Tag: south adelaide

Marinoff inspires Jaslynne Smith to follow AFLW dream

South Australian (SA) defender, Jaslynne Smith was drawn to Australian Rules because of the sport’s physical aspect.

“I think I just liked the physicality of the tackling and watching it on TV,” she said. “I’d always really enjoyed kicking with my Dad so I just thought it would be really fun to give it a go.”

She says there’s nobody who articulates the physicality better than Adelaide Crows midfielder, Ebony Marinoff, who is inspiring Smith to achieve her dream of playing AFL Women’s.

“She’s (Marinoff) a gun footballer and she’s pretty much followed the same pathway as us girls,” Smith said. “She’s a really good representation of how the state pathways can develop and potentially you can become an AFLW player.”

Smith’s AFLW dream stemmed from kicking the football around with her Dad. After telling him she wanted to take up the sport competitively, he got right to work and helped his daughter play the sport she loves.

“So I just watched footy on TV as a kid and just always kicked in the backyard with my dad and I guess one day, I literally said to him I want to play,” Smith said. “Then he came home that night after googling some teams and he came home with a team that I could play for. “I’ve been playing for the last four to five years.”

Smith says her friendships have kept her in the game, as well as her enjoyment of the sport.

“I guess it’s just the friends you make,” the South Australian defender said. “Some of the relationships you make with your teammates, they become some of your really good friends. “I guess I still also really enjoy playing. “I want to see how far I can potentially get with my footy.”

Her goal to go as far as she can with Aussie Rules was inspired by the creation of the AFL Women’s competition in 2017. This ignited the hope in Smith to take her football career beyond club level.

“I think since then (AFLW being established), you’ve been told that you’re at the right age and its genuinely in reach,” Smith said. “If you work hard, and continue to develop, I think you can make it that level so I think definitely since the AFL Women’s started, I’ve really wanted to go.”

Smith has already enjoyed matching up against some bigger bodies in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s league this year. She admitted that it was challenging at first, but she found her feet very quickly.

“It’s hard at first, it’s hard to get used to but once you’re there, you sort of just get in and under” the 18 year-old said. “I think it’s definitely helped, coming back to Under 18s. “You can bring more of it (physicality) to under 18s because you’ve been around some of the bigger bodies”

Once she got used to the physicality of the SANFL Women’s, Smith got to play in a premiership for her side, South Adelaide, which is one of her favourite football memories.

“That was a really special moment and we all worked really hard throughout the year and in the pre-season, so getting the Grand Final win was something special,” she said.

Smith has also enjoyed playing in some high-standard Under 18 games for South Australia and the Central Allies. She believes that the standard has increased each year and attributes this to the growth of female football.

“The standard has increased heaps and even just back at clubs and stuff, the amount of participants in the club and amount of teams has just risen so much,” she said. “That’s really helped to develop the standard.”

Under 18s football has also been beneficial for Smith individually, as she went from a utility to a defender.

“I initially didn’t have a position to play in, I sort of just played anywhere,” the Central Allies defender said. “Then in my first year of state with SA, our coach threw me in the back line and I sort of just played there ever since. “I think I’ve just become a bit more experienced as well, playing at a few national championships.”

This year, she and her South Australian teammates combined with the Northern Territory players in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. Smith said that although there was limited time to get to know the players, she enjoyed the experience of playing with them on the Gold Coast.

“When you first come, you have to really bond quickly and you have to really get to know each other to then perform on the field,” she said. “It’s been great getting to know the NT girls.”

Like every young footballer, Smith is eyeing off a career outside of football to keep her options open.

“I think I want to go into the health field, I want to become a physio,” she said. “That would probably be the career of choice but anything sort of in the health field.”

Straight into state; Madison Bennett’s incredible transition into football

JUST last year, Madison Bennett gave up a promising career in soccer and discovered her passion for Australian Rules football.

She saw a link for the South Australia Under 18 trials and tried out, having never played competitive football before. Not only had she never played competitive football before, but Bennett was not even aware that there was a women’s Australian Rules league. Since she found out, she has discovered a passion for a new sport that does not look like it will die down anytime soon.

“I didn’t realise there was a women’s league at all so as soon as I found out there was a women’s league, I knew footy was my passion and I went straight to it,” Bennett said. “I did love soccer, I played in the state team. “But I don’t know, as soon as I started playing footy, I just found that passion was a lot bigger because I’ve always had a passion for sport and football was a great environment. “It’s an uncommon sport for girls so I think the passion for it is huge and I like that.”

In her first year of playing football, Bennett was successful in making the South Australian and Central Allies Under 18 sides, and played her first football game in one of the most daunting environments imaginable.

“My first ever state game was pretty much my first game,” the 19 year-old said. “It was straight into it with a very wide talent so I’ve come a long way since then. “I knew it was a state team and that had a lot of competition and talent around me so I took that on board and I just did what I could.”

Bennett also plays for South Adelaide in the South Australia National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition and Christies Beach in the South Australian Women’s Football League (SAWFL). While playing in these leagues, the 19 year-old believed she has improved and benefitted from the experience and advice from other players.

“I feel like playing SANFLW was a good opportunity because it’s that next step higher than local level,” Bennett said. “I really enjoyed playing against the older women and getting a lot of feedback from them and improving. “I think I improved in my kicking, like if you watch my first ever state game from a SANFLW game now, I think there’s a big improvement there so I got to learn off the girls and I’m really fortunate to get the opportunity to do it.”

Before, Bennett represented her state in soccer, having played since she was a teenager. She has been awarded a Player of the Tournament award before at a tournament in Sydney, but now has her sights set on achieving new heights in Australian Rules.

“As an individual, I would love to get drafted,” Bennett said. “Ever since I’ve started playing footy, it has been my goal. “I have looked up to the Adelaide Crows and seeing them and all the other teams, I’ve watched their games and it’d be an amazing feeling to represent one of those teams one day. “I’m not sure when that time will come but hopefully in my coming years, I’ll be able to play for one of those AFLW teams.”

In order to achieve this goal, Bennett has been keeping a close eye on some of the star players of the AFL Women’s competition.

Erin Phillips does stand out really for me,” the 19 year-old said. “Chelsea Randall, even though I don’t play her position, her aggression towards the ball has really driven me to have more aggression to tackle the player and to keep going. “Daisy Pearce, because she’s quite small and I’m really small, I look up to her and go if she can do it, I can do it too.”

South Australia weekly wrap: Draft prospects shine in SANFL openers

WITH the opening round of the South Australian Football League (SANFL) starting, we review the performances of the potential draft prospects for 2018.

League:

Central Districts tall mid Jackson Hately turned in a great debut for the League team with 22 disposals, including six inside 50s and one goal in his teams’ 61-point victory over North Adelaide. AFL Academy member, Hately was composed and looked completely at home exerting his influence around the ground, particularly up forward. Key forward Hugo Munn played in Sturt’s 12-point win over Norwood and impacted with inside 50s and forward pressure tackles. Top prospect Jack Lukosius was again dominant up forward for the Eagles, taking six marks booting three goals, as well as giving off another two. Izak Rankine from Westies did not play due to suspension from the last trial game.

Reserves:

In Sturt’s four point win over Norwood, strongly built mid Tom Lewis had 16 possessions, 11 of which were contested, along with six tackles. Smooth mover Mihail Lochowiak ended up with 11 possessions. For North Adelaide, Frankie Szekely impacted the game with some speed and a four-bounce run through the midfield to obtain 12 possessions including four inside 50’s and two rebound 50’s on top of a nice goal in his teams four point victory over Centrals. Centrals’ Jez McLennan had 15 possessions including four tackles to show some real poise across half-back. Glenelg defeated South Adelaide by 35 points with 2017 National combine attendee Alex Martini collecting 23 disposals working both ways through the midfield as well as eight tackles. Souths’ Nathan Kreuger, also a Combine invitee in 2017, had 12 possessions and kicked two goals.

U18s:

The Eagles demolished Westies by 77 points, with Kai Pudney racking up 35 disposals, 11 marks and eight inside/rebound 50s. Elusive underager Kysaiah Picket had 29 possessions to be in the bests as well. For West, ruckman Angus Rana was best with 27 hit outs and four inside 50’s. South defeated Glenelg by 22 points with Tate Coleman best with 28 possessions, eight marks and a goal. Bottom-ager Daniel Sladojevic clunked nine marks and kicked six goals. For Glenelg underager Will Gould was best with 22 disposals including seven marks and an incredible 12 rebound 50s playing in the back half and South Australian Academy member Finn Betterman was strong and effective all game.

Centrals defeated North by 10 points led by mid Aaron Nietschke with 38 disposals (20 of which were contested), six tackles and nine clearances. Underager Jordan O’Brien was also in the bests with 22 disposals and nine clearances, and was good on both sides. For the Roosters, Boyd Woodcock had 30 disposals, six clearances and six inside/rebound 50s to be his side’s best. Underage ruck/forward Dyson Hilder was also effective with 16 hitouts, 11 possessions and one goal. Norwood defeated last years premiers Sturt by 46 points with AFL Academy member Luke Valente dominant with 39 possessions including eight marks, 11 clearances and five inside 50s to go with his one goal. Hard running Kade Chandler was also good with 25 disposals, 10 marks, eight clearances and a goal. Sturt’s Hamish Wallace was named his teams best leading with seven tackles.

South Australian Under 18s preview

THE 2018 Season for South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Under 18 sides looks set to shape up as one full of local talent destined for the national stage. It will be a challenge for some clubs to balance how their talented youngsters are managed with SANFL League teams wanting to play their top end talent yet balancing club and player needs for the Under 18 competition. In addition to the School/College football commitments, Under 18 football is a tipsters nightmare as player movement is high.

Under 18s football in South Australia (SA) will certainly draw greater national attention this year, with recruiters and media outlets alike looking at the progress of elite SA youngsters who look set to shape the competition. Along with a new SA Under 18 coach in Tony Bamford, all the pieces look like they are ready for SA to make a charge in 2018.

Looking at each SANFL club in turn we focus on the key talent as well as some players who may be a late bolter and come into 2018 draft consideration.

 

Central Districts

AFL Academy standout Jackson Hately headlines the Bulldogs talent. Having already made his SANFL League debut, it will be interesting to watch his progress. Hately is certainly on the draft radar for 2018, but he may struggle to play much U18 footy with League football demands. Centrals season should be solid as other talent to watch include Malachai Ahmatt-Lovett and Aaron Nietschke who will provide good depth. Other players on watch are Llwellyn Milera and midfielder Jordan O’Brien.

Prediction – mid to high table, finals

 

Eagles

The great thing for the Eagles this year is their potential number one draft pick Jack Lukosius, but it will be hard to keep him out of the Eagles League side all year. His impact and resume is building very quickly, but the Under 18 side at Woodville is blessed with depth. Other key players Kai Pudney, Martin Frederick, along with great family talent of Jackson Mead, Kysaiah Pickett and Trent Burgoyne the signs are strong for another U18 Grand Final appearance.  

Prediction – top end of table – potential Grand Finalist

 

 Glenelg

The Under 18 squad for Glenelg will be solid as always, but once again in 2018 the impact of school and college football may determine their position this season. Key player and leader Finn Betterman is showing early signs of a exciting year, while other SA Academy members Oscar Lovelock, Brad Potter will be key parts of the midfield. At the younger end Glenelg has some real talent for 2019 with father-son Luke Edwards and Prince Alfred College (PAC) student Will Gould adding strength.

Prediction – mid table – will sneak into make finals

 

Norwood

The Redlegs are always around the mark, and early wins will be key for them. AFL Academy player Luke Valente is pivotal for the Redlegs as is 2019 prospect Cameron Taheny. Taheny is developing nicely along with fellow youngster Dylan Stephens who may both find themselves in SA’s Under 18 final side. PAC’s Kade Chandler is another midfield runner but the impact of college players may affect their season

Prediction – mid table, may sneak into finals

 

North Adelaide

North’s challenge in 2018 will be getting their best side on the park. Top-end draft potential Conor Rozee will most likely play some League footy in 2018 which will affect his side. Exciting talent Frank Szekely is also in the seniors mix. Strong midfielder Boyd Woodcock will be integral along with key forward James Langley and under-age prospect Dyson Hilder. It is very hard to predict where the Roosters will finish.

Prediction – mid to low table, likely to miss finals

 

South Adelaide

South must be really excited for season 2018. Across all levels they look strong. At Under 18  their squad has some quality. PAC lad Tom Sparrow will be key, along with impressive forwards and State squad members Job Colwell and Darnell Tucker. Father-son Hayden Sampson and Sam Whitbread have both shown their class in past years.  The Panthers will be around the mark again, but their best side may just be off the mark at the pointy end of the year

Prediction – mid-high end of table, finals

 

Sturt

A clean sweep in all grades in 2017 will be difficult for the Double Blues to repeat in 2018, but they may just be off the mark with their Under 18s this year. Whilst at the top end AFL prospect Hugo Munn has made his League debut already he may float between the u18 side but he will be crucial. St Peter’s standout Tom Lewis is crucial as well but once again he along with talented Mihail Lochowiak may be pushed to Reserves and college impact will affect their chances too. Some family names in the mix as well are young Casey Voss (son of Michael) and Riley Grundy (brother of Brody) who will both get opportunities.

Prediction – mid- bottom table, unlikely to make finals

 

West Adelaide

West Adelaide, like other clubs will struggle for access to their best players, with top-end draft standout Izak Rankine most likely to play 2018 in the League side.  The Bloods have an even side and Angus Rana and William Gutschke will be pivotal along with midfielders Ethan Moore, Sam May and Beau Nunan.  Underage talent Jye Sinderberry will get opportunities, and country lad Conor Blackwell may sneak a game. 

Prediction – mid-bottom table – unlikely to make finals

 

It would be fantastic to see all clubs play their true Under 18 talent all year, but League and Reserves football will beckon for the talented players as AFL recruiters suggest clubs showcase potential draftees at the highest level.  All clubs will have a high turnover of players throughout their teams, and the predictions are based on the most settled lineups.

 

Ladder Prediction 2018

1 South Adelaide

2 Eagles

3 Centrals

4 Glenelg

5 Norwood

6 West Adelaide

7 Sturt

8 North Adelaide

South Australia weekly wrap: Prospects shine and Panthers prevail in SANFL Fast Footy

LAST weekend saw the inaugural SANFL Fast Footy competition played at Norwood Oval. Fast Footy is a modified version of the game, played with 12 per-side across 3 zones and Supergoals able to be scored from outside 50m. Introduced a week before AFLX, this footy format is geared towards fast paced high scoring games.

It was a new concept for players and coaches and most clubs opted for a focus on youth in selecting their sides, giving young players opportunities at a high level with unlimited player rotations. All SANFL clubs, apart from Central Districts, participated in the competition which was held over 2 days with each team playing 2 games, and the top 4 teams playing finals games.

Only two top-age players eligible for the 2018 National AFL Draft took the field over the tournament – those being potential top 10 pick Izak Rankine and his fellow Level 2 AFL Academy member Luke Valente.

Rankine continued to add to his highlight reel, bagging two goals and celebrating one of the with a backflip. Players from all teams were encouraged to celebrate their goals in style. It finishes off a big few weeks for Rankine who recently took first place in the local 100m sprint meet, Camden Classic. 

South Adelaide prevailed as the winner of the 10-game tournament with a victory over Woodville-West Torrens by five points in the final and taking the $10,000 prize-money. For the Panthers, former AFL listed player Keegan Brooksby lead the way with solid performances in all games. Other players from Panthers to shine were Matt Raitt, booting 10 goals across the games and youngster Liam Fitt impressing.

Eagles youngsters Cooper Gaffney and James Rowe showed class and a nose for goal respectively in all games, along with former-Magpie Tom Gray, who was their most consistent player.

Port Magpies fielded a young side, seeing Chinese Recruit Chen Shaoliang take to the field for the first time.  

Glenelg, under new coach former AFL assistant Mark Stone, showed promising signs for 2018 with Ian Milera and Darcy Bailey being most dangerous around goal.

Sturt lost both their matches, but continued blooding youngsters across their games, with Blake Kennedy hitting the score board.

West Adelaide players Tom Keough (ex-Gold Coast) was a standout, and new recruit Nick Jaensch impressed around goal.

At North, players of interest Keenan Ramsay along with Matt McDonough were solid.

Adelaide fielded a mixture of players currently training with their Academy squad, and Josh Vandermeer was the most consistent.

From Norwood, youngsters like Luke Valente got opportunities, with the under-18 prospect looking like he is in for a good year. Others to contribute were ex-AFL listed players Luke Surman and Declan Hamilton.

South Australia defeated in first Under 18 trial

SOUTH Australia have been defeated in their first of two trial matches in the lead up to the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships, going down to a fierce Tasmanian team by 21-points at Football Park on Saturday.

The Mariners led at all the main breaks and their attack on the ball was stronger than SA, winning the contested ball and cracking in hard at the contest.

South Australia were at understrength missing a large contingent of their likely best 22 for the championships – with players such as Darcy Fogarty (Glenelg – League) and Mitch Crowden (Sturt – League) playing through the various SANFL levels.

Tasmania themselves were missing bottom-age AFL Academy member Chayce Jones who will likely miss the rest of the season after a nasty ankle injury last weekend. Allies squad member Thomas Mundy (foot) also didn’t play.

ALLIES 2017 SQUAD NAMED

In defence tall Harrison Petty was impressive for South Australia, able to mark the ball well inside defensive 50.

Eagles small James Rowe booted three goals up forward, at times working further up the ground through the midfield at the contests.

Possible draftee Nathan Kreuger booted a sole goal in a quiet performance and it will be intriguing to see where on the ground he is played in the championships.

Inside midfielder Jakob Heitmann was SA’s best for the day, winning the ball in the centre of the ground and pressuring the opposition players.

For Tasmania, Jake Hinds was outstanding all day in a consistent four-quarter performance.

Speedy overager Harrison Pearce booted four goals and his return to form after having his 2016 season derailed by a broken leg has been impressive.

North Melbourne Next Generation 2018 Academy member Tarryn Thomas kicked three goals, continuing to put his hand up to receive a bid as a first round selection in next year’s AFL Draft.

Ruckman Tim Auckland also showed some good signs, while forward Zac Buechner booted two goals. 

Tasmania have six representatives in the Allies squad, and will take on Vic Metro and Vic Country in next Sunday’s final practice matches in Melbourne, before announcing the final squad.

South Australia will have another hit out against North Adelaide on Friday evening, before their first game in the Under 18 Championships against Western Australia at Domain Stadium on Saturday 10th June.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA    1.3    4.4     6.6    11.6 (72)
TASMANIA                   2.3    7.5    11.5    14.7 (91)

BEST:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Heitmann, Petty, Weideman, Rowe, Hately, Smithson
TASMANIA: Hinds, Auckland, Clifford, Tyrrell, Gadomski, Hanson

GOALS:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Rowe 3, Smithson 2, Kreuger, Charlton, Hately, Stidiford, Ballard
TASMANIA: Pearce 4, Thomas 3, Buechner 2, Gunther 2, Mansell, Cowen, Hanslow

More of Peter Argent’s images here

2014 Draft Profile: Caleb Daniel

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Caleb Daniel (South Adelaide)

Height: 168 cm
Weight: 68 kg
Position: Midfielder/forward
Strengths: Pace, agility, endurance, core strength, disposal, inside ability
Areas of improvement: Nothing within his control
Player comparison: Dayne Zorko (more skilled version)

Caleb Daniel is a special player. On ability he’s the best player in the draft crop, no player possesses close to the same natural talent. However, Daniel is one of the smallest players to play the game. It’s about the one thing that can make even the best drop down the draft boards. If drafted, Daniel will be the smallest player in the AFL.

In 2013 as an underaged player he averaged 17 disposals across 10 games. An ankle injury prevented him from playing early this year but he made his way back for the second half of the championships. Despite having no match practice and very little conditioning, Daniel managed to average 20 disposals at 90 per cent efficiency, four marks, four inside 50s, five tackles, two clearances and two goals in his three games. Particularly impressive was a 27-disposal, three-goal game in round five and a 21 disposal, three-goal and 217 champion data ranking point game in round six. In three SANFL games since the championships he’s averaged 16 disposals a game at 84 per cent efficiency.

Athletically Daniel excels. Last year he ran a 15.7 beep test, this year he reportedly ran a 16.1. There’s every chance he’ll break Billy Hartung’s record of 16.6 at the combine this year and at worst he’ll be in the all time top three. He also ran a 2.99 second 20-metre sprint last year and a 10.09 minute three-kilometre time trial, both likely to have improved throughout this year. Daniel is a very good chance of ranking in the top 10 for the 20-metre sprint, three-kilometre time trial, beep test, agility run and repeat sprints at the combine. It’s rare that a player is elite in both sprint speed and endurance, but Daniel is.

Daniel isn’t just an athlete though, he’s a footballer too. Below the knees his hands are excellent and he doesn’t ever fumble with his pickups always clean. When receiving a handball irrelevant of how poor the handball is, whether it’s behind him, on the ground or too far in front of him he collects it cleanly without breaking stride. By hand and foot he is excellent. Not only is he technically a good kick but his vision and decision making are elite. No matter the pressure he’s under, Daniel is able to effectively execute high degree of difficulty kicks with ease.

He spots targets in space others aren’t able to and whether it be across his body or on the outside of his foot, he’s able to execute the kick to perfection. By hand he’s able to hit targets to advantage and release runners with ease. While Daniel is an excellent user of the ball in space, under pressure he’s even better being able to always find targets even in heavy traffic. Daniel’s ability to evade the tackle is excellent and on the rare occasion he is tackled he’s able to get his hands free and fire off an effective handball. While Daniel’s disposal efficiency at both SANFL and under 18 level is excellent, not only are his disposals effective but they’re damaging; they’re not just cheap handballs out the back or long bombs to contests, nearly every time Daniel gets the ball you can be sure his disposal is going to lead to the team being closer to a goal.

Daniel has the ability to turn hard ball gets into uncontested possessions with ease, while also regularly winning 50/50 contests leading to an inside 50 mark. He breaks games. While in the championships Daniel played more of a forward flank/outside midfielder role, at SANFL level he’s played more of an inside role at times. He truly is a balanced midfielder and a volume accumulator. If he’s around the play he finds a way to win the ball whether it be gut running to provide an outside link up option or burrowing in hard and winning the contested ball.

Defensively Daniel works hard. With his pace and agility he’s able to corral and apply pressure with real intensity. He keeps track of his man and runs both ways. He’s always looking to tackle when not in possession and despite his small stature, at under 18 and SANFL level he’s been able to tackle with some real force and efficacy. At his size his tackling proficiency is no guarantee to translate to AFL level, but at worst with his work rate he’ll still be able to apply pressure. There isn’t much wrong with Daniel’s game.

In the championships he managed six goals from three games however of those three were handball receives into on the run shots from outside 50 and one was from an uncontested mark 45 metres out that he’d never have been allowed to get at AFL level. Before the championships he hadn’t shown much to indicate he had a forward game and while his performances in the championships were a real step forward, two games of three goals is a small sample to be making judgments on his ability in the forward 50. The other knock on his game is that when kicking long he is prone to swinging out onto his right foot and kicking across his body instead of through the ball, something that is easily fixed.

The knock on Daniel is his height. And it’s a big one – players of his height are traditionally looked over. While there aren’t any players of Daniel’s size in the AFL right now, that’s not to say there’s not a place for one – he is simply better than all the sub 170 players that have been rejected in the past. While at AFL level he won’t be afforded the same freedom he is at lower levels, with his skills, athleticism and football smarts there will always be a place for him regardless of size.

Jake Neade was given a chance at 170 centimetres and Daniel, being only two centimetres smaller, would be able to perform and impact like Neade did at the absolute worst. Dayne Zorko too is a small half forward/midfielder who found a place in the league through hard work and size hasn’t held him back. With Caleb Daniel’s work ethic and character there’s no reason why he can’t defy the odds and make the grade.

2013 Draft Profile: Darcy Hourigan

Darcy Hourigan (South Adelaide)

Height: 190 cm
Weight: 94 kg
Position: Key Forward
Player Comparison: Jack Darling
Strengths: Marking, Strength, Goalkicking
Weaknesses: Endurance

With the exception of Tom Boyd, Darcy Hourigan may well be the best big forward in this draft. Hourigan is well built, very good on the lead, and is very strong, which enables him to take big pack marks as well as beat his defender in a one-on-one contest. Playing in the SANFL this season also gives him that edge over the other forwards, as he’s up against matured bodies and more experienced players each week.

Darcy had a fantastic championships as he was crowned leading goal kicker, booting 16 goals in five games, including three each against quality division one opponents Vic Metro and Western Australia. He also made the Under 18’s All-Australian team, one of five South Australian players to do so.

Against Vic Metro, Hourigan showed just how dominant he could become in the forward line. He was too good for his opponent, leading him up the ground several times to get the ball and also staying deep in the forward line and taking contested marks. He took nine marks, had five inside 50’s and kicked three goals that day. He was just too strong and too good, which lead to SA getting the victory by just three points in the end.

His best game of the Championships may have come in the final round, against Western Australia. Hourigan again was dominant in the forward line, taking nine marks and kicking three goals. At times, Hourigan came as far as centre wing to receive the ball, and was then the man that set up the forward attack with his big left boot. He is also quite an accurate set shot, and can kick a goal on the run, which isn’t that easy for a man of his size. Hourigan’s stellar Under 18s Championships elevated him to a potential top 20 draft pick, as many teams liked what they saw.

In the Bound For Glory News Phantom Draft, Darcy Hourigan was selected by Gold Coast Suns with their compensation pick. Already having Ablett and O’Meara on their list, and possibly taking someone like Josh Kelly or Dom Sheed with their first pick, they’ve got the midfield quality to put the ball to Hourigan’s advantage every time. Just kicking the ball in the vicinity of Hourigan is good enough, as his contested and overhead marking is elite.

When he began his footy career in the SANFL Reserves, Hourigan was actually played as a backman. Even though he has cemented himself as a forward at this stage of his career, being able to do a job down back if required is a very handy attribute for a top draft prospect as versatility is something that the recruiters love to look at.

With teams like Gold Coast, GWS, Melbourne and St Kilda all having selections around the pick 19 mark, Hourigan may find that he gets a lot of senior action in 2014. He has the ability to be that second target man on the lead, but also with his body almost AFL ready, he could prove a real handful for defenders in a one out situation.