WE headed down to Metricon Stadium on Tuesday to watch Tasmania take on Northern Territory and Queensland face off against NSW/ACT in the Under 16 National Championships. Michael Alvaro was on hand to take notes at the games.
Tasmania vs. Northern Territory
#12 Will Harper
Harper was arguably the best afield with a dominant performance in the forward half. Starting from a deeper position, the solidly built Launceston product slotted home a set shot in the first term to get his game going. His contested marking came to the fore in the second term as he pushed further up the field, bullying his smaller NT opponents and adding another goal to his tally. Blessed with a booming left foot kick, Harper continued the trend and claimed majors in each quarter with a snap in the third and a long-range set shot in the fourth to cap off an outstanding day.
#14 Samuel Collins
A rock down back, Collins started the game well with hard attacks on the ball and clean use coming out of defence. The North Hobart boy showed an impressive work rate to make and effect a heap of contests, intercepting most that came his way and calmly rebounding. While Harper was quieter in the second half, he rarely put a foot wrong all day.
#15 Oliver Davis
A constant in the midfield, Davis dug in well to allow the Mariners first use while also showing some outside class. He tended to stay a kick behind the ball in the early stages, and used his wits to hit up Lachlan Borsboom and Harper inside 50. Davis’ harder edge came out in the third term as he took an impressive overhead mark, which he followed up by again finding Borsboom inside 50 for his second goal. He continued that form with some handy clearance work and deft hands in-close in a solid outing.
#16 Patrick Walker
Walker pushed up hard from a half-back/wing position to provide a real threat going forward. Like Collins, he was both clever and calm with ball in hand and accumulated well throughout the game. One of Walker’s highlights was a darting pass to Jye Menzie in the last quarter, which resulted in a goal to Jacques Berwick, showing impressive vision. Walker’s defensive work was good too, with some hard tackling and aerial work seeing him play a complete game.
#22 Samuel Banks
Playing deep in defence, Banks quelled a number of dangerous NT attacks and was solid with his intercept marking. His point of difference was the run he created out of the back half, taking the game on at each opportunity. Most of Banks’ best work was done in the second half as the game opened up and he could easily snap up the quick kicks sent his way.
#26 Jye Menzie
Menzie was a lively attacking presence in the first half, booting three goals as he found space pushing forward from the wing. His first was a straight-forward set shot from 20 meters, and his two in the second quarter came amongst some impressive tackling and pressure. Menzie was quieter in the second half, but popped up with an assist for one of Berwick’s two final quarter goals.
#33 Jackson Callow
Callow had an extraordinary purple patch in the second half, marking almost everything that came forward of centre, and kicking three of his four goals. The hulking full forward has strong hands and is a beautiful kick for goal, giving him a good base to work on as he develops. Those skills were on show as he sunk a multiple set shots and demanded the ball on the lead, providing a real and dangerous presence from the goal-square to centre-wing.
#5 Malcolm Rosas
Rosas was a constant feature in the NT midfield and added some real zip out of the congestion. Standing at 175cm, his hands overhead were surprisingly strong and he managed to win a couple of impressive one-on-one marks. His left foot was effective when given the chance to use it, and he provided some nice inside-50 entries.
#15 Jeffrey Simon
Another to spend most of his time through the midfield, Simon competed well in a range of areas. He managed to burst away from the stoppages early with good pace, and spent the rest of the game accumulating possessions around the ground. He also showed off a decent leap and willing attack on the ball.
#16 Jamal Lynch
Lynch started the game in brilliant form off half-back, providing good run and carry while showing a more physical side with a solid one-on-one bump to win the ball. With the ball very much locked in the Tasmanian forward 50 in the first half, Lynch had a decent amount of it and tried to be creative going forward. One of his party tricks was attempting to run on to a handball around his opponent, and his diving trap shortly after made it clear that he is very much a natural footballer.
#17 Maurice Rioli
The latest of the Rioli clan, Maurice has all of the traits you’d expect given his pedigree. While he didn’t find a heap of the ball in the forward half, he looked dangerous in possession and started the game off perfectly with a snap after slipping his opponent. While he is still very raw, Rioli has plenty of talent to work with and isn’t afraid to pull off a party trick at full pace. At 171cm, he is not quite yet ready for a spot in the midfield by was given a run at a centre bounce in the third quarter.
Queensland vs. NSW/ACT
#8 Tahj Abberley
Abberley was a clever user throughout the game, nipping around with good pace and agility form the midfield, forward. He started well with a goal from a free kick after sharking the ball cleanly but being taken high. His left foot was damaging too with some handy forward 50 entries helping the Maroons to push the pace.
#11 Liam O’Brien
The bite-sized winger had an immediate impact with the first goal of the match, coming from a long range set shot. Gathering a good amount of the ball throughout the game, O’Brien’s best moments came in the third quarter when he pulled down a couple of strong marks.
#17 Blake Coleman
Coleman was superb forward all day, marking well leading up to the arc and kicking well inside 50. He supplied two assists in the second term to Crozier and Johnson in that manner and looked dangeous when the ball passed centre-wing. While he didn’t manage to hit the scoreboard himself, he was a reliable avenue forward and caused a good amount of damage.
#22 Saxon Crozier
Crozier was another who pushed hard forward from the wing and found space around the arc, allowing him to impact the scoreboard. His two second-quarter goals were Queensland’s only majors for the term, with one impressively coming on the run. Crozier proved to be a solid ball winner with his high work rate allowing him to get to a number of contests. His strength contested situation was also notable as he showed good hands overhead and won a key shoulder-to-shoulder duel down the wing against Braeden Campbell.
#28 Riley Johnson
Like Crozier, Johnson started up the ground but timed his forward runs to a tee early on to get on the end of easy passes in a paddock of space inside 50. His two first quarter goals came that way, with the tall Southport prospect slotting both set shot opportunities that came his way. His other goal came in the third quarter with a smart snap finish to make him Queensland’s most influencial player scoreboard-wise.
#29 Alex Davies
Davies was impressive at the stoppages with a number of clearance opportunities falling his way. Attending a good number of contests, Davies was able to either flick out handballs with composure or scramble a clearing kick forward to set Queensland on the front foot. He racked up plenty of the ball and looked at home in the middle, with the bench even asking him to stay on at a crucial time instead of coming off for his rotation.
#2 Errol Gulden
Gulden is one of a number of hard at it Rams smalls who can contribute in multiple areas of the ground. Zipping in and out of traffic, the Marouba Saints man likes to take it on and has the ability to burst past opponents. He showed a good amount of grunt, but mixed it with class as he speared in a nice ball inside 50 in the second term. He may have enjoyed that effort a little too much however, as he turned it over trying the same thing shortly after.
#4 Pierce Roseby
Roseby was one who racked up plenty of the ball in a consistent effort, doing all of the hard stuff in the midfield. His work rate was solid, and he tackled hard to set the tone for many of the other Rams mids.
#5 Cooper Wilson
Working in a similar way to Gulden, Wilson spent a lot of his time on half-back and the wing bursting his way forward aggressively. At 172cm, his tackle on Queensland giant Mitchell Langan to catch him holding the ball was impressive, and he is deceptively strong. His hands overhead were just as good, and he wasn’t to be fazed by bigger bodies in one-on-one contests. Wilson was amongst the best based on pure tenacity and work rate, I like his game.
#7 Braeden Campbell
Campbell caught the eye with a willing second half performance that nearly dragged the Rams back to level pegging. The industrious midfielder was aggressive and did all of the one-percenters early on while showing good composure with ball in hand. Campbell went on to put in a shift at the stoppages with some fighting clearances and drive out of the contest, accumilating well. His courageous contested mark going back with the flight in the third term epitomised his effort.
#12 Marc Sheather
The versatile Sheather was on track for a best on ground performance after a blistering first half where he was in everything. His hard edge and combativeness was matched with poise and class on the ball as he gave repeat efforts and skipped through opponents with ease. While his work rate and ball winning ability from the wing was effective, Sheather was thrown deep forward for most of the second quarter, onwards in hopes of utilising his marking prowess. He turned his opponent to snap a handy goal in the second term and was a presence in the 50 for the remainder of the game.