Tag: Woodville-West Torrens

Eagles soar above minor premiers to claim third Under 18 flag in four years

WOODVILLE-WEST Torrens has upset minor premier Glenelg by 17 points on Saturday afternoon to claim a third SANFL Under 18s flag in four years. The Eagles incited a remarkable 70-point turnaround from their semi-final loss to the Bays just a fortnight ago, even without the services of their best player on that day, Jase Burgoyne.

Bottom-age midfielder Adam D’Aloia was awarded the Alan Stewart Medal as best afield, proving a worthy recipient for his game-high 30 disposals, eight clearances and nine inside 50s. Winning skipper Jordan Lukac, who booted crucial consecutive goals at the start of term four, also marked his 19th birthday with the memorable victory which read 13.8 (86) to 10.9 (69).

The Eagles led at every break but Glenelg made arguably the better start, as Jack Harding opened the scoring in term one. After the Bays built a 10-point lead, Woodville-West Torrens clicked into gear with a run of three goals in five minutes to surge ahead by nine points at the first break, converting from a clinical spurt of six inside 50s.

Having built a block of momentum, the Eagles carried it into the second quarter as Sam Nicholls popped up with back-to-back majors to stretch his side’s unanswered run to five goals. Glenelg’s steadiers came via the reliable boots of Hugh Stagg and Harry Tunkin, before another frantic end to the term saw three goals added in as many minutes. Woodville-West Torrens had the last laugh, boosting its half time buffer to 13 points.

In what looked an ominous sign of things to come, the Eagles nabbed an important six-pointer within the first minute of the second half, but it lead to a tense 20-minute stalemate where the majors dried up. Eagles speedster Jay Watson eventually broke the deadlock and secured a then game-high 25-point lead, before Jakob Ryan hit back almost instantly to give Glenelg a sniff heading into the last break.

With quick goals a must for the Tigers, they could not quite convert in the clutch and Lukac made them pay by sending home two in the first five minutes. The Eagles began to wind the clock down with over 10 minutes left, before Glenelg added three late consolation goals to trim the losing margin to 17 points. It proved much too little, too late as the Eagles again saluted in the junior grade.

While D’Aloia’s midfield dominance proved a key factor, the Eagles were also served well by an almost impenetrable backline. Will Neumann (21 disposals) set the tone with his physicality, while Charlie Adams (18) provided plenty of drive as tall pair Liam Ueding and Jonte Hunter-Price chimed in aerially.

Charlie Blair booted two goals from 19 touches and Brock Thomson (nine rebound 50s) was another defensive standout, while Nicholls’ three goals broke the game open and Cormack O’Reilly was a sound outside outlet. Competition leading goal kicker Will Pearce also worked hard up the ground, with Lukac and Lukas Cooke fellow forward threats.

For Glenelg, Harrison Kaesler had the most ball with 29 disposals and seven marks, followed closely by Lewis Rayson (27 and seven). Hunter Window worked hard as usual on a wing with Cooper Beecken complimenting him on the other, while bottom-ager Ryan was impressive in his work up the ground, clunking nine marks (five contested).

Skipper Stagg and Tunkin both had their chances to convert inside 50, and Oscar Adams played a key role in defence before shifting into the ruck. Up forward, Harding was the main source of goals with a total of three to go with his usually strong marking. Two of his majors came in the last 10 minutes of the game.

South Australia’s brightest Under 19 prospects, including a bunch from either side of this contest, can now look forward to representing their state on AFL Grand Final day. The Croweaters take on Western Australia for a second time this season, jerking the curtain for this year’s top flight decider in Perth.

FINAL SCORE

GLENELG 3.0 | 6.2 | 7.6 | 10.9 (69)
EAGLES 4.3 | 8.3 | 10.5 | 13.8 (86)

GOALS:

Glenelg: J. Harding 3, C. Brougham, B. Ridgway, J. Ryan, H. Stagg, W. Trevena, H. Tunkin, W. Wiseman
Eagles: S. Nicholls 3, C. Blair 2, J. Lukac 2, J. Watson 2, L. Cooke, A. D’Aloia, B. Mair, M. Phillipou

DC BEST:

Glenelg: L. Rayson, J. Ryan, H. Kaesler, H. Window, C. Beecken, J. Harding
Eagles: A. D’Aloia, W. Neumann, C. Adams, B. Thomson, C. O’Reilly, S. Nicholls

Alan Stewart Medal: Adam D’Aloia (Woodville-West Torrens)

Featured Image: Eagles captain Jordan Lukac gets a kick away | Credit: Glenelg FC

SANFL U18s Player Focus: Jordan Lukac (Woodville-West Torrens)

WOODVILLE-WEST Torrens Under 18 skipper Jordan Lukac was recently added to the extended AFL Draft Combine list, proving reward for the promising rate of improvement he has shown in 2021. The 196cm prospect turns 19 in September and represented his state at the level this season, with his athleticism and physical intent serving well.

On Saturday, he helped lead the Eagles to a fourth Under 18s decider in five years with a handful of goals as one of the dominant bigmen afield. We put Lukac’s preliminary final performance under the Player Focus microscope this week, breaking down his game quarter-by-quarter.

>> Scouting Notes: SANFL U18s Preliminary Final

POCKET PROFILE

Jordan Lukac
Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia

DOB: 18/09/2002
Height/Weight: 196cm/89kg
Position: Key Forward/Ruck

Strengths: Vertical leap, physicality, leadership

2021 Averages:

Under 18s: 14 games | 8.6 disposals | 2.6 marks | 1.9 tackles | 0.9 inside 50s | 2.4 goals (33 total)
Reserves: 3 games | 7.3 disposals | 2.0 marks | 5.7 tackles | 1.3 inside 50s | 0.3 goals (1 total)

2021 SANFL U18s Preliminary Final | Woodville-West Torrens 13.15 (93) def. West Adelaide 9.8 (62)

#26 Jordan Lukac (Woodville-West Torrens)

Quarter-by-quarter:

Q1

Starting up forward with fellow tall Zac Phillips taking up the primary ruck duties, Lukac was presented with very limited opportunities to showcase his craft in the opening term. West Adelaide was well on top, restricting the Eagles to just one forward 50 entry across the first 15 minutes.

Lukac was eventually rotated into the ruck after 19 minutes but could not quite get his hands on the ball as Westies continued to surge ahead, ending up with a statless quarter – but not for a lack of effort from the skipper.

Q2

After the Bloods’ period of superiority, it was time for Woodville-West Torrens to hit back in term two. Lukac played a solid part in the scoring swing, notching a goal and two behinds from his sole three kicks for the quarter.

The bigman’s size and physicality drew extra attention from direct opponent, David Midwinter, who had the tough job of marking him one-out inside defensive 50. Lukac and the Eagles took toll.

He drew a holding free kick while leading to the top of the arc, which lead to Jase Burgoyne’s first goal as the Port Adelaide father-son prospect took the advantage into an open goal.

Protecting the drop zone well on long kicks in transition, Lukac snared his own score (a behind) from a 30m set shot, and later kicked his opening major after 17 minutes of play. He had the opportunity to add another from a similar spot but put the 45m set shot wide.

Q3

Contributing an identical scoring output of 1.2 in term three, Lukac continued to help the Eagles soar to a defining lead on the back of a greater wealth of opportunities. While he missed two gettable free kick conversions, Lukac produced one of the day’s highlights with his second goal.

Stationed behind the play outside attacking 50, Lukac marked and sensing a big moment, moved straight on with the ball. He carried it just past the arc and let fly with a booming shot on goal which carried through, with only about 90 seconds left in the term.

The captain’s goal cliché is, well, exactly that, but Lukac’s goal helped lift his side heading into the final term. Three of his four touches resulted in scores, with the remainder an errant bomb kick which ended up out of bounds on the wing.

Q4

Lukac’s finish to the game was indicative of his side’s efforts, as he added another three goals with surer conversion. The first came from a terrific juggled mark in deep a one-on-two contest, before Lukac turned and slammed the ball home with ease.

He found a bit more space for his next mark and goal, before again being infringed in a marking contest en route to snaring his fifth and final major score. Lukac also showcased some deft ruck craft in the second half, hitting nicely to his accelerating rovers for a few clean clearances breaks which caught the eye.

Closing thoughts…

While he started slowly with limited opportunities, Lukac ended up having a big say on the result with nine of his 10 kicks resulting in scores. He eventually straightened up but could have claimed an even bigger haul if not for inaccuracy, as he constantly drew free kicks with defenders struggling to combat his size and strength. The Eagles played to his strengths by stationing him one-out inside 50, where he only needs a few looks to do some damage. He got better and more effective with his ruck craft as the game wore on too, making for a well-rounded and impactful overall effort from the rising tall.

Image Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

SANFL Player Focus: Max Litster (Woodville-West Torrens)

AFTER a solid season at Reserves level and a call up to the recent Under 19s championship match between Western Australia and South Australia, where he was one of SA’s best, Max Litster earned himself a late season League debut for the second placed Woodville-West Torrens. 

The 2002-born defender ended his maiden senior outing as one of the top handful of ball winners for his side in the resounding 104-point victory as Woodville-West Torrens built confidence heading into their finals campaign, which begins next week against Norwood. Litster impressed most with his defensive focus through the game, and impressive speed with ball in hand.

POCKET PROFILE

Max Litster
Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia

DOB: 6/07/2002 (19)
Height: 184cm
Weight:
83kg

Position: General Defender

2021 Averages:
SANFL Reserves (15 games)

 18.9 disposals | 13.3 kicks | 5.5 handballs | 4.7 marks | 1.4 tackles | 1.0 inside 50s | 4.8 rebound 50s

Source: SANFL

2021 SANFL League, Round 19 | Woodville-West Torrens 19.8 (122) def. Central Districts 2.6 (18)

#51 Max Litster (Woodville-West Torrens)

Stats: 23 disposals (14 kicks, 9 handballs), 7 marks, 1 tackle, 1 clearance, 2 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s

Q1

Like most senior debutants, Litster started the game on the bench, having to wait until the six-minute mark to get on field. His first involvement in play saw him used in the corridor of the defensive 50 as he led into a smart spot for his teammate who was stuck up against the boundary line. Litster’s follow-up kick was penetrating to a teammate on the wing, who was able to continue the ball movement quickly given Litster put it in front of him so he didn’t lose momentum. As the quarter drew on, Litster got more involved with play from the defensive 50 and pushed up the ground, and whilst at times his ball use was below par, he never dropped his head and continued to present and try to get involved.

What was impressive about Litster was his defensive focus in open play, and ability to quickly transition and find his opponent, sticking with them and spoiling the ball before they could hold it. Litster also showed an ability to gut run defensively, at one point sprinting into the goal square to take a mark just before the goal line and move the ball on well by foot.

Q2

Coming out in the second term looking to have gained confidence, Litster’s ball use improved dramatically as he looked to use his run and carry more aggressively out of defensive 50, starting handball chains that led to inside 50s with some creative ball use. Litster showed off his leap a couple of times in the second quarter, taking an intercept mark in the middle of a pack by jumping above everyone else then using the ball well with his switch kick, and another time getting caught behind his opponent but making up the distance with his closing speed and again leaping to spoil his opponent. 

Litster looked a lot more confident approaching contested situations or winning the ball under pressure in the second quarter, not being easily knocked around by opposition to get in good positions to win the ball. This was best demonstrated when there was a stoppage inside the Eagles defensive 50, Litster got the ball as it went over the top of the rovers, using his hips to block an opponent and quickly flicked it up to a teammate that was running past.

Q3

In a quieter quarter than his first two, Litster took some time to get involved in the game and have a meaningful impact, but came in strongly with a contested intercept mark just outside of forward 50, bombing long to create a contest for his forwards. Litster took a few marks around the ground with some smart positioning and his speed to beat opponents to the footy and hold it well. Unfortunately Litsters ball use dropped from where it was in the second quarter, missing teammates by foot when he was running straight at them, but looking good with his quick hands in close.

Litsters push up the ground was encouraging to see as he started to win more footy in the forward half and generally caused headaches for Central District as they tried to get the ball out of their defensive 50.

Q4

In a somewhat lacklustre end to the game, Litster didn’t get much of the ball, with the Eagles keeping the it in their forward half for the most of the quarter. When the opportunity was there for Litster to impact he took it with both hands, once again showing off his speed. One of his kicks was a nice highlight, chipping it over the top of a teammate so they could run onto the ball and then kick it long inside 50

Closing thoughts…

Overall it was a promising senior debut from Litster following on from his impressive championship game against Western Australia, slotting into the Eagles’ backline seamlessly and looking like on of their more accountable defenders, focusing more on his opponent and cutting off opposition plays than being around the contest in hopes of getting an extra touch. His leap and speed allowed him to impact contests that he looked like he wouldn’t get to. The one thing Litster can improve on from this performance is to find more consistency with his ball use.

Featured Image: Max Litster (far left) celebrates with his Eagles teammates | Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

Fierce Dolan chooses footballing “family”

A FIERCE competitor who tackles hard, brings her pressure game to each line, and doesn’t mind a scrap. On face value, you’d think Charlotte Dolan hails from a much different sporting background than her soccer and surf lifesaving past. The helmet-donning Woodville-West Torrens prospect is unmistakable on-field, though.

Dolan completed just her second SANFL Women’s campaign in 2021 after a promising debut season last year, with her choice to pursue Australian football paying off in the form of repeat state representative honours. It has proven quite a journey for the 18-year-old.

“I started playing football five to six years ago and it’s been non-stop since then,” Dolan said. “From SMOSH West Lakes, [to] Henley Football Club, to the Eagles, and now I’m here.

“I stopped playing soccer about four years ago… the honest truth is I had a soccer coach who said I had to choose. “I was doing surf lifesaving, soccer and football and it was all too much so my soccer coach told me to choose, and I chose football.

“I felt more of a family was around the football community and I was enjoying it a lot more, enjoyment comes before anything else.”

Dolan ponders her next move during this year’s AFLW U19 championships

In a season which Dolan modestly rated as “not too bad”, she averaged over seven disposals and four tackles across her nine SANFLW outings. The top-ager boosted those numbers come National Championships time, making it eight disposals to go with 2.3 marks and 2.7 inside 50s.

Having been utilised on both sides of midfield, up forward and down back, it is fair to say that Dolan’s punishing pressure game easily translates to all of the above. She says that kind of “versatility” is one of her strengths.

“I’d say I’m quite a fierce and aggressive player,” she said. “I like to lay the game-changing tackles and I believe I’m an alright kick, a long kick as well so I think they’re mostly my strengths.

“My marking has always let me down a fair bit but I have improved a lot from where I was – from playing soccer and being scared of having a ball in the face to where I am now, I think I’m doing alright.”

Outside of football, Dolan says there isn’t “a whole lot” going on. Shortly after her South Australian representative stint, she looked forward to the Australian surf lifesaving titles, but also fills her time working at AFL Max which is “a bit of fun”.

Versatile Parish thrives on physicality

WHEN asked of the key traits she wanted to present at the AFL Women’s Under 19 National Championships, the answer was pretty straightforward and ominous for Jamie Parish.

“Definitely my physicality,” Parish said. “I love bumping, hitting, shepherding.”

The versatile Woodville-West Torrens talent has enjoyed a swift journey into the South Australian talent pathway, crossing from other codes and being thrust into the SANFL Women’s system.

“I started off as a basketballer and a netballer,” she said. “I ended up having to fill in for a local club, I played one game and they were like ‘why don’t you give SANFL a try?’… so then I basically hopped straight into the SANFL, played a couple of years and ended up playing state.”

Parish described her 2021 state league form as “up and down”, but is enjoying the “learnings” of being tested in a variety of roles. Having cut her teeth as a key defender, the 171cm prospect was also thrust into the middle at the National Championships and can even swing forward or provide a handy ruck fold.

“(My coaches) are playing me in a lot of new positions and not just keeping me down back, so that’s been really good.” she said. “I am a key defender but I have been swapping through the midfield recently. “Hopefully I get a run in the midfield but it really just comes down to game day, because sometimes they’ll chuck me up forward as well, so who knows.”

While the 17-year-old was a mainstay throughout the Eagles’ SANFLW campaign, she was restricted to two of a possible three state representative games. Parish took on Western Australia in game one and was “pretty happy” with her performance, before returning for game three against the Allies down in Victoria, after being isolated due to COVID-19 precautions as her side battled Vic Country.

Parish looks up to the likes of Adelaide women’s captain Chelsea Randall and Western Bulldogs superstar Marcus Bontempelli, who she said are “hard at it and great players (she) always looks up to”. Boasting a similar competitive edge and the ability to play on multiple lines, Parish is also clean by hand in tough situations like her two idols. On the flip side, she says she is “motivated” to keep improving her fitness.

In true impartial fashion, the South Australian supports both Adelaide and Port Adelaide in the men’s AFL competition, while backing “all of them” in the women’s league. With expansion continuing at the top flight, there will be greater opportunities for developing prospects like Parish to crack the elite level and potentially run out alongside those she cheers on.

Outside of football, the current Year 12 student says she is one who “enjoys the sunshine”.

“Other than that, I’m just a casual sleep in until 12 o’clock and think about doing something sort,” she said.

Eagles looking for a balance of youth and experience in 2021

WOODVILLE-West Torrens Eagles boast a young line-up heading into their Round 1 clash in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s with development coach, Andy Hood highlighting the amount of work the side has done to become fitter and stronger heading into their 2021 campaign.

“Preseason has been really strong. It started way back in November, we’ve got a real focus on getting fitter. I think in the three years that we’ve been in the competition, I certainly feel we’re better prepared and a lot fitter and stronger than we had been the last couple of years. So it’s been a really good preseason, we’ve got excellent strength and conditioning people in our team that’s been fantastic. It’s been really a strong preseason,” he said.

Over the pre-season, Hood made mention of the number of young players that managed to make their way down and wasted no time highlighting the number of exciting prospects preparing to take on the season.

“During our trials and sort of our preseason we’ve really been able to get some really good young players come into our football club,” he said.

Hood, heaped plenty of praise on the likes of Shineah Goody, Astrid Gooley and Chloe Whitington-Charity with the trio causing waves at the club with their intensity, willingness at the contest and skillset while Audrey Holt has also caught the eye ahead of Round 1.

“The ones that we really have been impressed with is Shineah Goody, young kid,” he said. “From our country zone, really excited about her in the future. She’s definitely someone to keep an eye on. She can play back and up forward, very elusive has a bit of x-factor, reads the ball really well. Just really strong around the front and centre of the contest.”

“There’s Astrid Gooley from SMOSH, excellent, young lady of 16 years of age, big future, great overhead mark, will play up forward.”

“Chloe Whitington-Charity another young kid from Henley just a real fit young athletic type player, fast we feel that she’s going to be a future leader this young lady has done really well to get a debut game tomorrow. Just really fast on the outside, good overhead mark loves the contest.”

“Audrey Holt, I’m not sure where she’s from, no she’s from Woodville South. Just a tackling machine hard at it. Will bounce up and just go again and again and again we love her appetite for the contest. She’s someone that you’ll just “geez that girl just goes hard.” A real small frame but just has a real desire for the, for the contest in the battle.

In terms of familiar faces, Hood also made mention of reigning best and fairest winner Jovanka Zecevic along with Lili Gambrainis and Jamie Parish with the trio hoping to elevate their game even further for the Eagles this season.

“[Zecevic] won our club champion last year has had a really strong preseason,” Hood said. “You know, we’re expecting she’ll take her game to another level and starting to develop into one of these players where you’re just a real match winner. Strong midfield player that sets up some opportunities for your team.”

“[Lili] is a real athletic strong at the contest, a real competitor loves the contest and good overhead and you know won’t give her opponent anything.”

“The other is Jamie Parish, of course who has been in the team last year and this year, Jamie’s in the state team and just someone that is going to develop into a really good footballer strong overhead, likes the contests likes to body the opponent has a real strong football brain.”

Although she is new to the team she is not new to the league, as Hood highlighted the influence Brooklyn Kraft has had since crossing over to the club for her first season in Eagles colours despite still being a developing player.

“Brooke Kraft from South Adelaide came over,” he said. “She’s great, overhead mark, tall. “Developing player, but someone that will give us a lot in the aerial contest, which is something that we probably lacked around the ground.”

With youth aplenty throughout the squad it can be somewhat difficult to find that perfect mix of young up and coming players along with experienced members however, Hood believes that the Eagles have really focused on developing a side that can balance all aspects throughout the pre-season.

“I think the coaching staff and just the way we’ve started preseason and trials and just our different phases of how we train is has really been first class and been able to develop the players of our expectations and standards, we’ve set the standards, really early. It was pretty clear what everyone had to do I think that’s been a big help,” he said.

“I think training … it’s an old analogy, but we’re really training the way that we want to play.”

Looking at what the club wants to be renowned for as a whole throughout the 2021 season, Hood made it clear that he was not going to give away all of his secrets but the side is keen on implementing an attacking brand of footy.

“I think it’s just attacking, attacking and taking the game on,” Hood said. “I mean every team wants to do that but you know it’s to win the footy and then attack, you know, get it into the forward line. “It’s to defend and to defend hard and then get the ball in quickly.”

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles are set to kick things off against Central District tomorrow.

AFL Draft Watch: Henry Smith (WWT Eagles/South Australia)

IN the midst of football’s long-awaited return, Draft Central takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state in some capacity leading into 2020, or are bolting into draft contention. While plenty has changed between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at pre-season testing, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft watch is Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) prospect Henry Smith, a raw tall with plenty of upside. Measuring up at 202cm, Smith is not only able to impact with his aerial marking, but also provides terrific follow-up efforts at the fall of the ball. Despite missing the first three games of this year’s SANFL Under 18s season, the 18-year-old ruck/forward impressed enough across nine outings since to earn his spot on the National Combine invitee list. Should he fill out and sharpen his conversion, Smith looms as a key position option who could prove difficult to stop in full flight.

PLAYER PAGE:

Henry Smith
WWT Eagles/South Australia

DOB: September 24, 2002

Height: 202cm
Weight: 82kg

Position: Key Position Forward/Ruck

Strengths: Contested marking, athleticism, follow-up/ground level efforts, upside
Improvements: Raw, finishing consistency

2020 SANFL U18s averages: 9 games | 13.1 disposals | 4.2 marks (2.2 contested) | 3.8 tackles | 7.0 hitouts | 1.2 clearances | 1.9 inside 50s | 0.9 goals (8) | 1.2 behinds (11)

PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

N/A.

>> Full Testing Results:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
Yo-yo

2019/20 SCOUTING NOTES:

2020 SANFL Under 18s Round 11 vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

Another of Woodville-West Torrens’ 200cm prospects, Smith rotated between the forwardline and ruck to good effect. He showed some of the upside which earned him a national combine invite, following up well at stoppages while also faring well aerially as expected. Smith was another to use his height to advantage, clunking some big pack marks both around the ground and inside forward 50 against multiple opponents. Remarkably, all five of his marks were contested. While perhaps more of a lead-up forward prospect, Smith’s ruck craft was reasonably sound as he finished the game with 15 disposals, 15 hitouts, and fourth-term a goal.

2020 SANFL Under 18s Round 10 vs. Norwood

By: Tom Wyman

The AFL Academy member produced arguably his best performance of the season to-date, dominating the airways up forward and providing a presence in the ruck in relief of teammate Zac Phillips. As usual, Smith was the Eagles’ number one target in attack. They looked to centre the ball for him inside 50, allowing him to run and jump at the ball and use his contested marking strength to advantage. A prime example of this came in the just minutes into the clash, when Smith took a strong grab then converted the resultant set-shot from close range.

However, aside from his strong aerial presence, Smith’s cleanliness at ground level, quick and effective distribution by hand, and willingness to crack in and tackle hard was impressive. He spent more time in the ruck against the Redlegs than in previous weeks and fought well against Nathan Hearing, combining particularly well with teammate Harrison Dawkins at stoppages. The key forward finished with 15 disposals, two goals, five marks (two contested), nine tackles, ten hit-outs and four inside 50s.

2020 SANFL Under 18s Round 5 vs. Glenelg

By: Michael Alvaro

Again starting as the Eagles’ primary target up forward, Smith showed nice glimpses of his best form with strong marks, taking the ball at its highest point. He looked ominous on the lead at times and is difficult to defend at the Under 18 level on account of his height and reach on the lead. With good delivery, he was granted goalkicking opportunities but failed to make the most of his set shots. By the fourth quarter, his confidence may have been a little shot as he opted to kick inboard from 20-metres out, which got him a goal assist nonetheless.

2020 SANFL Under 18s Round 4 vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

The second of WWT’s bigmen, Smith played as a permanent forward and looked the most likely aerial target afield. He started strongly with a nice contested mark in between two opponents, but went on to miss a couple of set shot opportunities in the first term. What was most impressive about Smith, contested marking aside, was his ability to impact the play after aerial contests, with solid tackling efforts and touches at ground level adding a handy dimension to his game. His return obviously did a lot for the Eagles side, despite only booting three behinds from his 10 disposals and five marks (three contested).

2019 Under 17 Futures All-Stars

By: Ed Pascoe

The other big Henry to ruck for Team Dal Santo – Smith actually showed more up forward with a strong contested mark and set shot goal in the first quarter. The Woodville-West Torrens prospect, as good as he looked overhead, also had a great pickup in the middle of the ground which was excellent for a 200-plus cm player and if he could improve his aggression in general he could prove to be a hard player to stop at the next level.

Featured Image: Henry Smith (centre) with Zac Dumesny and Luke Edwards after the 2019 Under 17s All-Star clash | Source: SANFL

>> 2020 AFL National Draft Combine List
>> 2020 South Australia U18s Squad Prediction

>> August 2020 Power Rankings
>> July 2020 Power Rankings
>> September 2020 Power Rankings

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

Allies:
Tahj Abberley
Charlie Byrne
Jackson Callow
Blake Coleman
Braeden Campbell
Alex Davies
Oliver Davis
Errol Gulden
Joel Jeffrey
Patrick Walker

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Brayden Cook
Zac Dumesny
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Lachlan Jones
Tariek Newchurch
Caleb Poulter
Tom Powell
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Vic Country:
Sam Berry
Tanner Bruhn
Jack Ginnivan
Oliver Henry
Elijah Hollands
Zach Reid
Nick Stevens
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Vic Metro:
Jake Bowey
Jackson Cardillo
Nikolas Cox
Connor Downie
Eddie Ford
Bailey Laurie
Finlay Macrae
Reef McInnes
Archie Perkins
Will Phillips

Western Australia:
Jack Carroll
Heath Chapman
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Zane Trew
Brandon Walker
Joel Western
Isiah Winder

Caleb Poulter – The Eagle soaring into first round contention

CALEB POULTER is hard to miss on the footy field. He is the big-bodied midfielder rapidly climbing his way up draft boards on the back of six outstanding SANFL Under 18s outings for Woodville-West Torrens (WWT). While a flowing mullet and rudely bright boots already make him easily identifiable, Poulter’s presence at the contest, overhead marking, and graceful coverage of the ground ensure he is truly unmistakable.

After earning a State Under 16s berth and contributing to the Eagles’ SANFL Under 18s premiership in 2019, the Adrossan junior decided to make the big move over to Henley High School in 2020. It would allow him to bridge the two-hour gap to and from training, the opportunity to consistently play alongside the likes of Bailey Chamberlain, Taj Schofield and roommate Zac Phillips, while also gaining a top-notch Year 12 education to boot.

Fast-forward through an arduous preseason and great bouts of uncertainty, Poulter hit the ground running this year with form that made him impossible to ignore. His Round 1 performance of 34 disposals, seven marks, 10 tackles, seven clearances, six inside 50s, and a goal put him on the map with a Torrens University Cup MVP nomination, but his performances since have propelled him into first round calculations. Averaging 24.5 disposals, 6.0 marks, 5.8 tackles, 3.0 clearances, 5.0 inside 50s, and over a goal per game, Poulter is one of the most dynamic and dominant midfielders at the level right now.

Such form has warranted heavy opposition attention, as well as contact with AFL recruiters. But the soaring Eagles prospect is simply looking to find consistency in his game and iron out his areas of improvement. With fellow 2019 premiership Lachlan Jones plying his trade at League level, a rise up the SANFL grades is also on the cards for Poulter in his top-age campaign.

We caught up with the talented 17-year-old during the week to chat all things footy. Below are quotes from the man himself regarding a range of topics; from his journey to this point, dealing with uncertainty, and just why he supports two AFL clubs.

THE JOURNEY SO FAR

JUNIOR FOOTY:

“It’s always been footy for me ever since I was growing up. Through AusKick and the juniors I’ve always had a passion for footy, just the competitive side of it. It’s always been footy for me.

“(WWT) Eagles invited me to all their country programs, whether that was Under 14s or Under 15s. It started to become serious in my Under 16s year, obviously playing as a Metro and Country team combined. Then last year for the Under 18s as a bottom-ager, coming into this year as a top-ager, and hopefully playing some senior footy.”

LIFE IN LOCKDOWN

INITIAL FEELINGS:

“It was obviously a surreal feeling. Me and the other boys had trained our asses off since November just to be told we don’t know when footy’s coming back. So it was quite surreal but we used the lockdown period to work on all our improvement areas. For me, it was my contested side of things, so I used that time to get in the gym and get busy so when footy did come back, I’d be ready to go.”

KEEPING CONTACT:

“It’s been pretty quiet with all the (AFL Academy) hub stuff lately. But we always touch base, whether that’s through Zoom or through Tony Bamford just having one-on-one meetings… We just try to stay connected in any way possible just in case there is a national carnival coming up at the end of the year.

“Like I said, it’s sort of quietened down now, but I know when the hub was around we did a lot of wellbeing meetings or group tasks just to benefit the team and make closer friends. Just that bonding side of things was quite big.”

RETURNING TO PLAY:

“I definitely think it’s a huge benefit for us, for myself and the other SA boys that really want to fly up the draft ranks. For Vic Country and Vic Metro not to play, I think recruiters are focussing on WA and SA players more than what they have in previous years. So I’m definitely trying to use that as a opportunity to just perform well and see what happens come the end of the year.”

SEASON 2020

STEPPING UP:

“Obviously in the preseason I worked pretty hard, whether that was out with the Eagles seniors or in the (AFL Academy) hub. I just worked on all my improvement areas and got all of them right. Then I just took some form from the preseason games earlier this year and took it on to this season so it’s been good. Hopefully I can stay consistent.

“I sat down with the senior coaches and we thought I’d just find some form in my own age group before I have the opportunity to hopefully go up and play some two’s or one’s footy. I just want to stay consistent and keep playing my role for the 18s, then hopefully later on in the season I can crack the senior side.”

MOVING SCHOOLS, TO ADELAIDE:

“I’m in Year 12. I moved from the country down to (Adelaide) last year to go to Henley High. All the boys there have been welcoming and they’ve obviously got a great football program so it’s been good so far.

“It was pretty challenging. My old school in the country, I was there until Year 11 and obviously making the move to Adelaide to go to a big school like Henley was quite nerve wracking at first… school has a great bunch of lads and we’re all a tight knit group. The coach likes for us to be tight so it’s been great training with them.

“The team’s led by players like Taj Schofield and Bailey Chamberlain, they’re great footy players and have had a great year so far. They’ve been great leaders for the younger boys coming through.”

ATTRACTING INTEREST:

“I’ve had a few Zoom meetings with AFL recruiters, a fair few clubs lately have been Zooming me. They obviously just want to get to know you as a person I guess, and as a player. They’ve been great, they just tell us if we need to work on anything.”

“I think it was against North (Adelaide) that I got thrown down back because I was getting a fair bit of attention from certain players, so I thought to break the tag the coach would put me in the backline to find a bit of the footy… It’s pretty hard having to have all that attention on me, I’ve had it for the past few weeks ever since my Round 1 performance. I just try to think about the play I guess and play my style of footy and hopefully things will pay off and the ball will come my way.”

PREFERRED POSITION:

“I definitely feel like I can benefit most for the team playing inside mid, then resting forward. But I think a big thing for me is my versatility, coaches like to put me in the backline sometimes and I can even play a bit of outside mid as well. So it’s good to have that versatility but like I said, I like playing inside mid then resting up forward like I have been this year.”

STRENGTHS:

“I’d bring physicality and competitiveness (to an AFL club). I love the hard ball so I think they’re the main two things that I bring, and obviously I’m quite an outgoing type of person so I think my personality would suit well with any bunch of boys. That’s definitely the three things for me and just overall, I’m hard working and never give up. They’re definitely the traits I like to be known by the most.”

TEAMMATES (STATE, SCHOOL, AND SANFL):

“I know there’s a lot of leaders out there like Riley Thilthorpe, playing League out at Westies this year. He’s someone who uses his experience in the hub from previous years to help out the younger boys and just get around them. So he was obviously a leader for us, and then you’ve got people like Luke Edwards and Kaine Baldwin, they were also great leaders. They definitely helped over preseason and in the hubs, it was good.

“(Lachie Jones) has been really good. He had a solid preseason with the senior boys and is fortunate enough to be playing one’s at the moment. He’s having a great year so hopefully he can stay consistent. He’s tied to Port so hopefully they can pick him up later on this year.”

BACK-TO-BACK?:

“I’m extremely excited, i just want to stay consistent and find the footy and obviously just benefit for my team and hopefully we can get a few wins on the board, crack finals and see what happens at the end of the year… going into preseason back-to-back premierships for myself and a few of the other boys was in sight. So hopefully we can work well as a team, all play out roles and see what happens.”

CALEB POULTER, THE PERSON

FAVOURITE AFL TEAM:

“I go for Geelong and Brisbane… My family always grew up going for Geelong so I went to Geelong, then when Brisbane drafted Cam Rayner and some others a few years back I sort of liked the way they play and they have a few young blokes who’re playing a good brand of footy lately.”

“I’m happy to go anywhere. All 18 clubs have a great culture and whatnot. I don’t really care where I end up, as long as I can get on an AFL list. I don’t really have any preferences, just anywhere really.”

ASPIRATIONS:

“Obviously I want to achieve good grades to get a high ATAR. If footy doesn’t work out or just as a plan B, going to uni to do something like human movement or physiotherapy definitely catches my eye.”

“On the field I just want to stay consistent and play a good style of footy and hopefully get drafted at the end of the season. Off the field it’s just to stay on top of my grades, to use my time management to get on top of my school, and then go to training and train hard. They’re the main things for me.”

MENTORS:

“My dad’s been a big support for me. He obviously played a fair bit of footy growing up and was pretty good so he gives me a lot of constructive feedback whenever I need it. And coaches like my 18s Eagles coach and the hub coaches have also been great mentors for my progression over the years as well. That’s definitely got me to where I am today, so I can’t thank them enough.”

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT
>> AFL Draft Watch: Caleb Poulter
>> August 2020 Power Rankings
>> 2020 SA Under 18s Squad Prediction

Draft Central SANFL Women’s Team of the Year nominations

AS the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition came to a close last week, it is time for the Draft Central SANFL Women’s Team of the Year. We name the final team on Sunday night, but the 40-player nomination list – similar to the All-Australian squad – is effectively the extended squad of those in contention.

This list has been compiled of players who had at least three SANFL Women’s Team of the Week nominations, and three additional players who had two, to round up the full list to 40. Two players had seven nominations from a possible 10 rounds, and those players will be nominated as captain and vice-captain.

From the 40-player squad, North Adelaide and South Adelaide lead the league with seven nominations each, ahead of West Adelaide (six) and Norwood (five). Glenelg, Central District and Sturt had four players apiece, while Woodville-West Torrens had three.

CENTRAL DISTRICT: [4]

Sarah Allan
Katelyn Rosenzweig
Shelby Smith
Demi Sonneman

GLENELG: [4]

Sam Franson
Caitlin Gould
Eloise Jones
Tessa Kohn

NORTH ADELAIDE: [7]

Lauren Daniel
Hannah Ewings
Kristi Harvey
Anne Hatchard
Britt Perry
Katelyn Pope
Ash Woodland

NORWOOD: [5]

Najwa Allen
Mattea Breed
Leah Cutting
Bella Smith
Matilda Zander

SOUTH ADELAIDE: [7]

Nicole Campbell
Czenya Cavouras
Teah Charlton
Jess Kirk
Tahlia Meyer
Indy Tahau
Lisa Whiteley

STURT: [4]

Georgia Bevan
Hannah Prenzler
Zoe Prowse
Maya Rigter

WEST ADELAIDE: [6]

Abbie Ballard
Keeley Kustermann
Rachelle Martin
Madison Newman
Stevie-Lee Thompson
Zoe Venning

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS: [3]

Renee Forth
Kiana Lee
Tesharna Maher

AFL Draft Watch: Caleb Poulter (WWT Eagles/South Australia)

IN the build up to football eventually returning, Draft Central takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state in some capacity leading into 2020. While plenty can change between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at pre-season testing, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft watch is Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) prospect Caleb Poulter, a player who is bolting into first round contention for this year’s draft. The big-bodied midfielder/forward has real hurt factor, able to punish the opposition with his penetrating boot, knack for finding the goals, and tackling pressure. His presence is always noticeable, and strong overhead marks only add to the highlight reels he seems to produce each game.

After five impressive SANFL Under 18s outings thus far, Poulter has become one of the Eagles’ most fancied draft prospects and may well continue to climb the state league ranks. He has really come on as of late, having only represented South Australia’s Under 16 side last year. His form warranted selection in the SANFL Under 17 Futures fixture, and he has shone ever since.

PLAYER PAGE:

Caleb Poulter
WWT Eagles/South Australia

DOB: October 12, 2002

Height: 190cm
Weight: 79kg

Position: Midfielder/Forward

Strengths: Presence, scoreboard impact, overhead marking, tackling, kick penetration
Improvements: Four-quarter consistency, blazing away

2020 SANFL Under 18s averages: 5 games | 24.2 disposals | 6.2 marks | 6.8 tackles | 2.8 clearances | 5.0 inside 50s | 1.0 rebound 50s | 1.2 goals

PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

Standing Vertical Jump: 58cm
Running Vertical Jump (R/L): 78cm/69cm
Speed (20m): 3.14 seconds
Agility: 9.01 seconds
Endurance (Yo-yo): 20.5

>> Full Testing Results:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
Yo-yo

2020 SCOUTING NOTES:

SANFL Under 18s Round 5 vs. Glenelg

By: Michael Alvaro

Poulter just has such a remarkable presence on the field, and he is impossible to miss when the ball enters his area. Starting in midfield, his clearance work was sound and he got to work with some brilliant handballs out of congestion, showcasing his rare vision. Throughout the game there were bursts through traffic, strong overhead grabs, and some crunching tackles to stop Glenelg’s counter attacks in their tracks.

Despite copping a knock in the third term, Poulter remained involved. He did not quite manage to find the goals, but that was not for a lack of trying – even from distance. His kick penetration is obviously great, but he can sure up his short-range game a touch to prevent simply blazing away.

SANFL Under 18s Round 4 vs. North Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

Poulter has been one of the more prolific Under 18 players after four rounds, but struggled to make his usual impact on this occasion as his magnet was thrown up and down the team whiteboard. He made a quiet start and never quite got going, but looked dangerous early as he burst through congestion and released some typically shrewd handballs.

His kick penetration was still on point, and Poulter managed to contribute some clean touches along the line, but was often blanketed in general play by North Adelaide’s pressure. He had the chance to regain some confidence after earning a holding the ball free kick inside 50, but spurned the set shot wearing only one boot. Having been tried on all three lines, it seems Poulter has the greatest impact as a midfielder who can rotate forward.

SANFL Under 18s Round 3 vs. Norwood

By: Tom Cheesman

Big-bodied midfielder, Poulter was a shining light for the Eagles in their loss, collecting 29 disposals, eight marks, five tackles and two goals. He was incredibly dangerous when playing up forward, creating havoc both in the air and on the ground. Poulter’s marking ability was on show on Saturday, as he was rarely out-marked and was frequently a go-to option for his side coming out of defence. His disposals can be rushed and wayward at times, but his left-foot kick is terrific whenever he has time to compose himself before delivering to a teammate. A nice goal from 50 in the third term showed that his kick has great range too.

SANFL Under 18s Round 2 vs. Sturt

By: Ed Pascoe

Although he wasn’t quite able to match his outstanding performance last week, Poulter was still arguably his side’s most dangerous player – especially inside 50 where he was a a threat on the lead and at ground level. Poulter again showed some rare abilities for a player of his size with his tackling and clean hands at ground level again impressing. He really hunts the opposition with his tackles and is willing to make repeat efforts, which is nice to see.

His efforts in the air were also impressive as he was always leading up hard and willing to crash packs to get the ball to ground. You can imagine him having even more impact in that area when he puts on more size. Poulter kicked two classy goals in the third quarter, with the first coming from a brilliant pick-up on the run at his feet and then kicking a lovely snap goal. The second was also a snap goal with little time to think about it, showing his natural talent. Poulter finished the game with 16 disposals, seven tackles, five marks, and kicked 3.1 in another great performance. 

SANFL Under 18s Round 1 vs. South Adelaide

By: Ed Pascoe

It was a huge game from the talented tall midfielder, who would have certainly gotten recruiters’ attention with a commanding game playing through midfield and up forward. Poulter won plenty of the ball but it was his disposal that really stood out, with his long and accurate kicks hitting targets inside 50 and his long handballs with great vision also catching the eye. 

Poulter showed great agility and clean hands at ground level which was impressive for a 190cm-plus player, but even with his attacking side coming to the fold it was also his defensive game which stood out as he was always prepared to tackle despite looking gassed late in the game, but you couldn’t fault that. Poulter finished the game with 34 disposals, seven clearances, seven marks, 10 tackles, and a goal to be the standout player not just for this game, but for the whole round in general. 

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

>> 2020 South Australia U18s Squad Prediction
>> July 2020 Power Rankings

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

Allies:
Tahj Abberley
Jackson Callow
Blake Coleman
Braeden Campbell
Alex Davies
Oliver Davis
Errol Gulden

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Lachlan Jones
Tom Powell
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Vic Country:
Sam Berry
Tanner Bruhn
Jack Ginnivan
Elijah Hollands
Zach Reid
Nick Stevens
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Vic Metro:
Jackson Cardillo
Nikolas Cox
Connor Downie
Eddie Ford
Bailey Laurie
Finlay Macrae
Reef McInnes
Archie Perkins
Will Phillips

Western Australia:
Heath Chapman
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Brandon Walker
Joel Western
Isiah Winder