ROUND TWO of the Under 18 Academy Series saw some of the best talent in the 2018 draft pool standout. Sydney Swans, Brisbane Lions and Tasmania were the winners with our scouts watching two of the games over the weekend.
Sydney Swans Academy vs. GWS Academy
#3 Nick Blakey – A simply outstanding performance. Blakey was heavily marked during the game, but managed to rack up 20 possessions all around the ground. With nine shots on goal, he finished with a tidy bag of seven goals which consisted of set shots, on the run and a couple of snaps within the goal square. Blakey’s forward pressure was also a strong feature of his game.
#16 Josh Stern – Top-age Stern showed really good run and carry off the half-back flank and through the midfield. He won a lot of football, despite being outnumbered at multiple contests 2:1. He has some really good speed and agility, and showed this when he received a tight handball right on the boundary line, taking off and kicking a beautiful goal from the boundary line.
#20 Samuel Thorn – Thorn, one of the bottom-age players, had a solid game through the midfield, his huge work rate a feature. Thorn applied pressure to the GWS midfield throughout the game with his chase and tackle getting under the skin of a couple of GWS players.
#38 Michael Carroll – Carroll, another top age player, was solid all day at full-back marking Riley Corbett who was a handful early on the game. Carroll was particularly strong in the second and third quarters when GWS had a run on, he worked hard repelling the GWS attack, spoiling many GWS forward entries and he rebounded the ball well by foot.
#2 Edward Perryman – The brother of GWS’ Harry, played a small forward role for the GIANTS academy. Perryman proved to be a hard match up for the Swans, with his speed, agility and small stature helping him inside 50, where he booted three goals for the match.
#23 Matthew Walker – The AFL Academy member only played the first half after a bump on Blakey resulted in an arm injury which was on ice for the second half of the match. Walker had a nice shot on goal before the incident, but it was pushed wide.
#31 Riley Corbett – Corbett started the game at full forward and was involved immediately, leading into space and taking a few great marks. Corbett also booted the first goal of the game for GWS. He showed good mobility around the ground and when he switched into the ruck, the GIANTS begun to gain momentum in the middle of the ground and get on top.
#34 Kieren Briggs – Playing centre-half forward, Briggs took some strong pack marks and kicked a great goal in the second quarter. He used his physical pressure around the stoppages and was rewarded with a couple of free kicks. Briggs finished the game with two handy goals.
Tasmania vs. Northern Territory (Ed Pascoe)
#6 Chayce Jones – It was a typical display from Jones who played well in the midfield, tackling hard and hitting the contests hard. Jones’ attack on the ball led to many scoring opportunities for Tasmania, in the first quarter he attacked the ball hard, spun around and hit a lace out pass to a leading forward and this was what he did for most of the game. Jones was rewarded plenty of times with some hard tackles all over the ground. Jones has a surprisingly good leap which he showed with some good spoils and when he went for a spoil it stayed that way putting everything into it. An overall solid and typical game from Jones.
#9 Mitchell Anderton – There is not much of Anderton but you couldn’t question his competitiveness and ability to win one-on-ones. His defensive work was fantastic often making good spoils and competing hard once the ball hit the deck. Some of his attacks on the ball where just incredible and he was a major reason Tasmania were able to repel NT’s forward entries so well. Because of his size he may get overlooked for the Allies, but I do hope that he gets a run in the National Under 18 Championships so he can impress on the bigger stage. In terms of defending and skill it was one of the better performances from a small defender that I’ve seen this year.
#12 Fraser Turner – Turner was a workhorse in the midfield winning plenty of the ball on the inside while also working hard on the outside to keep involved. Turner was one of the most composed players in the heat of the game early on, often keeping his cool and working out of congestion to find a good option. His kicking at times wasn’t as clean as it should have been and I’ll be keen to see if he can improve this in coming weeks and for the Allies if selected. Turner did kick a nice set shot goal late in the game and kicking more goals could really give him a point of difference for the Mariners midfield.
#13 Tarryn Thomas – Thomas was the clear standout player on the ground finishing with three goals, with two coming late in the game – with the game on the line. Thomas started the game in the midfield showing clean hands at the stoppages, he had some good roves at clearances and once he was on the move he got through traffic with ease. Thomas did plenty on the outside taking some nice marks and using his long kick to advantage. Thomas was moved to full forward in the last quarter, with one of the goals he kicked a classy banana goal on the boundary which showed why he is rated as one of this years best draft prospects. On the lead he was quick and just attacked the contest in the air, taking some brilliant marks from pure speed and desire for the ball, at times he would often come from behind defenders and work his way to the front to mark with pure desire.
#22 Matthew Green – AFL Academy member Matthew Green showed a lot of his trademark speed and agility throughout the day, Green got plenty of the ball all over the ground and his voice around the ground was also very good always trying to assist his teammates. Green was very clean at the stoppages often picking up the ground ball with ease and giving off a slick handball, Green also worked hard defensively where he laid a great chase down tackle in the last quarter and could hold his head up high after the loss.
#23 Michael Mummery – Mummery spent a lot of his time in the midfield, he had a few good roves from clearances and stoppages. He also got to show some of his great movement in traffic especially late in the game. Mummery didn’t see much of the ball when forward, but he did take a nice mark from the side of the pack and kicked a nice long set shot goal and it would have to be one of the better set shot techniques from a player eligible for the draft this year. It was nice to see Mummery get some time in the midfield, but I feel he will excel for the Allies in a couple of months playing in his natural position up forward.
#36 Stephen Cumming – Stephen Cumming was the dominant big man of the game competing well in the ruck and pushing hard around the ground to be an option. Cumming showed surprisingly good skills for a big 200cm player, he was clean and sharp by hand & he took some great marks, finding teammates by foot. He won plenty of the ball around the ground and at stoppages right after a tap, his follow up work is to be commended and could hold his head high after the loss.
#37 Matthew Cumming – The twin brother of Stephen, Matthew spent all his time down back where he took plenty of intercept marks and used the ball really well down back. Cumming did everything you could ask from a big key defender, he took intercept marks, put on good spoils and he was clean with his hands and ball use. He worked in tandem with his brother in one passage of play in the second quarter which really caught the eye with both executing some slick handballs.