Tag: luke foley

Draft Central Power Rankings: August 2018

IN one of the most recognisable draft crops in some time, the 2018 AFL National Draft is heating up to be one of the most talked about in the lead-up with so many tall and small prospects who are already looking like genuine AFL stars. As with last year, on the first Monday of the month, we take a look at the top 20 prospects and where we see them throughout the season. Some will rise and drop depending on performances, while others will remain steady throughout. Keep in mind that the Power Rankings are an opinion-based ranking system, without taking into account AFL club finishing positions or needs – ie. not a Phantom Draft. It is purely measuring players on our opinion of their ability. Without further ado, here are our current top 30:

July rank: #1

Lukosius started the season as the consensus number one after jumping on the scene as a 17-year-old for WWT Eagles in the SANFL Preliminary Final, booting four goals and clunking eight marks on his League debut. He has continued his form into this season, booting seven goals from five matches, including an 18-disposal, 11-mark and three-goal game against Glenelg. He also showed his versatility collecting 25 disposals, 14 marks and six inside 50s from centre-half back in a South Australia Under 18 trial match at the beginning of the year. For the AFL Academy he was utilised at both ends, looking most at home as a forward, finishing the match with 12 disposals and two goals. The thing that separates Lukosius from other talls is his foot skills, where you could argue he is one of the best kicks in the entire draft pool, hitting targets at ease off his right foot around the ground. A genuine franchise player.

Past month:

While he had a quieter final National Under 18 Championships playing at both ends, Lukosius has returned to the SANFL and continued where he left off. Picking up 14 disposals per game and booting a couple of goals a game, he stands up at senior level consistently.

July rank: #2

The best midfielder in the 2018 AFL Draft pool has started the season exceptionally well at TAC Cup level. Walsh’s smarts help him around the ground and it is very hard to keep him quiet or out of a game. Against the North Melbourne VFL team, Walsh had 22 disposals, nine marks and four clearances, working through the midfield and booting the opening goal of the game. His spread on the outside is good and he has shown he can win the footy in both contested and uncontested situations. He leads from the front and is probably the safest player in this draft pool for a club to draft. The knock was his disposal at full speed last season, but he is as consistent as they come across all areas.

Past month:

Walsh maintains his top two spot in the rankings after a successful carnival, winning the overall Most Valuable Player (MVP) to go with his Vic Country award. He has returned to Geelong and had back-to-back-to-back 30 plus disposal games and seems unstoppable in the competition. Arguably the leading contender for the Morrish Medal as well and could repeat the feat of Hugh McCluggage who went top three in the National Draft after winning the Morrish Medal.

July rank: #4

Ben King has started the season very well, used at both ends at all levels. While Ben is a natural key defender, he has shown at school level that he can be a valuable forward, booting 18 goals in the first two school games. Like brother Max, he is very mobile and has an outstanding leap. He recovers very well when the ball hits the ground and when he flies to mark or spoil the ball and the footy falls to ground. Is one of the best tall defenders and competes exceptionally well. Reckon we might see him more as a forward as the season goes, could become a genuine ‘swingman’ if he isn’t already. After a good AFL Academy game, Ben King won the Melbourne Cricket Club’s President’s Medal as the best player.

Past month:

After making the most of limited opportunities for three goals against South Australia in the final match of the National Under 18 Championships, King has returned to Haileybury in the APS. In his two matches back, King booted back-to-back hauls of seven goals against Caulfield Grammar and Scotch College, the latter opposed to Will Kelly. While it was considered a good battle, it showed how resourceful King was to kick a bag in the win. He celebrated with his teammates taking out the overall shield title on Saturday. For the first time this year Ben moves above brother Max.

July rank: #3

The tall forward is one of the best tall prospects we have seen in recent years and is most certainly in the mix as a top five pick, despite the fact that King will not play another game this season. After booting a few goals in the opening quarter for Haileybury College at school football, King’s knee buckled from underneath him in the second quarter and he was stretchered off. Scans later confirmed that the talented forward suffered a torn ACL. Nevertheless, King is a superb prospect who is outstanding in the air (thanks to a big wingspan) and a goal-kicking option, having booted 8.5 against Oakleigh Chargers earlier in the TAC Cup last month. A real strength of King’s is his ability to collect the ball when it hits the ground, with a strong recovery helping the 201cm tall. While some say he could slip down the order due to injury, he won’t be falling outside the top 10, or even maybe the top five due to his impressive skill set.

Past month:

Recovering from an ACL injury which will see him miss the rest of the 2018 season.

July rank: #5

Probably the most exciting prospect in the 2018 AFL Draft pool, Rankine can do some special things that a majority of others cannot. He is a lively forward who can push into the midfield and win his own footy, with his agility a key trait. Rankine was so good in last year’s NAB AFL Under 17 All Stars match that they made him switch teams at half-time! He missed the opening few weeks through suspension, but has since returned back to SANFL League footy with West Adelaide, booting four goals from 12 disposals. At this stage he is more of a forward/midfielder than a pure midfielder – and it will be interesting to see how he goes throughout the year, working on his craft with more midfield time for the South Australian side in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Past month:

Lit up Etihad Stadium booting five goals against Vic Metro to have some watching to question whether Rankine could steal the number one spot from close mate Jack Lukosius. He is pushing hard up the order, and his best is as electrifying as others, but just needs that consistency and discipline on-fireld at times to really be considered for pick one. On talent alone he could well be top two. Went back to SANFL level and has been good without starring.

July rank: #6

Bailey Smith had a great finish to the 2017 season which saw him elevated to the NAB AFL Academy Level Two group. Smith played mostly across half back last year, but did show his ball winning capabilities on the inside for Xavier College and the Dragons, including a huge 44 disposals (22 contested) at 72 per cent efficiency, 13 inside 50s, 10 clearances, six marks and four rebound 50s match against Western. The Dragons 2018 captain is a strong leader and has really transitioned into an inside ball winning midfielder, having collected 37 disposals (22 contested) in the opening match of the season this year. In his most recent outing for the Dragons against the Jets, Smith had 28 disposals, 11 clearances and booted two goals, where he used his quick and clean hands to effectiveness on the inside. The right footer is a capable target around the ground and runs very well.

Past month:

Smith took out the Vic Metro Most Valuable Player (MVP) as well as Metro’s Best and Fairest award, with the vice-captain leading by example in every game he played. Rested for a week between the National Championships and the return of school football, expect Smith to be a key player for the Dragons in the upcoming TAC Cup finals series.

July rank: #7

Up until this time last week, Blakey had multiple options as the son of former North Melbourne and Brisbane player John. Blakey also fell into the Sydney Swans Academy, while he could have opted for the open draft. However – Blakey has made a decision to stick with the Sydney Swans Academy and the Swans are going to get a ‘goodie’. Blakey is a natural forward with a good goal sense and marks well overhead. He glides around the ground and can play in defence if required, while there is midfield potential should some of his coaches see fit. Blakey has dominated in the AFL Under 18 Academy Series against some average opposition, but he booted an exceptional goal off a few steps in the AFL Academy match against North Melbourne’s VFL side. While injuries kept him out of a lot of football last year, expect Blakey to warrant an early bid inside the top 10 at this stage.

Past month:

Finished the National Championships on a high with an impressive performance at Etihad Stadium against Western Australia. The biggest tick was his ability to get things happening when it was not going his way – pushing into the midfield and genuinely being a huge influence at the coal face. As versatile as you’ll see, he is a gift for the Swans and will not even cause them to hesitate in matching a bid for the exciting tall.

July rank: #9

Jackson Hately is one of the few pure inside midfielders in the top half of the rankings list. While he still has some size to put on, the 192cm midfielder is strong in the contest, where he can win the contested ball, tackle hard and win clearances. Hately can also hit the scoreboard when required. The Central Districts product has had a taste of SANFL League footy, recording 21 disposals and seven tackles against Glenelg a few weeks ago. Hately was one of the standouts for the AFL Academy in their match against the North Melbourne VFL side, where he had 17 disposals, eight tackles and kicked two goals.

Past month:

Hately was one of South Australia’s top performers across the National Under 18 Championships, and does not do a lot wrong. He ticks plenty of boxes and has returned to SANFL action, playing League for Central District. In that senior grade he does not look out of place, and is able to find the ball in the contest without being overawed by more experienced and stronger bodies.

July rank: #8

Thomas is a really exciting player whose glimpses over the last few years suggest he is going to be a special player in the future. The Tasmanian falls into North Melbourne’s Next-Generation Academy and therefore the Kangaroos will have first dibs on Thomas who will likely command a first round bid. Thomas is an outside midfielder who has a good burst of speed and agility, using it well off his right foot. He can also push forward and hit the scoreboard. One of the cleanest players in the draft crop, Thomas is a one-touch player and turns an inch into a mile.

Past month:

Thomas had a bit of an inconsistent carnival at the National Under 18 Championships, and while he showed the unbelievable class he has – clean as any other player out there – he did fade in and out of games at times. Regardless, his ceiling is enormous and North Melbourne will be closely keeping an eye on their draft position with their first round pick to be in this region. Since the championships, Thomas has returned to the Tasmanian State League (TSL) where he has played two games for ladder leaders North Launceston, booting a goal against Clarence in his first game back and then being a member of the 143-point win over North Hobart.

July rank: #10

Ian “Bobby” Hill is an exciting small forward similar to Rankine in the way that he can make recruiters and fans go “wow” at certain moments. While at this stage, he is far from the finished product – he has produced plenty of glimpses that suggest he’ll be a strong player for the future. He has superb speed and agility, while his goal sense is outstanding. So far in the WAFL Colts for Perth he has been very good – having overcome a concussion earlier in the season. Hill is Western Australia’s best draft prospect and the second cousin of Fremantle pair Brad and Stephen Hill.

Past month:

After coming into the National Championships underdone given his concussion and various niggles, Hill had a bit of an up-and-down carnival, suspended for the final round for a sling tackle on Vic Country’s Laitham Vandermeer. After an impressive 25 disposals and three goal haul for Perth in the Colts a few weeks ago, Hill stepped up to the Reserves where he had the 10 touches and three tackles, still very slight compared to senior bodies.

July rank: #14

Rozee is another of South Australia’s top draft prospects and in recent weeks has pushed into the SANFL League side for North Adelaide. The midfielder has smarts around the ground, getting into the right positions and has shown his capabilities to run hard. He rarely wastes a disposal and moves well in and around the stoppages. While he has spent some time playing as a half forward in recent times, he will likely end up as a pure midfielder with his strong skill set. Rozee has made his SANFL League debut, booting two goals in both appearances in the last fortnight. Rozee played all four games as a bottom-ager for South Australia in the 2017 Under 18 Championships, averaging 14 disposals and seven tackles.

Past month:

Playing in various positions at the National Championships, Rozee almost seemed to be forgotten in terms of the top-end talent available in the 2018 draft crop. He has elite skills and while his light body means he has to play in outside roles, he ticks a lot of boxes. He returned to the SANFL League for North Adelaide, booting a goal and having three score assists, as well as 15 disposals and three inside 50s, showing how damaging he can be with ball in hand going forward.

July rank: #12

The red-haired Williams burst onto the scene last year with some eye-catching displays for the Dandenong Stingrays, while he was also able to represent the Vic Country Under 18 team as a bottom-ager, where he mostly played in the ruck. While Williams is a strong ruck, he is probably a better forward at the moment – in the mould of Gold Coast’s 2014 draftee Peter Wright. Williams has an outstanding leap and is a capable set shot for goal and booted a stunning bag of seven against the Western Jets in Round 4 of the 2018 TAC Cup.

Past month:

Williams continues to be the next best tall after the top handful of elite talents and it is easy to see why. His aerial ability is as good, if not better than the others and is unbeatable when he gets a leap at the ball. He dropped a few marks at the National Under 18s Championships, but has been clunking them in the past few weeks at TAC Cup level. His goal kicking has been a little suspect, but in terms of his impact on games, he is maintaining the rage for longer rather than fading in and out. So much scope as a developing tall.

July rank: #21

Stocker is a player who could definitely find himself as a first round prospect by November. Stocker is a strong midfielder who wins the football on the inside and spreads well from the stoppages. His clearance work is very good, while he can play on the outside where he can use the ball very well off either his right or left foot. Stocker will have the entire season at TAC Cup level, having finished school at Haileybury College in 2017.

Past month:

Could the first four Metro players picked be from Sandringham Dragons? It is certainly possible with Liam Stocker’s form over the past month. He is one, if not the most consistent player in the TAC Cup for July. It was disappointing injury kept him out of the National Championships, but now he is back and he is making up for it. Will be tested in the TAC Cup finals against the best of the best and could enhance his stocks even further, ala Tim Taranto style.

July rank: #11

Taylor might be earlier than many others have him – it is based on the potential that the Calder Cannons product has. Taylor has plenty of X-Factor, which he showed in past years at school football for PEGS, playing alongside top draftees Cameron Rayner and Daniel Venables. Taylor at this stage is far more comfortable across half forward than as an inside midfielder, but has plenty of opportunities across the year to improve his midfield calibre. He has a good skill set and can mark well overhead.

Past month:

Returned to Calder Cannons and had a quiet day out against Dandenong in blustery conditions at RAMS Arena. Against Murray Bushrangers at Albury, he was back involved again, picking up 21 disposals, four marks, five clearances, three rebounds and a goal with much more midfield minutes. One who could go from top 10 to second round, has plenty of scope.

July rank: #16

The Gippsland Power captain is one of those players that in his bottom-age year looked like an outside midfielder, but won the majority of his possessions on the inside. In 2018, it has balanced out for him to impact on the outside and he is strong through the core despite being one of the lightest midfielders out there. He is a transition player who can give-and-go and can get forward and impact on the scoreboard. The biggest thing with Duursma is he has not got an obvious weakness, and while he does not win as much of the ball as other midfielders in the top end, he has both top skill and the ability to gain meterage with each disposal.

Past month:

Hardly does anything wrong and is one of the most well-balanced players in the draft crop. The Gippsland captain is starting to win more of the ball too, putting in consistent four quarter efforts. In Round 13, he had 26 disposals, four marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and two goals against Western Jets, then backed it up on Saturday with 29 disposals, seven marks, eight inside 50s and four rebounds. What is most remarkable is in those two games he played different roles, one predominantly inside and the other predominantly outside.

July rank: #13

McHenry’s super 2017 season saw him elevated to the National AFL Under 18 Academy Level Two squad and is a player that gives his all in every game. Despite his light frame, McHenry starts at the centre bounce and can win the contested football. The Falcons midfielder is a great character and you really need to check out his work on the Geelong Falcons Facebook page and watch the ‘Ned’s Falcons files’ videos. McHenry impressed in the National AFL Under 18 Championships for Vic Country last year as a bottom-ager, averaging 18 disposals at 75 per cent efficiency and laying 5.5 tackles.

Past month:

McHenry returned from the National Under 18 Championships to play the one game with Geelong Falcons, notching up 16 disposals, five tackles, five clearances and six inside 50s. He then headed back to finish off the APS football season, which wrapped up on the weekend. Expect him to return to the Falcons side for the remaining few games of the season.

July rank: #15

Based on potential – Collier-Dawkins could well be a first round prospect come later in the season. He still has some work to do in order to reach this level, but the signs early in the season are very good. Collier-Dawkins was very good in the #57 last year as a bottom-ager for the Oakleigh Chargers winning the ball as a hybrid midfielder, and ‘RCD’ has had a big growth spurt over recent years, seeing him jump to 193cm (and growing!). Collier-Dawkins looks most at home as an inside midfielder – using his clean and quick hands to effectiveness, but has played on the outside at times this year, including the Vic Metro trial game where he recorded 13 disposals and four marks.

Past month:

Upon returning to the Oakleigh Chargers, Collier-Dawkins has made a modest return for himself, averaging 14 disposals in his three games back in the TAC Cup. He is not a huge accumulator and is one that continues to impress in patches. He needs to iron out some four quarter performances, but the ability to accelerate out of a stoppage, lower the eyes and hit-up a leading target like he did against Gippsland Power on Saturday, is a reason why he is considered so high.

July rank: #22

The lightly-built outside midfielder who spends a lot of time forward, is a little on the small side, but plays taller than his 178cm. He has that touch of class that shines through when he wins the football, and his first few steps are lightning. Butters spreads well across the ground and can win the ball on the wing and be on the receiving end of a pass inside 50 moments later.

Past month:

After a great National Under 18 Championships, Butters injured his shoulder in the final game at Etihad Stadium against South Australia. He went in for surgery and has been put on ice for the remainder of the TAC Cup season. A huge talent who should not fall too far based on his performances at national level.

July rank: #30

Foley is an overager who plays on the inside and can win a truckload of clearances, while laying some strong tackles. He has impressed for Subiaco in the WAFL Colts, and earned a place in the Black Swans side for the National Under 18s Championships. Consistent as any midfielder in the draft crop.

Past month:

Since returning to the WAFL Colts, Foley has continued his ball winning ways for Subiaco, averaging 24 touches and eight tackles per game. He has a high impact per possession and a bigger body that enables him to use his frame at stoppages. Is one who just does not do a lot wrong, and is one who should surely play senior footy this season. Expect him to be considered in the first round, and certainly top 30.

July rank: #18

An inside midfielder with lightning hands, West has the ability to impact in close or in the air. He has a vice-like grip and is one of the best contested marks of the midfielders in the competition. Rarely beaten one-on-one, West’s next step is just working on doing the fundamentals perfectly as there have been times where he can over-use the football or overcomplicate a situation. No doubt Western Bulldogs fans will keep a close eye on him.

Past month:

After the National Championships, where West was one of the top Vic Metro players across the competition, he has headed back to St Kevin’s to play the remainder of the APS competition which wrapped up on the weekend. In line to play the APS vs. AGSV match on Saturday, before returning to Calder the week after to finish off his year in the TAC Cup for the Cannons. The championships enhanced his reputation and remains in top 20 calculations.

July rank: #25

An inside midfielder at TAC Cup level, his consistent form this season is as good as anyone in the competition. He lead the Western Jets in style with his contested work, acceleration and clearance ability among his top strengths. His leadership was recognised at state level, earning the Vic Metro captaincy over fellow captain Bailey Smith.

Past month:

After a really promising National Under 18 Championships playing forward, O’Halloran returned to the Western Jets where he has had a solid run of form prior to Round 14. O’Halloran racked up 25 touches, six marks and nine inside 50s against Gippsland Power, before having 16 touches, seven clearances and six inside 50s against Murray Bushrangers. He did not have as much impact in the weekend’s wind-affected match at Williamstown, having 11 touches and four clearances, but at full fitness expect the Jets captain to bounce back next round and be a big influence in finals.

July rank: #24

Bendigo Pioneers and Geelong Grammar product Jye Caldwell is a good midfielder who has some strong tricks. Injury forced him off the ground early in the AFL Academy match against the North Melbourne VFL team, but he has returned to football and is one who showed some talent in the Under 18 Championships last year for Vic Country, averaging 18 disposals. Caldwell tackles well and can win both the contested and uncontested ball.

Past month:

After injuries ruined his National Under 18 Championships, Caldwell has returned to the APS competition, and will have two games under his belt before returning to Bendigo Pioneers for the remainder of the season where he is expected to remind recruiters of his talent.

July rank: #20

The Norwood midfielder has a nice balance of skills and grunt, able to play on the inside or out and is set to play a pivotal role for South Australia at the National Championships. Valente was nominated captain of the Croweaters and his leadership shines through on the field. Known for his ball-winning abilities and clearance expertise, Valente is not overawed by bigger bodies and would be one player who is AFL ready from round one.

Past month:

Valente has played the one game since returning from a huge National Under 18 Championships where he was awarded the South Australian MVP, and named in the All-Australian side. He played Under 18s in the SANFL and booted two goals in a best on ground performance to show once again he was too good for the level. Expect him to be back playing seniors soon.

July rank: #26

Collingwood fans would be excited to see a Next Generation Academy Member come through the ranks next season. The AFL Academy defender is a run-and-carry player and despite being just 179cm, plays much taller and has even opposed key position players before. Expect him to develop into a medium tall defender, and with no second round pick following acquisition of Sam Murray last off-season, the Pies will be more than happy to match a bid given it will come after their first round selection.

Past month:

Quaynor has been playing further up the ground for Oakleigh since returning to the Chargers, spending more time on the wing and finding more of the football. He showed off his natural game sense and ability to read the play on multiple occasions against Gippsland Power at Warrawee Park on Saturday, intercepting passes at full speed and not breaking stride. While he just had the 10 touches, he had five rebounds, drifting back opposed to talented bottom-ager Sam Flanders on occasions, showing he can work hard defensively as well. The week before, Quaynor had 21 disposals and four inside 50s off a wing.

July rank: #19

A classy midfielder who can also hit the scoreboard, Jones has been going about his business very nicely. The Tasmanian was overshadowed by the efforts of top 10 pick Tarryn Thomas at the Under 18 Academy Series, but his ability to win clearances and burn off his opponents is eye-catching. He often gets forward and hurts opposition teams on the scoreboard, and is always dangerous at ground level. Just the 180cm, but is versatile and slot in anywhere.

Past month: 

Since a successful National Under 18 Championships which saw him earn All-Australian honours, Jones has returned to the TSL, playing for Launceston. In his three games back for the club, Jones has booted three goals and been named Launceston’s second best in each of his matches.

July rank: #17

There is a little bit of Tim English in the way Riley Bowman moves around the ground. The athletic ruckman has a decent leap on him, he is also a good user of the ball by foot. While Bowman is very raw and will need developing by any club that takes him, he has shown enough this year to suggest he needs to be tracked closely during the season. He worked hard in the ruck for the AFL Academy against the bigger North Melbourne opponents, at times going up against big Brayden Preuss.

Past month:

Bowman played his role at the National Under 18 Championships, being the second best ruckman behind Kieren Briggs, and expect him to be among the top three taken in that position. The emphasis of rucks going later seems to be continuing, but Bowman has still been solid at TAC Cup level without dominating. He was far too good against Bendigo Pioneers a few weeks ago, and has just been okay in the past fortnight. Looked at for his upside and athleticism. The drop is more others jumping up rather than him falling too much.

July rank: N/A

The virtually unknown West Australian defender has bolted up the rankings in draft calculations following an impressive National Under 18 Championships. He was very good at GMHBA Stadium against Vic Country, and then dominated at Etihad Stadium against the Allies. Clark has fantastic foot skills, good agility and thinks his way through situations. Has not had a huge WAFL Colts season, but since the National Championships he has turned it on at Reserves level. One to watch.

Past month:

Since winning Western Australia’s MVP award, Clark has returned to the WAFL, but instead of Colts, he has stepped up into the Reserves and gone to another level. In his two games he has recorded 17 and 22 disposals and importantly, is averaging five tackles. Firming as Western Australia’s third best prospect behind Hill and Foley.

July rank: N/A

The readymade ruck has had a breakout year in his top-age season, when most rucks are struggling for consistency. He won the GWS GIANTS Academy MVP, then took out the Allies MVP to go with it, in a team which also had top 10 picks Blakey and Thomas. While he is not an athletic ruck in the speed sense, he has an enormous tank and his second efforts and tackling are reminiscent of what Brodie Grundy produces on a regular basis – a tall that can impact a contest after the hitout.

Past month:

Briggs capped off his terrific National Under 18 Championships with the Allies MVP award and was one of a number of players at the carnival who shot up the draft boards with his consistency across the matches. While often going against athletic rucks, Briggs earned his keep by his second efforts and enormous work rate around the ground – he just runs opponents into the ground. He is also strong overhead and showed he could play as a resting forward as well. All-Australian honours to go with it opposed to a number of talented rucks. GIANTS will need to match a bid to keep the big man.

July rank: N/A

While fellow Academy and father-son prospect Nick Blakey made his call earlier in the season, there is still a three-way tussle for Bailey Scott. The Gold Coast Academy utility also has North Melbourne and Geelong that will be after his services, and he has a big decision to make. He is strong, can play up either end or on the inside, while his kicking can still be cleaned up a little, he impacts the contest, leads by example and hurts teams on the scoreboard when up forward.

Past month:

Scott enhanced his draft credentials at the National Under 18 Championships with the Allies. He made the All-Australian side and was consistent off half-forward or through the middle, having a penetrating kick and constantly cracking in hard at the contest. A medium midfielder who will be more inside than outside, Scott can virtually slot in anywhere and if his National Championships are anything to go by, he will be a very solid player at AFL level.

July rank: N/A

Another new August addition to the AFL Draft Central Power Rankings, McLennan is a player who caught the eye in the National Under 18 Championships with his composure and ability to read the ball in flight from half-back. One of the top defenders across the carnival, McLennan is a fantastic kick of the football and firming as another medium defender option in that second round. Last month he was one to watch, this month he is in the top 30.

Past month:

McLennan finished off the National Under 18 Championships with All-Australian honours, and no doubt in the top five players for South Australia in terms of performance across the four games. He has since returned to the SANFL where he has played seniors for Central District, making his debut and having eight disposals at 100 per cent efficiency. Importantly he laid five tackles and did not look out of place, playing his role. The week before at Reserves level, McLennan also ran at 100 per cent kicking efficiency from 11 kicks, and 95.7 per cent efficiency overall from 23 disposals.

Keep an eye out:

Will Kelly (Vic Metro)
Angus Hanrahan (Vic Metro)
Tom McKenzie (Vic Metro)
Toby Bedford (Vic Country)
Ely Smith (Vic Country)
Zac Foot (Vic Country)
Sydney Stack (Western Australia)
Connor McFadyen (Allies)
Jacob Kennerley (South Australia)

Eighty invited to National AFL Draft Combine

VIC Metro has dominated the nominations for the National AFL Draft Combine with more than one third of the invitees coming from Metro, and more than half from Victoria. South Australia’s title-winning side has the next most with 13, including mature-ager Shane McAdam. Sturt’s McAdam is one of two mature agers to be invited to the combine, with Werribee’s Josh Corbett also gaining an invite. Western Australia has 11 invitees, while Tasmania and Queensland (four each) and NSW-ACT (three) round out the total nominees with no Northern Territory player invited.

There are six Northern Academy-tied players invited – Nick Blakey (Sydney), Kieren Briggs (GWS GIANTS), Keidean Coleman and Connor McFadyen (Brisbane), and Dirk Koenen and Bailey Scott (Gold Coast). Additionally there are a raft of father-sons, such as Oscar BrownlessRhylee WestWill KellyBen Silvagni and Joel Crocker, whilst Tarryn Thomas (North Melbourne), Jarrod Cameron (West Coast), Irving Mosquito (Hawthorn) and Isaac Quaynor (Collingwood) are others tied to Next Generation Academies.

In terms of individual clubs, Oakleigh Chargers (eight), Sandringham Dragons (seven), Geelong Falcons and Dandenong Stingrays (both five), Murray Bushrangers, Western Jets, Calder Cannons and Gippsland Power (all four) lead the way, with the remaining four TAC Cup clubs having a nominee each. For interstate clubs, Sturt and Perth both have three players invited.

The 80 players will test in front of clubs from October 2-5.

National AFL Draft Combine invitees:

NSW-ACT [3]
Nick Blakey (Sydney Academy)
Kieren Briggs (GWS Academy)
Jacob Koschitzke (Murray Bushrangers)

Queensland [4]
Keidean Coleman (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Dirk Koenen (Gold Coast Academy)
Connor McFadyen (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Bailey Scott (Gold Coast Academy)

South Australia [13]
Jez McLennan (Central District)
Ben Jarvis (Norwood)
Izak Rankine (West Adelaide)
Tom Sparrow (South Adelaide)
Jackson Hately (Central District)
Jacob Kennerley (Norwood)
Connor Rozee (North Adelaide)
Luke Valente (Norwood)
Shane McAdam (Sturt)
Hayden Sampson (South Adelaide)
Riley Grundy (Sturt)
Jack Lukosius (Woodville West Torrens)
Hugo Munn (Sturt)

Tasmania [4]
Nicholas Baker (Lauderdale)
Chayce Jones (Launceston)
Tarryn Thomas (North Launceston)
Fraser Turner (Clarence)

VFL [1]
Josh Corbett (Werribee)

Vic Country [19]
Zane Barzen (Murray Bushrangers)
Toby Bedford (Dandenong Stingrays)
Thomas Berry (Greater Western Victoria Rebels)
Riley Bowman (Dandenong Stingrays)
Oscar Brownless (Geelong Falcons)
Jye Caldwell (Bendigo Pioneers)
Xavier Duursma (Gippsland Power)
Zac Foot (Dandenong Stingrays)
Will Hamill (Dandenong Stingrays)
Connor Idun (Geelong Falcons)
Matt McGannon (Gippsland Power)
Ned McHenry (Geelong Falcons)
Irving Mosquito (Gippsland Power)
Kyle Reid (Gippsland Power)
Ely Smith (Murray Bushrangers)
Charlie Sprague (Geelong Falcons)
Laitham Vandermeer (Murray Bushrangers)
Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons)
Bailey Williams (Dandenong Stingrays)

Vic Metro [25]
Daly Andrews (Western Jets)
Noah Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers)
James Blanck (Eastern Ranges)
Zak Butters (Western Jets)
Jack Bytel (Calder Cannons)
Riley Collier-Dawkins (Oakleigh Chargers)
Joel Crocker (Sandringham Dragons)
Will Golds (Oakleigh Chargers)
Angus Hanrahan (Sandringham Dragons)
Will Kelly (Oakleigh Chargers)
William Kennedy (Sandringham Dragons)
Buku Khamis (Western Jets)
Ben King (Sandringham Dragons)
Max King (Sandringham Dragons)
Tom McKenzie (Northern Knights)
Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets)
Xavier O’Neill (Oakleigh Chargers)
Isaac Quaynor (Oakleigh Chargers)
James Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers)
Lachlan Sholl (Calder Cannons)
Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh Chargers)
Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons)
Liam Stocker (Sandringham Dragons)
Curtis Taylor (Calder Cannons)
Rhylee West (Calder Cannons)

Western Australia [11]
Jarrod Cameron (Swan Districts)
Jordan Clark (Claremont)
Luke English (Perth)
Damon Greaves (East Perth)
Luke Foley (Subiaco)
Ian Hill (Perth)
Tom Joyce (East Fremantle)
Dillon O’Reilly (East Fremantle)
Tyron Smallwood (Claremont)
Sydney Stack (Perth)
Durak Tucker (Peel Thunder)

Scouting notes: National U18 Championships – Round 5

WE made the trip down to Etihad Stadium yesterday and saw the conclusion to the National Under 18 Championships. Here we take a look at every player in both games and see how they fared on the night. Lenny Fogliani, Cameron Ross, Scott Dougan, James Goller, Craig Byrnes, David Chapman, Jamie Morgan and Damon Mattiazzo all combined to provide the notes.

Allies vs. Western Australia:

Allies:

#1 Conor Budarick

Budarick was a strong tackler for the Allies having eight for the day – he was really fierce in the contest. He played like a smart footballer and made good decisions with the ball. His kicking was good all day and included three inside 50s. The 2019 draft prospect spent most of his time on the wing and through the forward line.

#3 Josh Stern

Stern had 10 possessions for the day. He showed courage going back with the flight in a marking contest – he didn’t flinch. He kicked the ball really well, especially in the last term. Stern also displayed good hands in the contest, playing mostly up forward pushing up the ground.

#6 Rhyan Mansell 

The hard nosed defender was impressive, laying seven strong tackles. He brought a bit of aggression out there and proved very hard to beat one on one, rarely losing a contest. He didn’t have a lot of the ball only collecting five possessions but used it well. Mansell showed a little bit of spread and speed off the back flank but needs to add more of that to his game so he can be a solid contributor both defensively and offensively, not just defensively.

#7 Jesse Quint

Quint had a okay day, gathering 10 possessions. A highlight was his hands in congestion. He kicked a nice goal to go with four inside 50s and kicked the ball well.

#10 Chayce Jones

The Tasmanian had a strong day at the office playing midfield and resting up forward. Jones is really hard at it in the contest and laid seven tackles for the game. When he doesn’t have the ball he was the willingness and desire to put as much defensive pressure on as he can. He kicked the ball well and made good decisions with ball in hand. He was both strong on inside and outside.

#11 Keidean Coleman

Coleman had seven possessions for the day playing down back, he was very strong defensively laying five tackles. He does have the ability to break the lines but he wasn’t able to do it enough having only two rebounds.

#12 Mitchell O’Neil

Definitely one to write down for the 2019 draft. He has really good hands in congestion. O’Neill also took a nice contested mark. He had 18 possessions and kicked the ball well, also booting a nice goal. He took the game on and was able to rebound well having three rebound 50’s for the game. O’ Neill made the All Australian team.

#15 Guy Richardson

The backman had 19 possessions for the day, I thought he played really well mopping up defensively. He was also good offensively rebounding four times and showcasing his really good foot skills. Richardson showed some good run and carry and the ability to break the lines. Defensively he was good one on one.

#17 Thomas Matthews

Another Allies defender who had a strong game, Matthews has really solid pressure in the contest. He only laid three tackles, but the work he does off the ball that doesn’t get any stats for was noticeable. He took five marks and a couple of those were intercepts. Matthews was great offensively as well having five rebounds. He kicks the ball well and showed some run and carry.

#19 Bailey Scott

The captain had a fantastic day for Allies. He played more in the midfield collecting 30 possessions. His clearance work was really good having six. He had really good hands in congestion and tackled really strongly showing some aggression with five tackles for the game. He kicked the ball well, especially late when he hit team mate Nick Blakey on the chest with a 40-meter kick. Scott was able to hit the scoreboard as well with a goal. He rebounded strongly with three rebounds and also had three inside 50s. The skipper also took a great mark.

#20 Fraser Turner

The wingman is a great runner and ran hard all day, slotting two great goals on the run at critical times. He had 24 possessions and showed strong hands in the contest. Turner rebounded really well having three for the game and his kicking was solid all day. Turner plays mostly on the wing is a outside damaging player.

#23 Michael Mummery

Mummery had a quiet day with only the four possessions, however, he was really good defensively laying five tackles. He also was good one on one in marking contests, taking a fantastic contested mark.

#28 Matthew Green

The tall midfielder put good pressure on the opposition and used his trademark long handballs into space to set up teammates running passed. Just the 11 disposals on the night, but he had a couple of crucial intercepts late, including one tackle which earned him a holding the ball free kick. Also had a couple of clearances and inside 50s on the night to end up with a solid performance.

#29 Joey Reinard

The forward showed some good glimpses in patches, kicking a goal early in the piece, working hard for leads and being creative through midfield. Not a high accumulator, he presents when required and plays that medium-tall role well.

#31 Connor McFadyen

The 190cm utility continues to impress with his super quick hands and strong contested marking ability. He took a great grab on the goal line in the second half to nail a vital goal, then handed one off to Mitch O’Neill who kicked truly from long range. He uses his body well one-on-one and has shown promising signs he can develop into an inside midfielder who drifts forward and has an impact.

#36 Matthew McGuiness

Playing in defence, McGuiness rebounded well from the back 50, working in tandem with Jacob Koschitzke and Nick Baker. Positions himself well and is able to put pressure on opposition forwards, while taking some strong marks.

#37 Jacob Koschitzke

One of the most improved players across the tournament, Koschitzke played another strong game out of full-back, taking some good contested marks and rebounding strongly. He showed good courage backing back with the flight on a couple of occasions and applying his penetrating kick to clear of the defensive zone.

#40 Kieren Briggs

The clear dominant ruck on the ground once again and deserving of the Allies’ Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the carnival. It was clear Briggs has a huge tank and covers the ground well, barely taking a break. His second efforts are a highlight and he continually does the defensive things right as well. I would be surprised if it was not just the GIANTS keeping an eye on the overager.

#41 Mathew Walker

The Murray Bushrangers forward started slowly but worked into the game in the second half. He kicked a good goal on the move, and missed a chance to add a second. Walker showed good hands in close, giving off lightning quick handballs to teammates and opening up space for them.

#44 Caleb Graham

The athletic big man was often found pushing up onto a wing and showing off his versatility. He laid a really big tackle early in the piece and took a great intercept mark and drove the ball long inside 50. Not a huge accumulator, but a long kick of the football and can play anywhere.

#46 Tarryn Thomas

The potential top 10 pick was relatively quiet again by his lofty standards, but he did pick up in the last quarter where he kicked a great set shot goal to get the Allies team up and about. He has the cleanest hands at ground level, and could pick up a soaking ball with velcro-like hands. Had a big clearance in the first term that resulted in a Nick Blakey goal. Thomas was terrific defensively laying a number of good tackles to stop opponents in their tracks.

#47 Nick Baker

Played up the ground through the midfield as well as at half-back and was strong one-on-one. He managed to get his hands on the football a bit and continued to remain involved in the contest. He was one of the Allies’ more prominent ball winners in the match.

#49 Nick Blakey

Just enormous. After being held early, Blakey came into the game with a bang once moving into the middle, winning two early clearances in the second half. He used his big body to impact the contest and then drifted forward to provide a contest. He had a brilliant dart of a pass to Mathew Walker in the third term and his disposal by foot was terrific. Just got better with every game he played and yesterday was huge when the game was on the line.

 

Western Australia:

#2 Jarrod Cameron

The lively small forward wasn’t as influential as compared to his dazzling performance against Vic Country, but still showed glimpses of his potential. His desire to run and chase opposition defenders is outstanding for someone his age, and his ability with ball in hand is unbelievably good.

#4 Graydon Wilson

The dynamic defender was outstanding for Western Australia, with his run and carry, skills and vision all on display. He also produced the match-saving spoil and tackle that secured WA the victory.

#6 Wil Hickmott

A late inclusion into the squad, Hickmott’s class was on full display. His vision, skills and reading of the play are at a fantastic level for someone his age. Carlton will be monitoring him closely as he is the son of former player Adrian Hickmott

#8 Luke Moore

The South Fremantle product finished with 13 possessions and two goals but the stat line doesn’t emphasise how good he was. In the first quarter, he stood up in a tackle and got the ball to Brad Oldfield who duly converted the opening goal of the game. Then late in the first quarter, he gathered the ball at full pace, sidestepped an opponent and snapped one through. The youngster has been likened to Alan Didak and shapes as a genuine match winner for any AFL club.

#9 Tyron Smallwood

Smallwood was extremely lively in the forward half for the Sandgropers, often setting up attacking forays. Not unlike Adelaide star Tom Lynch, Smallwood was the connector between the midfield and the forward line and he played the role to perfection.

#10 Rylie Morgan

The Claremont product was outstanding in the midfield. A beautifully balanced player with exceptional skills and sound decision-making, Morgan wielded an influence on the inside and the outside. He shapes as a potential bolter come draft night.

#11 Luke English

The acting captain of the day, English showed why he is such a highly rated prospect. He was tough, combative, skilful and smart against the Allies. He finished with 25 possessions and six tackles in what was a tremendous display.

#12 Jeremy Sharp

The bottom-ager did his stocks for the 2019 AFL Draft no harm whatsoever with an accomplished display against the Allies. His vision, speed, skills and smarts all make him an attractive player, and he would be thoroughly deserving of All-Australian selection.

#13 Jason Carter

The Fremantle Next Generation Academy player showed glimpses of why he is such a highly rated prospect. His dare to take the opposition on should excite the Fremantle recruiters and his speed was unmatched by any Allies player.

#14 Sydney Stack

The Northam product’s stocks continue to soar by the week. Against the Allies, Stack was aggressive, tough, skilful and dynamic. In the last quarter, he soared for a mark, roved his own crumbs and dribbled through a goal. He finished with 20 possessions and seven clearances.

#15 Jordan Clark

Arguably the best player on the ground, Clark deservedly took home the WA Most Valuable Player award. He finished with 29 possessions and 11 rebounds, and was often a catalyst for WA’s drive from the back half to the forward half. His skills, vision, composure and toughness will all make him an AFL star.

#16 Ethan Hansen

Hansen started the game in terrific fashion, taking an early intercept mark and gathering plenty of possessions. He showed the ability to kick on both sides of his body and his decision-making with the ball in hand was superb. Hansen was able to use his speed to escape the congestion and to provide run on the outside of the contest, which proved handy for Western Australia going forward. In the third quarter, Hansen read the play superbly and was able to take an intercept mark at full speed in the middle of the ground, resulting in a Western Australian goal. Hansen had 19 disposals and more than 300 metres gained.

#18 Deven Robertson

The bottom-age midfielder looks to be one to keep an eye on in next year’s draft. He didn’t have massive numbers by any means but what impressed me the most with Robertson, was his work-rate. He chased hard defensively and he was able to make plenty of contests in all areas of the ground, due to his gut-running.

#20 Luke Foley

Foley was pivotal in the midfield for Western Australia, setting the standard required for his teammates by making a strong impression early. He accumulated disposals in all areas of the ground, on the inside and outside of the contest. His clearance work was really good, but his tackling was even better. Foley never gave up and he tried his hardest to make an impact, both offensively and defensively.

#21 Tyson Powell

Powell started in defence and was solid. He tackled strongly and had some nice defensive spoils. In the second quarter, Powell coped a big knock and was unable to have the same influence. He bounced back in the second half and was responsible for the in-form Connor McFayden at times. Powell continued to spoil strongly and he started to find more of the ball as the game went on.

#23 Louis Miller

Miller was prominent down back and was one of Western Australia’s best on the day. His competitiveness and strength in the contest were noticeable throughout the match. Miller positioned himself well defensively and rebounded effectively. He amassed 22 disposals and used the ball well. The highlight of the day came in the second quarter when Miller took an eye-catching pack mark over four players on the wing.

#24 Regan Spooner

The classy defender spent a considerable amount of time on the in-form forward, Nick Blakey. Spooner kept Blakey to one goal in the first half and played his role fabulously. His ball use was top-notch and he was clean below his knees. His finest passage of play came in the second quarter when he kicked an absolute bullet inside 50 to the leading Tom Medhat.

#26 Jake Pasini

Pasini started the game in the defence and was solid. He did not have the same stats to most of his teammates, but he undeniably played a crucial role in limiting the Allies forwards impact during the game.

#27 Tom Medhat

The versatile forward was Western Australia’s most dangerous in the first half and he proved difficult for the Allies defenders to stop. He kicked his team’s second goal of the match with a running goal from 40m out, demonstrating his composure in pressure situations. Medhat found plenty of space in the second quarter and kicked his second goal only three minutes into the term. He pushed into the midfield at times and showed the ability to win the contested ball. Medhat kicked his third goal of the term in the dying minutes and was one of the main reasons behind Western Australia’s dominance in the first half. He didn’t have the same effect in the third and fourth quarters, but he continued to work hard at making himself an attractive option in the forward 50.

#29 Dillion O’Reilly

O’Reilly started in the forward half and shared ruck duties with Jack Buller throughout the game. He showed his athleticism early, winning some impressive jumping hit-outs to give his midfielders first use. O’Reilly kicked his first goal of the day in the second term, with a terrific snap around the body. He continued to hit the scoreboard for Western Australia, booting his second goal in the third term after leading successfully into a large amount of space inside 50.

#34 Brad Oldfield

Oldfield was outstanding in contested situations, winning the ball in tight and dishing the ball out by hand to his teammates. Oldfield found plenty of space in situations that you shouldn’t, which helped him make the correct decisions with ball in hand. In the first term, he was involved in an important passage of play where he kicked the ball inside 50 to a teammate and then sprinted extremely hard to make himself an appealing option to receive the ball back, resulting in the first goal of the game. His work rate and hard running was evident across four quarters.

#35 Mitchell Georgiades

The bottom-ager played on Nicholas Baker and arguably beat him in the first half. He booted two essential goals in the space of 10 minutes in the second term, instantly becoming one of the most dangerous forwards on the ground. Georgiades showcased his sticky hands and the ability to mark the ball at its highest possible point. His set-shot goal kicking was spot on and his technique was sublime. He was unable to have the same influence in the second half, but his 10-minute burst in the second quarter was enough to get me excited for his draft year in 2019.

#36 Jack Buller

Buller’s competitiveness and ground level work for a big man was on display from the get-go. He was beaten in the hit-out department to the bigger and stronger opposition ruckmen Kieran Briggs, but as soon as the ball hit the deck, Buller basically turned into a midfielder. His follow up work was magnificent, his pressure on the opposition was clear and he won plenty of contested possessions. After his dominant first half, Buller went into the main break with 11 disposals to his name. He was much quieter in the second half, but there’s no doubt he was one of Western Australia’s main contributors in the first two quarters.

 

Vic Metro vs. South Australia

Vic Metro:

#1 Jack Mahony

The bottom ager started a little shaky by foot early. He has really good hands in congestion and has the endeavour to put on pressure and really goes in the contest with pace. He showed courage when taking a mark back with the flight, knowing there would be contact. Mahony kicked a ripping snap goal at the start of the third term. With a goal and 17 possessions to his name, he played well.

#2 Joe Ayton-Delaney

Ayton-Delaney has the ability to really break the lines and hurt his opposition with it had five rebounds to his name which shows this. However, he did make some poor decisions with the football. He tends to use the ball fairly well, however his decision making leads him to turn over the footy and this happened a few times. Interested to see how he goes in the back-end of the year for Xavier College and Oakleigh Chargers.

#3 Zak Butters

Yesterday was set to be Butters’ last game for the season as he is going in for shoulder surgery next week. Sadly his season send-off ended early with a injury to the same shoulder. He showed a willingness to take the game on with his three possessions. Butters is quite small in stature, but is a slick and crafty player.

#4 Rhylee West

West did not have a big day against South Australia only having the 12 possessions. He has really solid hands in close, also making decent decisions with it. He kicked fairly well especially when he tried to open the play up. The Western Bulldogs father-son prospect is looking like at this stage a late first round, or early second round selection.

#5 Matt Rowell

Rowell had a fantastic day at the office, with the hard nosed midfielder collecting 20 possessions for the day. Rowell has break away speed from stoppages which caught the eye. On top of that he has really good hands in congestion. He is a fantastic tackler and managed seven for the day. He used the ball well on his left and right having four clearances and three inside 50s. Definitely one to watch for the 2019 draft.

#6 Curtis Taylor

Taylor is pure class inside the forward 50. He had eight possessions for the day, but really made each one of them effective in play – two of his forward tackles resulted in set shots. He also had two inside 50s and was dangerous up forward for Vic Metro, booting two goals.

#7 Angus Hanrahan

A quieter day for Hanrahan with 12 possessions. He is a real interesting type; starting forward he did not have much impact, but after moving to the wing he started to get his hands more on it. He has good hands in close and managed nine handballs. Only having three kicks for the day is slightly disappointing as his real strength is his kicking on his left and right. It’s hard to tell exactly where Hanrahan fits. I think he could fit around the mid second round to fourth round. Really depends on his second half of the year.

#8 James Rowbottom

Rowbottom is a real inside mid. He did not have a lot of the ball with just the 12 possessions compared to his other Championship games, but he was a strong tackler for Metro laying seven, with one of the tackles being a goal-saving one. He gave a little bit of spread from stoppages and his kicking was okay. Rowbottom’s draft stocks have risen from the championships

#12 Tom McKenzie

McKenzie played off the half-back flank and was one of Metro’s best in the first half. He provided run and carry out of the defensive 50 and his ball use was very good, on most occasions. He stayed composed under pressure, especially when South Australia were repeatedly entering their forward 50. He did most of his damage in uncontested situations but has proven in the past that he can win the ball on the inside when necessary.

#14 Isaac Quaynor

Along with the majority of his teammates, he started slowly but quickly found himself more involved as the game went on. He spent most of his minutes further up the ground, rather than deep, which is a position I do enjoy him in. His best passage of play came in the third quarter when he showcased his agility and speed with an exciting blind turn in the middle of the ground, effectively releasing the ball by hand to an outside runner.

#15 Bailey Smith

The hard-running, endurance beast was one of Metro’s only shining lights in the first half. Smith never gave in and tried hard all game, even when things were not going his way. His tackling was strong as always and he won the ball in contested and uncontested situations, which is why he’s so highly rated. His clearance work was impeccable and he was able to find plenty of the ball, finishing with 22 disposals. His positioning and effort in the defensive 50 were below par at times, but it is something that he will work on during his development.

#16 Noah Answerth

It was an up-and-down game for Answerth, who received a red card at the half-time break and missed the first 15 minutes of the third term. He showed that he can have a big impact on the contest with his ball-winning ability and link-up play, but was completely exposed in defensive situations. Answerth was responsible for the red-hot forward Izak Rankine, who was near-impossible to stop. There were a couple of moments that Answerth was caught ball watching, forgetting to give Rankine enough attention, which resulted in Rankine booting some very easy goals, with no defensive pressure applied. This is common with junior footballers and of no big concern. He will improve in this area as he progresses through his development.

#18 Xavier O’Halloran

The captain gradually worked into the match and was vital in stages throughout the second half. O’Halloran only had the 10 disposals but definitely made them count, which makes him such a damaging player. He did his best work in the forward half of the ground and was involved in one of cleanest passages of play in the game. In the third quarter, he was able to drill a 40-metre kick inside 50 to the leading Ben King, who marked and kicked truly, keeping Metro in the game. O’Halloran hit the scoreboard himself in the last minute of the third, after taking a strong contested mark 20 metres out.

#19 Jack Bytel

Bytel was at his best in tight, where he could gather possession and release the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. His ball use by foot was inconsistent. He turned the ball over on multiple occasions but also displayed that he can hit targets in high-pressure situations, on both feet. Bytel spent some time down back in the second half but was unable to have any real influence on the match.

#23 Buku Khamis

Khamis spent some time on the highly-rated Connor Rozee, with the athletic rebounding defender doing his best in trying to limit his impact. Khamis read the play well, his ball use was good and his intercept marking was a standout. Khamis has progressed rapidly over the past year and did his draft chances no harm.

#24 Noah Anderson

The exciting bottom-ager from the Oakleigh Charges contributed to Metro’s midfield and looms as one of the top prospects for next year. He didn’t have the biggest effect on the game but his ball-winning ability, speed and clean ball use was a sign of things to come in 2019.

#26 Riley Collier-Dawkins – The big bodied Oakleigh midfielder was in and around the stoppages for long periods of the night, but struggled to have the impact of earlier matches. He often won first possession, but struggled to find the opportunity to release as the South Australians wrapped him up quickly. While he would only win eight disposals, Collier-Dawkins still produced moments that showcase why he is now regarded a first round prospect. He took a great overhead mark and played on with acceleration inside 50, but couldn’t finish off his work by foot. In the third term he raised his arms high at a stoppage to release a teammate brilliantly on the outside, before showing his defensive presence by producing a heavy tackle on Valente later in the quarter.

#27 Will Kelly – Starting on Lukosius, Kelly was one of the only Vic Metro defenders to keep his opponent accountable with offensive run during the early onslaught. He intercepted and rebounded with style, but also defended admirably by holding the most talked about player of the draft pool to one goal. He went forward in the final term and looked capable leading to space, while also setting up Bailey Smith in the corridor. The son of Craig and brother of Jake at Adelaide finished with 17 disposals to be one of Vic Metro’s better players. You suspect the Pies won’t let another Kelly father/son prospect slip on this occasion.

#28 Ben Silvagni – The second of the Silvagni boys came to Etihad Stadium with some expectation from the Carlton faithful and he started okay forward considering the lack of early opportunities. He took a nice overhead mark on the lead inside 50, before a brilliant piece of play on the wing where he shrugged a tackle, disposed the ball to a teammate and ran hard forward to receive the kick on the arc. A disappointing set shot after the half time siren could have given his side some life going into the break, but instead instigated a small melee. He was moved to defence in the second half and faded as the match wore on.

#29 James Blanck – After an excellent performance in defence against Vic Country at the MCG, Blanck was given a small reality check by a rampaging South Australian side. He was exposed physically against the bigger Hugo Munn in the first term, who out muscled him one on one on two occasions. He positioned himself better as the game went on, but couldn’t have the same impact offensively as his previous game. He finished the night spending time in the ruck.

#34 James Rendell – Rendell is another father/son prospect who has ties with Brisbane through his father Matt’s 164 games for Fitzroy. The 198cm forward/ruck has shown signs of promising AFL attributes throughout 2018 and again produced moments of interest against South Australia. After a quiet first half he came to life in the third term, kicking a banana out of congestion that bounced to Jack Mahony in the corridor to set up a goal. He then produced one of the highlights of the game to take a towering pack mark deep inside 50 and kicked truly to continue his side’s fight back at the time. A goal, 12 hit outs and 11 possessions was a solid outing when considering minimal Vic Metro contributors.

#35 Thomas Hallebone – The lanky 201cm Northern Knights ruckman had moments throughout the day to suggest that he can develop into a capable prospect with time. While only winning five disposals for the game, he took a strong intercept mark in the first term. In the ruck he has skills, highlighted by a soft touch that the midfielders can easily read. He is currently more effective at the centre bounces where he can jump at the ball, as the bigger bodied, albeit shorter James Siviour was able to easily push his 83kg frame out of position at around the ground stoppages.

#36 Ben King – King again proved his potential No.1 pick worth with a four goal haul on arguably the biggest pathway stage against a mighty South Australian outfit at Etihad Stadium. While he lacked opportunities in the first term with the ball seemingly forever at the other end, he took his chance in the second quarter with a series of strong marks and smart leads. He attacked the ball at its highest point, often leaving his opponent with no chance. That was highlighted perfectly in the third term as he brought down a contested mark on the move with Riley Grundy right on his hammer creating immense physical pressure. He made the most of his shots on goal too, kicking four goals straight from only seven disposals. The recruiters also got their wish of the dream King/Lukosius match up in the second half, but unfortunately it was a bit of a letdown as they rarely competed aerially.

South Australia:

#2 Hayden Sampson

Sampson as dangerous around the ball and put his head into the pack on numerous occasions. Probably would have liked to be a bit cleaner off the ground but his 15 disposals and three clearances were important

#4 Kade Chandler

Another SA player that goes in hard. Played his role as small defensive forward and crumbed a good goal from the pocket and set up a teammate’s goal with some great pressure.

#10 Martin Frederick

Really stepped up and provided a number of dashing drives from half-back. With 16 disposals he used the ball also really well, broke some tackles due to his pace, and nearly got a goal bursting inside 50. Has really improved his draft chances and is a Port Next Generation Academy.

#11 Finn Betterman

The midfielder had a quieter game but still managed to lock in four tackles, which is what you need to do when the ball is not coming your way. Can play the first receiver really well and his possessions normally matter.

#13 Connor Rozee

This was the return to form we were waiting for, Rozee had the 18 disposals and four clearances. Managed the miracle goal out of the back of the pack with a smart kick and was smooth when he had it. But it was his desperation that really showed off as he was diving for smothers, chasing at speed and on multiple occasions jumped up to intercept or bring to ground a Vic Metro kick, killing off their rebound.

#14 Izak Rankine

One word – Magic! Booted five goals and about four of them were goal of the game contenders. Just so special, and no doubt his highlights package will be something to marvel over. A class above on the night.

#16 Tom Lewis

Literally living at the bottom of a pack, this inside bull was outstanding. Had 18 disposals and eight tackles. Lewis continues to find the footy under enormous contested pressure and dish out to teammates. A memorable play was where he was on the ground in the pack, got the footy, stood up, bursted out of the congestion with 2-3 Vic Metro players on him and dished to a teammate. Scored a nice goal in the last quarter.

#18 Oscar Chapman

The third tall was outstanding and able to demonstrate all his flexibility. Opened up with a holding the ball tackle that hit Munn for the goal and was continuously harassing Metro defenders and providing blocks for his other forwards. In the last quarter he was taken off the leash and exploded kicking 2.2 including a fantastic pack mark 15m out. Finished with a game high seven marks and 14 disposals

#22 Jacob Kennerley

Was important key ball winner for SA and was dominant early on the wing linking play to the SA forwards. Always looked damaging with the ball and used it well and when Vic Metro came back in the third quarter he worked back well. Certainly one of SA’s best for the day finishing with 22 disposals.

#23 Aaron Nietschke

Was a quiet game for Nietschke possession wise, but he did show glimpses of what he can do. Worked hard in and under when the opportunity was there. He has had better games, but his body size and work rate made him a valuable member of the team

#25 Tom Sparrow

Another player who had an impact when it was his turn, and finished with 17 disposals and five inside 50s and did like some of his work down back when he won some key one on ones and fed the ball out. Another contributor who rarely lost a contested ball when in his area.

#27 Jez McLennan

Another solid and productive game for the defender. Managed to grab some intercept marks and always was poised with the football and efficient. Looked well balanced and calm when Vic Metro had a run in the third quarter. A key for the SA defence all tournament and absolute leader down back. His seven tackles were evident of his work rate and willingness to chase and compete. Great leadership shown.

#30 Ben Jarvis

The goal sneak is a real enigma as he always looks dangerous near the footy and around goal and was rewarded with another two goals. He roved a ball off the pack at speed and class which showed off his ability. He worked up the ground at times and was also good in at the contest. Drifted in and out of the game, but when he is near the footy, things happened that really benefit his team.

#31 Mihail Lochowiak

Was prominent early in the game with dash, but did try to do too much at times and turned the ball over. Once he adjusted to the pace of the game he made a solid contribution and when Vic Metro were coming made a nice lead and goal to stem the flow. A bit more poise and polish to his game will be key to his development as his pace, willingness to take the game on and size are all impressive

#32 Luke Valente

A quieter game for the captain, but as a true leader really worked into the game after a quiet first quarter. Still finished with 18 disposals for SA, but what stands out is his composure in traffic, and decision making is generally spot on. Seemed to have a bit more time than others which showed his class. Liked how he dug in during the third quarter to win some key football. His evasion and side step is excellent

#33 Tyler Martin

Had limited possessions but this game really saw his class when challenged. Would rarely be beaten for the footy and just a classic “played your role” game which was vital for the team. He reads the play well and is the third man up at times with timely spoils as well as finishing with five marks intercepting when required.

#34 Jackson Hately

Hately produced another fantastic performance when it mattered most in the title decider. Hately capped off a consistent carnival with 23 disposals in the final game a team high and also a game high of six inside 50’s. He had ten disposals in the first quarter as the Croweaters could no wrong, his brilliant quarter was shown in finding Rankine with a pin-point kick inside 50 to his advantage on the lead. Hately was deservedly named in the forward line of the U18 All Australian team.

#35 Jacob Collins

Norwood’s Jacob Collins was called up for his first game of the carnival and rewarded selectors with a solid game. Collins had plenty of touches early on as the South Australian defence exited Vic Metro’s forward line with ease. Collins ball use from defence early was terrific as South Australia punished Vic Metro’s poor forward entries. Had a knock in second quarter which curtailed his influence somewhat, but still managed to have 13 disposals and five inside 50s.

#37 Riley Grundy

Grundy had the easiest job on field in the first quarter as the service to Ben King was nothing sort of horrific. But once Vic Metro responded, delivery to King was maximised as the height difference between King (202cm) and Grundy (195cm) in the marking contests started to show. Grundy struggled at times to compete with King aerially, as King finished with four goals. Grundy has had a solid carnival down back with Will Gould and has done decent jobs on the each team’s key forward.

#42 Jack Lukosius

Lukosius took a back seat to the Izak Rankine show early on and was quiet in the first term. In the second quarter Lukosius kicked his first goal after a great passage of play by the SA onball brigade, as Munn tapped it down to Lukosius who converted on ground level. In the second half the recruiters got their carnival wish as Lukosius was sent back to stop King from continuing his dominance. Lukosius certainly assured the SA backline and took intercepting marks down back to prove that he is almost the prototype footballer that can play in almost any position. His brilliant carnival was capped off with the centre half-forward position in the U18 All Australian team and is likely to be taken at pick one in the AFL National Draft.

#43 Will Gould

Under-age defender Will Gould was a monster down back for his side as he also had a carnival high of 17 possessions for the match. Gould took it upon himself to be more adventurous out of defence once he was joined by Jack Lukosius down back proving his versatility. Gould was deservedly awarded with a spot in U18 the All-Australian team on the interchange, as massive achievement for the 2001-born player.

#44 James Siviour

Siviour produced his best performance for the title decider as he took care of ruckman Tom Hallebone, Joe Griffith’s replacement. Siviour contributed with 28 hitouts, 10 disposals and goal, his intercepting down back was a highlight as took six marks for the day, as Hallebone could only manage one.

#47 Hugo Munn

Munn was on fire in the first quarter as he dominated opponent James Blanck tacking a pack mark and converting truly and another contested mark against his opponent and fed a running Rankine who kicked it from the goal square. Munn has showed some brilliant signs and efforts throughout the carnival as finished as one of the top goal kickers with Lukosius, Rankine and King.

Western Australia hold on against Allies to claim third

WESTERN Australia has held on in the final round of the National Under 18 Championships to finish third on the overall tally with two wins from four games. The Black Swans looked like having an impressive victory following a huge first half, which saw them pile on eight goals to four and open up a 27-point lead at half-time. Most of the work was on the back of fantastic rebounding from Jordan Clark, as well as Sydney Stack on the inside and Luke English on the outside.

At the same time, the Allies prime movers in Nick Blakey and Tarryn Thomas were quieter, but that changed in the second half when Blakey moved into the midfield. He started to turn the game in the Allies favour, winning multiple clearances and using his big frame to dominate in the middle. He missed a set shot he should have nailed – but he was far from alone as time and time again the Allies missed gettable opportunities. They had managed to stop Western Australia, and were almost exclusively attacking the goals, but booted 10 behinds in the second half, having 16 scoring shots to six.

Up forward for Western Australia, Mitch Georgiades had a big first half and continued to lead strongly, while Tom Medhat was proving a handful, booting three goals and keeping the Black Swans ahead with some breathing space. Dillon O’Reilly likewise popped up for a couple of goals, one showing off his athleticism with a nice snap. While for the Allies, it was the running Fraser Turner who booted two great goals in the second half, both running into goal.

With Blakey controlling the midfield, the Allies forward 50 marks were shared around as Connor McFadyen took a great contested grab on the line and converted, while Bailey Scott and Thomas also got moving with great goals. Kieren Briggs in the centre was enormous through the ruck, continually getting to contests and laying some bone-crunching tackles and putting pressure on the opposition. Bottom-ager Mitch O’Neill continues to show why he will have plenty of eyes on him next year, able to play anywhere on the field, converting a great long-range goal courtesy of some quick hands from McFadyen.

For Western Australia, things got a little too close for comfort when the Allies closed to within seven points with a few minutes remaining, but the Black Swans defence held up in spite of plenty of inside 50s, with Regan Spooner defending well and Clark having a best on ground performance, racking up a whopping 11 rebounds to go with his 29 disposals and improve his draft stocks. Luke English‘s consistency throughout the carnival shone through and he was unlucky not to win the MVP, pipped by Clark in the end it would seem. Stack ended up among the best, as did overage midfielder Luke Foley who looked the goods, while Spooner and Medhat both played their roles up the respective ends.

The loss might have been disappointing for the Allies, but they threw everything at the West Australians, but could not capitalise on their forward 50 entries. Scott was the clear star with Blakey by the time the final siren sounded, stepping up in the second half to lead the team fantastically. Turner was busy all around the ground and his gut running was on show, while Briggs earned the Allies’ MVP award and was the standout ruck across the carnival. Jones and O’Neill were also deservedly named in the bests for their efforts. Mathew Walker‘s hands and work rate up the field were also admirable, particularly in the second half.

ALLIES                                               1.1         4.1          7.5        10.11 (71)               
WESTERN AUSTRALIA                    3.3         8.4          10.4       12.6 (78)

GOALS:
Allies: Turner 2, Blakey, Reinhard, McFayden, Quint, Walker, Scott, O’Neill, Thomas
Western Australia: Medhat 3, Georgiades 2, Moore 2, O’Reilly 2, Oldfield 2, Stack 

BEST:
Allies: Scott, Blakey, Turner, Jones, Briggs, O’Neill.
Western Australia: Clark, English, Oldfield, Stack, Foley, Spooner, Medhat.

National U18 Championships previews: Round 5

IN the final stanza of the National Under 18 Championships, all roads lead to Etihad Stadium where the Allies take on Western Australia, and Vic Metro hosts South Australia in an enticing double header. Vic Metro and South Australia become the headline act with the winner-takes-all mentality given the title is on the line for both sides.

ALLIES V. WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Wednesday, July 4, 2.10pm
Etihad Stadium

The opening game of the final round pits the Allies against Western Australia. The winner takes third spot on the final table of the National Under 18 Championships, with both teams having sole wins over Vic Country, and losses against South Australia and Vic Metro. The Allies come into the game with a strong squad, omitting bottom-ager Thomas Green who had been solid so far, and rotating Dirk Koenen for Matthew McGuiness. Overager Michael Mummery gets his chance to shine on Etihad, while the Western Australian side has three fresh faces to add to it’s victorious team over Vic Country. Ian Hill is a huge loss for the Black Swans, with the West Australian captain banned for a sling tackle on Laitham Vandermeer last Friday. With injuries to Damon Greaves and Thomas Baldwin, Western Australia flew over Wil Hickmott to join the squad, and he will run out tomorrow with Luke Moore and Ethan Hansen as the other changes.

The midfield battle will be intriguing with Hickmott joining Sydney StackLuke FoleyDeven Robertson and Luke English in the middle. Jack Buller will have his work cut out for him against man mountain Kieren Briggs who is in super form for the Allies. He has been giving his midfield of Tarryn ThomasConnor McFadyenChayce Jones and Fraser Turner first chance at the stoppages. Jacob Koschitzke is in fine form and could be the man for Dillon O’Reilly who has been showing promising signs as a key forward, while Jason Carter and Jordan Clark provide plenty of dash off half-back. Bailey Scott and Connor Budarick will look to keep them honest, while Nick Blakey looms as the danger man for the Allies and one that Western Australia – and perhaps Regan Spooner in particular – will look to contain. Overall, the Allies will head in as favourites, but the West Australians move the ball quick and cleanly to the forward line and it is hoped Jarrod Cameron can provide the spark again after he booted five goals in Geelong.

VIC METRO V. SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Wednesday, July 4, 4.40pm
Etihad Stadium

In the game that everyone will tune in for, the National Under 18 Championships title will be on the line for the undefeated Vic Metro and South Australian sides. In what ended up being a perfect fixture for the AFL, the two best sides are going head-to-head in the final match of the series with the winner to be handed the trophy and celebrate afterwards without any interruptions to other fixturing. South Australia has made its expected two changes, with Mihail Lochowiak and Jacob Collins replacing Kai Pudney and Boyd Woodcock in the team. Vic Metro has rotated rucks for the final game, with Tom Hallebone recalled to ruck against James Siviour after injury struck down Joe GriffithsJack Bytel has been named in the side despite suffering what looked to be an injury in the last round which would keep him out of the final match. Isaac Quaynor and Ben Silvagni return from injury and will strengthen both ends for Metro.

The match-up on everyone’s lips – Jack Lukosius pitted against Ben King – is unlikely to happen despite recruiters hopes, with both players named forward. As we saw in Geelong, Lukosius also played on the wing and down back, standing side-by-side with Tarryn Thomas and Nick Blakey at different times showing his versatility. If things start to head south for Vic Metro, King can also play in defence, while Will Kelly is a capable forward if required. It is predicted Kelly will get first chance on Lukosius, while James Blanck will line-up on Hugo Munn. The midfield battle of Izak RankineLuke ValenteTom Lewis and Jackson Hately up against Bailey SmithRiley Collier-DawkinsJames Rowbottom and Zak Butters is mouthwatering and likely to decide the contest. With both teams having plenty of firepower up front, the midfield is where the game will be won or lost. Curtis Taylor showed he is a danger up forward for Metro, while Xavier O’Halloran and Noah Anderson have already shown through the championships they can boot multiple goals. Will Gould and Riley Grundy are in great form – the latter is the man predicted to head to King. Jez McLennan and Martin Frederick provide great run out of defence and will be keen to break the lines, while Quaynor and Tom McKenzie will be keen to do the same up the other end. It is hard to pick a winner in this game, with both sides filled to the brim with quality.

Draft Central Power Rankings: July 2018

IN one of the most recognisable draft crops in some time, the 2018 AFL National Draft is heating up to be one of the most talked about in the lead-up with so many tall and small prospects who are already looking like genuine AFL stars. As was the case last year, on the first Monday of the month we take a look at the top 30 prospects and where we see them throughout the season. Some will rise and drop depending on performances, while others will remain steady throughout. Keep in mind that the Power Rankings are an opinion-based ranking system, without taking into account AFL club finishing positions or needs – ie. not a Phantom Draft. It is purely measuring players on our opinion of their ability. Without further ado, here are our current top 30:
#1 Jack Lukosius

Key Position Forward/Defender (WWT Eagles/South Australia)
09/08/2000 | 196cm | 84kg

June rank: #1

Lukosius started the season as the consensus number one after jumping on the scene as a 17-year-old for WWT Eagles in the SANFL Preliminary Final, booting four goals and clunking eight marks on his League debut. He has continued his form into this season, booting seven goals from five matches, including an 18-disposal, 11-mark and three-goal game against Glenelg. He also showed his versatility collecting 25 disposals, 14 marks and six inside 50s from centre-half back in a South Australia Under 18 trial match at the beginning of the year. For the AFL Academy he was utilised at both ends, looking most at home as a forward, finishing the match with 12 disposals and two goals. The thing that separates Lukosius from other talls is his foot skills, where you could argue he is one of the best kicks in the entire draft pool, hitting targets at ease off his right foot around the ground. A genuine franchise player.

Past month:

Lukosius has done everything expected of him in the National Under 18 Championships, dominating against Western Australia with 14 marks from 17 disposals and three goals, before back-up performances against Vic Country and the Allies. While he only booted the one goal against the Allies, he had 18 disposals and seven marks playing everywhere from forward to back, to the wing. An out and out star and as versatile as any player in the draft crop.

#2 Sam Walsh
Outside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
02/07/2000 | 183cm | 74kg

June rank: #3

The best midfielder in the 2018 AFL Draft pool has started the season exceptionally well at TAC Cup level. Walsh’s smarts help him around the ground and it is very hard to keep him quiet or out of a game. Against the North Melbourne VFL team, Walsh had 22 disposals, nine marks and four clearances, working through the midfield and booting the opening goal of the game. His spread on the outside is good and he has shown he can win the footy in both contested and uncontested situations. He leads from the front and is probably the safest player in this draft pool for a club to draft. The knock was his disposal at full speed last season, but he is as consistent as they come across all areas.

Past month:

Walsh moves up to number two in our Power Rankings after an impressive National Championships carnival. It was no surprise to see him win Vic Country’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, after another 30-disposal game against Western Australia. He was dominant against Vic Metro with 29 touches and in Country’s top couple of players in every game. The standout non KPP in the draft.

#3 Max King
Key Position Forward (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
07/07/2000 | 201cm | 86kg

June rank: #2

The tall forward is one of the best tall prospects we have seen in recent years and is most certainly in the mix as a top five pick, despite the fact that King will not play another game this season. After booting a few goals in the opening quarter for Haileybury College at school football, King’s knee buckled from underneath him in the second quarter and he was stretchered off. Scans later confirmed that the talented forward suffered a torn ACL. Nevertheless, King is a superb prospect who is outstanding in the air (thanks to a big wingspan) and a goal-kicking option, having booted 8.5 against Oakleigh Chargers earlier in the TAC Cup last month. A real strength of King’s is his ability to collect the ball when it hits the ground, with a strong recovery helping the 201cm tall. While some say he could slip down the order due to injury, he won’t be falling outside the top 10, or even maybe the top five due to his impressive skill set.

Past month:

Recovering from an ACL injury which will see him miss the rest of the 2018 season.

#4 Ben King
Key Position Defender/Forward (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
07/07/2000 | 201cm | 85kg

June rank: #4

The twin brother of Max King has started the season very well, used at both ends at all levels. While Ben is a natural key defender, he has shown at school level that he can be a valuable forward, booting 18 goals in the first two school games. Like brother Max, he is very mobile and has an outstanding leap. He recovers very well when the ball hits the ground and when he flies to mark or spoil the ball and it falls to the ground. Is one of the best tall defenders and competes exceptionally well. Reckon we might see him more as a forward as the season goes, could become a genuine ‘swingman’ if he isn’t already. After a good AFL Academy game, Ben King won the Melbourne Cricket Club’s President’s Medal as the best player.

Past month:

Started the National Under 18 Championships on fire up forward with five goals against Western Australia in a best on ground performance. King then was well held by Jacob Koschitzke in Vic Metro’s narrow two-point win against the Allies, but booted the winning goal showing he can stand up in clutch moments. He managed to break away from Connor Idun a couple of times and converted two majors at the MCG in the All-Victorian clash. Could cap off a strong championships with a good performance against South Australia on Wednesday.

#5 Izak Rankine
Small Forward/Balanced Midfielder (West Adelaide/South Australia)
23/04/2000 | 180cm | 76kg

June rank: #5

Probably the most exciting prospect in the 2018 AFL Draft pool, Rankine can do some special things that a majority of others cannot. He is a lively forward who can push into the midfield and win his own footy, with his agility a key trait. Rankine was so good in last year’s NAB AFL Under 17 All Stars match that they made him switch teams at half-time! He missed the opening few weeks through suspension, but has since returned back to SANFL League footy with West Adelaide, booting four goals from 12 disposals. At this stage he is more of a forward/midfielder than a pure midfielder – and it will be interesting to see how he goes throughout the year, working on his craft with more midfield time for the South Australian side in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Past month:

Just when the midfield power of Bailey Smith or the sheer ball-winning ability of Sam Walsh was the talk of the smaller brigade, Izak Rankine comes out and produces a performance to remember against the Allies. He racked up 20 disposals, five marks, four clearances, six inside 50s and three goals – including one from the 50m arc off a couple of steps – and signalled his intentions as a top five pick in case anyone had forgotten.

#6 Bailey Smith
Inside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
07/12/2000 | 184cm | 79kg

June rank: #11

Bailey Smith had a great finish to the 2017 season which saw him elevated to the NAB AFL Academy Level Two group. Smith played mostly across half back last year, but did show his ball winning capabilities on the inside for Xavier College and the Dragons, including a huge 44 disposals (22 contested) at 72 per cent efficiency, 13 inside 50s, 10 clearances, six marks and four rebound 50s match against Western. The Dragons 2018 captain is a strong leader and has really transitioned into an inside ball winning midfielder, having collected 37 disposals (22 contested) in the opening match of the season this year. In his most recent outing for the Dragons against the Jets, Smith had 28 disposals, 11 clearances and booted two goals, where he used his quick and clean hands to effectiveness on the inside. The right footer is a capable target around the ground and runs very well.

Past month:

Smith is the biggest bolter in the top-end of the list and well and truly deserved the spot inside the top six. A month is a long time in football and with each game he plays he seems to move higher. Just makes the right decisions, stands up when required and can play anywhere on the ground. In the best couple in each of his three Under 18 Championships games and is firming as a potential top five pick.

#7 Nick Blakey
Key Position Forward (Sydney Swans Academy/Allies)
27/02/2000 | 195cm | 80kg

June rank: #6

Up until this time last week, Blakey had multiple options as the son of former North Melbourne and Brisbane player John. Blakey also fell into the Sydney Swans Academy, while he could have opted for the open draft. However – Blakey has made a decision to stick with the Sydney Swans Academy and the Swans are going to get a ‘goodie’. Blakey is a natural forward with a good goal sense and marks well overhead. He glides around the ground and can play in defence if required, while there is midfield potential should some of his coaches see fit. Blakey has dominated in the AFL Under 18 Academy Series against some average opposition, but he booted an exceptional goal off a few steps in the AFL Academy match against North Melbourne’s VFL side. While injuries kept him out of a lot of football last year, expect Blakey to warrant an early bid inside the top 10 at this stage.

Past month:

After being struck down with illness and missing the opening National Championships game against Vic Country, then having a quieter seven-disposal, one-goal performance against Vic Metro, Blakey showed every bit of why he is considered a top 10 pick in his performance against South Australia. Blakey led hard at the football, collecting 11 disposals and clunking six marks, copping hits left, right and centre and still not looking 100 per cent. Nonetheless he shook it off to be one of the best Allies, just needing to capitalise in front of goal, slotting 2.3 for the day.

#8 Tarryn Thomas
Balanced Midfielder (Tasmania/North Melbourne Academy/Allies)
25/03/2000 | 189cm | 73kg

June rank: #7

Thomas is a really exciting player whose glimpses over the last few years suggest he is going to be a special player in the future. The Tasmanian falls into North Melbourne’s Next-Generation Academy and therefore the Kangaroos will have first dibs on Thomas who will likely command a first round bid. Thomas is an outside midfielder who has a good burst of speed and agility, using it well off his right foot. He can also push forward and hit the scoreboard. One of the cleanest players in the draft crop, Thomas is a one-touch player and turns an inch into a mile.

Past month:

Thomas had a quieter game against South Australia with just the 12 touches and four inside 50s, but still has that touch of class. He has shared the load for the Allies after a dominant Academy Series for Tasmania, and has played both forward and midfield in the championships. Hopefully he finishes off strong on Wednesday against Western Australia.

#9 Jackson Hately
Inside Midfielder (Central District/South Australia)
21/10/2000 | 192cm | 80kg

June rank: #10

Jackson Hately is one of the few pure inside midfielders in the top half of the rankings list. While he still has some size to put on, the 192cm midfielder is strong in the contest, where he can win the contested ball, tackle hard and win clearances. Hately can also hit the scoreboard when required. The Central Districts product has had a taste of SANFL League footy, recording 21 disposals and seven tackles against Glenelg a few weeks ago. Hately was one of the standouts for the AFL Academy in their match against the North Melbourne VFL side, where he had 17 disposals, eight tackles and kicked two goals.

Past month:

Hately has enjoyed a really consistent National Championships thus far and would not have deviated too much from his initial position around the top 10. He had 21 disposals and six clearances against the Allies, and again worked well with the inside grunt of Luke Valente and the outside class of Izak Rankine. Continues to impress and no doubt will be one South Australian fans look to in the final game against Vic Metro.

#10 Ian Hill
Small Forward (Perth/Western Australia)
09/02/2000 | 175cm | 76kg

June rank: #8

Ian “Bobby” Hill is an exciting small forward similar to Rankine in the way that he can make recruiters and fans go “wow” at certain moments. While at this stage, he’s far from the finished product – he has produced plenty of glimpses that suggest he’ll be a strong player for the future. He has superb speed and agility, while his goal sense is outstanding. So far in the WAFL Colts for Perth he has been very good – having overcome a concussion earlier in the season. Hill is Western Australia’s best draft prospect and the second cousin of Fremantle pair Brad and Stephen Hill. He will be one to watch at the National Championships.

Past month:

Probably has not had the National Championships he would have liked thus far, but you can see the talent that burst onto the scene at Etihad Stadium last year is still there. He had 19 disposals, six marks and four inside 50s against Vic Country in a building performance, but it was his leadership that stood out – getting around his teammates and keeping them focused. Some people have him slipping late into the first round, but I do not buy that yet, too much class and talent.

#11 Curtis Taylor
Medium Forward/Inside Midfielder (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
06/04/2000 | 186cm | 79kg

June rank: #13

Taylor might be earlier than many others have him – it is based on the potential that the Calder Cannons product has. Taylor has plenty of X-Factor, which he showed in past years at school football for PEGS, playing alongside top draftees Cameron Rayner and Daniel Venables. Taylor at this stage is far more comfortable across half forward than as an inside midfielder, but has plenty of opportunities across the year to improve his midfield calibre. He has a good skill set and can mark well overhead.

Past month:

Taylor stands up in big games and on the MCG turf, he was the standout forward with three goals, showing his strength in the air and an ability to convert in pressure situations. With Vic Country charging late, Taylor cooly slotted the winner to hand Vic Metro the victory. Oozes X-factor and could well be a top 10 pick come November.

#12 Bailey Williams
Key Position Forward/Ruckman (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
17/04/2000 | 198cm | 95kg

June rank: #9

The red-haired Williams burst onto the scene last year with some eye-catching displays for the Dandenong Stingrays, while he was also able to represent the Vic Country Under 18 team as a bottom-ager, where he mostly played in the ruck. While Williams is a strong ruck, he is probably a better forward at the moment – in the mould of Gold Coast’s 2014 draftee Peter Wright. Williams has an outstanding leap and is a capable set shot for goal and booted a stunning bag of seven against the Western Jets in Round 4 of the 2018 TAC Cup.

Past month:

Williams has been a number of dropped marks away from a really imposing National Championships. He had a poor game against Vic Metro, but stepped up against Western Australia as all gun players do, collecting 16 disposals and booting two goals. His marking has been a bit of an issue this carnival, but his athleticism and vertical leap have been on show and has not disappointed in that regard.

#13 Ned McHenry
Balanced Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
13/07/2000 | 176cm | 71kg

June rank: #14

McHenry’s super 2017 season saw him elevated to the National AFL Under 18 Academy Level Two squad and is a player that gives his all in every game. Despite his light frame, McHenry starts at the centre bounces and can win the contested football. The Falcons midfielder is a great character and you really need to check out his work on the Geelong Falcons Facebook page and watch the ‘Ned’s Falcons files’ videos. McHenry impressed in the National AFL Under 18 Championships for Vic Country last year as a bottom-ager, averaging 18 disposals at 75 per cent efficiency and laying 5.5 tackles.

Past month:

A quieter game against Western Australia, but still managed to lay seven tackles on the weekend. He looked the goods against Vic Metro with two first quarter goals, but could not quite capitalise in front of the big sticks after that. His pressure game is as good as any and he has maintained a clear first round spot on the rankings.

#14 Connor Rozee
Outside Midfielder (North Adelaide/South Australia)
22/01/2000 | 184cm | 72kg

June rank: #12

Rozee is another of South Australia’s top draft prospects and in recent weeks has pushed into the SANFL League side for North Adelaide. The midfielder has smarts around the ground, getting to the right positions and has shown his capabilities as a good runner. He rarely wastes a disposal and moves well in and around the stoppages. While he has spent some time playing as a half forward in recent times, he will likely end up as a pure midfielder with his strong skill set. Rozee has made his SANFL League debut, booting two goals in both appearances in the last fortnight. Rozee played all four games as a bottom-ager for South Australia in the 2017 Under 18 Championships, averaging 14 disposals and seven tackles.

Past month:

It has been hard to assess Rozee this carnival as he has played in a myriad of roles. He retains a spot in the mid first round, because his use by hand or foot, and his vision is spectacular. He just had the 13 touches on the weekend, but he uses it so well he hurts opposition off a dozen possessions. Just does not do too much wrong and there will be a better indication of his capabilities when he faces the strong Vic Metro midfield.

#15 Riley Collier-Dawkins
Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
03/02/2000 | 193cm | 88kg

June rank: #16

Based on potential – Collier-Dawkins could well be a first round prospect come later in the season. He still has some work to do in order to reach this level, but the signs early in the season are very good. Collier-Dawkins was very good in the #57 last year as a bottom-ager for the Oakleigh Chargers winning the ball as a hybrid midfield, and ‘RCD’ has had a big growth spurt over recent years, seeing him jump to 193cm (and growing!). Collier-Dawkins looks most at home as an inside midfielder – using his clean and quick hands to effectiveness, but has played on the outside at times this year, including the Vic Metro trial game where he recored 13 disposals and four marks.

Last month:

After missing a game due to injury, Collier-Dawkins returned to the MCG and had a promising performance playing between midfield and full-forward, clunking a strong mark and nailing the set shot. He had 13 disposals and three clearances that game, and while they are not big numbers compared to some others, it is his power and versatility that hold him in high regard.

#16 Xavier Duursma
Balanced Midfielder | Gippsland Power/Vic Country
07/07/2000 | 185cm | 71kg

June rank: #17

The Gippsland Power captain is one of those players that in his bottom-age year looked like an outside midfielder, but won the majority of his possessions on the inside. In 2018, it has balanced out for him to impact on the outside and he is strong through the core despite being one of the lightest midfielders out there. He is a transition player who can give-and-go and can get forward and impact on the scoreboard. The biggest thing with Duursma is he has not got an obvious weakness, and while he does not win as much of the ball as other midfielders in the top end, he has both top skill and the ability to gain meterage with each disposal.

Past month:

After a big month at the National Championships, Duursma did have a quieter game against Western Australia. He still managed three clearances, but had the 13 touches and did not have as much impact as his impressive game against Vic Metro where he had seven inside 50s, five clearances, six marks and five tackles from 19 disposals. One to watch in the back-end of the TAC Cup season because he has that potential to be a first rounder.

#17 Riley Bowman
Ruckman/Key Position Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
25/02/2000 | 198cm | 82kg

June rank: #15

There is a little bit of Tim English in the way Riley Bowman moves around the ground. The athletic ruckman has a decent leap on him, he is also a good user of the ball by foot. While Bowman is very raw and will need developing by any club that takes him, he has shown enough this year to suggest he needs to be tracked closely during the season. He worked hard in the ruck for the AFL Academy against the bigger North Melbourne opponents, at times going up against big Brayden Preuss. Bowman is averaging 16 hitouts in the TAC Cup this season.

Past month:

Perhaps the best ruck of the National Championships along with Allies’ Kieren Briggs, Bowman did his draft chances no harm with a really promising month of performances. He was rested in the first game and has shared the ruck load throughout the final three games, impressive against Vic Metro with 20 hitouts and a goal from 10 disposals and three marks. Played second fiddle to Mark Marriott in the final match against Western Australia, but that was more about his versatility to play anywhere on the ground, than anything else.

#18 Rhylee West
Inside Midfielder | Calder Cannons/Vic Metro
12/07/2000 | 180cm | 81kg

June rank: #21

An inside midfielder with lightning hands, West has the ability to impact in close or in the air. He has a vice-like grip and is one of the best contested marks of the midfielders in the competition. Rarely beaten one-on-one, West’s next step is just working on doing the fundamentals perfectly as there have been times where he can over-use the football or overcomplicate a situation. No doubt Western Bulldogs fans will keep a close eye on him.

Past month:

West has been one of the big performers for Vic Metro in the National Under 18 Championships and finds himself inside our top 20. Working in tandem with Bailey Smith and doing a lot of the grunt work on the inside to allow Smith to go forward, West is the one player challenging Smith for the Metro Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. He played forward at St Kevin’s and does have the versatility and strength in the air to have an impact inside 50.

#19 Chayce Jones
Balanced Midfielder | Launceston/Tasmania
14/01/2000 | 180cm | 74kg

June rank: #24

A classy midfielder who can also hit the scoreboard, Jones has been going about his business very nicely. The Tasmanian was overshadowed by the efforts of top 10 pick Tarryn Thomas at the Under 18 Academy Series, but his ability to win clearances and burn off his opponents is eye-catching. He often gets forward and hurts opposition teams on the scoreboard, and is always dangerous at ground level. Just the 180cm, but is versatile and slot in anywhere.

Past month:

Jones has been really consistent in the National Championships and is another player who has done his draft chances no harm. He had 21 disposals, four clearances and five inside 50s against South Australia, and while there were some who stood out more, Jones continues to find the football and cover ground well. His best game of the carnival came against Vic Country, finishing off with two goals from 28 disposals, five marks, five clearances, five inside 50s and four rebounds while laying six tackles.

#20 Luke Valente
Balanced Midfielder (Norwood/South Australia)
08/05/2000 | 186cm | 80kg

June rank: #22

The Norwood midfielder has a nice balance of skills and grunt, able to play on the inside or out and is set to play a pivotal role for South Australia at the National Championships. Valente was nominated captain of the Croweaters and his leadership shines through on the field. Known for his ball-winning abilities and clearance expertise, Valente is not overawed by bigger bodies and would be one player who is AFL ready from round one.

Past month:

Valente is knocking down the door of South Australia’s MVP Award for the carnival despite the class of Izak Rankine and the sheer eye-opening ability of Jack Lukosius. He is often the player that does not receive the hype those guys do, but his role through the middle is vital. He had a sensational game against the Allies, racking up six clearances and 28 disposals, and most importantly, had 15 kicks showing he can use it well by hand or foot in transition.

#21 Liam Stocker
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
23/01/2000 | 183cm | 83kg

June rank: #19

Stocker is a player who could definitely find himself as a first round prospect by November. Stocker is a strong midfielder who wins the football on the inside and spreads well from the stoppages. His clearance work is very good, while he can play on the outside where he can use the ball very well off either his right or left foot. Stocker will have the entire season at TAC Cup level, having finished school at Haileybury College in 2017.

Past month:

Stocker was unfortunate to miss the National Under 18 Championships due to a broken jaw he sustained against Gippsland in the TAC Cup. He has now returned to the TAC Cup and picking up some good form, named the Dragons’ best in their win over Oakleigh Chargers in Round 10 and had a sensational 30-disposal game against the Eastern Ranges on the weekend. He is an inside midfielder who uses the ball well and could well enter the top 20 again with some consistent form and his injury behind him.

#22 Zak Butters
Outside Midfielder/General Forward (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
08/10/2000 | 178cm | 70kg

June rank: N/A

The lightly-built outside midfielder who spends a lot of time forward, is a little on the small side, but plays taller than his 178cm. He has that touch of class that shines through when he wins the football, and his first few steps are lightning. Butters spreads well across the ground and can win the ball on the wing and be on the receiving end of a pass inside 50 moments later.

Past month:

An underrated performer for Vic Metro at the National Under 18 Championships, he has showed his great speed and acceleration on the outside, while also being used in transition from half-back through to half-forward. Butters has averaged 17 disposals, two clearances and three inside 50s across his three games so far at the championships. He is rising and could well be the first Western Jet taken.

#23 Mitch Riordan
Inside Midfielder (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
25/01/2000 | 186cm | 79kg

June rank: #18

Riordan is a player who flies under the radar a little bit, but continues to improve. While his numbers aren’t as big as some of the other Stingrays players, their game plan very rarely sees any player get above 25 disposals, with a team input seeing an even performance across the board. Riordan is strong in the contest and is a decent ball user off his right foot. He wins the contested ball and is a good tackler, working hard to win the ball back. Riordan averaged 16 disposals and three tackles in the TAC Cup at the start, but he will spend the month leading up to the National AFL Under 18 Championships at school level for reigning APS Premiers Haileybury College.

Past month:

Riordan injured his hamstring against Vic Metro on the MCG – his second injury of the carnival – marking an unfortunate end to his series. The talented inside midfielder did show some signs playing off half-back, but has had limited time on the ground to show his wares against the nation’s top players. Hopefully he can get fully fit and have a big end to the TAC Cup season once he returns from injury.

#24 Jye Caldwell
Balanced Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
28/09/2000 | 184cm | 78kg

June rank: #20

Bendigo Pioneers and Geelong Grammar product Jye Caldwell is a good midfielder who has some strong tricks. Injury forced him off the ground early in the AFL Academy match against the North Melbourne VFL team, but he has returned to football and is one who showed some talent in the Under 18 Championships last year for Vic Country, averaging 18 disposals. Caldwell tackles well and can win both the contested and uncontested ball.

Past month:

Caldwell saw just the one game in the National Under 18 Championships – against the Allies – and spent less than half the time on the ground, succumbing to an early injury. The versatile midfielder who predominantly plays on the inside will be disappointed he has missed the Championships, but will be keen to return in the back half of the TAC Cup season and help the Bendigo Pioneers.

#25 Xavier O’Halloran
Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
11/07/2000 | 186cm | 82kg
 
June rank: N/A
 
An inside midfielder at TAC Cup level, his consistent form this season is as good as anyone in the competition. He lead the Western Jets in style with his contested work, acceleration and clearance ability among his top strengths. His leadership was recognised at state level, earning the Vic Metro captaincy over fellow captain Bailey Smith.
 
Past month:
 
The Vic Metro captain did his draft credentials no harm with a consistent National Under 18 Championships playing up forward and through the midfield. He showed his versatility with a two-goal game against Vic Country on the MCG, and when in the midfield has that nice few steps and lowers the eyes when kicking inside 50. One player who keeps rising up the boards and will be important in the title decider against South Australia on Wednesday.
 

#26 Isaac Quaynor
Medium Defender (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro/Collingwood NGA)
15/01/2000 | 179cm | 82kg

May rank: #23

Collingwood fans would be excited to see a Next Generation Academy Member come through the ranks next season. The AFL Academy defender is a run-and-carry player and despite being just 179cm, plays much taller and has even opposed key position players before. Expect him to develop into a medium tall defender, and with no second round pick following acquisition of Sam Murray last off-season, the Pies will be more than happy to match a bid given it will come after their first round selection.

Past month:

Quaynor injured himself in the second National Championships game against the Allies and missed the Vic Country match at the MCG. He was one of the best against Western Australia and the Allies pre-injury, and provided great rebound out of defence. Not playing against South Australia, the next time we will see Quaynor is back in a Chargers jumper for the second half of the TAC Cup season.

#27 Zac Foot
Balanced Midfielder/Utility | Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country
25/12/2000 | 180cm | 71kg

June rank: N/A

The exciting, speedy outside midfielder can win his own ball on the inside and use the football well wherever he plays. He has great agility and goal sense when forward, and can break the lines from defence. Just building consistency in his game, but he clearly has plenty of tools which clubs will look at come November. A great story too after initially missing the cut at the Stingrays, to making it all the way to Vic Country.

Past month:

Foot had a quieter game against Western Australia, with the 12 touches, two inside 50s, two rebounds and four tackles, but he works hard in transition and is a real metres-gained player. He makes the list on the future ceiling he provides, and his ability to do damage by foot on the inside or outside. Keep his name down as a bolter if he has good form in the back half of the year.

#28 Zane Barzen
Tall Forward/Inside Midfielder | Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country
29/10/2000 | 193cm | 77kg

June rank: #25

Barzen is one of the dark horses in the 2018 draft pool, and similar to Riley Collier-Dawkins in the sense that you draft him on potential scope. In his bottom-age year, Barzen showed his class up forward, with the ability to hit passes inside 50 that very few could. He plays that high half-forward role well, and with increased fitness and miles in the legs, Barzen could transition to more midfield minutes in the future. He is strong overhead and has an impact up forward, and only needs a dozen possessions to hurt the opposition.

Past month:

Barzen has shown the signs of what he is capable of throughout the National Championships, without setting the world on fire. He went back to the Bushrangers for a week missing the MCG clash against Vic Metro, then returned to boot a goal from eight disposals and four marks. A quiet carnival overall, but still needs miles in the legs and showed he can play anywhere on the field if required. Just that hybrid tall who uses it well by foot.

#29 Joe Ayton-Delaney
General Defender | Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
25/03/2000 | 180cm | 68kg

June rank: N/A

Ayton-Delaney is a bit of a smokey for the top 30 in the draft and is definitely a name to watch out for throughout the year. In his flashy red boots, Ayton-Delaney rebounds the ball well at speed from half-back and has shown he can play further up the ground on the wing or through the inside. He links up well and breaks the lines, using it well by foot – against the Stingrays in round five he had 25 disposals, hardly missing a target. He is a player with plenty of potential and it will be interesting to see where he ends up at the pointy end of the season.

Past month:

After missing the second game against the Allies, Ayton-Delaney returned to run out on the MCG for Vic Metro in his side’s win over Vic Country. He was one of the best out of defence, picking up 20 disposals, five marks, three rebounds and two inside 50s, showing his strong work in transition from the back half to the forward 50.

#30 Luke Foley
Inside Midfielder | Subiaco/Western Australia
08/10/1999 | 187cm | 75kg

June rank: N/A

Foley is an overager who plays on the inside and can win a truckload of clearances, while laying some strong tackles. He has impressed for Subiaco in the WAFL Colts, and earned a place in the Black Swans side for the National Under 18s Championships.

Past month:

The hard working clearance midfielder has been consistent for Western Australia since coming into the team for the National Championships. He racked up five clearances and six inside 50s from 18 disposals, but also took six marks and laid six tackles against Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium. The overager continues to stand out and is readymade for AFL football, and is one to closely watch over the next few months.

Keep an eye on:

  • Angus Hanrahan (Vic Metro)
  • Dillon O’Reilly (Western Australia)
  • Jez McLennan (South Australia)
  • Ely Smith (Vic Country)
  • Fraser Turner (Tasmania/Allies)

If you have any questions, tweet us at @AFLDraftCentral or leave us a comment on our Facebook page.

Scouting notes: Vic Country vs. Western Australia

AFTER releasing our team notes on the Allies and South Australian match last night, we had a number of writers take a look at the Vic Country and Western Australia match. Scott DouganJames Goller and Callum Thomson watched the Vic Country side closely, while Peter Williams and Lenny Fogliani took notes on the West Australian team.

Vic Country vs. Western Australia

Vic Country:

#1 Will Hamill

Hamill spent the majority of the game in the back half but was given the opportunity to play through the middle in the last quarter. He laid some strong tackles and used his accurate left foot to hit up his teammates. Hamill’s best passage of play came in the second quarter when he went back with the flight and took an eye-catching contested intercept mark.

#2 Sam Walsh

Walsh was at his usual best, gathering plenty of disposals in all areas of the ground. He won a fair share of the ball on the outside of the contest but he demonstrated yet again that he can play inside when necessary. Walsh is a very consistent footballer who rarely plays a poor quarter of footy. His awareness, composure and decision making was a real highlight for Vic Country, especially when they needed someone to step up. The reason Walsh is able to accumulate so much of the ball is because of his extreme work rate. He is an elite runner and works tirelessly to make as many contests as possible. He was involved in many passages of play in the second quarter that all resulted in goals. Walsh also kicked an impressive snap from the boundary line that kept Vic Country within striking distance. Was one of Vic Country’s best.

#3 Toby Bedford

The Dandenong Stingray was given the opportunity to impress throughout Country’s midfield and that is exactly what he did. Bedford showed that he can win the ball on the inside and outside. He was aggressive around the contest and constantly put his head over the ball to win possession. His speed and agility were also evident and undoubtedly helped him escape congestion on numerous occasions. He was exceptionally clean at ground level and displayed composure with ball in hand. One of my favourite passages of play came in the last quarter when he turned the ball over by foot, but redeemed himself by sprinting 50 metres forward to win possession back. Impressive game.

#5 Xavier Duursma

Duursma was a little quieter compared to his past two performances. He found a bit of the ball but was unable to have a huge influence on the game. His match-time was shared between the midfield and backline, signifying just how versatile he can be. His competitiveness, ball use and ability to release his hands to handball was still on display throughout the match.

#6 Laitham Vandermeer

The over-ager from the Murray Bushrangers started the match well before he was involved in a crunching tackle by Ian Hill, only five minutes into the first quarter. He was concussed and had his collarbone broken in the contest. He played no further part.

#8 Ned McHenry

The number one pressure player in the National Championships was again fierce around the contest. His defensive pressure and tackling was brilliant but probably did not have as much impact on the game as he would like. He collected the majority of his disposals in the third quarter where he was involved in several passages of play. What impressed me the most with McHenry was his effort and high intensity when he didn’t have the ball. He is always trying to apply pressure and he never drops his head if things don’t go his way.

#10 Zac Foot

Foot played on the wing but also played inside at times. He was very clean at ground level and provided some much needed outside run. His work rate and elite endurance became clear in the third quarter when he sprinted hard defensively to spoil a marking contest.

#11 Zane Keighran

The Bendigo Pioneer was part of the midfield rotation for Country but played the majority of the match in back half. Keighran seemed to work hard but was unable to have much impact on the game, finishing with eight disposals and two clearances.

#13 Thomas Berry

Berry demonstrated his versatility yet again, playing predominately in the back half, but also provided some outside run when required. His competitiveness, attack on the ball and defensive spoiling was top notch but he was constantly let down by his ball use. He rebounded well when exiting the defensive 50 but missed targets multiple times. He had three turnovers in the space of two minutes, with one resulting in a goal for Western Australia. Berry moved forward in the last quarter to try and give Country some much-needed spark but could not have the same effect as he did down back.

#14 Sam Flanders

One to definitely look out for in the 2019 draft. Was really impressive. Playing mostly forward he had stints in the midfield . The Gippsland product, was very dangerous up forward kicking 1.1. He has kicked a goal in every one of his games this carnival, showing a consistent impact on the scoreboard. A real highlight for Flanders is the pressure he puts on his opponents. He laid five tackles, but it was not just his tackles that was impressive he was able to put on all sorts and types of pressure on his opponents.

#20 Cooper Stephens

Stephens had 14 disposals against Western Australia. He showed that he has good hands within congestion. He dropped a simple chest mark which was not great. However he showed some speed and was able to have three inside 50s and thre rebounds. He also took a nice mark and spoiled strongly in a few marking contests.

#21 Ely Smith

The Murray Bushranger is one to definitely keep a eye on. With fantastic TAC Cup form, Smith was selected to play his first game of the carnival and he did not disappoint. Smith had 30 possessions with 23 of them handballs. He really impressed on the inside with his contested work having nine clearances to his name. He also spread from stoppages well, with having three inside 50s and three rebounds. Definitely a draft prospect to pencil down. Really interested to see how his second half of the season goes after being Country’s best in the match.

#23 Mark Marriott

The Vic Country ruckman, had a solid game, collecting seven possessions. He had 32 hitouts, beating his opposing ruckman Jack Buller. A highlight of his game was his fierce tackling – finishing the match with five to his name. He showed some good ground work and had five kicks and two handballs, which was interesting because generally ruckman handball more then kick.

#24 Matty Lloyd

Lloyd had 18 disposals for the game and was fairly good by foot. The defender looked strong in the contest and was very good one on one. Through the game he seemed to read the play well and made some good decisions with ball in hand. He not only was good defensively but he was able to counter attack a number of times. With five marks and three rebounds to his name, he was solid for Vic Country.

#27 Zane Barzen

Barzen did not have a lot of the ball recording only eight possessions however, he had impact. Barzen was on the receiving end of a handball in the goal square, but also earned it after hard running. He took a fantastic contested mark, arguably mark of the carnival to date. He showed good hand skills when in congestion and made the right decisions.

29 Bailey Williams

Williams played in the forward line for the majority of the game. He took a number of strong marks and was able to find opportunities in front of goal. He showed great athleticism to put pressure on opponents and to create space when in possession of the ball. Williams finished with two goals and was Vic Country’s most dangerous threat up forward.

#30 Oscar Brownless

Brownless started on the wing in the first quarter and rotated between there and half forward for the rest of the game. He took a mark inside 50 in the second quarter off the back of some good running on a fast break and was composed lining up for goal, kicking his only goal for the game. Brownless displayed clean hands and when up forward provided good pressure. The Geelong father-son prospect finished with 17 disposals and was one of Vic Country’s best.

#31 Brock Smith

Smith played in the backline and at times had to match up on Cameron where he gave away a couple of free kicks. The Gippsland Power member did not get a lot of the pill but he was polished when in possession and always hard at the contest, making his presence known.

#32 Brodie Kemp

Kemp played mostly off the half-back line where he was able to intercept and find a bit of the ball. When in possession he was confident and looked composed. He was efficient with his disposal and displayed good footy smarts. Playing his first game of the championships, Kemp did not look out of place and was one of Country’s better players.

#34 Scott Carlin

Carlin who had a quiet outing, was able to make the most of his limited disposals. He displayed clean hands and was able to link up with his teammates to get out of trouble multiple times. He found himself playing on Cameron at times and struggled to match up against his pace and agility.

#35 Hudson Garoni

Garoni took a nice mark just inside 50 late in the first term but failed to convert the tough shot. He was well held all day and really struggled to get involved in the game, getting no help from the poor delivery by his teammates. The TAC Cup leading goal kicker provided a target for Vic Country and despite not getting much of the ball he was able to provide a contest and bring the ball to ground most of the time.

#36 Riley Bowman

Bowman played as Vic Country’s number one ruckman and battled hard all day. When resting up forward, Bowman had an opportunity at goal but badly hooked the kick. His disposal use was good at the contest and in congestion, especially his hands. He was the best ruckman on the ground and always provided second efforts.

#39 Connor Idun

Idun tried hard in defence and used the ball quickly by hand. Idun impressed with his ability to read the play and his footy smarts. He was able to effect the contest either by spoiling or taking the intercept mark. He often kicked the ball down the line instead of either switching the play or finding the short option, however.

Western Australia:

#1 Ian Hill

Played a solid game on the outside, predominantly running along the wing and causing some headaches for the opposition. His best game of the carnival, but one that should hold him in good stead for the final game on Wednesday given his obvious talent. A great vertical leap and strong tackler, his tackle unfortunately caused Laitham Vandermeer to come off on a stretcher in the first term, but such was his class, went over and checked on him before they took him off. It was clear his leadership is fantastic around the ground, getting to players and keeping them focused. With the ball, he is classy both through his disposal and ability to force teammates to move in certain ways. He has great vision and ahows clean hands under pressure.

#2 Jarrod Cameron

Most people outside of Western Australia would not have heard of the livewire forward who is a member of the West Coast Next Generation Academy, but by the end of the match, the brother of Brisbane’s Charlie, had everyone talking. He booted five goals and just caused a nuisance of himself down forward, showing a swagger with five majors, and could have had a couple more. He has a great vertical leap and great acceleration, burning off Zac Foot and Tom Berry – both of whom are lightning quick themselves.

#4 Graydon Wilson

Had a promising game in defence, using the ball well by foot, while also putting pressure on the ball carrier. He positions himself well when inside defensive 50 and showed good hands in the third term to give it to Sydney Stack on the wing who set up a goal with the next kick. He reads it well in traffic and puts it to his teammates advantage.

#9 Tyron Smallwood

Started the game like a house on fire, and while he tired out towards the end, he showed glimpses of what he was capable of. He laid some strong tackles early, and gathered it cleanly at ground level. He snapped a great goal in the first term. Went for a massive ride on the wing in the fourth term, but could not bring the ball down.

#10 Rylie Morgan

I was impressed with the Under 16s state captain and his work through the middle. He always went in hard and showed good hands to give-and-go with hard running. He laid a great run-down tackle on Tom Berry and Sam Walsh, and made good decisions in traffic. He reads the flight path of the ball so well, intercepting a handball in tight and then showed off his hard running by winning the ball on the wing, delivering a short pass forward then was on the receiving end inside 50 two possessions later. His set shot fell short, however.

#11 Luke English

Just finds the football and works really hard between the inside and outside midfield, laying strong tackles and burying himself under packs. Booted the one goal, had another chance when running inside 50 but just missed. Is more of the ball-winning work-hard-in-transition type more than anything, and he covers ground as well as anyone. Looks like he has a huge tank for the amount of running he does between the arcs.

#12 Jeremy Sharp

Another promising performance from a player who was clear in defence and used good speed to evade opponents. He showed a good turning circle to step around Oscar Brownless and laid a great run-down tackle on Toby Bedford, albeit Bedford got his handpass away (see pic). Hurt himself from going in hard to spoil a ball on the wing, but showed good courage in doing so.

#13 Jason Carter

The Fremantle Next Generation Academy member is an eye-catching type who shows lightning quick hands in traffic and tries to take the game on whenever he can. Did not win a heap of the football – just the 10 touches – but he does have the Jets to hurt opposition sides.

#14 Sydney Stack

One of the more impressive West Australians on the night, Stack continued to be involved throughout the four quarters. He provides great run-and-carry, and often draws opponents to him before firing off a handball to a running teammate. Stack showed good vision and skills on the night, and set up his forwards well with good kicks to their advantage. He produced a great kick to Jason Carter later in the night at top speed, and was strong to stand up in a tackle and tap the ball along the ground to his teammates advantage. Just needed to capitalise on the odd decision making error better, but overall a strong performance.

#15 Jordan Clark

A super impressive defender who certainly threw up his name given his willingness to take the game on and remain composed in the back half. He won plenty of it in the first half in particular, and just mops up from the half-back line. He had six rebounds and four inside 50s from 23 disposals, pushing up the ground and rarely wasting a touch. One to watch going forward.

#17 Thomas Baldwin

Had an okay match, doing his best work on the defensive end, laying six tackles to nullify contests on the inside. He is a long kick of the football and was able to hit up Mitchell Georgiades inside 50 in the opening term. Landed awkwardly after going up in a marking contest and was limping for a bit. Had a third quarter shot on goal but missed to the left.

#18 Deven Robertson

A midfield bull, Robertson is putting his name forward as an exciting prospect for the 2019 National Draft. His attack on the ball and man is frightening.

#20 Luke Foley

The Subiaco midfielder was explosive in the midfield, kicking the opening goal of the game (a set shot from 50 metres), and setting up other multiple attempts. His clearance work was sublime.

#21 Tyson Powell

Was originally meant to start forward for the Black Swans, but was shifted to defence after Greaves suffered an arm injury. In defence he was an intercept king and mopped up everything.

#22 Damon Greaves

The East Perth product went off early with what appeared to be an elbow injury in the first quarter.

#23 Louis Miller

The Busselton product was outstanding in defence for Western Australia. His second third defensive efforts were to be marvelled at, especially in the second quarter when he spoiled a ball and then smothered an attempted kick on goal.

#24 Regan Spooner

The 2015 All-Australian representative was outstanding in defence, racking up possessions and distributing with aplomb. What’s even more exciting about Spooner is his ability to also push into the midfield.

#26 Jake Pasini

Opposed to Sam Flanders (who only kicked one goal), the 17-year-old was outstanding. He was solid in the air and on ground level, and his positioning was outstanding for someone his age.

#27 Tom Medhat

In his first game of the Championships, Medhat displayed promise as a key forward prospect. His leading patterns and marking ability were solid and his skills were on full display.

#29 Dillon O’Reilly

The imposing key forward was instrumental, always providing a presence inside 50. He also pinch-hit in the ruck and at times played as a big-bodied midfielder. The sky is the limit for O’Reilly.

#34 Brad Oldfield

The nuggety midfield was his busy self in the middle, winning the hard ball before dishing it to his outside runners. His thirst for contact was evident and his awareness was brilliant, as he got others into the game.

#35 Mitch Georgiades

Despite only gathering nine possessions, Georgiades displayed promising signs as possible draftee next year. He also took five marks, and almost secured “Mark of the Championships” when he flew high above a pack in the first quarter.

#36 Jack Buller

With Luke Jackson out of the team, a heap of responsibility was placed onto Buller and he did not disappoint. The AFL Academy member always competed strongly in the ruck contest and was very mobile around the ground.

Weekend previews: National U18 Championships – Round 4

IN what will be a big five days for the most talented Under 18s in the country, the National AFL Championships continue tomorrow in the first of two double headers in Victoria. Tomorrow, teams clash at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong before reconvening next Wednesday at Etihad Stadium. Vic Metro has the bye tomorrow, while Vic Country plays its final game of the series in Geelong.

ALLIES VS. SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Friday, June 29, 2.10pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

The Allies come into this clash after a good performance against Vic Metro where they narrowly fell short in the dying minutes. Jacob Koschitzke was one of the most impressive, restricting potential number one pick Ben King to just one goal – unfortunately it was the match winner. His job does not get any easier this week, with a potential match-up on likely number on pick Jack Lukosius. He will look to work in tandem with Dirk Koenen – who also played well in the last match – likely to take fellow tall Hugo MunnFraser Turner was the Allies’ best in the last game and he could line-up on AFL Academy member and potential first round pick Connor Rozee, while on the inside, Connor McFadyen joins Tarryn Thomas and Chayce Jones against the A-grade midfield of Izak RankineLuke Valente and Tom Lewis, with Jackson Hately rotating between midfield and forward. Kieren Briggs and bottom-agers Thomas Green and Mitchell O’Neill are others who have impressed in the championships thus far.

In defence, Riley Grundy and Will Gould have been impressive and will likely be given the jobs on Caleb Graham and Nick Blakey, while Mathew Walker provides a medium-tall option in attack, with plenty of smalls creating havoc at ground level. Jez McLennan has looked good this carnival in defence, while Hayden Sampson has shown promising signs in attack and through the midfield. The attacking end for South Australia is unbelievable, with Lukosius and Munn joined by high-flying overager Oscar Chapman who returns to the team, while clearance machine Boyd Woodcock makes his debut for the Croweaters. Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy member Kai Pudney leads the strong depth on the bench with Ben Jarvis and Kade Chandler – others who have impressed at times this carnival.

South Australia head into the game as deserving favourites, but given the Allies were able to push Vic Metro all the way and South Australia was largely challenged by Vic Country, anything is possible in this game. A win to South Australia sets up a tantalising match with Vic Metro next week in what would decide the 2018 National Under 18 Championships title.

 

VIC COUNTRY VS. WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Friday, June 29, 4.40pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

In the second game of the double header, the two sides without a win do battle to open their account in the National Under 18 Championships. Vic County has lost all three of its games thus far and will want to end the carnival on a high, while Western Australia can finish off with two wins if it can topple Country and then the Allies next Wednesday. After losing to South Australia by 89 points in the opening round, Western Australia were much improved at home against Vic Metro. In this game, the exciting Jason Carter returns to provide some speed on the wing, joining a talented Black Swans outfit that will be without Jarrod Fazioli who booted three goals against Country in last year’s National Championships. The midfield of Luke FoleyDeven Robertson and Luke English is a consistent base, while Ian Hill and Rylie Morgan are always dangerous up the forward end. In defence, Jake Pasini and Louis Miller come into the team, while Regan Spooner and Damon Greaves will be hoping to continue their form.

For Vic Country, Murray Bushrangers midfielder Ely Smith receives the call-up to replace the injured Mitch Riordan, and will be hoping to back-up his 37-disposal game in the TAC Cup last weekend. Smith is joined in an extended side by teammates Zane Barzen and Hudson Garoni, while Gippsland bottom-agers swap spots with Brock Smith coming in and Caleb Serong heading out. Connor Idun and Kyle Reid have been consistent in defence and will want to finish the carnival with a positive note taking on the likes of Dillion O’Reilly and Tyson PowellTom Berry will have a strong challenge against Hill, while Laitham Vandermeer and Hayden Young will look to create run out of defence. Ely Smith joins Sam Walsh and Sam Fletcher in the midfield, while the forward set-up of Oscar BrownlessNed McHenry and Xavier Duursma seemed to provide opportunities last week, with Brodie Kemp coming into the mix for his first game.

Western Australia weekly wrap: Subiaco storm into premiership contention

DESPITE only three games being played in the WAFL Colts this weekend with Peel Thunder, East and South Fremantle having the bye, there were still statements to be made for the sides that did play.

Round 12 wrap:

Subiaco 9.8 (62) defeated Swan Districts 5.11 (41)

​Subiaco illustrated they are a major contender for the 2018 premiership with a 21-point win over Swan Districts at a sunny Steel Blue Oval. The clash was between first and third on the ladder and perfect still conditions greeted both teams.

With the game a solid mid-season test of both team’s premiership credentials, it was a cagey opening ten minutes, with Swans bottom-ager Kade Walldrot kicking the first goal of the game from the 50-metre line. Not long after, a smooth passage of play from the visitors saw a combination of handballs which ended with Jack Mayo finishing with a goal on the run. A contentious play-on call after what looked to be a clear push in the back by Liam Hickmott saw the Subiaco midfielder kick the Lions’ second of the quarter. Subiaco were looking to use their strong running game to advantage by using the outer side wing to generate their attacks into the forward 50. A quick kick by Luke Foley led to a shot after the siren by Mayo, who converted from around 25 metres and gave Subiaco a deserved eleven-point lead at quarter time.

Swans were looking lively to start the second term but poor entries into their forward 50 hurt their scoring chances. The dour, scrappy affair suited the visitors who were looking more organised in defence and stronger around the contest with their bigger bodies proving vital. Patrick Farrant managed to break through Subiaco’s rock solid defence with a line-breaking run and the resulting stoppage saw a free kick to to bottom-ager Jax Watson, who converted from close range. Jordan Faroane then scored Subiaco’s first goal for the quarter from a free kick from 30 metres. An attritional half of football ended with the Lions leading by eight points at the long break – it is fair to say that it was a quarter of two halves with Swans dominating the early stages and Subiaco finishing the stronger. Subiaco were well served in the first half by the midfield duo of Tristan Hobley (18 disposals) and Zane Shellabear Healy (15 disposals) while Mayo was a strong target with two goals. For Swans, Farrant and Jarred Cameron were good contributors with 10 disposals each.

Subiaco started the third term in fine form with a goal by Foley from the boundary line on the run from 45 metres. A lack of a true marking target for the home side was becoming evident while Subiaco were not having that issue. Mark Pannell marked and goaled from 48 metres which gave the Lions a 20-point lead, their biggest of the game. Swans desperately needed a goal and Jarrod Brockbernd answered the call with a goal from a free kick for a trip. Soon after, a pin-point kick by Blake Pescud hit Brenton Hilton on the chest and he duly converted from 45 metres, giving Swans some clear momentum for the first time in the game. With the tempo turned up a notch, Subiaco needed a goal just to steady themselves. Faroane managed to do just that by kicking a goal just before the siren to give the Lions a 14-point lead with a quarter to play.

As they had only kicked four goals for the first three quarters, Swans needed a quick start in the final term to challenge their opponents. However, the story of the day for the home team was missed opportunities and poor disposal, and this was again the case to start the last term. Subiaco kicked the all important first goal courtesy good movement in the middle of the ground which was finished by bottom-ager Trey Kennedy. A further blow to Swans chances occurred when the influential Cameron was helped off the ground by two trainers with an ankle injury. The sealer for the Lions came soon after when Kennedy set up Abraham Clinch for a major from close range. To their credit, Swans did not down their tools and Joseph Hinder was able to benefit from some quick ball movement which had been lacking for the majority of the game.

The Lions played out the rest of the game in a composed fashion and ran out 21-point winners in a clear sign that they are a contender for the premiership. In truth, their bigger bodies and better use of the ball were the main difference. Subiaco controlled the possession stats (339-281) were stronger around the contest (78-65 tackles) and generated more inside 50s (40-35). The win for the Lions sees a absorbing three-team tussle for top spot with Peel Thunder claiming first position on the ladder despite having the bye with Swans falling to second and Subiaco remaining in third. All three teams are on seven wins and three losses for the season.

Foley was excellent for Subiaco with 25 disposals, five marks and five tackles along with a goal while he was superbly aided by Shellabear Healy with 27 disposals and seven marks and Jake McKinnon who amassed 13 tackles along with 28 disposals. In terms of the best performers for Swans, Cameron was impactful around the ground out with 26 disposals while Farrant was a real trier in a tough day for the forwards with 18 disposals and six marks.

 

West Perth 15.6.96 defeated Perth 11.9.75

The Falcons inflicted more pain on Perth with a 72-point hiding of the Demons at Joondalup Arena. It was the Demons fourth loss in a row and their second by more than 10 goals in that period. After trailing by 18 points at quarter time, the Falcons outscored their opponents 17 goals to two in a emphatic display.

Top ager Alec Johnson was the star in terms of goalkickers as he kicked five for the day, but also collected 20 disposals and five marks. As ever, Nathan Murray was tireless in his efforts with 26 disposals and three goals and was very well supported by bottom-ager Tyron Hindmarsh with 25 disposals and three marks. Sydney Stack was an honest trier for the Demons with 22 disposals and six marks.

The win was a drought-breaker for West Perth after four consecutive defeats had derailed what was a positive start to their 2018 season. The Demons now hold a tenuous grip on their position in the top five, an unthinkable proposition less than a month ago. West Perth, South Fremantle and Claremont now sit just a game behind them on the ladder with the Bulldogs having a game in hand.

 

East Perth 8.8.56 defeated Claremont 5.10.40

Claremont’s stop-start season stalled yet again as the bottom of the table East Perth registered only their third win for the season with a 16 point victory at Leederville Oval on Saturday evening.

The Royals controlled a great majority of the low scoring contest leading by five points at quarter time, and extended it to 16 points at the long break. The third term saw the Tigers waste many chances in front of goal kicking 1.4 and still trailing by 15 points with a quarter to play. They finally got some momentum to start the fourth quarter by kicking back-to-back goals for the first time in the game only to see East Perth respond strongly by kicking two of their own and sealing a 16 point win.

Rhai-Arn Cox continued his good form from last week with 17 disposals, eight marks and three goals, while the stylish Eric Bashemule (32 disposals, 11 marks) and accumulator Thomas Baulch (30 disposals, seven marks and five tackles) were both very important. The Tigers missed a great chance to go level on points with Perth in fifth spot and are yet to win successive games in 2018 but were well led in this contest by Rylie Morgan with his 29 disposals, nine marks and five tackles.

West Australian weekly wrap: Peel Thunder draw closer to top

PEEL Thunder has kept pace with top-of-the-table Swan Districts after a solid victory on the weekend, while Subiaco is not going away either following a 40-point win over East Perth.

Claremont 7.9 (51) defeated West Perth 7.7 (49)

Claremont has survived a close encounter to knock off West Perth by two points on the weekend. Trailing by 11 points at quarter time, the Tigers booted the only three goals of the second term to regain the lead by the main break and take a seven-point advantage into half-time. Both sides managed a goal in the third term and then the Falcons pushed hard in the final quarter, booting three goals to two, falling just short of the Tigers in the end.

Returning from West Australian duty during the National Under 18 Championships bye for the state, Tigers’ Rylie Morgannotched up 26 disposals, three marks, six inside 50s and laid seven tackles. Max Grant also had 26 disposals, while laying four tackles, and Thomas Baldwin had 22 and seven. Nathan Pearce took seven marks to go with his 21 disposals, while Isaac Barton booted two goals from 16 disposals. Angus Longmire and Jordon Reid were influential in the ruck with a combined 47 hitouts.

Nathan Murray racked up 34 disposals, five marks, four tackles, five inside 50s and a goal for the Falcons, while Jaxon Prior also found a heap of the ball with 32 disposals, seven marks, five inside 50s and three tackles. Eamon Gilbert was a standout in the ruck and across the ground, having 26 hitouts to go with 17 disposals, four marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and a goal. Henry Ryan laid a game-high 10 tackles, while Tom Medhat was solid with 23 disposals, four marks and five tackles.

 

Perth 10.5 (65) defeated by East Fremantle 14.9 (93)

A five goals to three final quarter has resulted in East Fremantle racing away from Perth to record a 28-point away win. The Sharks raced out of the blocks to boot five first quarter goals and lead by 20 points at the first change. By half-time they held a 15-point advantage, then put the foot down in the second half to run away with the game. Perth had more disposals than their opponents, but East Fremantle was dominant in the ruck, amassing 63 hitouts to their opposition’s 14.

Corey Robinson and Trent Rivers both had 18 disposals for the winners, while Edward Curley booted three goals up forward from 14 disposals and five marks. Max Murphy took six marks to go with his 17 disposals and two inside 50s, while Cody Smith booted a goal to go with his 16 disposals and six marks. The dominant ruckman on the ground by far was Nicholas Watson, who finished with a whopping 48 hitouts for the game.

Perth had its top-end talent return to the side after West Australian duties but could not get over the line despite some impressive individual performances. Luke English had his best game of the year with 40 disposals, 10 marks, four tackles, seven inside 50s and a goal, while Sydney Stack racked up 33 disposals, five tackles and five inside 50s. Ian Hillbooted three goals from 14 disposals, while Maverick Hamilton had 27 disposals, six marks, six inside 50s, three tackles and a goal. Ethan Hansen was the other major ball winner with 22 disposals, four marks, three inside 50s and a goal.

 

East Perth 6.4 (40) defeated by Subiaco 11.21 (87)

Subiaco has heaped more pressure on cellar dwellers East Perth with a commanding 47-point victory away from home. The Lions restricted their opponents to just four behinds in the first half, before the Royals came out firing to boot five goals in the third term. It was a case of too little, too late, but there was some consolation for East Perth, forcing the Lions to boot 2.12 in the final term and restrict the final margin getting out any more.

In returning from West Australian duties, Luke Foley had 27 touches, three marks, 10 inside 50s and laid nine tackles, while Will Hickmott was also important with 24 disposals, two marks and five tackles. Tristan Hobley was the most prominent ball winner, racking up 32 disposals, five marks, five tackles and four inside 50s, while Zane Shellabear Healey and Jacob Peletier both had 23 disposals. Prominent goal kicker Jack Mayo was limited to 1.3, but instead Nicholas Martin stepped up, booting 3.2 from 16 disposals and four marks.

For the Royals, Louis Miller had 28 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and three tackles, while Damon Greaves was the other big ball winner with 27 disposals, six marks and five tackles. Rhai-Arn Cox was the only multiple goal kicker with two majors from nine disposals and four marks, while Eric Bashemule and Rory Sparks both recorded 18 disposals and six marks each.

 

South Fremantle 6.6 (42) defeated by Peel Thunder 11.10 (76)

Peel Thunder has moved to within percentage of ladder leaders Swan Districts, albeit with the Black Swans having a game in hand. The Thunder came from behind to power home in the last quarter against South Fremantle, booting six goals to zero and record a comfortable 34-point win. The Bulldogs looked good in the first three quarters, holding a two-point lead at the final break, but a 6.1 to 0.1 final quarter in favour of the visitors put to bed any chance of an upset.

Jackson Perry was the top disposal winner for the Thunder, notching up 23 disposals, four marks, three tackles and five inside 50s. Brad Oldfield was also prolific with 21 disposals, nine tackles and five inside 50s, while Michael Randallbooted a goal from 19 touches and six tackles. James Sturrock also managed 19 disposals and three marks, while Jarrod Fazioli kicked a goal from 15 disposals. Ben Middleton and Lachlan Cullen were the major goal kickers with three majors each. Billy Chambers had a day out in the ruck with 43 hitouts.

For the Bulldogs, Tom Blechynden had 23 touches, nine marks, four tackles and two inside 50s, while Matthew Wardlaid a game-high 10 tackles to go with 20 disposals and four marks. Toby McQuilkinEnrique Aiken-Featherstone and Neil Irani all had 16 touches, while Thomas Weston booted two goals to be the only multiple goal kicker for the home side. Regan Spooner laid six tackles to go with his 13 touches.