SOUTH AUSTRALIA ran out comfortable winners against Vic Country in the final game of the 2017 NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.
Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:
#2 Sam Walsh – The bottom-ager used the ball well off either foot playing in the midfield. His hands in close were very good and he spreads well around the ground. Wins the footy and has a high work rate. One of the better midfielders in the 2018 draft.
#9 Luke Davies-Uniacke – Spent a fair bit of time across half forward than as a pure inside midfielder. Kicked a superb checkside goal in the 2nd quarter. Had a very nice centre clearance in the opening quarter and he showed off his long right foot. Has a strong core and can stay standing in tackles, but it wasn’t an impactful game (only had four contested possessions) that was expected from a possible no.1 pick.
#15 Paddy Dow – Another standout performance from Dow in the midfield. He finds targets on his right foot, winning the ball in the contested situations. Gets to the right positions and at one stage beat three SA players to win the ball. Pushed forward and can get to the right positions to mark the ball. Laid a great tackle on Brad McCarthy in the first quarter – Dow also booted a goal.
#28 James Worpel – Had a couple of ‘bombs’ kicking the ball forward, but finished with eight inside 50s where he was able to get the ball going forward. Often looked for the high contact free by lifting his arm up but got only one a single free for the day. Kicked a great long goal in the second quarter and finished with 22 disposals.
#32 Cassidy Parish – Used the ball better than he has done in the past by foot and was conscious to look for the best option to clear the ball by hand. Is a very good contested ball winner and won multiple clearances. Missed a simple shot on goal early in the game but had a solid outing.
#2 Izak Rankine – The bottom-ager is going to be a special player and just makes things happen. Was clean by foot and had three score assists. Kept his feet in the contest and was willing to use his elite side-step to get around the Country players. At one point it took two Country players to bring him to ground. Also kicked a magnificent goal in the last quarter.
#13 Jackson Edwards – Was the leading disposal winner with 30 – but 26 of his possessions were uncontested. In contested situations, he can often just bang it forward and he looks far better when used on the outside when he can use his clean left foot. Is very left sided, but had very good follow up around the ground.
#15 Jordan Houlahan – Showed off his leap from the get-go with a nice mark on the wing in the first quarter. Houlahan is an exciting player up forward and has a clean pick up – to go with this he used his vision well to find a target by hand close to the boundary bringing it back into the corridor. Did often leap and grab the ball on his chest rather than out in front of him. Houlahan also booted a goal in the third quarter.
#37 Charlie Ballard – One of the more impressive players for SA throughout the carnival. The 195cm wingman has a long right foot kick. His pick up from ground level was good and he laid a very good tackle on CJ in the third quarter. Brought the ball inside 50 on seven occasions and clunked nine marks around the ground. Kicked a goal in the third quarter, but missed one that he could’ve kicked in the second quarter.
#38 Harrison Petty – South Australia’s MVP for the carnival. The key defender reads the play well in defence and remains composed with ball in hand. Kept his feet and his positioning was good.