Scouting Notes: 2022 Victorian Under 18 trials
VIC METRO did the double in this year’s version of the Under 18 trial games, downing Vic Country in both exhibitions at Avalon Airport Oval on Sunday. More importantly, the games served as one final audition for Victorian players to stake their claims for representative honours, before the National Championships get underway next week.
We noted some of the top performers across both games – all notes are the opinion of the individual author.
By: Jonty Ralphsmith
#2 Matthew Payne (Western Jets)
6/03/2004 | 174cm | 75kg
The speedy small forward showed his goal sense and smarts inside 50. Payne got an early goal on the run inside 50 via a handball receive, and on another occasion found space on the lead to give himself a set shot from 40. Was a lively presence in the forward half around the fall of the ball in attack and tending to make good decisions.
#3 Blake Drury (Oakleigh Chargers)
11/01/2004 | 177cm | 73kg
Arguably the best player on the day, Drury found plenty of the footy, releasing teammates with distributing possessions. When he got into space himself, the Oakleigh Charger used the ball well and showed his composure. Metro’s game one captain, he was also willing to do the hard stuff, laying a few tackles including one which was rewarded with a holding the ball free kick. Also played above his stature aerially, creating a contest against taller direct opponents on multiple occasions including halving a one on two contest at one stage. Finished with a late goal coming through traffic from 30 and could have had another earlier on had he not chosen to hit up a target closer to goal.
#6 Nathan Philactides (Oakleigh Chargers)
10/01/2005 | 180cm | 80kg
The half-back’s agility and speed are known given his athletics and background and they came out in his game, but he also showed a good mix of defensive attributes. Read the ball well in the air a couple of times to take an intercept mark, including at an important stage of the fourth quarter when Vic Country looked to make a comeback. His pressure via corralling, positioning and IQ was also important in defence and he got some possessions higher up the ground where he was able to influence.
#10 Charlie Clarke (Sandringham Dragons)
4/01/2004 | 182cm | 75kg
Flashy, stylish and hard working, the Port Melbourne Colts junior played in the midfield for Vic Metro and was influential with his burst and attack. Racked up centre clearances where he went in for the hard ball then backed his strength to bust tackles and send it forward. Won the footy in all thirds of the ground and his work rate was obvious by how often he had his hands on the ball, as he got to repeat stoppages and even if he didn’t directly impact, often got the handball receive in the follow up play. His dash was highlighted by a play where he won the ball in defensive 50, took two bounces through the midfield and hit up a target in attack, kept running and received it back. Although on that occasion he didn’t finish off, he did end the game with two goals, the second of which was from outside 50 when he took on the man on the mark. At times his kicking was rushed and missed the target but when he had more time he was able to seize up a target and execute his skill making a couple of kicks to the attackers’ advantage. A late pass to Riley Weatherill when he was within range also displayed unselfishness to cap a nice showing.
#13 Patrick Dozzi (Northern Knights)
27/06/2003 | 185cm | 81kg
The clean inside midfielder played a solid game where he was important around the ball, often getting first hands to the ball and if he didn’t was willing to lay the tackle. Showed his strength by breaking a few tackles and while he didn’t do anything flashy himself, his work all day released teammates and he was not rushed with his disposal. Made a couple of little errors with ball in hand, but his intent was always good.
#14 Mitchell Rowe (Sandringham Dragons)
26/05/2004 | 185cm | 77kg
Played an effective wingman’s game, holding his shape and running as needed in arguably his best showing of the season. His work rate was rewarded with reasonable possession including some handball chains throughout the day and he worked forward to get three shots on goal in the last quarter to finish with 1.2. Two of the Sandringham Dragons product’s shots came when he cleverly found space and offered a lead in a better position when teammates looked to be going back for the set shot.
#15 Yu Ashwin (Oakleigh Chargers)
12/07/2004 | 185cm | 77kg
The pacy mover carried on his form from last week, his best of the season for NAB League club Oakleigh, backing his pace to send the ball forward on multiple occasions and hit his targets. Ran around his teammates looking for an option by foot on multiple occasions giving him the chance to run and get involved. Kicked a late sealer for Vic Metro after winning a one on one contest through forward craft.
#17 Cameron Mackenzie (Sandringham Dragons)
21/01/2004 | 187cm | 80kg
Played a classic inside midfielder’s game, winning plenty of disposals and laying some big tackles. He was clean and his composure meant he made the right decision by hand – and usually by foot. Used his core strength to stand up and slip tackles which enabled him to win centre clearances and when he didn’t have the ball in his hands, he had a defensive presence, laying some tackles including a couple that were rewarded with a holding the ball free kick. Also took a couple of contested marks and showed his nous with a one on one win in the air providing him with one of his many inside 50s. Was one of the beneficiaries of Metro’s fast start, goaling from beyond 50 on the run and seemed to carry that confidence into the rest of the game as he always looked to influence.
#20 Luke Teal (Oakleigh Chargers)
20/05/2004 | 188cm | 80kg
The defender often seemed to get hands on the ball when it came long into Vic Country’s forward line and finished with several nice intercept marks. Was competitive all day and won more of the ball in the second half than the first, often slowing the play and going long down the line but when the opportunity presented there were also some more bold possessions.
#23 Jackson McMenamin (Western Jets)
29/03/2004 | 195cm | 74kg
Provided an option down the line for Vic Metro as he always led and presented and was reliable in creating a contest, usually halving it, if not taking a contested mark to then send Vic Metro forward. Read the ball well and stood strong in marking contests, doing what he needed to do possession-wise when he brought it down or got involved around the ground.
#24 Matthew Jefferson (Oakleigh Chargers)
8/03/2004 | 194cm | 76kg
The Oakleigh Charger was an imposing presence in Vic Metro’s forward 50. Started the game looking like it might be a day out, and while it wasn’t by way of goals or big contested grand, he was still influential. A contested mark at the top of the square early showed his height advantage and he used his strength moments later to shepherd through Cam McKenzie’s goal. Was another who created an aerial contest as Metro looked to send the ball, coming down with some contested marks. A perfectly weighted kick to a teammate’s advantage at the top of the square late in the game showed another element to his skill set.
#25 Riley Weatherill (Eastern Ranges)
21/11/2005 | 195cm | 87kg
It was an impressive showing for the bottom-aged Eastern Ranges key position player. Stationed forward, he finished with 2.2 and some marks, both contested where he judged the fall of the ball nicely and one on one wins where he showed forward craft. His first involvement came via a contested mark on the goal line from a set shot that fell short and then finished around the corner. Later in the game he had two shots from near identical positions within a couple of minutes, badly missing the first and correcting himself the second time around. Unselfishly passed off a late opportunity, hitting Mitch Rowe in a better position.
By: Declan Reeve
#2 Jack O’Sullivan (Oakleigh Chargers)
22/10/2004 | 177cm | 70kg
In a tough game for the Country midfield O’Sullivan was a standout with his consistent second efforts and tenacity at the contest. Despite the Metro dominance through the midfield, O’Sullivan won his fair share of clearances with his positioning around the stoppages, getting to the fall of the ball quickly and generally hurting the opposition with his quick hands under pressure, finding options forward of the contest a few times to start promising forward plays. Whilst his kicking wasn’t always clean when moving from congestion, when O’Sullivan managed to get separation he hit most targets well, with his kicking in front of forwards leading at him particularly notable. It was quite fitting that he found a goal towards the end of the game to reward his efforts, rounding out a pretty complete display.
#6 Noah Long (Bendigo Pioneers)
23/08/2004 | 178cm | 74kg
Long was positioned almost exclusively in the forward half for the game, and whilst it took some time to adjust from his usual on-ball role, he managed to have some nice moments in the forward 50. Long’s pressure and tackling has been a staple of his game through the midfield and he adapted that well to his role in the forward line, causing a few turnovers with his relentless hunt, and opening up some key opportunities for Country with some of his clean pick-ups and quick hands to runners.
#8 Sam Frangalas (Dandenong Stingrays)
20/04/2005 | 187cm | 84kg
Although the bottom-ager was not as polished as he usually is, Frangalas was one of the better performers for Country with his consistent attack on the ball through the midfield. He consistently followed up on his mistakes, whether it was a fumbled ground ball or missed handball, Frangalas was generally the first one to jump back on the footy and try to get it moving again. He moved into the forward line in the later stages of the game and arguably had his most impact, taking some good marks in the front half and looked to drive the ball deep inside 50, looking impressive in his ability to break away from his opponents.
#16 Luamon Lual (GWV Rebels)
28/03/2005 | 181cm | 70kg
Another bottom-ager to catch the eye for Country, Lual took some time to warm into the contest but was a key mover for his side in the second half. Lual was one that always tried to take the game on when the opportunity presented, generating some drive with his run and carry, then looking to follow up and get the ball back once he had given it off. Although some of his disposal didn’t quite work out, Lual didn’t drop his head and kept trying to create from deep in defence.
#17 Caleb Mitchell (Murray Bushrangers)
10/08/2004 | 187cm
Mitchell stood out well as an aerial threat all game, reacting quickly to opposition kicks to take a few intercept marks in the front half, generally following up with a quick disposal to an open teammate. Mitchell worked hard all game and stood out as arguably the best two-way runner on field, very often pushing to assist in defence and running just as hard to other way to assist in attack.
#18 Toby McMullin (Sandringham Dragons)
6/08/2004 | 183cm
One that has caught the eye at APS level for Melbourne Grammar, it quickly became clear why McMullin has been getting attention for his performances. McMullin provided excellent second efforts and defensive pressure in the forward half all game, getting rewarded a few times for his tackles with a free kick, or the opportunity to sweep up on it when it was loose and give it off to a leading teammate. McMullin’s ball use was clean all day even when under pressure, assessing his options well and delivering to teammates in a way to almost guaranteed they’d get it in the best possible spot. For his efforts McMullin ended the day with three majors, proving to be one of the most dangerous smalls across both games.
#22 Archer Reid (Gippsland Power)
19/09/2005 | 201cm | 85kg
Undoubtedly the most impressive tall on the day, Reid just marked absolutely everything that came his way. Haven proved himself as a good player below his knees through the NAB League this season, Reid did the same for his contested marking against Vic Metro, at times even holding them against two opponents. Reid’s leading patterns were key to his dominance, timing his runs perfectly and always moving to keep his opponents guessing, managing to get into the best position in contests to hold his marks. Reid ended the day with three goals for his aerial dominance, consistently providing a reliable target up forward.
#28 Oscar Murdoch (Geelong Falcons)
24/09/2004 | 190cm | 88kg
One of few to provide a consistent roadblock in the Country defence, Murdoch put in 100 per cent to intercept everything he could when it flew in high, at times playing taller than his listed height of 189cm. With safe ball use out of the back half, Murdoch rarely took risks given the Metro dominance, giving good opportunities for Country to move the ball easily into the front half.
By: Jonty Ralphsmith
#1 Nick Watson (Eastern Ranges)
24/02/2005 | 169cm | 66kg
The diminutive forward started the game by drawing a high contact free kick and backing himself from outside 50 on the boundary line and finishing handsomely; that level of skill execution, confidence and liveliness summed up a stellar day for the bottom-aged Eastern Ranges product. At 169cm and going in low when looking to win the hard ball, he’ll antagonise opposition for the number of free kicks he’ll receive, but there is much more to him than just that. He has smarts; in the dying seconds of the second quarter he judged the flight of the ball better than anyone else, staying at the back of the contest and taking off to get inside 50 quickly and give his forwards a chance to snatch a late goal. He showcased his jump in a separate marking contest where he got up and got hands to the ball but couldn’t finish off, yet he then found the ball at ground level, took two bounces and hit his target by foot inside 50. His forward craft was exquisite, feigning his opponent in one marking contest that the ball was going to land further in front than it was. It got his opponent out of position and Watson took the mark despite taking a tumble. He was thrown into the midfield in the second quarter and showed he could his hands on it there too, looking equally as lively when he was around the footy and trying to get his hands to the footy even if his confidence meant he gave a way a couple of free kicks. Defensively, he used his agility and speed to apply pressure. Most importantly for the small forward, he converted his opportunities, finishing with four goals, including two from outside 50. It could’ve been a fifth of a late front and centre snap wasn’t touched on the line as he showed all elements of his expansive skill set.
#2 Ollie Badr (Oakleigh Chargers)
4/06/2005 | 177cm | 71kg
The Scotch College product was influential with his pace and disposal all day. He showed that he didn’t need much time to hit some difficult kicks and knew where to put when entering 50, sending it to their advantage but was also willing to release teammates when that’s what needed to be done. Defensively, he boldly came off his man at one stage to collect a loose ball in defence that a Vic Country player was about to run onto and would likely have resulted in a goal.
#4 Kai Windsor (Eastern Ranges)
27/01/2004 | 179cm | 73kg
Known for his running, that was again on show in the trial match even if he didn’t have as much of an impact as he may have liked. When he got it he looked to move it on quickly and sent it to dangerous, attacking positions usually hitting his kicks nicely. A quick centre clearance to the even numbers inside 50 was symptomatic of the faith he showed in his forwards all day via his ball use.
#6 Alwyn Davey Jnr (Oakleigh Chargers)
26/02/2004 | 180cm | 74kg
Playing in the midfield, Davey showed his flair as he looked to run, slip tackles and attack with his ball use. Got on the move around stoppages and got his hands to it executing some handballs to release teammates – including one which set up a goal early in the second quarter, and another look away handball to his teammate’s advantage. Also showed his kick and turn of speed throughout the day.
#7 Olli Hotton (Sandringham Dragons)
6/09/2004 | 181cm | 77kg
Playing in the midfield, Hotton was influential, assessing his options and making good decisions with ball in hand. On a number of occasions, he lowered his eyes going inside 50 and found a target after taking some meterage by foot. He was willing to run yet was composed when he disposed of it and got a centre clearance he sent forward among his many attacking chains. Also worked back in defence in the second quarter, providing an extra number to ensure a rushed behind. Went forward late and a front and centre crumbing goal capped off his showing.
#14 Paul Pascu (Calder Cannons)
20/08/2004 | 183cm | 83kg
The tough Calder Cannon was named captain on the day and was influential, particularly standing up in the second quarter when he won plenty of the ball. Got lots of it in and under and, although caught holding the ball once, knew he had the strength to get rid of the ball in tackles so made good decisions by hand, and was an assured kick around the field. Always a big tackler, he laid his share on the day and won a couple of holding the ball free kicks to round off his day.
#16 Ben Hempel (Sandringham Dragons)
7/06/2004 | 190cm | 78kg
Playing the half-back position where he looks most comfortable, Hempel didn’t get a heap of the footy in the first half, but the touches he did have were important. He took two intercept marks including one which was a goal saving mark for Vic Metro deep in defence. The other saw him sprint onto the ground straight to the fall of the ball. A 65-metre goal showed his penetrating left boot as he seemingly looked to kick it to the pack converging at the top of the square but it carried them and bounced through. Came into the game with an ankle complaint which flared up, ruling him out of the majority of the second half.
#17 Callum Verrell (Eastern Ranges)
22/04/2004 | 187cm | 79kg
One of the best players in the first half, his first notable involvement was a difficult yet clean half volley gather coming off halfback. He took several intercept marks in defensive 50 and always looked to rebound quickly, firstly looking in board, with his disposal usually attacking and he almost always had the skill execution to match his intentions to go on board or hit a trickier target. Reads the flight of the ball earlier than others enabling his excellent positioning and ability to go for mark rather than spoil. Perhaps less prominent in the second half, but still intercepted, had a shot on goal and had four crucial touches in the last two minutes. He professionally slowed the game down as Vic Metro clung to a lead of under a goal showing composure and awareness alongside his dare.
#18 Nate Caddy (Northern Knights)
14/07/2005 | 190cm | 83kg
It was a very good day for Caddy but it could have been even better if the under-ager had converted the ample opportunities he created. Has an uncanny ability to find space inside 50, on several occasions standing alone inside 50 and taking an uncontested mark. He was also very good one on one, generally having front position and getting metres of separation on the lead and having sticky hands on the occasions others were within touching distance. Even found a way to nearly take down a contested mark at some stage as he was a commanding and unmissable presence inside 50. Had five good opportunities but missed his set shots, the only goal coming when he pounced on a skill error from Vic Country 20 metres out from goal, out-bodying Finn Emile-Brennan and snapping from 20.
#22 Logan Morris (Western Jets)
10/05/2005 | 192cm
Was a presence in the forward half all day. Had early involvement when set up handsomely by Nate Caddy but still needed to lead strongly which he did. His forward craft was noticeable as he took a deep contested mark on a couple of occasions where he judged the fall of the ball better than everyone else, giving him two simple conversion. Had an opportunity for a goal on the run from 50 and although he missed, he showed that he had some pace when on the move. Later in the game he again read the ball nicely to take an intercept pluck inside Vic Metro’s attacking 50 but missed that one as well.
#29 Sam Grant (Northern Knights)
4/04/2004 | 199cm | 90kg
The key position player took some good contested marks in defence using his size to have an aerial impact. Had a couple of good one on one wins and also laid a couple of important spoils when the ball needed to be killed. Showed his athleticism and quick read of the play best when he saw a quick short kick on offer on Vic Country’s half-forward line and took a few quick steps before laying a lunging spoil.
By: Declan Reeve
#1 Jacob Konstanty (Gippsland Power)
9/11/2004 | 176cm | 70kg
It was McMullin in the first game and Konstanty in the second that stood out as pressure forwards for Country, and Konstanty was one that just got better as the game went on. He missed three early shots on goal but was a dead eye after that. His constant application of pressure was key to plenty of forward plays, even when he wasn’t rewarded himself the turnovers he caused saw his teammates hit the scoreboard. Konstanty was ferocious when approaching ground balls even with oncoming pressure, hitting packs front and centre with courage as well, leading to his four goals.
#4 Jaxon Binns (Dandenong Stingrays)
29/10/2004 | 182cm | 73kg
Unsurprisingly Binns was a workhorse all game, pushing into defence to assist when his side was under siege and using it well going forward, regularly getting his usual penetration on his kicks to get the ball to teammates quickly. At times Binns was just too classy for his opponents, looking a level above with his evasion and speed, even putting out a stiff arm every now and then.
#9 Zane Duursma (Gippsland Power)
28/08/2005 | 188cm | 73kg
The standout performer for Country, arguably across both games, Duursma was utterly dominant regardless of position. Starting in the on-ball brigade for Country, Duursma won the first two centre clearances of the game, the first being a long bomb into deep forward 50 and the second being a smart handball to an outside runner. Duursma made an impact all around the ground, with some contested marks around the ground and even an impressive smother from behind, he was everywhere and seemingly the main ball mover for Country, staying composed under pressure and working through traffic well, Duursma was easily the classiest user in the first half. Duursma was switched forward in the second half to allow others time on ball and made his impact felt once again, with his leading patterns and marking standing out as he hit the scoreboard for two majors.
#10 Jonti Schuback (Gippsland Power)
18/03/2004 | 183cm | 75kg
Playing a large portion of the game on the wing, Schuback once again stood out with his class around the contest and impact with his disposal. Schuback played well as an outside option, holding space around stoppages to get to good spots and receive a releasing handball. He generally tried to get the ball into the corridor when the option presented, but when they weren’t there he had no issues taking the game on, happy to bounce the ball and drive as far as possible.
#15 Ted Clohesy (Geelong Falcons)
9/06/2004 | 184cm | 75kg
As is typical of Clohesy, he just gave a good crack at it all game, providing a constant obstacle for the Metro midfielders in the contest and running hard to lay tackles when opposition got out, he was truly a beast on the inside. Whilst Clohesy’s skills weren’t polished, Country still benefited when he got the ball as he thumped the ball quickly into dangerous areas, allowing his teammates to use their flair and take opportunities. Clohesy managed an impressive goal as he got a handball from a contest in the forward 50 and snapped over his shoulder from 45 out.
#17 Cooper Vickery (Gippsland Power)
16/12/2004 | 180cm | 72kg
Whilst not a major ball winner on the day, Vickery was just a safety net for most of the game as he picked off high balls into the defensive 50 and used it well to try and initiate rebound plays. Vickery’s closing speed and second efforts stopped a few certain goals, pushing hard to lay tackles when opponents were moving into open goals.