THIS week has seen preparation for the 2018 season ramp up at both the AFL and SANFL levels, with a bunch of South Australian talent on show. 2018 draft hopefuls will be looking to make an early statement on their season in trial games, while the AFL boys will be playing for bragging rights in the upcoming preseason Showdown. Meanwhile, the SANFLW competition hits the halfway mark.
SANFL News – Draft hopefuls set to light up trial games
THIS weekend, SANFL clubs will be put through their paces with all levels participating in trial games. In last week’s shortened SANFL trial games (15 min quarters) between North Adelaide and reigning premiers Sturt, some of this year’s draft potential were on show.
In the reserves, North got up by eight points, Boyd Woodcock was lively around the ball whilst James Langley presented well as a tall forward with limited opportunities, while also pinch-hitting in the ruck. It’s also worth noting that 2017 under 16 state ruckman Dyson Hilder, who is a 2019 prospect, also played at full-back for the first time in his career and had some rebounding plays. For Sturt, powerhouse midfielder Tom Lewis was amongst the possessions with many clearance handballs and was strong in and on the tackle. In the league game Sturt comfortably beat North, with AFL Academy prospect Hugo Munn playing up forward and crashing the contest a number of times. Coming off a BOG for the State U18 trial game, Mihail Lochwiak looked extremely comfortable at this level and showed poise and dash off half back.
From this weekend’s round of trial games there’s no doubt that most eyes will be on Eagles youngster Jack Lukosius, who has been selected in the Eagles’ League squad to take on Port Adelaide Magpies. The potential top 10 draft pick will draw attention in a strong Eagles side, as will West Adelaide’s Izak Rankine in the Bloods clash with the Crows. The full schedule of trial games can be found here
SANFL Womens – Halfway mark of the season The SANFLW season is now at the half way point, with South Adelaide and North Adelaide’s womens teams setting the pace. North Adelaide look to be the favourite at this stage and have some stand out performers in Katelyn Rozenweig – leading all comers with 10 goals for the season – and Jess Edwards and Becchera Palmer having impressive seasons. South Adelaide will be looking to hold onto top spot with Nikki Gore and Jaslynne Smith both showing their class to date. For Norwood, Ebony O’Dea and Leah Cutting have impressed in all games. West Adelaide’s Rachelle Martin has been in a class of her own for the Bloods, and Abbey Holmes continues to push for Crows selection. Sturt have a very young side full of local talent, and Shae Gundlach has clearly been their best so far. Glenelg have recently removed their SANFLW coach and hope for improved results with a young squad, and youngster Ellie Kellock looks a future AFLW talent.
AFL News – JLT Community Series
The recent round of JLT games continued to showcase a batch of South Australian talent looking to stake their claims for round one selection for their respective AFL teams. Ex-Glenelg youngster Bailey Williams looks ready for a berth in the the Western Bulldogs’ 22 after impressing in their win over Hawthorn, and Ryan Burton from Hawthorn no doubt will be one of their keys this year. Former Centrals player Nick Holman was amongst the best for Gold Coast and has slotted back into the AFL environment well. It was fantastic to see Gold Coast Sun Sam Day and Geelong Cat Cory Gregson, both getting through their first games unscathed after hideous runs with injury in the past year. Both SA lads are prodigious talents and it will be exciting to see what they bring this season.
For the Adelaide based teams, the clash between Power and Crows at Alberton will no doubt be a fierce contest and it will be interesting to see team selections, especially whether youngster Darcy Fogarty can force his way into the Crows line-up, while Power recruit Tom Rockliff will have to wait for round one due to injury.