Scouting Notes: 2022 AFL U16s – Vic Metro vs. Vic Country

THE 2022 AFL Under 16 National Championships kicked off on Saturday, as the traditional Vic Country-Vic Metro clash went down at Princes Park. It was the home side, Metro which came away winners this time around, claiming an enthralling 25-point victory.

In such a high-scoring game with raw talent aplenty, there was a strong number of top performers to jot down in the latest edition of Scouting Notes. All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

VIC METRO 4.1 | 6.5 | 9.12 | 14.15 (99)
VIC COUNTRY 2.2 | 5.4 | 7.5 | 11.6 (72)


Metro: I. Kako 3, R. Black 2, L. Ashcroft 2, J. Nguyen, A. Phillips, S. Fanning, D. Hollow, J. Smith, L. Grego, Z. Travers
Country: Z. McInnes 5, A. Morrison, J. Barrat, X. Lindsay, J. Ough, A. Eastham, J. Alger

  • Team
  • Vic Metro
  • Vic Country


#2 Isaac Kako (Calder Cannons)
7/03/2006 | 174cm | Small Forward

A livewire small forward who just seems to make things happen, Kako ended up with two goals for the victors. His first goal was one for the highlight reel, snared in the opening term as he was pressed hard up against the boundary, but dribbled the ball home with aplomb. Kako’s energy, attack on the ball, and evasiveness made him a thorn in the side of Country defenders, and he notched a deserved second major in term four before getting a short run in midfield.

#3 Jayden Nguyen (Calder Cannons)
27/07/2006 | 175cm | Wing

Nguyen made the wing his own on Saturday, running hard both ways and defying his slight frame when hunting the ball. The Calder Cannons talent snared an early goal from nothing with a sweet strike at the 50-metre arc, putting Metro on the board. He went on to drive low and hard at the ball, while also proving gutsy overhead, and backing his speed on the outside. One with plenty of raw talent who plays with the right kind of exuberance.

#4 Jack Ryan (Eastern Ranges)
25/07/2006 | 176cm | Forward

Another smaller prospect for Metro, Ryan was one who looked to deal damage with ball in hand. On a couple of occasions, he left opponents in his wake upon burning into forward 50, but could not quite cap off his eye-catching forays with misses on the run in terms two and three. To his credit, he took the space in front of him with confidence and did not allow the Country defence to settle before unleashing a kick.

#6 Damon Hollow (Calder Cannons)
30/03/2006 | 178cm | Midfielder/Forward

The third sub-180cm Calder Cannons product to earn a feature, Hollow was a solid contributor in Metro’s midfield-forward rotation. In a contest played at high speed and with intensity, Hollow rose to that level and was arguably most impactful in the forward half. He snapped a goal in term two and had a set shot in the following quarter, adding to some of his work at the contest in midfield.

#8 Jagga Smith (Oakleigh Chargers)
28/01/2006 | 179cm | Midfielder

A real smooth mover who is hard to miss out there when on song, Smith was able to showcase some of his class on Saturday. Having already impressed with Scotch College this year, the Oakleigh Chargers talent constantly looked to navigate exits with his supreme agility and smarts, even when space was not afforded to him. With a slight frame to fill out, he was sometimes caught and had his kicks fall a little short, but proved how damaging he can be with a lovely stoppage breakaway and goal in the third quarter.

#10 Levi Ashcroft (Sandringham Dragons)
18/12/2006 | 179cm | Midfielder/Forward

The brother of highly-touted 2022 prospect, Will, Ashcroft is quite clearly cut from the same cloth. Spending plenty of time forward with stints in midfield, he snared two goals and displayed high-level smarts. With a deft step, he took on opponents at will and directed play in front of him, keeping the play flowing to prove a creative member of the forward group. With greater kick penetration and accuracy, he could well have finished with another couple of majors to cap off a promising outing.

#18 Lucca Grego (Western Jets)
15/09/2006 | 184cm | Midfielder

The Metro skipper showed just why he earned such honours, putting in a shift for his side through midfield. A decent size compared to some of his teammates and opponents, Grego was solid with his distributive work and looked quite polished by hand. Having missed a shot on the run at the end of the third quarter, he was gifted a 50-metre penalty and took advantage with an important goal the very next term, capping off a fine performance.

#20 Luke Trainor (Sandringham Dragons)
10/04/2006 | 185cm | Defender

Plying his trade out of Metro’s defence, Trainor was one of a few players who intercepted well and got his side going on the rebound. The 185cm Sandringham Dragons prospect drove out of the back 50 with good dash and dare, even holding a high enough line to cut off a Country pass in term three, maintain his stride, and deliver inside forward 50. He worked well in combination with his fellow defenders.

#24 Tadhg McCarthy (Oakleigh Chargers)
7/03/2006 | 190cm | Defender

Arguably the centrepiece of Metro’s defence, McCarthy was terrific on the last line with his intercept marking prowess. Everything seemed safe when it came his way, as the 190cm talent rose to take clean marks and distribute the ball with relative ease. Though he was more influential in the first half than the second, McCarthy’s reading of the play proved a great watch.

#26 Josh Smillie (Eastern Ranges)
17/05/2006 | 17/05/2006 | Defender

Smillie is a real weapon, with weaponous traits. The Eastern Ranges product also made himself at home in defence and produced some great moments. Solidly built at 191cm, he split one-on-ones at ground level and moved well enough with ball in hand, but looked most damaging with his use by foot. Smillie’s kicking on the move was a threat all day, proving penetrative and accurate as he rebounded out of the back half.

Finn O’Sullivan was Country’s best on the day | Image Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos


#1 Joe Berry (Murray Bushrangers)
18/04/2006 | 180cm | Forward

One who suits the crafty small forward role, Berry added a creative element to Country’s forward 50 play. After sparking a couple of early attacking forays, he got loose at a stoppage and handed Angus Morrison Country’s first goal for the game. Berry also provided an assist for Zac McInnes in the third term, and constantly looked to put doubt in the minds of Metro’s resolute defenders with his movement and smarts.

#2 Oliver Warburton (Murray Bushrangers)
13/06/2006 | 178cm | Midfielder

A hard-working and productive member of Country’s midfield, Warburton caught the eye with his ability to chain possessions and carry the ball forward in transition. The Murray Bushrangers prospect swept back to accumulate possessions and linked well with teammates by hand, especially in the first half.

#3 Xavier Lindsay (Gippsland Power)
3/08/2006 | 180cm | Wing

Akin to another recent Gippsland Power product, Ryan Angwin, Lindsay has a bit about him on the wing. He is gutsy and rises for marks overhead, but also looks to take off quickly with ball in hand. He did all of the above on Saturday, clunking a couple of notable marks and proving attacking in his intent, showcasing a handy turn of speed to cap off some exciting moments on the outside.

#4 Finn O’Sullivan (Oakleigh Chargers)
30/05/2006 | 180cm | Midfielder

O’Sullivan was the best player afield, and at times it was hardly close. He started like a house on fire, racking up mountains of possessions from midfield and consistently driving Country into attack. He would often get a handball receive and set off, being the one to either deliver inside 50 or look to hit up a pass to half-forward. While not all his kicks were pin-point, O’Sullivan really set the tone for his side and would have been a great source of inspiration as co-captain.

#13 Tobie Travaglia (Bendigo Pioneers)
26/10/2006 | 185cm | Defender

Holding down a spot in Country’s defence, Travaglia took on some of the kick-in duties and was one who got his side going on the rebound. He proved a handy distributor by foot and often looked to hold a high line when Metro had the ball, which allowed him to become an attacking threat once possession changed hands. Travaglia’s best foray came in term one, where he overlapped and hit up James Barrat inside 50 for a goal assist.

#15 Asher Eastham (Gippsland Power)
13/05/2006 | 189cm | Forward

After an indifferent start to the game where he couldn’t quite hold onto his marks overhead, Eastham finished strongly with his highlights coming in that exact department. The Gippsland Power prospect still seems quite raw in the way of his end product, but rose for a couple of nice grabs in the second half and converted one for a goal in the final quarter.

#16 Sam Lalor (GWV Rebels)
30/08/2006 | 186cm | Midfielder

Co-captaining Country alongside O’Sullivan, Lalor looked as accomplished as anyone afield. He is already a good size at 186cm and used his frame to advantage in midfield, proving a real feature on the inside. His hands were clean and work rate high, with the GWV Rebels talent making polished decisions as he exited stoppages. With the game still up for grabs in the final term, he lifted alongside O’Sullivan but was overall one of the most consistent players across four quarters.

#18 Brady Hall (Geelong Falcons)
9/03/2006 | 191cm | Defender

Donning the long sleeves, Hall stood out in that aspect but also for his work in defence. He worked well in tandem with Travaglia to press a high line, intercept, and then attack on the rebound. Hall often went for the ball first when defending, instead of worrying about his direct opponent, which made for sound intercept play via spoils and marks. He was another handy distributor by foot too, with plenty of them afield on Saturday.

#22 James Barrat (Bendigo Pioneers)
23/11/2006 | 192cm | Forward

Barrat got on the board early for Country, booting his one and only goal for the game in the first quarter. It was a sweetly struck set shot from about 40 metres, which set up his day. From then on, Barrat produced some big aerial efforts, albeit sometimes unrewarded, crashing packs and even clunking a big grab in the third term. He missed a couple more chances on goal, but made himself useful inside 50.

#27 Zac McInnes (Geelong Falcons)
13/01/2006 | 196cm | Key Forward

The dominant bigman afield, McInnes was far and away Country’s biggest attacking threat – despite starting in the ruck – with a game-high five goals. Often times he proved too big and strong for the Metro defenders, using his reach and dexterity to cleanly mark overhead. McInnes capped off his aerial work with terrific finishing via set shots, but also snared a couple in open play to prove he isn’t a one-trick pony. He kicked consecutive goals twice in the match, making good on his dominance while it lasted.

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