U18 trial Vic Country/Vic Metro/Allies scouting notes

It was a cold and wet finish to a mostly sunny day at Ikon Park today – hosting Vic Country v Allies and Vic Metro v Allies final trial games in the lead up to the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Both Victorian teams were severely understrengthed with a majority of their ‘best 22’ being left out of the contest, playing school football or were managed – while the Allies split their squad in half to help select their final squad.

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:

Game 1:
VIC COUNTRY    3.5    5.8     7.13     11.14 (80)
ALLIES                2.1    4.3      4.3          6.5 (41)

VIC COUNTRY: Meek 2, Johnston 2, Garoni 2, Floyd, McHenry, Miers, Butts, Jones
ALLIES: Sambono 2, Burke, Scott, Bailey, Richards

Vic Country:

#4 Gryan Miers – Attended a large number of centre bounces, using his quick, clean hands to get the ball out of the stoppages. He’s a smart footballer and his good agility helps him weave through the packs. Kicked a nice goal in the third term but has a strange kicking action that might need some work.

#13 Ethan Floyd – Could’ve easily kicked three goals in the opening term, with kickable shots on the run at goal missed. Very left foot orientated – he kicks it long and stands out in his bright boots. His speed & dash is superb on the outside and is a weapon when he wants to attack.

#19 Matthew Ling – Had a long run with three bounces down the broadcast wing – but shanked the kick on the run when streaming inside 50. His second efforts were good and he has really good vision when he has the ball in hand. Very composed player and is versatile to play in multiple positions. Finished his morning early icing his calf up – but it didn’t appear to be too serious.

#22 Jordon Butts – Initially expected him to play at CHB – but played up forward. Took multiple marks – including one which saw him end up nearly snapping the goalpost. Did struggle to make the distance from 40m out with one set shot, but moments later made the distance from 50m at the same end. Kicked his only goal for the day in the third quarter, but his ‘dukes’ were very impressive overhead.

#26 Angus Schumacher – Slow starter but once he got going he was very impressive. Another who possesses a really clean left foot kick. Weaves well through traffic and is willing to take the game on. Also a solid mark overhead. Like him best across half back.

#30 Jordan Johnston – One of the few players with X-Factor in the Country teams. He nearly plucked a few marks metres from goal, jumping over the taller opposition defenders who were attempting to spoil the ball through. Played through the middle at times and booted a goal in the last quarter. Think the Rebels’ best prospect is worth a spot in the Country team.

#32 Cassidy Parish – Parish’s clearance work and contested numbers are some of the best in the 2017 draft pool – but he is a poor kick on his right foot. At one stage instead of handballing to a player 5 metres away, he attempted a rugby-style chip kick which he managed to nearly mark like some of the best rugby players looking to score a try. What was impressive was a left foot pinpoint pass inside 50 that hit Butts, but he mostly rushed a few of his kicks under pressure. There’s a lot to like about Parish – but he needs to clean up his kicking and stop the ‘dinky’ kicks around the ground.


#4 Jacob Dawson – Possesses really good hands in close at the stoppages. Kicking does need some work as at times he just banged it forward. Some of his other kicks around the ground did hang in the air, rather than being pinpoint and resulted in a few being spoiled. Inside work is good and wins clearances.

#5 Zac Bailey – One of the clear standouts and the player I was most impressed with through the whole day. Was willing to take the game on, using his speed & agility to move forward. Worked hard all day on the inside at the stoppages and kicked it well on his right foot. Snapped a very good goal in the second quarter.

#6 Bailey Scott – Made some good decisions with ball in hand and provided some run in the middle of the ground. Marks well overhead.

#7 Adam Sambono – Used his speed to chase and lay a great tackle. Is a player that catches the eye and screams X-Factor! Snaps the ball well on either foot and booted two goals – one of which saw him calmly think through a snap, not rushing the chance and putting it through. Is a player that doesn’t need to have too much of the ball to impact a game inside 50.

#8 Jake Brown – One of the leading disposal winners for the Allies, but his ball use was poor. Had multiple clangers and was another at times who just bombed it forward. His voice was good around the ground, barking instructions as an older player in the team and at the stoppages.

#27 Rodney Baird – Very raw footballer who is still learning the game. His decision making is a work-in-progress and was slow in possessing the ball & then disposing of it.

#32 Daniel Johnston – Played up forward and was largely influential. Was beaten in the forward ruck contests and has poor agilty. Didn’t find much of the ball through the day. Finished the game well with some solid marks in the last quarter.

#33 Jack Payne – Showed some good signs in defence. Lead up to one play, but overran it attempting to intercept and dropped the mark. He did go to ground too many times early, but his overhead marking got better as the game went on. He was always looking for a switch with ball in hand and I’m looking forward to seeing him play for the Allies in the Under 18 Championships.

#34 Nathan Richards – Shared the ruck duties with Tony Olango. Another who looked a touch off the pace at times and struggled around the ground to win the football. Had a few touches late and won most of the hitouts in the final term. Took an outstanding mark over Patterson in the last quarter.


Game 2:

VIC METRO        2.0    4.0     5.0          6.1 (37)
ALLIES                4.1    6.2     9.4        11.7 (73)

VIC METRO: Jones 2, Grace, Petruccelle, Harman, Penrith
ALLIES: Hardman 2, Bell 2, Crossley 2, Fitzgerald, Powell, Dixon, Thomas, Clayton

Vic Metro:

#2 Ryley Stoddart – Worked hard on the wing and across half back. Is composed with ball in hand and one of the better ball users off his left foot, kicking long or short. Also marks well overhead and was consistent all day.

#4 Thomas North – Started in at the centre bounces and set up smartly 50m away from play when the ball was deep inside their forward 50. He was good at the stoppages and around the ground. Another Ranges player who is in great form.

#5 Quintin Montanaro – A quiet day for Montanaro who had a slow game last week with a toe injury. The game didn’t suit him when the rain came, and he wasn’t able to find his outside ball. Expect him to bounce back next week for Sandringham Dragons.

#11 Alfie Jarnestrom – Had a superb second quarter, starting in at the centre bounces and winning multiple clearances. His hands in close are good and he took a few marks around the ground.

#27 Jack Petruccelle – Showed glimpses of his pace but looked a bit out of place on the forward flank. Looks his best on the inside through the midfield and I’m hoping he gets the opportunity to play there in the Under 18 Championships. His kicking needs attention though and this is what is stopping his breaking into the top ten at this stage – as multiple kicks missed their targets and was mostly ineffective by foot all day. As always provided a highlight in the middle of the ground when he ‘nearly’ took a screamer.

#31 Nicholas Coffield – Has so much time in the contest and is composed with ball in hand. Around the ground his vision is good and seems to find the best target short or long. Found plenty of the ball and reminds me a bit of Hugh McCluggage from last year in the contest.

#34 Noah Balta – Was happy to see him line up as a key defender – as one of the few AFL Academy players who played today. Provided good run up the ground and looked to play off his man. His leap helps him when he needs to defend one-on-one and showed enough signs to suggest he might play there again in the future.


#5 Jack Powell – Goes under the radar and just gets the job done. Has a strongly built body and is strong in at the contest. Showed great composure in the opening quarter when he snapped from 40m on an acute angle, taking his time and putting it through when there was no obvious option to pass it off to.

#7 James Bell – One of the Allies’ best in Game 2. Showed some tricks and I really liked his game better than some of his Under 18 Academy Series games. Looked his best across half forward, where he was able to impact the scoreboard booting two goals, getting involved with the contests inside forward 50. Looked lively and one to keep an eye on if he gets a chance.

#8 Jack Clayton – The Brisbane Lions Academy member possesses a nice left foot and his first quarter was one of the better ones I’ve seen him play in a while. Hit a pinpoint pass inside 50 to a teammate and worked hard right around the ground.

#22 Doulton Langlands – Best game I’ve seen him play this year. Was able to impact the game on the outside. Runs well from half back to half forward, and his run down the ground in the second quarter was superb. Spent more time at the stoppages later in the game and is very agile.

#25 Tarryn Thomas – North Melbourne will get a gem next year. Thomas showed some speed playing most of the game inside forward 50. Running down close to the boundary line, he was able to use his vision and hit Hardman in the goal square for a goal assist. Liked his game.

#34 Brayden Crossley – Won most of his one-on-one contestes up forward and in the ruck against weaker opponents – but I’m not convinced this will be able to translate at AFL level and will need to work on his endurance. Took some big contested marks, but had a few ugly kicks inside 50.

#35 Connor Ballenden – If you left at three quarter time like some watches on did you would’ve said Ballenden was poor – but he finished the game respectively well. Struggled further away from goal, but looked his best the closer he was towards goal. At one stage he collected the ball, weaved a few players, ran 20 metres and banged home a goal from just inside 50. Is a good contested mark overhead and I’m hoping he will be at his best in the Under 18 Championships.



  1. What did u make of tom highmore game ??
    Has been impressive at neafl level over last couple of years !
    Is a 19 year old, where do u see him getting picked ?

    1. Tom was pretty quiet. Think it’s unlikely he gets picked. A good NEAFL player, but I don’t think he will get drafted at the end of the year. But alas – it is May and thinks can change over the next few months so we’ll see.

    1. Skirivanic had five disposals, was very quiet, Hardman did some nice things. Found the football and took some marks around the ground. Looked his best inside 50.

    1. Having a good year for the Falcons, hitting the scoreboard. Found the footy in the trial game and played more of an inside midfielder role winning some centre clearances. Thought it was a solid game from him.

    1. Charlie is eligible to play for the Allies in the Under 18 Championships. Rate him as a late first/early second rounder, likely to fall in the 15-30 category on draft night at this stage.

    1. Plays with real aggression and was reported on the weekend for a late bump. Only had eight disposals and kicked the first goal of the game.

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