Scouting Notes: 2022 AFL U18s – Vic Country vs. Western Australia
VIC Country remained undefeated thanks to a dominant first half that saw them hold off a determined Western Australia at GMHBA Stadium yesterday. Both sides had impressive players who stood out on the large ground, and we looked at some of them for our latest edition of Scouting Notes.
All notes are the opinion of the individual author.
#2 Mitch Szybkowski (Dandenong Stingrays)
The potential first round prospect played another consistent game, cracking in to win the hard ball and using it well in-close. He made good decisions and weighted his kicks well by lowering his eyes inside 50 and setting up scoring chances. His vision in transition was something that stood out, while his hands and ability to deliver in close or into space was a feature in the win. Just such a solid inside talent who does not take a backwards step.
#4 Jaxon Binns (Dandenong Stingrays)
One of the hardest runners out there, Binns did not stop all day. After a 39-disposal effort up in Queensland, the Stingrays midfielder had another productive day, often winning it between the arcs. He had the ball on a string at different points, and while he needs to improve his kicking execution at times, he continues to dig deep. There were a couple of fantastic kicks such as one on the run in the opening term, then to be able to hit up Cadman through the middle of the ground, so getting a bit more consistency will help, but his ability to get into ball winning positions and never stop running is a huge tick for him.
#5 Jhye Clark (Geelong Falcons)
The classy Geelong Falcons midfielder was again one of Country’s best in the victory, showing his strength overhead and at ground level, and his lovely long penetrating kick. He got into the right spots, won the ball consistently and nearly always uses it well, and that is coupled with great defensive intent. He did miss a set shot late in the game he would usually nail, but set up a goal with a release handball through the middle in the last few minutes. He even won the ball in the back 50 at times, showing his running capacity throughout the four quarters.
#6 Noah Long (Bendigo Pioneers)
An exciting forward with some great traits, Long slotted three goals and could have had even more such was his influence inside 50. His first came from a ridiculous snap on the boundary late in the first term, then slotted another snap goal midway through the second term from 40m off a step. His third did not come until late in the game with a set shot from 20m, but he could have had a couple more with one shot on the run spraying right and another called play on after an intercept mark, both of which could have been better results had he steadied. Overall a really promising performance.
#8 Oliver Hollands (Murray Bushrangers)
Arguably best on ground, Hollands was simply superb across four quarters, and brought his own ball to Kardinia Park. Hollands was particularly impactful in releasing by hand in the middle, but also took it upon himself on occasions to kick long inside 50. He cracked in hard and though it was not always clean, he won it with second efforts and great courage. When having that time and space, Hollands was able to make good decisions and pinpoint passes into the middle to open up the game.
#12 Coby Burgiel (Gippsland Power)
Popped up in the second half after a quieter first half to slot three goals largely against the grain given Western Australia had the better of Vic Country then. He just missed an earlier chance in the second term with a quick kick out of congestion, but made no mistake with a dribble goal in the third – after some consultation from the umpires – then finished with two more goals on the move in the final term. He also put up a great kick to Clohesy in the pocket during the fourth term with a well weighted pass.
#14 Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers)
A player who just has all the tricks to be a top-end talent, Reid played off half-back and was so calm and composed with ball-in-hand. He applied one of his trademark fend-offs at speed on the wing, and then was able to deliver well in transition. Reid took a great intercept mark in the third term leaning back, and used the ball incredibly well with good decision making and vision to be a key player in Country’s gameplan.
#15 Ted Clohesy (Geelong Falcons)
Always looking dangerous in the forward half when pushing up to the wing then back again to hit the scoreboard, Clohesy would finish with two goals and numerous goal assists with his work in transition. He took a strong grab on the wing early to deliver to Cadman inside 50, the first of a couple of times he did just that. He had a sprayed shot on goal in the same term, but would soon add his name to the goalkickers list in the second with a great snap out of congestion. He did the same thing in the final two minutes of the match to make it two goals, and set up a scoring chance for Falcons teammate Clark with nice vision and execution across the forward 50.
#25 Aaron Cadman (GWV Rebels)
The standout key position forward in the draft, Cadman continued his ripping form with another three-goal haul being too smart and strong for his opponents. He kicked all his three goals by half-time, with one coming from a set shot early in the game, then a similar MO from his second goal in the next term. He kicked his third after a couple of West Australian defenders ran into each other and Cadman kept his feet at the top of the goalsquare, but missed a couple of gettable chances in the second half. He finished with 3.3 for the day, but his work rate and ability to win the ball outside the marking contest and look to give it off was admirable.
#38 Olivier Northam (Geelong Falcons)
Had a strong start to the game before going quieter in the second half, Northam’s hands were very good first term. He lead out well to half-back to be an option from the kick-out, then produced a nice delivery inside 50 to set up the first goal to Cadman. He marked himself 40m out and nailed the set shot goal, then set up another goal not long after. He had a couple of eye-catching moments after that, and though he was quieter, his opening term was one to remember.
#3 Koen Sanchez (East Fremantle)
The exciting bottom-ager had an influence across the match, kicking a ripping goal from the pocket early in the game in what was a superb effort. He then proceeded to win the ball all over the ground, but particularly in between the arcs. Sanchez worked hard up and down the ground, providing an option in transition and having a real crack along the way. Given he still has another year to develop, he will one to watch at next year’s championships.
#5 Steely Green (South Fremantle)
After a solid start to the game, Green really lifted his productivity in the second half, continually being involved at the coalface, but also spreading to the outside. He often opened up the game for his teammates nicely, with his hands a strength in his game. He was able to hit a target on the wing whilst on the move, but his work rate around the ground and ability to give off the quick handball was a feature in the match.
#6 Daniel Gathercole (West Perth)
Being a composed and reliable player in the defensive 50, Gathercole was a consistent user of the ball, often tasked with the kick-outs. He did have one monumental error by turning it straight over to Long in the third term, but was generally able to clear the all from danger. He read the ball well in flight too and was able to mop up be it through a mark or at ground level and relieved the pressure on the defence with a simple kick down the ground to a teammate.
#10 Koltyn Tholstrup (Subiaco)
Another bottom-ager in the West Australian side, Tholstrup was a prime contributor throughout the match, consistently winning the ball. He sidestepped an opponent at one point, read it well in close and gave it off quickly, and had a crack in the air putting his body on the line. An exciting player who was able to put boot to all quickly and get it to a forward stoppage in the final term, Tholstrup is good at weighting kicks and is able to intercept when required as well.
#11 Elijah Hewett (Swan Districts)
The highly skilled talent out of Swan Districts bounced back from a quiet game against the Allies to have some eye-catching moments again. Notching up 13 disposals in the first half, Hewett was a little quieter in the second, but still showed his incredible natural talent such as a great burst out of a stoppage and long kick inside 50 in the third term. He had a chance on goal earlier in the game but was just brought down, and his best kick going inside 50 was a brilliant passage of play, lowering his eyes to hit up a teammate. If he can iron out his four-quarter consistency, he is one of the most gifted players in the draft crop.
#21 Reuben Ginbey (East Perth)
Certainly did his draft chances no harm with a great performance running through the midfield and working hard to impact from the defensive half of the ground. He was quick with his disposal and possesses a nice burst of speed to get out of a stoppage, something he used well to couple with his strength and bigger body. Ginbey can stand up in a tackle and give off the handball quickly, generally making good decisions, and just needing to iron out his kicking a big more. Ginbey finished off his day with a great goal off the left inside 50 and was one of Western Australia’s best.
#37 Corey Tregenza-Cashell (Peel Thunder)
After a quiet first half, the big forward came alive in the second half, pulling down two big contested grabs in the opening few minutes of the third term, then going back and slotting both goals to help Western Australia remain in the contest. Tregenza-Cashell continued to present up and down the ground and be a marking option long, and though it was not quite a four-quarter performance, Tregenza-Cashell was the clear standout from the West Australian tall forwards.