Scouting Notes: 2022 NAB League – Round 10
WITH Under 18 representative football just around the corner, a bunch of big names stepped out to impress in Round 10 of the 2022 NAB League season. There were bags of goals and big disposal hauls, headlining a diverse weekend of play. We noted some of the top performers from all six fixtures.
All notes are the opinion of the individual author.
By: Max Hughes
#2 Nate Caddy
It wasn’t Caddy’s best game this year, but the bottom-ager was still a presence. He crashed packs for little reward but had some impact around the ground. Gave away a few undisciplined free kicks that looked like an expression of frustration, which is understandable given that he wasn’t quite playing at his usual excellent standard. Still took the game on and showcased his athleticism, and whilst he ran himself into trouble occasionally, it was good to see his confidence remain high, despite it being a tough day for the young forward.
The over-ager dominated proceedings off half back, racking up the football at will and generally using it well. A mature head, Fitzgerald directed traffic all game, and showcased fantastic touch with his kicking. His poise was a standout, especially in a game where many looked rushed. He was a strong physical presence as well, tackling hard and competing in every contest. 30 disposals is a great return, and he was one of the best afield, for either side.
Dozzi was as solid as ever, picking up 23 disposals and a goal in a measured display. One thing that always impresses about his game is the combination of skill and toughness that he possesses. His hands in tight are elite, and he moves beautifully, but he is also unafraid to get his hands dirty and lay big tackles. Dozzi is a leader at the Knights, not just of the midfield brigade, but of the whole side. Every week he turns in consistent, polished performances. He would love to get his disposal numbers up in the high 20s, but his output against the Ranges was more than enough.
#27 Jason McCormick
McCormick had a day out, booting 4.2 in a brilliant display. The lively medium forward was everywhere inside 50, bobbing up opportunistically whenever he was given the chance. He is quick and clean, rarely fumbling when he attacks the ball at full pace. His kicking was also excellent, both for goal and in general play. McCormick threatens to have this type of performance on a weekly basis, and in a relatively high scoring game, he made the most of his opportunities. It could be a great game to build on for the talented goal sneak, and he will draw confidence from the way he was able to influence the game.
#38 Matthew Ryan
Ryan was impressive playing on-ball, using his big body and explosiveness to overwhelm opponents at stoppages. He does a few things every game that show freakish ability, such as a full speed contested spin move from a ball up, highlighting his power and cleanliness. More generally though, he tackles hard and attacks the ball with ferocity, something the Knights midfield has lacked at certain times. Ryan’s handballing in congestion was also a standout, standing up in tackles and firing the football out to a teammates advantage. Another nice performance as he continues to build through the middle part of this season.
#53 Aleksandr D’Arro
Played a complete game complementing Fitzgerald off half back, picking up 22 touches and hardly wasting a possession. It has been a big jump for the lightly framed defender, who looked nervous and unsure of his role earlier in the season. This performance, however, was a far cry from those initial games, as he moved with purpose and confidence throughout. D’Arro is a languid athlete, gliding across the ground and making sharp decisions. His intercepting was impressive, as he would break free from his man to come over and mark the ball, before using his sublime foots skills to hit a target. The ball was safe in his hands, whether he was under pressure or not, and he drove most of the Knight’s rebounding game.
A best on ground performance from Bennetts, who kicked 3.2 from 22 disposals. The 178cm livewire was the point of difference for the Ranges, bobbing up consistently to kick goals and have a hand in others. He had eight tackles as well, a showcase of his willingness to compete defensively and bring pressure inside 50. He roamed up the ground to get involved in the play, but it was around goals that he did the most damage. Could’ve been an even bigger day out had he converted all his chances, but his return was excellent regardless, and a standout effort.
#8 Cam Nyko
Nyko had a polished game, gliding through the midfield and distributing the football well. He accumulated 22 disposals, a season high, and had a touch of class to him, a rare sight in such a scrappy game. Nyko weaved his way through traffic on multiple occasions, before showing great poise by foot to steady and find a target. His skill, and the general slickness of the Ranges’ midfield, played a big part in their eventual victory, as they broke away from the Knights with their clean ball movement. Nyko was an integral piece in the well-oiled machine and had a great all-round performance.
#13 Callum Verrell
Verrell was also one of the Ranges’ best, driving their rebound from half-back and even drifting forward to kick a goal. Blessed with a powerful kick, Verrell used his talents to slice up a lacklustre Knights defence. He consistently hit 45-metre targets, kicking with penetration and precision, a sought after but rare combination. Like Fitzgerald did for the Knights, Verrell set his side up brilliantly, directing traffic and bringing the ball out. He finished with 23 disposals and 19 kicks, a statistic that highlights how integral his foots skills were to his side’s success. He is dependable and clear headed, and evidently someone the Ranges’ coaches trust immensely.
#32 Cody Anderson
Statistically, Anderson’s game doesn’t stand out from the crowd. He finished with 13 disposals and a goal, but his work in the second half was eye-catching. The big-bodied midfielder finished with 13 tackles, a number that reflects his tenacity and physicality. Throughout the second half, Anderson crashed into anyone who was in his path, bulldozing his way through stoppages and stopping the Knight’s midfielders in their tracks. His presence on the ball drove his sides ascendancy, and his goal in the third quarter was the topper on what was a great period of football. With more performances like that, Anderson should continue to play consistent midfield minutes.
The highly touted La Planche had a bit of an ‘almost’ day, impacting the game early before drifting out of it as time wore on. His sticky hands and great reach were on display in the first half, as was his agility at ground level. It was encouraging to see him make the effort once the ball hit the ground, especially when he spilled a mark. His physicality was pleasing too, as the bottom-ager was happy to throw his weight around and clear a path. Finished with a goal and five marks, which is a solid return.
By: Michael Alvaro
Starting out in his arguably more comfortable defensive post, Sinnott took some time to get going but looked good once in full flight. The over-ager shifted on-ball and broke from congestion nicely, before producing a couple of real highlights. He snared a great checkside goal pressed hard on the boundary in term two, and backed in for a brave intercept mark inside defensive 50 during the next period. A solid outing overall.
#5 Aaron Cadman
Cadman certainly had a case for being the best player afield, booting four goals from eight scoring shots in a dominant display from centre half-forward. The first round prospect got on the board within a minute of the opening bounce, and it set the tone for a game where he got separation on the lead time after time. Though inconsistent with his finishing and much scrappier at ground level, Cadman goalkicking routine looked fluent when on song, while his marking prowess was simply unstoppable. With a goal in each quarter, his impact was sustained.
#7 Hugh Bond
Starting like a house on fire, Bond’s attack on both the contest and his opponents was fierce – and fair. Laying almost as many tackles as disposals he won, the top-ager was on a collision course and punished every Oakleigh player who got to the ball before him, but also showed a bit away from the contest. Bond’s work rate and running power came to the fore in passages where he broke from stoppages, and his best moment was a running goal in the second term, before he shifted behind the ball.
#37 Brady Wright
Another GWV goalkicker who snared scores in each term, Wright finished with six-straight majors. The solidly built 190cm forward was too good in one-on-one jostles and showcased his strong hands when marking inside 50, working well in tandem with Cadman to produce most of the Rebels’ score. Fittingly, he put through the final goal of the game to cap off a performance where his output helped shape the result.
In arguably his best NAB League outing to date, O’Keeffe set personal bests for disposals (12), inside 50s (five), and hitouts (40) in a dominant ruck display. Such was his mastery at the centre bounces and stoppages, he won nearly 60 per cent of the match’s total hitouts. Not only did O’Keeffe get his hand to the ball, but he put it down the throats of Oakleigh’s midfielders at will, while also gaining enough confidence to boot forward a few clearances himself. He’s in for a big carnival as the primary Vic Metro ruck, but can look to impact more around the ground.
#15 Ingo Dammersmith
Booting two goals meant Dammersmith accounted for a quarter of Oakleigh’s majors on Saturday, a handy return considering the role he played. The over-ager spent a lot more time advancing up the ground, showcasing his ability overhead with six marks from 14 disposals. His goals came in the first and fourth quarters, bookending a productive display.
#17 Braden Andrews
Aided wonderfully by the ruckmanship of O’Keeffe, Andrews and fellow midfielder Will Sexton racked up game-high numbers in a losing cause. The over-aged midfielder finished with 28 disposals and seven inside 50s, finding plenty of ball at the source and putting it into dangerous areas. Andrews was again neat, without being overly damaging, with his disposals and missed a couple of chances on goal, but showed his class with a snap through the big sticks to start term four.
#18 Jed Rule
Different players seemed to dominate various patches of Saturday’s clash, and Rule was one of them. The tall defender did his usual work, holding a high line down back and mopping up both in the air and at ground level, while enjoying a purple patch in the second half. Rule was particularly prominent in the early stages of term four, clunking a series of clean intercept marks with supreme confidence. His distribution by foot improved as the game wore on too, having bitten off a bit too much early on.
By: Michael Alvaro
#21 Arie Schoenmaker
Under enormous pressure in a defence which conceded 30 scoring shots, Schoenmaker stood tall and kept a cool head. The thing which stood out most was his distributive skill, pinging short and long passes with great variety and composure from defensive 50. He did so on repeat, amassing 29 disposals, 13 marks and six rebound 50s. While the bottom-ager took on some of Tasmania’s kick-in duties, he also won plenty of his own ball with brave intercepts and great reading of the play to be one of the safest quantities out there for the depleted Devils.
Another steadfast member of the Devils’ defence, Nicholas was competitive from the get-go. The top-ager was made to step up with the likes of Lachlan Cowan and Tom McCallum on representative duty, doing so with season-best figures for disposals (22), marks (four), and rebound 50s (seven). He showed he was up for the fight early with a couple of strong defensive acts, but had the right amount of polish with ball in hand upon exiting the backline.
The bottom-aged midfielder has really hit his stride in the last three NAB League rounds, and ticked over 20 touches for the first time on Saturday. With a zippy turn of speed and flashy boots, it was hard to miss Simpson when he broke away with the ball, accumulating plenty of it and snatching ground in front of him. The only thing lacking was a more polished end product, which Simpson can work on over the next year.
Consistent as ever, Campbell-Farrell attracted a good amount of opposition attention but hardly slowed his output on Saturday. He helped himself to a team-high 28 touches from midfield and even found the ball up forward, but looked very much at home at the centre bounces. The top-ager proved super slick and smart by hand, and could have had an even bigger day if his kicking close to goal was a touch better.
Arguably the region’s standout bottom-ager, Frangalas displayed all of his usual power and explosiveness up forward before spending time in midfield. He kicked goals in the second and third terms but could easily have ended up with more through better conversion, or if he hadn’t been so unselfish. Frangalas’ third term was particularly impressive as he got off the chain at half-forward. A centre bounce break during the final quarter also caught the eye, capping off another promising outing.
While not as prolific as usual with the ball spending plenty of time at the other end of the ground, Emile-Brennan still managed to show glimpses of his best form. The dynamic defender produced a few terrific forays up the field, taking the ball cleanly and chaining possessions to move into attack. His best moment was a well struck goal on the run during term two, which showcased the top-ager’s booming boot.
#16 Henry Hustwaite
Continuing his role in midfield, Hustwaite made a brilliant start to proceedings. No one could pick which was the left-footer was going to shift when gaining possession, as he manufactured space with ease and made typically good decisions. The AFL Academy call-up displayed terrific awareness and composure for a player his size, navigating to the outer and slowly getting his kicking going throughout a strong first half.
#18 Lachlan Robinson
A winger with good eyes for goal, Robinson bagged three in Round 10. The over-ager capped his day beautifully with consecutive majors in the final term, sneaking forward and utilising his weapon of a left peg to slot the ball home. Earlier, a tidy finish got Robinson his first goal in the third quarter, and that side of his game looks polished as a 194cm winger.
#19 Nicholas Collier
Busy is an apt way to describe Collier’s game on Saturday, with the small midfielder-forward putting in a shift for the Stingrays. He joined in on many contests from forward of the ball and looked to drive hard towards goal with his turn of speed. Exemplifying his effort from the first to final siren, Collier assisted a late Jesse Davidson-Lopo goal by not giving up on the play, keeping it inbounds and hitting his inboard target.
By: Michael Alvaro
#5 Jhye Clark
Though a capable contested ball winner himself, other Falcons allowed Clark to shine as the receiver on Saturday, and he did the rest with his strong work rate to rack up a game-high 33 disposals. The Geelong skipper looked a class above at times, accumulating with ease and hitting targets on both sides of his body. Resting forward, a marking contest free kick saw Clark hit the scoreboard in term two, and he tried hard to lift his side in the following quarter while continuing to find plenty of the pill.
#9 Ted Clohesy
Building nicely in what was his third game back, Clohesy brought the heat with nine tackles to go wit 25 disposals. He set the tone with a fantastic tackle in the first term and continued to lay into his opponents that way, while also finding the ball himself at stoppages. While a touch scrappy by foot under pressure, Clohesy made better decisions in time and space and was a solid operator through midfield all day.
#10 Patrick Hughes
Hughes produced his best disposal tally for the year on Saturday, collecting 22 in a strong effort from midfield. The bottom-ager impressed with his physicality at the contest, not afraid to barge through would-be tacklers en route to clearing the packs. He was hard-at-it and managed to stay upright through all his inside work, but also had enough composure to use the ball well once he broke to the outside.
#41 Osca Riccardi
The Geelong father-son candidate was prolific on Saturday, featuring at both ends of the ground and penetrating either arc with his dash and kick-first decisions. From 28 disposals, he notched seven inside 50s and 10 rebounds to go with a first quarter goal, driving the ball forward with purpose. He was also deceptively strong when shrugging off tacklers and that aided his intent, as one of the Falcons’ more damaging accumulators.
#47 Euriah Hollard
Hollard was simply irresistible up forward, booting an equal round-high six goals to be best afield. Operating as a high half-forward, he used his skills to create opportunities for others, but also worked hard to find space inside attacking 50 and hit the scoreboard himself. By the second half, he was making defenders sweat but somehow found himself all alone on a number of occasions, and made his opponents pay. He and Tom Gillett were a couple whose scoreboard impact took the game away from Calder.
#24 Declan Willmore
While others were much more prolific in terms of sheer numbers, Willmore arguably showed the most for Calder with his 14 disposals and eight marks. The dynamic top-ager kicked the first goal of the game, shrugging a tackle and snapping the ball home with aplomb. It set him up nicely, and Willmore went on to track back well from the wing in the second half. He displayed his athleticism and clean hands when flying for marks, pulling down a few typically high ones as the game wore on.
#57 Jordan Croft
Another Cannon who made his touches count, Croft booted a game-high three goals from just seven touches. The raw and rangy bottom-ager has a bit about him at 199cm, and made an instant impact with consecutive goals in the first quarter. His second came from a strong overhead mark under opposition heat, and Croft added a third after half time by snapping home while being tackled. With good mobility and an eye for goal, there is a bit of upside there for Croft.
By: Michael Alvaro
#13 Jaelen Pavlidis
Leading from the front against incredibly stiff opposition, Pavlidis tried his best to generate some forward momentum for the Jets. He ended up with a team-high 23 disposals on a day where his side was beaten by over 100 in that department, and showed positive intent when carrying the ball forward. The over-ager looked as dangerous in possession as any of his teammates, but making things happen proved a struggle. One of his best moments ended up in a free kick against for running too far, after Pavlidis bounded out of the centre bounce and inside attacking 50 during the final term.
#14 Harrison Miller
Only twice has the top-ager gone without multiple goals this season, and he bagged three on Sunday as the Jets’ most prominent scoring source. Miller kicked two of them in the third term, proving an apt finisher when snapping around the body and making the most of his chances. On a tough day for Western forwards, he was lively enough inside 50 and made it count with half of his side’s majors to three quarter time.
Clarke was a factor from the get-go, with his speed and creativity troubling Western’s defence all day. He was squeezed out to the forwardline as Sandringham settled on a very strong centre bounce trio, and made the most of their dominance to put up outstanding numbers of his own – 33 disposals, eight marks, and seven inside 50s. Most importantly, Clarke also found the goals with majors in terms two and three, with the Jets defenders simply unable to lay a hand on him.
It was very nearly a record-breaking outing for Ashcroft, who only solidified his status as one of the top two talents nationwide with a remarkable 51 disposals throughout 25-minute flat quarters. The prolific midfielder did most of his work by hand, racking up 32 handballs and absolutely dominating at the stoppages. He won first possession time after time and fed his teammates, but also chained together some productive passages when breaking away from congestion. Needless to say, Ashcroft’s accumulation factor was high and he simply got his hands on everything, with typical class and composure.
Beating a bloke who had 51 touches to best afield honours is no mean feat, but Mackenzie may well have done it on Sunday. Returning to the Dragons’ lineup for the first time since Round 4, the St Kilda Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect was outstanding in midfield with 35 damaging disposals. He looked incredibly polished, proving clean in his handling and elite with his ball use going inside 50. Mackenzie’s ability to consistently break away from stoppages and pick out leading forwards with precision was great to watch, no less when he did so at full tilt. He could have been a touch more effective by hand under pressure, but was unstoppable once he built up a full head of steam.
#16 Harry Sheezel
Another of Sandringham’s prolific on-ballers, Sheezel compounded his impact by doing a bit of damage inside attacking 50. On top of his 33 disposals, Sheezel snared three goals from five scoring shots and showcased his usual smarts around the big sticks. Further afield, he again proved his potential to tear the opposition apart by foot when afforded enough time and space, making great decisions which were sealed with his skill.
#48 Mitchell Rowe
A step removed from Sandringham’s prolific on-ballers, Rowe made the wing his own on Sunday and produced some nice moments. He has a great turn of speed and used it to play on aggressively whenever he had the chance, catching the Jets off-guard and not letting their defenders settle behind the ball. At 186cm, he also took a couple of handy marks and could prove a handy point of difference in the Vic Metro squad.
#75 Levi Ashcroft
‘I’m seeing double, four Ashcrofts!’ That’s right, Will has a younger brother coming through the pathway and after turning out together in school football last year, they did so for the first time at NAB League level on Sunday. Starting up forward before getting a run in midfield, Ashcroft had little trouble finding the ball as he worked hard to feature between the arcs. For a 16th-year talent, his composure and smarts were well up to the level, along with a side-step which we’ll likely see many times over in the coming years. He capped his debut off with a goal in the fourth quarter.
By: Michael Alvaro
#4 Harley Reid
Reid genuinely could not have tried much more to drag his side over the line on Sunday. The bottom-ager was shifted to a new role in defence and fared extremely well there, taking little time to get going. He positioned beautifully to intercept and was clean as ever when marking, before looking to be productive with run and long kicking on the rebound. Needing a spark in term four, he moved into midfield and had a couple of chances to make an impact on the scoreboard. In a sign that it was just not his day, he slotted the ball between the big sticks from the boundary, but was just out of bounds, before doing so again after the siren – only it was touched on the mark.
#19 Eli Pearce
In an enthralling battle against Ryan Eyers, Pearce just about won out in their one-on-one duels, finishing with six marks and a goal among his 15 disposals. The top-aged tall forward gave up height to his direct opponent, but made up for it with strength and smart forward craft, able to read the ball in flight and protect the drop zone. He clunked his marks cleanly, and could have made a greater impression on the scoreboard but also worked to bring others into the game as he presented up the ground.
#32 Malik Gordan
The explosive bottom-ager was given an extended go in midfield but also had a bit to do up forward on Sunday, and showcased some of his power. He charged forward off the opening centre bounce to earn an early shot on goal, but missed, before eventually snaring a major in the final quarter. Gordan’s pressure and physical presence around the ball were strong, and his punchy kicks going inside 50 found the target on a couple of memorable occasions.
#4 Darcy Wilson
Spending a good amount of time in midfield, Wilson racked up a clear season-high tally of 28 disposals as one of the more productive accumulators for the Bushrangers. Still lightly framed, he was caught in possession at times and rushed on his kicks, but managed to produce positive moments throughout the game. One such moment was his speccy and goal in the third term, which he had done with greater regularity in the first half of the season.
#11 Nicholas Quigg
A regular ball winner in Murray’s midfield, Quigg was another who ticked up to season-high figures with 31 disposals and seven marks. The top-ager racked it up at the stoppages but also worked hard to get forward and nearly nabbed himself a goal on the quarter time siren that way. It was a game of accumulation for Quigg, who drove forward with confidence and worked well alongside his fellow on-ballers.
#16 Max Clohesy
In a much more positive showing since his Round 8 return, Clohesy added a key point of difference to the Bushrangers’ on-ball mix with his turn of speed. He used it both ways too, and you could not fault his intensity in the early stages as he chased hard to lay tackles. Clohesy continued to break away from congestion in a productive first half, but can look to add polish and poise to his kicking going forward.
#21 Ryan Eyers
Engaged in a terrific battle with Eli Pearce, Eyers did well to post strong numbers in the back-and-forth tussle. With 17 disposals and eight marks, his range was evident throughout the match, as he marked the ball at points few others could, and got spoils in late to cut off Bendigo attacks. His mobility and confidence to carry the ball were also outstanding features of his game, with his clean handling and disposal helping Murray exit the back half.
#27 Ewan MacKinlay
Mackinlay was a real eye-catcher for Murray, taking the game on and producing some of the more watchable passages of play. He started out with a lovely goal in the opening quarter, but stood out most with daring dash from defence as the game wore on. Mackinlay’s speed was a factor on the outside, as he backed himself to burn opponents in tight spots and chained possessions together in transition. His end product could have been sharper, but the over-ager certainly showed a bit.
#28 Noah Bradshaw
Leading all comers with 33 disposals, Bradshaw became increasingly noticeable during a dominant second half. Having gotten his hands on the ball in-tight with clean distribution by hand, he went on to break to the outside a touch more after half time, drawing players on the run and sending the ball inside 50. His highlight for the day was a goal in the final quarter, where Bradshaw side-stepped an opponent and slotted the ball home as he drove inside attacking 50.