Tag: National Championships

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.

Metro surge on despite Country challenge

VIC Metro has kept its unbeaten streak at the 2018 National AFL Under 18 Championships alive after surviving a late scare to overcome rivals Vic Country by 26 points at the MCG yesterday. Vic Metro booted the first three goals of the game, including two to Sandringham Dragons captain Bailey Smith, before Geelong Falcons duo Sam Walsh and Ed McHenry combined for Country’s three goals in the opening term.

A five goals to one second term looked ominous with Vic Metro seemingly running away with the contest, holding a 27-point lead at half-time. Country refused to give in however, booting four of the next five goals to draw within a kick in the final term, before Metro kicked away again, booting the final four goals of the game to run away with the 13.6 (84) to 8.10 (58).

Smith finished the game with three majors, as did Curtis Taylor who looked the most damaging forward on the ground. He slammed the door shut with a set shot midway through the final term and showed plenty of X-factor throughout the match. Overager Noah Answerth, potential number one pick Ben King, and Metro captain Xavier O’Halloran each booted two goals.

For Country, McHenry missed a few gettable shots after his opening two majors in the first term, while Sam Flanders was the other multiple goal kicker with two majors, but the Goal of the Day belonged to Oscar Brownless who snapped a perfect banana from the tightest of angles in the third term off a step. Bendigo Pioneers’ mid/forward Zane Keighran also scored a goal on debut after narrowly missing one earlier in the game.

Both Smith (20 disposals, four clearances, five tackles and three inside 50s) and Rhylee West (20 disposals, five clearances, two tackles and three inside 50s) were crucial in the midfield, working hard with Tom McKenzie (23 disposals, 12 marks and six rebounds) and Answerth (21 disposals, four marks and six tackles) finding plenty of the football and getting it forward. West in particular was important in close, while Smith provided great run down the field. Taylor (13 disposals and eight marks) was the beneficiary of the strong Metro midfield, while James Rowbottom (20 disposals, eight marks, four clearances and four inside 50s) was also solid, as was Eastern Ranges’ defender James Blanck (11 disposals, six marks and five rebounds) in the back 50.

Walsh (29 disposals, three marks, four tackles, five clearances, and six inside 50s) was clearly the standout player on the day, dominating from start to finish and stamping his authority as the best midfielder in the 2018 draft crop. He was ably assisted by McHenry (17 disposals, three marks and 10 tackles) and Gippsland Power captain Xavier Duursma (19 disposals, six marks, five tackles, five clearances and seven inside 50s) – of whom the latter narrowly missed two shots running into goal. Flanders (13 disposals and four marks) and Hayden Young (13 disposals, three marks and four inside 50s) would have caused a number of recruiters to take note for next year, while ruck Riley Bowman (10 disposals, three marks and 20 hitouts) and key defender Connor Idun (restricted King) were also impressive in their respective roles.

Both sides had wounded players from the clash, with Mitch Riordan injured again – he injured himself in the opening game of the carnival – while Jack Bytel also left the field and looks set to spend time on the sidelines.

Vic Metro now get a week’s rest from the National Under 18 Championships, while Vic Country face Western Australia on Friday when they meet at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong. Metro then play the final game of the tournament against South Australia on Wednesday, July 4 – in what will likely decide the overall title – while Country have the bye in the final round.

VIC METRO        4.1    9.1    9.5    13.6 (84)
VIC COUNTRY    3.1    4.4    7.6    8.10 (58)   

GOALS
Vic Metro: Smith 3, Taylor 3, Answerth 2, King 2, O’Halloran 2, Collier-Dawkins
Vic Country: McHenry 2, Flanders 2, Walsh, Bowman, Brownless, Keighran

BEST 
Vic Metro: Smith, West, Taylor, McKenzie, Answerth, Rowbottom
Vic Country: Walsh, Duursma, McHenry, Flanders, Bowman

Metro escape with two-point win over Allies in thrilling contest

VIC Metro has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the dying minutes to remain undefeated in the National AFL Under 18 Championships. Heading into the carnival as one of the favourites, Metro did not have it all their own way, forced to battle to a win against a gallant Allies side that would rue their inaccuracy in the second term.

Metro led by three points at quarter time before the Allies took control of the game in general play, but could not put it on the scoreboard. While the visitors booted 2.1 from three scoring shots, the Allies booted 0.9 in what could have set the game up for them heading into the main break. Instead they found themselves down by seven points at the main break. They responded in the third term booting three of the quarter’s four goals to take a six-point lead with a quarter to play and looked like causing a boil-over. A low-scoring final term saw neither side kick a major until a pin-point pass from Metro captain Xavier O’Halloran found key position forward and potential number one pick Ben King inside 50. He nailed the set shot and put Metro in front – delivering them an all-important victory.

Despite nailing the last shot of the day, King was well held by Murray Bushrangers and Allies defender Jacob Koschitzke, restricting the talented big man to seven disposals and four marks. Koschitzke had nine disposals and two marks himself. Through the midfield, it was Sandringham Dragons’ skipper Bailey Smith and inside midfielder Rhylee West who again got the job done, the most prolific of the midfielders in the navy blue and white. Smith had 26 disposals, three marks, three clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while West had 28 disposals, five marks, two tackles, four clearances, five inside 50s and two rebounds.

Western Jets’ mid/forward Zak Butters was also among Metro’s best, booting a goal and notching up 19 disposals and four marks, as well as pumping the ball inside 50 five times. Noah Answerth had 17 disposals and three rebounds, while O’Halloran had a game-high seven inside 50s, including the crucial one to King. Others named among Metro’s best were defenders Buku Khamis and Isaac Quaynor who had a combined nine rebounds, while Jets’ mid/defender Daly Andrews was good in transition with six inside 50s and three rebounds. Up forward, bottom-ager Dylan Williams was dominant in the first half, booting four goals, and finishing with 12 disposals and six marks.

The Allies would be disappointed with the loss, but also buoyed by their ability to match it with one of the title contenders for four quarters, and indeed, might have won with greater accuracy in the second term. Midfielder Fraser Turner was named the home side’s best, racking up a team-high 25 disposals, nine marks, three inside 50s and four rebounds. Bailey Scott and bottom-ager Mitch O’Neill shared 19 disposals each, and combined for 11 marks and eight clearances. Top talent Tarryn Thomas had 18 disposals, five marks, six tackles, five inside 50s and four rebounds in an improved performance from the first week, while other potential top 10 pick Nick Blakey was better for the run with seven disposals, three marks, four inside 50s and a goal roaming up the ground at times.

Keidean Coleman provided run and carry out of defence, racking up 14 disposals, four marks, three tackles and six rebounds for the losers, while Nick Baker had 11 disposals, three marks and two rebounds. Murray Bushrangers’ mid/forward Mathew Walker was named in the best in his first game in the series for the Allies, booting a goal and notching up 10 disposals, six marks and laying six tackles. Potential top 30 pick Chayce Jones was again solid, racking up 17 disposals, three marks, eight tackles and three inside 50s, while key defender Dirk Koenen played his best game for the Allies, with 17 disposals, five marks and four rebounds.

The Allies will lick their wounds and have a week off before the big week in Melbourne for their final two clashes against South Australia and Western Australia. Vic Metro face off against Vic Country at the MCG next Sunday in a standalone game for Round 3 of the National Under 18s Championships, before a bye and then concluding the series against South Australia at Etihad Stadium in which could well decide the National Under 18 Championships title.

VIC METRO     3.4       5.5       6.5       7.10 (52)
ALLIES             3.1       3.10     6.11     6.14 (50)

GOALS:
Vic Metro: Williams 4, Butters, Taylor, King
Allies: T.Green 2, McFadyen, Blakey, Walker, O’Neill

BEST:
Vic Metro: Smith, West, Butters, Answerth, Khamis, Williams
Allies: Turner, Koschitzke, Scott, Coleman, Walker, Baker

Weekend previews: National Under 18 Championships – Round 2

FOLLOWING the first round of matches, we have three sides undefeated, and a Vic Country side keen to bounce back. The Allies could put themselves in a good position with a win over Vic Metro, while South Australia will be keen to make it two from two in front of their home fans.

 

ALLIES V. VIC METRO

Saturday, June 16, 11am
Southport, Queensland

Both teams head into the clash undefeated after winning their first round encounters. Vic Metro saw off a much-improved Western Australia, and the Allies came from behind to run over the top of Vic Country courtesy of a three-goal final quarter from GIANTS big man Kieren Briggs. Chayce Jones was the Allies’ best with 28 touches, five marks, five clearances, five inside 50s, four rebounds, six tackles and two goals in a top all-round performance and pushed his top 30 credentials, while the Allies got the victory despite a more subdued performance from Tarryn Thomas – who still had 17 disposals and laid six tackles. Returning to the team is key position forward Nick Blakey who will cause headaches for Vic Metro, and could be one of the keys to victory, while Mitch O’Neill, Fraser Turner and Thomas Green loom as key cogs for the Allies from defence to attack. For Metro, Bailey Smith will look to have another strong game on the inside after his 28 disposals, three marks, 10 tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s last week, while Rhylee West (25 disposals, nine clearances) will spend more time in attack up at Southport. Captain Xavier O’Halloran and Tom McKenzie will aid Smith in the middle, presenting a fantastic set of match-ups with Thomas, Jones and Green. Jack Bytel and Mathew Walker are key inclusions for their respective sides with the AFL Academy members likely to play forward while rotating through the midfield. Key position forward Ben King will look to back up his form of five goals from the week before, joined in attack by Sandringham Dragons teammate, Joe Griffiths. Buku Khamis and Isaac Quaynor will look to provide plenty of rebound for the visitors, while Bailey Scott and Blair Rubock will look to lock the ball in the forward half. Vic Metro will head into the game as favourites, but the Allies have shown good cohesion despite coming from all parts of the country and will be keen to cause an upset here and make it two from two.

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA V. VIC COUNTRY

Sunday, June 17, 11am
Adelaide Oval, South Australia

In the second game of the weekend, the red-hot South Australian side host its second game of the year, this time at Adelaide Oval against a Vic Country side scathing that it missed out on victory against the Allies in round one. The teams have made a combined 11 changes to try and get the winning edge, with the likes of Oscar Chapman, Ben Jarvis, Aaron Nietschke and Mihail Lochowiak among the rotations out of the side. Into the team come plenty of fresh faces including Kai Pudney, James Siviour and Kade Chandler to mix up the on-field structure. With Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine up forward and Jackson Hateley and Luke Valente in the midfield, the Croweaters are still very strong across the full side. Vic Country’s defenders will have their work cut out for them with Connor Idun and Kyle Reid to rotate on Lukosius and Hugo Munn, while Country have opted for speed rather than height, omitting Dane Hollenkamp in favour of an extra small. Riley Bowman switches places with Stingrays’ teammate Bailey Schmidt and is likely to be the key player for Country along with Bailey Williams and cause some serious headaches for the South Australian ruck division. Up forward, bottom-agers Caleb Serong and Sam Flanders were impressive last week, while Zane Barzen will play deeper forward more so than a wing, and Oscar Brownless will be out to impress at half-forward. Jake Frawley and Jai Taylor will come in to try and nullify the loss of inside midfielders Jye Caldwell and Mitch Riordan to injury. South Australia will head into the clash as strong favourites and rightfully so. They have plenty of talent across the field, with potentially three top 10 picks in Lukosius, Rankine and Hately, while the classy Connor Rozee will go close too. Sam Walsh and Ned McHenry will lead the Country midfield, but it will be a big ask against one of the title contenders.

Metro, Country Under 16s claim victories in National Championships

VIC Metro and Vic Country have both claimed wins over their respective opponents in the National Under 16s Championships. Ahead of the big clash between the Victorian sides on Saturday, Metro defeated South Australia by 23 points, and Country knocked off NSW/ACT by 31 points in Horsham and Albury respectively.

Metro had to overcome an early deficit, kicking just one behind in the opening half as South Australia led by six points at the main break. But an inspired Victorian side came out to boot two goals in the third term, and three goals in the final quarter to run over the top of the Croweaters with a 23-point win. Alyssa Bannan was the key up forward for Vic Metro in the second half, with the Northern Knights star booting two goals, along with teammate Ellie McKenzie (one).

McKenzie was named in the best, along with Eastern Ranges small Olivia Meagher, who was dominant across the four quarters, named best on ground ahead of Ranges teammate, Tarni Brown. Fellow Ranges player Mietta Kendall, Oakleigh Chargers’ Taylah Morton, and Calder Cannons’ small forward Alisa Magri were named among Metro’s best. Sandringham Dragons’ Bella Eddey was the other goal scorer.

For South Australia, Aisha Thomas and Elouisa Thomas were the goal kickers, as Abbie Ballard was named the losing side’s best on the day. Hannah Ewings, Jamie Parish and Teah Charlton were also named among the best, in what was a strong performance from the South Australian side.

In the other game, Vic Country had control of the contest against NSW/ACT early, booting three goals to one in the opening term. The Rams hit back with the only goal in the next two quarters, to trail by just 11 points at the final break. A dominant last quarter saw Vic Country run away with the game, booting three goals to zero and record a 31-point victory.

Murray Bushrangers’ tall Olivia Barber was too strong, booting two goals, while midfielder/forward from the Dandenong Stingrays, Tyanna Smith also finished with two majors. Geelong Falcons’ forward Renee Tierney, and Bendigo Pioneers’ Elizabeth Snell both booted goals in the win. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) small forward Renee Saulitis was named best on ground for her efforts on the weekend, ahead of Smith, Snell and Rebels’ teammate Chloe Leonard. Tierney was also impressive, as was Pioneers rebounding defender, Brooke Hards.

For NSW/ACT, Amy Sligar and Abbey Martin were the goal kickers, making history as the first Under 16s side from NSW/ACT to compete in a National Championships. Sligar and Martin were among the Rams’ best in the loss, along with Jayde Hamilton and Arizona Cross. Natalie Sligar was deemed to be the Rams best in what was a memorable day for the state despite the defeat.

RESULTS:

South Australia           1.1   1.1   1.1    2.1 (13)
Vic Metro                      0.0   0.1  2.2    5.6 (36) 

GOALS
SA: 
Aisha Thomas, Elouisa Thomas.
Vic Metro:
Alyssa Bannan 2, Olivia Meagher, Bella Eddey, Ellie McKenzie.

BEST
SA:
Abbie Ballard, Hannah Ewings, Jamie Parish, Teah Charlton, Chloe Forby, Sarah Wright.
Vic Metro: 
 Olivia Meagher, Tarni Brown, Ellie McKenzie, Mietta Kendall, Taylah Morton, Alisa Magri

 

NSW/ACT                           1.0    2.1   2.2   2.2 (14)
Vic Country                       3.2    3.6   3.7    6.9 (45) 

GOALS
NSW/ACT:
Amy Sligar, Abbey Martin.
Vic Country: 
Olivia Barber 2, Tyanna Smith 2, Elizabeth Snell, Renee Tierney.

BEST
NSW/ACT: Natalie Sligar, Jayde Hamilton, Abbey Martin, Arizona Cross, Amy Sligar
Vic Country: Renee Saultis, Tyanna Smith, Elizabeth Snell, Chloe Leonard, Renee Tierney, Brooke Hards

Victorian Under 16s Girls prepare for National Championships

VICTORIA’S top Under 16s footballers from the TAC Cup Girls competition will converge on country venues this weekend in a couple of matches to test themselves against the best from other states. Vic Metro takes on South Australia in Horsham on Sunday, while Vic Country heads to the border to face NSW/ACT in Albury. The following week, Vic Metro will face off against Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium in a curtain raiser to the Under 18 Girls’ sides. For those wondering, the Under 16s are made up of players born in 2002 and are not eligible to be drafted until 2020.

Vic Metro squad:

NoNameHtDOBTAC Region
1Olivia Meagher15110/12/02Eastern Ranges
2Mietta Kendall1543/9/02Eastern Ranges
3Taylah Morton15723/7/02Oakleigh Chargers
4Leah Spargo15728/1/02Western Jets
5Mary Daw15911/3/02Western Jets
6Abigail Bennett16018/10/02Northern Knights
7Jessica Fitzgerald1618/3/02Northern Knights
8Bella Eddey16311/2/02Sandringham Dragons
9Winnie Laing16425/5/02Sandringham Dragons
10Ashleigh Snow15623/10/02Northern Knights
11Eliza McNamara16619/4/02Sandringham Dragons
12Tarni Brown16626/3/02Eastern Ranges
13Alice Burke1683/10/02Sandringham Dragons
15Mimi Hill1674/10/02Oakleigh Chargers
16Alice O’Loughlin1698/7/02Oakleigh Chargers
17Alisa Magri17019/3/02Calder Cannons
18Amber Micallef17021/2/02Oakleigh Chargers
19Sarah Hartwig17312/4/02Sandringham Dragons
20Ellie McKenzie17417/10/02Northern Knights
21Tamsin Crook1763/10/02Calder Cannons
22Isabelle Pritchard1768/3/02Western Jets
23Jess Grace17625/12/02Eastern Ranges
24Alyssa Bannan17713/4/02Northern Knights
25Isabel Young17913/7/02Calder Cannons

Some names to watch:

Isabelle Pritchard
Key Position Defender | 176cm | Western Jets

Strong overhead, great leader and rarely beaten one-on-one. Her game knowledge and awareness is ahead of her years. A standout performer this season for the Jets.

Ellie McKenzie
Tall Utility | 174cm | Northern Knights

Unbelievable impact so far this season, named in the best every game she played. Can play forward, midfield or back, and is strong in the air. Sister of Vic Metro boys’ representative, Tom. Strong in the air, can kick goals at will, shown by her huge day out against Bendigo Pioneers.

Alyssa Bannan
Key Position Forward | 175cm | Northern Knights

Lit up Beaconsfield earlier in the year with three goals in three minutes and provides a good target up forward. Mobile tall who can kick goals and very few players her height are quicker once she gets goal side.

Sarah Hartwig
Key Position Defender | 173cm | Sandringham Dragons

Good one-on-one defender, quick on the lead to spoil and provides good rebounds out of the back half. Will create a strong 1-2 partnership with Pritchard in the back half.

Alice Burke
General Defender | 168cm | Sandringham Dragons

A good user of the footy, can play up the ground but is really settled in the back half. Daughter of St Kilda champion, Nathan. Crossed over from soccer and has been a revelation at the Dragons.

Abigail Bennett
Small Forward | 160cm | Northern Knights

Another Knights player who has had some impressive moments at half-forward. Can push into the midfield as well.

Tarni Brown
General Forward | 166cm | Eastern Ranges

Very raw, but clearly talented. Has a very nice sidestep and can create something out of nothing. Daughter of Gavin and sister to Callum and Tyler.

Olivia Meagher
Small Forward/Midfielder | 151cm | Eastern Ranges

Seemed to get better as the season went on, plays a link-up role at half-forward, and can kick goals or win the footy through the midfield.

Mimi Hill
Outside Midfielder | 167cm | Oakleigh Chargers

Winger who provides good run in transition and played some impressive games throughout the season, especially in the absence of the Chargers top-age midfielders.

Jess Fitzgerald
Small Utility | 161cm | Northern Knights

Tends to play forward, but can play through midfield as well. A creative player who can kick goals from tight angles.

Winnie Laing
Inside Midfielder | 164cm | Sandringham Dragons

As tough as they come on the inside, loves the contest and does not take a backwards step.

Bella Eddey
General Forward | 163cm | Sandringham Dragons

Another creative forward who is good in the air or at ground level and just got better as the season went on.

Alice O’Loughlin
General Forward | 169cm | Oakleigh Chargers

Starred late in the season at half-forward and can push up the ground as well. Creative and a good user of the football going inside 50.

Ashleigh Snow
Small Defender | 156cm | Northern Knights

Was one of the Knights’ best in the grand final and plays taller than her 156cm. Good overhead and creates some great drive out of defence.

Alisa Magri
Tall Forward | 170cm | Calder Cannons

Was a mainstay of the Cannons forward line this season and managed to get on the end of a few goals throughout. Another tall target inside 50 for Metro.

Eliza McNamara
Inside Midfielder | 166cm | Sandringham Dragons

Had a blistering start to the season and had the ball on a string early. A crucial part of the inside midfield at the Dragons, she showed good strength and an ability to move out of traffic.

Vic Country squad:

NoNameDOBHtTAC Region
1Jerusha Devarakonda3/3/02158Geelong Falcons
2Leila Raymond9/3/02158Gippsland Power
3Holly Andrews15/8/02160Gippsland Power
4Elizabeth Snell14/3/02161Bendigo Pioneers
5Megan Fitzsimon10/8/02162Gippsland Power
6Renee Saulitis14/8/02163GWV Rebels
7Jemma Finning19/3/02165Bendigo Pioneers
8Kate Adams15/3/02165Murray Bushrangers
9Emily Nicholson19/3/02165Murray Bushrangers
10Abbey Jordan8/9/02165Dandenong Stingrays
11Brooke Hards19/7/02166Bendigo Pioneers
12Tyanna Smith29/10/02166Dandenong Stingrays
13Chloe Leonard1/2/02167GWV Rebels
15Chandra Abrahams24/3/02169Gippsland Power
16Sharmaine Reilly8/11/02170Bendigo Pioneers
17Sophie Milsome23/4/02172Geelong Falcons
18Zoe Hill13/5/02173Dandenong Stingrays
19Matilda Van Berkel6/9/02174Gippsland Power
20Stephanie Glover11/11/02176GWV Rebels
21Isabella Robson26/4/02176GWV Rebels
22Renee Tierney23/5/02168Geelong Falcons
23Isabella Simmons19/4/02181GWV Rebels
24Olivia Barber14/7/02184Murray Bushrangers
25Maggie Caris21/12/02188GWV Rebels

Renee Tierney
Tall Forward | 168cm | Geelong Falcons

Has had a really consistent season for the Falcons. Good overhead, booted a bag of goals against Oakleigh at Warrawee Park earlier in the season.

Jemma Finning
Balanced Midfielder | 165cm | Bendigo Pioneers

After the two top-age girls in Megan Williamson and Kodi Jacques, Finning was one of the more consistent midfielders at the Pioneers, regularly named in the best.

Brooke Hards
General Defender | 166cm | Bendigo Pioneers

A rebounding defender who can play forward, Hards is good in the air and reads the play well.

Renee Saulitis
Small Forward | 163cm | GWV Rebels

Talented small forward who can kick some great goals from tight angles. Very quick and can pounce on a spillage from a marking contest.

Isabella Simmons
Key Position Forward | 181cm | GWV Rebels

Tall target up forward who pushes up the ground and provides a contest. Raw but has shown some good signs.

Zoe Hill
Key Position Defender | 173cm | Dandenong Stingrays

One of the more consistent 15-16 year-old defenders in the league. Worked well with Lucy Cripps to ensure the Stingrays had good defensive strength in the air.

Olivia Barber
Ruck/Key Position Forward | 184cm | Murray Bushrangers

Rotated between ruck and key forward and was named in the Bushrangers best a number of times. Could rotate with Maggie Caris through the ruck or up forward.

Chandra Abrahams
Tall Utility | 169cm | Gippsland Power

Has played a mixture of forward and back, and while the consistency is still building, she has tricks that not many players have, such as a penetrating kick from 50m on the run from a couple of steps.

Kate Adams
General Forward | 165cm | Murray Bushrangers

Buzzes around the forward line and can push up into the midfield. Fairly clean and clearly talented, will be a player to watch at the Bushies over the next couple of years.

Maggie Caris
Ruck | 188cm | GWV Rebels

With her sister Rene in the AFLW Academy, Maggie followed her into the Rebels program and looked good in the final game of the season against Oakleigh. Already 188cm, Caris will likely play ruck, but could be tried in key position positions as well.

Tyanna Smith
Balanced Midfielder | 166cm | Dandenong Stingrays

Another player who seemed to get better as the season went on, Smith played through the midfield and won her own ball as well as created run in transition.

Jerusha Devarakonda
Small Defender | 158cm | Geelong Falcons

Raw, but talented defender who pushed up to the wing for the Falcons. Got involved a number of times in the grand final and has plenty of scope for the future. Quick and fierce.

Stephanie Glover
Key Position Utility | 176cm | GWV Rebels

Impressed down back, but also showed she could go forward and kick a goal for the Rebels. Good overhead and nimble, she provides plenty of rebound out of the back half.

Holly Andrews
Outside Midfielder/Small Forward | 160cm | Gippsland Power

Played all nine games this season and was named among the best a couple of times for the Power. Had some nice moments within games.

Chloe Leonard
General Forward | 167cm | GWV Rebels

Booted four goals in eight games, including two against Calder Cannons. Was named in the Rebels’ best a number of times and provided a target inside 50.

Emily Nicholson
General Defender | 165cm | Murray Bushrangers

Played every game this season for the Bushrangers and became a regular in the back six. She was named among the best on a couple of occasions.

U16 Fixtures:

June 10 – Vic Metro vs. South Australia in Horsham & Vic Country vs. NSW/ACT in Albury
June 16 – Vic Country vs Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

National U18 Championships preview: Vic Country

VIC Country head into the National Under 18 Championships hoping to improve on their result from last year which saw them win just one game out of the four – against the Allies. This time around Country have some genuine A-grade midfielders and rucks, and a fair bit of depth in the key position stakes. Their forward line can be dangerous on its day, and a number of midfielders roll through the defence.

Looking up front, the tall Stingrays trio of Bailey Williams, Riley Bowman and Bailey Schmidt will rotate through the ruck and forward positions. While Gippsland Power’s dangerous forwards Sam Flanders and Irving Mosquito, and Geelong Falcons’ Charlie Sprague will provide a point of difference up there. Midfielders Tom Berry, Sam Walsh and Ned McHenry will also rotate through the forward line to apply scoreboard pressure.

In the midfield, that core group of Walsh, McHenry, Dandenong Stingrays’ Mitch Riordan and Gippsland Power’s Xavier Duursma creates a top 20 starting midfield potentially, while Jye Caldwell can play anywhere, as can GWV Rebels’ Scott Carlin, who will rotate off half-back. Do not be surprised if the better kickers in Duursma and Riordan join Carlin in rotating through defence.

In the key position places, Geelong over-ager Dane Hollenkamp and Gippsland’s Kyle Reid will hold down the fort, while Connor Idun and impressive bottom-agers Lachlan Ash and Brock Smith are likely to get some games in the Vic Country side. It is also important to remember Hudson Garoni who is in some ripping form in the TAC Cup, as is teammate Zane Barzen who looms as a real wildcard up forward.

As a whole, Vic Country will likely finish around mid-table with many plaudits expecting them to beat Western Australia and the Allies, but they will have their work cut out against strong South Australian and Vic Metro sides. However as we have seen in past years, anything can happen.

Players to watch:

Sam Walsh
Balanced Midfielder | 183cm | 74kg | Geelong Falcons
TAC Cup average: 33.4 disposals, 4.8 marks, 6.0 tackles, 3.4 clearances, 4.0 inside 50s

A genuine match winner who would be one of the favourites for the National Championships Most Valuable Player (MVP). As we saw from the Vic Country trials, he is a clear talent who goes to a level that few can. Expect him to have an influence through the middle of the ground and up forward, but it will be hard for opposition teams to stop him.

Ned McHenry
Balanced Midfielder | 176cm | 71kg | Geelong Falcons
TAC Cup average: 23 disposals, 3.7 marks, 6.0 tackles, 8.0 clearances, 4.7 rebounds

McHenry is a quick, but small midfielder who plays with ferocity that defies his small stature. He is a clearance beast who racks them up at will and uses his acceleration to burn off opponents. He can be a big ball winner and play up either end as well, so look for him to rotate through the half-forward line to cause some headaches for opposition players.

Bailey Williams
Key Position Forward/Ruck | 198cm | 95kg | Dandenong Stingrays
TAC Cup average: 14.3 disposals, 4.3 marks, 10.5 hitouts, 3.3 inside 50s, 1.8 goals

The best tall in the Vic Country arsenal, Bailey Williams has athleticism that would embarrass many midfielders such is his speed and agility. Williams can turn it on from time to time and become a match winner, booting a few goals in quick succession and turning the tide of the match. With so many talls that can play through the ruck, expect Williams to spend most of his time at full-forward.

Xavier Duursma
Balanced Midfielder | 185cm | 71kg | Gippsland Power
TAC Cup average: 22 disposals, 4.0 marks, 4.5 tackles, 2.8 clearances, 4.7 inside 50s

The balanced midfielder keeps rising up the ranks with a really impressive season. He leads by example and has very few holes in his game. He might not stand out as much as Walsh or look as good on the stats sheet as McHenry, but Duursma is one of those players that can really hurt opposition teams when coming off half-back or in transition along the wing.

Mitch Riordan
Inside Midfielder | 186cm | 79kg | Dandenong Stingrays
TAC Cup average: 15.7 disposals, 2.3 marks, 2.7 clearances, 5.0 inside 50s, 1.3 goals

Not a huge ball winner, Riordan makes the most of his disposals with some strong field kicking. His stats do not look all that impressive, but do not let that fool you, he can be really damaging on the inside or if he drops to half-back, being able to use his superior vision to shovel handballs out to teammates in space. He’s a prime mover in transition.

Zane Barzen
Tall Forward/Inside Midfielder | 193cm | 77kg | Murray Bushrangers
TAC Cup average: Nine disposals, 3.0 marks, 1.8 tackles, 1.3 goals

Barzen could well be the barometer of the team, and certainly in the future. He is the kind of player who could be something special once he gets a clear run of it away from injury. He is explosive, with elite foot skills that can hit passes inside 50 that very few can. He also wins more than half of his possession in a contest, and while he does not win much of it, he only needs 12-15 touches to go close to best on ground with his influence.

Hudson Garoni
Key Position Forward | 195cm | 91kg | Murray Bushrangers
TAC Cup average: 14.8 disposals, 6.5 marks, 2.2 inside 50s, 3.8 goals

The most in-form key position forward in the TAC Cup competition, Garoni will be tested against the best key position defenders in the land. He has averaged a massive 3.8 goals per game in the Under 18s competition and is a strong mark inside 50. Not as athletic as the other talls in the side, Garoni is the strongest of the lot and is the man mountain leading out of the forward 50.

Riley Bowman
Ruck/Key Position Forward | 198cm | 82kg | Dandenong Stingrays
TAC Cup average: 11.2 disposals, 2.7 marks, 3.2 tackles, 15.2 hitouts, 3.5 clearances, 0.8 goals

An embarrassment of riches through the forward and ruck positions, Bowman is yet another genuine talent who can play in either key role. He is likely to be the number one ruck who rests forward, averaging 15.2 hitouts per game and is athletic around the ground. He is good overhead and can nail his set shots from long range. Skinnier than the other talls, but very mobile.

Jye Caldwell
Balanced Midfielder/General Forward | 184cm | 78kg
TAC Cup average: 24 disposals, 2.0 marks, 7.0 tackles, 3.0 clearances, 2.0 rebounds, 1.0 goals

Has just played the one game at TAC Cup level this season due to Geelong Grammar commitments, but Caldwell looms as a player who could get off the chain at the national carnival given the wraps on the other midfielders. He is a player who can rotate down forward and provide serious forward pressure. A tackling machine, he will compliment the other midfielders in the Country side.

 

Fixtures:

R1: vs. Allies at Blacktown, Saturday June 9, 10.30am
R2: vs. South Australia at Thebarton Oval, Sunday, June 17, 11am
R3: vs. Vic Metro at MCG, Sunday, June 24, 12.05pm
R4: vs. Western Australia at GMHBA Stadium, Friday, June 29, 4.40pm
R5: Bye.

National U18 Championships preview: South Australia

By: Jamie Morgan and David Chapman

For South Australia (SA), the U18 Championships kick off with their first game versus Western Australia at the home of Port Adelaide – Alberton Oval. With it widely to be considered the “super draft”, it is expected that a number of the SA talent will feature inside the Top 20. 

The SA team looks to have quite a potent forward  line led by Jack Lukosius and Hugo Munn as the tall targets, Oscar Chapman linking the play and Izak Rankine extremely dangerous and capable of kicking those ridiculous goals with ease. All other teams will have their work cut out stopping SA scoring.

The SA midfield is also going to be tough to move, with tall midfielder Jackson Hately dominating in the last trial game and playing consistently good League footy for Centrals, he also rotates up forward and slots goals. Captain Luke Valente, also super skillful will be setting up a lot of the play as well, and then the midfield bulls of Tom Lewis and Tom Sparrow, both fierce tackling monsters will make any opposition midfielder earn every possession and also bust out of packs with their own ball. This allows Conor Rozee some freedom on the wing to set up the play.

The SA defence is of most concern. Not overly tall, the players to watch include underager Will Gould, being the most consistent during the trials playing as a key back, either crashing the pack to spoil, or dropping off to take the intercept mark. Jez McLennan and Mihail Lochowiak both possess some real poise and attack off half-back, both having played SANFL Reserves this year.

Players to watch:

Jack Lukosius
Key Position Forward | 194cm | 84.5kg | Woodville West Torrens
League Ave: 11.8 disposals | 4.4 marks | 1.0 tackles | 1.75 goals

Lukosius has shown at a number of levels including SANFL League, that he is ready to play.  He can play as a running hit up forward, or as a dangerous marking forward closer to goal.  With a smooth kicking style and ability to read the play, Lukosius is considered by recruiters as a top pick and with senior experience already there’s not much more to prove. 

Hugo Munn
Key Position Forward | 197cm | 92.5kg | Sturt
League Ave: 4.5 disposals | 1.0 contested marks | 1.0 tackles | 0.75 goals

With real talent and an AFL frame, Munn would be looking to rip apart a few games this championship.  Having showed glimpses at league level for Sturt, in last weekend’s U18 trial game v West Adelaide reserves, whilst not getting much of still managed 4 goals.  With strong hands in the contested mark situation, Munn can be that key deep forward target.  He also can pinch hit in the ruck and it would be expected to see him switch through there during the champs.

Izak Rankine
General Forward/Midfielder | 180cm | 76.4kg | West Adelaide
League Ave: 13.3 disposals | 3.7 marks | 0.7 tackles | 2.3 goals

All Australian last year as a 17 year-old, with pace, creativity and a desire to take them on, Rankine can kick goals from any location and break apart games and break the lines.  Having played SANFL League as a 16 year-old, and consistently delivering at that level by hitting the scoreboard, it will be interesting to see if Rankine gets some more midfield minutes to further demonstrate his talent in different roles. Another proven performer at senior level. 

Oscar Chapman
Medium Forward | 187.5cm | 71.7kg | North Adelaide
Res Ave: 7.5 disposals | 2.3 marks | 1.5 tackles | 2.25 score involvements

Coming into the team as an over-ager, Chapman jumped into the picture with some good performances at school and SANFL level in the second half of last year, being invited to the SA Combine. Playing SANFL Reserves, Chapman has the tank and pace to push up and down the ground to link the play, and does not mind the big pack mark. But it is his defensive pressure which he has added which keeps him in this team and balances the SA forward line.

Jackson Hately
Balanced Midfielder | 190cm | 80.6kg | Central Districts
League Ave: 18.5 disposals | 3.5 marks | 5.8 tackles | 1.0 goals

Playing League footy this season, Hately has been at home in the midfield and across half-forward. He is a consistent ball winner and goal kicker. At 190cm, he is a modern prototype midfielder.  School captain as well and leading scorer and in the All-Tournament team at the U16 national basketball champs, Hately is comfortable in traffic and when up forward with his leap and smarts is dangerous. Could be the most complete midfielder in the 2018 draft pool.

Luke Valente
Balanced Midfielder | 186cm | 80kg | Norwood
Res Ave: 22 disposals | 7.0 marks | 3.0 tackles | 4.0 score involvements

Named Captain for SA – as well as school captain, Valente is dripping with leadership. You will often find him in the packs, riding the tackles and dishing out the ball to teammates to open up the game. Given the chance by foot, Valente’s skill on either side is elite. He will be looking to the championships to show what he can do and move up the draft board.

Tom Lewis
Inside Midfielder | 178.5cm | 80kg | Sturt
Res Ave: 20.5 disposals | 2.0 marks | 7.5 tackles | 6.0 clearances

Is found at the feet of ruckman and bottom of packs, Lewis is a midfield bull.  With an AFL ready frame, Lewis gets a lot of contested ball, and can burst into and out of packs.  The scary part if he does not get it, is that he tackles like you stole his wallet, fierce, hard and bruising. At Reserves levels he averages just under eight tackles per game.

Tom Sparrow
Inside Midfielder | 182cm | 81kg | South Adelaide
U18 Ave: 20.3 disposals | 3.3 marks | 3.8 tackles | 5.8 clearances

Another midfield bruiser and hard as a cats head, Sparrow likes to work in close. Gets his own ball in the contest and gets the ball out to the outside runners well. When he invariably bursts out of the pack himself, Sparrow can use his speed to create space on the opposition. Sparrow plays both SANFL and College footy, where he is captain for Prince Alfred College, last years State Champions and victors over Haileybury in a pre-season match this year. 

Connor Rozee
General Utility | 185cm | 71.2kg | North Adelaide
League Ave: 10.5 disposals | 3.3 marks | 2.3 tackles | 3.0 score involvements

A medium sized utility, Rozee started the year setting up the game across half back in the SANFL Reserves and then was selected across half-forward in the League team.  More of an outside runner in the midfield, Rozee reeks class with his positioning and precision of disposal.  Has a nice leap as well as a keen eye for goals and has the potential to get into space undetected. 

Will Gould
Tall Defender | 190cm | 93kg | Glenelg
U18 Ave: 17 disposals | 4.8 marks | 2.5 tackles | 4.5 rebounds

An underager Gould has been playing against the older boys his whole career including being U15 All Australian as a 14 year-old.  Has played up forward and kicked bags including seven goals in an U16 SANFL Grand Final.  But it is in defence during the SA U18 trials that Gould has cemented his place.  His ability to read the flight of the ball, and either jump into the pack bringing the ball to ground, or drop back to mark the ball is top notch. For his frame he is deceptively quick and can either chase down forwards or drive the ball into attack. 

Jez McLennan
General Defender | 183cm | 80.7kg | Central Districts
Res Ave: 12.6 disposals | 3.8 marks | 3.2 tackles | 1.4 clearances

Playing across half-back, McLennan provides a quarterback role in this team and rebounds well from the defensive 50m arc with smart choices.  Has demonstrated courage on numerous occasions to drop in front of the oncoming forward without flinching. Given the chance, McLennan can take a nice overhead pack mark as well.

Mihail Lochowiak
General Defender | 184cm | 81.6kg | Sturt | Medium Defender
Res Ave: 16 disposals | 3.6 marks | 3.6 tackles | 3.4 inside 50s

Another classy half back, Lochowiak continues to find the ball at half-back and attack with pace. Comfortable to take on the opposition, brush a tackle and take a bounce, he is exciting to watch and really breaks the lines. Probably needs to tidy up his final disposal, but the positives of his 70-80m plays are worth it. 

Others to note include:

Mid/forward Hayden Sampson (son of Crow Clay) who can use his smarts to get loose and create forward thrusts and kick goals. 
Riley Grundy (brother of Pie Brody) is a likely key back, and shows real desperation in the contest to beat his opponent, and still has some development to come.

 Leadership Group:

Captain: Luke Valente
Deputies:  Jackson Hately, Tom Lewis, Jack Lukosius and Jez McLennan

Fixture:

Game 1: June 3 vs. WA – Alberton Oval
Game 2: June 17 vs. Vic Country – Adelaide Oval
Game 3: June 29 vs. Allies – GMHBA Stadium (Geelong)
Game 4: July 4 vs. Vic Metro – Etihad Stadium

Haua making waves in the sunshine state

LAST year a dreadlocked Geelong star turned heads with a stunning seven-goal performance in the TAC Cup Grand Final, but five months earlier, a little known Queenslander recorded a baker’s dozen in central Queensland.

It was April 22, 2017, and 16 year-old Kane Haua walked off the ground having snagged 12 majors for his side Boyne Island Tannum Sands (BITS) Saints side against Rockhampton Kangaroos. The Gold Coast Suns Academy prospect was putting his best foot forward, and finished the season with 35 goals from 14 games. At the end of the year, he would relocate to the Gold Coast, studying full-time at Griffith University while balancing two part-time jobs and training with the Academy.

Haua has impressed Academy coach Andrew Raines as the top-age Queenslander sets his sights on achieving his AFL goal. In speaking with the Gladstone Observer’s sports editor Nick Kossatch, Raines spoke of Haua’s determination to make it at the highest level, and some of the traits he possesses ahead of next month’s Academy Series.

“The attributes he shows is his speed and his running ability,” Raines said.

“He’s got a high work rate too; he works really hard up the ground and he works hard to get back towards goal so we’re thinking about playing him forward in our upcoming Academy series.

“His pressure up forward is really good too, he tackles really well and he’s very aggressive and strong so that’s what we’re liking at the moment.”         

Andrew Raines, Gold Coast Academy coach

Raines said the teenager had some untapped talent and he would have to continue to develop in order to make the Allies squad for the National Under 18 Championships in June.

“He’s (Haua) got a long way to go in terms of the next step and the next level,” he said.

“Whether he can match it with other Academies around Australia and obviously there’s the best in Victoria and WA if he’s fortunate enough to get an opportunity in the division one [side] which is later in the year.”

For now, Haua is looking to make an impression through the Academy Series, which pits Gold Coast against the other three northern Academies in the Brisbane Lions, GWS Giants and Sydney Swans. Previously, the carnival was looked as as a Division 2 to the National Under 18 Championships, but was changed last year so the two Academies in each state could show off their own talent rather than a mixed team. Tasmania and Northern Territory remained in the carnival, with all six teams to be combined to form an Allies side for the division one championships.

Raines said Haua had been a member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy for a couple of years, and had shown signs of development, including representing Queensland in an under 17s match last year. The Gold Coast Academy coach said once the prospects finish school, they are invited to come down to the Gold Coast, relocating off their own back and chase their AFL dream, a dream Raines knows has no guarantees of coming to fruition.

“The young kids aren’t guaranteed a spot, it’s more for their own pathway, and they do various other things to, like go to uni, move to a bigger town anyway so that’s the whole process,” Raines said.

“He’s been down since November last year or December, and he’s relocated well, he’s living at Griffith University on campus, and doing university there full-time.

“He’s balancing working, he’s got two part-time jobs so that gets him busy, on top of his training, so that’s a bit of a brief background how he’s come into the program and how he’s relocated from central Queensland to down here.”

Raines said the new Labrador recruit could play for as many as four sides this season if he plays to his potential: his home club, the Gold Coast Academy, the Allies, and, later in the year, the Gold Coast Suns’ NEAFL side when they call-up Academy prospects.

The full interview with Andrew Raines can be heard here.

Matt Balmer’s 2017 AFL Draft June Power Rankings

IN an AFL Draft Central feature, AFL Draft analyst Matt Balmer will rank and update his Power Rankings on the first Monday of every month.

You can read Matt Balmer‘s May edition of his Power Rankings here:

June is crunch time for AFL club recruiters. They will be analysing every move of the players in the National Under 18 Championships, and, as we have seen in past seasons, players who play well push their names up the order. But for those left out of various squads – the dream is not over with 17 players last year drafted out of the TAC Cup without playing in the National Under 18 Championships for example.

I’ve extended the rankings out to 30 names as well as a five names to keep an eye on during the National Under 18 Championships.

#1 Jarrod Brander
Key Position Forward/Defender (Bendigo Pioneers/Allies)
11/02/1999 | 195cm | 90kg
Previous ranking: #1

Scouting notes: Key Position tall that can play at either end. Can play well at either end, reading the flight of the ball well. Is mobile up forward which allows him to make multiple leads. Missed most of 2016 through knee injury, but jumped on the scene booting over 20 goals for Geelong Grammar in the 1st XVIII competition as a Year 10 in 2015. Doesn’t look out of place in defence after playing there for the AFL Academy – as well as collecting 26 disposals in defence in the APS v AGSV school boy game last year. Was originally zoned to GWS but it is now ineligible for GWS to select him under changes to their Academy zone. Best swingman in the draft – with healthy debate which end he best plays his football.

Last month: Brander returned from a minor knee injury to boot five goals for Geelong Grammar in their loss to Brighton Grammar. Brander played school football instead of the Allies’ trial games but will line-up for the Allies in their first game of the Under 18 Championships. Turned it on with a strong third quarter in the ‘Geelong Derby’ between College and Grammar, marking and kicking well under pressure and was a class above finishing with five goals.

#2 Luke Davies-Uniacke
Inside Midfielder (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
08/06/1999 | 187cm | 85kg
Previous ranking: #2

Scouting notes: Strong bodied inside midfielder who tackles hard and wins the clearances. Has had a fair share of injuries over the last few seasons but appears to be over them. Is the player most ready to go and could walk into AFL from Day 1 with ease. Is powerful and loves the contested situations. Davies-Uniacke is able to stand up when getting tackled and uses his strength to dispose of the ball.

Last month: Continuing to find a stack of the ball for Haileybury College with multiple 30 plus disposal games playing school football. Had 44 disposals against a weak Geelong College outfit and looks primed to star in the Under 18 Championships. Broke tackles with ease on Saturday against Scotch College and a pinpoint left foot kick to switch the ball into the centre corridor was a highlight.

#3 Darcy Fogarty
General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Glenelg/South Australia)
05/09/1999 | 192cm | 88kg
Previous ranking: #3

Scouting notes: Strongly built forward that can push into the midfield. Played up forward for South Australia in last year’s Under 18 Championships booting seven goals. Fogarty played a strong game in the midfield for Glenelg in their finals last year and has been tried as a third tall defender in the SANFL Under 18 trial and the AFL Academy games. He is probably more of a third tall than an inside midfielder at this stage.

Last month: Fogarty has been playing League football for Glenelg. He has not found a large amount of football, averaging just eight disposals in his last three outings. As expected however, he is winning the ball in the contest, possessing a high contested possession percentage and laying tackles.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udxZShlirCM[/embedyt]

#4 Jaidyn Stephenson
Medium Forward (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
15/01/1999 | 189cm | 76kg
Previous ranking: #4

Scouting notes: Plays as a tall forward marking target inside 50 despite being medium size. Has a big wingspan which sees him pluck the ball from above his opponents reach. He converts his set-shot chances more than not, after bursting onto the scene with a terrific finals series for Eastern Ranges as an Under 16 back in 2015. Stephenson has pushed up onto the wing at times, but plays his best up forward. He moves well and holds a great endurance base to go with a really closing speed.

Last month: Has played predominantly in the midfield for the Ranges and was superb in their win over Bendigo Pioneers. Stephenson had 22 disposals and seven clearances (including four centre clearances) and showed another string to his bow. He laid 13 tackles against Dandenong Stingrays in Round 8 before collecting 26 disposals against Sandringham Dragons on Saturday.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhjKqm9hBtY[/embedyt]

#5 Will Sutherland

Key Position Forward (Scotch College/Vic Metro)
27/10/1999 | 195cm | 90kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Athletic tall who is a strong overhead mark. Sutherland picks the ball up cleanly from ground level and is very good below his knees. Is smart inside 50 and is willing to block opponents to help his teammates. Has midfield craft and has attended multiple centre bounces at school level. Australian Under 19 cricket captain. Has a tough decision on his hand – think cricket is narrowly back in front compared to this time last month.

Last month: Has recently trained with the Vic Metro squad and has impressed at Scotch College, now selected in the Metro squad for the National Under 18 Championships. Against top-of-the-table Carey Grammar, Sutherland clunked nine marks (five contested) and booted three goals in a standout performance in the first half, before a niggle saw him ineffective and well shut down in the second half. He does have midfield potential – but attended just one centre bounce against Carey but spent a large part of the second half in their clash against Haileybury on Saturday through the midfield. His cleanness below his knees was outstanding on Saturday.

#6 Adam Cerra
Balanced Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
07/10/1999 | 186cm | 85kg
Previous ranking: #6

Scouting notes: The forgotten man of the 2017 draft pool after missing 2016 with a meniscus injury to his knee. The AFL Academy missed out on Pick 1 and Pick 2 in 2016 – And Cerra could be another to join that list of high draft picks. He wins the ball on the inside, with a clean kick on his right foot. He contested work and clearance winning are superb and he covers the ground well. Was one of the standouts in the Vic Metro trials in April.

Last month: Cerra has managed a shoulder complain throughout May. He played school football for Wesley against Brighton Grammar on Saturday on ‘managed time’ spending large periods deep forward. Cerra took multiple marks early in the game using his speed to get distance between himself and his opponent. His kicking at goal was poor, where he could have scored three goals before quarter time but didn’t manage to convert his chances.

#7 Cameron Rayner
General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
21/10/1999 | 187cm | 88kg
Previous ranking: #7

Scouting notes: Powerful and explosive midfielder who makes you excited when you watch him. A similar mould to Robbie Gray when up forward, his contested marking overhead is another one of his strengths. For the moment he is a forward first, midfielder second with his endurance being a work in progress – running an 11.10 beep test at TAC Cup testing and it will be an area that needs to be addressed for him to move into the midfield long term.

Last month: Returned to form for PEGS in their big game against Mentone Grammar in AGSV school football. His contested marking was on show and he was one of the best players on the ground in the victory. Took a hanger for the Jets on Saturday at Oakleigh and was impressive overhead and at ground level.

#8 Sam Hayes
Key Position Forward/Ruckman (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
09/06/1999 | 203cm | 93kg
Previous ranking: #9

Scouting notes: Showed his forward craft in the Under 18 Championships last year for Vic Metro uses his height to mark the ball. He is a adequate kick for goal and rucks well around the ground and at the centre bounces. Leading patterns could improve – but he is still learning his game as a tall. At this stage is a forward first, ruck second prospect.

Last month: Booted four goals in a quarter for the Ranges – finishing the day with six goals against Gippsland Power. Had 21 hit outs against Dandenong Stingrays as well eight marks (five contested). Kicked the match-winning goal in a low scoring encounter against Sandringham Dragons on Saturday as one of his teams best.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQka9OsdRVA[/embedyt]

#9 Lochie O’Brien
Outside Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
18/09/1999 | 184cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: #5

Scouting notes: Classy outside midfielder who is likened to former Roo and Saint Nick Dal Santo. Uses the ball well on his left foot and possesses elite speed which can help him burst from the stoppages at speed. Impressed last year for Vic Country as a bottom-ager playing on the wing, a position that allows for him to be a receiever on the outside where he can clear the ball via a pinpoint pass. A good decision maker and is someone you want to have the ball in their hands.

Last month: Has been tagged out of a few school football games, but continues to be classy on the outside. Is one that has stalled perhaps a touch in recent weeks, but expect his class to come out when the National Under 18 Championships begin this weekend.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En-PqFzrxLs[/embedyt]

#10 Connor Ballenden
Key Position Forward (Uni of QLD/Brisbane Lions Academy)
29/03/1999 | 199cm | 96kg
Previous ranking: #8

Scouting notes: Strong contested marking forward who will fit well into the Lions forward structure. Has played through the ruck and as a key position defender to start 2017 – but his best position is coming out of the goal square. Possesses a very good set shot routine, kicking more goals than he misses.

Last month: Finished his Under 18 Academy Series with a strong game against GWS marking well overhead and rucking well. Had a quiet game in the Brisbane Lions NEAFL against Redland – but showed some improve against the Giants with 12 disposals and a goal. He had a strong last quarter in the game in the Allies’ final hit out against Vic Metro, finishing with 19 hit outs to go with his 15 disposals.

#11 Noah Balta
Tall Utility (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
23/10/1999 | 194cm | 92kg
Previous ranking: #12

Scouting notes: Athletic tall who has one of the biggest upsides of the draft pool. Balta has played predominately as a ruckman or a key forward for the Calder Cannons – but showed great signs as a defender in the Vic Metro trial. He is a good mark, but his running patterns up forward do need some work. He possesses a rare combo of elite speed and agility for a tall player.

Last month: Averaged 17 hit outs in the last three games coming into this weekend, but was thrown back as a key defender for the Cannons on Sunday. Looked good before swinging forward to boot two final quarter goals to help Calder to victory. Had an impressive 21 disposal, 17 hit outs and six marks game against Geelong Falcons. Only had five disposals in the Vic Metro trial but his attacking mindset was obvious. Expect him to hold down a key defensive post for Vic Metro in the Under 18 Championships.

PLAYER FOCUS: NOAH BALTA

#12 Lachlan Fogarty
Balanced Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
01/04/1999 | 179cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: #13

Scouting notes: Clean and polished midfielder who wins the ball in both contested and uncontested situations. A good decision maker by hand or foot, who tackles hard to win the ball back. Flys under the radar – but continues to get the job done at all levels.

Last month: Fogarty is continuing to play solid football for St Kevin’s College having to step up with Rhylee West missing games through injury. Played great games against Brighton Grammar and Xavier College, and has been able to deal with copping extra attention.

#13 Jack Petruccelle
Inside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
12/04/1999 | 184cm | 73kg
Previous ranking: #21

Scouting notes: The fastest player in the TAC Cup with a 20m sprint time of 2.82s. He is willing to take oppoisition players on and burn them off along the wing. Also possesses a very good leap. His kicking on the run is a work-in-progress and needs work, but his eye catching displays are continuing to get better and more consistent. Comes from an elite basketball background. Wins the contested ball.

Last month: Petruccelle has been outstanding for Northern Knights with his contested ball numbers being very good. Was one of the best in the Knights tight win over Dandenong Stingrays with 20 disposals (17 contested) and four contested marks. Had 20 kicks against Geelong Falcons – but only eight hit the target. Booted five goals against Gippsland Power and was damaging with his elite speed.

#14 Joel Garner
Balanced Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
21/05/1999 | 183cm | 81kg
Previous ranking: #10

Scouting notes: Speedy midfielder who plays well on both the outside and inside. He uses the ball well off his left foot, hitting targets on the run or standing still. His handballing in close is another strength and he is able to clear the ball from a stoppage with ease. Screams X-Factor. Does need to improve a bit on getting to the right positions to win the football.

Last month: Garner has been playing for okay Scotch College at school football. Surprisingly didn’t play any midfield minutes for Scotch in their game against Carey Grammar or Haileybury, playing the whole game across half forward using a long left foot effectively. Impressively won a two-on-one contest inside 50m against Haileybury, using his smarts to keep his feet and snapped home the goal from 20m out.

#15 Nicholas Coffield
Outside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
23/10/1999 | 190cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Composed midfielder who is very good under pressure. Reminds me of Hugh McCluggage where he has all the time in the world with ball in hand. Clean user on his right foot and his defensive efforts strong where he floats around the wins the ball at ease. Not a huge ball user but makes his disposals count.

Last month: Kicked the match winning goal for the Knights against the Dandenong Stingrays, but had two quiet games against Geelong Falcons and Gippsland Power. Won a lot of his disposals in defensive situations but showed his class against the Calder Cannons in the Knights’ loss on Sunday.

PLAYER FOCUS: NICHOLAS COFFIELD

#16 Charlie Spargo
Inside Midfielder/Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/Allies)
25/11/1999 | 175cm | 73kg
Previous ranking: #11

Scouting notes: Small bite-sized midfielder who cracks in hard. Despite his size he wins the ball in the contest and tackles hard. Is one of the few midfielders who has a good goal sense and is a hard match-up when deep inside 50. Was originally zoned to GWS but it is now ineligible for GWS to select him under changes to their Academy zone.

Last month: As one of the Melbourne Grammar best midfielders he continues to get tagged by opposition schools. Was well held against Brighton Grammar, but showed some good lateral movement in the final quarter. Will line up for the Allies this weekend.

#17 Oscar Clavarino
Key Position Defender (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
22/05/1999 | 190cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: #16

Scouting notes: The best key position defender in the draft pool. Reads the play exceptionally well in defence and held down the key post for Vic Country in the National Under 18 Championships last year as a bottom ager. Very good one-on-one, but was out of his depth and out muscled by the Northern Blues VFL team in the AFL Academy matches. Takes good intercept marks – but his kicking can be shaky under pressure resulting in turnovers in the defensive half of the ground.

Last month: Is playing more up the ground as a centre half back than as a full back for Haileybury College in school football. Disappointingly didn’t intercept the ball at all during the contest and took just three marks for the game – all of which came in the last quarter.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osCIRaZdgFk[/embedyt]

#18 Hunter Clark
Inside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
26/03/1999 | 186cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #18

Scouting notes: Rebounding defender who played across half back for Vic Country in the National Under 18 Championships last year. Decision making and kicking needs work coming out of defence. If he can clean up his kick it will help his draft stocks, but he isn’t a big ball winner. Showed some good signs as an inside midfielder for the Dandenong Stingrays and hopefully has more opportunity there.

Last month: Has improved his ball winning ability moving into an inside midfielder role for the Stingrays. Had 34 disposals, 11 clearances, 10 inside 50s and seven tackles against Northern. Disappointingly the knock of his kicking continues, kicking at 37 per cent and 43 per cent against Oakleigh. His inside game was strong against the Chargers, with 27 disposals (15 contested) and eight clearances. Had 28 disposals in their big win over Eastern Ranges.

PLAYER FOCUS: HUNTER CLARK

#19 Jack Powell
Balanced Midfielder (Ainslie/GWS Academy)
15/07/1999 | 181cm | 81kg
Previous ranking: #15

Scouting notes: Works hard both ways as a good runner. Kicks it well off his right foot and just does all the right things. His clearance work is good and he is willing to lay tackles to win the ball back. Spreads well from a contest.

Last month: Had seven disposals in his second outing for the season in the Giants NEAFL team. Was solid collecting 16 disposals and three clearances for the Allies in their trial against Vic Metro.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qI4rjlEbHU[/embedyt]

#20 Charlie Constable
Inside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
18/05/1999 | 190cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: #20

Scouting notes: Tall midfielder who can play on the inside and across half back. He begun the year for the Dragons in the midfield, but moved to half back with the return of Hamish Brayshaw. Missed a large chunk of 2016 with an injury, but is over those concerns. A good team player who gets to the right positions around the ground. Not super quick, but smart and makes good decisions by foot rebounding out of defence.

Last month: Continues to be solid across half back and through the midfield for Haileybury College. Was a general in defence for them on Saturday and at times floated back to double-team Will Sutherland inside 50. Reads the play well and is playing good football at the moment. Reckon he could jump up with a good Under 18 Championships.

#21 Ryley Stoddart
Medium Defender/Outside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
15/10/1999 | 183cm | 73kg
Previous ranking: #25

Scouting notes: Rebounding defender who is what you want in a half back flank. Kicks it well on his left foot, makes very good decisions and will get to the right positions. He defending one-on-one is ok, but is a player who will make his 15-20 disposals hurt the opposition.

Last month: Fought hard for Yarra Valley against Ivanhoe Grammar, having to tag the dangerous Patrick Naish in the second half. Took an outstanding contested mark in the opening quarter, before slotting the goal. Looked great in the Vic Metro trial finishing with 14 disposals and three tackles.

#22 James Worpel
Inside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
24/01/1999 | 185cm | 84kg
Previous ranking: #17

Scouting notes: Cracks in hard winning the ball in the contest and is one of the best clearance players in the 2017 draft pool. Question marks continue to be on his kicking, where at times he will just bomb it out of the packs. Tackles well but has areas to address to be a first round selection.

Last month: Laid 13 tackles against Oakleigh in a quiet performance at Warrawee Park. 32 disposals, 11 clearances and nine tackles made him standout against Western Jets. He hurt his back against the Northern Knights and the injury has kept him out for a few weeks. Expected to line up for Vic Country this week against the Allies.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASCk7H39sDA[/embedyt]

#23 Jack Higgins
Inside Midfielder/Small Forward (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
19/03/1999 | 178cm | 76kg
Previous ranking: #19

Scouting notes: Small midfielder who will continuely be scrutinised for his defensive efforts. It was good to see him lay 15 tackles for the Chargers against Bendigo Pioneers and needs to keep this up. He is a big ball winner, but is not damaging with his disposals with a lot of lateral kicks  which do not hurt opposition teams (think Lewis Taylor). Will spent the full year at the Chargers and the midfielder has the ability to find the goals, but does lack some speed. Clearance work is good and he has goal smarts as a small forward. Defensive efforts improving.

Last month: Collected 28 disposals and had four score assists against GWV Rebels, but disappointingly kicked at 42 per cent. Had 20 disposals and booted four goals against Dandenong Stingrays in a predominantly forward game. Clunked seven marks, including two contested. Laid seven tackles and kicked three goals against Murray.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZrWTO-nbu8[/embedyt]

#24 Matthew Ling

Outside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
21/04/1999 | 182cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Left footer who is a good ball user on the outside. Has flown under the radar and may end up as the first Geelong Falcon drafted. Is a smart footballer and makes good decisions. Not a big ball winner. Another player I think could push for top 10 in coming months.

Last month: At times has juggling playing school football on Wednesday’s before backing up on weekend’s for Geelong Falcons. Had 27 disposals in a superb performance at Simonds Stadium against Northern Knights in round seven. Ended his Vic Country trial game with his calf iced – but it didn’t look too serious.

#25 Nathan Kreuger
Tall Utility (South Adelaide/South Australia)
25/06/1999 | 194cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: #14

Scouting notes: A raw talent who has had some incredible moments over the last 12 months. His work in the South Australian trials were good last year and early this year. Can play as a tall at either end, but most excitingly moves well athletically enough to play as a flanker. Uses the ball well off his left foot and there are some moments that get you really excited about this kid. Can play through the midfield.

Last month: Had a quiet game in his most recent South Australia trial but has returned to the South Adelaide Under 18 side kicking five goals in the last two weeks. Had 21 disposals, clunked nine marks, laid nine tackles and booted the ball inside 50 on nine occasions in a standout performance against Sturt. Laid seven tackles on Saturday in South Australia’s big win.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSQrFGSGxFU[/embedyt]

#26 Paddy Dow
Inside Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
16/10/1999 | 184cm | 78kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Speedy inside midfielder who can push forward and hit the scoreboard. Right footed midfielder who was superb for the AFL Academy in their game against the Northern Blues – not looking out of place at the centre bounces. Is a player that could be pushing for top 10 this time next month – But I have not seen enough of him live to push him up there this early.

Last month: Been superb for Geelong Grammar in APS school football. This year he has booted bags of five and seven playing through the midfield and pushing forward using his speed. His bag of seven was pivotal in their three-point win over Wesley. Cracks in hard for his school giving his all.

#27 Patrick Naish
Outside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
15/01/1999 | 180cm | 69kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Smart and lively inside 50. Working on his contested ball winning ability, but looks suited to start as a forward at AFL level. Can play across half back, ball usage is reasonable by foot. Covers the ground well.

Last month: Was simply outstanding for Ivanhoe Grammar booting seven goals against Yarra Valley Grammar. He booted three in the opening quarter, attending a good chunk of centre bounces throughout the game. Ryley Stoddart did a gutsy job of tagging him in the second half. Booted a few goals against Mentone against a light tag – but it was not one of his better games.

MAY VICTORIAN SCHOOL FOOTBALL UPDATE

#28 Andrew McPherson
Medium Defender (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia)
20/06/1999 | 186cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: #22

Scouting notes: A good ball user across half back with McPherson just keeps getting the job done. He showed promise in the National Under 18 Championships last year. McPherson rebounds it well and can play across the wing. Reads the play well and has a good mix of attack & defence.

Last month: Collected 15 disposals against Glenelg in the SANFL Reserves but suffered a quad injury and has not played since – missing the recent South Australia Under 18 trial. Should be fit for round one this weekend.

#29 Andrew Brayshaw
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
08/11/1999 | 183cm | 80kg
Previous ranking: #24

Scouting notes: The brother of Melbourne’s Angus has started the year on fire for the Sandringham Dragons. He finds the football with a good contested possession percentage. Brayshaw is more of a handball first, kick second player in the contest but just gets the job done without standing out. He makes his disposals count and is effective.

Last month: Was one of Haileybury’s best in their win against Xavier, but will miss a few weeks with a quad strain. Showed off his leadership traits on Saturday despite being injured – firing up the ‘Bloods’ who were trailing at Half Time on Saturday against Scotch College.

PLAYER FOCUS: ANDREW BRAYSHAW

#30 Toby Wooller
General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
16/03/1999 | 193cm | 90kg
Previous ranking: #23

Scouting notes: Strong forward who can play as a key position target, but seems destined as a third tall at the next level. Marks the ball well and is a solid set shot on his right foot. Has pushed up into the midfield and won a few clearances for the Chargers as of late. A player who has the ability to kick multiple goals in a short burst in a game.

Last month: Collected 21 disposals against the Rebels in round six, playing a good number of midfield minutes. Took eight marks against Dandenong Stingrays and was impressive. Laid seven tackles in a good game against Murray Bushrangers, where he booted three goals.

FIVE OTHER NAMES TO WATCH IN THE UNDER 18 CHAMPIONSHIPS:

Oscar Allen
Medium Utility (West Perth/Western Australia)
19/03/1999 | 191cm | 83kg

Scouting notes: Medium utility who can play at either end. Marks well overhead and moves well for a player over 190cm. Reminds me a bit like Luke Ryan from Coburg last year when in defence. Likely to play Centre Half forward for Western Australia in the Under 18 Championships. Good decision maker and impressive inside 50 in the WA trials. Named co-captain for Western Australia. Think clubs see him as the only Western Australian that could break into the first round.

James Bell
Outside Midfielder (Sydney Swans Academy/Allies)
10/02/1999 | 183cm | 75kg

Scouting notes: Lively half forward who can push onto a wing. Was impressive in the Allies trial game against Vic Metro collecting 19 disposals . Right footer who showed some good snippets in the Under 18 Academy Series.

Mitch Crowden
Outside Midfielder/Small Defender
28/04/1999 | 174cm | 82kg

Scouting notes: Has been playing consistently at League level in the SANFL. Distributes the ball well on his left foot coming out of defence and should perform well in the Under 18 Championships for South Australia. Is strongly build despite his size and hasn’t looked out of place at League level.

Gryan Miers
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
30/03/1999 | 177cm | 73kg

Scouting notes: Small inside midfielder who can play forward and through the inside midfield. Has clean hands which helps him clear the ball. Is a smart footballer and his good agility helps him weave through the packs. Kicking technique does need a few minor tweaks. Looks not too similar to Luke Dahlhaus in appearance.

Thomas North
Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
14/02/1999 | 186cm | 87kg

Scouting notes: Wins the ball on the inside and spreads well from the contest. Finds plenty of the football and uses his good agility to get around them in the stoppages. A nice clean kick that could rise into the top 20 as the season progresses.


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