Tag: will martyn

Victoria leads way with National Combine invitees

VICTORIA has dominated this year’s NAB AFL Draft Combine List, with 44 of the 79 invites hailing from the state, including a remarkable 11 players from Sandringham Dragons. Vic Metro led the way despite finishing on the bottom of the table at the National Under-18 Championships, with 23 players making the list, followed by title runners-up Vic Country (21), while overall winners Western Australia (16), and South Australia (13) both reached double-figure invites. Of the Allied states, Queensland had three nominees, followed by New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) with two, as Northern Territory and Tasmania both had the sole nomination each. Players must have been invited by at least four clubs to receive an invite to the national combine, which will be held from Tuesday, October 1-Friday October 4. The state combine lists are usually released over the next few months.

Among the list are five Northern Academy-aligned players with GWS Academy’s Tom Green and Liam Delahunty, Brisbane Lions’ Noah Cumberland and Will Martyn, and Gold Coast’s Connor Budarick. Also receiving invites are father-son prospects Jackson Mead (Port Adelaide) and Finn Maginness (Hawthorn), and the Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) member Liam Henry.

Sandringham’s haul of 11 players includes Darcy Chirgwin (Vic Country) as well as double-digit Vic Metro representatives, Jack Bell, Miles Bergman, Louis Butler, Ryan Byrnes, Oscar Lewis, Maginness, Jack Mahony, Fischer McAsey, Hugo Ralphsmith and Josh Worrell. Oakleigh Chargers and Gippsland Power was the next most with six apiece, Dandenong Stingrays with five and Bendigo Pioneers with four.

In Western Australia, East Fremantle dominated the 16 nominees, picking up six as Jai Jackson, Luke Jackson, Trent Rivers, Trey Ruscoe, Jeremy Sharp and Chad Warner all named. In South Australia, Woodville-West Torrens had four representatives with Mead, Josh Morris, Kysaiah Pickett and Harry Schoenberg all receiving an invite. Just seven players came from the Allies squad, with Green and Tasmania’s Mitch O’Neill the top prospects.

A couple of players proving that missing out on representative selection is not the end of the AFL Draft dream are Northern Knights’ Sam Philp and Oakleigh Chargers’ Cooper Sharman. Philp has been in great form in the NAB League Boys competition, whilst Sharman has been plucked from under former AFL coach Rodney Eade’s nose to bolt up into draft calculations.

2019 NAB AFL Draft Combine list
NSW/ACT

Liam Delahunty (GWS Academy)
Tom Green (GWS Academy)

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Malcolm Rosas (NT Thunder)

QUEENSLAND

Connor Budarick (Gold Coast Academy)
Noah Cumberland (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Will Martyn (Brisbane Lions Academy)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Will Day (West Adelaide)
Karl Finlay (North Adelaide)
Will Gould (Glenelg)
Dyson Hilder (North Adelaide)
Jackson Mead (Woodville-West Torrens)
Josh Morris (Woodville-West Torrens)
Callum Park (Glenelg)
Kysaiah Pickett (Woodville-West Torrens)
Harry Schoenberg (Woodville-West Torrens)
Josh Shute (Sturt)
Dylan Stephens (Norwood)
Cameron Taheny (Norwood)

TASMANIA

Mitch O’Neill (Tasmania Devils)

VIC COUNTRY

Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers)
Riley Baldi (Gippsland Power)
Ned Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays)
Darcy Chirgwin (Sandringham Dragons)
Jesse Clark (Geelong Falcons)
Charlie Comben (Gippsland Power)
Sam De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays)
Thomson Dow (Bendigo Pioneers)
Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power)
Brodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers)
Flynn Perez (Bendigo Pioneers)
Fraser Phillips (Gippsland Power)
Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels)
Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers)
Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power)
Brock Smith (Gippsland Power)
Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons)
Isaac Wareham (GWV Rebels)
Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays)
Lachlan Williams (Dandenong Stingrays)
Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays)

VIC METRO

Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers)
Jack Bell (Sandringham Dragons)
Miles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons)
Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers)
Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers)
Louis Butler (Sandringham Dragons)
Ryan Byrnes (Sandringham Dragons)
Darcy Cassar (Western Jets)
Josh Honey (Western Jets)
Emerson Jeka (Western Jets)
Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons)
Oscar Lewis (Sandringham Dragons)
Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons)
Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons)
Fischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons)
Daniel Mott (Calder Cannons)
Sam Philp (Northern Knights)
Hugo Ralphsmith (Sandringham Dragons)
Matt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers)
Cooper Sharman (Oakleigh Chargers)
Ryan Sturgess (Northern Knights)
Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers)
Josh Worrell (Sandringham Dragons)

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Riley Garcia (Swan Districts)
Mitch Georgiades (Subiaco)
Liam Henry (Claremont)
Jai Jackson (East Fremantle)
Luke Jackson (East Fremantle)
Callum Jamieson (Claremont)
Ben Johnson (West Perth)
Ronin O’Connor (Claremont)
Jake Pasini (Swan Districts)
Jaxon Prior (West Perth)
Trent Rivers (East Fremantle)
Deven Robertson (Perth)
Trey Ruscoe (East Fremantle)
Jeremy Sharp (East Fremantle)
Elijah Taylor (Perth)
Chad Warner (East Fremantle)

Western Australia and Vic Country to decide AFL U18s title

A NEW national champion will be crowned tomorrow evening with Vic Country and Western Australia set to lock horns for the national title, while South Australia and the Allies play after in what has become a dead rubber match, but still plenty of talent on show. Vic Country has not won since 2015, with Vic Metro and South Australia combining for the other seven titles in that time. Josh Schache was named the Larke Medallist for his dominance up forward, in a team that included Darcy Parish, Ben Ainsworth, Jarrod Berry, Jacob Weitering and Rhys Mathieson. For Western Australia, the time between wins is even longer, with a decade passing since their 2009 triumph where the likes of David Swallow, Mitch Duncan, Jack Darling, Brandon Matera and Travis Colyer were running around in the yellow and black.

 

VIC COUNTRY vs. WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Wednesday July 3, 2.10pm
Marvel Stadium

The 2019 AFL Under-18 National Championships once again comes down to the final day, and the winner of this match between Vic Country and Western Australia with the home side undefeated from its three games, while Western Australia has won two out of three, the only blip coming in a low-scoring against South Australia in Round 1. Both teams have accounted for the Allies and Vic Metro – with Country notching up its two wins early on including a 15-goal humiliation of the Allies, while Western Australia had to fight hard but recorded strong wins over both. This game is set to be a beauty with the strong defence of the Country side going head-to-head with the excitement machines that represent Western Australia.

Vic Country has made two changes for the game with Sandringham Dragons’ Darcy Chirgwin coming in for his first game of the series following a successful return from injury a couple of weekends ago against Eastern Ranges. That day he collected 32 disposals and 11 clearances in an impressive return match, joined in the Country side by Murray Bushrangers’ Cam Wild who was left out of the Murray side on the weekend in order to play this game, but picked up 29 touches the week prior. Fraser Phillips and Lachlan Williams are the two players to miss out after quiet games in the narrow win over South Australia. Western Australia has opted for four changes with the highly rated Jeremy Sharp missing out on the side this week, while Cameron Anderson, Tristan Hobley and Reuben McGuire are also out of the team. In their place come a couple of overagers in Ryan Bennell and Jarvis Pina, as well as Nathan O’Driscoll and Nicholas Martin.

Both teams have the capability to move the ball with speed, and for Country, it has the two best half-backs in the draft in Hayden Young and Lachlan Ash making life difficult for any side as they slice up opposition zones. Brock Smith and Sam De Koning have proven to stand up as the key talls, with Smith having to play in a higher weight division as he will with a potential match-up against bottom-age tall Logan McDonald on the cards. The small forwards of Country have been very damaging with Cody Weightman the leading goalkicker of the carnival and it will be between him and Elijah Taylor to take out the title. Elijah Hollands has weaved magic across the past month despite being a bottom-ager, while Ned Cahill has worked well with Weightman transitioning from Dandenong Stingrays to the Country side. The midfield of Gippsland Power duo, Caleb Serong and Sam Flanders, and Bendigo Pioneers’ Brodie Kemp has made a massive difference and will no doubt look to control the ball in there, able to match it with the strong West Australian midfielders.

Western Australia’s strength lies in its ruck and speed. Luke Jackson is the dominant ruck and is set for All-Australian honours, while Taylor, Liam Henry and Tyrone Thorne have that X-factor about them and can create something out of nothing. Deven Robertson has done his draft chances no harm after being injured last year, coming second in the disposals across the carnival, and being a shining light as captain of the Sandgropers. Riley Garcia and Chad Warner have also been consistent in there, while Trent Rivers is a touch of class who can play between half-back and the wing, or go through the middle. The bottom-age talls of McDonald and Denver Grainger-Barras hold the visitors in good stead for next year, while Jake Pasini and Callum Jamieson have been strong up either end at the carnival. Spectators also get a glimpse of bottom-age talent O’Driscoll who has been named at half-back, in a game that is predicted to be an absolute beauty.

Vic Country will head in as favourites having gone undefeated thus far, but Western Australia are fresh off a rest whereas Vic Country have the five-day break so it will be interesting to see how that affects them.

TEAMS

Vic Country:

B: 26. Jesse Clark – 36. Sam De Koning – 9. Isaac Wareham
HB: 12. Lachlan Ash – 24. Brock Smith – 18. Hayden Young
C: 8. Thomson Dow – 16. Brodie Kemp – 15. Ryan Sparkes
HF: 1. Ned Cahill – 20. Elijah Hollands – 13. Jay Rantall
F: 6. Riley Baldi – 39. Josh Smith – 3. Cody Weightman
R: 40. Charlie Comben – 4. Sam Flanders – 2. Caleb Serong
INT: 22. Darcy Chirgwin – 14. Liam Herbert – 10. Harrison Pepper – 5. Cameron Wild

IN: Darcy Chirgwin, Cam Wild
OUT: Fraser Phillips, Lachlan Williams

Western Australia:

B: 13. Ben Johnson – 21. Jake Pasini – 20. Jaxon Prior
HB: 22. Max Murphy – 36. Denver Grainger-Barras – 7. Nathan O’Driscoll
C: 12. Regan Clarke – 10. Deven Robertson – 5. Liam Henry
HF: 18. Jai Jackson – 25. Logan McDonald – 19. ELijah Taylor
F: 23. Nicholas Martin – 39. Callum Jamieson – 3. Tyrone Thorne
R: 32. Luke Jackson – 14. Chad Warner – 4. Riley Garcia
INT: 34. Ryan Bennell – 24. Ronin O’Connor – 11. Jarvis Pina – 35. Trent Rivers – 26. Trey Ruscoe

IN: Nathan O’Driscoll – Nicholas Martin, Ryan Bennell, Jarvis Pina
OUT: Cameron Anderson, Tristan Hobley, Jeremy Sharp, Reuben McGuire

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA vs. ALLIES
Wednesday July 3, 4.40pm
Marvel Stadium

In the second game of the double-header, South Australia and Allies will effectively play-off for third spot having already amassed two losses from three games. As South Australia defeated Western Australia, the Croweaters can effectively grab second with a win over the Allies and a Vic Country triumph in the first game. However they could also finish last with a loss, because they also lost to Vic Metro who sit with the same amount of wins – one. If the Allies win they will grab third, while if they lose they will be fourth after ensuring they will not finish last thanks to the win over Vic Metro. South Australia came agonisingly close to making this a title game if they had come away with the points against Vic Country, but with their back-to-back hopes dashed, the Croweaters will be keen to finish off the carnival with a good win.

The Allies have made two changes to the side that got over the line by two points against Vic Metro, recalling exciting bottom-age forward Braeden Campbell, as well as ball winner, Jeromy Lucas who has been named at full-forward. Out of the side go Nicholas Brewer and James Peatling. The South Australians have also made the two changes with Kysaiah Pickett returning from suspension for the game, joined in the side by Jordan Moore, while Jordan O’Brien and Brady Searle are the outs from the team that narrowly lost to Vic Country in the previous game.

The battle of the midfields will be entertaining with Jackson Mead, Harry Schoenberg and Lachlan McNeil going head-to-head with Tom Green, Ben Jungfer and Connor Budarick on the outside, while Will Martyn and Mitch O’Neill will hope to match the run provided by Dylan Stephens and Josh Shute on the wing. Up forward, South Australia has some great variety with Daniel Sladojevic the key tall, Cameron Taheny as the talented medium forward, and Pickett as the electrifying small. Noah Cumberland, Tom Griffiths and Luke Parks are in some good form and will look to cover the smalls and mediums, while Liam Delahunty could have the job on Sladojevic.

Up the other end, the South Australian defence is right up there in terms of quality with Dyson Hilder and Karl Finlay a couple of dominant tall intercept markers, allowing captain Will Gould to run riot off half-back. Will Day and Luke Edwards also create great run and rebound out of the back half, but will need to be accountable to the likes of Campbell and Hewago Paul Oea who are nimble and damaging if given time and space. Josh Gore is in some ripping form after three goals in the last game, and Hamish Ellem has also produced the goods at ground level. Add in the Allies depth of Errol Gulden and Malcolm Rosas Jr coming off the bench through the forward half and they have plenty of scoring options. Corey Durdin is a name to remember for next year for the Croweaters, while Damon Freitag could cause issues given his size and strength.

South Australia will be favourites in this game given how close all of their games have been, but the Allies have improved each game they have run out, so if that is any indication, they are set to hold up here against strong opposition.

TEAMS:

South Australia:

B: 35. Karl Finlay – 33. Dyson Hilder – 22. Harrison Magor
HB: 19. Luke Edwards – 24. Will Gould – 12. Will Day
C: 10. Joshua Shute – 18. Jackson Mead – 7. Dylan Stephens
HF: 8. Jed McEntee – 32. Daniel Sladojevic – 17. Josh Morris
F: 31. Jordan Moore – 9. Cameron Taheny – 1. Kysaiah Pickett
R: 37. Lachlan Burrows – 15. Harry Schoenberg – 20. Lachlan McNeil
INT: 14. Declan Carmody – 3. Corey Durdin – 42. Damon Freitag – 11. Callum Park – 28 Oliver Shaw

IN: Kysaiah Pickett, Jordan Moore
OUT: Jordan O’Brien, Brady Searle

Allies:

B: 8. Tom Griffiths – 52. Dirk Koenen – 21. Luke Parks
HB: 46. Noah Cumberland – 26. Liam Delahunty – 36. Sam Thorne
C: 15. Will Martyn – 3. Connor Budarick – 9. Mitch O’Neill
HF: 5. Braeden Campbell – 37. Josh Gore – 2. Hewago Paul Oea
F: 31. Hamish Ellem – 47. Jeromy Lucas – 32. Jack Steele
R: 54. Ben Kelly – 22. Thomas Green – 16. Ben Jungfer
INT: 12. Ashton Crossley – 1. Errol Gulden – 24.Joel Jeffrey – 20. Matt McGrory – 4. Malcolm Rosas Jr

IN: Jeromy Lucas, Braeden Campbell
OUT: Nicholas Brewer, James Peatling

Vic Country makes it two on the trot with big win over Allies

VIC Country continued its ominous start to the AFL Under 18 National Championships, comprehensively beating the Allies by 97 points in Launceston on Sunday to stake its claim as the new team to beat.

Cody Weightman ensured Country got off on the right foot, reading a long-range Caleb Serong set shot best to win the spoils and snap an opportunistic first goal from deep in the pocket. After Will Chandler missed the chance to hit back with a free kick from 25 metres out, Tom Green and Hamish Ellem snapped wide with the Allies’ only other opportunities for the term. Serong made them pay shortly after two quick goals to go with a Jay Rantall major, seeing Country break to a 23-point quarter time lead.

It was more of the same after the first break, with Country dominating the course of general play to pile on another five majors. Weightman was again in the action, winning a free kick in his customary pocket and duly converting, with Thomson Dow slotting home from the goalsquare, while Mitch Martin and Lachlan Williams hit set shots from further out sweetly and Ned Cahill made it nine first half goals. While the Allies double their score in the term, they remained goalless heading into the main break.

Warning bells were ringing as an Elijah Hollands shot on the fly sailed on target to start the third term, but Tom Griffiths cut it off with a mark on the goal line. Vic Country had 54 points on the board before Jackson Barling marked strongly and made good on his set shot to give the Allies their first goal, but it would be their only big moment for the term as the Vics again kicked away. Another free kick inside 50 saw Josh Smith provide an immediate reply, while also playing a part in Cam Wild‘s goal shortly after. Ryan Sparkes put through another to make the lead 64 heading into the final straight, with the result well beyond doubt.

A Martin dribbler goal after some early deadlock meant it was party time for Country, as he celebrated his work with the ever exuberant Cahill. A double to Weightman, second from Rantall and third from Serong and Martin, ensured the visitors put their foot to the throat of the Allies, with the penultimate goal from Noah Cumberland the only resistance in a six goals to one closing term.

Lachlan Ash was again superb for Country, leading the ball-winning stakes with 30 and providing plenty of run, with his mates on the half-back line Brodie Kemp (20 disposals, 10 marks) and Hayden Young (18 disposals, seven marks) intercepting everything. Ash’s co-captain Serong was arguably best afield with 23 disposals and three goals with fantastic attack on the ball, joined with three goals by Martin but beaten out by Weightman’s four.

For the Allies, Mitch O’Neill was named best for his 26-disposal showing, while Green did a wealth of work on the inside to finish with 18 disposals (16 contested) and nine clearances in a more unheralded role. Tom Griffiths (21 disposals, three rebound 50s) collected plenty of it down back, with Will Martyn and Sam Thorne constants in the midfield with 16 disposals each, as Martyn also had five clearances on a tough day for his side.

ALLIES 0.2 | 0.4 | 1.6 | 2.7 (19)
VIC COUNTRY 4.1 | 9.2 | 12.4 | 18.8 (116)

GOALS
Allies: J. Barling, N. Cumberland.
Vic Country: C. Weightman 4, C. Serong 3, M. Martin 3, J. Rantall 2, L. Williams, R. Sparkes, C. Wild, J. Smith, N. Cahill, T. Dow.

BEST
Allies: M. O’Neill, N. Murray, T. Green, T. Griffiths, C. Budarick
Vic Country: C. Serong, B. Kemp, L. Ash, R. Baldi, H. Young, C. Weightman, J. Clark

Scouting notes: AFL U18s – Allies vs. Vic Country

VIC Country continued its ominous start to the AFL Under 18 National Championships, backing up its Victorian derby win with a 18.8 (116) to 2.7 (19) trouncing of the Allies. Below were the standout players from either side.

Allies:

By: Ed Pascoe

#3 Connor Budarick

Budarick started the game in defence, providing good run and loved to attack using his dash. He had a great bit of play in the second quarter intercepting at speed and kicking well on his opposite foot. Budarick was later moved into the midfield where he looked to have more impact, winning more of the ball and providing speed and toughness at stoppages. He showed his usual defensive capabilities with a great chase on Country speedster Brady Rowles, as well as his attacking game with a good burst away and dash on the wing. Budarick finished the game with 15 disposals and five tackles.

#9 Mitch O’Neill

O’Neill was the standout player for the Allies with his run and creativity on the wing a real feature. O’Neill started the game quietly but really got going in the second half, starting the third quarter in great fashion – involved in a chain from half-back, winning three possessions with the final one a nice long kick inside 50. O’Neill also showed his courage in the last quarter sitting in the hole in defence and getting crunched from behind where he would win the free kick. The Tasmanian was fantastic on the wing with his composure, run and ball use, finishing the game with a team-high 26 disposals and eight marks.

#15 Will Martyn

Martyn was a busy player through the midfield winning the hard ball but also working hard on transition to either take marks or be a part of a chain of handballs through the middle. He showed good composure with ball in hand and had a good bit of play in the first quarter, showing his nice movement under pressure. He had a chance to hit the scoreboard but wouldn’t quite make the distance with a set shot at goal. Martyn finished the game with 16 disposals and five clearances.

#22 Tom Green

Green was a real force at the stoppages, winning the ball at will. He attacked the ball at stoppages and was very clean getting his arms up quickly to ride the tackle and get a handball out, he had a great chain in the second quarter, winning a clearance and then getting the ball back in the handball chain and released a good long handball and this really showed his work rate in being able to continue attacking after winning a clearance. Green didn’t get a lot of the ball but played a lone hand as the Allies’ only big bodied inside midfielder. Green finished the game with 18 disposals and nine clearances, showing his dominance at stoppages.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Delahunty had a rough time as the Allies’ number one target up forward especially with the poor supply, but he worked into the game and still did some nice things – including a nice contested mark in the second quarter that would only lead to a behind. Delahunty looked at his best in the last quarter going for a nice run and showing his power, but would miss an opposite foot snap at goal on the run – although he would later set up a goal for his team with a nice handpass to teammate Noah Cumberland. Delahunty was moved to defence late in the game where he might find himself more often for the rest of the championships.

Vic Country:

By: Craig Byrnes

#2 Caleb Serong

The Country co-skipper started on fire for the second week running, beginning at the centre bounces before moving forward. He was involved early around the contest and had a long set shot on goal that resulted in a goal to Weightman. When set inside 50, he took a brilliant one on one contested mark, before turning and kicking an excellent long range goal. He was involved again shortly after, taking an intercept mark inside 50 and making the Allies pay. He was clean around the ground and defensively relevant without the ball, highlighted by a holding the ball free kick in the defensive 50 which was uncharacteristically turned over on exit. Took a heavy head knock in a marking contest against Nick Murray in the last, which earned a 50 metre penalty and he converted a third goal. It was another productive outing, finishing with 22 disposals on top of the three goals.

#3 Cody Weightman

After producing moments of brilliance against Metro at the MCG last week, his effort against the Allies was far more complete, ending the day as one of the most influential on the field. The performance started with a quality snapped finish in the first term and he continued winning the footy by presenting high on the lead, which included a spectacular diving effort. He earned a free kick in the second quarter which he converted, before finishing the day with two in the fourth quarter for a nice haul of four goals. Despite lacking some stature, his hands and exciting leap make him such a dangerous prospect aerially.

#6 Riley Baldi

The inside midfielder has always been a ball magnet for Gippsland Power and he took his prolific ways to Tasmania on Sunday to be one of Vic Country’s best. He didn’t start at the opening centre bounces, but pushed up to the contest to lay a heavy tackle on Tom Green early. Once at the stoppages his hands were sharp and effective, but it was on the outside where he was consistently able to find space and provide an option on transition with an incredible 13 marks. What he lacks in acceleration, he makes up for with smarts and often buys himself time with evasive tricks. Baldi was the equal leading ball winner on the day, gathering 29 disposals.

#7 Mitch Martin

Spent a majority of his time forward like last week and while he didn’t win huge numbers, Martin was good enough to take advantage of Vic Country’s dominance and hit the scoreboard. He has a real touch of class and doesn’t need the big disposal tallies, starting with a lovely set shot in the second term. His best moment came when he gathered a ball inside 50, spun in a tackle and dribble kicked a skilful goal. Another converted set shot saw him kick a third goal, a solid outing in anyone’s language.

#12 Lachie Ash

With his co-captain Serong, Ash set the tone for a big day in the first term by collecting 12 disposals up to the first break. He basically did as he pleased behind the ball, intercepting, rebounding and the scoreboard soon offered flexibility for him to take on risky but demanding kicks to advantage. He had some smart defensive moments too, spoiling a one on one contest while out of position, before winning the ground ball and earning a free kick. He just took the game on whenever the opportunity presented and while he got a little cute on occasions, the good well and truly outweighed any turnovers. He finished with 29 class disposals to be in the best on ground discussions.

#16 Brodie Kemp

Many expected to see Kemp play as a big bodied midfielder during this competition, but with Vic Country lacking tall defensive options, the Geelong Grammar scholar has played defensive 50 in a position that is very familiar. He complemented Ash and Young perfectly, holding his position when required, but coming off his man and impacting the aerial contest when the opportunity presented. While he occasionally used a fist, by the end of the day he was reading the play so well that he was in position to take nearly every mark in his area. His hands and skills were good and he’d also take the game on when space opened up ahead.

#17 Hayden Young

Young wasn’t as prominent as against Metro the week before, but the intercepting half back was still very, very good. He got going in the second term with multiple intercept moments, highlighted by a one on one contest against the much bigger Conroy where he used his body to perfection to win the ball and begin an end to end chain that resulted in a goal. He flies for his marks and takes on his kicks, making him arguably the best offensive weapon in this year’s draft despite playing behind the footy.

#18 Brady Rowles

I feel the Bendigo wingman is flying under the radar from a draft perspective. While he doesn’t win mountains of the ball, he is a metres gained footballer who has an electric turn of speed. He is a nice size at 188cm and capable of quickly getting the ball in dangerous positions. He had multiple carrying efforts against the Allies, the best coming in the second term when bouncing out of D50 at top speed to hit a target lace out up the ground. He is good overhead too, taking a strong one on one contested mark in the first term. He could tidy up his decision making on occasions, but I feel the attributes are there to create genuine interest.

#29 Lachlan Williams

The Rays’ utility did not get an opportunity to play on the MCG last week, but made the most of his chance in Tasmania with a strong performance on the wing. He looked calm and composed whenever the footy got in his hands, as shown when he converted a lovely set shot in the second term. Most of his footy was won on the outside, but he is certainly capable at the contest, especially aerially. He is one you always have to check twice on the team sheet, as he looks and plays taller than his 182cm, 76kg frame suggests. Williams finished the game as one of the highest ball winners with 20 possessions and looks to have cemented a spot in the side.

WA and Allies ready for battle against Vics

WHILE the Vic Country-Vic Metro clash commenced the national championships last week, Round 1 officially begins this weekend as the same sides face off against the Allies and Western Australia respectively. Metro’s search for its first win will continue on Saturday at Lathlain Park in Western Australia, while the Allies will hope to bring a halt to Country’s momentum when they clash at UTAS Stadium in Launceston on Sunday.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA vs. VIC METRO
Lathlain Park – Saturday June 8, 10:00am

An exciting West Australian team hosts Vic Metro in the first of Round 1’s fixtures, looking to inflict further pain on the highly-fancied Victorians after they had no answers for their Country counterparts last week.

The Black Swans come in with a relatively small line-up, with their starting key position posts filled by players no taller than 192cm – barring the 198cm Luke Jackson at ruck. Speed will obviously be a key to their game, as they undoubtedly will look to emulate the pressure that Vic Country put on Metro to shut down their run and classy ball movers. Look for the likes of in-form East Fremantle products Trent Rivers and Jeremy Sharp to find plenty of the ball in linking up between half-back and the wing, with Rivers a chance to join skipper Deven Robertson – the nephew of Eagles champion Darren Glass – in the engine room to provide some physicality. X-factor will come from the likes of Jarvis Pina off half back, as well as Fremantle NGA prospect Liam Henry up the other end, who booted four goals in his last WAFL Colts outing.

The battle between Jackson and Metro’s Nick Bryan is arguably the most exciting of all across the field, as the two are currently the consensus leading ruck prospects. Bryan remains part of the all-Oakleigh followers line, with star Chargers Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell set to resume their partnership through the middle. The exclusion of Northern’s Adam Carafa is the only real change to the Metro midfield, but he does not necessarily have a like-for-like replacement amongst the five changes. Mitch Mellis earns his spot on the back of a 39-disposal performance, and will likely take Carafa’s place in the midfield/forward rotation, with outside mover Oscar Lewis also coming in for Josh Honey. Lewis’ Sandringham teammate Corey Watts will sure up the Metro defensive stocks in a key post, while James Ross also slots into the back six with Eastern teammate Connor Downie and Ryan Sturgess going the other way. Jack Bell is the other relatively straight-forward swap, coming in for fellow Dragons tall, Andrew Courtney.

It will be interesting to see whether this West Australian side can shut down Metro’s obvious outside class for a second week running, but the Victorians’ strength on paper suggests they will be hard to deny more than once. A sured-up defence will help their cause, and they have plenty of prospects who will be looking to rectify last week’s effort. For WA, their prime movers will look to announce themselves to the rest of the nation, and they will no doubt bring some excitement to this stage with plenty of flair.

Western Australia:

B: 20. Jaxon Prior – 21. Jake Pasini – 13. Ben Johnson
HB: 11. Jarvis Pina – 26. Trey Ruscoe – 35. Trent Rivers
C: 12. Regan Clarke – 10. Deven Robertson (C) – 17. Jeremy Sharp
HF: 34. Ryan Bennell – 19. Elijah Taylor – 3. Tyrone Thorne
F: 5. Liam Henry – 23. Nicholas Martin – 39. Callum Jamieson
R: 32. Luke Jackson – 14. Chad Warner – 4. Riley Garcia
Int: 36. Denver Grainger-Barras, 7. Nathan O’Driscoll, 28. Ryan Hudson, 24. Ronin O’Connor, 18. Jai Jackson, 27. Jack Buller, 6. Cameron Anderson

Vic Metro:

B: 38. Brodie Newman – 33. Corey Watts – 14. James Ross
HB: 15. Louis Butler – 29. Fischer McAsey – 5. Trent Bianco
C: 31. Joshua Worrell – 25. Finn Maginness – 22. Miles Bergman
HF: 16. Darcy Cassar – 30. Harrison Jones – 1. Jack Mahony
F: 2. Mitch Mellis – 34. Charlie Dean – 23. Dylan Williams
R: 40. Nick Bryan – 24. Noah Anderson (C) – 11. Matthew Rowell
Int: 39. Jack Bell, 27. Oscar Lewis, 13. Daniel Mott, 18. Lachlan Potter, 21. Hugo Ralphsmith
Emg: 26. Ryan Sturgess, 19. Josh Honey

In: Corey Watts (Sandringham), James Ross (Eastern), Mitch Mellis (Eastern), Jack Bell (Sandringham), Oscar Lewis (Sandringham)
Out: Ryan Sturgess (Northern – rotated), Josh Honey (Western – rotated), Adam Carafa (Northern – rotated), Andrew Courtney (Sandringham – rotated), Connor Downie (Eastern – rotated)


ALLIES vs. VIC COUNTRY
UTAS Stadium – Sunday June 9, 12:30pm

Vic Country will be looking to back up an incredible opening win over their Metro counterparts when they travel to Launceston to face the Allies.

The allied forces of each Northern academy and Tasmania are set to provide some stiff competition though, with a balanced midfield mix, zippy outside movers, and a couple of dynamic talls making up the 23. GWS inside gun Tom Green is set to lead the midfield brigade, with Brisbane skipper Will Martyn providing a mix of inside and outside traits, while Tasmania’s Mitch O’Neill looks set to feature on the outside. Diminutive Gold Coast leader Connor Budarick is the other who may feature through the midfield, but will get a shot on the flanks at either end first. Liam Delahunty and Hamish Ellem should create a formidable all-NSW key forward pairing, with both more than capable overhead and always a threat in front of goal. The Allies’ outside running types in the form of Sydney bottom-age pair Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden will also be key, while the Devils have a couple of bottom-aged representatives of their own; with Oliver Davis thrust onto a forward flank from midfield, and Sam Collins one to watch off half-back. There is one noticable absentee, with Hewago Paul Oea set to miss through injury – but the likes of Bruce Reville and Malcolm Rosas Jnr should provide enough cover.

While the versatility and run that the Allies side will bring should prove a handful, Country have already shown they can shut down such a style of play. Brodie Kemp firmed as an early candidate to tackle Green in the midfield but has been named in defence, with Gippsland pair Sam Flanders and Caleb Serong set to take on that load instead alongside Thomson Dow. Look for the damaging half-back pairing of Lachlan Ash and Hayden Young to again dominate, with Jesse Clark also set to take on an important role as Brock Smith comes out of the back six through injury. Lachlan Williams comes in to add even more speed on the outside for Country, joined by Cam Wild and Toby Mahony – who will both most likely spend time between the forward line and midfield. It will be a tough ask for Josh Smith and Charlie Comben to back up their performances, but they will again be key as the most likely Country talls going forward.

This should be a tight one, and if Country’s first performance is anything to go by, they will be more than up for it. The gelling of a talented Allies side will be key to the contest, and Tom Green looms as a crucial figure with Country lacking like-for-like answers. All will be revealed on Sunday though, with many looking forward to a hot contest.

Allies:

B: 21. Luke Parks – 49. Nicholas Murray – 8. Tom Griffiths
HB: 3. Connor Budarick – 27. Josh Rayner – 5. Braeden Campbell
C: 20. Matt McGrory – 15. Will Martyn – 9. Mitch O’Neill
HF: 7. Oliver Davis – 26. Liam Delahunty – 17. Bruce Reville
F: 14. Will Chandler – 31. Hamish Ellem – 46. Noah Cumberland
R: 30. Samson Ryan – 22. Tom Green – 36. Sam Thorne
Int:13. Jackson Barling, 29. Matt Conroy, 1. Errol Gulden, 19. Sam Collins, 4. Malcolm Rosas Jnr

Vic Country:

B: 10. Harrison Pepper – 36. Sam De Koning – 26. Jesse Clark
HB: 17. Hayden Young – 16. Brodie Kemp – 12. Lachlan Ash (C)
C: 29. Lachlan Williams – 2. Caleb Serong (C) – 18. Brady Rowles
HF: 3. Cody Weightman – 20. Elijah Hollands – 1. Ned Cahill
F: 19. Fraser Phillips – 39. Joshua Smith – 6. Riley Baldi
R: 40. Charlie Comben – 4. Sam Flanders – 8. Thomson Dow
Int: 7. Mitchell Martin, 35. Toby Mahony, 13. Jay Rantall, 15. Ryan Sparkes, 5. Cameron Wild
Emg: 32. Benjamin Worme, 38. Henry Walsh

In: Lachlan Williams (Dandenong), Toby Mahony (GWV), Cam Wild (Murray)
Out: Ben Worme (Bendigo – rotated), Brock Smith (Gippsland – injured), Bigoa Nyuon (Dandenong – rotated)

AFL Under 18 National Championships preview: Allies

THERE is a lot to like about the 50-man Allies squad, with plenty of talent from each academy expected to lock horns with the best from around the nation. Potential first round selections are set to fill out the engine room – with a certain inside bull leading the way – as well as plenty of spark on the outside and inside 50. While their key position stocks are less rich, the Allies have a dynamic set of talls which will be utilised in a number of roles.

Key Players:

#3 Connor Budarick
Gold Coast Suns Academy | Midfielder/Small Forward
4/06/01 | 175cm | 72kg

The Suns Academy skipper is also their leading prospect, mixing ball-finding ability around the ground with dangerous forward craft. Averaged 25.2 disposals, 6.2 marks, 8.2 tackles, and 5.8 inside 50s in five consistent NAB League games, but has a handy knack for finding the goals and should spend some time up forward considering the Allies’ midfield strength. Quick and agile, watch for Budarick’s tenacity and skill in traffic.

#9 Mitchell O’Neill
Tasmania Devils | Balanced Midfielder
21/02/01 | 181cm | 70kg

The leading Tassie Devil has had an interrupted season to date on the back of injury, but reminded everyone of his class in the U18 Academy’s showcase game against Casey. Has all the skill to provide damage on the outside, but also cracks in hard to win contested ball despite his 70kg frame. One of the more balanced prospects, look for O’Neill to really run into form during the championships.

#15 Will Martyn
Brisbane Lions Academy | Midfielder
29/03/01 | 183cm | 73kg

Martyn is one who can find the ball at will in all areas of the ground, and had over 30 disposals in four of his five NAB League outings. The Lions Academy skipper has a nice balance of inside and outside capabilities, but look in particular for the way he spreads and takes high numbers of uncontested marks away from the coalface. Can be iffy by foot at times, but usually drives forward well and can also double as an option inside 50.

#21 Luke Parks
Sydney Swans Academy | Defender
18/04/01 | 188cm | 80kg

Parks is a consistent defender who plays above his height, often taking up the centre half-back post for the Swans Academy. He may be given a touch more freedom to play as an intercepting or lock-down defender at the carnival with a few different key position options available to the Allies side. Is a competitor above all else, so look for Parks to bring the heat.

#22 Tom Green
GWS GIANTS Academy | Inside Midfielder
23/01/01 | 188cm | 85kg

The most outstanding top-end talent in the Allies squad, Green is a contested ball machine. The GIANTS Academy prospect averaged a whopping 33 disposals over his four NAB League outings, and led the competition for contested possessions and clearances over that time. While it is not a massive part of his game, Green also found the goals twice and can use his big frame forward of centre, but will be the key cog in Allies’ engine room.

 

X-Factor:

#2 Hewago Paul Oea
Gold Coast Suns Academy | Forward/Outside Midfielder
13/11/01 | 174cm | 65kg

The Allies’ ‘Ace’ in the pack, Oea is an excitement machine at full flight. Earned a NEAFL Rising Star nomination after also showing a bit over five NAB League outings – averaging 17 disposals, six inside 50s and one goal per game. Look for him to escape over the back with pure pace and show his smarts around goal, with the potential to also move through the midfield.

#4 Malcolm Rosas Jnr
Northern Territory Thunder | Forward/Midfielder
27/06/01 | 175cm | 70kg

The sole Northern Territory prospect listed here, Rosas is full of potential. Showed a lot of that in the Under-18 Academy showcase game against Casey, and also contributed a solid 21-disposal, two-goal outing against Northern Knights in one of his two NAB League appearances. Is silky smooth and clean at ground level, while possessing great goal sense. Can drift in and out of games, but will no doubt catch the eye.

#26 Liam Delahunty
GWS GIANTS Academy | Key Position Utility
13/02/01 | 192cm | 90kg

Delahunty is a versatile tall who has really excelled in the forward half this year for the GIANTS. He converted well to find the goals in each of his five NAB League appearances, but a lot of Delahunty’s X-factor comes in his high marking and ability to be used up the ground. Is not quite key position height, but may well lock down the centre half-forward post.

#37 Joshua Gore
Gold Coast Suns Academy | Small Forward
29/05/01 | 177cm | 75kg

Gore was a permanent forward fixture for Gold Coast in the NAB League, and has now transitioned well into NEAFL football – starring with two goals in the final minute of the Suns’ game against Aspley to snatch a win. Does not need many opportunities to make an impact, and is usually clinical on his left peg. Seldom fails to at least score, and should provide some spark deep inside 50 for the Allies.

 

Up and comers:

#1 Errol Gulden
Sydney Swans Academy | Outside Midfielder
18/07/02 | 172cm | 68kg

One of the leading bottom-age players across the country, Gulden is the reigning NSW/ACT U16 MVP. Playing mostly on the wing, Gulden provides real speed and class on the outside, while also having a real knack for finding the goals – as he did in all three of his NAB League appearances. Gulden also averaged 27.3 disposals and eight inside 50s across those games, and should be a damaging player for the Allies.

#5 Braeden Campbell
Sydney Swans Academy | Forward/Outside Midfielder
2/04/02 | 178cm | 71kg

Another Swans Academy member who features heavily on the outside and finds the goals, Campbell also likes to crack in despite his smaller frame. Will provide spark on the opposite wing or forward flank to Gulden, and claimed two bags of over three goals from 15.8 disposals in his four NAB League games.

#7 Oliver Davis
Tasmania Devils | Midfielder
18/07/02 | 180cm | 69kg

Davis is already a massive ball winner at NAB League level, and has been a key part of Tasmania’s midfield thus far. Part of a talented bottom-age Tassie quartet which should get some game time, watch for Davis’ long roosts forward from congestion on the back of real smarts in contested areas.

#28 Jackson Callow
Tasmania Devils | Key Forward
6/11/02 | 192cm | 88kg

The Tasmanian key forward has already shown his ability to rip a game open, with two bags of four and one bag of five goals so far in the NAB League. When he isn’t putting goals on the board, Callow keeps in the game with smart leads up the ground and backs it with his strong hands overhead – making him a dynamic prospect. Will be a key part of the Allies side up forward, with the ability to also go back.

 

AFL U18s Fixtures:
vs. Vic Country @ UTAS Stadium, Sunday June 9, 12:30pm
vs. Western Australia @ Alberton Oval, Saturday June 22, 10:30am
vs. Vic Metro @ GMHBA Stadium, Friday June 28, 10:30am
vs. South Australia @ Marvel Stadium, Wednesday July 3, 4:40pm

 

Summary:

Much of the Allies’ talent lies in the engine room, with the likes of Tom Green, Mitch O’Neill, Will Martyn, and Connor Budarick all set to provide different mixes of midfield skills. The way in which those players, all from varying academies, mix will be an interesting proposition, with no one academy dominating the squad. The bottom-age talent in the squad should also make a real impact, with Swans pair Errol Gulden and Braeden Campbell likely to line up on opposite wings, while Oliver Davis will add to the midfield grouping and Jackson Callow looks set to lead the key position prospects. Callow will be aided well by versatile talls like Liam Delahunty, while Luke Parks and Josh Rayner could well play above their size in order to fill a need there. A mosquito fleet of forward runners will also provide great excitement, and the experience many academy prospects have of playing against bigger bodies will put them in good stead to provide a good mix of physicality and class. Expect the Allies to give it a good crack, with enough talent to upset the top sides at their best.

Scouting notes: Allies vs. Victoria trials

THE 50-man Allies squad split in two on Sunday to take on Victoria Country and Metro in a couple of trial games as each squad nears completion in the lead up to the National Championships on Saturday at the MCG. We had eyes on both matches at Ikon Park, and here are our opinion-based notes on some of the standout players from each side.

Allies:

By: Peter Williams

#1 Errol Gulden

Had a mixed bag with some slick kicks, as well as some very uncharacteristic errors. He slipped in the first term in defence and unfortunately resulted in Harrison Jones kicking the first Metro goal of the game from 50m. Gulden’s next contested was terrific, intercepting the ball in a one-on-two and then kicking across his body to a diving Jake Steele. When able to size up his options inside 50 he has the capability of kicking across the body on his left and hitting a target, but made a couple of errors by foot throughout the game as well. Went for a huge mark in the third term but could not quite bring it down. Still remained busy throughout four quarters.

#3 Connor Budarick

A touch of class out there with a dash of hardness. Continued to lay tackles and apply defensive pressure even when he did not have the ball, and when with the ball used it well with great composure. Spent time at half-back and pushing up to a wing, taking some nice intercept marks and hitting up targets in the corridor. He was able to use the ball effectively going forward even when under pressure, and copped contact in the final term in order to free up Will Chandler for a late goal. One of the better Allies players in the match.

#9 Mitch O’Neill

Started on a wing and eventually found the ball across all three thirds. Had a big first half, where he was not only able to get his hands on the ball, but also provide the defensive measures as well. In one instance early he nullified a one-against-three contest at half-back. He was able to fire out quick handballs to teammates in the clear, and found a number of clearances throughout the day. He used good decision making and attacked the contest hard, also drifting back into defence to help out.

#12 Ashton Crossley

After an early blemish which saw him give off a handball but not block for a teammate straight after, Crossley finished the game with a strong outing. He kicked a great snap out of nothing in the first term, then won a clearance at half-forward to get it to a teammate, and used good hands across the ground. He worked well with Tom Green in midfield, often being the one winning ball off a quick handball and kicking it long. Covered the ground well.

#15 Will Martyn

Was not as prolific early, but got better as the game went on and has some pretty important touches. He drifted around the ground and had a couple of intercept marks and then earned a free kick with a big tackle in the second term. He produced a great handball under pressure deep in attack to Samuel Gaden who converted off a step, and then continued to win the ball through the second half.

#19 Sam Collins

After a quieter first half, Collins was one of the best in the second half, being a part of everything in the third term. He showed good hands under pressure in defence, and would bush up to the middle to win the ball and force it back inside 50. He showed great sportsmanship to check on a winded Jay Rantall in the third term, and did well deep in defence late in the third term with the ball bouncing up, to win the footy and clear it out of defensive 50. He was a strong interceptor and long kick out of half-back.

#21 Luke Parks

Desperation personified, Parks just never stopped trying. He would often be found scrambling at ground level in defence, firing away a handball to a teammate running by, or taking an important intercept mark. He gave away a free kick or too, but mostly due to his keenness to win the ball back for his side. He would keep touch with his direct opponent and won a fierce hardball at ground level early in the game and gave the ball off. Later on he put pressure on a kicker going for goal to force a behind.

#22 Tom Green

Absolutely everywhere for the Allies and the standout player. Just put his stamp on the game for most of the four quarters and did what he does best – shovelling out the contested ball and winning clearances. He showed good vision by hand to teammates on the wing, in one instance in the third term he bypassed about four opponents with all the time in the world to find a teammate, then pushed forward to be on the receiving end of a handball and slammed it home from just inside 50. Took a good mark inside 50 but his set shot went to the right later in the quarter. Has a unique ability to bust his way through congestion, get his hands free and handball to teammates in space.

#28 Jackson Callow

The key forward presented nicely at the football and while he did not kick a major himself, pushed up the ground and was often the link between half-forward and deep forward, creating chances for teammates. He showed a nice field kick and a high work rate to hit-up a midfield teammate then pushed back to win it again, and put it out to Matt Conroy leading out in the square. Shared some of the ruck load while up forward as well.

#29 Matt Conroy

Played a strong game out of full-forward and shared some of the ruckload, booting three goals and missing a chance after the final siren to win the game for the Allies. He booted two goals in the second term, after winning a free kick and converting the set shot from 30m out, then snapped a goal late in the term out of nothing. He booted a third goal in the final term through another set shot, and could have had five for the day, but sprayed a set shot in the third term as well. Used his body well and provided a presence.

#31 Hamish Ellem

He might only have finished with one goal to his name, but had he converted more of his chances, he could have finished the game with a bag of five. He was too big and strong for his opponents and almost had an early goal after winning a free kick 15m out, but went too close to the man on the mark and was smothered. Not long after he took a mark 40m out in front and kicked the perfect left foot goal. His third attempt from a similar distance was touched on the line, and then had another couple of chances, winning a free kick in a marking contest which missed to the right, then took a juggling mark in the final term which missed to the left. His set shot kicking itself looked fine, the ball went straight but just stayed to the either left or right, it was not shanked from a poor kick, just misjudging the wind. Still presented all day and was a headache with his marking ability.

#42 James Peatling

Showed some good signs inside 50, but rushed his shots on goal, having a number of snaps and sprayed them. Looked good behind the ball when in defence and kicked long out of the back half. His best chance for a goal came early when he burst out of the middle and kicked an end-on-end bouncing shot on goal which just bounced to the left. Was a bit too unselfish late in the game when squaring the ball up in attack, which was intercepted. Overall had some nice plays as well as some rushed shots on goal.

#46 Noah Cumberland

One of the most impressive Allies players, had a purple patch in the second term with two goals. His first came from a snap off the deck after pouncing on a loose ball, fending off an opponent and putting it through. He showed a nice burst of speed to nail the goal, having just sprayed the quick snap a moment earlier as he was dragged down in a tackle by an opponent. Booted a second goal with a wonky, but effective kick that went straight through after providing good pressure. He set up his teammate late in the term but the ball was spoiled away. Later in the game he attacked the contest with vigour and took a good mark sliding in from the side in defence.

#51 Samuel Gaden

For a taller player, Gaden was able to cover the ground well and had to play a bigger role in the second half after Hamish Allan and Nickolas Haberer picked up injuries in the first half. He kicked a goal from a snap around his body earlier in the game, and almost had a second in the third term but was touched in the goalsquare and rushed through. He burst off half-back in the last quarter to lead a scoring chain down the ground and then provided a target when forward to take a strong mark on the lead. Constantly involved and provided an option in all thirds of the ground.

 

Country:

By: Ed Pascoe

#1 Ned Cahill

Cahill was creative all day playing mostly forward he would be a handful around goals and would look likely whenever the ball was in his area. Cahill kicked two goals for the day and could have kicked even more, his first goal came from a lead up mark and set shot goal and his second came with a nice opposite foot snap goal. His desperation and linkup play around the ground really stood out.

#4 Sam Flanders

Flanders was a tough player through the midfield and found plenty of the ball and often distributed well by hand and foot. There wasn’t a lot of flash shown by Flanders which is usually his go up forward, but as a midfielder he got down to business and won the hard ball and just used the ball well in general. He had some telling movements in the second half moving the ball forward at every opportunity.

#5 Cameron Wild

Wild started the game in the midfield and was busy early winning plenty of the ball, he kicked a few behinds in the second and third quarters coming from a set shot and a hard checkside kick on the run. Wild’s last quarter was huge playing more forward, he was everywhere winning stoppages and taking marks and laying hard tackle, he would later kick the match winning goal right on the last line.

#6 Riley Baldi

Baldi was a ball magnet throughout the day playing through the midfield, winning the hard ball at stoppages and also working hard around the ground to link up. Baldi’s kicking has often been critiqued but he did well with some hit up kicks with one kick especially hitting up teammate Oliver Henry inside 50.

#7 Mitch Martin

Martin had a strong start to the game kicking a snap goal in the first quarter and was very involved around the ball, he wouldn’t take a backwards step with great attack on the ball and colliding with big bodied midfielder Tom Green. Martin was rather quiet until the last quarter where he would kick a nice running snap goal to swing the momentum in Country’s favour.

#13 Jay Rantall

Rantall was his usual self, winning plenty of the ball through the midfield and showing his class with ball in hand to rarely miss a target by hand. His kicking has often been a query but although not spectacular, his kicking was certainly serviceable throughout the day. He got crunched in a heavy contest in the third quarter needing to be helped of the ground, he would later return to the field but wasn’t quite the same.

#17 Hayden Young

Young took a little bit to get going, he was involved early but skills weren’t quite at the level he would hope, but he would certainly improve in the second quarter – starting with a great chain from defence winning three disposals in quick succession and finishing with a lovely long kick to teammate Riley Baldi in the middle of the ground. His kicking inside 50 that quarter was also stellar with two bullet passes with one coming after a very strong intercept mark. Young was arguably the most dangerous player on the ground.

#34 Bigoa Nyuon

Nyuon played the game out down back and he certainly looked the part intercepting and covering the ground often with ease. If he wasn’t coming from nowhere to spoil he was either intercepting or running of his opponent to try and give an option. He did get caught under the ball a few times but he still managed to take some nice intercept marks and prove to be a hard player to beat one on one.

 

Metro:

By: Ed Pascoe

#2 Mitch Mellis

Mellis was such a busy player throughout the day always attacking, taking the game on and showing good creativity with ball in hand. Mellis wasn’t able to hit the scoreboard himself but did well to set up teammates with his neat kicking on either foot and run and dash to get away from the opposition. Mellis was still pushing on in the last quarter where he really drove the ball forward for his team.

#4 Eddie Ford

Ford woke up the crowd early with a spectacular mark getting a ride on the shoulders of his opponent and would then slot the long set shot goal from 50 metres. He didn’t repeat a highlight that good but he would continue to be a good target and showed great enthusiasm up forward often flying over packs to try and mark.

#8 Adam Carafa

Carafa started the game through the midfield showing his good attack and clean hands at the stoppages, his hands were often slick and opened up the play. Carafa was moved into unfamiliar territory down back in the last quarter where he looked even more impressive winning plenty of the ball and really using his clean hands and link up to cause headaches. I’d like to see more of Carafa down back because he certainly impressed in that role.

#22 Miles Bergman

Bergman took a while to get involved and he would get his chance to go through the midfield after the early injury to fellow Sandringham teammate Ryan Byrnes, and Bergman certainly made the most of his opportunity to play in the middle where he showed good attack at the stoppages and was often slick by hand and moved really well. His last quarter was superb with multiple hard efforts and did well to work back into defence.

#24 Harrison Jones

Jones was the dominant forward across both games kicking four goals. His first was an impressive goal from long range in the first quarter. His set shot routine was solid with a nice mark and set shot goal in the second quarter and another set shot goal from a free kick in the third. He also showed he had tricks, taking a good mark in the pocket and kicking a nice checkside goal in the third quarter.

#28 Brodie Newman

Newman was one of his team’s better players with his rebound from defence proving to be very important for his side. Newman’s second quarter was strong with some nice intercept marks and also showing great composure and skill with ball in hand. In the third quarter he showed good attack in the air to take an intercept mark and run into goal only to kick a behind. His last quarter was also important showing he wasn’t afraid to go for a run with the ball despite his bigger size.

20 players to watch ahead of the National Under 18 Championships

FOLLOWING up from the Draft Central May Power Rankings earlier in the month, we have listed 20 players to watch who are either in great form, have shown promising signs for the future, or who might be injured and have been highly touted prospects in the past. It is by no means a ranked or conclusive list, more a list of a further 20 names to keep an eye out for as the season goes on – and there are many more as well.

Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

Right up there in contention for the top ruck prospect in the draft with Western Australia’s Luke Jackson, Bryan has shot up the draft boards over the past 12 months, being included in the AFL Academy side which took on Casey Demons at the MCG earlier this year. He could be the fifth Oakleigh Chargers player in the top 30, and has great athletic talents and plenty of upside. Showed elite acceleration with 2.91 seconds in the 20m sprint and a 78cm running vertical jump.

Ned Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)

The midfielder/forward is so dangerous because he could be playing predominantly on a wing, but runs hard forward and knows where the goals are. On more than one occasion he has booted multiple majors after starting in the midfield, and can play as a small forward. Has a touch of class about him and also has the defensive attributes to boot.

Darcy Cassar (Western Jets/Vic Metro)

Had a massive game in Round 8 with 41 disposals, and has been fairly consistent in a new role at half-back. Last year Cassar played along a wing and half-forward, but the inconsistencies he had there have seemed to ironed out playing behind the ball. He knows how to get to the right positions, puts the ball into damaging places and can take the game on with power. Great endurance as well with a 21.2 yo-yo test in the pre-season.

Will Day (West Adelaide/South Australia)

Has been a quiet achiever playing between West Adelaide and returning to school footy last weekend. Is a skilful user of the ball who can use his left or right side to dispose of it coming off half-back. Day can play forward as well, being a versatile player and one to watch.

Charlie Dean (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

More of a natural footballer rather than an athlete, Dean works hard on searching leads up the ground, but when inside 50, his leading pattens and marking is a highlight. He keeps his set shot routine relatively simple and gets results, and prior to heading to school football, was leading the NAB League Boys goalkicking. The top key forward prospect in the draft.

Liam Delahunty (GIANTS Academy/Allies)

Seems to be sliding under the radar, which will please the GWS GIANTS with so much focus on the sheer ball-winning ability of Tom Green. Delahunty has some nice traits and can play up either end, but is settled in attack. His statistics of 12.6 disposals, 5.6 marks and 2.2 goals from the Academy Series is nothing to scoff at, and while he wins a lot of his possessions on the lead, he continually presents and hits the scoreboard.

Thomson Dow (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)

Might not come with the wraps of his brother Paddy, but Thomson Dow showed some great signs in a winning Bendigo Pioneers outfit before heading off to school football. Athletically he has a great leap, is agile and has a good endurance base which makes him a solid all-round prospect. A big year in school football and championships could see him be a draft bolter late in the year.

Emerson Jeka (Western Jets/Vic Metro)

Unfortunately suffered a knee injury on the MCG when the AFL Academy took on Casey Demons, coming off the back of some good football. Consistency has always been the question mark with the Jets tall, but the last quarter in the trial game for Vic Metro was a joy to behold as he almost won the game off his own boot. Not far away from returning and will be hoping to make an impact in the championships. Great athleticism for his size.

Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

The quiet achiever who has put in a big pre-season has a great vertical leap and a good endurance base. Maginness has flown under the radar in a highly talented Sandringham Dragons outfit, but still averaged 20 disposals and five tackles per game before his school football commitments. His role at the championships will be interesting, but he can use the ball and given the evenness of the Dragons squad, would not be a surprise to see him challenging for one of the first picked from there despite missing out on the AFL Academy.

Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

Has spent time in the midfield for the Dragons, but is most damaging inside 50 with reading of the play away from stoppages and goal sense. Not the quickest player, but has terrific agility and elite endurance which makes him wear down his opponents and slip from their grasp. As a sub-180cm talent, expect Mahony to be more of a small forward at the next level, and he has the ability to make it in that position.

Will Martyn (Brisbane Lions/Allies)

A natural ball winner, Martyn stood out in the Brisbane Lions Academy side, and expect him to likely be the Lions’ first played bid on. He has strength at ground level or above his head, and can hit the scoreboard with a booming kick when forward. His field kicking can be errant at times, which is an area to clean up, but he is certainly one that the Lions – and other clubs – will be keeping an eye on this season.

Daniel Mott (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)

The Calder Cannons ball winner has been in good form of late, winning more contested ball than previously and is building that side of his game. He has terrific kicking skills when having time and space, and with the strength of Metro’s inside midfield brigade, the likes of Mott will benefit on the outside. Mott has clean hands and reads the stoppages well.

Jed McEntee (Sturt/South Australia)

A small uncompromising player who loves the contest, he is a natural inside midfielder who has had to play in other positions to show off his versatility. McEntee is one of South Australia’s more underrated prospects and has averaged 18.6 disposals, 3.6 clearances and 6.4 tackles thus far in season 2019. Will play a big role at the championships and has elite acceleration and agility which makes him so damaging around stoppages.

Josh Morris (WWT Eagles/South Australia)

The goalkicking sensation from Woodville-West Torrens has booted a remarkable 28.4 in just five games in the SANFL Under 18s, with no less than five majors per game. He has only reached double-figure possessions once in his six games, playing as a stay-at-home forward, but his speed off the mark has helped him win the ball and then his accurate set shot goalkicking has been consistent.

Fraser Phillips (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)

The exciting half-forward is a natural footballer who plays on instincts in the forward half. He has struggled with consistency at times, but has built up some great former for Gippsland over the past month and will take that form into the Under 18 Championships. Phillips roams up the ground for his football, but can also play inside 50, with great goal sense and smarts. Has plenty of scope for the future and while quite raw, has potential to play midfield if required.

Kysaiah Pickett (WWT Eagles/South Australia)

Electrifying and exciting, Pickett is the nephew of Port Adelaide premiership star Byron, and has some freakish abilities around goal. He is an ever-present danger to defenders, and has shown a capability to play midfield as well, with elite agility of 7.88 seconds in pre-season. He also has a terrific vertical jump, and although is just a touch over 170cm, is good in the air for his size. Will be a small forward at the next level, and one who will come with a healthy highlight reel, having already booted six goals in a SANFL Reserves game last month.

Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)

If there was one player who has opened eyes with his ability to win the ball this season then it is certainly Rantall, averaging 26.6 disposals per game, and if you ignore the 14-disposal effort against Gold Coast SUNS Academy, then that is up to 28.7 per game from six matches. Rantall’s elite endurance – and by elite we are talking Sam Walsh/Bailey Smith territory – helps the Australian basketballer to burn off any opponent who comes his way over the four quarters. He can drift forward and kick goals, and is best when having no time and just playing off instinct. His kicking can be hit and miss, but when inside 50 can kick some terrific goals, and play inside or outside through the midfield, with lightning quick hands.

Trent Rivers (East Fremantle/Western Australia)

A good size at 189cm and 84kg, Rivers is a consistent player through the midfield, and has averaged 26.75 disposals and 5.75 marks this season in the WAFL Colts. While Jeremy Sharp and Luke Jackson get plenty of attention given their championships last year, Rivers is putting together a case to be the first or second selected from East Fremantle. A player to watch for the Sandgropers at the championships. A natural leader who thrives on the contested ball.

Deven Robertson (Perth/Western Australia)

Played all four National Under 18 Championship games for Western Australia last year as a bottom-ager, averaging 13.5 disposals and 6.5 tackles. Has had some massive ball-winning games at WAFL Colts level, including a 37-possession game against Claremont this season. Loves the contested ball and is another strong leader at the level. Potentially a first half of the draft prospect.

Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)

Another Stingrays player who has flown under the radar, and does more than statistics will ever show. Weightman has a penetrating kick and is damaging inside 50. He can play through the midfield, but coming out of the square he looks dangerous and has terrific endurance which works over his opposition defenders. Just a player with plenty of tricks and one to watch over the coming months.

2019 Draft Central Academy Team of the Series

SYDNEY Swans Academy has dominated our 2019 Draft Central Academy Team of the Series, with eight players inside the 24-man squad – one third of the side. While the Swans did not win the overall Division 2 Under 18 Championships, they did show off their depth, and had eight players who made our Team of the Week three or more times. The squad is comprised of 22 players who made our Team of the Week’s at least three times, with two players – Samson Ryan and Corey Joyce – making it twice, but were the top performers of those players with two nominations. Those who also had two nominations and narrowly missed out were Northern Territory’s Beau O’Connell, GWS GIANTS’ Hamish Grant, Brisbane Lions Academy’s Tom Wischnat and Gold Coast SUNS’ Jack Johnston and Hewago Paul Oea, while overage twins Matthew and Stephen Cumming also received two nominations.

Sydney’s representation sees the Swans have three players in defence, with Max Geddes, Jacob Dol and Luke Parks making up the back six, while Sam Thorne slots into midfield, forwards Hamish Ellem and Braeden Campbell sit inside 50, and Errol Gulden – who missed a couple of games – and Aidan Watling – are also in the team. Thorne and Dol were the top representatives for the Swans with four of a possible five nominations.

Gold Coast SUNS Academy won the title, and had four players make the side, with the even spread of players making it difficult to select just a few. Connor Budarick, Ashton Crossley and Josh Gore all easily qualify for the side with four nominations, while Joyce was one of three Suns to receive two, and was named on the bench.

Brisbane Lions Academy had the equal second most nominations of all sides with five, as Tom Griffiths and Will Martyn receiving four nominations, and Noah Cumberland and Bruce Reville having the three. Ryan’s work in the ruck throughout the series, along with his two nominations, was enough to see him fill the starting ruck position. He got the nod ahead of the two Cumming’s whose teammates, Ben Jungfer and Joel Jeffrey both made the side, while O’Connell was the unluckiest not to squeeze into the team.

Jungfer was one of just two players to be nominated every single week, joining GWS GIANTS’ Jeromy Lucas as five-time nominees and thus the pair are co-captains in the hypothetical team. Also in the team are GIANTS’ Thomas Green and Nick Murray who received four nominations apiece, while Liam Delahunty and James Peatling made it in for their three nominations each.

Allies announce 50-player squad for national championships

THE Allies have today announced the 50-player squad to take to the National Under 18 Championships following the conclusion of the NAB League Boys competition which gave the Allies teams a chance to test themselves against Victorian opponents ahead of the championships next month. Of the sides, Sydney Swans Academy had the most representatives with 10, while the two Queensland Academies had eight apiece as did Tasmania Devils. GWS GIANTS Academy and the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) region – comprised of Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers – had six each, while Northern Territory had the four.

Among the names to watch are potential first round picks, Connor Budarick (Gold Coast), Mitch O’Neill (Tasmania) and Tom Green (GWS GIANTS), while the likes of Malcolm Rosas Jr (Northern Territory) and Hewago Paul Oea (Gold Coast) will provide excitement inside 50. The team will have some serious talent in the key position posts, with Liam Delahunty (GWS GIANTS), Jackson Callow (Tasmania) and Hamish Ellem (Sydney) among those talls vying for the spot, while Kobe Tozer has been named in the squad and will aim to return after some bad luck with injury. Both Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers have three players in the side, with the first game to commence in Launceston on June 9.

Brisbane Lions Academy: [8]
Tom Griffiths (Maroochydore)
Will Martyn (Aspley)
Bruce Reville (Western Magpies/Maryborough)
Saxon Crozier (Wests)
Samson Ryan (Toowoomba)
Kobe Tozer (Aspley/Bribie Island)
Noah Cumberland (Maroochydore)
Nikolas Haberer (Sandgate/Caloundra)

Gold Coast SUNS Academy: [8]
Hewago Paul Oea (PNG/Broadbeach)
Connor Buderick (Labrador)
Ashton Crossley (Burleigh/Palm Beach Currumbin)
Alex Davies (Cairns Hawks)
Jack Johnston (Palm Beach Currumbin)
Matt Conroy (Hermit Park Townsville/Broadbeach)
Joshua Gore (Southport/Broadbeach)
Dirk Koenan (Palm Beach Currumbin)

GWS GIANTS Academy: [6]
Liam Delahunty (Coolamon)
Tom Green (Marist)
Jeromy Lucas (Northern Jets)
Matt McGrory (Gungahlin)
Nicholas Murray (Wangaratta Rovers)
James Peatling (Pennant Hills)

NSW/ACT: [6]
Charlie Byrne (Murray Bushrangers)
Will Chandler (Murray Bushrangers)
Jake Dick-O’Flaherty (Bendigo Pioneers)
Logan Fitzgerald (Bendigo Pioneers)
Ben Kelly (Murray Bushrangers)
Will Shaw (Bendigo Pioneers)

Northern Territory Academy: [4]
Malcolm Rosas Jnr (Darwin)
Ben Jungfer (Waratah)
Joel Jeffrey (Wanderers)
Beau O’Connell (Wanderers)

Sydney Swans Academy: [10]
Jackson Barling (Willoughby Mosman)
Braeden Campbell (Westbrook)
Hamish Ellem (Manly Warringah)
Samuel Gaden (Easts Bulldogs)
Max Geddes (Easts Bulldogs)
Errol Gulden (Maroubra)
Ky McGrath (Warners Bay)
Luke Parks (North Shore)
Josh Rayner (North Shore)
Sam Thorne (Figtree Kangaroos)

Tasmania Devils: [8]
Hamish Allan (North Hobart)
Jackson Callow (North Launceston)
Sam Collins (North Hobart)
Jared Dakin (Launceston)
Oliver Davis (Clarence)
Mitch O’Neill (North Hobart)
Matt McGuinness (Lauderdale)
Will Peppin (North Hobart)

Allies Under 18 Championships fixture:

vs. Vic Country – Launceston, June 9
vs. Western Australia – Alberton Oval, June 22
vs. Vic Metro – GMHBA Stadium, June 28
vs. South Australia – Marvel Stadium, July 3