Under 18s Power Rankings July 12th: Key forwards

The season is at the midway point and we are starting to get an idea about who is likely to be drafted this year. We’ve seen a lot of good performances this year, although how do you decide what a good performance is? It is very subjective and difficult to compare a big five goal game from Tom Boyd to a 30 possession game from Lewis Taylor and a 15 possession game from Dom Sheed in the WAFL seniors. The idea of these rankings are to put all individual games on a scale to make it easier to compare the potential draftees.

In a similar way to Dreamteam and SuperCoach scores, a player’s statistics from each match are analysed and the players gain a point score due to a formula devised by myself.  Points are gained for qualities that recruiters look for in a player, eg. contested marking, effective kicking and tackles gain higher points than ineffective possessions so players that burn the ball are negatively affected. Senior matches and reserve grade matches are weighted to compensate for the higher standard of football, so players like Dom Sheed and Trent Dumont are not punished for having a weaker statistical output in a more difficult competition. Over the course of the season the scores have been compiled and an average score for each player is noted and they have been sorted in order of average. Please note that some players will have inflated averages due to playing less games (school football and Under 18 Championships games are not included at the moment as the AFL have not released the full set of statistics for them).

Mid season rankings:
1. Dayle Garlett (Swan Districts) – Avg 133.4
2. Riley Knight (Woodville-West Torrens)- Avg 128
3. Matt Crouch (North Ballarat Rebels)- Avg 126
4. James Tsitas (Geelong Falcons)- Avg 125.4
5. Tom Boyd (Eastern Ranges)- Avg 123.6
6. Lewis Taylor (Geelong Falcons)- Avg 119.2
7. Josh Kelly (Sandringham Dragons)- Avg 115.5
8. Tom Langdon (Sandringham Dragons)- Avg 115.3
9. Billy Hartung (Dandenong Stingrays)- Avg 113.7
10. James Battersby (Sturt)- Avg1 113.3
11. Josh Scott (Gippsland Power)- Avg 113.1
12. Nick Favretto (West Adelaide)- Avg 112.5
13. Ben Cavarra (Eastern Ranges)- Avg 109.3
14. Sam Heavyside (Bendigo Pioneers)- Avg 109.5
15. Jack Billings (Oakleigh Chargers)- Avg 108
16. Lachlan Cassidy (North Ballarat Rebels)- Avg 107.7
17. Mitch Harvey (North Adelaide)- Avg 105.5
18. Ben Sokol (South Fremantle)- Avg 105.5
19. Eli Templeton (Burnie)- Avg 105
20. Blake Acres (West Perth)- Avg 104.7
21. Zac Merrett (Sandringham Dragons)- Avg 104
22. Peter Bampton (Norwood)- Avg 102.7*
23. David Iaccarino (Western Jets)- Avg 102.7
24. Kade Kolodjashnij (Launceston)- Avg 102
25. Christian Salem (Sandringham Dragons)- Avg 102
26. Jacob Chisari (Bendigo Pioneers)- Avg 101.9
27. Dominic Sheed (Subiaco)- Avg 101.8
28. Luke McDonald (Werribee)- Avg 101.5
29. Darcy Lang (Geelong Falcons)- Avg 100.5
30. Michael Gibbons (Murray Bushrangers)- Avg 97.2
31. Aiden Franetic (Oakleigh Chargers)- Avg 97
32. James Sicily (Western Jets)- Avg 96.7
33. Jay Kennedy-Harris (Oakleigh Chargers)- Avg 96.2
34. Darcy Hourigan (South Adelaide)- Avg 96
35. Bryden Squire (Murray Bushrangers)- Avg 95.4
36. Christian Petracca (Eastern Ranges)- Avg 95.4*
37. Alex Carr (Gippsland Power)- Avg 94.9
38. Merryck Buchanan (Geelong Falcons)- Avg 94.3
39. Louis Herbert (North Ballarat Rebels)- Avg 93.4
40. Matthew Merlo (Calder Cannons)- Avg 92.6
41. Hugh Goddard (Geelong Falcons)- Avg 91.8*
42. Nathan Freeman (Sandringham Dragons)- Avg 91.5
43. Toby Nankervis (North Launceston)- Avg 91
44. Zac Webster (Glenorchy)- Avg 91
45. Isaac Conway (Aspley)- Avg 91
46. Brady Grey (Burnie)- Avg 91
47. Pat McCartin (Geelong Falcons)- Avg 91*
48. Matthew Haynes (Northern Knights)- Avg 90.8
49. Nick Robertson ( West Perth)- Avg 90.6
50. Nick Bourke (Geelong Falcons)- Avg 90.3

This week we will take a closer look at the top 10 tall and medium sized forwards in the Under 18s this year.

1. Tom Boyd- 199cm, 103kg, Eastern Ranges
Everybody has heard about the big unit from the Eastern Ranges. He loves to crush packs with his big frame and take big contested marks, averaging 3.6 per game. He is a super set shot at goal which has helped him to a mammoth tally of 23.13 from five games this season, as well as a couple of bags in the Under 18s Championships before an ankle injury put a halt to his season.

2. Josh Scott- 188cm, 80kg, Gippsland Power
Scott missed out on being drafted last year but has come back this year with a bang, kicking 47.22 this year. That unbelievable accuracy from Scott is due to a fantastic goal kicking technique. Despite his smaller size, Scott can take a good grab and can hold his own in a one on one contest, as shown by his 2.5 contested marks per game. Scott’s tackling pressure is quite good for a key forward and the Gippsland big man averaging 2.4 tackles per game.

3. Mitch Harvey- 195cm, 97kg, North Adelaide
Harvey has enjoyed a great season for North Adelaide, kicking 20 goals in just 4 matches. He has dropped a lot of weight this year and it has helped his footy enormously as he can now not only use his big frame to clunk marks, but can get out on the lead and use his acceleration and agility to run into the space. He has good vision for a key forward and doesn’t go for goals every time, despite playing mainly as a deep forward due to his lack of endurance. Harvey is surprisingly good below his knees for a big man, so when the ball goes to ground he can clean up after himself or use his physical presence to block for a roving forward.

4. Darcy Hourigan- 190cm, 92 kg, South Adelaide
Hourigan is a burly forward with a booming kick who has been crashing packs and making an impact for both South Australia and South Adelaide. Despite his big frame, it is his ability on the lead which is his stand out feature and as a result he ranks a little lower in these rankings due to taking more marks out on the lead than in a one on one contest. Hourigan has kicked just 11 goals from 4 matches in the SANFL reserves this year but kicked a bag of 5 in the Champs against Queensland and showed just how much of an impact he can make.

5. Luke Reynolds- 188cm, 86kg, Port Adelaide
Reynolds is an in between type of player. He isn’t really a tall forward but he isn’t a small either. He plays as a third tall for Port Adelaide in the SANFL , leading up the ground and taking a lot of marks up on the wing before hitting up targets in the forward 50 with precise kicking. On the lead he uses his athleticism to get separation with his man and takes a number of marks each match. Because of his role he doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to kick goals, only slotting two from a total of two reserve grade matches this year, but showed in the Under 18s Championships what he can do when played a little deeper.

6. Dallas Willsmore- 190cm, 81kg, North Ballarat Rebels
Wilsmore is a consistent performer, averaging 2 goals a game and 9.5 possesions per game. He takes marks and works hard up the wings. He has good athleticism for his size which allows him to work up the ground but he needs to find more of the ball to have more of an impact. His marking is good, averaging 1.5 contested marks per game and 4.75 marks in total.

7. Max Hayes- 191cm, 86kg, Sandringham Dragons
Hayes is a good user of the footy and can take a very good grab. He averages 13.8 possessions per game, which is good for a key forward but he can be prone to turnovers, affecting his ranking. Also affecting his ranking is his ability to go missing and not kick any goals some weeks which hurts his average. Hayes has kicked seven goals in five games, but has tallies of four, two and one with only two goalless matches. The key feature to Hayes’s game is his marking. He averages six marks per game and has eight contested marks in his five games, often out marking taller defenders in one on contests.

8. Cameron McCarthy- 195cm, 89kg, South Fremantle
McCarthy was having a very solid season for his colts team and for his state before a brutal lower leg injury ended his year. McCarthy has been averaging 12 possessions, five marks, and has kicked an accurate 20 goals and six behinds from eight matches. He likes to fly and can take a big contested mark and takes it at its highest point, making it difficult to spoil. His kicking technique is suspect looking but he has had no problems with accuracy so it must work for him.

9. Jydon Neagle- 184cm, 77kg, Murray Bushrangers
The nuggety forward from the Bushrangers is having a second crack at the draft this year after injuries curtailed his season last year. Neagle is smaller than most key forwards but has a big frame and is a very good mark, taking 11 contested marks from seven games and averaging 5.1 marks in total. He is very consistent and usually chimes in with two or three goals per game, helped out by his accurate goalkicking (15.9 for the season). Neagle is a confident player and backs himself to do the job which is a trait you want in a forward.

10. Jonothan Marsh-191cm, 89kg, East Fremantle
Marsh is a leading centre half forward but doesn’t play like your typical tall. He works up the ground in a similar way to Nick Riewoldt minus the marking ability, but uses his speed to turn his opponent and get back to the goals. Marking is not a strength of Marsh which is why he sits so low in these rankings, but he will go much higher on draft day. Marsh has kicked an inaccurate 10.17 this year from seven games which doesn’t help his ranking.

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