THE ALLIES pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the 2017 NAB AFL Under 18 Championships, defeating Vic Metro in their final game of the carnival at Simonds Stadium on Wednesday.
Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:
#5 Patrick Naish – Had 26 disposals but made some bad errors by foot and his decision making in the defensive half of the ground was poor. Early in the contest a kick out went directly to Zac Bailey who slotted the goal and the final passage of the game he elected to torpedo the ball from full back – when a drop punt down the guts would’ve likely hit Nicholas Coffield. Had a nice bullet pass to Will Sutherland in the second quarter but again I had question marks on his game when he played in the defensive half. Like him more as a forward, where he can use his booming right foot kick and goal smarts.
#9 Andrew Brayshaw – Brought the ball inside 50 on five occasions and didn’t miss a target by foot. He picked the ball up cleanly at ground level, even in the wet conditions and was able to set up Sam Hayes’ opening goal for Vic Metro. Looked to play on at most occasions and was composed enough to turn & hit Cameron Rayner in the last quarter. Also booted a goal out in the back in the first quarter.
#19 Cameron Rayner – Rushed a few times early, resulting in a few ineffective kicks – but found 13 disposals in a solid outing. Had a great highlight in the final quarter, collecting the ball from 70m and running down the flank to nail the goal from 50m out. Finished with three goals and if he had’ve played a touch better in the final outing, he would’ve claimed the Larke Medal.
#24 Charlie Constable – Played a role across half back, swapping into what was mostly Nicholas Coffield’s role. Took some impressive overhead marks and controlled the play at times, going on to win 26 disposals. Was composed with ball in hand, with clean quick hands to dish the ball out to the opposition. Took a mark in the final quarter and quickly got the ball forward to hit Jack Higgins on the chest.
#25 Nicholas Coffield – Appeared to have swapped roles with Constable, playing more half forward than half back. Missed a simple shot on goal that he should’ve kicked in the opening quarter, but again his work in traffic was good. Made some uncharacteristic bad kicks by foot, but brought the ball inside 50 on five occasions. Got in the right positions to mark the ball and finished with a match-high 29 disposals doing his top 10 chances no harm.
#37 Sam Hayes – Booted two goals for the game, spending most of the game up forward with Hayden McLean mostly taking the centre bounces. Took a great low mark at his ankles and showed off his good traits. At stages he did look to chest mark the ball and it allowed his Allies opponent to get a fist in, rather than him looking to mark it out front.
#5 Zac Bailey – Take nothing away from Brayden Crossley, but I thought Bailey was the player who I thought was most stiff to not win the Allies’ MVP. His first few steps are elite, bursting from the contest allowing him to then dispose of the ball on his right foot or by hand. He has a steady head and majority of his kicks hit the target or were to advantage for the Allies. Kicked a beautiful goal and impressively had seven inside 50s for the game.
#6 Jack Powell – Started well in the first half winning the ball in the midfield, but struggled in the second half going cold. Won the ball in the contest and disposed of it reasonably well off his right foot. Did give away a silly free kick holding on to Sam Hayes’ arm at a ruck contest. Didn’t have the impact as he has had in some games.
#26 Nicholas Shipley – Had 12 disposals and impressively laid six tackles around the ground. Whilst it was one of his quieter games, he had some good moments. He seems to run hard in a straight line, following up his disposal. My one critique is that he often is looking to handball more than kick & whilst that didn’t come up in the stats, he can be unsure with his best option to distribute the ball.
#33 Jarrod Brander – Played arguably his best game for the season taking nine marks, finding 16 disposals and booting three goals. It was good to see him deployed up forward for a whole game and he was far too good for his Vic Metro opponents. Lead well all day and kicks through his shots on goal. Recovered quickly from a marking contest to boot an impressive goal in the second quarter and I hope this performance can give him confidence to have a really good second half of the year.
#38 Connor Ballenden – Again played as a key position defender and was able to dictate in the air with seven marks. The third quarter in particular saw him intercept at ease and he stopped many Metro advances. Used it exceptionally well on his right foot, which is thumping and can travel over 50m. Read the play well to smother a Joel Garner kick in the second quarter.
#39 Brayden Crossley – Has been a great performer for the Allies, winning their MVP for the carnival. Used his body well in the ruck, having more hitouts himself than Vic Metro did. His follow up work was good and he was willing to be intimidating with his tackling. Crumbed out the back of a pack to snag a goal in the second quarter and was a strong performer all day. Covers the ground ok, but seems to have improved from where I thought he would be at this stage of the season.