Tag: western australia

EXPLAINER | Pocket Podcast: Denver Grainger-Barras vs. Heath Chapman

OVER the last week, Draft Central launched its brand new series of pocket podcasts, a collection of short-form discussions which narrow in on a range of topics heading into the 2020 AFL Draft. In the third edition, Chief Editor Peter Williams again sat down with AFL Draft Editor Michael Alvaro to compare two of the best key position defenders available in this year’s crop.

The prospects in question – Denver Grainger-Barras and Heath Chapman – are both West Australians touted as first round locks, with the former pegged as a top five talent from a while out, while the latter has improved his standing in 2020 to jump into top 15 contention. Our editors discussed just what makes either player so good and the traits which set them apart from one another, ultimately concluding that they could well end up as the best two players of their position at AFL level.

>> Power Rankings: October Update

Here are their respective player profiles:
(Click the link on either player’s name for their full draft profiles)

Denver Grainger-Barras

Club: Swan Districts

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

Strengths: Reading the play, intercept marking, vertical leap, agility, defensive versatility, composure
Improvements: Strength, offensive output

Heath Champan

Club: West Perth

Height: 193cm
Weight: 81kg
DOB: January 31, 2002

Strengths: Intercept marking, reading the play, kick penetration and efficiency, repeat running, composure
Improvements: Size as KPD

This matchup is a great example of just how different two players of the same position can be, despite also boasting some similarities. Both players are terrific interceptors, with their outstanding reading of the play and high-level athleticism allowing them to dominate in the air. As discussed on our premiere pocket podcast episode, Chapman sets himself apart with his kicking ability, bringing a damaging attacking edge to his work across half-back.

In the recent Western Australia Under 18 All-Stars game, he was made to match up on Grainger-Barras as the latter shifted forward. Grainger-Barras booted two goals to show his versatility, while forcing Chapman to showcase his defensive attributes. That is an edge the Swan Districts product has on Chapman, but he can always improve on that attacking side to better utilise his athleticism and sound decision making.

It is an intriguing comparison nonetheless, and while they are in slightly different draft projection ranges, will have clubs thinking about exactly the kind of key defender they are after. The pair loomed as a formidable defensive combination for their state coming into 2020, but alas the lack of an Under 18 National Championships meant that failed to materialise.

To listen to the podcast in full, click here.

>> Past Episodes:
Key defenders kicking comparison
Offence from defence

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

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

>> POWER RANKINGS: October 2020

TEAM GOLD:

#4 Max Spyvee

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

#7 Isiah Winder

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

#13 Joshua Browne

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

#27 Denver Grainger-Barras

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

TEAM BLACK:

#20 Matthew Johnson

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

#25 Heath Chapman

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

#31 Kalin Lane

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

#37 Shannon Neale

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

Featured Image: Retrieved from @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

Match Report: 2020 WAFL Colts Grand Final – Lions claim fourth Colts flag

SUBIACO secured its fourth WAFL Colts premiership after defeating Claremont by 59 points in Sunday’s one-sided Grand Final at Fremantle Oval. Jack Clarke Medallist Lachlan Venirsen won the Mel Whinnen Medal after he finished with 32 possessions, 11 marks, five tackles and a goal, boosting his draft stocks.

The opening quarter proved to be an even contest. It took until the fifth minute for the opening goal of the game. Jake Willson was able to spear a pass to Jacob Van Rooyen inside Claremont’s attacking 50, before Van Rooyen went back and converted the opening goal of the game. Minutes later, Neil Erasmus was able to break through a forward 50 stoppage and slammed home the Lions’ first goal of the game.

In the fourteenth minute, Jacquin Ciminata snapped through a goal for the Tigers. In the twenty-second minute, Lachlan Henderson was able to break through a tackle and kicked a goal for the Lions. Soon after, Subiaco’s Connor Faraone was able to run into an open goal. Just before quarter-time, Willson was awarded a free kick for being taken too high. He went back and nailed the goal from 50 metres out to reduce the margin to just one point at quarter-time.

The Lions were on fire in the second quarter, with Erasmus, Jaxon Bilchuris and Matthew Johnson all kicking goals for Subiaco. In the 17th minute, Claremont’s Ben Ramshaw was able to take solid one-on-one mark inside the Tigers’ attacking 50. He went back and kicked a goal from a tight angle, to get the Tigers to within 15 points at half time.

After the main break, Joshua Moses roved a pack expertly, shrugged off a tackle and snapped through another goal for the Lions in the third minute. Moments later, Claremont’s Kieran Gowdie took a strong contested mark inside 50. He went back and nailed the goal. Erasmus booted two consecutive goals for the Lions soon after. In the 15th minute, Trey Kennedy got the ball inside 50, and Tyler Brockman took a strong contested one-on-one mark. Brockman went back and nailed the goal. Before three quarter time, Sandon Page kicked two consecutive goals for Subiaco, to give the Lions a 45-point lead at the final break.

In the last quarter, Connor Patterson, Jack Gouge and Lachlan McKay all kicked goals for Subiaco, while Gowdie kicked one goal for the Tigers.

Along with best afield Vanirsen, Johnson (21 possessions, six tackles, one goal), Patterson (20 possessions, one goal), Blake Morris (16 possessions, eight marks), and Erasmus (13 possessions, four goals) were prominent for the Lions.

For Claremont, Jack Avery fought hard with 33 possessions, seven marks and four tackles. Skipper Joel Western (25 possessions), Van Rooyen (17 possessions, one goal) and Logan Young (17 possessions, six tackles) also competed strongly for the Tigers.

FINAL SCORE

CLAREMONT | 3.2 | 4.3 | 5.5 | 6.7 (43)
SUBIACO | 3.3 | 6.6 | 12.8 | 15.12 (102)

GOALKICKERS

Claremont: Gowdie 2, Ciminata, Ramshaw, Van Rooyen, Willson
Subiaco: Erasmus 4, Page 2, Bilchuris, Brockman, Faraone, Gouge, Henderson, Johnson, McKay, Patterson, Vanirsen

BEST

Claremont: Avery, Gowdie, Lane, Van Rooyen, Western, Willson, Young
Subiaco: Brockman, Erasmus, Henderson, Johnson, McGowan, Morris, Page, Patterson, Vanirsen

Mel Whinnen Medal: Lachlan Vanirsen (Subiaco)

Featured Image: Subiaco celebrates its 2020 WAFL Colts premiership | Credit: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

Scouting Notes: 2020 WAFL Colts Grand Final – Claremont vs. Subiaco

SUBIACO took out the 2020 WAFL Colts Grand Final on Sunday, trumping reigning premier and warm favourite, Claremont by 59 points at Fremantle Oval. Our scouts were on hand to take note of some of the outstanding performers, including AFL Academy members, Next Generation Academy prospects, and recent National Combine invitees.

Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

Claremont:

#2 Logan Young

It was a quieter game for the big-bodied midfielder, but Young still managed a solid outing and a balanced game. Young covered the ground well, doing some nice work inside the contests but also working hard to push back and help his defenders. Young was later moved forward to switch things up and took a nice mark on the wing. At his size, he could be a hard match up as a midfielder who can push forward and make an impact. Young finished the game with 17 disposals, five marks, and six tackles.

#10 Joel Western

The smooth moving captain of Claremont did all he could to try and get his side over the line. A strong four-quarter performer, he could hold his head high. Western was very silky playing through the midfield, often running from congestion with ease and delivering multiple slick handballs. While not always accurate, he was getting plenty of penetration on his kicks and he would have likely had the most metres gained from his side. Western showed he had a few tricks with a scissor kick over his head in the last quarter – although not exactly effective, it did show his athleticism. Western finished the game with 25 disposals and the Fremantle NGA prospect will now look towards the All-Star games taking place in the next few weeks to continue to show to recruiters his special talent.

#21 Jack Avery

Another big game from the underrated defender who was a recent call-up to the AFL combine, and you could see why with the intercepting machine starting the game in fine form. He showed great courage early with a strong intercept and contested mark, and continued in a similar manner as he went back wit the flight in the second quarter. Despite a hiccup close to goal that lead to an opposition major, he was his side’s best player in the first half. Avery was moved into the midfield in the second half and still won plenty of the ball. Midfield is a position he can hopefully play in the All-Stars games to show off his versatility. While his disposal let him down from the midfield, he had no issues winning it despite not playing the role at all this year. Avery finished with 33 disposals and seven marks and was certainly one of his side’s better players who played hard for four quarters.

#23 Jacob Van Rooyen

The talented 2021 key position prospect started the game in fine form, kicking a nice set shot goal and doing well in ruck contests inside attacking 50. His marking is a strength which he showed all game, but it was his nimbleness that really stood out in a nice passage of play in the second quarter as he streamed through the middle of the ground and kicked long inside 50, showing his athleticism. He would show that athleticism again in the last quarter, almost kicking a nice running goal from long range that just missed. Van Rooyen was moved into the midfield after the game was already lost and he showed some great signs, especially at the first centre bounce, showing a lot of energy by looking to get involved and throw his big frame around. Van Rooyen finished with 17 disposals, five marks and kicked 1.1 in an impressive outing that will help build into his draft year in 2021.

#28 Kalin Lane

Lane was the standout ruck on the ground with his tapwork and follow-up work being first class. Standing at 204cm, it was great to see a player of his size so willing to tackle and impact the contests after his ruckwork. He was rewarded for it with a nice tackle which yielded a holding the ball call in the first quarter. Some of his tapwork was sublime, especially one to his teammate Western who couldn’t have asked for better silver service. His marking around the ground was also strong, which is what you want from your primary ruckman. Lane was a strong four-quarter performer with 14 disposals, five marks and 32 hit outs as he made claims to be the premier ruckman in this year’s draft.

Subiaco:

#12 Matthew Johnson

Perhaps Western Australia’s best prospect going into the 2021 draft, the tall midfielder showed a lot of class with his ability to win the ball in close and distribute by hand cleanly to his teammates’ advantage. His vision by hand was outstanding, whether it was from a clearance or in general play. There was one fine example in the second quarter where he faked a handball nicely and then quickly dished off a perfect pass to his teammate to release him into space. Johnson’s goal came in the second quarter after earning a free kick. His second half was huge, winning plenty of the ball at ease and using it effectively by hand and foot. He had another great play in the last quarter, attacking the ground ball hard, cleanly giving a handball, getting it back, and almost evading another tackle before getting done in the back. Johnson had a complete game in the midfield, finishing with 21 disposals, five marks, six tackles and a goal.

#13/17 Lachlan Vanirsen

What a week it has been for Vanirsen, who capped it off by winning the Mel Whinnen Medal for best on ground after taking out the Jack Clarke Medal as best and fairest of the WAFL Colts earlier in the week, and a premiership medal to go with it. A deserving winner of the each medal, Vanirsen was unstoppable through the midfield where he showed a great mix of class, hard work and impact. He had a number change to start the second quarter, going from 13 to 17 which may have confused some onlookers. He went into full attacking mode in the second half, kicking a lovely goal by crumbing and snapping truly to put the game beyond doubt at that point. He made plenty of chances in the last quarter to add to his goal tally and he really deserved another goal. His work-rate was highlighted with one passage of play where he got multiple possessions starting from defence, and finally latched onto the last chain inside 50 where he won a free kick, but would miss the long range shot at goal. Vanirsen can’t have done much more to help his draft stocks with 33 disposals, 11 marks, five tackles, and 1.3. He will have more chances to stake his claim with the upcoming All-Star games, too.

#22 Blake Morris

Morris started the game slowly but really came into his own in the second half, becoming an intercept marking machine which is a role he played well at last year’s Under 16 championships. Despite not having the size to play as a true key position player, he has shown a great ability to play taller with his marking ability, but what also stood out was his ground level play. Morris showed some great composure and agility to evade opponents, as he rarely gets caught. The third quarter showcased his intercept marking and his work down back really gave Claremont no chance of making any damaging forward entries. Although his kicking was shaky at times, Morris was certainly one of his side’s most damaging players, finishing with 16 disposals and eight marks. Like a few other teammates, he will get more chances to show his wares in the upcoming All-Star games.

#23 Sandon Page

Page has been a constant scoring force for Subiaco this year, but it was his set-up and outlet work up the ground where he was found to be most damaging and useful for his side on this occasion. Page didn’t waste much time with his disposals, often providing a hard contest, gathering cleanly, and quickly forcing the ball forward at all costs, which was a good ploy in a Grand Final when territory can be so important. He would be rewarded for his work up the ground with some goals in the third quarter; one coming from a free kick close to goal, and another being a mark close to goal where he would slot both set shots with ease. Page had a solid outing with 12 disposals and two goals while also setting up others. He is another Subiaco product who will play in the upcoming All-Star games.

#33 Neil Erasmus

Erasmus sure does know how to find the goals. The bottom-ager provided an early spark for Subiaco, helping the Lions get away with three first-half majors. Having plied his trade for Hale School during the PSA season, Erasmus only made his WAFL Colts debut in Round 9, and booted his maiden goal during the first term of this outing. Blink, and you may have missed all four of his scores, as the lively forward showed great goal sense to quickly put boot to ball and find the big sticks each time. His ability to compete aerially, and then show a clean pair of heels across the ground was excellent, as commentators likened him to Port youngster, Mitch Georgiades. He seems a promising, raw prospect for next year with plenty of scope.

Featured Image: Subiaco and Claremont’s fliers contest for a mark | Source: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

Draft Central Power Rankings: October 2020

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

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #1

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #2

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

September Ranking: #3

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

>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus | Player Focus

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

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

September Ranking: #4

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #5

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #6

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Player Focus

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

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

September Ranking: #7

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #8

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #10

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #11

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #9

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #12

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #13

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #15

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #14

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

September Ranking: #16

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

>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #17

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

September Ranking: #20

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #23

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #19

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #18

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

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

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

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

September Ranking: #21

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

>> Q&A
>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #22

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

>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: NR

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

>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #25

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

>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: #24

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

>> Draft Watch

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

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

September Ranking: NR

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

>> Feature
>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

September Ranking: NR

Last Month: Inactive due to lack of NAB League.

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

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

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

September Ranking: NR

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

>> Draft Watch
>> Marquee Matchup

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

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

September Ranking: NR

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

>> Draft Watch

IN THE MIX:

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

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

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

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

Out to impress: 2020 WAFL Grand Final previews

YOUNG talent continues to turn heads at state league level around the nation, and it has been no different across all three WAFL grades upon the competition’s resumption in 2020. As we await a trio of exciting Grand Final matchups, Draft Central continues its new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game. With premiership glory up for grabs, stakes are high for the state’s brightest prospects and bonafide stars alike.

>> SCROLL for fixtures and League teams

Claremont has earned passage to the final week of all three WAFL grades, with the League side set to take on minor premier, South Fremantle. Only a fortnight ago, the Tigers toppled their highly-fancied weekend rivals, who will feature in their second-straight League decider after going down to fallen powerhouse, Subiaco in 2019.

20-year-old midfielder and former West Coast rookie Callan England has been crucial this year for Claremont, pushing his case for another shot at AFL level with plenty of possessions and goals out of the engine room. He has been named in the forward pocket, while Max Spyvee, who enjoyed a stellar debut this season will rotate off the bench.

Thomas Baldwin, who has been a permanent League fixture in 2020 takes his place at half-back, with Tyron Smallwood on a flank at the other end, and Dylan Smallwood making his way into the side via the interchange bench.

The Bulldogs have been forced into a change from last week’s winning side, with 23-year-old midfielder Jake Florenca picking up the most untimely of calf injuries at the end of a terrific individual campaign. Jarrad Doney is the man who replaces him, a 24-year old who has made a late surge back into the League fold after some time in the Reserves this year.

Claremont’s Reserves side is also littered with promising young talent, who will look to beat the East Perth Royals to the two’s throne. On track to go through an entire season unbeaten, the Royals will have their hands full with a bunch of lively types on each line.

Claremont’s Isaac Barton was unlucky to be squeezed out of senior calculations, but promises to provide plenty of speed and flair through midfield. Anthony Davis is another who has enjoyed a taste of League footy, but will ply his defensive trade in the second grade having been named as a senior emergency. Jack Buller (half-forward) and Max Minear (full forward) are others to keep an eye on, along with Jye Clark at half-back – the brother of Geelong’s Jordan.

For East Perth, Jacob Msando is a reliable defender who will look to finish his year on a high. The 20-year-old has been named in the back pocket and is likely to take on a lockdown role. Harley Sparks should live up to his name while stationed on a wing, while Sebit Kuek is a raw target to look for at centre half-forward. Among those named on the bench is Jack Cooley, who had 33 touches in Claremont’s 2019 WAFL Colts Grand Final triumph. He’ll be hoping to claim more silverware – against former teammates, no less.

A fortnight after they met in the first week of finals, Claremont and Subiaco will play off for the ultimate Colts glory. The Tigers have the opportunity to go back-to-back after taking out last year’s title, with Joel Western, Cameron Anderson, Ben Ramshaw, and Logan Young all part of the successful 2019 side.

Skipper and Fremantle Next Generation Academy product, Western provides great pace and skill through midfield alongside Anderson, with Young the current competition leading disposal winner, and Kalin Lane the 204cm ruck set to service them. They’ll all have to be on-song against a Subiaco midfield which boasts Jack Clarke medalist Lachlan Vanirsen, who had 29 disposals and two goals in last week’s preliminary final.

The Lions will also rotate the likes of Connor Patterson, Jed Kemp, and bottom-ager Matthew Johnson through the middle, types who enjoy getting their hands dirty. Subiaco leader Sandon Page will also renew his rivalry with Jack Avery, after being held goalless for consecutive weeks. Jaxon Bilchuris is another Subiaco forward with plenty of goals to his name, while recent state combine addition Tyler Brockman will hope to impress.

After a qualifying final decided by 15 points in Claremont’s favour, the reigning premier will again be the favoured side coming in. While premiership glory is the number one priority, many of the prospects out there will also be looking to bring good form into the upcoming West Australian All-Star fixtures.

FIXTURES

League:

Claremont vs. South Fremantle | Sunday October 4, 3:10pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval

Reserves:

East Perth vs. Claremont | Sunday October 4, 9:15am @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval

Colts:

Claremont vs. Subiaco | Sunday October 4, 12:10pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval

LEAGUE TEAMS

Featured Image: Sandon Page (left, Subiaco) and Joel Western (Claremont) with the WAFL Colts premiership cup | Source: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

FULL COUNT | 2020 WAFL Colts Coaches Award – Falcons’ Chapman caps off stellar season

WEST Perth’s Heath Chapman has only further enhanced his draft prospects, after claiming the 2020 WAFL Colts Coaches Award.

Chapman polled 20 votes to win ahead of Subiaco’s 2020 Jack Clarke Medallist Lachlan Vanirsen (19 votes). Meanwhile, Claremont’s Jack Avery, East Fremantle’s Finn Gorringe, East Perth’s Joshua Hubbard and Perth’s Conor McPartland finished in equal-third position with 13 votes each.

>> SCROLL for the full count

During the WAFL Colts home-and-away season, Chapman averaged 23 possessions, eight marks, three tackles and three inside 50s across seven games.

Chapman was adjudged best afield against South Fremantle in Round 2 (21 possessions, six marks), Peel Thunder in Round 3 (27 possessions, 11 marks), Perth in Round 5 (28 possessions, seven marks, four inside 50s) and Subiaco in Round 9 (24 possessions, eight marks, five tackles, five inside 50s) to take out the award.

He also made his WAFL League debut in Round 8 against Claremont and looked comfortable at the level, finishing with 11 possessions and five marks.

In 2019, Chapman finished ninth in the WAFL Colts Coaches Award with 17 votes.

The WAFL Colts Coaches Award is proudly sponsored by the WAFL Combined Past Players and Officials Association.

The total award consists of $500, a trophy, and a certificate of merit. It will be presented to Chapman at West Perth’s Colts’ Best and Fairest function on October 30.

2020 WAFL COLTS COACHES AWARD LEADERBOARD

PLAYER WAFL CLUB VOTES
Heath Chapman West Perth 20
Lachlan Vanirsen Subiaco 19
Jack Avery Claremont 13
Finn Gorringe East Fremantle 13
Joshua Hubbard East Perth 13
Conor McPartland Perth Demons 13
Logan Young Claremont 12
Jack Carroll East Fremantle 11
Cian Ehlers Swan Districts 11
Zane Trew Swan Districts 11
Michael Mallard West Perth 11
Keanu Haddow East Fremantle 10
Adam Boules East Perth 10

RECENT WINNERS OF WAFL COLTS COACHES AWARD

YEAR PLAYER WAFL CLUB
2019 Benjamin Golding Subiaco
2018 Liam Hickmott Subiaco
2017 Luke English Perth Demons
2016 Michael Humble Peel Thunder
2015 Chapman Jones Perth Demons
2014 Albert Dean Swan Districts

EACH WAFL CLUB’S VOTE-GETTERS

Claremont:

PLAYER VOTES
Jack Avery 13
Logan Young 12
Kalin Lane 9
Samuel Alvarez 5
Cameron Anderson 5
Ben Ramshaw 5
Jacob Van Rooyen 5
Joel Western 5
Jacob Blight 4
Kieran Gowdie 4
Alex Pearce 4
Jake Willson 4
Jacquin Ciminata 2
Reece Gordon 1

East Fremantle:

PLAYER VOTES
Finn Gorringe 13
Jack Carroll 11
Keanu Haddow 10
Jed Hagan 7
Brandon Walker 7
Jack Williams 6
Ethan Paholski 3
Joshua Browne 2
Edward Curley 2
Bohan Teakle 2
Lachlan McGrath 1

East Perth:

PLAYER VOTES
Joshua Hubbard 13
Adam Boules 10
Riley May 4
Jack Omodei 4
Jaylen Colegate 3
James Tunstill 3
Jye Amiss 2
Tom Druzianich 2
Kaden Harbour 2
Jack Hindle 2
Ethan Sherwood 2
Jason Kissack 1
Sokaa Soka 1

Peel Thunder:

PLAYER VOTES
Isiah Winder 8
Tyler Nesbitt 7
Roy George 5
Zach Rankin 4
David Yaccob 4
Adam Davey 3
Zac Trigwell 3
Charlie Bourke 2
Bodie Kitchingham 2
Luke Polson 2
Kobe Farmer 1
Jarrad McIivinney 1

Perth:

PLAYER VOTES
Conor McPartland 13
Jaiden Hunter 9
Harry Quartermaine 6
Zak Meloncelli 5
Zac Sanderson 5
Jack Evans 3
Brett Hassett 3
Deklyn Grocott 2
Oscar Morcombe 1

South Fremantle:

PLAYER VOTES
Jaxon Bellchambers 9
Aaron Drage 9
Toby Dodds 7
Solomon James 7
Shannon Neale 7
Riley Clayton 5
Julian Hulten 5
Baxter Jones 5
Oscar Armstrong 4
Jesse Motlop 3
Adam Correia 2
Aiden Hall 1

Subiaco:

PLAYER VOTES
Lachlan Vanirsen 13
Lachlan Henderson 6
Jacob Evitt 5
Campbell Henderson 5
Matthew Johnson 5
Sandon Page 5
Cameron Dean 4
Jed Kemp 4
Lachlan McKay 4
Nicholas Cleaver 3
Jai Jackson 3
Jaxon McGowan 3
Connor Patterson 3
Patrick Mullane 1

Swan Districts:

PLAYER VOTES
Cian Ehlers 11
Zane Trew 11
Joseph Salmon 8
Ayden Cartwright 4
William Collins 4
Ty Sears 4
Jamison Ugle 4
Jehb O’Donohue 1
Kade Screaigh 1

West Perth:

PLAYER VOTES
Heath Chapman 20
Michael Mallard 11
Kane Bevan 9
Callum Johnson 7
Brady Alvaro 4
Logan Foley 4
Luke Reilly 4
Corey Rundle 4
Lachlan Rewell 3
Darcy Dixon 2
Kellen Johnson 2
Saverio Marafioti 2
Tommy Taylor-Shreeve 1

 

FULL COUNT | 2020 Sandover Medal review – Fisher voted WAFL’s best

ACE VFL recruit Samuel Fisher was awarded the 2020 Sandover Medal after a stunning debut season for Swan Districts. The midfielder became Swan Districts’ 10th Sandover Medallist, and its first since Andrew Krakouer won the award in 2010.

>> SCROLL for the full leaderboard

The 22-year-old former Sydney rookie averaged 27 possessions, four tackles, four inside 50s and three marks across eight WAFL League games this season.

He produced dominant performances against West Perth in Round 1 (29 possessions, five tackles, four inside 50s), Claremont in Round 2 (25 possessions, five tackles, four inside 50s), South Fremantle in Round 5 (27 possessions, four tackles), Peel Thunder in Round 6 (25 possessions), East Perth in Round 7 (37 possessions, seven marks, seven tackles, four inside 50s), Perth in Round 8 (23 possessions, five inside 50s, four tackles), and East Fremantle in Round 9 (28 possessions, six tackles, six inside 50s, four marks, one goal).

Fisher polled 13 votes in six of a possible eight games to edge out West Perth’s Aaron Black (11 votes) and East Perth’s Jackson Ramsay (10).

He joins Haydn Bunton Snr (1938, 1939, 1941), and Jye Bolton (2016, 2018) as Sandover Medal winners in their first season.

Fisher was also named on the interchange in the WAFL Team of the Year.

FULL LEADERBOARD:

RANK PLAYER WAFL CLUB VOTES
1 Samuel Fisher Swan Districts 13
2 Aaron Black West Perth 11
3 Jackson Ramsay East Perth 10
4 Chris Masten Perth Demons 9
Jake Florenca South Fremantle 9
5 Jye Bolton Claremont 8
Kade Stewart South Fremantle 8
6 Alec Waterman Claremont 7
Tyler Keitel West Perth 7
7 Kane Mitchell Claremont 6
Bailey Rogers Claremont 6
Aidan Lynch East Perth 6
Angus Scott East Perth 6
Kyal Horsley Subiaco 6
Jesse Turner Swan Districts 6
8 Cameron Eardley East Fremantle 5
Haiden Schloithe South Fremantle 5
Leigh Kitchin Subiaco 5
9 Declan Mountford Claremont 4
Ben Howlett Peel Thunder 4
Lachlan Delahunty Subiaco 4
Corey Gault Swan Districts 4
Luke Meadows West Perth 4
Shane Nelson West Perth 4
10 Jared Hardisty Claremont 3
Thomas Bennett East Fremantle 3
Jordan Snadden East Fremantle 3
Andrew Fisher Perth Demons 3
Brady Grey Perth Demons 3
Frank Anderson Swan Districts 3
Trent Manzone West Perth 3
11 Anton Hamp Claremont 2
Cody Leggett East Fremantle 2
Rohan Kerr East Perth 2
Nicholas Robertson East Perth 2
Jackson Merrett Peel Thunder 2
Matthew Taylor Perth Demons 2
Jacob Dragovich South Fremantle 2
Brock Higgins South Fremantle 2
Mason Shaw South Fremantle 2
Gregory Clark Subiaco 2
Benjamin Newton Subiaco 2
Max Walters Subiaco 2
Michael Lourey West Perth 2
12 Callan England Claremont 1
Kody Manning East Fremantle 1
Brant Colledge Perth Demons 1
Logan McDonald Perth Demons 1
Matthew Rogers Perth Demons 1
Michael Sinclair Perth Demons 1
Caleb Datson South Fremantle 1
Chad Pearson South Fremantle 1
Zachary Strom South Fremantle 1
Jakob Atkinson Subiaco 1
Hayden Kennedy Subiaco 1
Connor West West Perth 1

Featured Image: 2020 Sandover Medalist Sam Fisher | Source: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

2020 WAFL Colts MOTR: Preliminary Final – Subiaco vs. East Fremantle

SUBIACO has advanced to its second Simply Energy WAFL Colts Grand Final in three years, after defeating East Fremantle by 62 points in the Preliminary Final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Within the first minute of the game, Lachlan McKay slotted the first goal from a set shot, after he was awarded a free kick for being pushed in the back. Five minutes later, Lachlan Vanirsen snapped through a goal. Soon after, Connor Patterson banged through another, and moments later, Jaxon McGowan intercepted an East Fremantle rebounding 50, and then launched through one more major for the Lions. Late in the quarter, McKay, roved a pack expertly and drilled through his second goal, to give the Lions a 33-point lead at quarter time.

In the opening stages of the second quarter, Vanirsen crumbed a pack brilliantly and nailed his second goal. Jaxon Bilchuris then snapped through his first goal. It took until the 12th minute of the second quarter for East Fremantle to register its first goal of the contest. Ethan Paholski was able to get the ball inside 50, where Jack Williams took a strong contested mark. Williams went back and slotted the goal. In the eighteenth minute, Ezekiel Bolton soccered through another for the Lions.

After the main break, Matthew Johnson spotted up Connor Faraone inside 50. Faraone went back and converted his set shot. A few moments later, Jacob Evitt snapped through his first goal. In the fourteenth minute, Jack Gouge dribbled through the first goal of his Simply Energy WAFL Colts career, and all of his team-mates got around him. Late in the quarter, Lachlan McGrath drilled through a goal for the Sharks, but Evitt scored the instant reply when he was able to get the ball out the back of a pack and dribbled through his second goal.

In the early minutes of the final quarter, Johnson kicked a goal, after he was received a downfield free kick. Alex Crowe and Williams both scored goals for the Sharks in the loss.

Subiaco vice-captain Lachlan Vanirsen was best afield, finishing with 29 possessions, seven tackles, four marks, three inside 50s and two goals.

Jaxon McGowan (19 possessions, six marks, three tackles, three inside 50s, one goal), Matthew Johnson (16 possessions, six marks, five tackles, four inside 50s, one goal), Jacob Evitt (15 possessions, four tackles, three marks, three inside 50s, two goals) and Lachlan Henderson (15 possessions, five marks) were amongst the Lions’ best.

For East Fremantle, Finn Gorringe tried his heart out with 24 possessions, 10 marks, two tackles and two inside 50s.

Jed Hagan (19 possessions, seven marks, seven tackles), Keanu Haddow (17 possessions, 5 marks) Ethan Paholski (14 possessions, four tackles, three marks, three inside 50s), and Lachlan McGrath (nine possessions, 16 hit-outs, five tackles, four inside 50s, three marks, one goal) competed strongly for the Sharks.

Next week, Subiaco takes on Claremont in the 2020 Simply Energy WAFL Colts Grand Final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

SUBIACO                     5.3 8.5 12.6 13.12    (90)
EAST FREMANTLE       0.0 1.1 2.3 4.4        (28)

GOALS:

SUBIACO: Vanirsen, Evitt, McKay 2, Patterson, McGowan, Faraone, Johnson, Bolton, Gouge, Bilchuris
EAST FREMANTLE: Williams 2, McGrath, Crowe

BEST:

SUBIACO: Vanirsen, Johnson, McGowan, Evitt, Henderson
EAST FREMANTLE: Gorringe, McGrath, Haddow, Hagan, Paholski

Out to impress: 2020 WAFL weekend preview – Preliminary Finals

YOUNG talent continues to turn heads at state league level around the nation, and it has been no different across all three WAFL grades upon the competition’s resumption in 2020. As we roll into the second week of finals, Draft Central continues its new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game. With Grand Final spots up for grabs, stakes are high for the state’s brightest prospects and bonafide stars.

>> SCROLL for fixtures and League teams

South Fremantle and West Perth play off for the right to play Claremont in the League decider, with the Bulldogs on a mission to add to their minor premiership. The top-ranked side will be made to lean on its second chance after consecutive losses, while West Perth is riding the wave of an 11-point victory in Week One to secure passage to the prelims.

Against a hardened and experienced South Freo outfit, the Falcons will also look to take in its fair share of young talent. 21-year-old midfielder Connor West had a season-low 11 disposals last time out, but laid eight tackles and has what it takes to make an impact amid the finals atmosphere. 202cm bigman Zak Patterson and former Subiaco ball magnet Tristan Hobley have been named on the Falcons’ extended bench, both looking to retain their spots.

Claremont’s Reserves will hope to join their League and Colts teammates in the final week of the season, when they square off against Subiaco on Sunday afternoon. The Lions’ second chance comes into play after a loss to the undefeated East Perth, while the Tigers will hope its winning form counts having beaten South Fremantle last week.

Both sides boast a good array of youth prospects, with brothers Liam and Wil Hickmott among them. The midfielders carry League experience, and make up two of the three centreline selections for Subiaco. Thomas Edwards-Baldwin is another to watch for the Lions, named in the forward pocket to round out a month of Reserves footy after his own League stint. Fellow 21-year-old Koby Fullgrabe also features on the extended bench.

In response, the third-ranked Tigers boast players who can provide a spark on each line. The pacey Isaac Barton looms as one who can open up the game from midfield, while Jye Clark, the brother of Geelong’s Jordan has been named at half-back, and mainstay Jack Buller remains at half-forward.

Subiaco’s Colts will hope to make it a first-versus-second Grand Final, but have to get through the fourth-ranked East Fremantle before attempting revenge on Claremont. Ball-winning quartet Lachlan Vanirsen, Connor Patterson, Jed Kemp, and Matthew Johnson are all coming off strong showings for the Lions, with Kemp and Johnson getting their hands dirty defensively, too.

They’ll all play a key role for Subiaco, especially given the Sharks’ stocks. Bottom-agers Joshua Browne and Corey Warner have risen steeply of late, while Finn Gorringe is enjoying his time across half-back without Jack Carroll. Fellow defensive pair, Brandon Walker and Keanu Haddow have been reliable all season, while Chris Walker will be riding high having been added to the National Combine list.

Other combine invitees to watch include Subiaco defender Blake Morris and forward, Tyler Brockman, while East Fremantle’s Jed Hagan is a 2022-eligible gun who should benefit greatly from the heat of finals football in midfield.

FIXTURES

League:

South Fremantle vs. West Perth | Sunday September 27, 3:35pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval

Reserves:

Subiaco vs. Claremont | Sunday September 27, 1:00pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval

Colts:

Subiaco vs. East Fremantle | Sunday September 27, 10:25am @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval

LEAGUE TEAMS

Featured Image: West Perth players celebrate their Week One finals win | Source: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter