Tag: young guns

AFL Women’s draftee watch: Round 4 – Saint Smith sustains shining performance

ROUND 4 of the 2021 AFL Women’s season reverted back into it’s three-day stretch over the weekend, with a number of fresh faces continuing to make their mark on the competition and establish their roles in each team. We run you through how Generation W’s generation next fared across the latest set of fixtures, focusing on players in every match under 21 years of age and from the most recent draft crop.

St Kilda vs. Geelong

St Kilda shook off a youthful Geelong outfit on Friday night to kick off Round 4, with a star Saints draftee continuing to prove her worth. Number six pick, Tyanna Smith has somewhat flown under the radar thus far but is as consistent a performer as any draftee this year, especially after notching her third 16-disposal performance in four games. Having slotted seamlessly into her side’s midfield, it seems inevitable that Smith will soon be recognises with a rising star nomination. Why not now?

Laura Gardiner became Geelong’s newest debutant in the same game, registering three disposals and breaching either arc in her work on the outer. Fellow first year players Stephanie Williams and Olivia Barber also retained their places in the senior side, with the latter again showing some promise as the Cats were kept to just one goal for three terms. She finished with a minor score from her six touches and one mark.

Carlton vs. Richmond

Carlton scraped home in a thriller on Saturday afternoon, overcoming a horror start to beat Richmond by five points at Princes Park. Mimi Hill has was the Blues’ first selection in last year’s draft and continues to be their pick of the first year players, contributing some excellent moments on the wing. She finishes with 13 disposals and two marks, showing great poise and clean hands in the process.

Daisy Walker again featured for Carlton after her Round 3 debut and was under the pump down back. She registered virtually identical stats to her maiden outing (four kicks, three handballs) but also stepped up to the plate with four tackles. Number one pick Ellie McKenzie was also excellent for Richmond, proving all-class on the ball as she gathered 14 touches and four marks rotating through midfield.

Fremantle vs. Gold Coast

Fremantle flexed its muscle in the second half to see off Gold Coast on Saturday, extending the Dockers’ unbeaten streak once more. First round selection, Sarah Verrier finished with three disposals and four tackles, but had a moment she will never forget in the third term when she slotted her maiden senior goal. The 18-year-old kicked truly after earning a holding the ball free kick inside 50.

An inexperienced Gold Coast side fought hard and was within striking distance for half of the game, but could not match Freo’s firepower with its only score, a goal, registered in the first term. Lucy Single got her hands dirty for the Suns with seven tackles, while Maddison Levi laid four in her six-disposal display. Meanwhile, Daisy D’Arcy had it three times as the young Suns continue their learning curve.

North Melbourne vs. Collingwood

Saturday night’s Marvel Stadium blockbuster saw Collingwood swoop on North Melbourne, with the Magpies holding their highly-touted opponents goalless to remain undefeated. Collingwood father-daughter coup, Tarni Brown continues to impress in black and white, cementing her spot in the side with another 13 touches (11 handballs), two marks and three tackles.

Joanna Lin has enjoyed a three-game stretch since debuting for the Magpies and managed her highest disposal haul (five) in this game, while Bella Eddey produced the same numbers for North Melbourne in what was a tough day forward of centre for the Roos. Having played all four games so far, she is another to have cracked a top side to good effect.

Brisbane vs. Adelaide

Two South Australian draftees featured as Brisbane and Adelaide locked horns in Sunday’s all-important clash at Hickey Park, which the Crows took out. Lions debutant Indy Tahau was promising in her maiden appearance, managing a mark among her eight touches. Teah Charlton has shown flashes of brilliance for Adelaide, but did not produce too many more highlights for her reel in a six-disposal outing up forward.

Western Bulldogs vs. Melbourne

Whitten Oval has proven a fortress for the Western Bulldogs this season and they claimed another big scalp on home turf after beating Melbourne on Sunday. Number two pick, Jess Fitzgerald continues to shine with her scoreboard impact and fierce two-way attack, booting a pair of crucial goals among her 12 touches while also laying eight tackles. Teammate Sarah Hartwig is also growing in confidence and managed 13 disposals, including two marks and two rebound 50s.

The Demons did not quite click up forward, at least from a conversion standpoint, but it was not for a lack of trying. Star draftee Alyssa Bannan again troubled the scorers, just not in the majors column as she snared a behind from her three disposals and two marks. Further afield, Eliza McNamara is another draftee to have grasped an early senior opportunity and finished with nine disposals and four tackles this time out.

GWS vs. West Coast

Greater Western Sydney (GWS) made it two wins on the trot by overcoming West Coast on Sunday, boosted by the return of a key draftee. Tarni Evans is the player in question and added some spark to the Giants’ lineup in her first game back from suspension. She finished with 12 disposals, three rebound 50s and a couple of tackles in a swift reminded of her value.

Bella Lewis continues to be thrown in the deep end for West Coast and again stood up to the rigours of senior midfield play, finishing as her side’s highest ball winner (16 disposals) behind a raft of Giants. The 18-year-old also dug in for a career-high nine tackles, defying her frame. 19-year-old Amber Ward also chimed in with six touches, as the South Australian remains among senior calculations.

Image Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

AFL Women’s draftee watch: Round 3 – McKenzie arrives at the double

ROUND 3 of the 2021 AFL Women’s season went ahead over a four-day stretch after even more late fixture improvisation, with a number of fresh faces continuing to make their mark on the competition. We run you through how Generation W’s generation next fared over the weekend, focusing on the players under 21 years of age from the most recent draft crop.

Geelong vs. Western Bulldogs

In a fixture which feels like it was so long ago, 2020 number two pick Jess Fitzgerald again lit up the field in a Western Bulldogs win. The Northern Knights graduate was a little quieter throughout the game than in her opening two outings, but sealed the game for her side with a highlight reel running goal late in the piece to leave onlookers with their jaws to the floor.

Somewhat flying under the radar, fellow Bulldogs draftee Sarah Hartwig was again impressive, rebounding confidently off half-back and up to the wing. Geelong tall Olivia Barber continued her promising start to life at the elite level, clunking a terrific contested mark and proving mobile in her work up forward. Northern Territory native Stephanie Williams was also lively in patches, but kept to four touches and two tackles.

Greater Western Sydney vs. Gold Coast

Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney (GWS) again did battle in horrendous conditions, with the Giants prevailing on the back of greater experience and class. It showed on the team sheet too, with no under 21 draftees from last year taking the field, but 19-year-old Georgia Garnett making her debut. On the other hand, four of Gold Coast’s young first year players were selected with Janet Baird making her maiden senior appearance.

The Territorian was relatively quiet with two disposals, with all of her fellow under 21 draftees – Maddison Levi, Lucy Single, and Daisy D’Arcy kept to under 10 touches each. Nonetheless, each of them got their hands dirty in the wet conditions as they were spread on all three lines, displaying the green shoots Gold Coast will require to get on the board this season.

St Kilda vs. Carlton

Carlton got on the board for the first time in 2021 with a steady victory over the competitive St Kilda Saints, with players making their debuts on either side. Daisy Walker became the Blues’ second 2020 draftee to crack the senior team and looked lively in defence with her speed on the rebound. Jessica Matin, a promising junior cricketer, also broke her duck and had a couple of touches for St Kilda.

Elsewhere, the Saints’ prized pick in Tyanna Smith was again impactful from midfield with 11 disposals, four marks, and six tackles, but came up against some pretty stiff competition in the Carlton engine room. After a very good showing last week, Mimi Hill was kept to just six touches for the Blues but looks settled in the starting lineup on a wing.

Melbourne vs. North Melbourne

One of the best AFL Women’s matches of all time saw Melbourne get the hop on North Melbourne with a captivating nine-point win. The cream rose to the top but there was still some young talent roaming Casey Fields on the day, with Melbourne continuing to blood Alyssa Bannan and Eliza McNamara. Both had promising spurts in the red and blue, while North’s prized draftee Bella Eddey booted a goal from her six touches – five of which were handballs.

Adelaide vs. Fremantle

Fremantle and Adelaide locked horns at Norwood Oval on Sunday, with the Dockers coming away 30-point victors and handy premiership favourites. Their mature members were fantastic as ever, but that did not stop the likes of Sarah Verrier and Mikayla Hyde from providing a glimpse into the future.

Verrier was typically assured in defence and played to her strengths with all nine of her disposals coming via foot. Hyde was not far behind on six touches and a couple of marks, also playing her role in the win. For Adelaide, Teah Charlton lit up the final term with some exciting passages, exploding in forward charges to eventually end with 14 disposals and five tackles.

Richmond vs. Collingwood

A trio of 2020 draftees all secured their maiden senior goals on Sunday as Collingwood defeated a fast finishing Richmond by 17 points at Punt Road Oval. Richmond’s number one pick Ellie McKenzie was at the forefront, snaring a double which included a three-bounce effort consistent with her junior form. She was outstanding, finishing with 12 disposals and five tackles.

Collingwood ruck Bella Smith stood up in the absence of Sharni Norder, taking on the primary ruck duties and fighting hard against in-form opposition. Father-daughter coup Tarni Brown booted her first goal and was matched by Joanna Lin, but both players were relatively quiet otherwise. Brown was the pick of the pair, finishing with eight touches and seven tackles.

Brisbane vs. West Coast

Brisbane roared back into top spot with a 45-point win over West Coast, dominating after half time and flexing its muscle. Courtney Hodder was the sole under 21 draftee from last year in the Lions’ lineup and continued her lively start to the season, finishing with 12 disposals and five tackles as she constantly looked to break forward quickly.

Bella Lewis was arguably the pick of West Coast’s young first year players, ending up as her side’s second highest ball winner with 15 touches. Her ability to cleanly win the contested ball and constantly burrow in suited the Eagles’ first half intensity. Shanae Davison popped up in the front half for four disposals, while Amber Ward had double that tally up the other end to go with three rebounds.

Image Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

AFL Women’s draftee watch – Round 1: Nine of the top 10 make their debuts

ROUND 1 of the 2021 AFL Women’s season was won and done across four enthralling days of action, with a number of fresh faces making their mark on the competition. We run you through how Generation W’s generation next fared over the weekend, focusing on the players under 20 years of age from the most recent draft crop.

Carlton vs. Collingwood

Collingwood picked up an upset victory over its most fierce rival on Thursday night in a tense season opener, with three members of the Magpies’ 2020 draft haul making their debuts in black and white. Father-daughter selection Tarni Brown got her first taste of senior footy, making a steady start to life in the big league with nine disposals and two tackles.

Amelia Velardo donned Collingwood’s famous number five on her debut, fittingly the same amount of football games she has played – ever. The Western Jets graduate featured among a strong Magpies forward-line, but could not quite find the goals. 19-year-old South Australian coup Bella Smith also made her first appearance, a steep rise having been picked up as an undrafted free agent.

Mimi Hill was one of four Carlton debutants on Thursday, but the only one out of her side’s most recent draft intake. The former Oakleigh Chargers captain is already one of Daniel Harford‘s favourites and was productive moving forward from the outer, gathering 12 disposals in a promising maiden appearance for the Blues.

St Kilda vs. Western Bulldogs

St Kilda unveiled all four of its 2020 draftees in a Friday night victory over the Western Bulldogs, headed by number six selection Tyanna Smith. The Dandenong Stingrays standout was terrific on debut, slotting seamlessly into the Saints’ midfield and providing plenty of drive going forward. Among her 16 disposals was her first AFL Women’s goal from a quick chance inside 50, putting the cherry on top of her game.

One of the great feel-good stories out of Round 1 was Alice Burke making her debut against the Dogs, who are coached by her famous father, Nathan. Alice’s Saints got the result, as she got a taste for senior football coming off the bench. Renee Saulitis was the other 18-year-old Saints draftee to feature and looked relatively comfortable on the ball for her seven disposals.

The Bulldogs had a couple of exciting new faces make their mark too, with youth a key feature of the developing squad. Number two pick Jess Fitzgerald found the ball eight times and was lively on the attack from midfield, even earning a shot on goal for her side. Sarah Hartwig‘s game was better than her five touches suggest, with the versatile defender impacting on the intercept and constantly looking to rebound via her long left boot.

Gold Coast vs. Melbourne

Gold Coast and Melbourne put out the most total draftees of any matchup in Round 1, with seven in the Under 20 bracket as the Dees made a winning start to the season. Gold Coast blooded its first round draftee in Annise Bradfield, along with three other 18-year-old recruits. Along with Bradfield, Maddison Levi and Daisy D’Arcy were kept under 10 disposals, while Lucy Single had it 13 times in the loss.

Melbourne also unveiled its first pick as Alyssa Bannan donned the red and the blue up forward, managing a shot on goal and two marks among her five disposals. Megan Fitzsimon also got a crack first up, and Eliza McNamara put her hand up for rising star honours with an impressive 18-disposal display on debut. The tough Sandringham Dragons graduate lived up to the hype attached to her in preseason and looks to have already cemented her spot in the hardened Demons side.

West Coast vs. Adelaide

West Coast promised to throw its top young draftees straight into the deep end and did exactly that as number three pick, Bella Lewis featured in the cut and thrust of midfield. While the Eagles went down comfortably to Adelaide in the end, Lewis was a bright spot in the engine room alongside second year star Mikayla Bowen, while high-flier Shanae Davison featured further afield.

Teah Charlton was Adelaide’s sole representative in this category, with the fourth picked player in last year’s draft notching eight disposals and laying seven tackles. Her dynamism and explosiveness up forward bodes well for plenty of highlights to come, though she was unable to find the big sticks on debut.

Geelong vs. North Melbourne

Top 10 pick Darcy Moloney faced a baptism of fire in her first outing for the Cats, as they went down by 62 points to the rampant North Melbourne Kangaroos. Moloney managed six touches as the lone debutant in the hoops, among a young side which was outdone for strength and size.

Bella Eddey had a debut to remember as she snared her maiden senior goal in North’s big win. The Sandringham Dragons product, dubbed ‘Silk’, also gathered six disposals. Alice O’Loughlin was the other North draftee to feature, cracking the team first up but finding just two touches as an abundance of established stars ran the show.

Richmond vs. Brisbane

All eyes were on Punt Road Oval as number one pick Ellie McKenzie made her AFLW debut for Richmond, but the result did not go her way as Brisbane’s mix of youth and experience came up trumps. The Northern Knights graduate featured on a wing for the improving Tigers, showing glimpses of her best to finish with 12 disposals and four marks. 19-year-old draftee Luka Lesosky-Hay also made her senior debut in the yellow and black, kept to just three touches. The Lions did not field any of their 2020 draftees.

Fremantle vs. GWS

Both Fremantle and GWS handed debuts to their 2020 first round draft picks as the Dockers shook off their brave opponents after half time at Fremantle Oval. Sarah Verrier gathered five disposals for the team in purple, showing plenty of skill and class across half-forward in her short spurts on the ball. Tarni Evans showcased her running power with some terrific efforts on the outer for GWS, with versatility also a key part of her upside. She finished with nine disposals and two clearances.

Image Credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images via AFL Photos

Out to impress: QAFL Seniors Grand Final preview – Broadbeach vs. Morningside

AFTER nine regular season rounds and two enthralling weeks of finals, it all comes down to this. Undefeated minor premier, Broadbeach meets Morningside (2nd, 7-1) in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Grand Final on Saturday afternoon, and there is plenty of young talent primed to impact on the big stage.

In a new-look QAFL preview, Draft Central again narrows its focus to the young guns in action across the two best sides in the competition, including a bunch of Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS Academy products. We take a look at who shone when the sides previously met in 2020, while also touching on the strengths of some budding AFL Draft prospects in action.

2020 QAFL Grand Final

Broadbeach vs. Morningside
Saturday, September 26 | 2:30pm
Leyshon Park, Yeronga

Previous meeting…

Round 9 – Broadbeach 13.16 (94) def. Morningside 6.8 (44)

GOALS:

Broadbeach: C. Nutting 3, C. Cameron 3, J. Moncrieff 2, J. Fisher 2, R. Gilmore, B. Chadwick, B. Reeves
Morningside: L. Edwards 2, M. Hammelmann, S. Crozier, E. Mallan, B. Coleman

BEST:

Broadbeach: K. Boakye, E. Reeves, M. Lower, C. Cameron, B. Lowe, S. Mills
Morningside: W. Pendlebury, E. Mallan, L. Russ, R. William, B. Kethro, H. Joyce

It took until the final home-and-away round for the season’s two undefeated outfits to meet, with Broadbeach the side which would stand clear after a statement-making 50-point victory. The Cats’ range of scoring options ensure they pulled away strongly in the second half, overcoming some early woes in front of goal to put Morningside to the sword. Usual suspect and former Gold Coast forward Connor Nutting booted three goals in the winning effort, with fellow SUNS Academy graduate Ryan Gilmore and Bailey Reeves also hitting the scoreboard. For the Panthers, who showed plenty of room for improvement, current Brisbane Academy prospects Saxon Crozier and Blake Coleman also found the big sticks, but 24-year-old leading goalkicker Matt Hammelmann was kept to just one major in a big tick for Broadbeach’s defence.

The finals journey…

After both earning a week’s rest as the top two ranked teams, the preliminary finals proved a relatively straightforward stage for either side. Broadbeach scrapped to beat Sherwood, who employed some defensive tactics, to the tune of 43 points to book its spot in the decider. It should prove a handy tune-up for the Cats as their defence held up well, though the finishing up forward could do with some sharpening. Meanwhile, Morningside held off a pesky Palm Beach Currumbin (PBC) to advance via a 19-point victory. Crozier, Coleman, and Hammelmann were all again among the goals, but Victorian recruit Matthew McGannon was named best afield for his efforts through midfield. The Panthers will need another big effort from their forwards this coming Saturday.

Ones to watch…

A race against time will determine whether leading Queensland draft prospect Alex Davies returns to action for Broadbeach. The big-bodied inside midfielder has only managed one outing for the Cats in 2020, and is recovering from an elbow injury which saw him miss the Academy Series. It could be a risk to play him ahead of next month’s draft combine, but he would add clean extraction skills in what is usually the most hotly contested game of the season.

Conversely, another current SUNS Academy player in Aiden Fyfe promises to break the game open for Broadbeach, with his sharp ball use by foot and outside run making for valuable assets when the Cats are in need of a spark. Set to be stationed either off half-back or on the wing, Fyfe looms as a good counter to some of Morningside’s runners. Namely, Saxon Crozier‘s capacity to penetrate on the outer will be a key to much of the Panthers’ success, along with Blake Coleman‘s creativity in attack. Both make up two of the leading Lions Academy prospects for 2020, and have adjusted well to senior football.

Staying with the midfield battle, Broadbeach’s Bailey Reeves has a good mix of ball-winning traits both inside and out, and should battle well against the likes of Toby Triffett and Matthew McGannon, two of Morningside’s prime movers. Up forward, livewire small Josh Gore will look to go big having turned heads in his over-age year. The SUNS Academy graduate should keep a Panthers defence which boasts Nathan Colenso busy alongside the likes of Connor Nutting and Ryan Gilmore. Both Gore and Nutting have booted 17 goals this season.

Tip: Broadbeach by 15

Featured Image: Broadbeach young guns Alex Davies and Josh Gore celebrate after a goal | Source: Russell Freeman Photography

Out to impress: WAFL Round 7 preview

YOUNG talent continues to turn heads at state league level around the nation, and it has been no different across all three WAFL grades upon the competition’s resumption in 2020. As we roll into Round 7, Draft Central continues its new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game. In our latest edition, a familiar name could finally be in for his League debut with Subiaco, while Peel continues to blood its youth.

>> SCROLL for fixtures and League teams

Son of a gun Liam Hickmott is finally set to make his League debut for Subiaco this week, but younger brother Wil comes the other way as part of five changes for the reigning premiers. Liam slots straight into the midfield, while fellow debutant Aaron Breman assumes a spot on the bench to start. The Lions take on Perth in all three grades, with Conor McPartland headlining the Demons’ promotions in his Reserves berth. The 19-year-old is a readymade ball winner who has made a prolific start to the season at Colts level.

Nathan O’Driscoll not only retains his spot in Perth’s League line-up, but looks like gaining some more midfield minutes with 2018 West Coast premiership player Chris Masten out of the team. Key forward Logan McDonald will continue his push for top five AFL draft contender-ship, while 22-year-old Ethan Hansen comes into the side for his sixth League game, and first since Round 2.

Undefeated ladder leader South Fremantle takes on winless cellar dweller Peel Thunder on Saturday, with a couple of exciting inclusions made to both teams. In line with Peel’s promotion of its youth, leading draft prospect Isiah Winder returns to the top flight fold after averaging 27 disposals at Colts level since being dropped. Unfortunately, Ryan Bennell comes out of the team, while David Yaccob‘s Colts form has been rewarded with a Reserves dig. 22-year-old Jacob Warne is also poised to make his League debut for South Fremantle, having made the cut on the interchange bench.

Bottom-age gun Richard Bartlett‘s Colts return may be short-lived, but East Fremantle’s Colts side should remain well stocked as the likes of Brandon Walker, Finn Gorringe, and Jack Carroll still battle to climb the grades. 202cm 20-year-old Brynn Teakle has been named among the Sharks’ extended League bench, looking to make his second appearance at the level.

Claremont shapes up as a fearsome opponent for the Sharks across the League and Colts competitions, though the sides are relatively even at the Reserves level. Tyron Smallwood and Jeremy Goddard missed the League cut and should boost the Tigers’ two’s stocks, which already includes the likes of Jack Buller, Jye Clark, and Cameron Anderson.

The round’s final set of fixtures sees East Perth take on Swan Districts, with the Swans fresh off their maiden League win. They can move level on points with the Royals should consecutive wins be in the offing, with help from Denver Grainger-Barras down back. Up the other end, Victorian Corey Watts remains for the Royals, though they will still be without AFL recruit Angus Schumacher due to injury. Youngsters Harley Sparks and Sebit Keuk were named on an extended Royals bench, though they look set to remain unchanged.

Victorian Deven Costigan comes out of Swan Districts’ League team and remains doubtful with a hamstring niggle, while the likes of Zane Trew, Ty Sears, and Jamison Ugle continue to push for senior selection.

This week, Draft Central will have eyes on the Claremont vs. East Fremantle Colts fixture. Keep an eye out for our scouting notes and weekly wraps early next week.

FIXTURES

League:

Perth vs. Subiaco | Saturday August 29, 12:05pm @ Mineral Resources Park
Peel Thunder vs. South Fremantle | Saturday August 29, 2:00pm @ David Grays Arena
East Fremantle vs. Claremont | Saturday August 29, 2:30pm @ New Choices Homes Park
East Perth vs. Swan Districts | Saturday August 29, 2:35pm @ Leederville Oval

Reserves:

East Perth vs. Swan Districts | Saturday August 29, 12:00pm @ Leederville Oval
East Fremantle vs. Claremont | Saturday August 29, 12:00pm @ New Choices Homes Park
Perth vs. Subiaco | Saturday August 29, 2:40pm @ Mineral Resources Park

Colts:

Perth vs. Subiaco | Saturday August 29, 9:25am @ Mineral Resources Park
East Perth vs. Swan Districts | Saturday August 29, 9:30am @ Leederville Oval
East Fremantle vs. Claremont | Saturday August 29, 9:30am @ New Choices Homes Park
Peel Thunder vs. South Fremantle | Saturday August 29, 4:30pm @ David Grays Arena

Bye: West Perth

LEAGUE TEAMS

Featured Image: Owen Davies/Peel Thunder

Out to impress: WAFL Round 5 preview

YOUNG talent continues to turn heads at state league level around the nation, and it has been no different across all three WAFL grades upon the competition’s resumption in 2020. As we roll into Round 5, Draft Central brings to you a new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game. In our first edition, a couple of key inclusions boost stocks in the Colts grade, while a notable AFL Academy member readies for a Reserves berth.

>> SCROLL for fixtures and League teams

Perth is set to blood another gun youngster at senior level, this time as Nathan O’Driscoll lines up for the Reserves. The Demons take on West Perth on Saturday, with the 187cm prospect named in the back pocket. O’Driscoll is real goer who loves to carry the ball and boasts a penetrating kick, so don’t be surprised to see him feature off half-back, or even through midfield as he usually does at Colts level.

Logan McDonald is also poised to continue his hot start to the season at League level, with the opportunity to again break clear atop the goalkicking charts. The 196cm key forward has cemented his spot in Perth’s first team, and looms as a riser in terms of top 10 AFL Draft calculations. 19-year-old Regan Clarke is in line to return to League action for Perth, while Victorian Matty Lloyd – the younger brother of Sydney’s Jake – will make his fifth appearance for the Falcons.

At couple more top-age spearheads look likely to go head-to-head in a shootout at Colts level, as leading goalkickers Corey Rundle (West Perth, 15 goals) and Harry Quartermaine (Perth, 12 goals) prepare for battle. There will be plenty of talent running around in the competition’s featured game for the week, with versatile defender Heath Chapman among them, while fellow Falcons Michael Mallard and Brady Alvaro have made promising starts to the season. Conor McPartland, who is currently averaging 34 disposals per game, is also one to watch for Perth.

Peel Thunder is a team familiar with trialling youth this year, and this week is again set to be no different as Tyler Nesbitt awaits his potential League debut. After four promising Colts outings, he has been named on the Thunder’s extended bench alongside fellow top-age draft hopeful Isiah Winder. Winder could be back after his one-and-done Round 3 debut, with Ryan Bennell another out to make his second appearance at the top level in 2020. Among those established in the side are over-agers Zach Rankin, Ben Middleton, and Tyrone Thorne.

The Thunder take on Subiaco this weekend, who could field a couple of familiar names in hopes of bouncing back from last week’s loss. Brothers Liam and Wil Hickmott – the sons of former Carlton and Geelong player, Adrian – have both been named on an extended bench for the Lions, with Lachlan Henderson a Colts product who could also make his debut. The younger of the pair, Wil has already played three League games, while Liam will hope to earn his maiden senior cap.

Sandringham Dragons graduate Corey Watts is set to be thrust straight back into the League fold after one week out due to a finger dislocation. He lines up at full back for the Royals, while exciting small Rhai-Arn Cox is a well-known talent who continues to hunt for a senior berth. The Under 16s State vice-captain had been thrown to the wilderness until late last year, and will make his third-consecutive appearance at Reserves level this week. Last year’s Mel Whinnen medalist, Jack Cooley will feature in the two’s for East Perth against his old side.

Mature-age Claremont prospects Jeremy Goddard and Callan England will be out to boost their stocks once again for the Tigers’ League outfit, with Jye Clark among the potential debutants. Talented over-ager Cameron Anderson looks like moving up to the Reserves level having proven himself in the Colts, while Fremantle Next Generation Academy member, Joel Western will make his return from injury in the junior grade. State Academy Hub members Kalin Lane and Jacob van Rooyen have been in ripping form for the reigning Colts premiers, and should prove a handful once again.

The undefeated South Fremantle League side has been impressive over four rounds, but in terms of youth, Swan Districts will be the side to look towards this week when the two sides go head-to-head. Leading prospect Denver Grainger-Barras will look to back up a terrific performance last time out, with his intercept marking and composure working a treat in defence. Nathan Ireland is set to return for his first top level outing in 2020, while Victorian forward Deven Costigan has been named to make his League debut having moved across with mature-age guns Sam Fisher and Frank Anderson.

At Colts level, inside midfielder Zane Trew is likely to make his return from a concussion for the Black Ducks as they continue their search for a maiden win. They’ll have to do so without the smooth moving Jamison Ugle though, as he makes the move up to the Reserves grade.

This week, Draft Central will have eyes on the Perth vs. West Perth, and East Perth vs. Claremont Colts fixtures. Keep an eye out for our scouting notes and weekly wraps early next week.

FIXTURES

League:

South Fremantle vs. Swan Districts | Saturday August 15, 2:30pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Peel Thunder vs. Subiaco | Saturday August 15, 2:30pm @ David Grays Arena
Perth vs. West Perth | Saturday August 15, 2:30pm @ Mineral Resources Park
East Perth vs. Claremont | Saturday August 15, 3:05pm @ Leederville Oval

Reserves:

South Fremantle vs. Swan Districts | Saturday August 15, 12:00pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Perth vs. West Perth | Saturday August 15, 12:00pm @ Mineral Resources Park
East Perth vs. Claremont | Saturday August 15, 12:30pm @ Leederville Oval

Colts:

South Fremantle vs. Swan Districts | Saturday August 15, 9:30am @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Perth vs. West Perth | Saturday August 15, 9:30am @ Mineral Resources Park
East Perth vs. Claremont | Saturday August 15, 10:00am @ Leederville Oval
Peel Thunder vs. Subiaco | Saturday August 15, 12:00pm @ David Grays Arena

LEAGUE TEAMS

Picture: Michael Willson

Victorian Young Guns Series squads announced

THE best young talent in the Victorian Football League (VFL) will take part in a revamped AFL Victoria Young Gun Series, which kicks off next month at Avalon Airport Oval.

After previously being an annual match played in September, with potential ‘draft smokies’ going head-to-head, this year the three match series will give recruiters the chance to watch over the best emerging talent in the competition.

The initial squads – announced on the VFL website – have potential for talented community footballers to be added to the list for future games throughout the year, with VFL coaching games record holder Gerard FitzGerald overseeing the program in 2018.

Priority in the Young Guns series will be given to players who are yet to play regular senior VFL football, ahead of members of the squad already earning regular VFL selection. FitzGerald will not only support the players in the program, but play a role in assisting the coaching groups that have been established.

Dandenong Stingrays Josh Bourke and Port Melbourne’s Trent McMicking have been named as respective coaches, with Scott McDougall (Gippsland Power), Darryl Wilson – (Former Bendigo Bombers/Strathfieldsaye Football Club Coach), Ross Gemmill (Frankston), Peter Mongta (Gippsland Power), Tom Curran (Coburg), Mark Wheatley (Casey Demons) and Luke Daffy (Geelong Falcons) in support.

For more information on the series, keep an eye out on the VFL website. or the VFL Facebook or Twitter pages. All three matches will be played as curtain raisers to VFL games.

  • Saturday, May 5 at 2.00PM, Avalon Airport Oval (prior to Werribee versus Collingwood, 5pm)
  • Saturday, May 26 at 11.00AM, North Port Oval (prior to Port Melbourne versus Casey Demons, 2pm)
  • Saturday, June 30 at 11.00AM, North Port Oval (prior to Port Melbourne versus Sandringham, 2pm)

The players named for the series are as follows:

First Name Surname Club
Nathan Boucher Box Hill Hawks Football Club
Ned Reeves Box Hill Hawks Football Club
Geordie Nagle Box Hill Hawks Football Club
Tom Freeman Casey Demons Football Club
Kieran Byers Casey Demons Football Club
Aiden Quigley Casey Demons Football Club
Mykelti Lefau Casey Demons Football Club
Julian Patterson Casey Demons Football Club
Jackson McDonald Coburg Football Club
Damon Cramer Coburg Football Club
Max Mitchell-Russell Coburg Football Club
Harrison Nolan Coburg Football Club
Lachlan Mitchell Coburg Football Club
Jake Page Coburg Football Club
Nick Dodge Coburg Football Club
Callan Wellings Collingwood Football Club
Jack Roughsedge Collingwood Football Club
Daniel Stanford Collingwood Football Club
Sam Ralph Collingwood Football Club
Kalan Huntly Essendon Football Club
James Peters Essendon Football Club
Joel Ottavi Essendon Football Club
Edyn Sibbald Essendon Football Club
Cody Henness Footscray Football Club
Corey Rich Frankston Football Club
Jack McHale Frankston Football Club
Mitch McCarthy Frankston Football Club
Aiden Domic Geelong Football Club
Lochlan Dhurrkay Geelong Football Club
David Handley Geelong Football Club
Louis Cunningham North Melbourne Football Club
Fraser Cameron North Melbourne Football Club
Liam Wheelan North Melbourne Football Club
Nick Hogan North Melbourne Football Club
Quintin Montanaro North Melbourne Football Club
Brendan Ryan North Melbourne Football Club
Ethan Penrith Northern Blues Football Club
Jordan Johnston Northern Blues Football Club
Alex Federico Northern Blues Football Club
Sam Fisher Northern Blues Football Club
Matthew Harman Northern Blues Football Club
Campbell Walker Port Melbourne Football Club
Ethan Phillips Port Melbourne Football Club
Matthew King Port Melbourne Football Club
Charlie Thompson Richmond Football Club
Hayden McLean Sandringham Football Club
Jackson Hille Sandringham Football Club
Cassidy Parish Werribee Football Club
Keegan Gray Werribee Football Club
Cooper Stephens Williamstown Football Club
Tom Schnerring Williamstown Football Club

Scouting notes: 2017 Young Guns Game

THE annual Victorian Young Guns game was held on Saturday at Fortburn Stadium, Port Melbourne. With majority of clubs in attendance, the Young Guns Green won the game by a few points. In a match that wasn’t helped by the soggy outfield, the skill level was down and the standard from previous years was lacking – where players such as Jayden Hunt (2014), Adam Saad (2014), Tom Papley (2015), Oliver Hanrahan (2016) and Rowan Marshall (2016) have stood out in past years, elevating themselves onto AFL lists.

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:

#1 Mackenzie Doreian (Green)
Eastern Ranges | 02/09/1999
170cm | 70kg

The small forward bobbed up and had some good moments throughout the early stages of the game. A smart pinpoint inside 50 kick was impressive in the opening quarter and he was able to kick a sneaky goal in the second quarter. Has some X-Factor.

#7 Derek Smith (Green)
Bendigo Pioneers/Richmond VFL | 04/05/1998
186cm | 75kg

Smith has had multiple opportunities as 23rd man for the Richmond VFL team and has shown some glimpses throughout the year. It was impressive to see him show some leadership on the field, using his voice to direct teammates. He possesses a long left foot kick and his mix of speed & agility make him a tough match up coming off the half back flank. At times he did just hesitate before going to lay the tackle, but he was willing to tackle hard and bump opponents off the ball.

#12 Noah Answerth (Black)
Oakleigh Chargers | 6/09/1999
183cm | 77kg

Answerth has missed majority of the season, after an incident in the opening rounds at Ikon Park saw him suffer a bad back injury. Answerth was stranded up forward early in the contest, but when the game opened up in the final quarter, he was able to get on the outside and show his class. Had a few impressive runs late on the city side of the ground. Will be interesting to see if he works his way back into the Chargers’ TAC Cup side if they reach the TAC Cup Grand Final.

#22 Jake Riccardi (Black)
Calder Cannons | 7/11/1999
193cm | 88kg

Was involved early in the contest starting up forward, but rushed a shot on goal snapping around the corner kicking it out on the full. However, he soon bounced back and in the second quarter he marked well on the lead, with his set shot from 50m fell just short. Riccardi finished the game with about a handful of marks, moving into defence after half time. One of the few players who played that I’d consider taking with a rookie selection.

#28 Tristan Xerri (Green)
Western Jets | 15/03/1999
201cm | 93kg

Played up forward and in the ruck – but had more impact and time up forward. Despite the wet conditions, Xerri was able to mark overhead on multiple occasions. His second quarter was good, where he was able to take a few marks and hit the scoreboard twice. He showed he could collect the ball from ground level and took an impressive mark low to the ground. Arguably the best performing tall for the day.

Scouting notes: Young Guns Game

Young Guns Green

The annual Victorian Young Guns game was held on Sunday at Trevor Barker Oval. With majority of clubs in attendance (including a few ‘head recruiters’) the Young Guns Black win by two goals. In previous editions Jayden Hunt (2014), Adam Saad (2014) and Tom Papley (2015) have stood out elevating themselves onto AFL lists.

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:

Black:

#8 James Peters– Bobbed up and kicked a few goals. Showed some pace and energy across half forward and was one of the few that flashed in and out throughout the game. Had a disappointing finish to the season for Calder, but showed his talent that has been rarely seen with multiple injuries over the last few seasons at the Cannons.

#12 Oliver Hanrahan– Looked a touch off the pace early having not played since the APS v AGSV school football game. Some of his touches were very good across half forward and he also booted a goal. Will need some time in the gym (and some sun!), but I certainly have him as one of the few who played with a chance of being drafted.

SCOUTING NOTES: AGSV V APS SCHOOLBOY MATCH

#19 Wilson Berry– Stood out with his big frame throughout the first half. Played forward of centre and was impressive. Probably an outside chance to be picked, but thought it was one of his better games I’ve seen him play.

#29 Rowan Marshall– First time I’d seen Marshall play this season and I was impressed. Is very agile and covers the ground well better than some of the other talls. His light frame doesn’t stop him in the ruck where he did go forward and kick goals.

Green:

#7 Hisham Kerbatieh– Is he worth a rookie pick? Maybe. I can’t see Kerbatieh being more than just a small forward and even then he has plenty to work on. His goal sense is good but on multiple occassions going inside 50 he looked for his teammates in areas he probably could’ve kicked the goal. His kicking was iffy going inside 50 and he finished the game on ice with a lower leg/calf issue. Can be picked as a Category B rookie to Essendon.

#12 Jackson Sketcher– After being voted out of ‘The Recruit,’ Fox 8’s TV show during the week, Sketcher played a solid match. Being the oldest player out there- By nearly four years meant his bigger frame did help him through the midfield. I was expecting more from him and he didn’t stand out like I expected someone of his nature to do. Maybe worth a rookie pick- But seems destined for VFL again next year if he wants.

#15 Alex Mastromanno– After missing the last few months through ankle injury, Mastromanno returned playing on the wing. He showed speed with an outstanding run down tackle in the first quarter, as well an interception of the ball in the air. Played forward for most of the second half but was largely quiet. Needed the run.

#24 Sam Dunstan– Saw him play in the Vic Country U19 game against VAFA and was one I had marked down before the game. Dunstan didn’t start well with five dropped marks in front of the recruiters in the stands. Looked a tad nervous in defence, but his light frame allows him to step through traffic well. Might be VFL bound next year.

Jason Robinson: The ultimate team man

Jason Robinson is an unassuming, underrated defender from the western suburbs  who doesn’t have the fanfare surrounding him that others might, but instead he goes about his business and achieves the results required of him. “I’ve got plenty of belief in myself and the team with what we’re trying to do at the Jets.” he told Bound For Glory News. “We believed that if we brought our ‘A game’ we had the talent.”

While many outsiders believed the Jets were going to struggle in season 2013 with such a young list, Robinson said the team never took any notice of what critics outside the walls of the club thought. “We said to each other that we have the most heart in the competition. We know we can outrun teams when put in a given situation, so it’s all about the consistency.”

Outrun teams, they did. Despite being considered a borderline top eight side, the Jets finished within an inch of a qualifying final. They had almost earned the right to face off against minor premiers Geelong in the first week of the finals (a side they had come within a goal of beating earlier in the season), but instead had to settle for a cutthroat elimination final against the Murray Bushrangers.

No game is more cutthroat than a see-sawing encounter in an elimination final when everything is one the line. Down by 15 points at the final change, the Western Jets booted four goals to zip to win by nine points in an epic encounter. One of the men responsible for ensuring the Bushrangers didn’t goal in the final term was Robinson who was given the kick out duties in the final.

“I love kicking in. It’s a great challenge to work through zones or man-on-man. I’ve been the go-to-guy I guess you’d say for the majority of the season and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.” Robinson did admit however, that he was feeling some nerves during the delicately balanced last quarter. “It was a bit daunting thinking the ball might come down and it would be up to me to create a contest to save the game.”

Leading up to the finals series, Robinson confessed he hadn’t had the ideal form. “My form trailed off in the second half of the season after a good first half. I then played a couple of good finals so I was pretty happy overall.” Robinson continued his good form into the ‘Young Guns’ game in which he was one of the best. “A couple of VFL clubs rang me after the game and invited me for a trial and to have an interview which was great.”

Throughout the season, Robinson didn’t need to change to much to his game, but with the help of teammate James Sicily, was able to work on his body work. “He’s a great contested mark. He’s only like 75 kilograms but can outmark guys who are five centremetres taller and weight 90 kilograms. He really helped me with my body positioning.”

Two guys that Robinson says to watch out for next year are Liam Duggan and Duom Dawam. Duggan is an outside runner who Robinson says “never misses a target on the field and is a ripping bloke off it. He makes the footy speak and some of the things he does is freakish.” While Dawam is an “incredibly hard worker and his ruckwork is first class”. Both guys are likely to be selected in the National Draft after they were invited into the AIS Academy squad for 2014.

While he admits he hasn’t had that much contact from AFL clubs, he holds out hope he is still a chance to be drafted. Should he miss out, he will go down the VFL route rather than the over-age route like teammate David Iaccarino. “There’s no real need for me to go back to the Jets. They’ve got so much talent, they don’t need another 187 centremetre player.”

Robinson might not have the flashiest of games, but he is a good kick out of defence, reads the play well and isn’t afraid to play offensively or defensively from the back half when required. His draft profile saw him record an impressive 7.94 seconds in the agility test, topping Tasmania’s Zac Webster who finished first at the draft combine. This shows he has a fair bit of pace and sidestep to work with to go with his long kicking and great teamwork.

While he might sacrifice his own game for the good of the team, Robinson acknowledges there are plenty of roads ahead for the young man from the Western Jets. “I’m aiming to train hard, finish off my year 12 then I’ll start training at a VFL club and hopefully try and get on a list there, or even better get drafted.” Which summarises Robinson’s incredible work ethic and balancing act between studies and football. If your club reads out the name ‘Jason Robinson’ on draft day, then rest assured, you may have found the next Luke Hodge or Nick Duigan hiding late in the drafts.