Scouting Notes: 2022 AFL U18s – Allies vs. Vic Metro

VIC Metro accounted for the Allies to the tune of 16 points on Saturday, in an ideal start to the Big V’s Under 18 National Championships campaign. Though some top prospects missed the clash, others quickly clicked into gear to highlight our latest edition of Scouting Notes.

All notes are the opinion of the author.

>> MATCH REPORT: Vic Metro 16.10 (106) def. Allies 14.6 (90)

  • Team
  • Vic Metro
  • Allies


#4 Shadeau Brain (Lions Academy/Queensland)

An athletic and hard-at-it forward, Brain took the game on with his tenacity at the ball and dare when moving forward. Brain showed off his athleticism whenever the opportunity presented itself; whether it was a high leaping contested mark, burning opponents in a foot race, or with a smart sidestep through traffic, he backed himself to take on opponents and kept the ball moving forward. Brain was rewarded for his consistent efforts with a goal from the boundary line after a high leaping mark, finishing with a nice drop punt. 

#9 Ryley Sanders (Sandringham Dragons/Tasmania)

The bottom-aged Tasmanian product stood out amongst his teammates with his touch of class and composure around the contest, with his keen decision making giving the Allies the best chance of moving the ball into dangerous spots. Whilst Sanders wasn’t a massive possession winner compared to others, he was arguably the cleanest of the Allies in every aspect of his game, working hard to get into good spots to receive the ball around the ground, seeing him used in the last quarter for a mark inside 50, where he slotted the shot from long range.

#19 Luke Lawrence (Giants Academy/NSW-ACT)

Consistently applying himself to the contest, Lawrence was a constant in the Allies midfield mix where he worked smartly to win the ball and get it forward at every opportunity he had. Lawrence has shown a high work rate in his games this year and this match was no different, looking to get back and assist in defence when Metro started running over the top of the Allies, and running hard forward to be a threat offensively, seeing him kick two goals for the day. Whilst Lawrence’s disposal in space was reliable, in future he could look to get more precise with his skills in close, as he was prone to looping handballs at stages.

#26 Lloyd Johnston (Wanderers/Northern Territory)

The NT product was one who put his best foot forward in his early season NAB league appearances as an athletic defender capable of playing above his height, and that form continued in his first Allies outing. Whilst not a massive ball winner for the day, Johnston was clinical with his opportunities and showed off some eye-catching athleticism and ability to read the play. Johnston impressed with his high leaping and intercept marking, even when outnumbered, rising above packs on multiple occasions to stop Metro attacking plays, and following up with classy use by foot. The highlight of the day for Johnston came as he beat Metro bottom-ager Nick Watson in a foot race on the wing, taking a bounce as he ran towards the forward 50 and placing the kick beautifully for his teammate to take on the chest.

#28 Tom McCallum (Tasmania Devils)

A rock in the Allies defensive 50 throughout, McCallum just seemed to mark everything that flew his way. Showing off a good understanding of his role, McCallum was rarely caught in a position where he couldn’t impact the play, looking to peel off his opponent to create a numbers advantage in other contests, often flying in front of a one-on-one and holding the mark above his head. In the future Allies games, McCallum will be looking to sharpen up his disposal as it undid some of the great work he had done intercepting at times.

#38 Jed Walter (Suns Academy/Queensland)

The bottom-aged AFL Academy member did not waste his opportunities inside the forward 50, putting on what can be best described as a one-on-one clinic in the early stages of the game. Walter used his size to his advantage when in marking contests, with his body work a key part of his game, there was no beating him deep in the forward 50, with one particular instance in the first quarter seeing him nudge his opponent under the flight of the ball as it approached allowing him to take it on his chest with ease, resulting in his second goal. Whilst his work inside forward 50 was most impressive, Walter worked his way up the ground the more Metro got on top, where his skills were neat heading forward as he looked for shorter options more often than not. In an unusual move, Walter played some time on-ball in the final quarter, not winning much of it but imposing himself around stoppages with his size.

#39 Ethan Read (Suns Academy/Queensland)

Another bottom-aged tall prospect for the Suns, whilst Read may not have impacted the scoreboard like Walter, he arguably impacted more consistently across the four quarters. Read rotated as the second ruck for the Allies with some brief stints up forward and looked comfortable in both roles, with well timed leaps and well placed taps as a ruck and some smart leads as a forward, it was promising to see this level of understanding across both roles for the youngster. What stood out most with Read was his cleanliness by foot for a bigger player, as he often looked for safe options but ensured they got to the target.


#2 Blake Drury (Oakleigh Chargers)

Whilst Drury may not have been the name in the headlines after the game, it was when he was injected into the midfield for Metro in the second quarter that they started to get over the top consistently. Drury was one who positioned well around stoppages and linked up with his fellow on-ballers well, rotating the roles as first possession winner, receiver and blocker around the centre stoppages. Drury used it well by hand in close to release runners when he won first possession, but looked at his best as a receiver where he could use his pace to get forward and deliver the ball inside 50. Outside of this, Drury brought what he always does to the contest as he consistently cracked into the contest and looked to take the game on where he could, creating opportunities for his teammates and getting them involved inside 50. 

#5 Alwyn Davey Jr. (Oakleigh Chargers)

Playing more in the forwardline than he’s had the opportunity to at NAB League level, Davey’s natural forward craft stood out with his reading of the ball in flight and off hands from marking contests leading to his two goals, one of which was the first Metro managed after an early stretch of Allies dominance. Davey’s become somewhat known as a low-possession, high-impact player over the year, and the game against the Allies was hardly different as he managed to hurt the opposition with all 25 touches.

#10 Will Ashcroft (Sandringham Dragons)

It comes as no surprise that after consistently stepping up to the occasion every time he’s taken the field this year, Ashcroft finished the day as best on ground. The potential Brisbane father-son prospect has just continued to deliver all season, and somehow is still finding ways to improve. Ashcroft did his usual thing, acting as a dominant stoppage player with his positioning and timing of his runs, using the ball well in-close by hand, managing to get them free if he was caught. Ashcroft gradually won more and more of the ball in open play as the game went on, working well off the ball to get into positions to be the best option for his teammates, and following up with clean ball use himself. Ashcroft managed to draw in a high number of high contact free kicks through the game as he consistently got the footy before anyone else which gave him more opportunities to deliver the ball forward under no pressure.

#15 Harry Sheezel (Sandringham Dragons)

It was quite a productive day for Sheezel who split his time evenly between the forward 50 and midfield, as he strolled his way to four goals for the game, all of which showed off a different aspect of his well developed forward craft. The first came from a contested mark in the goal square, which he promptly snapped through. The second was an opportunistic soccer goal from about 20 metres out, where Sheezel saw the ball spill out of a pack and sent it along the ground through the goals. The third came from a mark on the lead tucked right along the boundary line, where he got good separation on an opponent to take it with no pressure. The fourth was arguably his most impressive, with the ball spilt out the front of a pack in the goal square, Sheezel cleanly collected the footy and kicked it over his head as he ran the other way. Sheezel’s brilliance wasn’t all scoreboard related as he showed off his clean hands and kicking skills around the ground, as well as the aerial presence he has despite not being an overly tall player.

 #22 Cam Mackenzie (Sandringham Dragons)

Another of the Metro on-ball brigade that just consistently cracked in, Mackenzie really separated himself from his teammates with his movement through traffic and burst speed around stoppages, seeing him get the ball and out into space a few times in a matter of seconds. Whilst Mackenzie was a bit fumbly to begin with, he worked into the game and started to reliably take control of the ball with one grab at ground level, using his strong frame to knock opponents off balance when competing for the ball. Mackenzie seemed to play a bit more defensively than the other mids, often holding outside of the forward 50 and sweeping up on rushed opposition disposals trying to come out, just to send it straight back in. Mackenzie excelled in the thick of the contest and around stoppages as a first possession winner, able to collect it cleanly and then keep his hands free in tackles to get the ball out to teammates.

#24 Callum Verrell (Eastern Ranges)

Whilst not the flashiest player for his side, Verrell was arguably one of the most important with how he held down the backline for Metro. Verrell read the ball well and positioned behind the play in ways that allowed him to impact plenty of contests inside defensive 50, pushing off his opponent when the opportunity presented to lay a spoil at another contest. He was able to hold most of the marks he went for, holding a couple of impressive ones overhead under pressure to really ease off some of the pressure the Allies brought at times. Whilst Verrell’s ball use was mostly reliable and safe, he may have benefited more from backing himself to take the game on more often.

#35 Lewis Hayes (Eastern Ranges)

Whilst Hayes wasn’t the most prolific of the Metro defenders, he did well to impact the contests he was involved in and looked to have learnt from each one as he adjusted his game to suit his match up. After Walter had gotten a bit loose in the first term, it was Hayes who stepped up and started to restrain him more in the defensive 50, not engaging in grappling contests and instead backing his leap and read of the ball to beat his opponent, then generally moving it long by foot back up the ground.

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