THE National Championships kicked off yesterday, with South Australia having an imposing 89-point win over Western Australia. Here are the scouting notes by Tom Wyman and David Chapman from that game.
#14 – Izak Rankine
As usual Rankine was creative and dangerous, and with his five inside 50s helping to setup his teammates. In the first quarter he showed some real class by “duking” two opposition players to get a shot on goal. But the highlight was a brilliant cross the body kick from the pocket to hit Lukosius 30m directly in front. He ended the game with one goal and two behinds along with a heap of possessions.
#15 – Robert Irra
The rebounding small defender was lively coming out of defensive 50 and assisted in repelling numerous WA forward thrusts. He had four rebound 50s and 13 of his 14 disposals were kicks to underline his metres gained impact.
#22 – Jacob Kennerley
The winger was everywhere in the first half and his nine marks and 22 disposals really allowed the rebound from the defensive 50 to link to the forward line. Kennerley was busy around the ground and worked hard to get into the space.
#25 – Tom Sparrow
Another midfield clearance machine. Sparrow had eight clearances and also six tackles and was aggressive around the contest, bullying the opposition on a number of occasions. His gut running at pace was also on show in another solid performance.
#30 – Ben Jarvis
In the team as an undersized backup ruckman and athletic tall forward, Jarvis countered his height deficiency in the ruck by getting plenty of followup ball around the contest. When up forward he was impressive in finding the space and kicked three goals and two behinds for the game.
#32 – Luke Valente
The inside midfielder started off well with the opening goal. Valente worked well, racking up seven clearances around the contest and his 26 disposals were highly effective. He also seemed suited to quarterbacking the play from the defensive 50 when he was needed.
#34 – Jackson Hately
The on-baller led the stats with 28 possessions but really starred amassing 10 clearances, especially given SA ruckmen were conceding a lot of height. Hately read the ball well off either ruckman’s hands and drove many a SA forward entry. He also ended up with a goal but it was his poise and composure through traffic that stood out.
#42 – Jack Lukosius
By kicking 4.2 Lukosius got off to his expected great Championship start. He also impressed with his strong hands taking 14 marks both inside and outside 50. After a good contest early with his opponent, he really dominated after quarter time showcasing his accuracy in front of goal.
#43 – Will Gould
Playing as the key defender, Gould was impassable. With three rebound 50s, Gould was rarely beaten in the air or on the ground and looked to run from the back. He had an imposing play in the second half where he ran with the ball, gave off a handball and the oncoming tackler was the one who bounced off Gould as he tried to jam him.
#47 – Hugo Munn
The key forward was deadly in front kicking four goals straight. Not needing much of it and like most of the SA forwards were given plenty of opportunities he clunked five marks – all in dangerous positions.
#1 – Ian Hill
Regarded by many as Western Australia’s most talented player, Ian Hill showed flashes of his silky skills and lightning speed. “Bobby” started the game up forward and was isolated against over-ager Robert Irra in the goal square at various times early on. Moved onto the ball in the second half and took a classy one-handed mark right in-front of many club recruiters. Kicked a nice snap goal from close range but life was tough for the AFL Academy member who was given little opportunity. Still looked ominous when in the vicinity of the ball. Hill finished with eight kicks, five handballs, five marks and three tackles to go with the goal.
#8 – Luke Moore
Moore was the only multiple goalscorer for Western Australia. The strongly built small forward looked dangerous in-tight and continued his goal kicking form from the WAFL colts with South Fremantle, despite managing a team-low five disposals. Moore will look to get his hands on the ball more often in future games, as he looked a threat against SA, especially with the ball close to goal.
#10 – Rylie Morgan
Morgan battled hard on the ball despite his side getting severly beaten in the midfield. The Claremont junior spent time as an inside and outside midfielder, showcasing the balance he has in his game. Morgan finished with 15 disposals (nine kicks, six handballs) but seemed to always be around the ball. Sent it inside-50 seven times, but I would suggest Morgan would’ve had even more of an impact had the other WA mids been able to feed out the ball more often from stoppages.
#11 – Luke English
English, Caleb Daniel-like in his helmet, was Western Australia’s best performer across the midfield in a side that had few contributors. Spending the entire game on-ball in tandem with teammate Rylie Morgan, English’s courage and work rate was exceptional. He tackled strongly and burrowed in hard during congested situations, ripping the ball out of the stoppage and hacking forward a clearance on a couple of occasions. What was also impressive was the Perth products intent to receive a couple of handballs from his teammates out the back, showing he is prepared to back his foot skills in. He will still need to keep working on his kicking, particularly when exiting stoppages. Going head-to-head with Jackson Hately for parts of the day, English finished the game with 16 kicks, nine handballs, seven marks, six tackles, five clearances, seven inside 50s, five rebounds and a goal in what was a very well-rounded performance.
#13 – Jason Carter
Carter spent the day in defence, assigned to the dangerous Izak Rankine early on. He showed glimpses here and there of his talent, the highlight being a big intercept mark in the defensive 50. However he unfortunately butched the inboard kick straight to Ben Jarvis who goaled. The Fremantle next generation academy member was reasonably strong in one-on-one contests but was unable to provide much of his usual run and carry from half-back with the SA mids repeatedly bombarding it inside-50. Carter had 13 disposals and six marks.
#17 – James Sturrock
Playing as an inside midfielder, James Sturrock concluded the outing with 18 disposals but had little influence on the game with many of his touches ineffective. His work in close was solid and his defensive pressure stood out, laying six tackles. Sturrock also managed three clearances in a midfield unit that was simply outclassed from the get-go.
#22 – Damon Greaves
Greaves was very productive all game, finishing with 15 kicks, eight handballs, five marks and a tackle. After lining up across the half-back line for the first part of the game, where he managed three rebounds, Greaves then switched to an outside midfield role when the game was getting out of hand for the Black Swans. His run and carry was strong all game as one of few WA players who really stood out. Having racked up plenty of the ball on a consistent basis for East Perth in the WAFL tiers, Greaves will be one to keep an eye on for the remainder of the carnival.
#24 – Regan Spooner
Spooner took the kickouts for WA in the first half before he switched into a role on the ball. The South Fremantle 18-year-old had more of an impact in the middle, showing some class with his silky foot skills, cleanness and speed. Spooner was one of Western Australia’s best, finishing with 17 touches (nine kicks and eight handballs), three marks, four tackles and two rebounds. Given his nice size and skill set, the WA utility will look to rise up the rankings with a strong remainder of the carnival.
#29 – Dillon O’Reilly
In what was a very difficult day for WA’s lead-up forwards, Dillon O’Reilly showed some nice signs. He looked to have sticky hands, clunking numerous strong marks on the lead along the western side of Alberton Oval. O’Reilly showed persistence, continuing to make himself an option by repeatedly presenting himself up the ground, irrespective of the scoreboard. O’Reilly finished the day with eight kicks, one handball and six marks.
#30 – Luke Jackson
The ruckman tried hard and competed well all game in the ruck and around the ground, winning the head-to-head battle with James Braidwood. The East Fremantle product was not afraid to get involved in the hard stuff, attempting to use his strength and size to barge through tackles in tight on a few occasions. He took a nice contested mark in the second quarter over his opposite number and delivered a nice touch kick inside 50 to the leading Xavier Peacock. Jackson finished the day with three kicks, twelve handballs, two marks, two tackles and 29 hitouts.