Tag: Darcy Fogarty

Keeping Tabs – Season Review: Part 1

TO finish off what has been a huge year for first-year players, we take a look at some of the top performers from each AFL club now the season is done and dusted. In today’s piece we look at the first nine clubs, from Adelaide through to GWS GIANTS, with the remaining nine clubs to come next week.

Adelaide 

Darcy Fogarty

The Crows were thrilled, perhaps even surprised, when their boy from south-east SA was still available to the Crows at pick 12 of the 2017 National Draft. Debuting in round one, Fogarty’s first kick was a beautiful set-shot goal – a theme Crows fans would soon become accustom to. He averaged 8.4 disposals (5.7 kicks and 2.7 handballs at 68 per cent disposal efficiency), 3.2 marks and two tackles for the year, also managing nine goals (just three behinds) in his ten matches. Fogarty played predominately as the third Adelaide tall forward, alongside the well-established Josh Jenkins and Taylor Walker, laying out plenty of fierce bumps – not a common thing for a draftee. No doubt “Fog” will have learnt plenty in his first season at AFL level. His main focus for the pre-season will be to again improve his tank, allowing him to spend more time on ground. However his ferocious attack on the football, beautiful foot skills and brute strength should see Darcy become a focal point of the Crows forward line for the next 10 years.

Lachlan Murphy

One of the success stories in a lean year for the Crows was the birth of Lachie Murphy. Fans of the TAC Cup may remember him fronting up for the Northern Knights back in 2016. Not being picked up in the draft, Murphy moved to Adelaide to play with the clubs SANFL side and was rewarded for his strong form with a rookie selection. The energetic small forward brought with him manic pressure, speed and an eye for the goals in his 11 games, in which he managed 12 goals and an average of 3.7 tackles and 8.7 disposals. “Murph” will look to maintain his place in the competitive Adelaide side as they aim to bounce back in 2019.

 

Brisbane 

Cameron Rayner

The number one draft pick always has a certain level of expectation associated with them, however being up at Brisbane, away from the media bubble of Melbourne, would have no-doubt helped Cam Rayner settle into life in the AFL. Utilised as a medium forward with stints in the middle, he played all 22 games for the club, averaging 13.5 disposals (73 per cent disposal efficiency), 3.5 marks, 20 goals (14 behinds), 1.7 clearances, 2.4 tackles and 2.5 inside-50s. His ability to launch for pack grabs was exciting for Lions fans. Like many draftees, he will look to build up endurance in his second pre-season.

Zac Bailey

The skilful small forward/balanced midfielder fronted up for 12 senior games games, averaging 13.5 disposals (74 per cent disposal efficiency), three marks, 2.3 tackles. Next season, competition for selection will be as tough as it has been in a long time at the Gabba, particularly given the likely inclusions of Lachie Neale and Lincoln McCarthy. However rest assured Zac Bailey remains well within the clubs plans for the future as the look to return to the glistening heights of the early 2000s.

 

Carlton 

Paddy Dow

It was a tough year for the Blues, however the encouraging performances of prized draft pick Paddy Dow gave fans a glimpse into the future. Playing a solid amount of midfield minutes in his 20 games, Dow averaged 14.2 disposals (67 per cent efficiency), two marks, seven goals, 2.6 clearances, 3.2 tackles and 2.6 inside 50s. Perhaps most impressive was his smarts around the stoppages for such a young player. There’s no-doubt Carlton will look to form their midfield core around Dow, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Patrick Cripps and potentially number one pick Sam Walsh as the continue to rebuild.

Lochie O’Brien

The top 10 draft selection spent the year playing across half-back where he was able to show off his classy foot skills and speed. O’Brien was given plenty of opportunity, playing 18 matches, where he averaged 14 disposals (at 71 per cent efficiency), 222 metres gained, 4.4 marks and 2.1 rebounds. His best game came in the final round in what proved to be a hefty loss to Adelaide. Here, O’Brien accumulated 22 disposals, sent the ball inside-50 on six occasions and took four marks.

 

Collingwood

Jaidyn Stephenson

The deserved Rising Star winner, Jaidyn Stephenson played a full-forward-type role for the Grand Finalists, which often allowed him to get out the back, beat his opponent one-on-one and speed away using his rapid pace to advantage. “Stevo” kicked a super impressive 38 goals in his 26 games, including two in the first quarter of the Grand Final, to go with an average of 12.3 disposals, 3.9 marks and 5.2 score involvements in what was a remarkable season. May spend more time on the wing next season where his blistering speed and athleticism will once again be expected to excite ‘Pies fans.

Brody Mihocek

Mihocek’s story is one of the best of the year. Rookie drafted as a mature aged recruit from Port Melbourne in the VFL, Mihocek came in as one of the best tall defenders in the state leagues, but was moved forward to fill a need for the Magpies. He crucially provided a decoy for tall teammate Mason Cox, with his ability to get off the chain and take a stack of marks important. Averaged nearly 2 goals per game, 11.6 disposals (73 per cent efficiency), 4.9 marks (1.4 contested) and 5.6 score involvements. With the Pies in pursuit of some tall timber, it remains to be seen where Mihocek will be played in coming seasons.

 

Essendon

Matt Guelfi

Essendon’s mature-aged recruit from WAFL side Claremont, Matt Guelfi came into the Bombers lineup and filled a variety of roles, showing off his strong versatility in his 15 senior games. He held his own at the highest level of football, averaging 15.1 disposals, 3.3 marks, one clearance, 3.1 tackles and also kicking five goals. In the WAFL his stoppage nous and contested ball winning were strengths, so it will be interesting to see whether he is able to push for more midfield minutes in 2019.

 

Fremantle

Andrew Brayshaw

The high draft pick managed to play 17 games in his debut season in the west. He spent a large chunk of time in the midfield alongside stars Lachie Neale and Nat Fyfe, from whom he will have learnt plenty. Averaged an impressive 15.9 disposals (69 per cent efficiency), 2.9 marks, 1.5 clearances and 4.4 tackles with his ready-made frame and willing attitude ensuring a strong start to life at the highest level for the brother of Angus and Hamish. However his season came to an early end when he was unfortunately on the receiving end of the now infamous Andrew Gaff uppercut, perhaps stealing the limelight from what was a sturdy start to his career.

Adam Cerra

Adam Cerra, the second of Fremantle’s 2017 first round picks, showed moments of absolute class off half-back. After debuting in round two, Cerra went on to play all remaining games for an average of 13.7 disposals (71 per cent efficiency), 3.3 marks and 3.4 tackles. Despite his precise foot skills and polish, Cerra showed he was not afraid of cracking in hard. Could potentially spend more time in the middle given the impending departure of Lachie Neale. The former Eastern Ranges midfielder looks destined to become one of the leagues most damaging onballers.

 

Geelong

Tim Kelly

Tim Kelly produced one of the greatest debut seasons ever seen at AFL level. He slotted into the star-studded Geelong midfield with ease, complimenting the likes of Dangerfield and Ablett. A key aspect of his game was the ability to push forward and hit the scoreboard, allowing the coaching staff to play one of their star on-ballers up forward for stints. His work at the coal face was super impressive, extracting the ball and evading would-be tacklers with class. Playing ever game for his side, Kelly averaged 22.9 disposals, 368 metres gained, 3.3 marks, 4.2 clearances, 3.5 tackles and kicked 24 goals. Additionally, the former WAFL star sent the ball inside 50 on an average of four times per game. Could not as for much more.

Lachlan Fogarty

Lachie Fogarty, Geelong’s first selection in the 2017 National Draft, came over the Cats from the Western Jets regarded as one of the better midfielders in the draft. Yet due to the Cats strong onball brigade, he was limited to a forward line role where Fogarty’s renowned tackling created plenty of forward pressure. Averaged 13.3 disposals and 3.5 tackles, but will aim to sharpen up his kicking in-front of and around goals, with a scoring accuracy of just 24 per cent. However he will have been pleased to have played 15 games for the finalists.

 

Gold Coast

Charlie Ballard

The athletic South Australian utility came from the clouds to be drafted in the third round of last years National Draft. Given his light-frame, the former Sacred Heart College student will be rapt to have broken through for 11 games, debuting against the Bulldogs in Bendigo. He was never going to set the world on fire with his statistics, but showed plenty of promise, particularly in the air, taking 39 grabs for the season (average of 3.5 per game). Was utilised down back and up forward, although those who have seen him play at school and club level with Sturt know of the X-factor he provides on the wing. Gold Coast will be patient.

Brayden Crossley

The big ruckman certainly has some spunk about him with his slick hair and mustache. A member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy, Crossley played 10 senior games for the battling club, averaging six hit-outs and 9.4 disposals (at 69 per cent disposal efficiency). Isn’t one to shy away from the hard stuff, averaging more contested than uncontested possessions and laying 22 tackles on the whole. Will need time to learn but is developing nicely and already has a strong frame.

 

Greater Western Sydney

Aiden Bonar

Having played just the four games for the Dandenong Stingrays in 2017, due to an ACL injury, Bonar managed a further four games this season, albeit at senior level in a strong GWS side. His supreme athleticism, explosiveness and acceleration were evident, as was his tackling intensity. The tall midfielder/third tall forward averaged 10.5 touches at a neat 71 per cent efficiency, to go with three marks, 4.5 tackles and a total of five goals. He shapes as being a star of the game, with his size and strength making him hard to contain at the stoppages. Will only improve as he increases his endurance.

Sam Taylor

Taylor, a key component to the Western Australian under-18 Championships side last year, played eight games for Greater Western Sydney in what was yet another injury-riddled season. He averaged just the 8.9 disposals per game, however it was his clean ball use out of the defensive-50 which really caught the eye. Given his foot skills were regarded by some as an area in need of improvement, he and the Giants will be pleased with a disposal efficiency of 80 per cent. Looks set to be a key defensive prospect the club can rely upon.

South Australia weekly wrap: Under 16s bring home the double

COMING off the high of the South Australian (SA) Under 18 win and with all players returning to their local SANFL clubs, it was the SA Under 16 squad’s turn to take stage in their National Championships.

SA Under 16s:

Inspired by the victory of the SA Under 18 team, the Under 16 lads followed suit and secured a title victory in the National U16 Championships over Vic Metro.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA  3.6  9.7  12.10  13.12 (90)
VICTORIA METRO  2.3  3.6  6.9  11.12 (78)

BEST – Durdin, Jones, Nelligan, Thilthorpe, Horsnell, Kraemer.
LEADING DISPOSALS – Nelligan 21, Durdin 20, Edwards 19, Schwerdt, Dean 16, Baldwin 14, Dumesny, Thilthorpe, Higgins 13.
GOALS – Dudley, Horsnell 3, Dumesny 2, Dean, Baldwin, Durdin, Higgins, Pedlar.
KEVIN SHEEHAN MEDAL – Corey Durdin (Central District)
SA MVP OF THE CARNIVAL – Corey Durdin (Central Distict)
ALL-AUSTRALIANS – Corey Durdin, Riley Thilthorpe, Kaine Baldwin, Luke Edwards, Jye Sinderberry & Julian Farkas (Coach).

The SA side had some impressive talent over the tournament with Central District’s Corey Durdin the standout across all games and all sides. The SA vice-captain was electric across the midfield and looks an exciting prospect. It was an all-round performance from the SA side, and for new coach Julian Farkas an excellent championship for bringing the team together.   

SANFL Wrap:

League

All Under 18 talent returned to their local clubs, and slotted straight back into League footy. In Sturt’s loss to Norwood, Hugo Munn continued his strong form with 1.2 and a well balanced performance in a losing side. Norwood kicked a huge 13 goals in the last quarter to run over the Double Blues. For the Eagles, eyes were again on key forward Jack Lukosius who continued his form with eight marks, two goals and five tackle game that was impressive. The Eagles dominated the highly rated North Adelaide.

In the West Adelaide vs. Centrals match, the Bloods won easily, with star Izak Rankine proving inaccurate in front of goal finishing with 0.4 – it could have easily been better result for him. Centrals mid Jackson Hately found plenty of footy with 18 disposals and a goal in another consistent performance Glenelg secured a close victory over South, and 2017 SA U18 strong bodied mid Brad McCarthy was very good for the Tigers with one goal and 18 disposals. He was rewarded with a SA Powerade Breakthrough Player of the Week nomination. Young forward Lachlan Hosie continues to hit the scoreboard at League and Reserves level finishing with another three goals. For South, youngster Jaidan Kappler made his league debut for the Panthers.

In the Port Adelaide vs Adelaide Crows game held in Kadina, Adelaide young mid Jordan Boyle finished with 29 disposals. Crows listed players Patrick Wilson and Cam Ellis-Yolmen and Darcy Fogarty were also dominant. For Port Magpies, Jack Kluske continued his good form and earned a Breakthrough player nomination, while ex-Glenelg and Sacred Heart (SHC) youngster Harry Morgan made his league debut.  

Reserves:

Sturt’s Tom Lewis lead the way for the Double Blues despite a thumping from Norwood. His three goals and six tackles were one of the few standouts on the day. Backman Riley Grundy made his Reserves debut as well and didn’t look out of place. In Central’s loss to West Adelaide, SA U18 leader Jez McLennan showed his class for the Bulldogs as their best afield finishing with nine marks and 23 disposals. Every game he plays he improves and looks very well balanced at all times. North fell in against the Eagles and SA U18 lads Connor Rozee and Boyd Woodcock were dangerous around goal with four goals between them, looking very classy. Glenelg had a young team lose to South, and Tobin Cox best was best for the Tigers, along with 2019 prospects Will Gould and Brady Searle who found plenty of the ball. Tom Sparrow (South) was the player of the game with a huge 13 tackles in a tough display of midfield work.  

Under 18s:

The Eagles winning ways continued on, defeating North by 24 points. Tyson Francis finished with a five goal haul, while Connor McLeod and SA U18 Kai Pudney found plenty of ball with the latter using it more effectively this week. North’s Jak Gouldman-Glasson finished with six goals and Harrison Magor was also amongst their best. Jacob Kennerley stood out in Norwood’s win over Sturt. The dashing wingman played a complete game with 27 disposals, 12 contested, four clearances and two goals showed his all round class. He is one to watch for the remainder of the season. Fellow SA U18 member Ben Jarvis was good with nine marks, and over-ager Lachlan Pascoe made a solid return after a long lay off with injury. Sturt’s Jed McEntee’s run of form continued for the Double Blues in his fifth game in a row being Sturt’s best. His 27 disposals and 15 contested were indicative of his work rate, and leadership in the team. Will be interested to watch his remainder of the season.

It was a goal-fest for the South Adelaide boys with Daniel Sladojevic finishing with three goals and Hayden Sampson also had two. Glenelg mid Sam Liambis was good around stoppage finishing with nine clearances, and 11 of his 22 possessions being contested was a shining light in the 55 point loss. Standout performance of the week from the U18 comp was West Adelaide’s Ethan Moore who collected an impressive 41 disposals at 73 per cent efficiency. The SHC Student and ex-Mitcham Hawk tried to help drag his team over the line, but they lost by 12 points to Centrals. Moore’s performance earned him a U18 MVP nomination.  

SANFL Under 15 and Under 17 Competitions:

All SANFL clubs are currently participating in the week long U15 and U17 SANFL competition which gives some younger and other fringe players opportunities at the higher level and to aid in their development for U16 and U18 footy in future years. It is also a chance for local SANFL clubs to get a look at their Country zoned players who form part of these squads as well.  

College Footy:

All school football recommences in two weeks with the chase for both Messenger Shield and State Knockout titles to heat up in the back half of the year.

Keeping Tabs: Standout performers from Round 11

IN Round 11 there were plenty of standout performers from the 2017 draft crop, with mature agers leading the way with some impressive performances.

Tim Kelly

Again, Kelly’s form stayed true. The Western Australian lad injected plenty of class to aid Geelong in their 85-point smashing over the Suns. With a 79 per cent disposal efficiency, Kelly picked up 24 possessions, with 11 contested. His work through linkups saw him with plenty contribution to the board, racking up 10 score involvements to compliment his two goals. If we weren’t here reminding you, nobody would believe this kid to be a first-year player. With the numbers he puts on the stat sheet, Kelly is holding himself up there with the more seasoned players on his team. To round out his performance, he saw an extra five clearances, four tackles and three inside 50s. This Cat is going to be in some important conversations in the coming years if he continues to play like this.

Bayley Fritsch

Fritsch put on a bit of a clinic for spectators on the weekend. His efforts on the ground ought to fill Melbourne fans with confidence since they re-signed him in late May. At an 89 per cent disposal efficiency, the Demon tallied up a strong 26 possessions, with eight contested. A goal and six score involvements sealed his spot as one of their top performers, Fritsch’s forward pressure burning through the Bulldog’s defence. Add two more clearances, four tackles and seven rebound 50s and you’ve got a future star in the making. Fritsch’s development in this supreme offensive side should shape him into a danger for backman in these coming years. Be prepared.

Brody Mihocek

Coming straight from the Rookie Draft last year, Mihocek demonstrated what his years at Port Melbourne have offered his new club. With a 100 percent efficiency on the ball, the tall unit took home 12 disposals, nine contested. Mihocek not only kicked his first goal for his career but picked up three more to follow. His experience only adding to the Magpie’s crafty offensive.  In all, the Port Melbourne son finished with seven score involvements, 11 pressure acts, two tackles and three one percenters. The highlight for this man’s day came through perfectly efficient football and I’m excited to see what Round 12 brings.

Cam Rayner

The number one draft pick showed off some of the missed aspects of his football in the Lions loss to North Melbourne on the weekend. Gathering much of his ball through the midfield, Rayner blew up the stat sheet. He had seven score involvements, five clearances, five inside 50s and seven tackles and displayed composure breaking out of congestion, planting the ball in front of his forwards.  His 22 pressure acts certainly made the Kangaroos earn their victory. The youngster finished the game with 21 possessions, eight contested at a 76 per cent disposal efficiency. Rayner barred some dynamic football, unafraid to take on the game is other areas.

Lachie Fogarty

Fogarty has been a little hit and miss so far throughout the season, so it’s a pleasure to be able to put him on this list again.  The Cats forward was unlucky on the board, missing his shot on goal, but regrouped, making plenty of impact with eight score involvements. Fogarty finished with a 77 per cent disposal efficiency and 17 possessions in Geelong’s 85-point victory against the Gold Coast Suns. The young forward spent much of the four quarters along the forward 50, laying both his tackles inside and picking up two one percenters. The work Geelong has put into developing their youth is shown greatly through stars like this.

Zac Bailey

Bailey played integral football in his side’s loss against the Kangaroos. A 14-possession game at a 79 per cent disposal efficiency demonstrated the young lion’s class despite their thrashing. Bailey put through a goal at the end of the second, branding four score involvements for the day. He laid three tackles, with 23 pressure acts and four intercept possessions. Bailey, above all else, should be praised for his determination in the face of a stronger side. I would be curious to see his stats if his team had a better day out on the field.

Hunter Clark

Clark’s numbers on the stat sheets stood up in areas unique to what we’ve caught so far. Plenty of his 17 possessions were taken in the midfield, 11 of which were contested. His disposal efficiency came up a little short at 59 percent, but Clark more than made up for it with his pressure on the game. In total, the young Saint laid six tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s. He was unfortunate in coughing up five turnovers but stepped up to the midfield challenge well. Clark worked hard to re-cement himself into the side, and should be left to develop there if he works the game like he is.

Bailey Banfield

The high pressure forward stepped up in their loss to the Magpies. Kicking one and missing the other, Banfield saw plenty of contribution to the board with his six score involvements. He put in heaps of work to keep the ball in their forward 50. A 15-possession game with seven contested, closed his game off at a 73 per cent disposal efficiency. Five huge tackles, two clearances and two one percenters showed off the Dockers’ extra efforts in keeping his team above water.

Darcy Fogarty

In the biggest rollercoaster match of the round, Fogarty found his season beginning form, putting in the work on and off the play.  The Crow had plenty of impact in the side’s 16-point loss to the Giants with  11 possessions, five contested at an 82 per cent disposal efficiency. The youngster had three inside 50s, two tackles and an impressive four one percenters. He was unfortunate in turnovers and free kicks, giving away five and three, but could be forgiven given the intensity of the game. Hopefully Fogarty’s able to lift leading further into the season and we can see some of Adelaide’s 2017 form.

Paddy Dow

In a strong first half against the Swans, the Blues young prodigy took on plenty of the play. Dow put through his second goal for the season and continued to pick up another handful of clearances. He sat one per cent below his season average 63 per cent disposal efficiency, collecting 13 for the day with seven contested. His work rate was high around the loose ball and his skill work continues to be quite polished. He may need to take time to adjust his tempo to suit the flow of play, as well as picking his passes a little better. As usual, his day on the ground finished off well-rounded as he continued to go hard at everything. Some further three score involvements and three tackles top off Dow’s game and sum up his efforts appropriately.

South Australian College football prepares for revamp

A TRADITIONAL football system is getting a revamp, with the Adelaide College football turning to a multi-tier system involving promotion and relegation, and we look at how it works, what it means and how the College football and State league can work together for the best possible results.

College football has a long and proud tradition in Adelaide, in fact next year, two of the oldest colleges, Prince Alfred College (PAC) and St Peters will play in their 150th annual Intercol, and in 2017, Sacred Heart and Rostrevor College completed their 95th year of Intercol competing. This tradition has resulted in an agreement with the SANFL that prioritizes a player to be allowed to play for their College side over their South Australia National Football League (SANFL) side. In almost all cases players named in an SANFL league team are released for SANFL duty.

The SA College system has a long production line of AFL Players with some recent draftees since 2014 including:

For PAC: Zac Bailey, Mitch Crowden, Aaron Francis, Riley Bonner, Cam Hewett, Harrison Wigg. 
Sacred Heart: Charlie Ballard, Mitchell Hinge, Liam Mackie, Alex Neal-Bullen, Keenan Ramsey, Cory Gregson, Ryan Burton.
St Peters: Will Hayward, Matt Allen
Rostrevor: Darcy Fogarty, Harry Petty, Toby Pink
Also from other colleges include Callum Coleman-Jones, Andrew McPherson, Lewis Young, Luke Partington and Stefan Giro.

The talent at College football is deep and keeping tabs and reporting on the performances of those players important.

2018 College Football System 

The 2018 season will see SA College football have a revamp, culminating in a new system of promotion and relegation with a top level Premier League and a north and south Championship League. It is a bit complex, but here is how it will work for 2018:

Stage 1:  The Premier division will start with six teams: PAC, Sacred Heart, Rostrevor, St Peters, Immanuel and St Michaels. There will then be a Championship North conference: Trinity, St Ignatius, Westminster, Blackfriars, Marryatville and PAC 2.  The Championship South conference will include: Scotch, Mercedes, CBC, Pembroke, Adelaide High and Sacred Heart 2.  Stage 1 games will involve all schools in their respective grades playing each other once. At which point re-grading will take place. 

Stage 2:  The bottom two Premier League teams will be relegated to the Championship league. The top team in the North and South Conference will be promoted to the Premier League.  Also the next 12 teams will then be regraded into two further divisions of 6 to allow hopefully all schools to be more evenly matched for Stage 2 of the season.
Stage 2 will see each team play each other again for the premiership in each division.

Finals: In the Premier League the top team will go straight into the State Championship grand final, with the second placed team to play a preliminary final against the highest ranked State school.  So in 2017 Sacred Heart was defeated by Henley High in the preliminary final, then with Henley going into the Grand Final against PAC, resulting in victory to PAC in a thrilling contest.

So during the season the typical under 18 draftable college player will play five to six SANFL games, then start College football for five games, then two to three back in the SANFL during school holidays, and then another five to six College games, before SANFL finals kick in.

SANFL vs College Football 

Whilst there is a peace between the SANFL and the College System, there is always some debate about the merits of College football, as compared to the development and recognised elite pathway through the SANFL.  However those in the College system will argue that College footy presents those players with a pure football experience, focused on team and character rather than individual performance and stats, as well as the opportunity to still play SANFL, and exposure to a college education.

Many country-based players are given this option to board at a city-based college and this gives them the opportunity to play all forms, whereas otherwise a seven0hour round trip for a Lucindale-based player such as Darcy Fogarty, may not be feasible.  It should also be noted that the College teams are now often coached by ex-AFL/SANFL players and have support structures similar to SANFL clubs.  In 2017 College coaches included ex-AFL/SANFL players and coaches in Martin McKinnon, Jon Symonds, Steve Symonds, Brett Chalmers, Darren Trevena, and Andrew McLeod

Those in the SANFL may well argue that by doing both you do not promote yourself as best you can.  An interesting outcome of College football is that there is no Champion Data on games and generally these games are not videoed.  So it is quite common to see a bunch of recruiters at these College games, tracking the performances of these potential AFL players. Whilst the best players will go through, there are also the fringe players who do not get through because AFL teams haven’t got enough data to make that call. 

This is an interesting debate. An example from last year involves a player not getting selected for SANFL Under 18 games, but playing College football. Recruiters attending college games noticed this player and upon noting his lack of SANFL games, questioned the club and he was subsequently selected in his SANFL Under 18s club game where he had some excellent performances. After this he was  invited to the SA State based AFL Combine and ended up playing in a SANFL reserves final.  And he met with a number of AFL clubs. This player was not subsequently drafted.  Feedback was positive, “we liked what we saw, just didn’t see enough”, and encouraging for future years. Did College football help this player get noticed? Absolutely.  Did SANFL footy help this player? Not to start with and then absolutely. There are pros and cons to both systems and many examples both ways of the benefits if the AFL path is what you want.

A perfect example of where school football and a state development league did work out however, was Sandringham Dragons’ Nathan Murphy, who missed out on being picked for the Dragons initially, and then after some superb form in the APS competition, made it onto the Dragons list mid-season and by the end of the year, had found a home in the AFL, selected by Collingwood in the National Draft.

But in the meantime, the culmination of a College football year is the end-of-season Intercol game between traditional rivals. An experience not to be missed as player or spectator.  The week of festivities, with thousands watching the game, and the post-match with each team being swamped by hundreds of school mates, presentation of trophies and speeches is AFL Grand Final like – just minus Mr Brightside.

South Australia weekly wrap: Academy members return to action

WITH Round 3 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) completed, we review the performances of the potential draft prospects for 2018.

League:

Tall Central Districts midfielder Jackson Hately returned after AFL Academy duties in his team’s nine-point loss to West Adelaide and had 11 disposals, along with five tackles. Jack Lukosius, also returning from the AFL Academy squad, was part of a low-scoring affair with Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) drawing with Port Adelaide Magpies at 28 points each. Lukosius was relatively quiet kicking two behinds from his six disposals, but did manage a cracking Mark of the Year contender over Port Adelaide’s Jimmy Toumpas.

Reserves:

In a thriller, Conor Rozee’s North Adelaide got over Sturt by two points in wet and slippery conditions. Rozee was amongst the best with 21 disposals including seven tackles sweeping across half-back, with teammate Frankie Szekely proving dangerous with a sole goal. For Sturt, Tom Lewis was strong in the contest with 22 disposals (18 contested) including an incredible 13 tackles to be in Sturt’s bests. Power forward Hugo Munn kicked a goal from his 11 disposals playing up forward with some cameos in defence. Mihail Lochowiak showed real class running off the contest with seven clearances from his 14 disposals. In WWT’s 41-point win over Port Adelaide, Kai Pudney was in the best with 27 disposals including six clearances. Jez McLennan contributed to Central’s 10-point win over West Adelaide with 12 disposals from the back half.

Under 18s:

South defeated WWT by 18 points with Luke Bogle dominating with 42 disposals (32 contested), 12 clearances and eight tackles for best on ground honours. Hayden Sampson was also in the best with 32 disposals including 11 clearances and Darnell Tucker kicked three goals, to go with his 23 disposals and seven tackles. The Eagles’ Jarrod Miller was in his team’s best, with 26 disposals and kicking four goals. Isaac Brill was also outstanding in defence with 22 disposals including 14 rebound 50s.

Sturt defeated North Adelaide by 37 points with Sturt’s Oliver Cheesman best with 24 disposals including two goals, with underager Jed McEntee also getting two goals to go with his seven clearances, seven tackles and 25 disposals. Sturt ruckman James Braidwood continued to impress again. Weekly MVP winner and midfielder Boyd Woodcock was best on ground for the Roosters with 43 disposals, including an incredible 18 clearances, even more special considering Sturt had a team total of 33 clearances. Father-son prospect Jackson Antrobus got himself into the best for North with a goal and 18 possessions.

Aaron Nietschke was best in Central’s 27-point over West Adelaide, with 29 disposals, nine marks and seven inside 50s. West’s Ethan Moore was their best with 32 disposals, including a goal and 11 marks. In a thriller, Norwood defeated Glenelg by one point after scores were tied in the dying seconds of the game. AFL Academy player Luke Valente was in Norwood’s best with 26 disposals including a goal, nine clearances and an outstanding 12 tackles. Jed Spence was also strong with 31 disposals and nine tackles. For Glenelg, Seb Schrieber was best with 22 disposals including seven tackles and Finn Betterman added another strong game including eight inside 50 entries

In other news around the state, 2017 SA State Champions Prince Alfred College (PAC) played Haileybury (2017 APS Victorian Premiers) in Melbourne on Friday as part of their preseason. The SA champs won comfortably 88 to 37, led by captain Tom Sparrow. 

Zac Bailey – who played for Norwood and PAC last year – debuted for the Brisbane Lions on Saturday in their loss to Richmond. Zac now joins Fremantle’s Mitch Crowden, Adelaide’s Darcy Fogarty and Port’s Dom Barry as SA 2017 draftees to have debuted this season so far.

Keeping tabs: Standout draftees from Round 2

ROUND two provided many young draftees with the chance to improve upon their debut games. With nine clubs playing in front of their home crowd for the first time in 2018, fans finally got to see their new players up close. Many of the draftees put in some greatly improved performances this Easter Weekend. 

Luke Davies-Uniacke 

Davies-Uniacke impressed for North Melbourne in their Good Friday victory over St.Kilda. In what was certainly a scrappy game, ‘LDU’ laid five tackles, had 16 disposals and took three marks. His delivery by foot was excellent, recording a disposal efficiency of 75 per cent. Having spent time as an outside and inside midfielder, Davies-Uniacke’s in-and-under stoppage work was a highlight, totalling four clearances whilst also managing nine contested possessions. In what could be a tough year for the Kangaroos, Luke Davies-Uniacke will certainly give fans something to get excited about for the future.

Adam Cerra

Taken with pick five of last year’s national draft, Fremantle’s Adam Cerra made his debut in Optus Stadium’s purple christening. The classy onballer showcased why clubs rated him so highly as he collected nine disposals at 78 pe rcent efficiency and did not record a turnover. Spending most of the night up forward, Cerra kicked two goals and took three marks inside 50, proving his ability in attack. He seemed to make a positive impact with every possession against Essendon and will no-doubt continue to feature for Fremantle in 2018.

Andrew Brayshaw

After a heavy debut loss to Port at the Adelaide Oval, Brayshaw appeared more comfortable in front of the Dockers faithful. Playing on-ball in his 65 percent time on ground, he was not flashy but recorded 16 disposals, had 23 pressure acts (second for the Dockers behind debutant Mitch Crowden), four intercept possessions, five tackles and six inside 50s. As he looks to spend more time on ground in the coming weeks, expect Brayshaw to continue to fit in well at AFL level. 

Darcy Fogarty

Darcy Fogarty also made his home debut this round, in what was one of the biggest games of the season. In trademark fashion, Fogarty crashed plenty of packs, applied serious forward pressure and certainly let the Tigers defenders know of his presence. One particular incident saw ‘Fog’ hit premiership player Josh Caddy, making him earn his mark. As the game progressed, Fogarty was involved in a number of fiery incidents and he certainly did not back down. He calmly slotted two set shots which never looked like missing, demonstrating his terrific foot skills. Only recorded the seven disposals, but Fogarty took five marks and looks set to wreck havoc for opposition defences, building a formidable partnership with skipper Taylor Walker.  

Aaron Naughton

The Bulldogs key defender had his work cut out for him in round one, opposed to Giants forwards Jeremy Cameron for parts of the day. However, with superstar Josh Kennedy out for the Eagles, Naughton’s second game proved to be an easier one. He collected 12 disposals at 67 percent efficiency, six intercept possessions, seven marks (including two contested marks), 10 score involvements and sent the ball inside 50 on three occasions. For a key position player, Naughton has made a good, solid start to his AFL career, There’s little doubt he will continue to improve as he gains further experience. 

Liam Ryan

In just his second game, Liam Ryan starred in what was a fantastic victory for the West Coast Eagles. Ryan, taken from WAFL club Subiaco with pick 26 in the 2017 AFL National Draft, recorded 93 per cent of his 14 disposals in the attacking half, finishing the game with three majors. His aerial prowess was on display with three of his six marks being contested, including one screamer late in the opening quarter. The day could’ve been even more productive, considering he totalled three behinds. After years of being looked over by AFL clubs, Ryan is beginning to repay the Eagles recruiters. He has slotted seamlessly into the Eagles forward line, forming one half of a dangerous, electrifying duo with Willie Rioli, who made his debut on Sunday afternoon.

Tim Kelly

The mature-aged recruit continued his great form from round one with a sensational game against Hawthorn in the Easter Monday blockbuster. Kelly amasssed 27 disposals, six marks, four tackles and booted a goal, to be one of Geelong’s best in a high-pressure game. His 13 contested possessions were telling, also finishing the match with four clearances and seven inside 50s, looking as if he was more a 10-year veteran than a first year player.

Keeping tabs: Standout draftees from Round 1

ROUND one of the AFL kicked-off and with it came some familiar faces making the step up from the TAC Cup and National Under 18 Championships up into the big time. Fans got the opportunity to see how some of the new boys picked up during the off season fit in with their beloved clubs. There were some outstanding performances by the debutantes. These players adjusted well to the elite level and we got the chance to see how they might fair for the rest of the season. In what will become a weekly feature, Keeping tabs will track the progress of draftees and name the top performers from the weekend.

Bayley Fritsch

Fritsch opened Melbourne’s scoring with his first goal. It started the Demons off toward a fierce forward attack, and in the end, they came close to taking the win. The 21 year-old did not have much of the football after Geelong got tighter on the ball but he laid five important tackles and earned himself four contested possessions. His efficiency was a little under par but with some time he should see some improvements and develop some consistency.

Cam Rayner
The number one pick for the 2017 National Draft pulled on the boots for Brisbane on Saturday as they took on St Kilda at Etihad Stadium. He spent most of his time in the forward line, earning himself four contested possessions and a brilliantly crumbed goal. Running around in Jonathan Brown’s old jumper, Rayner did not shy away from the ball and attacked every play with ruthless intensity. He crashed the packs and demonstrated his potential as a key forward player. With some adjusting, Rayner should only become more damaging as a player as the season progresses.

Jaidyn Stephenson
Stephenson played some outstanding footy against Hawthorn on Saturday night. Looking comfortable at the elite level, Stephenson finished the game with 16 disposals and five contested possessions. His passing was clean and he did not shy away from taking on his man. He laid an impressive tackle along his forward 50 and smothered the ball off the kick after it spilled out. He was a highlight for Collingwood and was unfortunate not to top it off with a win.

Hunter Clark
Clark marched out with the Saints to take on the Lions in his first ever AFL match. He began the game a little shy around the ball, but was smooth enough with it when it found his hands. He positioned himself well around plays and demonstrated a few effective hand-passes to get the Saints out of congestion. With sharp kicking, Hunter was consistent in hitting his man, and even picked himself up his first goal for his career. He had a total of 12 disposals with a 75 percent efficiency. In time, Clark could see himself developing his slick brand of footy with the Saints and cement his spot in their best 22.

Darcy Fogarty
Fogarty came out the gate galloping with Crows in his first three appearances. He kicked one goal in his first JLT game against the Dockers, and three in his second against Port. He kept this intensity alive going into Round One against Essendon, kicking two goals in his first  AFL match. With only the six disposals, Fogarty managed to inflict some damage on the Bombers. He went hard at the ball and put pressure on his opposition. Fogarty is a forward in the making, and if he keeps up this level of football, could see himself take home the serious awards during his AFL career.

Lachie Fogarty
Fogarty’s effort may have been a bit overshadowed by the return of Gary Ablett, but Geelong’s young guns produced some enormous efforts. Fogarty capped his game off with 20 disposals and 10 contested possessions. He had a 70 per cent disposal efficiency, four intercept possessions and kicked a goal. At pick 22 in the 2017 AFL National Draft, Fogarty played a far more damaging role for his side than other clubs may have anticipated. He was a decent utility throughout the game for Geelong and has the potential to go far in his career if he uses the Cats’ current midfield group as the standard he needs to reach.

Tim Kelly
Another first gamer for Geelong, Kelly smashed expectations with his first game. The South Australian applied some good pressure, hit his man, kicked his first goal and ended the game with a brilliant 27 disposals. He was a star for Geelong as seen through his 70 per cent efficiency. He adapted well to match their elite level of football and earned himself an outstanding 13 contested possessions, only second to Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver. This young man was outstanding overall, and played like a seasoned AFL player.

Andrew Brayshaw
The number two draft selection had a solid outing in his debut game, racking up 12 disposals for Fremantle in the Dockers’ heavy loss to Port Adelaide. Brayshaw had four kicks and eight handballs, along with two clearances, running at 75 per cent disposal efficiency. Throw in three marks and two tackles from 66 per cent time on ground, Brayshaw made the most of his time on the big stage.

South Australia weekly wrap: Lukosius stars again; Fogarty puts his hand up for round one

SOUTH Australian football is headlined by some outstanding AFL preseason performances this week, as well as another strong showing from potential top 10 draft pick Jack Lukosius in the SANFL trial games. Meanwhile, the league hosted its Annual General Meeting (AGM), granting a swag of former stars life membership status.

AFL News – JLT Community Series:

The JLT series concluded last week and there is no doubt that sides are a step closer to finalising their line ups for Round 1. South Australian talent was on show again, with none more impressive than Adelaide Crow Darcy Fogarty. A three-goal haul helped the powerful forward to stake his claim for a Round 1 debut. The former Rostrevor lad has showed he is up for the task at AFL level so far and deserves a chance. Former Glenelg player Dom Barry also looks like he will make his way into the Power lineup for Round 1.

SANFL League and Reserves News – Trial Games:

It was a busy weekend for SANFL clubs with League, Reserves, U18 and U16 sides all playing trial games.

The Port Magpies and Eagles League contest proved to be another step in the right direction for 2018 draft prospect Jack Lukosius in his development with a dominant five-goal haul in three quarters against AFL Power-listed defenders. It is going to be hard to keep a lid on Lukosius this year as he continues to show he should be at the very pointy end of this year’s draft. The Eagles won both League and Reserves games easily, with Jake Weidemann slotting five goals in the second game.

In South vs North reserves and league trial games last weekend, there were some notable under 18 performers. North won reserves by 34 points, with Boyd Woodcock creating some space to slot four goals.  James Langley played in the ruck and forward and also kicked a goal.  Dyson Hilder, an underager in 2018 continues to impress particularly in and around the packs and with his effective disposal, also managed a goal.  For South, strong bodied midfielder Tom Sparrow worked hard all day, including a number of tackles and also kicked his side’s first goal.  Job Colwell was also amongst the possessions and looked dangerous across half forward.  In the league trial won by North, AFL Academy Member Connor Rozee played off the wing and Adelaide father-son prospect from South, Hayden Sampson, also had a run.

In the Centrals vs Glenelg hit-outs, AFL Academy prospect Jackson Hately was amongst Centrals best in a losing team, with his tackling noticeable to go with 20-odd possession game. Centrals’ Jez McLennan also played and was a solid contributor. Glenelg looked solid under new coach Mark Stone, with Reserves coach Narelle Smith also having her first hit-out and victory. Lachlan Hosie snagged four goals in the League match, while Ben Edwards slotted six in the Reserves

West Adelaide took on Adelaide Crows Reserves team in scorching heat, and the Crows were victorious by 34 points. Father-sons Jackson Edwards and Ben Jarman took the field for Adelaide, and Crows Development player Paul Hunter was a standout.  

The under 18 and under 16 trials played were a chance for some clubs to see their younger crop in action for the first time, and large squads were run with most clubs swapping their whole teams at half time. A clear standout in the Glenelg and West Adelaide U18 match was underager Luke Edwards, brother of Jackson and son of Tyson. He will no doubt attract attention in the coming years. An early bolter for 2018 who impressed was Jye Sinderberry from the Bloods, with the Goodwood Saints player amongst his side’s best.

Trial Games continue this weekend for SANFL teams and the first round of SANFL U16 games kick off as well.

The full schedule of trial games can be found here.

SANFL AGM:

It has been a big week for the SANFL, with the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held during the week and a host of positive news from head office in the financial reports from 2017. SANFL made large debt reductions of $2.16 million and increased investment in Game Development to $5.5 million, plus another $4.38 million paid to SANFL Clubs for Game Development. Playing numbers continue to grow, with over 174,000 players being 15 per cent higher than previous year, and female participation increased by 53 per cent.

“Reducing debt levels has been the Commission’s priority over the past few years to ensure the League and its clubs create a solid financial footing for the future,” SA Football Commission Chairman John Olsen AO told the SANFL website.

“However, we have also been careful to balance this with a continued focus on strengthening our investment in development for areas such as SANFL Juniors, our elite programs, women’s football and umpires.”

Life Members were also inducted to the SANFL as well as former players, Darren Jarman, Rodney Maynard, Stephen Rowe, Greg Anderson, Scott Hodges and Sean Tasker. In 2017, SANFL Player Life Member rules were amended to include Adelaide Football Club and Port Adelaide Football Club games in a player’s total as long as 150 SANFL games were part of the minimum total of 200 matches.

South Australia weekly wrap: Lukosius and Rankine to be unleashed in League trials

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.

South Australian weekly wrap: SA talent on show at AFL level

IT has been an exciting few weeks for South Australian football, with former-SANFL prospects across the AFL grasping their opportunities throughout the preseason.

With a host of players scattered throughout all AFL clubs as both rookies and senior listed players, we will undoubtedly get to catch a glimpse of more local talent at the highest level this year.

AFLX Series:

Most AFL teams selected a mixture of youth and experience in this format, and it was exciting to see some quick, high scoring footy. SA players to catch the eye over the spread of games were Adelaide Crows duo Lachlan Murphy and Patrick Wilson, who both cut their teeth at SANFL level and stepped up in the AFL environment.  

2017 Fremantle draftees Stefan Giro and Mitch Crowden had their opportunity and showed they were ready. Giro was a standout and rewarded with a position in Fremantle’s JLT season opener.

Ex-Glenelg boys Dom Barry and Willie Rioli showed they will be dangerous around goal for their teams. Brisbane also blooded some youngsters with highly rated 2017 Prince Alfred College student Zac Bailey impressing, along with Brisbane rookie Mitchell Hinge being up to the task. Former Sturt and Mitcham Hawk Lewis Young was among the best for the Bulldogs, and Nick Holman slotted in well for Gold Coast.

JLT Series:

The first set of JLT Community Series games saw more SA talent on show. Former Glenelg and Sacred Heart College Alex Neal-Bullen looks set to take his game to a new level with a great hit-out for Melbourne.

Pick 12 from the 2017 National Draft, Darcy Fogarty, got a taste of AFL with the Crows and was rewarded with a goal. Stefan Giro continued to stake his claim for round one selection with alongside SA boy Brennan Cox at the Dockers. Ex-North Adelaide junior ruckman Peter Ladhams managed to get some minutes in for Port Adelaide.

With the remainder of JLT games this weekend we hope to see more young SA talent on show.

SANFL Trial Games:

All players returned to their SANFL clubs with some U16 and U18 internal trial games held over the week. Formal trial games for U18, Reserves and League sides are coming up and that will give more opportunity to see this year’s crop of potential SA draft picks on show.

Full schedule of trial games can be found here.

SANFL Clubs Voice Concern:

SANFL clubs have today bound together to issue a statement regarding gaming machine revenue amidst the upcoming State election.

In response to talk of introducing maximum one dollar bets and seven-year gaming machine licences, the clubs stated that such laws would “effectively be killing SANFL clubs”, placing extreme demand on club volunteers.

While the statement avoided directly naming which parties or politicians would enforced the new rules, it implored supporters to “vote wisely” when at polling booths. 

With waning membership figures and sponsorship money, as much as 50 per cent of annual revenue comes from gaming machines, making them crucial to each club’s viability.

A major concern voiced through the statement was that reduced revenue would bring an end to many SA football programs; including junior programs in local and regional areas, elite pathway programs, and the expansion of the female game.

The clubs sought to stress that they provide a “highly regulated gaming environment” and that they hold Club Safe accreditation, which they say allows them to minimise harm from public gaming.

The State election is set to be held on Saturday, March 17, two weeks before the start of the SANFL season.