Tag: South Australia

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.”

Two years of footy enough for Rachelle Martin to blossom

HAILING from the Yorke Peninsula, which is about two hours from Adelaide, Rachelle Martin moved to the City of Churches for university.

Little did she know, she would start playing Australian Rules and begin what has been a successful career so far. Despite being a 19 year-old, Martin was selected to represent the Central Allies in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. She said she really enjoyed the camaraderie in the side and felt honoured to be selected to represent her state for the first time.

“I didn’t think I would make state because it’s Under 18s and I’m 19 so to be selected, it was a good feeling,” Martin said. “We didn’t spend much time together before the games but especially that second game, I think we tidied a lot of stuff up and we were supporting each other way more so it was really fun even though we lost, it was good to be around the girls.”

The Central Allies combined the best Under 18 South Australian and Northern Territory (NT) talent, and Martin admits that while it was interesting to play with the NT girls, she was able to bond with them straight away.

“A few of the SA girls did NT before so they did the Allies before,” the 19 year-old said. “You could see there was that bond there and it was easier to make friends because you had those connections. “It was interesting but it was good getting to know the girls. “I’ve heard those names before and now getting to see them play was really cool and knowing the academy players.”

In terms of her personal game, Martin believes she improved as the tournament went on, and noted the strengths and weaknesses of her playing style.

“My first game wasn’t the best I thought, but the second game, I thought I did better so it was alright,” she said. “I think my inside game’s not too bad. “I think I need to work on my fitness. “It probably lets me down a bit but it’s something to work on.”

This is not a bad weakness considering Martin did not play competitive football during her childhood.

“I never did footy when I was younger so I did tennis and soccer,” she said. “I (also) did calisthenics, netball, basketball; yeah I did a fair few sports.”

Despite not playing any competitive football, Martin and her sister had to entertain her brother, who was the only boy in the family.

“My brother played footy when he was younger and he’s the only boy so me and my sister were always forced to kick the footy with him whenever he wanted,” she said.

She also tasted Australian Rules at school, but could not play in the Yorke Peninsula at the time.

“We did a few nine-a-side games at school and from there, I just wanted to play footy, so I had to wait until I moved to Adelaide,” Martin said.

Since she has moved to Adelaide, Martin has played in both the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Statewide Super Women’s League for West Adelaide and in the South Australian Women’s Football League (SAWFL) for Fitzroy.

During her time at West Adelaide, the 19 year-old played 10 games and was named in the best in each game. Her side finished fourth on the ladder. In her time at Fitzroy in the SAWFL, Martin played seven games, was named in the best twice and kicked six goals. She admits during this time, she found it hard to balance her studies with her football, but she managed it as best she could.

“I’m doing accounting (at university),” Martin said. “It was pretty difficult with SANFL and state as well. “Having more football, it was hard to balance that but I got through it.”

Now that she has experienced representing her state and playing in two elite state leagues, Martin admits she is thinking about her AFLW prospects.

“I wouldn’t mind AFLW,” she said. “I’m not sure if I get picked up this year. “I think in the future it would be a good opportunity. “I would strive for it.”

Boles dared to dream, then followed her passion

IT began as a dare from her uncle, but it did not take long for Esther Boles to fall in love with football.

At first, it was the ability to “pummel” others into the ground, but then the AFL Women’s took shape and so many footballers she had grown up watching and playing alongside in South Australia were suddenly on television. For the South Australian captain, the AFL Women’s Under 18s Championships were a long way from her home town, but a realisation that all the hard work had paid off.

“I’m originally from Port Augusta, so country town about 500km from Adelaide,” Boles said. “My uncle just actually dared me to go to a training once and then went to one training and then the coach actually asked me to come back, and ever since then I’ve been playing, so I was 12 with the boys. “I originally played a bit of netball as most country girls do. “But I always found I was being told I was being too aggressive where this (football) was something you could pummel people into the ground, that was the aim of the game.”

Boles has carried that intensity at the ball carrier throughout her career, and thrives on the contested work. While she said she hoped to improve her decision making, she was glad how her skills had come along, thanks to those early experiences.

“I think tackling pressure is one of my strengths, but I think doing it with the boys right from a young age has helped with skills,” Boles said. “It’s a big part now. “The skills are never all that clean, but growing up and doing it with the boys has really helped and made it one of my strengths.”

The South Australian leader said the rise of women’s football through the AFL Women’s had effectively placed a carrot in front of all aspiring footballers and everyone was now doing everything in their power to achieve the dream of playing at the elite level.

“I think that it’s just so exciting,” Boles said. “I think playing for Morphettville Park back in Adelaide where 14 of those girls are now on TV and are now on little cards, and little kids know their name. “They just went from people who were just nobodies to people who are now somebodies. “It happened so quickly and it’s so exciting. “It drives all of us girls, it’s right in front of us and we know that it can happen with a bit of hard work.”

Committing to football was never easy work for Boles, who in her early years, took a 17-hour return bus trip just to play the game she loved. Now boarding in Adelaide – and she has since she was 15 – it is much easier to commit to training and games without the long distances. Boles said the belief that young girls could play AFL if they had the right mindset was huge for the junior players in South Australia.

“I think it just shows that it’s real,” Boles said. “I think that’s the biggest thing. “It’s proof right in front of our eyes, it’s right there ready to grab it, you’ve just got to put the hard yards in.”

Boles has certainly put the hard yards in, and the South Australian selectors agreed. They named her as captain for the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, something she found a little strange at first, but has thrived on the responsibility.

“I’ve really liked it (captaincy),” Boles said. “I think it’s been a pretty big journey. “I’ve been in this team since I was 14, so I’ve gone from being the little kid that everyone yelled at, to being all of a sudden the kid that was yelling at them. “It was really good. “The SANFL has really helped with growing up and it’s been a pretty good ride to be on.”

South Australia teamed up with Northern Territory to form the Central Allies for series two of the championships, something that added an extra dimension into the mix for Boles and her teammates.

“I think it’s been actually really hard, a lot harder than I thought,” Boles admitted. “I think when we got here it was a little bit exciting. “Hitting the ground running on Monday, we all got caught by surprise. “Those other teams have all been training together, they’ve got game plans. “We had nothing. “We just had a structure we’d learnt two hours before, we were chucked in the deep end. “But it meant players were able to shine and be able to show character, who could stand up in that sort of circumstance.”

Boles’ passion for football is obvious. So much so, she wants to remain involved in any way she can, studying hard to ensure she has options once she finishes school.

“(I’m) pretty big into school,” she said. “I hit the books pretty hard because obviously female football isn’t something you can rest on. “It’s not enough money, so I think a big thing for me is just sport in general. “I love anything sport, anything to do with sport, umpiring. “Anything, just the club, everything about it.”

One thing is for sure, as long as football is around, Esther Boles will not be too far away.

“I’ve thought a lot about that (career) this carnival,” Boles said. “Whether the draft comes off successful or not, but a big thing for me is I don’t care if I’m picked up or not picked up, I want to be involved in some way and become a coach, a line coach, a mentor, something. “I think it’s an exciting space to work in.”

Juggling multiple sports no problem for passionate Rachel Dunstan

SOUTH Australia Under 18 representative, Rachel Dunstan has always played netball and basketball. After seeing an online registration link for the Under 18 South Australian football side last year, she thought she would add another sport to her belt. Little did she know that she would discover a love for the sport and face a difficult decision to give away her other sports in pursuit of an AFLW contract.

“I just love lots of different sports,” Dunstan said. “It was hard to quit one so I always just tried to play as much as I could. “Footy was never a thing that I really looked into much. “But then in SA, because they didn’t have many teams or anything, they put out a registration form and it got cut from there.”

Dunstan was fortunate enough to make the final cut for the state side last year in her first ever year of football. Now that she has backed up her performance this year with a spot in the South Australian and Central Allies outfits, the 18 year-old admits that she has found a new belief in herself to progress further with football.

“I’ve got to start thinking about taking it further,” Dunstan said. “I’m looking to get drafted. “This year is obviously my top-age year but I feel like I’ve come in so late so I’ve got so much more to learn. “It would be a bonus if I got drafted this year but I think with a good pre-season behind me, learning more and sticking to one position, I’ll be ready to go for next season.”

But at the moment, Dunstan is content with balancing football, netball and basketball due to her passion for the sports.

“Everyone told me I’m crazy to do both this year with everything going on but I live in a really small community town and just know everyone, my whole family’s there so I just can’t give away that whole day on a Saturday because the boys footy and girls netball are at the same venue every week,” Dunstan said. “I absolutely love it, I just couldn’t give up playing netball yet even though I’m trying to balance them both.”

In the middle of this trifecta of sports is her Year 12 studies. Dunstan admits she doesn’t have much time on her plate, as she describes a typical week.

“So normally a week would be four trainings a week and that’s netball, basketball and footy,” she said. “Then there’s games on a weekend, normally state trainings would be on a Sunday morning then I play netball on Saturdays. “Then club footy is either a Friday night or a Sunday. “I don’t have much time and I really have to make sure I get it (homework) done at school.”

At the moment, Dunstan is busy studying the game of Australian Rules, admitting that she has an analytical side, which she has had since childhood.  

“I just love it (footy) so I would watch most games, all the boys every weekend, and I’m pretty analytic so I know exactly what’s going on,” she said. “ I’m good at just reading the play and identifying things in the game even though I probably couldn’t do it in the game.”

To improve her craft in the game, Dunstan is playing her first year of local football for the South Australian Women’s Football League (SAWFL) Under 18 side, Morphettville Park. Even though it was hard to land at a club, the 18 year-old is glad that she did, as it has given her an opportunity to develop her skills.

“This year was my first SANFL Women’s,” she said. “My zone didn’t have one (a team) so the state talent managers really had to get me at a different club and that was about an hour and a half away from where I live. “It was two trainings a week. “It wasn’t really close but yeah I’m loving playing club this year. “It’s good to just practice things there as well.”

Dunstan says her football skills have been progressing since she was a child, as she explains her love for the local club football environment.

“I’ve just always grown up around a footy at the local footy club and kicking it around,” the Central Allies representative said. “I obviously kicked the footy with all the A Grade boys when I was younger so that just made me love it. “I played state last year and this is my first proper year at a local club so yeah it’s been good but lots of improvement to go.”

As well as appearing for South Australia and the Central Allies in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, Dunstan has been named in the best for Morphettville Park’s Under 18 side five times in eight games.

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

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

SA Under 16s:

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

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

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

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

SANFL Wrap:

League

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

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

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

Reserves:

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

Under 18s:

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

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

SANFL Under 15 and Under 17 Competitions:

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

College Footy:

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

AFLW Under 18 Championships reviews: Central Allies

ALTHOUGH the Central Allies did not come away with a win, many players certainly showcased their talent and showed what they are made of. The side only met on the Saturday prior to the beginning of the Gold Coast carnival on the following Monday, which was two days later, so to scrape through with some admirable performances is a commendable effort considering the circumstances.

 

Key players:

Montana McKinnon

McKinnon had one of the strongest sets of hands during the carnival, taking plenty of marks in the back half and positioning herself well against opponents. She was great in a one-on-one situation, using her good bodywork to outmuscle opponents. Her kicks and tackling were also a highlight of her game and allowed her to be rewarded with a spot in the All Australian squad and a Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for her state.

Janet Baird

Named the Central Allies MVP, Baird proved how dangerous she can be with the ball in hand. Her run and carry across the ground was excellent and generated plenty of excitement during the carnival. Baird’s closing speed was also fantastic as she laid some bone-crunching tackles to stop opponents in their tracks.

Nikki Gore

A real leader on the field, Gore’s swift ball movement through the midfield allowed her to create many scoring opportunities. Her quick hands and precise kicking exemplified her excellent ball use and she was very deserving of an All Australian spot considering the fantastic efforts she has put in for the Central Allies.  

Esther Boles

The captain of the side and a player who displayed an incredible work ethic, Boles was sensational in the midfield. She went in hard at every contest and was able to display clean hands on the inside. Her kicks were long and penetrating and often helped her side to clear congestion.

Rachelle Martin

Although she only stands at 153cm, Martin was a highly dangerous forward for the Central Allies. She was able to sneak behind the pack many times to get the ball forward and she was able to use outside space well. Martin displayed a high work ethic throughout the carnival, displaying a constant aggression to win the football and create scoring opportunities.

Hannah Munyard

Munyard was an absolute bull through the midfield, winning the hard balls on the inside and displaying constant aggression to get it out to a runner on the outside. Munyard’s clean hands and long kicking were vital for her side and she excelled in both those areas. She was a player that never gave up and was at every contest trying to win the ball.

Katelyn Rosenzweig

A dominant force up forward, Rosenzweig enjoyed getting amongst the goals. She led well to the ball and often positioned herself well in one-on-one contests to take solid marks. She too had a long kick that created many forward thrusts for her side.

Tabitha May

Named Northern Territory’s MVP, May worked hard throughout the tournament to create run and carry in space. Another player who likes to tackle hard and she did so with intent, always trying to win the football.

 

RESULTS:

Monday July 9

EASTERN ALLIES 2.1 | 3.4 | 3.5 | 6.8 (44)
CENTRAL ALLIES 0.2 | 1.3 | 2.3 | 2.4 (16)

GOALS:

Eastern Allies: Lillian Doyle 3, Zoe Hurrell, Brea Quinlivan, Brianna McFarlane.
Central Allies: Arthurina Moreen, Katelyn Rosenzweig.

ADC BEST:
Eastern Allies: Lillian Doyle, Alyce Parker, Chloe Haines, Zoe HurRell, Brianna McFarlane.
Central Allies: Nikki Gore, Katelyn Rosenzweig, Esther Boles, Montana McKinnon, Arthurina Moreen.

 

Wednesday July 11

VIC COUNTRY: 1.1 | 3.2 | 5.4 | 6.6 (42)
CENTRAL ALLIES: 0.0 | 2.0 | 2.0 | 3.1 (19)

GOALS:
Vic Country: Lucy McEvoy 4, Molly McDonald, Nikia Webber.
Central Allies: Danielle Ponter 2, Katelyn Rosenzweig.

ADC BEST:
Vic Country: Lucy McEvoy, Nina Morrison, Jordyn Allen, Olivia Purcell, Nikia Webber, Sophie Van De Heuvel
Central Allies: Danielle Ponter, Amber Ward, Nikki Gore, Rachel Dunstan, Esther Boles, Hannah Munyard

 

Friday July 13

VIC METRO: 3.1 | 5.2 | 9.5 | 10.6 (66)
CENTRAL ALLIES 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.2 | 3.3 (21)

GOALS:
Vic Metro: Gabby Newton 2, Daisy Bateman 2, Britney Gutknecht 2, Cleo Saxon-Jones, Holly Bate, Madison Prespakis, Georgia Patrikios.
Central Allies: Danielle Ponter, Katelyn Rosenzweig, Rachelle Martin.

ADC BEST:
Vic Metro: Madison Prespakis, Georgia Patrikios, Daisy Bateman, Katie Lynch, Sarah Kendall, Eleanor Brown
Central Allies: Hannah Munyard, Montana McKinnon, Madeline Gault, Nikki Gore, Amber Ward, Madison Bennett

AFLW U18 Championships previews: Central Allies

SOUTH Australia and Northern Territory’s top footballers will form the Central Allies in a formidable outfit for the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. In the first series, South Australia won both its clashes against Northern Territory, but the top-end talent in both sides is clear. We took a look at the side’s key players and its upcoming fixture ahead of round two of the National Championships on the Gold Coast.

Key players:

Nikki Gore

An unbelievable young talent who took out the SANFL Women’s Rising Star award after a terrific season. The 17 year-old South Adelaide midfielder was named in the best a massive seven times out of a possible nine for her side, five of which she was deemed to be in the best two players in the side. Considering her team won the premiership and had the likes of GWS GIANTS star Courtney Gum in the side, it was a massive achievement for Gore to standout and expect her to be a shining light for the Central Allies in the upcoming national carnival. Not surprisingly, she made the SANFL Statewide Super Women’s League Team of the Year. In what was not a surprise to anyone, Gore was named South Australia’s top player from the first series against Northern Territory. Also joined NT Thunder for the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition and made her debut on the weekend, booting a goal against Collingwood.

Danielle Ponter

Already shining in the VFL Women’s competition for Essendon, Ponter has become a reliable mid/forward who predominantly spends time at half-forward while pinching minutes through the middle at times. A member of the AFL Women’s Academy, Ponter is looking to carry over her good form from the Victorian state league to be a crucial key up forward for the Central Allies. She has represented Northern Territory on 11 occasions so far and has won the Sharyn Smith Medal (best and fairest) every year in the Youth Girls. Ponter has famous bloodlines being a niece of Essendon legend Michael Long.

Katelyn Rosenzweig

The dominant goal kicker in the side, Katelyn Rosenzweig is the fifth tallest player in the Central Allies squad, and uses her height to advantage in the forward line. Against Northern Territory, she was the main target, booting three goals in both games to cause all sorts of headaches. Now in an even stronger team, expect her to work well with Ponter in the forward half. At senior level in the SANFL Statewide Women’s League, Rosenzweig booted a massive 15 goals from 11 games, including bags of four (Sturt) and three (Glenelg and South Adelaide). It will take a good defender to stop her and she will be one of the contenders for leading goal kicker in the carnival next week.

Janet Baird

Like Gore, Baird is an NT Thunder player in the VFL Women’s, making her debut earlier in the season against Darebin Falcons where she recorded 11 disposals, two marks and laid six tackles. Her defensive pressure is a highlight of her game and one of the key Northern Territory players to watch. She has great speed and is an exciting youngster who is a December-born player meaning still plenty of development left in her. At 160cm, she will be a pocket rocket around the ground that opposition sides will need to watch.

Esther Boles

A standout for North Adelaide this season, Boles was voted captain of the Croweaters ahead of the two-game series with the Northern Territory. In the SANFL Statewide Super Women’s League, Boles booted eight goals in 11 games, including six goals across four matches, named in the best on a couple of occasions. She has been know in the South Australian youth girls system since booting three goals against Norwood in the Under 16s competition back in 2015.

Abbie Ballard

If there is one South Australian girl to keep an eye on for the 2020 National AFL Women’s draft, it is Abbie Ballard. Before her 16th birthday, Ballard was already standing out in the SANFL Statewide Super Women’s League for West Adelaide, booting two goals in the final game of the season to be named best by her coaches. It was the fourth consecutive game she was named among the bests for West Adelaide, including two majors the week before. She might be the second youngest in the squad – born nine days earlier than fellow Croweater Teah Charlton – but she is expected to make a big contribution at the national carnival.

Rachel Dunstan

The vice-captain of the South Australian team played for Sturt in the SANFL Statewide Super Women’s League given her aligned club of Woodville-West Torrens were yet to have a side. She managed nine games with the Double Blues, named in the best on a couple of occasions and booting a goal. Her leadership will be important, as will her height in a side which is predominantly smaller – Dunstan is 168cm with 19 players below 165cm. In 2017, she played at the National Championships at half-back and is one of the better playmakers in the side, with impressive skills that hurt opposing sides.

 

Fixture:

Game 1: vs. Eastern Allies

Monday July 9 at Metricon Stadium

The first day will see the Central Allies take on fellow combined side Eastern Allies in a game they will go in confident they can win. The Eastern Allies have some serious top-end talent in Alyce Parker, as well as Chloe and Libby Haines, but the likes of Janet Baird and Abbie Ballard will look to counteract the taller side and use pace to run them off their legs. If they can control the ball through the midfield it gives their strong forward line a huge chance to kick a winning score on the big ground at Metricon Stadium.

Game 2: vs. Victoria Country

Wednesday July 11 at Broadbeach

Heading over to Broadbeach, the game against Vic Country will prove to be a challenging one. The likes of Tyla Hanks, Nina Morrison and Olivia Purcell in the middle will always cause headaches for opposition sides, and the good defensive outfit will be touch to kick a score against. Danielle Ponter could find herself lining up against Emily Haeusler – a defender who’s strength is in her one-on-ones and is quick, while Katelyn Rosenzweig might find Lucy McEvoy wears her like a glove. To beat Vic Country, you just have to be smart with the ball and make the most of your opportunities.

Game 3: vs. Victoria Metro

Friday July 13 at Bond University  

The final game of the week does not get any easier, with likely title favourites Vic Metro standing in the Central Allies’ way at Bond University. Madison Prespakis vs. Nikki Gore should be a thrilling midfield battle, while the Metro side is littered with class such as Georgia Patrikios up forward – who could well be a great head-to-head with Rachel Dunstan. The speed of Metro through Mikala Cann and Marnie Jarvis is sure to be a big consideration in team selection for the Central Allies, with perhaps Tabitha May and Janet Baird among those looking to cause havoc with speed the other way.

National U18 Championships previews: Round 5

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

ALLIES V. WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Wednesday, July 4, 2.10pm
Etihad Stadium

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

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

VIC METRO V. SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Wednesday, July 4, 4.40pm
Etihad Stadium

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

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

Scouting notes: Allies vs. South Australia

IN the first of our two-game scouting notes wrap up for the National Championships on the weekend, we took a look at the Allies and South Australia. Scott Dougan, James Goller and Callum Thomson split up to take a look at the Allies, while Damon Mattiazzo, David Chapman and Jamie Morgan noted down the South Australian side.

Allies:

#1 Connor Budarick

The bottom-ager aligned with the Gold Coast Suns played up forward and was able to hit the scoreboard in the last quarter with a beautiful dribble kick. Throughout stages of the game, he showed aggression in contested situations and composure on the outside. Budarick is not the tallest of players but his speed, agility and footy smarts make up for his height. A classy footballer who will be one to watch out for next year.

#3 Josh Stern

Stern was part of the Allies forward line and also drifted through the midfield when needed. He played on the outside of the contest and his ball use was good. But he was unable to have any sort of impact on the game, failing to lay a tackle and only amassing four disposals.

#6 Rhyan Mansell 

The Tasmanian had an impressive diving smother on the half-back flank in the first quarter, but unfortunately, the ball rebounded back inside South Australia’s forward 50. Mansell was at his best in contested situations, releasing the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. He worked hard to get from contest to contest and was able to hit the scoreboard in the last quarter after crumbing a Nick Blakey marking contest superbly.

#7 Jesse Quint

Quint played forward and booted the Allies first goal after he crumbed a marking contest inside 50. He lacked intensity and grunt when he lost an important one-on-one contest in the second quarter to a more desperate South Australian player. Quint found it difficult to get involved during the game but popped up in the third quarter with a notable contested mark against Will Gould.

#10 Chayce Jones

The hard-running midfielder was one of the Allies best in their 24-point defeat. Jones had an important spoil in the first term which resulted in Jesse Quint kicking the first goal for the Allies. His aggression on the contest, work-rate, pressure and competitiveness were a highlight throughout the day. He won the ball in contested situations but also found it just as easy to find it on the outside. His defensive running was faultless and clear when he was able to keep up with speedy South Australian, Hayden Sampson after he sprinted 100 metres to make himself an option in the forward 50. Jones’ kicking has been criticised and does need some work, but in the fourth quarter, he was able to hit up the leading Nick Blakey on the chest with a blistering opposite foot bullet. A very solid four-quarter performance from the possible first-round draft pick.

#11 Keidean Coleman

Coleman was responsible for the Allies kick-ins and played as a rebounding defender. His ball use was clean and his composure under pressure was good. He did not find much of the ball but made the correct decisions when he had it. Coleman made a couple of defensive errors in the match, one in the third quarter when he went up for a marking contest with two other teammates and failed to keep his feet, resulting in a goal for South Australia. Another one came in the last quarter when he was walking around without an opponent, unaware of his surroundings, which lead to an opposition player leading to a massive area of space with ease, gifting him a shot at goal.

#12 Mitchell O’Neill

The bottom-age outside midfielder was one of the top contributors for the Allies. He showed poise and composure with ball in hand and his ball use was exceptional when delivering the ball inside 50. He was involved in both of Nick Blakey’s goals in the second quarter, which helped the Allies to regain the confidence and desire they were lacking in the first term. O’Neill played all over the ground and worked hard to get involved in as many passages of play as possible. One of his several high points of the day came in the third term when he positioned himself wonderfully in front of a one-on-one contest deep inside 50, reading the play well and booting an important goal.

#15 Guy Richardson

Richardson was solid in the back half, remaining calm when the Allies defence was under siege in periods throughout the game. His penetrating kick was handy when rebounding out of the defensive 50 and he always used the ball well. He was unable to lay a tackle but showed glimpses of competitiveness.

#17 Thomas Matthews

Matthews a tough backman, laid six strong tackles in his game against South Australia. One of these was a goal-saving tackle in the third quarter. This is where he showed great follow up pressure. He had two rebounds from the defensive fifty, where he lowered his eyes and was composed when making decisions. You really know what your going to get from Matthews , trying all day. He also took a strong intercept mark. Matthews is also hard to tackle and broke through a number of South Australian tackles.

#19 Bailey Scott

A interesting player, Scott, the father-son prospect for North Melbourne and Geelong but is also an Academy player for the Gold Coast Suns. Scott played throughout the midfield and forward line. He showed his forward craft by kicking two goals. He has the ability to generate a high number of possessions as Scott had the most disposals for the Allies with 22 possessions. He also showed his midfield craft gaining three clearances and four inside 50s. Scott at times was able to break away from stoppages by using his speed which was impressive. He showed that he can make solid decisions with the ball in hand. Not only that but Scott’s hands were good in congestion. With Scott’s kicking, he hit Tarryn Thomas on the chest with a 45-50 metre kick which caught the eye and did this again with hitting up teammate Nick Blakey.

#20 Fraser Turner

Turner played mostly on the wing and through the midfield for Allies. He set up a goal early with nice hands from a crumbling situation. He showed his ability to weave out of congestion very well. In congestion, Turner had quick hands and made solid decision making skills. He had 17 possessions for the day, but did not lay a tackle.

#26 Thomas Green

Green played in the midfield for the Allies . A highlight was his six tackles and he looked fairly strong in the contest. An in and under player, he also took a nice intercept mark running off his opponent and reading the ball well in the air. Green ended up collecting 13 possessions. He was another Allies player that showed in congestion good use with his handballing.

#28 Matthew Green

Green did not have a big day at the office however there were certain parts to his game that were solid. Green has break away speed which he used across the half-back line. He rebounded the ball a few times importantly out of defence. Green used his speed to break through the lines by really taking the game on.

#29 Joey Reinhard

Was barely sighted in the first half, but had a much better second half of the game. Playing across the half-back line and wing for the Allies. Reinhard showed solid work rate by when it comes to his running patterns. He showed some leg speed in the contest and managed three inside 50s in the second half.

#31 Connor McFadyen

McFadyen had a outstanding game for the Allies. He was one of the best on for them, collecting 21 possessions. Playing through the midfield and forward line he really put on fantastic pressure on his opponents laying seven tackles. He pinch-hit in the ruck to give Kieren Briggs a chop out. This is where McFadyen kicked a ripping goal on his left from the stoppage. The 190cm McFadyen was really strong in the contest, which allowed him to have six clearances and five inside 50s. The Brisbane Academy player played a great game and is one to keep a watch on especially Brisbane Lions fans.

#37 Jacob Koschitzke

The key back had a solid game against the South Australian team. After coming off a great match against Vic Metro. Koschitzke started well taking two really good marks. He really reads the ball well in flight, as a number of times he ran off his opponent to spoil contests. He showed courage in the game also with a back with a flight spoil which caught the eye.

#40 Kieren Briggs

The GWS Giants academy big man looked dangerous all day, alternating between the forward line and the ruck. When in the ruck, Briggs was able to impose himself around the ground and win the majority of the ruck contests. Up forward Briggs presented well whether as a stay at home forward or a linking target further up the ground. If he could not mark the ball in the contest, he was able to bring it down to ground level and provide the smaller forwards with opportunities. What sets Briggs apart from most other big men is his desire. He had a fantastic chase down in the third term and consistently provided defensive pressure and second efforts. Finishing with 22 hitouts, 12 disposals and seven tackles, Briggs was one of the Allies best.

#41 Mathew Walker

Walker played a solid game without doing anything special, finishing with 10 touches, two marks and two tackles. Spending most of his time as a half-forward, the GWS Academy product also rotated into the midfield but failed to make an impact. When Walker got the ball he was able to use it cleanly, while without the ball, he applied good defensive pressure.

#44 Caleb Graham

Graham played in a variety of positions today, showing off his versatility. The Gold Coast Academy prospect started the game up forward where he could not impact the game. Moving into the ruck, Graham was able to win his fair share of hit outs as well as get the better of his opponent around the ground. Graham looked most comfortable down back, where he was able to read the play well, talking a couple of nice intercept marks. Graham finished the game with 28 hitouts, eight disposals and four marks.

#46 Tarryn Thomas

Thomas was not up to his usual standards, but always looked dangerous when in and around the contest. Up forward, Thomas provided good pressure and was always a threat at ground level. In the midfield, Thomas used the ball well when he had the opportunity, especially by hand. Thomas played his best when he was in and under the contest, getting first use of the ball and using his clean hands to find an open teammate. The Tasmanian finished with 12 disposals and six tackles and continues to show glimpses of something special.

#47 Nicholas Baker

Baker was set the task of defending South Australia’s best forwards. He started on Connor Rozee and moved onto Jack Lukosious in the second quarter to curb his influence. Baker was able to read the play well, leaving his man to get to contests and spoil. One of the Allies best defenders, Baker finished with 11 disposals and five tackles.

#48 Dirk Koenen

Playing as a key pillar in defence, Koenen came off the ground after a contest halfway through second quarter for treatment on a high right hamstring, but came back on later in the quarter. Koenen was good in the aerial contests and used the ball well when in possession, finishing with 10 disposals and three marks.

#49 Nick Blakey

Blakey was quiet in the first quarter but took a strong mark early in the game. Blakey scored his first early in the second snapping it home from a Briggs hand off. Less than a minute later he kicked his second after a strong lead. Blakey looks most dangerous when he can run and jump at the ball. He doesn’t break stride on the lead and marks the ball at the highest point. Blakey was able to play deep or as a linking option. The Sydney academy member was one of the Allies best finishing with 11 possessions, six marks and two goals (three behinds).

South Australia:

#2 Hayden Sampson

The son of Adelaide Crows premiership player Clay Sampson had a solid contribution to South Australia’s with 12 disposals and three marks. He showed his opportunist forward instincts with a great roving goal in the third quarter after the ball raced away from a stoppage in SA’s forward line.

#3 Boyd Woodcock

Serial ball winner Woodcock played his first game of the carnival and provided an extra outlet through the midfield and half-forward. His tackling pressure was great throughout the game, and he also kicked a top goal from outside 50 to cap off a decent game.

#4 Kade Chandler

Unfortunately Chandler struggled to have a great impact on the game, against Vic Country in the previous game his tackling pressure was massive with 12, but only could muster four against the Allies.

#10 Martin Frederick

The Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy player played his best game for the carnival as he was a crucial element to South Australia’s run and carry from defence. His disposal is left to be desired at times but two inside 50s and three rebounds highlighted his influence. Frederick showed off his dashing run and “sold candy” as he kicked a superb goal on the run from a difficult angle.

#11 Finn Betterman

Betterman was one of the best for his side as his performance was significant to the great victory. Betterman found plenty of the ball in the early exchanges of the match and continued to be consistent throughout. His highlight for the game was definitely his pressure around the ball as he claimed 10 tackles for the day. His pressure was most evident when he smothered an Allies kick out of defence and followed on to kick a great snap goal.

#13 Connor Rozee

Rozee had his most influential game of the carnival and was firing from the start as he kicked the first goal of the game. His kicking was a joy to behold throughout the match, later on Rozee was hurt from a pack mark attempt but played out the game with no problems.

#14 Izak Rankine

Rankine kicked three goals as he lit up at the GMHBA Stadium with his daring dash and explosiveness. He started through the midfield and found plenty of the ball in the early stoppages and finished with 20 disposals a carnival high for Rankine. Kicked two outstanding goals to lift his side and provided plenty with score involvements across the game.

#16 Tom Lewis

An unsung leader of the team Lewis was highly influential for his side again across the stoppages. Lewis provided a game high 11 tackles and three clearances as he complimented clearance kings Valente and Hately fantastically.

#18 Oscar Chapman

The medium-tall forward was always presenting, but was not used that much, provided a lot of forward pressure and finished with a nice goal from the boundary.

#22 Jacob Kennerley

The winger was again important with his 17 disposals and the link between the arcs. With five inside 50s he helped set up many scoring opportunities.

#23 Aaron Nietschke

Playing mainly in the defensive half, Nietschke showed real poise on a number of occasions to stem the flow from the Allies with a crucial mark.

#25 Tom Sparrow

The inside bull was everywhere and works hard and fast. Sparrow had nine disposals, but also had nine tackles and continues to play well as a defensive mid.

#27 Jez McLennan

Playing across half-back, McLennan was at his best when taking the game on whilst rebounding. Did also take a nice defensive pack mark as well.

#29 Kai Pudney

The winger had 15 disposals and five marks and provided an outlet on a number of occasions, but probably would have liked to make a bit more of an impact on the game.

#30 Ben Jarvis

Smart play on a number of occasions saw Jarvis on the end of many attacks. The medium/tall forward kicked 2.3 and had five good marks.

#32 Luke Valente

A real leaders’ game and showed the way in the first quarter. Continued to lead all players with game high 28 disposals and worked hard inside the contest. Showed his class and work rate all game despite a quiet second quarter but his six clearances were important. Coming into his own during the National Championships, and his stocks would have risen after this game.

#33 Tyler Martin

Did not win much of the footy, but was still solid in defence all game. Competed well when the ball was in his area and certainly played his role. He is a good size and show some poise coming out of defence.

#34 Jackson Hately

Showed in this game what he can do. Down and dirty inside at the contest, and his decision making in traffic was very good and often released others from the contest with handball. Eight tackles and six clearances was reflective of his work rate, and his height and size looks ready-made for the contest. A very good all-round game

#37 Riley Grundy

The tall defender worked into the game after the first quarter. His intercept marks looked to give him confidence and his athleticism was at show for sure. Allies forward Nick Blakey was on top early, but Grundy dug in and certainly kept the Allies key forward quieter in the second half. Bit of polish to finish his work will come with more games

#42 Jack Lukosius

Came out blazing in the first quarter, and his work rate across the ground stood out along with his elite disposal. He played a higher role up the ground, worked into defence and really did it all at both ends. He was rewarded with a goal, and three inside 50s and rebound 50s was reflective of an all-round game. He drifted out of the game along with teammates in the second quarter, but his disposal continues to impress.

#43 Will Gould

Liked his game across half-back, and had the key match up early on Blakey. Gould was settled in defence and read the ball well with a number of intercepts finishing with 7 marks. Showed his ability to run and work rate up the ground at times as well and he held the SA defence together all game. Looks like he will be right amongst it in next years draft.

#44 James Siviour

Shared the ruck duties with Hugo Munn, and competed well. Did not find a lot of the footy, but broke even at most of the ruck contests.

#47 Hugo Munn

Settled in the first quarter, and looked really dangerous up forward, slotting one goal and could have had three by quarter time. A quiet second quarter, but then his ruck and around the ground work after half time was good. His decision making was excellent hitting up targets and willingness to compete on the ground stood out. Like his athleticism and ability to run out the game in Ruck and up forward.

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.