Scouting Notes: SAAS Premier Division 1 – Prince Alfred College vs. Sacred Heart College
SACRED Heart College downed Prince Alfred College (PAC) in this year’s Sports Association for Adelaide Schools (SAAS) Premier Division 1 grand final, as the two sides clashed at Thebarton Oval on Saturday evening. The Hearts’ goalkicking accuracy proved key in the 14.9 (93) to 9.13 (67) victory, and Tyson Coe was awarded the Colin Steinert Medal as best afield.
With both schools boasting a bunch of AFL Draft prospects across various age groups, we highlighted some of them in the latest edition of Scouting Notes.
PRINCE ALFRED COLLEGE 9.13 (67) def. by SACRED HEART COLLEGE 14.9 (93)
PRINCE ALFRED COLLEGE:
Big forward, Weckert made a splash when he turned down a SANFL League debut with Woodville-West Torrens in favour of playing for Prince Alfred in its preliminary final against Immanuel College. A physical presence in attack, Weckert was clearly the focal point for the Reds. He was denied time and space by Hearts defenders Jakob Ryan and Jack McAuley, but still managed to boot a couple of goals for his side.
Princes captain, McAuliffe had a strong game playing both down back and through the midfield. When in defence, McAuliffe looked to use his long and penetrating foot skills to get Princes out of the back 50 and generate some offensive movement. He was strong over the ball and willed himself into the contest through the midfield. The North Adelaide ball magnet also took the kick-in duties and used it efficiently.
Son-of-a-gun, Tasker missed an early shot at the big sticks, but made up for the blemish by nailing a long range attempt later in the contest. Spending time up forward, Tasker booted two more goals for the term as Prince Alfred gained the ascendancy and looked a chance to storm home and beat the Hearts for the second time this season. It was not to be for coach Matthew Slade’s men, but three goals to Tasker saw him feature among the Princes’ best.
Slade was one of Prince Alfred’s best performers on Grand Final day. He booted the minor premiers’ first goal of the game following a mark inside 50, then also kicked their second later in the term – this time on the run from long range. Slade was heavily involved in the physical side of things; first copping a solid hit from Hearts ruckman Darcy Minchella, then later giving out one of his own on Lucas Camporeale. His courage and willingness to try and make something happen inside 50 were certainly important for PAC.
North Adelaide’s Montgomery was one of Prince Alfred’s more prolific ball getters. His disposal early was questionable, however he settled into the game as it wore on and was a driving force behind Princes’ late comeback.
SACRED HEART COLLEGE:
Year 10 student, Atkinson had a memorable final term which included two game-sealing goals for the Hearts. The first came from a set shot following a strong one-on-one mark inside 50, and the second moments later when a 25m penalty brought the on-baller within range. The son of former-Crow Brodie, Ned made no mistake from the set-shot and was mobbed by his teammates. The Grand Final win capped off a highly successful season for Atkinson, who was a member of the victorious state Under 16 side at the National Championships earlier in the year.
Glenelg star, Ryan was given the role on Prince Alfred spearhead Patrick Weckert and restricted his influence whilst also managing to roll off and take a number of trademark intercept grabs. One of Sacred Heart’s leaders, Ryan took many of the kick-ins, using the ball well by foot over both short and long range. At times playing as a loose man down back, Ryan looked assured in the air and deservedly added a premiership medal after an ultra-consistent season with Sacred Heart.
The individual brilliance and sheer talent of Hearts forward, Moir at times proved the difference between the two grand finalists. He had an early sighter on goal following a goal line mark, but was able to hit the scoreboard not long after with a wonderful left-foot goal from longer range. Prior to half time, the 2023 prospect booted back-to-back goals in quick succession to give his school the ascendancy going into the main break. When Prince Alfred were mounting an ominous resurgence, SHC coach Jon Symonds threw Moir on-ball and the Glenelg prodigy made an immediate impact, winning the clearance and booting it forward.
Sacred Heart skipper, Coe was at his rugged best, leading his school to the Division 1 premiership and picking up the Colin Steinert Medal for best-on-ground in the process. Coe spent most of the game in a familiar inside midfield role where his grunt work and sheer desperation proved vital. His physicality, tackling and contested ball winning beautifully complimented the likes of Lucas Camporeale and Charlie Hildyard on the outside. His run and carry and link-up work was also noteworthy, with his work away from the contest particularly impressing on what proved to be an outstanding day for the captain.
Stationed down back, the Sacred Heart defensive general was typically solid against a threatening Prince Alfred forward line. He had a few shaky kicks early on in the contest, but was clearly unfazed as he barely missed a target from then on. Patton’s willingness to run with the ball and spot up a target over any distance was terrific. The penetration he had with his kicks was a highlight on a joyous night for Sacred Heart. Patton was well supported by a very strong SHC backline which also featured the likes of Jakob Ryan, Ben Dewhirst, Harry Francis, Ben Camporeale and Jack McAuley.
McCabe’s breakout season continued with another wonderful display in the division one decider. Having won the South Australian Under 16 MVP at the National Championships last month for his performances at centre half-back, McCabe showed he can be just as potent in attack, where he has been deployed at college level. He made his presence felt early with an awesome hit up mark on the lead which was followed moments later with a towering contested mark back with the flight following a kick-in. He created chaos for the Princes backline by launching himself at the packs all night long and finished with a couple of goals for his efforts.
Playing on the wing, Camporeale was one of the leading possession getters on the ground. Clearly a natural ball winner, Camporeale showed excellent football smarts, vision and situational awareness in congestion, often handballing wide and releasing a teammate in some space. His ball use by foot was equally efficient, however the crowd will particularly remember his courageous mark on the broadcast wing in the fourth quarter which saw him cop a heavy hit from Luca Slade.
One of a multitude of state representatives running around at Thebarton Oval on Saturday evening, Lovelock worked his way into the game nicely. Splitting his time between the midfield and half-forward line, Lovelock’s skills were the standout feature of his game. He provided some meaningful run and carry, and capped off another strong performance with two excellent goals. His first came from a perfectly executed snap and the second proved to be the final goal of the contest.