WAFL Player Focus: Steely Green (South Fremantle)
EVERYONE loves a bolter, and West Australian Steely Green is a draft prospect putting his name up for that title early in the piece. Having earned the opportunity to undertake a senior preseason, the 18-year-old slotted straight into South Fremantle’s League side and has not looked out of place in his three games thus far. In fact, he has looked incredibly comfortable.
Green’s feats have seen him make the cut as one of nine recent inclusions to his state’s Under 18 squad, an unsurprising development given how few players his age are getting a consistent run at senior level. Cracking a Bulldogs team which has made three-consecutive grand finals is no mean feat, and made Green an easy choice for our Round 4 Player Focus.
SEASON SO FAR
Averages: 3 games | 20.7 disposals (13.0 kicks, 7.7 handballs), 2.7 marks, 4.0 tackles, 3.7 inside 50s
Announcing himself as one to watch in Round 1, Green was one of five League debutants for South Fremantle in an eight-point win over Subiaco. The talented youngster gathered 25 disposals and laid five tackles, rolling through midfield from defence. He backed that up with 16 touches in Round 2, plying his trade against AFL opposition as the Bulldogs beat West Coast’s Reserves. A Covid-related week off followed, before Green picked up right where he left off with a terrific performance from midfield against West Perth.
2022 WAFL League – Round 4
South Fremantle 8.7 (55) def. by West Perth 9.9 (63)
Starting in the opening centre bounce, Green quickly got back up to speed after a week off. The 18-year-old looked comfortable in the clinches, showcasing his clean and quick hands from the outset to help South Fremantle exit many a contest.
Not only did Green contribute the less noticeable inside touches, but he also peeled off to get on the end of handball receives and pump his legs on the attack. He absorbed pressure before releasing too, especially in one instance which lead to South’s first goal from a centre break.
At least in the first term, all of what he did by hand was polished, but his couple of kicks resulted in turnovers – through the corridor and going inside attacking 50. Those two decisions were not massively costly, but an in-the-back free kick against saw West Perth kick one of its five goals for the quarter.
Still, Green looked noticeably composed in the midst of the action and got his game rolling pretty much instantly. With a bit of niggle at stoppages, slick skills and good balance on both sides of the ball, he held his own.
There was less volume from Green in term two after his hot start, but the South Fremantle young gun still produced some nice moments in his time on-ball. He attended four of the six centre bounces, producing a clearance from the very first as he held his width and hacked the ball out from a handball receive.
Easily his highlight for the quarter was a strong overhead mark from the back, where Green leapt high over his opponent on defensive wing and pulled down the ball in an act defiant of his 178cm standing.
Again, the only thing missing from Green’s game was the decision making on his kicks. After his big grab, Green punched a flat pass to half-forward where a one-on-one contest formed, but West Perth got numbers to the fall of the ball and mopped it up. Still, his best looked lively.
While South Fremantle turned the screw in term three, Green didn’t have too much to do in the way of flashy play. His touches were more of the no-fuss variety, accumulated mostly after the first 10 minutes of action.
His first kick of the quarter was a beauty. After falling short with his previous efforts, Green assessed the options and lowered his eyes nicely going inside 50, hitting a spear pass to South’s leading forward just inside the arc.
For the remainder of the period, Green featured on the inside of the contest with his clean hands to release runners on the outer. He was often a link in the chain as South navigated stoppages, showing great awareness when it was his turn to go with quick and correct decisions.
To look so polished playing that kind of role at senior level, especially considering his build, proved Green’s quality and natural nous. He just gets it.
South Fremantle’s run of momentum carried on into the final quarter, culminating in an early lead change but ultimately falling short of earning a victory. Green showed his wares at three more centre bounces and had some great late moments, displaying his toughness in the crunch.
The youngster started off with a missed half-volley, but followed up in the same play to lay a tenacious tackle and win the ball back for his side. He seemed to consistently get involved in scoring chains too, just moving the ball on with no fuss in quick and clean fashion.
Green also found a bit more outside ball as he received via hand, with one run resulting in a shot from the arc which went wide and was punched over. He did the tough stuff too, with a strong intercept mark at half-forward capping off what was another fantastic senior outing for the bolting prospect.