Scouting Notes: South Australia Under 18s vs. Under 20s

SOUTH Australia’s state Under 18 squad took on a collection of Under 20 talent at Thebarton Oval on Friday night, marking the group’s final internal trial game. It was a successful outing, with the younger crop taking out an 11.9 (75) to 3.8 (26) victory ahead of their opening National Championships fixture against the Allies on June 19.

We noted how all 25 Under 18 players fared; all notes are the opinion of the individual author.


#2 Blake Hansen (Woodville-West Torrens) 

Hansen started the game in fine touch, using the ball beautifully in the back half, before Billy Dowling found him all alone inside 50. Hansen went back and slotted the set shot to give his side some early momentum. Playing primarily on the wing, he didn’t quite sustain the hot start, but still got value for his possessions throughout the game, highlighting his class by foot.  

#3 Max Blacker (North Adelaide) 

Blacker was lively in the forward half, applying plenty of pressure inside 50. He used the ball nicely to find Harry Lemmey on the lead and then got himself on the scoreboard, goaling with a snap shot on his left.  

#5 Tyson Walls (Norwood) 

Walls again looked comfortable with his new role in defence, though his night was cut short at half time as he made way for Jake Walker and Jaiden Magor.  

#6 Jakob Ryan (Glenelg) 

Ryan wasn’t afforded the same time and space that he’s enjoyed this year for Glenelg, which resulted in some rushed kicks that weren’t as impactful as he would’ve liked. Though not an overly productive night, he still showed some of the flair that makes him an exciting prospect with a nice intercept mark and a couple of well-executed kicks in the second half.  

#7 Nick Sadler (Sturt) 

Sadler’s speed around the ball continues to be an important part of South Australia’s midfield mix. Sadler consistently brought defensive pressure through the middle of the ground and his decision-making and class stood out in a few key plays on the night.  

#8 Kobe Ryan (West Adelaide) 

It was an uncharacteristic game from Ryan, who lacked his usual polish by foot. Stationed primarily on the wing, Ryan showcased some strong defensive work throughout the contest. He closed the first quarter with a strong intercept on the last line of defence and had some key spoils to prevent the opposition from transitioning the football.  

#9 Archie Lovelock (Glenelg) 

Lovelock put in a really strong performance and set the tone early with some good defensive pressure. The small utility, spent some time through the midfield, wing and across half forward but sustained his defensive effort throughout the contest. Lovelock was consistently effective with the ball in hand. He was clean below his knees, accurate by hand and was typically tidy by foot. He capped off his performance with a set shot goal after his defensive pressure earned him a holding the ball free kick.  

#11 Jake Walker (Glenelg) 

Walker was introduced into the game in the second half and had an immediate impact, winning a centre clearance with his very first touch. His ability to fire out attacking handpasses under extreme pressure in the contest, continues to be a feature of his game.  

#13 Max Michalanney (Norwood) 

Michalanney put together a well-balanced game, competing strongly defensively and working hard to rebound from half back. Michalanney did some of his best work in the air, positioning himself well in the contest to take a couple of strong intercept marks. He offered plenty offensively, running off his opponent and linking up with teammates to transition the football from the defensive half. He demonstrated this with an impressive effort in the first half. After a clean pick up across half back, Michalanney pushed hard through the middle of the ground to receive a handball and delivered beautifully inside forward 50 to Norwood teammate Harvey Pedler.     

#14 Jack Delean (South Adelaide) 

There’s always a highlight waiting to happen when Jack Delean is in the game. He created a few on Friday night with some strong overhead marks, none better than his screamer in the last quarter as the opposition attempted to exit their defensive half. Even his defensive efforts produced highlights, including a big smother and a couple of heavy tackles. One of the best for his side on the night, the bottom age prospect continues to show why he’s one to watch for next year’s draft.        

#15 Jaiden Magor (South Adelaide) 

Like Walker, Magor entered the game after half time. In limited opportunities he showed patience and composure with ball in hand. He was clean below his knees and was able to find time and space to distribute the football effectively.  

#17 Alex Holt (Sturt)

Holt was awarded the SA U18 MVP award as his side’s best player on the night, an honour he thoroughly deserved. He competed strongly for four quarters and repeatedly stifled the opposition’s forward movement with a range of intercept marks, spoils and ground ball wins. His rebound was also important as he consistently hit targets coming out of defence. Holt’s competitiveness was a staple in his complete four-quarter performance.  

#20 Nathan Barkla (Woodville-West Torrens) 

Barkla was another whose defensive pressure was consistent throughout the contest. He used his speed and athleticism to corral the opposition and tackled aggressively all night.  

#21 Mattaes Phillipou (Woodville-West Torrens) 

Phillipou combined nicely with Woodville-West Torrens teammate D’Aloia early to clear the ball at stoppage. He did well to absorb the pressure inside the contest and fire out a releasing handball to teammates on the outside. Phillipou proved his aerial capability on a number of occasions around the ground and did well to work out the back, managing two goals from inside the goal square.  

#28 Adam D’Aloia (Woodville-West Torrens) 

It was a pretty typical high quality game from the SA U18 skipper. A great first possession winner, D’Aloia hunted the football at stoppage and showed great strength to consistently free his hands and distribute to teammates on the outside. When he didn’t win the ball, he brought plenty of defensive pressure, highlighted by some strong tackles that prevented the opposition from exiting the contest.  

#30 Will Patton (West Adelaide) 

Patton worked hard in defence and although not as productive as the likes of Holt and Michalanney, still found his fair share of the ball in the defensive half. He tackled strongly throughout the game and his ball use was typically effective by foot. 

#31 Harvey Pedler (Norwood) 

Pedler was lively up forward and produced some really good efforts at ground level that directly lead to goal assists. He made the most of his opportunities in front of goal, converting his set shots and finishing as his sides leading goal scorer, with 3 majors.  

#33 Billy Dowling (North Adelaide) 

Dowling has proven to be one of the more prolific ball winners in the SANFL U18 competition and he continued that form early in this game. He had an influence at stoppage, winning the contested ball and freeing his arms to find teammates by hand on the outside. He brought plenty of defensive pressure at stoppage too and laid some strong tackles on the opposition midfielders.  

#36 Adam Deakin (Central District) 

Deakin held up well as one of the key pillars in defence for his side. He had a nice moment coming out of defence where he used the ball well to rebound from defensive 50, though his performance was somewhat overshadowed by more productive teammates.  

#37 Brodie Tuck (Central District) 

It was a quietish first half for Tuck who started forward with limited opportunities coming his way. Interestingly, he spent a bit of time in the middle throughout the second half, where he looked to be a physical presence around the ball.  

#38 Isaac Keeler (North Adelaide) 

Keeler hit the scoreboard early with a shot from point blank range and had a really nice moment where he won the ball cleanly at ground level and handed to a teammate for a direct goal assist. He relieved Barnett in the ruck and was generally competitive in the hit-outs.  

#39 Kyle Marshall (South Adelaide) 

Another player for the SA U18 side that held up strongly in defence. Marshall possesses great speed for a key position player and showed that off with some overlap run and dashes through the middle of the ground.  

#40 Harry Lemmey (West Adelaide) 

Lemmey missed some really gettable opportunities from set shots inside the first quarter. He applied good defensive pressure for a key forward when the ball was in his area, showing a bit of competitiveness in the contest. He dribbled through his first major, before finally converting a set shot in the last quarter, to end the night with two goals.  

#43 Shaun Bennier (North Adelaide) 

Bennier’s best asset is his kicking and he distributed the ball beautifully out of defence. His composure in the back half was important for his side and his ability to execute tougher, more aggressive kicks were pivotal in turning defence into attack.  

#45 Harry Barnett (West Adelaide) 

Barnett spent most of the game playing through the ruck, where he competed strongly. He flashed some glimpses of his impressive athleticism as he flew for some big marks, although wasn’t quite able to drag them in. Although at times his kicking can be a little streaky, Barnett’s delivery inside forward 50 was pretty special for a player his size. He found fellow West Adelaide teammate, Harry Lemmey, on the lead on more than one occasion and lowered his eyes to set up Max Blacker for a shot on goal late in the last quarter.  

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