Tag: Rylie Morgan

Draft dream not over for 2018 state combine nominees

MORE than one hundred draft hopefuls will test themselves under the watchful eye of AFL club recruiters at the various State Combine’s around the country. After the list of National Combine invitations was released last week – indicating those players with the most draft interest – last night the full list of State Combine, and Rookie Me Combine lists were released.

EIGHTY INVITED TO NATIONAL DRAFT COMBINE

A total of 126 players were nominated for the combines, with Vic Country having 26 players nominated, ahead of South Australia with 24, and Western Australia and Vic Metro with 21 each. It has also proved a bumper year for the Victorian Football League (VFL) with 13 players nominated to test, behind the four Division One states. New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) has eight players nominated, the highest of the Division Two states, while Queensland has seven, and Northern Territory three and Tasmania three.

In terms of individual clubs, Dandenong Stingrays trumps all others, having 12 nominees, making it 17 players heading to testing in 2018. Murray Bushrangers is next with seven, followed by Calder Cannons and Oakleigh Chargers (six), as well as South Australian club Norwood. Fellow South Australian club South Adelaide, West Australian clubs Peel Thunder and Swan Districts, and Sandringham Dragons, all have four nominees. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, Glenelg, North Adelaide, Sturt, South Fremantle and Claremont have three apiece. In terms of Academies, the GWS Academy had six players nominated, Gold Coast and Brisbane Lions Academies both had three, and Sydney Swans Academy had one.

 

Full list of State Combine nominations:

NSW/ACT: [6]

Riley Bice (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)
Jeromy Lucas (GWS Giants Academy)
Nick Murray (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)
James Peatling (GWS Giants Academy)
Guy Richardson (GWS Giants Academy)
Mathew Walker (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)

Northern Territory: [2]

Michael Mummery (NT Thunder)
Izaak Wyatt (Southern Districts)

Queensland: [4]

Caleb Graham (GC Suns Academy) 
Darcy Marsh (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Tom Matthews (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Lachlan McDonald (GC Suns Academy)

South Australia: [24]

Finn Betterman (Glenelg)
Connor Bristow (Norwood)
Chris Burgess (West Adelaide)
Declan Carmody (Glenelg)
Kade Chandler (Norwood)
Oscar Chapman (North Adelaide)
Tate Coleman (South Adelaide)
Jacob Collins (Norwood)
Job Colwell (South Adelaide)
Tobin Cox (Glenelg)
Darcy Fort (Central District)
Martin Frederick (Woodville-West Torrens)
Nathan Kreuger (South Adelaide)
Tom Lewis (Sturt)
Mihail Lochowiak (Sturt)
Tyler Martin (Norwood)
Aaron Nietschke (Central District)
Matthew Nunn (Norwood)
Kai Pudney (Woodville West Torrens)
Isaac Saywell (Norwood)
Jake Tarca (South Adelaide)
Casey Voss (Sturt)
Callum Wilkie (North Adelaide)
Boyd Woodcock (North Adelaide)

Tasmania: [1]

Rhyan Mansell (North Launceston)

VFL: [8]

Jake Aarts (Richmond VFL)
Brett Bewley (Williamstown)
Sam Collins (Werribee)
Will Hayes (Footscray VFL)
Nick Hind (Essendon VFL)
Marty Hore (Collingwood VFL)
Ethan Phillips (Port Melbourne)
Corey Rich (Frankston)

Vic Country: [21]

Jacob Atley (Bendigo Pioneers)
Stephen Cumming (Dandenong Stingrays)
Sam Fletcher (Dandenong Stingrays)
Matthew Gahan (Dandenong Stingrays)
Hudson Garoni (Murray Bushrangers)
Noah Gown (Gippsland Power)
Brayden Ham (Geelong Falcons)
Jed Hill (GWV Rebels)
Austin Hodge (Gippsland Power)
Zane Keighran (Bendigo Pioneers)
Matty Lloyd (GWV Rebels)
Lachlan McDonnell (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jai Nanscawen (Dandenong Stingrays)
Finbar O’Dwyer (Murray Bushrangers)
Jamie Plumridge (Dandenong Stingrays)
Mitch Riordan (Dandenong Stingrays)
Bailey Schmidt (Dandenong Stingrays)
Sam Sturt (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jai Taylor (Dandenong Stingrays)
Charlie Wilson (GWV Rebels)
Lachlan Young (Dandenong Stingrays)

Vic Metro: [18]

Frank Anderson (South Croydon)
Joseph Ayton-Delaney (Oakleigh Chargers)
Atu Bosenavulagi (Oakleigh Chargers)
Kyle Dunkley (Oakleigh Chargers)
Mason Fletcher (Calder Cannons)
Xavier Fry (Eastern Ranges)
Jake Gaspar (Oakleigh Chargers)
Sam Graham (Calder Cannons)
Harry Houlahan (Sandringham Dragons)
James Jordan (Oakleigh Chargers)
Josh Kemp (Calder Cannons)
Justin McInerney (Northern Knights)
Mitchell Podhajski (Calder Cannons)
Stefan Radovanovic (Western Jets)
James Rendell (Sandringham Dragons)
Harry Reynolds (Sandringham Dragons)
Alistair Richards (Sandringham Dragons)
Jack Ross (Oakleigh Chargers)

Western Australia: [21]

Jason Carter (Peel Thunder)
Dylan Curley (East Fremantle)
Oliver Eastland (Claremont)
Kody Eaton (East Fremantle) 
Harry Edwards (Swan Districts) 
Patrick Farrant (Swan Districts) 
Ethan Hansen (Perth) 
Wil Hickmott (Subiaco) 
Corey Hitchcock (Claremont)
Jack Mayo (Subiaco) 
Tom Medhat (West Perth)
Louis Miller (East Perth) 
Luke Moore (South Fremantle) 
Rylie Morgan (Claremont)
Matthew Parker (South Fremantle) 
Jarvis Pina (Peel Thunder)
Tyson Powell (Peel Thunder)
Regan Spooner (South Fremantle)
James Sturrock (Peel Thunder)
Tobe Watson (Swan Districts)
Graydon Wilson (Swan Districts)

Rookie Me Combine: [21]

Ryan Hebron (Sydney University)
Joey Reinhard (Sydney Swans Academy)
Adam Tipungwuti (Western Magpies)
Matthew Green (NT Thunder)
Ryan Gilmore (GC Suns Academy)
Jack Tomkinson (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Lachlan Gadomski (Kingborough Tigers) 
Matthew McGuinness (Lauderdale)
Ben Cavarra (Williamstown) 
Jay Lockhart (Casey Scorpions) 
Hayden McLean (Sandringham VFL) 
Kieran Strachan (Port Melbourne) 
Charlie Thompson (Richmond VFL)
Jordon Butts (Murray Bushrangers)
Kyle Clarke (Murray Bushrangers)
Sam Conway (Geelong Falcons)
Jake Frawley (Dandenong Stingrays)
Matt Neagle (Wodonga Raiders)
Tye Browning (Calder Cannons)
Daniel Hanna (Calder Cannons)
Cody Hirst (Eastern Ranges)

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 grabs first win in 32-point victory over Vic Country

WESTERN Australia has ensured it will not finish bottom of the table in the National AFL Under 18 Championships after defeating fellow winless side Vic Country by 32 points at GMHBA Stadium on Friday. The Black Swans looked to have the contest under control for the most part, courtesy of a brilliant first quarter, but they never looked completely comfortable until late in the final term, recording an 11.10 (76) to 6.8 (44) victory in the first of a two-game stint in Victoria.

The Black Swans piled on five goals to one in the opening term, with the likes of Jarrod Cameron – brother of Brisbane Lions’ small forward Charlie – and Tyron Smallwood looking damaging at half-forward. Ely Smith had a massive first term for Country, and was one of the few who stood up against the might of the West Australian onslaught going forward. In the second term, Vic Country regained the ascendancy in what looked to be the scoring end, booting four goals to two, with Bailey Williams beginning to have an impact up forward, while Toby Bedford‘s move into the midfield, and with Sam Walsh‘s usual lofty standards beginning to come into the match, the tide began to turn.

Western Australia got back in control with a great goal from Cameron to hand them a nice 25-point buffer at the final break, as Vic Country managed just the two behinds in the third quarter. A quieter final term saw both sides arm-wrestle for most of the contest, booting a goal each before Cameron fittingly put the icing on the cake, running to the square and receiving the handball over the top for the easiest of goals for his fifth major.

West Australian midfielder Luke English was the clear standout through the middle for the home side, racking up 25 disposals, five marks and laying six tackles running hard on the outside, while also booting a goal from a running shot, and narrowly missing another. Sydney Stack (22 disposals, four clearances and three inside 50s) was all class, while Rylie Morgan (23 disposals, five marks, nine tackles and four clearances) worked hard in tandem with the other midfielders to really pose problems for Vic Country. Jordan Clark was the standout defender for the winners, mopping up everything on his way to 23 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and six rebounds, while Cameron’s five goals from 10 disposals was the highlight of the match, receiving three free kicks for troubling the opposition defenders.

Ely Smith was one of the clear standouts for Vic Country on debut, coming in as a late call-up to the side, Smith dominated on the inside with 30 disposals, nine clearances and five tackles, while also getting around the ground for three inside 50s and three rebounds. Bedford’s move into the middle was fruitful, coming away with 20 disposals, seven inside 50s and laying eight tackles, while Walsh had a standard game for him, notching up 30 touches, three clearances, five inside 50s and laying eight tackles. Williams’ work up forward was very good, bouncing back from a poor game against Vic Metro to record 17 disposals, eight hitouts and four tackles, while also booting a goal. Oscar Brownless was consistent up forward with 17 disposals, four tackles and a goal, while another Vic Country debutant – Brodie Kemp – was good in defence with 15 disposals, four marks, six tackles and four rebounds.

For Vic Country, the loss spelled the end of the national carnival, going down in each of its clashes, but every game was marred by injury. Jye Caldwell and Mitch Riordan were crucial losses to the inside midfield brigade, while Laitham Vandermeer‘s broken collarbone and concussion early on Friday night meant the Country team were one runner down for most of the match. Western Australia heads to Etihad Stadium tomorrow to take on the Allies who were unlucky against both South Australia and Vic Metro, having the one win against Vic Country. The winner of that clash claims third spot in what is effectively a bronze medal match ahead of the grand final between two undefeated teams.  

VIC COUNTRY                  1.2    5.4    5.6    6.8 (44)
WESTERN AUSTRALIA     5.2    7.4    9.7    11.10 (76)   

GOALS
Vic Country: Williams 2, Flanders, Walsh, Barzen, Brownless
Western Australia: Cameron 5, Foley, Georgiades, Smallwood, O’Reilly, English, Medhat 

BEST
Vic Country: Bedford, Smith, Walsh, Williams, Brownless
Western Australia: Cameron, English, Stack, Clark, Morgan

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.

Scouting notes: South Australia vs. Western Australia

THE National Championships kicked off yesterday, with South Australia having an imposing 89-point win over Western Australia. Here are the scouting notes by Tom Wyman and David Chapman from that game.

South Australia:

#14 – Izak Rankine

As usual Rankine was creative and dangerous, and with his five inside 50s helping to setup his teammates. In the first quarter he showed some real class by “duking” two opposition players to get a shot on goal. But the highlight was a brilliant cross the body kick from the pocket to hit Lukosius 30m directly in front. He ended the game with one goal and two behinds along with a heap of possessions.

#15 – Robert Irra

The rebounding small defender was lively coming out of defensive 50 and assisted in repelling numerous WA forward thrusts. He had four rebound 50s and 13 of his 14 disposals were kicks to underline his metres gained impact.

#22 – Jacob Kennerley

The winger was everywhere in the first half and his nine marks and 22 disposals really allowed the rebound from the defensive 50 to link to the forward line. Kennerley was busy around the ground and worked hard to get into the space.

#25 – Tom Sparrow

Another midfield clearance machine. Sparrow had eight clearances and also six tackles and was aggressive around the contest, bullying the opposition on a number of occasions. His gut running at pace was also on show in another solid performance.

#30 – Ben Jarvis

In the team as an undersized backup ruckman and athletic tall forward, Jarvis countered his height deficiency in the ruck by getting plenty of followup ball around the contest. When up forward he was impressive in finding the space and kicked three goals and two behinds for the game.

#32 – Luke Valente

The inside midfielder started off well with the opening goal. Valente worked well, racking up seven clearances around the contest and his 26 disposals were highly effective. He also seemed suited to quarterbacking the play from the defensive 50 when he was needed.

#34 – Jackson Hately

The on-baller led the stats with 28 possessions but really starred amassing 10 clearances, especially given SA ruckmen were conceding a lot of height. Hately read the ball well off either ruckman’s hands and drove many a SA forward entry. He also ended up with a goal but it was his poise and composure through traffic that stood out.

#42 – Jack Lukosius

By kicking 4.2 Lukosius got off to his expected great Championship start. He also impressed with his strong hands taking 14 marks both inside and outside 50. After a good contest early with his opponent, he really dominated after quarter time showcasing his accuracy in front of goal.

#43 – Will Gould

Playing as the key defender, Gould was impassable. With three rebound 50s, Gould was rarely beaten in the air or on the ground and looked to run from the back. He had an imposing play in the second half where he ran with the ball, gave off a handball and the oncoming tackler was the one who bounced off Gould as he tried to jam him.

#47 – Hugo Munn

The key forward was deadly in front kicking four goals straight. Not needing much of it and like most of the SA forwards were given plenty of opportunities he clunked five marks – all in dangerous positions.

 

Western Australia:

#1 – Ian Hill

Regarded by many as Western Australia’s most talented player, Ian Hill showed flashes of his silky skills and lightning speed. “Bobby” started the game up forward and was isolated against over-ager Robert Irra in the goal square at various times early on. Moved onto the ball in the second half and took a classy one-handed mark right in-front of many club recruiters. Kicked a nice snap goal from close range but life was tough for the AFL Academy member who was given little opportunity. Still looked ominous when in the vicinity of the ball. Hill finished with eight kicks, five handballs, five marks and three tackles to go with the goal.

#8 – Luke Moore

Moore was the only multiple goalscorer for Western Australia. The strongly built small forward looked dangerous in-tight and continued his goal kicking form from the WAFL colts with South Fremantle, despite managing a team-low five disposals. Moore will look to get his hands on the ball more often in future games, as he looked a threat against SA, especially with the ball close to goal.

#10 – Rylie Morgan

Morgan battled hard on the ball despite his side getting severly beaten in the midfield. The Claremont junior spent time as an inside and outside midfielder, showcasing the balance he has in his game. Morgan finished with 15 disposals (nine kicks, six handballs) but seemed to always be around the ball. Sent it inside-50 seven times, but I would suggest Morgan would’ve had even more of an impact had the other WA mids been able to feed out the ball more often from stoppages.

#11 – Luke English

English, Caleb Daniel-like in his helmet, was Western Australia’s best performer across the midfield in a side that had few contributors. Spending the entire game on-ball in tandem with teammate Rylie Morgan, English’s courage and work rate was exceptional. He tackled strongly and burrowed in hard during congested situations, ripping the ball out of the stoppage and hacking forward a clearance on a couple of occasions. What was also impressive was the Perth products intent to receive a couple of handballs from his teammates out the back, showing he is prepared to back his foot skills in. He will still need to keep working on his kicking, particularly when exiting stoppages. Going head-to-head with Jackson Hately for parts of the day, English finished the game with 16 kicks, nine handballs, seven marks, six tackles, five clearances, seven inside 50s, five rebounds and a goal in what was a very well-rounded performance.

#13 – Jason Carter

Carter spent the day in defence, assigned to the dangerous Izak Rankine early on. He showed glimpses here and there of his talent, the highlight being a big intercept mark in the defensive 50. However he unfortunately butched the inboard kick straight to Ben Jarvis who goaled. The Fremantle next generation academy member was reasonably strong in one-on-one contests but was unable to provide much of his usual run and carry from half-back with the SA mids repeatedly bombarding it inside-50. Carter had 13 disposals and six marks.

#17 – James Sturrock

Playing as an inside midfielder, James Sturrock concluded the outing with 18 disposals but had little influence on the game with many of his touches ineffective. His work in close was solid and his defensive pressure stood out, laying six tackles. Sturrock also managed three clearances in a midfield unit that was simply outclassed from the get-go.

#22 – Damon Greaves

Greaves was very productive all game, finishing with 15 kicks, eight handballs, five marks and a tackle. After lining up across the half-back line for the first part of the game, where he managed three rebounds, Greaves then switched to an outside midfield role when the game was getting out of hand for the Black Swans. His run and carry was strong all game as one of few WA players who really stood out. Having racked up plenty of the ball on a consistent basis for East Perth in the WAFL tiers, Greaves will be one to keep an eye on for the remainder of the carnival.

#24 – Regan Spooner

Spooner took the kickouts for WA in the first half before he switched into a role on the ball. The South Fremantle 18-year-old had more of an impact in the middle, showing some class with his silky foot skills, cleanness and speed. Spooner was one of Western Australia’s best, finishing with 17 touches (nine kicks and eight handballs), three marks, four tackles and two rebounds. Given his nice size and skill set, the WA utility will look to rise up the rankings with a strong remainder of the carnival.

#29 – Dillon O’Reilly

In what was a very difficult day for WA’s lead-up forwards, Dillon O’Reilly showed some nice signs. He looked to have sticky hands, clunking numerous strong marks on the lead along the western side of Alberton Oval. O’Reilly showed persistence, continuing to make himself an option by repeatedly presenting himself up the ground, irrespective of the scoreboard. O’Reilly finished the day with eight kicks, one handball and six marks.

#30 – Luke Jackson

The ruckman tried hard and competed well all game in the ruck and around the ground, winning the head-to-head battle with James Braidwood. The East Fremantle product was not afraid to get involved in the hard stuff, attempting to use his strength and size to barge through tackles in tight on a few occasions. He took a nice contested mark in the second quarter over his opposite number and delivered a nice touch kick inside 50 to the leading Xavier Peacock. Jackson finished the day with three kicks, twelve handballs, two marks, two tackles and 29 hitouts.

National U18 Championships preview: Western Australia

WESTERN Australia was the surprise packet in last year’s National AFL Under 18 Championships, with some pundits expecting them to finish last, or at least fourth, in division one. Instead, the Sandgropers stood up to their critics with a resounding series, taking it up to all the sides and only dropping one game – to eventual winners Vic Metro. The championships would have helped a number of West Australian players in ultimately getting drafted, with a massive 20 players drafted – including some mature-agers from the Western Australia Football League (WAFL).

Fast forward twelve months and there is more excitement about the team from out west, with some genuine top-end talent as well as solid depth. This year appears to be stronger across all the sides, which will make it tough to determine a winner. Looking at the Western Australia side, there are plenty of names to keep an eye out for, starting with top 10 hopeful Ian Hill, who lit up Etihad Stadium last year against Vic Country, turning heads with his acceleration and game-breaking ability. Up forward, Jarrad Fazioli created all sorts of headaches booting goals out of nothing and impressing the spectators who turned out, while Sydney Stack was another highlighted player from last year back for his top-age year.

Players to watch:

Ian HILL
Outside Midfielder | 175cm | 66kg | Perth
Ave: 21.5 disposals | 3.0 marks | 5.0 tackles | 1.5 goals

One of the most exciting prospects in the entire draft crop, Ian Hill looms as the clear standout from Western Australia. He has slick skills, pace to burn and great acceleration, Hill is a damaging player who has plenty of hurt factor. He is the type of player that teammates will release with handballs into his running path and he will do the rest – averaging 1.5 goals at WAFL Colts level, showing he can hit the scoreboard as well as win the ball in the midfield. In his most recent game against West Perth, he booted 3.3 from 21 disposals, his best return for the season.

Jarrad FAZIOLI
Small Forward | 175cm | 72kg | Peel Thunder
Ave: 15.2 disposals | 3.4 marks | 2.5 tackles | 0.8 goals

Having burst onto the National Championships scene as a bottom-age small forward last year, it will be interesting to see the role Fazioli plays at this year’s National Championships. One would expect he might play further up the field, having improved his ball-winning ability at WAFL level with more time through the midfield. He provides excitement and has great goal nous when up forward, always dangerous around the stoppages deep inside 50. He is quick to release the ball when under pressure and has great pace.

Luke FOLEY
Inside Midfielder | 189cm | 73kg | Subiaco
Ave: 27.5 disposals | 4.0 marks | 6.5 tackles | 1.5 goals per game

Foley has been one of the more prominent ball winners in the WAFL Colts this season, and at 189cm is that prototype size. Although just the 73kg, he has also laid a whopping 6.5 tackles per game – helped by a 13-tackle effort in his last outing against Claremont which included 36 disposals and two goals. At the National Championships he will be looked at as the inside presence the West Australian side needs, with so many classy outside midfielders and forwards rotating in the front half of the field. Could boost his draft stocks with a big carnival.

Rylie MORGAN
Balanced Midfielder | 181cm | 80kg | Claremont
Ave: 27.8 disposals | 5.2 marks | 6.5 tackles | 1.0 goals

The big ball winner captained Western Australia at the National Under 16 Championships and looms as an important cog in the Sandgropers midfield. Morgan has averaged 27.8 disposals at WAFL Colts level, with his lowest disposal game being 22. In that same match he applied 12 tackles, symbolic of his season where he has averaged more than six tackles per game. He does get forward and hit the scoreboard as well, managing to score in all bar one of his five Colts matches this season. He will provide some good inside strength for the West Australians.

Sydney STACK
General Forward/Balanced Midfielder | 176cm | 72kg | Perth
Ave: 21.7 disposals | 2.8 marks | 7.5 tackles | 0.5 goals

A tackling machine, Stack is one of a number of players capable of rotating between midfield and half-forward. One of West Australia’s bottom-agers at the 2017 National Under 18 Championships, Stack showed clean hands, slick skills and the ability to hurt the opposition both offensively and defensively. Despite being lightly framed, Stack is capable of bringing down bigger bodies and has the acceleration and pace to run down opposition players. He plays the defensive forward role well, able to lock the ball inside 50 with his fierce tackling. Expect him to provide a neat highlight package across the carnival.

Rhai-Arn COX
General Forward | 174cm | 73kg | East Perth
Ave: 11.3 disposals | 2.7 marks | 3.5 tackles | 1.7 goals

The bottom-ager has played just the three games at WAFL Colts level this season for the Royals, but is a player to track at the National Championships after his impressive carnival at the National Under 16 Championships in 2017. He took the massive pack mark and goaled after the siren against Vic Country to steal the win for Western Australia, showing he is capable of clutch moments. A human highlight-reel, Cox is likely to be one to track over the next 18 months.

Jason CARTER
General Defender/Outside Midfielder | 185cm | 76kg | Peel Thunder
Ave: 16.5 disposals | 5.0 marks | 2.0 tackles | 0.0 goals

A classy defender who can play through the midfield, Carter is a member of the Fremantle Next Generation Academy, which means the Dockers are able to match any bid on him in the 2018 National Draft should they choose to do so. An All-Australian at Under 16s level, Carter provides electrifying pace and smarts across the ground, and was best remembered in that carnival from a massive five-bounce 80m running goal. No doubt there will be more eyes on him than just the Dockers as he provides some vital speed out of the West Australian defence.

Fixtures:

June 3: vs. South Australia – Alberton Oval
June 10: vs. Vic Metro – Optus Stadium
June 29: vs. Vic Country – GMHBA Stadium
July 4: vs. Allies – Etihad Stadium

Final word:

Western Australia head into the National Under 18 Championships as no doubt underdogs once again. The Victorian sides and South Australia have been much spoken about for their top-end talent, but Western Australia has plenty of speed and can apply plenty of defensive pressure. As seen last year, anything is possible at the championships, and the Sandgropers have a number of top bottom-agers joining those big ball winners in their top-age year.

Watch this space: Names to keep an eye on

AFTER the release of the first edition of our Power Rankings for the year on Monday, we have had a look at a handful of names of players that could make their way up the order by season’s end. For some, injury has halted their progression so far this season, while for others, they have come into the season as roughies and are having strong early form that suggests there could be more to see from that particular prospect. Here are just some more players to watch from all of the Under 18 National Championships states.

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

One of the classier players out there and a good size at 193cm, the half-forward has plenty of scope and plays predominantly half-forward but pushing into the midfield. Unfortunately an early season injury in the first quarter of the season had him miss a few games, but the talented forward is back and one of those players you enjoy watching play with pinpoint passes and smooth moving through congestion.

Tom Berry
Inside Midfielder | GWV Rebels/Vic Country
01/05/2000 | 185cm | 76kg

The rugged inside midfielder spent the back-end of last year on ice after injury curtailed his year. He started the 2018 season on fire in the first three quarters, before running into a post and missing the next couple of games. In his two games back, Berry has played between the midfield and forward, booting five goals for the season and working his way back into the midfield, winning 37.8 per cent of his possessions in a contest, which is expected to be closer to 50 per cent when fully fit.

Jack Bytel
Inside Midfielder | Calder Cannons/Vic Metro
14/03/2000 | 188cm | 82kg

The big ball winner for Calder has been in hot form early in the season, having the ball on a string throughout his early games. The co-captain has a knack for winning the contested ball and firing out handballs, and is ranked in the top five of the TAC Cup competition for average clearances, notching up 22 for the season thus far.

Matthew Cumming
Key Position Utility | Dandenong Stingrays/Northern Territory
22/07/2000 | 198cm | 99kg

Matthew Cumming has been one of the better performers for Northern Territory in what would be considered a disappointing Under 18 Academy Series for the Thunder. Cumming predominantly plays full-back, but both he and his brother Stephen have the versatility to play in multiple roles. Due to the Academy Series, Cumming has not played many games at TAC Cup level, but has assisted in the ruck as well as playing in defence.

Stephen Cumming
Ruck | Dandenong Stingrays/Northern Territory
22/07/2000 | 199cm | 104kg

Stephen has performed strongly in the ruck, and with both he and Matthew coming from basketball backgrounds, they move well for taller players. He has averaged about 10 hitouts and 10 disposals a game across his three TAC Cup games. Still developing, like his brother the pair are versatile athletic talls and therefore are always ones to watch, particularly at the upcoming National Under 18 Championships.

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

The lightly framed midfielder is predominantly inside, but can impact on the outside and is a strong leader at Gippsland Power. He has played off a wing a fair chunk this season, but wins his own ball with 44 per cent of his possessions coming in a contest. His best work is done in transition, often winning the ball and side-stepping an opponent and kicking inside 50 to a leading target. Despite missing a game, Duursma is ranked equal fourth for total inside 50s in the TAC Cup competition.

Jarrad Fazioli
Small Forward | Peel Thunder/Western Australia
14/05/2000 | 174cm | 72kg

Impressed at last year’s National Under 18 Championships as a bottom-ager, booting four goals against Vic Country in Western Australia’s victory last year. With small forward’s back in fashion and his ability to also play higher up the ground – he has averaged 18 disposals in the past three weeks – it will be interesting to see how he goes in this year’s championships as a top-ager. Certainly one of the better small forwards in the 2018 draft crop.

Luke Foley
Balanced Midfielder | Subiaco/Western Australia
08/10/1999 | 189cm | 75kg

Western Australia has had its fair share of overagers drafted over the years, not to mention mature agers in last year’s draft. Foley is one player who has stood out in the WAFL Colts this season for Subiaco, racking up at least 28 disposals in three of his four games. Against Claremont in round four, Foley had the ball on a string with 36 disposals, six marks, 13 tackles and two goals in a strong all-round performance. One noticeable fact is that his average disposals has risen from 16.9 in 19 games last season to 27.5 in four games this year.

Caleb Graham
Key Position Forward/Defender | Palm Beach Currumbin/Gold Coast Academy
12/09/2000 | 194cm | 84kg

A bit of a roughie coming into the Under 18 Academy Series, Graham has been one of the better performing Queenslanders throughout the series. He can play at either end, and booted six goals on the weekend to continue his wonderful form as a centre-half back who has become renowned for his intercept marking. At 194cm he is a genuine key position player, and not a beanpole like many at this level, therefore he could be a “one to watch” from the development perspective, particularly for Gold Coast fans.

Brayden Ham
Balanced Midfielder/Forward | Geelong Falcons/Vic Country
25/04/1999 | 181cm | 69kg

Probably the surprise packet of the season has been the overager from the Falcons, having a ripping start to the TAC Cup competition. He has booted nine goals in the past three weeks, and is equal second in score involvements for the year. Of the top 10 players for score involvements, Ham has laid seven more tackles than any of the others.

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

Often overshadowed by Tarryn Thomas’ outstanding performances – and who wouldn’t be? – Jones has been a player to watch throughout the Under 18 Academy Series and is quietly winning plaudits for his consistency through the midfield. While Thomas has done the damage inside the forward 50 arc, Jones has been impressive at winning clearances and moving well through the centre. Expect him to continue to improve throughout the season and will be another to watch for the Allies at the upcoming National Under 18 Championships.

Rylie Morgan
Balanced Midfielder | Claremont/Western Australia
29/03/2000 | 182cm | 81kg

Morgan captained the Western Australian side at the Under 16 National Championships in 2016, and has strung together five consistent games in the WAFL Colts so far this season. Morgan has not registered less than 22 disposals in a match so far this season, and is averaging more than six tackles a game to go with his one goal per game. Given the medium midfielder can win the ball on the inside or out, he is one to track at the upcoming National Under 18 Championships.

Xavier O’Halloran
Inside Midfielder | Western Jets/Vic Metro
11/07/2000 | 186cm | 82kg

Another club captain who makes the list is Western Jets’ Xavier O’Halloran. Big win or heavy loss, O’Halloran has been a ray of consistency this season and has been a huge contributor on the inside. Ranked number one for total inside 50s and total clearances, O’Halloran has won more than have of his possessions in a contest. He is also ranked in the top 20 for score involvements, the highest of any pure midfielder.

Kai Pudney
Outside Midfielder | WWT/South Australia
09/01/2000 | 186cm | 78kg

Started the year on fire in the Under 18s, so progressed into the SANFL Reserves for the past few weeks. The outside midfielder had an elite disposal efficiency of 81 per cent in the opening two rounds of the season, but has not been afforded the same time and space since moving up in grades. However he has played a more contested role, notching up six clearances on debut in the Reserves, and has had disposal counts of 27, 18 and 17 in his matches for the Eagles thus far. Returning to the under 18s last weekend, Pudney had a day out with 34 disposals, eight marks and five rebounds.

James Rowbottom
Inside Midfielder | Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
19/09/2000 | 185cm | 78kg

The big-bodied inside midfielder has been a huge winner for the Oakleigh Chargers in the early part of the TAC Cup season, and has the highest kicking efficiency of the top five clearance winners – at 56.4 per cent. He wins 56 per cent of his possessions in a clearance and is one who will be a player to watch during the APS season and at the National Under 18 Championships.

Matthew Walker
Balanced Midfielder/Forward | Murray Bushrangers/GWS GIANTS Academy
14/02/2000 | 187cm | 76kg

An AFL Academy member who has a good combination of skill and power, Walker is a talented forward who spent time through the midfield in the Under 18 Academy Series for the GWS GIANTS Academy. In his two TAC Cup games earlier in the season, Walker averaged 14.5 disposals, 5.5 tackles and booted two goals in each match. He provides defensive pressure and good goal sense and is another from the Bushrangers to keep an eye on this season.

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

Played his first game for Norwood Reserves this season a fortnight ago, looking at home with 22 disposals, seven marks and three clearances.  It was always clear he was destined to play against the bigger bodies after monstering his opponents in the opening round of the Under 18s season with 39 disposals, 11 clearances, five inside 50s and a goal. After 20 clearances in two games in the Under 18s, Valente showed off his versatility by drifting back to defence and picking up 17 disposals and four rebounds. One to watch for the National Under 18 Championships.

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

You will not see much of the Western Bulldogs father-son prospect at TAC Cup level this season given the St Kevin’s footballer will have APS commitments. His school had the bye in the opening round of the APS season, so with school and Vic Metro commitments, the AFL Academy member will have a busy year ahead of him. He is an inside midfielder who has a few tricks such as strong contested marking ability and loves to lay fierce tackles.