set shot conversion. He could have had even more goals if he were a bit more accurate on the run. His size hasn’t worried him and he plays very similarly to emerging Richmond midfielder Shai Bolton, with his clean hands and speed a real worry for opposition midfielders. He was named best on ground which was certainly deserved.

#20 Matthew Johnson

The 2021 prospect continues to further his standings in next year’s draft with another impressive display through the midfield. The tall midfielder again showcased his impressive work around stoppages and his ability to win the ball seamlessly on the outside, while using the ball well by hand and foot. Johnson shows plenty of composure with ball in hand and is never flustered. Another thing he does well is block for his teammates after giving a handball, to further put his teammates in better positions. His best bit of play came in the last quarter where he showed great agility to get around two opponents 30 metres out form goal, before slotting a lovely major on his opposite foot.

#25 Heath Chapman

It was another classy display from Chapman down back, where he showcased his ability to intercept and use the ball well from defence. He took numerous intercept marks and after the one he did drop, he did really well to quickly gather the loose ball by attacking it hard and making sure he made up for his mistake. Chapman’s attacking flair is his best trait but he also showed his strong defensive game as well in the second quarter, punching a nice spoil and then nailing his opponent with a strong tackle near the boundary. Chapman has firmed into top 20 calculations in this year’s draft and this game only helped confirm his talent.

#31 Kalin Lane

A brilliant game from Lane who was the standout ruckman on the ground, giving his midfield first use and particularly forming a good partnership with fellow Claremont Tiger, Joel Western. His competitiveness to go with his hitout work was really impressive, as he took numerous strong marks around the ground and was more than willing to tackle once he had competed in a ruck contest. Perhaps his most eye-catching movement came in the second quarter when he managed to nail the elusive Denver Grainger-Barras with a strong tackle, which would lead to his side kicking a goal.

#37 Shannon Neale

It wasn’t a big day for Neale, who played mostly forward for Team Black with Kalin Lane getting the major ruck duties. Neale did some nice things forward without hitting the scoreboard himself, with a nice smother close to goal and numerous leaps at the ball to kill contests. His best work came when he was able to move into the ruck, where he was more involved with some nice taps and follow up work once the ball hit the ground. He will need to push up the ground more as a forward and really showcase his endurance as a former runner.

Featured Image: The 2020 WA Under 18 All-Stars post-match | Retrieved from: @WAFLOfficial

WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 9 – East Fremantle vs. Swan Districts

MATCH REPORT

THE final regular season round of the 2020 Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition saw East Fremantle secure its finals position after overcoming Swan Districts by 10 points at New Choice Homes Park.

East Fremantle’s captain Keanu Haddow was inspirational in defence for the Sharks with 30 possessions and seven marks. Finn Gorringe (21 possessions, eight marks, four tackles), Brandon Walker (21 possessions, five marks, three tackles, three inside 50s), Jed Hagan (21 possessions, eight tackles, eight inside 50s, seven marks, one goal) and Chris Walker (13 possessions, seven tackles, four marks, three inside 50s) were also amongst the Sharks’ best.

For Swan Districts, Zane Trew enhanced his draft prospects with another powerful performance. He finished with a game-high 32 possessions, a game-high 10 tackles, a team-high seven marks and five inside 50s. Max Chipper (21 possessions, six marks), Ty Sears (21 possessions, six inside 50s), Ayden Cartwright (20 possessions, two goals), Jamison Ugle (16 possessions, one goal), Ashley Brockbernd (16 possessions, nine tackles) and William Collins (15 possessions, five marks) competed strongly for the Swans.

Joel Baverstock snapped the ball out of a pack for the first goal of the game, in the sixth minute of the opening quarter. Cartwright scored the instant reply for the Swans. Late in the opening quarter, Hagan won a holding-the-ball free kick, and nailed his set shot.

In the second quarter, Jack Williams and Kobe McMillan kicked goals for East Fremantle, which ultimately gave the Sharks a 15-point lead at half-time.

After the main break, Sears speared a pass into Cartwright, who dribbled through his second goal. Moments later, Baverstock snapped through his second goal. Soon after, Ugle booted home a goal for the Swans. Joseph Salmon then soccered through a goal that brought the Swans to within five points of East Fremantle. Late in the quarter, Joshua Middleton read the flight of the ball exceptionally well to mark the ball in a pack. He went back and nailed the goal that gave the Swans a four-point lead at three-quarter time.

At the thirteenth minute of the final quarter, Corey Warner smothered a Swans’ rebounding 50, before kicking the goal that put the Sharks back in front. Soon after, Edward Curley speared a pass to Bailey Hodge inside 50. Hodge went back and slotted the goal that gave the Sharks a 10-point buffer. Moments later, Gorringe laid a strong tackle in defensive 50 to stop a certain Swans’ score. In the 22nd minute, Gorringe smothered a Swans’ shot on goal that ultimately gave the Sharks a 10-point victory.

Next week, East Fremantle travel to Provident Financial Oval where they will take on West Perth in the Simply Energy WAFL Colts first semi-final.

SCOUTING NOTES

EAST FREMANTLE:

#2 Joel Baverstock

The 16-year-old produced the best game of his short Simply Energy WAFL Colts career against Swan Districts. He accumulated 18 possessions, recorded three inside 50s, laid two tackles and kicked two goals. He kicked the opening goal of the game, when he snapped the ball out of a pack through the goals, in the sixth minute of the opening quarter.

#6 Joshua Browne

The Applecross-Mount Pleasant junior continued his magnificent season for the Sharks with another excellent performance. He finished with 30 possessions, five marks and five inside 50s.

#7 Chris Walker

The Fremantle Dockers’ Next-Generation Academy member was superb as a pressure forward for East Fremantle. He collected 13 possessions, laid seven tackles, took four marks and recorded three inside 50s.

#8 Finn Gorringe

The Aquinas College graduate reminded recruiters of his enormous potential with an outstanding performance. He finished with 21 possessions, a game-high eight marks and four tackles in a brilliant performance. He produced a game-saving tackle, and a game-saving smother late in the last quarter to secure victory for East Fremantle.

#9 Brandon Walker

The 2018 AFL U16s All-Australian defender was fantastic for East Fremantle. Playing off half-back, Walker gathered 21 possessions, took five marks, laid three tackles and recorded three inside 50s to enhance his draft prospects. His ability to break the opposition’s defensive zone with his penetrating skills and blistering speed was a real feature of his game.

#10 Jed Hagan

Still only 15-years-old, the Brigades product produced another strong performance for the Sharks. He finished with 21 possessions, a team-high eight tackles, a game-high eight inside 50s, seven marks and a goal.

#13 Keanu Haddow

The East Fremantle captain was inspirational for his team, and he led the Sharks superbly. Playing in defence, Haddow finished with an equal team-high 30 possessions, and seven marks. His rebounding out of defence was excellent, and his strength in the contest was a real feature of his game.

#15 Ethan Paholski

The Geraldton product was excellent in the midfield for the Sharks, finishing with 15 possessions, five marks, and three tackles.

>> MORE EAST FREMANTLE CONTENT

SWAN DISTRICTS

#2 Ayden Cartwright

The Kalamunda junior continued his stunning season with another polished performance. He collected 20 possessions, recorded five inside 50s, took four marks, laid two tackles and kicked two goals. A highlight of his game came in the first quarter, when he snapped through the Swans’ first goal of the match.

#4 Max Chipper

Returning from a hand injury, Chipper played a fantastic game as a wingman for the Swans. He accumulated 21 possessions and grabbed six marks as he played an excellent link-up game.

#8 Zane Trew

The Hills Rangers product continued to enhance his draft prospects with another powerful performance. He finished with a game-high 32 possessions, a game-high 10 tackles, a team-high seven marks and five inside 50s.

#9 Jamison Ugle

The 2018 WA U16s State Academy member was dynamic for the Swans, rotating between the half-forward flank and the wing. He finished with 16 possessions, five marks, five inside 50s, two tackles and a goal. In the third quarter, he snapped through a goal that brought the Swans to within 10 points of East Fremantle.

#10 Ty Sears

The Bunbury product reminded recruiters of his talent with another sizzling performance. Against East Fremantle, Sears accumulated 21 possessions, recorded a team-high six inside 50s, took five marks and laid two tackles.

#35 William Collins

Stationed at full back, Collins was rock solid for the Swans. He finished with 15 possessions and five marks. The highlight of his game came early in the second quarter, when he took a magnificent overhead ‘specky’ in defence.

#37 Joseph Salmon

The St Mary’s product was electrifying for the Swans. He finished with 11 possessions, seven tackles, two marks and a goal. The highlight of his game came in the third quarter, when he soccered through a goal that brought the Swans to within five points of the Sharks. It was his first goal in his Simply Energy WAFL Colts career.

#58 Ashley Brockbernd

The 2017 WA U16s State Academy member continued his fine season for Swan Districts with a superb performance. He finished with 16 possessions, nine tackles, five inside 50s and three marks.

#60 Dylan Brockbernd

The 2017 WA U16s State Academy member was brilliant for Swan Districts with 12 possessions, six marks, three tackles and three inside 50s.

>> MORE SWAN DISTRICTS CONTENT

Scouting Notes: 2020 WAFL Colts, Round 8 – Claremont vs. West Perth

IN ROUND 8 of the 2020 Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition, Claremont defeated West Perth by 12 points at Revo Fitness Stadium.

Below were the best players in the game.

CLAREMONT

#4 Jake Willson

The Wembley Downs junior produced a powerful performance, playing as the rover for Claremont. He accumulated 18 possessions, took five marks, laid three tackles and recorded two inside 50s.

#10 Joel Western

The Fremantle Dockers Next Generation Academy (NGA) member was dynamic in the forward half for the Tigers. He finished with 21 possessions, four marks, four inside 50s and three tackles in a dazzling performance.

>> Draft Watch

#13 Samuel Alvarez

Another Fremantle Dockers NGA member, Alvarez was brilliant on the wing for Claremont. His link-up play, decision-making, and skill execution were all real features of his game. He finished with 20 possessions, five inside 50s, and three marks.

#14 Jacob Blight

Stationed at full-back, Blight was rock solid in defence, thwarting many of West Perth’s attacking entries. He finished with 26 possessions and three marks.

#18 Alex Pearce

The North Albany product was busy in the midfield for the Tigers. Playing as the centreman, Pearce accumulated 21 possessions, laid four tackles, took three marks and recorded three inside 50s in a strong performance.

#20 Logan Guelfi

The younger brother of Essendon’s Matt Guelfi, Logan was exceptional playing as the link-up forward for Claremont. He finished with 15 possessions, seven inside 50s, four marks and three tackles in a lively performance.

#21 Jack Avery

Stationed at centre half-back, Avery continued his purple patch of form with another brilliant performance. He gathered 24 possessions, took five marks, laid three tackles and recorded two inside 50s.

>> MORE CLAREMONT CONTENT

WEST PERTH

#7 Rohan Scurria

The Whitford junior was prolific for West Perth, playing primarily on the half-back line. He collected 22 possessions, took six marks and recorded two inside 50s as he tried manfully to inspire the Falcons to a comeback victory.

#9 Jordan Berry

The West Coast Eagles NGA member was lively for the Falcons. He finished with 14 possessions and four marks.

#12 Darcy Dixon

The Merredin product was a catalyst in bringing West Perth back into the game in the second half. He kicked two goals in the third quarter to bring the Falcons to within 19 points of Claremont. He then kicked the opening goal of the final quarter, that helped West Perth gather attacking momentum in the last quarter.

#19 Kellen Johnson

Returning from a hand injury, Johnson was outstanding in defence for the Falcons. He finished with 14 possessions, five marks, four tackles and four inside 50s.

#24 Michael Mallard

The Wanneroo junior showcased why he is one of the premier ruckmen in this year’s Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition. His athleticism, ruck craft, and skill execution were all features of his game. He finished with 14 possessions, 31 hit-outs and four marks in a dazzling display.

>> MORE WEST PERTH CONTENT

WAFL League Player Focus: Logan McDonald (Perth) vs. Denver Grainger-Barras (Swan Districts)

IT was a highly anticipated matchup that did not disappoint. Both Logan McDonald and Denver Grainger-Barras are not only considered the best young players out of Western Australia, but loom as possible top five picks who have been mainstays in their respective League sides. They have both had some impressive performances, with McDonald second in the League for goals and Grainger-Barras closing in on the top 10 for marks in the competition.

In our latest Player Focus edition, we take a look at how the leading West Australian prospects fared as McDonald’s Perth took on Grainger-Barras’ Swan Districts in Round 8 of the WAFL League. The pair did not start on each other, as Nathan Ireland was tasked with manning McDonald early, but Swan Districts would give scouts what they wanted in the second half.

Logan McDonald
Perth/Western Australia

DOB: April 4, 2002
Height: 196cm
Weight: 85kg

Position: Key Position Forward

>> Draft Watch
>> Round 2 Player Focus

Denver Grainger-Barras
Swan Districts/Western Australia

DOB: April 14, 2002
Height: 195cm
Weight: 78kg

Position: Key Position Defender

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup
>> Round 3 Player Focus

PLAYER FOCUS

STATS:
McDonald: 4 kicks | 2 handballs | 6 disposals | 3 marks | 1 tackle | 1 inside 50 | 3 goals
Grainger-Barras: 12 kicks | 4 handballs | 16 disposals | 8 marks | 3 tackles | 1 inside 50

Q1:

Even when McDonald and Grainger-Barras did not start on each other, a lot of their possessions in the first half where linked in some form. The first player to get involved was McDonald, who would almost take a strong grab on the wing. He dropped the mark at the last possible moment but quickly recovered, receiving a handball from good mate Nathan O’Driscoll and in-turn handballing to a teammate running past. Not too long after that, Grainger-Barras almost took an impressive mark in defence, which he began to stick eventually as he snapped up a nice intercept mark before kicking long to the wing. The ball would come back though, and making the most of it was that man McDonald. After taking a strong contested mark at the 50-metre arc, he would go back and slot a long bomb for his first goal of the game.

A few minutes later, McDonald almost took a strong contested mark inside 50, but again it spilled out on the way down. Grainger-Barras was the one to capitalise, sweeping on the loose ball, jumping over McDonald in the process, and handballing to a teammate. Grainger-Barras would have some more good moments soon after on the wing; first doing well in a one-on-one marking contest to nullify it, and a few moments later attacking the ball hard at ground level to gather and release a good handball. About a minute later, McDonald returned to the fray, using good bodywork to work his opponent under the ball. He would run onto the loose ball inside 50 but was well pressured from behind, and sent the dribble shot on a tight angle through for a behind.

A few minutes later both players would be linked again. Grainger-Barras gathered nicely in the middle but his kick out wide was poor, leading to a turnover. Not long after, he went to spoil the next aerial ball but did not kill the contest, which lead to McDonald kicking his second goal further down the ground from 15 metres out directly in front. Grainger-Barras wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, spoiling a marking contest well late in the quarter.

Q2:

The links between the two players continued into the second quarter, with Grainger-Barras attacking the loose ball hard from a defensive stoppage, but being met with a strong tackle. The ball would later be kicked to the leading McDonald, with Grainger-Barras working hard to come from the side to spoil but to no avail. It was a very strong lead and mark from McDonald, who would convert from the set shot nicely for his third and final goal.

At around the 17-minute mark it seemed the move had been made with Grainger-Barras going to McDonald. Grainger-Barras would earn a simple possession, being closest to an out-on-the-full kick deep in defence and booting the free kick long down the line. Late in the quarter, McDonald was very unlucky not to be paid a fantastic contested mark, contesting both Grainger-Barras and impressive ruckman Corey Gault on the wing.

Q3:

Everything form here on out was purely McDonald vs. Grainger-Barras, with Grainger-Barras hot on the heels of McDonald wherever he went. McDonald played centre half-forward which may have been a mistake in hindsight, for as hard as McDonald worked to give strong leads and provide a good outlet, the delivery to him was very poor and very rarely to his advantage. The first notable contest was on the wing where Grainger-Barras used good bodywork to work McDonald under the ball, gather nicely, and get a a scrappy left-foot kick forward. Not long after, Grainger-Barras took a nice intercept mark and this was the point where that side of his game would really start to shine, as he does it better than anyone else in his draft class.

Grainger-Barras is a competitor and despite his light frame, he is not afraid to go in hard not just to win his own ball, but to also tackle hard. He laid a strong tackle and a few minutes later he applied a great spoil on McDonald at half-forward – letting his opponent know about it and further adding to McDonalds growing frustration. Grainger-Barras is not afraid to stir the pot and get under his opponents’ skin, and at the earlier half time scuffle he made sure to get involved in some capacity.

The frustration wouldn’t go away for McDonald because not long after the aforementioned spoil, he again found himself outdone by Grainger-Barras, who took a very nice intercept mark going back with flight and following with a nice kick inboard. You couldn’t blame McDonald for the frustration, with plenty of kicks certainly not to his advantage, but credit also had to be given to Grainger-Barras to still show his strength as an interceptor while also manning up the most dangerous forward on the opposition.

Q4:

It did not take long for Grainger-Barras to get involved with a strong tackle on the wing that should have been rewarded, but he would get a free kick later on at McDonald’s expense. He would have to be considered lucky as their was not much in it, only further adding to McDonald’s frustrating second half. Not long after, Grainger-Barras again took a strong intercept mark on the wing and would kick long inside 50 to a one-on-one. McDonald did not drop his head and still competed hard, crashing one pack hard on the wing. A couple of minutes later, he would again compete hard in a marking contest inside 50 which would allow his smaller teammates to gather the crumbs. It won’t show on the stat sheet, but McDonald certainly worked hard to not only give an option on the lead, but also compete in the contest.

Grainger-Barras was in fine intercepting form for this quarter and he would take a brilliant intercept mark close to goal, before using the ball well with a long switch kick. Apart from his error early in the game, his kicking had been sensational, especially his longer kicks as he can really get under them. About a minute afterwards, McDonald would have another nice moment inside 50. Despite not getting a stat for it, he competed well inside 50 and a timely intercept from a handball would lead to his team gathering the loose ball and kicking a goal. McDonald really proved in the the last quarter that it’s his work inside 50 that’s most generous and advantageous for Perth and his final involvement, he would make a clean gather at ground level and handpass to a teammate close to goal. McDonald has proven this year that he is not only strong in the air but also nimble and clean at ground level for a taller player, and I expect he will hold more of his marks once he puts on some more size in the future. He was beaten by Grainger-Barras in the second half but you couldn’t have asked for more from him, and kicking three goals is certainly not a bad return.

Grainger-Barras wasn’t done yet though, as he had a really good two-minute patch not long after McDonald’s last involvement. He would take a lovely contested intercept mark flying in from the side in defensive 50, and again would release a long kick out from defensive 50 down the line. He competed really well on the wing where he took on a tackler and got a handball out in what was a great act of desperation, despite the game already being won. Not long after that he would put the exclamation point on his great game, taking an awesome intercept mark going back with flight and hurting himself in the process. That was certainly enough to give him a well earned rest anyway.

There was a fear going into the game that these two young guns wouldn’t line up on each other but not only did they line up on each other, they both managed to have very good games with Grainger-Barras perhaps having his best ever game at League level. He finished with 17 disposals and eight marks while McDonald again hit the scoreboard, kicking 3.1 as he firmly looks to finish among the top three in the WAFL goalkicking charts. Fellow draft fancy, O’Driscoll also had a great game backing up his brilliant outing last week, but this game was all about two young talents going head-to-head in McDonald and Grainger-Barras. They did not disappoint.

Power Rankings: September 2020 | July 2020 | August 2020
>> 2020 Western Australia Under 18s Squad Prediction

Featured Image: Leading WA draft prospects Denver Grainger-Barras, Logan McDonald, and Nathan O’Driscoll | Source: Michael Willson/AFL Media

Marquee Matchups: Oliver Davis vs. Zane Trew

DESPITE remaining in the unknown of football’s temporary absence, Draft Central is set to ramp up its draft analysis with another new prospect-focussed series, Marquee Matchups. We take a look at some of the high-end head-to-head battles which look likely to take place as the class of 2020 eventually takes the field, comparing pairs of draft hopefuls to help preview who may come out on top.

The pair next under the microscope – Tasmania’s Oliver Davis and Swan Districts’ Zane Trew – make up two of the most promising inside midfielders in this year’s cohort. Both are incredibly tough and consistent, able to prise the ball out at stoppages and set their sides on the front foot from midfield. Ironically, they lined up on the same side during last year’s fixture between Australia’s Under 17s and New Zealand, both impressing through the engine room rotation. In 2020, they will inevitably meet during the proposed Under 18 National Championships, with Davis a leader among the Allies group, and Trew an important cog for Western Australia.

Davis enjoyed a stellar, largely uninterrupted run for his state in its inaugural full-time NAB League campaign, running out 13 times for an average of 22 disposals. He also broke through for a maiden Allies Under 18 appearance, picking up 10 touches against Vic Country on home turf. On the other hand, Trew suffered some bad luck on the injury front to be restricted to just three WAFL Colts games, but impressed in each. He also missed WA’s Under 18 campaign as a result, but is as professional as any current prospect and should be raring to go this year.

Without further ado, get up to speed with how the two match up in terms of their form to date, strengths, improvements, and what has already been said about their performances in our scouting notes.

PLAYER PAGES

Oliver Davis
Tasmania Devils/Allies

DOB: July 18, 2002

Height: 182cm
Weight: 75kg

Position: Inside Midfielder

Zane Trew
Swan Districts/Western Australia

DOB: April 26, 2002

Height: 186cm
Weight:
78kg

Position: Inside Midfielder

ATHLETIC PROFILES

2019 PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS

STANDING VERTICAL JUMP

Davis – 56cm
Trew – 60cm

RUNNING VERTICAL JUMP (R/L)

Davis – 71cm/68cm
Trew – 76cm/73cm

SPEED (20m)

Davis – 3.11 seconds
Trew – 3.11 seconds

AGILITY

Davis – 8.29 seconds
Trew – 8.66 seconds

ENDURANCE (YO-YO)

Davis – 20.3
Trew – 20.8

Strength is one key athletic area which is difficult to measure in these tests, but both manage to show it on-field. In these parameters, their respective results match up to those typical of inside midfielders; boasting agility good enough to see them slip out of congestion, power in their legs which translates to the solid jumping results, and not an overly large helping of speed. The two broke dead-even over 20 metres, and will look to improve their explosive burst over the course of 2020. Trew’s yo-yo test score of 20.8 is understandable considering the amount of time he spent on the sidelines in 2019, but both players should look to really boost that number to better suit their position at the next level.

>> PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

20m Sprint
Agility Test
Yo-yo Test
Jumps

ON-FIELD PROFILES

2019 STATISTICS

Davis:

2019 NAB League

13 games | 22.0 disposals | 2.4 marks | 7.8 tackles | 5.4 clearances | 5.1 inside 50s | 1.6 rebound 50s | 0.1 goals (1)

Trew:

2019 WAFL Colts

3 games | 29 disposals | 2.3 marks | 7 tackles | 2.3 inside 50s | 0.3 goals (1)

It is quite tough to take a hell of a lot away from numbers over such a wide gap in games, but the similarities are evident between these two players in the data provided.

Davis was a figure of consistency as a bottom-ager, moving through midfield as the Devils’ primary ball winner and main contested asset. His 22-disposal average can attest to that, along with averages of 7.8 tackles, 5.4 clearances, and 5.1 inside 50s. It goes to show that a lot of his possessions come at the coalface, with long kicks his outlet of choice.

Trew is a touch different in the sense that he extracts more significantly via hand, but his ball winning ability is just as prominent as he boasts a higher average across three games – largely thanks to a 40-disposal performance which we will get to later. The West Australian’s numbers stack up well across the board, and display the same contested strength as Davis.

BEST GAME

Davis:

2019 NAB League Round 8 vs. Dandenong

33 disposals
7 marks
3 tackles
5 clearances
9 inside 50s

Trew:

2019 WAFL Colts Round 3 vs. Perth

40 disposals
(24 handballs)
4 marks
10 tackles
4 inside 50s

Both prospects put their accumulative value on full show in our chosen performances, racking up game-high numbers and respective personal-bests for 2019 in terms of disposals.

Davis’ big outing came in tight a loss to Dandenong, which boasted the likes of Hayden Young and Mitchell Riordan in its midfield. Davis’ work rate came to the fore against stiff opposition, digging in to collect 33 disposals; split between his contested work (five clearances), and ever-improving spread away from it (seven marks). He pumped the ball inside attacking 50 nine times, too, showcasing that kick-first approach.

A handball-happy Trew also enjoyed a day out, but stands a level above Davis here in the sense that it came in a win, and he also managed to crack the 40-disposal mark. This was Trew’s final WAFL Colts game for the year, and was a display which had been building after efforts of 21 and 26 disposals. His two-way work rate came to the fore with 10 tackles, and that undeniable strength at the contest helped him flick out plenty of passes from the middle via hand.

STRENGTHS

Davis:

Contested ball/clearances
Consistency
Toughness
Tackling
Agility

Trew:

Contested ball/extraction
Releasing handballs
Strength
Tackling
Poise

While there are some obvious similarities across the strengths of either player, the subtle differences in their respective styles can also be observed.

The distinction of clearances on Davis’ side, to extraction for Trew in terms of contested ball is quite deliberate. While Trew is a terrific clearance player himself, he has been shown more significantly to use his strength and awareness to release handballs to teammates on the run, rather than simply look for meterage. On the other hand, Davis has largely taken the quick entry approach in similar situations, able to use his agility to make small openings and pump the ball forward via foot at the first opportunity. He seems to be finding a better balance in his short-range kicks and handball outlets as time goes on.

Both players are incredibly tough going both ways, and remain just as relevant in their defensive duties as they are going forward. Tackling is listed as a strength on either side, and rightly so as the two love to dig in with averages of over seven tackles each per game. But those slight differences in agility against strength, and first options by foot or hand are the things which set these two prospects apart.

IMPROVEMENTS

Davis:

Speed
Blazing away

Trew:

Breakaway speed

The improvements slapped next to the names of inside midfielders almost feel pre-set at times, and while these two may be working on some of those typical areas, they are more advanced than most overall.

Both will inevitably be working on their speed to achieve that eye-catching burst from congestion, despite not being punishably slow at this point in time. For Trew, it is listed as breakaway speed as he tends to stand up in tackles a touch more than Davis, and could benefit from translating his strength in different ways.

Davis has the agility to keep out of trouble, but often throws the ball straight on his boot in traffic. As mentioned, he seems to be improving in that area, and is quite capable of hitting up shorter options with time going inside 50. On the flip-side, Trew is a highly skilled disposer by foot and could be even more damaging if he utilised that asset a touch more – it is just a matter of finding balance.

Something which is not listed for either player, but will make them more complete prospects is the factor of scoreboard impact. Both managed just a goal apiece last year and while Trew has the penetration to find the goals from range, could always do so more often as Davis would hope to.

KEY SCOUTING NOTES

Davis:

2019 NAB League Round 11 vs. Northern

Responded well to being left out of the Allies’ 23, bouncing back to his usual ball-winning ways as a constant at the stoppages. Provides a good mix of competitiveness going both ways, finding the ball constantly but also tackling hard without it. He did show some burst and a willingness to kick forward on occasion – like with his centre clearance in the final term – and has the potential to be more effective in use. Was the skipper for the day as a bottom-ager, so has some pretty impressive traits already and is quite obviously talented.

Trew:

2018 Under 16 National Championships vs. Vic Metro

There’s a lot to like about the Swan Districts product as a solidly built midfielder. Starting at the opening centre bounce, Trew’s first big play was a releasing handball forward which opened up play, followed by a composed kick across the 50 that highlighted his rare vision. Later in the game, his overhead marking came into play as he floated between the 50 arcs, contesting hard in the air. Trew’s aggression also came to the fore as he was not afraid to get stuck in and lay some hard tackles.

AFL Draft Watch: Brandon Walker (East Fremantle/Western Australia)

IN the build up to football eventually returning, Draft Central  takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state at Under 17 or Under 18s level in 2019. While plenty can change between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at pre-season testing, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft watch is East Fremantle prospect Brandon Walker, who is part of Fremantle’s booming Next Generation Academy (NGA) alongside twin brother, Chris. The classy, rebounding half-back has already impressed with his line-breaking speed, astute disposal, and vertical leap when intercepting from defensive 50. After earning All Australian honours at Under 16 level, Walker was a standout for Australia in its annual Under 17 fixture against New Zealand, and went on to become a mainstay for East Fremantle’s WAFL Colts outfit as a bottom-ager.

This year, the 184cm prospect will be looking to break into the West Australian Under 18 starting side having been named in the 2019 squad, while also resuming his climb up the WAFL ranks. He managed the second-best running vertical jump off the left side (94cm) across the nation during preseason, and is sure to showcase much more than just his incredible athleticism once the on-field action returns.

PLAYER PAGE:

Brandon Walker
East Fremantle/Western Australia

DOB: October 17, 2002

Height: 184cm
Weight: 75kg

Position: Half-back/midfielder

Strengths: Vertical leap, speed, decision making, reading the play, rebounding
Improvements: Consistency/accumulation

PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

Standing Vertical Jump – 73cm
Running Vertical Jump (R/L) – 75cm/94cm
Speed (20m) – DNT
Agility – DNT
Endurance (Yo-yo) – DNT

DNT – Did not test

>> Full Testing Results:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
Yo-yo

2019 SCOUTING NOTES:

WAFL Colts Round 15 vs. Peel Thunder

By: Lenny Fogliani

The 2018 AFL U16s All-Australian defender showed why he is so highly touted for the 2020 AFL Draft with another polished performance. He accumulated 11 possessions, grabbed three marks and laid two tackles, while he also provided a heap of run from the defensive half.

WAFL Colts Round 14 vs. Swan Districts

By: Lenny Fogliani

The 2018 AFL Under 16s All-Australian member increased his draft stocks for 2020 with another superb performance. Against Swan Districts, Walker accumulated 16 possessions, took four marks and laid two tackles, playing primarily across the half-back line. His line-breaking capabilities, decision-making and disposal efficiency are all at a fantastic level for someone his age. He is a part of Fremantle’s Next Generation Academy.

WAFL Colts Round 8 vs. South Fremantle

By: Lenny Fogliani

The 2018 AFL U16 All-Australian showed why he is already being touted as a possible first round draft pick in next year’s AFL Draft. Against the Bulldogs, Walker gathered 21 possessions, recorded five inside 50s, took four marks and laid four tackles to be one of the best players.

WAFL Colts Round 2 vs. Subiaco

By: Lenny Fogliani

The Fremantle Next-Generation Academy prospect was sizzling off the half-back line for East Fremantle. He finished with 15 possessions and five marks, showcasing the traits that made him an All-Australian last year. He used his speed to burn off opponents, was smart with his decision-making and elite with his foot skills.

WAFL Colts Round 1 vs. Claremont

By: Lenny Fogliani

The 2018 WA U16s All-Australian was excellent for the Sharks, showing why he is so highly rated for the 2020 AFL Draft. He used his crisp disposal and electrifying speed from the half-back line to torch the Tigers. He finished with 11 possessions, five marks and three tackles.

Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

>> 2020 WA U18s Squad Prediction

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

Allies:
Tahj Abberley
Jackson Callow
Braeden Campbell
Oliver Davis
Errol Gulden

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Vic Country:
Sam Berry
Jack Ginnivan
Nick Stevens
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Vic Metro:
Jackson Cardillo
Nikolas Cox
Connor Downie
Reef McInnes
Archie Perkins

Western Australia:
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Joel Western

Squad predictions: 2020 Western Australia Under 18s

THE annual Under 18 National Championships may be the only chance we get to catch a glimpse of the class of 2020 before draft day, with carnival likely to take place in October. In the meantime, Draft Central takes a look at how each regional squad may line up should the championships come around, but with a few stipulations in place. We began with our Vic Metro, Vic Country, and South Australian squad predictions, and today we take a look at Western Australia’s (WA) potential line-up.

GUIDELINES:

  • Top-agers (2002-born) have been prioritised due to the limited season and exposure
  • Of those, AFL Academy Hub members also gain priority for the starting squad
  • The inclusion of bottom-agers (2003-born) in the hub, and top-agers outside it is limited to three spots in the starting 18
  • 19-year-old inclusions are also limited, having already staked their claims in previous years

A lot may change between now and when the squad will be announced, and it should be noted that players with known long-term injuries will not be picked here. Of course, the sides may vary greatly as players look to shift and develop in different positions, but each member has been selected based on the roles they have previously played. Given only previous form, preseason testing and scratch matches are what we have to go off, bolters are also difficult to gauge at this point.

Players named as depth outside of the initial squad below are inevitably options who will rotate through the side, and it is impossible to fit all the options within a list of 22. But without further ado, let’s get stuck into the fourth squad prediction, with WA’s talent broken down line-by-line.

* – denotes bottom-aged
** – denotes 19-yo

DEFENCE

FB – Blake Morris (Subiaco), Denver Grainger-Barras (Swan Districts), Rhett Bazzo* (Swan Districts)
HB – Brandon Walker (East Fremantle), Heath Chapman (West Perth), Ty Sears (Swan Districts)

The West Australian spine is one of the few to boast genuine talls in most key position posts, starting with Denver Grainger-Barras and Heath Chapman in defence. Both are terrific in the air and provide good versatility as talls, able to shut down opponents, impact the play aerially, and use the ball soundly out of defensive 50.

Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect Brandon Walker‘s name will quickly be placed on the team sheet, with Ty Sears an agile outside mover who takes up the opposite half-back flank in our side. Making it three Swan Districts products in the back six is Rhett Bazzo, joined by WA’s 2019 Under 16 MVP, Blake Morris on the last line.

Both are good competitors in the air; with Bazzo a potential key position prospect at 194cm as a bottom-ager, while Morris is a late bloomer who can intercept with his high marking and shrewd reading of the play. The defence has a bit of everything, and should compete well on all levels with Grainger-Barras the centrepiece and leading draft prospect.


MIDFIELD

C – Jack Carroll (East Fremantle), Zane Trew (Swan Districts), Judd McVee* (East Fremantle)
FOL – Kalin Lane** (Claremont), Nathan O’Driscoll (Perth), Finn Gorringe (East Fremantle)

A trio of tough, big-bodied ball winners look likely to attend the centre bounces for WA, with Nathan O’Driscoll (187cm), Zane Trew (186cm), and Finn Gorringe (183cm) all inside types who can crack in and win the hard ball. O’Driscoll is a thumping left-foot kick and capable marker who may also feature across half-back, while Trew is perhaps an even better disposer by foot who also earned Under 16 All Australian honours in 2018.

Palming down to them could well be a true bolter in Kalin Lane, who featured in the 2020 AFL Academy intake despite only playing one WAFL Colts game for Claremont. The 202cm big-man is also the sole 19-year-old to feature in the side, and should be aided well by a couple of other talls in terms of ruck duties.

On the outside, Jack Carroll adds to the high-level kicking abilities to make it three East Fremantle prospects among the midfield group. He displayed his class in last year’s Under 17 All Stars showcase, and is joined on the opposite wing by Judd McVee, a bottom-aged small who has that classic burst out of the stoppages and may feature on the inside.


FORWARD

HF – Joel Western (Claremont), Shannon Neale (South Fremantle), Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder)
FF – Owen Dann (East Fremantle), Logan McDonald (Perth), Ira Jetta (South Fremantle)

There is plenty of versatility among the proposed West Australian forward group, with two genuine talls again slotting into key position spots, while each of the smaller options can also rotate through different roles. Among them, Joel Western is an exciting prospect who is part of Fremantle’s NGA and can rotate through the midfield, credit to his freakish skills and evasiveness.

Ira Jetta is another small who can also double as a midfielder at the Under 18 level, but has terrific goal sense and fills a spot up forward here. Owen Dann takes up the other pocket but can be thrown into defence, while Peel Thunder’s Isiah Winder slots in at half-forward – a player who catches the eye, and yet another sub-180cm mover who can shuffle further afield.

Logan McDonald is one of the leading key position prospects in the national talent pool and is simply a lock at full forward, having already represented the Black Ducks at Under 18 level in 2019. His athleticism, clean hands, and contested marking will put WA in good stead and he has grown to true key position height at 195cm. Shannon Neale, another late bloomer will rotate between the ruck and forwardline, able to compete in the air while also possessing good athletic traits at 200cm.

The flexibility of the side as a whole is stamped with that of the forward six here, with each player both versatile in their respective positions while being able to double in separate roles. With a couple of solid talls to help the smalls crumb, this group could also produce a handy highlight reel.


INTERCHANGE

INT – Luke Polson* (Peel Thunder), Kade Dittmar* (East Perth), Kellen Johnson (West Perth), Tyler Nesbitt (Peel Thunder)

A pair of bottom-agers head our interchange, which was a typically difficult one to whittle down. Luke Polson is a 195cm ruck/forward who can provide depth on either line, while Kade Dittmar is a hard-working and physical midfielder with a booming kick and the ability to play elsewhere if required. Polson’s Peel Thunder teammate Tyler Nesbitt rounds out the 22 alongside fellow top-age academy member Kellen Johnson, both medium-sized prospects who may feature at either end of the ground.


SQUAD DEPTH

There is a good amount of bottom-age depth in the West Australian ranks, and some top-agers outside of the AFL Academy bubble who could push their case for selection. Jack Hindle is the only top-age academy member to miss out on our 22, but will likely rotate through the side. Chris Walker, the twin brother of Brandon is another who may be thereabouts, while Jamison Ugle is a speedy type who could garner attention along with Subiaco’s Tyler Brockman as forward options. Talented 199cm ruck/forward Michael Mallard had a decent Under 16 campaign for WA, and is already a known quantity if selectors are looking for even more key position depth.

In terms of those eligible for the 2021 draft who feature in the academy hub, Max Chipper is a classy midfielder from the stacked Swan Districts squad. Matthew Johnson is a tall but raw prospect who can also play forward, and Mitchell Brown is another midfield option who may put his hand up. Rounding out the crop is Claremont’s Jacob van Rooyen and Richard Bartlett, both of whom featured for the Black Ducks in last year’s Under 16 national carnival.

Picture: Michael Farnell – Sports Imagery Australia

>> READ UP ON THE 2020 WA U18s:
>> 2019 WAFL Colts Content

AFL Draft Watch:

Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll

Marquee Matchups:

Denver Grainger-Barras vs. Kaine Baldwin

Positional Analysis:

Key Forwards

2017 Under 18 All-Australia team announced

THE Under 18 Championships have come and gone, with Vic Metro claiming back-to-back titles after winning three of their four games.

In no surprise, Metro dominate the 23-man squad, headlined by possible no.1 pick Cameron Rayner who is one of nine Metro players included.

West Australia key forward Oscar Allen, the winner of the Larke Medal for the best player in Division 1, was named up forward.

Sydney Swans academy member Nick Blakey won the Hunter Harrison Medal for the best player in the Under 18 Academy Series (Formerly Division 2), but didn’t feature in the 23-man squad.

Vic Metro coach Martin Allison was named as the All-Australia coach, with Western Australia coach Peter Sumich named as his assistant.

DEFENDERS:

Ben Paton
Back pocket (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
19/10/1998 | 185cm | 78kg

Averaged 18 disposals, four marks and four rebound 50s per game playing as a small defender. Uses the ball well by foot and was often tasked with the kick out duties.

Oscar Clavarino
Full back (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
22/05/1999 | 190cm | 83kg

Has a solid carnival in defence for Vic Country averaging 11 disposals and six marks. Clavarino took the opposition best forward in most games and has had two good seasons in the Under 18 Championships.

Sam Taylor
Back pocket (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
05/05/1999 | 196cm | 85kg

The AFL Academy member played as a lock-down defender who was an unsung hero for WA. Averaged just 11 disposals, but had three rebounds per game pushing his name into draft contention.

Charlie Constable
Half back flank (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
18/05/1999 | 190cm | 83kg

Constable was one of Vic Metro’s best in the carnival and despite missing out on selection in their first game, managed to average 26 disposals, five marks and three tackles. He announced himself as a genuine top 10 with 31 disposals, six marks and six inside 50s in the ‘Vic derby’ playing in the midfield and across half forward.

Aaron Naughton
Centre half back (Peel Thunder/Western Australia)
30/11/1999 | 194cm | 84kg

Rebounding tall defender who was a good user on his left foot. Naughton took 21 marks for the carnival and was the rock in defence alongside Sam Taylor. Was WAs co-captain alongside Oscar Allen.

Nicholas Coffield
Half back flank (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
23/10/1999 | 190cm | 83kg

A player who has pushed into top 10 calculations after a strong carnival. Coffield averaged 22 disposals and four marks, rarely looking rushed with ball in hand in the defensive half. One of the better users in the draft by hand and foot.

MIDFIELDERS:

Brayden Crossley
Ruckman (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Allies)
16/08/1999 | 198cm | 105kg

The big Gold Coast Suns Academy ruckman was the MVP for the Allies, averaging 16 disposals and 27 hitouts from his three games. Crossley’s strength in the ruck is obvious and he hasn’t looked out of place in the NEAFL team for the Suns.

Cameron Rayner
Ruck rover (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
21/10/1999 | 187cm | 88kg

One of the players who were stiff not to win the Larke Medal. Rayner averaged 18 disposals (11 contested), four clearances and booted 12 goals in an impressive carnival. Rayner wasn’t afraid to throw out a ‘don’t argue’ to his opponents and had some impressive moments during the carnival.

Paddy Dow
Rover (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
16/10/1999 | 184cm | 78kg

Showed off his elite speed bursting from the stoppages on multiple occasions, averaging 19 disposals (12 contested) and five clearances in an impressive showing in the midfield. Did his top 10 chances no harm.

Patrick Naish
Wing (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
15/01/1999 | 180cm | 69kg

The Richmond father-son averaged 21 disposals, five marks and four inside 50s for the carnival and provided run & dash out of defence on multiple occasions for Metro. One of the better players in the ‘Vic derby’ with 24 disposals, nine marks and two goals at Punt Road.

Brayden Ainsworth
Centre (Subiaco/Western Australia)
27/11/1998 | 183cm | 75kg

The inside midfielder won 49% of his possessions in contested situations, averaging 24 disposals and six clearances throughout the carnival. Started the carnival off with a bang, collecting 26 disposals and eight clearances against South Australia in their golden-point victory.

Izak Rankine
Wing (West Adelaide/South Australia)
23/04/2000 | 178cm | 74kg

The small forward caught the eye of the recruiters using his speed and elite side-step to good use. Rankine averaged 19 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s – kicking six goals for the carnival. The bottom-ager is one to watch for the 2018 draft.

FORWARDS:

Zac Bailey
Half forward flank (Southern Districts/Allies)
23/09/1999 | 180cm | 68kg

Bailey has a great burst of speed and the Northern Territory midfielder averaged 17 disposals, four tackles and three clearances per game. Bailey’s burst from the centre bounce to win the final clearance in the last few minutes against Vic Metro was a key reason for their unexpected victory.

Jarrod Brander
Centre half forward (Bendigo Pioneers/Allies)
11/02/1999 | 195cm | 90kg

Spent time at either end throughout the carnival but finished with a breakout 16 disposal, nine marks and three goals game up forward against title winning Vic Metro.

Jack Higgins
Half forward flank (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
19/03/1999 | 178cm | 76kg

Higgins was the only player to break the 100 disposal barrier, finishing with 109 disposals (53 contested) in the carnival. Higgins was a deserving MVP for Vic Metro, going close to the Larke Medal. Higgins also averaged six tackles, five clearances and booted six goals for the tournament showing his skill as a player likely to be taken in the backend of the first round.

Callum Coleman-Jones
Forward pocket (Sturt/South Australia)
13/06/1999 | 201cm | 98kg

Coleman-Jones averaged 19 hitouts per game, with a breakout 28 disposal, 15 hitouts and five marks game against the Allies in Round 2. Coleman-Jones is one of the stronger marks in the draft pool.

Oscar Allen
Full forward (West Perth/Western Australia)
19/03/1999 | 191cm | 83kg

The key forward looms as the likely first West Australian prospect drafted. Allen won the Larke Medal as the best player in Division One, booting 11 goals for the carnival. Allen also averaged 15 disposals and six marks, as an overall deserving Larke Medalist.

Dylan Moore
Forward pocket (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/08/1999 | 175cm | 66kg

The small midfielder cracked in hard, winning plenty of contested ball, rolling through the Vic Metro centre bounces. Moore had 92 disposals (45 contested) for the carnival and booted three goals.

INTERCHANGE:

Sam Hayes
Interchange (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
09/06/1999 | 203cm | 93kg

The Vic Metro ruckman becomes a dual U18 All-Australian. Hayes averaged 17 hitouts per game and booted four goals up forward. Also took 14 marks for the carnival and showed his versatility up forward.

Lachlan Fogarty
Interchange (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
01/04/1999 | 179cm | 75kg

The half forward/midfielder missed the opening game of the carnival recovering from a groin injury. Fogarty averaged 19 disposals and a goal throughout the championships, using his smarts around the ground.

Harrison Petty
Interchange (Norwood/South Australia)
12/11/1999 | 194cm | 81kg

One of the more impressive players in the carnival, winning the South Australian MVP. Petty averaged 12 disposals and four marks, with his best performance coming against Vic Metro lining up on Will Sutherland with Petty having 18 disposals, seven marks and six inside 50s.

James Worpel
Interchange (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
24/01/1999 | 185cm | 84kg

Was the Vic Country MVP averaging 20 disposals (10 contested), four clearances and four inside 50s for the carnival. Was the leading tackler for the carnival with 33 tackles in his four games.

Joel Garner
Interchange (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
21/05/1999 | 183cm | 81kg

The Vic Metro captain had a superb carnival despite battling an ankle injury in their third game. Garner averaged 16 disposals with 48 per cent of these in contested situations. Garner controlled the play in the defensive half, with a standout performance in the ‘Vic derby’ with 24 disposals, nine marks and six rebound 50s.