Tag: wafl

Draft Central All-Star Team: Swan Districts

SWAN DISTRICTS’ All-Star Team of the AFL Draft era is another impressive one overall, with plenty of talent across the board, and a side that fans would love to see running around on the park. From contested marking talls, to athletic smalls and speedy midfielders, the Swans’ outfit is certainly one to marvel.

THE TEAM:

Swan Districts has a nice balance of talent in each of the thirds, with enough defensively-minded players to match their high level of offensively-minded ones. With Nic Naitanui dominating the ruck, and a lot of both past and present speedsters around the ground and bursting out of the stoppage, the Swans will creates headaches for any defence.

DEFENCE:

Starting in the back six, recently retired star Alex Rance holds down full-back with five All-Australians and a best and fairest to his name in 200 games of AFL football. He is paired with Stephen O’Reilly back there, winning a best and fairest himself in 146 games across three clubs. The other versatile tall is Adam Hunter who could play a multitude of roles, and we have named him in defence given the forward 50 strength.

Moving onto the other three medium to smalls, Dennis Armfield could lock down on a dangerous opposition small forward, while Nathan Broad and Neville Jetta would provide the dash and dare off half-back to set up an attacking move in transition. Coming off the bench, the Swans have Sam Taylor who might only have 30-odd games to his name, but is becoming a consistent key defender, as well as Clancee Pearce who could play a role there, as could All-Australian defender, Craig Holden.

MIDFIELD:

Through the midfield, Naitanui is the star factor and point of difference in the ruck, but his midfield is equally as elite when it comes to speed and skills. Stephen Coniglio and Michael Walters are at the peak of their powers currently, and still have plenty of years left to continue their terrific form. Andrew Embley is another who has been named onball, and he is Swan Districts’ AFL games record holder, notching up 250 games to go with his Norm Smith Medal and premiership.

On the wings are Lewis Jetta and Chris Yarran who add the touch of speed and class to the outside, with Jetta’s footskills in particular renowned throughout the competition. Connor Blakely is on the bench ready to come on and rotate through the midfield, while the ruck depth at the club is quite impressive with Beau McDonald and Rory Lobb also waiting in the wings on the interchange.

FORWARD:

The forward 50 is very exciting, as modern day small forwards Charlie Cameron and Jeff Garlett would be a nightmare at the feet of Scott Cummings and Jason Ball. While the latter two key position players were not the quickest players going around, they do not need to be in this team with the crumbers at their feet. Cummings won a Coleman and booted 349 goals in 128 games, while Ball played 193 games and kicked 159 goals, also playing through the ruck.

Speaking of playing through the ruck, Lobb on the bench would start inside 50 and likely have the freedom to remain a key forward, though if injuries struck, could also jump into the middle. Michael Richardson (171 games, 174 goals and an All-Australian nod) and Craig Callaghan (124 games, 94 goals) are the other two players who earn a spot in the side and provide some more goalkicking power up there.

DEPTH:

Of the players not in the side, the ones with the most games are Jamie Bennell (87 games), Steven Handley (73), Brett Johnson (70) and David Ellard (63). In terms of modern day players, Marcus Adams and Griffin Logue would both be pushing for a spot in coming years.

WAFL weekend preview: Round 4 – Perth Derby headlines huge weekend of action

ROUND 4 of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) is set to bounce down on Saturday, promising to deliver another high-level weekend of action.

Another instalment of the Perth Derby headlines what looks like being a super Saturday of football, with South Fremantle out to maintain its perfect start to the season against reigning premier, Subiaco, while Swan Districts has the bye.

Four seperate venues will again be utilised, with the Reserves and Colts kicking off all bar one of the triple-headed contests. We break down each matchup across the three grades.

>> SCROLL for full fixtures and teams

PREVIEWS AND FIXTURES

West Perth vs. East Perth

League: Saturday August 8, 2:30pm @ Provident Financial Oval
Reserves:
Saturday August 8, 12:00pm @ Provident Financial Oval
Colts:
Saturday August 8, 9:30pm @ Provident Financial Oval

A trio of Perth Derbies are set to kick off Round 4 across the WAFL grades, and there should be plenty of feeling among them with points at a premium amid the shortened season. At League level, the Falcons have only dropped points to table topper, South Fremantle and sit pretty in second spot, while the Royals are fifth at 1-1. Both sides have made two changes each to their Round 3 lineups.

Both Reserves sides boast two wins apiece, and West Perth will hope to hit the ground running again after enjoying the bye last weekend. The clash looms as a top-of-the-table fixture, with the possibility that the winner will come out of the round as the lone remaining undefeated side. At Colts level, the Falcons will hope to maintain another perfect (3-0) start, while East Perth has the chance to jump to a positive record having suffered defeat last time out.

East Fremantle vs. Perth

League: Saturday August 8, 2:30pm @ New Choice Homes Park
Reserves:
Saturday August 8, 12:00pm @ New Choice Homes Park
Colts:
Saturday August 8, 9:30pm @ New Choice Homes Park

All eyes will be on Cody Leggett as he prepares to take on former side, Perth for the first time since his drawn-out transfer over the off-season. His new team, East Fremantle currently sits seventh at 1-2 after a loss in Round 3, while Perth is coming off the bye and looking to stay undefeated as it pushes for a rare finals berth. There will be no changes to the Demons’ side, but Durak Tucker is one of two ins for the Sharks. Young key forward Logan McDonald will again be sure to garner plenty of attention for Perth.

A bottom two clash looms in the Reserves grade, with both teams coming in still looking for maiden wins. East Fremantle will be particularly desperate for the points, with a potential 0-3 start to the season putting them well behind the eight-ball in a tight race for finals. The Sharks’ Colts enjoyed their first win for 2020 last week, and will hope to build on it against the 1-1 Perth unit. There will be plenty of high-end draft talent running around, with a bunch of AFL Academy members set to take the field in this game.

Claremont vs. Peel Thunder

League: Saturday August 8, 2:30pm @ Revo Fitness Stadium
Colts: Saturday August 8, 12:00pm @ Revo Fitness Stadium

Two sides with very different goals are set to meet at Revo Fitness Stadium, where Claremont plays host to Peel Thunder. The Tigers will be out to redeem their opening loss for the year, while Peel will simply be looking for its first win. The Thunders’ depth has been tested greatly, and they will again make three changes with Isiah Winder among those to exit the League fray. Brayden Lawler is set to make his 100th WAFL appearance, and Claremont will go in unchanged.

With Peel not laying claim to a Reserves side, the Tigers’ two’s can benefit from a bye round. On the Colts scene, Claremont will hope Joel Western is in the frame for a return soon after missing last week through injury, though an unblemished 3-0 start to the season will do them a world of confidence. Redemption will be on the mind of Peel’s youngsters, who can get one back on the Tigers after going down to them in last year’s Grand Final. They come into the clash at 1-2 having only lost to Claremont’s fellow frontrunners, West Perth.

Subiaco vs. South Fremantle
League:
Saturday August 8, 3:05pm @ Leederville Oval
Reserves:
Saturday August 8, 12:30pm @ Leederville Oval
Colts:
Saturday August 8, 5:40pm @ Leederville Oval

Another Grand Final rematch sees out the round of action, as Subiaco takes on the undefeated South Fremantle at Leederville Oval. Last year’s League premier, Subiaco suffered a shock loss in Round 1, but looks to be steering back on track. A meeting with the surging Bulldogs looms as a tough test though, with East Fremantle looking like the team most likely to push the Lions off their pedestal. 12 players who didn’t feature in last year’s premiership side have been named in Subiaco’s squad, while debutant Kye Barker is among three inclusions for the Bulldogs from their Round 3 team.

The Lions’ Reserves are undefeated, but have still dropped points and sit just behind the Bulldogs in fourth place. Both teams will hope to push for finals and keep competition for senior spots strong. Either side has also tasted defeat at Colts level, but Subiaco comes in off a big win against Swan Districts.

TEAMS

Talented Morrison learns to adapt in new system, eyes improvement

ALWAYS an eye-catching player, Mikayla Morrison has never been short of a highlight or two. The Swan Districts young star and AFL Women’s Academy member spoke to Draft Central about her journey through the West Australian pathway, busy schedule and hopes for the Swans’ season ahead.

Like a number of aspiring AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls, Morrison played Aussie rules as a child before stopping for a few years and taking it up again as an older teenager. Already she has represented a number of teams at school, club and state level.

“I started liking footy when my older cousin came and lived with us,” Morrison said. “Then I just started playing with school which was Lockridge Primary. “Like just in the little girls carnivals. “Then I didn’t start playing club until Year 7, which was at Bassendean Junior Football Club. I stopped footy for a bit after that year and then I went to East Perth in 2016. “Then I was with them until 2019 and then I moved to Swans this year to play League footy.”

Without a League side in 2020, the move from the Royals to the Swans made sense, and Morrison joined a raft of other AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls, including fellow Women’s Academy member Shanae Davisonwho spoke to us last week – and other talents who have impressed on a national stage such as Nyra Anderson, and Mikayla and Brianna Hyde.

Much like other talented West Australian footballers, Morrison was named in the State Academy and represented the Black Ducks at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. Alongside the likes of Anderson and the Hyde sisters, Morrison was able to shine on some of the biggest stages. Her efforts earned her a place in the AFL Women’s National Academy – something she admits she had never heard of – despite not rating her own performance at the carnival too highly.

It’s (WA Academy) been really good,” Morrison said. “I only started that in 2018, I started in 16s. “Then 2019 moved up to 18s which was a pretty good step and then from there, got chosen for National Academy as well. At first I didn’t even know what it was. “I had no idea, but then when I realised what it was I felt really proud of myself because in the championships I thought I didn’t play that well.”

Morrison described running out on Metricon Stadium as “unreal” and it just felt “really cool” to be able to play on an AFL ground on the other side of the country. While the midfielder-forward admitted she was nervous at first, she soon settled in, and then took a mark that few would be likely to forget.

“At first it felt like I let my nerves take over me, but as the game went on I started to feel more comfortable and started to play my own game,” Morrison said. “As I took that (mark), I felt so good because I’ve never obviously taken something like that before. “Looking back at it, the video, I dunno it just felt really good.”

While Morrison has spent the majority of her time inside 50, the athletic and smart player said she sees herself as a midfielder in the future. Morrison said the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships helped with her footy smarts, enabling her to get to ball-winning positions and become more involved around the ground. It also allowed her to make new friends, forming connections through mutual friends she had played with in previous carnivals.

I did get to mingle with the other girls, with a lot of the Indigenous girls,” Morrison said. “We played other carnivals together like the Woomeras and Kickstart, so I got to see them again. “Which was pretty good and they just introduced me to their other teammates, and got to know them.”

Morrison said while she wanted to become more of a midfielder, she admitted her fitness was an area of improvement, something her coaches have pushed her to improve in the coming weeks.

I feel like I’m more of a midfield player but I feel like it was my fitness letting me down a bit, I just needed to get that up,” she said. “Along with fitness, it would be my composure when I’m running with the ball (as another area of improvement). “I got told a few times on the weekend that I sometimes rush it, so I need to compose myself and take my time.”

Morrison’s strengths include her athleticism, in particular her speed and overhead marking, with her precision kicking and tackling pressure also among her better attributes. It has helped her adapt to a new side, having captained East Perth last year, but now representing Swan Districts. She admitted it has been a big change for her, but her teammates have been terrific.

It’s been a lot different,” she said. “Because now I’m one of the youngest. “They’ve been really welcoming, and because I’ve known most of the girls through state and through the community. “I think I’ve adapted pretty well, just getting to know everyone.”

The team has gelled well off the field, and now Morrison believes it is time they gelled on it, with some promising signs, but so many young players and limited time playing together has made it difficult to start strongly. They won their opening round clash, but have dropped the past two matches to arguably the two best sides at the moment.

I feel like we’re going fine,” Morrison said. “I just feel like we haven’t gelled properly yet because we have a lot of new people this year. “We are a young side, but I think we all get along well, but on the field it’s more of a gelling thing.”

Off the field, Morrison is at university where she is studying pre-medicine. Not yet decided on her major field of focus, she has narrowed it down to either nursing, medicine or physio. The extra workload has been pretty tough for the teenager who said she might have preferred to do Year 12 in her top-age year, but also conceded that could be due to the extra workload of a medical degree.

At the moment it’s pretty full on because I’m at uni at the moment studying pre-med and some classes I have later in the day, so I have to rush around for training, but that’s about it,” she said.

Morrison credits her cousin Darnell Morrison as her greatest inspiration and support coming through the pathway and on her football journey. Helping her get into the sport she loves, as well as providing plenty of tips along the way, Morrison said he was a huge influence on her growing up.

“He’s the one that got me into footy and he’d always come down to my games and give me tips,” she said. “When I was younger he took me out to kick the footy, and just watching him made me really want to play.”

Now in her draft year, Morrison said she is always keen to develop her game, and while the two AFL Women’s clubs who could be eligible to draft her do not directly communicate, there is a strong communication channel from the elite level to the up and coming players through the terrific West Australian Academy.

I don’t get much feedback directly from the two clubs, it’s mostly through state,” she said. “I’ll just find that ‘Deggers’ (Clint Degebrodt, Talent Manager – Female Programs) will just text me if the two clubs have something to say or any feedback. “So yeah it’s mostly through State Academy.”

The 2020 season has been like none other and whilst the season has been shortened, Morrison said she was just glad to get back into the action.

“Yeah it (pre-season) was a bit much.” she said. “Just trainings after trainings after trainings, but then with some trainings we’d do scratch matches after training so we wouldn’t be out of it. “But yeah, it got a bit much. “I was just glad when Round 1 came around.”

Now preparing for a Round 5 clash with reigning premiers, East Fremantle at home, Morrison said she believes the Swans have the capability of turning around their couple of losses and posting some wins on the board on the run home.

I still have high hopes, I think we could still make finals,” she said. “We just have to really put our heads down and gel this weekend.”

WAFL League weekly wrap: Round 3 – Bulldogs remain top, Lions get on the board

IN Round 3 of the Optus WAFL League competition, there were a host of great individual and team performances alike.

This round saw Subiaco (11.13.79) defeat Swan Districts (6.4.40), East Perth (15.9.99) beat East Fremantle (8.8.56), West Perth (20.11.131) win against Peel Thunder (5.9.39), and South Fremantle (7.6.48) win a thriller over Claremont (5.10.40).

Perth was the club that had the bye this weekend.

Read below to see the results of round three and the best players.

>> WAFL Colts Round 3 Wrap

SWAN DISTRICTS (6.4.40) def. by SUBIACO (11.13.79)

Subiaco returned to the winners’ list with a solid 39-point victory over Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval.

Reigning Sandover Medallist Lachlan Delahunty led the way for the Lions with 24 possessions, 12 hit-outs, eight marks and six tackles.

Hayden Kennedy (22 possessions, six marks, four inside 50s), Greg Clark (19 possessions, seven tackles, five marks), Leigh Kitchin (17 possessions, four marks, four tackles), Ben Newton (19 possessions, five inside 50s, four marks, one goal) and Kyal Horsley (19 possessions, two goals) were excellent in the midfield.

Up forward, Ben Sokol (three goals) and Nicholas Martin (16 possessions, seven marks, two goals) were dynamic for the Lions.

For the Swans, Denver Grainger-Barras was brilliant with 10 possessions, four marks and four tackles.

Former Northern Blues midfielders Frank Anderson (23 possessions, three tackles) and Samuel Fisher (18 possessions, four marks) tried hard all day. Bunbury product Aidan Clarke (21 possessions, six marks) was also admirable for the Swans.

>> PLAYER FOCUS: Denver Grainger-Barras

EAST PERTH (15.9.99) def. EAST FREMANTLE (8.8.56)

East Perth secured its first victory of the 2020 Optus WAFL League competition with a solid 43-point victory over East Fremantle at Leederville Oval.

Former Collingwood player Jackson Ramsay (28 possessions, four marks, four inside 50s, three tackles) and former Brisbane player Nicholas Robertson (12 possessions, six marks, four tackles, four inside 50s, three goals) led the way for the Royals.

Young guns Shayne Hille (22 possessions, seven marks, one goal), Aidan Lynch (28 possessions, nine marks, four tackles, four inside 50s, one goal), Mitchell Dobson (13 possessions, one goal), Ajang Ajang (18 hit-outs), Matthew Young (18 possessions, three goals) and Jaxon Cahill (17 possessions, six marks) were all influential for the Royals.

For the Sharks, gun recruit Cody Leggett continued his good form with 21 possessions, five marks, five tackles, and four inside 50s.

Former AFL players Jordan Snadden (27 possessions, one goal), Cameron Eardley (20 possessions), Blaine Boekhorst (25 possessions, nine marks, seven inside 50s) and Luke Strnadica (three goals) competed hard for the Sharks.

PEEL THUNDER (5.9.39) def. by WEST PERTH (20.11.131)

West Perth returned to the winners’ list after a resounding 92-point victory over Peel Thunder at David Grays Arena.

Reigning West Perth Best and Fairest winner Tyler Keitel was imposing for the Falcons with 16 possessions, seven hit-outs, five marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and five goals.

Luke Meadows (27 possessions, six marks, six tackles, four inside 50s, two goals), Connor West (24 possessions, five tackles), and Shane Nelson (30 possessions, one goal) were all pivotal for the Falcons.

Former Essendon player Jackson Merrett was name Peel’s best player, as he finished with 31 possessions and 11 marks.

Blair Bell (19 possessions, six marks, two goals), Ben Howlett (18 possessions, seven tackles, six marks, three inside 50s) and Jordan Boullineau (11 possessions, three marks) were named as Peel’s best players.

SOUTH FREMANTLE (7.6.48) def. CLAREMONT (5.10.40)

South Fremantle remains undefeated in the 2020 Optus WAFL League competition after a thrilling eight-point victory over Claremont at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Jacob Dragovich was inspirational for the Bulldogs with 25 possessions, seven tackles, five inside 50s and three marks.

Jake Florenca (21 possessions, six tackles, one goal), Nicholas Suban (22 possessions, five tackles), Zachary Strom (21 possessions, seven marks), Ben Rioli (16 possessions) and Chad Pearson (16 possessions) were significant for the Bulldogs.

Former North Melbourne midfielder Declan Mountford was Claremont’s best with 30 possessions, six tackles and six inside 50s.

Jack Lewsey (27 possessions, seven marks), Jye Bolton (24 possessions), Kane Mitchell (20 possessions, six tackles) and Alec Waterman (20 possessions, nine marks, eight inside 50s, one goal) competed solidly for the Tigers.

WAFL Colts Weekly Wrap: Round 3 – East Fremantle gets on the board

IN Round 3 of the 2020 Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition, there were a host of great individual and team performances alike.

This round saw East Fremantle (8.10.58) defeat East Perth (7.5.47), Claremont (16.12.108) beat South Fremantle (2.5.17), West Perth (19.10.124) win against Peel (7.4.46), and Subiaco (17.8.110) secure victory over Swan Districts (6.9.45).

Perth was the club that had the bye this weekend.

Read below to see the results of round three and to see the best players.

EAST PERTH 7.5 (47) def. EAST FREMANTLE 8.10 (58)

East Fremantle recorded its first victory of the 2020 Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition, after defeating East Perth by 11 points at Leederville Oval.

East Fremantle’s captain Keanu Haddow inspired the Sharks to victory with 28 possessions and nine marks. Jack Carroll (22 possessions, four inside 50s, four tackles), Edward Curley (22 possessions, one goal), Jed Hagan (18 possessions, eight marks, eight tackles, four inside 50s), Finn Gorringe (15 possessions, seven tackles, one goal), Bailey Hodge (15 possessions, one goal), Judd McVee (11 possessions, three inside 50s), and Brandon Walker (22 possessions, one goal) were all outstanding for the Sharks.

Dunsborough product Jack Hindle was named East Perth’s best after he finished with 19 possessions, three marks, three tackles and a goal. He was well supported by Joshua Hubbard (27 possessions, seven tackles, five inside 50s), Luke Lombardi (24 possessions, three tackles), Jy Thompson (20 possessions), Riley May (11 possessions, six marks) and Zac Dronow (20 possessions, six marks).

Chris Walker (East Fremantle) and Kade Dittmar (East Perth) were among the notable absentees.

SOUTH FREMANTLE 2.5 (17) def. by CLAREMONT 16.12 (108)

Claremont continued its unbeaten start to the season with another convincing victory, this time a 91-point drubbing of South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Cameron Anderson, a member of the 2019 WA U18s State Academy, was Claremont’s best player with 21 possessions, 12 tackles, eight inside 50s and a goal. Logan Young (17 possessions, seven tackles), Jake Willson (17 possessions, seven inside 50s, five tackles), Sam Alvarez (18 possessions, five marks, five tackles, one goal), Logan Guelfi (17 possessions, nine tackles, two goals), Jacob Van Rooyen (15 possessions, five marks, three goals) and Kalin Lane (15 possessions, 20 hit-outs) were all brilliant for the reigning premiers.

For the Bulldogs, Jaxon Bellchambers competed strongly all day to finish with 26 possessions, nine marks, eight tackles, four inside 50s and one goal. Shannon Neale (nine possessions, 20 hit-outs), Solomon James (17 possessions, 14 hit-outs, four inside 50s, three marks), Adam Correia (22 possessions, six marks, four inside 50s), Riley Colborne (10 possessions, five marks), and Toby Dodds (19 possessions, seven marks) competed solidly for the Bulldogs.

Claremont’s Joel Western did not play in the game due to a hamstring injury sustained last week.

PEEL THUNDER 7.4 (46) def. by WEST PERTH 19.10 (124)

West Perth remains undefeated in 2020 after a strong 78-point victory over Peel Thunder at David Grays Arena.

Heath Chapman (27 possessions, 11 marks) and Michael Mallard (15 possessions, 32 hit-outs) led the way for the Falcons. Corey Rundle (14 possessions, six marks, seven goals), Darcy Dixon (11 possessions, four goals), Logan Foley (18 possessions, eight hit-outs, seven marks, two goals), Callum Johnson (32 possessions, five tackles, four marks, three inside 50s, one goal), and Rohan Scurria (27 possessions, seven marks) were key contributors to the Falcons’ victory.

Bodie Kitchingham (25 possessions, five marks, five tackles, one goal), Jack Walsh (25 possessions, seven tackles), Tyler Nesbitt (16 possessions), Luke Polson (16 possessions, five marks) and David Yaccob (16 possessions, six marks) contributed valiantly all day for the Thunder.

Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder) and Kellen Johnson (West Perth) did not play, with the former called up for his League debut.

SWAN DISTRICTS 6.9 (45) def. by SUBIACO 17.8 (110)

Subiaco secured its first victory of the 2020 Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition with a resounding 65-point victory over Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval.

Subiaco’s Vice Captain Lachlan Vanirsen was at the forefront for the Lions, leading the way with 24 possessions, six marks and six tackles.

Jed Kemp (19 possessions, eight tackles, four marks, four inside 50s), Matthew Johnson (15 possessions, one goal), Ezekiel Bolton (15 possessions, one goal), and Blake Morris (11 possessions, three marks) were all pivotal for the Lions’ victory. Up forward, Sandon Page (10 possessions, five goals) and Jaxon Bilchuris (12 possessions, seven marks, four goals) proved to be a handful for the Swans’ defenders.

Ayden Cartwright was Swan Districts’ best player with 24 possessions, eight marks, and a goal. Ashley Brockbernd (19 possessions, eight tackles), Kade Screaigh (18 possessions, six tackles), Jamieson Ugle (16 possessions, five tackles, one goal), Ty Sears (15 possessions, six marks, six inside 50s), Dylan Brockbernd (15 possessions, five inside 50s) and William Collins (14 possessions, three tackles) tried hard all day.

Draft Central All-Star Team: Subiaco Lions

SUBIACO Lions are a side that has a large West Australian contingency with remarkably only one player in the 24-player side not running out for either West Coast or Fremantle at some point during their career. The Lions have been a rich breeding ground for the two West Australian clubs, particularly in the 1990s where a multitude of dual premiership players form a strong line-up for their All-Star Team of the AFL Draft era.

THE TEAM:

Looking across the team sheet, the midfield immediately jumps out as a strength, but the defence would be stringent and the attack has some versatile options who could create headaches on the day.

DEFENCE:

The two key position defenders in the Lions side are a couple of players who you could rely on to nullify opposition forwards. Fremantle’s Shane Parker is at full-back and forged a career as a dour defender with 238 games to his name, whilst Mark Zanotti managed the 157 out of full-back as well, but kicked eight more goals (still only 19) than Parker so gets the half-back slot.

At half-back, Drew Banfield and Daniel Rich could provide some serious run and rotate through the middle, with Rich the only player to have not represented West Coast or Fremantle in the side, reaching more than 200 games with the AFL Lions in Brisbane. Banfield is Subiaco’s games record holder at AFL level, notching up 265, winning two flags and a best and fairest. In the back pockets are Mitchell White and Antoni Grover who were very solid players throughout their careers, with White earning an All-Australian honour in 174 games, while Grover reached the 200-game milestone for the Dockers.

MIDFIELD:

The midfield is definitely the strength, and it is helped by the original 210cm giant in Matthew ‘Spider’ Burton who towered over opposition rucks before the modern giants graced the game. The onball division of Matt Priddis, Tyson Stenglein and Chad Fletcher would be a tough one to topple in the contest. Priddis is a Brownlow Medalist, and both he and Fletcher are All-Australians. Stenglein managed 208 games across the Crows and Eagles, winning a flag.

On the wings are Dean Kemp and Dom Sheed, two different eras but just as influential on the big stage. Kemp won a Norm Smith to go with his All-Australian, best and fairest and two flags, whilst Sheed kicked arguably the most clutch goal of the past couple of decades by splitting the sticks against Collingwood in 2018 and handing his team the premiership. With Banfield and Rich able to push up, and the likes of Des Headland and Jarrad Schofield also able to rotate through there, the midfield is flushed for talent.

FORWARD:

The forward line has a real mix, with Headland and Schofield the experienced ones in attack, playing 166 and 206 games respectively, having tasted premiership success. Brett Heady reached the 150-game mark in his time with the Eagles, also winning a flag, whilst Flyin’ Liam Ryan won a premiership in 2018 and despite playing less than 40 games at the start of the season, has earned his place in the team.

Rounding out the attack is key talls, Karl Langdon and Jason Heatley who combined for just the 163 games, but booted 278 goals, of which 171 were Heatley’s in just 63 games. The forward line is not as strong as some other All-Star sides, but Subiaco would still be able to kick a winning score against most teams.

DEPTH:

The bench has a solid amount of depth with Mark Nicoski, Dwayne Lamb, Daniel Metropolis, Greg Broughton and Matthew Connell all able to fill multiple roles, whilst Callum Sinclair can provide ruck depth to Burton. Of the players to miss out on the 24-man squad, only Michael Symons (Essendon, 109 games) and Daniel Sierakowski (St Kilda and West Coast, 103 games) reached triple-figures at AFL level. Simon White (87 games) and Andrew Donnelly (68) are the other two players to surpass the 50-game mark, whilst Liam Baker (22) is making inroads and already has a flag in what could be a successful career.

WAFL Player Focus: Denver Grainger-Barras (Swan Districts)

IN continuing our extended weekly Player Focus series, we take a look at a West Australian Football League (WAFL) talent who has really stood out on the League stage. In Round 3 of the competition, our eyes were on Swan Districts key defender Denver Grainger-Barras, who was one of his side’s best players in a tough 39-point loss to reigning premier, Subiaco.

PLAYER PAGE

Denver Grainger-Barras
Swan Districts/Western Australia

DOB: April 17, 2002
Height: 195cm
Weight: 78kg

Position: Key Position Defender

WAFL LEAGUE STATISTICS
Round 3 vs. Subiaco

8 kicks
2 handballs
10 disposals
4 marks
4 tackles
1 inside 50

PLAYER FOCUS:

With fellow draft hopeful Logan McDonald having the bye this week, it was time for Grainger-Barras to put his name in lights. He certainly did that, being named best on ground in Swan Districts’ loss to powerhouse club, Subiaco. It was an impressive aerial display, showing why he is so highly credentialed already.

On top of his League debut coming last year, Grainger-Barras was also awarded the AFL Life Members Scholarship which has been won by some of the greats of the game including Luke Hodge, Joel Selwood, and last years Rising Star winner Sam Walsh. It’s an award that’s been given to eight number one picks and numerous top 10 picks on top of that, including highly rated Docker Hayden Young. With Fremantle holding a top five pick currently, he might be right in the mix there.

Grainger-Barras started each quarter on the bench but whenever he came on he made an impact, and his first few touches of the game weren’t wasteful. He first received a switch kick and next darted a nice low pass down the line, later receiving a handball and quickly switching the kick long to show good, quick thinking.

His next few highlights though may have been his best of the day; with the first deep in the goalsquare where he attacked the loose ball at speed. showing incredible confidence, speed, and agility to also get separation from the opposition and then kick long out of the defensive 50. The next highlight just showed off his pure talent and leap, where he came over the top of two players to take a screamer. Arms outstretched, the footy stuck in is hands, but he would also quickly play on as if the mark was all in a day’s work.

There weren’t as many pure highlights in the second quarter but Grainger-Barras showed despite his light frame, that he could compete well at ground level with plenty of efforts and tackles deep in defence. He did some nice work up the ground as well, winning a free kick in the middle of the ground and naturally playing on as quickly as possible to kick long inside 50, albeit with a fraction too much on the kick for his leading teammate.

One of the better bits of play came when the ball hit ground level on the wing, where he attacked the line of the ball while also kicking over an oncoming opponent and still keeping his feet to gather the loose ball cleanly. He then gave off the quick little handball and in the same motion, laid a nice bump to protect the ball carrier. It was perhaps the best showcase of what coaches will love about him at AFL level as despite his light frame, he was able to compete with senior bodies while making it look effortless and just doing everything you could ask for – from his ability to keep possession and also block for his teammate, to embracing body contact which many young players try to avoid.

The third quarter was where Grainger-Barras really got to show off his elite intercepting ability and it was highlighted in two bits of play very close to each other. He was able to intercept a handball with a one-handed pluck easy as you like, and then banged the ball long out of defence. The kick came back in just as quickly but again, easy as you like, Grainger-Barras was able to take a nice intercept mark in the exact same spot where he intercepted the handball.

His smarts to intercept both times was certainly eye-catching, but instead of again getting sucked into kicking down the line again – which obviously didn’t work the first time – he made a point to think firstly on hitting that switch kick. It showed his smarts and ability to adapt to a situation and learn.

As the game wore on it would seem he had developed a knack of being in the right spot at the right time to foil Subiaco’s attempts at goal, and he would again get in the way with a fantastic intercept mark sitting in front of the only one-on-one contest inside 50. With eyes only on the ball, he was able to take the outstretched mark in the hole. As he had done all day long, Grainger-Barras quickly played on with a kick inboard, understanding the stakes of the game. It would lead to Swan Districts moving the ball end-to-end for a goal.

Unfortunately, he gave away a free kick just on the three quarter time siren which luckily only resulted in a behind, but there was a bit of a scuffle with himself and the opposition and he certainly wasn’t afraid to get involved and get lippy with his older and stronger opponents. Already he has shown he isn’t afraid of a bit of physicality despite his size, and with his ability to intercept at crucial stages, it only adds to his ability to get under the skin of the opposition.

His last quarter was his quietest as he failed to register a disposal. He had a bad moment at around the 16-minute mark where he gave away a push in the back free kick which lead to a goal, which was perhaps his only blemish in the game.

However, he wouldn’t let that get him down as later in the quarter he would spoil a marking contest, showing his impressive leap. Once the ball hit the ground he was quick to compete with multiple tackles and efforts and after that bit of play, it wasn’t hard to see why the coaches named him best on ground as he drove defensive standards all game which is impressive from such a young player.

A lot of attention out of Western Australia has gone to fellow young gun, McDonald but Grainger-Barras reminded everyone that he is very much a top five caliber talent, showing all of the traits that make him such a sought after prospect. The elite intercepting, competitiveness, clean hands and skills, athleticism, and especially the footy smarts were all on show. A game like this can only help him grow in confidence and although his disposal numbers are low, his impact is just so high and we may be looking at a future All-Australian centre half-back in the AFL.

Draft Central Power Rankings: August 2020

BUDDING AFL Draft prospects from around the nation have stamped their claims over the last month with football returning across multiple states, making for a top-end list boasting plenty of movers and sliders. In Draft Central‘s second Power Rankings edition for 2020, we again stick to a list of 20 with only a few adjustments made to our initial July rankings. A certain West Australian key forward has pushed into the top 10, while a couple of South Australian midfielders have bolted in from the clouds to also warrant a spot each. All that, and more in our August Power Rankings update.

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

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

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

July Ranking: #1

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

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

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

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

July Ranking: #2

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

July Ranking: #3

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#4 Denver Grainger-Barras
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Key Position Defender
14/04/2002 | 195cm | 78kg

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

July Ranking: #5

Last Month: Grainger-Barras has picked up right from where he left off in 2019, slotting back into Swan Districts’ League side after making his senior debut last year. Across the first three rounds, he has averaged 9.3 disposals, 4.3 marks, and 2.3 tackles from half-back, with his most recent outing earning him best afield honours against Subiaco. The promising defender is so assured in the air and reads the game better than most, though can work on finding more of the ball to make even better use of his smarts and composure.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#5 Riley Thilthorpe
West Adelaide/South Australia | Ruck/Key Position Forward
7/07/2002 | 200cm | 99kg

In a welcome change from last year’s crop, key position prospects will be in abundance at the top end. Thilthorpe is one of them, an athletic ruck/forward who possesses enormous running capacity and can dominate the airways. In his ruck duties, the 200cm West Adelaide product plays more like a fourth midfielder, able to follow up at ground level and cover the ground like a small. He has been utilised in a more forward-oriented role for the Bloods at SANFL League level though, with his goalkicking attributes and diverse skillset already making him a handful for senior players with more mature bodies. Ask any of the South Australian Under 18s who they are most looking forward to playing alongside in 2020, and Thilthorpe is among them. Jot the name down, he should be among those you are most looking forward to watching, too.

July Ranking: #4

Last Month: Another key position player who is thriving at senior level, Thilthorpe has become a consistent figure up forward for West Adelaide’s League side. He has booted four goals across his six games thus far, finding the big sticks in half of his outings. The area Thilthorpe has impressed most in is his marking, having shown a terrific forward 50 presence and the ability to use his reach to take the ball at its highest point. He is difficult to stop when doing so, and doubles his threat with good ground level efforts. Yet to take a game by the scruff of its neck, though that may prove difficult as the Bloods sit at 1-4-1.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

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

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

July Ranking: #6

Last Month: Like many of the Swans Academy prospects, Campbell has been plying his trade in the AFL Sydney Premier Division, running out for the Pennant Hill Demons over the last three weeks. He booted six goals in his first two appearances and was named in the best both times.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

July Ranking: #7

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

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

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

July Ranking: #8

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

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

#9 Logan McDonald
Perth/Western Australia | Key Position Forward
4/04/2002 | 196cm | 85kg

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

July Ranking: #20

Last Month: McDonald is the big riser this month having put his name in lights at WAFL League level. The 196cm key position forward put on a show in his senior debut with 16 disposals, four marks, and three goals, before going one-better in Round 2 to boot four majors from 15 disposals and seven marks. His marking strength both on the lead and one-on-one has been exceptional, as has his finishing. After a bye in Round 3, expect McDonald to continue to rise.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

#10 Alex Davies
Gold Coast SUNS/Allies | Inside Midfielder
18/03/2002 | 191cm | 85kg

A second Northern Academy prospect and first Queenslander on the list, Davies is one of the more highly touted big-bodied midfielders of his cohort. Standing at 191cm and filling out to 85kg, the SUNS Academy hopeful boasts the ideal size to not only dominate his junior competitors, but more importantly make an immediate impact at the next level. He has been his state’s prime ball winner for some time and thrives on racking up high contested numbers, but has also displayed terrific poise in traffic and adds releasing handballs to his thumping kicks away from the stoppages. He ran out for four of Gold Coast’s NAB League outings as a bottom-ager, and should prove a key figure among the Allies squad in 2020.

July Ranking: #9

Last Month: Davies has managed to squeeze a QAFL game into his schedule, appearing for the Broadbeach Cats a fortnight ago and booting a goal in their 57-point win over Mt Gravatt.

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

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

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

July Ranking: #10

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

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

#12 Lachlan Jones
WWT Eagles/South Australia | General Defender
9/04/2002 | 185cm | 89kg

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

July Ranking: #17

Last Month: Another SANFL League representative, Jones’ form has been enough to warrant a decent rise up our board. The solidly-built defender has cemented his spot at senior level, running out in all six of WWT’s fixtures thus far. While he has returned a few down games of under 10 disposals, Jones’ best is first round quality and indicative of a readymade player. Port fans and staff alike may want to downplay his value, but he looms as a prospect just outside of the top 10 range.

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

#13 Nathan O’Driscoll 
Perth/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder/Defender
17/05/2002 | 187cm | 76kg

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

July Ranking: #13

Last Month: O’Driscoll has been plying his trade at WAFL Colts level, featuring in Rounds 1 and 2 before a bye most recently. He has been named as the Demons’ starting centre half-forward, but after a steady opening performance, looks to have returned to his usual form through midfield with 25 disposals, six marks, and five tackles in Round 2. Enough to hold his spot.

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

#14 Kaine Baldwin
Glenelg/South Australia | Key Position Forward
30/05/2002 | 193cm | 92kg

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

July Ranking: #11

Last Month: Inactive due to long-term knee injury.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

July Ranking: #12

Last Month: While the competition has now been suspended, Reid managed to fit in three outings for Leongatha in the Gippsland League. He was named among the best for his two goals in the Parrots’ Round 2 win over Moe, and looks to be shuffling around to a few different positions as he has done previously. Hardly a slide, others in more competitive interstate leagues have just gone ahead of him.

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

#16 Zane Trew
Swan Districts/Western Australia | Inside Midfielder
26/04/2002 | 186cm | 78kg

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

July Ranking: #16

Last Month: The Swan Districts midfielder has already matched his games tally from 2019, but had his most recent WAFL Colts outing cut short through injury. The bye comes at a good time for Trew as he works to wear off his concussion, but he has otherwise fared well in the junior competition. Across Rounds 1 and 2, Trew averaged 28 disposals, three marks, and five tackles in displays consistent enough to see him hold down the number 16 ranking.

>> Draft Diary 1 | 2
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

July Ranking: NR

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

>> Feature
>> Marquee Matchup

#18 Tom Powell
Sturt/South Australia | Midfielder
2/03/2002 | 180cm | 73kg

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

July Ranking: NR

Last Month: As by far the most prolific Under 18s ball winner in South Australia, and potentially the entire country, Powell is proving impossible to ignore at this stage. He leads the competition for total disposals, clearances, and inside 50s after six rounds, averaging 37.2, 9.2, and 6.8 in those respective categories. Having also added goals to his arsenal most recently, Powell continues to add strings to his bow. Gaining much-deserved recognition after an injury-riddled 2019 campaign.

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch

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

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

July Ranking: #18

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

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

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

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

July Ranking: #14

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

IN THE MIX:

Off the bat, Caleb Poulter and Heath Chapman are essentially number 21 and 22 on our list, making them the hardest to leave out of the top 20. Both have enjoyed impactful starts to their respective seasons; with Poulter a midfielder who packs presence in the SANFL Under 18s, and Chapman an intercept defender who has roamed further afield in the WAFL Colts. They are both terrific sizes, and have a range of weapons at their disposal.

Bailey Laurie and Brandon Walker are the two who slid out of the 20 from July’s rankings. It has been no real fault of their own, with the inactive Laurie a victim of others’ rises, while Walker has made a solid start to his WAFL Colts campaign but is ultimately just squeezed out.

Walker’s fellow Fremantle Next Generation Academy member, Joel Western has enjoyed a terrific start to the year to come into contention, but missed last weekend’s action through injury. Isiah Winder is another on the rise having earned his WAFL League debut for Peel Thunder, so keep an eye out for his name in future. Midfielder/half-back Jack Carroll is also in form, along with left-field ruck hopeful, Kalin Lane, but both are still just outside this kind of range.

The likes of Corey Durdin and Zac Dumesny linger around the top 30 for some given their SANFL League form, while Tariek Newchurch could be a first round smokey, but can work on becoming a more consistent threat. He and Jamison Murphy have been prominent for North Adelaide, while Bailey Chamberlain and Mani Liddy are hard to ignore at SANFL Under 18s level. Potential Adelaide father-son Luke Edwards also earned a SANFL Reserves call-up this month.

Down in Tasmania, Jackson Callow and Oliver Davis have made promising starts to their TSL campaigns. Of those who are around the mark, but cannot currently stake their claims due to a lack of top-level competition are Connor Downie, Eddie Ford, Jake Bowey, Sam Berry, and ruck bolter Max Heath. NT Thunder utility Joel Jeffrey has top 25 potential, as does Sydney Academy prospect Errol Gulden.

If you like the content that Draft Central provides and don’t want to miss any of it, then sign up to our subscriber list where you can be emailed out the latest AFL Draft Guide or sport-specific magazines, as well as the option to sign up to a monthly newsletter. Fill in the form below to subscribe and be notified!

WAFL weekend preview: Round 3 – Undefeated Bulldogs and Tigers battle for League supremacy

ROUND 3 of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) is set to bounce down on Saturday, promising to deliver another high-level weekend of action.

Reining League premier, Subiaco reenters the fray after a week off, still searching for its first win in 2020 alongside the struggling Swan Districts. A clash between two of the three remaining undefeated sides headlines the round, as South Fremantle and Claremont prepare for battle in a top-of-the-table belter.

Four seperate venues will again be utilised, with the Reserves and Colts kicking off all bar one of the triple-headed contests. We break down each matchup across the three grades.

>> SCROLL for full fixtures and teams

PREVIEWS AND FIXTURES

Swan Districts vs. Subiaco

League: Saturday August 1, 12:40pm @ Steel Blue Oval
Reserves: Saturday August 1, 9:30am @ Steel Blue Oval
Colts: Sunday August 2, 2:00pm @ Steel Blue Oval

Two sides searching for a win at League level are set to go head-to-head on Saturday. Remarkably, the clash is between last year’s wooden spooner, and the reigning premier. Swan Districts will again have its hands full when Subiaco rolls into town, as the Lions look to emphatically put a shock Round 1 loss behind them.

The Swans have brought about four changes, with 2019 best and fairest winner George Hampson among them and slotting straight into the midfield group alongside boom recruits, Frank Anderson and Sam Fisher. Andrew Doyle is set to make his debut amid three changes for Subiaco, as the Lions look to avoid consecutive defeats. In 10-straight wins over Swan Districts, Subiaco’s average winning margin has been 55 points.

At Reserves level, the Lions will be looking to build on a Round 1 victory, while the Black Ducks’ search for an opening win extends down to the second grade and the Colts competition. Young Swans gun Zane Trew is one to watch, and may climb the grades akin to fellow Under 18 Denver Grainger-Barras, while a bunch of young Lions have also impressed despite early losses.

East Perth vs. East Fremantle

League: Saturday August 1, 2:30pm @ Leederville Oval
Reserves: Saturday August 1, 12:00pm @ Leederville Oval
Colts: Saturday August 1, 9:30am @ Leederville Oval

East Fremantle will hope to build on its Round 2 League victory, and opening win for the year when it travels to face East Perth at Leederville Oval. The Sharks have had the wood over their Royal adversaries of late, toppling them in their last two meetings at the level. East Perth is 0-1 in 2020 having lost last weekend to Perth.

While skipper and former West Coast Eagle Patrick McGinnity will be a glaring absentee through injury, the Royals are set to maintain some level of AFL experience with Nick Robertson named to make his East Perth debut. The former Brisbane Lions enforcer has been named on an extended bench alongside the likes of Ajang Ajang. Nick Kommer is poised to break back into the winning East Fremantle side, among four players looking for a League berth this time out.

The Sharks’ twos and Colts are both still searching for opening wins, with the Reserves remaining 0-1 after a bye in Round 2, while the Colts have struggled to score despite boasting a talent-rich squad. 2019 Under 16 All Australian Judd McVee will only add to that, making for a formidable midfield partnership with Finn Gorringe, and Jack Carroll on the outer.

Colts leader Adam Boules will hope to continue his hot form from last week to help East Perth notch a second win for the season. The Royals’ reserves are also 1-0 after two rounds having beaten Perth in their maiden outing for the 2020 campaign.

Peel Thunder vs. West Perth

League: Saturday August 1, 2:30pm @ David Grays Arena
Reserves: Bye
Colts: Saturday August 1, 12:00pm @ David Grays Arena

Peel Thunder will turn to its depth in hopes of turning around a difficult start to the WAFL League season. The Thunder host West Perth (1-1) at David Grays Oval on Saturday, with the Falcons coming in off a loss to South Fremantle. A feature of West Perth’s League form thus far has been its low-scoring nature, averaging just 41.5 points for, and 40 against.

The Thunder’s youthful exuberance may override that factor, with youngsters Isiah Winder and Zach Rankin coming into the team alongside Brad McGowan. Winder has earned his League debut after terrific performances at Colts level, averaging 28 disposals and a goal across his two outings. Ben Hancock will also celebrate his 100th game. West Perth’s Victorian recruit Matty Lloyd, the brother of Sydney’s Jake, is another set for a shot at the senior level. He makes up one of two changes for his new team.

In the Reserves grade, West Perth can only hope to hold onto top spot as the bye round swings its way, given Peel is not fielding a secondary side this year. The Falcons’ Colts are also 2-0 and top of the ladder, compared to the 1-1 Thunder coming off a Grand Final appearance. Peel will miss Winder and Rankin, but can look towards the likes of David Yaccob, Jonathon Ietto, and Luke Polson for some inspiration. West Perth’s Heath Chapman remains the one to watch for his side, along with Michael Mallard and Callum Johnson.

South Fremantle vs. Claremont

League: Saturday August 1, 3:05pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Reserves: Saturday August 1, 12:30pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Colts: Saturday August 1, 10:00am @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval

Arguably the game of the round will be left for last as table toppers South Fremantle and Claremont go to battle for League supremacy. The pair makes up two of the three undefeated sides left in the competition, with the Bulldogs’ superior percentage of 298 putting them comfortably ahead of Claremont and Perth.

As if they needed the boost, last year’s runners-up are set to regain Haiden Schloithe for the clash, who comes in as one of two changes for Souths. Claremont has opted to make just one change to the side which beat Swan Districts last week, with Anthony Davis coming in for Ben Edwards.

Claremont’s Colts are also 2-0 and sitting in second after two strong rounds of action, but may have to continue this weekend without top prospect, Joel Western after he appeared to be injured last time out. South Fremantle suffered its first Colts and Reserves defeats last week at the hands of West Perth, so face a tough ask in bouncing right back. Claremont’s reserves also sit at 1-1, but edge the Bulldogs for fourth spot and will look to built on last week’s win over Swan Districts.

FULL LEAGUE TEAMS

Davison provides high-flying highlight, but just happy to be out there

IF you are a West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s fan, chances are you have heard of talented AFL Women’s Academy member, Shanae Davison. Her fan base increased on the weekend when she took a massive pack mark in the dying minutes of Swan Districts’ loss to Claremont. While the mark has not defined her career, it has certainly put her in the spotlight this week and she spoke to Draft Central about that moment and her Australian rules football journey.

I’ve talked about it for ages actually,” Davison said of the mark. “I had a bet last year with Ebony Antonio that if I could take a screamer, she’d give me $100. “It was a bit of a build up from last year. “I think the ball was set up very nicely and I actually just went up for a normal mark and ended up getting my knee in her back, which was good, and I just kind of carried.”

While she missed the subsequent set shot, as well as not collecting her reward, she did not have to wait long for a second chance, taking a second mark, albeit a little closer to the ground and nailed that goal with the final kick of the game. The loss marked Swan Districts’ first after winning their opening game of the season a week earlier. Davison said she had enjoyed just running around given the current climate and restrictions in other parts of the country.

It’s been good,” she said. “I’ve just been happy to play again. “(It’s been a) very long preseason and I was injured for most of it. “To be out and just run around and kick the footy again, it was really good to get back out.”

That injury was a serious one resulting in a number of torn ligaments in her ankle, something that is still “a bit of a niggle” but manageable. She certainly showed no signs of issues with her leap on Sunday, and admitted the season delay had helped her have extra preparation.

Oh yeah 100 per cent (the delay helped),” she said. “I think I would have missed a couple of games of footy if it wasn’t delayed.”

Rewinding the clock back to the beginning of her football journey, Davison said she was always a fan of the oblong ball game even as a young child.

I always played footy,” she said. “I grew up in Broome and I played with the boys but when I moved to Perth, one of the girls was like we kind of need more numbers to play community footy so I started there. “Went through all the talent pathways and made my way to Swans and was lucky enough to debut in the first game for League.”

Having originally expected to run out with the Under 18s (Rogers Cup), Davison was fast-tracked into the senior team after showing some impressive form on the track under a pretty talented coach.

I was actually there for Rogers Cup, but I trained with the League girls and Kara Antonio was the coach and she always said it doesn’t matter how old you are and if you could play you were going to be on the field,” Davison said. “So I was very lucky to have her as a coach and the development from her was really good.”

Davison’s love for football blossomed through her family’s support, with her grandfather being a “massive” Geelong supporter. The Swan Districts forward credits both him and her uncle for helping develop her love for the game by having kick-to-kicks and sitting on the couch watching the blue and white hoops.

While last year Davison did not play in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, she spent her time in the Western Australia Academy over summer, and developed through the Swan Districts program over the past few seasons. Last year one of her teammates at the Swans was pre-listed for expansion club West Coast, in Mikayla Bowen.

“We played at Swans together and she’s just such a good person,” Davison said. “She’s always checking on you, seeing how you are. “Making sure you feel comfortable with what you’re doing. “We actually ended up being really good friends and we still are now. It’s been really good to watch her go through what she did last year and the success she had so it’s really helped me to see where she’s at now and that’s where I want to be.”

Even after Bowen was drafted, Davison said the teenager kept in touch with her and was always there offering advice or support.

“I think I’ve asked her a couple of things how she’s going and she’s asked me how I’m feeling about the draft and things like that,” she said. “So it’s really good to have someone to talk to like Mikayla Bowen. “Even a couple of the other girls like Kellie Gibson and that. It’s just been good to have a chat. “But I’m really not trying to think too far into it, just play some footy and have fun.”

In 2020, Davison is just one of a number of talented AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls coming through the program, with fellow Academy member Mikayla Morrison crossing from East Perth, as well as other West Australian talents in Nyra Anderson and Mikayla and Brianna Hyde. Davison said she believed having a strong group of players all aiming for the same thing – being drafted into the AFL Women’s – helped drive the team forward.

Yeah I think that really helped,” Davison said. “I notice that we push each other at training and we can all see that we all want to get drafted, so at training it’s always very competitive, especially the Hyde twins. “I’m really good friends with them, so it’s just the good chats with them about how we’re feeling and I think we’ve just settled each other’s nerves a bit.”

It also helped Davison settle into the West Australian Academy with so many familiar faces. Then came the call about the AFL Women’s National Academy. It was an announcement that surprised the humble forward.

Yeah that was pretty exciting,” she said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting that and that was a very good experience.”

Through the AFL Women’s National Academy, Davison travelled to Darwin and mingled with the most talented players from across the country. It gave her a broader perspective on the talent out there, and from then she took more notice in what was happening around the country. When asked if she was a bit of a ‘footy head’, she was becoming more and more involved in other leagues.

“I am a little bit,” she said. “Honestly last year I didn’t really know much about what was happening in the other states. “It wasn’t until I met the girls and we got talking and things like that. “I think this year I’ve definitely followed it a little bit closer and it’s definitely been cool to see some of the girls’ names chucked in some articles and things like that who I’ve trained and had some really good connections with.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented plenty of challenges, Davison said the Academy players kept in touch over the past few months following the camp. While not able to physically see her friends from the camp, Davison is happy with the West Australian group who are always pushing each other to succeed.

I’ve mainly talked to the WA girls,” she said. “I’ve talked to a couple of girls in Queensland. “I haven’t really had a chat with anyone in Victoria but I imagine it would be very hard over there, especially just when you want to play footy and you can see the other states getting their season along. “We kinda kept in contact just after the camp and COVID we kept in contact, but it’s kinda just drifted off a little bit now.”

Considering the mark on the weekend, it is no surprise that the Swan Districts talent rates her marking as one of her strengths, but also her ability to read the play. Davison is keen to improve her bodywork in one-on-one situations to be able to “do the work early”, enabling her to win more contests.

While she would love to spend some time onball in the future, Davison is just happy to be out there and loving playing football. She is not too sure what the future might hold, but consistency is the key. After missing a bulk of the preseason through her ankle injury, Davison is raring to go and intent on building her fitness week by week and improve her football in any way possible. As for Swan Districts, Davison is quietly confident they will fare well in season 2020.

I think we’ll go alright,” Davison said. “We have a very new team, very young. “But I think we’ll really just want to win, so I think this week we have Subi and that will be a really good test to see where we’re at as a group.”