Tag: Will Setterfield

State leagues preview: Pressure on undefeated sides

AS the weekend approaches, state leagues around the country prepare for another big round of footy. With high stakes across the board, don’t be surprised to see some thrilling contests.

Victoria:

The VFL will be holding less games this week, with eight teams set to have a bye this weekend as the competition breaks up the matches with the added interstate teams. However, this does not mean there will be a shortage of exciting matchups.

The Casey Demons were hoping to maintain their spot on top of the ladder with a win over the Sydney Swans at Casey Fields on Sunday morning, however that encounter has been delayed due to COVID-19 related issues. The Demons find themselves in first place after starting the season 3-0 with a handy percentage and their big win over North Melbourne last round will give them plenty of confidence despite not being able to head into a clash with the struggling Swans side. Sydney have started the season with just one win from their three games, with their heartbreak from last week’s three-point loss a driving factor for the Swans players.

Sunday afternoon will also see the Carlton Blue travelling to Whitten Oval to take on the undefeated Footscray Bulldogs in a tantalising matchup. Carlton have been no slumps this season, winning two out of their first three matches, and dominating Essendon by 49 points in round three. They will fancy themselves against the Dogs here, but it will be a tough task to slow down their opponents. Footscray soundly defeated the Northern Bullants to the tune of 43 points last week, marking their third win by over seven goals. Prized Bulldog Jamarra Ugle-Hagan continues to find his feet at this level, so expect him to have a big presence in the forward line. Carlton’s Will Setterfield will be looking to perform at the level that has seen him collect over 25 disposals in each of the last two games.

South Australia:

The SANFL season is flying as South Australia’s premier league heads into their sixth round of action. The most intriguing matchup of the round comes first as the Woodville-West Torrens host the South Adelaide Panthers in a clash that will prove vital for each of the two sides. The Panthers have lost just the one match from their first five games, good enough for second place on the ladder. Their chances will be bolstered by the return of Matthew Broadbent and Liam Fitt, while 17-year-old Matty Roberts will make his debut after a strong performance in the U18’s last round. The Eagles sit just behind their opponents in third place, having won one less game, but will be driven by last round’s loss to Port Adelaide. The inclusion of star forward Jack Hayes will give them a huge confidence boost heading into a crucial game on Saturday afternoon.

The Central District Bulldogs will be looking for their second win for the season as they prepare for this round’s match against Norwood at X Convenience Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs have had a less than ideal start to the season, finding themselves on the bottom of the ladder after six rounds, and have decided to change things up at selection. Key forward Connor McLean has been named in the forward pocket, in an attempt to stretch Norwood’s defence. Norwood could be recalling Mitch Grigg, who is named on the extended bench after his shocking relegation to the reserves in recent weeks. Grigg collected 20 touches in last week’s match, so don’t be surprised to see him line up for the senior side this week.

The SANFL showdown always delivers a buzz around Adelaide, with this year proving no exception, as the Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows prepare to go to war on Saturday afternoon at Adelaide Oval as a curtain raiser to the AFL match between the two sides. The Power find themselves just inside the top five based on percentage, but last week’s ten-goal win over the Eagles will see them enter this match with their tails up. Experienced defender Tyson Goldsack will debut for the side having overcome a knee injury, while potential draftee Jase Burgoyne will line up for the Power in his debut as a part of his work in the Power’s Next Generation academy. The Crows sit on the same amount of wins as their fifth-placed opponents, but find themselves down the pecking order in eighth place. They will unleash Tasmanian development player Oliver Davis on the wing, after being recruited from Clarence for the rest of the season.

Kicking off the Sunday football action, the North Adelaide Roosters will host the West Adelaide Bloods at Prospect Oval on Sunday afternoon, with both sides keen to take home a very important win. The Roosters have started the season with just the one win from five games, so a triumph in this match would be vital for reigniting their 2021 season. They will welcome back utility Sam McInerney, who will play his first match since 2019, following a series of back injuries, while former Hawk Billy Hartung has been named on a wing in his first game of the year. The West Adelaide Bloods will be hoping to ride the momentum of last week’s win over Central District into this week, as they look to enter the top five with a victory on Sunday. They will be welcoming mature-age recruit Nick Steele, who will be lining up at centre-half-forward for his first SANFL match.

Sturt face a tough task this round, as they face off against the top of the table Glenelg at ACH Group Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the final game of the round. Sturt have started the season with two wins and three losses from five games, with their round five triumph over the Crows coming by just one point. They have not confirmed their changes yet, with all inclusions named on the extended bench, and one of these inclusions is former Power player Riley Grundy, who could debut to boost his side’s backline. Glenelg have started the season like a house on fire, winning all five of their matches to date, and will be looking to keep their unbeaten streak rolling. As a result of their hot start, they will likely enter the clash unchanged.

Western Australia:

The sixth round of WAFL action kicks off with an absolute blockbuster, as Claremont travel to Leederville Oval to face off against a fired-up Subiaco side on Saturday afternoon. Claremont have not put a foot wrong in their start to the season, ending round five with a 4-0 record as the dominant team of the competition. Forward Jack Butler kicked five goals from nine scoring shots, so expect Subiaco to send their best defender to keep an eye on him all day. Subiaco started the season 3-0, but were handed their first loss of the season by South Fremantle in round five, so look for them to come out eager to make amends. Ruckman Lachlan Delahunty will play a crucial role in his side’s success, and if he can back up last week’s 21 disposal and 29 hitout effort, Subiaco’s midfield should gain ascendancy.

Perth will be hoping to move up the ladder with a second consecutive win as they prepare to take on a Peel Thunder side in a similar situation. Both sides sit at 2-2 on the season and a third win could see the victor move into the top four after this high-stake game. Perth broke a two-game losing streak with a five-goal win over East Fremantle last round in a promising display and would love to back it up this round. Brady Grey played his best game of the season last week, with 29 disposals, 11 marks and nine tackles, and was crucial in the win, and should prove important again this week. Peel Thunder dominated West Coast last week, crushing their opponents by 79 points, so they will be confident in their ability heading into this clash. Blair Bell is fresh off a six-goal haul against the Eagles, so keep an eye on his presence around goal.

Swan Districts will be looking to edge closer to top spot on the ladder with a win over a faulting West Perth team at Provident Financial Oval on Saturday afternoon. Swan Districts are on a three-game winning streak to see them currently sit with a 3-1 record in second place and will be heavy favourites this week. Midfielder Samuel Fisher is averaging 34.5 disposals on the season in a blistering start and should rack up plenty of the ball in this clash. West Perth have only managed the one win in the 2021 season, and look unlikely to snatch one here, but if they do, it could kickstart a promising campaign.

East Perth will have the opportunity to grab their first win of the season on Saturday afternoon, as they travel to Fremantle Community Bank Oval to take on South Fremantle. East Perth have started the season with a disappointing 0-4 record and sit second last on the ladder. Last week’s performance was promising as they pushed second placed Swan Districts right to the final siren, only falling two goals short of a massive upset. If they can bring a similar effort this week, they may finally sing the song. Edward Simpson booted five snags in the loss and should once again give defenders a headache. South Fremantle have won two games in a row to finally build some momentum as the season progresses. A win here could push them into the top three, so they will be eager to walk away victors. Haiden Schloithe has displayed his talents as a goalkicking midfielder all year so expect Saturday to prove no different.

The final match of round six will see East Fremantle host a West Coast side that is yet to compete all year, as the sides go head-to-head at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon. East Fremantle are making a strong push for the top four, but last round’s loss to Perth made that slightly harder. They will be looking to grab this game with both hands early on, with Cameron Eardley likely to prove influential through the midfield. West Coast have simply looked off the pace all year, yet to register their first win and have been soundly beaten by plenty of sides. A bright spot for the season has been Hamish Brayshaw, who will look to find plenty of the ball around the ground.

Queensland:

QAFL action begins at 1:00 on Saturday afternoon, as Surfers Paradise host Noosa at Sir Bruce Small Park, as both sides look to recover from shaky starts. Surfers Paradise have won just the one game so far this year, and a loss here could see them fall right down in the race for the flag. Luckily for them, they face an out of form side, and a win would likely pump some life into their season. Look for Alby Jones to back up last week’s strong outing. Noosa are yet to win a game after four games and will be desperate to change that with a win this round. They were competitive against Sherwood Districts, but missed an opportunity to defeat a side that was also searching for their first win. Ryley Buntain has delivered two fantastic performances in losing sides, so he will be eager to walk off a winner.

Labrador will be thrilled with the opportunity to jump up the ladder as they head into Saturday afternoon’s clash with Mt Gravatt at Cooke-Murphy Oval. Labrador sit fourth on the ladder with three wins and one loss from their matches this year, and a win could see them reach second depending on results around the league. Heading into the match as favourites, their motivation will be high to continue to set themselves up as the season progresses. Former AFL gun Pearce Hanley has been on fire in the last two weeks, so if he is once again allowed to roam free, Labrador will be hard to stop. Mt Gravatt have won only the solitary game this year but have had two byes in five weeks. Nevertheless, a second win is crucial, and Saturday provides a perfectly good opportunity. Gavin Grose’s start to the year has been eye catching and should continue in this match.

A fresh Morningside team will be hosting Redland-Victoria Point at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday afternoon in an exciting matchup. Fresh off the bye, Morningside will be ready for the challenge from a strong Redland-Victoria Point side, as both sides look to climb the ladder with an important win on Saturday. Redland-Victoria Point’s Harrison Kerr has booted 11 goals in his past three games and will need to be held accountable if Morningside are to slow down the scoring of their opponent.

Sherwood Districts will be looking to cause an upset as they prepare to host an impressive Maroochydore at Sherwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. Sherwood Districts have only won a single game this season, while their opponents have won three, so a boilover here looks unlikely, but stranger things have happened. Maroochydore sit second on the ladder, and if ladder leaders Broadbeach are beaten this round, a big win in this match could see them move to the top of the table. Keep an eye on Maroochydore’s Jacob Simpson, who has performed strongly all year. Sherwood Districts’ William Fletcher has been equally impressive and has also put his hand up as one to watch.

Wilston Grange face the tough task of slowing down the ladder leaders, as they host the undefeated Broadbeach at Hickey Park on Saturday afternoon. Wilston Grange have a 1-3 record after four games in an underwhelming start to the year, but a win here would truly send a message to the rest of the competition. They have the ability to kick a winning score, highlighted by Will McKenzie’s seven goals in his last two games. Broadbeach will be a tough beast to tame though. 4-0 on the season, they simply know how to get the job. With the top spot comes the pressure, and they will be eager to show they can more than handle it. Liam Nelson has been strong in the last three games and will be hoping to maintain this.

Tasmania:

The sixth round of TSL football kicks off with a bang as Clarence host competition powerhouse Launceston at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon. Launceston have looked unstoppable but face arguably their toughest challenger this week on their home deck. Clarence have looked fantastic this year, especially since returning to Blundstone Arena, and will fancy themselves a strong chance to knock off the reigning premiers on Saturday. The inclusion of experienced forward Josh Green should make them more dangerous forward of the ball. Launceston will be regaining stand-in captain Jake Hinds after serving his suspension, while Dylan Riley will be eager to continue the run of form that has seen him boot 19 goals in the last two matches.

Another key clash this weekend comes in the form of North Hobart taking on Glenorchy at North Hobart Oval on Saturday afternoon. Both sides sit with a 1-3 record and changing that to 2-3 is crucial for the season moving forward. North Hobart will bring in ruckman Logan Elphinstone to establish some midfield dominance. Glenorchy will be regaining the services of experienced midfielder Sam Rundle who should prove a crucial inclusion to the side.

The Tigers and North Launceston will clash at UTAS Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the final match of the round. The Tigers have a 3-2 record and had their colours lowered by a firing Clarence side last weekend, so they will be desperate to get back on the winners list. Star Elijah Reardon was kept reasonably quiet last round so he should be keen to bounce back in this game. North Launceston sit at 2-2 having played one less game than their opponent, but will regain the services of Bradley Cox-Goodyer, setting up a thrilling clash.

Picture credit: The Examiner

State Leagues Wrap: Weekend of thrillers

AS the weekend came to an end, so did a round of exciting football around the country. State leagues saw plenty of contests that came down to the wire, while other teams flexed their muscles with big wins.

Victoria:

VFL action kicked off on Thursday night with the Casey Demons’ big win over North Melbourne as VFL finally returned to Marvel Stadium. The Demons kicked a whopping 19 goals and finished the game as 107-point winners in a game that would not have impressed North Melbourne fans. Sam Weideman kicked four goals as he continues his ripping form that is sure to earn him an AFL recall in the near future. Unfortunately for him, Casey’s AFL affiliate Melbourne is absolutely flying at the moment, but if the key forward keeps up these performances, he will be hard to ignore come selection time. For the Roos, ruckman Tristian Xerri fought hard, and won the duel with Casey’s rucks, collecting 16 disposals to go with his 35 hitouts.

Collingwood stole a victory at the death as they snuck away with a three-point win against the Gold Coast Suns at Olympic Park Oval on Friday afternoon. With his 20th disposal, Magpie Reef McInnes kicked a goal at the 26-minute mark of the final term to put his side in front, and the rest is history. Young Pie Oliver Henry’s three goal haul would have impressed coaches, while Sun Will Brodie dominated in the midfield, collecting 41 touches and laying 11 tackles.

Geelong held off a fast-finishing Sydney side to claim a tense four-point win at Tramway Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Swans led by three points heading into the final term but Logan McDonald’s three goal effort was not enough to get the Swans home. Charlie Constable found the ball 28 times in a promising display, while Josh Jenkins booted two goals. For the Swans, Lewis Taylor and Robbie Fox combined for 59 disposals and looked dangerous whenever the ball was in dispute.

Essendon’s fast start couldn’t be maintained, eventually falling to Carlton by 49 points at Windy Hill on Sunday afternoon. The Bombers led by 14 points at the first break, but a five goal to nil second term got the Blues in front, and they never looked back. Out of favour Blue Will Setterfield continued his strong VFL form with a 26 disposal effort as he continues to push for a recall, while Nic Newman returned from a serious knee injury sustained last year to gather 23 disposals in a promising outing for Blues fans. First game Don Nick O’Kearney gathered 36 disposals in an eye-catching performance.

South Australia:

Round 5 of the SANFL began with an upset, as Norwood took down the previously undefeated South Adelaide Panthers at Coopers Stadium on Friday night. The Redlegs kicked a whopping five goals to one in the second goal to give themselves a 26-point lead at half time, and the Panthers simply couldn’t get the comeback done in time. Norwood midfielders Matthew Nunn and Jacob Kennerley combined for a whopping 29 tackles with 16 and 13 respectively, while former Crow Richard Douglas racked up 30 disposals. Joseph Haines was the Panthers’ best with 28 touches.

Glenelg remain the best team in the competition after their 31-point triumph over the North Adelaide Roosters on Saturday afternoon at Prospect Oval. A four-goal lead at quarter time was a sign of things to come, as Glenelg rode the first quarter effort until the final siren. Former Tiger Liam McBean kicked a bag of five of Glenelg, while midfielder Luke Partington had 35 disposals and seven clearances. Thomas Schwarz kicked three goals for the Roosters.

A strong final term saw West Adelaide claim their second win of the season, taking down Central Districts by four goals at Hisense Stadium on Saturday afternoon. There were only four points separating the two sides at three quarter time, but West Adelaide were able to extend that lead after kicking four goals to none in the final term. Edward Allan was strong in the midfield for North Adelaide, finishing with 22 disposals, five clearances and 11 tackles, while teammate Thomas Keough kicked four snags. For Central Districts, Justin Hoskin’s 26 disposals and two goals were excellent.

Over at Unley Oval, Sturt were able to pull off a heist, stealing a one-point win from the Crows on Sunday afternoon. Sturt’s Ashley Johnson kicked his fourth goal 26 minutes into the final quarter to give his side a one-point lead that proved to be enough. He was well aided by teammate Albania Davis who had 33 disposals, 11 marks and a goal. Crows skipper Matthew Wright kicked three goals in what could have been a match-winning performance.

Port Adelaide’s ten goal win over the West-Woodville Torrens was set up by a clinical second quarter performance at Alberton Oval on Sunday afternoon. The Power kicked seven goals in the second quarter to take a 47-point lead into half time, which they only improved on in the second half. Port’s skipper Cam Sutcliffe was marvellous rotating through the midfield and forward line, finishing with 25 disposals and three goals, while Tom Rockliff had 34 touches and eight clearances. Eagles mid James Tsitas had a whopping 39 disposals for the losing side.

Western Australia:

In the WAFL, Round 5 kicked off with Swan Districts surviving a massive scare from an East Perth side who are still searching for their first win. The inaccuracy of East Perth really hurt their chances, kicking 7.13, while Swan Districts kicked 10.8 to run out 13-point victors for their third win of the season. Swan Districts midfielder Samuel Fisher had the ball on a string as he worked his way to 37 disposals and a goal, while teammate Frank Anderson had 35 touches of his own. Edward Simpson was nearly the hero for East Perth, booting five goals in a near match-winning performance.

Perth were able to cruise to their second win of the season with a triumph over East Fremantle by five goals at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon. A six-goal opening term set up the win, with the home side unable to close the gap in the next three quarters. Brady Grey was the star for the victors, with 29 disposals and a huge 10 inside 50’s for the match, while Doultan Langlands kicked three goals. For East Fremantle, Cameron Eardley led the way with 32 touches.

Despite a slow start, Claremont were able to find their rhythm in the second quarter, steamrolling their way to a 52-point win over West Perth at Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Claremont trailed by two goals at quarter time, before kicking six goals in the second term to get the game back in their control. Claremont’s Lachlan Martinis racked up a whopping 42 disposals and nine marks in a dominant display, while Jack Buller kicked five goals for the victors. For West Perth, Shane Nelson had 39 disposals in an impressive display.

South Fremantle caused a major upset with their 18-point win over Subiaco, handing them their first loss of the year at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday afternoon. Subiaco were at the top of the table heading into this game, while South Fremantle had only won the two games, but they turned the table in this dominant display, set up by their seven goal second term. Haiden Schloithe put in a star turn for the winners, ending the match with 39 disposals and two goals in a clear best on ground performance. For Subiaco, Gregory Clark led with 30 touches.

West Coast’s struggles continued on Sunday morning after being convincingly beaten by Peel Thunder to the tune of 79 points at David Grays Arena. The Eagles trailed by seven goals at half time, and could not get themselves back in the game against a dominant Thunder side. Blair Bell kicked six goals for Peel, while teammate Josh Treacy kicked five of his own. West Coast’s Hamish Brayshaw performed admirably with 29 disposals.

Queensland:

QAFL’s fifth round of action kicked off with a blockbuster as Labrador upset Maroochydore by 12 points at Maroochydore Multisports Complex on Saturday afternoon. Labrador had one less win than the home side heading into this clash, but a strong third term saw the visitors take a lead that they would end up holding for the remainder of the game. Labrador’s Pearce Hanley once again claimed best on ground honours, running riot through the midfield as he continues to show that age will not slow him down. For Maroochydore, Jacob Simpson fought hard all day to be his side’s best.

Redland-Victoria Point cruised their way to their third win for the year against Mt Gravatt on Saturday afternoon at Southside Toyota Oval. Redland-Victoria Point jumped to an early lead in the first quarter and then only extended their control from there, waltzing to a crucial win that keeps them well in the hunt for top spot on the ladder. Redland-Victoria Point full back Mitchell Stallard was named his side’s best after a dominant display in defence. Gavin Grose was Mt Gravatt’s best for the second week in a row.

Sherwood Districts have finally found their first win for the season, defeating bottom-placed Noosa by 22 points at Rococo Oval on Saturday afternoon. Noosa remain winless, but Sherwood Districts will be hoping this is the triumph that kick starts their season. For the winners, Joshua Coombes led the way with three goals up forward, but it was truly a team effort that delivered the win. For Noosa, Ryley Buntain was his side’s best for the second consecutive week.

A bag of seven goals from forward John Anthony has led Palm Beach Currumbin to an important win over Wilston Grange at Salk Oval on Saturday afternoon. Anthony’s bag of seven was inspiring and proved crucial to Palm Beach Currumbin securing their second win of the season, shooting them up the ladder. Anthony was his side’s best, but had plenty of help from teammate Matthew Gahan. For Wilston Grange, Isaac Corvo was a clear standout.

Broadbeach kept their unbeaten streak rolling with their fourth win of the year, defeating a brave Surfers Paradise side by 10 points at Subaru Oval on Sunday afternoon. A close game all day, Broadbeach kicked three final quarter goals to seal the game to hold off the upset. For the winners, Liam Nelson was the star, leading his side all day in a best afield display, while Alby Jones was the bright spark for Surfers Paradise.

Tasmania:

TSL action resumed this weekend, as Clarence continued their hot streak, knocking off the Tigers at Kingston Twin Ovals on Saturday afternoon. The victors led all afternoon, and never looked like giving up the lead on their way to recording their third win of the season. For Clarence, Oliver Davis was best on ground for the second week in a row. For the Tigers, Blake McCulloch stood out through the backline to end the day as his side’s best.

North Hobart have recorded their first win for the 2021 season, kicking away in the last quarter to defeat Lauderdale by 18 points at Lauderdale Oval on Saturday afternoon. There was two points separating the sides heading into the last quarter, but North Hobart were too strong, kicking four final quarter goals on their way to a maiden win for the year. For the victors, Thomas Liefhebber was outstanding all day, while Jye Menzie kicked four goals. For Lauderdale, Alex Hevey never gave up and performed admirably.

Launceston continue to uphold their status as league powerhouse, demolishing Glenorchy by 148 points at Windsor Park on Saturday Oval. Launceston hit the 100-point mark by half time, and Glenorchy never stood a chance against this well-oiled machine. Launceston star forward Dylan Riley backed up his 10-goal haul last week with a nine-goal effort this round, putting emphasis on the importance of shutting him down. For Glenorchy, Nick Reibelt impressed despite the loss.

2021 VFL Round 2 review: Southport wins battle of Queensland standalones

SOUTHPORT Sharks have overcome inaccuracy to post a 14-point victory over Aspley Hornets in the battle of the Queensland standalone teams at Fankhauser Reserve. Both sides won their respective Round 1 Victorian Football League (VFL) matches, so were coming in with good form. Despite having 19 more scoring shots throughout the match, the Sharks were only able to just get across the line, 14.25 (109) to 15.5 (95) as the visitors never stopped pushing the home team.

The match started with Aspley’s Matt Hammelmann on absolute fire. He booted two goals in the first six minutes, then converted a third midway through the term, for the Hornets to lead 3.1 (19) to 1.3 (9), as Jesse Joyce was the sole goalkicker for the home side. After a couple of other misses late in the term – Billy Gowers being the main suspect with three behinds – back-to-back goals to Round 1 hero Lukas Webb, as well as Ryan Gilmore, handed the Sharks a five-point lead at the first break.

The Sharks dominated the second quarter from the get-go as Brayden Crossley, and Gilmore contributed to a couple of behinds before Crossley bagged his first major, and Gowers got his first from his fourth scoring shot. By the midway mark of the second term, the Sharks were out to a 22-point lead, but already missed chances were keeping the Hornets in the game. Against the flow of play, Ben Warren and Ryan Banks-Smith slotted majors for the Hornets, and it was clear the visitors were going to capitalise on their chances.

In the final 15 minutes of the term, a flurry of action saw the Sharks extend their lead a little more, despite three straight behinds in the final couple of minutes. Crossley and Gowers both booted their second goals prior to that, with Thomas Baulch snagging one back for the visitors. At the main break, the Sharks had 22 scoring shots to nine, but only one more goal for an 18-point lead.

Desperate to capitalise on forward half possession, the Sharks had a goal in the opening three minutes going to Michael Manteit, which was countered by Ryan Bastinac of the Hornets. Three more minor scores down the Sharks’ end – including a couple of rushed behinds – were worrying, but Rhys King and Gowers ensured they did get some bang for their buck. They needed someone to try and contain Hammelmann however, as the ex-Brisbane forward was dominating with another three goals – taking his match total to five by the final break. For all the back-and-forth, the margin was once again 18 points at the last change.

The home fans really started to get nervous in the final term despite kicking the first two goals of the quarter through Gowers and Nutting to stretch the lead out to 30 points. Just when they looked to run away with it, the Hornets kicked five of the next six goals – including Cody Stackelberg matching Hammelmann’s three consecutive majors – which cut the deficit to within a kick. With seven minutes on the clock, the game was well and truly alive. Luckily for the Sharks, King came to the rescue to kick a steadier, and from there the home team held on for the victory, 14.25 (109) to 15.5 (95).

Gowers finished with a massive 5.5 from 17 disposals and six marks, leading the way for the winners, as Crossley and King both booted two goals, while Webb (25 touches), Joyce (23) and Manteit (20) all found plenty of the ball and each snagged a major. Jacob Dawson feasted around the ground on his way to 34 disposals, while Fraser Thurlow had 29 hitouts from 19 touches. Despite playing in a losing side, Hammelmann snagged six goals from 11 touches and seven marks, with Stackelberg’s three coming from 14 disposals and four marks. Baulch (25 disposals, two goals), Jack Rolls (22 and one) and Bastinac (19 and one) all worked hard to also hit the scoreboard, as ex-AFL talents Jacob Allison (30 disposals) and Corey Lyons (26) led the disposals.

It was a mixed back of results for the other Queensland sides, with Gold Coast Suns claiming a 14-point win over Sydney Swans, whilst the Brisbane Lions suffered a heavy 69-point loss to Carlton. Dylan Stephens (32 disposals, seven marks and five tackles), Sam Gray (31 disposals, six marks and five tackles) and Ryan Clarke (30 disposals, eight marks) all put their hand up for a Swans recall, whilst youngster Sam Thorne slotted three goals, as did Joel Amartey. For the Suns, Will Bella slotted three goals form 10 touches and five marks to be a standout Academy prospect, with Malcolm Rosas (18 disposals, two goals) and Will Brodie (31 disposals, two goals) among the top AFL-listed players. For the Lions, Tom Fullarton had a day out with 34 touches and 18 hitouts through the ruck, while Rhys Mathieson kicked four goals from 18 disposals in a half. The Blues had an even set of contributors led by Will Setterfield (25 disposals, seven marks and 10 tackles) and Paddy Dow (20 disposals, six tackles) through the midfield, whilst Ben Crocker and James Parsons combined for a whopping 12 goals in the win.

Western Bulldogs handed GWS GIANTS their second loss of the season, as last year’s number one draft pick, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan slotted five goalswer to be amongst six multiple goalkickers for the Dogs in the huge 21.9 (135) to 10.3 (63) victory. Mitch Hannan (three goals), Rhylee West (three and 25 touches, seven marks and five tackles) and Louis Butler (two and 20 touches, six marks and three tackles) were all huge, while teenager Dominic Bedendo (nine disposals, five marks and two goals) also looked dangerous for the Dogs. Jesse Hogan continued his good return to form with four goals from 14 touches and 11 marks for the Giants, while Will Shaw (two goals) and James Peatling (23 disposals, six marks) and Josh Green (21 disposals, three marks and four tackles) were among the top ball-winners.

Meanwhile, Port Melbourne and Williamson enjoyed wins against Sandringham and Werribee respectively. Nash Holmes (28 disposals, six marks and five tackles), Tom O’Sullivan (28 disposals, eight marks), Eli Templeton (25 disposals, 13 marks and two goals) and Isaac Conway (24 disposals, four marks, five tackles and two goals) all dominated for the Borough, while Luke Dunstan had the ball on a string for the Zebras, collecting 46 disposals. Ryan Byrnes (25 disposals, five marks) and Leo Connolly (19 disposals, four marks) were other St Kilda-listed talents who stood out. Mitch Hibberd was again lively for the Seagulls with 23 disposals and eight tackles, leading the way from Liam Hunt (20 disposals) and Jack Toner (16 disposals, eight marks), while Tom Downie had a great battle with Matthew Lobbe, collecting 35 hitouts from 12 disposals. Lobbe had 37 and 12, while Matthew Hanson (25 disposals, six tackles), Shaun Mannagh (24 disposals, four tackles) and Tom Gribble (22 disposals, four tackles) were also big ball-winners.

In other results, Frankston Dolphins dominated North Melbourne on their way to another win, getting up 16.8 (104) to 5.9 (39). Tyler Roos and Nathan Freeman shared in a lazy 85 disposals and 20 marks between them for opposite sides through the midfield, while Bailey Lambert (five goals), Jack Mentha (three) and Will Fordham (24 disposals, two goals) were also damaging on the scoreboard for the Dolphins. Will Walker (23 disposals, 11 marks) Harry Jones (21 disposals, eight marks) and Flynn Appleby (20 disposals, 11 marks) supported Roos in the heavy loss. Another standalone side Northern Bullants was not as fortunate against Hawthorn at Box Hill City Oval, with the visitors going down by 56 points after being level at quarter time. Emerson Jeka slotted five goals from 20 disposals and nine marks in a dominant display up forward, while Fergus Greene (14 disposals, three goals) and Keegan Brooksby (13 disposals, 24 hitouts and two goals) were also good. Ned Reeves had a casual 54 hitouts to go with 16 touches and a goal as well. for the Bullants, Tynan Smith kicked three majors from 16 touches, as Tom Wilson (26 disposals, 10 marks) and Paul Ahern (23 disposals, one goal) were among the best.

In the final two games, Casey Demons recorded a big 13.18 (96) to 5.7 (37) victory over Richmond, while Essendon won the Anzac Day eve battle with Collingwood, 12.13 (85) to 6.14 (50). It was a good day for the red heads, as Jake Bowey (26 disposals, five marks) and Oskar Baker (24 disposals five marks) both impressed, while Neville Jetta was strong with 23 touches, and Ben Brown (four goals) and Sam Weideman (three) stepped up in front of goal again. For the Tigers, Mabior Chol was the only multiple goalkicker with two, as Pat Naish (28 disposals, five marks) and Callum Coleman-Jones (18 disposals, nine marks and 29 hitouts) worked hard through the four quarters. Tom Cutler (27 disposals, seven marks and three goals) was outstanding for the Bombers, while Ned Cahill (21 disposals, five marks and six tackles), Angus Baker (21 disposals, five marks) and Josh Tynan (21 disposals, five marks) were also solid. For the Magpies, youngster Caleb Poulter racked up 27 touches, three marks and three tackles to put his hand up for an AFL debut, as Reef McInnes (17 disposals, four tackles) and Tom Wilson (20 touches, seven marks) were also impressive. Next-Generation Academy member Youseph Dib finished with 11 disposals, tow marks and eight tackles in a solid display.

VFL ROUND 2 RESULTS:

GWS GIANTS 10.3 (63) def. by Western Bulldogs 21.9 (135)
Gold Coast Suns 14.11 (95) def. Sydney 12.9 (81)
Carlton 24.10 (154) def. Brisbane 13.7 (85)
Southport 14.25 (109) def. Aspley 15.5 (95)
North Melbourne 5.9 (39) def. by Frankston 16.8 (104)
Collingwood 6.14 (50) def. by Essendon 12.13 (85)
Hawthorn 17.10 (112) def. Northern Bullants 8.8 (56)
Richmond 5.7 (37) def. by Casey Demons 13.18 (96)
Port Melbourne 13.14 (92) def. Sandringham 9.12 (66)
Werribee 7.11 (53) def. by Williamstown 9.10 (64)

Picture credit: RF Photography

State Leagues Wrap: Plenty of big scores as teams find mojo

THE Aussie Rules state league action resumed this weekend around most parts of the country with plenty of enthralling contests. While most states went about their normal business, the WAFL was unfortunately cancelled due to the recently acquired COVID-19 cases and ensuing lockdown.

Victoria

The Western Bulldogs delivered a dominant performance, defeating the GWS Giants 21.9 (135) to 10.3 (63) on Thursday night’s VFL opener. In a star-studded contest, the Dogs proved too good, kicking eight goals to two in the third to essentially seal the result. Potentially the most watched player in the VFL so far this year, last year’s number one pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan once again impressed with a five-goal haul. With an injury to Bulldogs AFL tall Tim English, this could be the perfect opportunity for the 18-year-old to make his much-anticipated debut. Patrick Lipinski also impressed with 35 disposals and a goal in a strong claim to earn a debut to the AFL side. Giants recruit Jesse Hogan kicked four goals as he looks towards an AFL debut for GWS.

Gold Coast continue to adjust to life in Victoria as they defeated fellow interstate side Sydney Swans by 14 points in an exciting clash on Saturday morning. The Suns held off a fast-finishing Swans side to claim their first win of the season. Will Brodie was the Suns’ best with a massive 31 disposal, two goal performance through the midfield. Swan Dylan Stephens responded to his omission from the AFL side with 32 disposals in an eye-catching performance.

Carlton booted the biggest score of the round, triumphing over the Lions in a 24.10 (154) to 13.7 (85) win. Former Pie and Crow Ben Crocker booted seven goals in the victory, while AFL listed duo Will Setterfield (25 disposals, 10 tackles) and Paddy Dow (20 disposals, six tackles) both put their name in contention for a recall over the coming weeks. Omitted Lion Tom Fullarton was the best for his team on the day, stuffing the stat sheet with 34 disposals, 18 hitouts and a goal in a performance that should catch the eye of coaches.

It was a battle of two inaccurate sides as Essendon took down Collingwood with a 12.13 (85) to 6.14 (50) victory. Both sides wasted plenty of opportunities in front of goal, but ultimately the Bombers overwhelmed their opponents to walk away win. Essendon’s Tom Cutler put in a best on ground performance for the winning side, booting three snags to go with 27 disposals. Alec Waterman was reflective of his side, kicking 2.4 in what could’ve been a massive outing. Magpie Mason Cox fought hard in conditions not suited to big men, but will be facing a stint on the sidelines after finding himself reported.

South Australia

ANZAC round in the SANFL began with a victory to North Adelaide over their Norwood opponents by three goals at Hisense Stadium. The game began in close fashion, with only two points separating the sides at quarter time. North Adelaide began to kick away in the second and third quarters, before Norwood began a last quarter comeback that couldn’t be completed. Jordan Boyle was instrumental for North Adelaide, racking up 33 disposals and seven inside 50’s, while teammate Edward Allen was fantastic through the middle, with 24 disposals, nine tackles and five clearances. Norwood’s best was Jacob Kennerly with 22 disposals and 10 clearances.

Adelaide’s Billy Frampton was outstanding in his side’s 23-point win over the Central Districts at X Convenience Oval. Frampton booted seven goals to go with 19 disposals and 12 marks (nine contested) in a match winning performance. Frampton will surely be in contention for a recall at AFL level after Saturday’s match. Ruckman Kieran Strachan continued his good performance with 38 hitouts, while David Mackay found plenty of the ball with 24 touches. Central Districts were well served in the loss by Luke Habel (31 disposals) and Aiden Grace (5 goals).

South Adelaide continued their undefeated season with a strong 39-point win over a struggling Sturt side at Flinders University Stadium. A close contest for the first three quarters, Sturt trailed by only a goal at the final break. South Adelaide absolutely blew the game wide open in the last quarter, kicking five goals to none in the final term to seal the game. Former AFL star Bryce Gibbs was exceptional for South Adelaide, finishing with 35 disposals, seven tackles and seven clearances in a best on ground display. Joel Cross was also strong for the victors, kicking three goals from his 24 disposals. Sturt defender Casey Voss was valiant in defeat, finishing with 26 touches and 13 rebound 50’s.

Glenelg have held off a determined Port Adelaide, to leave ACH Group Stadium with a narrow 10-point win. Inaccuracy cost the Power, as they finished with the same amount of scoring shots as their opponents, but lacked the ability to convert in key stages. For Glenelg, Lachie Hosie booted five goals, including two in the last quarter that proved crucial in the game’s result. Michael Virgin was also influential in the winning side, finding the ball 27 times to go with 16 marks. For the Power, Sam Powell-Pepper impressed with 34 disposals, eight tackles and eight clearances.

In a nail biting clash, Woodville-West Torrens defeated North Adelaide by three points in the final game of the ANZAC round. Eagle Joseph Sinor was the hero of the match, kicking the goal to give his side the lead deep into the last quarter, and North Adelaide couldn’t conjure a game-winning response in time. Former Crow Riley Knight was terrific for the winners with 27 disposals and a goal, while ruckman Jack Hayes was also strong with 21 disposals and 21 hitouts. For North Adelaide, Jarred Allmond and Alexander Spina combined for 62 disposals.

Tasmania

It was a tale of blowouts in the TSL with two games decided by over 90 points. In the first game of the round, North Launceston responded from last week’s loss in the perfect manner, belting Lauderdale by 93 points at Lauderdale Oval on Saturday. The game was over by the main break, with North Launceston kicking 13 goals to nil in the first half. For the winners, Jay Foon was his side’s best while Brandon Leary and Thomas Bennett combined for eight goals. For Lauderdale, Nat Franklin battled hard all day.

The remaining two games were played on ANZAC day, in a fantastic day for local football. Starting at Kingston Twin Oval, the Tigers cruised away with a 24-point victory over Glenorchy on Sunday afternoon. The first three quarters belonged to the Tigers, as they took a 46-point lead into the last quarter, before a late Glenorchy comeback stemmed the bleeding. Tiger Elijah Reardon continued his strong form, claiming best on ground honours, while Glenorchy’s Harrison Gunther kicked three goals to be his side’s best.

The final game of the round saw Launceston demolish North Hobart on their own home deck, running away with a 125-point triumph in a ruthless display. The match was tense for the first two quarters, with only eight points separating the two sides at half time. Launceston then produced one of the best quarters of the season, kicking 13 goals to none in the third quarter, and this was compounded by a six goal to none final term. Launceston’s Dylan Riley was magnificent, kicking nine goals in the second half to finish with 10 for the match. Jay Blackberry was also excellent, kicking two goals from 31 disposals. For North Hobart, Nicholas Jackson worked hard all day.

Queensland

Redland-Victoria Point have walked away with a textbook win over Palm Beach Currumbin, claiming a 60-point win at Totally Workwear Park on Saturday afternoon. A strong first half from the Sharks set up the win, with their opponents struggling to recover from the half time margin. For the winners, Jamie Ivers kicked five goals in a day out, while William Johnson was also a strong contributor. For Palm Beach Currumbin, Mitchell Johnson resumed his great start to the year, backing up last week’s four goals with five goals on Saturday.

Broadbeach have sent a message to the rest of the competition, smashing Sherwood Districts by 102 points at Sherwood Oval. It was a four-quarter performance from the visitors, kicking at least five goals in every quarter and never giving the opposition a chance. Broadbeach’s Sam Jasper kicked a stunning eight goals and was easily his side’s best on the day but had strong support from teammates Ryan Pickering and Samuel Weddell. For Sherwood Districts, Billy Hawkes was his side’s best on a dark day for the club.

A close contest all day, Labrador did enough to hold off Surfers Paradise as they escaped with an eight-point victory at Sir Bruce Small Park. No team led by more than seven points at any break, and the game looked to go either way, but Surfers Paradise fell just short of snatching the win. Former Lion and Sun Pearce Hanley was instrumental in the win, and was Labrador’s best performer, while Max Johnson was also damaging. For Surfers Paradise, Max Green and Brody Haberfield were among the best.

A final quarter burst sealed the win for Morningside as they stormed away from a Wilston Grange side that hung around for the first three quarters, before falling by 40 points. Morningside turned a three-point deficit at half time into an 11-point lead at the final change, before piling on five goals to none in the final term to claim a handy victory. For Morningside, Nathan Colenso delivered his second bag of five goals in three games as he continues to prove a threat up forward, while Darcy Cameron-Reeves was also one of his side’s best. For Wilston Grange, Will Mckenzie’s four goal performance kept them competitive.

Maroochydore were too good for Noosa as they triumphed by 70 points at Maroochydore Multisports Complex in Saturday’s final match. From the first quarter to the last, Maroochydore tormented their opponents with their dominant play, and a victory never looked in doubt. For Maroochydore, Mitchell Scholard booted four goals, taking his season tally to 16, while Joshua Filo was fantastic. For Noosa Ryley Buntain and Ben Guthrie never gave up.

State Leagues Preview: All competitions in full swing

STATE league Aussie rules football is in full swing as we approach round four for most competitions this weekend. With eye-catching matchups galore, expect a weekend chock full of exciting clashes.

VFL

The new-look Victorian Football League (VFL) kicked off its 2021 season last weekend, with a different looking fixture than previous years. Interstate AFL affiliated clubs Gold Coast, Sydney, Brisbane and GWS joined the competition and shook things up a bit. Round 1 delivered what many Victorian football fans had been waiting for and expect more of this in Round 2.

Brisbane and Carlton face off this weekend with plenty of players looking to stake a claim at an AFL spot. Blue Will Setterfield is one to watch this weekend, after tagging Jacob Dawson last weekend. The former top five draft pick has found himself on the outer at Carlton as the club looks to settle on a best 22, and Setterfield’s new role as a run-with player could see him enter calculations once again. As for who he will tag, that question remains up in the air. Lions Rhys Mathieson and Devan Robertson both had stand out performances last week, so if not recalled, expect one of them to receive a bit of attention.

Rivals Collingwood and Essendon will also clash this weekend in the traditional ANZAC round. With AFL sides for this round not announced until later this weekend, the sides are not yet confirmed. Both clubs’ AFL affiliate have been struck with injuries so expect very different lineups to last weekend. If not selected for a recall, American Pie Mason Cox will be relishing the opportunity to tear the game apart this week. Dropped from the AFL side in the last couple of weeks, Cox will be eager to earn a return, and there is no better time to prove his worth than this weekend. Following a disappointing 11-goal defeat last weekend, Essendon will be looking to bounce back in Round 2. Don Andrew Phillips impressed in the ruck last weekend and will hope to continue this form.

The Gold Coast Suns and the Sydney Swans will do battle in a Saturday morning clash at the Council Training Oval. Both interstate sides will be continuing to adjust to life in the VFL instead of their respective competitions in their home states. Looking to put his hand up for a recall, Swans ruckman Callum Sinclair will be desperate to standout at VFL level and he started this last weekend, with 34 hitouts and 17 disposals. The Suns shouldn’t lose too many players to their AFL side with no fresh injuries so expect a similar lineup to last week. Suns recruit Rory Atkins had 26 disposals in his first game for the reserves last week and should prove a class above given his AFL experience.

 

South Australia

A Friday night match kicks off proceedings for Round 4 in the SANFL this weekend with West Adelaide hosting Norwood at Hisense Stadium. Following a 50-point loss last weekend, West Adelaide have made plenty of changes in an attempt to conjure a response out of their side. Last week’s inclusion Sam May has succumbed to a hamstring injury, while Josh Koster and Mitch Maguire have been omitted. Five players have been added to the 25-man squad, including potential debutants Nick Steele and Lucas Meline. Norwood have also made a statement at selection, with gun wingman Dom Barry dropped following the side’s disappointing 92-point loss in Round 3. Both sides will be desperate to improve on last week’s performance, and there is no better opportunity.

Central Districts will take on Adelaide at X Convenience Oval on Saturday afternoon as both sides look to improve on their 1-2 record. Central Districts will lose utility Fraser Fort to injury, opening up a spot for another big man to come into the side, which will be trimmed by three prior to the opening bounce. The Crows side is yet to be determined, with AFL emergencies to be added in the near future. Two outs have already been confirmed with former Richmond midfielder Daniel Jackson rested after a 21-disposal outing, while crafty forward Ben Davis injured.

South Adelaide will be looking to maintain top spot on the ladder with a win over this week’s opponents in Sturt, as they play host at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday. South Adelaide young gun Jason Horne has been named to line up in an AFL academy match this weekend, so the Panthers will be without him this weekend. Talented youngster Fraser Turner has been named on the extended bench and could make his debut. Sturt will be without former Crow Pat Wilson after the midfielder hurt his shoulder in the second term last round, and his return date is yet to be confirmed. In better news for Sturt, key defender Sam Smith will debut after an ACL injury ruled him out for 2020. Tasmanian Jared Dakin could also make his debut, named on the extended bench.

Glenelg will be looking to start the season 4-0 with a victory over Port Adelaide on Saturday, who are searching for their second win of the season. With no forced changes, Glenelg have named three potential debutants on the bench in the form of Brady Searle, Brodie Newman and Will Chandler, who have all performed strongly at reserve level. Port’s side will be heavily influenced by its AFL side’s line up, with only two named on the bench so far and the AFL emergencies yet to be added.

In the final game of the round, Woodville-West Torrens will welcome North Adelaide to Maughan Thiem Kia Oval in search of their third win. Woodville-West Torrens will gain some handy inclusions in the form of Troy Menzel and Angus Poole, but will lose Dane McFarlane to a calf issue. North Adelaide will be hoping to carry forward the momentum they gained after last week’s thumping 92-point win over Norwood. Someone will have to replace Frank Szekely who was injured in the win. In the frame for a debut is midfielder Kaine Mercovich, who will be hopeful he can make his first appearance at league level.

Tasmania

It’s a battle of the Bombers to open the round four action, with Lauderdale hosting North Launceston in an important clash for both sides. With both teams sitting at a less than desirable 1-2 record, the opportunity to move up the ladder with a win will make an exciting contest. Lauderdale have omitted pair Benjamin Steinbauer and Jarrod Westell and welcomed Joshua Williams and Sam Tilley after a three goal loss to Glenorchy last week. North Launceston have made four changes after last week’s loss to Clarence. Utility Tom Donnelly returns to the side following a stint in North Melbourne’s VFL side last week, while Jack Avent, Brandon Leary and Ryley Sanders join him in returning to the side. Oscar Van Dam, Daniel Withers, Angus Jefferies and Matthew Cossins are the outs.

Following a disappointing loss to Launceston last week, the Tigers have the chance to put themselves back on the winners list with a game against Glenorchy on Saturday, who are fresh off a win. The Tigers were humbled by the reigning premiers in round three and have made changes to rectify this. Thomas Dwyer and Benjamin Donnelly were dropped for in favour pair Marcus Gardner and George O’Neill. Meanwhile, Glenorchy have included Bayley Bester and Braidy Simpson for Cameron Goodsell and Darrean Wyatt.

A North Hobart side looking for their first win will have to take on the tough task of slowing down Launceston at North Hobart Oval this weekend. Launceston delivered a statement performance last week against the Tigers, showing the competition that they will once again be tough to stop, while North Hobart will still be thinking about their disappointing loss against North Launceston in round two. Fresh off the bye, they will be eager to notch their first win, and their five changes this week show this. Riley Higgins, Logan Elphinstone, Keegan Ryan, Isaac Mathewson and Dominic White have entered the side in exchange for Josch Bingham, Jonty Barwick, Nathan Hardy, Joshua Hilder and Austin Keeling. Launceston stand-in skipper and star midfielder Jake Hinds will not play due to suspension, while Miller Hodge and Jacob Boyd will also miss. They are replaced by Hamish Leedham, Colby McKercher and Zach Morris.

Queensland

Redland-Victoria Point and Palm Beach Currumbin will open the ANZAC weekend round in the QAFL at Totally Workwear Park on Saturday. Redland-Point Victoria fell to Labrador by just over three goals last round, and a second win on the board would make a huge difference, with the ladder positioning incredibly tight after three rounds. Full-forward Harrison Kerr kicked four goals last week and should attract the best defender this week, opening opportunities for other forwards such as Matthew Warren to back up his strong performance from last week. Palm Beach Currumbin found their first win of the season last week with a 27-point triumph over Noosa. Mitchell Johnson’s four goal haul has surely caught the eye of opposition coaches, who will put some work into stopping him.

Sherwood District will be keen to bounce back from last week’s disappointing performance with a win over the in form Broadbeach this weekend. Sherwood District were embarrassed by Surfers Paradise, eventually defeated by 88 points. Jack Austin was a shining light on a dark day and his teammates will be hoping he can back up this showing. Broadbeach continue to do their thing, knocking off Morningside by 53 points last weekend. Bradley Lowe will once again be dangerous on the wing after a best on ground performance.

Its fourth place taking on sixth place as Surfers Paradise hosts Labrador at Sir Bruce Small Park on Saturday in an important clash. Both sides sit on 1-1 on the season, and a win here would prove vital in regards to ladder position. Both sides found their way to over 100 points last weekend and this should be a high scoring affair once again. Will Labrador’s Blair Rubock get off the chain again after four goals last week, or will Surfers Paradise’s balanced forward line get the better of their opponents again?

A refreshed Winston Grange side will be eager to move themselves up the ladder as they host a Morningside team that will be out to make up for last weekend’s disappointing showing. Winston Grange had the bye last week and currently sit in ninth place on percentage, but a win would shoot them up into the top half of the ladder in no time. Morningside’s recent loss will be fresh in their minds as they will once again look for Nathan Colenso in the forward line, who has started the year with six goals in two games.

Noosa’s quest to find their first win of the season will be made all the more difficult as they take on the top of the table Maroochydore at the Maroochydore Multisports Complex on Saturday afternoon. Noosa put up a brave fight against Palm Beach Currumbin, but ultimately couldn’t muster enough scoring opportunities to keep up with their opponents and fell by just under five goals. Scoring will be a focal point as they take on a red hot Maroochydore side who have started the season 2-0. Forward Jake Warren will play a key role, kicking five goals in the first two games and will surely be looking to add to that tally this weekend.

 

Western Australia

West Perth will be looking to follow up last week’s heartbreaking loss with a win over East Fremantle this weekend to kick off round four WAFL action. West Perth were defeated by Subiaco by a devastatingly small margin, with Subiaco walking away three-point winners. The players will be still hurting from this, eager to put the result in the past with a win on Saturday. Sam Rotham will not be lacing up the boots for West Perth, with Tyson Moulton his confirmed replacement. East Fremantle are yet to confirm any changes to the side that defeated East Perth last weekend.

Swan Districts will clash with South Fremantle in what should be an exciting match, with both sides sitting on the same win/loss record. Both sides are 2-1 after three rounds, and are sitting in similar positions, with both notching a win last week. Swan Districts backman William Collins will return to the lineup and the club is yet to confirm who will make way. South Fremantle ruckman Brock Higgins will return for his side along with backman Jason Maskos with the bench yet to be finalised.

Claremont’s undefeated streak continued last weekend, as they sit 3-0 in second place on the ladder. They take on Peel Thunder, who were outplayed by South Fremantle to make them 1-2 on the season. Claremont’s Harrison Mccracken is fresh off a four-goal haul last weekend and should have a say in the scoring of this match. The team lineups are yet to be confirmed at time of publication.

Two sides in the midst of very different seasons, West Coast will be hopeful of handing Subiaco their first loss of the season, while finding their first win. Subiaco scraped past West Perth by less than a goal, as they show they can consistently find a way to win. West Coast are having a very different year, starting the season 0-3 as their lineup consistently changes with AFL selections. They will also have their hands full containing Subiaco duo Ben Sokol and Jordan Faraone, who combined for eight goals in the round three win. The team lineups are yet to be confirmed at time of publication.

The final game of the round has plenty of implications for the ladder, with eighth place Perth taking on 10th (and last) placed East Perth. If East Perth can muster a win, it could kickstart their season, while a win for Perth could put them in the top five. With lots on the line for both sides, expect a close battle.

Classic Contests: Dragons down Rebels with final term turnaround

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in our series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 18 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Sandringham Dragons and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2016, when both sides were cemented in the top eight, the Rebels were called North Ballarat, and the Dragons managed to snatch four points on the road.

2016 TAC Cup, Round 11
Saturday June 25, 1:00pm
Mars Stadium

NORTH BALLARAT REBELS 7.0 | 9.1 | 11.3 | 13.5 (83)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 2.1 | 4.2 | 9.6 | 13.9 (87)

GOALS:

North Ballarat: J. Johnston 7, S. Beks 2, I. Johnson, J. Jones, J. Harrison, M. Scales
Sandringham:
J. Trew 4, W. Walker 2, H. Burt, K. Beveridge, C. Larkin, H. Mclean, L. Harris, A. Sakeson, I. Morrisby

BEST:

North Ballarat: J. Johnston, C. Wellings, J. Wheelahan, J. McQueen, C. Cox, N. McRoberts
Sandringham:
J. Trew, A. Sakeson, R. Hayward, K. Nissenbaum, T. Maloney, H. Burt

Draftees in action:

North Ballarat: Cedric Cox, Jamaine Jones, Flynn Appleby
Sandringham: Will Walker, Hayden McLean

The Sandringham Dragons and GWV Rebels have not faced each other since May in 2017, but produced a captivating contest just a year prior to that at Mars Stadium. Both sides boasted stacked squads and were firmly entrenched in the finals race. While they met amid the early fixturing of that year’s Under 18 National Championships, the two regions had enough depth to put on a quality showing.

Playing at home, the Rebels came in at 6-4, enough to put them in sixth spot. They had just come off a loss to the Geelong Falcons after winning six games in a row. The Dragons were six points clear at 7-2-1 to slot into third place, and looked to be turning back into some form with consecutive wins which followed two-straight losses. North Ballarat would be without the likes of Jarrod Berry and Hugh McCluggage, with Sandringham had to go without Tim Taranto, Will Setterfield, Andrew McGrath, and Oliver Florent, among others.

It meant the Rebels were able to get the early jump, storming out of the blocks with seven-straight goals to Sandringham’s two in the opening term. The 29-point lead held at the first break remained exactly the same at half time as either side added two majors to their tallies, but the hosts looked rather comfortable out in front.

That comfort wouldn’t remain for too much longer, though. After the two teams went goal-for-goal across the first 15 minutes of the third term, Sandringham piled on three unanswered majors late in the piece to bring the margin back to within two goals. That same momentum carried on into the final period of play, as North Ballarat could not quite hold on in the face of the Dragons’ scoreboard pressure. The visitors would sneak over the line by four points in a remarkable late turnaround.

A couple of big goal hauls headlined the effort on either side, with North Ballarat’s Jordan Johnston booting seven, while Sandringham’s Josh Trew managed four. North Melbourne draftee Will Walker snared two majors, while Cat-turned-Eagle Jamaine Jones also found the big sticks, and Cedric Cox was named among the Rebels’ best players. Cal Wellings was terrific with 32 disposals, and Ari Sakeson pushed his case with 18 disposals, seven marks, and a goal.

The two regions went on to swap ladder positions come the end of the regular season, with North Ballarat jumping to third (12-5), while Sandringham slid to fifth (11-5-1). It mattered little for the Dragons, who claimed the 2016 TAC Cup premiership and had seven players go in the National Draft – including five in the first 11 picks. North Ballarat bowed out to Oakleigh in the semi finals, and had six players drafted from its squad that year.

Classic Contests: Dragons breathe fire after half-time

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 2 clashes in the NAB League this year between Sandringham Dragons and Northern Knights. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2016, and as has been the case the last few years with Sandringham winning each contest between the sides since, the Dragons produced one of the best second half performances in recent times, booting 15 goals to three to win by a whopping 90 points.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.0 | 4.6 | 5.10 | 7.11 (53)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 6.5 | 7.6 | 14.9 | 22.11 (143)

Round 1 | Saturday, March 26 2016
Ikon Park, 1.30pm

In what would become an ominous sign of things to come from the Sandringham outfit, the Dragons would shake off a lack of AFL Academy members – only Jack Scrimshaw was in the Level Two Academy – to end 2016 with five players drafted in the top 11 and eight overall with ridiculous top-end talent guiding them through the finals series. But rewind to the start of the season, and the Dragons’ first clash was at Ikon Park against Northern Knights who themselves had just the one AFL Academy member at Level One in Richmond father-son prospect, Patrick Naish.

From the first bounce, it was clear the Dragons were going to be a team to beat, booting 6.5 to 2.0 and holding a 29-point advantage heading into quarter time. It could have been greater with improved accuracy, and no doubt by half-time Dragons fans might have been a little worried. Northern had cut the deficit to a manageable 18 points, but luckily for the Dragons, the Knights had also struggled in the conditions, booting 2.6 to Sandringham’s 1.1. Both side had failed to make the most of their opportunities by the main break, with 11.12 between them, and Sandringham still on top.

It was after the break that spectators got a glimpse of what the Dragons outfit was capable of. Sandringham slammed home a stunning seven goals to one to effectively end the contest in a brutal 25 minutes. The Dragons booted 7.3 to 1.4, with inaccuracy again not helping the Knights at their second home in Ikon Park. With game done and dusted, most sides might have taken the foot off the pedal, but not this Dragons outfit that stepped it up another notch again with eight goals to two in the final term to run away a whopping 22.11 (143) to 7.11 (53) winner. It was a remarkable win for a side with talent to burn and points to prove.

Hayden McLean snagged five goals from 12 disposals and eight marks – four contested – as a massive force up forward. Future pick two, Tim Taranto played his best football in the finals series, but he gave everyone a glimpse of his future potential that day with three goals from 21 touches and six marks. Lachlan Filipovic was named the best by the Dragons for his work through the ruck with 23 hitouts from eight touches, three marks and four tackles. Oliver Florent was another in the best thanks to 17 disposals, one mark and five tackles, while the names of future AFL players included Will Setterfield, Cam Polson, Andrew McGrath and Corey Lyons. McGrath became the number one overall pick, and started his year with 18 touches, three marks, two tackles and a goal, while Setterfield recorded 22 touches, three marks, nine tackles and two goals. Polson (20 disposals, two marks, three tackles and 1.2) and Lyons (20 disposals, five marks and 1.2) also hit the scoreboard in the massive win.

For the Knights, Naish found plenty of it trying to run in transition with 20 touches – 12 handball receives – and three marks, while future top 10 pick, Nick Coffield racked up 16 disposals, seven marks (two contested) and three tackles in his first game as a bottom-age prospect. Lachlan Wilson (15 disposals, five marks, five tackles and two goals) was deemed the clear standout for the Knights, while Northern also had a number of future AFL players running around. Matthew Signorello (18 disposals, six marks – one contested – five tackles and a goal) and Patrick Lipinski (12 disposals, six marks – three contested – two tackles and 1.3) were both named among the best, while Lachlan Murphy had a day out feasting on 26 disposals, 14 handball receives, two marks and three tackles. Luke Bunker was not far behind with 25 touches, 12 marks and five tackles in a hard working effort.

As history would go on to show, the Dragons would win the premiership in magnificent style, defeating Murray Bushrangers in the 2016 TAC Cup Grand Final and dominating the top end of the draft. Northern would finish 12th, just 0.68 per cent behind 11th placed Bendigo Pioneers.

Matt Balmer’s 2016 Final AFL Draft Power Rankings Part 2

EVERY month since May, Matt Balmer has ranked his players from the 2016 AFL Draft pool. With less than two weeks until the November 25 National AFL Draft, he counts down the players ranked 50-1. You can find the players Matt has ranked 50-26 here

Well what a year it has been. Looking back at May’s rankings, it’s amazing how things can change after Sam Petrevski-Seton was #1 all those months ago. We have had injuries such as Jy Simpkin and Alex Witherden breaking their legs in separate school game incidents, while names have jumped up with strong performances throughout the season and in finals.

Having seen just under 100 games throughout the season, it is always hard to come to a final order and I have ranked the players how I would if I was an AFL club going into the draft come November, ticking names off the list as they are called out.

This list is purely how I rate the players and is not a mock draft. 

#25 Cedric Cox
Outside Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
19/08/1997 | 181.1cm | 78.6kg

Cedric Cox came from nowhere to find himself as one of the more exciting prospects in 2016. Cox hails from Halls Creek and after a steller interleague game in the Hampden FNL, Cox was added to the North Ballarat Rebels’ list. Whilst not a huge ball winner, his ability to rebound the ball at speed is his strength and he disposes of it well off either foot. Cox begun the All Stars match on fire, before fading badly. Pushed forward in the TAC Cup finals for the Rebels, but seems most at home playing across half back. Is the cousin of Sam Petrevski-Seton and has recently been visited by clubs in his home town in Halls Creek over the last few weeks. Might be a surprise first round selection.

#24 Jordan Ridley
General Defender (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
20/10/1998 | 191.9cm | 79.7kg

Jordan Ridley is a tall rebounding defender who is composed with ball in hand. He talents were on show in the Chargers’ elimination final win over the Calder Cannons, where he floated across the Calder forwards marking the ball and rebounding it well. When he has the ball at half back, he is composed and makes good decisions to take the game forward. He has pushed further up onto a wing at times, as well as playing up forward as a key target. His composed nature means he likely plays half back in an AFL environment, but will need to add some size to his frame where is he built very strongly below his waist. Injured his shoulder in the TAC Cup Finals against North Ballarat.

#23 Josh Battle
General Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
01/09/1998 | 192.0cm | 88.5kg

Josh Battle has one of the best ‘Footy IQs’ in the 2016 draft pool. Battle reads the play superbly inside 50 and his endurance is another one of his major assets when he gets up the ground on long leads. Battle can kick quick bags of goals and his fluid set shot routine means he kicks more than he missing, where he kicks the ball well through whether he is 20m or 55m out from goal. A Year 11 boy at Haileybury College will likely see him stay in Victoria wherever he is drafted to complete his schooling, similar to how Patrick Dangerfield and Jack Watts have done in the past. An ok mark overhead, but at 192cm it is unlikely he can play as a number one tall in an AFL environment. Can just be a straight line runner and will need to work on his agility.

#22 Sam Powell-Pepper
Inside Midfielder (East Perth/Western Australia)
08/01/1998 | 186.5cm | 90.2kg

Sam Powell-Pepper can have some moments that make you go wow. Some of these moments want you to cross his name off your list, whereas others make you more and more intrigued the more you watch. His decision making needs work, with a passage against South Australia in the Under 18 championships one to forget – as does his kicking which was below 50 per cent in the WAFL League, AFL Academy games and the Under 18 Championships. To Powell-Pepper’s credit, his kicking and decision making improved towards the latter half of the season and was much better throughout the NAB AFL U18 All Stars game. The powerful midfielder can win the ball in the contest and burst away from opposition players. Plays not too similar to a Dustin Martin.

#21 Harrison Macreadie
Key Position Defender (Henty/NSW-ACT)
11/04/1998 | 195.5cm | 90.9kg

Twelve months ago, if you didn’t have Harrison Macreadie written down as a top five prospects your ability to follow junior football would’ve been question. Whatever has led to him dropping down the rankings, i’m not too sure but after being moved schools by the Giants earlier this season his form in 2016 hasn’t been able to reach what it was in 2015. He finished the year better than he started in the NEAFL, but in the Under 18 championships he was below that expected from him. Is a good rebounder who can intercept mark the ball – but one-on-one work will need some work. May turn into a midfielder at the next level pushing onto a wing or across half back.

#20 Daniel Venables
General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
19/11/1998 | 185.2cm | 82.1kg

Daniel Venables is an aggressive midfielder who can break through opposition tackles at ease. He has had a few injury concerns with a foot injury seeing him in a moon boot for the latter part of the season as well as a bad concussion earlier in the season. Venables has a powerful burst from the stoppages and has the ability to hit the scoreboard. Later in the season he played across half back for PEGS, but his best footy is on the inside or playing up forward. Didn’t put a full game together in 2016, but his flashes were simply outstanding.

#19 Will Hayward
Medium forward (North Adelaide/South Australia)
26/10/1998 | 184.7cm | 76.6kg

Will Hayward is the medium forward who has played tall in the SANFL U18s. His marking is outstanding and is good in the one-one-one contests for his size. He kicked nine goals in a SANFL U18s final where he truly dominated. Is clean below his knees, but may need some work on his set shot routine and technique at the next level. Booted eight goals in the Under 18 championships for South Australia but didn’t get too much recognition. Has some midfield craft and did a few nice things there in the midfield through the NAB AFL U18 All Stars game at Punt Road on Grand Final Day Eve. Could be a top 10 smokey.

#18 Todd Marshall
Key Position Forward (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
08/10/1998 | 196.6cm | 85.9kg

Todd Marshall is an athletic tall with a strong pair of dukes. Still raw only returning to AFL full time in 2016, after spending two winters in the UK playing cricket. At times his set shot goal kicking routine can see him hook the ball across his leg. Played his best game of the season in the TAC Cup Preliminary Final, where he had seven marks imposing himself on the game – but then followed that up with two quiet games in the important TAC Cup Grand Final and NAB AFL U18 All Stars contest. His flashes can be very good, but is yet to put a full game together and the consistency side of things is what is stopping him being worthy of a top 10 selection.

#17 Jy Simpkin
Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
05/03/1998 | 181.7cm | 74.7kg

Jy Simpkin is a crafty small forward who burst onto the scene with seven goals in six Under 18 championship games in 2015. Knows where the goals are- but does he become a full time midfielder at AFL level? Broke his leg at school football earlier in the season for Scotch College in their game against Caulfield Grammar. Was good to see him around the draftees after needing a second surgery after infection, helping move the magnets around in the NAB AFL U18 All Stars game. Didn’t test at the combine, but has begun to kick the football again. May stake a claim to be a top 15 selection.

#16 Alex Witherden
?Medium Defender (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
10/05/1998 | 186.2cm | 80.0kg

Alex Witherden is another talented prospect who missed a big chunk of 2016. Witherden suffered a broken leg playing school football for Geelong College against St Kevin’s College and missed the remainder of the season. A very good kid who has done all he can to ensure he’ll be ready to go when the preseason kicks off at his AFL club. His vision and kicking are two of his greatest strengths and these were on show early in the season for the Geelong Falcons. Witherden can play a role in multiple positions and will be able to fill a role where required. Is composed in traffic and is agile enough to get around opponents in close. Could be one of the steals of the draft.

#15 Oliver Florent
Outside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
22/07/1998 | 182.0cm | 74.4kg

Oliver Florent is an exciting half forward/outside midfielder. In his usual eye catching orange boots, Florent has plenty of X-Factor around the ball inside 50. Liked his work last year for Sandringham and has continued that into this season. Outside midfielder who is a capable overhead mark. A good kick around the ground, but does have the ability to shank the odd kick on the run. Looks likely to start his AFL career as a half forward and push onto a wing. Has pushed through a family loss and finished the season on a high with a TAC Cup Grand Final win and best afield in the NAB AFL U18 All Stars game where he had 27 disposals, seven clearances and seven inside 50s – despite coming off a five-day break on a hard Etihad Stadium surface.

#14 Brad Scheer
Inside Midfielder (Palm Beach/Queensland)
31/08/1998 | 183.2cm | 83.7kg

Brad Scheer is a tough inside midfielder who just gets the job done with plenty of clearances. His strong contested work is his strength and he won the Allies the match against Vic Country in the Under 18 championships, with a snap deep in the pocket (Video can be found here). A heel injury kept him out of the combine and the NAB AFL U18 All Stars selection. Good runner around the ground, who likely receives a late first round or second round bid for the Gold Coast academy member.

#13 Josh Rotham
Medium Defender (West Perth/Western Australia)
25/02/1998 | 191.9cm | 77.4kg

Josh Rotham is a hybrid defender who has played both tall and small this season. Against VFL opposition was undersized playing key back for the AFL Academy, but looked best in the championships further up the ground, wonder if he becomes a midfielder in the future? Strong mark who got better as the championships went on and is one of the top handful of kickers in this draft pool. Possesses elite speed but probably didn’t come on in 2016 as some would’ve hoped.

#12 Griffin Logue
?Key Position Defender (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
13/04/1998 | 191.0cm | 93.9kg

Strong lockdown defender who doesn’t lose too many one-on-ones. Rowing background at school has helped his physic, with a strong upper body enabling to outmuscle his opponents. Pinch hit in the ruck in the final match for WA in the Under 18 championships and kicks the ball well off his left foot. Has the tendency to double grab the ball when he possesses it – but overall looks to be the best key position player in the draft pool. Could play from Round one and it’s believed the Swans have been keeping close tabs on him. His work in the 3km run to mow down Josh Battle was an outstanding bit of gut strength. Despite his height (191cm), Logue should be able to match it with strong opposition forwards.

#11 Will Setterfield
?Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/NSW-ACT)
05/02/1998 | 189.4cm | 79.7kg

Will Setterfield is a tall midfielder who is still finding his feet as to where he best plays his football. The GWS Giants academy member was down on form in the championships, carrying a foot niggle. Can play in multiple positions, but looks best forward of centre. Needs some consistency as can float in and out of games. Setterfield laid 16 tackles in a huge performance for the Sandringham Dragons in their elimination final against Eastern Ranges, before suffering an AC-joint injury in the preliminary final which saw the AFL Academy rule him out of the TAC Cup Grand Final and the NAB AFL U18 All Stars contest. His hands in close are very good and is firmly in the Bombers sights at Pick 1- But the million dollar question is will they bid on him at Pick 1?

#10 Ben Ainsworth
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
10/02/1998 | 178.0cm | 76.2kg

Ben Ainsworth is a strong overhead mark and has the ability to change a game in 10 minutes. An interupted season with injury and suspension, but has had more midfield time in recent months. Booted four goals before being shut down by Andrew McGrath for Vic Country in the Under 18 championships, with one of his best games through the midfield being against South Australia. Did push through the midfield at TAC Cup level, but was against poor opposition including a junk time 15 disposals in the final term in the Power’s final TAC Cup outing. Damaging inside 50 but can be a bit goal hungry at stages. Ainsworth has declared his love to be drafted for the Brisbane Lions and seems likely to be heading interstate with a top five selection.

#9 Tim English
Ruckman (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
10/08/1997 | 204.7cm | 89.5kg

Tim English is a tall ruckman who uses his strong leap in the ruck contests. Only averaged 13 disposals through the championships, but showed plenty with his ability to find and dispose of the ball well off his right boot. Could mount a case that his kicking is better than some of the midfielders in the draft. Some think he may have the ability to play as a tall defender, such is his ability to read the play and kick the ball. Will need to add some size before he reaches the AFL, but is likely to be one of the few ruckman drafted in 2016.

#8 Harry Perryman
Outside Midfielder (Collingullie-GP/NSW-ACT)
19/12/1998 | 183.9cm | 79.4kg

GWS academy member Harry Perryman is a good decision maker, reads the play well. He didn’t look out of place, where he was composed off the half back flank throughout the championships. Kicks on both feet and ideally will transition into the midfield. Does lack speed that some of the other midfielders have. Caught clubs eyes in 2015 when he booted goals for Collingullie-GP in 2015 when clubs flocked to see 2015 draftee Matthew Kennedy play. Was impressive in the trial game for NSW-ACT at the start of the season and won their MVP- as well as claiming the Allies’. Expect a bid in the teens on draft night.

#7 Jack Scrimshaw
Medium Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
04/09/1998 | 193.1cm | 83.7kg

Sandringham Dragons’ Jack Scrimshaw is a hybrid defender that is better playing small than tall. Scrimshaw plays with plenty of X-Factor and is appealing to the eye across defence. He can dash in between packs, take some eye catching marks and pinpoint a left foot pass that looks impossible to the naked eye. His versatility is appealing to clubs as there is no position he couldn’t play, with teammate Andrew McGrath declaring he could even play in the ruck if required. Scrimshaw pushed onto a wing during the championships and in the TAC Cup he has floated forward on occasions, most notably in the TAC Cup Finals and particular the second half of the Grand Final. He does look most at home controlling the defence. Mutliple injuries have affected him over the last two seasons, but has been injury free since mid year. If Scrimshaw wants to become an inside midfielder, in the ‘Bontempelli’ category he will need to improve his competitiveness and contested ball winning abilities.

#6 Sam Petrevski-Seton
Balanced Midfielder (Claremont/Western Australia)
19/02/1998 | 179.7cm | 72.7kg

Sam Petrevski-Seton is an exciting midfielder who has the ability to use either side of his body. Looked a touch underdone in the championships returning from hamstring issues. Not a noted huge disposal winner, but does have x-factor about him. Isn’t a midfielder that hits the scoreboard with just one goal for Claremont this season. Performed well in the WAFL Colts Grand Final- but I was disappointed we didn’t get a chance to see him push into the Reserves or League team. His All Stars match saw him collect 23 disposals, eight tackles and six clearances where he was outstanding. Is one of the midfielders in the draft that has plenty of pace to burn.

#5 Will Brodie
?Inside Midfielder (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
23/08/1998 | 188.0cm | 82.4kg

Will Brodie is a strong inside midfielder and is one of the best clearance players in the draft. Goes in hard at the ball, can’t see him being anything less than a 200 game AFL footballer. Real professional, could step into an AFL team in Round One next season. Kicking has improved from earlier in the season. Brodie had a very quiet game with just the 12 disposals in the TAC Cup Preliminary Final for the Bushrangers. He collided with the umpire in the opening quarter of the TAC Cup Grand Final, leaving his nose bloodied. Finished the day with 22 disposals, seven clearances and six tackles, but I thought bar a patch in the third term his day was largely influential. Sat out the All Stars game through injury and clubs have questioned his finish to the season and his ball winning ability. Wouldn’t be a complete shock to see him fall outside the top 10.

#4 Tim Taranto
?Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
28/01/1998 | 185.6cm | 84.1kg

Tim Taranto is an athletic forward that can play through the midfield. Very good in traffic, helped by his basketball background. Willing to give the ball off to teammates in better positions. Strong overhead mark means he has the ability to play deeper inside 50, where he has plenty of smarts and can hit the scoreboard. Has plenty of shots on goal. Taranto capped off his steller finals series with best on ground honours for the All Stars match. Four goals from 19 disposals was outstanding and his ability to play inside, along with up forward sees him push into top five selection come draft night – the only question is whether Gold Coast will nab him at four or will Carlton collect him at five that is of course is the Giants overlooked him with Pick two. Had 29, 23 and 31 disposals in his final three games in the TAC Cup for the Dragons.

#3 Jack Bowes
?Balanced Midfielder (Cairns/Queensland)
26/01/1998 | 187.0cm | 77.7kg

Jack Bowes is a silky smooth midfielder who doesn’t waste too many of his disposals. He moves well through traffic, willing to pump the ball long inside 50. Was a slow starter for the Allies but got better with each game in division one. Gold Coast Academy member. Did not look out of place playing in the NEAFL and his first diposal in their Elimination Final loss just screamed elite. Is an absolute farce that a bid might not come on the talented Gold Coast teen until Pick 9. If not for McGrath’s huge TAC Cup Finals, Bowes would’ve been my number two on my rankings and he has been a great performer right from the opening AFL Academy game at the beginning of the season to the final NAB AFL U18 All Stars game at Punt Road.

#2 Andrew McGrath
Small Defender/Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
02/06/1998 | 177.4cm | 76.7kg

Andrew McGrath is an exciting rebounder from defence. The agile runner has an elite athletics background and is not afraid to take the game on- with that comes his kicking which can be shaky at stages when he tries to break the game open. Can win his own ball on the inside too. Depth of kicking over 50m a question mark, but McGrath gives you 10m in run and a 40m kick to your advantage. Excellent leadership skills as indicated by being Co-Captain of Vic Metro and school captain of Brighton Grammar School. Can play last line of defence and shut down an opponent as indicated by blanketing Ben Ainsworth & Jaidyn Stephenson. Has had a huge year, which included a steller interschool athletics carnival that saw him blitz the 100metres running a sub 11 second time. Racked up huge numbers in the TAC Cup Finals and his 38 disposal & eight clearance effort in the Grand Final saw him earn the TAC Medal for best on ground. Should be ready for action come Round One. I am expecting him to be a Bomber come next week.

#1 Hugh McCluggage
?Balanced Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
03/03/1998 | 185.8cm | 75.9kg

Despite McGrath’s huge season, McCluggage remains as my Number One on my ‘Power Rankings’- which he has held since August. He appears like Scott Pendlebury in traffic, making everything appear in slow motion. Clears the ball with ease via quick hands or off his preferred right boot. A few people questioning his contested ball winning abilities, but averaged 20 disposals in the Under 18 Championships (43 per cent contested). McCluggage’s contested numbers are similar at TAC Cup level and has been able to deal with the extra attention from opponents. McCluggage had some great moments in the Rebels’ semi-final loss. McCluggage collected 25 disposals, but did lack some polish by foot. His game in the All Stars match was outstanding, with the goal kicking mid slotting four majors alongside having 17 disposals. Goal kicking midfielders don’t grow on trees, but all the mail as of late will be that Essendon may overlook the talented Rebel.

 

So that’s my players ranked 25-1, if you want to know more: Send me a Tweet @MattBalmer7 – Keep your eye out for our ‘early’ Phantom Draft online later this week.

Stars to shine bright at the National AFL Draft Combine

ben-jarman

FOR the draft crop of 2016, the National AFL Draft Combine is the first sign that their AFL dreams are a step closer to fruition. An invitation to the AFL Draft Combine means that at least five AFL clubs have expressed interest in the player. The AFL Draft Combine is a way for clubs to determine the players’ physical strengths as well as getting one-on-one time through combine interviews.

Draftees take on each other in a series of tests that challenge their speed, endurance, reflexes and skills to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Combine results are taken into account by clubs when deciding between players and whether they believe they can take the next step into the AFL. A total of 81 players have been invited to the 2016 AFL Draft Combine.

Matt Balmer takes a look at who might be the standouts in the testing which runs from Friday to Sunday.


Thursday:

Players will begin to arrive at Etihad Stadium before a welcome will be held for all 81 players in attendence. Not all players will be able to test due to injuries, but they will sit in on interviews and medicals with clubs early in the combine.

Thursday also sees heights and weight taken, along with all the body sizing and measurements such as skin folds and tricept sizes. My spies have told me Ollie Florent will be a likely winner for the biggest hands at the combine.

The media will also be in attendance on Thursday afternoon with Kevin Sheehan speaking alongside Jonty Scharenberg, Jy Simpkin and Sam Powell-Pepper.

Friday:

More medicals and interviews for players when they arrive for another day. Friday night from 7pm-9.30pm will be the hand balling, kicking and goal kicking tests.

The Matthew Lloyd clean hands/handpassing test measures how well a player collects the football and is able to dispose of it using a handball. There are three targets set up on both the left and right side at distances of 6m, 8m and 10m. An official will roll out or throw a ball at the player and instruct them where to handball the ball to. This is done six times and a score from 1-5 is allocated to each handball depending on how good it is.

Who could win? Hugh McCluggage‘s hands in stoppages are outstanding, whilst Andrew McGrath has the highest TAC Cup handball efficiency with 93 per cent of his handballs hitting the target.

The Brad Johnson goal kicking test will measure a players accuracy kicking for goal. Four kicking points are designated with players taking five kicks in total; two set shots (35m out in either pocket), two snaps (20m out, one left foot and one right foot) and one kick on the run (40m out directly in front). The player has 70 seconds to complete the test. A score is then worked out from the amount of goals and behinds a player kicks.

Who could win? Vic Country forward Josh Battle has a superb kick on him from short or long range distances in front of goal. Again, Hugh McCluggage has shown he can push forward and hit the scoreboard throughout 2016.

The Nathan Buckley kicking test measures players kicking efficiency over six kicks. Six targets (three on each side) are set out at distances of 20m, 30m and 40m. An official will call out a target at random to the kick, who will then to proceed to hit the target. Each kick is given a score from one to five, with five being a perfect kick.

Who could win? West Australian Josh Rotham is one of the best kicks in the draft pool, his teammate tall ruckman Tim English is another who uses the ball well. Harry Morrison, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Alex Villis and Harry Perryman are others that should perform well in this test.

Saturday:

The biggest day of the carnival will see sprints, agility, jumps and the beep test held on the purpose built floor on Etihad.

Sprints will be held in the morning , whilst the afternoon will conclude with the beep test.

Who could win in the sprints? Exciting WA midfielder Shai Bolton will test extremely well in both the 20m sprint and the agility test. Back in 2014, Bolton ran a sub 3s 20m sprint and under 8s for the agility test, considered elite.

Brandan Parfitt and Cedric Cox are among others who has shown off their speed at times this season while Jordan Gallucci should perform well in the agility test. Vic Country teammates Ben Ainsworth (8.00 seconds) and Jarrod Berry (7.80 seconds) were superb in TAC Cup preseason testing, while Stingrays defender Bailey Morrish was just behind Berry running 7.81 seconds. Queenslander Josh Williams showed a remarkable dash of speed in a division two National Under 18s Championships game earlier in the season.

Murray Bushrangers tall Esava Ratugolea is another who tested well in the past (2.92s) as has South Australian excitement machine Kym Lebois.

The vertical leap test is always an interesting test with vertical jump and running vertical jump (left and right foot) measured.

Who could win in the jumps? South Australian tall utility Brennan Cox was superb in the preseason testing in the SANFL, recording over 90cm off either foot in the running vertical jump. Ruckman Tim English, Esava Ratugolea and Tony Olango could test well above their counterparts, but it was Stingrays defender Bailey Morrish who beat all comers in the TAC Cup preseason testing with a vertical leap of 81cm.

The shuttle run/beep test or multistage fitness test depending on where you’re from is another that is closely watched by clubs. Most are looking for kids to push out one last level on the test, rather than take the easy option and drop out early. Sometimes the dedication and commitment from players can lead to them ‘spewing’ up their lunch- but an effect that some clubs might put down as a big tick in their notebook.

Who could win in the beep test? Tim Taranto will be an early front runner, having run a 15.9 in the preseason. His Sandringham Dragons team mate Ollie Florent is another who might perform well. If Jack Graham tests, he could be South Australia’s best.

Sunday:

The final day of the combine will see the 3km time trial run in groups of 10-15. The 3km time trial is one of the most strutinised tests, players pushing themselves to the limit deserve a pat on the back- while those that cruse through without little effect might come under the eyes of recruiters when they pour over all their data.

The 3km time trial has gotten faster every season, with the record being broken for three years running.

Who could win the 3km time trial? Possible number one draft pick Andrew McGrath should run well, but will his heavy work load over the last few months affect him? Again Tim Taranto will be another who could perform well.


Invites:

Small Defenders/Midfielders/Forwards

Ben Ainsworth- Vic Country
Liam Baker- Western Australia
Shai Bolton- Western Australia
Callum Brown- Vic Metro
Cedric Cox- Vic Country
Joshua Daicos- Vic Metro
Zac Fisher- Western Australia
Ben Jarman- South Australia
Kym Lebois- South Australia
Andrew McGrath- Vic Metro
Brandan Parfitt- Northern Territory
Tyson Stengle- South Australia

Medium Defenders 

Jarrod Berry- Vic Country
Isaac Cumming- NSW/ACT
Taylin Duman- Vic Metro
Ben Long- NT
Bailey Morrish- Vic Country
Harry Morrison- Vic Country
Harry Perryman- NSW/ACT
Sam Walker- South Australia
Tom Williamson- Vic Country
Alex Witherden- Vic Country
Alex Villis- South Australia

Tall Defenders

Brennan Cox- South Australia
Ryan Garthwaite- NSW/ACT
Elliot Himmelberg- Queensland
Griffin Logue- Western Australia
Harrison Macreadie- NSW/ACT
Jack Maibaum- Vic Metro
Sam McLarty- Vic Metro
Jordan Ridley- Vic Metro
Joshua Rotham- Western Australia
Jack Scrimshaw- Vic Metro
Declan Watson- Queensland

Medium Midfielders

Jacob Allison- Queensland
Joseph Atley- Vic Country
Hamish Brayshaw- Vic Metro
Will Brodie- Vic Country
Jack Bowes- Queensland
Dylan Clarke- Vic Metro
Willem Drew- Vic Country
Judah Dundon- Vic Metro
Jordan Gallucci- Vic Metro
Jack Graham- South Australia
Matt Guelfi- Western Australia
Oscar Junker- Vic Metro
Hugh McCluggage- Vic Country
Kobe Mutch- NSW/ACT
Sam Petrevski-Seton- Western Australia
Myles Poholke- Vic Country
Sam Powell-Pepper- Western Australia
Luke Ryan- VFL
Jonty Scharenberg- South Australia
Will Setterfield- NSW/ACT
Daniel Venables- Vic Metro
Josh Williams- Queensland

Medium Forwards

Joshua Begley- Vic Metro
Benjamin Davis- NSW/ACT
Sam Fisher- NSW/ACT
Oliver Florent- Vic Metro
Will Hayward- South Australia
Mitchell Hinge- South Australia
Patrick Lipinski- Vic Metro
Quinton Narkle- Western Australia
Mark O’Connor- International
Brad Scheer- Queensland
Jy Simpkin- Vic Country
Tim Taranto- Vic Metro
Cameron Zurhaar- Western Australia

Tall Forwards/Rucks

Josh Battle- Vic Country
Sean Darcy- Vic Country
Timothy English- Western Australia
Jack Henry- Vic Country
Patrick Kerr- Vic Metro
Max Lynch- NSW/ACT
Todd Marshall- NSW/ACT
Mitchell McCarthy- Vic Country
Tony Olango- NT
Esava Ratugolea- Vic Country
Zachary Sproule- NSW/ACT
Jake Waterman- Western Australia

By the states:

International (1):
NSW/ACT (11):
Northern Territory (3):
Queensland (6):
South Australia (10):
Vic Country (18):
VFL (1):
Vic Metro (19):
Western Australia (12):

Matt Balmer’s October Power Rankings

Friday's Under 18 All Stars match saw the best draftees go head-to-head at Punt Road Oval.
Friday’s Under 18 All Stars match saw the best draftees go head-to-head at Punt Road Oval.

In an AFL Draft Central feature, AFL Draft analyst Matt Balmer will update his Power Rankings on the first Monday of every month.

Well, what a season it has been. Games are done and dusted for the season, with Friday’s Under 18 All Stars match showcasing some of the very best draft prospects for 2016. The AFL National Combine runs from Thursday to Sunday, with clubs casting their eye over the 2016 draft prospects.

U18 ALL STARS ULTIMATE REVIEW

You can read Matt Balmer‘s September edition of his Power Rankings here:


This list is purely how Matt rates the players at this current point of time and is not a mock draft. 

#1 Hugh McCluggage
Balanced Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
03/03/1998 | 185cm | 75kg
Previous Ranking: #1

Scouting notes: Appears like Scott Pendlebury in traffic, making everything appear in slow motion. Clears the ball with ease via quick hands or off his preferred right boot. A few people questioning his contested ball winning abilities, but averaged 20 disposals in the Under 18 Championships (43 per cent contested). McCluggage’s contested numbers are similar at TAC Cup level and has been able to deal with the extra attention from opponents.

Last month: McCluggage had some great moments in the Rebels’ semi-final loss. McCluggage collected 25 disposals, but did lack some polish by foot. His game in the All Stars match was outstanding, with the goal kicking mid slotting four majors alongside having 17 disposals.

#2 Andrew McGrath
Small Defender/Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
02/06/1998 | 179cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #3

Scouting notes: Exciting rebounder from defence. Agile runner with an elite athletics background. Not afraid to take the game on- with that comes his kicking which can be shaky at stages when he tries to break the game open. Can win his own ball on the inside too. Depth of kicking over 50m a question mark, but McGrath gives you 10m in run and a 40m kick to your advantage. Excellent leadership skills. Can play last line of defence and shut down an opponent as indicated by blanketing Ben Ainsworth & Jaidyn Stephenson.

Last month: McGrath was a crucial figure for the Sandringham Dragons in the TAC Cup finals, which saw him rack up 27 disposals v Dandenong, 32 disposals v Geelong (including 14 in the final quarter) and a mammoth 38 disposal effect in their winning TAC Cup Grand Final. McGrath moved to the half back flank after half time and 28 second-half disposals saw him win best on ground honours. Still had 18 disposals in the All Stars game but was quieter, with a five day break off a hard Etihad Stadium surface looking to take its toll. Certainly been a big year.

#3 Jack Bowes
Balanced Midfielder (Cairns/Queensland)
26/01/1998 | 187cm | 78kg
Previous Ranking: #2

Scouting notes: Silky smooth midfielder who doesn’t waste too many of his disposals. Moves well through traffic, willing to pump the ball long inside 50. Was a slow starter for the Allies but got better with each game in division one. Gold Coast Academy member. Did not look out of place playing in the NEAFL.

Last month: Bowes played just the one game in the All Stars match racking up 23 disposals. His silky smooth approach sees him work hard in the contested situations. If not for McGrath’s huge TAC Cup finals, Bowes would still be my #2. Gold Coast has a gem.

2016 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: JACK BOWES

#4 Tim Taranto
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
28/01/1998 | 186cm | 82kg
Previous ranking: #12

Scouting notes: Athletic forward that can play through the midfield. Very good in traffic, helped by his basketball background. Willing to give the ball off to teammates in better positions. Strong overhead mark means he has the ability to play deeper inside 50, where he has plenty of smarts and can hit the scoreboard. Has plenty of shots on goal.

Last month: Taranto just capped off his steller finals series with best on ground honours for the All Stars match. Four goals from 19 disposals was outstanding and his ability to play inside, along with up forward sees him jump this high in my rankings. Had 29, 23 and 31 disposals in his final three games in the TAC Cup for the Dragons.

#5 Will Brodie
Inside Midfielder (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
23/08/1998 | 189cm | 82kg
Previous ranking: #4

Scouting notes: Strong inside midfielder, one of the best clearance players in the draft. Goes in hard at the ball, can’t see him being anything less than a 200 game AFL footballer. Real professional, could step into an AFL team in Round One next season. Kicking has improved from earlier in the season.

Last month: Brodie had a very quiet game with just the 12 disposals in the TAC Cup Preliminary Final for the Bushrangers. He collided with the umpire in the opening quarter of the TAC Cup Grand Final, leaving his nose bloodied. Finished the day with 22 disposals, seven clearances and six tackles, but I thought bar a patch in the third term his day was largely influential. Sat out the All Stars game through injury.

#6 Sam Petrevski-Seton
Balanced Midfielder (Claremont/Western Australia)
19/02/1998 | 181cm | 76kg
Previous Ranking: #6

Scouting notes: Exciting midfielder who has the ability to use either side of his body. Looked a touch underdone in the championships returning from hamstring issues. Not a noted huge disposal winner, but does have x-factor about him. Isn’t a midfielder that hits the scoreboard with just one goal for Claremont this season.

Last month: Petrevski-Seton continued to find the football in Claremont’s final series in the WAFL Colts. I still would have liked him to have played higher WAFL up than he did. 21 disposals and six tackles in the Grand Final was a great effort. His All Stars match saw him collect 23 disposals, eight tackles and six clearances where he was outstanding. Is one of the midfielders in the draft that has plenty of pace to burn.

#7 Jack Scrimshaw
Medium Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
04/09/1998 | 193cm, 77kg
Previous ranking: #10

Scouting notes: Hybrid defender that is better playing small than tall. Nice long left boot, where he looks best at home across the half back flank. At stages has pushed onto a wing, which might be his finishing position thanks to a strong disposal efficiency. Has had multiple injuries in the last 18 months so will need to stay fit for the rest of the season to show clubs he’s over them. His ability to weave through traffic coming out of half back is elite.

Last month: Kicking has been on the improve and is back to what it was in the National Under 18s Championships. Floated forward at stages in the TAC Cup finals, including the grand final when he moved from half back to half forward after half time. Continued to find the football since last month with his 27 disposal display against Dandenong one of his best for the year. His marking overhead has been good when floating back in defence.

#8 Harry Perryman
Outside Midfielder (Collingullie-GP/NSW-ACT)
19/12/1998 | 184cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: #5

Scouting notes: Good decision maker, reads the play well. Didn’t look out of place off the half back flank throughout the championships. Kicks on both feet, ideally will transition into the midfield. Lacks speed that some of the other midfielders have. GWS Academy member.

Last month: Perryman took part in the All Stars game after spending the last few months playing for his local club. Did not find a huge amount of the ball, but I do like his composure across half-back. Certainly going to be interesting to see who/where he gets bid on come draft night.

#9 Tim English
Ruckman (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
10/08/1997 | 203cm | 86kg
Previous ranking: #8

Scouting notes: Tall ruckman who uses his strong leap in the ruck contests. Only averaged 13 disposals through the championships, but showed plenty with his ability to find and dispose of the ball well off his right boot. Could mount a case that his kicking is better than some of the midfielders in the draft. May warrant a Top five pick on draft night.

Last month: Continued to find the football and have good hitout numbers in the WAFL with disposals and 18 hitouts in his final WAFL reserves match. Had one of his quiest games in the All Stars match. Clubs will need to be patient with him, but his leap at the ruck contest is outstanding.

#10 Ben Ainsworth
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
10/02/1998 | 179cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #7

Scouting notes: Strong overhead mark and has the ability to change a game in 10 minutes. An interupted season with injury and suspension, but has had more midfield time in recent months. Damaging inside 50 but can be a bit goal hungry at stages. Does a small forward warrent a Top 10 pick?

Last month: Just the one game for the month, which was the Under 18 All Stars. Played up forward for most the game, without running through the midfield. Ainsworth finished with 15 disposals, six marks and a goal in an okay game.

#11 Will Setterfield
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/NSW-ACT)
05/02/1998 | 190cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #13

Scouting notes: Tall midfielder who is still finding his feet as to where he best plays his football. Was down on form in the championships, carrying a foot niggle. Can play in multiple positions, but looks best forward of centre. Needs some consistency as can float in and out of games. GWS academy member.

Last month: Collected 22 disposals and laid nine tackles in the Dragons’ semi-final win over Dandenong, using the ball well and taking it forward. Unfortunately for Setterfield, he injured his shoulder in the TAC Cup preliminary final resulting in him missing the TAC Cup Grand Final and All Stars match.

#12 Josh Rotham
Medium Defender (West Perth/Western Australia)
25/02/1998 | 192cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #11

Scouting notes: Hybrid defender who has played both tall and small this season. Against VFL opposition was undersized playing key back, but looked best in the championships further up the ground, wonder if he becomes a midfielder in the future? Strong mark who got better as the championships went on and is one of the top handful of kicks in this draft pool.

Last month: Had just the 11 disposals playing in the back half in the All Stars. Did not get the opportunity to use his good kick very often, but I think he is going to be there abouts in the first round.

#13 Brad Scheer
Inside Midfielder (Palm Beach/Queensland)
31/08/1998 | 184cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: #14

Scouting notes: Tough inside midfielder who just gets the job done with plenty of clearances. His strong contested work is his strength and he won the Allies the match with a snap deep in the pocket (Video can be found here). Good runner around the ground, probably a late first round or second round bid for the Gold Coast academy member.

Last month: Gold Coast Suns NEAFL were knocked out in the elimination final and an injury kept him out of the Under 18 All Stars game.

#14 Oliver Florent
Outside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
22/07/1998 | 183cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #25

Scouting notes: Exciting half forward/outside midfielder. In his usual eye catching orange boots, Florent has playing of X-Factor around the ball inside 50. Liked his work last year for Sandringham and has continued that into this season. Outside midfielder who is a capable overhead mark. A good kick around the ground, but does have the ability to shank the odd kick on the run. Looks likely to start his AFL career as a half forward and push onto a wing.

Last month: One of the big jumpers up the rankings with a big finals series and a best on ground performance in the All Stars match. His form in the TAC Cup previous was up and down with 20 disposals in both games in the lead up to his 24 disposal and five tackle effort in the TAC Cup Grand Final. Despite a five-day break, he put on the jets to have 27 disposals, seven clearances and seven inside 50s (in a shortened 4×20 minute match).

#15 Jy Simpkin
Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
05/03/1998 | 182cm | 72kg
Previous ranking: #16

Scouting notes: Crafty small forward who burst onto the scene with seven goals in six Under 18 championship games in 2015. Knows where the goals are- but does he become a full time mid? Broke his leg at school football earlier in the season.

Last month: N/A – Recovering well from leg surgery from all reports. Hoping to be back for the National Combine in October. It was good to see him kicking the ball around at Under 18 All Stars training on Thursday and was on the bench working the whiteboard at Friday’s game.

#16 Alex Villis
Outside Midfielder (Norwood/South Australia)
20/08/1998 | 182cm | 70kg
Previous ranking: #17

Scouting notes: Clean kick on either sides of his body. Smart footballer who knows when to pull the kick short or go long. Decision making is elite and has held his own at SANFL senior level. A lot of his possessions are uncontested.

Last month: A quiet game in the SANFL reserves final with just 12 disposals, but he took eight marks around the grounds. Used his superb kick mostly well in the All Stars match and laid five tackles. That tackle figure is one of his biggest for the season and was a good sign for someone who mostly collects uncontested ball.

2016 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: ALEX VILLIS

#17 Todd Marshall
Key Position Forward (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
08/10/1998 | 198cm | 87kg
Previous ranking: #9

Scouting notes: Athletic tall that has a strong pair of dukes. Still a bit raw after only returning to AFL after two winters in the UK playing cricket. Set shot goalkicking routine needs some work to stop him hooking the ball across his leg. Has only shown patches so far in 2016.

Last month: Played the best game I have seen him play in the TAC Cup preliminary final against Oakleigh, where he took seven marks (three contested) and imposed himself on the game. Had just two kicks for two goals in the TAC Cup Grand Final after being well held by Ari Sakeson. Was again quiet in the All Stars game. His flashes can be really good, but will he make it and be able to put a full game together?

2016 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: TODD MARSHALL

#18 Griffin Logue
Key Position Defender (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
13/04/1998 | 193cm | 92kg
Previous ranking: #21

Scouting notes: Strong lockdown defender who doesn’t lose too many one-on-ones. Rowing background at school has helped his physic, with a strong upper body enabling to outmuscle his opponents. Pinch hit in the ruck in the final match for WA and kicks the ball well off his left foot.

Last month: Disappointingly missed the All Stars match, as his form in the latter half of the year at WAFL level was very good from regular WAFL watchers.

#19 Patrick Kerr
Key Position Forward (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
31/07/1998 | 194cm | 93kg
Previous ranking: #15

Scouting notes: Strong overhead mark, who has worked on his mobility at ground level. Speed over first 10 metres is one of the best out of all the key forwards and gets distance between himself and defenders. Speaks exceptionally well and will interview well. When he’s on, he’s hard to stop.

Last month: An okay month for Kerr, but I thought when he got on the lead and marked the ball he looked very good like he did against North Ballarat in the TAC Cup Semi-Final. Started well bagging the first goal in the All Stars match and finished with eight disposals and four marks.

#20 Josh Battle
General Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
01/09/1998 | 192cm | 90kg
Previous ranking: #18

Scouting notes: Superb footy IQ and a great endurance base helps him get up the ground. Has the ability to change a game quickly with bursts of goals. Set shot routine is great and he’ll kick the ball through whether he’s 20m or 50m out. Solid mark overhead, but unlikely to play as the number one tall at AFL level. Year 11 boy too, so will need to complete school next year.

Last month: Was well held by Ari Sakeson in the Stingrays’ semi-final loss, kicking just two goals. Did not impact the game in the All Stars match, but showed he can nail a goal from long range. A good kick of the football and should fine a suitor in the second or third round.

#21 Harrison Macreadie
Key Position Defender (Henty/NSW-ACT)
11/04/1998 | 196cm | 89kg
Previous Ranking: #19

Scouting notes: Tall Defender that has the ability to push further up the ground. Strong rebounder, intercept marks was his strengths in 2015- but have been scarce in 2016. His form in NEAFL has still be solid and I would be very very surprised if GWS academy member Macreadie was not at the Giants, after they had a part in him moving schools.

Last month: Was solid with 15 disposals, rebounding the ball well in the NEAFL Preliminary Final. He was quiet in their NEAFL Grand Final win and believe he was rested from the All Stars game.

#22 Daniel Venables
General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
19/11/1998 | 185cm | 76kg
Previous ranking: #20

Scouting notes: Aggressive midfielder who can break through opposition tackles. Powerful burst from a stoppage and can hit the scoreboard. Yet to see a full complete game from him, as he’ll flash in and out of games.

Last month: N/A – Has been injured in the past month and was sporting a moon boot at the Morrish Medal last month. Believe he will not test at the combine.

#23 Jonty Scharenberg
Inside Midfielder (Glenelg/South Australia)
28/08/1998 | 185cm | 78kg
Previous ranking: #23

Scouting notes: Inside midfielder who is the brother of Collingwood’s Matt. Scharenberg works hard at the stoppages, with his best asset his ability to free his arms when tackled to dish the ball off to a teammate. Champion Data rate Scharenberg as an elite clearance and tackling midfielder. Doesn’t have a great deal of speed, but often elects to pass the ball off to a teammate rather than trying to burst away from the stoppage. Kicking efficiency of 49% through the Under 18 championships.

Last month: Could not have done much more to get Glenelg over the line in the SANFL reserves final. Despite having 27 disposals and five clearances, his contested possession numbers were down and the Tigers could not get the win. Played his one and only SANFL Under 18s game for Glenelg in the Grand Final, in their after the siren win over North Adelaide. Scharenberg had 34 disposals, 12 tackles and five clearances in a strong performance. Had 20 disposals in the All Stars game, but his kicking is a work in progress.

#24 Jordan Gallucci
Outside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/05/1998 | 182cm | 73kg
Previous ranking: #24

Scouting notes: Explosive midfielder whose kicking can be hot and cold. Has plenty of zip at the contest, but just where does he play his best football? Is willing to use either foot to take the ball inside 50. Strong leadership skills as indicated by being selected as co-captain of the Vic Metro side.

Last month: Started well in the first half in the All Stars game, but thought he was very quiet after that. Finished with nine disposals and three marks and it is certainly going to be interesting to see where he gets drafted come November.

#25 Shai Bolton
Outside midfielder (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
8/12/1998 | 177cm | 67kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Electric speed and an elite side step, the Flashy West Australian will end up with one of the best highlight packages in this years draft crop. Consistency is his biggest issue and with flash in and out of a contest. At times can just bang the ball on his boot without looking.

Last month: Ninteeen disposals and four goals in South Fremantle’s semi-final loss. Caught the eye of those who haven’t seen much of him in the All Stars game at Punt Road, where he had 16 disposals. Bolton had some eye catching moments on the wing and his agility is traffic is elite. Another who will test well for speed and agility at the combine.

#26 Zachary Sproule
Key Position Forward/Defender (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
12/05/1998 | 197cm | 87kg
Previous ranking: #22

Scouting notes: Key Position Forward who can get up the ground on long leads thanks to a good endurance base. Agile inside 50, but more of your true leading centre half forward. Takes most of his marks outside 50, but kicked 13 goals in the Division One & Two carnivals combined. When playing back has looked ok one-on-one despite his light frame.

Last month: Looks to have been working on playing at both ends and kept Josh Battle to one goal in August. Floated between both ends yesterday but for me he looks more at home inside 50.

#27 Will Hayward
Medium forward (North Adelaide/South Australia)
26/10/1998 | 186cm | 76kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Medium forward who plays tall. His marking is outstanding and good in one-on-one contests for his size. Booted nine in the SANFL Under 18s in the finals. Not a big ball winner, but leads well and marks the ball well overhead or down below his knees. Kicked eight goals in the Under 18 championships, but didn’t earn a lot of credit for his craft.

Last month: Kicked nine goals in North Adelaide’s preliminary final. Took 10 marks (including five on a lead) and was a clear best player for the Roosters. Started well in the Grand Final, finishing the day with four goals. Showed good signs in the All Stars game with 14 disposals and two goals.

2016 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: WILL HAYWARD

#28 Jordan Ridley
General Defender (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
20/10/1998 | 192cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #30

Scouting notes: Rebounding defender who is composed with the ball in hand. Can push up further onto a wing and is capable overhead. Build strongly below his waist, but should be able to build that physic in his upper body with a few preseasons under his belt.

Last month: Collected 22 disposals and was strong across half back for the Oakleigh Chargers against North Ballarat Rebels in the TAC Cup Semi-Final. It was a fast finishing final quarter, but unfortunately he suffered a shoulder injury late in the game. Has not played since.

#29 Cedric Cox
Outside Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
19/08/1997 | 184cm | 70kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Neat outside midfielder who can play at both ends of the ground. Looks best suited to half-back, where he can use his speed to burn off his opponents. Is a dual footed kicker and is willing to use both his left and right foot in any situation.

Last month: Played mostly forward for the Rebels in their semi-final loss. Some of his moments are great, but was reasonably quiet. Had four disposals in almost as many minutes to open the game in the Under 18 All Stars, but faded badly throughout the game. A lot to like about some of his flashes. Expect him to test well in speed and agility.

#30 Dylan Clarke
Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
06/09/1998 | 187cm | 85kg
Previous ranking: #29

Scouting notes: Strong inside midfielder who crashed in hard and wins the clearances. Kicking technique needs some work and it has seen him kick at under 50% in the TAC Cup this season.

Last month: Seventeen disposals and a goal in the Under 18 All Stars for Clarke. Did not have a clearance for the game and he was mostly playing forward in a team that was chocker block with inside midfielders.


Our Draft Profiles are still being posted online, so keep on eye on the website where we take you through over 150 names eligible for the 2016 NAB AFL Draft.

Remember to check out our YouTube account for vision on the draftees.

As always, if you have any questions or want to know more, send me a tweet @MattBalmer7.