SANFL U18s MOTR: Round 1 – West Adelaide vs. Norwood
THE 2022 SANFL Under 18s season got underway on the weekend, with four sides kicking their campaigns off in style. Clearly the closest game of the round saw West Adelaide defeat Norwood by 23 points at Hisense Stadium on Saturday. In our first SANFL Under 18s Match of the Round feature for the year, we note the prominent players from that clash, before taking a look around the grounds.
By: Micah Hann
#9 Kobe Ryan
Ryan looked a level above as he cruised to 30 disposals and a goal. He was clean inside the contest and was a constant threat at stoppage, where he demonstrated his ability as a first-possession winner. Ryan was equally effective on the outside, finding plenty of the football with overlap run and delivering the ball effectively by foot. His work rate to find space and appetite to get the ball in his hands really stood out as Ryan was the catalyst for a lot of West Adelaide’s ventures into the forward half, highlighted by his 10 inside 50s. It was an incredibly well-balanced game from Ryan, who was able to showcase his inside-outside ability and lead his side to a great first-up win.
#33 Will Patton
It was a solid game with very few mistakes from Patton, as he patrolled across half-back. There were few better moments than when he went back with the flight to take a courageous intercept mark and his rebounding kick from defensive 50 to a leading teammate on the wing, really highlighted his class. The bottom-age AFL Academy member already looks incredibly comfortable at SANFL U18 level, however it’ll likely be one of just a few opportunities for Patton in this competition, as he is expected to spend most of the year playing for Sacred Heart College at school level.
#34 Anthony Munkara
Munkara was an excitement machine producing a number of eye-catching plays throughout the contest. His chase down tackle on Norwood midfielder, Tyson Walls highlighted his defensive capabilities and his impact in the forward half proved he can hit the scoreboard in bunches. After a quiet first half, Munkara read the ball beautifully off the pack to kick his first for the day. His second came five minutes later when he was able to sneak out the back to soccer one over the line. After receiving the ball at high half forward, Munkara accelerated inside forward 50, took a couple of bounces and wheeled round the body to snap his third. His last was another snap shot from a similar spot, which all but sealed the win for the Bloods.
#36 Tyson Coe
It was a big second half from Coe, who really worked his way into the contest. He showed off an impressive running capacity to work into space and accumulate the football, finishing with 27 disposals and 10 marks. Strong and hard in the contest, Coe can have an impact in a number of ways and some further development in his kicking could see him take his game to another level.
#37 Tom Scully
Scully went head to head with Max Michalanney in what was really a tale of two halves for the tall forward. Scully had little impact in the first two quarters but came to life in the second half after he snatched an incredible mark from Michalanney’s hands in the goal square. His second goal came part way through the last term from an incredible snap, 35m out, on his non-preferred left foot. Scully was able to get much better separation on the lead in the second half but unfortunately couldn’t capitalise on a number of set shots, to finish with two goals and three behinds on the day.
#51 Harry Barnett
Barnett dominated the ruck contest and used his physical advantage to win a game high 20 hit-outs. His follow up work and impact around the contest, especially at centre bounce, was impressive as he won the second most clearances of any player on the ground. Barnett’s running ability allowed him to find the ball in open space, where he was able to deliver a number of low, penetrating kicks to teammates. His ability to execute by foot is particularly rare for a player his size, with a lack of composure the only thing that occasionally lets him down. The combination of Barnett’s physical attributes and skill level suggests he’s going to be a dominant player in the SANFL Under 18 competition this year, with a call up to senior football likely on the cards.
#4 Tyson Walls
Walls started like a house on fire, finding plenty of the football in the first quarter. He didn’t seem to have the influence that he would’ve liked though, as he was often forced onto his non-preferred left foot, rendering a number of his disposals ineffective. His attack on the ball was fierce throughout the contest and he consistently fought out of his weight-class. A nice play in the second half saw Walls break into space and find a leading teammate with a perfectly weighted kick. His seven inside 50s and six rebound 50s highlight how well he covered the ground and if Walls can tidy up some of his work by foot, he’ll be an incredibly damaging player in 2022.
#9 Taj Rahui
It was a quiet day for Rahui that didn’t get off to a good start after he conceded back to back 25m penalties, to gift Kobe Ryan a goal. His best moment came with a blistering run off half back, finished off with a classy kick to hit up a leading teammate, through the middle of the ground.
#20 Riley Verrall
Verrall found a bit of the ball across half back as he worked with Max Michalanney to repel a number of West Adelaide attacks forward. Verrall was strong in the contest, laid a couple of big tackles and was able to push his opponent off a number of ground balls to create advantages for teammates. It was a solid outing for Verrall, highlighted by a number of one percenters not found on the stat sheet.
#23 Max Michalanney
Arguably Norwood’s best player on the day, Michalanney dominated his match up with Tom Scully early, taking every chance available to work off him and generate some run from the defensive half. His work one on one against an opponent much taller than him was exceptional and it was only as Norwood’s pressure through the middle of the ground dropped off in the second half that Scully started to find more of the football. Michalanney’s speed to break the lines from half back was impressive and his ball use out of defence was exceptional. His game-high 13 rebound 50s kept Norwood in the game despite West Adelaide dominating through the middle of the ground.
#27 Phoenix Foster
Another of Norwood’s best, Foster was a real aerial threat inside forward 50 for the Redlegs and made the most of his opportunities when they came. His equal game-high 4 goals to go with a couple of contested marks and another goal assist, highlighted his influence on the contest. Foster had his go in the ruck too and competed hard, though he certainly played his best football on the day, up forward.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
By: Tom Wyman
Glenelg managed to gain some revenge for last season’s bitter Grand Final defeat, by thrashing reigning premiers Woodville-West Torrens by 110 points at Thebarton Oval.
The Bays hit the front early in the contest and didn’t look back, booting 10 straight goals in the final term to send a strong message of intent to the rest of the competition.
Unimpeded by college football, but without captain Lachlan Scannell through injury, Glenelg was well led by exciting bottom-age midfielder Ben Ridgway, who amassed 31 disposals, three goals, six marks, four tackles, eight clearances and five inside 50s.
Fellow South Australia Academy Hub members Jakob Ryan (28 disposals and six marks) and Archie Lovelock (18 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and a goal) were also impressive, with Ashton Moir booting five goals up forward.
Speedster Hayden Brokensha (30 disposals, seven marks and three clearances) and Thomas Corcoran (30 disposals, one goal, six marks and seven inside 50s) found plenty of the ball for the Tigers, while Jayden Davis, Kynan Dunn and Ethan Murdock both slotted three majors apiece.
On a challenging day for the Eagles, talented duo Adam D’Aloia and Mattaes Phillipou both did all they could. D’Aloia was the leading possession getter for his side, winning 25 disposals, three marks, nine tackles, eight clearances, six inside 50s and a goal in a strong start to his top-aged season. Power father-son prospect Phillipou was also busy, accumulating 24 disposals, six marks and five clearances.
North Adelaide easily accounted for Central District away from home on Sunday morning. It was an even contribution from the Roosters, with 14 players managing 15-plus disposals.
Billy Dowling proved damaging in the coalface and around goal, winning 29 disposals and booting three goals. He also laid eight tackles.
Skilful utility Max Blacker booted a game-high four goals to go with his 20 touches and five inside 50s to open his account in style.
Skipper James White finished with 18 possessions, two goals and six clearances, while talented Adelaide Next Generation Academy forward Isaac Keeler booted 2.3 in front of goal from 19 disposals, and also gave Jack Hodges a chop-out in the ruck.
Bottom-aged Bulldogs midfielder Trent Tattoli made an excellent impression at Under 18 level as a sixteen-year-old last season, and picked up where he left off, winning a team-high 27 possessions, a goal, six marks, five tackles and four inside 50s.
Tall forward Brodie Tuck, who was appointed captain of Centrals’ Under 18s for the year, kicked two goals and made an impact when used on-ball, winning seven hit-outs and five clearances.
After finishing on the bottom of the ladder last season, Sturt stunned South Adelaide to the tune of 76 points at Noarlunga.
Double Blue Chad Reschke was the star of the show, nailing seven goals up forward including the first two majors of the game.
South Adelaide managed just two goals to half time, with Sturt midfielders Cormac Dwyer, Loch Rawlinson, Kobe McEntee and Nick Sadler comfortably on top. Dwyer finished as the leading ball-winner on the ground, gathering an impressive 28 touches, 11 marks, four tackles, five clearances, eight inside 50s and three goals.
Ben Spehr had just five touches but made the most of his opportunities, booting three goals.
For South Adelaide, on-baller Angus Bradley was the standout, accumulating 23 disposals, nine marks (two contested), six tackles, five clearances and four inside-50s. Exciting bottom-ager Jack Delean was restricted to just eight touches and a goal, while key defender Kyle Marshall stood tall to gather 15 disposals, six marks and four rebounds.
The SANFL League and Reserves competitions kick off next weekend, with Adelaide taking on Port Adelaide in a showdown curtain-raiser.