Scouting Notes: 2022 AFL U18s – South Australia vs. NSW-ACT
NSW-ACT raided South Australia on Saturday morning, coming away with a 24-point win over the Croweaters in their state Under 18s trial match. In less than idea conditions at Thebarton Oval, the two sides managed only a goal apiece during the first half, but the Rams kicked seven goals to three after the main break to get up 8.9 (57) to 4.9 (33).
We noted some of the top performers, and top draft prospects from either side.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 0.1 | 1.6 | 3.7 | 4.9 (33)
NSW-ACT 0.4 | 1.5 | 4.9 | 8.9 (57)
SA: B. Dowling 2, B. Hansen, J. Magor
NSW-ACT: F. Rogers 3, H. Thomas, L. Fellows, E. Grace, L. Puncher, A. Curry
#5 Tyson Walls (Norwood)
Walls’ move to defence proved a masterstroke, as the diminutive Norwood prospect proved one of South Australia’s best on the day. Whether it was through gutsy efforts to intercept with overhead marks, or when setting off with rapid rebounds, Walls was a productive member of the Croweaters’ back six. His sharp ball use capped off much of that good work, and that small defender role seems to suit him well.
#7 Nick Sadler (Sturt)
Starting out on the wing, Sadler eventually got his chance to show a bit at the centre bounces as South Australia rotated its midfield mix after half time. The Sturt product has neat skills and looked to utilise his penetrative kicking when allowed enough space on the outside, but that kind of time was hard to come by on a pretty dour day conditions-wise.
#8 Kobe Ryan (West Adelaide)
Ryan is a top accumulator of the ball and he had no trouble getting his hands on it plenty of times on Saturday. Having turned out at League level recently, Ryan rode the bumps and a few heavy tackles despite his slight frame to crack in among the midfield battle. In a prolific first half, he worked hard to find the ball in all parts of the ground, albeit if a little scratchy with his disposal.
#15 Jaiden Magor (South Adelaide)
Another who got his chance to shine in midfield after half time, Magor had some nice moments both there and in the forward line. His ability to pick out penetrative kicks through the corridor was impressive, and the South Adelaide talent also hit the scoreboard in term three to halt a run of three NSW-ACT goals. He proved solid at the contest, and polished using the ball away from it.
#21 Mattaes Phillipou (Woodville-West Torrens)
An absolute highlight of the second half was Phillipou’s form in midfield. The dynamic Woodville-West Torrens star was a class above his peers, showcasing his athleticism in all levels of play to have an immediate impact. Not only did Phillipou win the ball at ground level, but he also rose above the talls to take some strong marks and stand out as the clear best prospect afield. If he can produce the same at this year’s National Championships, his stocks will rise sharply.
#28 Adam D’Aloia (Woodville-West Torrens)
The conditions suited a player like D’Aloia perfectly, with the strongly built ball winner adapting quickly to what confronted him. His hands were clean as ever and he stuck in going the other way with plenty of tackling efforts, making his presence felt at the contest. D’Aloia’s kicking in open play continues to be an area for improvement, but he plays to his strengths and looks a readymade player.
#33 Billy Dowling (North Adelaide)
A product of North Adelaide’s strong Under 18 side, Dowling has been a real bolter this season. The midfielder was afforded on-ball minutes but made his biggest impact up forward, booting two of South Australia’s four goals. Both came in the second half to offer some form of resistance for the home side, with Dowling’s final effort a tidy fourth-term snap which gave his side a sniff.
#38 Isaac Keeler (North Adelaide)
In arguably his most impressive performance at any level this year, Keeler looked up for the contest and managed to showcase much of what he does best. The athletic tall is such a smooth mover and with plenty of forays up the ground, he proved as much. While others struggled to handle the pill, Keeler was clean enough when able to get two hands to the ball, and he used it well too. Allowed plenty of time and space to operate in attack, he launched a couple of long-range set shots on goal but couldn’t quite trouble the scorers.
#41 Tom Scully (West Adelaide)
It was a difficult day for Scully, who struggled to snaffle up anything cleanly in his usual forward post. The West Adelaide tall got his hands to plenty of inside 50 forays but couldn’t quite hold his marks overhead in the unideal conditions. He then got a go in the ruck and nabbed a few quick clearances, before registering a shot on goal from a contested mark in the final quarter.
#45 Harry Barnett (West Adelaide)
Another West Adelaide tall measuring up at over 200cm, the going was just as tough for Barnett as it was for others. He had a good size advantage over NSW-ACT’s rucks, but could not always make it count as much of his best work came outside of the ruck contest. A mobile operator, Barnett’s highlight for the day was a terrific intercept mark in the third quarter, where he rose above everyone in defensive 50 and reeled in an impressive grab.
#16 Felix Rogers (Swans Academy)
Quite far and away the best player afield throughout four quarters, Rogers was an absolute menace for NSW-ACT. He was the most damaging forward afield, booting three goals and having a hand in many others. Working hard up the ground, the over-ager was constantly and looked to be productive on the attack, proving very difficult to tie down for SA’s defenders. Two of his majors came in term four, as handy reward for his overall effort.
#20 Angus Curry (GIANTS Academy)
An Oakleigh Chargers squad member who boards at school in Victoria, Curry got back to his roots in the NSW-ACT squad and showed glimpses of his talent. He started up forward before getting a run in midfield, with his turn of speed and sharp finishing ability being two key assets of his game this time out. Curry was crafty in tight spots and ran hard to chain possessions when he could, booting a classy snap goal in the final quarter to put the cherry on top.
#22 Ethan Grace (GIANTS Academy)
One of several over-agers in the NSW-ACT squad, Grace garnered interest in the mid-season draft but slipped through and got to represent his state on the weekend. The clever forward possesses a lovely left boot and is fleet of thinking, which proved a useful combination inside attacking 50. He snared a single major from multiple scoring shots, and could have had a massive day with his raft of quick chances going wide for the most part.
#25 Angus Anderson (Swans Academy)
Anderson is another inside type whose style suited the conditions, and he built into the contest nicely. Utilising his clean hands and strong frame at the contest, the Swans Academy graduate powered forward out of the middle and distributed the ball well in the engine room to be one of NSW’s most prominent ball winners. Also able to impact defensively, Anderson wasn’t afraid to lay heavy tackles and has clearly benefitted from recent senior experience in the VFL.
#26 Luke Giacometti (Swans Academy)
A key distributor of the ball from defence, Giacometti was not always damaging but worked to set up play from the back. The Swans Academy member is built well and often looks to go by foot, utilising both short and long targets. That in mind, he gave South Australia a few different looks as the Rams moved the ball out of defence, getting plenty of opportunities to do so as he racked up possessions.
#27 Mackinley Miller (GIANTS Academy)
Miller was one who, stationed mostly up forward, lifted when the game was there to be won in the second half. The big-bodied Giants Academy member showcased a strong set of hands in less than ideal conditions and used his frame to compete inside 50. Though unable to find the big sticks himself, that competitiveness helped others score and Miller ended up playing his role well.
#32 Harry Rowston (GIANTS Academy)
NSW-ACT had plenty of players who love to have a crack do exactly that on Saturday, and Rowston was one of them. Stationed in midfield, the Giants Academy product worked hard both ways to impact at the contest, but also spread to become an option going forward and got decent penetration on the ball going inside 50. He also clunked a couple of strong grabs, defying the weather.