Scouting notes: Victorian trials

WET weather and blustery conditions played havoc at Ikon Park for the two Vic Country and Vic Metro Under 18 trial matches on Sunday.

With the Level 2 AFL Academy players rested from the games, alongside some injured prospects, it gave some other boys a chance to put their hand up to make the final squads for the AFL National Under 18 Championships. Vic Country won both games, but the results of the 15 minute quarter matches were irrelevant.

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:

GAME 1: 

#3 Mitchell Riordan (Vic Country) – Played in the attacking half of the ground, winning ball in the midfield and pushing forward well. He booted a goal in the second quarter, soccering the ball through the big sticks.

#5 Kye Quirk (Vic Metro) – Played mostly across half-back and found a bit of the football. Provided some run out of defensive 50 and used the ball reasonably well. Marked well overhead when required.

#6 Justin McInerny (Vic Metro) – Started in the midfield and did some impressive things early in the game. Had a nice passage across half-back, marking and getting the ball moving quickly with a short handball. His kicking was just okay in what was tough conditions for outside players.

#6 Matthew McGannon (Vic Country) – The overager was rocking a flashy pair of bright orange boots and had most of his impact in the opening half. He linked up well on the outside, willing to kick on either foot – making it hard to work out which is his preferred. He hit a lot of targets on the outside.

#8 Xavier O’Halloran (Vic Metro) – Started in the midfield, but basically did a straight swap with Alastair Richards after half-time. In an unfamiliar role in the backline, O’Halloran did some good things – taking a few kick outs and rebounding it well. Showed his strength in one contest, putting his head over the ball and winning a one-on-one.

#9 Irving Mosquito (Vic Country) – Did some nice things when he flashed in the contest. He didn’t boot a goal, but made his possessions count. He had a few runs towards goal, including one where he took a few bounces across half forward. He has plenty of tricks and his hands in close are very good.

#15 Zak Butters (Vic Metro) – One player who stood out during the day. He is a flashy player that makes you take notice of him, with good bursts through the midfield. Butters won the ball and was reasonably effective by foot, an area that I have thought in the past had plenty of room for improvement.

#17 Finlay Bayne (Vic Country) – One player who I had not seen a lot of coming into the game, but he won a lot of possessions during the game. The 177cm Stingray was good in both uncontested and contested situations, and finished the match well with a mark inside 50 – before booting home the goal.

#18 Alastair Richards (Vic Metro) – Was one of the few players who you could say that you left the ground thinking about how well they played. Was clearly the best player on the ground in the first game (and arguably the whole day). Richards started the day deep in defence as a small defender, but pushed into the midfield in the second half and dominated. He booted two goals for the game, using it well off his right foot and used his hands well in close. A very agile player who has had a superb start to season 2018.

#18 Hudson Garoni (Vic Country) – Started the game with two goals in the opening quarter. He provided a marking target during the match, with a nice lead up mark in the third quarter one of his few better touches. Another highlight was a right foot “na na” from a set shot that Brian Taylor would have enjoyed.

GAME 2: 

#5 Angus Hanrahan (Vic Metro) – Played right around the ground in the Vic Metro team, snapping a nice goal in the second quarter. In the opening quarter, he took a very good intercept mark in defence and in another passage of play saw him kick the ball into a damaging position into the corridor to find a Metro teammate.

#7 Sam Flanders (Vic Country) – Arguably one of the best players in Game 2, coming off a big 20 disposal and four goal game. He had an outstanding run down tackle in the 2nd quarter. He then picked up the ball and hit Charlie Sprague inside 50 who slotted the goal. He booted the only goal of the first quarter from the goal square, putting the ball out of Ikon Park.

#9 Zane Keighran (Vic Country) – Had a few good touches through the midfield, but occasionally did not elect to use the first option he had. He did take a good mark inside 50 in the 2nd quarter and showed enough to suggest he is a player to keep an eye on.

#10 Zac Foot (Vic Country) – Played a very good game last week and had a good opening half. He won the football through the midfield and provided some good burst out of the stoppages.

#11 Liam Stocker (Vic Metro) – Has been putting together a really strong first month for the Sandringham Dragons and continued to do some good things today. He has some speed that helps him at stoppages burst away from opponents, but what is impressive is his second efforts where he hunts the ball carrier. His hands in close were very good.

#13 Lachlan Sholl (Vic Metro) – Has a bit of X-Factor with the way he plays, flashing on the outside. He has a good kick on either side of his body and he had a few nice touches early in the contest.

#16 James Rowbottom (Vic Metro) – His pressure was good around the ground, where he mostly played in the attacking half of the ground. A clear highlight was the outnumbered Rowbottom winning a two-on-one contest, bringing the ball to ground before he smartly knocked it out of bounce to force a stoppage.

#21 Charlie Sprague (Vic Country) – Sprague in his blue boots booted a goal and won footy in the midfield. He set up Flanders in the goal square in the 1st quarter and Flanders returned serve, when he set up Sprague’s goal. His work in the midfield and across half-forward was good.

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