SANFL Player Focus: Harry Lemmey (West Adelaide)
WEST Adelaide has made a happy knack of nurturing high quality forwards, and Harry Lemmey is the latest on the production line. The 18-year-old looms as South Australia’s top prospect in 2022, having made his SANFL League debut last year and represented his state in an improvised Under 19 National Championships.
Likened to St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt, Lemmey has the mop and contested marking skills to match, with his impressive lists of traits putting him well within the top pick conversation alongside fast-starting Victorian midfielders Will Ashcroft, Elijah Tsatas, and George Wardlaw.
On Saturday afternoon, Lemmey made his first League appearance for the season, booting two goals as West Adelaide ran out of legs in a 20-point defeat to Central District. The powerful prospect’s prowess on the lead came to the fore, proving a feature as we put his Round 2 performance under our Player Focus microscope.
SANFL LEAGUE ROUND 2
Central District 13.15 (93) def. West Adelaide 11.7 (73)
Stats: 9 disposals (6 kicks, 3 handballs), 5 marks (1 contested), 1 tackle, 2 goals, 1 behind
Having missed Round 1 under Covid health and safety protocols, Lemmey was eased into his first competitive game for 2022. The bigman rotated onto the field and slotted straight into West Adelaide’s forward 50, although he lacked the right delivery to make an immediate impact.
As Lemmey continued to present on the lead, he eventually received a good pass on the end of a clean Westies passage of play, cutting across the 50 arc and marking uncontested 45 metres from home. He pulled his set shot across the face from the right-hand side, registering a minor score with his first touch.
Lemmey later showcased his hard leading ability off a centre break, as he tumbled forward to mark at full tilt at centre half-forward before hitting up Hamish Ellem with a wobbly kick inside 50 for a goal assist.
The 199cm, 93kg teen also showcased his bodywork in term one, holding off his direct opponent with one arm and bringing the ball to ground with the other, before recovering possession and dishing off a handball while being tackled.
Overall, it was a steady start for the youngster who was able to display a few of his assets – hitting up on the lead, working one-on-one, and threatening to hit the scoreboard.
The second term was Lemmey’s most productive of the game, as he got on the board and began to lift his presence as a leading option inside 50. Again eased into the action off the bench, it did not take too long for the teen to get his hands on the ball.
He was first sighted building up a head of stead inside 50, beating two opponents to a loose ball but only just squeezing a handball away as they remained on his hammer near the boundary line.
A terrific kick inside 50 saw Lemmey found in a good amount of space over the back, where he marked uncontested about 25 metres from goal. He duly converted the set shot, capping off one of Westies’ best pieces of transitional play.
Lemmey could also be seen hitting up to the wing and showcasing his strong hands overhead, while also impacting a contest from the back to make a spoil and force the ball over for a throw-in.
As he continued to work on the lead, Lemmey was made to earn his second goal as he was tunnelled under the ball just inside West Adelaide’s attacking arc. He converted the 55-metre set shot with aplomb despite landing heavily, helping the Bloods to a 37-point lead at the main break.
All of Lemmey’s scoring was done in the first half, but the same could not be said for Central District as the Bulldogs piled on 11 goals to Westies’ two to claim the two points. Lemmey continued his work up forward, making less searching leads up the ground and being afforded much less opportunity to impact with his side losing the momentum in a big way.
He failed to register a disposal in the third term, but drew a free kick in a one-on-one jostle as he shrewdly protected the drop zone in front of him. Not for a lack of trying, Lemmey offered an outlet for his teammates but was either unused or starved through a lack of apt delivery his way.
Lemmey added another mark, kick and handball to his tally in term four, doing so within a two-minute patch before Centrals surged ahead in the 14th minute. His mark and kick came from a surging lead off the centre break, as he marked at the top of 50 and bombed a 55-metre set shot to the goalsquare, where it was punched over.
While quieter in the second half, Lemmey was able to bring his best traits to the fore when provided enough opportunity, proving his prowess on the lead and as a capable goalkicker from any range.
With a bit of top flight footy under his belt, the soaring draft prospect can now look to hit the ground running and impose himself on South Australia’s senior competition. His presence and size bode well, and he may soon be joined in the Bloods’ League lineup by some more in-form junior guns.