Tag: western australia

Scouting notes: AFL U18 Championships – Allies vs. Western Australia

IN a see-sawing game, Western Australia ran out the stronger of the two sides in the game against the Allies, who booted three of the first four goals before the Sandgropers piled on seven consecutive majors to take home their second win from three games. Peter Williams checked out the game and his opinion-based notes on some of the standouts are below.

Allies:

#3 Connor Budarick

So composed with ball in hand, Budarick showed a terrific burst out of the middle early in the game to kick inside 50 to a dangerous spot. He applied defensive pressure throughout laying a massive number of tackles, and rose high to clunk a big contested grab on the wing. Budarick had a shot on goal in the third term after being the quickest to react to a Noah Cumberland mark, but his shot missed. Had another chance in the final term from a tight angle and tried to set it up to a teammate, but the Western Australia defence saw it coming and spoiled it over the line.

#4 Malcolm Rosas Jr

The highlights package, and almost-highlights from this game was unbelievable. Time and time again, Rosas Jr looked like he was about to tear the game open, whether it be through his blistering runs, his terrific side steps, or his high-flying grabs. He pulled out all the tricks in an eye-catching performance. Rosas kicked an early goal in the first term after contesting a ball in midfield and running forward, then set Josh Gore up for another after selling candy and dancing around a couple of players to kick perfectly into space. A couple of other chances in the first half were either marked or hit the post, but he looked ever dangerous. In the third term, Rosas Jr took a five-bounce run from half-forward deep into attack but took one too many bounces and lost control. He followed up with a couple of tackles, but the run was terrific. He did it again in the final term, taking a number of bounces of half-back, burning an opponent then side-stepping another and giving it off. Flew high in his final act of the game, could not quite take it then laid a big tackle.

#5 Braeden Campbell

Just a really clever player and one who looks dangerous in the forward half. He can hurt opposition players in the air or at ground level, and does not need much time and space to create something. He reads the taps and attempts to spin out of trouble, quickly putting boot to ball. Had a chance to do so in the second term for a major but it was touched on the way through, then had another chance in the third term through a snap but hit the post. Finished with a couple of behinds, but looked dangerous.

#9 Mitch O’Neill

A standout four-quarter performance from the Tasmanian who brings others into the game with his elite kicking and decision making. O’Neill is so composed under pressure and clean at ground level or in the air, and takes the risky kick that can backfire, but with his skill often puts pressure on the opposition defence. An example was his spearing pass straight down the guts to Noah Cumberland who took a huge mark. Often O’Neill dictates to his teammates down the field where to lead or when to fly for marks by his kicks. Made very few mistakes in a really outstanding performance.

#22 Tom Green

Played his usual role with some time in defence as well, mostly using his big frame to outmuscle the West Australian midfielders. He won a number of important clearances and dumped the ball forward, winning a lot of possessions around the ground. His work rate is terrific and showed off his versatility by playing in defence in the final term. He does not take a backwards step and has terrific hands in close, continually working hard.

#31 Hamish Ellem

Continually battled hard in the forward 50, spending time in the ruck and more so after Sam Gaden went off early in the third term. He had a number of opportunities but again could not capitalise, kicking a few behinds. He did set Josh Gore up for a goal in the final term, putting the ball nicely in front of him to convert the chance. He held his own in the ruck contests when he did and had a heavy workload at times against the highly rated Luke Jackson.

#37 Josh Gore

A talented forward, Gore is not a huge possession winner, but he makes the most of his opportunities. He slotted a great goal in the opening term, then broke the drought early in the fourth with a terrific goal. He was tight against the boundary line, used strength at the hips to shrug off an opponent and snap around his body to put it through the middle. He had another set shot in the second term after dispossessing West Australian captain Deven Robertson, but missed to the right.

#44 Nicholas Brewer

Held his own against the dangerous Elijah Taylor, even though Taylor did get off the chain more late in the game. He produced the top defensive effort of the match by running down the electric Taylor, continuing to chase 40m even after the forward had eluded him once, and his work rate saw him drag him down as he kicked to save a goal.

#51 Sam Gaden

Came off the ground early in the third term after what had been a really impressive performance against Luke Jackson in the ruck. While he knew Jackson had the athleticism, Gaden had the body strength and used it to his advantage at stoppages, working hard particularly at boundary throw-ins to outmuscle his opponent and give the midfielders first touch. He used the ball pretty well around the ground and was able to have a couple of inside 50s to dangerous positions. It was no surprise Western Australia got on top once he came off and Jackson had a lot more free reign at the stoppages.

Western Australia:

#3 Tyrone Thorne

There is not much of the lightweight forward, but his ability to hook the ball around the goal when having set shots from tight angles on his left was almost “Bend it like Beckham” style. He finished the game with three goals from four set shots, and while he was not a huge possession winner, played the role of permanent small forward perfectly.

#4 Riley Garcia

An accumulator by hand, Garcia wins a lot of his touches with deft handballs in close. He did his best work running hard on the outside and trying to take the game on, moving nicely around the stoppages. He almost sold himself into trouble at one stage in the third term, but remained composed and gave off the handball to a running teammate whilst Garcia was being hemmed in by three opponents. He hit up a teammate inside 50 in the final term and kicked it long down the wing well.

#5 Liam Henry

Another player in the game who looked always dangerous whenever the ball was in his area, the Fremantle Next Generation Academy Player had some really impressive touches at both ground level and in the air. He dropped an early mark and was turned over, but the next chance he got he learnt from the first error and clunked it at the highest point. He later roved a ball well off a pack and kicked it to a teammates’ advantage whilst Henry was under pressure. A quick thinker, Henry used the ball well, setting up a Tyrone Thorne goal in the second term and a Callum Jamieson goal in the fourth term with perfect kicks to their advantage. He only needs a second to dispose of the ball, and has lightning quick hands. At one stage he thought a bit too quickly in the first term, overrunning the ball or “spending it before he had it” but did back up with a defensive effort. He had a shot on goal in the final term but the shot went across the face in the dying seconds. A prospect who has a lot of upside.

#6 Cameron Anderson

Really stepped up into the game in the second term, working between the arcs with some impressive runs. He sold some candy and got past an opponent running inside 50 but his shot was touches on the line. He showed neat skills across half-back and then spent time up forward to lead out and take a good mark. He set up the leading Logan McDonald with a nice pass in the third term, then began a scoring chain in the fourth quarter with the nous to take on the man on the mark to draw an opponent and handball away to give the outnumber up the field.

#10 Deven Robertson

A work horse who put in a four-quarter performance once again. His strengths include his hands around the stoppages and his no-fear attitude towards the contest. He has game smarts and class to know his surroundings, and a high level of spacial awareness which was exemplified by his ability to wheel around in the final term and hit-up Tristan Hobley in space. There are still areas to develop, with Robertson dispossessed on a number of occasions, and the kicking under pressure was scratchy at times. What was impressive about Robertson’s game was he was able to take the game on from half-back and kept trying to gain metres for his side going forward. He was solid with the ball when having time and space. Has very quick hands and was important at the clearances.

#17 Jeremy Sharp

Had a mixed bag performance on the day, with some terrific vision and slicing 45-degree passes, and then some strange out-on-the-full kicks. His vision and delivery when given time and space is very impressive, and is clean at ground level. It is his kicking under pressure when forced to rush in congestion, or when at full speed being hunted down by opposition players that could be tightened up. He worked hard throughout and found the ball plenty in the first three quarters, roaming in all thirds of the ground. Set up a number of scoring chains and had lightning hands to give to a teammate with the disguised handball in close, before finishing the game off with a long-range goal from outside 50 in the dying seconds of the third term.

#19 Elijah Taylor

An exciting forward who was always looking like kicking a bag, and while he was well contained in the first half by Nicholas Brewer, got off the chain in the second half. His first goal did come in the first term from kicking across his body after missing a set shot 40m out when it hit the behind post. He had a chance for a second by leading into space 30m out on a 45-degree angle but his kicked just missed to the right. After half-time his influence on the game blew up, selling candy for a terrific goal. He took a mark, looked to play-on to his right, waited for his opponent to commit, then swung back to his left and never looked liked missing with a terrific kick. He booted his third in the dying minutes with a snap around the body. He dropped a potential mark, but followed up with a clean one-grab off the ground and snap off his left around the body. Taylor knows how to use the ball well under pressure.

#25 Logan McDonald

A talented bottom-age key forward, McDonald showed some great signs inside 50. He lead out at the right times and looked sure with his hands. He did kick out on the full from a snap early in the game, but worked into the match with a goal from a set shot 35m out on a tight angle. He had another chance on the opposite side but pulled it to the far left. He worked hard up the ground to take a couple of nice marks leading out along the wing and half-forward.

#32/#37 Luke Jackson

Had a jumper change midway through the game, and ended up coming from the field after an unlucky clash in the dying minutes deep in attack. Early on he had an intense battle with Sam Gaden, outmuscled at times at the stoppage, but was doing well around the ground with some good tackles and nice work at ground level to fire away quick handballs. He stamped his authority on the game in the second half once Gaden was off the ground, too athletic and nimble for Hamish Ellem and Liam Delahunty who were forced to play a more part-time shared role through the ruck rather than pinch-hit as they had before.

#35 Trent Rivers

Uses the ball well and had a solid game, with a big first quarter and a quieter second term, before working hard throughout the third and fourth quarters to win the footy. He has great vision and game awareness to set up scoring plays, and is able to use his slick skills to hit-up teammates leading out up forward. He won a vital one-on-one contest against Hewago Paul Oea on the wing, which would have been dangerous for the West Australians if he lost with a paddock in front of Oea. Rivers bumped his opponent off the ball and then with pressure coming, he had the composure to handball to a teammate and keep it moving. Remains composed with ball-in-hand and makes the right decisions.

#36 Denver Grainger-Barras

Another bottom-age tall who will hold the West Australian side in good stead for next year, he has some neat defensive and offensive attributes. He killed a contest at half-back with a great spoil across the line, and proceeded to be an intercepting defender throughout the game, saving a number of dangerous forward entries by dropping into the hole. Most importantly, he remained composed under pressure and looks like a promising prospect for next year, pushing up the ground to kick inside 50 at one stage late in the game.

Western Australia’s title campaign back on track with 25-point win over Allies

WESTERN Australia steadied after a slow start against a determined Allies outfit, to post a 25-point win at Alberton Oval on Saturday. Captain Deven Robertson and fellow midfielder, Trent Rivers stood tall across the game, while forwards Elijah Taylor and Tyrone Thorne booted three goals apiece.

The Allies booted three of the first four goals of the game, but missed a number of chances to go further ahead, with their inaccuracy stretching into the second and third quarters. In that time and including early in the fourth, the West Australians had booted seven consecutive goals to all but put the result beyond doubt.

It had been far from easy for the Sandgropers, with their second goal of the game not coming until almost half an hour after their first, before heading into half-time just six points behind. They then produced their best effort in the premiership quarter with four goals to zero, as Robertson, Rivers, Liam Henry and Taylor led the way, while Luke Jackson broke the shackles with Sam Gaden heading down to the rooms early in the quarter and not returning.

Josh Gore popped up to boot a final term goal and break the drought for the Allies after nine consecutive behinds. James Peatling also made good on an opportunity later in the term, but the class of Taylor and Thorne shone as the designated home side ran out 10.8 (68) to 5.13 (43) winners.

Not only were the likes of Robertson and Rivers accumulators through the middle for Western Australia, they were well assisted by the likes of Riley Garcia and Henry taking the game on. Up either end, Logan McDonald and Denver Grainger-Barras showed promising signs for next year’s draft, while Jeremy Sharp and Cameron Anderson popped up for some nice highlights.

For the Allies, it was Mitch O’Neill who put together an outstanding four-quarter performance to try and will his side over the line thanks to his elite kicking and decision making across the ground. Malcolm Rosas Jr played his best game of the year with a dominant performance including two running plays with five bounces, a number of candy-selling activities and a classy goal which could have been one of a number with a bit of luck. Others who stepped up were Braeden Campbell who was dangerous as a high half-forward and when inside 50, as well as Gaden before coming off injured, and Hamish Ellem continually presenting.

The result means Western Australia is still capable of winning the overall title if the Sandgropers can defeat Vic Country, having knocked off Vic Metro and now the Allies. While they lost to South Australia, the Croweaters’ defeat at the hands of Vic Metro has kept both teams in contention, and with Country to play both Western Australia and South Australia. The Allies on the other hand are not able to win the title this year, but will hope to finish off strong in their remaining two games against Vic Metro and South Australia.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA 1.0 | 3.2 | 7.6 | 10.8 (68)
ALLIES 3.4 | 3.8 | 3.11 | 5.13 (43)

GOALS:

WA: Thorne 3, Taylor 3, McDonald, Sharp, Jamieson, Jackson
Allies: Gore 2, Rosas, Peatling, Lucas

BEST:

WA: Robertson, Rivers, Thorne, Garcia, Henry, Taylor
Allies: O’Neill, Rosas, Campbell, Gaden, Budarick, Ellem

Metro and Allies continue search for opening championships win

A BUMPER double-header sees the Under-18 national carnival hit South Australia, with the Allies and Vic Metro looking to get on the board against Western Australia and South Australia respectively. Check out all the teams and a preview for both games below.

ALLIES vs. WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Saturday June 22, 10:30am
Alberton Oval, South Australia

Western Australia will look to regain a positive record in the 2019 AFL National Under 18 Championships when they face the winless Allies on neutral territory to kick off a South Australian double-header.

The Sandgropers started magnificently in their Round 1 win against Vic Metro, but fell short on home turf against the fast-finishing South Australia last time out. They are set to maintain a relatively consistent starting lineup coming into this clash, with the all-important core of the team again remaining in tact. While Luke Jackson has consolidated his status as the nation’s best Under 18 ruck, the likes of skipper Deven Robertson and Riley Garcia have benefitted from his silver service at the stoppages to dominate that area. Runners like Jeremy Sharp and Trent Rivers have also shown flashes of brilliance off half-back, and bottom-ager Logan McDonald looks to have stamped his claim as the side’s number one forward after impressing in game two.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the game will be the x-factor in each side’s forward half, with Elijah Taylor and Liam Henry finding plenty of goals so far for WA, while the Allies have included Gold Coast Academy pair Hewago Paul Oea and Josh Gore in hopes of creating some spark inside 50. After conceding 18.8 against Vic Country, the Allies have also bolstered their back six with a couple of overagers – namely Dirk Koenen and James Peatling, while shifting Braeden Campbell to his more natural half-forward spot. Connor Budarick is another who faces a move from half-back, set to spend more time running through the middle among a formidable Allies engine room set-up which should be able to match up well against WA’s. Big-bodied Suns product Ashton Crossley will add to their contested ball-winning capabilities, and over-age GWS/Oakleigh mover Jeromy Lucas could find a spot on the wing or flanks at either end. The top-end class looks to be on WA’s side in this clash, but you cannot count the talented Allies out, with match-winners in the midfield and forward of centre who will look to lift the team after a disappointing first outing.

TEAMS

Allies:

B: 21. Luke Parks, 52. Dirk Koenen, 8. Tom Griffiths
HB: 36. Sam Thorne, 44. Nicholas Brewer, 42. James Peatling
C: 9. Mitch O’Neill, 15. Will Martyn, 1. Errol Gulden
HF: 5. Braeden Campbell, 31. Hamish Ellem, 4. Malcolm Rosas jnr
F: 37. Joshua Gore, 26. Liam Delahunty, 47. Jeromy Lucas
R: 51. Samuel Gaden, 22. Tom Green, 3. Connor Budarick
Int: 24. Joel Jeffrey, 20. Matt McGrory, 2. Hewago Paul Oea, 46. Noah Cumberland, 12. Ashton Crossley

In: D. Koenen, N. Brewer, J. Peatling, J. Gore, J. Lucas, H. Oea, S. Gaden, J. Jeffrey, A. Crossley
Out: N. Murray, J. Barling, M. Conroy, S. Collins, J. Rayner, O. Davis, B. Reville, W. Chandler, S. Ryan

Western Australia:

B: 13. Ben Johnson, 21. Jake Pasini, 36. Denver Grainger-Barras
HB: 17. Jeremy Sharp, 26. Trey Ruscoe, 35. Trent Rivers
C: 12. Regan Clarke, 10. Deven Robertson, 9. Tristan Hobley
HF: 18. Jai Jackson, 30. Reuben McGuire, 19. Elijah Taylor
F: 5. Liam Henry, 25. Logan McDonald, 39. Callum Jamieson
R: 32. Luke Jackson, 14. Chad Warner, 4. Riley Garcia
Int: 6. Cameron Anderson, 20. Jaxon Prior, 3. Tyrone Thorne, 24. Ronin O’Connor, 22. Max Murphy

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA vs. VIC METRO
Saturday June 22, 12:50pm
Alberton Oval, South Australia

In the fixture that shaped early in the year as the game of the national carnival, South Australia and Vic Metro are set to lock horns in Saturday’s second game, with the sides showing quite differing form.

The hosts kicked off their title defence in style last week after a Round 1 bye, running over the top of WA away from home to pick up an impressive win. They will be without the only multiple goal kicker from that match though in Cameron Taheny, with the exciting forward picking up a groin injury. That means the likes of Kysaiah Pickett and Josh Morris will need to provide that spark inside 50 against a dynamic Metro defence, with Brady Searle also a handy front six inclusion. The balanced SA midfield looks quite set, with Jackson Mead consolidating his spot on the centre line, while Dylan Stephens and Jed McEntee add even more class and Will Day should be an important runner on the outside. Bottom-age talent Luke Edwards remains in the side after a promising display, joined by fellow ’02 birth Zac Dumensy as the only other bottom-ager in the team.

There is notable talent on each line for SA, putting them in good stead to compete across the board – but the midfield battle looks primed for Metro to win. The Victorians have made six changes as they continue to search for a win having come into the carnival as arguable favourites. Much of that is down to the individual brilliance of the likes of Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell, who have stood up in both games despite suffering two losses. The midfield remains relatively untouched, with a shuffle in the forward line seeing Emerson Jeka, Jamieson Rossiter, and Dylan Williams all coming into the team, while surprise leading goal kicker Josh Worrell stays on the forward flank. Northern’s Adam Carafa gets another chance alongside Andrew Courtney, while Carafa’s Knights teammate Nikolas Cox is one to watch as an athletic, tall wingman. The likes of Trent Bianco, Louis Butler, and Darcy Cassar – who all like to dash from defence – will all be kept accountable by the SA forwards, so may be tested once again for form. Up the other end, they will hope for a much bigger goal haul given their inclusions and the greater team balance they look to have. Expect a tense start, but plenty of highlights given the talent on paper from either side.

TEAMS

South Australia:

B: 30. Oliver Grivell, 35. Karl Finlay, 4. Jordan O’Brien
HB: 24. Will Gould, 33. Dyson Hilder, 19. Luke Edwards
C: 7. Dylan Stephens, 18. Jackson Mead, 10. Joshua Schute
HF: 23. Brady Searle, 43. Jamie Coff, 15. Harry Schoenberg
F: 1. Kysaiah Pickett, 32. Daniel Sladojevic, 17. Josh Morris
R: 37. Lachlan Burrows, 8. Jed McEntee, 20. Lachlan McNeil
Int: 22. Harrison Magor, 16. Zac Dumensy, 5. Darnell Tucker, 31. Jordan Moore, 12. Will Day, 11. Callum Park, 28. Oliver Shaw, 34. Jack Carpenter

In: J. Moore, B. Searle, Z. Dumensy, J. Coff, J. Carpenter, O. Shaw
Out: C. Taheny (injured), C. Durdin, D. Freitag

Victoria Metro:

B: 16. Darcy Cassar, 33. Corey Watts, 26. Ryan Sturgess
HB: 15. Louis Butler, 29. Fischer McAsey, 5. Trent Bianco
C: 24. Noah Anderson, 11. Matthew Rowell, 22. Miles Bergman
HF: 31. Joshua Worrell, 28. Jamieson Rossiter, 1. Jack Mahony
F: 23. Dylan Williams, 36. Emerson Jeka, 2. Mitch Mellis
R: 40. Nick Bryan, 25. Finn Maginness, 8. Adam Carafa
Int: 37. Andrew Courtney, 18. Lachlan Potter, 13. Daniel Mott, 21. Hugo Ralphsmith, 35. Nikolas Cox
Emg: 30. Harrison Jones, 9. Will Phillips

In: E. Jeka, A. Courtney, D. Williams, J. Rossiter, A. Carafa, N. Cox
Out: O. Lewis, J. Bell, H. Jones, J. Honey, C. Dean, J. Ross (all rotated)

BYE: Victoria Country

Scouting notes: U16 National Championships – Western Australia vs. South Australia

REIGNING Under 16 champions South Australia got their title defence off to a solid start, overcoming Western Australia by 29 points at Subiaco Oval. Below are notes on some of the outstanding players from either side.

Western Australia:

#5 Zach Fliener (West Perth)

Hard to miss under his helmet, Fliener proved a productive part of the WA back six. Looked strong for a smaller player and didn’t shy away from the contest, putting his body in the way to cut off opposition kicks. After showing his solid defensive traits early on, Fliener built the confidence to use his running game to good effect, and often finished with neat use by foot up the ground. Even managed to sneak forward and earn a goal in the final term from a free kick.

#8 Lochlan Paton (West Perth)

Was a pretty permanent fixture in the WA midfield and carried the ball away from congestion well. Got on the end of a couple of neat one-two chains from centre bounces to show good chemistry with his engine room partners, and could have made an even bigger impact with greater kicking penetration. Was still dangerous with his run and carry and accumulated across the day.

#9 Max Chipper (Swan Districts)

A constant on the wing, Chipper looks a really neat and composed user. Often kicked short to high percentage targets and flicked out handballs on the move, seeing a good amount of the ball. Seemed to cover the ground well as he found possession in all areas of the ground, proving an effective link in the chain.

#10 Mitchell Brown (South Fremantle)

Another centre bounce regular, Brown started brightly with the opening clearance of the game. That first bit of play would set the tone for the rest of his game, as the South Fremantle product made most of his impact around the stoppages. Also proved efficient with his long inside 50 entries, finding Luke Taylor in the first term and Lawson Humphries in the second. Brown would go on to find the ball more around the ground as the game wore on, and attacked hard at the contests in wet conditions.

#12 Jake Littleton (East Perth)

Littleton popped up forward of centre with touches in important areas, albeit if they didn’t quite amount to massive scoreboard impact. First caught the eye with a clean pick-up at speed early on, and was one of his side’s main avenues forward with a purple patch of inside 50 entries in the first term. Missed a set shot late in the same quarter on the back of one of WA’s better passages, and had a more quiet end to the game. Looked to be playing off a wing as he found the ball up the ground, but definitely had a greater impact in the front half.

#22 Richard Bartlett (East Fremantle)

One of WA’s more productive forwards despite not finding the goals, Bartlett really impressed with his use by hand – sweeping up spilled balls at half-forward and flicking out to teammates on the move. Does not have a huge frame, but his physicality in the contest was a key part of his style of play, allowing him to position best at the drop of the ball. Bartlett’s highlight for the game was an assist to Matthew Johnson, finding him by hand from a forward 50 stoppage. Also rotated through the midfield in the early stages, but found a home forward of centre.

#27 Matthew Johnson (Subiaco)

A raw midfielder/forward, Johnson was one who showed little flashes of his potential. Is quite tall for a midfielder at his age (187cm) but is still very lean at 65kg, somewhat levelling out his height advantage. Snapped a goal in the second term to set his side on a run of momentum, and later showed good explosive traits with a fend off and burst from congestion.

#31 Luke Taylor (Swan Districts)

The forward target kicked WA’s first goal of the game with a nice set shot finish from the pocket, but missed another chance shortly after. Impressed with his strong hands on the lead on two occasions in the first term, and looked on for a big game. Wasn’t helped by the conditions, but still made an impact by finding his side’s only goal for the third quarter – converting a free kick from a forward 50 stoppage.

#38 Kade Dittmar (East Perth)

Originally a train-on in the WA squad, Dittmar did well to make the most of his opportunity. Has a really solid frame already, and was physical when called upon both in the air and at ground level. Managed to find the ball at both ends, catching the eye in particular with overhead marking in the back half – including two quick ones in the second term. Built into the game well and accumulated across the day, playing the percentages by foot with neat kicking.

#39 Luke Polson (Peel Thunder)

Took on the majority of the ruck duties throughout the day, arguably getting the better of his SA counterparts. Is not the tallest ruck at 194cm, but that didn’t have much of an effect as Polson leapt well and found a way to get first hand on the ball around the ground. Perhaps the best aspect of Polson’s game was his follow-up efforts, finding the ball at ground level and hacking clear for his side. Looks a productive player for his position.

#42 Blake Morris (Subiaco)

A late inclusion to the squad as an over-ager having missed out on selection last year, Morris was arguably WA’s best. The Subiaco product clunked just about everything that came his way in a dominant defensive display. Started with an eye-catching intercept mark in the corridor and never looked back, reeling in a series on overhead grabs from high balls in his defensive 50 to show superior reading of the play. The half-time rain only slowed him slightly, as he came out after the main break with another strong pack mark in the wet. Worked well at ground level too with a goal-saving tackle in the second term, as well as a couple of rebounding attempts. Still looks a raw prospect, and had a bit of a blunder as he marked an Isaiah Dudley shot on his chest just over the goal line, but has great potential.


South Australia:

#2 Zyton Santillo (North Adelaide)

Made a lively start to the game, taking it on with some run and carry from his customary wing position, and even slotting home SA’s second goal of the game with a well converted set shot. Likes to burst past opponents as he gathers the ball, and found it at a good rate throughout the game. Was a little quieter after making his early impression, but remained one of his side’s best.

#3 Jay Watson (Eagles)

Was not initially one who caught the eye, but progressively got better and more involved as time elapsed. Started SA’s late surge in the second term as he announced himself with a set shot goal, and also hit the post in the following term. Was involved in a couple of nice passages for the winners, and got busy in the forward half.

#5 Isaiah Dudley (Central District)

Arguably the best afield, Dudley is full of talent and stands above the rest despite being just 162cm tall. Also caught the eye at last year’s Under 16 carnival with his nous around goal, and produced the same kind of play here with clever touches at ground level and four high quality majors. Looked to make an immediate impact with his first shot coming in the opening minute, but only really started to take over after quarter time. Harassed well inside 50 to give Morgan Ferres his second goal, and played a key part in Harry McInnes’ first with a steal and break through the corridor. Would find the goals himself shortly after with a lovely snap, and made another intercept to slam home a second. Continued on with the first goal of the third term and his fourth in the last, capping off a top-notch display. Has great agility and smarts, definitely one who will garner attention despite his height.

#6 Lachlan Thomas (Sturt)

An effective rebounder from the back half, Thomas swept up well across defensive 50 to accumulate a good amount of ball. Was the designated kicker given his kick-in responsibilities and often looked to take full advantage of being able to play on from them. Showed good composure on the ball and got to the important areas, barely putting a foot wrong throughout the game. Looks to be an important generator of run in a highly competitive SA back six.

#8 Cooper Murley (Norwood)

One of three who most consistently featured at the centre bounces, Murley provided a good point of difference between the midfield trio with some burst and run on the outside. Won an early clearance, but made his first real impact with a goal – collecting the loose ball over the back after initially airing a soccered attempt and converting into an open goal. Went on to win most of his ball on the outer of heavy congestion and moved it forward to good effect.

#10 Jase Burgoyne (Eagles)

A Flying Boomerangs representative last year, Burgoyne is the son of Port Adelaide champion Peter – and looks a mirror imagine of him in his early days. The pacey mover played most of this game in the forward half or on a wing, showing small glimpses of his pedigree. Took a nice one on one mark and moved the ball inside 50 in a lively second quarter, while also missing a casual attempted snap on goal. Was involved early in the third term again with more time forward, and had a particularly impressive pick-up at speed. Showed signs, but not the complete package just yet.

#11 Harry Tunkin (Glenelg)

A tough midfielder/defender, Tunkin looked to have relished the opportunity to get his hands dirty in wet conditions. Attacks the ball hard and remains strong in the contest, while also possessing good breakaway capabilities and a solid core. Really impressed in the second and third terms with his defensive efforts in the back half, while also racking up a good amount of ball and using it well by foot. Showed a good bit of composure in the third term to round two opponents, and also spent some time in the middle.

#14 Arlo Draper (South Adelaide)

Is a tall and lean type, but absolutely threw himself into every contest he could in the back half. Showed great desperation to lock in and win the ball at ground level inside defensive 50, making a heap of contests and helping SA to prize possession back. Also competed well in the air to bring the ball to ground, and was another to show levels of composure with ball in hand.

#17 Matthew Dnistriansky (Norwood)

Had a couple of nice moments during the match, starting with a solid overhead grab in the opening term. Did not have a massive first half, but again showed his worth with a booming kick from defensive wing to find a target forward in the second term. Started to really motor on after half time, staying relevant down back with some solid rebound and by racking up a good amount of ball.

#19 Jason Horne (South Adelaide)

The skipper well and truly led the way from midfield, putting in his fair share of contested work and using the ball well from congestion. Was a regular at the centre bounces, but also rested forward and found a goal in the second term – taking a strong contested mark and converting the resultant shot. Managed to set up Jay Watson’s goal in the same term on the back of a fend-off, but still looked most comfortable in the engine room as his side’s leading ball winner. Horne handed off well to runners tackled hard, working effectively at the stoppages and also proving productive around the ground. Will be a key figure for his side, and is arguably the best of a strong SA midfield core.

#20 Matthew Roberts (South Adelaide)

Back for his second stint in the Under 16 side after impressing last year as an under-ager, Roberts complimented the likes of Horne well in the midfield. The South Adelaide product is another who is strong and wins his fair share of contested ball, but also possesses a decent left foot. Looked particularly good early with an overhead intercept mark forward of the wing, but went on to really shine with his in and under work in the engine room, despite not having huge possession numbers.

#23 Morgan Ferres (Sturt)

Joined Dudley with a game-high four goals, playing deep forward as a slightly undersized lead-up target. Was really dangerous in the opening term, finding a good amount of ball inside 50 and putting through one of his two attempts on goal, reading the ball best off hands. Kicked his second goal in the following term in open play once again, adding two more in the final quarter to seal the game. His third came via another snap, and his fourth was a more conventional set shot. Had a couple of good one on one wins in the air despite his light frame, but was found out a bit more when searching for it up the ground before coming good again when positioned a kick behind the ball on the attacking arc. Definitely looks at home inside forward 50.

Reigning champions again look the team to beat

DEFENDING Under-16 Division 1 champions South Australia got their 2019 campaign off to an ideal start, bettering their Western counterparts by 29 points at Subiaco Oval in a game full of momentum swings.

The tri-colours burst out of the blocks early with consecutive goals to Morgan Ferres, Zyton Santillo, and Cooper Murley helping them to an ominous three-goal break. Their lead was soon to be cut though, as the home side hit back through forward targets Luke Taylor and Jacob van Rooyen to remain within striking distance. The ebbs and flows continued on into the second term, with SA ending the beneficiary of a high-scoring stanza of play – booting six goals to WA’s three to build a 26-point half-time margin. Three quick unanswered goals in the final four minutes of the term compounded the difference, with Jay Watson, skipper Jason Horne, and diminutive forward jet Isaiah Dudley all finding the big sticks late on.

With a downpour of rain continuing on from the half time interval, SA looked primed to hang onto the lead they had established, but WA simply would not go away. A deadlocked third term saw the spoils shared and margin relatively unchanged heading into the fourth quarter, with Dudley and WA’s Taylor each doubling up on their respective goal tallies. With the rain seeming to clear but the ball still wet, the home side made a charge early in the final stanza with another string of three goals – this time through Zach Fliener, Matthew Johnson, and Ethan Regan. Despite the lead being cut to just nine points and the run of play with WA, the visitors’ class shone through the dreariness as they finished strong with three goals of their own to seal a comfortable victory in the end, with a Ferres goal on the siren sealing the deal.

Dudley and Ferres were the stars inside 50 for the winners with four goals apiece, as the former provided intense ground ball threat when rotating forward through the midfield, and the latter more of an aerial option. Dudley’s teammates in last year’s Under 16 squad – Horne and Matthew Roberts – were fantastic through midfield, winning their fair share of contested ball and also featuring forward of centre. Santillo was another to impress with his run and carry from the wing, with Lachlan Thomas and Harry Tunkin reliable outlets down back.

For WA, late squad inclusion Blake Morris was simply outstanding down back – marking just about everything that came his way, especially during a dryer first half. Fliener was another to pop up in the defensive half, donning his helmet and carrying the ball forward to good effect. The likes of Lochlan Paton, Max Chipper, and Mitchell Brown all accumulated well across the game in the Black Swans’ midfield rotation, while Lawson Humphries and Richard Bartlett were dangerous links into the forward 50. Johnson and Taylor were the only multiple goal kickers in an even spread, with van Rooyen a key contributor to also find the goals and Kade Dittmar impressive in all areas of the ground.

With the carnival headed to Queensland for Rounds 2 and 3, next on the agenda for South Australia is a meeting with fellow Round 1 winners, Vic Metro. Meanhwile, Western Australia is set to face Metro’s weekend opponent, Vic Country.


WESTERN AUSTRALIA 2.2 | 5.3 | 6.5 | 9.5 (59)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 3.4 | 9.5 | 10.8 | 13.10 (88)

GOALS:
WA: L. Taylor 2, M. Johnson 2, J. van Rooyen, L. Humphries, R. Farmer, Z. Fliener, E. Regan.
SA: I. Dudley 4, M. Ferres 4, C. Murley, Z. Santillo, J. Horne, J. Watson, H. McInnes.

South Australia U18s topple Western Australia on the road for opening championships win

SOUTH Australia has started its National Under 18 Championships title defence with a hard-fought win over Western Australia by 11 points at Optus Stadium. In what was not the most skilful game given the challenging conditions, the Croweaters made the most of their opportunities, having four less scoring shots but booting seven goals to the Sandgropers’ four in the 7.4 (46) to 4.11 (35) victory.

South Australia got off to a great start when Jackson Mead took a strong contested juggling mark inside 50. He then duly converted for the first goal of the game. Jeremy Sharp scored the instant reply for Western Australia when he was able to dance his way around an opponent before drilling a goal from 50 metres out.

At the start of the second quarter, Kysaiah Pickett weaved his way around opponents before finding Callum Park inside 50. Park went back and slotted the opening goal of the quarter to give the Croweaters a five-point lead. WA then had a host of attacking chances, but South Australia’s defence stood up tall. However, in the fourteenth minute, Elijah Taylor produced a moment of magic, when he got the ball out of a pack and snapped through his first goal of the game.

After the main break, Darnell Tucker got the visitors off to a good start when he snapped through a goal. Pickett produced a moment of magic when he snapped through a miraculous goal from right on the boundary line. Cameron Taheny followed up for the visitors with two goals to push the margin out to 21 points. Tyrone Thorne roved a pack expertly and dribbled through a goal to keep WA within touching distance of South Australia.

The final quarter proved to be a stalemate early, until Riley Garcia snuck through a goal in the tenth minute to reduce the margin to just nine points. However, in the 22nd minute, Corey Durdin dribbled through the goal to seal victory for the visitors.

South Australia’s Dylan Stephens was best afield after finishing with 23 possessions (nine contested possessions), six tackles, five inside 50s and two clearances in a powerful display. He was well-supported by bottom-ager Luke Edwards (20 possessions, five marks and four tackles), 2018 All-Australian Will Gould (21 possessions, nine rebounds, four marks and three tackles) and Harry Schoenberg (20 possessions – 13 contested – five tackles and four clearances).

Luke Jackson tried hard for Western Australia with 14 possessions, 35 hit-outs, five clearances, three tackles, and two marks, while midfielders Deven Robertson (32 possessions – 13 contested – eight tackles, five inside 50s, four rebounds, five marks and three clearances), and Riley Garcia (28 possessions – 15 contested – eight clearances, six inside 50s and a goal) tried to make use of Jackson’s dominance with their excellent midfield craft.

Next week, both teams will be playing at Alberton Oval, with WA taking on the Allies and South Australia hosting Vic Metro.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA 1.2 | 2.4 | 3.6 | 4.11 (35)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 1.1 | 2.2 | 6.3 | 7.4 (46)

GOALS:

Western Australia: Garcia, Sharp, Taylor, Thorne.
South Australia: Taheny 2, Durdin, Mead, Park, Pickett, Tucker.

BEST:

Western Australia: L. Jackson, D. Robertson, R. Garcia, T. Ruscoe, Johnson, McDonald
South Australia: D. Stephens, L. Edwards, W. Gould, K. Finlay, D. Hilder, J. Mead

South Australia prepares for national carnival opener

WESTERN Australia host their Southern counterparts in Round 2 of the Under 18 National Championships, looking to continue the ominous form they showed in a big win over Vic Metro last time out. For South Australia, the game will act as the opener to their title defence as a stack of top-end talent leads their lines. We preview the game, with the selected teams listed below.


WESTERN AUSTRALIA vs. SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Saturday June 15, 11:00am
Optus Stadium

The chance to join Vic Country with a 2-0 record looms for Western Australia, and their form suggests they absolutely have the capacity to do so. The South Australians will provide some pretty stiff opposition though, coming in for their first championship game with top-end talent in some serious form.

The likes of Dylan Stephens and Jackson Mead look primed to prove their inside capabilities through the SA midfield as two leading prospects, but may well add to the outside damage that Will Day is set to provide off half-back. The engine room strength of WA will undoubtedly test the Croweaters, with the 98kg frame of Will Gould making him a possibility to compete through the middle to balance out that area of the game. Look for the bottom-age duo of Corey Durdin and Luke Edwards to also make an impact early having earned selection in the starting 23. Centrals’ Durdin was the Under 16 Division 1 MVP, while Edwards looks a prime candidate to be snapped up the Crows in 2020 as a father-son selection, and both move forward well from midfield. The X-factor comes in spades for both sides, but the rest of the country should get their first good look at the likes of Kysiah Pickett and Cameron Taheny this year, with the exciting forward duo capable of creating both eye-catching and game-winning moments. Josh Morris is another who will roam the forward 50, with his Under 18 SANFL form (27 goals in five matches) too good to refuse for selectors.

For WA, who picked up a fantastic win over the highly-fancied Vic Metro to kick off their carnival, the engine room holds the key to success. Skipper Deven Robertson starred last time out with a game-high 30 disposals and eight clearances, with Riley Garcia (21 disposals, five clearances) his partner in crime. They were given silver service from leading ruck prospect Luke Jackson (13 disposals, 35 hit-outs), and his battle against SA over-ager Lachlan Burrows will be an important one. Trent Rivers and Jeremy Sharp should again provide some damaging drive forward, which is an area that SA could well match them in – so the battle will be intriguing. Fremantle NGA prospect Liam Henry will hope to back up his three-goal effort with another exciting display, while Elijah Taylor is another who looks to be stamping his mark up forward. Strong defences on both sides are sure to be tested, and the inclusion of bottom-age gun Logan McDonald straight into the starting line-up should put even more pressure on the SA back six.

This should prove a key fixture in the race to crown this year’s best side, and SA will hope to start their title defence off on the right foot. For the Black Swans, an Under 16 championship win for this year’s top-agers and their win last week puts them in good stead, with a home ground advantage to boot. That aside, this should be a cracking contest between two talent-rich sides with plenty on the line.

TEAMS:

Western Australia:

B: 13. B. Johnson, 21. J. Pasini, 20. J Prior
HB: 11. J. Pina, 26. T. Ruscoe, 35. T. Rivers
C: 10. D. Robertson, 12. R. Clarke, 17. J. Sharp
HF: 34. R. Bennell, 19. E. Taylor, 3. T. Thorne
F: 5. L. Henry, 23. N. Martin, 25. L. McDonald
R: 32. L. Jackson, 14. C. Warner, 4. R. Garcia
Int: (from) 6. C. Anderson, 27. J. Buller, 9. T. Hobley, 29. N. Ireland, 18. J. Jackson, 24. R. O’Connor, 7. N. O’Driscoll

In: J. Buller, T. Hobley, N. Ireland, L. McDonald
Out: R. Hudson (rotated), C. Jamieson (rotated)

South Australia:

B: 22. H. Magor, 33. D. Hilder, 30. O. Grivell
HB: 24. W. Gould, 35. K. Finlay, 12. W. Day
C: 10. J. Shute, 7. D. Stephens, 11. C. Park
HF: 5. D. Tucker, 42. D Freitag, 9. C. Taheny
F: 32. D. Sladojevic, 17. J. Morris, 1. K. Pickett
R: 37. L. Burrows, 20. L. McNeil, 18. J. Mead
Int: 4. J. O’Brien, 3. C. Durdin, 15. H. Schoenberg, 19. L. Edwards, 8. J. McEntee

Emg: 31. J. Moore, 23. B. Searle, 16. Z. Dumensy, 43. J. Coff

AFLW U18 Championship previews: Western Australia

AHEAD of the two big clashes between Queensland and Western Australia for the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, we take a look at Western Australia and how they are shaping up this year. Below we take a look at some of the key players to watch ahead of the championships. Like Queensland yesterday, all 10 players are members of the AFL Women’s Academy.

Mikayla Bowen

A well-spoken leader and natural footballer, Bowen has already signed on as a pre-listed player for West Coast ahead of next year’s AFL Women’s 2020 season. She was amongst the top three for Western Australia last year alongside two players who stood out in the AFLW this year in McKenzie Dowrick and Sabreena Duffy. Now the top player, expect Bowen to do everything right, covering the ground well and having the perfect balance between offence and attack. The star player of the side who has great toughness and nice bursts of speed.

Rosie Deegan

The other pre-listed West Coast Eagles signing ahead of the 2020 season, Deegan comes from an elite basketball background which has seen her travel to the Youth Olympics in the spot in 2017. She also represented Western Australia last year, and while she might not have the years of experience dedicated to one sport over the journey, she has nice athleticism and will be keen to stand up across the tournament.

Abbey Dowrick

The younger sister of McKenzie, Abbey was just 15 years-old when she ran out for Western Australia last year, and twelve months on, she will still have 18 months left until she is eligible to be drafted but still looms as a key player. She attacks the ball and contest hard, and is one of the loudest players out on the field. Even when standing on the mark, Dowrick is doing her best to put the opposition off, and thrives on a see-ball, get-ball attitude.

Courtney Hodder

Two years ago as a middle-ager, Hodder was one of the top performers at the national carnival, winning the state’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), alongside the likes of Madison Prespakis (Vic Metro). Last year injury struck and Hodder was unable to play in the championships, but has been named as an overager this year. She will provide a wealth of talent and experience, and will be one to watch.

Brianna Hyde

Played up the other end to her sister in the 2018 carnival, but showed the same slick skills and composure under pressure, While her role last year was an unheralded one, her best game came on the final day against Vic Country where she showed off her technical ability and intercept capabilities. Could play anywhere on the ground with her traits.

Mikayla Hyde

The goal sneak finished the national carnival as the only West Australian to boot a goal in every game last year, finishing with five majors from three matches. Her best effort game against the Eastern Allies, booting three second half goals to win the game off her boot when the opposition was coming. A range of tricks and a good mover, Hyde is a middle-ager who still has another year in the system.

Emma O’Driscoll

A consistent, rock solid defender who is rarely beaten, O’Driscoll plays a key role in settling the defence. She was a crucial interceptor back in 2018, taking a number of big overhead marks and rebounding out of the back 50. O’Driscoll is smart, clean and positions herself well in contests, not panicking under pressure and a shining light in the back 50. While the Sandgropers have plenty of talent in the forward half, O’Driscoll is one to watch up the other end. A real team player, who is an overager at these championships.

Taylor Pescud

Showed some impressive signs last year and is a hard runner who plays in defence and repels attacks. A natural leader at her state club Swan Districts, Pescud is one who will be able to shut down her opponent whilst causing headaches for the opposition through attacking movements. A smaller player, Pescud could also play through the midfield such is her running capacity and versatility.

Roxanne Roux

One of the best stories across junior football, Roux travelled 10 hours return to go to training on a Monday night, heading across from rural Western Australia. Blessed with strength and a clean pair of hands above her head, Roux impressed in patches last year as a key target inside 50. She has a raking long kick and loves to lay a tackle, expect her to be a crucial player inside 50, potentially teaming up with Courtney Hodder. She also has the capability to push up the ground and be the link-up player to deliver inside 50.

Sarah Verrier

Gained experience for the state side last year and booted the final goal of the game on day two, with Verrier putting the icing on the cake. While Mikayla’s Hyde’s three goals against the Eastern Allies will be remembered, it was Verrier who booted the fourth goal in the second half to secure the win. Another West Australian AFL Women’s Academy member, and yet another middle-ager.

Western Australia dashes Vic Metro’s title hopes with 17-point win

WESTERN Australia (WA) got its AFL Under 18 Championships off to the perfect start with a 17-point victory over Vic Metro at Lathlain Park.

WA 2.6 | 4.9 | 9.12 | 12.14 (86)
VIC METRO 2.2 | 4.5 | 5.7 | 10.9 (69)

GOALS
WA:
Henry 3, Johnson 2, Taylor 2, Thorne 2, Bennell, Rivers.
VM: Worrell 4, Jones 2, Rowell, Bianco, Honey, Dean.

BEST
WA:
Robertson, L. Jackson, Garcia, Rivers, Ruscoe, Pasini, Henry, Sharp, Taylor, Warner
VM: Rowell, Worrell, Mott, Butler, Sturgess, McAsey, Bianco

WA got off to a blistering start when Elijah Taylor took a strong contested mark inside 50 on the end of a Riley Garcia pass. Taylor went back and coolly slotted the first goal of the game, but Josh Worrell scored the reply for the visitors. WA then missed a host of chances, and Harrison Jones made them pay when he slotted Vic Metro’s second goal of the game. Late in the quarter, Jarvis Pina won himself a free kick, played on immediately and speared a pass to Callum Jamieson. Jamieson in turn, then found Jai Jackson inside 50. Jackson duly converted his set shot to give the Sandgropers a four-point lead at quarter time.

At the start of the second quarter, Liam Henry out-marked his opponent before playing on and drilling through his first goal of the game. Under siege for a period, Vic Metro tried to rebound the ball out of their defensive 50 via a number of handballs, but came unstuck when Ryan Bennell stole the ball off them, weaved his way past a couple of defenders and nailed another goal for WA. Matt Rowell and Worrell both kicked late goals to keep Vic Metro within touching distance of the home team.

After the main break, the Sandgropers came out firing with Trent Rivers kicking a long-range bomb in the second minute of the third term. Defender Ben Johnson then nailed two goals from outside 50 after receiving handballs from players who had just taken marks. Liam Henry and Tyrone Thorne both kicked goals soon after to give the home team a five goal lead at three quarter time.

Taylor produced a moment of magic early in the last quarter, when he gathered the ball, evaded an opponent, shrugged off another opponent and kicked brilliant snap from 50 metres. Worrell (twice) and Josh Honey kicked goals for the visitors, but Thorne and Henry both scored instant replies to push the margin back out to 23 points. In the dying stages of the game, Trent Bianco kicked a consolation goal for the visitors.

Captain Deven Robertson led the way for the Sandgropers with 31 possessions, seven clearances, five rebound 50s, five marks and four inside 50s. He was well supported by Garcia (21 possessions and seven clearances), Luke Jackson (12 possessions, 35 hit-outs and six clearances) and Rivers (22 possessions and a goal).

For Vic Metro, Rowell showed why he is considered a top three prospect, trying his heart out in the middle to will his team over the line. He finished with 24 possessions, eight clearances, six inside 50s and a goal. Other notable performers for the Big V included Worrell (18 possessions, six marks and four goals), Daniel Mott (24 possessions and eight clearances) and Louis Butler (23 possessions and seven rebounding 50s).

Next week WA host South Australia at Optus Stadium, while Vic Metro will use the bye to try and freshen up for their encounter with the Croweaters at Alberton Oval in Round 3 of the AFL Under 18 National Championships.

Scouting notes: AFL U18s – Western Australia vs. Vic Metro

WESTERN Australia started its AFL U18 Championships campaign with a stirring 17-point victory over the highly-fancied Vic Metro at Lathlain Park. It is the first time since 2015 that the Sandgropers have secured victory over their Victorian counterparts.

Below were the best players from either side.

Western Australia:

#4 Riley Garcia

The WA Leadership group member produced a performance that highlighted his credentials as one of the best prospects from WA this year. Against the Big V, Garcia collected 21 possessions, won an equal team-high seven clearances, laid four tackles, recorded four inside 50s and took three marks to be one of the best players on the ground. His kicking skills in the wet conditions were elite for someone his age.

#10 Deven Robertson

The WA Captain was inspirational for the Sandgropers, crashing his way through stoppages to win the ball for his team. He finished with a game-high 31 possessions, an equal team-high seven clearances, a team-high five rebound 50s, five marks, four inside 50s, and three tackles to be best afield. A highlight of his game was when he went back with the flight of the ball and took a courageous mark, before crashing into an opponent and team-mate.

#15 Liam Henry

The Fremantle Dockers NGA member was electrifying in the forward half for the Sandgropers, using his noted speed, dazzling agility and precise skills to provide an x-factor inside 50. He finished with 14 possessions, six tackles, four marks, four inside 50s and three goals in a dominant display. A highlight of his performance came in the second quarter, when he out-marked an opponent before playing on and drilling a goal from outside 50.

#17 Jeremy Sharp

The 2018 AFL U18s All-Australian was dynamic on the wing for the Sandgropers, often using his pace and skill to carve up the defence of Vic Metro. He collected 20 possessions, took three marks and recorded two inside 50s to be one of the best players on the ground.

#19 Elijah Taylor

The electrifying forward showed why he is being labelled as a possible draft bolter, showing flashes of brilliance in the forward half. He finished with 13 possessions, three inside 50s, two marks, two tackles and two goals. The highlight of his game came in the fourth quarter, when he cleanly picked up the ball, darted around an opponent, shrugged off another opponent and snapped through a goal from about 50m out.

#21 Jake Pasini

The key defender was exceptional in defence for the Sandgropers, winning many one-on-one contests, intercepting Vic Metro’s attacking forays and rebounding with class. The Swan Districts product finished with 10 possessions and six marks, while restricting Charlie Dean to just four possessions and a goal.

#26 Trey Ruscoe

Stationed at centre half-back, Ruscoe proved why WA officials rate him highly, with a stunning performance playing primarily on Harrison Jones. Ruscoe finished with 18 possessions, seven marks, three tackles and three rebounding 50s in a pivotal performance for the Sandgropers.

#32 Luke Jackson

The highly-touted ruckman produced a performance that indicated why he is considered to be a potential first-round pick. Up against Nick Bryan, Jackson gathered 12 possessions, won 35 hit-outs, won six clearances, laid three tackles, took two marks and recorded two inside 50s to stamp his authority on the game. His follow-up work around the ground has dramatically improved, making him an even more dangerous player.

#34 Ryan Bennell

A late addition to the WA U18s team, Bennell produced a performance that indicated he could be another bolter. The South Bunbury product finished with 11 possessions, five tackles, five inside 50s and a magnificent goal. Late in the second quarter, Vic Metro looked to rebound the ball out of defensive 50 via a number of handballs, but Bennell was able to steal it from them, weave his way past a couple of defenders and then drill through the goal from just inside 50.

#35 Trent Rivers

The East Fremantle product was outstanding off the half-back line and through the midfield for the Sandgropers. Rivers gathered 22 possessions, took four marks, laid three tackles, recorded three rebound 50s and two inside 50s, and kicked a telling goal in the third quarter. His composure and skill-level when under duress is outstanding for someone his age.

 

Vic Metro:

#5 Trent Bianco

The Oakleigh Chargers product showed why he is considered to be one of the best small rebounding defenders in this year’s draft pool. He finished with 17 possessions, six rebound 50s, four marks, four tackles, two inside 50s and a goal to be one of Vic Metro’s best. His run and carry, combined with his precise skills, make him a damaging player from the back half.

#11 Matthew Rowell

The much-fancied Rowell showed everyone why he is so highly touted. He gathered 24 possessions, won an equal game-high eight clearances, recorded six inside 50s, took four marks, laid four tackles and kicked a goal to be Victoria Metro’s best. His contested work around the stoppages was elite.

#13 Daniel Mott

The Maribynong Park junior was outstanding in the midfield for the Big V, often putting his head over the ball to get it going forward. He accumulated an equal team-high 24 possessions, won an equal game-high eight clearances, took seven marks, recorded three inside 50s and three rebound 50s, and laid two tackles in a powerful performance.

#15 Louis Butler

Stationed on the half-back line, Butler was prominent for the visitors with 23 possessions, seven rebound 50s, and four marks in a classy and polished performance. In a tough outing for the Victorian defenders, Butler showed excellent composure under duress, intercepted a host of WA’s attacking forays and displayed his penetrating kicking skills.

#24 Noah Anderson

The Victorian Captain tried to will his team through the middle with 16 possessions and seven clearances. His spread from the contest, work-rate, vision, decision-making and skill execution were all on display.

#26 Ryan Sturgess

The Northern Knights player tried his heart out for Victoria with a solid performance in defence. He finished the game with 17 possessions, seven marks, five rebound 50s and two tackles. His defensive marking and spoiling were a feature of his game, as was his reading of the play.

#29 Fischer McAsey

Stationed a centre half-back, McAsey was rock solid in defence for the Vics, intercepting a host of WA’s attacking forays. He finished with 11 possessions, six tackles, four marks, and two rebound 50s to arguably be Victoria’s best defender.

#31 Joshua Worrell

The Haileybury College student was Vic Metro’s most potent forward with 18 possessions, six marks, three inside 50s and four goals. Usually a defender for the Sandringham Dragons, Worrell showed excellent signs further afield with his leading patterns, set shot routine, and overhead marking all strong.