Tag: wwt eagles

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

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.

2021 SANFLW team review: WWT Eagles

IN summarising the 2021 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season, Draft Central will run through a team-by-team review of how each of the sides fared, and who some of the standout performers throughout the clubs were. We begin the review series with the wooden spooners, Woodville-West Torrens Eagles.

Position: 8th
Wins: 3
Losses: 8
Points For: 205 (8th)
Points Against: 455 (8th)

Season in a Sentence: “The Eagles strung together three consecutive wins early in the season to even put themselves in a position for finals, but once the AFLW talent rolled back into the top-end teams, the eventual wooden spooners fell back to the pack.”

TOP PERFORMERS:

Annastasia Falkenberg

One of the more experienced Eagles in the team, the versatile midfielder was a ray of consistency in her 11 games, averaging 16.3 disposals, 2.6 marks, 1.6 inside 50s, 1.5 clearances, 5.5 tackles and 2.2 rebound 50s. Holding a disposal efficiency of 69 per cent, Falkenberg did a bit of everything every week, and did not drop below 12 disposals in any of her games. Her best effort came with 23 disposals and six tackles against North Adelaide, also kicking her sole goal for the year in that game. It was no surprise to see Falkenberg come away with the Eagles’ best and fairest award.

Shineah Goody

The versatile midfielder played forward, then back, and got runs onball to show off just how talented she is. At 15-years-old, Goody is already projecting as a highly talented player of the future, and she proved it by coming second in the club best and fairest in her debut season. A member of Port Adelaide’s Next Generation Academy, Goody averaged 12.5 disposals, 2.5 marks, 2.1 inside 50s, 1.6 clearances, 1.9 rebound 50s and laid 5.4 tackles. She used the ball well with a 70 per cent disposal efficiency, but it was her class and athleticism that really came to the fore.

Sophie Zuill

Still a youngster herself, Zuill enjoyed a strong season, winning her fair share of the ball through the midfield. Playing all 11 games, Zuill finished with 12.5 disposals, 2.1 marks, 2.7 tackles and 2.0 clearances, using the ball at 60 per cent efficiency. She finished third in the Eagles’ best and fairest and had a really strong finish to the season, including 36 disposals, 10 tackles and 11 clearances between the losses to North Adelaide and Sturt.

Kiana Lee

Capable of playing at both ends of the ground, Lee played 10 games and provided a contested marking specialist be it on the last line, or leading out from full-forward. She finished with 11.2 disposals, 3.9 marks, 2.5 tackles and 1.6 rebound 50s per game, clunking 18 contested marks, the second most of anyone in the competition. Often finding more of the ball in defence, Lee showed she could be thrown forward and find the big sticks as well.

OTHERS:

The Eagles had a number of consistent contributors from Jovanka Zecevic and Amie Blanden, to State Academy members Charlotte Dolan and Jamie Parish. Coming back from an injury early in the season, Jaida Tabb remains one to keep an eye on alongside the likes of Goody, Astrid Gooley, Marlie Fiegert and Chloe Whittington-Charity who are the core for the Eagles’ future.

Picture credit: via SANFL

Scouting Notes: 2020 SANFL Grand Finals

GRAND Final week in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) brings along with it another edition of our scouting notes, focusing on the top draft-relevant performers from around the competition this weekend. In this instalment, we widen our scope to cover the prospects running around across all three grades, with a particular focus on State Academy based talentNational Combine invitees, and others who may push for selection along the line.

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

>> Power Rankings: October Edition

LEAGUE/RESERVES

WWT Eagles vs. North Adelaide

By: Tom Wyman

WWT Eagles:

#9 Rhyan Mansell (League)

The young defender again played an integral role down back for the premiers. The Tasmanian combined well with Lachlan Jones and veteran Patrick Giuffreda in the back half, finishing with three rebounds. Mansell used the ball with precision and orchestrated a number of successful attacks. He showcased his sound vision, composure, and decision making and positioned himself well to take a number of intercept marks. Mansell finished the game with 19 disposals, eight marks and five tackles.

#16 James Rowe (League)

As has been the case all season, the excitement machine looked threatening whenever he was near the footy. He demanded attention all day and capitalised on his opportunities, as all good small forwards do. North’s Mitch Clisby was given the big job on Rowe and kept him quiet early on as the Roosters started strongly. However, when the Eagles were well on top, he nailed a goal in the dying minutes of the first half. The son of former-Crow Stephen, Rowe kicked a fantastic goal from 40 metres out after his Eagles teammates forced a turnover in the third term. Whenever he wasn’t lurking around the forward line, Rowe was getting under the skin of his Roosters opponents. He used the ball to terrific effect in general play and finished the day with 15 disposals and four inside 50s to go with his two goals. After a dominant season, Rowe is becoming increasingly difficult to overlook for a spot at the elite level.

#28 Jacob Wehr (League)

The 22-year-old from Balaklava in South Australia’s mid-north was excellent for the Eagles. Wehr was able to get the ball in some time and space, allowing him to cut up North’s defence with his pin-point foot skills. The wingman worked hard both ways between the arcs and continuously provided an outlet for Woodville-West Torrens. He finished the contest with 19 disposals, six marks, five tackles, two inside 50s and three rebound 50s. Wehr has been a revelation for the Eagles this season and is one of several mature-aged prospects who could attract some AFL attention over the coming months.

#34 Lachlan Jones (League)

The bull-like defender produced another sensational performance on the big stage and once again showed class beyond his years. As he has shown time and time again throughout the year, Jones refused to be beaten one-on-one. He was deployed as the loose defender for much of the day and read the play exceptionally well. He positioned himself like a seasoned veteran, taking a number of important intercept marks. He showed great composure and poise both with and without the ball, using it efficiently by hand and foot. He produced a number of terrific defensive actions which didn’t show up on the stats sheet, but will have impressed coach Jade Sheedy. Jones finished with 18 disposals, five marks, four tackles and three rebound 50s. A premiership medal is a fitting way to end a wonderful season for Jones, who appears likely to be a first round selection come draft night.

#51 Lachlan McNeil (League)

In a game where all the Eagles youngsters contributed well, McNeil was the best of the bunch. He provided relentless run along the wing and used the ball as well as anyone. McNeil’s high work rate allowed him to take a host of marks on the outer side. He used the ball well and his teammates clearly looked for him to hit a target going inside 50. But the clear highlight of his game was a terrific running goal in the second quarter, which featured two bounces and a beautiful finish. He concluded the match with 23 disposals, nine marks, two tackles, three clearances and six inside 50s. The Clare product missed out on being drafted as an 18-year-old last year, but after a great performance on Grand Final day and a consistent season at senior level with the Eagles, McNeil could find himself a home at AFL level at the second time of asking.

>> MORE WWT EAGLES CONTENT

North Adelaide:

#37 Karl Finlay (League)

It was a difficult day for the Roosters, who struggled to get anything going after quarter time as Finlay and his fellow backmen had their backs against the wall all day. However Finlay was one of North’s best, particularly in the air. He spent some time on dangerous Eagle forward Jack Hayes and also rolled onto Jake Von Bertouch at times. Given the duo’s ability to clunk big contested marks, Finlay held his own. He was thrown up forward by coach Jacob Surjan for a brief stint when the Eagles were in full control and took one of his three contested marks. Finlay tackled hard at ground level and also provided some rebound. He finished with 13 disposals, three marks, five tackles and two inside 50s.

#38 Dyson Hilder (Reserves)

Much like Finlay in the League game, fellow teenaged defender Hilder was similarly strong in the air for the Roosters’ Reserves. He took a couple of strong contested marks and finished the game with seven grabs overall. Hilder, who played a couple of senior games with North Adelaide earlier in the season, provided some clear rebound by foot and was among his side’s best players, despite the loss. He also gave number one ruckman James Craig a break by rotating through the ruck and winning seven hitouts. He finished with 16 disposals and four rebound 50s.

>> MORE NORTH ADELAIDE CONTENT

UNDER 18s

Norwood vs. Sturt

By: Michael Alvaro

Norwood:

#1 Cooper Murley

With Norwood at full strength and solid top-age operators roaming through the engine room, Murley has been squeezed out a touch in this finals series after an outstanding regular season. Nonetheless, the speedy bottom-ager managed to have an impact with bursts of pace and some crafty plays forward of centre. His instinctive attacking runs allowed him to find space inside 50 from the get-go, sinking one of two first term set shots. His kicks were a touch rushed on the outside under the heat of battle, but most of his running game came in that kind of fashion. He missed a few more chances to hit the scoreboard, albeit from tough positions and distances, with a two-bounce dash through the corridor during the final term ending in a flying shot which just did not have the legs. It was more a game of glimpses for Murley compared to his previous form, but he looms as a first round prospect for next year’s draft.

#4 Henry Nelligan

Nelligan is the kind of player you want on your side during a big game, with his consistency and work rate up there with the best of players. Starting in midfield and rotating forward, the diminutive ball winner ended with a game-high 28 disposals to go with six inside 50s and 1.3 in an inspired display. Not only did Nelligan showcase his clean hands and quick skills at ground level, but he was also able to accumulate around the ground and provide a reliable outlet in all areas. A lot of his clearances were booted over his shoulder, but still gained good meterage in the high-stakes contest. While stationed forward, Nelligan stayed busy and used his smarts to position beautifully upon Norwood’s inside 50 entries. His lone goal came in the first term from a strong mark close to goal, and he put two other chances just wide with another touched before bouncing through the big sticks. After some massive performances for the Redlegs, he remains an outside chance to be drafted as a natural footballer with great smarts.

#5 Ethan Schwerdt

Donning the knee brace once again, Schwerdt was a very handy part of Norwood’s midfield-forward rotation. His first big contribution came inside attacking 50, as he put a quick snap wide, but followed up with a shrewd crumb and dribble goal in the opening term. Schwerdt’s skills were neat in the short range and his little bursts of speed away from congestion proved key in setting Norwood on the front foot. His second goal, which came in the final term, was undoubtedly his highlight of the day. Schwerdt bravely marked between two opponents, moved on immediately to burn both of them, and slotted home a long-range bomb on the run.

#11 Xavier Tranfa

Another of Norwood’s prolific midfielders who also impacted in the front half, Tranfa’s two third term goals truly broke the game open. His first came via a strong mark directly from the centre clearance against a couple of opponents, with the set shot converted emphatically from around the 50-metre arc. Shortly after, he found himself on the end of another forward chain, wheeling on his favoured left side and sinking a powerful shot through the big sticks. That kind of impact was complimented by some strong work at the contest, as Tranfa attacked both the ball and carrier with intent. He was clean at ground level and while not overly quick, he would get his legs pumping or buy enough time to eventually send Norwood into attack. 19 disposals, six tackles, four clearances, and a couple of goals made for a terrific all-round game.

#15 Harlee Chandler

Chandler has proven somewhat of a finals wildcard for Norwood, slotting into the midfield with aplomb and providing great balance at the contest. He began proceedings with a sharp run through the middle and goal assisting pass inside 50, with that kind of run and movement through the corridor a sign of things to come. He was able to fend off opponents and break free, with much of his work as clean as and impactful as anyone else afield. A rush of blood saw Chandler miss his final term attempt on goal after a terrific play to win the ball, but it hardly took away from what was an eye-catching performance from the youngster. He finished with 19 disposals, six tackles, and three clearances.

#27 Nathan Hearing

The 2020 Alan Stewart Medal winner was best afield, Hearing was his usual heroic self through the ruck. Hardly a one-dimensional bigman, the 195cm prospect won a game-high 11 clearances, one more than his 10 hitouts throughout the day. His 21 disposals all-up came in various positions and fashions, but the majority of his work was done at the fall of the ball at stoppages to release his runners at ground level. Hearing’s imposing figure was also sighted down back where he took a couple of relieving marks close to goal, using his reach and timing to stand tall amid forming packs. He may have been beaten vertically at times at the centre bounces, but fared well around the ground and even took balls directly out of the ruck to send the Redlegs forward.

Others:

As is often the case for Norwood, an even team spread saw many contributors stand up across the day. Mitchell Trepka stood up early from defence, with Billy Haebich providing some dash and Sam Duke proving an important aerial figure on the same line. Daniel Fairbrother, who gained senior experience this year was also part of Norwood’s sturdy defence. Marcus Roberts fared well up forward with a couple of goals while big Finn Heard spearheaded the attack, and Michael Cavallaro provided a classy outlet on the wing.

>> MORE NORWOOD CONTENT

Sturt:

#9 Malachy Carruthers

Usually one of the more attacking defenders who is capable of impacting through the corridor, Carruthers’ rebounding efforts mostly came from inside own defensive 50. While his long-range kicking was as sound as ever amid the breeze and Norwood’s pressure, Carruthers seldom had reliable targets to kick to as the ball would often eventually find its way back to his area. He was one of Sturt’s only consistently cool heads down back, but was too often forced too far away from positions in which he would normally attack. Carruthers seemed to lift in the third term as the Double Blues’ hopes began to fade, with his intercept marking, urgent running, and weighted kicks all coming to the fore. It would end up being an effort in vein, but the potential draft bolter finished with a very handy 21 disposals, nine marks, and nine rebound 50s as one of Sturt’s best.

#17 Mani Liddy

Arguably Sturt’s most impactful midfielder in the first half, Liddy was particularly prolific at the centre bounces. His core strength and clean hands gave the Double Blues numerous opportunities to attack first, though some grubber kicks out of congestion on Liddy’s end did his side few favours in that sense. His disposal on the move was a touch untidy in those opening stages despite finding the ball at will, apart from his obvious proficiency via hand. Not shy of a bit of niggle, Liddy’s lone goal for the game came in the second term after being crunched inside 50, with his set shot conversion proving sound. He attempted to force some forward momentum in the latter stages, finishing with 18 disposals, seven clearances, and a goal.

#18 Tom Powell

Powell may have seen the most ball for Sturt with 25 disposals and six marks, but had a touch less than his usual impact around the stoppages. His ability to extract and quickly release via hand was still on show, with numerous drawing handballs and well-timed distributive touches showcasing his best assets. It also lent to his high-level vision and decision making, especially amid the contested Grand Final chaos. Powell’s clean hands were also shown as he gathered well below his knees and snapped home a sharp goal in the second term, something he is increasingly bringing to the fore. With a couple of goal assists to cap off his outing, that attacking prowess is something which will be important in shaking that one-dimensional accumulator tag. He lived up to his billing for the most part, but could not quite help Sturt get over the line.

#25 James Borlase

Borlase was in the thick of the action as tensions boiled over in the third term, not afraid to throw his large frame around and get involved in the biff. He was hardly the only one, but got very heated and seemed to be a prime target for Norwood as ill discipline crept into Sturt’s game. Outside of that, Borlase once again proved a class above many of his Under 18 competitors with terrific reading of the play down back and strong intercept marking. His ball use was often sound and allowed Sturt to retain possession, without being overly damaging. He had a purple patch in the second term with a string of aerial marks, while also bringing his kick penetration into play. He was thrown into the centre bounces during the final quarter in hopes of turning the midfield battle with his physicality, but would have little impact there and revert back to his defensive duties in open play. The Crows Academy prospect finished with 22 disposals and eight marks (three contested) as arguably Sturt’s best player afield.

#32 Morgan Ferres

Ferres finished his bottom-age season strongly, providing a much-needed target leading up from the forward half. It proved a tough gig as Sturt struggled to transition the ball, with Ferres forced to search all the way up to defensive wing at times to find the ball. Half of his six marks were contested, and he was also able to make an impact closer to goal with some touches inside 50. Ferres ended the game with 1.1, sinking a set shot in the final term after seeing multiple attempts either go wide, fall short, or end up out of bounds. If he can tidy up that conversion, Ferres may well prove to be a force in next year’s competition.

Others:

Will Spain‘s efforts to win the ball and tackle at ground level were noted by his coaches, while fellow bottom-ager Brad Jefferies also gave it his all while rotating forward through midfield. Blake Higgins provided his usual run on the outside, while skipper Ned Walter was valiant in defence. Declan Hortle‘s 33 hitouts in the ruck also proved a big effort against the player judged best afield.

>> MORE STURT CONTENT

Featured Image: Norwood’s Under 18s celebrate their 2020 SANFL premiership | Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

Newcomer Dolan enjoys strong debut season in SANFLW

CHARLOTTE Dolan only started playing Australian rules football a few years ago, and played her first South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s match this year. Running out for Woodville-West Torrens Eagles, Dolan was involved in the club’s inaugural win back in Round 4, marking a really memorable debut for the teenager.

Dolan said she was thrilled to win on debut, but had not thought about being the club’s first win when it happened, just soaking up the moment in a great team effort rather than being a lucky charm of sorts.

“Yeah wow nah I thought everyone played really well that game,” Dolan said. “I was playing off the wing and onball for a part of it and the pressure was just really high which made it successful. “I don’t know what to say, I’m good luck?”

Whilst the game’s result had Dolan on a high, the uncertainty around the season – that would eventuate not long after – put her new found senior career on hold. Despite this she used the COVID-19 pandemic postponement as a way to improve her overall game to hit the ground running when it restarted in June.

“It was a really gut-dropping feeling,” Dolan said. “I was at the game on the Friday night (before her debut) I think it was, and we didn’t even know if the game was going to go ahead, and everyone was like ‘they might be cancelling the game’ because of COVID and stuff. “I was like ‘oh no’ but finding out out the week after the next game against Westies had been cancelled and I was like ‘you’re kidding? I finally made my way into the side’. “But I guess it gave me that break to push harder, train a bit more, get a bit fitter again and keep working on my skills.”

As mentioned above, Dolan was not always a footballer, instead she came from a a soccer and surf lifesaving background. She reached state representation in both those sports, but was a chance chat with friends that got the ball rolling for a girls football team at SMOSH West Lakes.

“I remember it was a friend of ours who was highly involved in football around at SMOSH West Lakes and we were like ‘let’s get a girls team going’ and the parents weren’t too sure about it obviously but we thought we might as well give it a crack and it was like something new,” Dolan said. “At the time it wasn’t really a big thing, and were like ‘oh this could be cool, let’s get involved and see what happens’.”

From there it grew, as Dolan was starting effectively from scratch, having only brought across a competitive nature and being involved in a team environment from her other two sports. Prior to the Eagles having a team entered in the SANFL Women’s, Dolan was initially in the Glenelg pathway before her zone changed to Woodville-West Torrens and played a couple of Under 17s matches there prior to progressing into the senior team.

That debut came in the famed Round 4 win, and aside from the climate at the time and uncertainty that came with it, Dolan had her own natural nerves heading into the game against senior opponents.

“My first game I was pretty scared going out there against everyone older,” Dolan said. “It was a bit nerve wracking but I haven’t struggled too much I don’t think. “Just having confidence in myself is just the main thing. “I can do this.”

Dolan gained confidence over time and was included in the State Under 18s Academy this year which further enhanced her self-belief and love for the sport.

That (State Academy) was good, it started off really well,” Dolan said. “Every weekend we’d have a training on the Sunday morning and that was good to have as different to the other trainings were were doing at our clubs and it was good to have another training. “It was different coaches and you’ve also got to hang out with the other girls from other teams which was good.”

After collecting the wooden spoon in 2019, the Eagles showed great development in 2020, picking up two wins and as Dolan pointed out, were a lot more competitive across the board.

I guess you look at it as a learning curve obviously and you can see where things went right and things went wrong,” Dolan said. “It’s not like we were far off getting wins throughout the season. “The games were usually pretty close, they weren’t smashings aside the game against North.”

Dolan is a natural onballer from the time she spent at junior level, but began running around on a wing and increasing her versatility with the Eagles. Her fitness base gained from her other sports allowed Dolan to run out full games and often mentally work over opponents.

I’m naturally more of a sweeper, defensive player, midfielder,” Dolan said. “Playing centre on the ball and playing in my first game off the wing and I played that natural on the 45 and then behind the play and that suited me pretty well. “But definitely when I played school footy for example, I’ll play onball and I prefer more of that onball than a wing.”

Dolan stopped playing soccer when she took up Australian rules football, but unlike many top-age hopefuls, she had initially quit footy as well until she found the hunger to run around again.

“I stopped playing soccer three or four years ago to focus on footy and then do surf lifesaving on the side as a bit of fun and fitness,” Dolan said. “I quit footy last year actually and then I got really bored watching my brothers and my sister play so thought I’d play again and that’s when I got picked up. “I did surf lifesaving, I would train for that.”

Despite being one of the fittest going around, Dolan still aims to build her fitness even greater, as well as improve her acceleration to be able to take the game on even more and apply increased defensive pressure to her opponents. As for her goal, while the All-Stars game did not go as she had hoped, Dolan is still eyeing off a future at the elite level at some stage.

“It would be pretty awesome to make an AFLW side,” Dolan said. “For the draft this year, it was just a bit unfortunate the game on Friday night (All-Stars game). “I wasn’t too happy with how it played out but I guess not the end of the world and more bigger and brighter things to come.”

Picture: Karley J Photography

2020 SANFL Reserves MOTR: Round 13 – West Adelaide vs. WWT Eagles

ROUND 13 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) saw a host of Under 18 talent running around across the two senior grades. With our weekly scouting notes geared towards those at League and Under 18s level, we took a look at some of the young guns plying their trade in between, in the Reserves on the weekend.

In this week’s nominated match of the round, the brightest West Adelaide and Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) prospects from their clash were put under the microscope, as the Eagles ran away 49-point victors via a six-goal to one final term. Below are scouting notes on just some of the young talent afield, with a paticular focus on the Under 18s products on display.

WEST ADELAIDE 1.2 | 1.4 | 2.5 | 3.6 (24)
WWT EAGLES 2.4 | 4.5 | 5.5 | 11.7 (73)

GOALS:

Bloods: T. Harris 2, M. McKenzie
Eagles: N. Moore 2, A. Asfaha 2, T. Carcuro 2, H. Morgan 2, C. Poulter, L. Beecken, G. Armfield

BEST:

Bloods: L. Hupfeld, C. Fairlie, J. Sinderberry, B. Chamberlain, W. Mead, Z. Wooldridge
Eagles: C. McLeod, M. Mead, R. Bruce, L. Barnett, A. Asfaha, S. Michael

SCOUTING NOTES

West Adelaide:

#4 Nicholas Couroupis

The hard-nosed inside midfielder was part of a young trio of Bloods to feature at the centre bounces, but he also did some nice work away from the coalface. In his fifth-consecutive Reserves outing since entering the grade, Couroupis was able to showcase his admirable defensive work-rate and ability to impact aerially, using his courage and vertical leap to reel in a couple of nice marks. He provided a safe outlet in the back half when a hold in possession was required, but also attacked the ball hard in open play and came out better for it. This was most evident in the final term, as Couroupis straight-lined the ball between three opponents, burst free, and delivered a goal assist to Tyler Harris, who was free inside 50.

#23 Cooper Gilbert

Another of Westies’ young inside midfielders, Gilbert has adapted his hardness around the contest well at senior level. In his fourth Reserves appearance, Gilbert was thrust straight into the centre bounces, where he showed great tenacity going both ways. He was able to get first hands on the ball, without winning a mountain of possessions, and was just as impactful in his defensive duties with plenty of bumps and tackles. Gilbert is not one to boast massive numbers by game’s end, but makes his presence felt throughout and pops up in exciting spurts.

#28 Hugo Kelly

Although he managed to recover well, the tall defender had some shaky moments in defence, starting with a horror spilt mark which led to Caleb Poulter converting the game’s opening goal. The soon-to-be 18-year-old found steadiness as the game wore on, and went on to have arguably his greatest impact in the first term despite the aforementioned slip-up. He constantly got a fist in to prevent WWT from linking up quickly on the outer, positioning aggressively up the ground and looking to become an option on the turnover. Kelly was quieter in the second half, but showed some nice signs.

#40 Bailey Chamberlain

There may not be much of him, but Chamberlain finds a way to become as prominent as any player at stoppages. Having narrowly missed the cut once more for a League debut, the balanced midfielder went about his business once again with great speed coming away from congestion, and great accumulative quality. His five-step acceleration made him nearly impossible to catch when sweeping up the ground balls, though a lack of strength found him wanting at times when caught in congestion. Still, Chamberlain stayed busy and got his hands on plenty of the ball throughout, while also showcasing good closing speed in tackle chases. He still looks to be polishing his disposal and decision making at speed, though a nice lateral kick coming away from the first centre bounce was neat.

#60 Jye Sinderberry

While the National Combine invitee has impressed this season as a defensive interceptor, he was stationed up on a wing throughout this particular contest. He got his hands on the ball straight away via Chamberlain’s smooth centre bounce exit, and went on to enjoy a solid first half. Directly opposed to Caleb Poulter when the Eagles’ man was on the wing, Sinderberry got goalside of his dangerous opponent despite sometimes losing direct touch of him. His vertical power allowed him to mark well when required, though the 189cm prospect did not show the same explosive traits when covering the ground. Nonetheless, Sinderberry was able to get up and back to good effect, and even won a one-on-one on the end of a fast break to burst inside attacking 50. His delivery by foot was also neat, and physicality evident in a sweet run-down tackle on Taj Schofield in the third term.

WWT:

#11 Harrison Dawkins

In just his second Reserves appearance, Dawkins looked sharp at the level with some superb drive out of congestion and smart work in-close. The big-bodied 18-year-old has the body to match it with more mature players, but also showed enough class to prove his Under 18s form was not simply down to brawn. Having rotated off the bench into the centre bounce, Dawkins immediately found the ball and generated some forward momentum. When unable to burst clear, he was able to prize his arms clear and release, adding finesse to his inside grunt.

#30 Taj Schofield

The Port Adelaide father-son hopeful was another to rotate into the game off the bench, taking up a familiar role on the wing. Schofield’s read the movement of play well off each centre bounce, while also working hard both ways to impact around either arc. This was particularly noticeable in defence, as Schofield positioned at the back of stoppages and got on his bike to receive and deliver forward. The clever small stayed involved with each play and while his kicking radar was a touch off under pressure in the early goings, he adjusted well to showcase his class later on. Schofield arguably looks most dangerous wheeling on the outside, where he can properly assess his options in space and get creative via foot. He was caught holding the ball a couple of times for a lack of strength and explosive speed, but showed good combativeness in the dying stages to beat Jye Sinderberry to a ground ball, before hitting up a teammate inside 50.

#33 Caleb Poulter

Perhaps the most highly-fancied draft prospect afield, Poulter had some nice moments in his fourth Reserves appearance. The smooth moving big-bodied midfielder was stationed out on the wing to start off, before rotating into the centre bounces sporadically. He kicked off his game perfectly with the opening goal, which he read well off the hands of an opponent before snapping home beautifully on his trusty left side. Poulter’s greatest strengths at Under 18s level were his overhead marking, defensive acumen, and presence at stoppages, all of which seemed to suffer a touch due to a perceived lack of confidence. While positioned perfectly in some dangerous spots, it seemed Poulter was unable to fly at or win balls he usually would. That is not to say he had a bad game though, with his high level of performance this year making for lofty standards. The 17-year-old still showed dare and penetration in his kicking, and was able to float around the ground in his usual manner, covering it beautifully both ways.

Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: WWT Eagles vs. Swan Districts

OUR next All-Star Team battle is one between a South Australian club and a West Australian club in Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) Eagles and Swan Districts. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Matthew Pavlich (WWT Eagles) and Alex Rance and Nic Naitanui (Swan Districts).

TEAMS:

Swan Districts are the 12th seeds in our draw, with WWT Eagles not far behind, ranked 21st overall in the mid-table logjam where not much separates the sides.

STRENGTHS:

The aspect that sticks out for WWT Eagles is the fact they have great depth. Not many sides can look at their bench and see players who would slot into most other sides’ starting outfits, but they do, with an abundance of quality rucks (Matt Rendell, Sam Jacobs and Rhett Biglands), as well as good inside midfield depth with Luke Dunstan and Robert Shirley on the bench, as well as winger, Jared Polec. Speaking of wingers, their wingers in Steven Stretch and Michael Long are superb, whilst the key position depth, led by Pavlich is sublime, with Brian Lake, Nathan Bock and Jay Schulz some seriously strong contested marks.

For the Swans, they have an elite starting midfield. Naitanui in the ruck, with Stephen Coniglio, Michael Walters and Andrew Embley at the stoppages, you would back them in to win the midfield battle. Up forward, the likes of Charlie Cameron and Jeff Garlett would create havoc at the feet of their key forwards, while Lewis Jetta‘s elite kicking and Rance’s intercepting ability means they have some strong players across the field.

WEAKNESSES:

They have one elite player in Pavlich, and then some incredibly talented players bordering on elite in Long, Camporeale and Lake, but as a whole, the Eagles are just a really even squad. After the top couple of players, there is not much to separate them which is good, but also difficult against teams with a bit more class and talent overall.

For the Swans, it is that depth and little pockets in different parts of the field where they just fall short. In many ways, the Swans are the opposite to the Eagles, in the fact they have a number of elite players, but just fall away in the second half of the squad.

SUMMARY

This could be one of the more tough matches to pick. Some might think the midfield battle won by the Swans would be enough to see them get home, whilst the Eagles depth could see them make it through too, and it makes for an interesting vote.

Which All-Star Team do you pick?
WWT Eagles
Swan Districts
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SANFL Women’s season review: WWT Eagles

WOODVILLE-WEST Torrens Eagles are the next team up in our South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season review series as we look at the eight sides in reverse ladder order and how their 2020 seasons went down.

Position: 7th
Wins: 2
Losses: 8

2020 IN A NUTSHELL

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles landed the wooden spoon in their inaugural season, going through 2019 without a win. Luckily for the Eagles they broke that drought after a number of close contests, winning against Glenelg by 25 points in Round 4. It was a deserving victory just before the break, and gave them confidence going forward. After a couple of tight losses – and a couple of beltings – the Eagles won in the final round of the season, toppling Sturt by 15 points to leap off the bottom of the table and avoid the wooden spoon.

AFL WOMEN’S ALL-STARS GAME REPRESENTATIVES:

Charlotte Dolan

A 17-year-old with some serious wheels, Dolan came into her own in the last month of the season, being amongst the Eagles’ best. She was able to play in defence or further up the ground, and generally use it well when having time and space. She is not afraid to take a bounce and try and gain metres for her side.

Kiana Lee

A versatile utility who just played consistently all year, Lee started as a full-forward and progressed into a full-back, then would play at both ends during games. She was the club’s leading goalkicker last season and went that way again in 2020, but what made it more remarkable was her ability to adapt to defence. Her contested marking and long kicking are among her strengths.

Tesharna Maher

One of the quickest players going around, Maher provided the need for speed out of defence. She went on four or five-bounce runs more than any other player and was great at finding space down the outside of the field. Continued to improve throughout the year and is still only an over-ager.

Jamie Parish

Represented South Australia at Under 16s level last season, Parish is still only young but showed good progression signs as the season went on. Playing in her first season at League level, Parish held her own, often standing up in defence and providing good run off half-back. She does not need to be a high disposal winner to catch the eye.

Teagan Usher

Another Central Allies representative at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships last year, Usher is one who has a crack in the midfield, or can play in defence and settle the team down. While only standing at 157cm, coaches know what to expect from Usher.

OTHERS WHO STOOD OUT:

  • Jovanka Zecevic
  • Amie Blanden
  • Renee Forth
  • Chloe Forby
  • Anastasia Falkenberg

Some of the more consistent performers throughout the season, 21-year-old Jovanka Zecevic won the club best and fairest, hardly putting a foot wrong all year in a multitude of roles. Renee Forth and Chloe Forby provided great experience and reliability through midfield and half-back respectively, while Amie Blanden rotated well between the middle of the ground and as a target up forward. Another underrated player was Anastasia Falkenberg who continued to deliver from a team perspective each week.

Summary

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles became renowned for their tackling pressure throughout the season, and made it really difficult for opposition teams to score in the first half. Once the others gained more AFL Women’s experience back, the Eagles struggled, but still picked up a win to get off the bottom of the table. Had Jess Sedunary not gone down with injury, and Jaimi Tabb been available, no doubt the Eagles would have pushed some of the other sides in the run home.

Picture: Jack Chambers

All-Star Team of the AFL Draft Era: Which club is the best of the best?

EVERY year, a new crop of AFL Draft talents rise up and make waves at AFL level. Some clubs such as Calder Cannons and Geelong Falcons are referred to as ‘footy factories’. Others are less well known, but nonetheless vital in providing players with their start to the AFL.

Over the past couple of months, Draft Central has gone through all of the NAB League, SANFL and WAFL clubs and tried to determine the best 24-player squad for their respective clubs. The captains and vice-captains were determined by the public through Instagram voting. Now, it is up to the public to decide which All-Star Team is the greatest of the lot. That’s right, the 30 teams from Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia are going head to head in a knockout draw.

Which teams are competing?

NAB League [12]: Bendigo Pioneers, Calder Cannons, Dandenong Stingrays, Eastern Ranges, Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power, GWV Rebels, Murray Bushrangers, Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers, Sandringham Dragons, Western Jets
SANFL [9]: Central District, Glenelg, North Adelaide, Norwood, Port Adelaide, South Adelaide, Sturt, West Adelaide, Woodville-West Torrens
WAFL [9]: Claremont, East Fremantle, East Perth, South Fremantle, Peel Thunder, Perth, Subiaco, Swan Districts, West Perth

How will it work?

Each day at 10am, we will publish the two All-Star Teams of the AFL Draft era, and the public will be able to vote through the article, Facebook and Twitter, with the overall winner moving through to the next round.

Given there are 30 teams, two sides who we have picked out as the top two seeds – East Fremantle and Geelong Falcons – will have the bye in the opening round, with the other 28 teams seeded appropriately similar to the All-Star Player voting (3rd against 28th, 4th against 27th etc.).

Who is up first?

The first All-Star Team battle is between a couple of metropolitan sides who we have seeded 16th and 17th in the draw. They both have some absolute elite stars, but Calder Cannons and Western Jets will begin the voting on Monday. They will be followed by the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Eastern Ranges on Tuesday, before a cross-state clash sees third seed Port Adelaide Magpies tackle Peel Thunder.