Scouting notes: 2017 SANFL U18 Grand Final

LAST week the ‘Double Blues’ won the SANFL Torrens Uni Under 18 Cup with a 43-point win over Woodville-West Torrens Eagles at Adelaide Oval.

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:


#1 James Rowe – Won plenty of football on the inside and registered a stack of inside 50s. Rowe has a burst of speed going forward and was willing to pump it long on either his left or right foot. Took a nice mark in the attacking half of the ground early in the contest and won the ball in the clearances. At times he did just bomb it long, but the South Australian Under 18 player was the best player on the ground.

#7 Cooper Gaffney – Worked hard both ways through the midfield. Gaffney used it reasonably well off his left foot and possesses a quick handball – which can be quite useful in the contested situations. Snapped at goal in the second quarter, but missed the chance.

#14 Isaac Moller – Was good playing as a forward utility and was able to mark on the lead. His second efforts were impressive for a medium sized player. One moment in the third quarter saw him mark, but rush to play on and was dispossessed. Converted two of his chances from the mark and slotted set shot goals in the third and fourth quarter. Finished with 10 marks and three goals.

#17 Thomas Schmusch – Played as a shut down defender and was able to rebound the ball on multiple occasions. Has a long right foot kick which he used at times.

#18 Jake Weidemann – The bustling red head played as a forward, and did push into the midfield at stages. The Eagles captain rushed the ball forward at times, but did have a very good moment in the second quarter spoiling the ball in the contest. A strong lead mark in the fourth quarter was impressive, with a handball leading to a goal assist being his best involvement for the day.

#45 Andrew McPherson – Looked very promising after missing a lot of football in season 2017. McPherson was composed with ball in hand across half back and showed off his clean right foot kick rebounding it well out of defensive 50. Possesses a long handball and was able to start as an inside midfielder in the second quarter. Unfortunately, suffered concussion in the second term and didn’t return.


#3 Michael Ortiz – One of the faster South Australia players bobbed up to boot five goals in the game. Ortiz was able to win the contested ball and wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. Booted a fantastic goal in the third quarter, weaving through a handful of players and snapping the goal.

#4 Jordan Houlahan – The medium forward was impressive pulling off multiple contested marks. Houlahan was good at ground level and was able to hit the scoreboard, booting four goals for the game. Has shown in 2017 he is a draftable player.

#5 Ed Allan – Continued his great ball winning ability – but impressively it was his defensive work that was noticeable, often finding himself picking himself from the stoppages after tackling an opponent to the ground. Used the ball well off his left foot and looked to switch when he could. Booted two goals for the game and had plenty of inside 50s.

#6 Adam Trenorden – Booted a point early in the contest but the Sturt captain was able to find plenty of the ball as their leading disposal winner for the game with 27 touches. A nice kick long hit Jordan Houlahan in the second quarter and Trenorden had a good game in the midfield.

#8 Mitch Crowden – Crowden has played League footy at times this season and was able to use his bigger frame in the midfield to effectiveness. Had a long penetrating left foot kick and was able to take it onside 50 on multiple occassions – including a goal assist to Jordan Houlahan coming from outside 50. Turned and booted a superb goal from outside 50 in the final quarter.

#14 Charlie Ballard – One of the more impressive players in terms of draftability and could almost end up the first South Australian drafted. Ballard controlled the play on the wing and was calm & composed with ball in hand. Ballard hit majority of his targets on his right foot and marks well overhead. He is a skinny build, but has plenty of scope to fill out at an AFL environment. Had a few eye-catching runs down the wing and was able to bring it inside 50.

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