THE AFL Academy suffered a 75-point loss at Etihad Stadium against the Northern Blues on Saturday afternoon.
#2 Cameron Rayner – Started the game on fire with a great mark in defensive 50. Set the tone early and was easily one of the better players in the first half. Booted an outstanding goal off a few steps from 55m out at the northern end of Etihad Stadium. Also laid some hard tackles early.
#4 Jack Higgins – Another solid game from Higgins, but at times I did question did he “really want it?” A few tentative attempts at smoothering and one poor passage where he tapped it forward rather than collecting the ball. What he does do well is get to the right position to win the ball and take it forward, finishing with 20 disposals. Didn’t spend as much time forward as he did in the contest at the MCG, but his clearance work is his strength.
#5 Lachlan Fogarty – Clean and polished are two great ways to describe Fogarty. His ball use was consist and he was good in the centre of the ground. Used his voice at times to get the team up and about when the Blues had a run on.
#6 Patrick Naish – Yet again in defence and this week he continued to show dash. Rebounded the ball well and was one of the few who worked hard both ways willing to defend. His snippets are strong and if he can put it all together it’ll be very promising day for the Richmond father son prospect.
#8 Kane Farrell – Once again an impressive use of the ball across half back. A pinpoint left pass helps him find teammates ahead of him and he is definitely a player you want him to have the ball in his hands. Probably does need to win a bit more of his own football, but is a key player on the outside.
#16 Hunter Clark – One of the best games I’ve seen him play – but I still question whether his disposal is up to scratch. Had a busy second quarter and played between the arches working hard to win the ball, but at times lacked finesse.
#18 Luke Davies-Uniacke – Easily the best AFL Academy player for the day. Was consistent right throughout the day finishing with 22 disposals and six clearances. Played on the inside and was good at the stoppages, distributing the ball using his bigger frame. What was impressive was that he continued to follow up his disposals with great second efforts and often ended up with the ball in the next contest.
#19 Darcy Fogarty – Put simply: Fogarty is built for AFL and didn’t look out of place with the AFL listed players out on the ground. Had an outstanding run through traffic and weaved through four defenders to rebound the ball out of defensive 50. Tackled hard while flipping between forward and back – but was mostly in defence. Took a great mark over the top of a pack from a few players deep in the second quarter.
#31 Paddy Dow – Started the first half at most centre bounces. Hasn’t been talked about a lot in recent weeks but was an impressive showing. Hit up Jaidyn Stephenson early with a great kick inside 50, as well as having another good inside 50 on the run. Thought he was very clean with disposal and ran hard both ways.
#32 Sam Taylor – In what was a disappointing day for the AFL Academy defenders, Taylor was a shining light. Made one really good spoil in the opening quarter and worked hard one-on-one despite being tasked with some bigger Blues opponents. Hopefully one that can nullify the tall timber up forward in the Under 18 Championships.